How to overcome insecurity
The whole truth about my –Jonathan, govs marriage at Easter –Muma Gee –Page 5
Mali’s junta surrenders power –Page 5
• Malawi gets first female president
Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
Vol.06, No. 2089
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
APRIL 8, 2012
• A man dressed as Jesus Christ carries a cross during a ritual procession to mark the death of Christ on Good Friday in Lagos Photo: REUTERS
Obasanjo knew of Third Term plot –ex-minister
10-year old gives birth to daughter –Page 4
Claims former president was not the initiator –PAGE 4
EASTER TRAGEDY: 10 KILLED AS CHURCH COLLAPSES IN BENUE
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
The Guinea pig is not black
S we celebrate Easter and the ennobling and deeply humanising self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ, it is important to draw attention to the global rise in the human misery index. There has been a dramatic explosion in human capacity for domestic evil and civil violence. The attenuation and dehumanization of the human condition by certain human institutions ironically created for the amelioration of the same human condition have proceeded apace. Over the last three decades, the financial institutions known as the Bretton Woods complex have become a burden on humanity. Despite the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund—some will say because of them—the world is beset by an economic crisis of unrivalled magnitude. Many nations have become simply economically unviable. The spectre of global bankruptcy looms. The number of the absolute poor has risen and with them the attendant biblical misery. There is deepening economic inequality within and among nations. The human race is deeply divided. There are people and non-people. There are countries and roiling enclaves of poverty and immiseration. It would seem that it is only countries who have the national courage and patriotic fortitude to ignore these new merchants of Venice, notably Brazil and China, that have been able to lift their people from the poverty trap and debt burden. It is said that mankind is not a fallen angel but a rising ape. It is the human and humanizing institutions carefully and deliberately put in place over several millennia by our foresighted ancestors that have shaped and ordered human evolution from the caves and hunter-gatherer societies to the modern world. It is these institutions, through arduous and painstaking culturing and cultivation, that have nudged mankind away from the realm of animal necessity to the realm of freedom. Whether through political systems, economic ordering or spiritual re-engineering, they have brought humanity to the pinnacle of selfactualisation which hitherto existed in the realm of dreaming and fevered imagining. Without them, we are not better than our animal cousins. It took almost five hundred years from Leonardo da Vinci’s rudimentary etching for the modern aviation industry to arrive. Even before him in Greek mythology, Daedalus and Icarus had taken the possibility too literally and with grave consequences. But it is also the case that as humanity encounters fresh realities and fresh hurdles in the relentless march of history, certain institutions designed to ameliorate the human condition assume a life of their own which is grossly disproportionate to the original intention of the wizards of social engineering who put them in place. In a classic case of alienation, these institutions become an end in themselves rather than means to an end. It is then left to emergent revolutionary forces to come up with the means of overcoming these obstacles, failing which the historical responsibility rests on aliens or the antagonistic logic furnished by conquering invaders. For example, if an institution purportedly designed to facilitate global economic development becomes an obstacle to the same global economic development, something will have to give eventually. As we celebrate Easter, the noble example of Jesus Christ offers deeply symbolic tropes of how to kick start a human society that has fallen into deep political rut and economic stagnancy and immobility. Just like the Prophet Mohammed after him, Jesus was a classic and dramatic instance of a revolutionary reworking of society through the agency of spiritual cleansing. After Jesus, human society would never be the same again. It is a great
(A Greek Tragedy)
•Okonjo-Iweala pity that the modern day supporters and followers of the great religious founders could not appreciate the deep bonds of nobility and heroism shared by the two founding fathers. The history of the modern world reads like a cryptic biography of these two great men. But it is also said that even before Jesus Christ, there were the great old Greeks. In the sphere of politics and culture, and in the absence of countervailing evidence from other societies, nothing can rival the bequeathment of the ancient Greek society to the modern world. It is to them we owe the concept of democracy and the evolution of modern art. In a collective feat of visionary imagining, the Greeks produced modern society in its embryonic formation. Musing over the potency and fatal charms of ancient Greek art which was a sly negation of his own revolutionary materialist aesthetics, Karl Marx noted wryly that the difficulty lies not
in the fact that Greek art pleased us, but that they should continue to please us. That is long after the superannuation of their material base and basis. Certain human monuments are simply indestructible. It is a profound historical irony that Greece, the cradle of modern civilization, the domain of Alexander the great, has now become a slave-nation. Modern history has actually not been kind to the Greeks. The land of the great shipping magnates has now become a huge magnet for epic political and economic difficulties. It is as if somebody somewhere has not quite forgiven Aristotle Onassis for marrying the last American Queen. They struggled to get rid of their last king, long after less civilised nations in Europe had sent them packing. Then the mad colonels decapitated democracy which had actually degenerated to the rule of a corrupt oligarchy. In shame and universal misery, the ancient democrats struggled for
nooping around With
Tatalo Alamu seven years before they could get rid of the despotic incubus. And now this economic disaster which has put Greece at par and even below par with most Third World countries. The Draconian economic medication of the Bretton Woods institutions is already yielding remarkable dividends. Suicide is on the rise on the streets of Athens. Only last Tuesday, a seventy seven year old man who had seen his pension evaporate blasted himself to eternity in a public enactment of suicide which sent shock waves through the entire country. According to the London Guardian of last Wednesday, the man left a sad song: “I’m leaving because I don’t want to pass on my debts.” In a handwritten note, the unidentified man, who was described as an “upstanding and decent” father of one, said he had decided to end his life because he did not want to be reduced to foraging through rubbish bins to survive. Continues the same paper: “Athens is under intense pressure from international creditors now keeping its economy afloat to make further radical reforms and cutbacks. Police data show a 20% increase in suicide rates in the two years since the outbreak of Europe’s debt crisis in Greece in late 2009, although the health ministry estimated the figure was almost double that in the first five months of 2011 compared to the first five months of 2010. Suicide hotlines have been deluged with appeals for help. “Calls have doubled in the last year,” said Eleni Bekiari, a psychiatrist who runs a suicide helpline at Klimaka, a refuge centre set up to provide psycho-social support for the needy and homeless. “Economic reasons are invariably cited as the main cause,” she said. This is a remarkable development for the much rhapsodized global peace and security. Having accelerated the economic ruination of many Third World countries through their structural adjustment shibboleths which was a cure-all dogma without country-specific and nuanced discrimination, the IMF and World Bank are now turning their attention to unfortunate
The Okonjo-Iweala saga
HILE Greece is unravelling from World Bank medication, another World Bank drama has been playing out in Nigeria. It is the stuff of great soap. It is a tragicomedy at its most gung-ho. It is a great hoax all right, but it is an absolutely riveting stuff. It has held Nigerians spellbound for over two weeks. There are even rumours that it has led to an unsigned budget and cabinet combustion. It is the great Okonjo-Iweala saga. It is a succession drama as enacted in the heart of darkness. The Iron lady, as she is so egregiously dubbed by the perfidious and patronising Economist magazine of Britain, has seized the national imagination by the scruff of the neck. The Economist is a quaint admixture of journalism and espionage listening post for metropolitan predation. Snooper is not impressed The plot of the drama is wellknown. But unlike the tragic comeuppance of the noble Greeks, there is no nobility about this one at all. It is ambition and grubby careerism gone berserk. There is a hint of dishonour and lack of integrity and principles about it all which make one to squirm in acute discomfort. It recalls Salman Rushdie’s great satirical epic, Shame. Like all great drama, there are
(A Nigerian Tragi-comedy) plots within plots and subplots within subplots. At the beginning of the unworthy drama, snooper heard with his own ears Okonjo-Iweala issue a statement that she was not interested in the vacant presidency of the World Bank. But soon afterwards a flurry of frenetic activities ensued. Initially, the federal authorities appeared to stall and stonewall. But thereafter, somebody appeared to have realised the great beneficial efficacy of being rid of Wuthering Heights and the propaganda blitz began. The feckless Nigeria media, like a pack of hyenas torpid and disoriented from carrion-feeding, joined the frenzy without being able to ask the right questions. It was less than six months ago when the same Ms Okonjo-Iweala was asked why she felt the need and urgency to go back to her old post in her country of birth. She had retorted that it was because of a passion for Nigeria. Now having helped to foist a misbegotten fuel subsidy hoax on her country, she wants to return to base, leaving others to clean the mess. Yet it is also clear that if her current gambit fails, she will almost certainly stay put with much “pas-
sion” to await further metropolitan developments. What kind of ethical leprosy is this one? Snooper will actually be pleased if Ms Okonjo-Iweala were to get the coveted prize. It will be a case of the unprincipled finding solace in the undesirable. The World Bank is the West Bank, period. It is a case of a fighter pilot returning to base. After repeatedly failing in his attempt to fire Herbert Hoover, the great spymaster, Lyndon Johnson was known to have rued. “It is better to have a son of a bitch inside pissing out than to have him outside pissing in”. Perhaps it is better to have the Iron lady outside pissing outside than to have her inside pissing inside. On a final note, the Okonjo-Iweala saga speaks to the fact that globalisation is the natural nemesis of the nation-state. Globalisation erodes national boundaries and denationalises. Nations’ hold on cosmopolitan nationals is becoming very tenuous and brittle. It is a brave new world of de-nationalised citizens. But it is all still a one-way traffic. Ever heard of an American voluntarily becoming a Nigerian? Snooper rests his suitcase.
European countries. This time around, the guinea pig is white. A modern Greek tragedy is unfolding. Yet it is not as if structural adjustment is completely undesirable. But there is a great deal of perfidy and cruel disregard about the way it is foisted on slave-nations. Karl Polanyi, the great political economist, has written about how contemporary western politics and political economy are driven by an unwritten consensus based on an overarching convergence of two antipodal human needs. Whenever it is felt that the state has gone too far in playing a spoiling mother to society, a neo-conservative party always gains ascendancy which always rolls back the Father Christmas state. But whenever it is felt that the harsh neo-liberal regimen has gone too far, a left of centre party triumphs and the umbrella state comes back with populist flourish and bravura. Check the modern history of master-nations and you find this logic constantly at play. The question is this; why is this logic not often applied to less fortunate nations? Why are they directed to inflict further misery on their people at a time the same people are reeling from the adverse effects of state prodigality? Why did America and Europe embark on frenetic state hospitality after the Second World War? The socialist Clement Atlee was in power in Britain and Harry Truman, a great liberal democrat and former haberdasher, ruled the roost in the White House. Snooper leaves you this morning with the last testament of the old Greek just before he pulled the trigger on himself. It is a classic example of man’s inhumanity to man. It speaks to the need for global economic justice and restitution. If gold can rust, we can imagine the fate of iron. The Aristotelian theatre has become a theatre of weeping and gnashing of teeth without much hope of catharsis. It is a modern tragedy without the estranging and alienating genius of Bertolt Brecht, the great German revolutionary playwright. “The Tsolakoglou occupation government has nullified any chance of my survival which was based on a decent salary that for 35 years I alone (without state support) paid for, “ said the note, likening the Athens government to that run by Giorgos Tsolakoglou who headed a collaborationist administration when the Nazis invaded and occupied Greece during the second world war. “Because I am of an age that does not allow me to forcefully react (without of course excluding that if some Greek took a Kalashnikov first, I would be the second) I see no other solution than a decent ending before I start looking in the garbage to feed myself. I believe that youth who have no future will one day take up arms and hang the national traitors upside-down in Syntagma square just as the Italians did in 1945 to Mussolini.” Within hours, dozens of handwritten notes and flowers had been pinned to the tree under which he had stood. A rally “to ensure that we don’t get used to such deaths” was organised in Greece’s northern capital, Thessaloniki. Despite the stigma attached to suicide in a country whose official church refuses to bury those who take their own lives, Wednesday’s death quickly acquired a very different significance, with priests being among those who rushed to express their regrets. For many, the suicide encapsulated the desperation of Greece’s older generation whose pensions and benefits have been cut by up to 25% as government officials desperately try to rein in runaway public finances.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Obasanjo knew of Third Term plot –ex-minister
ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo was neck deep in the ploy to get a third term in office, contrary to his latest posturing, one of his influential ex-ministers said yesterday. The ex-president had said on Channels Television on Friday that he never “toyed with the idea of a third term” and that it was some members of the National Assembly that initiated the move to amend the constitution with a view to accommodating the plan. He restated his boast
• Says ex- President was not the initiator From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
that had he wanted a third term he would have “gone about it the way I should have gone about it and I would have got it.” However, the ex-minister who does not want his name mentioned said the retired army general was in the thick of the plot. And he was quick to add that in fairness, Obasanjo did
not initiate it. He also admitted that the agenda was funded with government resources and personal contributions from some highly-placed individuals. “Definitely, the exPresident(who was my boss during the debate) cannot say he did not know what was going on,” he said. “Baba said something that is partially true, he never initiated it. Although he did
not initiate it, Obasanjo cannot pretend that he was not in the picture of the plot. “So, I can tell you that Obasanjo wanted the third term tenure in a subtle way but the project failed. He was convinced by those behind the tenure elongation that it will work. “Obasanjo is now denying the Third Term agenda because he did not confide in his inner circle or intellectuals in his administration.
Rainstorm: Seven feared killed at Deeper Life Easter retreat in Ilorin From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
EVEN worshippers at the Easter Retreat of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Ilorin, were killed in an early morning rainstorm at the weekend. Two of the victims were said to be children. The incident occurred at the camp site located at Eyenkorin on the outskirts of Ilorin. The storm, it was gathered, uprooted one of the pillars holding the roof of the worship centre and caused it to collapse on the worshippers. Scores of other people were injured. But more bad news came after a pastor in the church was killed in a road accident after donating blood for the treatment of the injured. He was said to be riding on a motorcycle which a source said rammed into an oncoming vehicle. He died on the way to the hospital. The storm had accompanied the first heavy rainfall witnessed in Ilorin. The rain which lasted for about two hours began at about 12.30 am. The state’s police command spokesman Dabo Ezekiel, confirmed only the death of the pastor and said all he knew was that several people were injured by the collapsed roof. Investigations showed that seven people, apart from the pastor, died as a result of the collapsed roof. Sources at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital confirmed that three of the victims were brought in dead (BID) along with one woman and two children. The source said:”Three of the people were brought in dead apart from two children and a woman who were in critical conditions. They were brought into the ward and given folders.”
•Chinese Catholic clergymen begin an Easter service at the historic South Cathedral in Beijing on yesterday. Easter ceremonies traditionally stress the suffering of the Catholic Church and the world, an emphasis that is being particularly keenly felt this year with multiple conflicts around the world and tensions within the Church. The Holy Week celebrations take place amid concerns over the fate of Christians in the Middle East in the face of rising Islamism and violent conflict, especially in Syria which has a large Christian minority. Photo: AFP
Technocrats, like the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, ex-VicePresident of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili, exEFCC chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, ex-FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, ex-Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, ex-Minister Frank Nweke and Ojo Maduekwe, were kept in the dark about the third term agenda. “The agenda was funded with government money and cash from some businessmen from the private sector. The ex-President should be made to explain the sources of these funds. One of his foremost Special Advisers was giving out money for the project. Each Senator and member of the House of Representatives got N50m per head. “Some even got as much as N100m instead of N50m. Nigerians should ask where the money came from.” The ex-Minister gave an insight into how the agenda was conceived. He said: “Three groups were behind it. They were the business group; Senators led by a former Deputy President of the Senate, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu; loyalist governors including the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua, James Ibori, Saminu Turaki and others. “But a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, the then President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, anti-third term Senators and the media frustrated the agenda.”
The ex-Minister referred to a book written by ex-US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, on the involvement of Obasanjo in the third term agenda. In her book, ‘No Higher Honour: A Memoir of My Years in Washington,’ Rice alleged that Obasanjo actually approached ex-President George Bush for his backing to alter Nigeria’s constitution for a Third Term slot in office. Her words “In 2006, when President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria sidled up to the President(Bush) and suggested that he might change the constitution so that he could serve a third term, the President told him not to do it. ‘You have served your country well. Now turn over power and become a statesman,’ he said. “After a public rebuke from United States and condemnation by the international community, the Nigerian Senate rejected the constitution amendment proposal that could have allowed Obasanjo a third term. “The crest fallen Obasanjo was initially angry accusing Jendayi Fraser of undermining him in the press and with his own people. “I will never deal with her again,” he told the President. “The President (Bush) responded, “Well, she is a person. But the main thing is that your country needs you to do the right thing.”
10-year-old girl gives birth to daughter
10-YEAR-OLD Colombian girl gave birth to a healthy baby girl, making her one of the youngest mothers ever. The unnamed girl from Manaure, a town in the Colombian Department of La Guajira, arrived at the hospital in tears and “enormous pain” from the contractions, according to Univision’s Primer Impacto. She reportedly delivered her daughter, who weighed 5 pounds, by caesarean section. Experts say a C-section delivery for such a young mother is not unusual. “The baby’s head needs to come through a bony outlet. But in a young girl, the pelvis may not be ready or big enough to deliver a baby,” said Dr. Kimberly Gecsi, an OB/ GYN at UH Case Medical Centre in Cleveland. Extremely young mothers also have a higher risk of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure known as preeclampsia, and their babies are at risk for foetal growth restriction, according to Dr. Frederick Gonzalez, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at NYU Langone
Medical Centre. “These girls are not ready to be pregnant. Their bodies are not mature,” said Gonzalez. “They may be able to get pregnant, but being able to have a baby is a whole other situation.” The new mom is a member of the Wayuu people, an indigenous tribe in northern Colombia. The age of the father is unknown, but police can’t press charges because the tribe has its own juris-
diction, according to local reports. “We’ve already seen several cases [of pregnancy] in girls of the Wayuu ethnicity,” Efraín Pacheco Casadiego, director of the hospital where the girl gave birth, told RCN La Radio noticias. “When in fact [the girls] should be playing with dolls, they are having to care for a baby. This is shocking.” Pregnancy can occur as
• Newborn: A 10-year-old Colombian girl almost died as she became one of the world’s youngest ever mothers after giving birth to a healthy daughter (pictured)
soon as a girl starts ovulating, which is happening at ever younger ages. “The average age girls in the country start menstruating is about 12 and a half, but that age keeps dropping,” said Gecsi, adding that the age is even lower among Hispanic girls. “But only about 13 percent of Hispanic girls menstruate younger than 11. And for them to have a sexual experience would be very unusual.”
Because ovulation precedes menstruation, girls can get pregnant before ever having a period. “Typically, menstruation is the last thing that happens in puberty,” said Gesci, adding that girls typically go through a growth spurt and develop breasts and pubic hair before menstruating. “If you notice those things, you could be about to menstruate and you could get pregnant.”
• The girl, a member of the northern indigenous Wayuu tribe in the La Guajira Peninsula, was 39 weeks pregnant when she underwent a Caesarean section
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Malawi gets first female president • Jonathan mourns Mutharika From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja with agency report
OYCE Banda was yesterday sworn in as President of Malawi after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, and fears of a succession struggle receded as state institutions backed the constitutional handover. The government only officially confirmed 78-year-old Mutharika’s death earlier on Saturday, two days after he had died following a heart attack. His body had been flown to a military hospital in South Africa. Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed sadness at the unexpected death Mutharika. In a message of condolence, President Jonathan assured the government and people of Malawi of “the sympathy and solidarity of the people of Nigeria and Africa as they mourn the late President Bingu Wa Mutharika who was also Chairperson of the African Union from January, 2010 to January, 2011.” President Jonathan prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of the deceased. “In Malawi, the delay in the announcement had raised worries about a political crisis because Banda had been expelled from Mutharika’s ruling DPP party in 2010 after an argument about the succession, though she retained her state position. Banda, 61, who is southern Africa’s first female head of state, and the second in Africa, appeared at a news conference in the capital Lilongwe to declare 10 days of official mourning for Mutharika, who had ruled for eight years. She ordered national flags to be flown at half-mast and the state broadcaster to play sombre music. “I call upon all Malawians to remain calm and to keep the peace during this time of bereavement,” Banda said, flanked by members of the cabinet, the attorney general and the heads of the army and the police. The constitution stipulates that the vice-president takes over if the president dies, but Mutharika appeared to have been grooming his brother Peter, the foreign minister, as his de facto successor. Banda is expected to run the country until scheduled elections take place in 2014. The presidency and cabinet issued a statement assuring citizens and the international community “that the constitution of the Republic of Malawi will be strictly adhered to in managing the transition.”
Mali’s junta surrenders power
ALI’S military junta and the West African bloc ECOWAS have announced a deal that includes the lifting of sanctions and an amnesty for those involved in last month’s coup. The agreement provides a framework for a return to constitutional rule under an interim leader who will oversee democratic elections and handle the crisis in the north, where Islamists and Tuareg rebels have seized control. It came after Mali’s Tuareg rebels declared independence Friday in the north, a move rejected by the international community and the Islamist insurgents they fought beside, as fears grew of a humanitarian crisis. The United States, Africa and Europe dismissed the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad’s (MNLA’s) declaration of independence. The declaration, long a goal of Tuareg rebels, is a bid to formalise the situation on the ground. A democratic success since its
last coup 21 years ago, Mali is now roughly divided into a Tuareg rebel-controlled north and juntacontrolled south. ECOWAS chief Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast said sanctions should be lifted “immediately”, Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole told public television station ORTM, referring to Friday’s deal. He also said President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was overthrown on March 22 and has not been seen since in public, should be able to live where he wants under army protection. Bassole, speaking on behalf of ECOWAS Mali negotiator Blaise Compaore, the president of Burkina Faso, said: “We wanted... Toure to be allowed to return to the house of his choice and that he could also be protected by the defence and security forces.” He was speaking at Kati near Bamako, the headquarters of the junta, whose head, Captain Amadou Sanogo, read out the accord signed with the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS). At the same place coup leader Sanogo had announced Tuesday that the junta planned legal action against Toure for “high treason and embezzlement.” The text of the deal was signed by Bassole and Sanogo, with Ivorian Minister for African Integration Adama Bictogo and Nigeria’s Foreign Minister of State Nurudeen Muhammad as witnesses. Under the agreement, to be carried out “under the aegis of the ECOWAS mediator and with the support of the international community,” the speaker of the national assembly would become interim president with a transitional prime minister and government. The single-chamber Malian parliament is headed by Dioncounda Traore. The accord states that the interim president would have “a mission to organise a presidential election in the constitutional timeframe of 40 days.”
• Newly installed Galadima of Adamawa, Alhaji Usman Aliyu Raji, on horse during the installation in Yola yesterday. Photo: NAN
However, given the “exceptional circumstances... due to the institutional crisis and the armed rebellion in the north” it would be impossible to hold elections within 40 days and so it was “indispensable to organise a political transition” until electoral lists could be revised and “accepted by all.” On April 2 ECOWAS decided to clamp an immediate total embargo on Mali, a north African country of 15 million inhabitants, in a bid to return to constitutional order after the March 22 military coup. The embargo included the closing of all borders of ECOWAS states with Mali except for humanitarian reasons, closing to Mali access to ECOWAS ports, and the freezing of Malian bank accounts. Complicating the picture in the African nation, a radical Islamist group, Ansar Dine, has exploited the chaos to swoop in and install Sharia law in parts of the north. While for a time the Islamists fought in concert with the MNLA, they have given short shrift to their independence plans. “Our war is a holy war,” Ansar Dine military chief Omar Hamaha said. “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.” Hamaha was speaking in a video obtained by AFP and France 2 television, filmed on Tuesday and Wednesday after the Islamists’ takeover of the fabled city of Timbuktu. In the city of Gao, witnesses said Ansar Dine had kidnapped seven Algerian diplomats, reports confirmed by the Algerian foreign ministry. While the Islamists appeared to have the upper hand, the separatist MNLA on Friday morning declared the independence of their desert homeland, which they call Azawad, and where several rebellions have played out in past decades. This latest one was fuelled by a flood of weapons — and returning Tuareg fighters — from Libya following Moamer Kadhafi’s downfall.
How to overcome insecurity –Jonathan, govs at Easter
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and several state governors have declared that the solution to the current security challenge in the country requires the collective commitment of every Nigerian. The Islamic sect, Boko Haram, has subjected the Northern part of the country to relentless bomb and gun attacks over the last two years killing at least 1000 people and damaging the economy. The security agencies have had to adopt extra measures to ensure safety of lives and property during the current Easter festivities following fears across the Northern states of possible attacks by the group while the celebration lasts. The last Christmas Day was ruined for the Christian community after members of the sect bombed St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Suleja killing over 40 worshippers The president, in his Easter message, charged Nigerians not to succumb to hopelessness and despair but should rather display a greater faith in the country’s ability to overcome all current challenges. Nigerians, in his view, should
From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja/Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha/ Nicholas Kalu, Calabar and Tony Akowe, Kaduna
rekindle and retain deep faith in the country’s shared vision of greatness, saying that as the resurrection of Jesus Christ signifies the triumph of light over darkness, Nigeria will overcome its developmental challenges in the shortest possible time. His words: “ For our Christian brothers and sisters, the significance of Easter which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ lies in its promise to the faithful of ultimate triumph over all challenges and adversity. “We are a people of great faith and the vast majority of our people are adherents of the world’s major faith-based religions. “My message to the nation therefore, as we celebrate one of Christianity’s most holy days, is that we should continue to have faith in our collective ability to overcome all present challenges and take our rightful place in the comity of nations as a strong, united and prosperous country. As people of faith, we must never succumb to hopelessness and despair.
“We must rekindle and retain deep faith in our shared vision of greatness, and continuously renew our determination to achieve our immense potentials through total commitment and dedication to the fulfilment of our national aspirations. “I fervently believe that as the resurrection of Jesus Christ signifies the triumph of light over darkness, Nigeria will overcome its developmental challenges in the shortest possible time if we all resolve to set aside our differences, work together as one people, and foster peace, harmony and security in our country as requisite conditions for steady socio-economic growth and development. “My administration will continue to give dynamic, purposeful and effective leadership towards the attainment of our goal of faster national progress and development. “We shall continue to put the greatest effort into achieving a positive transformation in the lives of our people with the effective implementation of our agenda for national transformation. “I shall continue to count on your support, cooperation and
prayers for the progress and wellbeing of our dear nation.” Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State asked Lagosians to play their roles as true citizens through love and sacrifice for the general good of the society saying it is only through love and sacrifice toward the good of society that the people could uphold the legacy of Jesus Christ which is encapsulated in His selfless love and sacrifice on behalf of humanity. “The greatest legacy that Jesus Christ left for us is the legacy of love and sacrifice. I believe the best way we can carry on that legacy is to fulfil our obligations to our society,” the governor said, adding: “Easter is a period when we engage in sober recollection of the ultimate and selfless sacrifice of love that Jesus Christ made on our behalf. “We require abundance of love and sacrifice to maintain the harmonious and peaceful co-existence amongst the various peoples in Lagos State for which we have come to be known”. Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State advised Christians to imbibe the virtues of peace, love and service, which symbolized Christ’s Ministry on earth.
IGERIA has to invest $14.2 billion (about N2.215 trillion) annually on infrastructure over the next decade if it must achieve its development targets, Trade and Investment Minister Olusegun Aganga, has said. In a key-note address at a gala night for the unveiling of the new identity and logo of Urban Development Bank of Nigeria (UDBN) Plc, in Abuja, Mr. Aganga stressed the need for the generation of international investment in key sectors of the economy “to meet this steep requirement”. The bank’s new name and logo – Infrastructure Bank PLC – was unveiled by the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama. Aganga said the bank “can play a catalytic role’’ in the expansion of the economy by reducing substantially the nation’s current infrastructure deficit. “Of course, you will agree with me that eliminating, or even just narrowing infrastructure deficit will add at least four per cent to
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Nigeria needs N2.2 trillion yearly for infrastructure development —Aganga the GDP growth of the country,” he added. In order to ensure optimum efficiency, the minister stated that the bank had been re-aligned along the lines of “such global successes like the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and Indian Development Finance Corporation (IDFC).’’ Aganga also said that
Easter Tragedy: 10 killed as Church collapses in Benue Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi
RAGEDY struck in Benue State yesterday as a Catholic Church in Adamgbe, Mbayongu district in Vandeikya local government area collapsed and killed 10 worshipers. The worshippers mostly women and children were in the church for Easter vigil service. According to an eyewitness, midway into the service the pillars gave way, and the roof came down on the worshippers killing 10 on the spot while many sustained severe injuries. More than 10 bodies have been pulled out of the building with many crying and wailing for help in the trapped building. Some eyewitnesses suspect that the casualty figure could be much higher. Adangbe is about 10 kilometers away from Vandikya on the Benue Obudu federal highway.
that the change in the name of the bank will meaningfully translate into better operational strategies for the transformation of the nation’s infrastructure. Earlier in an address, the bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Adekunle Oyinloye, said that the new name of the bank was a bold step to create a new brand identity which, he noted, more accu-
rately represent its philosophy and ambition for the future. Among dignitaries at the occasion were the Managing Director of Bank of Industry, Ms Evelyn Oputu, the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi and former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Prince Adesuyi Hasstrup.
Amina Sambo tasks women on insecurity
IFE of the Vice President, Hajiya Amina Sambo has charged women to work to ensure peaceful and harmonious co-existence. She spoke at the opening of the 3rd Biennial National Women Conference organized by the NasrulLahi-L-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) in Abuja.
Tinubu tasks Nigerians at Easter
ATIONAL leader of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has tasked Nigerians to rededicate themselves to fixing the country in the spirit of Easter. “Easter is all about endless sacrifice and agape love,” Asiwaju Tinubu said in his goodwill message to Nigerians on the occasion, adding: “These are selfless traits we all could use to fix our country, no matter the present difficulties.” He said as Jesus Christ gave everything; to save humanity from sin and doom, so
the bank will work closely with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), pension funds, other financial institutions and all relevant ministries, departments and agencies to achieve its goal of closing the national infrastructure gap through financing long term assets. In his own remarks, Dr. Ngama expressed the hope
should Nigerians do everything to rally and save the country from its present challenges. His words: “Jesus Christ threw in everything: he suspended his divinity so as to be nailed on the cross like a common criminal. He suspended his divinity to feel the searing pains of the flesh, as they hammered the nails into his palms and legs. It is this amount of painful sacrifice, this level of uncommon love that we all need to save our country. Let us give it our best shot.” Everyone, according to him, should seize the peace and tranquillity of the season to make Nigeria a better place, particularly in the areas of inter-faith tension and violence. “Jesus Christ was a pacifist. Even if he had the power to do and undo, he was as meek as a lamb. All he preached was love, humility, moderation and forgiveness.
From: Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja
The National Women Affairs Secretary of Nasfat, Alhaja Nofisat Arogundade, said the purpose of the workshop was to sensitise women on major issues and their role in nation building. Calling for a bottom-up approach in refocusing the family, she regretted that insecurity has broken the family bond between most children and their parents. Describing the conference theme: ‘Role of women in peace building and conflict resolution’, as being rel-
evant to the present security challenges facing the nation, Hajiya Sambo stressed that, it is the natural role of women to remain as peace arbitrators and promoters. “The unfolding violence and agitation across the country have the potential to rob us of our peace and capable of tainting our timeless traditional and religious pristine values. “Women by the special creation of the Almighty Allah are naturally gifted with virtues such as intuition, wisdom; patience, vision, perseverance, kindness and courage which make us fulfil effectively the role of peace
building in the society. Our status as mothers should propel rather than hinder us from contributing our quota to the process of guaranteeing a more secured, peaceful and prosperous society,” she said. Emphasising that Islam is a religion of peace that forbids violence, killing of innocent people as well as gender discrimination, Hajiya Sambo said: “women must become promoters of ethics, values and norms”. Sambo’s wife urged women to act as peace corps at the home front, neighbourhood and community.
FRSC recovers N9.1m cash from scene of accident • Two killed
HE Easter celebration ended abruptly and on a tragic note for a group of travellers on the Lokoja-Abuja road at about 6.45am yesterday morning following a fatal crash involving the vehicles in which they were travelling. The crash occurred at Landmark-Ohono bend close to Kotonkarfi. According to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Deputy Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, the accident involving a luxury bus with registration number XA610CA and Mercedes Benz lorry with registration number EH582ABC claimed two lives. In all, 57 passengers were travelling in both vehicles. The injured were immediately evacuated to Ideal Hospital in Kotonkarfi. The corpses of the deceased were deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja and the matter reported to the police. At the scene, FRSC officials recovered the sum of nine million one hundred and thirty one thousand nine hundred and eighty five naira which was handed over to relations of the deceased.
Atiku preaches sacrifice, love at Easter
• Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede(l), with former Chairman, ICPC, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, at the closing ceremony of the 13th West Africa Universities Games in Ilorin yesterday.
ORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love and sacrifice as they celebrate Easter. He admonished Christians to emulate Jesus Christ by his exemplary unconditional love and sacrifice to the people. According to him, this is the only path to enthroning a Nigeria of equal rights, peace and justice.
Free information law changes little
FTER years of delays, President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law Nigeria’s first Freedom of Information (FoI) bill last year, supposedly cutting away old colonial-era secrecy laws and allowing the public access to government documents in this democracy for the first time. However, a test request filed by The Associated Press for basic information from one government agency shows the problems still plaguing the nation’s creaking bureaucracy. Months after the one-week deadline allowed by law, the agency continues to refuse to release the information. “We are coming from a culture of secrecy,” said Maxwell Kadiri, a lawyer who works on freedom of
information issues with Open Society Justice Initiative. “The (law) is basically coming to change over a century of a secrecy culture in the public service.” In November, the AP published the results of an examination of Freedom of Information laws and how they are administered in more than 100 countries. Nigeria was not included in the examination, as President Goodluck Jonathan had only signed the nation’s own version of the law in June. Dayo Aiyetan, a journalist who lives in Abuja and now runs a start up organization called the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, later wrote to the AP and asked if its journalists could file an informa-
NEWS REVIEW tion request on his behalf after reading the story. He suggested the AP write the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and request a list of all the cases it is prosecuting, including the names of those accused, the charges they face and where they stood in legal proceedings. The commission, along with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, are the premier antigraft agencies operating in Nigeria. Officials estimate more than $380 billion has been stolen through government corruption in Nigeria since it gained its independence from Britain in 1960.
Those agencies, created under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, are charged with stopping that tide. Under the Freedom of Information law, government agencies have seven days to produce requested information, though it can request another seven days to put records together if the request is complicated. It also makes it a criminal offense to destroy records and protects civil servants who report wrongdoing by their institutions. Despite the law, the AP has been unable to obtain any of the records Aiyetan suggested the news cooperative obtain. A first letter by AP journalist Yinka Ibukun sent by courier service to the anti-corruption
body in Nigeria’s capital Abuja was received on December 8, 2011, according to the courier’s records. However, the body’s spokesman, Folu Olamiti, said it could not be found because it had not been addressed to the agency’s chairman. Two weeks later, the AP sent a new letter to the anticorruption body’s office, specifically addressing it to “the chairman.” The spokesman later asked the AP for more time to fulfil the request as Ekpo Nta had taken over as the chairman of the commission. Follow-up emails were sent to the spokesman on Jan. 30 and then on Feb. 27. Olamiti only responded to the Feb. 27 email, asking for more time once again.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
HE Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) will realise N60billion from the sales of the Power Holding of Nigeria Company (PHCN) core assets, it was learnt yesterday. The proceeds, it was further gathered, will be added to the statutory allocation to the company for the settlement of PHCN creditors upon release of the 2012 budget. NELMCO’s Managing Director, Mr. Sam Aigbogun, stated these yesterday. He noted that although the company has not conducted proper evaluation on PHCN property, it has an idea
FG to rake in N60b from sale of PHCN assets From John Ofikhenua, Abuja
that the assets are worth about N60billion. He however explained that the amount is insignificant in relation to the total liabilities of the PHCN. The NELCOM boss expressed hope that the company will commence payment to creditors since the
2012 appropriation bill is already before President Goodluck Jonathan for assent. On the challenge of power shortage, Agbogun called for appropriate pricing for gas to encourage investors for adequate supply. He explained that the complaints of most of the Independent Power Producers are related to gas.
While commenting of the management contract of the Transition Company of Nigeria, which Manitoba Hydro International won last Tuesday, he explained that “it is wonderful step that the government has taken.” Aigbogun said it is unfair to allege the Federal Govern-
Akwa Ibom Commissioner dies in motor accident
•Fombina war traditional dancers at the installation of Galadima Adamawa at the Lamido's PHOTO: NAN Palace in Yola .... yesterday.
Nigeria will overcome Boko Haram - Kumuyi
MMEDIATE past Commissioner for Youths and Sports in Akwa Ibom, Pastor Oyong Asuquo died yesterday in a motor accident. Asuquo was a commissioner until the dissolution of the executive council last Wednesday by Governor Godswill Akpabio. The deceased was said to have left Oron last Friday around 11:45pm angrily after meeting with some stakeholders on preparations for a reception for Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Bassey Ewa slated for yesterday. Sources said the meeting ended in heated arguments, after which the late commissioner stormed out in his Prado Jeep. The accident was said to have occurred around Nsit Atai Local Government Area. Eyewitnesses said Asuquo negotiated a bend that made the vehicle ram into another
HE Boko Haram insurgency will soon frizzle out, General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor William Kumuyi assured yesterday. Kumuyi said Nigeria has survived tougher challenges and declared that the current Boko Haram menace will also become a thing of the past. The respected holiness preacher spoke with report-
HOUSANDS of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oriire Local Government, Ogbomosho yesterday defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Former Commissioner for Finance under the Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala’s regime, Chief Bayo Bankole, led the defectors at a well attended rally in Ikoyo-Ile Bankole is Alao-Akala’s
By Sunday Oguntola
ers during the Easter Retreat of the church with the theme celebrating the miracle of Calvary. Kumuyi said: ‘’Boko Haram will frizzle out. Nigeria has been through this in the past. You remember operation wetie in the 60s and many other violence. If we pray hard, we will overcome this too.’’
He said the unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct, stating that no amount of challenge will break the nation. He appealed to Nigerians to believe in the future of the country and seek ways of constructively contributing to governance. The cleric urged Nigerians to embrace the virtues of love, forgiveness and selflessness exemplified by Christ at Easter.
From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo
car on the highway. He was said to have been rushed to a nearby hospital where he was confirmed dead minutes after the crash. His remains have been deposited at a near morgue in Uyo, the state capital. Asuquo was to be honoured yesterday alongside Ewa and other prominent sons of Oron by Ahta of Oron, His Eminence, Edidem Etim Atti Okpo. Akpabio expressed shock and sadness over the incident. In a statement, his Chief Press Secretary, Anietie Ukpe, the governor described Asuquo’s demise as a great loss to Akwa Ibom State in particular and Nigeria in general. Akpabio assured the deceased’s family they were in his thoughts and prayed to God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Woman arrested for killing mum
• Kumuyi flanked by the camp Commandant, Pastor John Akinwande (left) and Church SecrePHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN tary, Pastor Jerry Asemota at the parley.
ment has nothing to show in the power sector development. All units of the Ministry of Power, he argued, have been doing their beats. According to him, “There is no question of going over a circle. There is a roadmap. There is a target. We are all working towards that target. ‘’ BPE is working towards the target, the DISCOs are doing that, even NELMCO, the bulk –traders are working towards that target. It is just that in the power sector development has been delayed in achieving the timeline.’’
SINGLE lady in her late thirties identified as Bolanle Abiola has been arrested by the police in connection with the murder of her 70- year- mother in ImekoAfon Local Government Area of Ogun State. Also arrested is a young man believed to have rendered a helping hand in the gruesome killing of the aged woman in her residence in Pedepo area of Imeko. The duo allegedly committed the crime around 9pm last Wednesday under cover of heavy downpours. It was not yet clear why Bolanle, the third of six siblings, decided to take the life of her mother with the connivance of an unidentified suspected freelance assassin. The Nation gathered that the suspect had blamed the deceased for being single at 38. It was gathered further that the lady - suspect who runs a petty boutique in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, had equally threatened to make life uncomfort-
Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
able for the deceased if she failed to let her be. On the fateful day, Bolanle and her accomplice were said to have left Abeokuta for Pedepo in Imeko and the deceased had welcome the duo, thinking Bolanle has finally come home with her would be - husband. But around 9pm while there was heavy rain in the community, Bolanle and her accomplice allegedly killed the mother while she was preparing to go to bed. A source in the community said Bolanle was arrested the following day while attempting to flee in a commercial vehicle while the accomplice was arrested by local vigilance group and handed over to the police in Imeko. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, could not be reached yesterday for reactions. But a police source said Bolanle had confessed to killing her mother.
‘Fidelity has no order to collect DAAR funds’
FEDERAL high court presided over by Justice Idris Abubakar last Thursday ruled that his court never made an order for monies belonging to DAAR Communications Plc and lodged in 17 commercial banks and the central bank to be paid to Fidelity Bank. DAAR Communications lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome had drawn the attention of the presiding judge to a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) addressed to the managing director of DAAR Communications, stating “it has come to the knowledge of the commission that Fidelity Bank Plc has obtained a court order to the effect that all monies due DAAR Communications Plc in 17 banks and CBN be paid to fidelity bank.” SEC stated further that “the implication of the court order may stifle your internal operation.” “The board of directors of DAAR Communications Plc is therefore being invited to a meeting to brief SEC on the matter on Tuesday, 10th April 2012 by 11am at the commission’s head office in Abuja.” Ozekhome told Justice Abubakar that the court did not give any such orders and that the action of Fidelity Bank was in furtherance of its pursuits to shut and destroy Africa’s most vibrant independent electronic media conglomerate. He urged the judge to make an order from the bench for the sake of equity since a garnishee order nisi is not an executory order. In his ruling, Justice Abubakar said, “For the avoidance of doubt, I want to state that this court never made the said order. This court made an order, a garnishee order nisi which was directed to the garnishees to show cause why the debt claimed should not be attached to answer through the judgement debt and the cost of the garnishee proceedings.’’
Fasure loses mum
EACONESS Comfort Adepeju Fasure is dead. She passed away on March 23rd after a brief illness at 75. She is survived by her children including the Deputy Director of Communications and Strategy, Osun State, Mr. Sola Fasure; Mr Gbenga Agboola, Mrs. Yemisi Ajayi, Mr. Seun Fasure, Mrs. Lara Ayeni, Toyin Mohammed and grandchildren. A service of songs holds at her residence in Felele, Ibadan, by 5.00pm on May 4. A funeral service will be conducted at CAC Oke Iselogo, Felele, Ibadan on May 5 by 10.00am. Interment follows at Sango cemetery. Entertainment of guests is at Saint Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan.
Akala’s commissioner, 3,000 others dump PDP for ACN in Ogbomoso From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
kinsman and served in his administration for the first eleven months and from 20072011. Speaking at the ceremony, he stated he was “uprooting PDP from Oriire Local Government and Ogbomosho land in general.’’ According to him, ‘’I liter-
ally planted PDP in Ogbomosho land as far back as 1998 way before Akala became a politician. ‘’As a matter of fact I was an integral part of the formation of the PDP in 1998 alongside Chiefs Akinjide, Adeojo and the late Kolapo Isola” Bankole said the PDP has been hijacked by “devious ele-
ments who lack the discipline and the character for effectively running a political party.” He stated, “We are leaving the party for them to join a better platform. We cannot coexist with people who bamboozle our people and do not appreciate the need for progressivism. ‘’We have seen the commit-
ted works of development that the ACN is doing in the state and we cannot but team up with the party to ensure the speedy development and progress of the people of Oriire in all ramifications” Receiving the decampees, Senator Ayoade Adeseun described Bankole as a good catch for the ACN.
He said: ‘’He is a grassroots man par excellence; there is no political office holder from that local government that did not pass through his tutelage at one time or the other. ‘’He literally schooled them in the arts of politics. His crossing over to the ACN will ultimately bring about collective progress”.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Mark seeks investment in sports to curb crisis
Secession plot allegation a frame-up, says ACN T
•Mark From Sanni Onogu, Abuja
ENATE President David M a r k yesterday advocated for more sports facilities to curtail most of the socio-political crisis bedeviling the nation. Mark, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, also promised to build a mini stadium in his country home Otukpo in Benue state as part of measures to curb antisocial behaviors among youths. The project, according to him, is expected to be completed before the end of 2013. He spoke at the charity secondary school soccer competition and a novelty match to commemorate his 64th birthday in Otukpo yesterday. Mark said, ‘’If we collectively encourage sports in our country, we would be able to curtail and resolve crisis in our land. “ S p o r t s strengthen unity between and among the ethno- religious divide. It brings joy and happiness wherever it is encouraged.”
HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has likened the recent secession plot allegation against it by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a replication of the 1962 framing of Chief Obafemi Awolowo by the NPC government of Tafawa Balewa in conjunction with S. L. Akintola’s National Democratic Party. It recalled that the 1962 allegation was aimed at liquidating the AG and to imprison Awolowo, pointing out that the difference between the two scenarios “is that the security forces discovered the supposed plot of Awolowo in 1962, while in 2012, exactly 50 years after, some political charlatans, are the ones who have discovered a supposed plot of secession.” The party noted that “these charlatans in Yorubaland, who are re-living the perfidy of the Akintola era, are targeting a political personality in the person of Aregbesola, who is
By Sam Egburonu and Emmanuel Oladesu
passionate about replicating Awo’s success of the 50s in our current situation.” Noting that the security forces should know better, the ACN in Osun state categorically denied this allegation, describing it as “the figment of imagination of desperate politicians, who are gradually losing their mental stability.” A statement signed by ACN’s Osun State Director of Publicity, Kunle Oyatomi, warned that this cynical attempt by PDP will have the similar catastrophic effect on Nigeria as the 1962 madness of the NPC and challenged those making this allegation to produce incontrovertible proof of their story. The South West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had asked security agencies to question Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on his alleged
plans to take student union leaders to Cuba for paramilitary training. Zonal Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon Kayode Babade, had said in a statement yesterday that the party had a very reliable information that the governor is coordinating plans by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to train some student activists in Cuba. The student leaders being gathered for the trip, the PDP alleged, are some carefully selected ones in Osun and Ekiti states. The PDP urged security agencies not to sweep the information under the carpet. The Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) had, last Friday warned that there were plans to cause political crisis in the six South West states through a string of killings and assassinations of political leaders, a plot that also targets the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
Community gets new exco
HIEVBE-OGBEN, a community in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State, has elected new executives for its youth association. Comrade Okhuihievbe David is the new president while Akharume Kelvin is vice. Sule Agbonluai and Sunday Edeki are general Secretary and assistant General Secretary respectively. Manning the financial purse are Akhigbe Felix, Aroghaighai Julius and Ohiokhede Odion. Other executives include the Public Relations Officers Ajayi Abiodun and Afege Edeki as well as Alabi Omomoh who will serve in Provost capacity.
•L-R: Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji (Dr) Ganiyu Owolabi: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter; and Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, during the envoy’s working visit to the State, in Ado-Ekiti... at the weekend
Ondo ACN Chair resigns, joins governorship race
HAIRMAN of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose (nee Ajasin) yesterday tendered her resignation. Addressing the extended state executive committee of the party, Anifowose she was resigning to run for the governorship post after much consultation with stakeholders. She said: “I have decided to
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
run for the office of Governor of Ondo state. I know that you are someone with tremendous passion and hope for our common heritage. “I also know how much you have contributed through your sweat, prayers and tax paid to give hope to the dreams of our fathers. I am also certain of your concern for Ondo state
in the future. “I therefore wish to formally and personally invite you to support me with your prayers and absolute goodwill so that our state can enjoy the prosperity we seek, the liberty we deserve and the joy we so desperately need.’’ She went on, ‘’With my resignation as the ACN chairman in Ondo state ,I thereby making myself
Lagos taskforce arrests two suspects over abduction of govt officials
EN of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Other Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit Two yesterday paraded two suspects allegedly involved in the assault and abduction of officials of the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development investigating violation of layout plan of a portion of land in Ikoyi axis of the state. The investigation followed a petition to the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde
The group said that having lost the elections in the most ignoble manner, the vanquished group wants to come back to power by all means necessary, including, but not limited to fueling the declaration of a State of Emergency in some of the South West states after a well conceived chain of sponsored instabilities, the key of which is political assassinations.” In a statement released on Friday afternoon and signed by the coalition’s Director of Information, Dr Akinwumi Caleb Ibikunle, the group claimed it is aware of plots by a rival political group in the South West to cause series of political upheavals culminating in the possible assassination of the serving governor of Osun state. ONAC is a coalition of 25 pan Yoruba groups. Ibikunle stated: “We have been reliably informed by a trusted security operative of plots to cause mayhem through the assassination of a serving governor. ‘’We have written to the Inspector-General of Police, (IG) to investigate this plot. Since the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) lost power in the South West area; the killing gangs are yet to go into sleep. There have been series of meetings in Osogbo by some prominent PDP leaders. “We are aware that the Northern Governors Forum has a flag, the BRACE states of the South-South also have a symbol of identity, it is criminal and irresponsible for any government to seek to persecute a political leader on this kind of trite alter, in a country that lay claim to pluralism and federal democracy. ‘’In the US, every state has its own flag and anthem, whereas regional identity through all forms of symbols was part of the groundwork laid by Nigeria’s founding fathers.”
Fashola (SAN), by E. A Molajo and Co. Practitioners complaining about the violation of part of the layout plan of a land belonging to his client. Task Force Chairman, Supol Bayo Suleiman who paraded the two suspects, Adewale Adeniyi and Bamidele Adewale, said Governor Fashola had directed the officials of the Ministry of Physical Planning, on February 21 to investigate the land in question. He said they were however
abducted by fierce- looking thugs allegedly working for Prince Kunle Fafunwa, son of the Oba of Onikoyi, Oba Patrick Fafunwa. According to Suleiman, the thugs, “stormed the land, beat up other family members present and abducted the three officials of the state government who were detained at the Oba’s palace for about three hours. ‘’They also forcefully collected the official file containing documents of the land from the officials and
made photocopies” Suleiman said on the direction by the Governor, the task force stormed the Oba’s palace but he was not around with his son. Adewale, who said he functions as the secretary of the Oba admitted to making photocopies of the documents on the directive of the Oba. But he said he had no knowledge to what the document was meant for, adding that the presence of the ministry officials was a common occurrence.
available as choice candidate for my party. “This is in line with the regulations and practice of my party, ACN’’. A chieftain of ACN and House of Assembly candidate for Ose constituency in the last year election, Hon.Tunji Osati said he received the resignation with mixed feelings. According to him, ‘’to some of us who joined ACN when we were cheated and robbed out of LP, like Dr Olu Agunloye, Hon. Femi Adekanbi and my self will definitely remember her concern in bringing the party machinery to accommodate and support our candidature. “I think the party benefited more from this her foresightedness because of the tremendous popularity we brought to the party especially in the Northern Senatorial district of the state. He described her as” a chip off the old block, looks quite like her father Papa Ajasin and she is unassuming, hardworking, brilliant and very Spartan in honesty. Osati prayed that the best candidate that is ‘grass rooted’ will emerge to make the task easier.
Court fixes May 9 for hearing over disputed Olu of Igbokoda stool By Eric Ikhilae
N Ondo State High Court has granted leave to nine persons to challenge the alleged plots by Fola Odidiomo to enthrone himself as the Olu of Igbokoda against the community’s tradition, customs and the wish of most indigenes. The nine include Omooba Oladipo Ilara, Prince Olamipo Ilara, PrinceTayo Ilara (representing the Araromi quarters of Igbokoda), Prince Rufus Lebile, Johnson Lebile, Olatuyi Durolaye (representing Lebile quarters) and Iranlowo Orola, Tunde Odidi, Ayodeji Ashogbon(Larada quarters). They have also filed a motion on notice for judicial review of alleged illegal acts by Odidiomo and two others. Respondents in the suit are the state Attorney General, Oba Omowole Amapetu of Mahin Kingdom, Primate S. O. Ayodele and Fola Odidiomo. Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi granted the leave while ruling on a motion exparte filed and argued by Omooba Ilara and others’ lawyer, Adekunle Sulaiman on March 28. The court also fixed May 9 for the hearing of the substantive suit. The plaintiffs, in the substantive suit, are praying the court for among others, an order of mandamus compelling the state governor, as represented by the Attorney General, to appoint a committee to create a Chieftaincy Declaration in respect of the vacant Olu of Igbokoda stool, as required under Section 3 (1) of the Ondo State Chiefs Law 1984.
Chikwe to empower one million women
From: Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri
HE new National Women leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Ambassador Kema Chikwe, has pledged to empower not fewer than one million women within one year in office to further promote self economic reliance. Chikwe gave the pledge while being received by PDP chieftains and supporters at the party secretariat in Owerri. Ambassador Chikwe expressed gratitude to all PDP members for their strong support and show of solidarity in the just concluded National Convention, which led to her success, even as she paid glowing tributes to the Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and the Senator representing Orlu Zone, Chief Hope Uzodinma, for their role, which led to her emergence as the party’s National Women Leader. She also pledged to ensure total reconciliation of all aggrieved members and groups within the party.
Trouble in Police ‘house’
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
The elevation of some Police officers and retirement of 13 Assistant Inspectors General has led to some bad blood in the force, in this report Tunde Busari looks at the issues.
HE decision of the Parry Osanyande led Police Service Commission (PSC) on February 22 to promote some Commissioners of Police to the rank of Deputy Inspectors General (DIG) has ignited some grumblings in the force. By elevating the commissioners the commission decided to bypass 13 Assistant Inspectors General who were naturally expected to be lifted to the rank of DIGs. And as it is done in such cases if a junior is elevated above a senior, such a senior is either asked retired compulsorily or given an option of voluntary retirement. In this case, the 13 officers who were bypassed have threatened to sue the PSC and the police authority for their action. However, in a swift action the commission also announced the immediate retirement of all the 13 AIGs in one fell swoop. But, three weeks after the announcement, the retirement is yet to be effected as the affected officers are still occupying their respective offices. For instance, one of those affected, the AIG in charge of Zone 2, Chris Ola was part of the team that received the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar on March 17 he visited the Lagos residence of the bereaved families of the officers involved in the ill-fated air-crash in Jos. This, according to a source, is a subtle move by the police authority to save its face. Ineffectual retirements The Nation gathered that some of the aggrieved AIGs might have given a bite to their earlier threat by getting a court injunction restraining the PSC from enforcing their retirements. This has caused, what a source called, a stalemate in the force as the newly promoted AIGs are yet to be posted to their new offices while the aggrieved officers are still retaining their offices. It was further learnt that the retirement of the aggrieved AIGs lacks legal justification, the lapse which the court is exploiting to rule for the retention of the status quo. “Honestly, I may not say what will be the end of this matter. It is becoming a serious matter which might make the force a laughing stock if it is not properly solved. I cannot recall the time this type of thing has happened before,” the source said. Giving further insight into the development at the Force Headquarters Abuja, the source said the authority is also not unaware of the implication of a legal challenge, thus, it is opting for an administrative way of handling the matter. “A lot have happened since the announcement of the promotion and the PSC is not happy with the way the affected officers have taken the exercise, especially for threatening the commission with legal action. It is a strange development. “But the Osanyade I know is a thorough man. I don’t see him rescinding the decision because it is in the first place a collective one made by the entire commission, which comprises eminent people,” the source disclosed. However, Gabriel Giwa-Amu, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, also picked holes in the promotion of junior officers at the expense of their seniors. He declared that it has no place in general rule. The lawyer said the exercise is capable of killing morale and commitment spirit in the affected officers who would find it a herculean task to take instruction from their hitherto junior officers. “That is the truth of the matter. In fact, apart from affecting performance negatively, it can easily lead to anarchy and you know the danger of anarchy in the police to the security of the entire nation at a time we are passing through some security challenges,” Giwa-Amu said.
In his view, in the circumstance that a junior is promoted above his senior, the path of honour for such a senior to tread is to resign. He, however, added that such an exercise must follow laid down procedures, principal of which must be performance. He said some junior officers, owing to their commitment to duty and over all trackrecord, may be considered above their seniors to serve as an encouragement to others. “Promotion as far as I am concerned is not for all-comers. It is based on merit in the interest of the force. There is nothing wrong in encouraging an outstanding performer above a complacent one, regardless of rank. When it happens as we just witnessed the senior should go to prevent power struggle that may ensue.” he said.
‘a situation where you, a junior officer, would jump over 2000 superiors is dangerous for the system’. With the current goings-on, it appears that it is no longer ‘dangerous to the system’ to promote junior officers over and above their seniors,” Abayomi said. Also, the former Inspector-General of Police, Ogbona Onovo had called for what he described as a ‘transparent promotion exercise’ while defending the demotion of Ribadu by the PSC. Appearing before the Senate, Onovo said since he enlisted in the police as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent merit and seniority had always been the yardstick for promotion. “The moment you join, you know your mates and your seniors. Every officer knows when he is due for promotion and his seniors”, he said, adding “once an officer is skipped in promotion, he becomes demoralized. It is a very painful thing to watch your junior become your boss. It must be noted that the role of the PSC is well defined, and the commission has done the right thing by correcting some of the illegalities carried out in order not to destroy the police force”. A source said the PSC has reached out to the National Assembly with a view to defending the retirement of the 13 aggrieved AIGs. The move, the source added was initiated following the National Assembly’s interest in the matter as it borders on the integrity of the nation’s secu-
rity agency. “The National Assembly seems to be embarrassed by the noise that followed the promotion and announcement of retirement of the AIGs, that is why they are showing interest in resolving it,” the source observed. The names of the affected AIGs have been sent to the Assembly. They include: AIG Zone 2, Lagos, Christopher Ola; AIG Zone 6, Calabar, Saidu Daya; AIG Zone 8, Lokoja, Ephraim Amakulor; AIG in charge of Zone 9, Umuahia, Mohammed Abass; and AIG in charge of Zone 11, Osogbo, Johnson Uzu-Egbunam. Others are Commandant of the Police Staff College, Jos, AIG John Moronike; Commandant of the Police Academy (POLAC), AIG Shehu Babalola; AIG Force Secretary, AIG Works, Muazu Idris Hadejia Mohammed Zarewa; AIG Force Veterinary, Stephen Hart, AIG Border Patrol, Bukar Maina; AIG Police Air Wing, Charles Cole; and AIG Intelligence, Danlami Yar’Adua. But in a telephone interview, the Police Force Public Relations Officer, Olusola Amoren, disclaimed the report of the retirement of the aggrieved AIGs. He said he was not aware of such a development. “I am confirming to you that I am not aware of any retirement in the force. And if I say I am not aware you should know what it means.” This might be temprorary relief for the AIGs in question, but their long term career prospects remain under a cloud: a situation only the Presidency can resolve fairly.
Two cases, different treatments Bamidele Aturu, another human rights lawyer said extra-ordinary gallant performance by a junior officer can earn such a promotion above his senior. He said in that circumstance it is unfair to force retirement on the affected senior unless the police convention allows it. “Even if the police convention allows it, the senior does not need to be told to leave before he resigns.” On the other hand, Ade Abayomi, a public analyst, however, accused the commission of double standards. He made reference to its 2008 reversal of the promotion of the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu. The former anti-corruption chief was promoted from Deputy CommisWhen Hafeez Ringim, then an Assistant Inspector General was elevated to the rank sioner of Police to Assistantof Inspector General all his seniors (DIGs) had to retire. Inspector-General having put up a widely acclaimed star The following were made DIGs performance as the czar of the anti-graft agency. • Mrs. Ivy Okoronkwo, formerly AIG Zone 7, Abuja According to Abayomi, the • Mr. Azubuko Udah, formerly AIG Zone 2, Lagos commission, when its chair• Mohammed Yesufu, AIG Zone 11, Osogbo man (the same Osayande) was • The late Mr. Ganiyu Dawudu, formerly AIG ‘Intelligence’ at Force Headquarters called to defend the reversal at • Alhaji Sadauna Abubakar, formerly AIG Zone 1, Kano the Senate, claimed that the • Audu Abubakar, the Commandant of Police Staff College, Jos promotion of Ribadu did not • Saleh Abubakar follow due process. “He said,
Past retired DIGs
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
COMMENT and ANALYSIS
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
A small church in Otuoke Festus Eriye
Corporate social responsibility is a flimsy cover that cannot hide the often incestuous relationship that exists between contractors and government officials
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Bombing in the name of God?
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is not the first Nigerian president to be caught in bed with a giant construction company or major contractor. His mistake was advertising it. For years rumour mills have been agog with tales of how a famous construction giant built a gargantuan retirement spread for one of our former leaders. This was supposedly their way of saying thank you for all the business he threw them when he was in power. Towards the end of his tenure, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, threw a fundraiser in Abeokuta to which a motley crowd of big time federal contractors and the cream of the business elite were invited. It was all in aid of a presidential library where he planned to settle after Aso Rock. By the time the collection box had been passed round, there were a couple of billions in the piggy bank. The critics cried corruption; claiming there had been improper use of the presidential office to subtly coerce contractors into making contributions. But blessed with hide a crocodile would envy, the former president simply ignored his traducers and went his merry way. Today, even UNESCO is a tenant at the Abeokuta complex – and all’s well with humanity. That was until Jonathan stirred things up with another of his famous off-the-cuff remarks – this time holding forth on the fine art of stirring corporate generosity. The trouble with the ongoing controversy is that nothing about it is straight-forward. Jonathan and his spokesmen have stated clearly that the church was not a personal gift to him or his family – but to the Otuoke community. The president’s problem is not that there is a personal gift that can be quickly returned to the chaps at Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG); his headache is that there is a link which he admitted publicly which he cannot now disavow – without grave consequences for his reputation. At the dedication of the now controversial 400-seat church Jonathan was quoted as saying the managing director of Gitto made him a promise to build and donate the place of worship to Otuoke after he (Jonathan) had complained about the ramshackle state of the church. This was what precipitated the whole crisis. Did the president have the aforementioned discussion with the chief executive officer of GCG? If the conversation took place then only a very dumb and naïve managing director of a federal contractor would not get the drift. You may quarrel with the semantics of those who say solicitation took place, but there is no more elegant way to put it. Clearly, this was not about Jonathan just making conversation; it was a subtle call to someone who was in a position to do something, to take action. No one would have been wiser about the transformation of the church if the president had expressed his gratitude to Gitto in private. His seeking the company’s intervention to repair the tattered church was a mistake; his public testimony about their good works in this instance was a compound error. Managing this sort of self-inflicted wound is a nightmare that can only be imagined. In their rush to do damage limited, the Presidency and Gitto only succeeded in turning a public relations disaster into one fine mess. They kept on hammering on the fact that Jonathan did not accept a bribe. Obviously, this was to cover their flanks in the light of the
• President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Patience and the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson during the dedication of the 400-seat church in his home town, Otuoke (1)
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) call for the president’s impeachment on grounds that he had flouted provisions of the Code of Conduct for public office holders. Section 6 of the Code of Conduct for Public officers embodied in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act (CAP C15) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, states: “A public officer shall not ask for or accept any property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties. For the purposes of subsection (1) of this subsection, the receipt by a public officer of any gifts or benefits from commercial firms, business enterprises or persons who have contracts with the Government shall be presumed to have been received in contravention…unless the contrary is proved.” I believe that the charge of soliciting and receiving a bribe is useful only to the extent that it provides a legal basis for an impeachment move. However, many would agree that if you want to truly compromise the one who sits over our commonwealth you would probably need to offer something weightier than an anonymous church in a village in
“The president’s problem is not that there is a personal gift that can be quickly returned to the chaps at Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG); his headache is that there is a link which he admitted publicly which he cannot now disavow – without grave consequences for his reputation”
the Bayelsa creeks. To that extent it would be hard to sway the court of public opinion by carrying on about bribery given the ‘small’ church involved. But where the spin doctors really lost the plot was when they sought to excuse the inexcusable on the grounds that GCG was carrying out its ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR). All the relevant questions have been asked. Were Jonathan to be some retired Deputy Governor, would Gitto be renovating a church in Otuoke? Where are the other examples of the company’s unsolicited good works in other parts of Nigeria where it has executed contracts? Gitto projects in Bayelsa are state projects – not jobs specific to the president’s village. So it would be hard to justify the choice of Otuoke for sitting its CSR project if this was not an attempt to curry favour or give something back. As for the critics of ACN’s response they are wide off the mark. The party did its job as the only active opposition voice left in the country. Theirs is not to clap for Jonathan when he blunders but to show him up and score political points. Let’s not forget that they are engaged in a contest for political power with the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The job of the opposition is not to make life easy for the government of the day. Nigeria is not at war: a situation that would require everyone to rally round the flag. We live in peace times and it is politics as usual. As long as the interactions do deviate into unlawful territory then the opposition has not committed any crime by taking maximum advantage of the Otuoke church controversy to embarrass the presidency. All the exhortation to ‘constructive criticism’ – another sickening cliché – is just nonsense. The assumption is that criticism is inherently destructive. Not so. If anything the opposition outcry has sparked a very useful debate that helps us to focus again on the often incestuous relationship between giant construction firms and top government officials. Rather than dismiss the opposition as predictable and desperate, Jonathan and his hangers-on should check whether being in power for so long is not making them arrogant, outof-touch and inured to reason. If truly they cannot see anything wrong in the chain of events that have sparked the current storm, then the PDP establishment is truly in a dangerous place.
AST Thursday, the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar directed that special security should be provided for worship centres during the Easter celebrations. The directive must have been informed by the repeated attacks on Churches by the Boko Haram fundamentalist groups on worship days and other major Christian holidays which have left many dead and others injured. Even before the IG’s directive, Churches in the northern parts of the country have beefed up their security to avert any possible attack following security alert that worship centres could be targeted during this season. It is unfortunate that the situation has gotten this bad that Churches have come under siege and worshippers are afraid of being killed in suicide attacks like the incident in Madalla and Jos. It is against this background that it is difficult to dismiss the religious dimension to the unending bombing incidents which security agencies have not been able to curtail. It is hard to convince Christians in the north who have suffered all forms of persecution even before the upsurge of terrorist attacks that the bombings have nothing to do with religion like the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Matthew Kukah recently stated in an interview. While people ordinarily should not commit crimes because of their faith like Kukah stated, the Boko Haram leaders have not left anyone in doubt about why they have been engaged in endless killings in Churches and public places. Their main demand is the implementation of the Islamic sharia in northern Nigeria. If they have their way, they would not mind if the whole of the country becomes an Islamic country where their brand of Islam will be enforced like the Al-Shabab group is doing in Somalia. The Boko Haram members involved in the bombing and other crimes are no doubt criminals, but the federal government has been very careful in dealing with them because of their claim to be championing the cause of Islam. President Goodluck Jonathan has had to bend backward to offer to dialogue with the group even when many Nigerians think that the full force of the law should be visited on them. I have no doubt that most Muslims in the north do not share the extremist belief of the group. The agenda of the sect and the violent way they have been going about it stands condemned by all. If the Boko Haram group does not make any pretense about their religious affiliation and justification for their violent actions, we will be fooling ourselves by ignoring the religious dimension to the problem which if not properly tackled may endanger the future of the country. The group has to be properly understood for whatever religious belief they claim to hold before they can be engaged in whatever form the government chooses to. I recently watched a video of the slaughtering of a man by the Boko Haram group on the Internet. Before the slaughtering, one of the group members for some minutes recited some verses of the Quran which I am sure does not justify for the crime they committed, but that is what they want us to believe. What is really required to get to get out of this dangerous situation we have found ourselves as a country is the cooperation of all religious bodies, governments, organisations and individuals to identify, isolate and prosecute those behind the lawlessness in the name of religion.
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Comment & Analysis
HERE are some incidents that stick in the memory for life. Rape is one of them, especially for the victim. Thankfully, not all lifelong memories are brutal. Some are quite pleasurable. Take the day history is made for the right reasons in the life of a schoolboy or schoolgirl. After the grooming years of nursery and primary schooling under the watch of doting parents, there comes a day when a boy or girl must venture further than the neighbourhood school to a higher institution in another land. Sometimes the journey is undertaken alone, without the parents, on some “luxury” bus. In that case, the day automatically becomes historical, a watershed, a landmark. The boy or girl will surely remember a lot of things about that day and about that bus ride. The name of the transport firm, which helped to shape his history, must be filed away in the mind. Ekene Dili Chukwu transport company, founded by an enterprising, pacesetting Igbo man, has helped to shape the history of a legion of youngsters. Its buses have conveyed many to new locations to start new careers in academics, business or the professions. I once rode one as a teenager to begin a new phase of my life in Jos. For the 42 schoolgirls, however, who rode a bus belonging to the transport firm penultimate Saturday, a tragic, shameful and indelible experience has been lodged in their memory for life. Various reports said the teenage girls, all pupils of a Catholic school in Enugu, where heading for Lagos for the Easter holiday when a gang of rob-
Rape of the minors Ekene Dili Chukwu driver and conductor should be questioned over the attack on 42 schoolgirls on March 31 bers swooped on them, first demanding cash, phones and then their flesh. The reports said a number of the girls submitted to the demands of the armed outlaws before help came. A hundred years can never wipe away that experience on the Sagamu-Ore Expressway that Saturday. Nor will it slip out of their parents’ minds for the rest of their lives. A sexual assault of that nature and on girls so young traumatizes the victims almost as much as it wrecks their parents. While the bus conveying the minors was still in transit and night was wearing on, parents waiting on the Lagos end must have been anywhere between life and death, not knowing what may have befallen their young girls. For the girls, rape even by relatives, is said to be nasty and unforgettable. Now, consider the agony when the crime is committed by beastly beings and in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night.
Interestingly, the transport firm has denied that the girls were sexually assaulted. Ekene Dili Chukwu is also reportedly asking for evidence of the crime, since nobody has filed any rape report. This is unhelpful, considering the fact that rape cases are the least reported, even though it may rank among the commonest offences. A total of 191,670 cases of sexual assault, for instance, were documented in the United States in 2005, and about 400,000 reported in another country in one year. It is also neither here nor there suggesting, as some have, that Ekene Dili Chukwu should be punished for putting a faulty bus on the road. Even for the most organized, there are sometimes unpleasant eventualities, one of which is mechanical fault. But the bus driver and his assistant should be properly investigated to establish the extent of their negligence, foolhar-
“A sexual assault of that nature and on girls so young traumatizes the victims almost as much as it wrecks their parents. While the bus conveying the minors was still in transit and night was wearing on, parents waiting on the Lagos end must have been anywhere between life and death, not knowing what may have befallen their young girls”
diness or outright complicity, if any, in the matter. Some interviewed relatives of the girls have said the driver and conductor, after being warned by other motorists of an ongoing robbery operation ahead, insisted on continuing the journey rather than wait as others wisely did. It was also said that both men fled as the robbers moved in, leaving their young passengers at the mercy of their beastly assailants. There is another curiosity. The faulty bus reportedly broke down in the early afternoon, yet a relief bus was not sent until about 7pm. Why did relief come so late? This is for Lagosians How prepared are the government and residents of Lagos State after the warning that the rains will be very heavy this year? The year got off to a hot start, with many complaining of intense heat and children coming down with all kinds of rashes. Typically, when trouble seems far away, Nigerians drift off to sleep. The state authorities are not sleeping. Mr Tunji Bello, the environment commissioner and his boss Babatunde Fashola have mounted a campaign to prepare the residents. But is the state prepared? The government should involve the local councils and everyone else more in clearing clogged channels. Many have yet to recover from the storm and devastation on the eve of St Valentine’s Day. Lagosians must avoid a tragedy foretold.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Comment & Analysis
Lessons of Easter Nigerian leaders must make sacrifice, not just talk about it
HRISTENDOM and indeed the entire humanity once again celebrate Easter –arguably the greatest event in the Christian calendar. The Easter story whose theme is the triumph of the avatar of the Christian faith, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, over a most painful and dehumanising death through the cross is a familiar one. Yet again, humanity is called upon to reflect on the death of a sinless man for the propitiation of the sins of all. We are reminded of the story which began with man’s disobedience to God’s command at the Garden of Eden, the consequence of which was the severance of ties between humanity and His creator. In the boundless depth of divine compassion that would flow from God to his fallen children even after the fact of his lowered esteem, God stepped in by sending his Son into the world, in what would later be a one-all sacrifice for the restoration of mankind. And to do this, God had to strip Him of his divinity – laying on him instead, the attributes of mortality with all the pains, the sufferings and indignities that it brought. The climax was his death on the cross of Calvary in what would later set the stage for the glorious resurrection three days later, to perfect God’s redemption for man. This is what the world celebrates at Easter. Naturally, the outstanding lesson of Easter would be one of sacrifice. That Christ would allow himself to be stripped of his glory in heaven was sacrificial enough; that he would pay the supreme price as sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world represents the greatest denial of all. Even at the moment of unequalled pain, he still found room in his heart for compassion for the convicted felon who shared the agony of the cross with
HE state of insecurity in the country today is alarming. The spate of armed robbery attacks, kidnapping, hostage taking, religious intolerance, terrorism, ethnic clashes and ritual killing are all threatening the fabric of the nation. The Boko Haram onslaught together with its dastardly bombing and killing of innocent Nigerians reached a crescendo with the abduction and the eventual killing of the two foreigners; Christopher McManus (Briton) and Franco Lamolinara (Italian) by the Abu Mohammed faction of the sect. The federal government’s swift condemnation of the gruesome killing and President Goodluck Jonathan’s diplomatic debonair became the saving grace that doused the tension that could have drawn Nigeria into diplomatic row with Britain and Italy. Armed robbery attack has become a daily affair. It is disheartening to see banks under lock for days as a result of threat of invasion by the men of the underworld. More often than not, armed robbers raided banks unhindered, loot and ambush bank bullion vans while lucky police escorts attached to the vans are dispossessed of their rifles and the unlucky ones killed. Kidnapping and hostage taking have become serious issues that discourage foreign investors. The federal government’s efforts to shore
him. There is a great lesson to take from the sacrificial life that he led in a world driven by crass individualism. Not for Jesus the vainglory of pretentious royalty. For him, the path to glorification was the route of the cross. His life was an attestation to the truth of the saying that without pains, there cannot be gains. The latter in particular, holds a vital lesson in today’s world that has come to be defined by hedonism. Importantly, the core of Easter’s message is God’s undying love for humanity. Whereas mankind lost his estate at the Garden of Eden to disobedience, the situation would change shortly thereafter with God’s programme already laid out for man’s redemption. It wasn’t the result of what man did; rather, it was in the Divine nature of the Creator to reconcile man to Himself through an elaborate plan involving the death of an only son. Surely, if that all-powerful Creator could love unreservedly, it behoves on mankind to spread the love around. This is the whole essence – the import of Easter. It is of course the resurrection that stands out. The death of Jesus on the dark night of Good Fri-
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day signalled gloom and despondency for mankind; the resurrection three days later would reverse the situation. It marked the seal not just of man’s redemption; it heralded the supreme moment when mankind’s hopes were finally restored. The event marked the validation of the promises made by God to man; surely, if Christ had not risen, there would have been no basis for the Christian faith. The great lesson here is that it is not really over until it is finally over. For the poor and oppressed in society, the lesson must be that once there is life, there must be hope. For us in Nigeria, the greatest lesson of Easter is the need to be more tolerant of other people’s views and religion. The absence of this Christian virtue is what is responsible for the prevalence of strife of either religious or sectarian nature now tearing the nation apart. Nigerians of all faiths need to imbibe the spirit of love and compassion without which we cannot build a strong and virile nation. Leaders of different faiths need to draw lessons from how Jesus engaged religious and secular authorities in his days. He spoke truth to power without being abrasive or garrulous; he was an example of model citizenship. Secondly, the one-sided admonitions by the leadership on the need for sacrifice by ordinary citizens have gone on for far too long. It is time for those in leadership positions to demonstrate this virtue by the force of their own examples. Finally, Easter affords us opportunity to remind Nigerians that God does not need men to fight His battle. It is obvious that those who kill and maim in His name do not know Him. We cannot reconcile the image of a loving God with the image of a murderous entity sold by some misguided zealots.
A nation under siege up the nation’s economy are being hampered by insecurity. Considering the gamut of the security challenges in the country and the helplessness of the police, the recent criticism of the Ekiti State government by the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade over the deplorable state of Akure-Ikere road can be said to have been politically
ASES of kidnapping activities in Rivers State are making the residents not to be certain of what the next minute holds as they move from compounds to the streets and everywhere. The wife of Senator George Sekibo, who was kidnapped along East-West road while returning from the University of Port Harcourt and was later released, typifies the threat and fate of the residents. The kidnappers want to frustrate the security efforts put in place by Governor Chibuike Amaechi who has been trying to make the state a safe haven for all and sundry with his assiduous fight against crimes. With the recent resurgence of kidnappings in the state, it shows that certain
motivated. The road referred to by the minister belongs to the federal government and even at that, the road is still being maintained by the state government. With Nigerians groaning under insecurity and the seemingly taken over of the roles of internal security by the military personnel, the minister lacked the moral rec-
titude to denigrate the efforts of the Ekiti state government at repositioning the state for socioeconomic development. The minister needs to avoid frivolity, and be concerned with how Nigerians can sleep with their two eyes closed and how they can also worship in Churches and Mosques without wearing bullet proof vests to these holy places.
Launching a disparaging criticism on the efforts of the state government to gain cheap popularity because of 2014 will not do the state any good. Rather, the state government should be allowed to concentrate on the provision of the dividends of democracy. Olubolade would be highly appreciated by his people if he could influence life’s impacting federal presence to the state. He would also be profoundly lauded if he could see
Amaechi, Sekibo and kidnappers immoral persons are just feeding their hate of Rivers State and the citizens without any reason for such. Is this not a terrible inferiority complex that someone would wake up in the morning and all that he or she could do was to go and kidnap his or her fellow Nigerian for the lucre of it? This is pathetic! The best we had hoped for was that by now such activities would have abated, but the responses the kidnappers have been giving through their ugly trade are clear signs of serious looming danger around us. Quite appalling that people are hungry walking the streets. The worst unfortunate
thing is that people now rejoice in the misfortunes of others. What has happened to people! Have people gone insane? During the period Madam Sekibo was held captive a few were happy and made unsavoury comments. It goes a long way to indicate the mind of ordinary Nigerians against their leaders. Those that were not kidnappers have become haters of their environment because of acrimony of the leaders to good governance. To the people in this negative school of thought they were of the opinion that the chickens were coming home to roost and hoped that more kidnappings of innocent citizens might change the stone heartedness of majority of the
leaders to finally understand what the poverty ridden people of Nigeria are going through. Who was aware that just recently a senator was robbed at gunpoint by his driver? This is the garbage of ruins of a nation. People pushed to the wall will always ricochet like a ball, when they are subjected to poverty. No honour amongst criminals! Be they looters or kidnappers. The leaders should grow some brain that some people are not just happy and are showing their lack of empathy in such act as kidnapping and Boko Haram. Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
to the completion of the long abandoned Ipoti Ekiti community town hall. The launching of the police operational camouflage uniform is a welcome development. When fully integrated and approved as one of the official police outfits, the uniform will be used to boost and launder the battered image of the police. It must however be noted that the hood does not necessarily make the monk. Certainly, much cannot be achieved at combating crime and insecurity if well dressed but poorly motivated and haphazardly trained police officers were saddled with the task of crime fighting. In this era of scientific policing, training and refresher courses for the police must be stepped up towards meeting the security challenges of today. Installations of CCTV cameras to monitor and checkmate criminals should also involve the training of policemen to handle the installed cameras. Procurement of modern equipment to replace the obsolete one must be prioritized by the police authority. The inability of the police to effectively stem the rising tide of insecurity in the nation has made it imperative for those at the helm of affairs to stop dancing around the obvious and embrace the call for the state police. Toyin Omogbemile, Lagos
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
Comment & Analysis
Towards a new architecture of governance Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net
HE demand for restructuring got a huge boost last week when the former Commonwealth Secretary-General called for re-designing the country’s “architecture of governance.” His experience and exposure make it hard for his voice not to be noticed within and outside government circles. Chief Anyaoku’s international stature is enough to rattle those who claim that the call for true federalism and regional autonomy is the figment of imagination of Nigerians who are refusing to become detribalised. There is very little for anybody to disagree with in Chief Anyaoku’s analysis and recommendations on the way forward for Nigeria: “No one can deny the fact that there are major challenges of insecurity, heightened by Boko Haram, constant call for new revenue allocation formula, decline in health and education standard. These in my view, should be ad-
Femi Orebe femi.orebe @thenationonlineng.net 08056504626 (sms only)
OTH the acts of giving and accepting the disguised bribe undermine the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice as well as jeopardises sustainable development and the rule of law’. The above is the commonsensical position of not only the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) but of all reasonable persons to whom the fight against corruption is not a mere media lullaby. When the likes of PDP Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and the President’s Media Aides set out to defend him, they were probably not aware of his own account of how Otueke got gifted ‘a church that befits it’. The President has been quoted severally as saying that the Managing Director of Gitto made him a promise to build and donate the church to Otueke community after he, the President,complained about the aging church which no longer befitted the town. In my books, that was nothing near a CSR which some people are banging about attempting to obfuscate us and call a dog a monkey so Mr President can walk away a free man where a more reflective person in his position would not have, as much as permitted the Gitto man to complete his inducement. Of course, we are well aware of Mr Berlusconi’s serial encounters with corruption charges but our own President should not have allowed this Italian business man ensnare him as he successfully did because this was corruption, pure and simple. Nor should the President be allowed to get away with it, at least not since Section 6 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers embodied in the First Sched-
Chief Anyaoku’s call provides assurances for those who have their reasons to be afraid of a national conference dressed at a national conference on how to face the challenges.” Summatively, Chief Anyaoku’s call provides assurances for those who have their reasons to be afraid of a national conference. He has not called for a sovereign national conference. This should be sufficient to make members of the national assembly comfortable that their job or authority is not on the line. But he still emphasizes that ultimate sovereignty lies with the people when he recommends that the result of a national referendum should be passed to the national assembly for ratification and implementation. Those that see a conference to discuss restructuring of the polity as an excuse to balkanize the country are also given placated by the elder statesman: “We need a national conference but those who fear the breakup of Nigeria, the burden accruing to the country are sufficiently weighty to outweigh fear…. It should be accepted that Nigeria as one entity will not be up for contention. I do believe that a true federation, rather than unitary, will promote unity in Nigeria.” But there is need to avoid what may amount to a quick-fix solution to the problems facing the fed-
eration. The call for six federating units is one such approach. While the issue of Nigeria as one entity may be settled, the number of federating units needs to be negotiated. Many of the communities in the six zones that are being recommended to be transformed into six federating regions may want to opt out of the region which houses them at present. For example, the North-central region houses several ethnic groups that may prefer to belong to regions other than the Northcentral. The Yoruba in Kwara and Kogi may prefer to be in the same region with their counterparts in the Southwest. It is also conceivable that Yoruba-speaking communities in Edo and Delta may find it more culturally fulfilling to belong to the Southwest region. It is therefore better to allow the deliberations at the national conference to determine the number of regions or federating units. The ethnic nationalities at the conference may prefer to adopt a larger number of federating units. They should be given the right to do so, if the country is to avoid the crisis of parading administrative units as federating units. The current six zones or regions are more of ad-
ministrative units than federating units, as Chief Anthony Enahoro and other Nigerian patriots argued at the beginning of the Conference of Ethnic Nationalities in 2006. Just as Chief Obafemi Awolowo once argued, culture and language are important in determining how to structure our federation. There is no evidence to show that the current six zones or regions may be in a better position to solve the problems of ethnic domination than the eighteen federating units recommended by PRONACO. The conference should also be allowed to determine the fate or future of the states within each region. In writing its own constitution, each region will have to determine what to do with the fragmented states created for it by military governments. Each region should have the right to decide to keep or kill such states during negotiation for regional constitutions. This is the time to shun the principle of cost-effective administration as a basis for structuring the polity. The colonial government’s pre-occupation with cost-effectiveness led to the
Jonathan, PDP and Nigeria’s mushrooming corruption Every segment of our society has been corrupted and Corruption has now taken a firm root in the country ule of the 1999 Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act (CAP C15) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, has criminalized such acts by providing that ‘A public officer shall not ask for, or receive any property or benefits of any kind for himself OR ANY OTHER PERSON on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties ’. For Christ’s sake this is a man whose government awards contracts to the giver’s company. The greatest benevolence Nigerians could grant the President in this matter will be to ask him to publicly apologise to the nation and promise never again to cheapen the country this egregiously. If he gets away with that slap on the wrist, there remains the question of what message the President is sending to the outside world about our so-called anti-corruption war. It must be noted in this regard that since the coming of President Jonathan, his Attorney-General has authorized more Nollei Prosequis than five of his predecessors combined; the EFCC has become nothing more than a media apparatus but it must be noted that the immediate past Chairman of that body never ceased to complain about how the AttorneyGeneral literally tied her hands behind her back, unable ever, to act even in cases where corruption would easily have been proved. Since the obnoxiously expensive 2011 PDP Presidential campaign, EFCC cases have become highly compromised and are now effortlessly being thrown by what appears like a deliberate lack of diligent prosecution as a result of which, selfrespecting judges now routinely discharge the accused persons after dis-
missing the cases. This deliberate watering down of the anti-corruption war will go down as the cornerstone of PDP’s 13 years’ stranglehold on Nigeria. . However, more momentous things are currently happening in the heart of that party as its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, abruptly throws in the towel giving as his reason, issues which were never known to have come in the way of his other responsibilities. Beautifully capturing the event on Panupo this past week, a forumite wrote in Yoruba: ‘Baba Iyabo in his wisdom is saying: ‘mo ni eti, mo si riran; akoko to lati ba ese mi soro,’ meaning ‘ Iyabo’s daddy is saying: ‘I have ears and I can see; it’s time I vote with my legs’ – a fine quip about the man’s nosediving influence in the party. While I subscribe to that interpretation I think there are, indeed, more telling reasons for his abrupt resignation. First, by insisting on having Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and rail- roading him over all segments of their hugely fractionalized party , President Jonathan would appear to have demonstrated that he has become his own man and would no longer brook any nonsense from any quarters, whatsoever. Also, in a historical conjunction that Obasanjo could hardly have foreseen, a redoubtable individual has, for the first time ever, emerged the PDP chairman; one Obasanjo cannot in any way browbeat. And Obasanjo hates to play no.2 to any mortal. If Tukur would extend any courtesies to him at all, it will be at his own behest and not because the former President is who he believes he is –a primus inter pares. Alhaji Tukur, it must be
said, comes well packed, with integrity and resources. He carries with him a more intimidating international reputation and network than the outgoing chairman. Could the urge to prise himself free, in fact, be Jonathan’s primary motivation to insist on Tukur rather than the more popular view of wanting to checkmate Atiku Abubakar? Time will tell. However, in PDP’s Byzantine politics, Jonathan may have stabbed himself in the back if he thinks that a died-in –the-wool Fulani aristocrat like Tukur will line behind a South-Southerner in the sure- to- come strategic horse trading for who becomes PDP presidential candidate in 2015. Unfortunately for Jonathan, he showed his hands too early in listlessly proposing his Single-Term project at the time he did. Had he learnt from Obasanjo;s Third Term odyssey, he would have been a lot more circumspect. If you are keen to know how low the PDP has taken Nigeria, seek no more than attempt to reach Apapa via the Oshodi-Apapa Express Way as I did this past week. Sorry, did I say drive? Trudge, would be more appropriate, even if you were driving the latest limo. You could be rooted to the same spot for upwards of thirty minutes on this busiest commercial highway in the country. That is what thirteen years of an utterly vacuous ruling political party has done to a resource- rich country like Nigeria. Every segment of our society has been corrupted and Corruption has now taken a firm root in the country. Pension funds which in other countries are deployed to improving infrastructure are now being routinely salted away in the cellars of government officials’ homes.
amalgamation of 1914 by Frederick Lugard. Military dictators’ obsession with national management of resources led to the abrogation of the 50% allotted to derivation in the Republican Constitution of 1963. Ironically, it is the same principle that encouraged military dictators to create 36 states to share and use the resources from petroleum for administration. What has suffered because of the emphasis on administration as a goal rather than as a means is development and improvement in the quality of life of citizens. Once the non-negotiability of Nigeria as one entity, clearly reiterated by Chief Anyaoku, is accepted by the communities calling for national conference, as many regions as are able to meet before a national conference to determine what kind of relationship they prefer to have with the centre should do so. Such sub-national conference can only facilitate the job of the national conference. Regions or ethnic groups that have the opportunity to provide leadership in this direction should be encouraged by their political leaders to do so. It has taken almost one hundred years since 1914 to find an appropriate template for optimizing the country’s cultural plurality. Boko Haram and agitation for more resources from petroleum funds are just immediate causes for re-structuring. The remote cause is the cultural diversity of the country.
Fake bank accounts, bearing billions of naira, confirm the luridness of the country’s banking industry despite Sanusi’s braggadocio. Rather than secure judgments, anti-corruption agencies now perform on the pages of newspapers. Nigerians follow legislative enquiries now only for their amusement. And nobody will be surprised when fraudulent oil importers are given a clean bill of health as we may very soon hear from the House of Representatives. In Seoul recently, President Jonathan promised to recreate the economies of the Asian Tigers by 2015. Somebody should please tell him that in those countries, corrupt leaders commit suicide; some by jumping from high rise buildings. I remain transfixed as to how he thinks a flourishing economy can thrive in a corruption- ridden country like Nigeria. The economies he promises to recreate are run by governments that have zero tolerance for corruption unlike what we have here in Nigeria. For reasons of corruption, respective PDP federal governments, since 1999 failed to successfully deliver conclusively on the National Identity Project which has become, for them, nothing more than a source of massive plunder of our national resources. Only last week, the entire power system collapsed throwing large parts of the country into pitch darkness. But when they talk, they tell you they want Nigeria to be amongst the top 20 economies of the world by the year 2020 as if the countries presently in that bracket are sleep- walking like Nigeria. If Nigeria is to see any sustained economic development in this century, everything must be done to save it from the PDP stranglehold which has stunted its growth, delivered no jobs to its teeming army of unemployed graduates nor is able to guarantee the security of the lives and property of its citizenry. For these reason, and for the sake of generations of unborn Nigerians, opposition parties in the country must seriously work towards a unified front that will give the lie to PDP’s invincibility; an invincibility that is forged on nothing but electoral brigandage.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Adegboyega firstname.lastname@example.org 08054503906 (sms only)
E have an answer to just how far we have sunk as a nation from daily occurrences in the country. Last Wednesday, one of the national dailies carried the picture of some of the suspects in the Police Pension Fund scam on its cover page. My God! When I saw the picture, I wondered whether there is anything called shame in this country again. Some of the suspects were laughing so heartily that if one did not read the caption below the photograph, they could be mistaken for people who had just hit a jackpot. Don’t get me wrong, please. I am not attempting to pronounce judgment on the suspects because I know that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court. But the allegation against these suspects is weighty enough to make whoever is accused of being part of such a scam to, even if innocent, feel sober that such was his or her lot. But the story which that picture told seemed to me like a mockery of our anti-corruption war. I could be wrong; but the impression I got after seeing that picture was something like ‘there is no cause for alarm, after all, there is money to get the best of lawyers and everything shall be fine thereafter’. And in these days when even some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) now behave like ‘charge-and-bail’ lawyers by scrambling for cases with fat and juicy returns, that optimism cannot be said to be misplaced. Politicians and political cases have literally widened the mouths of many of our lawyers and judges, so they can never be satisfied with normal charges or their
Postscript, Unlimited! By
Oyinkan Medubi 08187172799 (SMS only) email@example.com
HIS piece should have been written in January to mark the first anniversary of this column but so many events tumbled on one another in that month that no self-respecting writer could ignore. I therefore could not help but tumble after them events, head first, to keep you in the know as we say around these rooms. Thank you very much for asking: yes, I do have a bit of a headache from all that tumbling and knocking of the head. For you, however, dearest reader, anything can be endured! You have also played your part. I thank you very kindly indeed for all your texts of encouragement and criticism. To be honest, I never knew I could go this far, but sometimes, I believe I have continued to write just to be able to read from you. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading those missives and have digested some, but, naturally, have passed some out! In the over one year that this column began, I have received countless reactions to issues raised here, countless putdowns on something or other I have claimed and more importantly, countless attempts to correct my grammar. On that last one, I would just like to say that I take great pains to ensure the correctness of every
Comment & Analysis
Chop off their manhood Those who raped minors in the course of robbery don’t deserve another chance salaries. Now that political cases have dried up, senior advocates have to parade themselves in court unsolicited, like prostitutes waiting by the roadside for men in dire need of some night nurse. Enough of the digression. My focus this week actually is on the female pupils of Holy Cross College, Enugu, who were attacked by a 12-man robbery gang at Oke-Odo , along OreShagamu Expressway in Ogun State on the night of March 31. This is as depressing as it also mirrors what the Nigerian situation is like in these endtimes. The hapless students were returning home to their parents in Lagos for the Easter holiday. The 42 students had hired the bus belonging to Ekene Dili Chukwu Group of Companies with registration number Lagos XW 875 LSR, for their journey to Lagos. That was the practice in those days when the country still had its soul intact; it no longer does, the soul having been hijacked by buccaneers and those that Fela referred to as ‘beasts of no gender’. Then, it was the school authorities that made similar arrangements for their students returning home on holiday. As a matter of fact, many stu-
dents preferred trains then and were transported by rail because the railway was still functioning. And students normally enjoyed such camaraderie. As I said, that was then. We are almost forgetting the unfortunate incident, leaving the victims to lick their wounds. And this is so because we have been too traumatised by our leaders to be shocked by anything again. In normal climes, there would have been serious outrage over the incident. It would be the talk of the nation for some time to come. That the robbers attacked the students was bad enough; raping them was adding salt to the injury. It shows the extent of depravity in the land. But there is something between robbers and rape that I cannot explain. Less than 24 hours after the police said they had arrested some suspects in connection with the incident, I told a colleague that they would be arrested. It was that colleague who reminded me that I said that the day before. I have read crime reports where some of the arrested robbery suspects had to kill their mates when they discovered that they (their mates) had raped during their operations because they knew
“Since those hoodlums have been as shameless as to have sex with unwilling pupils, Nigerians should also close their eyes to what the external world would say: 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. I mean we should chop off their manhood! Since they had decided to rape without human face, there is no need visiting them with any compassion; their punishment should also have no human face”
what that portended for them. Well, it is good that the police have made some arrests; but given our experience, it is not yet celebration time; indeed, my take is that celebration time may never come because, unless the daughter of a very important personality was involved, or that of someone close to someone in power, the case may die a natural death like other embarrassing incidents in the past. We all know that their daughters do not school in the country; they are in safer climes where no such evil could ever befall them. The few of them who still have their children here would never have allowed them travel the long distance from Enugu to Lagos by road, knowing full well that they had long abandoned the road and it has now become a death trap. Indeed, their children would have long forgotten that they travelled that day from school in Enugu as at the time their less fortunate colleagues were being raped in some evil forests in Sagamu, because they would have travelled by air. But why would any sane person want to have carnal knowledge of such innocent persons? It is true that there are a few Nigerians who are rich and who flaunt their mostly ill-gotten wealth in an offensive manner, cornering most of the beautiful girls in the process; the fact is that Nigeria is also a country where God has something for everyone (we call it ’Olorun o p’enikan lekun’ in Yoruba land). No matter your status, there is someone to take care of your libidinous needs if and whenever you are pressed. But to pounce on innocent pupils just like, and take undue advantage of them? We do not need any medical expert to imagine the trauma the students must have gone through while the
ordeal lasted, and the effect of their being raped on them now and in the future. As a matter of fact, some of them might never recover from it for life. That is why I feel we should spare nothing in dealing with the culprits. If you disagree, I won’t blame you because I know someone who would always argue against death penalty or capital punishment. But he changed his mind the day armed robbers came visiting. Today, the man feels that is the minimum punishment that can be given for such crime. The fact is that one never knows how it feels until one experienced it. May God never allow us experience the bestiality from such beasts in human skin. Those so-called robbers must have seen that their would-be victims were innocent students from whom they could hardly get anything of value. If they were truly armed robbers, they simply would have let them off, after realising who they were. We’ve seen some robbers display such magnanimity. My submission is that, ab initio, those guys took the girls into the bush with the purpose of defiling them. And, since those hoodlums have been as shameless as to have sex with unwilling pupils, Nigerians should also close their eyes to what the external world would say: 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. I mean we should chop off their manhood! Since they had decided to rape without human face, there is no need visiting them with any compassion; their punishment should also have no human face. We should apply the Law of Moses to them: an eye for an eye. Hope I have spoken well?
Let’s change our value system word I use by consulting the human and non-human encyclopaedias I keep by my side, like every fearful writer. In spite of this precaution, however, a wrong word or two may have slipped by when one was not looking, like a child who insists on falling into the pond, whether you like it or not. I assure you though that every word is given out here with great responsibility because I am aware that there be some out there who see you fall and are ready to hand you a pair of crutches out of love; while there be others who see you fall and are ready to knock the back of your fallen head with a spoon also out of love. Many letters have even suggested what I should write on but any reader familiar with this column would have realised one important thing: I have straight-jacketed myself into a mode here. Of course, I’m sweating inside it, but what can I do? I’m like a man who decides to confine himself into an asylum; he can’t wake up one day and decide to go to the cinema just because the fancy seizes him. While it is said that laughter exists everywhere, one must be an insensitive brute indeed to go looking for it in a funeral home. You see, I set out to poke some fun, and some digits, at myself and my country (yes indeed, you can go look for your own country to make fun of) and our culture, and that’s what I am doing, I think. You can be the judge of that. It’s therefore not every topic that I can apply my fine, expensive brush on; some demand real scrapers. So, I have tried to reply to some of your texts (lamely),
and some I have kept for posterity which I assure you is just round the corner (like my grandchild). Thank you all kindly. So, today, if you will, we will just have something like a recap of what we have been saying all year, like flattening out the old year to give the new one some growing room. It is difficult indeed to know the things that matter in life because they vary too much from one individual to another. While most men are content to drive themselves into hypertensive states over the latest cars, most women delight in jabbering away over the latest lace. So, where two or three men are gathered together, they will have at least a car (or whisper - a girl) between them. In like manner, where two or three women are gathered together, there is bound to be a dress or two (or whisper – a husband) between them. Thus it is that men and women are constantly seeing things unwholesomely differently. Indeed, so deep is this schism that many men have been heard to splutter in exasperation: ‘I honestly don’t know if women think at all’ while women go, ‘It’s not true that God created men; they were made somewhere in a Chinese factory.’ Believe it or not, someone somewhere is saying exactly these things about Nigerians because it is difficult indeed to know what matters to him or her. Many of us have come to the unsavoury conclusion that what matters to the Nigerian is nothing but money, money, and more money. The reasons are really all around us. No
daily newspaper is complete without a demoralising tale of someone tucking in a handsome amount of public money running into billions into his private account. Yet, rather than report him, his bank manager worships him; rather than berate him, his pastor or imam kowtows to him by giving him the highest place of honour; rather than exile him, his townsmen troop to his house for their breakfast, lunch and supper (actually that is some kind of punishment but not enough) and rather than ostracise him, his clans and kinsmen proudly claim him. And even when he gets arrested by some queer chance, the anti-corruption agencies and the courts toy with him before releasing him because ‘they find no fault in him.’ That is the power of money. Yet others believe that, in addition to the above, it also matters to the Nigerian to have this thing called ‘long leg’; in fact, the leg can never be too long. This, they say, is how to get things done. Just know the man or woman in charge of anything, that is all, and the sun can be changed to the moon for your sake. Ah! This is why every organ in the state is constantly inconstant and shamelessly manifesting policy reversals and organic failures. You know, I always say anyone who is at once an alcoholic, drug addict and committed smoker has a spare body at home hidden from all eyes since no single body can withstand that level of abuse. The level of system abuse in this country has driven me to the conclusion that there must be some
spare countries within it that we ordinary folks are not aware of because no ordinary, single country can withstand the level of irresponsibility this one has witnessed and sadly, continues to witness. Clearly, anyone can see that Nigeria has developed a culture that is decidedly not conducive to growth. Indeed, it is so anti-developmental that everyone can see it but the people selected (or is it elected) to do something about it. This culture – of impunity, irresponsibility, fearless guzzling greed, religious nuttism, complete disdain for the law and all those who live by it, and yes, a funny value system – constitutes our hallmark. A culture where no one, absolutely no one, is made to give account for the hundreds of billions and billions of Naira he/she steals will bring the house down. But just how this culture can be changed is what has many of us scratching our heads now. In normal climes, education is the surest means of reversing a horrendous culture such as we are talking about; in Nigeria however, this factor seems to be failing us (that is a topic for another day). This means we have to look elsewhere. Each one of us has to look inside him/herself to find out what really matters: money, connections or working towards evolving a system of values which will benefit us all, children and all, centuries from now. The change that will revolutionise a state must begin with each person and that’s where we shall take off from next week. Have a great Easter holiday.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2011
POLITICS THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Reconciliation talks between Rasheed Ladoja and the Peoples Democratic Party have split Accord Party in Oyo State, reports Dare Odufowokan
HE Oyo State chapter of the Accord Party (AP) has remained in the news following uncertainties over the next political destination of its leaders amidst talks of their impending return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where many of them left to form the AP during the run up to the 2011 general elections. The leader of the party in the state, former Governor Rasheed Ladoja, who months back, announced his readiness to return to his former party, the PDP, retraced his steps after his supporters were allegedly schemed out of the ward and local government congresses held across the state to elect new executives for the party. His failed bid to become the National Secretary of PDP, following the argument in some quarters that he cannot be granted the waiver he needed as a new returnee to the party, to contest for a party position, also contributed to the collapse of the much hyped reconciliation talks. However, the future of the AP in Oyo is currently threatened by a crisis occasioned by PDP’s reconciliation talks. The party may have split into factions following the decision of some of its chieftains to return to their former party with or without Ladoja.
The heart of the matter At the heart of the controversy is the election of some Accord Party members into executive party positions at ward and local government levels during the last party congresses held across the state. While many of the party’s stalwarts who participated in the PDP congresses on the strength of the reconciliation talks failed to get elected amidst allegation that old PDP members were determined to shut the returning AP members out of the leadership of the party in the state. The situation led to the emergence of a few Accord Party members, largely in the Oyo zone of the state, emerging as ward and local party executives, while the majority of those who attempted to get elected were left to nurse their losses while alleging that they were sidelined by former Governor Adebayo Alao Akala-led PDP leaders in the state. Even AP members nominated by Ladoja for election into the state executive of the party, based on an alleged earlier agreement with PDP, failed to make the list of successful candidates as Akala loyalists swept all available positions at the end of the state congress. Surprisingly, Ladoja’s wife,
Oyo Accord Party splits over PDP reconciliation Mutiat Ladoja, emerged as an exofficio member of the party. But that was not enough to stop Ladoja from calling off the reconciliation talks in spite of appeal for caution by some of his associates whose nominees made it into wards and LGA executives in some parts of the state.
The crack According to reliable party sources, following the stalemate in the talks between AP and the PDP in Oyo, some Ladoja associates have been mounting pressure on him to reopen talks with his former party. These AP leaders, among who are national assembly candidates during the last election as well as notable ex-government functionaries who served during Ladoja’s reign as governor, are sympathetic to the Alao-Akala-led faction of the party in the state. While these AP stalwarts want Ladoja said their concerns stemmed from serious consideration for the political future of their group, sources close to the ex-governor alleged that this may not be so. “Many of them are urging him to return to PDP in their own interests. They are friends and associates of some other PDP leaders including Akala himself. They are not worried that Ladoja may not find it easy working with his former deputy. They just want to get back into the PDP at all cost. Most of them are already back
there in the PDP, with their nominees as executive members of the party in their respective wards and local governments. They are not bothered that the PDP failed to respect the agreement we had with them to share the state leadership of the party with us,” our source said. Not ready to be cajoled into what he called a skewed arrangement, Ladoja is said to have told those urging him to have a rethink that he would have nothing to do with the PDP in Oyo until the party is freed from the shackles of Alao Akala and his faction. “Our leader is not opposed to reconciliation but what those asking him to return to PDP are not seeing is that he will not submit to the whims and caprices of an Alao Akala-led party. He wants a situation where the people will be allowed to choose their leaders freely. That is yet to happen in Oyo and until that happens, I don’t see Ladoja returning to the party,” one of his close associates, who is also a former commissioner in his administration, told The Nation. This is the bone of contention between Ladoja and those who want him to return to PDP unconditionally. The crisis became public on the heels of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s visit to Ladoja’s Bodija, Ibadan, home. Obasanjo, in company of some factional leaders of the party in Oyo State, had visited Ladoja to finalise a merger talk between
his Accord Party (AA) and the PDP in Oyo State. Though sources said the former governor was yet to bulge, he received the delegation well and held a closed door parley with the PDP leaders amidst protests by his supporters to be wary of Obasanjo and his team.
The twist The visit by Obasanjo, rather than unite the AP in his quest for reconciliation with the PDP, further fueled the fire of discord in the Accord family. Shocked that Ladoja, who had refused their entreaty to reopen talks with the PDP in Oyo, will host a delegation made up of leaders of another faction of the party in the state, some of Ladoja’s associates were embittered by his action. Among those who went to Ladoja’s house with Obasanjo were a former deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja, the Minister of State for the FCT, Jumoke Akinjide, and a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adeolu Adeleke, as well as other PDP stalwarts in the state opposed to Alao Akala’s hold on the party. The difference had led to the parallel state congress of the party in the state on March 17 in protest against what they explained as Alao Akala’s refusal to agree to a sharing arrangement meant to end the factionalisation of the party in the state. Angry with their leader, the
aggrieved AP leaders accused Ladoja of romancing a faction of the party while refusing to consider their own interests in the other faction. This development, according to sources, led to a serious disagreement at a meeting of the party called to discuss Obasanjo’s visit. According to sources, while Ladoja wanted the party to discuss what should be done in the light of the ex-President’s appeal for them to return to PDP, some party stalwart pointedly told him the issue was beyond discussion as they were already in the PDP. “They argued that they went back to the PDP on Ladoja’s instruction. They claimed he backed out on personal ground without considering their own interests. They said they were already part of the Alao Akala faction and there is no going back. In what may be an insight into the crisis within the AP in Oyo State, an associate of the former governor and senatorial candidate of the party during the last general election, Chief Adebisi Ilaka, recently said there was no going back in the move to fuse Accord into the PDP. “Most of us have already crossed into the PDP. We are reckoned with at the local government and we are working on a dialogue process, using the outcome of the 2011 elections to work out a sharing formula. Agreements are being made on ward basis, local government basis,’ he had said.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Opposition unites against Imoke Nicholas Kalu in Calabar reports that opposition parties in Cross-Rivers State are still blowing hot over their plans to unseat Governor Liyel Imoke. So for the governor, the storm may not be over yet.
N Sunday February 26, 2012, Senator Liyel Imoke was returned as governor of Cross River State for the third time! This followed his flooring 11 other contestants in the February 25 governorship election to clinch the top job in the state. Although it was widely held that coming back to Government House would be a walk in the park for Imoke, the path was not without obstructions. Before the main election, Imoke had had to deal with Sonny Abang, who put in efforts to seize the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from him in the primary elections. The development, which showed signs of cracks within the party in the state, was soon put to rest as Imoke floored Abang in the primary elections by a wide margin at the U. J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar. However, barely a week after this victory, he was sacked by the Supreme Court along with four other governors. Speculations that were rife following the judgment, painted a picture of doom for the then ousted Imoke. Opposition parties which before then seemed ceremonious kicked into action, grateful that the situation was at least going to create a more level playing ground, as they believed he would not have access to the machinery of government as much as he would if he were in office. Despite the hopes of the opposition that he would not have access to government machinery; it was obvious the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Larry Odey, who assumed office, was Imoke’s man. Imoke, in the face of these, however seemed calm. Although he had the odds working for him, he still embarked on campaigns across the state that was capped by a grand finale in Calabar that had the likes of President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and other top shots in attendance. Everything was going on just fine for Imoke, and it went on to the February 25 elections which he won by a landslide. It was settled. The storm was over, but there was dark cloud that would not go away. Opposition parties in the state were already pursuing the annulment of the election on the grounds that it was illegal for the Independ-
ent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to abridge the date of the election. Before Imoke’s sack by the Supreme Court, the date for the governorship election was slated for April 14. Immediately after emerging winner in the election, Imoke had expressed his desire for a “strong, credible and sincere” opposition in the state. According to him this would help strengthen democracy in the state. Imoke had decried a situation where opposition fail to go to the people to beg for votes, but rely on the courts to “circumvent the will of the people.” But this would not deter opposition who said they would pursue the annulment of the election to its “logical conclusion” in court. They were in court even before the election. What makes the situation here a bit unique is that the opposition parties are not directly fighting the PDP. According to them, they are only seeking that INEC do the right thing. However the effect of what they seek on the PDP cannot be overstated. Opposition parties who are in court are the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Labour Party (LP), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC). Even before the election, these parties had complained about the shortening of the date which scuttled their plans by its suddenness. Besides accusing the electoral umpire of being compromised, they said it was against the law. Governorship candidate of the CPC, Miss Mary Ekpere had said, “Sequel to the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered on the 27th of January, 2012; we were shocked to receive the information/directives from INEC that the governorship election for Cross River State shall hold on the 25th day of February, 2012, as against the earlier slated date of the 14th April, 2012. “As a political party with the constitutional rights and privileges to participate in the forthcoming governorship election in Cross River State, we find this action unconstitutional as it contravenes the provisions of the Electoral Act 2011 (As Amended),; which is the fundamental law that guides the practice and procedure for the conduct of elections in the Federal Republic of Ni-
geria. Our argument is anchored on Section 31(1) and 34 of the Act which specifically provides thus: 5.31(1) “The germane questions are:(1)Did any of the political parties submit the list of its nominated candidates 60 days before the present date appointed for this election?(2)Did your INEC published/displayed a statement of the full names and addresses of the candidate standing nomination thirty (30) days from the present appointed date for this election? The answers to the above questions are in the Negative (No). “Against the above background, we wish to bring to the notice of the INEC that the provisions of the Act are sacrosanct and mandatory, being an Act of the National Assembly, this is trite. It is therefore indisputable that any non-compliance with the provisions of the Act will render any election conducted illegal, null and void.” The chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Hilliard Eta, who expressed displeasure with INEC for fixing the gubernatorial poll in February 25, said the period is not only short but a deviation from the law and due process of elections in the country. He had called on INEC to reverse the new date in the “interest of fairness and justice.” He said, “The farce that passed for the 25th of February election is Jega’s election. When INEC would be ready to conduct the election for Cross Riverians and for Cross River State, they would give us a proper date.” The other opposition parties also spoke along the same lines. However, the governorship candidate of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Senator Liyel Imoke, had expressed delight with INEC’s prompt release of the election timetable. According to him then, “It’s a good and positive sign that buttresses my personal view that basic hierarchy requires a degree of orderliness.” Giving reasons for the abridgment in a forum with political parties in the state, chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega said INEC changed the timetable for the election because they were compelled by circumstances to do that.
Jega’s words, “The judgement of the Supreme Court made it imperative for us to take another look at the time table. And in taking that look at the timetable, we had the advice of the best lawyers that we had consulted. Obviously, the reason that was uppermost in our minds in fixing the timetable as we rescheduled the elections had to do with the need not to allow continued vacuum in the governance in the states, where the Supreme Court said the tenure of the governors had expired. Jega had said INEC has the power to issue a timetable or to alter it and “we have done so and we have not violated any constitutional or Electoral Act provision.” The opposition parties who are still in court however are still blowing hot. Governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Mrs Imah Nsa-Adegoke, who joined the Action Congress of Nigeria as plaintiffs in a suit against the electoral umpire said, “Did the opposition ask him (Jega) to come and look into its budget and save it? He says he was compelled; compelled by who? The only thing that should compel INEC is the statute that set it up. We cannot allow a situation where INEC would continue to unilaterally move forward an election or bring it near. It has no such powers. “We don’t have any problem with PDP or any other party. What we are saying is give us the proper playing field. We expected a minimum of 60 days to campaign. Not two weeks. We expected a minimum of sixty days according to the electoral act. “The courts would decide whether Jega was constitutional or not.” Chairman of the Action Congress, Hilliard Etta, who described the abridgment as fraudulent, said “we are going to pursue all our matters to the Supreme Court if need be. The abridgment is a building block for the pyramid that Jega is intending to build around himself in INEC. We cannot allow Jega to be a tyrant in Nigeria, where he would discountenance the electoral law as he pleases. We cannot allow that.” Governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Mr Patrick Okomiso, said he would pursue the case against INEC for illegality “to its logical conclusion.”
Kogi-Bayelsa: Between credible judiciary and viable
HEN President Goodluck Jonathan visited President Barack Obama of the United States of America, the latter drew his attention to the importance of building strong institutions rather than strong individuals. Obama mentioned with pride the independence of the American judicial system, such that even he as the president cannot influence a single case before the American court. The message was a tutorial of sort for an African leader, coming against the background where most African leaders with age long dictatorial mentality see every other arm of government as an appendage, built and controlled by the president. No doubt, America and other civilized nations appreciate the history of separation of power as a major component of liberal democracy. In Nigeria, we have had a checkered political history of both military and civil dictatorship that had concentrated on building strongmen in place of strong institutions. Only recently, when the EFCC was established, it became an instrument of political suppression, oppression and political vendetta. Selective trial and investigations have been the hallmark, at the whims and caprices of the powers that be, especially the executive arm of government. The judiciary, which is regarded as the last hope of the common man, became a theatre of justice for sale to the highest bidder, with the bulk of influence coming from
By S. Abdulahi Yusuf
the executive end. We have to thank God that, the emergence of Dahiru Musdapher as the Head of the Nigerian Judiciary has set the stage for reforms, which will usher in the true spirit of an egalitarian society based on the rule of law. Already, a reform bill to clean up the judiciary is before the National Assembly as was widely reported. The Supreme Court under him has given ground breaking judgment, and from his official policy statements and body language, it is clear that the days of executive interference in judgments are numbered. This is clearly captured in his mission statement, that; “In a constitutional
democracy, neither the Legislature nor the Judiciary is supreme… the only task of the Courts is to protect the provisions of the constitution and ensure the Legislature fulfills its obligation.” In other words, the constitution, which is the grundnorm, is supreme, which every other institution rests on as the source and only source which it derives its powers and functions, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Many Nigerians are looking forward to the translation of this dream to reality. Justice Musdapher, by this stance has begun the process of restoring the people’s confidence in the Judiciary that has fast eroded. The tenure elongation judgment is locus classicus that has thrown up fundamental issues, that has helped in deepening the nation’s democratic process. Essentially, there are two exceptional cases that Nigerians are looking forward to. The outcome of the judgment of these two cases will not only deepen the course of democracy, but will also mar or enhance the image of the Judiciary as an institution and moral force bearer for democracy. These are the cases of the governorship election in Kogi State and that of Bayelsa State, where two separate primaries were conducted within a period of seven months for the same election. It is very novel case in the sense that, for the first time in our political history, the Supreme Court will decide the validity of the conduct of two separate primaries for a governorship election and the legality of conducting the governorship election in those two states. The case of Bayelsa
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
In this interview with Sam Egburonu in Lagos, Ochiagha Reagan Ufomba, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Abia State at the April 2011 elections, denied sponsoring the recent security breach in Aba, but insisted that a new generation of leaders will soon take over the reign of power and chart a new course in Abia State. Excerpts
We want change, not violence in Abia —Ufomba
BIA State has been in the news of recent. What are your views of the state of affairs in the state? Abia State has been in the news for bad reasons. Bad governance, wastage of funds, blackmailing, intolerance of the opposition and for these and many more the opposition has risen to the occasion. They have decided to defend the people who voted them in 2011. We have a government in place that is so intolerant to constructive criticism. The other day, I was reading The Nation newspaper and Tinubu said that President Jonathan is the most cunning politician he had ever seen. The following day, Mr. President congratulated Tinubu on his 60th birthday anniversary. That is the way it should be. The opposition must have a voice. Are they specific examples of clampdown on opposition that you can recall? What is raging in Abia today is well known to the press and to the public. Sometime last month, we buried our leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and the people reacted spontaneously against the governor and government of oppression; a government they never voted for, a government that has refused to serve the people; a government without vision. They booed at them, just as they have always done. And the man resorted to some pettiness. First they said it was Governor Rochas Okorocha because the man received a he-
nd viable democracy State involving the current governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, is much more interesting. Majority of Bayelsans believe that since Bayelsa is the president’s home state, Justice Musdapher cannot do anything contrary to wishes of Mr. President, no matter the constitutional provision. The reactions in Kogi state are not different because of the PDP culture of ‘do or die politics’. However, majority of lawyers said that in the eye of the law and especially under the no-nonsense disposition of Justice Musdapher, justice will be done without the so-called fear of executive interference in the process. On the part of Mr. President, his democratic credentials are not in doubt. At least, his message of transformation has been rending in the air and he has learnt his lessons from the Obama tutorials on the independence of the Judiciary and national development. The Water-Gate scandal under the Richard Nixon presidency in the United States is a food for thought for those who sweep justice under the carpet. Therefore, any attempt by anybody to use Mr. President’s name to influence and pervert the cause of justice as it concerns Kogi and Bayelsa states are doing so in their selfish interests. Nigerians are watching with keen interest the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment because it is a fundamental judgment that will shape the course of the Nigerian judicial system. • Yusuf wrote from Abuja
roic welcome into Aba. Then, they said it was APGA leadership and they narrowed it down to me. As unfortunate as that may be, some of us reacted, and said no, count out us, we are not part of this. I have no hand in what happened in Aba. APGA has no hands in what happened there. But ever since then, heavens are dripping with blackmail, insults and threats. Of course, we cannot be deterred by this pettiness. We will continue to defend our mandate. We will continue to defend the people who voted us. It wasn’t the first time T. A. was booed in public places. What I expect him to do is to do self introspection and say why are all these happening to me? If the people didn’t want him and didn’t vote for him, and he imposed himself on the people, then he ought to start a new process. We all know what happened in Abia. We all know that there was no election in Abia; that he simply sat down and wrote some very funny results. That is why the people are opposed to him, coupled with the fact that his government lack vision. This is a 21st century government that is constructing roads without gutter. This is a 21 st century governor that spent over N50million to commission a footbridge. He ferried people from all over the local government, sew uniform as an identity, then every other Obote men were chased out by stern-looking soldiers. We cannot tolerate this in Abia State. That is why the people will continue to oppose him, until he realises that every kobo that comes in to Abia State is not his personal money; that it is money meant for Abia people, both PDP and the opposition and it is our responsibility to put the government in check until he vacates that office because we are very confident that the Supreme Court will do
the needful this time around, by removing this man from office constitutionally. This is a man who is in power without party card. He has no party and he has not been able to prove to anybody that he was a member of PDP. This is a man that got an award from the Court of Appeal that he was deputy to former governor Orji Uzor Kalu. That was the ruling of the court of appeal, that he was the deputy between 2003 and 2007. It is on record that Onyema Ugochukwu went to court because the man did not resign as a civil servant. These are the albatross that he has on his head. But recent publications have displayed some of the projects executed by Orji administration. Besides, it is obvious PDP is in control in Abia, given the fact that all the elected positions, from local government level to senate and governor are PDP. Can’t you agree with the government that APGA is nonexistent there and so can’t win an election? That is the only way you will know that the election was rigged. All the candidates that contested on the platform of other parties, all their relatives were dead, their family members were dead, their friends were dead; their party men do not exist. You see, they were stupid in the manner they rigged the election in Abia State. If they had some respect for humanity, for their fellow politicians and for Abia people, they would have at least conceded some areas where they know that their opponents won overwhelmingly. Let me tell you, within the next one month, I am going to publish the original results collected by our agents in Abia state. I am also going to deliver all the ballot boxes that were discovered in the bushes of Abia, with electoral materials intact. I am going to parcel it to Jega. Let them tell us how T. A. won election in Abia State. I put it to you that he didn’t win any election. If he says he won, or that he is popular, I want to challenge him to a popularity contest. Let him come to Aba, no soldier, no policeman. He and I alone, we would walk from Osisioma junction, through Ngwa road, to AbaOwerri road through Asa road, through Ohanku, without any police guard or soldier. Let us see who the people would boo and who they would hail. I will want the walk covered by the press live. Why are you so aggressive against His Excellency? Is there any personal battle between two of you? Naturally I am not a trouble maker but since he has created opposition and made me the opposition leader in Abia State, by associating my name with that ugly incident in Aba, knowing very well that I know nothing about it, I will continue to react this way. I accept the responsibility of opposition leader in Abia State and so, I will continue to defend the people of Abia State because I have their mandate to do so. Also, we are going to call on Mr. President, the Supreme Court and we are going to petition the Chief Justice of the Federation because of all the petitions that went to the electoral tribunal, 99 percent of them were dismissed on mere technicalities and that is against the law. You have accepted the position of opposition leader. Observers are worried about
the texture of politics in the state, must we call ourselves names? Can’t we play a more refined politics? I am a refined gentleman. Everybody knows that. I am a very humble person. I have carried myself in a most dignified manner, before, during and after the elections. I ran one of the most decent campaigns in this country; issue based. I had my three point agenda for Abia State and a different 12-point agenda for Aba, because Aba is the heartbeat of Abia State. I never called names. I never troubled anybody. When they rigged election, we went to the tribunal. They deceived themselves and we went to appeal. They served a different lawyer from the lawyer we hired and we resorted to God. I went back to my business. I have been in Lagos. For the past eight months I have not been to Abia. I flew into Abia just for the burial of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, our leader, my hero; and then they started calling names, funny names made from a very familiar template. We would react, fire for fire. Nobody has monopoly of blackmail. As long as they continue to blackmail the opposition, witch-hunt the opposition, intimidate the opposition. We will stand firm because we have God with us and we have the people behind us. Let me also give you a very bad scenario in Abia State. There was a man, Mr. Owanta; his party logo was excluded, his name was excluded, the name of his party was excluded and yet that man was allocated some votes. And the man went to court and said, look, my party’s logo didn’t appear and they said shut up, you have nothing to say. What do they want us to do; to take to the streets? Even at that, we the candidates have been talking, we have been meeting and we say that we do not want violence in Abia State. We need to approach this thing in a most dignified manner and yet that has not been appreciated. But we can never abandon Abia State or Nigeria for anybody. We have equal stakes in this country, we have equal stakes in Abia State and we are going to stand to defend our rights. We are only waiting for May, after May, you will see what will happen in Abia State. What will happen in May? What will happen in May is that we will know whether there is judiciary in this country or not; whether the Electoral Act is a wishy-washy document or a document that ought to be respected in this country. The tenets of that Act said for you to contest election in this country, you must be a member of a political party. You must be sponsored by a political party. Being a member does not mean carrying the flag of the party. You must have your name in the party register. You must have your party card. And we know that the judgment of the appeal court said T. A. emerged as deputy, when he couldn’t present any form of identity, any form of linkage with PDP. The whole world knows he was in PPA and was anointed from above and became governor. So, we say that is not what the law said. That law must be respected. We are waiting for the Supreme Court judgment. This hot politicking, where has it left the average Abia indigene? Where is the place of governance? That is why Abia people are yearning for change. That is why they voted for change. Mr. President has visited Abia on three or four occasions. Please ask the president how many projects he has commissioned in Abia. The only hospital he went to in Aba, the Abia State Teaching Hospital, was built by Orji Uzor Kalu. We cannot continue to fool everybody all the time. Some of us have woken up from our slumber and we must continue to decently, constructively challenge this shortchanging of Abia people. If the picture is the way you are painting it, how are the other eminent Abians reacting? It is now everybody for himself and God for us all. Most of the big men from Abia are simply doing siddon look because nobody wants to die. We are aware of what happened during kidnappings and who the sponsors were. Ok! You talk, you get kidnapped. So, the average man in the street, the youth are standing up now to say no. A new generation is coming up to take over the reign of power and chart a new course in Abia State.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
ripples Akala and his deputies C
LOSE associates and aides of former Governor Adebayo Alao Akala of Oyo State are currently worried over the seeming inability of his deputies to sustain their relationship with the former governor of the pacesetter state. Ripples learnt, over the week, that many of them are already discussing the issue in hush tones and may have resolved to confront the former police officer over the matter. Akala’s aides are currently wondering why he has not been able to retain the loyalty and friendship of any of the men who had served as his deputy. Already, some of them are accusing the former governor, alleging that it was incumbent on him to retain the loyalty of his deputies and aides. Those worrying about the matter
are citing the frosty relationships between Akala and Alhajis Azeem Gbolarumi and Taofeek Arapaja, the two Ibadan-born politicians who were his deputies, respectively, in his first and second coming as governor of Oyo state. While Gbolarunmi served as deputy governor to Akala, when he (Akala) replaced his impeached boss, Rasheed Ladoja as governor, Arapaja was the deputy governor
when Akala served as governor between 2007 and 2011. He was also his running mate when the duo lost their re-election bid barely a year ago. Akala and Gbolarunmi became sworn enemies following the sudden death of Alhaji L a m i d i Adedibu, their godfather, who had nominated Gbolarunmi, his Personal Assistant, as deputy governor. All efforts to reconcile the two erstwhile political associates failed as they both swore to see to the political death of one another. And barely a year after running on the same ticket for re-election, Akala and Arapaja are now sworn enemies with each leading a different faction of their party in the state. These are the developments that left Akala’s associates wondering if there is something wrong with his interpersonal relationship with his deputies and they are yet to find answers to that poser. Anyway, they have resolved to discuss the matter with Akala himself.
Governor who sits upfront
HEN next you see the convoy of Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, take special notice of
the passenger sitting right beside the driver of His Excellency’s official vehicle. No, it is not the ADC to the governor as you may have expected, going by the usual Nigerian protocol. The man sitting beside the driver, in the front roll, and chatting casually with the driver, is the governor himself, while the other passenger, sitting at the “owner’s corner,” right behind the governor, is the ADC. “It is not occasionally, but always. That is the sitting arrangement we are now used to when moving around with the governor. At first it was strange but soon we got used to the man’s simplicity. It means nothing to him. It is as if he just wants to remain his ordinary self. He doesn’t attach much importance to these ceremonies of office. His interest is in getting the jobs done,” an aide of the governor told Ripples. Ripples also gathered that this strange sitting arrangement is only one out of many actions by the governor that confirm his decision to demystify the office of governor and remain himself while in office. No wonder, he is
today, better known as the real servant leader. Besides the strange sitting arrangement, Ripples learnt that contrary to what is the practice with other governors across the country, Aregbesola forbids the use of siren by vehicles in his convoy whenever he is moving within the state. “The governor warned his drivers and security details against the use of siren by his convoy within the state. He said he is the people’s governor and as such shouldn’t frighten them off the road when in actual fact he is supposed to move at a speed that will enable them say hello to him,” a source told Ripples. In addition to his ‘no siren’ order, the governor, it was learnt, would not have any vehicle in his convoy speed beyond 60km/hr. Funny enough, many of the drivers in his convoy are not comfortable with this decision and have privately voiced out their complaints. “It is very funny but true. The governor will not hear of any driver speeding while driving within the state. He will always insist that the car should not exceed 60km/hr. Though many of the convoy drivers who are used to the culture of excessive speeding of the past are not comfortable with this, they have learnt to comply with his directive,” the source added. To cap it all, Ripples learnt that the governor, instead of sitting comfortably at the ‘owner’s corner’ of the car, would always be found sitting right beside the driver while his ADC sits behind him.
Political Politics turf
with Bolade Omonijo firstname.lastname@example.org
Worship at the Otuoke church
T is such a small worship centre that ought not to attract the attention it has got in the past week. The Anglican Church in Otuoke befits the small community it is meant to serve and, prior to the story that politicians had got involved in its search for a befitting worship centre, the parishioners merely went to church regularly to seek the face of the living God and render service to the Omnipotent and humanity. A lot has changed in the past eight days. It is not surprising that anything involving the President, whether his family life, his circle of friends and associates, political mentors and godfathers and, of course, his godsons and cronies, naturally attract the attention of the public. He has no private life for as long as he occupies the office. He is also held to account for upholding or violently violating the Constitution that he vowed at inauguration to protect and defend. It is therefore understandable that the donation of a small church with capacity of accommodating just about 350 worshippers, as the contracting firm has said, is generating such hues and cries. The construction company that gave the small gift to the Otuoke community said it did so as part of its corporate social responsibility. It added that it is the company’s nature. Gitto Construction Company said it had been involved in Nigeria since 2002, and Bayelsa since 2005. However, despite listing nine major projects awarded to and executed by the company since it first moved to Nigeria, it could not cite any similar previous donation. It started with Otuoke. Why Otuoke? Is the company more involved in Bayelsa than other states? Even if this were so, why Otuoke? What, besides being President Goodluck Jonathan’s village, recommended the Bayelsa settlement? Why the President’s church? The first statement credited to the President at the dedication of the church said he gloated over Gitto’s prompt response to presidential plea. The president, it was later said, merely wondered aloud at the burial of his father while still Vice President, whether anyone could come to the village and offer the help. Gitto caught the vision and has delivered. In its advertorial, Gitto sought to clear the air. It explained that the federal government owed it in respect of contracts awarded. It denied that it had failed the country in respect of the Second Niger Bridge as the federal government has failed to play its part. Perhaps the most instructive part of the advertorial is paragraph four where it submitted that the company “has not been awarded any major contracts under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.” The question any discerning mind would ask is, could this be the reason? Pray, if the government has awarded no major contracts, why is the company paying back to a community? Could it be a way of currying patronage? Contrary to what the President, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Primate of the Anglican Church would have us believe, there is more to this donation than meets the eye. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that it was offered as a lubricant to the federal government. Or, can the Minister of Works turn down a bid from the contractor that made such a big donation to the President by subterfuge? The most disappointing of all the responses is that explanation by The Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). I thank God that I am an Anglican and no one could therefore accuse me of being irreverent or being contemptuous of the church leadership. I hold the church leaders in high esteem. I respect the Primate and the process that brought him to that exalted seat. I have watched from afar his humility and the way he has been unobtrusive in the course of duty. He might not have sounded as passionate as his great predecessors, The Most Revds Abiodun Adetiloye and Peter Akinola; he might not have been as vocal on national and international issues that have cropped up in recent times, but he is as deserving of respect as they were ( and still are). I felt very disappointed that the Bishop of Enugu, the Right Revd. Emmanuel Chukwuma who said he was speaking for the Primate, literally told those who had queried the donation to keep quiet. He, by that act, took up the responsibility of defending the President in the matter. Was he privy to the negotiations? Is he in position to understand the motives of the contractor? Did he consult lawyers to appreciate the import, ramifications and purport of section 6 of the Code of Conduct Act? The Primate should emulate the illustrious deeds of his great predecessors. The Anglican Church has come a long way. It has refrained from following in the steps of those that have introduced strange doctrines. The Primate should lead the way. He is not a politician and should not join the fray. Despite the church being donated to the Anglican Communion, the President has erred and should be so told. I equally believe that the Bishop of that diocese ought to have rejected the Greek gift when it was offered. The church must march on and the gates of hell in whatever guise must be held at bay. God bless Nigeria.
COVER THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
Between Nigerian leaders and construction giants
â€˘The five star Tower Hotel, Yenagoa . Gitto Construction Company started building it when Jonathan was governor.
ULTINATIONAL construction firms have over the years become very powerful influence peddlers in the corridors of power. DARE ODUFOWOKAN reports on how these companies have been closely linked with different regimes and how their fortunes have changed as power changed hands. Juicy contracts and mouth watering consultancies for a fact do not just fall out of the sky. Still, most observers of "government patronage" - construction contracts and various consultancies - remain largely unaware of the filtering process that occurs in the build up to the award and acquisition of such patronage. Multinational companies and their indigenous counterparts alike, compete for each contract. They worry about bidding for the right contracts, submitting the acceptable quotation and knowing the right people in government. While the above 'efforts' by construction giants to land government patronage may not be uncommon, the unpublicised extent to which these business concerns and their promoters go to influence the eventual award of such contracts to them has always been a topic for intense discussion. This is where the allegations of incestuous relationships between government officials and contractors usually rear their head. In some instances, these construction companies appoint to their boards influential Nigerians who can swing multi-billion naira contracts their way. But there have also
Multinational construction firms have over the years become very powerful influence peddlers in the corridors of power. Dare Odufowokan reports on how these companies have been closely linked with different regimes and how their fortunes have changed as power changed hands. been talk of how the foreign multinationals gratify their way to landing juicy contracts. Though there has been several allegations of kick-backs and other forms of inducements, with a number of our leaders fingered in such alleged deals, there has never really been an incident where the recipient of such perceived 'inducement' announced it to the hearing of the populace. The on-going controversy that has snowballed over President Goodluck Jonathan's ties with Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG) have brought the relationships between these companies and our leaders to the front burner of national debate. Today, the president is battling to convince Nigerians, especially opposition politicians and the civil society, that the church built in Otuoke, his hometown by GCG, is not some sort of bribe. Like most Presidents and Heads of State before him, President Jonathan came into office with stories of his strong affection for a particular con-
struction company trailing him. In his case, the favoured giants happened to GCG. The President's relationship with Gitto, it was learnt, dates back to when the Jonathan was governor of Bayelsa State. From all accounts available of that period, the company did its fair share of major government contracts. Trouble started when the President, at the recent dedication of the 400-seat church building in Otuoke, his village in Bayelsa State, said the edifice was donated to the community by the Abujabased Italian construction company. According to him, the managing director of Gitto made him a promise to build and donate the church to Otuoke community after he (the president) had complained of the aging structure of his church, which apparently no longer befits the status of the president's village. But rather than praise Jonathan for getting the company to display such 'corporate social responsibility', opposition politicians and numerous other eminent
â€˘Jonathan Nigerians were jolted to anger that the president could openly justify such a 'gift' from a private company, whose activities in the country have been mired in controversies. The argument of his critics is that it is unacceptable for a president anywhere in the world to be seen to be directly or indirectly "soliciting" such a gift. They also point out that the Code of Conduct for public officials in Nigeria expressly forbids it. Be that as it may, it worthy of mention that Jonathan would not be the first Nigerian leader to be linked with accepting such gifts from a business
concern with interest in government projects, or using his position to get business concerns to invest in concerns in which the leader has an interest. A peep into the not too distant past of our country makes interesting revelations about the rise and fall in fortunes of certain companies as leaders rose and vacated office. Lodgiani/Borini Prono Jonathan's predecessor, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, never for once hid his preference for Borini Prono and Lodgiani, two construction companies that held sway during his reign.
â€˘Continued on Page 24
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
Cover •Continued from Page 23
Apart from the fact that the late President's uncle, Alhaji M.T. Usman, was the chairman of Lodigiani Nigeria Limited at the time, his relationship with the Italian construction giant dated back to his days as governor of Katsina State. It was the company that constructed the multi-billion naira State Secretariat complex; part of the College of Legal Studies, Daura and many other projects. So favoured was the company in Katsina in those days that it was rumoured that the Yar'Adua extended family held a substantial part in the shares of the company. Sources said the contract for the secretariat was first awarded in 1991 by the Governor Saidu Barda administration at the cost of N350 million. But when Yar'Adua emerged Governor in 1999, he reviewed the contract to N943 million. That probably marked the beginning of a rosy relationship that lasted until death put paid to it ten years later. Besides, some Kastina indigenes wondered why such a gigantic contract was awarded to Lodigiani without competitive bidding or tender process. Alhaji Iro Dan Musa, a PDP board member, was one politician who was disturbed by the indiscriminate award of such contracts in his home state. While Lodgiani cornered nearly all the building projects executed by the Yar'Adua administration, most road projects were handled by Borini Prono Nigeria Limited, a company in which the rumour mills alleged Yar'Adua had some interest. Very popular among the projects handled by the company is the controversial construction of a roundabout on IBB Way/National Filling Station/ Kofar Kwaya Road in Katsina. The contract was awarded to Borini Prono Nig. Ltd in September, 2002 at a cost of N14.5 million. Though the cost of the contract generated an uproar that threatened to rubbish the image of the administration, the company still executed the contract and got paid. Lodgiani and Borini Prono also benefitted immensely in the construction of the city gates by the administration. Amidst protest by indigenous construction companies, Yar'Adua insisted he needed the expertise of the two foreign companies in the handling of his city gates. It was not long before allegations started flying around that Lodgiani and Borini Prono had severally 'appreciated' Yar'Adua's gesture by ways of numerous gifts extended to him, members of his family and a number of his aides. For example, it was alleged that the renovation carried out on the Yar'Adua family house in 2002 was done by the two companies free of charge. Another story was told of how one of the companies built an eye-popping mansion for the late President in Kaduna. His Abuja house is also reported to have been built by the construction companies at no cost to the former Governor. None of these claims have been substantiated. In 2005, there were allegations that the construction companies distributed exotic cars to some officials of the Yar'Adua administration and senior executives of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. With all the allegations of graft or gift unproven, the relationship between Yar'Adua and the construction giants continued when he became President. The two companies' influence in the federal capital only started to wane when the Katsina-born politician died in 2009. Gitto again The coming of President Goodluck Jonathan may not have been the first time embattled Gitto Construction will be having a taste of favourable federal government patronage. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, also reportedly had a strong affinity for Gitto. That administration patronised the company with juicy contracts such as the construction of the Second River Niger Bridge. The N58.6 billion bridge, which was planned to be completed within three and half years under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) deal, is yet to take shape. Also, the company handled the last phase of the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, which was completed during the tenure of Obasanjo. Several roads projects within and outside Abuja
Cosy ties between Nigerian leaders and construction giants
•The controversial Anglican Church in Otuoke, Bayelsa State
•Gitto Construction: Caught in the eye of the storm
were awarded to Gitto by the Obasanjo administration. Consequently, when news broke that the Italian firm was one of the major contractors that handled the controversial Presidential Library, Abeokuta, built by Obasanjo, tongues started wagging that the project may be one way of repaying the former President's patronage. The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library project was launched on May 14, 2005 in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State. It hosts the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Category Two Institute. Chagouri Brothers Military leaders also had their fair share of extending preferential treatment and patronage to selected construction giants. For the Late General Sani Abacha, the preferred foreign construction company was C&C, a company owned by the Chagouri Brothers who had been longtime business associates of the Abacha family. Though the story had it that the Abacha family holds substantial interest in the C&C, it is also believed that
was still building a mosque in Kano on the orders of the late ruler when he died in 1998. The mosque was said to have remained uncompleted for many years before a chieftain of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) in the state championed its completion few years back. Julius Berger German construction giants, Julius Berger, became prominent in Nigeria during the reign General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. One of the reasons for its growth then was its reported readiness to accept payment for contracts with crude oil. Aso Rock, Nigeria's seat of government was one of the many projects handled by Julius Berger. The International Conference Center in Abuja was also constructed by Julius Berger. The construction was completed in three months and is reputed to have been paid for in crude oil. Most of the roads and infrastructure in Abuja among other things were built by the company. There are speculations that Nigeria paid for these projects in oil. Over the years, there have been insinuations that the cost of many of these
the rise of the company was as a result of the late Head of State's distrust for Julius Berger, the leading construction company in the country at the time. Sani Abacha, sources said, never really forgave Julius Berger for what he saw as their impertinence and uncooperative attitude during the early days of the palace coup that brought him into office. Consequently, he starved the German company of fresh contracts all through his four years in office - as such, Julius Berger's loss became C& C's gain. It is widely believed that in appreciation for his patronage, Abacha's holdings in the company were increased severally while the company also built a number of houses for him. For example, the expansive Abacha family house in Kano, though built before his emergence as Head of State, was renovated and expanded by the C&C during the late General's stint as military ruler. A polo ground was also reportedly constructed at no cost by the company for the Abachas in Kano while one of his sons had a mansion built for him in the city by a subsidiary of the company. Sources added that the company
projects allegedly took care of the cost of building houses and offices for some prominent Nigerians. Julius Berger, through a front company known as FN Ltd was recently alleged by an online news agency to have constructed the Heritage House, which houses Triple Heritage, the multimedia company founded by Babangida. The company also allegedly built Babangida's country home in Minna. Other Babangida properties allegedly built by Berger or its subsidiary, FN Ltd in Abuja are: the office of Military Pension in Zone 4; the other one is a block of luxury flats in Maitama which currently houses top executives of Triple Heritage. The list of prominent Nigerians who have benefitted from close links with foreign construction giants is as long as the arm. They go beyond former presidents and heads of state and extend to influential ministers whose ran ministries which were in position to dole out the juicy federal construction contracts in Abuja and across the country. The ongoing controversy is bound to lead to further murky revelations.
What do you give a president? Taiwo Ogundipe, Associate Editor, looks at gifts given to our leaders over the years and reports that some verge on the outlandish.
RESIDENTIAL gifts over the years have varied from dispensation to dispensation. One of the most talkedabout in the history of Nigeria was the gift of a nubile bride to ex-President Shehu Shagari during a state visit to one of the states in the Niger Delta region. Although the then civilian president did not officially accept the damsel, the gesture remained the talk of the town for a long time. It also echoed the traditional practice of native civilizations whereby visiting monarchs were honoured with such human gifts as brides or slaves. With the introduction of democracy and modernity, that practice seemed to have become
extinct until it resurfaced during the tenure of Shagari. Other animate objects such as beasts of burden like horses, stocks of cattle, and rare birds such as penguins, have been known to be common examples of presidential gifts. Inanimate objects as gifts to the past and present chiefs of state are also common. They range from artifacts and antiques to implements of work and weapons of war. A recent visitor to exPresident Olusegun Obasanjo's evolving Presidential Library project described what he saw as a sprawling museum of thousands of mementos of presidential gifts, rare and common, from different parts of the world.
Section 6 of the Code of Conduct for Public officers embodied in the First Schedule of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act (CAP C15) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, prohibit public officials from receiving gifts from contractors. However, it is doubtful whether there is rigorous monitoring of this statute. Also, there is much confusion over the handling and legal status of presidential gifts in Nigeria unlike some other nations of the world. The United States of America Constitution (Article I, Section 9) prohibits anyone in the US Government from receiving a personal gift from a foreign head of
state without the consent of Congress. Today, the handling of gifts from a foreign official to any Federal Government employee, including the President, is largely governed by the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966 and further legislation passed in 1977. •Continued on Page 67
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
Northern govs, traditional rulers not sincere A
S an advocate of the Sovereign National Conference, are you glad with the recent announcement by some northern leaders of the region’s readiness to embrace restructuring? A. First of all, I’m not sure whether what they see as restructuring is the one that Nigeria desires because from the utterances of the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Babangida Aliyu, it appears they simply want to use that platform to agitate for more funding for their states. I am yet to see any form of patriotism in their agitation for restructuring. So, I think we shouldn’t jump to conclusions to start commending them for agreeing to restructure since we don’t know what type of agenda they have on the table to present. But is anything wrong with their agitation for more funding? A. In my own view, I do not think the governors from northern states should be asking for increased funding at this very time. They should rather be thinking of how they can explore and harness the resources of the region in order to address the fundamental challenges of the region, and they should not be talking about revenue derivation. They should be talking about utilization. The question needs to be asked on why governors of the southwest and south-east that have not been getting enough money are not complaining. Only governors from the North are agitating for more money.
Comrade Shehu Sani is president of Civil Right Congress of Nigeria. In this interview with Dare Odufowokan, the activist accuses northern leaders of being insincere in their resolve to tackle problems facing the region. Sani who once brokered talks between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and leaders of the Boko Haram sect also argues that only a revolution can correct the huge imbalance in the country. So you don’t think the north can really support the call for restructuring the way Nigerians want it? A. Well, it depends on what the contents of the restructuring package are. Going by the statements of the Arewa Consultative Forum, northern governors and traditional rulers, I think they have a different agenda than the desire to see Nigeria on the road to peaceful coexistence. Even their views are not reflective of the desires of the common people of the north. Their views are reactionary, conservative and elitist and have very little to do with the issues that affect the common man all over Nigeria. So, we need to know what their intentions are before we can say it clearly tallies with the interest, views and desires of other governors and the generality of Nigeria. Do you think this call for restructuring and the attendant Sovereign National Conference is still necessary given political developments of the past few years in Nigeria?
A. You see we have been campaigning for the Sovereign National Conference for a long time now, but I don’t know of any country that has developed through the Sovereign National Conference. What I know countries and people always agitate for each time they have an atmosphere of stagnation and oppression is revolution. We should be looking towards a revolution now and not a Sovereign National Conference. Sovereign National Conference will only address the issues of revenue sharing formula. But it will not address the class issue and the economic inequities between the rich and the poor. It is only through a revolution that the class of exploiters can actually be dealt with. Restructuring can only address the issue of revenue sharing and fiscal federalism. It will leave the socio-economic system intact. It will not touch on the •Continued on Page 26
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012 •Continued from Page 25 privileges of the middle class. It will not resolve the issue of socioeconomic inequalities, injustices and would also not address the basic challenges of class domination. But you have always been an advocate of the SNC. What has changed? Sovereign National Conference will only be a soothing balm in a society that is bedeviled by corruption and economic injustice as well as socio-economic tyranny. Anybody who feels sitting down at a table and talking will bring justice to the common man in the south-west, south-east and the north is simply wasting his time. What the elitist class wants is a conference that will bring the oppressor and the oppressed to the table and at the end of the day, no fundamental change will be achieved. Nigerians should not be fooled by these conservative elitist forces with their sweet talk. Progressive forces in Nigeria should reach out to the grassroots, mobilise them and let’s have a national revolution. Talk and Sovereign National Conference will never address that. But there are those who believe that we should sit down to talk about all these issues you have raised. They think we may find a way round them and still live together as one people. Don’t you agree? A. Nowhere in the history of the world has talking taken power from the tyrant and given it to the oppressed. And I don’t think Nigeria will be much different. If we want to really bring about change, we must be ready to fight. The oppressor class whether in the south-west, east or north, they all have a common agenda, common views. Their interest is simply the retention of power and the protection of the socio-economic system skewed in their favour. Whether you are Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo, what really matters is that you are a poor man in a society where justice, fair play and freedom are nonexistent. The elite will simply want the system to be retained. Those who want us to sit down with those who are oppressing us in order to bring about change are simply those who think that change can come out from mere begging and cooperating with tyrants and beneficiaries of the state. So you think it is not worth trying the dialogue option? A. It is good that we talk. We can achieve a few things by talking. We can achieve restructuring of the federation. We can resolve issues like ethnic indigenisation and states and local government creation as well as constitutional amendments. But what we cannot achieve is freeing the common man everywhere in the country from the clutches of the oppressors. As far as Nigeria is concerned, our oppressors are united and you can see the unity when they are sharing the loot of the country. They are united when they are on the board of oil and gas, banking, telecommunications multi-national corporations. We can see their unity when they are rigging elections or using of force against popular will of the people. They are united when they are bringing about unpopular policies. These issues can be discussed but that is where it will end. They will never allow it to be heard. People in Egypt, Tunisia and in all countries of the world that are free and are fighting all these ills have done that through a revolution.
Northern govs, traditional rulers not sincere “
Shehu Sani No amount of Sovereign National Conference will bring about free and fair election until people have been able to fight against tyrants and establish a government that is free from conservative oppressors. Still related to that, recently northern members of the House of Representatives kicked against the vote that was given to the south-south zone in the 2012 budget. What did you make of that protest? A. Most of the people who have kicked against the vote of the south-south are very unfair to the people of the region. The southsouth has suffered years of neglect and socio-economic injustices as well as environmental degradation. And it is in recognition of that fact that it was decided that more revenue should be allocated to that part of the country to help tackle these fundamental issues. Now the governors in the North and also most of the political elites in the north have not even used the amount of money that is sent to them. What have they done with their own allocation? How sincere have they been about tackling the many problems of hunger, insecurity and joblessness facing the north? They are not sincere. The beneficiaries of the federal allocation in northern Nigeria are no other that persons than pro-government clerics, traditional rulers and political sycophants. I do not think that more money should be given to the governors of the north because even the one sent to them has not been benefitting the common people. Come and see most of the states; the education system has collapsed, the hospitals have become terrible and the roads have not been done. The Almajiri problem is almost everywhere. We can actually say that poverty has greatly contributed to the pervasive insecurity in the north. Maybe giving more money to the governors will help them to perform better in tackling these problems… A. I don’t think that pumping
more money to the governors will address the problem of poverty. They are not sincere about helping the Talakawas, so even if they get all the allocations in this world, nothing will change. The members of the National Assembly are simply doing the bidding of the northern governors and none of them can tell me concretely what they do with the money that was sent to them. It is not only the money allocated to the state that is under the control of the governors, the money that is allocated to the local governments is also under their care. And yet nothing has been done. This is why southerners insult the north as being parasitic. The only way you can address this issue is for you to look inwards. The governors can be more economically independent than most of the states in the south by virtue of our land mass. The north is bigger in size. By virtue of natural resources, the North has more than the south because the land is more here. So there is no reason why everyone feels you should sit down and money will be sent to you. But the Governors gave many reasons why they feel they North is not being fairly treated in the area of federal allocation… The governor of Niger State is simply acting like a clown. This was the man who said he came out to drive away the Almajiris from his state, and now he is behaving like an Almajiri by asking for more money. Go to most of the states and see what is going on there. So what we want is that the North should explore the land. We need to work on agriculture. We need to develop the educational infrastructure and explore other options. You cannot sit down and say you need more money. Even the south-south can’t continue to have fuel till eternity. There will be a time when there will be no oil. Even countries that have oil like United Arab Emirate are investing in the nonoil economy. I think the north should look further rather than sit down and ask for more money.
The governor of Niger State is simply acting like a clown. This was the man who said he came out to drive away the Almajiris from his state, and now he is behaving like an Almajiri by asking for more money. Go to most of the states and see what is going on there. So what we want is that the North should explore the land. We need to work on agriculture. We need to develop the educational infrastructure and explore other options. You cannot sit down and say you need more money.
“ How worried are you about the menace of the Boko Haram sect? A. As far as I’m concerned I believe that the Boko Haram issue can be addressed. What is lacking is the genuine sincerity between the group and the government. All these years, President Goodluck Jonathan depended on the Sultan and the Emirs to address the issue. How can they when they are also targets of Boko Haram? The government must show sincerity and talk to people who can help it end this menace. I expected Namadi Sambo, as a Vice President representing the northern part of Nigeria in Jonathan’s government, to be more visible in Jos and Maiduguri other than in Abuja. Sambo should shift his office to either Kano or Maiduguri to address this great challenge coming from his own part of the country. The government cannot sit in Abuja and talk of ending the Boko Haram issue. If you look at it clearly all the groups that are meeting and talking in the north… they cannot reach out to Maidugiri, Kano or Jos. They simply sit down in a five star hotel in Abuja to talk and issue communiqués. Then they deceive Goodluck Jonathan that they are doing something. I have been to Jos on many occasions. I have also taken former President Obasanjo to Maidugiri. So any person who claims to be working on the Boko Haram issue must reach out to the affected areas. That is the only way to have access to information that will help. So what do you think is the way out? The best way to solve the problem of Boko Haram is to still insist on the continuation of the talks that were started by Dr. Datti Ahmed. What northern leaders should do is that they should not look down on Ahmed that he is not an Emir or the Sultan. They should rather rally round him and encourage the group to continue to give Ahmed opportunities to talk. Other people who can be of help must be encouraged to come forward. Someone like me, I
can join later because I played a part in facilitating these talks. So, for now if Dr. Ahmed is given another chance and with more commitment on the side of the government, if the issues are tabled and the talks conducted confidentially, there will be progress. Then the agreement should also be implemented. I believe we can bring this violence to an end. For now you can see that the Boko Haram violence has gone down tremendously. This is not because they have been overpowered but because some of us are simply doing our bit behind the scene without making too much noise about it. There are also issues about 2015 politics. Already the north is laying claim to the presidency. What do you have to say on the call for the return of the presidency to the north in 2015? A. Well as for me wherever the presidency goes, it doesn’t matter. But what I need is someone that can give this country a sense of direction. We need a leader from whichever part of the country, who can at least address this basic problem of under-development; combat insecurity and save our democracy from election rigging. I believe the way out is for the opposition parties to set aside their differences and come together to try the possibility of having either a Buhari or a Bola Tinubu as a joint candidate against the ruling PDP. You don’t subscribe to the principle of rotation? A. We should rotate political power; but we should rotate among people who can deliver. In rotating the presidency, we can achieve adequate representation, but if we are rotating without considering merit and leadership abilities, we are not ready to make any progress. From the ruling party it’s very unlikely that genuine leadership can emerge because the main issues within this party are wealth and prominence. If you want to climb the ladder of power within the PDP at either state or federal level, you simply have to be a man who has no mind of your own. You simply have to be a zombie who will be loyal to his boss. So, you cannot have a meaningful leader emerging from this kind of arrangement. The only option for Nigeria is for all these political parties whether it is CPC, ACN, APGA, to dissolve into a solid political party and grab political power from the ruling party once and for all. But with a divided opposition and each one becoming a king in his own small kingdom, they are certainly not going anywhere. Don’t you think we should give the president some credit in the area of the fight against corruption? A. I am not aware that there is any fight against corruption going on in Nigeria. If there is any fight against corruption in Nigeria, how many ministers, governors and so on are in jail since Jonathan took over? How many officials that have looted the treasury are in jail for corruption? All the names mentioned in different scandals, where are they now? They are free. Even people mentioned in the Halliburton scandal are free. It is as if Abuja has been renamed into a city called Freetown where all corrupt people are free to move around. If you are talking about war against corruption, we should be able to see people who have looted the treasury of this country in jail. For now there is none; what we have seen on ground are cosmetic changes and noise making.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
The whole truth about my marriage —Muma Gee –PAGES 36-37
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
for your legs •Shorts for pear shaped
For that picnic or a day at the beach, you need shorts that show off you legs for effect. Here are some of the best for every shape. Enjoy
•For Jessica’s casual wear, she chose this Roberto Cavalli top with black Raven shorts to go with the model’s gladiator sandals
•Black broadcloth cotton mini shorts pant on model
our glass shape
Women with hour-glass figures are curvy. Their bust to hip ratio is almost the same, and their slim waist is the highlight of their frame. Pick up shorts that are slightly wide-legged and loose fitting. Avoid prints, pleated styles and cargo pants. Pair your shorts with a top that tapers in towards your waist. Pear-Shape Pear-shaped women have a slimmer upper torso and bigger hips, waist and thighs. Go for shorts that are flatfronted or softly pleated to emphasise your smaller waist areas. Straight-leg cuts will suit you best. Avoid clingy fabrics like lycra. Jackets and shrugs create the appearance of a fuller shoulder. Bermuda inspired short style that skims over hips is your best bet. Heavily pleated styles and pockets that pooch are a no-go area.
For straight (long) leg Show off what you’ve got. Go for shorts with cute details and you can experiment with florals. Look for feminine details like lace, bright florals to soften your frame. A highrise cut could lend you the appearance of an hour-glass figure, if it hits right at your waist. Avoid wide leg shorts as they could make your legs look like a pair of sticks. Boyish shape Women with boyish body have narrow hips, small bust and a nonexistent waist. Pick shorts that give your slim hips the illusion of a fuller curve. Tailored shorts with detailing work just right. Avoid loose fits For plus-sized figure Go for single colour flat-front pair that hits your thighs where they start to narrow
•Shorts long/ straight leg
•These can go with absolutely anything and are a nice change from typical denim shorts
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
It was a breezy day outside the Elegushi private beach, but that didn't stop A-listers from coming out in droves to celebrate the birthday of one of Nollywoodâ€™s best, Tayo Odueke (aka Sikiratu Sindodo). Kehinde Falode reports on the fashion hits and misses at the event.
Simplicity does it for Sulaimon Alao. Kudos!
Yemisi Adesanya glam up and does us proud in this embellished gown. Kudos!
Can someone cover Tayo Oduekeâ€™s factory milk properly? While turquoise blue looks quite stunning with her hair, her breast bearing design is nothing to write home about. Oops! Classic beauty Fathia Balogun looks elegant in this silky tunic top. The Egyptian-neck top and cropped jeans and heels are perfect for the star's frame. Kudos!
Laide Bakare looks great in this orange, tiered sari attire. The simplicity of the look helps showcase her hair. Kudos!
Bimbo Thomas is stunning in a loosed Asian floral gown and dazzling chandelier earrings. The Kimono styled dress flatters her figure. Kudos!
Kudos to Dayo Amusan, goes with a sari wraps that flatters her figure. Note the sari's intricate embroidery.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012 Nigeria's First Lady of Hiphop and fashion designer, Antonia Yetunde Alabi, popularly known as Sasha P reveals her top ten things to Kehinde Falode
Favourite TV program
Favourite style quote Style to me is the definition of who you are
Favourite shoe designer
Favourite designer Eclectic by Sasha
Tutti Dolce-Nigeria own Shoes design label in Atlanta
Favourite colour Purple:-purple is grand, it is very powerful and strong
Favourite book read recently
Things I wish my mother had told me
Favourite drink Water
Favourite hairstyle short weavy hair-do
With VICTOR AKANDE
Davi do: stardom on a platter of gold!
With a career spanning about six months, the choice of the singer by MTN leaves more to the imagination, leaving people to wonder what yardstick or criteria qualified him as MTN's latest brand ambassador
Another documentary on Dagrin
IDEO director and producer, Gini is set to release a documentary on the life of the late rapper, Dagrin. The documentary will also be produced to commemorate the second year anniversary of Dagrin's death. The film, which is about an hour long, and combines both known and neverbefore-seen clips and images of Dagrin, is expected to contain interviews with most of the persons that crossed the path of the young man and contributed to his rise to fame on the Nigerian music scene. The documentary seeks to further promote the works of the late rapper and act as a reference point for upcoming acts. Gini who was much more than just a video director to Dagrin, revealed that the documentary is meant to make budding artistes to realise their dreams. “We were very good friends and he convinced me on his dreams and plans for his career and the Nigerian entertainment industry. Dagrin had plans of having his own crew made up of young artistes like him who are struggling to make their voices heard. The documentary was created to also help artistes like him realize their dreams and carry on the dreams Dagrin had for Missofuyin Entertainment,” Gini said.
OLLOWING the unveiling of rave of the moment, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, as Face of MTN Pulse, a new product of the telecoms company, tongues have begun to wag in what many describe as another too-soon-afeat for the 19-year boy who is barely six months in the music industry. With emotion rising, criticisms and counter reactions have been trailing the career and personality of this artiste who came into the industry with a sudden buzz that has refused to subside. And just like the high tempo of his hit song 'Damiduro', a shortened form of the Yoruba word for 'Unstoppable', Davido has been exuberantly hyperactive, and so are his sponsors and promoter, who include his billionaire parents. 'Damiduro' has been criticized as a song which raves merely on fast beat and the slang, which usual captures the attention of the youth while it lasts. Arguments for this notion leaves critics in wait of another music outburst, perhaps with equally dance hall beat, that will confine Davido's pride track to the cooler. When that happens, how the artiste is able to produce another song that will arrest similar attention will determine whether indeed, it was the artiste's creative endeavor that has
shot him to fame or if he was mere a product of aggressive publicity, and connections in high places. Talking about the MTN deal, while one school of thought believes it is an honour well deserved for the fastrising star, critics on the other side of the divide believe there is more to the endorsement than meets the eye. With a career spanning about six months, the choice of the singer by MTN leaves more to the imagination, leaving people to wonder what yardstick or criteria qualified him as MTN's latest brand ambassador. This is even more so as the brand can boast of a host of stars from its sponsored MTN Project Fame, who have been toiling to keep up with fame as well as portray a sense of good ambassadorship with their careers which scores of youths can relate with. According to Kola Oyeyemi, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria, 'MTN's Pulse which used to go under the name 'MTN Fun Link' 'needed a face for the youths to identify with' and Davido best fits their
description”. Only recently, it was reported that Davido was in Malaysia for a show (which took place on Friday, March 16, 2012) and the singer took some time to shop, buying for himself a couple of hand rings, wristwatches , bracelets and a necklace worth N2M. The entertainment industry wouldn't have been aware of the singer's shopping spree but for his manager, Asa Asika, who tweeted, '@Iam_Davido just blew N2m on this chain yoooooo'. If this is anything to go by, one wonders how the singer is the best face for scores of youths to identify with. Many have even said he's an intimidation to the youth, and by extension a negative influence. Without denying the fact that the budding 19year-old has been able to create a buzz with just three singles, making him one of the fastest rising stars on the music scene, some feel it is still not enough to qualify him as a youth ambassador with his very short influence, which is still subject to the test of time.
Annie Macaulay banned from acting?
N what seems like a proviso to the recent engagement of Annie to music icon, Tuface Idibia, the actress is said to have been ordered by the musician to put an end to her acting career. Before now, the actress was said to have lost a lead role, not because she was busy on other jobs, but because she needed to take permission from Tuface on whether or not she should accept the script. The celebrity couple, we learnt; has picked a date in July for their wedding.
Delectable Afro centric singer Muma Gee is back, a year after she took a break from the music scene, to tie the knot. Known for her outspoken persona, Muma's new album and single entitled Motherland and PortHarcourt respectively has started to generate controversy on the internet. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, she opens up for the firsttime on her fairytale marriage to her hubby, Nollywood actor, Prince Ike. The singer clears the air on issues surrounding her latest single and also talks about her experience on Gulder Ultimate Search reality show, among other issues.
OW is family life? What has the transition been like?
The transition is just the fact that I have to work double hard to make up for the family and also for my fans. I have been in the studio. I did not get married in order to forget about my career. I have been working on Motherland which is my latest album. It will be released very soon. We have a new single, it is not in the making but we are not ready to push it out. In a few days , the video will be out. It is a world class video. We are ready for Muma Gee to be out now. This is the first time I am speaking to the press after like a year plus. I have refused to speak to the press or grant interviews. I have been the hiding (laughs) not because I chose to hide or shy away but because I was weighed down and overwhelmed with the traditional rites of my wedding. Was the marriage ceremony tasking for you? I had to be physically present to go through all the traditional rites, which took about a year. My marriage was like a project. It was a year plus project. My traditional marriage was about six stages and I did all. I was m a r r i e d properly and at a stage I was wondering if my husband won't get tired and give up but he stood by me all through. My marriage can be packaged as a documentary because the procedures and protocols were enormous. I enjoyed it
h t u r t e l o h w e Th e g a i r r a m y about m —Muma Gee as an Epeye girl, now an Ibo woman. And for the first time in my life, I was seeing a traditional marriage happening in two different states. In the morning, we had my traditional marriage in Rivers State and in the evening we were in Imo State for the second leg. So we had the traditional wedding in one day in two states. Did you think your husband was ready for all of that? Before then did he know all of the procedures? He didn't know. If you are a princess or a queen you have to go through all the rites. It is a rite of passage that you have to fulfil to get married properly. And at the end of all the traditional rites, I was wedded in the church. We recorded the activities from day one to the last day. It is on record, so when I die, the generations to come can go to the archives and see what it is like to marry an Epeye woman. Now that Muma Gee is back, what should fans expect from your latest album to be released soon? Motherland is about my community, where I come from, and most importantly, my roots. Accordingly, that is why I have songs like PortHarcourt is back, because as soon as I got to PortHarcourt, I was wooed. The video is on the internet but the audio is not out yet. Basically the album is going to be hot. It is a come-back album. The titles of your album and single sounds as if you are going political? Could that assumption be right? Why does everyone think I am going political? Some people seem to have that notion on the internet thinking that I have gone political, especially with the title; Port-Harcourt is back. When I landed in Port-Harcourt th Airport for the 17 All States Sport Festival, to do the theme song for the opening and closing ceremony; I was shocked to see everywhere lighted up. I was happy because of the development. I had no choice but to talk about my experience. As an artiste it is my civic role to let the people know that there is a breath of fresh air and that is why I did the song. Twice you cancelled your wedding date or so it was rumoured. Why? It was actually once. We had to shift date from 18th of November to December. We wanted to have it done on my birthday. My husband wanted to honour me with that but the task to shoot the video PortHarcourt is back overtook that because we brought in cinematographers from the UK and the team was ready. And the other reason was that expectations were high from people, so we needed to reduce the number of guests to 1000
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
I was not even in love before I got married, the love grew. I will be honest with you; this was somebody I didn't know. The only thing was that I had confidence; Emeka was my pal, so he could not have seen fire and tell me to put my hand persons, restrictly by invite. The first invite we sent out was cancelled. We had to print another one which became the real invite. As a result, instead of 18th of November, it was held on December 23. You were evasive about your marital status during the Celebrity Guilder Ultimate Search competition. Were you married at that time? No I was not but one of the contestants laid so much emphasis on marriage, and bragged about it. And that made me joked that I was married and she asked about my ring to which I responded that it is not everyone that will wear their ring to the forest. Where you engaged at that time? I was not engaged. During the Guilder Ultimate Search competition, people speculated that I had an affair with Emeka Ike, which God knows it is a lie. I have suffered a lot in the hands of the press. Emeka Ike won and I was invited to his church, The Redeemed Christian Church of God for his thanksgiving service, where I met my husband. My husband happens to be Emeka Ike's best friend. He introduced us and that was it. And the same moment, he proposed. I didn't date my husband. We did not have carnal knowledge of ourselves until we were married because we are born-again Christians. I did abstinence at some certain stage when I gave my life to God and that was when I met my husband. I won't deny that I was emotionally attached to Emeka Ike as a friend and as someone who makes sense when we discuss but not as per dating, no. Have you made up with that particular contestant? I have not seen the contestant since then. We do not have similar lifestyle. Probably if we have similar lifestyle we would have met one way or the other and we don't attend the same events. Besides, I have been spending time with my family and my career. Since after Guilder Ultimate Search, I have not engaged in public outing that much too. What did you do to find out if he is the right person for
you? From the day I met my husband and he said to me, I am not looking for a lover or a girlfriend but a mother and that I see in you made me ask a few questions about him. I investigated him. The first question I remember asking him was, what he studied in school; because most artistes do not have formal education. He had his first degree in Psychology from the University of Ife and Masters in International Communication from IMSUTH (Imo State University), so I felt there was prospect. He looks decent and he is the most handsome dude on earth. I have just my first degree even though I'm going in for my second degree in Business Administration, I read Theatre Art. You said you didn't spend much time studying him before you got married to him. Why take that kind of risk? I was ministered to by God as well. You know this thing that when you meet the right guy, you don't make mistakes, trust me! As a man when you see the right woman to be your wife, you will have the hunch divinely especially if you have prayed. One, I am not so tall and I needed a guy whom I will look up to. Two, I wanted a guy whose degree is above mine. Thirdly, I wanted a guy who is extremely intelligent, and when he opened his mouth to speak to me, I was convinced. We left Emeka's house where we were having the reception to his family house in Lagos and he introduced me to his family as his fiancée, same day, few hours after we met. Afterwards, we travelled to see his other family members. At that point, we hadn't gone to see my people. Well, I was just going with the flow. I remember we had to travel from Enugu to Asaba then to Owerri, and came back again to Lagos. All the while, we abstained from sexual acts because he is a Christ Embassy member, I too, a Christian. He proposed twice. First he proposed in Emeka's place without a ring and with a ring in Asaba after visiting his family. How did his family take it, considering the bad press at one time or the other? You know as an artiste, people don't get to know our family background. Surprisingly, he comes from a family of 8 boys and a lady, and he is the first child. Every member of his family is married and responsible. They have a magistrate and various professionals; so everybody is civilized. They weren't in anyway against it and some even haven't even heard of Muma Gee and all the bad and good press, they s i m p l y didn't care. They were j u s t surpris e d ;
perhaps they felt their brother hooked a big fish. In fact, the family calls me Gift. They don't call me Muma Gee. Trust me; no matter how big you are in life when it comes to family issues, you will be normal. Apart from Emeka Ike, you have been linked to other men in the past. Was that why you decided to take that chance… No, I realized I'd taken my music career to a certain stage and decided it was time to get a life. It came and I had to just do it. As an African woman, y o u a r e n o t acknowledged unless you have a man. You have to be answerable to somebody. W a s that the first
time you were falling in love? I was not even in love before I got married, the love grew. I will be honest with you; this was somebody I didn't know. The only thing was that I had confidence; Emeka was my pal, so he could not have seen fire and tell me to put my hand. Emeka Ike played a very vital role in given me confidence in this stranger I did not know but now, I know him more than anyone else in the world. Being a close pal of Emeka, if Emeka is a success story then he is not far from it and that was how I saw it. That thought gave me the confidence at first to say yes. So after that stage, I didn't fold my hands and just watch, I studied him as well and also prayed. When it comes to settling down, you do not relax. You have to pray probably until your knees peel. In my tribe, if you see what I went through before getting married you won't talk of divorce, the letter 'D' will not come out of your mouth. After going through the rigour of taking a wife from my place, Epeye land, you will be mad to send your wife away. What has changed about you now? What has changed categorically about me is my rate of working. Now, I work double hard to satisfy my family, and also satisfy my friends and fans out there. As a single woman it was just me, my career and my fans but now there is a lord in my life that is in charge and he has to be in charge. Before now I don't cook my food. Well, I love cooking but due to my schedules, I do not have the time to cook. Now it is mandatory because my husband does not eat outside unless he is not in the location where we live. Even with maids in the house, I still cook his food. Even when you play games and make the food when he is not around, he comes back and tells you that the food is not prepared by his wife. And you cannot force him to eat; in order not to make him starve I have to get into the kitchen.
Ejection tale trails Fred Amata accumulated from October 2009 to September 2010. But in the judgement of Magistrate Mukaila Fadeyi, the actor was not asked to vacate the property, but ordered to pay the arrears within 14 days. Mukaila blamed the lack of diligence prosecution on the part of Fadoyebo's counsel, Y. A Adeshina, for the court's inability to assist NLY a couple of days the landlord in re-possessing ago, Nollywood the house. actor, Fred Amata Fadeyi faulted the tenancy was ordered by Surulere Magistrate Court in Lagos to agreement signed by both pay one-year rent, amounting parties, saying it was not to N600, 000, in arrears to his dated while the seven-day quit notice was also not landlord. According to the report, the served on Amata. Amata was, however, not actor was dragged to court in present throughout the court September 2010 over issues proceedings and neither he relating to dissatisfaction nor his counsel, Chris Okoh, with his tenancy. was in court when the The landlord, Pa I. judgment was delivered. Fadoyebo, who asked the When contacted to speak court to help him repossess on the matter, the actor his house from the actor, simply said, “I'm not ready claimed that Amata owed to give my side of the story. rent arrears on the fourIt is a small matter. At my bedroom bungalow he is own time, when I'm ready to occupying at No. 8, Razaq give my side of the story, I Balogun Street, Surulere, know how to go about it.” adding that the rent had
A Legend ‘Real Deal Nite’ with Flavour, Basketmouth, others
When it comes to settling down, you do not relax. You have to pray until your knees peel. In my tribe, if you see what I went through before getting married you won't talk of divorce
HE ambience of the night club was indeed electrifying as king of comedy, Basketmouth, singing sensation, Flavour N'abania, Yinka Davies and other top entertainers, thrilled the audience to a wonderful time at the March edition of the Legend “Real Deal Nite” event, held at the prestigious Niteshift Coliseum hangout in Lagos. The show which entered its second edition also had the in-house live-band whetting the appetite of the audience before the stars of the night took to the stage. The excited audience could only beg for more as Basketmouth sent the audience reeling in uncontrollable laughter with his rib-cracking jokes. Flavour N'abania, the Enugu state born music rave of the moment, also held the crowd spellbound and jumping to their feet as he dazzled them with series of his hit songs. Funso Ayeni, Brand Manager, Legend Extra Stout, reiterated that the relevance of the “Real Deal Nite” is to create an atmosphere where the brand bonds with its consumers and to make them understand the brand
essence. “We are calling on people to follow the brand, try it and of course become a loyalist,” she said. Ayeni stressed that Legend Extra stout is by far “the best brewed stout brand in Nigeria with distinguishing qualities that set it apart from other stout brands in the market because of the full brewed process that it undergoes.” He added that the “Real Deal Nite” which started in March 2011, would continue on a monthly basis. The event also saw some lucky winners emerge from the raffle draw promo where wonderful gift items ranging from generating sets, DVD players, refrigerators, standing fans and lots more were carted home by revelers.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Beautiful Nubia headlines Silverbird's Music/Comedy Unusual
Goldie is peace Ambassador A
WARDWINNING singer, Goldie, has been named UN Youth Ambassador for Peace by the Federal Government. Under this title, Goldie intends to further propagate national and world peace through her music, actions and words. As a UN Ambassador, Goldie will be joining hands with other Ambassadors - home and abroad - in making the world a more peaceful place to live in
by getting involved in aid-giving programs in areas of unrest. “I will be representing Nigeria all over the world, in summits, world conferences, and United Nations meetings. I will also go to places of strife to try and give aid either by philanthropy, or by mediation,” she said. On her thoughts of the Nigerian youth: “We are hard-working and innately good people. The Nigerian youth just needs to be appreciated and motivated and given the right platform.”
Timi Dakolo quits bachelorhood
UNKY R&B crooner Timi Dakolo recently 'said' goodbye to bachelorhood when the Bayelsa State born artiste walked down the aisles with Busola, his girlfriend of several years. The superlative wedding had in attendance the who-is-who
in the entertainment and social circles, which had a wonderful time watching the couple take their vows. Findings revealed that the couple already has a son named Alex, who was born in September 2010 and that they are also expecting their second child together.
Baby boy for Samklef
USIC producer, Samuel Oguachuba A.K.A Samklef is the latest father in town. The talented producer who recently got married to his heartthrob, Yvonne on December 28 in Imo State is now a proud father of a baby boy. The fast emerging producer was obviously ecstatic when he took twitter to express his joy. "Love you baby. My wife just gave birth to a beautiful, bouncing baby boy. “I just heard him cry through the phone and it is so amazing,” he said.
VER since her recent appearance in Andy Amanechi's star studded movie, budding talent, Oluchi Okafor has been in high spirit, for what she described as a rare starting point. Acting alongside the likes of Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson, among others, is particularly exciting for this young actress. Speaking on her feeling about the yet untitled movie
N a dynamic bid, the first edition of the Silverbird Cinema's new entertainment initiative tagged Music/Comedy Unusual came with a bang. The show, which held at the Hall 4 of the Cinema House, saw Beautiful Nubia leading the
pack of artistes which included, Olatunde Obajeun, Olufemi Jegede, and Ibo, among others. The show which held in collaboration with Kings Records, saw comedian, Seyi Law, dishing out rib cracking jokes as the artistes took turns to perform. Highpoint of the show was the performance by Nigeria's contemporary folks and roots musician, Nubia, who carried his fans along with the emotion that his songs conveyed. Organisers say that it was the first in the series of potpourri of music and comedy in the cinema and picnicking environment. Fun-seekers were treated to a dose of an exciting moment and sumptuous refreshment. According to the organisers, the show is being supported by Tank Media, Beacon Media Network and Mammy Jay •Beautiful Nubia Productions.
UK-based Antoine Stone releases new album
NITED Kingdom(UK) based wave-making Afro hip- hop artiste cum music producer, Anthony Olumide Akinjinrin, otherwise known as Antoine Stone, has released a new album entitled, Dalon Don. The woek is on the stable of Lagos based label, Diamond Stone Records. The Mechanical Engineering graduate had worked with notable Nigerian artistes such as UK based May 7, JJC and Davido, among others. Providing more insights about the album during an album listening party with select journalists, he revealed that the album is dedicated to lovers of Afro music, even as he talked about a track in the album. “I did the hit track ‘I have a dream’ because of what I had gone through in the past, particularly the way I rose against odds to live my dream. And that is why I did the track to also appeal to my generation to do everything reasonably possible to become what they want in life.” 'I Have a Dream' features the voices of Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Tupac. Other tracks are Shakara Boys, an adaptation of Fela Kuti's evergreen song Shakara. The album contains
20 tracks and a video of some of the tracks had already been shot in London. The artiste who owns one of the most sought after recording studio in England has promised that the album will redefine hip hop music in Nigeria. “Well, I am releasing the album into the Nigerian music scene with a bang and I am sure it would change the face of hip hop music in Nigeria,” he added
Oluchi Okafor in happy mood! produced by AMACO Investment, the Abia State born actress squealed that she indeed counts herself lucky to have acted along the A-list actresses whom she has always admired but said that most importantly, she feels humbled and is prepared to take her act seriously especially now that movie roles have started coming her way.
The undergraduate of Psychology at the Imo State University, however, noted that her only challenge at the moment is her education: “It's not easy combining acting with school I must confess. I study hard as a student while my leisure time I use for acting. My lecturers too are showing understanding, they are really supporting me.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Born Jesse Omokagbhor, Jesse King, as he is fondly called, has just released his third album which he titled 'Rooted'. The vocalist and multiinstrumentalist who loves showcasing rich African cultural values through music speaks more about himself in this interview.
Jesse King Jesse King
Opelope Anointing felicitates with Obey @70
VANGELIST Dunni Olanrewaju, fondly called Opelope Anointing, has sent felicitation to famous musician and Evangelist, Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi who turned 70 years on April 3, 2012, saying he was worthy of celebration as his music feat would remain evergreen in the minds of Nigerians. The Oyo State Ibadan-born musician praised the evangelist for his focus, selfless attitude and exemplary life. The sonorous-voiced singer who gave a scintillating performance at the birthday ceremony of the septuagenarian during the week in Lagos, revealed in a chat with newsmen that Obey has been a great influence to her life. "I thank God for the life of baba; he has been a father to me. He regularly encourages me morally and musically. "His simple and Godly life has also encouraged me to keep my eye simple and put God first in whatever I do. He also gave me connections both home and abroad. I really thank God for his life and for being a blessing to many of us," she said.
OW would you describe your foray into the Nigerian music industry? Professionally, I feel it has not been easy for one to put a good work of art together, but with God, all things are possible. It is not funny at all, but when you put your trust in God, every other thing will follow. How would you rate the success of your previous albums: Buga and Mr. Jeje? I believe am okay. Basically I would say that I am fulfilled because I am able to pass a message; otherwise If I am not able to come out with what is in my mind, I would feel like dying. When I feel that I want to do something, I would go for it. I am just fulfilled that I am able to do what I do; it's not about money, it's about singing something out. There are times when I want to sleep or I just want to remember some things, and I have some lines coming to me, I just turn to my wife and ask her to listen. Eventually, I feel fulfilled when I hear the outcome of the lines I drop. So far, what impact do you think your music has on the society? In my second album, I had a track that says Mr Jeje ma fona (don't cross the road carelessly). But some people had misgivings about it because our people don't want to hear the truth and that was just the message I wanted to give out at that time. But we thank God for those who have the ears to hear that they should not cross the road carelessly. I say it all the time that my music is not just about the rhythm, people should feel the songs and pay attention to the lyrics. Do you have such message in the coming album? Yes, I have a track that says Oga no fool yourself, chairman pass chairman; meaning that you should not feel as if you know it all; you can as well listen to other people. Even if you are a governor, an elected officer holder, or a rich person, you should still listen to people despite your state of affluence and know what they feel. Even if you have all the money, you should listen to people and know what they want. Though we know in our society that money controls everything; even if you are bad, you will still have people running after you. How do you classify your kind of music? I sing contemporary Highlife and I
I’m just French teacher fulfilled… releases album
My dress sense is not an everyday style because of the kind of environment we live in. And if you want to study people, you don't have to come like Jesus
—Jesse King U
have been able to infuse sounds like Bata into it; to make it danceable. And the effect makes it to sound like metal and techno. I have also been able to introduce the Gangan beat and you have the Konga, guitar and drums too. You have a unique way of dressing. Is it your regular style? Let me be honest with you; my dress sense is not an everyday style because of the kind of environment we live in. And if you want to study people, you don't have to come like Jesus; you will rather appear as a nobody, so that you can feel the people. For instance, sometimes, l go to canteens, it's a place where people gist that you can pick words from. If you want to speak to the people on the street, you need to go to them and be part of
them and from there; you will understand their kind of language. Earlier, you mentioned the fact that your wife listens to your lines as they come to you; does that mean you have the total support of your family? Yes, I enjoy total support from my family; as there is no honour for a King without a Queen. As it is, it is still Jesse King and the Queens. I am not saying that I want to take another woman, but I have a Queen. You have a concept sometimes ago, in which you wanted to have a place where your fans can come and relax. What happened to the project? It is still on and by the special grace of God; it will start any moment from now. It is a place where you can come in and have fun. Maybe at every quarter of the year, we will all come together and have fun. Will it be right to assume that music does not pay your bills judging by your earlier statements? So are there other things you do by the side? I am into tourism and presently, I am looking at bringing the Western world in and having people see much of our cultural values. As Nigerians, we still do not understand what we have; when you go to places like Kenya or South Africa, you see white people enjoying such environments. Very soon, we will have them come around and take them to places like the Olumo Rock.
PCOMING gospel musician, Patience Olumese recently released her debut album entitled My Destiny. A native of Edo State and resource person at the Nigeria French Language Village, Badagry, where she lectures French in the Department of French for Special Purposes (PSP), Olumese says she is excited singing for God because it gives her joy. A 10-track album, some of the tracks include Rahumen (Give me power), Don't You Ever Say 'No Way', I Call Upon Your Name, Ma Destinee, Jesu Sebaga and a host of others. “My music is inspirational and it gives hope to people who are discouraged not to be in despair. When people listen to my music, their soul is lifted up and they are refreshed and God will touch them in a mighty way,” she said. Despite her tight schedule, she says, she has been able to combine lecturing and singing together effectively because she tries as much as possible not to allow one clash with the other.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
PICTURE Supported by: SILVERBIRD CINEMAS
•Machine Gun Preacher Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time 129 min •Phone Swap Featured Actors: Wale Ojo, Nse Etim Ikpe, and Ghanaian Superstar, Lydia Forson Genre Comedy
Machine Gun Preacher:
New dimension to missionary ventures
lot has been said or written about the exploits of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) strong man, Joseph Kony but nothing presents a more graphic detail of the slayer of women and children than 2011 biopic, Machine Gun Preacher. A film about Sam Childers, a biking preacher-defender of African orphans, the movie tells the story of his efforts to save the children of South Sudan in collaboration with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) against the atrocities of the LRA. The film is an adaptation of Childers' memoir Another Man's War. Although the film centers on Childers, it starts off with a scene in South Sudan, where the LRA are attacking a village. Childers (Gerard Butler) was an alcoholic drug-using biker from
Pennsylvania. On his release from prison, he finds that his wife has given up her job as a stripper, because she has since become a Christian. Eventually, after almost killing a vagrant the night before, his wife persuades him to go to church with her where he is eventually converted. On a missionary trip to Uganda to build homes for refugees, Childers ventures into Sudan where he finds homeless children at the threat of attack from the LRA. He decides to stay back and build an orphanage which the LRA attacks under the cover of night and burn to the ground. One night after the orphanage has been rebuilt, he and his friends from the SPLA are attacked on the road by the LRA, they manage to chase off the small force of the LRA that
attacked them. They then search the area and discover a large group of Sudanese children hiding in a ditch not far from the road. Since they cannot take all the children in one trip, Sam chooses to take the ones who need medical attention along with a few others on their first trip back to the orphanage. However, upon returning to the spot as quickly as he could, he finds that the LRA burnt those he had left behind. This fosters his desire to lead armed raids to rescue children from the LRA, thus bringing about a historical crusade. Written by Jason Keller and Directed by Marc Forster, the end credits features black and white pictures of the real Sam Childers, his wife and his daughter plus his orphanage in Sudan.
Contraband: A reason to steal!
remake of an Icelandic thriller from 2008 which was produced by actor Baltasar Kormakur, Contraband comes across as another account of Hollywood's season of crime celebration. The heroes can only be right-otherwise, why would smuggling, killings, destruction and fraud be glaringly celebrated and the perpetrators get the 'Live Happily Ever After' ending? Well, that is fiction, and it doesn't really matter how things turn out. Indeed, it is entertainment with a refreshing value for money and
•Wrath of the Titans Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time 99 min •Best exortic marigold hotel Genre: Action/Adventure Director: John Madden Writers: Ol Parker (screenplay), Deborah Moggach (novel) Stars: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith •Contraband Genre: Action/Adventure Director: Baltasar Kormákur Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale •John Carter Featured Actors :Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 132 min
time spent. The actions are powerful and a great time it is watching the Hollywood heroes like Mark Wahlberg, Caleb Landry Jones, and Kate Beckinsdale in Contraband. This version is a typical Hollywood excuse for stringing together violent action sequences which are individually exciting enough but collectively unable to sustain any palpable tension. The lead hero is Mark Wahlberg, playing another working class action hero in this gritty but convoluted story about
double-dealing smugglers, wharfside corruption and family revenge. Wahlberg, very adept at hitting people, worked hard to free himself from a world of underground crime. That way, he finds himself heading back to his bad old ways after his brother-inlaw, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) lets down nasty gangland boss. Chris joins the crew of a ship bound for Panama. His plan is to pick up a van full of fake banknotes that he will smuggle into America and sell in order to pay off the nasties who will otherwise do something fatal to Andy. But as with all “one last robbery, I promise” stories things don't quite go according to plan and, as Chris fends off Panamanian gangsters and gets involved in a heist of an megavaluable Jackson Pollock painting, his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsdale) has some serious trouble dealing with the nasties back home. And that's just some of the plot.
•The Scores Featured Actors: Aremu Afolayan, saheed balogun ,Eniola olaniyan , Olumide Bakare,sunkanmi omobolanle. Genre: Action/Adventure •Machine Gun Preacher Featured Actors: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 129 min •Phone Swap Featured: Actors Wale Ojo, Nse Etim Ikpe, and Ghanaian
Superstar, Lydia Forson Genre: Drama •Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 99 min •John Carter Featured Actors: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 132 min •The Ides of March Featured: Actors Paul Giamatti, George Clooney and Philip Seymour Hoffman Genre: Drama Running Time: 101 min •Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Featured Actors: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 129 min •Chronicle Featured Actors: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan Genre: Science Fiction Running Time: 84 min
PORT HARCOURT •Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 99 Mins •Phone Swap Genre: Drama Running Time: 70 Mins •The Score Genre: Drama Running Time 124 •Machine Gun Preacher Featured Actors: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon Genre: Action/Adventure
Running Time: 129 •Mr & Mrs Featured Actors: Joseph Benjami and actress Nes IkpeEtim Genre: Drama Running Time: 90 Mins •John Carter Featured Actors: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 132 Mins •This Means War Featured Actors: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 98 Mins •Safe House Featured Actors: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds and Robert Patrick Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 115 Mins •Journey 2 Featured Actors: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine 12:20PM 4:25PM 8:40PM Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 94 Mins •Jack And Jill Featured Actors: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes and Al Pacino Genre: Comedy Running Time: 91 Mins
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Christian Louboutin: In his
It's been 20 years since Louboutin splashed red nail polish on the sole of a shoe and created his design signature. The emperor of high heels walks us through his journey. Marianna Mairesse and Katie L. Connor report.
E has created a generation of addicts. As author Simon Doonan puts it: "Louboutins are a total drug, and there is no methadone." The first time you slip into a pair of his shoes with their bright-red soles, you're hooked. More alchemist than cobbler, Christian Louboutin transforms women with the flirtatious peep of a toe and click of a sculpted heel. It's that magic that keeps women coming back often handing over rent money and savings. Why do women fork it over? Because what they walk away with isn't just a pair of shoes, it's a priceless feeling of feminine power. Let's start at the very beginning ... Everyone has their dates. For me, it's 1991. I can place every memory of my life either before or after this date. It's the year I became an adult. My mother died, and I created my company shortly thereafter. I definitely would not have done it if she hadn't passed away. I'm kind of lazy by nature everything always appeared a bit insurmountable to me. But when my mother died, I was thrust into the adult world, and once you're an adult, you have to work. She always motivated me by telling me that my designs were beautiful; she was so enthusiastic that I owed it to her to try. Now you're as much a household name as Band-Aid or Kleenex what's that like? It shocked me at first, but now I find it cute. I never liked my last name or my first name, but it's not as b a d a s Frigidaire, so it's fine.
Twent y years into the fashion game, what keeps you from getting bored? Boredom is a concept that I don't understand. My original desire to design shoes is still the same. I can't allow myself to be tired or burned out. When you are, people can see it in the design. Fashion isn't interesting when it comes from an uninspired place. It's like voodoo; we don't want things that are soaked in blood, sweat, and tears. I adore life, and I'm very easygoing and it shows in my work. How did you get such a happy outlook on life? It comes from my mother. I was born 20 years after my eldest sister. I w a s t h e pampered child. That kind of love gives you an almost unbreaka b l e backbone . M y mother had three
kids before me. She let me be completely free. I just never had anything to beat myself up over. What do you look at first on a woman? For me, it's a game. When I see someone, I don't look at her shoes but rather at her face, then her clothes. Then I guess what she'll be wearing on her feet. When I finally check, I'm often completely surprised! Why are women so obsessed with
shoes? When a woman buys shoes, she takes them out of the box and looks at herself in the mirror. But she isn't really looking at her shoes she's looking at herself. If she likes herself, then she likes the shoes. A man is a fetishist: He polishes his shoes, appreciates the finish, wants to preserve them for a long time. A woman doesn't care about this. She isn't proud of having a shoe for 10 years. It's a natural feminine instinct to accessorize. A naked woman in heels is a beautiful thing. A naked man in shoes looks like a fool. Your shoes inspired J.Lo to write a hit song. Who were some of your muses? I've always adored women in heels. As a boy, I loved music halls, girls, feathers, and performers. I adored Tina Turner. I remember the arrival of Blondie Debbie Harry was a bleached blonde who wore heels and was a real musician. Hallelujah! Do you prefer heels or flats? High heels, by far. I hate the idea of natural. For example, I prefer gardens to wild nature. I like to see the human touch. High heels are a complete invention an extravagance. They're far from natural, but it's the impracticality that I adore. I prefer the useless to the useful, the sophisticated to the natural. Why are high heels so sexy? One moves more slowly in heels. Walking fast is neither sexy nor engaging. Nobody notices the people who race around. If you're walking in heels, you've got time. It's much more attractive. How far will a woman go for her Louboutins? As far as prison. I met a woman in Dallas who told me a memorable story about arriving late to Mass after everyone had already sat down so people would hear the clicking of her heels as she made her way to the front row. Two years later, I went b a c k f o r a n autograph signing, and I asked about this woman. I was told that she was in prison. She had been embezzling money from the company where she worked, which she then deposited directly into a Neiman Marcus account to buy shoes!
HAT motivated you to go into making fashion accessories? I have a love for craft; I am particular about the technical aspect of fashion, but I found out that in this country, people tend to follow a trend. If they like a fascinator today, you see everybody doing it. But rather than doing the same thing, I started making colourful Ankara fascinators for myself, and then some of my friends and it became a sort of a happy experiment as it were. What were you doing before this? I am an Architect by training and I was doing that wholeheartedly. It is just that this (fashion) sort of became a sideline thing; a passion, something I wanted to do just to keep the soul alive and I just gradually drifted more and more towards the fashion line. Since Ankara fascinator is new to the Nigerian market, who are your target clientele? My target right now is the young Nigerian woman who is trying to find her style and place in the society. There are lots of fascinators in the market, what make yours unique? What I try to do with my collections is that I try to do things that are interesting and dynamic. Ultimately, I try to find new way to do old things. I once had a lecturer tell me there is no idea in the world that is new, and that was my starting point. I thought of how do we try to improve on what already exists. So, that is what makes the difference. I am prepared to go the extra mile with my client to find
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Before her foray into fashion, young entrepreneur, Lola Ladipo had everything going for her. From an enviable background, a degree in Architecture from the University of Braxton in the UK and a Masters at the University of Ghana, Ladipo later worked at Total, an oil giant before she called it quits to live her dreams-making fascinators for women. In this interview, the CEO of LL Craft, in this interview with REMI ADELOWO reveals more about herself and her career
‘I delved into fashion to keep my soul alive’ her unique style. Are you more into Ankara and aso oke fascinators…. The Ankara works came out my love for the fabrics. I enjoy the difference in the pattern and the fact is there is so much to celebrate about our culture that gets over looked for western designs. There is no reason checkered and pant suits patterns and fabr i c s shoul d be popula r in Nig eria tha n
the Ankara fabrics we have here that comes to us naturally. For me, I am trying to promote the love for our own fabrics, so that by the time you step outside, you will be proud to say 'I am African'. I also work with adire. There is a lot to be touched on here and we have not yet got to the stage yet, where we have done all the experiment needed to be done. Fabrics do not need to just apply to clothes; fabrics can apply to head pieces, rings, bracelets, earrings etc. People are getting into shoe fabric now and I think it is time that we as nation have to grow into our culture, wholly embrace it so that the world can embrace us. Where does your inspiration come from? My inspiration comes from different places. Sometimes, it is from other fashion designers. Most recently, I did a series on hair threading which is a very old fashioned and almost outdated style of hair weave. When I look at people like Ituen Bassey
and Steve McQueen, my goal always is how does it work and by the time I sit down and start experimenting with stuffs like that, somehow, I try to make it practicable as well as affordable. Compared to the fashion industry, do you think the hair industry is growing? I think the hair industries in this country have suffered greatly because we do a lot of importing. It is supposed to be affordable and available because of the cheap labour that goes into the production, but it becomes expensive as a result of the imported accessories used in making it, which are expensive. Do you think Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince Williams has reawakened fascinators' consciousness in Nigeria? Oh! Very much so! This is a very fashion forward nation and I have had quite a few costumers said 'oh I have seen Kate Middleton's hair etc. But the thing is where do we go from
“Why change your wardrobe every five minutes while all it takes is a different accessories! The right accessories can make the full outfit and that is all that you need. You don't need to buy a whole new dress every single time.”
there? We are a nation of head gear wearers, and the gele (headgear) is the ultimate headgear and for anybody who feels the gele is too much to have on every day, personally I happen to love it. But there are options, and the options happen to be things of head wear. We've got beautiful African hair, beautiful neckline and the lovely things that we do with our fabrics, so why not push that. As grateful as I am with Kate Middleton, I am trying to see how we can convince people to stay interested in fascinators. How far do you think the fascinator industry can go? The fascinator industry can grow to revamping and bringing back certain things that we have lost; certain culture that we've lost; the society of women walking down the street with a hat is gone and you wonder where that went, because that was a beautiful time and it made people more conscious. Hat fascinator should start coming back and in a nation where everybody is now financially conscious, why change your wardrobe every five minutes while all it takes is a different accessories! The right accessories can make the full outfit and that is all that you need. You don't need to buy a whole new dress every single time. Who really is Lola Ladipo beyond what you do for a living? I am a young woman who is just trying to stay awake and stay alive. I attended the International School, University of Lagos and later read Architecture at the University of Braxton in the United Kingdom. I came back and went to the University of Ghana in Kumasi. When I moved back to Lagos, I worked in Total for about four years before my passion for making fascinators took over and I decided to give it a try, although I am still very active in the architectural field.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
Social KAYODE ALFRED
(E-mail: email@example.com, Tel: 08035733605, 08099400057)
Lanre Ojora over the moon as son weds
OR the first time in a long while, veteran socialite, Lanre Ojora, is one happy woman again. Reason: her son, Sola, is set to quit bachelorhood in a matter of weeks by marrying U.S-based Kemi Abayomi. No one would begrudge the stylish woman if she decides to give her son a befitting wedding party. In the last seven years, Ojora faced daunting challenges that could have broken the strongest of men. First, her daughter, Bimbo, who was married to former minister, Lanre Babalola passed on in 2005. This expectedly devastated Ojora. As if that was not enough tragedy to contend with, she also suffered f r o m a protracted illness that lasted for over a year. But friends of the 60-something years old woman are happy that she n o w has cause to smile again after all she's gone through. •Ojora
Aisha Babangida’s new found passion
Amina Sambo, Amina Yakowa in cold war •Sambo
HE once chummy friendship that existed between Kaduna state First Lady, Amina Yakowa and wife of the Vice President, Amina Sambo has hit the rocks. For some time now, not a few stakeholders in Kaduna State have been wondering why Yakowa is yet to launch her pet project. But SC can reveal that the cold war between the women started when Yakowa indicated her desire to float her pet project. Until then, the Kaduna First Lady had served as the chairperson of Amina Sambo's “I Care Project”. And not wanting to let go, Sambo reportedly insisted that she carry on with her (Sambo) project in the state, especially since it falls in line with providing for women and children. This “suggestion” did not sit well with Amina Yakowa, who sources say, has been sulking in silence. How this issue between the two women would be resolved remains to be seen.
Lolade Iruka celebrates
LEASANT to look at, Lolade Iruka is not just another fixture on the social scene. Apart from her background that screams opulence, and degrees from prestigious institutions abroad, she is one lady any parent would be proud of. Little wonder her interior decoration company, IRUKAZ Nigeria Limited, is currently making waves in Lagos. That also probably explained why nobody was taken aback when the man that means the world to her, Adegbenro Adelakun, hosted her to a wondrous party last week Thursday to celebrate her birthday. The lavish soiree was hosted at her husband's office in Ikeja. The party train later moved to the pool side of Protea Hotel, GRA, Ikeja. The classy gathering had in attendance friends of the 'birthday girl' from within and outside the country who had come to felicitate with her. Dressed in a swanky outfit, Lolade was all smiles as she basked in the company of her soul mate and some of his friends.
F you are still wondering about the whereabouts of Aisha Babangida, wonder no more. She has been moving around the Northern states, bettering the lives of women and children. In the last one year, Hajiya Aisha has been lying low on for reasons best known to her. SC gathered that the mother of four has been working hard on her mother's legacy, Better Life for the African Rural Women. Her busy schedule involves visiting rural areas to inquire about the lives of women in the community and assist where she can. In addition to all these, she has helped set up rural development initiatives, enlightenment campaigns, as it concerns maternal health and radio and television discussions about better life programmes. Other projects keeping the former Zamfara first lady busy include training 400 women, thus far, in Niger State on various skills and also educating them through adult literacy programmes and h e a l t h matters.
Kayode Amusan retraces steps
ORMER House of Reps. member, Kayode Amusan, has gone back to his auto business in Lagos following the expiration of his tenure at the lower legislative house. Before he joined politics, the Ogun State-born socialite had a thriving auto business in Lagos which suffered some setbacks due to lack of attention from Amusan. But with playing politics partially out of the way now, Amusan, in the last one year has been busy trying to reorganise his businesses. Boasting a state-ofthe-art new showroom on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos, opposite Lagos Country Club, the former lawmaker also owns hotels in different parts of Lagos. Though there were rumours a few months back that he sold one of his hotels to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, those who are very close to the light-skinned businessman said this is far from the truth.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Kim Kardashian coy over romance with Kanye West
•Kim and Kanye
IM Kardashian was quizzed over her relation ship with Kanye West on the Today show this morning. And while she didn’t openly declare her love - she didn’t deny it either. Asked by host Ann Curry if the ‘Kimye’ romance was true, the 31-year-old reality star giggled: ‘Kanye and I have been friends for years,’ before adding: ‘...so, I love the song,’ in reference to West’s new track Theraflu, in which he sings how he fell in love with Kim. In another sign she was ready
to move on following her failed marriage to Kris Humphries which lasted just 72 days, Kim said defiantly: ‘I’m really ready to close that chapter. I have closed that chapter. ‘You never know what the futures holds or where my life will take me.’ On Wednesday night, Kim and Kanye were spotted leaving the movies in New York after watching the new hit film The Hunger Games. And yesterday the E! TV personality was spotted leaving his NYC apartment - tellingly in the
same clothes she wore the night before. Kim giggled as Curry asked her today about the date, but would only say she found the film ‘interesting’. The TV star was well groomed for her appearance, slipping into a form-fitting turquoise dress and black heels. She also posed for a picture with rapper Nicki Minaj who was also appearing on the U.S. breakfast show. Minaj - who collaborated with West on the track Monster - tweeted the accompanying message: ‘SHE’S WITH ME NOW! MOVE BACK BUGS!!!! AHHAHAHHHAHAHAHHAHAHA! ‘After her TV interview, Kim made an outfit change into black trousers and white Tshift emblazoned with a leopard as she stalked through JFK Airport where she was expected to board a flight to Los Angeles. There was a media storm yesterday as Kim and Kanye stepped out for lunch and then a spot of shopping in the wake of reports their relationship was far from platonic. The singer and rapper also refers to his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose in the song, following her claims he and Kim had a fling while they were together. Kanye sings: ‘And the whole industry wants to f*** your old chick.’ ‘Only n**** I got respect for is Wiz. ‘And I admit I fell in love with Kim around the same time she fell in love with him.’ ‘Well that’s cool baby girl do your thing.’ ‘Lucky I ain’t had Jay drop him from the team.’ It seems that Kanye admits to falling for the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star when she was getting together with her now-estranged husband Kris Humphries. And it appears West is referring to Jay-Z when he mentions ‘Jay’ because the rapper is part owner in Humphries’ basketball team the New Jersey Nets. Earlier this year Amber Rose, who is now engaged to Wiz Khalifa claimed that Kim was the reason she and Kanye broke up. She said: ‘She’s a homewrecker! They were both cheating. They were both cheating on me and Reggie with each other.’ And she said that Kim instigated the affair by sending sexy pictures of herself to him as well as calling and texting him. Amber added: ‘She was sending pictures, and I was like, “Kim, just stop. Don’t be that person”.’
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
VOL 1 NO. 037
Consumer experience and customer loyalty G
LOBALLY, brand building and successful marketing is coming down to relationship building and management, real hard, for brands. Consumer brand experience now come down with direct impact on sales graphs and figures in quantifiable terms, more than ever before. It is gradually catching on with discerning brand managers, especially with banks, airlines telecom companies, hotels and leisure. In developed economies, loyalty program as sale tool has even moved from accumulating gain-points on consumer engagement or experience to becoming very important element of an over-all customer strategy based on total experience including dialogue, insight and personalized offers. For example, hotels are now using information gleaned from loyalty program to customize the consumer experience by adding personal touches to rooms. Banks now practice customer reward system based on intimacy and value of engagement in form of customized personal service delivery, by tying together several products into points-based loyalty programs. What markets stated above do, is reward different customers differently. Given that loyalty program as a marketing tool, its effectiveness depends on a given brand's program so as will attract or entice the right customers to remain loyal. At the end of the day, it all comes down to cost computation, therefore, as in other strategic tools, customer loyalty program must be designed to attract plus return on investment. The most basic kind of loyalty program is based purely on transactions. Customers accumulate points redeemable for free goods or discounts on related products. It's a tactical or promotional marketing initiative, also capable of stimulating revenue in the short term. So the trend is tasking on creativity and strategic planning on the basis of experiential marketing support. It basically engages customers in form of appreciation for experiencing or engaging the brand, such that connects brand and customer at a point of friendship way beyond the brand's core value essence. It is about personalizing the relationship between brand and customer; it's about consumer experience. I once had a very exciting loyalty program experience with Emirate airline in one of my travels from Dubai to Lagos. Going by their program design, the lot fell on me to be rewarded as a frequent flyer, in form of class upgrade. The experience of flying on Business Class from my Economy Class went a long way to establish the loyalty I developed for the brand (unfortunately that friendship was compromised when I lost one of my luggages in a subsequent trip). Such is brands' gains from a well executed loyalty program, and the developed market is driving further in the use of such programs to drive customer loyalty, competitive advantage and total consumer satisfaction. Unfortunately, brands in our local market are yet
to connect with this unique global trend. Instead, the population of unhappy customers keeps growing. Across segments in our local market, the overriding marketing objective is rather brutal, unfriendly and selfish. Most of the brands in almost all of the market segments are primarily concerned with meeting market target in volume and value
terms, not minding the consumer experience not even with franchises of global brands in this market. They all gain from the huge size of this market, being the largest market in Africa, and compromise the consumers because of the largely unregulated nature of the market. How else would one look at the consumer experience of a brand like MultiChoice/DSTV in Nigeria? In the first place, customers have to go through a lot of deprivation in terms of time and resources to be connected, and then continue with the exorbitant subscription paid through an equally tedious process. To add to it all, they broadcast stale contents / programs repeatedly, totally disregarding decency and respect for viewers' money. Now, all that happens and continue to happen because the system does not have effective and efficient checks to regulate trade and practice of brands such as MultiChoice/DSTV. The situation is even made worse by the character of consumers in this market. To a great extent, lack of options really leaves the average consumer without choice. As in the case of the cable television market, what choice is there to enable the average consumer make rationale decision, even in the face of compromises? In fact, it is so bad, corporate customers and some very high net-worth subscribers pay two years on ahead on account, for uninterrupted experience because there are no options. The good thing, however, is that the economy is opening up to foreign influences. They may not be obviously purposeful with exposing the Nigerian cus-
tomer to the luxurious customer treatment in their home markets (cost consideration), but the vestiges will manifest in the long run. Kentucky Fried Chicken, Woolworth and Shoprite are all going to change the face of brands management in this market in the long run. The telecom market is peculiar in influence as a tool for socio-economic development, no doubt, but it remains the one market requiring of improved customer experience management. As in the retail and fast food markets, change is coming the way brands in these markets are managed, considering that with time, consumer appreciation will grow, resulting in a more purposeful brands management. The most manifest of brands support today is product campaigns. Because advertising is most often not based on challenging consumer expectation, such initiatives are not deep in concept, creativity and strategy. In fact if it were possible to be absolutely quiet, the few brands that still invest in advertising would have ceased to bother. So, the main objective for most brands communication is consumer mind presence not even top of mind awareness. It is enough for the brand's showing on advert media, just so that it is seen to be advertising. For reasons of pseudo-competition, brands in telecom and drinks market (especially the alcoholic drinks segment finds it very easy to hold promotions, promising all sorts of prizes to be won. The interesting about some of the promotions is that they are not primarily consumer rewarding. At best, they heighten consumer awareness and brand consideration because of the exciting prices promised. But we have also gathered that consumers are beginning to doubt the authenticity of some of paraded winners and their prices. So much is done with computer graphics and structured photography to gain in authenticity. But the consumer is getting wiser. In developed markets, loyalty program as a tactical sales promotion tool has even been taken far beyond basic points gathering, to a more effective engagement that now see brands deliberately investing to learn more about their customers by tracking not just their purchases but also their attitudes and needs. A loyalty program can serve as a platform to facilitate richer, more frequent dialogues with customers, to learn things about them that might not be revealed by their transactions. The degree to which customers find real value on a loyalty program will depend on how different they are in needs. So the brand will gain more by appreciating the deep individual differences in the diverse array of customers, and treat of them with care at same level of individuality. It will cost much to achieve this, but the brands stands to gain much more at the end. By meeting those needs, brands can create a solid basis for loyalty, improving the right customers' lifetime values and earning a higher in the process. It all comes down to Total Consumer Satisfaction, which should be the primary objective of every brand.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Dr. Ola Orekunrin, a 26 year old medical doctor, helicopter pilot and the Managing Director of Flying Doctors Nigeria, Limited which is the first air ambulance service in West Africa, speaks with Rita Ohai on the dynamics of running her company and her motivation for starting it.
You donâ€™t need money to start business Only about one HY did you people that have a start this of nine lot of money but business? by those who businesses that I started because I have great ideas. realised in a quite have started, How are you painful way that sick able surmount have succeeded people can be moved the bureaucratic and it depends on challenges around Nigeria or out of most the country in a timely entrepreneurs your attitude fashion. There were no face in Nigeria? air ambulances at all in I did not even the country that could see those challenges because I provide effective critical care transport. think there are challenges My sister was 12 years old when she everywhere. People generally visited Nigeria and she fell quite ill. We think that if you go to England asked for an ambulance to move her but the or the United States, you will only air ambulance we could find was in not find any 'cabal' but if you South Africa and before the ambulance look at the owners of most big could arrive the country, she died. That companies like Oracle and the served as my wake-up call. rest, you will find that they are How did you start this organisation? all Harvard graduates. It is the It started with a dream and my same in Nigeria where there are dream was to bring better care very few rags to riches stories but services to Nigeria. I started if you concentrate on why with one aircraft by leasing it you can't, then every month. I tried to make you'll never money with that aircraft by see the running the air ambulance reas service and taking as many contracts as possible. Right now it has grown to fifteen aircrafts and we pay long leases for them. Considering that running an air ambulance service requires a big budget, how are you able to fund the project? Every business starts with an idea not money. When people come to me with business plans, I always tell them that first of all you have to have a clear idea of what it is you want to do. I think money itself is an idea. I started my business with no capital what-so-ever. I had worked in England for a few years after which I sold my car and my house and came to Nigeria with the little money that I had. I think that great businesses are started not by
ons why you can. Could you let us know the most difficult job you have ever done? There have been quite a few. The most horrific I have seen in Nigeria has been as a result of terrorism and kidnapping. The gunshot wounds and the bombings have been either been deforming or lifechanging. I am thankful to God that I have been able to be in those situations and change peoples lives because a lot of people who would have died or deformed if they had not been moved to an area where they could get great amount of care. Since you cater to high-profile customers, is there a plan to enable the less-privileged in society afford your services? Most of our clients are corporate clients and companies can only be responsible for people that work for them. If these people work for a company, then we can reach them. I think the people that the service actually changes lives for are the poor, like the mechanics working on the rigs or a desk clerk who is shot by a terrorist group. These are poor people who would have never dreamt that a helicopter could come and pick them up. To reach the people who are not affiliated with companies is dependent on what the government is willing to do. What are the challenges you have faced while working with government bodies like the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency? In some ways, there is a myth of Nigerian authorities being so difficult. When I approached them with my cover letter and my laptop, I went to them as someone that had no family connections at all and they have guided me through the regulatory processes. What key advice would you give to young people who want to become entrepreneurs like you? The best advice I would give anybody is the same one I give my younger relatives. I tell them, 'it is better to have started and failed than not to have started at all'. Only about one on nine businesses that have started, have succeeded and it depends o n y o u r attitude. When I started mine, I thought to myself that if one in nine can succeed, then all I would have to do is start nine businesses and definitely one will succeed. Luckily, the second one I s t a r t e d ( F l y i n g Doctors) was successful.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Relationships Deola Ojo 08027454533 (text) Pastordeegfc@yahoo.com
Questions and Answers April 2012
I spent more than 10 years in women's magazines, and I write a beauty blog with a critical slant. But my real qualification for sharing my thoughts on beauty is 35 years of womanhood. From dabbling in my grandmother's makeup kit at age 5 to trying anti-aging creams for the first time last year, navigating the messages I send with my appearance - to myself and those around me - has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. For just as long, I've been asking what goes on behind the scenes in the ways we present ourselves. Here's some of what I've learned.
OW you feel has little to do with how you look.
At age 20 I felt near-constant panic about the circumference of my thighs. At 35, I look at photos from 15 years ago and well, you know the punch line. My thighs looked fine. I haven't released all insecurities, but I now recognize that self-image reflects mood and psyche, not actual appearance. Wincing about some flaw is a convenient funnel for stress, and it's certainly easier than unpacking Jungian angst. My own psychology aside, I've witnessed this in extensive interviews I've conducted with dozens of women. I've talked with a former model who couldn't look in the mirror at times; I've talked to women with quotidian looks who have no problems proclaiming, "I am beautiful." The way the world treats a woman may differ depending on how closely she matches an idealized beauty standard. But that treatment is secondary to your attitude toward your appearance. Part of the lesson here is that each of us has the power to dictate her own beauty. But the other part is that if women all over the beauty map are saying the same things, maybe beauty has less to do with how any of us looks and more to do with how our culture regards women. Beauty is shortcut to enchantment. Nearly every woman I've interviewed about beauty will mention the same person: her friend who isn't necessarily genetically blessed but who owns any room she walks into. You know that person, right? (Maybe you are her, in which case, mazel tov!) Call it je ne sais quoi, sprezzatura, or just "It" - when you possess that quality and conduct yourself as though you're something to behold, you become something to behold. For all the hand-wringing over how women go to absurd lengths to look beautiful, I suspect most of us are after that luminous essence,
What I know about beauty now that I'm in my 30s not cookie-cutter beauty. But we use beauty as a route to that essence, and why wouldn't we? Magnetism only comes once you have a degree of comfort with yourself - far more difficult to source than a nice shade of lipstick. Allure is possibly the best-named women's magazine out there, because it slices through beauty to get to what we're really after. The power of attractiveness is weaker than you think. There's plenty of chatter about how attractive people earn more money. That's true, but what's often overlooked is that the benefits of attractiveness are greater for men than for women - and in some fields, attractive women are penalized for their looks. But even if beautiful women were universally earning more, when managerial positions are still more likely to be occupied by men, that boils down to women pecking around for crumbs left by people with real power, who can rescind the power of beauty at whim. I'm not saying life isn't easier in some ways for conventionally attractive people. But the power of pretty often boils down to little more than free drinks. Tip well. If you can't afford at least a 20% tip for your hairstylist, manicurist, or whoever is doing any sort of beauty work on you, you can't afford the service. You're in your 30s now. Be a lady. It's okay to mourn your youth. But there's plenty to celebrate, too. We get lots of messages about looking younger - and we also get messages countering that notion. I've only recently developed early signs of aging - under-eye bags, fine lines. Women older than me may say I don't know aging yet, but being new to it means I'm new to the emotions that accompany getting older. I'm thrilled there's a thriving pro-aging sentiment out there, but I sometimes feel like I'm wrong for having any sense of loss for my youth. I miss staying out until 4 a.m. and showing up at work resembling a homo sapien; I miss the radiance I had that I now only get with impeccable self-care. I'm making peace with those things, and age-positive sentiments are part of that. But if we don't allow permission to feel any sadness about the processes of time, we're not clearing the path for joys that lie ahead. And there are plenty of those, physical and otherwise: I look conventionally better now than I did 10 years ago. In my 30s, my skin stopped freaking out; I know what hairstyles and colours suit me. There's an undeniable beauty to youth, sure. There's also an undeniable beauty to maturity. Self-esteem isn't found in a jar - but the jar doesn't wreck your self-esteem. Well-meaning people sometimes make the mistake of thinking makeup equals
insecurity - that women wear cosmetics to conceal shame about our natural selves. That can be the case, but many of us wear makeup because it creates a division between our private and public lives. I "put on my face" because I'm a social creature, and makeup is an internal signal that I'm functioning socially. It's an "on" switch as much as it is a cover-up. Nobody should feel pressured to wear makeup - or be effectively fired for not doing so - but we shouldn't feel ashamed about doing so either. You can't look your best unless you're comfortable, but comfortable can mean many things. If makeup helps you feel emotionally comfortable, dab and swipe away, my friend. Beauty is work. You already know this, of course; you understand exactly how much labour it takes to get ready in the morning, recalibrating depending upon how many times you hit snooze. But we often hide our beauty labour from men, and sometimes from one another. As much as I want to maintain a certain mystique, it's important to not hide behind-the-scenes "dirty work." We may think we poke fun at women who go over-the-top in chasing the beauty standard because they look silly or vain, but it's more that they're exposing the work many of us do on a lesser level: We laugh at Snooki's tan because it reveals our private application of graduated tanning cream; we snark at Kardashianesque eyelashes because we have the good taste to stop at one coat of Sable Brown. Maybe if we were more transparent about the preparations we took for the performance of public life, we might better be able to understand what we're after with all our careful work. Most beauty tips don't matter. Here are 21 that do. A manicure always helps. Good primer is worth the money. A dab of retinoid cream does wonders. Eat vegetables, drink water, get enough calories. Find a concealer that perfectly matches your skin. Stop with the photo face. Know the lipstick corollary. Get the best haircut you can afford. If you don't feel great in it, don't wear it. Grooming your eyebrows will brighten your face, and so will letting them grow naturally if you feel shame creep over you every time you tweeze. Exercise. Find your best colours, but don't be limited by them. Shoulders back, pelvis tucked. Red wine makes for a great lip stain. Don't gawk at yourself in every reflective surface available. Quit shampooing so much. Remember that it's called beauty sleep for a reason. Remember sunscreen. And remember that it's impossible to look your best when you're trying to look like someone else. Source: Autum Whitfiled Madrano at Huffington Post
am a girl of 24 dating a guy of 38, we have been dating for four years. Initially my mum and sister were not supportive of the relationship because he asked me to marry him. Their complaint was that he is too old for me. When the Boko haram issue came up, they switched to that reason because he is from the northern part of the country even though he was born a catholic. I have been stubborn and insisted that I would marry him. But recently, I started entertaining some doubts especially with regards to the age difference. Not that he looks his age, but the fact that we would not grow old together and our children will be in their early twenties when he is in his sixties. Do you think the union is ideal? There are several issues to consider when thinking of getting married. Compatibility is definitely a critical issue to carefully weigh against other factors. Age is one of the things that determine how compatible couples are before marriage. But age is not the only issue to consider. The first issue to consider is your spiritual compatibility. What you believe about God and how this will affect and influence both of you in making decisions, reaching agreements and raising your children. The next issue is educational compatibility. Education affects our ideas, ideals, aspirations, standards and lifestyle. The other factors are your financial capability, physical appearance, love, interest and hobbies as well as your mutual friends. Family background is another critical factor to consider in working out how compatible you are with your would-be-spouse. On one hand, I think that the age difference is not too much provided that you are quite compatible in the other areas I have listed above. However I personally wish that men who are in their late thirties will consider marrying ladies who are in their thirties. There are so many wonderful and well behaved ladies who are praying and waiting for a spouse. It is easier for a man in his late thirties to marry a woman in her thirties than for a man in his twenties to marry a woman in her thirties. Anyhow, you need to pray and be sure in your heart before you decide to marry anyone. I would advise you to get a copy of my book "Give Me a Spouse or I Die". You may call Dayo on 017744213. What happens if your husband is cheating with a next door neighbor? This is a dangerous situation and if care is not taken, things can get messy. What if the wife and the neighbor get into a fight, there is no telling how the fight may end. This situation has to be addressed as a matter of urgency. There have been cases where a man who was having affair with a next door neighbor was attacked and killed together with the lady on their way from work. Some people claim it was the other woman's husband who hired assassins to have them both killed. Others suspect it was the man's wife and still some say it was because the man had a dispute over a piece of land. Nobody knows what really happened but it is better to avoid situations like this. Most men who cheat, do not want their wife to find out that they are cheating. Even if the wife suspects it, they never want her to have the proof. A man who goes ahead to have an affair with a next door neighbor, has thrown all caution to the wind. While we may want to condemn such a man, it is important to find out why. Is it because he wants to spite his wife? And if this is the reason, why does he want to spite her. Sometimes a man may feel that he has been repeatedly degraded and humiliated by his wife and therefore decides to take revenge by flaunting his affair in front of his wife. If the wife has been refusing to have sex with him, he may want her to realize that someone else wants him, even if she does not. He may also want to prove that he can get another woman anytime he wishes. Whatever his excuse it is wrong to have affairs and it is definitely wrong to have one with the next door neighbor. The wife needs to find out why he is doing this and they both need to have a sincere talk. He needs to end the affair. If they need to change their residence, then they should move as quickly as possible. If the husband refuses to end the affair, then the wife should involve other matured and impartial counselors. Above all, the wife should really pray for her husband. Sometimes, diabolical powers are at work and this can only be dislodged by prayers.
To be continued next week
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
Arts & Life
By Olubanwo Fagbemi firstname.lastname@example.org 08060343214 (SMS only)
Historical license The writer offers the consummate reader a deliberately skewed and amalgamated version of famous historical events by students with a caveat: assimilate the matter with a degree of scepticism as presumed knowledge of the ancient world will surely be challenged. If you have heard of poetic license, well, this is historical license.
CHEEK BY JOWL
THE INHABITANTS of ancient Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Desert, which used to be a green and fertile area, and travelled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians invented writing and built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. Without the Greeks we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns – Corinthian, Doric, and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in The Iliad, by Homer. Homer also wrote The Oddity, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, they threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn’t climb over to see what their neighbours were doing. When they fought with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men. Eventually, the Romans conquered the Greeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyranny who would turture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them. In medieval times most of the people were illiterate. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and versus, and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head. The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. It was the painter Donatello’s interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. In England, Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was a great queen. As a queen she was a success. Her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo. The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. Shakespeare never made much money and is only famous because of his plays. He lived at Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors. Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained. During the Renaissance America’s history began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. Later, the Pilgrims crossed the Ocean, and this was known as Pilgrims Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by the Indians, who came down the hill rolling their war hoops before them. Many of the Indian heroes were killed. Many people died and many babies were born.
Jokes Humour Rookie Worker A LUMBERJACK new to the job had trouble meeting his quota of trees felled. He worked as hard as he could, but still could only chop down two or three trees in a day. His supervisor noticed this, and wondered what the problem was. “Perhaps the chainsaw is broken,” said the supervisor. He turned it on and it roared to life. Looking incredibly startled, the lumberjack asked, “What’s that noise?” Stability at Last AFTER being laid off from five different jobs in the past year, Raphael was hired by a warehouse. Unfortunately, one day he lost control of the forklift and drove it off the loading dock. Surveying the damage, the owner shook his head and said, “I’m sorry, Raphael, but I’m going to have to withhold 10% of your monthly pay until we have enough to pay back the damage in a year.” “How much will it cost?” Raphael asked. “About N200, 000,” the owner replied.
“Finally,” Raphael said with a loud sigh. “Job security!” Elementary Excuse A PRIMARY Five pupil looked downcast, so her teacher asked, “What’s the problem, Mary? I hope it’s not homework again.” “Well, uh, yes, it is,” said Mary. “I was stupid and made my homework paper into a paper airplane.” “Mary, you’re right, that wasn’t a very bright thing to do,” the teacher said, “but this once I’ll let you just unfold the paper and hand it in.” “Oh, but that won’t work,” said Mary, looking even sadder. “You see, the plane was hijacked.”
QUOTE A fool may be known by six things: anger without cause; speech without profit; change without progress; inquiry without object; putting trust in a stranger; and mistaking foes for friends. —Arabian Proverb •Culled from the Internet
Writer’s Fountain OMMON mistakes to avoid: Be catchy! Short stories have some within the first three or four – have very little time to hook the reader to and that’s stretching it – paragraphs. Short stories also require originality. them. So your writing has to be such that it attracts the reader’s attention within the While it is true that there are no new basic first three or four paragraphs. Starting with ideas left, each idea can be addressed some action is one good technique. If action differently. A writer should be able to can’t be used at the very beginning, then “twist” the old idea in a new way or concept. Do not try to take up the same old Peculiar facts – conditions and processes: boring ideas used by almost all writers. Be •Prosopagnosia refers to the inability to innovative, let your imagination fly and identify people by their faces. In severe case write something different, but get your facts prosopagnosia a person may not be able straight. Also, there shouldn’t be confusion. to identify themselves in a mirror. •The word “lethologica” describes the Having the mechanics correct is a must. state of not being able to remember the Mixing format, construction, thesis, word you want while lethonomia is the structure, or points of view results in the reader being confused. Also, not following tendency to forget names. •Urophobia is the fear of urine or the guidelines for the genre can result in readers who expect certain elements urinating. •Leather skin does not have any smell. finding that they that are missing or The leather smell that you sense is actually misused. You must research and make sure that derived from the materials used in the you write correct information. Even stories tanning process. •The temperature of lightning bolts is need to have correct information. Placing a sometimes hotter than the surface of the real town in the wrong part of a state, for example, causes a lack of credibility. sun.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
Afro-Italian Heritage in Lagos
•L-R Ambra Pirri (Italian), Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard (German), and Francis Awinda (South African) ; discussants at the colloquium on Wednesday
In the heat of celebrating this year’s edition of the Black Heritage Festival, Lagos is solidifying its cosmopolitan outlook by imaging Africa via Italian connections, reports Joe Agbro Jr.
HOUGH the event was supposed to be part of the third edition of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, it could easily have passed for a diplomatic gathering. For three days last week, a group of Caucasians and Africans were cocooned in talks in the upper room of newly built Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery at the Freedom Park, Lagos. But, far from being he usual stuffy diplomats, these Caucasians, largely Italians and Africans were academics, artists and professionals discussing varying connections between peoples of both divide. The sessions which were themed: ‘The Black in the Blue Mediterranean’ was organised by Alessandra Di Maio of the University of Palermo, Italy, and Jahman Anikulapo of the Culture Advocates Caucus (CAC) included colloquiums, a photo exhibition as well as poetry readings with participants from both Nigeria
and Italy. Speaking at a roundtable titled ‘From Edo to Roma – with Love’, discussions raged on the prostitution ring between Nigeria and Italy with artist and Adire designer Nike Okudaye-Davies moderating. It was espoused that not only girls were being trafficked as prostitutes. “A lot of young boys are trafficked because certain adult males like young kids,” a participant said. “I don’t want to put it as an Edo problem. It’s a Nigerian problem.” Olu Ajayi, a former Chairman, Society of Nigerian Artist, Lagos Chapter, opined on why many youths, especially girls “are desperate” to travel overseas. “One of the first appeal a returnee invokes is his looking fresh and well-fed. To look fresh and well-fed in Europe is an easy thing to do. The weather is favourable and not as harsh. And so, your skin would look a little bit lighter. Secondly, he is wearing a nice and fine T-
•The children’s exhibition
Shirt. These are things that to the ordinary man here is expensive. Don’t forget that the traveller is viewed in the society as the most educated... If he now returns with a little bit of cash, he is going to be the standard. And everybody wants to go Italy to look like him. And to make matters worse, when he gets to Italy, he takes photographs in front of nice houses and
a Ferrari and sends them one. The craze at home to travel just gets worse.” But, Marco Ambrossi, an Italian photographer and teacher preferred to capture what he terms “the other side of immigration.” In ‘Portraits in Black,’ a project which started in 2003, he photographed African immigrants in Italy at churches when the immigrants are
likely t be in their best. In his images, the smiling faces reveal that there is still happiness within despite some prevailing harsh conditions. He would later visit Nigeria in 2010 on the request of Awan Anka , when he taught Visual and Performing Arts students of the Kwara State University. During this period, he also photographed Koranic schools, an Emir’s daughter’s wedding, Church sessions, and other day-to-day activities in northern Nigeria. Reflecting on the Nigeria/Italian interaction, he said, “we both have corruption, we both have population who make it when it seems impossible because we have the energy to work it out, we have very creative people. And at the same time, very clever.” Arthur Anyaduba, a postgraduate student of the Obafemi Awolowo explored the possibility of using the historical novel to document a people’s history. Anyaduba advocated for more African writers to begin to “do more historical novels like Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimananda Adichie and also Roses and Bullets by Akachi Ezeigbo.” He however said “all histories are constructed by the historian” writing the history. Italian journalist Ambra Pirri spoke on sexism and racism becoming state policies at a time in Italy. She also showed concerned on how to stimulate Africa’s economic growth. She wondered at the folly of receiving pittance as aid when a lot more was being siphoned away and urged Nigerians should get rid of foreign oil companies “like Hugo Chavez did in Venezuala.” Denouncing slavery, she said, “I’m unhappy when I think that African slaves built Europe and America.” While all the jaw-jaw was going on upstairs at the Kongi Harvest Art Gallery, the artworks of children aged between nine and 12 were on display in an exhibition titled ‘The vision of the child.’ The children had been cooped up to produce the artworks along that theme. An artwork featuring map of Nigeria with a painted face on a ladder on a shelf of books glared as one entered the Hall. Obviously, the artist was panning to the need to engage in reading. Kanyinsola Sokoya, a 12 year old JSS 2 student of Apostolic Faith Secondary School, Anthony Village, Lagos, is concerned with climate change. Her water colour artwork depicts an urban setting devoid of vegetation. “In the past, there used to be trees everywhere,” she said. “But, now, everything is changed.” Another of the artists, Chinedu Eziuku, a nine year old JSS 1 student of the Methodist Boys High School, Victoria Island uses the eyes as a metaphor for development. “The person in the artwork,” he says, “ has a vision of building the country when he grows.” The winners of the exhibition are to be selected today. Also on display was a collaborative photo exhibition by Nigerian and Italian photographers.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
Artistes to play in The Eureka moments Lagos AIDS concert M M
USICAL artistes such as Sound Sultan, JJC, 9ice, and the Chocolate City crew will be having a benefit concert on the 21st of April at the Freedom Park on Broad Street, Lagos Island. The concert is part of events marking the Lagos AIDS Walk, a 10km walkathon to promote the awareness and raise funds for treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in Lagos. The walkathon which is open to all will begin at the Herbert Macaulay end of the of the Third mainland bridge. From there, participants would walk to the AdenijiAdele Loop to terminate the walk at the Freedom Park. Expected to lead the walk is the Executive Governor of Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). He will be accompanied by former Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and former president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda who lost a son to AIDS. The walkathon is being organised by Dr. Dare Ajayi, executive director of Biire Child and maternal Health Foundation in col-
By Joe Agbro Jr.
laboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Nigerian Business Coalition Against A I D S (NIBUCAA), Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nig e r i a (NEPWHAN), Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), and Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS). Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Ajayi said, “during the concert, there would be •Convener of the walk, Ajayi and musician JJC free HIV testing and coun- geted at Lagosians, Ajayi selling sessions” provided said Lagos has the highest by medical workers from the number of people living Lagos State government at with HIV and there was the same venue. need to advocate more Musical artist JJC, who awareness. “The actual is based in London said, number of the 12% of people “there is a lot of ignorance in Benue living with HIV is about HIV and this should lesser,” he said, “than the not be so.” 5% of people living with the On why the event is tar- virus in Lagos.”
Artmosphere rocks Ibadan
RTMOSPHERE, a monthly poetry, music and arts event that holds in Ibadan, Oyo State is gradually stamping itself on the literary scene of Ibadan. At its March edition tagged ‘City of words’ which held at Chrysalis Place, Old Bodija, Ibadan, March 31, 2012, it was fun all the way. Among participants were Hyginus Ekwazi, film critic, multiple-award winning poet and writer, Su’edde Agema, Poet and blogger , Debisi ‘Degbohun, a fiction writer, and alternative music act, Dtone Martins who performed several of the songs in his upcoming album.. Speaking about his poems, Hyginus noted some influence from Okigbo in his book Love Apart. “In Love Apart, you have a persona
who is separated from the lover, the title itself is gotten from famous lines of Okigbo,” he said. He also talked about the spate of violence, the social awareness of the societyquestioning and revealing the innards of hypocrisy of society. His book That Other Country is a collection on the Nigeria/Biafra civil war. Ayokunle Emoruwa, author of Living in the Restaurant 1 noted that she observes and tries to understand contemporary issues. She said, “I try to break complex issues to simpler ones, and it just flows out unconsciously. I don’t write poems but I write, when I think about society, I try to simplify trends and it flows out unconsciously.” Olukayode Servio
Gbadamosi opened a launch pad for the readings of poems with an excerpt of Amos Tutoula’s “Palm Wine Drinker” which talked about the simplicities and the innate wisdom of the African people that cannot be jettisoned in contemporaries times. The audience also spoke about Osundare’s Katrina experience in relation to personal disasters experienced of other poets. The event which was coanchored by spoken word poets - Olukayode Servio Gbadamosi and Femi Fairchild Morgan, had in attendance mostly bankers, business development experts, publishers, doctors, intellectuals and literary enthusiasts from all works of life.
Literary Star Search deadline now May 31
NEW deadline has been approved for the innovative, grassroots contest, Literary Star Search. Entries for the competition will now end on May 31 instead of the original April 30 previously stipulated. A statement from the contest’s spokesman, Mr. Seun Jegede said last week, “Following several requests from writers, especially students writers in university campuses who wish to also enter stories for the contest, specially requested for time extension. Their request is as a result of the long strike in university campuses that stretched from late last year to early this year, which was
followed shortly by the one the labour union called to protest fuel deregulation. Most classes opened barely a week or two before examinations were called, which left little time for them to embark on another rigorous venture like the contest for Literary Star Search grand prize. “Creative Alliance has, therefore, thought it proper to extend the deadline by one month in apparent response to these requests so as not to leave behind an important group of writers – university students”. Jegede further stressed that since the contest is founded on a reputation of
catering for the interests of grassroots writers, the least it could do was to also take student writers along and accommodate them. He stated that the contest organisers were desirous of making a remarkable first impression with the prize because of the definitive statement they want to make amongst writers in the country and were thus willing to be amenable to all shades of views, opinions and suggestions that would advance the interests of writers and make the contest an enduring one. For further enquiries, interested participants can visit www.creativeallianceng.com
UCH as he did in his earlier books “How We Decide” and “Proust Was a Neuroscientist,” Mr. Lehrer shows how adept he is at teasing out the social and economic implications of scientific theories while commuting easily among the realms of science, business and art. He deconstructs the creative process behind a Bob Dylan song with the same verve he brings to the story of how Procter & Gamble created the Swiffer, its New Age mop. And he examines the art of improv, as taught by the Second City training center in Los Angeles, with the same appraising eye he brings to more arduous discussions of brain science. The 18th-century philosopher David Hume, Mr. Lehrer notes, argued that invention was often an act of recombination, of compounding an idea or transposing it from one field to another: “Johannes Gutenberg transformed his knowledge of wine presses into an idea for a printing machine capable of massproducing words. The Wright brothers used their knowledge of bicycle manufacturing to invent the airplane. (Their first flying craft was, in many respects, just a bicycle with wings.) George de Mestral came up with Velcro after noticing burrs clinging to the fur of his dog. And Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed the search algorithm behind Google by applying the ranking method used for academic articles to the sprawl of the World Wide Web; a hyperlink was like a citation.” In each case, Mr. Lehrer points out, “the radical concept was merely a new mixture of old ideas.” The InnoCentive Web site, started by an Eli Lilly executive in 2001, has shown that solutions to difficult scientific problems (which are posted online, with a mon-
By Michiko Kakutani
etary reward attached to each challenge) are often solved by people working at the margins of their fields, who were able to think outside the box. In other words, Mr. Lehrer says: “Chemists didn’t solve chemistry problems, they solved molecular biology problems, just as molecular biologists solved chemistry problems. While these people were close enough to understand the challenges, they weren’t so close that their knowledge held them back and caused them to run into the same stumbling blocks as the corporate scientists.” Being able to step back and view things as an outsider, or from a slightly different angle, seems to promote creativity, Mr. Lehrer says. This is why travel frequently seems to free the imagination, and why the young (who haven’t learned all sorts of rules) are often more innovative than their elders. The second half of “Imagine” is devoted to looking at “group creativity,” examining what sort of collaborative dynamics (within businesses or communities) tend to maximize innovation. Studies of Broadway musicals by Brian Uzzi, a sociologist at Northwestern University, Mr. Lehrer says, showed that relationships among collaborators were one of the most important factors in the success of a show. If team members had too little previous experience working with one another, they struggled to communicate and exchange ideas. But if they were too familiar with one another, fresh ideas tended to be stifled. Indeed, group interaction appears to play a key
role in innovation. In a lengthy and fascinating section on Pixar, Mr. Lehrer recounts how Steve Jobs designed that animation studio to force employees to visit the building’s main atrium: mailboxes were shifted to the lobby; meeting rooms were moved to the center of the building, followed by the cafeteria, coffee bar, gift shop and bathrooms. Jobs believed, one producer explained, that “the best meetings happened by accident, in the hallway or parking lot.” In another chapter Mr. Lehrer makes a strong case for cities as incubators of innovation. Echoing Jane Jacobs, he argues that the sheer density of urban life, “the proximity of all those overlapping minds,” forces people to mingle and interact with a diversity of individuals. This, he goes on, creates exactly the sort of collision of cultures and classes that often yields new ideas. He even quotes a theoretical physicist, Geoffrey West, who says he has found data that validates Jacobs’s theories. Culled from the New York Times
Finding the weakest link I N sober moments, many men often attempt evaluating themselves – reflecting on missed opportunities, un-treaded paths, and other happenings. Such reflections bring to score lessons which one could have learnt from. This is the angle which the new book, One Missing Ingredient by Femi Onasanya seeks to address. The author demonstrates with the stories of how three people’s cooking adventure does not materialise. He goes further, stating how it is important to have the skills, knowledge, ideas, intelligence, and even connection but hat persistence supersedes all these. “Persistence is the fuel we need to keep ourselves going till we get our desired success,” he writes. The author uses a lot of stories to drive home his points. For instance, when he writes on the issue of conception which faces many couples, he uses three separate stories. Also, he high-
By Joe Agbro Jr.
lighted how persistence pays with the story of two cousins, whereby one of them, Lewis, was naturally gifted but failed and the other, Jason, who was not as gifted as Lewis, but more resilient and tenacious at achieving his set goals. But, his
story, ‘How Craig go a good wife’ was the clincher. Harping on the biblical story of Samson, Onasanya dwells on SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis. He also writes on how Delilah’s wily persistence was able to ensure Samson’s capture by the Philistines. In addition, one nice feature throughout the small book is that it is flavoured with quotes from important personalities. The author also highlights obstacles o persistence to include lack of vision, commitment, self-esteem, faith, pessimism, past painful experiences, discouragement, and settling for second best. In all, apart from a few typos, it is a book worth reading, for the wise nuggets it offers for everyone.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
One for the road —PAGE 55
Regency in Yoruba land is an age old institution. It is a tradition under which women are allowed to hold office as traditional rulers after the death of a reigning monarch pending the installation of a new one. Taiwo Abiodun recently met some of them and reports
Amazing world of female regents
N some towns in Yoruba land, when a king dies, a woman is temporarily put on the throne as a caretaker so as not to leave the throne vacant until another monarch is installed. A Regent is expected to dress and act like a male because, though she is a woman, she is occupying a seat meant for a man and should behave like one. It is a long held tradition that a few of the regents enjoy the influence it confers while some feel it is a post they will rather it is abolished because of the restrictions it imposes on the holder. The Kalasuwe of Apoi – [March 13, 2011-date] Princess Joyce Adesola Ibimidun Oladiran-Ebiseni is in her late 40s. She is one of the several daughters of Oba Samuel Adetimehin Oladiran, Ugele Udum III who joined his ancestors in 2007. Origin of regency stool According to Kalasuwe of Apoi, “In our tradition, a married woman or a spinster is made a regent instead of a male because it is assumed that a male might not want to leave the throne and thus transform himself to be king. It has happened before. But if a married woman or a spinster is put there she will be yearning to go back to her husband and family while a spinster will be yearning to get married and start her own family.’’ A regent is forbidden from giving birth during her reign so as not to allow crisis to brew in the future, “The child may want to impose himself and believe he has authority like others to become an Oba, forgetting that his mother was an adele or caretaker.” Princess Oladiran-Ebiseni became the first regent in the history of the community last year March. She was unanimously chosen to lead the Apoi/ Ijaw communities until another monarch is picked. A graduate of Business Administration from the Federal Polytechnic, Ado- Ekiti and Political Science from the University of Lagos she was appointed twice by the Chairman of Ese - Odo Local Government as Special Adviser on Legislative Matters; Women and Special Duties between 2000 and 2003. She is currently the E xecutive Director of the Centre for the Rehabilitation of Exceptional Persons (CREP), a Non-Gover nmental Organization committed to the plight of the less - privileged. Her people, the Apois, are Yoruba speaking Ijaws, in the Niger Delta spreading from Bayelsa to Ondo State.
•Regent of Kalasuwe of Apoi (Princess Joyce Adesola Ibimidun Oladiran-Ebiseni
They are mainly divided into nine principal communities of Sabomi, Oboro, Kiribo, Igbobini, Igbekebo, Inikorogha, Ojuala, Igbotu and Ipoke. The nine communities operate as a federation with each having its own Oba with Kalasuwe as the paramount ruler. The stool of the Kalasuwe was among the earliest recognized by the Europeans. At the compilation of list of recognized Nigerian traditional rulers in 1924, the Kalasuwe also known as the “Oba of Ijaws” was among the highest ranked. Speaking on what she does, she said,
“With the assistance of my chiefs and community elders I have settled many disputes. In fact, I am spending more money contrary to the people’s thought that I will be receiving more. But I must confess that it shows that what a man can do a woman can also do better. I am the first regent in the land and I am highly supported. My husband calls me Kabiyesi.” She has in her wardrobes over 200 Yoruba male flowing gowns [agbada], and many male traditional caps from gombo, abeti aja. She is also eager to see that a
PHOTOS: TAIWO ABIODUN
substantive monarch is chosen so as to allow her continue her normal run of life. Reflecting on her tenure, she said, “I have served my people and my conscience is clear. I want the kingmakers to quickly choose their monarch and for me to go back to my family. I want to go back to my family. I am missing my children especially. What pains me most is my organization that I left. I have little time for the it now but that notwithstanding I still take the sick to the hospital which I had been doing before I was called to become the regent.” •Continued on Page 54
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
The world of regents The Odoka of Ogbaro kingdom, Ilaje (2010-date) Princess Aderonke Ajimisogbe Efurubu, 47, is a Nursing Sister at Ilaje Local Government. She ascended to the throne on November 6, 2010 after the demise of Oba Anthony Olabode Koredatomola Ogbaro of Ogbaro Kingdom. “My ascension to the throne was through divine intervention. I was not the only contestant; we were many but I was picked by the people of the town and supported by the chiefs. They picked me based on merit, integrity, respect and dignity. This seat is a revered one and therefore it is a person of high integrity that they really want to be there.” Changed lifestyle Her life has undergone tremendous changes since she became the regent, “I wear male’s clothes. I go about with a flywhisk and wear cap like a man. My children call me ‘Daddy’. My husband supported me and he too greets me not by prostrating but he says Kabiyesi to me. My chiefs would greet me by using their hands as if paddling a canoe while some would do acrobatic display to greet me. My mother kneels down to greet me while others too do the same. Duties According to her, she has been performing her roles as a temporary monarch: “I have been settling disputes among warring parties in my community with the assistance of my God and the loyal
•Regent of Odoka of Ogbaro Ilaje (Princess Aderonke Ajimisogbe Efurubu
chiefs. I settle land cases and misunderstandings between husbands and wives.’’ According to her, she is forbidden from going to the market, apart from that “I must not eat white snail nor whale and dolphin fishes.” It was not easy for her to adjust to her new life as a regent so much that she at times finds herself wear-
•Regent Alale of Akungba Akoko Princess Ajoke Adekanye
Alale of Akungba [2004-date] Princess Adejoke Adekanye, without mincing words, told the reporter when asked how she is enjoying her holding the traditional stool in trust, she said, “I am tired of this Regency” perhaps in demonstration of her mood she was wearing a Jeans trousers and was in her shop drawing sketches of some clothes as a fashion designer. She is in her early 30s and contrary to her thought that she would not spend about one or two years to hold the stool in trust, she has spent over eight years on the throne! “I became a regent three months after the death of my father in December 2003.” She was chosen by her two other older sisters because they were married and were uninterested, “I at first rejected the offer. But because I was used to the palace and closer to the community, the lot fell on me to ascend the throne for a while.” According to her, she lives most of her life in Akure, the Ondo State capital because of her fashion business, “I am a trained lawyer. I graduated two years ago but have not gone to Law School. I travel a lot and this has not affected my duties because I have chiefs and kingmakers who are on the ground to do most of the things that do not require my attention.” Anxious to marry She is however anxious to drop the mantle and have her own
family, “I am still single. I hope to get married soon. In fact that is one of the impediments in this culture thing. We have the rules that one should not get married while on the throne and should not even give birth to any kid. For me, I think they should come and have another monarch for me to be set free, to go and get married. There is nothing much to gain in this position only the respect and honour being accorded to the seat, that is all.’’ Impediments to freedom Since she assumed the role, life has been restricted and she has lost her freedom to move and do as she likes. “Now, I am restricted from going out, I cannot go to parties.There are places I cannot go anyhow again. I select where to go. I attend meetings after meetings. I hardly have time for myself. This Regency is not a position for a young lady to hold for long, that is why I say they could cancel it in the future and a time will come when people will be running away from it. Before my father died I never thought of becoming one. Any position that doesn’t make one free is not good for a young lady. I have told the elders to either pick another regent or choose their king.” A regent is not allowed to shake hands with anyone except the president or governor. She confessed that she is eagerly looking forward to the day she would be relieved of the duties of a regent and be allowed to resume her free world again.
•Regent Oloba of Uso (Princess Adekemi Folashade Olijogun
The Oloba of Uso (December 10, 2011-date) Princess Adekemi Folashade Olijogun, 31, [Nee Oyinbade], is about five feet tall, and dark in complexion. She graduated from Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State with a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy. She is a staff of a Federal Government agency, the National Environmental Standards Regulations Agency (NESTREA),
Akure. She became a regent of Uso, near Akure on December 10, 2011. Ascension to the throne Asked how she became a regent she said, “My father died on September 30, 2011 and I was unanimously picked by the family and the king makers after consultations with the Ifa Oracle. I was installed on December 10, 2011. I believe is temporary.’’ Her responsibility “As a community leader I have been acting as a man since then. I settle disputes and offer advice where necessary. However, I do all these with the assistance of my chiefs who are more knowledgeable and well versed
ing a woman’s dress instead of male apparels. She has often been embarrassed by this and she had to go back and change her dressing. One common thread in the lives of the regents is that they are all united in their ways that it is a tradition they will rather not want to continue because of its restrictions. in culture. They are people of integrity. They are highly supportive and understanding.” She got married a year before the death of her father and her selection as a regent. She is however looking forward to the choice and installation of a substantive monarch so as to allow her to go back to her family, especially her little child. “The Regency does not permit me to have babies while on the throne. That is why I am praying for the community to quickly produce a new monarch so that I can be let off the hook. The position is not as easy as people think. I am always busy throughout as I attend meetings with governors and other government officials.” As a regent she lives in two worlds. “I appreciate my husband. He is a man of culture, he treats me like a regent in the public and gives me the necessary accolades and respect an Oba should have. He prostrates for me and calls me kabiyesi. But in our matrimonial home I give him full respect and honour. He was consulted first and he gave me his full support.” According to the custom, since she is holding forte for a monarch who is a man, it is compulsory for her to wear men’s clothes. This is however not strange to her as she is used to wearing jeans and trousers anyway. Her greatest regret is that her father did not see her baby before he died. “He only saw the picture of my baby since it is forbidden for a king to see a newly born baby until it is three months old.” Three months into her regency, she “discovered that the position is a hot seat. Many people come in to either glance at me and test my integrity. I always demand for God’s guidance and knowledge like the Biblical King Solomon. They criticize you and talk about you, annoy you and yet want to get closer to you. So as the ‘father’ of the community I take everything with maturity.” •Continued on Page 55
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
ITH the salvo of hot words they were hurling at each other, the two middle-aged women could have created a scene but for the timely intervention of some senior members of the drivers union at one of the motor parks at Oshodi, Lagos. The warring women, who sell a variety of concocted alcoholic drinks to drivers and passengers, reached for each other’s throat over an accusation that one snatched the other’s customers. This case depicts the typical commercial life in almost all motor parks across the country where retail sellers of all kinds of items converge day and night. They sell the drinks in various packs and containers and give them several names to mask their contents. For instance, various kinds of hot drinks such as Chelsea, Schnapps and others are mixed with herbal roots and called ‘opa eyin’, so called because they claim it helps to strengthen the back bone. This is explained as aiding the driver to ‘sit straight’ because of the nature of the job, driving long distance. It is under this guise that alcoholic drinks concocted with various herbs are given euphemism which makes them look permissible and all right to be sold at motor and okada parks. The concoctions are mostly sold by women at these parks and they are patronised by drivers and passengers alike before embarking on their journeys. A fruitless campaign Over the years the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has from time to time embarked on campaigns around motor parks across the country, trying to dissuade drivers from consuming alcohol before embarking on any journey. In fact, sale of alcoholic drinks has been severally banned anywhere near motor parks but this has not yielded any result. However, investigations by The Nation show that sale of alcohol at parks may have come to stay despite the concerned public outcry over it. According to the Vice-President of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Adegboyega Olugbodi,
One for the road
As many embark on travelling this week to mark the Easter period, Tunde Busari, visited some motor parks to monitor efforts to rid them of sales of alcoholic drinks the presence of alcohol sellers in motor parks is a contentious issue which has given the union grey hair. He said past efforts aimed at making a case for getting rid of the practice have met with stiff opposition from several quarters. He said he hardly missed every opportunity at public fora including press interviews to seek support for the eradication of the practice. He, however, lamented the poor result of the effort owing to the limitation of the law governing motor parks. “The point I am making is that we don’t have the power to tell these people (alcohol sellers) to leave the park. They are also tenants even though we are the chief tenant. If we ask them to go, do we ask sellers of kola nut, cigarettes, soft drinks, recharge cards and other items to also leave the park? It is not possible unless if one wants to go against the law. Local Government council is our landlord. So, it is local government council that has the exclusive power over all of us,” Olugbodi stressed. It was also learnt that one of the remarkable efforts made by the late Alhaji Saka Saula, during his brief tenure as the chairman of Lagos State branch of the NURTW was his insistence on sending the alcohol sellers away from the parks. This, however, was also frustrated. Hard nut to crack To the Vice-Chairman of Alimosho branch ‘F’ of the union, Comrade Kayode Oladele, the issue of the ban on alcoholic drinks at motor parks is more complex than the pubic see it. Apparently exonerating drivers from the alleged complicity in the continued presence of the sellers at the parks, he argued that the issue has thrown up a debate on the fundamental rights of
drivers to eat and drink what pleases them! “Despite the fact that we are not happy with the development and we always warn our drivers against taking alcohol while on duty, some educated ones among them would say there is no law banning the sale and consumption of the drinks. Some of them would decide not to drink at the park but cross to
The Onidoani of Idoani [2010-date] •Continued from Page 53
Adetutu Atewogboye, who is standing in as Alani of Idoani, is in her early 20s. She is a final year student of History at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Akoko in Ondo State. She became the regent two years ago after the death of her father. She today combines her royal roles with her teaching at the African Comprehensive High School, Alagbaka, Akure. As a regent, she is accorded all the respects due to a king, “They respect me in the class and treat me like a king and I attend many meetings with the high and the low in the society. I still mingle with my colleagues in the class. But I don’t run around with them again. I am always decked in coral beads which is the symbol of royalty.” Now she has to live a restricted lifestyle, shun all
socials and is s o m e t i m e s embarrassed when the elderly prostrate for her. She is eagerly looking forward to when she’ll get married and be relieved of the duties and regimented life of a regent. According to her, to be a regent goes with lots of responsibilities, and this has affected her as a student. “My lecturers quite understand my position and I thank them for this. It has affected my Cumulative Grade Point, it is low. But that is the sacrifice I have to make for my father’s throne and preserve our culture. I can see young girls admiring me and praying to become a regent. But let me confess, it is not an easy thing.’’
•Regent Onidoani of Idoani (Princess Adetutu Atewogboye
the other side of the park to drink whatever they like before returning to the park. In fact, this is common among the inter-state drivers,” he said. Joshua Olusola, a former policeman-turned driver said he has, at different occasions, taken union leaders up on the issue, advising them to exercise caution in addressing the issue. He said although he is also against the practice, he does not see it abating unless the local government council with the directive from the state government wield a big stick. “That is the solution and the only solution to the problem if government is sincere.” This is because the control of garages and motor parks falls under the supervision of local governments. However, the local government claims though it reserves the power to control the motor parks and all the tenants therein, it denies allowing alcohol sellers in the parks. It accused drivers for encouraging the sellers to be in the parks. According to the Executive Secretary of Osogbo Local Government, Osun State, Isiaka Faramade, his council does not give lock-up shops to alcohol sellers at the parks let alone collecting any toll from them. He said the continued patronage of the sellers by drivers is a source of encouragement to them, a factor which has often led to cordial relationship between drivers and the sellers. “Don’t be surprised that the
drivers date those women. If there is no buyer there won’t be sellers. But in a situation the drivers line up to take the alcohol under the guise that it is medicinal and health-enhancing, what do we do than to ignore them and move on?” He asked. Further findings confirmed the claim of Faramade as the alcohol sellers usually display their drinks on tables in the open rather than in shops. However, they operate under an unwritten rule of paying certain levy to touts. One Iya Sunday, who claimed to have sold alcohol at Ojota parks until she abandoned the trade, said different sets of touts collect toll from them without local government approval. “You know there is nothing impossible in Lagos. I can say that this is one of the reasons I decided to leave that trade. One is faced with all sorts of embarrassment on daily basis. The touts would disturb you, the drivers would also buy without paying you and the public also see you as irresponsible. After I was able to raise some money with the assistance of my husband and my older brother, I left and started to sell nylon bag in a shop now,” Iya Sunday said. In spite of the complication in making motor parks free of alcohol, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is unrelenting in its struggle against it, having identified it as one important solution to the car-
nage on the highways. The corps reasons that the proximity of the alcohol sellers to the commercial drivers is a negative influence on the consumption pattern of the drivers. The Head of the Corps Public Education, Nseobong Akpabio, said the presence of alcohol sellers in parks constitutes a temptation to the drivers, majority of who lack the strength of mind to resist it. He lamented that the corps efforts had been fruitless. “For instance we (the FRSC) are in partnership with the Nigeria Brewery Plc on a campaign which has taken us to many motor parks over the same problem. It has become a problem because we seem to be the only agency fighting this war. If this problem is solved today I can assure you that the rate of auto-accidents on our roads will definitely drop to appreciable level,” he said. Particularly recalling the recent accident which occurred at Birin Gwari near Kaduna, which claimed not less than nine lives, Akpabio revealed that the driver of the truck was drunk to the extent that he refused to stop when security agencies flagged him down in Kaduna. According to him, drivers are the clog in the wheel of the corps’ effort and accused their leaders of speaking from two sides of the mouth on the issue. “It will be difficult for me to believe their claim that they cannot stop alcohol sellers at their parks. Who are the customers of these sellers? Let’s stop deceiving ourselves if they rise up today the way we do and sincerely identify with us in our campaign those sellers will find their way out of the parks without using any force on them,” he said. But Olugbodi frowned at Akpabio’s alleged complicity on drivers’ part. He described it as an unfair assessment of the drivers’ union on the issue. He said he has had cause to personally enforce disciplinary action on errant drivers who were caught drunk by his passengers. “We later discovered that the driver did not take the drink at the motor park. What the passengers did should be emulated by other passengers because it is a matter concerning their lives. They collectively tricked him to stop on the excuse that they wanted to ease themselves. “It was after he had stopped that one of them called the motor park. We sent another driver to the spot and suspended the driver for six months. So, we are also working to discourage our members from taking not only alcohol but any drug classified as injurious to health,” he said. The abuse and use of alcohol by drivers is not restricted to Nigeria. According to the World health organization (WHO) nearly 3,500 people die on the world’s roads every day, while tens of millions are injured or disabled every year. Children, pedestrians, cyclists and the elderly are among the most vulnerable of road users. With accusation and counteraccusation among drivers’ union, the FRSC and the local governments over who is responsible for the sale and consumption of alcohol in motor parks, the sellers (usually referred to as Iya paraga) thrive in the business while the road continue to claim more lives. When will this stop?.
Your HEALTH THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
AXI driver and father of three children, Emmanuel Ekpunobi, had been to a private clinic located near his house in Ojota on many occasions and each time had been tested and treated for Malaria and Typhoid fever. Unknown to the driver and the nurses who administered primary medications to him, he had been bitten by a mosquitoe and infected with a flesh-deforming-worm. He was diagnosed with elephantiasis after his reproductive organ had swollen uncontrollably. Emmanuel is one of the over 70 million Nigerians who have either been infected or are susceptible to Elephantiasis as the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu states, "Two out of every three Nigerians are at risk of being infected with elephantiasis." This is coming barely one month after Lassa fever had been declared by the Minister as an issue for national concern. Confirming reports which stress elephantiasis as being endemic in the country, as Chukwu says that "the number of people who were administered drugs as treatment for lymphatic filariasis rose from 4.7 million in 2009 to 10 million in 2010." A projected increase in reported cases is expected this year. Citing reasons why the disease is on the rise, Sam Idehen, a microbiologist and medical laboratory technician says, "More people are falling ill with elephantiasis these days because of the rise in the number of communities that are been set up around swampy areas which is coupled with the fact that not many people are environment conscious. Every day you hear about how people are refusing to clear the gutters in front of their houses which will become breeding grounds for mosquitoes that may be carrying the worm." Although elephantiasis has been termed a disease of the poor due to its prevalence in remote rural and semi-urban and recent medical reports show an increase in the number of cases from patient living in urban areas. According to Dr. Enuice Alegbe, the infection arises when tiny threadlike worms such as Wuchereria bancrofti,
By Rita Ohai Brugia malayi, and B. timori are transmitted to the humans when infected mosquitoes feed on human blood by biting them: "When a mosquito with bites a person, the parasites are deposited on the person's skin from where they enter the body and migrate to the lymphatic vessels through blood and then they develop into adult worms in the human lymphatic system for about 18 months and sometimes they do not manifest until about four to six years." She further stated that over 90 per cent of the population are at risk of the being infected with the disease with children under the age of five years, pregnant women and sickle cell anaemia patients being the most susceptible to the disease.
Reports from the World Health
Organisation (WHO) state that in 2007 alone, 576 million people around the world were treated to prevent the transmission of elephantiasis with 81 countries, including Nigeria, being endemic.
Elephantiasis which is prevalent in the nearly all the States of the federation has already infected are over 120 million people around the world with over 40 million of them seriously incapacitated and disfigured by the disease. The WHO which tags prolonged exposure to irritant clay soil as a key factor for the spread of the disease say preventive measures such as regular foot washing, draining of stagnant water which serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and sleeping under insecticide-treated nets aer necessary to avoid infection.
The disease is known to cause swelling of the affected part of the body up to several
times the normal size and often leads to psychological and social problems in afflicted people who are usually stigmatised by society. Nigeria has the third highest incidence of elephantiasis, surpassed only by India and Indonesia.
Symptoms Although there is widespread belief that elephantiasis, caused by mosquitoes, only affects the limbs, research has found that the disease also poses great danger to reproductive and other vital organs in the human body. Explaning the manifestation of elephantiasis, Dr. Alegbe says, "It has an average incubation period of about 11 months. The patient may sometimes not show any sign of illness or in other cases he or she may manifest fever, with high body temperature. Other signs are enlargement of lower and upper limbs, breasts or abdomen and groin or testicles." Some of the organs include the kidneys, liver and spleen.
In addition to medical intervention, Dr Alegbe says that an effective form of treatment involves rigorous cleaning of the affected areas of the body. Several studies have shown that these daily cleaning routines can be an effective way to limit the symptoms of Elephantiasis. As a result of the asymptomatic nature of this disease, she advises people to grow the habit of deworming regularly, "Nobody is sure of the kinds of mosquitoes that bite us or knows which of them is malaria-causing or which one can cause elephantiasis so it is important to take de-worming drugs as often as possible". Consistent shoe-wearing (to avoid contact with the irritant soil) and hygiene - daily soaking in water with an antiseptic (such as bleach) added, washing the feet and legs with soap and water, application of ointment, and in some cases, wearing elastic bandages are also necessary. Rigorous hygiene, as regards the affected limbs, with accompanying measures to minimise infection and promote lymph flow should also be maintained. And if the manifestations are extreme, reconstructive surgery to remove unsightly tissues will be recommended.
‘With careful planning, any company can survive in Nigeria’
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
N other climes, it is usually a common practice that once individuals and corporate bodies alike declare bankruptcy, the law, in a manner of speaking, has a way of preparing a soft landing for them. But unfortunately, that legal privilege hardly ever applies in the country. Perhaps, this is why so-called high net worth individuals and corporate bodies, who have fallen on evil days, on account of their high level of indebtedness to some of the banks, whose toxic assets, in form of debts burden, were bought off by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), are currently fighting the battle of their lives. Expectedly, the AMCON, in its determination to get even with its high-heel debtors in government circles, has not only taken the battle to their door-steps but has been able to secure an imprimatur of support from the Federal Government to commence in earnest deduction at source from monthly Federation Account Allocations to individual states known to be on AMCON’s bad books. The Nation can authoritatively report that at the end of April, debtorstates across the federation would have to readily sacrifice certain percentage of their monthly allocations to underwrite part of their debts. This move, The Nation gathered, became necessary because most of the debtor-states had no clear repayment strategy plan in place even as most of them were banking on the fact that the Federal Government could be persuaded to write off the bad debts on their behalf, of course, through executive fiat! But that hope appears to have been dashed now, with the machinery being put in place by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to commence outright deduction from the monthly allocations meant for the affected states at the end of this month. Speaking with The Nation in an exclusive interview over the weekend, an Executive Director in AMCON, Alhaji Abbas Jega disclosed that the Federal Government has directed states indebted to banks to meet with the Corporation to reach an agreement or risk deductions from their monthly allocation. He told The Nation that “the direct loan of states in AMCON is around N20 billion while that of local governments is about N3.3billion. The companies owned by states are owing about N15 billion.” Jega added that “so far only Jigawa state has paid off its debt to AMCON while the Corporation has received proposal of repayments plans from three states.” He did not however name the states. Jega while confirming this development, disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Finance gave the state governments marching orders to work out their repayment plans with AMCON or risk having their debts deducted from their monthly allocations. He further maintained that any state government that fails to meet with AMCON before this month end, will start suffering deductions from its monthly Federation Account Allocations. The AMCON top management staff however noted that many state governments have initiated meetings with AMCON to draw up “a firm repayment plan because any state that does not come to AMCON
Bank debtors: AMCON goes for broke The debt recovery drive of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), may have received a major boost with the mandate by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), to deduct at source, debts owed by each state from their monthly Federation Account Allocations at the end of April, report Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and Nduka Chiejina
with it repayment plan before the end of the month, the Federal Government will proceed to deduct the debts from the defaulting state’s monthly allocation.” Earlier, the Managing Director of AMCON, Mr. Mustapher Chike Obi had admitted to The Nation that his organisation was working with the states and many of them were cooperating with the Corporation in its debt recovery drive. He was, however, quick to add that the Federal Ministry of Finance was helping in ensuring that the states cooperate with AMCON on the debt recovery. It would be recalled that at the last Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja last month, the chairman of FAAC and Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama informed the members “that AMCON had written requesting for
the recoveries of the outstanding loans from the affected states.” AMCON, he said, had threatened to invoke section 50 sub-sections I and II of the AMCON Act. Section I of the Act stipulates that where the corporation has reasonable cause to believe that a debtor or debtor company has funds in any account with any eligible financial institution, it may apply to the court by motion ex-parte for an order freezing the debtor or debtor company’s accounts. Ngama, who did not give the exact amount that AMCON plans to recover from the debtor-states, was said to have advised the debtor-states to meet with the AMCON boss, Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi, for negotiations to reconcile their debts amicably. It is also instructive to note that the Corporation had unfolded plans to refinance its N1.7 trillion ($11 bil-
lion) three-year bond to buy Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) from the books of banks in the country. The bond was meant to take off NPLs valued at N2.2 trillion from the books of all the banks. The listing was meant to put some earning assets on the books of banks especially the rescued ones, which have sold the largest chunk of NPLs to AMCON. Recently, AMCON executed an Order of the Federal High Court granted pursuant to its special powers under its enabling Act, which allows it to take possession of assets of recalcitrant debtors while the recovery action is pending in the court. Law enforcement agents, lawyers and court bailiffs executed this order on one its intractable debtors - Tonique Oil Services Limited. Expectedly, the debt recovery drive of the Corporation has not gone without hitches as unconfirmed report has it that certain individuals are planning to take the organisation to court over what they describe as the Corporation’s “overbearing attitude.” However, in the view of Chief Godfrey Ozurumba, a retired General Manager at Union Bank, AMCON deserves a pat on the back for the debt recovery effort so far. According to him, “If we were in a developed world, so many people in this country would have no choice than to declare themselves bankrupt…” “But thanks to AMCON they are using the fiat of government right now to get alot of debtors into their net. I learn they go about with law enforcement agents because in Nigeria if you are chasing your debtors, you don’t go alone because they may kill. They are using the power of the government in their hands and they have been able to recover a lot of money as much as N600billion. If you left that in the hands of the banks they won’t have been able to recover anything.” But can AMCON really make a huge success of its current job as a debt undertaker?Time will tell.
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Briefs Unilever rewards customers at promo
NILEVER Nigeria Plc, makers of Omo detergent, has rewarded loyal customers, who participated in its Omo Best Ever Independence Promo with various prizes. At the grand prize presentation ceremony held at its corporate head office in Ikeja recently, two lucky consumers, Femi Olaleye and Josiah Uma were presented with keys to star prizes, Kia Picanto cars by the Managing Director, Unilever, Thabo Mabe. Other mouthwatering prizes that were won include N251, 000 each by 151 people, N151, 000 each by 151 people and other consolation prizes such as 151 washing machines, 151 jerseys, 151 bicycles and 151 footballs. The promo, which began last year October, ran till February this year. To participate in the promo, consumers were asked to look out for the ‘Independence Promo’ packs, which has different gifts printed inside the wrapper as part of a puzzle. One of the winners, Uma, who was visibly delighted, expressed gratitude to Unilever for the gesture. “It is still like a surprise to me. Speaking at the presentation, Category Manager, Fabric Cleaning, Unilever Nigeria, Nnenna Osi-Anugwa explained that the promo was conceived to reward loyal customers at Nigeria’s 51st Independence anniversary. Osi-Anugwa added that Unilever would continue to improve the Omo brand with a view to reaching out to everyone who has laundry as an important part of their lives and taking pride in seeing their family look good in clean fabrics.
STOCK MARKET REVIEW
HE Nigeria Stock Exchange AllShare demand and supply for top – tier banks at current levels was fairly matched during the session, however, buyers were unwilling to pay significantly above current prices. The banking sector was upbeat, as bullish sentiments for toptier banks led to a cumulative 7.5% gain in GTBank, 6.1% in Zenith Bank and 2.3% in UBA. The Q1 2012 results announced by Diamond Bank also spurred demand for the stock, subsequently leading to a 6.7% gain. Also on the up-tick were Fidelity Bank and Access Bank, with respective gains of 3.5% and 1.9%. On the flip side, Union Bank lost 9.6% and First Bank 2.8% respectively. The breweries sector was however quiet, with marginal gains and losses. NB shed less than 1.0%, while Guinness inched up with less than 1.0%, though sentiments were skewed to the buy side for both companies. In other sectors, participants looking to lock-in profit curbed the rally on Okomu Oil to a 3.3% mark-up. Closing offers suggest that this trend could continue next week. Dangote Cement was divergent to the bearish trend in the building materials sector. The corporate action announced by the company was an incentive to buyers, resulting in a 2.4% up-tick. On the other hand, Lafarge Wapco, CCNN and Ashaka Cement lost 2.4%, 4.2% and 5.9% respectively. In the petroleum marketing sector, Mobil rallied with a 10.1% cumulative gain as participants reacted to its FY 2011 numbers. Eterna Oil also inched up marginally, however, bearish sentiments shaved off 13.7% from Oando, while Forte Oil lost 3.6%.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
ICAN boss tasks members on professionalism
•L-R-Mr. David Okeme, Brand Building Director, Unilever Nig Plc; Mr. Femi Olaleye being presented with the key of a brand new KIA Picanto as star prize winner of Omo Promo by Mr. Thabo Mabe, Managing Director of Unilever Nig Plc, in Lagos recently.
ROM the President of the Institute of Chartered of Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Prof. Francis Ojaide, has a clarion call to members of the institute: “Update your knowledge and expertise on current trends in accountancy practice.” The ICAN boss gave this admonition in Lagos recently while delivering his keynote address as part of activities marking the 10th conferment of fellowship status on deserving members of the institute. According to him, unless professional accountants demonstrate the ideals and virtues of their profession, through exemplary conduct, they cannot legitimately hold claim to be the conscience of the na-
Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
tion. The world he stressed, “has become a global village and as you would agree, our noble profession is not left behind in this convergence process. At a time like this when globalisation of business and finance has inevitably called for a common set of high quality global accounting standards, the use of a common accounting and financial reporting language applied consistently will facilitate investment and other economic activities across borders.” Speaking further, he said: “I, therefore, wish to remind you of the need to continue to update yourselves on emerging issues in financial report-
ing particularly, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), which our country is moving towards adoption as this has become imperative in global private sector financial reporting framework. Mention also has to be made here for emerging issues on Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).” Justifying the need for bridging the knowledgegap, Ojaide said: “The importance of these standards has demonstrated to point towards public sector accountability, transparency and disclosure to strengthen public sector financial management reform. The nation is looking up to us as Chartered Accountants to bring our expertise to bear in this process.
GTBank introduces e-Account
•L-R-Head Finance, Background Check International (BCI) Mr Femi Ogunremi; Group Managing Director, BCI, Mr Kola Olugbodi, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Seun Olugbodi at a media briefing in Lagos. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU
UARANTY Trust Bank plc has introduced a new virtual account as part of its efforts to cater to the banking needs of all segments of the Nigerian populace. The new ‘GTBank e-Account’ which was launched recently is not only Commission on Turnover (COT) free but also offers a 0.5 per cent interest rate above savings account interest rates. The account is spe-
cifically designed to meet the unique financial needs of salary earners and ensure they conduct their banking transactions quickly, safely and conveniently. According to Mr. Segun Agbaje, Managing Director/ CEO of the bank said : ‘The GTBank e-Account is a novel innovation that allows salary earners conveniently carry out all their banking activities 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, from anywhere in the world, without having to step into a banking hall. The account is designed for flexibility and also allows holders access to a wide array of retail loans’. Mr. Agbaje further assured our correspondents that the e-Account would create value and adequately address the needs of the typical salary earner, who is generally very busy and time conscious.
Firm unveils two new brands
•L-R-Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola, Chairman Students Affairs Committee, Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN); Prof. Francies Ojaide, President and Mr Doyin Owolabi, Vice President, at the award of Accreditation/Recognition Certificates to tertiary institutions and training centres in Lagos recently
MART Mark, the holding company of three different brands which are Niké, Levi’s and Converse, has introduced another two brands into the market. These are Swatch and United Colours of Benetton . Speaking with journalsists during the launching, the Head of Operations, Smark Mark Limited, Mr. Keith Lewins said that the company has been careful about the brands and they look at the value they can add to the Nigerian market, adding that the quality, style and
the heritage that the brands have is the similar type of value they share. He added that they could be selling many brands today but they limit themselves to top global brands which are doing very well in the world. “Aside our popular brands like Niké, Converse and Levi’s, we are proud to put Swatch and Benetton in our Niké shop because we believe that the two brands have the same quality, standard and heritage like other brands.” He said: “In terms of discount, we have introduced three discount loyalty cards
which are privilege card, silver VIP card and gold card member and they provide discounts on all purchases made in our stores and they are completely free and already in circulation.” Expatiating, he said: “All our brands are global brands and if we don’t believe in them, we won’t take them. There is nobody selling Swatch with two years warranty and if we can’t repair, we replace. We see the competition but it makes us better. In essence, the brands we sell are inspirational and people buy them.”
unique, one-of-a-kind beauty. Certainly, granite countertop will add character and warmth to kitchen, bath, and other areas of the home with a richness that cannot be duplicated in synthetic materials. Granite countertop is second only to diamond in hardness. It is one of the best work surfaces. Granite countertop is extremely stain and heat resistant. Granite countertops have been widely used in commer-
cial applications such as hotels and office buildings as well as residential home decorations in kitchens and in bathrooms.
MARBLE AND GRANITE CARE Kitchen Renovation: Marble vs. granite countertops – Part 1
ARBLE and granite materials have been used for quite some time as countertops in many kitchens throughout the world. Most marbles that are used for countertops are produced in Europe or South America; granite on the other hand can be found all over the world. Weight-forWeight, marble is more expensive than granite because it is not as easily accessible. Both materials come with their advantages and disadvantages. Marble is a type of metamorphic rock composed mostly of calcite. Marble can come in many patterns and is aesthetically pleas-
ing. Unfortunately, marble has many disadvantages. It is very porous and can easily be damaged by heat, water and acid. Marble is also very susceptible to staining; it requires a lot of maintenance to keep marble in good condition. Granite is a crystalline stone that is known for its hardness. Granite is quite resistant to chemicals, acids and heat. It is also very stain resistant and unlikely to scratch or chip easily. Granite countertops can last for many years if maintained properly. In terms of appearance one of the more desired properties of both marble and granite is their appearance. Since marble and granite
countertops are cut from stone, patterns can be similar but will never be the same. Marble is famous for its veining, which has led to the term “marbling.” You can also select granite with veining. Both materials come in a wide variety of colours; consumers have hundreds of options to choose from when it comes to colour and pattern. Marble Countertop has the most visual appealing surface and can be categorized as expressive material. Marble countertop has a wide range of colours, textures. Coupling with a right finishing, a marble countertop can fit in virtually every type of ambience.
M a r b l e countertop does have certain limitations owing to its porosity. There is no sure way of p r o o f i n g m a r b l e countertops against staining from coloured fluids, so it is not a good material for kitchen applications. However, marble countertop is the top choice in bathrooms. Nevertheless, you should always be prepared to maintain marble countertop periodically. Granite countertop is created in nature and fashioned by modern technology, making an investment you will never regret. With deep iridescent colours, granite countertops offer
For more information on Marble/Granite Care, Sales and Delivery contact: Mike Anazodo – Email: email@example.com, Tel: 01-8934967 Maldini Marble and Granite Company
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
‘With careful planning, any company can survive in Nigeria’ Vipul Chander Beri, a chemical engineer by profession is the Managing Director, House of Chi, manufacturers of popular Chivita branded fruit drinks in the country. In this interview with Bukola Afolabi he speaks on the challenges and prospects of running a Fast Moving Consumer Goods Company (FMCGC)
HIVITA fruit juice has become a leader in the market. Please tell us how the journey began? Chivita has been a leader, not only a leader but also the pride all over Nigeria and everywhere in the world. The journey of Chivita was 15years back in1997 to be precise. In 2003 we were trying to define the identity because Nigeria was dominated by Portuguese because the perception among Nigerians then was that Nigerian products are not good. Though Chivita at the time was produce via best of the routine, best of the knowledge, but the perception was out of chain. So Chi was started by Nigerians, by Nigerians. How extensive is the fruit juice market and what share of it do you control? It was not the first Nigeria juice. But the perception of the Nigerian juice product then was that they were not as good or probably may be Nigeria juice product are only meant for the poor, Nigerians who cannot afford the imported one. To other professionals, the real perception is to be Nigeria, by Nigeria and that has really gone to the distributors. That is why Chivita is very hot, very fine. It is better than any other juice in Nigeria.
Immediately I heard this about Chivita, I called on the distributors and the sales deals and all that applied for the product in the market and made sure that they like it. So many distributors say good Chivita is made in Nigeria and it has become the pride of Nigeria for years and our leaders even know the quality of the juice. We actually control the fruit juice market, Chivita, Hollandia, Capari son. In fact, we command 65 brands packet .You know that this juice has 0 percent sugar, 0 percent gallant all nature and it is the best you can have. We are not begging for money to produce our products in terms of juice, yoghurt and other products. Do you have your own orchard? If no, are there plans to develop same? We have more than five hundred work plan and farm land in the North, we are carrying all those step through the Nigeria farming agriculture for our production. What is the effect of the Nigerian operating business environment on your operations? I think the environment is very fine, just like any country. There are some problems one has to live and go through, even at the extreme, from 2000 to 2003; the lack of manpower has been a problem. We can say ok the company today is growing among the
other competitors. Why is it so? I would say it is because the company is composed, focused and the products have good quality. Are there plans for your company to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange? I really don’t know for now, I will not say because I don’t know how long this can be achieved. But at the same time we a r e committed to do expanding across Africa. What would you say is the biggest challenge of your operation as a business concern? There is nowhere or country that has not had one challenge or the other but we do not want it to affect us. What we want to do in a country like Nigeria, in all part of Nigeria like Onitsha, Benue, Borno and other states is to make sure Chivita is available in all areas, We have 15 branches in Nigeria. Branches mean our company outside Lagos. The certain thing is we make our products available and desirable.
Where do you see Chivita in the next five years? Chivita is growing with love. We want to be all over Nigeria in the next five years. What is your competition like? There is a lot of competition but for us competition is not a challenge, competition makes you to do better and be the most different. We are talking of yoghurt, 100 brands in the industry, there are more than 47 brands in competition. Chi is part of a successful group. Chi is the company of food business, in which the other companies looks up to Chi Company.
Experts’ recipe for effective credit policy
ACK of effective credit policy is at the heart of the crisis bedeviling the nation’s economy at all sectors, experts have said. A cross-section of experts made this declaration at the annual industry conference organised by the Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), Nigeria’s foremost credit management body, which held at the auditorium of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Victoria Island, Lagos. The event, which drew participants from the financial service sector including senior managers, executive directors in charge of credit matters, members of the Credit Committee of Banks, business management organisations, among others, was chaired by Chief Godfrey Ozurumba. Dr. Chris Onalo, the Registrar/Chief Executive of the institute who delivered the lead paper titled: “Company Credit Report and its place in Business, Lending and Investment Decisions”, gave a general overview of a credit report vis-à-vis its principles and practice. Onalo who stated that the conceptual framework of a credit policy can best be discussed in four phases namely: credit analysis, credit administration, credit risk management and credit reporting, said it was gratifying to note that the concept was already gaining acceptance in the continent. Speaking further, he said the components of a company credit include but not limited to the following: business risk, financial risk, management risk, industry risk, political/country risk, forex risk respectively. Justifying the need for credit report, the ICA boss said, it comes in handy when mergers and acquisition between different companies are being planned as well as when equity investment is being sought
•A cross-section of new inductees of the Institute of Credit Administration reading the oaths of membership By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
by a party from another, to mention just a few. Besides, he said: “CCR is an innovative and value-added credit management initiative designed to support and justify credit approval process, ensures “Know Your Customer - KYC” compliance, strengthens internal appraisal rigor and eliminates perceived complacency in line with regulatory and management expectations.” Speaking earlier, Ozurumba said, the lack of adherence to credit policy was responsible for the poor financial outlook of most banks today. “If you look at the financial sector today, credits are not com-
ing the way. When credits are not coming out the economy as a whole is dull. Which is why as professionals, it becomes necessary for us to show the way so that others will follow.” In his presentation titled: “Strategic Trade Credit Management in Oil Industry”, Mr. A.O. Adabonyan, Executive Director, Finance, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company Limited, who was represented by Mr. Ekong Anietie Bassey, gave insight into the modus operandi adopted in the sale and marketing of petroleum products to the major marketers and independent marketers. According to him, “when firms enter into a trade credit arrangement with their suppliers, a certain “credit term” is usu-
ally set. Payment is within this term e.g. 15 days from the date of purchase to qualify for a certain discount. If payments are not made within this term, all receivables are required to be settled within a stipulated time period. The cost of not availing discount is the cost of credit. In the case of PPMC, our major marketers enjoy trade credits of 15 days from the date of lifting. Our collecting banks are engaged n the debt collecting drive on a weekly basis.” While acknowledging the fact that ‘constant and consistent payment improves the borrower’s ability to gain more credit, he however stated that slow or non-payment has the tendency to destroy any future financial gains. As the conference drew to a close, the institute also inducted new members into its fold. A total of 53 persons were inducted including eight fellows, 11 members and 34 associate members respectively. The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of different categories of award to deserving members of the institute. Among the award recipients was Alhaji Shittu Mudashiru Adeleke, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Consolidated Discount Limited, who was named the Credit Personality of the Year. The award was received on his behalf by Mr. Akinola Odedina, Chief Risk Officer. Adebayo Wosilat Olaitan, of PPMC, bagged the Debt Recovery Executive Award while Jude Monye, Credit Risk Officer, Wema Bank Plc, received the Credit Risk Team of the Year Award respectively.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2011
Don seeks overhaul of payment card industry
HE Dean, Post Graduate School, University of Calabar, Prof. Francis Bisong has advocated for complete overhaul of the payment cards industry to check operational challenges noticed in some quarters. He made the call at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) in Lagos recently. Tagged: “Economic Regulation of Payment Cards in Nigeria”, the forum drew participants from the banking sector, policy makers, the
By Musa Odoshimokhe
academia, financial experts, most of who ventilated their views on the nation’s payment card system. Bisong observed that government needs to create the enabling environment to achieve the workability of the cashless economy. Going down memory lane, the don recalled his harrowing experiences while in a trip in Europe. “My master card could not see me through my trip overseas when I was there for an event that lasted
for weeks. In between, I had to call my bank in Nigeria to inform them of the difficulties in accessing my funds”, he recalled. Expatiating, he said: “My bank had to request me to send them an e-mail to authorise them to send money to a friend’s account over there who I could now withdraw the money I needed for me. It was such a disgusting experience and until all these problems are addressed by the relevant institution the cashless economy will be facing difficulties.”
While reflecting on the cash lite policy which reviewed the cash threshold that could be withdrawn from the bank to N500, 000 for individuals and N3million for corporate organisation, Bisong noted that ongoing process of achieving transparent cashless economy must be all inclusive. Echoing similar sentiments, the Executive Director of IPPA, Mr. Thompson Ayodele said the essence of the workshop was to evolve solution at tackling the challenges that the cashless economy had created, stressing that increase in Point of Sale (POS) and nipping in the bud cases of duplication of cards were some the measures to required to turn the tide.
Ahmed boosts SMEs with N250m
HE Kwara State Government has flaggedoff a N250million micro credit intervention scheme for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) designed to strengthen the capacity of cooperative societies to boost economic activitives in the
By Daniel Essiet
state. Speaking at the flag-off ceremony recently, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the intervention scheme was part of his administration’s effort to create shared prosperity
through the economic empowerment of small business owners and artisans in the state. “We are determined to accelerate the capacity of SMEs to become major players in the economy of Kwara State”, said the governor who stressed
•L-R: Ibikunle Ogunbayo, Chief Executive, KOA Consultants Ltd; Mr. Mike Anazodo, Chief Executive, Maldini Marbles and Mr. Owolabi Afolabi, Chief Executive, Rewards On Us Ltd at the official commissioning of the new Maldini Marble Outlet at Lekki, Lagos.
the informal sector’s critical role in economic growth and development. Ahmed said the N250million was the first tranche of a N500 million fund designed to boost entrepreneurship and enhance the economic well-being of people of the state, adding that another N750million would be made available to small holding farmers in the state in order to promote food security and wealth creation. The governor who described the scheme as a unique opportunity for SMEs and cooperatives to grow their businesses, advised the beneficiaries of the scheme, who he said were selected after rigorous analyses of applications and due process, to use the fund for productive ventures capable of creating shared prosperity through job and wealth creation. Echoing similar views, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperatives, Alhaji Saka Onimago said the loans would be disbursed to the cooperative societies through 10 pre-selected micro finance banks in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
Firm compiles recommended tyre air pressure for vehicles
ISTA Press and Distribution Logistics Limited, marketers of VStar brand of tyre inflators has commenced the compilation of manufacturers’ recommended tyre air pressure for all vehicles on Nigerian roads. Justifying the need for the exercise, Mr. Victor Olewunne, the Managing Di-
rector of the company, at a media briefing in Lagos, recently, said it has become imperative to develop a comprehensive data sheet with which to enlighten Nigerian motorists about the safety implications of proper air pressure in their vehicle tyres. He said this is informed by a recent survey and exercise carried out at some motor
parks in conjunction with Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). According to Olewunne, the survey revealed that most vehicle owners in Nigeria do not know that their vehicle tyres have manufacturer recommended safe air pressure, as such, they leave the decision about the air pressure in their tyres to the discretion of
the road side vulcanizers, who are also completely ignorant about such information. The result is that, the vulcanizers, almost in all cases over inflate the tyres, pumping some to as high as 70psi instead of the recommended pressure of 35psi. This seriously undermines the break efficiency, safety of the vehicle and the lives of the occupants, he stressed.
Media executives for Tom Associates’ training
OM Associates, a leading training management institute is set to organise a one-day in-depth leadership and management training programme for me-
dia executives at its Media Development Centre, Anthony Village, Lagos, on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. In a statement in Lagos, Chief Executive, Tom Asso-
ciates, Mr. Abiodun Toki said the event is part of the institute’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Expatiating, he said, the seminar and interactive
New designer label for launch April 14
EW designer label, Ella & Gabby is poised to make its grand entry into the fashion industry next weekend with the launch of its clothing brand at Oriental Hotel on Saturday. The clothing brand will present an embodiment of rare style, class
and finesse with each piece resulting from quality time and precision. The event will be dotted with an array of corporate giants, celebrities of class and czars of the fashion world, while A-class acts are billed to perform at the launch.
A maiden collection is also planned to show at the event, following the official unveiling of the Ella & Gabby logo. Ella & Gabby, is also on a path to become one of the world’s top brands originating from Africa with a barrier breaking revolution.
workshop which is billed for media professionals at middle and top level cadres, is expected to focus on leadership development, business strategy and human capital development. The statement added that the programme which is part of the events to commemorate the firm’s 20th anniversary, is the institute’s contribution to the development of the media industry and to prepare media professionals for a post-career business life even in other endeavours.
Beyond Talent By Adetayo Okusanya Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
7 steps to building a successful personal brand
FTER a decade and a half of working in corporate Nigeria and America, I have discovered one secret of success that has had a profound effect on my career. A good name is better than fine perfume and more desirable than great riches. When people perceive me as uniquely competent, trustworthy, and dependable in matters relevant to their wants, needs and expectations, they are more likely to pursue a long term relationship with me and become advocates of what I stand for. You can also enjoy the goodwill and name recognition that is earned over time from a distinct, memorable, compelling and authentic personal brand. According to David McNally & Karl D Speak, your personal brand is the perception or emotion maintained by somebody other than you that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you. It is the reflection of who others believe you to be and governs what they expect of you. Think of your brand image as a wallet sized mental photograph of you that others carry around. Or a footprint you leave with someone when he or she comes in contact with you. Does your footprint lead others to problems or to solutions? The good and bad news about perception, whether positive or negative, is that once locked in place it has tremendous staying power. Outlined below are seven steps that you can take to increase the credibility, durability and power of your personal brand in 2012. STEP 1: Know Yourself We oftentimes get so busy with being what everyone else wants us to be that we forget who we really are and the things that are important to us. We subordinate our passion to our obligations and suddenly find ourselves living an uninspired life. Reconnect with your authentic self, rediscover your passion and renew the vision for your life. STEP 2: Know Your Value There is only one of you. No one else has your precise combination of knowledge, capabilities, experiences, values, personality and relationships. You are in every sense, unique. These qualities and capabilities that you possess can create value for others who do not possess them. Knowing what others value the most about you will help you to develop a clear and compelling platform for your personal brand. STEP 3: Understand Your Environment No man is an island. As annoying as that statement may sound, it is the truth. Your success is dependent on the behaviors of the players in your ecosystem and their interactions with one another. Consistently meet and exceed the expectations of your key stakeholders in a way that is valuable and distinct from your competition, and leverage strategic partnerships to create greater value within your ecosystem. STEP 4: Find A Winning Position Firmly entrench your personal brand in the minds of your stakeholders. You cannot win by relying on competence alone; rather you should carefully select a brand position where you possess the potential to do better than others. Your personal brand will endure when you occupy a position in the mind of your stakeholders that is consistent with your values and focused on what is important, valuable and meaningful to them. STEP 5: Keep Your Brand Promise Few things hurt more than a broken promise. Trust is eroded when expectations are disappointed and it is often hard to repair the damage. Your personal brand will be successful when it is an authentic representation of who you are. It should determine what others expect from you and create emotional connections when those expectations are satisfied repeatedly. By meeting and exceeding the expectations of your stakeholders, your personal brand will hold a high degree of trust and loyalty with them. STEP 6: Regularly Assess Your Brand Position So, you have established a winning brand position, kept your brand promise and created good will and recognition for your personal brand. You have surpassed your stakeholders’ expectations, eclipsed your competition and increased your mind share. Now, it is time to sit back and rest on your laurels. Absolutely not! Like any other asset that you possess, your personal brand requires regular maintenance to give it longevity. You cannot afford to stay static and must evolve along with your environment. You must become effective at anticipating and responding to the changing needs of your stakeholders. STEP 7: Have A Recovery Plan Life is experienced in seasons, waves and cycles of successes and failures. The goal is to maximize the number of your successes and minimize the number and impact of your failures. A strong personal brand has staying power and can outlast difficult times. When your personal brand is strong, you have the opportunity and goodwill to successfully execute a disaster recovery plan faster than others. The final step in building and maintaining a credible, successful and sustainable personal brand is to identify and invest in relationships and resources that you can leverage when times get tough.
• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
'Flag off' is wrong
HE NATION Front Page of April 5 goofed: “Three pupils dead in Ibadan school bus fire” Truth in defence of freedom: Three pupils die… Thanks to Seth Akintoye, reference books on the English language, Google and Grammarly.com, I just found out that 'flag off' is a wrong phrasal verb ignorantly used by most of my fellow countrymen! What exist are 'flag down', 'flag up', 'flag out' and 'flag'. 'Flag off' is a faulty Nigerian creation. “Oyo flags-off (begins/ launches/kicks off/ inaugurates…et al) bridge, road projects” Reactions to this 'discovery' are welcome. Let us keep exchanging ideas on lexis and structureand grammar, generally. “…no amount of pressure would make the Senate sweep any of its probe report (reports) under the carpet” (Vanguard, April 4) “Jos: Three arrested over (for) policeman's death” (The PUNCH Headline, April 3) “Handover (Hand over) our VP for trial, Iraq urges Qatar” (Source: as above) THE GUARDIAN of April 3 circulated the next two gaffes: “With the inherent multiplier effects of the automotive manufacturing industry, the government can, this time around (round), ill-afford sloppy disposition towards the strategic subsector.” “Segun Toriola: Record sixth times (time) at the Olympics” The next headline curiosity is from THISDAY of April 3: “Ekweremadu commiserated” How did the Apapa medium arrive at this strange entry? “…but the payoff was last week raised to a whooping (whopping) N100 million.” “When diaspora Ohaneze converged in (on) Ogwashi-Ukwu” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Headline, April 3) “Senate blames judiciary over (for) 33,692 awaiting trial inmates” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Headline, April 3) “If they say they want to vote for PDP (a comma) no problem about that but majority (a majority)….” “Last week Wednesday….” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Editorial Introductory Sentence, April 3) Either: last Wednesday or Wednesday, last week. LEADERSHIP EDITORIAL (OUR STAND) of April 3 goofed: “Move-
ment of cattle has often pitted Fulani herdsmen with (against) local farmers whose crops are destroyed by cattle.” “Ezeonu came at a time when health care delivery services in Ebonyi State was (were) challenged.” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, April 2) “This smacks off double standard.” (BUSINESSDAY EDITORIAL, March 29) Grammar you can trust: smacks of. “PDP must restore hope in (to) Nigerians, says Lamido” (THE GUARDIAN, March 29) “Six students, bizman arrested over (for) robbery in Edo” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, March 29) “These children disappeared atimes from home after their parents had gone to search for daily bread….” Children for sale: at times. “No sooner had the morning papers commenced at (on) the main campus of the university at about 10.a.m....” Either at or about 10.a.m. 'At about 10 a.m.' gives room for confusion. “Having shown that he means business…all shades of people are quickly jumping into (on/ aboard) the 'anti-corruption' bandwagon.” “Another feather to (in) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu's cap on his lavish 60th birthday” “Conceeding defeat is a herculean task.” Spellcheck: concede and conceding. “…following reports of molestation and harassment of law-abiding citizens by members of vigilante groups supposedly in anti-robbery patrol.” Get it right: vigilance committees/ groups. “I do not intend to bore you with beerparlour (pub) gossips” 'Gossip', in this context, is uncountable. “…the 'officials' who would be carrying files from Abuja to Lagos to treat in the morning and return them back in the evening.” No linguistic sabotage: delete 'back'. “…several (many) universities from across the universe were practically falling over themselves (one another) to give Mandela one honorary award or the other (another).” “Staff correspondent x-rays the government white paper on the two organizations and related companies in the industry. 'White papers' are issued exclusively by governments. So, there
should be no communicative redundancy. “...well-wishers of the official have been astonished by the resounding non-challance of the man about the appointment.” Spell-check always: nonchalance. “…the desire by the president to utilize best hands available in the running of government in this (these) trying times....” Do you utilize what is unavailable? “This may not be unconnected with the moral-cum-political pedestal on which the old man stood for sometime (some time).” “Shadows of the wrongs of yesteryears trailed Obasanjo in the presidential election.” Fixed expression: yesteryear. “It is a pity that Nigeria has had a history of self-governance, brought about by the regular incursion of military to (into) power.” ”From the onset (outset), let me declare that I pulled out of Economics immediately I scaled the hurdle at the advanced level.” “Now you are on (in) the saddle.” “From all intent and purpose….” No extinction of the English language: all intents and purposes. “The singular word that has eaten very deep into the fabrics (fabric) of the Nigerian nation is corruption.” “It has gradually destroyed the foundation of most people's lives, removed their trust and believe (belief) in hard work, diligence, honesty, and excellence.” “In a country where innocent children lack assess (access) to one good meal a day....” “But what is the sense in embarking in (on) such wasteful projects when salaries have not been paid, and majority (a majority) of Nigerians are hungry and angry.” “What is more distressing is that while the government is urging the poor masses....” The dictionaries inform me that 'the masses' are the lower, wretched members of the society. No poverty of expression. “Yet they are expected to put in their very best.” 'Best' is a superlative point, which requires no intensification or amplification (very). “Apology or bribery to ensure goodies from the state house is (are) not stopped.” Have a blissful Easter!
AIL Transportation service, for centuries has been the cheapest and safest means of transportation, explaining the rationale behind emphasis laid on it in developed countries, but in Nigeria successive government have continued to leave citizens at the mercy of transporters who exploit them during any festive period but the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola since its inception in late 2010 has continued to provide this essential service to the people of the state free with a view to ensuring that they arrive their destination free of exploitation and risk of life. Since the condemnation of the rail system in the country, travelling during festive periods has always been a difficult times for travelers who travel from where they sojourn to their various home towns to celebrate with members of their families. On various occasions, some would have to suspend their trips due to the usual high cost of transportation that always characterized the period, while others would be forced to wait until after such festival before they could be able to travel. Besides, the risk attached to it at these periods is always a factor hindering some families from being together when they needed it most. Though, it is no longer news that the administration Aregbesola in Osun State in its characteristics manner of attending positively to the welfare of the indigenes of the state who live within and outside the state made provision for travelers to and fro the state through its Rail Service free of charge during the last Christmas and New Year celebration, but the new dimension this Easter period, is the uniqueness of the timing of the movement of the rail system to and fro Lagos state to Osun state. Inspite the fact that the farmers who are the primary targets of the Rail Service Project have not started utilizing it fully to transport their farm produce to Lagos for sale with a view to getting high profit, the conveyance of passengers who are traveling, especially from Lagos to Osun and vice versa has made the project which many believed was impossible to have its grip and fully operational and has also bring succor to the lives of indigenes of the state living in Lagos and other state. However, for the 2012 Easter period, the government of the state of Osun kick-started the project specifically on Thursday, April 5, 2012, when the train took off from Iddo terminus in Lagos and branched at Oshodi, Ikeja and Agege terminals to pick passengers who are coming to Osun. The train arrived Osogbo at exactly 8:05 pm on Thursday and the passengers were welcomed by the Commissioners, Mr Ismail Alagbada (Coomerce, Cooperatives and Industry), Muyiwa Ige (Land and Physical Planning and urban Develop-
Osun: Providing Social Services through rail
•Aregbesola By Oyintiloye Olatunbosun
ment) as well as some other government officials. On Good Friday, at 11 am, the train also left Osogbo for Lagos, and on Saturday at 10 am, it was on its way back to Osogbo from Lagos. On Monday, which is the last day, at 12 noon, the train finally departed Osogbo for Lagos. Indigenes of neighbouring states like Ogun and Oyo living in Lagos state also benefitted from the scheme, as the train also conveyed them from Lagos, as well as those travelling from those states to Osun. Even those that were travelling to states like Kwara and Ekiti also benefitted from the gesture, as they joined the train to Osogbo, from where they boarded commercial buses to their various towns, hence, reducing the amount they would spent on transportation for their trips. The service, powered by the Osun Hub (O'Hub) team of the government was coordinated by the Ministry of Commerce in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and Home Affairs in the state. As if they were in their home, the comfortability enjoyed by the passengers could not be over-emphasized, as there was adequate security of lives and properties because security operatives were also on the trip, just as the high level of hygiene in the coaches of the train were adequate. Unlike the experience of the government during the last Christmas and New Year celebrations when the turn-out of travelers was low, probably due to lack of information, the number of the travelers during the Easter period was higher, as more passengers boarded the train. Some of the passengers who joined the train to Osogbo from Lagos spoke with this medium shortly after alighting at the Railway Terminus in Osogbo, commending the adminis-
tration of Aregbesola for its initiative to develop such programme for the benefit of the people of the state and the South-West in general. Isiah Adejumo, a Civil Servant in Lagos State who joined the train to Osogbo alongside his wife and two kids for Easter celebration said that despite the fact he had been living in Lagos for 10 years, he has never enjoyed such opportunity from any government. He described the project as beneficial and called on the government not to allow itself to be deterred by ensuring the continuation of the offer, saying that this would encourage more people to come to the state and in turn boost the economy of the state. A National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) member, Mr Olusegun Olusola, who is currently serving in Abeokuta said that he had never entered train all his life until the gesture of the Aregbesola administration got to him, describing the trip as exciting and interesting. The corps member who claimed to be going to Ogbomosho said: "It is a very exciting experience. Infact, I will write it in my diary that today for the first time I boarded a train through the effort of Governor Rauf Aregbesola. I was so comfortable entering it, it is safe and there is no any fear of accidents. It is one of the most exciting experiences in my life that I will never forget". Meanwhile, another passenger who declined to mention his names called on the government to step up announcement for the offer so that more people could benefit from the offers of the government, through the free and comfortable transportation, as there are many people who would have preferred to travel through the train but for lack of awareness. He said that with the gesture, the government of the state of Osun has taken minimum of N2,000 off the •Continued on page 67
66 CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CONFIRMATION OF NAME I,Isaiah Kennijohemiabu is the same and one person as Isaiah Kenni. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. UNN, Ikere Ekiti Campus and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Eku Precious, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Precious Tope Osakuade. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Saiki Ometere, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Aigbe Ometere. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Raji Muhammed Latifat Adekemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. RabiuOkikioposu Latifat Adekemi. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I,Rabiu-Okikioposu Akeem Ademola and Rabiu Akeem Ademola is the same and one person. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. Lagos State civil Service Commission and general public take note.
OYEDIRAN I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oyediran Sakirat Abolaji, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ajetunmobi Sakirat Abolaji. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public take note.
DURODOLA I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Durodola Titilayo Oluwaseun, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Abon Titilayo Oluwaseun. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
EBITIGHA I,formerly known and addressed as Ebitigha Babafemi Idowu, now wish to be known and addressed as Olajide Babafemi Idowu. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
ADERIBOLE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Aderibole Iyabo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Emenike Iyabo. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
NWALA I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Elizabeth Nwala, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Elizabeth Oluku. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
ESSO I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Esso Lucy Esse, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Chinonso Lucy Onyekachi. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
ODUKWE I,formerly known and addressed as Chika Onyebuchi Odukwe, now wish to be known and addressed as Chika Onyebuchi Adelakun. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
OGUNNOWO I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogunnowo, Adekemi Adejoke, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ofuokwu, Adekemi Adejoke. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
ABIMBOLA I,formerly known and addressed as Abimbola Bukola Monsurat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adebayo Bukola Monsurat. All former documents remain valid. Lagos State University, NYSC and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogunsanmi Esther Folasade, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adewale-Dada Esther Folasade. All former documents remain valid. SUBEB, Ekiti and general public take note.
OLATUNDE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Olatunde Temitope Amudalat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. AbattiOlatunde Temitope Amudalat. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
OGWUCHE I,formerly known and addressed as Ogwuche Ene Celestina, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Celestina Ene Oguejiofo. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oluwabukola Modupe Araoye, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oluwabukola Modupe Omo-Ekpadi. All former documents remain valid. Falana and Falana Chambers and general public take note.
NURUDEEN I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Nurudeen Arinola Fatimah, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Bello Arinola Fatimah. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Soyoye Mosunmola Ibidun, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Mosunmola Ibidun SoyoyeOlowonro. All former documents remain valid. Lagos State Local Government Service Commission and general public take note.
ELEHI I,formerly known and addressed as Elehi Jibola Muyidat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Odunlani Jibola Muyidat. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
OGUNDIRAN I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogundiran, Afusat Oluwaseyi Abidemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Akintoye, Abidemi Oluwaseyi Sarah. All former documents remain valid. RCCG, University of Maiduguri, GTBank Plc. and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Memunat A. Kadiri, now wish to be known and addressed as Memunat Aroje Aghonikhena. All former documents remain valid. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. and general public take note.
ADUYEFA I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Aduyefa Elizabeth Omotunde, now wish to be known and addressed as Adeyemi Elizabeth Omotunde. All former documents remain valid. MDCN, NYSC and general public take note.
FALAYI I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Falayi Racheal Modupe, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ayodele Racheal Modupe. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State, Local govt. Service Commission and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ishola Funmilayo Idayat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Fadare Funmilayo Ayomide. All former documents remain valid. Ijero Local government and general public take note.
SHORUNMU I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Shorunmu, Kafayat Abike, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Alagbe Kafayat Abike. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
BADMOS I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Badmos Taiwo Soburat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Popoola Taiwo Soburat. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oluokun Odunola Funke, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Mobolaji Odunola Funke. All former documents remain valid. Bowen University Teaching Hospital and general public take note.
OGUNYINKA I,formerly known and addressed as Ogunyinka Kehinde Oluseyi, now wish to be known and addressed as Oluwayimika Kehinde Oluseyi. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, Oscar Ugochukwu Uchegbu, Osita Nwadike and Oscar Uchegbu Osita Nwadike belong to the same and one person. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. General public take note.
MORIHANFEN I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Morihanfen Oluwabunmi Iwalewa, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oladapo Oluwabunmi Iwalewa. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, Babalola Tosin and Babalola Jumoke Tosin belong to the same and one person as Babalola Oluwatosin Jumoke. (Sat for NECO, 2011 No. 21661045hf, centre no. 0250658, NECO 2008 No. 8057225611 centre no. 025195). All documents bearing the above names remain valid. General public take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, Solomon Kemi Florence is the same and one person as Solomon Florence Kemi. (Sat for NECO, 2011 No. 21610247IC, centre no. 0250241. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. Osun State Polytechnic, Iree and general public take note.
GOGONTE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Rhoda Gogonte, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Rhoda Ekikeek John Bibor. All former documents remain valid. Nigerian Police Force Rivers Command and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Kemi Salami, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kemi Kolawole. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Grace Ibinye Brown, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Grace Ibinye Udo-Ikenyiri. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
CONFIRMATION OF NAME I,hereby confirm that Innocent Iro Iwu is the same person as Iwu Iro Iwu. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. Union Bank Plc. and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Nwaiwu Adamma Priscillia, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ogu Adamma Priscillia. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
AKOMOLAFE I,formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Akomolafe Funke Josephine, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Apalowo Funke Josephine. All former documents remain valid. SUBEB, Ekiti State, Local govt. Education Authority, Aramoko-Ekiti and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Aminat Ajoke Ifeshile, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Dare Aminat Ajoke. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
HUNYE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Hunye Elizabeth Abosede, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Arolawun Abosede Zainab. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Amodu Bilikisu Iyabo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ettu Bilikisu Iyabo. All former documents remain valid. State Hospital, Ijebu-Ode and general public take note.
AINA I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Aina Oluwaseyi Rosemary, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adedeji Oluwaseun Rosemary. All former documents remain valid. Equity Resort, Ijebu-Ode and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Abosede Adeola Alesinloye, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Abosede Adeola Loyinmi. All former documents remain valid. TASUED Ijagun and general public take note.
SULAIMON I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Sulaimon Nofisat Labake, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kafidipe Nofisat Labake. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
UGWUNNA I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ugwunna Nneoma Glory, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kelechi UwaezuokeNneoma. All former documents remain valid. Abia State Judiciary (High Court), MOUA Umudike and general public take note.
OMISAKIN I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Omisakin Bukola Grace, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Farinde Bukola Grace. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Igbekele Hope Ayetimiyi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Uke Igbekele Hope. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Rose Lesere Noryah, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Rose Lesere Aalonee-Dee. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
OKECHUKWU I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Okechukwu Patricia Chinyenum, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ogunsola Patricia Chinyenum. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ezewudo Chima, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Omojowolo Chima. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Dr. (Miss) Mary Omohwo, now wish to be known and addressed as Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Stanley-Iliromah. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Ibiwari Joel Ibiningo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ibiwari Frank Jumbo. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
EDEH I,formerly known and addressed as Mr. Edeh Raphael Osogu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Dennis Raphael Osogu. All former documents remain valid. Ado Polytechnic, NYSC and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Sanni Bisola Bolarinwa, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Salaam Bisola Bolarinwa Sekinat. All former documents remain valid. Federal Medical Center, Ebute Metta and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ganiyu Basirat Titilayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Semiu Basirat Titilayo. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Saka Olamide Agnes, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ayodele Olamide Agnes. All former documents remain valid. FUTA, UBA Plc. and general public take note.
AYOGU I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ayogu Ifeoma Precious, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Diara Ifeoma Precious. All former documents remain valid. IMT, Enugu and general public take note.
OBINOZIE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Loveth Nneoma Obinozie, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Loveth Nneoma Aguode. All former documents remain valid. ESUT, NYSC and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Ojewumi Christianah F., now wish to be known and addressed as Ojewuyi Christianah Feyisayo. All former documents remain valid. WAEC and general public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Josephine Obasi, now wish to be known and addressed as Josephine Odeme. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Sulaimon Nofisat Labake, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kafidipe Nofisat Labake. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
OKO I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ngozi Celestine Oko, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ngozi Anthonia Eze. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
NWAGHOR I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Nwaghor Bethel Nnenna, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Onuawuchi-Udeh Bethel Nnenna. All former documents remain valid. NAFDAC and general public take note.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012 CHANGE OF NAME OKONKWO
I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Okonkwo Chika Roseline, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nwaedozie Chika Roseline. All former documents remain valid. College of Education, Zuba, University of Abuja and general public take note.
UZODIKE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Nkonye Obioma Obianuju Uzodike, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nkonye Obioma Obianuju Duru. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
MOHAMMED I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Aisha Mohammed, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Aisha Usman Bawa. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
MUSA I, formerly known and addressed as Esther Musa (Miss) now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Esther Peter Shekwoaga. All former documents remain valid, the general public should please take note.
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Edo raises alarm over purchase of voters’ card From Osagie Otabor, Benin DO State Government has raised the alarm over attempts by some politicians to mop up voters’ card by inducing people with cash gifts and soft loans. It said the action was aimed at frustrating the One Man, One Vote principle of GovernorAdams Oshiomhole. The state government explained that part of measures to promote one man one vote principle is the demand of evidence of voter registration as a yardstick for admission into public schools. A press statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Oshiomhole, Peter Okhiria, urged registered voters in the state to ignore antics of politicians, adding that voting is a civic responsibility. It said: “While we note that it is both a criminal and electoral offence to buy or sell the voter’s card, we are equally concerned that the voters’ cards so procured may be used for other criminal purposes, thus putting the original owners of these cards in trouble. “We therefore warn these desperate politicians to shun their criminal intentions and also advise registered voters not to sell their voters’ cards to anyone under any guise. “Politicians engaged in this unwholesome practice are warned to desist henceforth as security operatives have been put on the alert to arrest and prosecute those found to be indulging in the practice,” the statement reads.
Prince Adio Clocks 62
RINCE Abdulazeez Inaolaji Adio , businessman, philanthropist and founder of Alhaji Rabiu Adio Islamic Foundation was 62 years last Sunday . He is also the chairman of a group of companies, including, Blueblood Connections Limited, Sama Agricultural Productions Limited and Princadaz Nigeria Limited. Adio established the foundation in memory of his late father for the social and economic development of Iwo community in Oyo State and to assist the children of the less privileged. The foundation has sunk boreholes in many parts of the town, awarded scholarships to many indigent students in the country, and distributed wheelchairs to the physically challenged as well as engaged in annual distribution of food to the poor. The body has also built a mosque, secretariat, multi purpose hall and classrooms, while it is planning a college of education (technical) and other welfarist programmes.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
UNNY question, yes, but there is a sense in which the recent jaw-jaw at the Senate between the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Nigeria Police reads like a secondary school debating tussle. Farmers and doctors, mummies and daddies: of course, they all are vital to our wellbeing. But often, the panel of judges is swayed, not so much by what is said as who said it- a bright, eloquent or scruffy, stuttering debater. The Senate Committee is yet to announce its decision, but given the intense love-hate relationship between the Nigerian people and their police, the gavel may swing in favour of the officers with khaki shirts over reddish trousers and head gear to match. Yes, the ones in light blue over black trousers and matching beret may lose the argument on the strength of poor image alone. In matters affecting their welfare but requiring stringent police oversight or vigilance, the public will likely vote for ditching the dishes with the dishwater. Yet, the police is only a reflection of the society it polices. Allthings considered, the Nigeria Police must be given the wherewithal to carry out its lawful responsibilities for the maintenance of law and order in Nigeria. To do that successfully, the police must manage a certified system for gathering, storing and retrieving information on the gamut of criminal activities in the country. The issue is so clear no one should dare question the good intentions of the police. However, the bone of dubious contention between the police and the road safety commission concerns data connected with the registration of vehicles in Nigeria. In the opinion of the
Road safety and national security: Which is more important?
â€˘FRSC staff on duty By Pita Okute
FRSC, everything to do with vehicle documentation falls within the province of safeguarding our roads and highways and protecting Nigerians from untimely deaths through road accidents. Indeed, the high fatality rate of road accidents in Nigeria gives serious cause for concern and the FRSC deserves all the support it can get to make our roads safer. But the Corps errs in believing and trying to convince the public that it has the primary responsibility for
documentation, storage and retrieval of vehicle records. The question to ask is this: before the FRSC came into existence via a military decree in 1988, how did the nation cope with the mandatory records of vehicle ownership in Nigeria? Answer: the police ran and maintained a Central Motor Registry (CMR) that kept the records of all licensed vehicles and renewal of such by the Motor Licensing Authorities. Historians may like to note that the CMR was estab-
Osun: Providing social services through rail â€˘Continued from page 65
expenses the travelers would have incurred in getting to their destinations, saying that "the safety and welfare of the people that boarded the train were also guaranteed and as you can see, the gesture is geared towards the welfare of the people of the state and the development of the economy of the state". "You will be seeing more of this. Aside using it to transporting people, we will use it to transport agriculture produce to Lagos from Osun and manufactured goods to Osun from Lagos", he said. The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Sunday Akere said that the essence of this gesture by the government was to ensure that the administration of Aregbesola provides the best for the indigenes of the State of Osun, as the government was determined to ensure that nothing de-
layed or hinder the movement of those who intended to come home and celebrate the festive period with their families. "The intention of the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is to ensure that people come home to see the wonders the administration is doing and compare what we had the last time they were around, to what we have now and make useful suggestions to the government where necessary. "The government of the day is there to serve everybody and we want to ensure that everybody is given the opportunity to benefit from what the government is doing. "People of other states are also benefitting and they would continue to benefit from this programme, as the state is working in conjunction with other states of the South-West to ensure a viable and active re-
gional integration and we feel that one of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure the transportation of people and goods within the region", Akere asserted. As a responsible government, Akere maintained, it is imperative that the security of the peoples live should be given adequate priority, hence, the provision of rail service to reduce the rate of accident on the road. However, it is suffice to say that the rail service has found its way in the state of Osun and it is now left for the Federal Government to wake up to its challenges and revamp the rail service across the country for the benefit of the people. Oyintiloye Olatunbosun, is Assistant Director, Community Forum Bureau of Communication and Strategy Office of the Governor, of Osun State.
lished thirty long years in 1958, before road safety marshals appeared on the streets and highways of our dear land. History will also record that as time went by the CMR fell short of expectations along with the generaldecline in service delivery standards that became the lot of our nation. The rapid expansion of the economy and the stupendous rise in vehicle ownership in Nigeria without the commensurate equipment of the Motor Traffic Division of the police combined â€˘Continued from page 24
Congress allows Federal employees to retain any gift from a foreign government, as long as the total US retail value of the gifts presented at one occasion does not exceed an amount established by the General Services Administration (GSA). Foreign official gifts over this "minimal value" are considered gifts to the people of the United States, which the recipient must purchase from GSA, at fair market value, in order to retain. The White House Gift Unit sees to the disposition of foreign official gifts that the President and First Lady do not retain. Any gift not from a foreign government official is considered a domestic gift. Domestic gifts to the President and/or First Lady may be disposed of in any manner the President and First Lady wish. If they want to keep a domestic gift, they do not have to purchase it from the Government. The President and First Lady keep for themselves only a small percentage of the gifts that they receive. Reasons for this include
to stretch and weaken the efficiency of the CMR. Government did not avail the police the necessary technology to operate a data base backup for the CMR.Besides, the increasing sophistication of criminal gangs using state of the art forgery techniques to falsify vehicle particulars, made a mockery of the old manual methods of the CMR. Police authorities aver however, that they have done their best to upgrade the CMR and mitigate the negative effects of playing
catch-up. Still, the enhanced CMR configured in 1997 and the Police Vehicle Recovery Portal unveiled in 2009, offer little hope against a highly digitalised underworld. But since last year, the police authorities have developed a Biometric Central Motor Registry (BCMR) employing facial and other demographics to keep round the clock track of vehicle ownership and movement. In their submissions to the Senate the police authorities are enthusiastic about the BCMR, which they say will "usher in a new phase of law enforcement on vehicle related crime, robust biometric vehicle data base, enhanced application of forensic investigative capacity for the police which will engender better service delivery and improve public satisfaction." This says to me that our much maligned police are raring to retrievetheir sullied image. Nothing could be more patriotic than to give them maximum support in this task. The point was roundly made at the Senate Hearing that the data generated from the BCMR will be available for use by other law enforcement and security agencies. To this end, it was doubly emphasized that the police alone have the right as enshrined in the Road Traffic Act of 1958 among other legislations to collate and coordinate the release of vehicular statistics to agencies that require them. This is as it should be, because though the FRSC may use the data only to monitor the infringement of traffic regulations, the police need it to keep a tab any potential or actual violations of the law in which a vehicle is involved. And this may range from burglary to armed robbery, kidnapping, fraud and terrorism. Okute, wrote from Abuja.
What do you give a president? the following: The requirement to pay for certain foreign official gifts; The White House Gift Unit constantly receives items from the general public, and it is impossible for the President and First Lady to ever see most of them; To protect the President and his family, the Secret Service requires destruction of food and drink gifts, combustible items which may release fumes, and colognes and other substances that are applied to the skin; Any gifts retained by the President and First Lady that are not from a close relative - including foreign official gifts that they keep - may have to be declared in an annual disclosure report to the Office of Government Ethics; The President and First Lady may have to pay federal taxes on the appraised value of gifts that they keep. What happens to gifts that the President and First Lady don't keep for
themselves? Most foreign official gifts which the President and First Lady do not retain for themselves are transferred to the National Archives by the Gift Unit, and become part of a presidential library museum collection. Most domestic gifts that the President and First Lady do not keep are given to charitable organizations or other non-Government recipients by the Gift Unit, or transferred to the National Archives for the future presidential library museum. It is important to restructure the presidential gifts process in Nigeria as well and institute legal bounds so as to prevent it from violating noble principles of government, as one observer noted, and having it create "the unmistakable appearance that gifts are not gifts at all, but rather down payments or "quid pro quo" like are suggesting in the brouhaha over President Goodluck Jonathan's church gift.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012
ARE ANENIH, AIRHIAVBERE UNDERMINING PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN’S EFFORT ON SECURITY?
he insecurity challenge in Nigeria is no longer news but the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih and his puppet candidate in the Edo State governorship election, Rtd. Gen. Charles Airhiavbere seem to have embarked on a dangerous mission capable of eroding President Goodluck Jonathan’s effort towards stemming this ugly situation. Our concern is drawn from their recent statements where they alleged that there are serious security challenges in Edo State where the state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole donated 52 Hilux Vans to the Nigerian Police to fight crime and was commissioned by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed on Thursday in Benin City. It is on record that these PDP chieftains, orchestrated the withdrawal or disbandment of Military/Police Joint Patrol in the state when Rtd. Gen. Godwin Abbey was Minister for Defence but for the ever conscious and reasonable President Goodluck Jonathan who reintroduced or reordered the security crack team that helped check rising insecurity in the state. For Anenih, the fabled Mister-Fix-It, the chickens finally came home to roost last weekend, at the palace of the Enojie of Uromi where he cried over alleged insecurity in Edo State. Anenih who before now was permanently based in Abuja with an ‘oxygen mask’ is now in the state with ‘human mask,’ to fix his puppet candidate for the July 14th governorship election. The PDP national leader is not worried over the alarming insecurity situation in the country neither has he been able to assist in resolving the unending Boko Haram activities especially in Abuja where he is on ‘oxygen mask’ but in Edo, you see Anenih with heavy riot security men as if he is the Inspector General of Police and a queue of thugs to shield him from his dirty past; ‘human mask’. As a former police chief, why is he not concerned and why has he not made a statement on the menacing, frightening and scary activities of Boko Haram? His former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo did and tried to assist President Goodluck Jonathan. He has shown that he is a true leader and statesman, why has Anenih not shown these virtues and concern? Why should he not cry of insecurity when his past is beginning to haunt him? The various roles he played in this country and Edo State are fresh in our minds and for a drowning man, who must find somebody to go down with him, this is his last straw and it’s one that would normally break the camel’s back. As we all know, the man who did Federal Government dirty laundry the past eight years got his own comeuppance; he was tossed out of office four months ahead of the end of his tenure as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ruling PDP by the very man he seemsed to have served ever so diligently. The list of the dirty laundry he did for the Federal Government is long and too well known to need recounting. Sufficient to note is that probably the most famous was nearly eleven years ago when he told all those hoping President Olusegun Obasanjo would do a Mandelai.e. serve for one term only and return to his chicken farm- so that they could realize their own presidential ambitions, that theirs was mere wishful thinking. Hear Anenih: “I do not see any vacant seat in the Year 2003. A word is enough for the wise”, he intoned in November, 2000 at a reception somewhere in Rivers State for Governor Peter Odili. Remember it was he, who declared no vacancy in Osadebey Avenue in 2003 in Edo State and thereby shut the democratic doors and windows against other ‘viable alternatives’. Anenih then proceeded, like a mafia don’s consiglieri, to ensure that notable and popular aspirants who were foolish enough to ignore his advice, were driven into the political wilderness. Also remember, Mr.-Fix-It told Nigerians, ahead of the general elections when Obasanjo was to leave office that only his boss and not anyone else, and not even the electorate, would determine who was to succeed him. As was the case with his warning in 2000, this too came to pass. And that, as we all know, was how Nigeria came to be saddled with a president whose told the whole world that his mandate was questionable. Just imagine the role he played in late Chief Moshood Abiola’s election in June 12, 1992 and the year after; 1993. He was the Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria in 1983 when Dr Samuel Ogbemudia defeated the incumbent Unity Party of Nigeria government of Prof. Ambrose Alli. He subsequently became the national chairman of the party in 1993 when he negotiated away the victory of Chief Moshood Abiola to the military. Was he not a very good friend of late Military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha? And you say his past should not haunt him? Again, come back to Edo: Anenih, during the inauguration of the PDP campaign of the governorship election in Cross Rivers State recently said, “WITH THE ARRANGEMENT GOINGON IN EDO STATE NOW, COUPLED WITH THE SUPPORTWEARE EXPECTING FROM THE PRESIDENCYAND THE NATIONALEXECUTIVE OFTHE PARTY, WEARE CONFIDENT THAT COME JULY 14, 2012, WE WILL INSTALLA PDP GOVERNOR IN EDO STATE”; Vanguard Newspaper, February 12, 2012 page 7. The Nation Newspaper, February 13, 2012 page 10 and Daily Independent Newspaper, Monday, February 13th, 2012. Added to this, Anenih was quoted to have said, “Edo people do not matter” in the July 14th, 2012 election. No one has ever spoken in a democracy so undemocratically but Anenih who relishes in intrigues and violence. Recently, he deceived his party chiefs and asked them to contest the primary believing it was going to be free and fair. He had some old cookies up his sleeve. He made them waste their hard-earned resources and time and further pitched them against each other. He succeeded as ever to skew the process in favour of his puppet; Rtd Gen. Charles Airhiavbere. Here is the man crying of insecurity in Edo State when his past is already haunting him. Is that all, just imagine a Mr.-Fix-It’s inhumanity to his fellow Ishan people in Edo Central Senatorial District; what is Okpevbho people’s sin to Anenih? He should respond and he must respond.
Prof. Ambrose Alli was from Okpevbho while Anenih is from Agbazilo. The former was Governor of Mid-Western State. It is a fact of history that from the time he assumed office till his tenure ended, Chief Tony Anenih railroaded him through crisis, persecution and harassment as he did everything humanly possible to frustrate him out of office. His witch-hunt continued until he succeeded in fixing Ambrose Alli out in the 1983 governorship election. As if that was not enough, he boasted to get this illustrious Okpevbho son jailed and he was jailed by the military regime. That’s not all, Chief Anenih ensured that Alli died in prison and since then, he has continued to publicly exhibit his pathological hatred to the Okpevbho people. Chief Tony Anenih’ s relationship with Late Augustus Aikhomu was not hidden and this was one of the reasons he played minimal role in his burial ceremony. Anenih’s relationship with Chief Tom Ikimi and other prominent sons of Okpevbho land is well known. For instance, the first Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly since this democratic experience, Hon. Thomas Okosun was harassed and forced out of office by Chief Anenih. He continued this unabated such that when David Iyoha was elected unanimously as Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Anenih forced him out of office for his Agbazilo and Uromi kinsman, Friday Itulah. Recently, everybody is aware of how Anenih ensured that another Okpevbho son, and former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Bright Omokhodion was rigged out in the 2011 elections. That was how he (Omokhodion) and Okpevbho people lost the Speakership position. Imagine a situation where in Esan North East with 53,000 registered voters have two members in the Edo State House of Assembly while Esan West with 70,000 registered voters have one member in Edo Sate House of Assembly. The three local government councils that constitute old Okpevbho local government produced only one member in the House of Representatives while two local government councils that constitute old Agbazilo produced one member in the House of Representatives. Why should he not cry of insecurity as all these atrocities now haunt him? The final onslaught of Chief Anenih against the Okpevbho people is the humiliation of their son and a progressive, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor who had a first class in Law and became a Professor at a very young age. He is an honest, hardworking and dedicated son of Okpevbho. In addition, because Prof. Osunbor is not from the Agbazilo extraction, Anenih made sure that when in his first election in 2007, he supported his kinsman, Odion Ugbesia until the intervention of his former boss Olusegun Obasanjo, Osunbor could have lost the primaries. For Anenih, Okpevbho people are only good enough for Grade C Boards. Thus, the Governing Council of Federal College of Education, Polytechnics, Federal Health Centre and Research Institutes are reserved for Okpevbho people. On the other hand, Anenih kinsmen in Esan North East and Esan South East are the ones eminently qualified and competent to serve on Grade A Board such as the Maritime, the NUC, INEC, Immigration, Prisons Board etc. Since the advent of democratic dispensation in 1999, not less than five sons of Esan North East and Esan South East that was formerly called Agbazilo Local Government of the defunct Bendel State have been appointed as ministers including Tony Anenih within the same period, there was none from Okpevbho people. Now, in the recent primaries, Anenih directed the voters against our son (Osunbor) and he was roundly defeated. Again, that is an Agbazilo man’s inhumanity to an Okpevbho man. Therefore, for Anenih to be in his homeland in Esan with a sense of insecurity is a creation of his hands and penchant for manipulations. One is not oblivious of the fact that he is raising this alarm to make a case for military men during the election; this ploy will fail as Edo is in safest hands. Furthermore, the Comrade Governor is presenting a scorecard of good governance of what he has done for three years of his administration and before he presented this, he was formerly President of the Nigerian Labour Congress where he had worked and had a score card that qualified him to contest for Edo state Governor and he won. Airhiavbere is just a retired military man whose credentials are not as rich and credible as that of Adams Oshiomhole. However, do we hear of mismanagement of funds in the military? Is it true? Can he explain or throw some light on this issue of embezzlement and diversion of funds under his care? Where the Comrade Governor is showcasing development both in human and infrastructure, Airhiavbere is busy making promises. Does somebody owe Nigerian and Edo people explanations regarding financial misappropriation in the military under their care? We expect him to be able to speak to his pedigree and Oshiomhole will also speak to his pedigree. Airhiavbere will explain his activities as a soldier and Oshiomhole in the NLC. Both of them has a pedigree before they came in politics and we will enlighten Edo people to look at their characters and ask themselves the question; who can we trust? However, the Edo PDP is in a state of dilemma over the issue of deputy Governor and this is a man that nobody has agreed to be his running mate. We wish the good people of Edo State happy Easter celebration and further assure them that Edo Is In Safest Hands.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012
EPL clubs scramble for Emenike
CCORDING to Turkey’s most influential daily, Milliyet, Spartak Moscow’s point-man Emmanuel Emenike is attracting huge interest from some of the elite clubs in the English Premiership. Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur top the list of clubs seeking the signature of the prolific Nigerian forward in the summer . The Russian team has placed a bounty of 25 million euros on Emenike. He joined Spartak Moscow July, 2011 from Turkish champions Fenerbahçe for a
transfer fee of ten million euros. In less than a year, his market value has ballooned by more than 100 percent. The 24-year-old has had stints with FC Cape Town and Karabükspor. After a glorious spell with
Karabükspor, he left to join Fenerbahçe, but did not play an official game for the club, owing to allegations of match-fixing against him. As a result, Emenike left Turkey hurriedly to Russia to join Spartak Moscow.
TOTAL JUNIOR TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
‘Organizers will determine continued Sponsorship’ From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt HE Sponsors of the on going Junior Tennis Championship in Port Harcourt, Total E and P Nigeria Limited has said that the continued annual sponsorship of the tournament by the company will be determined by the organizers of the event. In a chat with NationSport, the Port Harcourt District Public Relations Manager of the firm, Mr. Nobert Ikwuazom explained that the programme is a social development vision of the company in order to enable the youngsters develop their skills earlier so as to ‘find for themselves openings in life’. He further said that it was initiated by the outfit in line with their bid to help improve the standard of living in the society at large. “This initiative was a proactive one. It was not negotiated. We came about it out of our own thinking that this is worthwhile in society, and that is the basic”. On how long the company can sustain this laudable programme, Mr. Ikwuazom said it behoves the organizers to put in their best and ensure that resources made available are properly channelled. “It is left for the Rivers State Tennis Association to organize this tournament in the best way possible because if they do it well, other corporate bodies will join and make it bigger. “I learnt that NDDC is also organizing this kind of event, so instead of in trinkles, all these bigger organizations will join hands with Total. It is not a challenge to Total but it is a challenge to the Tennis Association to ensure that these things are done well to attract more sponsorship from us and other bodies in the future”, he said. The participants at the tournament will be going home with Tennis equipment to enhance their playing career. PREMIER LEAGUE RESUL TS RESULTS Sunderland 0 - 0 Tottenham Bolton W. 0 - 3 Fulham Chelsea 2 - 1 Wigan Liverpool 1 - 1 Aston Villa Norwich C. 2 - 2 Everton West Brom 3 - 0 Blackburn Stoke C. 2 - 1 Wolves
LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS
Two Nigerian weightlifters qualify
EMBERS of the N i g e r i a Weightlifting team to the just concluded African W e i g t h l i f t i n g Championship/ London 2012 Olympic qualifiers held in Nairobi, kenya are back in the country with 19 gold, 18 silver and three bronze medals thus finishing on top of the medal table at the end of the weeklong exercise which lasted from March 28-April 4, 2012. With ninety percent of the medals coming from the women team, Chinenye Fidelis who won 3 gold medals, Augustina Nwokolo 3gold, Margaret Uwah 3 gold, Obioma Okoli 3 gold and Maryam Usman who also won 3 gold medals, accounted for 15 of the gold medals plus l additional gold medal coming from Olwatoyin Adesanmi’s lift while Felix Ekpo’s 2 gold medals and Shola Fadodun’s1 gold completes Nigeri’s gold medal haul at the championship. However the high point of the champioship being the two African records broken by Nigeria when petit Chinenye Fidelis who
• Emerges winners in Africa competed in the women 53kg weight class lited 115 in Clean and Jerk to set a new African and commonwealth record, and Maryam Usman who lifted 115kg in snatch to create a new African and commonwealth record. She also lifted 156kg in clean and jerk to have a sum total of 281kg which is also another African record. With this result, at least two Nigerian lifters have qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games. President of the Nigeria weigthlifting Federation, Chimdi Ejiogu has commended the lifters for making Nigeria proud at the championship. He stressed that with more encouragement coming from the private sector, Nigeria lifters will rule the world. Ejiogu commended the National Sports commission for the timely intervention in sponsoring the Nigeria weigtlifting team to the just concluded African championship and promised that his lifters will continue to do the country proud in major international championships just as they did in Nairobi Kenya.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Ahmed Musa predicts Madrid, Barca final
SKA Moscow Nigeria winger Ahmed Musa has tipped Real Madrid and Barcelona to clash in next month’s UEFA Champions League final in Munich. Real face Bayern Munich and Barcelona battle Chelsea in the semi-finals of the competition later this month. Pacy winger Musa already has a good idea of how formidable Real are as they dumped his club CSKA from the competition in the Round of 16. And he has now told MTNFootball.com he expects Real to set up another El Clasico with local rivals Barcelona for the final of this season’s Champions League. “As far as I am concerned, the final will be between Madrid and Barcelona,” predicted Musa, who made his Champions League debut
against Real in Moscow in February. “I played against Real Madrid and I know what they can do. I see them beating Bayern. “There is no doubt Barcelona are the best team in the world and as such Chelsea will have to be extra ordinary to beat them and I don’t think they can do that “This is taking nothing away from Chelsea. They are a good side and have quality players too, but Barcelona are a more complete team. “I would love to see my good friend Mikel Obi helping Chelsea to reach the final, but my head says it will not be.” Musa, who only 18 months ago was featuring in the Nigeria Premier League, said he hopes his Russian club will go past the last 16 of the Champions League next season.
QUOTABLE “Even Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said they told him and never mentioned those who told him; Senator Ibrahim Mantu, who was chairman of the committee will tell you I never told him. So those talking of third term were unfair, mischievous. I am not afraid if I wanted third term, I know how to go about it. I could‘ve got it. There was nothing that I wanted during my tenure that God did not give me.”
SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 6, NO. 2089
– Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, denying knowledge of the plot to extend his tenure in an interview on Channels Television recently.
HE resignation on Tuesday of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) marks the end of an era for the old general and former head of state and president. It also marks the beginning of a new era for the PDP, for now, shorn of the eccentricity and often villainous politics of the old soldier, it will have to fight for its place in the sun. This is no hyperbole. There are no two people like Obasanjo, absolutely none like him quite able to retain in perfect and exquisite harmony the attributes of a perfidious army general, superficial Christian ethics, and pure, unadulterated social and cultural irreverence. None like him. For even his resignation, which was penned with the characteristic ordinariness that has marked his artistic side for decades, took his friends and foes by surprise, as everything else about him, notwithstanding his protestations to the contrary. Obasanjo may not be imbued with abundant noble intentions and dignified carriage, but he is much smarter and deeply Machiavellian than his opponents give him credit. He gave a few reasons for his resignation as chairman of the PDP BoT, but these are mere red herrings. He said he needed time to do his domestic and international mentoring job and help attract investment to Nigeria and Africa. It is true he foisted a few politicians on Nigerians, whether as president or as governors, but except we miss the true meaning of the word, there is no record anywhere that Obasanjo had the discipline or the patience to mentor anyone. Does he by chance refer to the late Umaru Yar’Adua whom he made president? Only an Obasanjo could describe subversion of the principles and practice of democracy as mentoring. Does he also by any chance see the emergence of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as governor, after the lawless impeachment of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, or his election as president, as mentoring? Jonathan’s first emergence was nothing but expediency for Obasanjo, whose primary target was the luckless Diepreye. The election of Jonathan as president last year bears absolutely no relationship to Obasanjo’s mentoring or fortuitous intervention. He became president because the opposition was fragmented and unviable, and he was seen as a safe politician who was unlikely to upset the apple cart. And as for international mentoring, we may need to apply to Obasanjo to furnish us the details of just one person he mentored anywhere in Africa. We can recall none. The former president also predicated his resignation upon the need to attract investment to Nigeria and the continent as a whole. If he should take it upon himself to think expansively in terms of the continent, it will be a new pastime for a former president who while in power was never able to think beyond the clannishness of his party, the provincialism of his village and the insularity of his private needs. Moreover, there is record
Obasanjo walks calmly into the sunset
to show that under his watch more investment was lost than gained on account of hostile government policies, unfriendly and corrupt business climate, and poor electricity supply. I suspect that the real reason Obasanjo threw in the towel is that as a former army general trained to anticipate the enemy, and as someone who still retained sharp instincts, he knew that Jonathan, whom he inaccurately described as his mentee, had come into his own. Neither this column nor any brilliant politician I know has ever described Jonathan as unable to assert himself. He may not be knowledgeable, for he does not come across as inspired and inspiring, but once he makes up his mind, he has the dangerously fatalistic philosophy of daring the heavens to fall. Obasanjo also knows this, and has had plenty of trouble in the past few months trying to inveigle political and moral rectitude into his increasingly determined and assertive liege from Otueke. The latest instance of that assertion, as everyone knows, was the recent national convention of the ruling party where Jonathan made a few harmless concessions in guileful exchange for the plum prize of chairman of the party to the dismay of his flatfooted opponents and the total chagrin of Obasanjo. In
bolder relief, however, it can be shown that Obasanjo tremulously observes the growing influence of his former protégé, particularly the way the latter dealt with the fuel subsidy revolt and his detached view of the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist menace. Jonathan, it will be recalled, increased fuel price by a margin (about 50 percent) and at a time (inauspicious January) none of his predecessors had ever dared. He not only got away with it, he did so in the spectacular fashion of calling out troops to quell peaceful and constitutionally-protected rallies. It was an epiphanic revelation of ultimate brinkmanship by a president whose inurement to danger makes him to overreach himself and to sail much closer to the wind than is navigationally sensible or safe. It will also be recalled that in spite of pressure on him to replace his security chiefs in the thick of Boko Haram bombings, he stuck to his men and defied the electorate’s apprehensions. He seemed to say and act as if he put the electorate in the country instead of the other way round. Obasanjo is smart enough to understand that after Jonathan viciously and insidiously dealt a cruel hand to his opponents again at PDP’s national convention, it was time for him to call it a day. Up till then, there had
Laying the ghost of third term to rest
HIEF Olusegun Obasanjo continues to rest his argument over whether he wanted a third term or not on purely legalistic grounds. The initiative to secure a third term for him, he argued in last week’s interview with Channels Television, came from the National Assembly, and not from him or anyone mandated by him. If he really wanted third term, he said presumptuously, he knew how to go about it to get it. After all, he added simplistically, there was nothing he ever asked God that the Almighty didn’t give him. The former president has a strange theological doctrine that is disturbingly more sophomoric than his Open University diploma in theology suggests. Obasanjo seems to think that once you had faith, then every mountain must respond. Where does he place God’s will in all this? Does God not have a say over whether a request accords with His will, or whether the request upholds the stability of the polity and the integrity of both the country’s constitution and its leaders? After
ruling for eight years, would it not be silly to begin asking God for an extension when the constitution forbids it? Does God himself not set great store by order, selflessness and justice? The truth is that if Obasanjo had asked for a third term, God would have had to humiliate him. However, as Obasanjo himself declared, he did not place the request before God. We thank him for being sensible. But he passes the buck for the third term request to certain shadowy forces in the then National Assembly. He did not tell us who those forces were. Nor, as it would have seemed circumspect, did he disavow the request for third term if in fact he was opposed to it. Indeed, in the Channels interview, he said nothing about whether he hated the idea or was only expediently indifferent to it. If Obasanjo continues to give mendacious account of his subterranean effort to get tenure extension, I may have to sue him for telling an egregious lie and deceiving the public.
I will ask for symbolic damages of not more than one naira, if only to establish the truth and make the point that the patience of Nigerians, when Obasanjo’s hirelings overheated the polity with tenure extension, should not be equated with foolishness. I do not know why Obasanjo persists in bringing God into his colourful misrepresentations of history. He did not ask for third term directly and openly, but he wanted it and encouraged those who campaigned for it. Even if he lies to himself, God sees his heart and reads his motives. It would be better if he shuts up permanently on the third term issue. We will never believe him, no matter what he says. We recall that too much money was corruptly expended on the project by some governors of his time, and some of them are still on trial for that foolishness. My fear is that if Obasanjo continues to tell this lie to himself and the unwary public, he will get to a point where he will begin to believe his own untruths.
not been a direct and open fight between Obasanjo and Jonathan. What better way to preserve his legacy of invincibility for whatever it was worth than to leave with his head held high? Obasanjo resigned not because he needed time for anything, for he is a workaholic and can easily multitask, but because he wanted to spare himself a direct fight with Jonathan and possible humiliation. For a man steeped in the realpolitik of power and presidential office, he knew that whenever Nigeria’s imperial presidency came up against anyone, the outcome was predictable. Obasanjo used that office irreverently against Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar and anyone who opposed him in his years in power. With Jonathan already held hostage by his disrespect for constitutionalism, insensitivity to both danger and wrong, and the remorseless vice grip of his henchmen, many of them from his geopolitical zone, Obasanjo knew the president had been tutored on the injudicious use of power to care what the law or the constitution says about anything. Obasanjo’s resignation marks the end of an era for the PDP, for the party must now do things without the patrician malevolence of its guardian ‘angel.’ But much more, the resignation marks the beginning of the end of Obasanjo’s public life. By resigning, he has raised his hands to draw the curtain on his own political career. Henceforth, he can no longer be elected into any office either at the party level or national level. Whatever he does from now onwards can only be done from the fringes; he will stay outside looking in. He can criticise, and he can offer suggestions, most of them from his usual private and narrow point of view. But more and more, he will be ignored and even sometimes scorned and ridiculed. The PDP BoT was Obasanjo’s last valiant stand and the last symbol of his power of mischief, given the way he concocted his post-presidential relevance through undermining his party’s constitution. Had he a sense of history, he would have made the letter of resignation to read pontifically as his last will and testament, and to be an opportunity to declaim on the higher and noble virtues of constitutional rule. When al-Qaeda bombed the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001, the then Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, toured the site and then retired into his office late in the night to bury his heads in a few biographies. Asked why he took that evocative step, Giuliani explained he wished to drink from the brooks of wisdom of past presidents in order to be inspired by their reactions in the face of major threats to American peace and safety. How could Obasanjo write his resignation letter without consulting Gen Douglas Macarthur’s 1951 famous and hugely inspiring ‘old soldiers never die, they just fade away’ speech to the United States Congress? Like everything else about Obasanjo’s life, he had the best chances any mortal in these parts could ever desire, but he customarily rose to those opportunities with the quiet and futile resignation of a child lost in the woods. I hope for his own sake he would formally retire from politics very soon rather than fritter away the little legacy he has left and soil his hands and reputation propelling the monstrous politicking of the Oyinlolas, Onis, Alao-Akalas and Daniels. I hope when he retires soon the National Assembly will honour him with a joint sitting, for more than anyone in recent memory, Obasanjo potently, if undesirably, influenced the course and nature of Nigerian politics in the past few decades. I am opposed to him and his politics, but I am realistic enough to know that Obasanjo will be missed. He should not just resign from his party’s BoT, his sense of forebodings over Jonathan’s style, actions and politics should hurry him into taking the sensible option of retirement from politics. When that sanguine day comes, let him consult MacArthur, and let him write the best speech of his life, the kind his modest talent for verse and poetry has never permitted him. Perhaps, like MacArthur, he would receive a prolonged standing ovation and walk into the sunset of his life not as antihero but as someone whom we would be sorry to see go.
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