Page 1

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Ekiti Dep. Governor to be buried in Ado

Reps to probe banks for tax evasion NEWS Page 11


•Fayemi hails Olayinka’s security role

Page 8

•Committee, CBN, others for meeting

VOL. 8, NO. 2461 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013



Hope for kidney patients

CAN condemns amnesty clamour



HERE is a fresh ray of hope for kidney patients, with the news that a synthetic kidney made from a patient’s own skin cells might soon be ready for the first human transplant. A similar artificial organ has been created in laboratory animals, scientists said yesterday in a report by The Independent of London. Researchers created the synthetic kidney using a similar bioengineering process to the one that led to the manContinued on page 2

•Pastor Oritsejafor

N a day President Goodluck Jonathan met with Service Chiefs to appraise the amnesty committee’s report, the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) yesterday urged the authorities not to pardon members of the Boko Haram

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Grace Obike and Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

sect. The Association described the group as “murderous and blood thirsty”. CAN advised the President

to disregard the Northern Elders pushing for amnesty to avoid a crisis. Northern Elders, CAN said, are pushing for amnesty to enable Boko Haram members reap Continued on page 2

2015: PDP under fire over Jonathan’s 32 states order Merger ‘ll kill PDP, says CPC From Gbenga Omokhunu, Grace Obike, Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti and Augustine AVWODE


HE President and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were under attack yesterday over their plot to win 32 states in 2015. Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) National Chairman Tony Momoh told the PDP to be prepared to lose 32 states in the next general elections. PDP Chairman Bamanga Tukur said on Monday that the party got Presidential order to win 32 states. Besides, he described the coming election as “a serious battle”, which his party members must prepare for. Momoh, who expressed displeasure at the expanded National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja over Tukur’s statement, vowed to ensure that PDP is sent to the “grave” in 2015. The All Progressives Congress (APC), he said, will perfect the merger of top opposition parties, which will kick PDP out of power. His words: “We want merger and it is only when we merge that we can solve the problems in Nigeria today and take a decision to send PDP to the grave. Someone is already Continued on page 2

•Bamigbetan’s Ford Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)...yesterday

Kidnappers demand $1m to free Lagos council chairman A

LL was gloomy yesterday at house 21, Ona Iwa Mimo Street in Ejigbo, a Lagos suburb. Mrs. Fatimo Bamigbetan, the wife of the Chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Mr.

By Seun Akioye, Snr. Correspondent

Kehinde Bamigbetan, sat in silence. Surrounding her were several women who had formed several mini groups and were engaged in hush conversations. The white

shawl that covered her head gave her a dignified look despite the sadness in her eyes. It was difficult to know what was on her mind. When she replied to a greeting, the words came out just a little above a whisper. Her hus-

band was kidnapped Monday night. The house was furnished with the greatest simplicity; many could not find seats and they contended themselves with standing, arms akimbo. Continued on page 56






NEWS Hope for kidney patients Continued from page 1

•Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Publicity Secretary Lai •Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Mohammed (left) receiving the Leadership Politician of the Year Award congratulating Bank of Industry Managing Director Evelyn Oputu after receiving the from the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi at a ceremony in Leadership CEO of the Year Award at a ceremony in Abuja...yesterday Abuja ...yesterday PHOTOS: ABAYOMI FAYESE

2015: PDP under fire over Jonathan’s 32 states order Continued from page 1

saying that PDP will win 32 states in 2015. I think he was misreported. I think what he may have had in mind is that PDP will lose 32 states in 2015. I don’t know where the courage is from. We will work hard, make sacrifices and ensure we move into the merger and grow the new party (APC) so that Nigeria will have the change it needs. “Incidentally, I use this opportunity to mention that the merger is being promoted to set an agenda, to look at the constitution and ensure that Nigerians who have sovereignty, this sovereignty is returned to them. The sovereignty has been stolen from them for the last 12 years and it must be returned to them. We will ensure that welfare and security, that which is in the constitution, are reached. “As you can see now, there is no welfare and no security. “For the first time in Nigeria, the adoption of merger is necessary - if that is what it will take for change to come and if Nigeria must lead, then the change must come. We are not those who believe that the heavens will come down. We are ready to make a sacrifice; this may be the last meeting that we will have before the merger. I am saying this because lots of people are say-


ing that we have nothing to offer. I can tell them that we are ready to take over.” All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) National Publicity Secretary Emma Eneukwu said Nigerians could no longer be fooled by “ mere boasts by a political party”. He described Tukur’s speech as that of a man trying to console himself by talking big. He advised Tukur to keep his peace as, according to him, the day of reckoning is already at hand. Said Eneukwu: “He is only trying to console himself by talking big. The elections will be done by Nigerians who will rate them according to their performance in the past 12 years. Nigerians are not fools who can be deceived by mere boasts by a party that had plunged the country into terrible darkness. The day of reckoning is approaching.” To the National Publicity Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Osita Okechukwu, Tukur should be more concerned with how he would maintain the 23 states in its party’s fold. He doubted if the Adamawa-born businessmanturned-politician was actually given that directive by President Goodluck Jonathan. He said it was a face-saving posture by an embattled par-

ty boss who called a meeting of 23 governors and 21 of them failed to honour his call. “Tukur is grandstanding. I don’t believe that the President gave that directive. It was his own way of trying to redeem his sagging image and influence. His party has 23 governors now; his burden is how to maintain them first, rather than think of how to increase them. He is presently embattled, you know. He called a meeting and 21 out of 23 governors did not turn up. Is that not a big problem for him? He must sort out his problem first before thinking of capturing more states.” This is the second time in less than three months that Tukur has beaten the drums of war in respect of the 2015 general election. In February during a tour of the North Central Zone in Kaduna, he said the elections would be “a big war”. To the Chairman of the ACN in Ekiti State, Chief Jide Awe Tukur’s assurance that the PDP would capture a minimum of 32 states as an “open invitation to anarchy”. Awe spoke yesterday at a press conference at the ACN secretariat in Ajilosun, AdoEkiti, is the state capital, warning that the “directive is blatant expression of preparedness for war”. According to Awe, the fact

that Ekiti State’s governorship election will be held in 2014 is an indication that the people must be prepared for war from PDP. Urging Nigerians to be wakeful to threats by the ruling party, Awe noted that “PDP is giving itself away at such an early time as to make us all expectant and fearful.” He said: “ACN demands serious explanation from the President referring to the whole nation as a captured nation. “I believe he is not inviting the military to take over the governance of this state because all the words he (President) used are military’s. “You don’t capture with votes but with arms and ammunition. This trend has been orchestrated and sustained within the PDP since its inception in this country. My fear is for 2014 election in Ekiti and we don’t want Ekiti to be thrown into crisis because you will need to test the ammunition you acquired somewhere.” “And I am sure those states he does not love include Bornu Plateau and other states where there have been killings and maiming of innocent souls.” “This so-called directive must not embolden the elements of the PDP in this state. Ekiti is ready to resist imposition in any form.”

ufacture of artificial human windpipes, the first of which was transplanted into a Spanish woman with a collapsed trachea in 2008. The bioengineered rat kidney was made from the scaffold tissue of a dead rat’s kidney that had its own cells removed by flushing it with an enzymatic detergent. Skin and blood cells were then infused into the scaffold to create a working organ, scientists said. Harald Ott of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said that his colleagues have also created synthetic pig and human kidneys and that a human transplant of a bioengineered kidney made from a patient’s own cells is a realistic possibility. Such orContinued on page 60

CAN condemns amnesty clamour Continued from page 1

where they did not sow.CAN General Secretary Rev. Musa Asake, spoke at a news conference in Abuja. He berated the Ja’amatu Nasril Islam (JNI) for condemning the President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor for saying that: “amnesty to mass murderers foisting their belief on others, cannot precede reconciliation, compensation, restitution and other amelioration steps to people and institutions hurt in the Jihad of Boko Haram.” Asake also warned the JNI to stop saying that Muslims are the major victims of Boko Haram adding that: “but the truth remains that Christians are the major and main, if not sole target of Boko Haram”. In the last three years, besides the isolated bombings in Abuja, Asake said the Boko Haram has bombed over 200

churches and killed over 1, 250 Christians worshipping in their churches. Asake stated that while CAN respect the right of Cardinal John Onaiykan, and Bishop Mathew Kukah on amnesty for Boko Haram, they cannot speak for CAN. He said: “Only CAN is vested with such powers. Cardinal John Onaiykan and Bishop Mathew Kukah do not speak for Nigerian Christians, not even for CAN in any of the 19 Northern states. “We call on President Goodluck Jonathan to, as a matter of urgency, dismiss the whole idea of amnesty for an unrepentant group because it would be a panacea for confusion in the country. Instead, as a matter of urgency, the Federal Government should begin the process of compensating Continued on page 60

CORRECTIONS In a photo caption on Page 4 of yesterday’s edition, Chief Edwin Clark was wrongly referred to as First Republic Minister of Information. He was commissioner under Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia and never served in the First Republic. He became Federal Commissioner of Information in 1974 under Gen. Yakubu Gowon. House of Representatives member Opeyemi Bamidele was called Oyeyemi on Page 8. Also, in paragraph 13 of the lead story on Page 58, Finance Minister and Coordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was inadvertently referred to as ex-minister.

PDP sinks deeper into crisis as Rivers gets new exco

HE Rivers State wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday joined other crises-ridden chapters of the ruling party no thanks to the inauguration of a factional executive committee at the party’s Abuja national headquarters. A 13-member committee was inaugurated to run the PDP’s affairs in the Southsouth state. National Legal Adviser Mr. Victor Kwom administered the oath of office on the new committee, chaired by Felix Obua. Mr. Walter Opuene was sworn in as secretary. The party’s Acting National Secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe, said the inauguration was in compliance with the Abuja court ruling which was served on the PDP leadership on Monday. He said the party had no choice other than to obey the verdict that sacked the Godspower Ake-led executive

We will appeal judgment, says ousted chairman


HE sacked Chairman of the Rivers State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State chapter, Chief Godspower Ake, yesterday spoke of a plan to appeal the sack of his committee by an Abuja High Court on Monday. He also expressed optimism that members of the PDP in Rivers State would come out of the crisis stronger and more united. Ake, who is also a former National Vice Chairman, Southsouth of the PDP, spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, through the party’s Publicity Secretary, George Ukwuoma-Nwogba. The Ake-led executive, which enjoys the backing of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, was sacked on Monday by an Abuja High Court From Yusuf Alli and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

committee. Yesterday’s ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike; former Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr. Austin Opara; Senator Lee

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

judge, Justice Ishaq Bello. The court gave recognition to the Felix Obuah–led executive, being supported by the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike. Obuah, who hails from Ogba/Egbema/ Ndoni Local government Area, the political constituency of Rivers’ former Governor Dr. Peter Odili, approached the court to challenge the emergence of Ake, who was elected PDP chairman in February 2011, alleging that the elections of Ake and members of his executive were not democratically conducted. In the judgment, Justice Bello declared that his court had jurisdiction over the mat-

Maeba and PDP chieftain Sergeant Awuse. Justice Ishak Bello of an Abuja High Court on Monday sacked the Ake-led committee, which is believed to be sympathetic to Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Other states’ chapters of the party in similar crisis are: Ad-

ter and adopted the affidavit of the Chairman of the PDP, Edo State chapter, Dan Orbih, who stated that the results being paraded by Ake did not emanate from the congress that he conducted in Rivers State. Justice Bello also overruled the video evidence to prove that Ake was the dulyelected chairman of PDP, through the congress. Ake, in his reaction to the judgment, said: “We should hold on and allow the full process of the law. We will appeal the judgment. “We strongly believe that at the end of the day, justice will be done and done properly. The PDP is one. We will come

amawa, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti. But stakeholders in the state and members of the sacked committee have accused the Presidency of interfering in the process. The stakeholders, who are favourably disposed to Amaechi-led administration spoke at a news conference in Abu-

Continued on page 60

ja. The briefing, which was addressed by the Chairman of the Rivers Caucus in the House of Representatives, Honourable Asita Honourable. They said the Abuja High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case, wondering how a state high court could Continued on page 60


ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678






Tales of horror f •President Goodluck Jonathan (left), welcoming South African President Jacob Zuma to Abuja … yesterday.

Two days after the Boston Marathon bombings, the facts are being pieced together. Men, women and children are counting their losses


•Dangote Group President Aliko Dangote (second left), Chief of Lagos Field Office of UNICEF, Ms Sarah Beysolow (left),Country Representative, UNICEF, Ms Jean Gough (second right) and UNICEF’sNational Primary Health Care Coordinator for Southwest, Dr. Oladimeji Olayinka, when the Dangote Foundation donated $500,000 to UNICEF for the fight against measles in Lagos...yesterday.

•From left: Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Prof. Cleopas Angaye (left) greeting the Chairman, House of Representatives Commiittee on ICT, Ibrahim Gusau, at the launch of the government service portal in Abuja … yesterday. With them are the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson (second right)and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communication Technology, Dr Henry Akpan.

•From left: Director, Legal Services, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Suleiman Kawo, Director, Operations, Mr John Achukwu, and Director-General, SON, Dr Joseph Odumodu, at the review of SON states’ activities in AbujaSON, … yesterday.

N eight-year-old boy waiting at the finish line to give his father a hug was among three people killed and more than 152 injured when two explosions rocked the Boston Marathon in the worst terrorist atrocity since 9/11. Martin Richard died after bombs hidden in trash cans were detonated within 12 seconds of each other during the Patriots’ Day bank holiday on Monday, sending terrified runners and spectators fleeing for their lives and leaving a scene of ‘unspeakable horror’. A second victim, Krystel Campell, who was there to cheer up her boyfriend to success, was identified yesterday. Her father was earlier told she was alive by doctors who mistook her for her friend. The 29-year-old was always attending the marathon. Boston police closed off the city as a ‘danger zone’ as witnesses described seeing body parts flying through the air and shoes that ‘still had flesh in them’ in an attack that has sent shockwaves across the world. Seventeen of the injured are in a critical condition and CNN reported that at least 10 victims have needed amputations. At least eight of the wounded are thought to be children, including a two-year-old boy who suffered a head injury. Another was 11-year-old Aaron Hern, of Martinez, California, who was hit by flying shrapnel in his thigh as he waited for his mother to cross the finish line. He is being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital and is expected to undergo further surgeries. Yesterday, as the United States remained on full alert, President Barack Obama vowed to hunt down the culprits and ‘hold them accountable’. Investigators do not know of a motive for the bombers, nor do they have a specific suspect. But last night detectives raided a Boston home after a man, said to be of Saudi origin, was arrested at the scene for acting suspiciously and taken to hospital, where he was treated for burns and shrapnel wounds. Startling video footage showed an explosion going off in the heart of the crowd that had lined the streets of the Massachusetts city yesterday to watch the famous sporting event. After the twin detonations ripped through the cheering crowds, one

•Martin (right), with mother Denise, father Bill, sister Jane and older brother Henry

witness told CNN that it ‘felt like a huge cannon’ and other described horrifying scenes of screaming spectators, missing limbs and unresponsive bodies. ‘In 28 years, this is definitely the worst I’ve seen,’ said District Fire Chief Ron Harrington of the Boston Fire Department’s District 3 to NBC News. ‘Bodies and body parts. Blood all over. A little boy lying in the street. A young woman in her twenties. Both dead. It was mayhem. I saw two people with arms hanging loose, and one without a leg. A shoe with flesh still in it.’ According to the Boston Globe, Martin Richard, from Dorchester, Massachusetts, may very nearly have cheated death after walking out to embrace his father Bill Richard as he went to cross the finishing line. But when Mr Richard walked on, the youngster turned back to rejoin his mother and two of his siblings just as the first bomb exploded. His six-year-old sister lost a leg in the blast and his mother Denise is in hospital after undergoing brain surgery. Martin’s older brother, believed to be in the fifth grade, escaped injury. According to 7News, a candle was lit outside the family home and the word ‘Peace’ written on the pavement. Mr Richard is understood to be a popular community leader in the Boston suburb. Martin was a keen baseball player and was a member of Savin Hill Little League team. On Twitter, Maeve O Brien called him ‘the sweetest little boy I’ve ever met.’ As the FBI took over the investigation, authorities shared no information about a motive or who may have carried out the bombings, and police said they did not have any suspects in custody. Officials said there was no immediate claim of responsibility, while an official told CNN that there was no surveillance footage of the bombs being planted. But on Monday night, 20 police and federal officials, including members of the bomb squad raided a Boston area apartment. A source confirmed that a large police presence at a home in Revere was related to the Boston Marathon bombings. Marcus Worthington, 24, a resident in the building said no one from the police or FBI has told him what is happening. Boston Police Crime Scene Response unit arrived and two members of that unit took several brown paper bags, normally used to store evidence taken from the scene, into the building and left with them full afterwards. On Monday, the FBI, announced that




r from the Boston Marathon bombings

•Obama speaking on phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller. ..yesterday. With him are Lisa Monaco, head of home security, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough

•The late Miss Campell, 29, who was last night identified as the second of the three people killed by the explosions.

•The late Martin


20-year-old Saudi citizen held

ETECTIVES have arrested a 20-year-old Saudi Arabia citizen in connection with the Boston bombings. He is Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, 22, who is studying English. Police said he is a witness and not a suspect and is cooperating. They raided a home in Boston in connection with the explosions at Monday’s marathon which killed three and injured more than 173, 17 of them critically. Authorities are still unsure who was behind the blasts - which have been described as small, home-made devices - but have a number of leads which they are following. Agents, including the FBI and bomb disposal officers, swooped on an apartment in the suburbs of the city after a man, said to be of Saudi origin, was arrested at the scene. The 20-year-old suspect is under police guard in hospital, where he is

being treated for burns and shrapnel wounds to his legs, after he was tackled to the ground by a civilian who believed he was acting suspiciously. It was also reported that he may have had a foreign accent. He is in the country legally on a student visa and is said to be cooperating fully with police inquiries. He said he had been at dinner with friends the night before and was at the marathon simply because he ‘wanted to see the end of the race’. He has a clean record, and suffered burn injuries during the explosion. It is not clear if agents found anything in the raid, but Revere fire officials said they were called out to support bomb-squad officers as part of the investigation of the

‘person of interest’. At Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, investigators seized the man’s clothes to examine whether they held any evidence that he was behind the attack, which is being called the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. Law sources told the New York Post that after the man was grabbed by police, he smelled of gun powder and said, ‘I thought there would be a second bomb’ before asking, ‘Did anyone die?’ The Saudi man was tackled by a bystander by the scene who thought he was acting suspiciously. Investigators were seen leaving the scene with brown paper evidence bags, trash bags and a duffel bag.

A law enforcement source told CBS: ‘They see him running away from the device. Now, a reasonable person would be running away. But this person had noticed him before. This is a civilian — chases him down, tackles him, turns him over to the Boston police. ‘The individual is being looked at (and) was suffering from burn injury. That means this person was pretty close to wherever this blast went off, but not so close as to suffer the serious injuries that other people did.’ Rep Pete King, a Long Island republican who chairs the house counterterrorism subcommittee told ABC news that the bombings had ‘all the trademarks of an al Qaeda attack’.

they were searching for a man they described as having dark skin, wearing black clothes and a black back-pack who tried to gain entry into a restricted area during the marathon. It was also reported that he may have had a foreign accent. The raid came after a Saudi national, who is being treated for burns and shrapnel wounds at hospital, was arrested at the scene. He had been tackled by a civilian who believed he was acting suspiciously, and he was being interviewed by the FBI. He was being cooperative and denying any involvement. Initially counter-terrorism sources in the city believed that seven devices were planted across the city - but only two detonated.

A senior U.S. intelligence official told the Associated Press that as many as two unexploded bombs were also found near the end of the course as part of what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed. A law-enforcement official said late on Monday evening that investigators believe other packages were simply left behind as runners and pedestrians rushed away from the scene in the aftermath of the blasts. A federal law enforcement official told CNN that both bombs which detonated at the Boston finish line were small, and initial tests showed no C-4 or other high-grade explosive was used - indicating they were crude devices.

At an evening briefing, officials said the National Guard had cordoned off the area to preserve evidence. “I am not prepared to say we are at ease at this point in time,” sad Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis according to NBC News. Boston police initially issued an alert for a rental van that may have sought access to the marathon route, and then another alert for a man wearing dark clothing and a hood who was seen leaving the scene of the blasts. The two bombs raised the spectre that terrorism has struck again in the U.S. In Washington, President Barack Obama vowed during an address

to the nation just after 6 p.m. on Monday that, “any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.” Boston “is a tough and resilient town,” he said, adding that Americans will stand by Bostonians “every single step of the way.” After the twin detonations ripped through the cheering crowds, witnesses described the horror. The fiery twin blasts took place about 12 seconds and about 100 yards apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the route. Blood stained the pavement, and

huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories. The explosions ripped into an idyllic afternoon finish for the marathon. The first men had passed the finish line 2 hours and 10 minutes after the staggered start, and the first women crossed just 16 minutes later. The first blast sent a quick plume of smoke two stories high. Runners nearby stopped in their tracks, confused and unsure. After a few seconds later, a second explosion happened a half-block away, with a deep boom caught on television cameras. Emergency personnel rushed to the area, and the street was quickly sealed off. “I saw it go off and smoke billowed up. Everyone just stopped and hunched down,” said Pam Ledtke, 51, from Indianapolis, who was about 75 yards from the finish line when the explosions went off. ‘They didn’t know what to do. All of a sudden, people were screaming.’ One doctor, Allan Panter, stood near to the finish line said he was 25-feet away from the first blast when it detonated. ‘I saw at least six to seven people down next to me,’ he said. ‘They protected me from the blast. One lady expired. One gentleman lost both his (lower) limbs. Most of the injuries were lower extremities.’ Nickilynn Estologa, a nursing student who was volunteering in a block-long medical tent designed to treat fatigued runners, said five to six victims immediately staggered inside. Several were children; one was in his 60s. “Some were bleeding from the head, they had glass shards in their skin,” she said. “One person had the flesh gone from his leg; it was just hanging there.” Another woman, she added, was lying on a gurney as emergency personnel raced through the tent, giving her CPR. “I just can’t believe anyone would do something like this,’ Estologa said. “I saw two explosions,” reported Boston Herald journalist Chris Cassidy, who was running in the marathon. “The first one was beyond the finish line. I heard a loud bang and I saw smoke rising.” Veteran marathon runner Bill Iffrig, 78, was almost at the finish when ‘the shock waves just hit my whole body and my legs just started jittering around.’ Medical officials have said that at least 10 injured people had limbs amputated and several of the patients treated at Massachusetts General Hospital suffered injuries to lower limbs that will require ‘serial operations’ in the coming days, trauma surgeon Peter Fagenholz said on Monday night to CNN. Dr Ron Walls, chair of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told ABC News that he had not identified any shrapnel, such as ball bearings, but saw a lot of ‘street stuff’ that had injured their patients. “Rocks, bits of metal, soda cans, anything that is really close to a blast like that can be fragmented,” he said. “Everything we saw was ordinary material that could have been propelled by the device.” Boston Children’s Hospital received eight patients injured at the explosion at the Boston Marathon. Patients’ conditions ranged from good to serious. There were no patient deaths among the patients brought to Boston Children’s from the scene. Their patients included a 2-yearold-boy with a head injury who has been admitted to the Medical/Surgical ICU, a a 9-year-old girl with leg trauma who was sent to the operating room and a 12-year-old boy with a femur fracture. The condition of these children currently is not known.





Presidency: Jonathan yet to decide on 2015

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has not spoken of his political future after serving out his term in 2015, his spokesman Dr Reuben Abati said yesterday. Abati said the claim that his boss has constituted a reelection committee lacked merit as the President has not made up his mind on whether to seek re-election or not. The spokesman also told those dropping Mr President’s name as anointed candidates that nobody has been endorsed for the governorship of any state in 2015. Abati, in a statement said that no Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member has his boss’ blessing for the race. Stressing that the president’s focus was not on 2015 elections, Abati said his boss’ primary concern was

• No PDP member endorsed to run as governor From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

how to implement the transformation agenda of his administration. The statement reads: “In spite of clear and unambiguous pronouncements by President Goodluck Jonathan that he remains fully focused on the implementation of his administration’s agenda for national transformation and not the politics of future elections, the Presidency has noted with concern that some individuals, groups, organisations and sections of the media have continued to foster the myth of a President and administration solely concerned with jostling and self-positioning for

the 2015 elections.” Abati was reacting to a report at the weekend that 21member committee has been raised with a mandate to smoothen the way for President Jonathan’s second term bid. “The president’s aides and associates have set up a 21-member committee to advise (President) Jonathan on the viability of his entry into the presidential contest in 2015,” the report was quoted in the report. The report reads: “The impression is further created that a group known as ‘We, the people’ has its roots in the Presidency and that the 2015 campaign has now become the main preoccupation of the Presidency. This is totally untrue and

without any basis in reality. “As he has truthfully declared on several occasions, President Jonathan has not yet taken a decision on whether or not he will seek re-election in 2015 and has therefore not mandated any individual, committee or organisation to start working on his behalf for the 2015 elections. “He (President) therefore wished to be left alone to focus on delivering on his promise of good governance and national transformation without unnecessary distractions. “Political jobbers and their collaborators in the media should stop heating up the

polity with baseless speculations and falsehoods revolving around imaginary plans and schemes by the Presidency for the 2015 elections.” The Presidency also reacted to the emerging trend by those eyeing political offices in future elections to drop the President’s name to promote themselves and their vaulting ambitions. It said: “It was clearly in this regard that some unscrupulous persons began to print 2015 campaign posters with President Jonathan’s photograph whereas the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to announce the commencement of campaigns and political parties are yet to conduct any primaries for the selection of candidates.

•Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (third left); his wife Adeoti; Senator Oluremi Tinubu; Senator Ajayi Boroffice (second left); Senator Gbenga Obadara; House of Representatives Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila (left) and others, after Mohammed received Leadership Politician of the year award at the Leadership Newspapere 2013 Annual Conference and Award in Abuja ...yesterday PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

No going back on nationwide strike, says SSANU boss • Fed Govt accused of reneging on 2009 pact


ARRING last minute development, the proposed national strike by members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) will begin on Friday. The Chairman of the University of Ibadan (UI) chapter, Mr. Wale Akinremi told reporters in his office yesterday that there was no going back on the action. SSANU’s National President Mr Sam Ugwoke directed his colleagues to embark on an industrial action from April 19 over the non-implementation of the 2009 pact the union signed with the Federal Government and the report of the Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities. The SSANU chief regretted that despite several meetings of the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMG) and its recommendations on how to implement the 2009 Agreement, with particular reference to the Earned Allowances, the government refused to show commitment to full implementation.

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

He said: “What we are agitating for is for the sustenance of our public institutions; we are not strike lovers; I am not sure if Mr President is even properly briefed about our demands and if he is not and we embark on this nationwide strike, then the Minister for Education should be sacked.” He said over 2000 of its members in UI are now on the red alert for the strike and that mobilisation for the action began since the president’s (Ugwoke’s) declaration at the weekend. Akinremi said: “Other sister unions in the universities - the National Association of Academic Technology (NAAT) and the Non Academic Staff of Universities and other allied institution (NASU) - under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) have also secured the same mandate from their members to go on strike.

Nigeria, others need $14.5b for Lake Chad, says minister


BOUT $14.5 billion is required to recharge the shrinking Lake Chad, the Federal Government said at the weekend through the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe. All the countries are to raise the fund, the minister, who also spoke of plans by the government to build more dams as part of flood-control measures, the minister said. She, however, insisted that about 60 per cent of Nigerians have access to portable water, contrary to insinuations. Mrs. Ochekpe, who spoke with reporters last weekend,

From Yusuf Alli and Yomi Odunuga, Abuja

said the government is floating a scheme for 300 graduate farmers. She said: “The present communities around Lake Chad are estimated to be about 30 million, out of which Nigerians constitute about 20 million. “As you are aware, the Lake Chad has been shrinking for some years now and Nigeria is concerned about ensuring that the waters of the Lake Chad are recharged. That is why we have to take such a leading role. “We need about $14.5 billion to recharge but this is not a cost Nigeria can bear alone. All the

countries in the Lake Chad region are talking. “The funds for the feasibility study of the transfer of water from Obangi River to Lake Chad was provided by the Federal Government but Nigeria and other affected countries have commenced the process that would lead to the raising of the $14.5 billion as no one country alone can do it.” On steps being taken to prevent flooding in the country, the Minister said the government is already being proactive, saying the heavy flood recorded in the country last year was not due to the collapse of some dams.

She said: “None of our dams caved in. After the flooding last year, we went to Cameroun to discuss with them on when they will be opening their dams. “They have already assured us that they will be informing us appropriately before they release their dams. “We have already instructed our engineers to start releasing the water in the dams gradually in earnest. This is part of dams control mechanism. “It has become imperative to build additional dams on the Benue River in view of the fact that 60 per cent of the water volume come from the river,

while River Niger on the other hand has only 40 per cent. River Niger already has enough dams that can help to manage flood control. The Minister said 60 per cent of Nigerians have access to water contrary to insinuations. “Water coverage in the country is 60 per cent, not 30 or 32 per cent being bandied about by some people. I am talking of official figures from the National Bureau of Statistics. Efforts are on to ensure that the percentage is increased.” Mrs. Ochekpe said the government has floated a Grad-

“Perhaps, the most audacious illustration of this trend and resort to mischief and opportunism is represented by an advertorial which appeared at page 14 of the Saturday Vanguard of April 13, 2013 signed by one OBITEX Industrial and Investment Company Limited. “The colour advert shows President Jonathan purportedly raising the hand of Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with the unmistakable suggestion that the President has endorsed Nze Nwankpo as the PDP Gubernatorial candidate for Anambra State.” The statement quoted the advertiser as saying: “As Mr. President, His Excellency Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan has symbolically raise (sic) up your hands, so you have been chosen by the God Almighty to be the Governor of Anambra State come 2014.” The statement said it was instructive that the so-called raising of hand was represented through an artist’s sketch, and not a photograph with verifiable, empirical value. It said: “For the benefit of the unwary, the Presidency emphatically states that President Jonathan has not endorsed any candidate for any position whatsoever ahead of the 2015 general elections neither has he commissioned persons to start campaigns for his own candidature,” he added “As a leader who respects the rule of law, President Jonathan respects the fact that there are laid down procedures, defined by INEC and the political parties, for the selection of candidates for any election. “As a law abiding citizen, President Jonathan will not engage in any act, symbolic or direct, that runs counter to laiddown procedures. “As a loyal party man, he will equally not do anything that will amount to the usurpation of the party’s structures and powers to conduct primaries and choose candidates for elections. “We, therefore , disown the claims and allegations of Presidential endorsements or the commencement of 2015 campaigns. The general public and affected stakeholders are advised to be wary of the kind of opportunism, misrepresentation and mischief that usually arise ahead of elections in general.” “The Presidency seizes this opportunity to warn all 2015 political office seekers, and their sponsors, friends or collaborators, to desist from unconscionable exploitation of President Jonathan’s name in the service of jaded antics of self-aggrandisement, promotion and positioning.”

•Mrs Ochekpe

uate Farmers Scheme. Three hundred graduate farmers are already being trained at the River Basin Development Authorities on modern mechanised farming techniques.



NEWS Fed Govt arraigns Leadership HE Federal Governreporters ment yesterday filed a


•Amokeodo (left) and Ukaibe, after their arraignment in Abuja...yesterday


Senate set to ban human cloning T in Nigeria

HE Senate yesterday moved to ban human cloning in Nigeria. It sent the controversial National Health Bill to its Committee on Health for further legislative work. Sections 48 to 57 of the bill deal with the control and regulation of the use and removal of blood, blood products and tissue, as well as the regulation of the manipulation, import and export of human zygotes and embryos. It also deals with the prohibition of cloning of human beings and regulates transplantation of tissue. The Senate may adopt the recommendation of the prohibition of cloning of human beings, as recommended. The Presidency refused to sign the bill in the Sixth Senate following the disagree-


From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Ongu, Abuja

ment on regulation of the manipulation, import and export of human zygotes and embryos. The submission of the bill yesterday followed the consideration of the report on: "A Bill for An Act to Provide Framework for the Regulation, Development and Management of a National Health System and Set Standards for Rendering Health Services in the Federation and Other Matters Connected Therewith, 2012".

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta North), presented the report for consideration. Okowa's committee recommended the prohibition on the cloning of human beings. But the bill ran into a hitch when some lawmakers opposed some of its provisions. The lawmakers rejected Section 11 (2)(a) of the bill, which seeks to establish the National Primary Health Care Development Fund, to be drawn partly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom

Associates reconcile Obasanjo, Daniel

RIENDS and political associates of former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel yesterday visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, the state capital, to reconcile the two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains. Party sources said the delegation for the reconciliation was led by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro from Lagos State. In the team were five senators. But the former governor was not part of the entourage. Daniel is expected to visit Obasanjo at a later date, the


•National Health Bill suffers setback

North East) also said some provisions of the bill were already covered by the National Primary Health Act. He noted that it would be wrong to enact into law issues that have already been enacted in an existing Act. Okowa, in the report, explains that the Bill intends to establish a National Health System, which shall define and provide a framework for standard and regulation of health services, encompasses public and private providers of health services while promoting the spirit of cooperation and shared responsibilities. He said the bill proposes the establishment of a National Primary Health Care Development Fund for mobilising funds.

By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor

sources added. It was learnt that the former President welcomed the reconciliation move, although he objected to the approach. “Baba Obasanjo said Daniel should have come to him without necessarily sending emissaries,” the sources said. Obasanjo and Daniel parted ways during the preparations for the 2011 governorship election over the choice of the PDP flag bearer for Ogun State. The former President supported Gen. Idowu

Olurin (rtd) for the slot, but Daniel, who objected to his candidature, threw up Mr. Gboyega Isiaka, who later ran on the platform of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN). The reconciliation visit trailed that of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, on Monday. At yesterday’s meeting, Obanikoro, the former High Commissioner in Ghana, urged Obasanjo to forget the past and embrace Daniel, whom he described as his son. He hailed the former Pres-

ident’s contributions to the party as its former leader, as BoT chairman and National Leader. Obanikoro confirmed the visit on the phone, but declined comments on what transpired between the delegation and Obasanjo. He said: “We will not discuss our family meeting outside. Baba’s mood was good. He accorded us a warm reception. Don’t forget, he has been President twice and a military Head of State once. His mood was warm.”

Braithwaite’s case against bank adjourned

LAGOS High Court, Igbosere, yesterday adjourned till April 25 the hearing of a suit filed by Lagos lawyer, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, against Standard Chartered Bank Plc for a reply on points of law to the defendant’s counter-affidavit and written address. This followed the request for a short adjournment by the claimant after the defendant, which was represented by Mrs. Oluwatosin Iyaye, announced his compliance with the penalty for responding out of time. The court allowed Mrs Iyaye to move her counter-affidavit and written address, which Braithwaite did not oppose. The frontline lawyer, however, requested a short adjournment to enable him

By Precious Igbonwelundu

file a reply on points of law. Dr Braithwaite is seeking a declaration that the construction of a 14-story building at 142 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, and a fivelevel park at Plot 141, Elias Close, Victoria Island, Lagos, by the bank, is unlawful and damaging to his rights. He is also seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the bank or its agents from using or causing or permitting to be used for any purpose other than residential the site in contention. The claimant is demanding N10 billion as general damages for the alleged nuisance caused by the noise and pollution of the bank’s giant elec-

tric generating sets, which he said led to his discomfort for over 10 years. Besides, he is asking for interest at the rate of 21 per cent till final judgment. In his statement of claim, Braithwaite averred that the proposed building, if erected, would affect the amenities in his home in terms of availability of air as well as constant noise pollution, thereby breaching the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood. The claimant also swore that every plan for development of the various sites suitable for building on Elias Close was designed and approved for “High Class” residential purposes only. He stressed that the proposed 14-story building and

five-level car park would infringe on his fundamental right to access to light. Baithwaite had declared, in a 34-paragraph affidavit deposed to on his behalf by Ismaila Usman, that the 14-storey building and five-level car park being built close to his home on Victoria Island by the bank, is illegal. He prayed for an order of the court to stop the bank from putting up such a building in the residential area. However, the bank urged the court to dismiss the application, saying the structure is not harmful and does not infringe on the rights of the claimant. Justice Doris Okuwobi adjourned the matter till April 25.

10-count charge against two journalists with Abuja-based Leadership Newspapers and the paper’s parent organisation, Leadership Group Limited. Group News Editor Tony Amokeodo, and Political Correspondent Chibuzor Ukaibe were charged with conspiracy, forgery, uttering a false document and publishing same. Amokeodo and Ukaibe were brought to the court by policemen from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, where they had been detained since Monday. The journalists were arraigned before Justice Ademola Adeniyi, who ordered their conditional release on the grounds that they were not properly brought before the court. When the case was called, the prosecution lawyer, Joseph Nwadike, insisted that the charge be read to the two, even when the third person named in the charge, Taiwo Ogunmola Omilani, was absent. The defence objected to the move, prompting the prosecution to amend its charge by deleting Omilani’s name. Defence counsel Samuel Ogala from Femi Falana law chambers, also objected to

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

the journalists’ pleas to the amended charge on the grounds that they were not properly served the charge and that they required time to study it and prepare their defence. Ogala told the court that Amokeodo and Ukaibe were only served with the charge in court yesterday, adding that the service was incomplete without the journalists being served with the evidence and other required processes. The lawyer sought more time to enable his clients prepare for the case. He made an oral application for a conditional release of the accused because the prosecution had asked for time to regularise its process. Justice Adeniyi held that the argument of both counsel on bail application was premature because there had been no formal arraignment. He released the accused conditionally to the Company Secretary of Leadership Group Limited, Umaru Jubril, who was in court. The judge ordered him to produce the accused at the next adjourned date on April 23.

Nigeria, South Africa parley on continental security, economy


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, to deliberate on challenges facing the continent. Addressing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Zuma said he was in Nigeria to consult on many issues concerning Africa on the one hand and both countries on the other. He said the discussions between him and Jonathan were

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

fruitful. Zuma said: “We are here to consult on matters related to the two countries and the African continent. As you know, very soon, the President (Jonathan) will be in South Africa on a state visit and a lot of other issues that will necessarily be dealt with. We thought we needed to consult, particularly on the situation across the continent.”

PUBLIC NOTICE ARISE AND WIN FOR CHRIST MINISTRY Notice is hereby to the general public that the above named church is applying to the Corporate Affairs Commission for registration under part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: (1) Mrs. Esther A Bassey Founder/Chairman (2) Mr. Asuquo B assey Treasurer (3) Mr. Pius A. Agbisong Secretary (4) Pastor Israel Michael Member (5) Mr. SundayArchibong Member (6) Mr.Effiong E. Ukpanyang Member (7) Mr. Stephen Ige Member (8) Mrs. Bassey E. Njah Member THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES ARE: 1. To train, ordain and license ministers for thed furtherance of the gospel 2. To transform souls to God. 3. To propagate the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with His word. Any objection to the application should be forward to the Registrar- General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Garki, Abuja within 28 days of this application. Chief Ekpenyong Ndiyo Barrister & Solicitor E.E Ndiyo & Associates No.9 White house Street Calabar.

LOSS OF CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION This is to inform the general public that the Christian Council of Nigeria of 139, Ogunlana Drive Surulere, Lagos, lost its original certificate of incorporation, and that the Council has applied to Corporate Affairs Commission for the certified true copy of the certificate. The certificate remains in the name of the organization. THE BOARD MEMBERS ARE 1. The Most Rev. Emmanuel Udofia 2. Most. Rev. Dr. Rufus Ositelu 3. Rev. Dr. Supo O. Ayokunle 4. His Eminence Dr Sunday Ola Makinde 5. Most Rev. Dr. Nicholas Okoh 6. Most Rev. Prof. Emele Mba Uka 7. Rev. Dr Nathaniel D. Issah 8. Commissioner Mfon J. Akpan AIMS AND OBJECTIVES REMAIN THE SAME. Any objection to this publication should be forwarded to the Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission, plot 420, Tigris Crescent, Maitama, Abuja within 28 days of this publication. Signed: Rev. Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim Wushishi




Osun inaugurates 50 waste disposal trucks


HE Osun State Government yesterday inaugurated 50 waste disposal trucks under its environmental sanitation initiative tagged, O’Clean Plus. To sensitise the public on the importance of proper waste disposal, the trucks were driven round major roads in Osogbo, the state capital, and later to the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, the venue of the inauguration. The O’Clean Plus scheme is aimed at maintaining a clean and healthy environment in the state. Governor Rauf Aregbsola said the successes recorded with the scheme between 2011 and now informed its re-invigoration. He said: “Between 2011 and now, incidents of malaria and other diseases have reduced drastically. Our assessment has helped us to measure whether our various projects and their implementation are meeting the set targets and if they have made the desired impact. “These have given us the opportunity to determine whether to stop the projects, rework them, keep them on course or take them to the next stage. We have reached that point with O’Clean and we have decided to scale it up to O’Clean-Plus. Our development plan is all-encompassing. Part of its health and environment component is the O’Clean. Personal cleanliness and cleanliness of one’s surroundings cut across the environment and health sec-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

tors. “In fact, they bring into sharp focus the close and inseparable relationship between health and the environment. Any consideration of human health that does not view man in the light of his environment cannot be an adequate perspective on healthy living.” Aregbesola said when he assumed office, his administration was confronted with the enormous challenge of waste disposal, as the people were used to dumping refuse indiscriminately. The governor said: “This to us posed immediate danger to the well-being of our people and the environment. We moved quickly to declare a 90-day state-of-emergency in environmental sanitation and we subsequently came up with the O’Clean programme.” Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola, represented by Mrs. O. Olusoga, urged residents to take care of the environment to forestall epidemics. House of Assembly Speaker Najeem Salaam said the governor is “performing” and urged him not to be distracted by the criticisms of disgruntled politicians. Also at the event were the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole; his Chief of Staff Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon; Senator Oluremi Tinubu; a representative of Osun State Deputy Governor; and Aregbesola’s wife, Sherifat.

Former Kwara State Governors Sha’aba Lafiaji (left) and Bukola Saraki (middle) during their condolence visit to Fayemi...on Monday.

The Executive Director of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Alhaji Tayo Shitu (left) and Okauru (middle) during their visit to Fayemi...yesterday.

PDP gets Southwest reconciliation committee From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has inaugurated a six-man committee to reconcile aggrieved members in Southwest. The members are Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, Mr. Olusola Oludipe, Chief Francis Fadaunsi, Otunba Banji Obasanmi, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, Mr. Lanre Orimoloye, Chief Mobolaji Osomo, Mr. Olawumi Osinfoluke-Euba, Amb. Toye Olofintuyi, Mr. Deji Doherty, Chief Adegbenro and Alhaji Rasak Adekola.

The Managing Director, Centrespread FCB, Kola Ayanwale (left) and Senator Ganiu Solomon (Lagos West) during a condolence visit to the late Olayinka’s husband (middle) in the weekend.

Ajimobi in Texas to sign MoU on Oyo Varsity

Fayemi: my deputy was critical to Ekiti’s security


HE Oyo State Government will today sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Texas State University, United States (US), on a partnership with the Technical University, Ibadan. Governpr Abiola Ajimobi will sign the MoU in Texas and tour the Texas State University campus. Texas State University, according to the MoU, would train students of the Oyo State Technical University in Texas for two years. Tomorrow, Ajimobi will meet with the Chamber of Commerce in Houston. On Friday, he will meet with the Secretary of the State of Texas in Austin, the state capital. Those on the governor’s entourage include the Chairman, Implementation Committee of the Technical University and former Head of Service of the Federation, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi; Commissioner for Education Mrs. Tokunbo Fayokun; her Finance counterpart Zaccheus Adelabu and two members of the House of Assembly, including the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Mr. Segun Ajanaku. The governor is expected back on Sunday.

Ondo ACN mourns chairman’s wife From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State yesterday condoled with its Chairman, Chief Sola Adesoji, on the death of his wife, Mrs. Victoria Adesoji. She died on Sunday at Ile Oluji. She was 74. In a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Rotimi Agbede, ACN said: “The deceased was a pillar of support to her husband, no wonder the couple made a great success of their marriage.” The party urged the family to take solace in the deceased’s achievements.


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday said his late Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, played an active role in ensuring security. He said she had a good relationship with security agencies. Fayemi spoke at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, when the Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) of Police, Zone 8, Mr. Chris Dega, and representatives of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), led by its Director-General, Mr. Asishana Okauru, visited him. The governor said he was very lucky to have had a deputy like the late Mrs. Olayinka, who was “very passionate about the transformation of the state”. He said though the late Mrs. Olayinka was not a professional politician, she came into politics with a commitment that was unparalleled. Fayemi said her loyalty was doubtless, adding that she gave no room for distraction. He said though his late

Olayinka to be buried in Ado-Ekiti


HE remains of the late Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, will be buried in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on April 26. The late Mrs. Olayinka is an indigene of AdoEkiti. The deputy governor died of cancer on April 6 at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. She was 52. The Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr. Tayo Ekundayo, told reporters yesterday that the week-long funeral activities will begin on Monday with a service of songs at De-Haven in Lagos. The commissioner said the decision to bury Mrs. Olayinka in Ado-Ekiti was “reached after a series of meetings with various stakeholders From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

deputy’s life was short, it was eventful and full of service to the people. Fayemi said the government would provide patrol vehicles and communication gadgets for the Ekiti Police Command to tighten security. He lamented the shortage of policemen in the state and urged the police leadership to post more men to Ekiti.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

in the matter”. He said the stakeholders include the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe; the Ewiin-Council and the deceased’s family. Activities lined up for the funeral include a parliamentary session, an executive session, a candle-light procession, a service of songs, a commendation service and a vigil, among others. Ekundayo said: “There is a committee in place to organise her funeral. It will decide where the deputy governor’s remains would be interred in the state capital.”

The governor said: “The big issue I have always raised is the way and manner officers and men transferred to Ekiti manage to get themselves out of the state, leading to a shortage of the men. “If you look at your record, you will notice that Ekiti is fewer men and officers than it should have.” He said though the police are doing well in the state, the shortage has created some gaps which need to be filled.

Fayemi said security agencies so need to pay adequate attention to Ekiti State, since it is the gateway from the North to the Southwest. Others who visited the governor are the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, OyeEkiti, Prof. Isaac Asuzu; the institution’s Registrar, Mr. Daniel Adeyem and the Council of Traditional Rulers in Oye Local Government, led by the Oloye of Oye-Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ademolaju.




Osoba, Jakande urge media to be fearless


OR the second time in the history of No. 3, Adeola Street, Somolu, the property pulled a crowd of influential Nigerians. The event was the turning of the sod of the multi-million naira guest house of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council. Former Lagos State Governor Lateef Jakande took his steps slowly as he was guided through the crowd to turn the sod for the building of the Lagos NUJ guest house. He urged the contractor to complete the project on time and hailed the President of the Guild of Editors, Mr. Femi Adesina; the NUJ President Mohammed Garba and Lagos NUJ Chairman Deji Elumoye for keeping the union’s flag flying. Jakande said the media would wax stronger and take the country to greater heights. The first time eminent Nigerians gathered at No. 3, Adeola Street was when the NUJ secretariat was inaugurated in 1990. The old bungalow was demolished to pave way for a two-story guest house. Jakande was assisted by veteran journalist and former Ogun State Governor Aremo

NLC hails Fayemi on Ekiti’s transformation THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said Ekiti State has witnessed “physical transformation” under the leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi. In a letter to the governor, NLC President Abdulwaheed Omar said the recent hosting of the National Administrative Council (NAC) by Ekiti afforded labour leaders the opportunity to see the projects executed by the Fayemi administration. He hoped that the electorate would re-elect the governor for a second term. Omar said: “Your Excellency, our stay in Ekiti State availed us the opportunity to witness, first-hand, your developmental projects. It is instructive that you have placed emphasis on human capital development. Your stewardship of Ekiti has, within a short period of time, transformed the state. “This is a cherished value of identifying with the masses and the poor throughout your life as an activist. The congress and the working people of Nigeria have no doubt that you have more service to render and we believe the Ekiti working people will return you to service after your first term. “While appreciating your kind gesture for making us feel at home in Ekiti State, rest assured that we will always support your administration and the people of Ekiti State.”

By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

Olusegun Osoba. Osoba praised the Lagos NUJ leadership for being “progressive and cost-effective”. He said governments should learn how to manage resources from the Lagos NUJ, because this N74 million project would have been inflated, if the project belonged to the government. The former governor said: “Journalists have sacrificed a lot for this country. When the going was tough during the military dictatorship, a journalist from the north was the first to die. Before, journalists were seen as the dregs of the society. Today, nobody toys with a journalist.” He urged journalists to be courageous and determined in the face of intimidation. Osoba recalled Jakande’s passion for journalism, through his column, John West. Jakande established the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and built the NUJ property called the Light House, now known as Jakande House. Garba urged security agents to stop harassing journalists, adding that such practice was old fashioned and should only be seen during

•Jakande (third right) and his wife, Abimbola; Osoba (second right); Deputy Chief Whip, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rotimi Abiru (third left); Garba (right); Adesina (left) and Somolu Local Government Chairman Gbolahan BagoStowe...yesterday. military dictatorship. He said: “We have attained a high level of development. Intimidation is old fashioned; it is out of place in a democracy. Suppression of the freedom of expression is bringing the country down.” Garba advocated close

monitoring of the contents of publications and urged media organisations to guide against being used by politicians as the 2015 general election approaches. Elumoye said the guest house would have a car park, reception, restaurant and bar

on the ground floor; 10 rooms on the first floor and 10 rooms on the second floor. The project, estimated to cost about N74 million, is to be completed in 12 months. Elumoye said it would be financed with the accrual of rent from Lagos NUJ property, a

Ondo ACN seeks court’s permission on electronic devices


HE Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, will tomorrow decide whether or not the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) can use electronic devices to pursue its case before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. ACN told the Justice Andova Kaka’n-led tribunal that over 164,000 names were injected into the 2012 voters’ register used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

election. The tribunal admitted the ACN’s expert’s evidence and documentary report on the injection, but did not allow the party’s expert witness to use a TV projector to prove his claims. The tribunal earlier admitted in evidence the electronic copy of the 2011 and 2012 voters’ register upon which the expert witness conducted his analysis and wrote his report. The expert sought to dem-

onstrate how he arrived at his report on the TV projector, but the counsel to Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the Labour Party (LP) and INEC objected. The tribunal ruled in favour of the respondents and ACN approached the Appeal Court. It was learnt that the TV demonstration would show the faces of those involved in multiple registration and those whose names were illegally injected into the voter’s register.

Your time is up, Lagos ACN tells PDP



The demonstration would have also displayed invalid registrants, whose fingerprints were not captured but voted during the election.

Aregbesola urges Fed Govt to create jobs


SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has urged the Federal Government to address unemployment among youths. He said the presidency must declare a state of emergency in the labour sector to curb insecurity and terrorism. The governor spoke yesterday in his office at Osogbo, the state capital, when the President and Chief Executive


From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

Officer of the Nigeria Baptist Convention, Dr. Supo Ayokunle, and leaders of the church visited him. Aregbesola said: “The Federal Government must start on a new paradigm by using the next six months to gradually return to order, law and peace

through engagement in public, social and community works.” He urged religious leaders to pray for astute, committed and God-fearing leaders, whose policies will take the country out of the doldrums. The governor thanked the Nigeria Baptist Convention for economically empowering the state by hosting its annual international convention

there. President of the Nigeria Baptist Convention Dr. Supo Ayokunle hailed Aregbesola for engaging youths productively through various agricultural programmes. He said the governor was concerned about the people’s well-being and described him as a honest, transparent and generous leader, who always stands by the truth.

Group seeks amnesty for Yoruba youths

GROUP of youths in the Southwest, the Oodua Youth Organisation (OYO), has urged the Federal Government to compensate the victims of Boko Haram. The group said it was not opposed to amnesty for Boko Haram, if it would end the violence in the North. OYO demands that the “empowerment programmes” that always accompany such amnesty, as witnessed in the case of repentant Niger Delta militants, should be extended to youths in the Southwest. The group, in a statement by its National Leader, Seun Oduwole; General Secretary

By Eric Ikhilae

Diya Ashaolu and Publicity Secretary Tope Fadahunsi, noted that since amnesty, in the Nigerian context, has become a means through which the state expends huge funds in reforming and engaging otherwise idle and belligerent youths. OYO decried the “deliberate marginalisation” of the Southwest by the Federal Government. It urged the government to urgently seek ways of empowering Southwest youths and not wait until they resort to violence like others. The group said it was sur-

prised that despite being instrumental to the success of President Goodluck Jonathan at the last presidential election, the Southwest has been neglected in appointments and infrastructure provision. OYO said: “Amnesty for Boko Haram must include the empowerment of youths in the region as is the case in the Niger Delta amnesty programme. The Federal Government must also compensate all the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency. “We demand that the Federal Government immediately sets up a machinery to empower Yoruba youths. Our

four-storey house named after Jakande on Victoria Island, and a bank loan. Former Lagos NUJ Secretary, now Deputy Managing Director of This Day, Mr. Kayode Komolafe urged the contractor to deliver the project as scheduled.

youths must benefit in the empowerment programme that follows every grant of amnesty in Nigeria. “ “The era when our collective resources are used to empower Ijaw youths, while better qualified youths from other regions of the country languish in abject poverty, will no longer be tolerated. “The gesture of youth empowerment that naturally flows from the grant of amnesty in Nigeria must immediately be extended to Yoruba youths, as this is the condition for the sustenance of the relative peace prevailing in the region.”

HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos State has dismissed the boast by officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the party would capture, at least, 32 states in the 2015 election. ACN said the boast showed that “the PDP hierarchy is living way behind time and needs the awakening of a total defeat in 2015 to come to its senses”. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, ACN said: “Nigerians, who presently endure the torture of the PDP’s misrule, understand the lousy boast of the PDP to ‘capture’ more states with its woeful performance as a declaration of intent to continue stealing the mandate of Nigerians, as they have excelled in doing since 1999. “Nigerians understand PDP’s desperation to hang on to power by all means, even with its shameful performance that has left Nigeria desolate and Nigerians destitute. We perfectly understand this devillish obsession to ‘capture’, which holds a notorious party hostage. We warn the PDP and its riggers to get ready to face the full wrath of Nigerians in 2015, should they believe we have a borderless capacity to tolerate their noxious values. “We advise the PDP to pack its excess bags and baggage in readiness for a rustication in 2015. We wonder what chances exist for a party whose main mission is looting the commonwealth and leaving Nigerians pauperised, insecure, miserly and dejected. “PDP’s time is up and nothing not even the application of its weary rigging tactics will save it from the wrath of Nigerians in 2015.”




Four killed in Benue village attack


USPECTED Fulani herdsmen allegedly killed four Tiv peasant farmers at Imande Jem village, Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, yesterday. A community leader, Chief Dooga Imande, told The Nation that a housewife, who was fetching water in a stream, sighted some armed Fulani herdsmen at 10am. She reportedly informed the other residents, who called in soldiers from the 72 Special Forces Battalion, Makurdi, the state capital. The soldiers were said to be on patrol in the area. Imande Jem is a farming community located on the University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM)-Gbajimba Road. Imande said the military patrol team, with five armed soldiers, requested that some

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

Tiv farmers show them where the herdsmen were sighted. He said: “Four of our men accompanied the military men from the 72 Special Forces Battalion. But while they were approaching the stream, some armed Fulani herdsmen emerged from the bush and gunned down four famers.” The community leader alleged that the armed soldiers did not respond to the suspected herdsmen’s shooting. He accused the soldiers of taking sides with Fulani herdsmen, especially those of Hausa-Fulani extraction in the area. Imande called for the immediate withdraw of the soldiers from the area, adding that they could no longer be trusted with the security of life and property.

Addressing reporters after the incident, the lawmaker representing Makurdi Morth in the Benue State House of Assembly, Avine Agbom (Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN), described the attack as barbaric. He said a similar scenario started playing out in Jos, the Plateau State capital, adding that it was gradually extending to Benue and the North Central. Agbom expressed concerns over the alleged connivance of soldiers with Fulani in the killing of Tiv peasant farmers. The lawmaker urged the Chief of Army Staff to investigate the soldiers from the 72 Special Battalion Forces and the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering (NASME), both in Makurdi, for their

alleged involvement in the bloody Tiv-Fulani crisis. According to him, the killings have the dexterity of the military, thus suggesting the soldiers’ alleged involvement in Tse Iortim, Tse Madugu, Yogbo and 15 other villages in Mbalagh ward, Makurdi Local Government Area, where 30 Tiv farmers were recently killed. The lawmaker recalled that in the Mbalagh killings, he reported to the NASME Commandant and the Benue State Security Council’s meeting that two military vehicles, with registration number NA 725SF 13 and NA72SF 12 accompanied Fulani herdsmen during an attack in the area. Agbom said nothing was done, even though the NASME Commandant confirmed that the vehicles were on patrol.

Fed Govt delegation for Oluwole Awolowo’s funeral From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

•The late Awolowo


HE Federal Government yesterday named a delegation to the funeral of the publisher of Nigerian Tribune titles, Chief Oluwole Awolowo, in Ikenne, Ogun State. The delegation will be led by Information Minister Labaran Maku. The funeral will hold on Friday. A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said other members of the delegation are: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru and the Min-

ister of State, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide; Dr. Abati and the Special Adviser to the President on Research and Strategy, Mr. Oronto Douglas. The statement reads: “It will be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan paid a personal condolence visit to the Awolowo family in Ikenne soon after Chief Awolowo’s death last month.” “The President had, while condoling Mrs. H.I.D Awolowo, urged her to accept her son’s passage as the unquestionable will of God Almighty. “He assured her that he would continue to support and assist the Awolowo family in every possible way.”

Kogi ACN faults ex-governor’s ‘interference’ •Allegation is malicious, says Wada’s aide From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja


OGI State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chairman, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, yesterday said the interference of former Governor Ibrahim Idris in the state was affecting the performance of the Idris Wada administration. The opposition party’s chairman, however, said he was not surprised by the turn of events in the state. Addressing reporters in Lokoja, the state capital, Ametuo noted that Kogi State would only move forward, if the former governor stopped interfering in the affairs of the state. The party chairman alleged that Idris was still calling the shots and churning out directives to the incumbent on the running of the state. He described the development as “most unfortunate”. According to him, no meaningful achievement can be recorded by the present administration in the state unless the former governor allows Wada to fully take charge of the affairs of the state. Ametuo wondered how the present government would perform when, 15 months after it assumed office, the settlement of election expenses and the Judiciary had not been resolved. The ACN chairman said the development was a setback to Kogi State. He berated the state government for distributing stipends, which it called “handouts”, to victims of last year’s floods in the state. The politician stressed that the victims were being shortchanged. Ametuo noted that the payment of N3,000 to each flood victim was ridiculous, adding that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in the state needed to assist them to overcome the hardship they experienced through the disaster. But Wada, through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mr. Jacob Edi, said the ACN allegation was malicious. He said the opposition should be concerned with how to resolve its leadership crisis rather than run “a progressive” government down. Edi said the Wada administration was too focused to be distracted by the “incurable ranting of the opposition”. The governor’s aide said the present administration would not allow itself to be drawn backwards by those he called “retrogressive elements”. He said the present administration has blazed the trail in the last 15 months, adding that the government did not only have a road map but also a take-off and landing plan.

Dangote Foundation donates $.5m to UNICEF to fight measles


HE Dangote Foundation has donated $500,000 (about N79.15 million) through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support the government’s response to recent measles outbreak across Nigeria. The donation was announced in Lagos when a delegation of UNICEF, led by its Country Representative, Ms. Jean Gough, visted the foundation’s president, Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Gough hailed the foundation for its gesture. She said: “Public/private sector interventions, such as these in the health and other sectors, including water and early childhood development, are the way forward for Nigeria to improve the well-being of Nigerian children.” The grant is a major contribution to Federal Government’s fight against measles, which is among the leading causes of child deaths in Nigeria. Dangote said: “We have a common synergy with UNICEF in the areas of health, education and nutrition and we hope that our efforts will encourage even more private sector engagement with on-going efforts to improve the well-being of Nigerians.”




Reps to investigate banks for tax evasion


HE House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance has said it will probe tax evasion by commercial banks. It has invited the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), banks’ chief executive officers and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The apex bank will be at the event as an observer. The Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin, told The Nation that the N1 trillion deficit in the 2013 budget “is unacceptable” and that if the legislature looked inwards, it would find it. His words: “The determination to go all out and look at the remittance records of government agencies and other business organisations was borne out of the fact that the over N1 trillion budget deficit is unacceptable.


•Committee to meet CBN, FIRS, bank chiefs next week From Victor Oluwasegun and Adele Anofi, Abuja

“It is the belief of this Committee that if we look inward, we will find this money hidden somewhere, and that is why we started with the internally generated revenue (IGR) of government agencies and we have all seen the positive result we got so far, except for few, like the Nigerian National Corporation of Nigeria (NNPC) that are proving difficult. “The issue that will occupy the Committee’s attention in the next two weeks, is the issue of bank compliance, there is no exception. “Now we have resolved in a week or two, the exercise will commence with a meeting with FIRS, of course we have notified the CBN to pick interest in the matter even though

they do not have any special role to play, theirs is just to observe,” he said, adding that thereafter, the bank chiefs would be invited to Abuja. “We have a knowledge of what is involved in terms of how much, but we want to avoid unnecessary debate. We want those directly involved to present the figures with their own hands. “We are going to invite the Federal Inland Revenue Service to make presentation on projections and receipts, actual collections and remittances from banks, that will help us now to see if the banks have been meeting the targets set out for them by the FIRS.” He said the Committee had been gathering data on the issue since last year, and was armed with information that would enable the House to

take decision. Jibrin explained that the Committee has developed a template that will be attached to the letters being sent to the banks so that all figures would emanate from the real sources, adding that the Committee’s desire is for transparency to be a watchword in private and public transactions in the country. He said when the forms sent to the banks are filled, the Committee will do the computation and compare with figures presented by the FIRS and other data at the lawmakers’disposal. “It is from there that Nigerians would start to know the situation of things. This is important because the banking sector is critical to the economy because every day, they announce huge amount of money on their balance

Fed Govt launches online portal

ETERMINED to enthrone transparency and make governance more effective, the Federal Government yesterday launched a government services portal as part of the initiatives for ‘’getting government online.’’ Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, who launched the portal in Abuja, said it was in line with the mandate to deploy ICT to drive transparency in gover-

By Lucas Ajanaku

nance and improve the quality of public service delivery. In a statement, the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister, Mrs Efem Nkanga, quoted Mrs Johnson as saying the benefits of the portal are many, adding that the portal can be assessed in English, French and Spanish. She added that it is one of the flagship projects of the Ministry aimed at enabling Nigerians to access government services.

She said the project is in line with the outcome of the survey which the United Nations carried out on Innovative E-Government Practices among nations, adding that the result of the survey showed that citizen service delivery is topmost on the government innovative technology adoption, all over the world. Thus, governments’ use of the Internet to deliver government services has revolutionised the speed and effectiveness of government

service delivery and public administration across the world, she said. Mrs Johnson emphasised that governments recognise that e-government offers, not just a new technology, but also a mechanism of transforming the way the government operates. She gave examples of nations that have taken this route of creating government service portal to include the United States, Britain, Canada, India, Singapore, South Africa and Kenya.

sheet. So, we need to know how they are contributing to the revenue of the country in terms of tax remittances,” said. Jibrin, however, regretted that the Committee and its members have been under pressure since the idea was broached. “Well, we are coming under severe pressure from the banks already just like during the government agencies’IGR probe, like many people said then that we couldn’t push it through but we did it. “Already, there is pressure and panic everywhere in the industry, but we are not out to embarrass anyone. We are just doing our work and we just have to do it. “We are prepared going by past events, which we have learned from and we have the capacity to work and sur-

•House Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal

mount the pressure. “The other aspect of the pressure is that some people would want to put it in the mind of Nigerians that what we are about to do is targeted at the government and aimed at collapsing the economy, which is not true,” he added.

Dana Air flies to Port Harcourt


EN months after it suspended operations into Port Harcourt because of the June 3, 2012 crash involving its aircraft, Dana Air said yesterday that it would resume flights to the Garden City next Monday. The airline has also reaffirmed its commitment to boost its operations with the acquisition of a Boeing 737 aircraft by the third quarter of the year. The airline said it will offer services from Port Harcourt to Lagos and Abuja, as well as operate daily flights from both destinations to Port Harcourt on resumption of the service.

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

The Head of Commercial, Obi Mbanuzuo, said Dana Air is pleased to re-launch flight operations to the oil rich city, to offer business and leisure travellers the opportunity to experience the firm’s services in line with its objective of re-integrating major cities into its route network. “We are constantly reviewing our operations and our decision to commence operations to Port Harcourt is hinged on our desire to offer our guests access to seamless connections to their final destinations across the nation”, Mbanuzuo said.



NEWS MEND vows to reveal betrayers From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri


HE Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) yesterday vowed to fish out betrayers of the Niger Delta struggle. It cautioned Mujaheed Asari Dokubo for his utterances on its leader, Henry Okah. In a statement by Timi Azizi, MEND said: “MEND, under the leadership of Henry Okah, wishes to state that we do not have a spokesperson by the name of Jomo Gbomo and that the high command and loyal foot soldiers of MEND-OKAH are not associated with these operations. “Our primary objectives at present are as follows: to secure the release of our leader ( Henry Okah) and other members of our faction in various detention centres, compensate families of our members killed by security agencies, withdraw all military personnel (JTF) and tanks in the region then hand over the control (total) of our resources back to us.” Azizi said he wishes to reassure Nigerians that the operation Barbarossa is an imagination of the “old brigade” trying to gain relevance. “We strongly advise this so-called Jomo Gbomo to desist from this act and stop using the name of Henry Okah as a reason(s) for their criminal activities. “As for Mujaheed Asari Dokubo, Okah owes you nothing rather you should have been grateful to him for all he did for you. Mind your utterance as we might come for you someday.”

Police strengthen security in Rivers From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt


HE police in Rivers State have strengthened security in the state, following threats and renewed hostilities allegedly caused by the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)and the disquiet in the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu, said the state’s security network is in contact with Governor Rotimi Amaechi to ensure that life and property are secured. Mbu said there is a synergy among security forces and assured that the officers and men have braced themselves for the security challenges in the region. He urged the public to stay away from crime and go about their businesses “because it is no more business as usual for criminals.”

How to fight insecurity, by Onaiyekan, Sultan •Clerics present joint speech at Leadership Annual Award HE Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubukar III and Cardinal John Onaiyekan yesterday spoke with one voice. They urged the Federal Government to involve all stakeholders on the planned amnesty for the militant Boko Haram sect. The duo said since the Boko Haram insurgency has a religious colouration, religious bodies must increase dialogue to resolve it. The clerics also canvassed the combination of political forces to tackle insecurity. Presenting a joint speech on behalf of the duo at the Leadership 2013 Annual Conference & Award in Abuja, Onaiyekan described the present debate for amnesty as “a healthy one.” The clerics depicted their joint speech as a symbol of the peaceful co-existence that is possible irrespective of religious affiliation. According to them, there is a link between corruption and insecurity and the battle against the latter is difficult because of corruption. Rev. Onaiyekan however, suggested that all hands


From John Ofikhenua and Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

must be on deck to effectively tackle the insurgency. Arguing that Nigeria was far from being a failed state, Rev. Onaiyekan said the country has the opportunity of avoiding the calamity of a failed state. The Catholic cardinal who foresaw hope in the horizon, said that sustaining the dream of a great nation was still possible as, according to him, Nigeria has all it takes to succeed despite the twin monsters-corruption and insecurity. He urged the nation to put on the thinking cap and fashion out the citizenry from rising insecurity. He said: “Are we in a situation that we can be protected from insecurity? That is the problem that we are facing right now.” He cautioned against shielding those who looted public funds. “This stealing must stop, no more cover up. No more euphemism.

Stolen resources must be recovered for the people from whom it was stolen,” he said. On amnesty for Boko Haram, Onaiyekan said: “Insecurity is everywhere. The issue is how does the society deal with insecurity. It is the problem at hand; the problem of terrorism, and all hands must be on deck. In security approach, although trained personnel is necessary, but as we can see, they are not enough on their own. “Political forces must link hands; We must take spiritual approaches, let all spiritual forces come together to face his common enemy; as far as Boko Haram is concerned, I believe that there is a religious dimension. We cannot forget that. It is obvious and that means that all of us who believe in religion will have a part to play. Also speaking, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, advised the nation to reverse to the old National Anthem which

was adopted at independence. He noted that the old national anthem emphasises service from the heart. According to him, the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was due to lack of trust among the legislators and other government functionaries. Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, who chaired the occasion, attributed the security challenges – Boko Haram and kidnapping - to bad leadership. He urged the Federal Government to rise up to the challenges and stop the blame game. At the event were: ACN National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Alilu Momoh, former Speaker Ghali Umar Na’Aba, House of Representatives member Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Alhaji Aliyu Modibbo and royal fathers.

Delta gets second judicial division From From Shola O’Neil, Warri


ISTORY was made in the oil city of Warri, Delta State yesterday when the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, presided over the inaugural sitting of the Federal High Court, Warri Division. Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, eminent jurists and members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), who attended the sitting, described the ceremony as historic and long overdue. Auta said: “It is my hope that the creation and the official opening of this division today will reduce the cost of litigation to the riverine people of Warri, comprising Warri North, Warri South, Warri South-West, Bomadi, Okpe, Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Udu, Isoko South, Isoko North, Ethiope South, Ethiope West, Burutu, Patani and Sapele local government areas.” Uduaghan said industrial courts would be established in Asaba and Warri. He promised to do whatever he could to ensure the smooth operation of the new court.

•Uduaghan flanked by Deputy Governor Prof Amos Utuama (SAN) (right) and Justice Auta at the opening in Warri...yesterday

Bakassi returnees protest at UN office UNDREDS of Bakassi returnees yesterday stormed the United Nations (UN) office in Calabar, Cross River State, to protest their neglect by the Federal Government as well as the incessant attacks on them by Cameroonians. The group, which was led by a Bakassi/Nigeria Liaison Officer, Aston Joseph, told the UN officials that they were


From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

unhappy with the neglect. The returnees also alleged that the government had stopped the payment of their social welfare package. He alleged that the Cross River State Government is imposing Ikang on them for their resettlement but that they prefer Dayspring Island,

where they can continue their fishing. They said the issue of their resettlement should be handled by UN officials and the Federal Government. They appealed for more assistance in the areas of food supply, accommodation, healthcare, among others. The protesters said they have been left in penury, hunger and that their children

have been thrown out of school. The Head of Office, Cameroun/Nigeria Mixed Commission, UN Observer Team, Emmanuel Sowatey, said his office would communicate the grievances to the UN headquarters. Sowatey said the UN has been conducting needs assessment to get a comprehensive detail of their needs.

PDP: Edo councils mismanaged N130b


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) to disqualify candidates of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ahead of Saturday’s local government elections. It said ACN candidates did not emerge through party primaries as prescribed by the law. Its Chairman, Dan Orbih, who spoke at a rally in Okada, Ovia North East Local Government, threatened to institute legal action

•It’s a lie, says govt From Osagie Otabor, Benin

against EDSIEC, if it fails to disqualify ACN candidates. Orbih also alleged that the government mismanaged over N130billion meant for local governments. He said the ACN-led administration could not be trusted with money meant for local governments. “We have it on record that local governments have received over N130 billion

since the inception of this administration with nothing to show for it in terms of infrastructure. “They did nothing with the money, but only paid workers’ salaries and gave the rest to the state government. ACN’s spokesman Dan Owegie urged the PDP to go to court. He said the party’s primaries were supervised by EDSIEC officials. Commissioner of Information and Orientation

Louis Odion described the N130billion allegation as “another idiotic concoction from Orbih’s factory of lies”. He said: “Edo people know the party that looted their resources for 10years. “Under Adams Oshiomhole, ACN has transformed Edo State. “Let Orbih tell Edo people what PDP achieved in 10 years other than enriching the godfather. “He thinks cheap lies would win votes rather than canvassing issues. The PDP will receive another sound beating on Saturday.”














Fed Govt to reduce property tax, says Jonathan


HE federal and state gov ernments are collaborat ing to reduce consent and registration fees for property transactions. The Nation learnt that stamp duties and other charges that prevent the property sector from contributing to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) may also be reduced. President Goodluck Jonathan said at the opening of the 3 rd ASO National Exhibition & Conference that the reduction in property transaction fees and several other viable housing and urban renewal initiatives would move the government “closer towards realising the vision of facilitating the development of one million new homes, every year, for the next 10 years.” Other measures, according to the president, who was represented by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple are; a rapid growth in the nation’s housing stock through the regeneration of a durable mortgage industry. The government, he maintained is committed to recapitalising the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and strengthening the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development as well as strengthen the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and other institutions of the government in the building environment. There is also a plan to collaborate with ASO Savings and Loans and all other stakeholders to meet the target of delivering a minimum of 500,000 affordable housing units for the nation’s lower and middle income earners by 2016, he added. He said: “With the national housing deficit presently estimated at 16 million units, our administration recognises the significant role the private sector can play in bridging the requirement gap.” The conference with the theme: ‘Achieving Affordable Housing Delivery by Creating 500,000 Housing Units by 2016,’

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

he said was timely, explaining that the provision of affordable mass housing was a priority of his administration. The president said the government had taken the first step in this direction by approving both the National Housing Policy and the National Urban Development Policy, as the coordinating frameworks for an appropriate response to the challenges in the sector. The private sector, he said “is well placed to meet the needs of the zero-income, low income, lower-medium income and the informal sector workers, and by so doing, also facilitate job creation.” The President emphasised that the government will continue its policy of engaging the private sector to play a more dominant role in this sector. He commended ASO “for stimulating a private sector-led initiative in support of the Federal Government’s resolve to accelerate the provision of adequate mass housing and hosting the conference for key stakeholders to discuss and formulate policies capable of effectively complementing the revised National Housing Policy released last year.” Welcoming guests and exhibitors, the Managing Director of ASO Savings & Loans Plc, Hassan Musa Usman said the housing exhibition had become one of the biggest and most important events in the nation’s housing industry. Usman said the conference provides a platform to discuss housing and proffer solutions to issues and challenges bordering on provision of housing. Usman said the company has created over 15,000 mortgages of over N40 billion and financed the construction of several housing estates with 23 branches nationwide. The exhibition and conference he stressed is geared towards reducing the nation’s current housing deficit and to also assist Nigerians own homes.

•The Chief Emeka Anyaoku Estate, Ikeja GRA named after the former Commonwealth Secretary.

Fine homes spring up from refuse dump


KEJA Government Reserved Area (GRA) has witnessed an upliftment, with the urban renewal efforts of the state government. A refuse dump has been transformed into a magnificent upscale estate close to Archbishop Vining Church and the Old Secretariat. The site had a history of habouring miscreants and other social misfits, who converted the refuse dump to a permanent abode, posing danger to neigbours. But with the unveiling of 76 units of four-bedroom maisonettes from the heaps of refuse, the property christened Chief Emeka Anyaoku Estate, GRA Ikeja is gradually finding its grove back. Speaking at the unveiling of the estate, Governor Babatunde Fashola said the 76-unit estate represents absolute commitment to the preservation of human lives and respect for public service. He said before now, the site was merely a wasteland and refuse dump, but regretted that because of improper advice, the state government started the development without adequate soil test, which resulted in demolishing the first eight blocks to prevent building failures in future. He said: “As a responsible government, we decided to save lives instead of pursuing gain. The buildings standing today will outlive their owners and benefit their families.” Fashola said the estate was built with taxes paid by Lagosians and en-

Body seeks speedy procurement of devt permit


HE Association of Town Plan ning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) has demanded that the process of getting development permit in Lagos State be simplified. The association said the procedures involved in processing permits and title documents, such as certificate of occupancy, are cumbersome resulting in indiscriminate developments in the state. Chairman of ATOPCON, Lagos chapter, Mr. Adebisi Adedire said this during the association’s visit to the General Managers of Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LSPPPA) and Lagos State Building Control Agency. He said the process could be fasttracked by reverting to the 30 – 30 policies, which prescribe that approval processes should be completed within 30 working days. This, he said, would help to build the faith of the public in the activities of planners, especially in gov-

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

ernment agencies that have been misconstrued as corrupt. He said: “It is observed that the heart of the delay in development permit processing has been the movement of development documents through multiple offices and tables for certification.” Adedire argued that this could be reduced to the barest minimum if experts on the issues associated with physical developments and building, such as engineering, transportation, environment and drainages, are in the employ of the agency. He also advocated the implementation of Site Analysis Report and Plan as a requirement in the list for development permit. He frowned at the fact that Site Analysis Report and Plan was yet to be implemented in the state in its totality, noting that it would foster rapid development in permit pro-

cessing as the agency can count on the information supplied by the registered consultants on any development proposal without having to visit the site. Among other suggestions was the need for relevant professionals to be made head of their respective departments within the agency to ensure efficiency. Adedire also called for partnership between the government and consultants in preparing development guide for excised villages, which he said would go a long way in ensuring the effectiveness of such documents that entails a lot of socio-economic information gathering, which the government alone may not be able to fully handle. In his response, LSPPPA chairman, Mr. Rotimi Abdul, said the agency was working on all the problems highlighted by ATOPCON. He said the agency was specifically working on speeding up the process of procuring development permit.

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie, Asst Editor

couraged every resident to pay taxes. The governor said the estate was named after the former Commonwealth Secretary, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, for his great support to the government through the correct payment of his taxes. He encouraged others to pay their taxes correctly to enable the state to have funds to deliver capital projects. Responding Chief Anyaoku commended the administration of Governor Fashola for delivering infrastructure projects to the citizenry. He also recalled his connection with the state, which he said is over 50 years. The relationship, he explained, started with his work experience in

the state and his marriage to a Lagosian of Egba descent. Senator Ganiyu Solomon commended the governor for his transformation agenda throughout the state and asked for more for the senatorial zone. Commissioner for Housing, Mr Bosu Jeje, said the estate represents another milestone in the administration’s commitment to the provision of decent accommodation for the citizenry. He said the estate is made up of 10 blocks, nine of which have eight units of maisonettes each, while the 10 block comprise seven units totalling 7,676 units of four-bedroom maisonettes.

‘Declare ecological state of emergency in Niger Delta’


HE Federal Government has been urged to declare an eco logical state of emergency in the Niger Delta region to find prompt resolution of the resource conflicts. The Executive Director, Environmental Rights/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo made the call while speaking at the workshop for reporters on Reporting the Environmental in Akure, the Ondo state capital. He said in defence of the environment, people and livelihood, there should be an independent National Environmental tribunal (NET) to dispense environmental justice for the millions groaning under the weight of impunity. According to him, “Globally, extreme weather conditions and the impact of climate changes from greenhouse gas emissions are devastating the environment.” He noted that the Niger Delta oil ex-

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

traction activities, including gas flaring and frequent oil spills continually foul the environment, posing serious risks to biodiversity, environments and human health. Dr Ojo said the situation is compounding other problems, such as coastal erosion, forest degradation and loss of livelihoods. Besides, the operations of the oil industry, according to him, engendered conflicts and impacted wetlands, water and sanitation. The Executive Director recalled that in the last few years, oil spill is so frequent that about 1000 spills are recorded yearly, adding that the volume equals that of one Valdez Oil spill occurring every year the southeast. Dr. Ojo is burdened with deforestation and gulley erosion, which continue to displace communities, particularly in Anambra and Enugu states.

Lagos threatens to close religious centres over noise pollution


ORRIED by the complaints of noise pollution by some residents, the Lagos State Commissioner of Environment Mr Tunji Bello has warned that the state government might be forced to embark on massive closure of religious centres if the noise emanating from them continues unabated. He gave the warning during the kick off of the state’s ministerial briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa at the weekend. Bello expressed concern on the rising rate of complaints by residents, who could no longer rest at home after returning from work as result noise coming from worship centres, even at night. He said the state might, any time from

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie, Asst Editor

now, be forced to clamp down on erring centres if such act is not curtailed on time. The commissioner added that most of the centres were residential homes illegally converted to churches and mosques, urging residents to forward their complaints to the relevant agencies. He said: “There is a street in Agege alone where there are four mosques and eight churches. Most of them are actually illegal, because it is not proper to convert residential premise to religious centres. We would send the Ministry of Physical Planning and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency officials after them.





Double jeopardy •MEND’s threat will put the govt in a tight corner as it has to battle many enemies simultaneously


CHILLING countdown has begun, with all eyes glued on May 31, the date fixed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to launch Operation Barbarossa. “The bombings of mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations in Islamic events and assassination of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate will form the core mission of this crusade,” its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, said in an emailed statement. The motive, according to the militant group, is “to save Christianity in Nigeria from annihilation.” It is intriguing that the group claimed it was speaking “on behalf of the hapless Christian population in Nigeria.” Clearly, the immediate questions raised by this posture are: Who made MEND protector of the Christian faithful? What are the group’s credentials qualifying it to play the self-assigned defensive role? What is the basis for the premise that the Christian faith is in grave danger? Why is Islam the target of the planned campaign? Certainly, it is more than a coincidence that MEND spoke out following the dramatic rejection by Abubakar Shekau of the idea of a governmental amnesty for Boko Haram , the Islamist group terrorising the northern part of the country. The leader of the religious fundamentalists stunned the Federal Government, arguing that his group had done no wrong, and that it was the government that should be considered for pardon. Inspired by an unrealistic dream to Islamise the country and enthrone sharia, Boko Haram has become increasingly radical since 2009, and its terror tactics has resulted in a reported death toll of 10,000 victims. In its reign of terror, the

group has been particularly hard on churches, a fact that helps to put MEND’s reasoning into perspective. However, it is not difficult to detect an opportunistic angle in MEND’s newfound love for Christianity. Before the announcement of Operation Barbarossa, there was Hurricane Exodus by which the group resumed open hostilities this month against the government, prompted by the trial and imprisonment of its leader, Henry Okah, in South Africa, on charges related to terror acts carried out by the group in Nigeria. True to its threat, the group claimed responsibility for the killing of 12 policemen on the waterways of Azuzuama in Bayelsa State, and the destruction of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Well 62 at Ewellesuo community, also in Bayelsa. Now that the reversal triggered by Okah’s fate has been expanded to accommodate what is obviously conceived as a counter-punch against Boko Haram, the development casts a reasonable doubt on the group’s actual motive and the sincerity of its pro-Christian campaign. It is instructive that the group named Okah among those who could intervene to arrest the operation. Will he do this from jail?Also, it is noteworthy that the group clarified the status of Hurricane Exodus, saying that it is on-going and would be carried out side by side with Operation Barbarossa. If MEND gives bite to its threat, the consequence will be a balance of terror. It remains to be seen, though, whether such development would tame Boko Haram. It is indeed remarkable that MEND was itself a beneficiary of governmental amnesty and its renewed insurgency dem-

onstrates the ineffectiveness of the pardon approach as a deterrent for champions of terror. For the government, this is, without doubt, a case of double jeopardy; and the situation will certainly put it under immense pressure as it struggles to find solutions. Dubious self-help, which is what MEND’s move represents concerning the Boko Haram challenge, is definitely out of the question. Equally defective is the government’s insistence on considering amnesty for Boko Haram, which has rubbished the thought. There is no escaping the fact that the government will have to address the security challenges with all the creativity that it can summon. However, in the final analysis, nothing succeeds like good governance, with all the positive implications for political and socio-economic development. That is the way the government should go.

‘For the government, this is, without doubt, a case of double jeopardy; and the situation will certainly put it under immense pressure as it struggles to find solutions. Dubious self-help, which is what MEND’s move represents concerning the Boko Haram challenge, is definitely out of the question. Equally defective is the government’s insistence on considering amnesty for Boko Haram, which has rubbished the thought’

One up for Lagos Command •Quite some feat tracking Queen Okonjo’s kidnappers, but the Lagos CP has a big test in his hands in the abduction of Ejigbo LCDA chairman


S fate playing pranks with the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko? Well the next few days will prove. The Lagos top cop who, with the logistical and institutional backing of the Fashola administration, has also proven to be a tough crime buster in his few years in the mega-city has just been caught up in a thrilling double-decker irony. Just last Monday, Manko had regaled the media with the cheery news of how his command cracked the notorious gang that kidnapped Queen Kamene Okonjo, mother of the finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Ugwuashi-Ukwu, Delta State, last December. According to Manko, upon the arrest of two of the informants instrumental to the

‘But there is a fateful twist in the tale. Perhaps at about the same time Manko was briefing the press, hoodlums in Ejigbo, outskirts of Lagos Mainland, were busy snatching Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan, chairman of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, LCDA. He had been kidnapped near his house in Ejigbo and a ransom of N150 million has reportedly been demanded by the criminals’

kidnap of Queen Okonjo last March, the command had pulled all stops, raising decoy teams that stormed Delta, Edo and Rivers states; all tracking methods were put in place and networks activated. In no time, eight of the dare-devil gang members led by 22-year-old Jideofor Ogbuem, a.k.a. Marvelous, had been apprehended. The gang, said to be 13 in number (with one dead and four said to be still at large) gave copious accounts of their escapades both in the abduction of the queen and several other operations. Though the suspects are still to be prosecuted, Mr. Manko’s is a laudatory report of how policing ought to be conducted. He has proved that with the police hard at work and criminals are brought to book, there would be sufficient deterrent to curtail kidnapping to bearable minimum. But there is a fateful twist in the tale. Perhaps at about the same time Manko was briefing the press, hoodlums in Ejigbo, outskirts of Lagos Mainland, were busy snatching Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan, chairman of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, LCDA. He had been kidnapped near his house in Ejigbo and a ransom of N150 million has reportedly been demanded by the criminals. What exhilarating irony it is that in closing his briefing Monday, Manko had sounded it loud and clear that: “There is no hiding place for any criminal in Lagos, no matter where he runs to.” The criminals may have thrown the challenge right back at the police boss. We urge him to always consider the insider connection as numerous accounts have shown that total

strangers can hardly do the abduction ‘business’. While we commend Manko for his gallantry, rigour and methodical approach, we hasten to say that governments at all levels must seek holistic solution to the scourge of human snatching in Nigeria. What was known to be rampant mainly in the south-south and south-east parts of Nigeria in the past few years has spread to nearly every part of the country, including the south-west and lately, Lagos. We have said it here times without number that crimes like these are symptomatic of a failing economy. As we have noticed in the accounts of the arrested suspects, they are all supposedly graduates of tertiary institutions who claimed they could not find jobs after school. There is no doubt that unemployment in Nigeria is invidiously high with a teeming mass of enlightened young people who are idle and frustrated. Vast areas across the country are particularly comatose, with hardly any economic activities going on in them. We urge governments across board to stir themselves. We advise that stakeholders must meet urgently to seek immediate and long-term solutions. Apart from the traumatised victims, the paralysing effects of this heinous crime on the economy cannot be quantified. For instance, no quality foreign investor will venture into any country where kidnapfor-ransom is rampant. We urge governments to act as a matter of urgency.

Uganda skirts the issue


PROPOSED miniskirt ban, purportedly aimed at halting sexual assaults, in essence shifts blame to potential victims and away from violent criminals. A bill before Parliament in Uganda would prohibit women from wearing miniskirts in public. The government’s ethics minister, Simon Lokodo, has taken the lead in defending it. “Anything above the knee is outlawed,” he said. “If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her.” If the bill were to become law, Uganda would hardly be the first country to institute harsh restrictions on women’s dress in public. Saudi Arabia, for instance, famously expects women to be shrouded head to toe in public. So does Iran. In each of these cases, proponents of the restrictions say that part of their goal is to prevent women from provoking men into sexual assaults. But isn’t it obvious that if a country wants to prevent sexual assault, it should figure out how to stop the criminals rather than impose constraints on potential victims? Many countries have institutionalized dress codes that reflect the mores of the local culture. The United States, for instance, regulates how much of the body can be revealed on broadcast television. (Just ask Janet Jackson about her wardrobe malfunction at that Super Bowl halftime show in 2004.) Visitors to federal prisons in this country are informed that miniskirts “may result in your being denied visitation.” But the Ugandan proposal goes much further, and Lokodo’s insistence that men are “provoked and enticed” into rape and assault by women wearing miniskirts is offensive and hypocritical. If the government wants to tackle the important issue of sexual assault, it needs to confront the criminals. And leave thigh-baring skirts out of the discussion. – Los Angeles Times

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IR: There is a broad consensus among Nigerians that the problem of our country is largely due to failure of leadership. In a competition, the team that desires to win must field its bests. But our country has rarely fielded its most capable hands. It has largely been governed by individuals who are nowhere near the best we could produce. With all the great minds the country can boast of, why is it that we are still governed mostly by individuals who could at best be described as average. Why is it that our best minds hardly make it to power, do we have a fondness for drab leaders, for mediocrity? There is indeed the existence in the country of a cabal or rather kingmakers. These individuals who are entrenched in critical sectors of the society to a large extent determine who makes it to power and who does not. They are able to exercise this influence due to our weak


ACN: A beacon in the dark electoral system and judiciary, and the ignorance of a large percentage of the electorate. And who do they support to power, what is their criterion? The kingmakers are largely concerned with the protection of their interests. Unfortunately, these interests mostly conflict with that of the majority of the citizenry. They therefore search for and enthrone individuals who could be trusted to maintain the status quo, persons that would dance to their tune, weak characters, average souls. This

is exactly why the country boasts of many nationally and internationally acclaimed administrators, technocrats, great minds, etc. who nevertheless have been unable to make it to office. The situation is indeed depressing, it seems like the country is blanketed by a dark cloud. But in the midst of the darkness I see a beacon. There exist outstanding governments and governors in quite a few states of the federation. Besides one or two other states, the rest of them reside in those controlled by the

ACN. There is this sophistication about the ACN governors. They represent a departure from the crudity and shallowness that so characterize our polity. Their commitment to bettering the lives of their people is clearly demonstrated in their deeds. My memory of Benin City , for instance, used to be that of an 18th century kingdom that has successfully resisted modernization. When I passed that city recently, there was no denying the fact that there exists a government there, and that the government is

Proposed amnesty for terrorists


IR: I have monitored the declining government of Goodluck Jonathan with a sense of dread, horror and prayers for a change. I have also criticized the woeful economic and security measures by the government yet hoping for the best result at the end of the day. It is to my deepest chagrin and utter dismay that the government has shown its weakness/ reluctance to adequately protect lives through the ultimate act of political abuse of the legal terms ‘amnesty” Do they (Nigerian government) even know the full legal ramification of amnesty? For the sake of clarity, “amnesty is a pardon extended by the government to a group or class of persons, usually for a political offence; the act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the offence”. Countless lives have been lost, properties destroyed, economic development halted, children rendered orphans and the government has the effrontery to term it a political offence? This is a crime against humanity! Their actions go beyond greed and selfishness to pure wickedness. What amnesty can you possibly offer a man whose beliefs are rooted in matters of faith and he is ready to die alongside that belief?

How can you reach a state of pardon with a faceless person? What of the ties to other terrorist organizations? How do you hope to handle and sever it? Has the government considered these questions? There is more to this amnesty bid than the government is letting on and if the rumours of political settlement for a second tenure is to be believed, then not only am I hugely disappointed, I call for our collective intervention to stop this travesty! I watched the video, saw the bodies and felt the heartfelt cries of the families, how can the government turn a blind eye to such heart

breaking plight? For the sake of families that have been emotionally paralyzed, innocent lives, dreams that have been cut short and economic retardation, I ask the government to abandon this weak attempt and concentrate on protecting lives while bringing the culprits to face the full brunt of the law because that is what justice is all about. Amnesty programs are expensive, the money can be channelled to victims, their families, and development In the alternative, I call on the intervention of the legislative arm to

put up laws for conditions to the grant of amnesty and the judiciary to sanction the application of the privilege. If this prerogative is left in the hands of the executive alone, the abuse can lead to more anarchy, chaos and distraction from economic progress. David Smock rightly noted, “The downside of it is the impunity that it implies; that people can commit atrocities and say that they will only stop if they are given amnesty...” • Jennifer Heaven Mogekwu Mike University of Exeter UK.

working. The positive attributes are, however, not limited to the governors but also extend to many other political office holders from the party including my own Senator Chris Ngige. This category of politicians actually represents the real breath of fresh air in the polity. But how come the party field mostly quality candidates? While the leaders of the ACN are no petty Nigerians –in fact, some rank among the best the country can boast of, they, however, cannot be grouped among the kingmakers. They do not control the country’s resources or power and consequently cannot seriously hope to win elections through malpractice. To win the party must field the best candidates. But they put forward quality candidates not just to win elections but because of their commitment to excellence. Very fortunately the party’s leaders are mostly credible and patriotic Nigerians whose interests seem to coincide with that of the majority of the citizenry. Like most Nigerians they sincerely yearn for good leadership. They are mostly progressiveminded. When I consider some politicians that the ACN has produced, I get the feeling that there’s still hope for the country. If we work hard and make the right choices we could still overcome our leadership crisis. For the moment, the party appears to be the most credible route to our promise land and I wish it all the best as it holds its special national convention on April 18. • Nnoli Chidiebere Aba, Abia State.

Tilting the scale of judicial reforms IR: Recent occurrences in the Nigerian judiciary under the current Chief Justice of Nigeria has confirmed in a big way that it may no longer be business as usual. Since the assumption of office as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, GCON has demonstrated the will to restore public confidence in the judicial arm. The loss of public confidence in the courts has exposed the judicial system to public distrust, thus the tendency to view every judicial decision as a product of some ‘behind the scene’ orchestrations, no matter how legally justifiable such decision may be. The height of public distrust in the system was once again manifested a couple of months ago given the


public deprecation that greeted the judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Abuja in the John Yakubu Yusuf police pension fraud case. This was despite the fact that the decision had a legal basis. For a judicial system that is so engrossed in a crisis of integrity, the current reforms being carried out by the NJC under Justice Mukhtar’s chairmanship is to say the least commendable. The suspension of two High Court judges for judicial misconduct has without doubt sent signals to the appropriate quarters that things may not continue to be as they were. However, the ends of the reforms would be defeated if the big stick of the NJC is only wielded against

those judicial officers that are found wanting in the discharge of their duties. To encourage judicial purity, the NJC must also introduce a means of rewarding judges that have displayed exceptional judicial honesty and bravery. Hunting those who have sinned while losing sight of the saints would only tilt the scale of reformation towards one side than the other. High Court judges in this country who have demonstrated a very high sense of judicial gallantry in the discharge of their duties should be rewarded. Such judges should not be allowed to rot on the High Court Bench. The much desired sanity in the judicial system could only be attained when honest and brave judges are allowed to climb the ju-

dicial ladder to the peak. Specifically, Hon. Justice J.O.K Oyewole of the High Court of Lagos State is an easy reference. The learned judge who was said to have been tipped for elevation to the Court of Appeal on account of his bravery during the Bode George case had since remained on the High Court bench, nobody seems to talk about that. The efforts at sanitising the judiciary are commendable but the war against judicial ungodliness could only be won if judicial courage and honesty is also rewarded. This is the only means by which the scale could be balanced. • Vincent Adodo, Esq. Ilorin, Kwara State




Media/ Educators: Use ‘Cartographically& NigSat2 Approved’ Authentic, Map of Nigeria


HE prevention of error, mistakes or deliberate misinformation, require the same level of awareness and investigation and a high level of suspiTony cion about the most Marinho trivial of ‘things going wrong’. When is a mistake part of a secret plan? When it recurs, in spite of correction, again and again. Now here is a storm in breakfast tea or tuo cup On NTA Breakfast AM on 11-4-13 at 8.28am there appeared a hand-drawn ‘map’ or better called a ‘mismap’ of Nigeria during a film about Nigeria and close to a section showing people carrying bags of farm produce out of canoes. The so-called ‘map’ of Nigeria had the Rivers Niger and Benue hardly out of the Atlantic Ocean, maybe about 10% from the Bight of Benin resulting in a huge‘potbellied’ North and a miniscule ‘short knickers’ South. In a few seconds, before I could exclaim or protest to my TV, the picture had gone and been replaced by a map of Nigeria showing states. But the damage had been done. Mind control. The psychological damage had been done to millions of viewers nationwide. The message was clear ‘I’m bigger than you!’ Only a few weeks ago and previously some years ago, I raised the issue of ‘Authentic Approved Maps of Nigeria’ showing accurate topography and especially the manipulation of the positions of the Rivers Niger and Benue. The manipulation of the position of these rivers is part of the psychological warfare going on as an undercurrent in the media and education systems controlled by those more interested in dominance than democracy. Of course if you teach with falsified maps and pictures in schools and show falsified maps and pictures on the media then the people are forced to believe what is fed to them. However it behoves those of us who went to school to learn how to ask questions to now ask questions on be-


OMETIMES in early 2012, I was in Enugu where I ran into a handsome, innocent-looking, young boy who was working in the hotel where I stayed. I asked him why he was‘slaving’ out in the hotel instead of being at school. The boy simply looked at me, shook his head lazily and began a short but pathetic story that almost drew tears from my eyes. “I am 19 years old. My parents are from Imo State. I was born in Maiduguri, where we were all living until recently when we were forced to run down to the East to avoid being killed.” According to little Isaac, the father is a welder by profession while his mother is a petty trader. His immediate elder brother was a student at the University of Maiduguri, while he, Isaac, had just secured admission to the same university, before the Boko Haram disturbances escalated. Isaac told me that it got to a point that “these people started going from house to house to look for southerners, most especially Igbo, and they were just killing them. We had to hide in the forest for some days before we were finally able to run down to the East. My elder brother has dropped out of school. He is now in Lagos while I could not go to the university even though I had secured admission. That is why I am working in this hotel”, he said. Isaac’s plight and that of his entire household is typical of the endless dislocation that indigenes of a section of the country have suffered in the last three or four years of the insurgency in the North. Many have died. Many have lost one or both

half of those who do not ask any questions. In the absence of a Tsunami eating up Nigeria’s coastline at the rate of 20 km per annum how is it possible for the Rivers Niger and Benue to be approaching Lagos so fast? Even if it is, the distance of the Rivers Niger and Benue from Maiduguri, Daura and Sokoto should remain the same abi? Fortunately we have the pictures from late NigSat 1 and surviving NigSat 2 and copious Google maps and photos from astronauts, cosmonauts and ‘Chinesonauts’ to help verify if this new phenomenon is true. Of course rivers change course, deserts become seas and seas become deserts, but these monumental events take millions of years. It really would be a first for NTA to have discovered that the River Niger and Benue are actually moving ‘down South’ into the Bight of Benin. It raises the question of where will all the people go when the South disappears. Will these millions be swept into the sea and extinction? Will they migrate over the Rivers Niger and Benue into the North? There what will they be called? Refugees, immigrants, Southerners or strangers? What will we call the North when there is no South? New Nigeria? These questions are for the future but the future may be here, the way the cartoonists are redrawing the map of Nigeria perhaps to suit secret political instructions. There is need for powerful Presidential, NASS, NigSat1 & 2, Geological Survey, Cartographers, geography teachers and swimmers and canoe makers conference to sort out this issue of ‘Where are the Rivers Niger and Benue in Nigeria’. The venue of the conference can be at the confluence of the said rivers where Lord Lugard pitched his tent to ‘rule’ or ruin Nigeria and where Nigeria was conceived and born -Lokoja. Of course some would prefer to have conference in Ladi Kwali Hall, now almost synonymous with profligate government spending for little poly direction returns. The conference outcome would be the ‘True Authentic Position of the Rivers Niger and Benue vis a vis the Northern and Southern Borders of Nigeria-2013’. It would produce the map dimensions to be used in all public and private discourses on Nigeria, teaching, politics, econom-

ics etc. Only this will save the South from being swept into the seas, mentally and physically, by cartoonists, cartographers, graphic artists and career politicians with agendas. Territorial grabs are well known instruments of subjugation and oppression against other countries. But criminal and calculated‘imaginary’ rerouting of physical structures as important as rivers belonging to the ‘the common man and woman’ is a new dimension in psychological warfare when we are not at declared war. Tsunamis can come from the sea and some say they can come from the land or‘Sahel Sand’ as well. Well this psychological tsunami must not be allowed to drown the South, by mistake or design. Who ‘owns’ Nigeria? We are not and have never been satisfied by the crumbs that fall from the table set by God as our birth-right but sat at by politicians and their close confederates/ co-conspirators- the civil servants and contractors. If any other country had our resources where would they be now? There were European monarchies with the citizens called serfs or glorified slaves. The local ruler could even sleep with your new wife on wedding night –just to show how decadent they were! We must reassess the value of being a Nigerian. Why are we being undervalued by our leaders?

‘Territorial grabs are well known instruments of subjugation and oppression against other countries. But criminal and calculated‘imaginary’ rerouting of physical structures as important as rivers belonging to the ‘the common man and woman’ is a new dimension in psychological warfare when we are not at declared war’

Fighting the Boko Haram parents. Many others have lost their husbands, wives, children, breadwinners and all that. It would appear that apart from the indigenes of the troubled areas who are daily being callously mowed down, those who have had to bear the brunt of the displacement are people of a particular ethnic extraction. There are many others from several parts of the country but the preponderance of the ‘refugees’, if I may call them so, are from the South-east. Take the recent massacre in Kano. The Sabon-Gari Park that was hit by suicide bombers is mostly patronised by Igbo traders. Most of the luxury buses you find there are owned by Igbo transport magnates based in the East. Agreed many northerners and other tribes who were within that vicinity at that time were also cut down. Nevertheless, many of the victims were apparently Igbo traders. The ongoing insurgency is a northern breed of senseless brigandage that has been cleverly concealed as a religious war, whereas it is not. To ascribe religious fundamentalism to the disturbances is to insult the religion of Islam, which abhors violence or the taking of innocent lives. To the best of my knowledge, there is no religion that supports the shedding of innocent blood, not to talk of large-scale killings that have now become common occurrence in that part of the country.

‘One psychological way of winning this war on terrorism is to remove the toga of religion from the insurgents. In this case, rather than calling them Islamic fundamentalists, religious extremists, jihadists or what have you, let us simply refer to them as terrorists, which they are’

So, if some group of misguided youths, miscreants and other social misfits are going about killing and destroying schools, places of worship, businesses and all that, they cannot claim to be doing so in the name of Allah or God. If the mere mention of Allah by Muslims is usually followed by “the most Merciful, the most High”, then where do these criminals get their doctrine of violence and destruction from? One psychological way of winning this war on terrorism is to remove the toga of religion from the insurgents. In this case, rather than calling them Islamic fundamentalists, religious extremists, Jihadists or what have you, let us simply refer to them as terrorists which they are. The average man or woman in the North respects his or her religion with a passion. The average northerner, especially those without formal education, is being told that the terrorists are waging war against infidels or unbelievers. In that case, they can never cooperate with anybody working against those terrorists who they regard more or less as their messiahs who will free them from the perceived tyranny of the unbelievers. So first and foremost, let us change our attitude to those who engage in this senseless destruction of lives and property. They are simply terrorists. It is also very instructive to note that there are many types of Boko Haram - the religious, the political and the criminallyminded. The religious Boko Haram seem to have taken a back seat in the insurgency. They are probably those who, from time to time, have signified their intention to negotiate with government. These ones have lost steam and may have seen the futility of their escapades. The political Boko Haram, on the other hand, are those who hide under this facade to perpetrate politi-

cal killings of opponents. The recent killing of political leaders of a particular party in Maiduguri is evidence of this. The political Boko Haram are those who want to wrestle political power either at the centre or in the states or local governments by destabilisation. With the 2015 general elections fast approaching, they could resort to political assassination of opponents. The last but not the least here are the criminally-minded people who have invoked Boko Haram to satisfy their satanic interests. These are those who kidnap and extort money in the name of “protection fees”. The ready armies for this group are the unemployed and hungry youths all over the place. Some even incite these jobless youths because of mere business rivalry to wreak havoc on innocent people. The recent revelation by Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad, the Emir of Anka, Zamfara State, says it all. The Emir had opposed the issue of amnesty for the hoodlums who are engaged in this unending insurgency. At a recent workshop held in Kaduna on peace building and conflict management for sustainable development organised by the National Emergency Management Agency, the Emir said: “Amnesty is for people you can identify. Where were our leaders when members of Boko Haram were going to receive training outside the country? Let us check ourselves; if there must be justice, we must go back to the basics.” Ahmad blamed the current security challenges on the elite and politicians. He said: “From experience, I have come to realise that whenever you have crisis and a proper investigation is carried out, you always find the involvement of these two classes. Within my domain, a sad experience occurred sometimes ago when an Igbo man

Dele Agekameh who owned a shop was attacked and his shop burnt because his son was said to have torn a copy of the Quran. But upon investigation, I found out that a native of Anka, who was also in the same business with the Igbo man, deliberately roped in the Igbo family. He took a piece of paper with an Islamic inscription on it and tore it into pieces in front of the Igbo man’s shop and then raised the alarm, calling on all Muslim faithful to come and see a copy of the Quran torn into pieces by the son of the Igbo trader. The crowd grew angry and set the house and the shop of the Igbo man ablaze immediately. You can see that this native of Anka did this malicious act purely for personal interest and not religion. And that is how it is with the elite and the politicians”. Ahmad added: “As a traditional ruler who lives with the people, I have come to a conclusion that if the common man is left alone, there is going to be peace in the land. But any place you find crisis, just look around, you must find the involvement of these two classes –the elite and the politicians.” What more should be added? Basically nothing. Ahmad has said it all. This is food for thought! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



COMMENTS ‘From what I have just read on the ‘Bayelsa’s rumour epidemic: A propagandist at work’, I think the Information Commissioner and the Press Secretary to the Governor should watch out! Their jobs could be at stake. Political jobs pay well and one can jostle for the position with the advantage one has. Use what you have to get what you want! Any law against that? Fire on Akono! From Davou, Du, Jos South’

• Jonathan

For Olatunji Dare A charlatan in any human endeavour is sure to like other sorts of charlatans. The propagandist who probably wants to be appointed a commissioner under the administration of the proponents of the anti-rumour law should have based his response on solid and hard facts in place of dangerous fallacies, wobbling logic and incoherent reasoning. He should ensure that Bayelsa State government is always doing the right things at the right time, so as to give critics little to complain about. From Adegoke O. O., Ikhin, Edo State Toriyo Akono is an agent of Balyesa State government. He delved into the work that is not his, that shows he had been paid for the job. He should concentrate on the original job assigned to him. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Docyard Apapa Lagos Sir, I believe Torinyo Akono has been promised chairmanship of that committee. From Feyi Akeeb Kareem Re: Bayelsa’s rumour epidemic: a propagandist at work. To me, what is important is that you already made point on your observation of the proposed law on anti-rumour. You need not engage further discussion with Akono’s love for ‘eat without work’ by a free-fund Permanent secretary! From Lanre Oseni


Re: Murdered policemen. For all those advocating for amnesty first by Federal Government, is that a sensible course or path to follow first? It will be a shame on Federal Government if those who murdered the 12 Nigerian soldiers recently in Niger-Delta be they MEND, be they Hurricane Exodus, go free. If I were Nigeria’s President, I know what to do to arrest these thugs called militants! From Lanre Oseni From what I have just read on the ‘Bayelsa’s rumour epidemic: A propagandist at work’, I think the Information Commissioner and the Press Secretary to the Governor should watch out! Their jobs could be at stake. Political jobs pay well and one can jostle for the position with the advantage one has. Use what you have to get what you want! Any law against that? Fire on Akono! From Davou, Du, Jos South Oga Dare, I too read Akono’s clarification. But I was rather disappointed that he made no attempt to deny the angle of a certain super permanent secretary who earns a hefty salary . . . and who does not show up for work but wields enormous powers. Anonymous Dare, thanks for your displayed professionalism. However, remember, Akono is not all called to serve and in an attempt to be appointed by a serving governor, he must drop his profession and sense of judgment. From Dr. Bello, Ilorin Do not bother yourself with what the socalled ‘journalist’ Akono wrote. Prof., I had a good laugh when I read it. The most demeaning part was that, it was so glaring his ‘Ogas’ did not think he was good

ROJAFUIT is a Latin word that means “Troy was, Troy is no more”. It illustrates a city that once, was but is no more. Troy is a city according to Greek legend that was captured by the Greeks under Agamemnon after a 10-year siege. Historical Troy was discovered by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann at Hissarlik in north-western Asian Minor, a few miles inland from the Aegean Sea. The excavations conducted by him from 1870 to 1890 and by others since then, have revealed 10 periods of occupation of the city, which was destroyed and rebuilt each time. The first five settlements at Troy belong to the Early Bronze Age, ending soon after 2000 BC. Troy II in particular was a flourishing community, with impressive fortifications and domestic buildings, but was destroyed by a major fire. Troy VI saw an influx of new settlers who introduced horses, but an earthquake shattered their city in about 1300. It was followed by Troy VIIA, but this phase did not last long before being destroyed by fire. The indications are that this was not an accidental disaster, but accompanied the capture of the city by enemies. The date of destruction approximately by 1250,coinciding with a flourishing Mycenaean civilisation in mainland Greece, indicates that it was this event which lies behind the iliad, and that the conquerors of Troy VIIA were Greeks. Troy remained unoccupied for perhaps 400 years before Troy VIII was established. Troy IX lasted into the Roman period. But today inspite of all its beauty, Troy is no more. In fact when we refer to Troy today, it’s all in the past tense. There is a drink in the modern day world served at social events for celebrations and anniversaries by the very privileged, rich and powerful in the society. It is called Champagne. But the name Champagne was once a province in the Northern east France adjoining Lorraine. International trade fairs were held there in the middle ages. In 1284 the marriage of Jeanne, daughter of Henry III, the last count, to Phillip IV (the Fair) led to union with France. The discovery of the method of making its celebrated sparkling wine, champagne, is attributed to a Benedictine monk, Don Perignon (1668-1715). There was an Ottoman empire, Persia, Prussia, Tripolitania, Catalonia, Bengal, Corinth-a province in the old Greek, Daaphine-a former province in France, East Anglia of EastEngland, Saragossa-a province in Italy, Herlots in the ancient Greek, Chempa, Corsica, Gran Colombia, Cilicia-a province in the old Turkey, Pergamum, Northumbria, Funj empire in the old Sudan, the Frisians of the old German territory, Byzantine empire, Anjou-a province in the old France and even the Roman empire.

enough to write the stuff himself, so they wrote it and just asked him to put his byline on it. And the price? Some filthy stuff that is easy to guess. It could be that he works for one of the government owned media outfits in the state, so, he is easy pick. Let us have pity on the guy. In a nation where pervasive poverty is no respecter of ethics or professionalism, it takes only the thoroughbred to resist the marauding dragons who now preside over the Nigerian state. Regards! From Olu For Segun Gbadegesin If you are running and you are looking behind you are bound to stumble. Anybody or organisation that criticises the government is free to do so because you have the right to do so. Nigerian government has taken law into its hand, because the law court is there to determine it. It is only the government that has run out of ideas that clamps down on opposition or journalists. The present government lacks focus and determination that is why its decision is always unpopular. If it continues on its decision of clamping down on journalist, it will lead it to destruction. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Docyard Apapa Lagos Leadership matters: The late President Yar’adua Umaru preached and practised “Rule of law” others have “Laws of the Rulers” to contend with. Anonymous Leadership is all about enduring other people’s utterances no matter how bitter. If you are aggrieved about what people say or what they write about you go to court for interpretation. Clamping down on them is tantamount to the violation of

• Seriake Dickson

their fundamental human rights. It is as if the present government has run out of ideas. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Dockyard Apapa Lagos If I were Mr. Jonathan, I would have started from day one to work for Nigerians, who saw him as one of their own, and voted for him massively at the 2011 presidential election. Now that he has blown the opportunity to endear himself to the masses by choosing to work for the cabal that holds the people by the jugular, he is now running from pillar to the post, sowing seeds of division among those opposed to his uninspiring leadership to remain relevant. Such desperation is doing so much damage to his presidency than he can imagine. From Ifeanyi O.Ifeanyi, Abuja Re: Leadership matters. While I agree that democratic considerations should be in minds of the Presidency, police and the Journalists, democracy should not be abused by both the government and Journalists, more especially the journalists. It is common to see them write against whoever they hate. That belittles Journalists who practise unfounded information-passage. Although LEADERSHIP matters, respect begets respect! From Lanre Oseni

Countries that cease to exist By Eric Teniola These were cities or provinces or empires that once existed. Now, let us turn to the present; let me cite a few nations that have fought civil wars. They include Georgia, Guatemala, Rwanda, Sierra-Leone, Liberia, Nepal, Ireland, Haiti, and Yugoslavia. Countries like Kashmir are still in a war just like Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen. There is civil insurgency in Laos today, Moro uprising in the Philippines and Islamic insurgency in Thailand, drug war in Mexico and civil disturbances in Uzbekistan. In the Global Peace Index compiled by Jeremy Nester, he listed only 10 countries in the world today as safest countries. They are Slovenia, Finland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Austria, Iceland, Norway,Denmark and New Zealand. According to him, “attitudes and demographics determines the safety of a country, the index include the number of homicides per 100,000 people, the potential for being the target of a terrorist attack, level of hostility to foreigners, educational attainment and unemployment rates and several other factors. Of course nobody can predict the future, and by definition travel involves some inherent risk. These include both statistically improbable occurrences like plane going down in the Andes Mountains, to more likely events like being pickpocked on a crowded bus. Travelling to the world’s safest nations does not guarantee an incident-free trip however. In travel as in life, there are no guarantees”. Unfortunately today and very unfortunate indeed, Nigeria is listed among the 20 dangerous countries in the world by the Global Peace Index (GPI). The listing raises a concern whether this country can break up or not. In short can Nigeria glass ceiling be shattered? The answer is that it can but it is not desirable. I do not want to contemplate a situation where Nigerians will part ways among themselves. It is true we are facing serious challenges like other nations, but divorce is not the best solution to a troubled marriage. I want to believe that no matter what we are passing through at the moment, we shall overcome.We shall survive. For, the best comes out of us when we are down. And why should this country break up and for what? We

should not even contemplate it at all. We have been together for long and we shall continue to be together. And there is no easy way to part. Let us think of the on-going war in Afghanistan, Syria, to teach us a lesson. Let us also think of what is going on in Burundi, Congo, East Timor and the Central African Republic. This brings to mind to the pre-civil war meeting that took place, when our military rulers had to proceed to Aburi to solve a crisis on January 4 and January 5, 1967. Aburi by the way is a town North-east of Accra, the capital of Ghana. From Accra to Aburi will take 45 minutes’ drive and it will be less when the dual carriage road from Tetteh Quarshire circle to Adenta Barrier is completed by next year. At Aburi the Nigeria military rulers including Yakubu Gowon, Robert Adeyinka Adebayo, David Ejoor, Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, J.E. Wey, Mobolaji Johnson, and Timothy Omo Bare all assembled. After much discussion in Aburi, the deputy inspector General of Police at that time Omo Bare, stood up and told the meeting that “We cannot sit here…. and divide up Nigeria, because the way things are now moving is towards regionalisation of everything, and I do not think it is safe or that we are right to divide up Nigeria at this table”. No leader, tribe or group of people has the right to break up this country. And the present political class must be reminded that they cannot escape if Nigeria should degenerate further into a major crisis. This country must be saved. Nigeria must not go the way of Troy or Champagne. • Teniola, a former Director at the Presidency writes from Lagos

‘It is true we are facing serious challenges like other nations, but divorce is not the best solution to a troubled marriage. I want to believe that no matter what we are passing through at the moment, we shall overcome.We shall survive. For, the best comes out of us when we are down’




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Metamorphosis of a palmwine seller •’Palmwine sales proceeds gave me education’ Can you forget your past? Yes and no. Tunde Afolayan, a US-based Nigerian artist, will not because his past made him a fullfiled artist . – SEE STORY ON PAGE 26



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•Afolayan working in the studio

Twenty-eight years ago, Tunde Afolayan Famous hawked palmwine on the streets of Ikorodu, on the outskirts of Lagos, to get educated. The US-based artist, who was a teacher in some American universities, is home for an exhibition featuring, among others, Self Portrait and homage to a palmwine seller. Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME reports

Metamorphosis of a palmwine seller


ESPITE over two decades of sojourn in the United States (US), one of Nigeria’s contemporary artists, Mr Tunde Afolayan Famous, is still in touch with his roots. To him, every aspect of his country is as inspiring as it is colourful. At a preview session of his forth coming solo art exhibition, Visual Poetry, he recalled his childhood days in Ikorodu, Lagos, in a piece, Self Portrait, which shows a palm wine tapper rolling his old bicycle down the street of the historic town. Hanging on the bicycle are different kegs containing palm wine, which the tapper hawks along the streets. Notwithstanding the long walk each day, the palmwine tapper’s face radiates contentment. “That painting is homage to my uncle who raised me through proceeds from the sale of palmwine after the death of my father. After my elementary school, I joined my uncle in the business of hawking palm wine on the streets of Ikorodu. My school mates then would always call me, Omo Baba Elemu, Afolayan who wore his stained studio apron, recalled how the sale of palm wine made him. Visual Poetry, which will hold at the Watersworth Art Gallery in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos on Saturday, is Afolayan’s third major solo art exhibition since he left for America in 1985. In 1986, he held a solo show at the National Oil building in Lagos followed by Portrait of a time at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos in 1989. The former art teacher at the Elizabeth City State University, US, regretted missing the opportunity of maintaining a steady relationship with his clients. He said Visual Poetry is not only a reintroduction of his works to Nigerian art, but also, a home-coming exhibition. The long awaited ‘poetry’ could either be discordant or harmonious depending on what the viewers make of it. Erinwo ya is one of his 28 paintings featuring at the exhibition. Like Self Portrait, Erinwo ya, which shows five adult

GALLERY TALK cultists wearing white wrapper walking in a single file late at night, captures the socio-cultural milieu of a Yoruba community. It also highlights the ‘mystical’ procession of members of the Ogboni Fraternity during rites. “We were told never to peep at the Ogboni procession because if we do, we would die. And that stuck to our heads till date. However, apart from recalling such scenes, I see it as oppressive in a way,” Afolayan said. Though he sees himself as a colourist, but what appears domineering in all the exhibits is vibrancy of the colours. In fact, at first view, one is tempted to class him as one of the Auchi colour masters. The way he manages his medium is poetic and dramatic and he uses colour as an agent to express himself. “I work like a mad artist while in the studio. From that point I feel happier at the outcome of the paintings. In fact,

‘That painting is homage to my uncle who raised me through proceeds from the sale of palmwine after the death of my father. After my elementary school, I joined my uncle in the business of hawking palm wine on the streets of Ikorodu. My school mates then would always call me, Omo Baba Elemu’

•Self Portrait

I get therapeutic effect from the colourful pieces I work on in the studio. That is why I am not the artist that works to please collectors. I paint to satisfy myself. The colours are door openers that lead viewers to the messages of the work and they generate conversation. “For me, visual narratives are impetus. However, I never consider any painting finished. I love spontaneity and vibrant colours, which pull viewers into conversation with the works,” he added. Afolayan, who abandoned teaching six years ago for full time studio practice, is not a stranger to experimentations having done lots of experiments with found objects and installations. He described installation as a form of packaging art for sale and nothing spectacular. He lamented that despite the abundance of talented artists, Africa is not on the radar of the American art market. He added that there is the possibility for Nigerian arts to make impact in US because there are great artists in the land. Visual Poetry will feature exhibits such as Kongi, Metamorphosis, Melody, Omoge, Anticipation, Intimacy and Citizen (series). Others are Exodus, Struggle and Rites of Passage and run till April 27. Afolayan trained at the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos and the University of Missouri Columbia, US. He taught art at his alma mater, National Louis University,US, and Elizabeth City State University before quitting for studio practice in 2006.



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Egbe Omo Yoruba partners Southwest governors A

13-MEMBER delegation of a pan-Yoruba socio- cultural group, the National Association of Yorùbá Descendants in North America (Egbé Omo Yorùbá) is in Nigeria to partner with Southwest governors on economic development. The delegation is in the country to partner the governors, industrialists and traditional rulers on how to contribute to the development of the region. It consists of some members of the Executive Council, the president, past presidents, secretaries and some chapter members of the association. The association’s National Secretary of Public Affairs, Dr Ayodeji Famuyide, said its new focus is economic empowerment, community development, education and improvement of other sectors, adding that the association has been around for the past 22 years. “If government could channel its resources and support foreign investors, it will be worth-while,” he said. National President of Egbe Omo Yoruba, Honourable (Yèyé Àfin) Monílólá Tènabè explained that the association is creating an awareness that

Stories by Chinasa Ekekwe

ADVOCACY Yoruba descendants across the world are in communion with one other, which is the idea behind the formation of the Egbe Omo Yoruba. She said the association which is trying to keep the legacy championed by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. She said the association, with its headquarters in Washington DC, is non-partisan and believes in true federalism, adding that the main agenda is the Yoruba agenda, which is paramount. According to the delegation, the main objective of the visit is to make an “onsite” analysis of the present socio-economic and political situation in the Southwest region (Yorùbá states), with the aim of proposing and presenting logistics for government/private partnership that would be needed for development programmes for the region, while having first-hand knowledge of the “red tapes” for the involvement of the Yorùbá in the Diaspora. A statement issued by the association noted that it would examine ways of enhancing collaborative relationships


among the Southwest states in the implementation of service and manufacturingbased programmes across the states. Also to be examined are logistics in setting up youth empowerment programmes, health and human resource education. The visit is part of the resolutions

reached at the first quarter meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association held at Houston, Texas, US in February, where issues on socio-economic development of Southwestern region and marginalisation of Yorùbá in Nigeria were extensively discussed.

Fond memories of graffiti artist


HE recent screening of The Radiant Child, a 2010 documentary film, brought back fond memories of American artist JeanMichel Basquiat. It was held in Lagos by the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) as part of its inaugural edition of the AAF Art Salon. The film was based on the footage that director Tamra Davis took during her meeting with the artist in 1985, and the documentary includes interviews with people close to Basquiat from the time he discovered himself as a great graffiti artist till his death. The film also shows in details the way of life in New York City

•We carry on with our lives by Uche Uzorka

FILM in the 80s citing how people got involved with music and arts. As a teenager, Basquiat ran away from home to fulfil his dreams and establish himself as a successful individual. He began as an obscure graffiti artist in New York City in the late 70s and evolved into an acclaimed Neo-expressionist and primitivist painter. But by the 80s, his works have had direct and immediate message while his rise to fame was discribed as a ‘hazard of sudden success and fame’ Basquiat died on August 12, 1988 at 27 leav-

ing behind 1,000 paintings and 1,000 drawings. In his short career, Basquiat became internationally celebrated for his graffiti, street art and crudely drawn canvases. Nigerian artist, Uche Uzorka whose work has often been compared to the legendary artist was at the presentation. Even if not directly influenced by Basquiat’s work, observers might note a similar radical neo-expressionist and contemporary urban cultural influence in Uzorka’s work. Uche presented his past projects and spoke on the art movement in Nigeria today, noting that he drew a lot before painting. He said Basquiat’s art was spontaneous and he

•Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Fallen Angel, 1981

expressed a high level of freedom. The AAF Art Salon is a platform for informal presentation, discussion, and debate of issues surrounding contemporary art practices in Nigeria. Taking place once a month, the AAF Art Salon will include film screenings, artist talks, portfolio reviews, and panel discussions, allowing artists and cultural practitioners to meet and exchange ideas. As a complementary project to AAF’s annual exhibition programme, the AAF Art Salon will act as a forum for community interaction and serve to enrich AAF’s ongoing public programming initiatives.



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Charity home gets a lift


IM Group, owners of Cool FM, Wazobia FM and Nigeria Info FM, has donated N1million to the Heart of Gold Hospice, an orphanage that caters for children with special needs in Lagos. The Hospice manager, Mrs. Adedoyin Adelaja, flanked by some of the children from the home received the cheque at the Head office of the media group in Victoria Island, Lagos. Mrs Adedoyin said the Hospice in Surulere, Lagos Mainland provides home for children with special needs such as cerebral palsy and other forms of disabilities. She said she was shocked when she got a call to come for the cheque, adding that without the support from the media, the Hospice would not have gotten to where it is. “The power of the media is so much that without people talking about Heart of Gold on the radio, television and print media, we would not be where we are today. Thank you very much”. She urged Nigerians to take out time to come to the home and play with the 46 children in the Hospice, saying it is worth more than any financial aid. Presenting the cheque, Group Managing Director of AIM Group, Mr. Amin Moussalli, said the gesture was part of the organisation’s support to the care of less privileged children. Moussalli, while praising Mrs. Adelaja for the sacrifice in caring for vulnerable children, urged other corporate organisations to support orphanages and non-governmental organisations in the business of caring for children. ”Those in the media have the liberty to say what they want to say. I think people like agencies should directly as-

•From left Mrs Adelaja of Children Hospice, flanked by some of the children from the home, Evita Moussalli and Moussalli. By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

PHILANTHROPY sist, budgets should be given directly to orphanages to help them in what they do” We don’t know the other side of the coin except we see disadvantaged people. Mrs. Adelaja with what you do, I feel you have a place in heaven. He added that the AIM Group will give more to the Hospice subsequently. On her part, Chief Operating Officer of AIM Group, Evita Moussalli said the

gesture was part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility(CSR) to support worthy cause. “One of my favourite quotes says that what we get makes a living, what you give makes a life”. The organisation also presented a car as a star prize to the 29 year old winner of 2012 Praise Jam, Miss Amy Yawus. Moussalli, who presented the car key to the winner, said it was part of their giving back to the society. Yawus, who said the car came as a

surprise, recounted that she has always attended the annual praise jam without any inclination that it was through it she will have her first car. ”I’ve always attended Praise Jam. Last year, I was leaving with some of the friends I came with when I heard the raffle draw was about to start. “When I heard my raffle number called out for the star prize I couldn’t believe it, so I told someone to help me check if it was really my ticket number. I was so overjoyed”, she said.

The changing face of the Southsouth creeks


N executing its mandate, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has continued to deliver on projects to states under its purview. These projects range from roads to hospitals and ultra-modern hostels for higher institutions. Some of these projects were inspected recently by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on NDDC in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Imo, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states. The Senate toured Abia, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, the House visited the other five states. Touring five states in four days was hectic for the lawmakers, but they took it in their strides. Their Chairman Nicholas Mutu said their findings after inspecting the projects were revealing. “We now appreciate the need to commit more funds to the rapid development of the oil-rich region. What we have seen convinces us that the NDDC is making tremendous impact on the lives of the people. We will, therefore, urge the Federal Government to give the commission the financial muscle to be able to handle more big ticket projects,” Mutu said. He said the Niger Delta terrain was a big challenge to development agencies, noting that this made it difficult and expensive to execute projects in the region. He added that the long rainy season in the area affects the delivery time for projects. “We commend the NDDC for working against these odds and still delivering on its mandate of fast-tracking the development of the Niger Delta. In the light of this, we call

The Senate and House of Representatives’Committees on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) have toured some of the commission’s projects in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Imo, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states. It was an eye-opening tour for the lawmakers. JAMES ETOKPHAI reports

• Mutu (third from right) leading other members of the panel during the tour. With them is Oboh (third left).

DEVELOPMENT on the Federal Government to encourage the commission by releasing the over N500 billion it is owing in outstanding statutory allocations to it,” he said. At the site of some of the projects, poor funding dominated discussions among the lawmakers. For Chief Barry Mpigi, representing Tai/Eleme Federal Constituency in Rivers State, the funding problem goes beyond the outstanding arrears of N500 billion. He advocated the swift passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to provide

another source of funding for the development of oil-producing communities. The lawmakers inspected nine road projects including the 23.7kilometre Owaza-Etche-Igwuruta Road and the 18.9 kilometre Erema Ring Road in Ogba/Egbema Ndoni Local Government Area of the state. They also visited the Koko-Ugheaye-Escravos Road, which will link Delta to Ondo State, with six bridges; the 28-kilometre Patani-Angoloma Road in Delta State and the Sampou-Odoni Road in Bayelsa State. In Imo State, they inspected the 17-

kilometre Ishinweke-Onicha River Road in Ihite Ubuma Local Government Area and the 18-kilometre Obokofia internal roads in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area. But the project that caught their attention was the Imo State University hostel, which was being painted. They, however, expressed displeasure with the handling of a similar project at the University of Benin in Edo State. The lawmakers were disappointed with what they saw and they told the contractor to sit up or face sanctions. They sought to know from NDDC Managing Director Dr Christian Oboh why the contractor was not living up to expectations. He told the lawmakers that he did not understand why the contractor failed to deliver on agreed milestones after he had been mobilised. Oboh said the project was one of those placed on fast-track by the commission to ensure that they were completed as quickly as possible, adding that some other projects on priority list had been completed and would be commissioned soon. One of such projects is the EwohimeOnicha Ugbo-Abudu Road linking Delta and Edo states. The lawmakers who drove on the road and bridge were satisfied with the quality of job done. Oboh was delighted that an indigenous contractor, Inter Bau, could put up a Grade A performance. Another project that will be ready for commissioning soon is

the Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-Iwuo Achang road with a 600-metre bridge across the Qua Iboe River. The project links Iwuo Achang mainland to Okoroutip, a community of 13 villages, bringing civilisation to the riverine areas which were hitherto forgotten. It is the longest bridge being built by an indigenous contractor, Viche Nigeria Ltd, in the region. The project was also inspected by the Senate Committee. The committee chair, Senator James Manager, said: “We, the Senators are happy and we have seen that the communities around here are happy too. This is a landmark project and it is unique.” The committee inspected the Specialist and Orthopaedic Hospital being built by the NDDC in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Justifying the need for the hospital, Oboh said: “The people need to be healthy to savour the benefits of good roads and bridges,” adding that it comprised orthopaedic and cardiovascular units. He said the project would be replicated in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Delta states. “We want to reverse the trend of medical tourism in the Niger Delta. We want our people to begin to get their medical treatment from our specialist hospitals, instead of travelling overseas for their healthcare needs,” he said. And in his characteristic manner, Senator Manager intoned: “To God be the glory”, in appreciation of what the lawmakers saw.





Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

NLNG is one of the biggest success stories in our country. From what I am told, the company has invested $13 billion so far since inception, and has become a pacesetter in terms of revenue generation for the government. -Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga

Power sector reform to boost Nigeria’s growth, says IMF I MPLEMENTATION of the power sector reform and rebound from floods would boost Nigeria’s growth this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. The Fund, which said this in the latest edition of its World Economic Outlook (WEO), also projected a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 6.7 per cent and 6.9 per cent for the country in 2013 and 2014. Nigeria’s GDP is projected to be seven per cent this year. The country had recorded a GDP growth of 10.3 per cent, 10.6 per cent, 5.4 per cent, 6.2 per cent, 7 per cent, six per cent, 7 per cent, 7.4 per cent, 7.4 per cent and 6.5 per cent in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Historically, from 2005 until 2012, Nigeria’s GDP growth rate averaged 6.8 per cent reaching an all-time high of 8.6 per cent in December of 2010 and a record low of 4.5 per cent in March of 2009. The GDP growth rate provides an aggregated

•Forecasts 5.5% growth for sub-Saharan Africa From Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor, in Washington D.C

measure of changes in value of the goods and services produced by an economy. About $2.23 billion revenue is expected by the Federal Government from the sale of the 15 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) assets. The funds are expected to be pumped into major infrastructure in the country, including the power sector. Once the power issue is resolved, more economic activities will spring up and this will translate to an increase in the county’s GDP. Meanwhile, the Fund also forecast a GDP growth of 5.5 per cent and six per cent for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in

2013 and 2014. Specifically, it expects SSA to continue growing at a strong pace during 2013–14, with both resourcerich and lower-income economies benefiting from robust domestic demand. The IMF, however, noted: “The external environment is the main source of risks to growth, particularly for middle income and mineralexporting economies. Given the still-uncertain global environment, countries whose policy buffers are thin and where growth is strong should seek to rebuild fiscal positions without undermining productive investment. “Driven largely by domestic momentum in private consumption and investment, as well as exports, subSaharan Africa experienced

robust growth in 2012, continuing a long trend of expansion only briefly interrupted in 2009. At 4¾ per cent, regional GDP growth was slightly lower than forecast in the “October 2012 WEO, reflecting mainly the impact of floods on oil and non-oil output in Nigeria and labour stoppages in South Africa.” Besides, it observed that headline growth in SSA in 2012 was visibly affected by the interruption of oil exports from South Sudan. The Fund added: “Activity in Mali and GuineaBissau was adversely affected by civil conflict; in Mali, 400,000 people have been displaced, half of whom fled to neighbouring countries. On the positive side, Angolanoil production strengthened, and

Côte d’Ivoire experienced a sharp rebound in economic activity after the election-related disruptions of 2011. “Growth is projected to reach 5½ per cent in 2013, only marginally lower than forecast in the October2012 WEO. The generally strong performance is based on a significant extent on ongoing investment in infrastructure and productive capacity, continuing robust consumption, and the activation of new capacity in extractive sectors. The IMF noted that inflation in the region moderated from 10 per cent at the end of 2011 to less than eight per cent at the end of 2012, a trend expected to continue, absent new fuel and food price shocks. It said: ”The improvement in 2012 was particularly marked in eastern Africa, owing to monetary policy tightening and lower food prices associated with a recovery in local food production.

Nigeria gets manager for N500m venturecapital By Lucas Ajanaku

A •From left: Executive Director, Lagos & West (Keystone Bank), Mrs Yvonne Isichei; Country Manager, International Finance Corporation IFC, Mr Solomon Adegbie Quaunor; Executive Director, South Directorate, Keystone Bank, Mrs Sally UwechueMbanefo; Senior Investment Officer, Andean Region, IFC, Mr Norbert Schneider and Executive Director, Operations & Technology, (Keystone Bank), Mr Ademola Adewale, at Keystone Bank Head Office ... on Monday.

NSE to delist three firms over poor corporate governance


HE Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) may delist three firms across various sectors for failure to meet the minimum corporate governance requirement stipulated in the post-listing guidelines for the secondary market. Among the three companies listed for delisting, two opted to quit voluntarily, while the other two as a result of business combination and voluntary liquidation. The delisting of the six companies would reduce market capitalisation of the NSE by about N37 billion. A latest report on compliance with post-listing requirements obtained by The Nation showed that the NSE has initiated regulatory process to

DMO to raise N104b through bonds today

- P 30

By Taofik Salako

compulsorily delist the trio of Afroil Plc, West African Aluminium Products Plc and Nigerian Wire Industries Plc over non-compliance with post-listing requirements. Compulsory delisting is a weeding out process usually initiated and undertaken by management of a stock exchange to remove companies adjudged to be irredeemably deficient in corporate governance from its trading platform. On the other hand, voluntary delisting implies a voluntary decision by a company to remove its shares from a stock exchange due to whatever reasons. The report indicated that

Poly Products would soon be delisted due to the decision of the company’s management to opt out of listing at the NSE. Another company, Pinnacle Point Group Plc, which had done cross-border listing in South Africa and Nigeria, has started liquidation process, which would terminate its listing. Crusader Nigeria, which recently concluded a business combination with Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc, would be delisted as Custodian absorbs the assets and liabilities of the company. A source in the know of compulsory delisting said that the three companies were being delisted due to inability to present periodic operational reports that

CBN’s policy won’t affect banks’ cash flow - P31

could justify their continuous listing. The source noted that compulsory delisting is the final step in a long process of engagement, including demand for compliance reports, issuance of warnings, imposition of fines and sanctions and issuance of notice of delisting. Where a company fails to restructure and adjust its operations to enable it meet post-listing requirements, then the Exchange may indicate delisting process. Afroil, a petroleum-marketing company, was listed on the main tier of the NSE in 1990. Official report at the NSE showed that it has not paid any dividend for more than two decades.

VENTURE Capital Fund Manager has been appointed to manage the N500 million seed fund made available by the Federal Government to develop the software industry in the country, the Project Manager, Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA), Helen Anatogu, has said. iDEA is the special purpose vehicle (SPV) put in place to oversee the implementation of the sotware incubation centres conceived by the Minsitry of Communication Technology in partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the close of last year. Speaking in an interview in Lagos at the weekend, Anatogu said a venture capital has finally been selected to manage the fund, adding that the firm is an internationally recognised entity. “A venture fund capital manager has been selected; unfortunately, we cannot let you know the identity of the manager now,” she said. She admitted that the software incubation centres were actually taking off behind schedule blaming breaucracy for the development. She said the project will soon take off in Lagos and Tinapa Knowledge City, Calabar, Cross Rivers State.

Dangote, UBN’s Union Global, others get deadlines... -P 32




DMO to raise N104b through T bonds today

HE Debt Management Offices (DMO) is to raise N104.8 billion ($670 million) in its monthly auction of bonds today, FBN Capital has said. It said the total sales target is higher than its projection given that the agency had raised N285 billion (gross) in just three months and that the approved 2013 budget sets domestic borrowing (net) at N577 billion. In a report, FBN Capital said the DMO tentatively offered Nigeria’s long bond in February to raise just N15 billion and may have been surprised by the bid of N79 billion for the paper. “The auctions in the past year have generated demand comfortably above projected sales, a rare exception being September. Many offshore investors may favour the longer dated treasury bills but few, if any liquid government bond markets match the yields available in Nigeria. Also, the shift by domestic institutional investors from bonds to

By Collins Nweze

equities has not been dramatic,” it said. It said that the market rally since last August driven by tight monetary policy is not exhausted, and that yields on the more liquid bonds may narrow by 100 basis points in the first half of the year. FBN Capital said this calendar, unlike that for the first quarter, has been prepared with an approved 2013 federal budget in place. The budget statistics showed an expenditure of N4.99 trillion, a deficit of N887 billion and domestic borrowing (net) of N578 billion. It said once the proposed $1 billion Eurobond was excluded, and the $100 million Diaspora bond, too, there would be a deficit financing gap of about N140 billion.

The deficit, it said, could be covered by asset sales and signature bonuses, though the government’s recent track record for the first is poor and prospects for the second are undermined by the continuing impasse over the Petroleum Industry Bill in the National Assembly. “We accept that best practice requires a range for issuance and favours front-loading in the calendar year. Yet, the low point in the range for second quarter still looks high in the context of the DMO’s sales of bonds totaling N285 billion (gross) in first quarter and of the projection for domestic borrowing (net) in the budget,” it said. It said the DMO reopened the bond in February and found that it attracted the highest bid at auction (N79 billion). This vindi-

• From left: Western Union Regional Vice President for Northcentral and West Africa, Mrs Aida Diara; Chief Executive Officer, Vtnetwork Limited, Mr Peter Ojo and Western Union Senior Country Manager (ECOWAS), Tarik Alhassan, at the Western Union Vin Mobile Money Transfer Service briefing in Lagos. PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA

Forex demand dropped in Q 4 2012, says CBN F OREIGN exchange (forex) demand by authorised dealers consisting of the Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) and Bureau De Change (BDC) operators dropped to $4.29 billion between October and December, last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) External Sector Development Report has said. The report said it recorded 34.2 per cent decline, when compared with the third quarter’s performance and 59.4 per cent when compared with the levels recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2011. The report showed that dollar continued to dominate external reserves as the currency constituted 84.3 per cent of the $43.83 billion reserves as at December 31, last year. The figure represents an increase of $3.15 billion compared with its level of $33.81 billion in third quarter. Other currencies in the basket included Euro (5.9 per cent), Chinese Yuan (1.9 per cent), GB Pounds (1.9 per cent) and SDR (5.9 per cent). A review of the management of external reserves revealed that the portfolio was com-

posed of fixed deposits (48.6 per cent), funds under Asset Management (20.1 per cent), Joint Venture Company cash call (0.1 per cent) and current account (6.3 per cent) as well as Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) (2.3 per cent). This development, the report said, was traced to the increased supply of foreign exchange through the autonomous sources to the interbank foreign exchange market. Equally, a total of $10.22 billion was utilised in fourth quarter consisting of $6.41 billion and $3.80 billion for visible and invisible trade. This represented 62.8 and 37.2 per cent. Further analysis showed that foreign exchange utilised for visible transactions has remained dominant over the last two quarters of 2012. Analysis of foreign exchange utilisation by sectors revealed that $6.42 billion or 62.8 per cent was spent on the importation of visible goods into the country.

The importation of industrial, oil, food and manufactured products utilised 28.3, 27.3, 19.2 and 18.0 per cent of the total, respectively services. It comprised, financial ($2.97 billion or 78.1 per cent), business ($0.23 billion or 6.1 per cent), transportation ($0.29 billion or 7.7 per cent) while “others” accounted for the balance. “Foreign exchange utilisation of 19.2 per cent for food importation was high and suggests the need for adequate funding of the agricultural sector and the vigorous pursuit of the financial inclusion programme,” it said. Also, the average WDAS rate appreciated marginally by 0.04 per cent in during the fourth quarter as the naira exchanged for N157.32 to a dollar as against N157.39 to a dollar in third quarter of 2012. Similarly, the naira appreciated, by 1.63 per cent, at the BDC segment of the market, as it exchanged for N159.19 to a dollar in the review period as against N161.79 to a dollar in third quarter 2012. This made the BDC premium to contract by 1.61 percentage point to 1.19 per cent.

cated the its thinking that the reopening would be well-received, given the increasing role of the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and other institutional investors at auction. It said the total monthly bid has averaged N161 billion over the past 12 months, except for September last year when (N83 billion) auction was recorded. “We expect the DMO to meet the calendar comfortably. We detect a certain cooling of offshore interest in the market, and cite the sharp increase in sales at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s forex auction. That said, we feel that the good inflation story as well as Nigeria’s inclusion in the government bond indices of JP

•CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi

Morgan and Barclays will underpin strong demand for domestic and some offshore investors,” it said.

IFC to build collateral registry for SMEs


HE International Finance Corporation (IFC) is work ing with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to build a collateral registry system that will make it easier for banks to lend to the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Speaking at the SME Toolkit Global Partner conference in Lagos, IFC, Nigeria Country Manager, Solomon Quaynor, said the corporation had realised that banks do not want high risk transactions, synonymous with lending to SMEs. He said the corporation was also partnering with 10 local banks to de-risk lending to the subsector. He said the SME Toolkit lunched in the country by IFC, IBM and EDC Pan African University, will enable the entrepreneurs effectively to manage their businesses. He therefore said the IFC has stepped in to de-risk such loans by providing financial infrastructure and developing collateral registry that will assist banks in lending to the subsector. Quaynor said that since a lot of the SMEs do not have landed assets, except receivables, IFC is working with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Ministry of Trade and Investment to build a registry system that should include the ability of SMEs to borrow from banks. “We are working on getting the SMEs to use toolkit, so that banks can be more comfortable lending to the subsector. Our focus is not about giving money to the banks to lend to SMEs. It is about building their confidence in the SMEs so that that subsector can easily obtain loans from lenders,” he

said. He said the corporation spends a lot of time training the banks to understand SMEs, by designing products for the subsector among other things. It is not about the money we are providing for banks, but that we are getting them to be more careful in lending to SMEs. He said the corporation is investing broadband services to ensure that the right communication platform needed to reach more entrepreneurs across the country is made available. General Manager, IBM Africa, Taiwo Otiti, said the SMEs tools help entrepreneurs manage their businesses properly, and in the process, making it attractive for banks to grant them loans. “The SMEs Toolkit will help entrepreneurs input their financials, making it easier for banks to understand and take lending decisions on their account positions,” he said. He said SMEs remain engine of growth for the economy, adding that they are the largest employer of labour within the economy. He said that when the SMEs businesses are run well, then they will have the capacity to employ more people. “Part of the SMEs teaching is how to package their businesses to attract banks’ lending. Also note that there are several types of banking in the country,” he said. He said as the economy grows, the ability of banks to loan funds to entrepreneurs also grows adding that the presence of credit bureaux have also raised banks’ appetite to lend to the SMEs’ subsector.

Visa canvasses more cash-less banking for travellers


ISA, the global electronic payments company, has called for an improved use of e-payment products by business travelers both within and outside the country. Speaking at the BT Africa West Africa Expo and Conference in Lagos, Country Manager for Visa West Africa, Ade Ashaye, said the firm is committed to helping the country achieve its cash-less banking initiative. “Visa is committed to helping move Nigeria to a cashless economy and share some of the benefits of secure electronic payments within the industry.” The conference was hosted in association with Future Group’s Business Traveller Africa. He said Nigeria is growing as a destination

for both leisure and business travel and rise in spending is a credit to the efforts of those promoting Nigeria as a tourist destination. According to VisaVue Travel data, Nigeria’s top three source markets of spend on Visa cards were the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa. Visa cardholders from these three markets account for 60.1 per cent of all total spending by international Visa cardholders in Nigeria. “What was great to see was the various players in West African business travel coming together under one roof, debating the issues, looking for solutions and engaging with existing and potential clients,” said Dylan Rogers, of Business Traveller Africa.




‘CBN’s reserve policy won’t affect banks’ cash flow’ T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) decision to leave the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) at 12 per cent will not affect the liquidity of banks, analysts have said. They said the CBN’s decision was borne out of the need to ensure a well-regulated macro economy, and not to hinder the liquidity status of banks. The Chief Executive Officer, Dunn Loren Merrifield, Mr Sonnie Ayeye, said the measure was aimed at creating a buffer for banks to enable them to access funds when they do not have enough money for operations. Ayeye said the CRR was one way of strengthening the liquidity position of banks, adding that the regulators know what best suits the banking operators. He said: “Banks have three major sources of raising funds. They collect deposits, raise funds from the capital market though public offers/right issues, inter-bank market, and approach CBN for

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

money when they are in need. This has enabled them to play better than other operators in the industry. Now that CBN is keeping CRR at 12 per cent, it’s telling the banks that they have more money to fall back on when they are in crisis. The issue cannot affect banks because they have already raised their liquidity to a level whereby they can sustain themselves taking from their reserves with the apex bank.” Ayeye said it would be wrong to conclude that CBN wants to create illiquidity among banks by not reviewing its cash reserve requirement downward. According to him, the reforms policy was to implemented to fast-track the growth of banks, make them competitive and lend to the economy. “The banks are playing well locally and internationally. They have established offshore

branches as well getting listed in foreign markets. This is a plus to the nation’s banking industry. How can CBN destroy what its has built? He asked A Senior lecturer at Lagos Business School, Dr Austine Nweze, said the various initiatives of CBN have paid off, giving the provision of a single digit inflation of nine per cent. He said CBN has kept CRR at 12 per cent to deepen the reserves of banks and further make functional. He urged banks to lend more to the economy, arguing that economy growth is not moving at a pace it supposed to be. “The economy position can only be galvanised when operators have enough money to operate with,” he said. Analysts from FBN Capital Limited said the maintenance of CRR at 12 per cent, among other decisions taken by the CBN, was widely anticipated in line with its monetary tightening stance.

‘Nigeria among largest unbanked population’ NIGERIA has one of the largest numbers of people that have no access to traditional financial services in West Africa, according to a survey conducted by Sap Community Network and Standard Bank of South Africa (SBSA). In a report entitled: Accessibility to financial services in Sub-Sahara Africa, the firms said more than 80 per cent of people in the region do not have access to traditional financial services. The report said Nigeria has the largest percentage of people that have little or no access to financial services in the region. The report said: “In sub-Sahara Africa, more than 80 per cent of people have no access to traditional financial services. This has been one of the great challenges in fighting poverty in South Africa. Given the lack of developed infrastructure in many parts of Africa, how is it possible to provide millions of unbanked people with basic banking services?” They said people’s inability to provide proof of evidence is one of the biggest impediments to opening a new account. According to them, the introduction of mobile telephony services would increase accessibility to financial services or products in the region in future. “Standard Bank has been opening up to 7,000 new accounts each day through its mobile outreach programme. These new accounts are benefiting the people, the bank, and the economy. Bank customers are now able to use their phones to transfer funds, pay electric bills, and buy more air time. They also have access to credit that they have never been able to access before,” the report added.

CIBN partners Moody’s Investor THE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) is partnering with Moody’s Investor, Institute of Financial Services (IFS) and Centre of Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI). The deal, it said, in a statement, will increase its global recognition. CIBN Chairman, Segun Aina, said the institute is considering working with CSFI in syndication of articles and joint authorship with Nigerian-based authors, among others. He said the institute was willing and ready to collaborate with Moody’s Investor on some critical areas of mutual interest to both organisations. Aina maintained that the institute would follow up on the UK-based organisations until the collaboration was consummated.

Mobile money firms collaborate MOBILE Money Operators (MMOs) are to collaborate on Shared Agency Network to foster growth, an official of Fortis Mobile Money, Mr Kunle Ogunmola, has said. Ogunmola said the network would provide operators the opportunities to share the same scheme or platform for growth. He said: “Shared Agency Network, among mobile money operators, will enable them to have a single access to scheme or platform for growth, as well as reducing the cost of setting up an agency.” He said collaborations among the operators on the issue of shared agency network is more popular, as against merger and acquisition in the industry.

FMDA elects president

• From left: Director-General, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyeama; Minister of Trade and Investement, Dr Olusegun Aganga and Chief Executive Officer, Dunn Loren Merrifield, Mr Sonnie Ayeye, at a dinner organised by Dunn Loren Merrifield in Lagos.

Govt adopts global accounting model


HE Federal Government is planning to adopt the Interna tional Public Sector Accounting Standard (ISPAS) accrual basis in 2015. The measure is aimed at protecting its fixed assets and check corruption, it has been learnt. This varies from the ISPAS cash basis adopted on January 1, to enable the government track-down all cash-based transactions among its Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs). An Accountant and Consultant to Financial Reporting Council (FRC) on International Reporting Financial Standards (IFRS), Mr Uwadiae Oduware, said 2015 is the target year for the adoption of ISPAS accrual basis to ensure accountability in the public service. He told The Nation that the Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonas Otunla, and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), in May, last year, agreed to promote the use of accounting standards in the public sector, leading to the adoption of ISPAS cash basis and accrual basis in 2013 and 2015. Both bodies, he said, have been

working together on the issue since last year to encourage transparency in government. He said: “ISPAS accrual basis is expected to be implemented in federal-owned ministries in 2015. ISPAS cash and accrual basis are the public version of the International Financial Reporting Standards, and are meant for the public sector only. By ISPAS accrual basis, we are referring to the management of the fixed assets of the government. “The assets include lands and buildings. Under accrual basis, it would be easier to know, monitor and check untoward practices relating to the use of the fixed assets of the Federal Government. “For instance, if there is a wrong possession, or transfer of government land or building, it would not be long before such activities are discovered when ISPAS accrual basis is adopted in 2015. If a ‘movement’ofgovernment’s building occurs, the financial statement prepared with ISPAS accrual basis format would reveal it,” Oduware explained. “Government buys vehicles

among other movable assets. A public servant may be in possession of three or four cars, and it would be difficult to track down such assets. The reason is because he might decide to hide some of the vehicles. But that is not possible when its come to fixed assets, because ISPAS accrual basis w ould provide detailed information about the assets,” he added. He said users of government’s financial statements would see more transparency, accountability and integrity in the statements, when ISPAS accrual basis is implemented in 2015. “I think the major objective of ISPAS accrual basis is to enable government have a true picture of its assets and balance sheets to prevent abuse of office among its officials,” he said. According to him, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation will at the end of implementation process of ISPAS accrual basis in 2015, be able to deliver a standardised uniform chart of accounts, budget, financial statements that meets international best practices to the nation.

FINANCIAL Markets Dealers Association (FMDA) has elected Sola Adegbesan, Head of Global Markets at Stanbic IBTC Bank, as its President. In a statement, the body said Adegbesan was elected for a two-year term at the 21st delegates conference/annual general meeting of the association in Lagos. Other members of the seven-man governing council are Mrs. Sumbo Adigun as vice president; Mr Ayo Babatunde and Mr Zeal Akaraiwe as members while Mr Akin Dawodu, Mrs Femi Owopetu, and Mr Ini Ebong are ex-officios. In his acceptance speech, Adegbesan thanked the association for entrusting its affairs to him. He promised to uphold the objectives of the body and work with other members, member-institutions and regulatory authorities to move the association forward. According to him, “The financial services industry in Nigeria is faced with challenges which require our collective attention and commitment to surmount. As a body, we must ensure that the ongoing reforms in the financial services sector are successfully concluded, that corporate governance structures are strengthened and global best practices engendered in the industry. This will make our financial markets attractive for foreign portfolio investments and the resultant market development.” The new president’s over 15 years cognate banking experience is expected to have a positive impact on the activities of the association as it strives to deepen treasury services in the industry. The Association’s contributions to the financial markets include its introduction of the Nigerian Inter-bank Offered Rate (NIBOR), the benchmark interest rate, in 1998 and the Nigerian Inter-bank Foreign Exchange Rate (NIFEX), respectively.

GTBank launches social network platform GUARANTY Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) has launched a social banking platform, which allows customers to meet their needs on Facebook. The first of its kind in the country, the paltform allows members of the public to open GTBank accounts and get customer service support on Facebook. Speaking with reporters, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of GTBank, Mr Segun Agbaje, said the bank’s objective is to engage the public where they work, live or play, adding that the new service would enable those on the social media to have a relationship and carry out transactions. Agbaje said: “This novel service at present allows people open GTBank accounts and get customer service support on Facebook and in a couple of weeks, we will introduce new service options that include money transfers, airtime purchases and bills payments.” He said GTBank’s commitment is for the convenience of its stakeholders, saying that the bank would continue to introduce value adding alternative channels in the future.




Dangote, UBN’s Union Global, others get deadlines to reduce shareholdings A LHAJI Aliko Dangote, the core investor in Dangote Cement Plc; Union Global Partners Limited, the core investor in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and other core investors in Tourist Company of Nigeria, Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Microfinance Bank and Studio Press have been given deadlines to sell down their domineering equity stakes in the companies or issue new shares to the investing public to dilute their shareholdings. The core investors in the five companies were mandated by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to either sell down or dilute their shareholdings to enable the companies to meet the crucial 20 per cent free float requirement for the main board of the Exchange. A report on companies in violation of the 20 per cent free float obtained by The Nation showed that Dangote Industries Limited, the holding company of Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and core investor in Dangote Cement has up till October 2014 to sell down or dilute its shareholdings in the cement company. Union Global Partners is required to either sell down or dilute its shareholdings on or before June 2017 while NPF Microfinance Bank has up till the end of next month to increase its public float. Union Global Partners Limited, a special purpose vehicle that included many investment firms including African Capital Alliance (ACA), investment funds of The Netherland and United States Governments and other Nigerian investors. By the expiration of the deadlines, the core investors are mandatorily required to have completed partial divestments or dilution of their shareholdings to free 20 per cent equity stake for public holding, unless the management of the NSE grants fresh waivers and extensions for the companies. In the extreme instance, a company with deficient public float may opt to delist its shares. The Nation’s checks indicated that Dangote Industries may divest as much as N396 billion and Union

Stories by Taofik Salako

Global Partners may need to sell shares worth more than N10 billion, according to market valuations. Dangote Industries currently has about 94.9 per cent majority equity stake in Dangote Cement, falling short of the minimum public float by about 14.9 per cent. With this, Dangote Industries would have to sell about 2.54 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each if it chooses the divestment option. Union Bank of Nigeria falls short of the minimum float by 6.0 per cent, implying either a divestment of some 1.02 billion ordinary shares by the core investors or issuance of supplementary shares to general investing public. Also, NPF Microfinance Bank needs to add 5.32 per cent equity stake to meet the 20 per cent float, indicating potential divestment of 122 million ordinary shares. The core investor in Studio Press, which has the lowest deficiency rate of 3.98 per cent, would need to sell about 24 million ordinary shares or explore other means to dilute shareholdings. Tourist Company of Nigeria has the highest deficiency rate of 18.69m per cent, indicating possible divestment of some 420 million ordinary shares. The NSE’s report indicated that the timelines for the compliance with the 20 per cent minimum public float were given to the various companies after they had applied for waivers from the Quotations Committee of the NSE. The companies were said to have outlined plans to meet the minimum public float, which the NSE took into consideration in extending the timeframe for them to comply with the minimum public float. They are however required to provide quarterly disclosure reports to the NSE on the efforts being made to fully comply by the deadlines. Besides the companies with deficient floats, the 20 per cent public float also prevents core investors in several companies including Conoil, Cadbury Nigeria, Dangote Flour Mills and Dangote Sugar

Refinery from acquiring additional equity stakes. Already, these core investors hold more than 70 per cent. Public float is technically a synonym of public shareholder and it refers to the shares of a quoted company held by ordinary shareholders other than those directly or indirectly held by its parent, subsidiary or associate companies or any subsidiaries or associates of its parent company; its directors who are holding office as directors of the entity and their close family members and any single individual or institutional shareholder holding a statutorily significant stake, which is five per cent and

above in Nigeria. Thus, public shareholders and public float do not include shareholders or shares held directly or indirectly by any officer, director, controlling shareholder or other concentrated, affiliated or family holdings. Stock markets maintain minimum public float to prevent undue concentration of securities in the hands of the core investors and related interests, a situation that can make the stock to be susceptible to price manipulation. Besides, it provides the general investing public with opportunity to reasonably partake in the wealth creation by private enterprises.

The recently revised listing rules of the NSE stipulates that the public shall hold a minimum of 20 per cent of each class of equity securities of a company quoted on the main board, 15 per cent of each class of equity securities of a company quoted on the Alternative Securities Market (ASeM) and 10 per cent of each class of equity securities of a dual-listed company. Prior to the review, the minimum public float for the main board of NSE was 25 per cent. The global trend for public float had however tended to be upward than downward. India had recently increased its public float to 25 per cent while Hong Kong also maintains 25 per cent float.

•From left: Non-Executive Director, McNichols Consolidated Plc, Mr Anthony Ikpea; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema; Managing Director, McNichols Consolidated Plc, Mr Chimaraoke Ekpe and Executive Director, Business Development, NSE, Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri, during a ceremony to mark the ringing of NSE’s trading bell by management of McNichols.

Low inflation rate to increase equities’ return


HE National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is expected to release a lower inflation rate for March 2013 today, setting the stage for subsequent increase in average real returns to investors in quoted equities. The Data Release Calendar of the NBS indicated that the new inflation figure would be released today. The inflation rate, for February 2013, stands at 9.5 cent. Analysts at FSDH Merchant Bank said all indices pointed to a reduction in inflation rate, which automatically would increase the inflation adjusted return of quoted equities. The stock market opened this week with average year-to-date return of 19.36 per cent. Estimates by the FSDH indicated probability of 60 points decrease in inflation rate from 9.5 per cent to 8.9 per cent. Inflation rate of about 8.9 per cent implies double-digit inflation adjusted return of about 10.5 per cent for the equities market. The double digit return will further enhance the attractiveness of equities, especially against the background of low and declining interest rates in the fixed-income market. According to analysts, in spite of the expected increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI) in March 2013, the base effect of an increase in March 2012 would produce a year-on-year inflation rate of 8.9 per cent, representing 60 basis points drop from February 2013 inflation rate.

“The March CPI will have to increase by at least 1.6 per cent from February to produce an inflation rate that is higher than 9.5 per cent reported in February 2013. In our opinion, this is unlikely,” FSDH concluded. FSDH stated that analysis of the prices of a basket of consumer goods monitored across the country in March had showed that prices of some major components of the basket increased. The aver-

age prices of rice increased by about 25.98 per cent on account of increase in import duties. The price of yam increased by 26.67 per cent, price of Irish potato increased by 24.76 per cent, the prices of meat and vegetable oil increased by 3.33 per cent and 0.56 per cent respectively while the prices of onions and tomatoes dropped by about 12.59 per cent and 3.33 per cent. The price of palm oil also decreased marginally by about 3.33 per cent.

However, the price of garri and that of beans remained stable during the period. FSDH noted that the observed increases in the prices of food items in March and the increase in the demand for non-alcoholic beverages during the Easter celebration should result to about 1.30 per cent increase in the Food and Non-Alcoholic Index pointing out that it also noticed increase in prices of transportation, clothing and foot

wears, recreation and culture and restaurants and hotels. According to the FSDH estimates, the price movements in the consumer goods in March will increase the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to 144.46 points, an increase of 1.03 per cent month-on month. FSDH however indicated possibility of increase in inflation rate to more than 9.5 per cent in April, calling for balance in financial and investment planning.

Six Southsouth states mull regional investment fund


OVERNMENTS of Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta states are considering the establishment of a regional investment fund in furtherance of the economic integration and development of the region. The six states had established a regional economic cooperation and integration-BRACED Commission, as a joint economic and development corporation for the region. BRACED was derived from the first letter of the name of each state in the region. The regional investment fund will take cue from the Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), a common investment vehicle for the federation recently constituted by the Federal Government. Each state within the zone is expected to contribute to the seed capital for the establishment of the regional investment fund. The oil-rich South-South states receive the high-

est allocations from the Federation Account. The idea of a BRACED’s investment fund is one of the outcomes of a retreat organised by the BRACED Commission with participations from key decision markers across the states and beyond. The BRACED Commission will serve as the coordinating centre for the establishment of the regional investment fund. Participants at the retreat agreed that the establishment of a regional investment fund would act as a catalyst for economic revival of the region through investments in key development areas including small and medium scale enterprises. They noted that the non-renewable nature of crude oil and the global clamour for alternative and environment-friendly sources of energy have made it imperative for the zone to diversify its economy. The regional investment fund

would invest in businesses and infrastructures with immense impact on the ordinary people within the zone, thus serving as a vehicle for mass wealth creation and distribution. Stakeholders at the retreat recommended that each state should its financial contribution to the BRACED Commission in its annual budget with a view to grant adequate and autonomous financial capacity to the BRACED Commission. According to participants, all the states need to mainstream BRACED issues, policies and programmes into their strategic plans while the BRACED Commission also needs to develop a sub-regional strategic plan consistent with the priorities of the states. Key speakers at the retreat included Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador David MacRae, Lead Economist at the

World Bank, Abuja Office, Mr John Litwack and Director General of the BRACED Commission, Ambassador Joe Keshi. MacRae noted that the BRACED states can learn a lot from the EU in building strong institutions, planning and public finance management. He drew a correlation between the governments of the 27-member nations of the EU and the six BRACED states and the commission. He advocated that the State Houses of Assembly of the BRACED states should provide the legal backing that transcends current and future administrations to give the commission legal perpetuity irrespective of changes in governments. “The leaders of the BRACED states should ensure that a legal framework is fashioned to guarantee the sustainability of the BRACED Commission,” MacRae said.




Total Nigeria vs Mobil Oil Nigeria: Differentials of oil majors


OTAL Nigeria Plc and Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc are the two leading quoted downstream companies. Interestingly, they share several similarities. Substantial foreign shareholding, leading industry position, business year and decades of operations among others, they run neck to neck in corporate variables. Besides, both companies were listed in the same year, on the same month and within the same week. The two multinationals also share the same operating challenges as two leading members of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigerian (MOMAN). As such, they adequately represent the variables in the downstream oil sector. A subsidiary of French multinational and Europe-leading oil company-Total S. A, Total Nigeria is a company of considerable influence and size in Nigeria and globally. Total Nigeria leads the capitalisation table as the most capitalised petroleum-marketing company in addition to an enviable position as the highest-priced downstream stock. In the same vein, with more than six decades of operations, Mobil Oil Nigeria holds distinction as the earliest petroleum-marketing company to be incorporated in Nigeria. Mobil Oil Nigeria is a subsidiary of Mobil Oil Corporation of the United States of America. They stand out as the early filers in their sector, the stocks that turn in their audited reports ahead of others. Latest audited reports and accounts of both companies for the year ended December 31, 2012 showed a similar pattern in sales but the differentials lie in cost efficiency. Total Nigeria turned a quarter-growth in sales into equally impressive improvement in profit but Mobil Oil Nigeria lost the strong sales momentum in declining cost efficiency.

Sales Generation Available results showed strong top-line performance in 2012. Both Total Nigeria and Mobil Oil Nigeria grew turnover substantially in 2012. Total Nigeria’s turnover rose by 25.2 per cent in 2012 as against modest increase of 8.3 per cent in 2011, pushing two-year average growth to 16.75 per cent. Mobil oil Nigeria topped the sales growth table with an increase of 30 per cent in 2012, pushing its average sales growth to 18.25 per cent. It had grown turnover by 6.4 per cent in 2011.

Profitability The decisive performance determinant for the companies is cost management. Total toughened cost

By Taofik Salako

management and steadied its underlying profit-making capacity to achieve its best performance in profitability in recent years. Conversely, Mobil lost the steam from the midline to the bottom-line. Total’s gross profit grew by 17 per cent in 2012 as against an increase of 6.6 per cent in 2011, indicating average growth of 11.8 per cent over the years. Profit before tax grew by 21 per cent in 2012, a remarkable improvement on 1.3 per cent recorded in 2011. After taxes, net profit rose by 22.5 per cent in 2012 compared with a drop of 4.0 per cent in previous year. Total’s underlying profitability ratios were steadier with gross and pre-tax margins of 12 per cent and 3.3 per cent in 2012 as against 12.9 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively in 2011. On the other side, Mobil’s outward and underlying profit measures were generally on the negative. While gross profit dropped by 19 per cent in 2012 as against a marginal increase of 4.2 per cent in 2011, pre-tax profit slumped from a drop of 3.4 per cent in 2011 to a loss of 32 per cent in 2012. Profit after tax subsequently worsened from decline of 3.4 per cent in 2011 to a decline of 29.5 per cent in 2012. Margins were generally on the downside. Gross margin slipped from 16 per cent in 2011 to 10 per cent in 2012 while pretax profit margin dwindled to 5.1 per cent in 2012 as against 8.9 per cent in 2011. However, Mobil still has higher profit-making capacity on average sale.

Actual Returns Returns showed a mixed-grill. While falling faster than its peer, Mobil still has higher returns but Total’s returns were steadier. Total Nigeria’s return on total assets slipped from 10 per cent to 9.3 per cent. Average return on equity meanwhile improved from 38 per cent to 41 per cent, indicating average annual return to shareholders of about 40 per cent. Mobil’s return on total assets

dropped from 18 per cent in 2011 to 12 per cent in 2012, indicating average return of 15 per cent. Return on equity also dwindled from 55 per cent to 44 per cent, representing average return on equity of 49 per cent

Facts to Facts


Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

2012 % 25.2 16.9 21.1 12.0 3.3 22.5 9.3 41.3

in recent years.

The Bottom-line With little product differentiation and low margin, turnover growth and cost management

Mobil 2011 % 8.3 6.6 1.3 12.9 3.4 -4.0 10.0 38.0

Average % 16.75 11.75 11.2 12.45 3.35 9.25 9.65 39.65

Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity


interest income increased by 21 per cent to N24.5 billion as against N20.2 billion in comparable period of 2012. Profit before tax increased from N7.8 billion to N8.7 billion.

According to Otti, the first quarter performance results was an affirmation of the bank’s resolve to deliver better returns to its shareholders in the current financial year.

Firms cut jobs to stay afloat


OMPANIES facing declining productivity are cutting jobs to stay float, Chairman, Southsouth and Southeast Chambers of Commerce, Dr Hyde Ochia, has said. According to him, industrial production has fallen supported by a string of weak economic figures and decline in output at factories, mines and utilities. This, he explained, is not enough to create the millions of

jobs for the fast-growing young population. According to him, industrial output growth has remained weak due to supply bottlenecks caused by dilapidated highways, ports and other infrastructure. The “ripple effect” through the economy, he said, has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Ochia said families have had their lives disrupted in a significant way, while businesses are suffering because customers will have less money to spend.

2012 % 30.1 -19.0 -32.0 10.2 5.1 -29.5 12.1 43.7

2011 % 6.4 4.2 -3.4 16.3 8.9 -3.4 18.0 55.0

Average % 18.25 -7.40 -17.7 13.25 7.0 -16.45 15.05 49.35

DLM raises N50b for firms

Diamond Bank’s three-month profit hits N8.7b HE management of Diamond Bank Plc has expressed optimism that the bank would achieve stronger performance in 2013, citing the early strides in the first quarter. In a review of the first quarter performance of the company, Group Managing Director, Diamond Bank Plc, Dr. Alex Otti, said that the profit before tax of N8.7 billion in the first three months of this year signifies the resolve of the bank to grow its capacity and increase profitability this business year. Interim report and accounts of the bank for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 showed that gross earnings increased by 31 per cent from N30.7 billion in March 2012 to N40.3 billion in March 2013. Net

make the difference in the performance of downstream oil operators. Where sales become sluggish, the most decisive variable is cost efficiency. The performance outlooks of Total and Mobil aptly reflect this.


OREN Merrifield (DLM) raised about N49.89 billion for corpo rate bodies from the capital market between 2011 and 2012. Its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sonnie Ayere, made this known at the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s (NSE’s) CEO Sectoral Dinner in Lagos sponsored by the firm. The dinner, which was attended by the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, focused on the industrial goods sector of the economy. Ayere, who spoke on Tapping the opportunities in the capital market for the development of the industrial sector, said the firm raised N49.89 billion for four companies and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). Analysis of the funds showed that they were raised through bonds and equities. For instance, DLM raised N8.01 billion for Dana Group through

bonds issuance in 2011. The same, it raised N4.63 billion for Tower Aluminium Group. It also assisted Chellarams Plc to raise N1.5 billion in 2011 and N540 million in 2012. It also raised N4.65 billion for Food Concepts Plc via equity investment in 2011 and 2012. The firm also played a leading role in the FMBN’s successful sourcing of N30 billion through bond issuance in 2012. Ayere, who explained that one of the major challenges of companies in the industrial sector is the high cost of finance, noted that the capital market provides huge opportunities for companies to source cheaper funds. He added that apart from having access to cheaper funds, being listed on the NSE would ensure continuity and sustainability of the business, liquidity for the shares, good corporate governance, better valuation and increased visibility for the companies.




Furniture, textile, plastics flood Lagos, other ports T

HE National Association of Government approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has petitioned the Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala over the large number of prohibited goods uncleared at the ports. It urged the minister to advise the Customs to invoke Section 31 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) to deal with the uncleared cargoes “in the interest of the economy and revenue generation.” According to the association, the containers of goods that fall under the prohibition list at the ports

•Freight forwarders petition Minister Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda Maritime Correspondent

are many. The freight forwarders asked the Ministry of Finance and the Customs to direct the owners to take delivery of the goods after penalising them. An April 2 letter obtained by The Nation, the Founder of the Association, Dr Boniface Aniebonam, said prohibited imported goods such as furniture, textile and plastic materials and others items were congesting the port.

The goods, Aniebonam said, were not dangerous, but caught under the law meant to protect local manufacturers. He wondered why the ministry and Customs could not capitalise on this development to enhance revenue generation. Government, NAGAFF said, would be shooting itself in the foot if it sells such goods as auction. NAGAFF pleaded for the importers, saying: “We should consider the fact that these importers borrowed

from the bank to effect these imports. It will also help in decongesting the ports and at the same time raise revenue for the government, and above all facilitate trade. “In view of the above, there is the urgent need for the Nigeria Customs Service to engage the trading public and the freight agents in a massive culture of trade compliant awareness campaign and education. This will educate the trading public on why they should obey and respect the import guidelines as well as its enforcement by the government,” the group said.

20 graft assessors for Warri, Calabar, Onne terminals T

HE Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has deployed over 20 Corruption Risk Assessors (CRA) in Lagos, Onne, Calabar, Warri ports to curb graft. The officers, sources said, would be at the ports till the end of June to avoid revenue loss by the government. The Commission, it was learnt, is working in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to reduce corruption in the seaports. Speaking with The Nation after a meeting organised by ICPC in Lagos, Alhaji

Ozi Salami, who represented the ICPC Chairman, Mr Ekpo Nta, said maritime was one of the highest revenue generating sectors in the country, adding that it must be guarded to avoid losses and ensure efficient running of the port. The meeting was attended by the officials of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) and international partners. CRA, he said, is a corruption prevention tool, which works with an organisation’s management to iden-

tify areas prone to corruption, proffer recommendations, and develop integrity plans that would strengthen accountability and transparency. “We are not here to apportion blame, but to carry out a systems study. Since it is much better and wiser to prevent the occurrence of corruption than to expend huge resources in investigations and prosecution after the damage had been done, the Commission places much stock on the CRA process,” he said. Leader of the UNDP team Prof. Sam Egwu said the

corruption risk assessment process being driven primarily by ICPC, TUGAR and BPP, began in 2011 with the development of a corruption risk assessment methodology. The methodology, he said, led to the development of a comprehensive training module that has been used to train over 60 CRAs drawn from the ministries, departments and agencies at both federal and state levels; civil society groups and the anti-corruption agencies. Egwu said it was from the pool of trained assessors that the 20-man team was constituted to work with experts on this pilot scheme.

NPA, US partner on maritime security


HE United States (US) is to partner the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to make the seaport safe for business. An official of the American Consulate-General in Lagos, Mr Rolf Olson, said the US was concerned about the country’s ability to tackle terrorism. Olson spoke when he and Ronald Rhinehart visited NPA Managing Director Mallam Habib Abdullahi in his office. Emphasising the need for the ports to be secured, Olson said the American Embassy had made its observation known to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. He said there was need for both countries to work together to make global maritime activities safe. Replying, Abdullahi said NPA had perfected programmes, which would make the authority to be alive to its responsibilities and enhance port security. He said the programmes were designed to improve the performance of the security division of the authority in the areas of personnel recruitment, training and acquisition of necessary working tools and equipment to safeguard the port. Abdullahi said he was determined to improve the outlook and the performances of the security division of the

Shippers to govt: extend TIN registration THE Lagos State branch of the Shippers Association has urged the Federal Government to extend the May 2013 deadline set for Tax Identification Number (TIN) registration. The General Secretary of the group, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said the extension would enable more shippers to key into the process. He said many shippers would not be able to meet up with the deadline, noting that an extension was necessary as many stakeholders in the maritime industry had been queuing up at the offices of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to get a TIN card to no avail. He said the long processes of getting the TIN card had been affecting shipping procedures, adding that no shipper would be able to transact any business without the

TIN card. His words: “The Federal Government through the Nigeria Customs says importers must have a Tax Identification Number and a deadline has been issued. ”At the end of May, any company that doesn’t have the TIN would find it difficult to operate, to raise Form M and they will find it difficult to even import their goods. The shipping industry is huge and massive; it is not something that can be achieved within one year. ”It should be a continuous exercise. There is no need to be in a hurry. If you want to get a regular data of shippers make it a continuous thing, so that any shipper who wants to go into that business can now first go to the Federal Inland Revenue to get the Tax Identification Number and then gradually begin to understand the system.”

Retreat for stakeholders, reporters A two-day maritime retreat for stakeholders and reporters covering maritime will hold tomorrow and Friday at the Customs Staff College, Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The theme of the retreat is: Effective media/public relations synergy for maritime development. According to a statement, government agencies billed to make presentations at the event include the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Nigeria Customs Service

(NCS). Dignitaries expected at the event include the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who is the Special Guest of Honour; Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, who is the Chief Host, while the Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, who will chair the occasion. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, is the Lead Resource Person, while the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, will deliver the keynote address.

Lawyers seek industry’s growth MARITIME lawyers have urged the Federal Government to put necessary policies in place to promote the industry. Speaking with reporters in Lagos, the lawyers said the dearth of human and material capacities has been a source of worry in the sector. They called on relevant government agencies at the port to complement stakeholders’efforts in capacity-building, noting that businesses blink first

in the event of any government policy breakdown. Speaking on behalf of others, a maritime lawyer and consultant in the industry, Mr Frank Simpson, said the dream of the youth, who seek employment, is only realisable through human capacity building in the sector. He said the country can be the number one maritime nation in Africa if human capacity building is taken seriously.

Import bill drops to $35.4b

• From left: Abdullahi and Olson during the visit.

authority to enable it to cope with the increasing security challenges. NPA, he said, has trained officers in all the seaports, adding that the ports are improving on the requirements of International Ship

& Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) code. He added that under the concession regime, the management of NPA still oversees the security of the ports in conjunction with other sister organisations. While commending the


United States government for initiating the move to ensure safety in the global maritime activity, Mallam Abdullahi assured that NPA would support the initiative, as it was in its best interest to tackle terrorism in the ports and its environs.

NIGERIA’S import bill dropped by 43 per cent to $35.4 billion in the last one year, according to the report released by the Renaissance Capital (RenCap). The investment and finance firm said in its reports obtained by The Nation that the import bill is equivalent to 13 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year. The decrease in imports, according to the firm, was across all categories, noting that machinery and transport equipment, Nigeria’s biggest import segment, declined by 63 per cent, following modest growth of two per cent in 2011. RenCap stated that this showed a slowdown in fixed investment and growth. Noting that Nigeria’s trade surplus surged 75 per cent to $105.9 billion, which is 39 per cent of GDP, based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) trade data, the firm said that this largely explained the increase in the current account surplus to 7.5 per cent of GDP in September 2012, as against 3.6 per cent in 2011.

”We expect revisions to the import numbers. We find it odd that while imports declined across all categories, unspecified imports swelled 600 times to $12 billion in 2012. Unspecified imports surged from less than one per cent of total imports in preceding years to 31 per cent in 2012. “We are likely to see a significant revision of imports by categories as seen in the downward revision of the errors and omissions’ negative balance in the 2010 balance of payments. While the eventual revised total import bill will still show a decline, in our view, the extent of the year on year decreases are likely to narrow as a larger share of the unspecified items are identified post-revisions. “A slowdown in oil earnings growth largely explains the decline in total exports earnings growth to 14 per cent in 2012 as against 44 per cent in 2011. We think the oil earnings’ growth slowdown to nine per cent in 2012 as against 48 per cent in 2011 was largely due to a flat Bonny Light crude oil price of,” the report said.




North alleges ‘lopsidedness’ in aviation appointments •Allegation is not true, says Minister


O correct the perceived lopsidedness in apointments into key aviation positions, a group the Northern Youth Coalition for Democracy has called on the Presidency and the National Assembly to examine the recruitment criteria. The call, the group’s National Coordinator, Abdulyakeen Ibn Umar claimed, followed the perceived ‘lopsidedness’ in the appointment of some personnel in some aviation agencies. Umar said there might be need for the government to examine recent appointments in some of the agencies, to know if the criteria used did not meet the federal character. He called on the Federal Government to look into the appointment of chiefs of some key aviation agencies. Umar said the North was marginalised in the appointments into aviation parastatals, adding that such lopsided appointments would not move the nation forward. He said: “Aviation needs professionals and we have those professionals in the North and I don’t know why this government wants to relegate the North in the aviation sector. In some parastatals in the aviation sector, there is nothing like a northerner in the management team. I feel it is in justice.” Umar said it would be unfair for

Stories by Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent

the Jonathan administration to move the North out of the sector. He said: ‘’The bone of contention is the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). If they are talking of professionals, it should be thrown open for people to apply. There is nothing like federal character here. You must balance it so that there will be no agitation.” In a swift reaction the Minister of Aviation denied the allegation, saying there is no basis for such claim. The Minister’s Special Assistant on Media Joe Obi said there was nothing like ethnic cleansing in the sector. The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) is headed by Mr George Uriesi, who is from Edo State, in the Southsouth. The Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, from Abia State, in the Southeast.

Director-General of Nigeria Metereological Services (NIMET ), Dr Anthony Anuforum, hails from the Southeast. The Comissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Captain Muktar Usman, hails from the North. Director-General designation of, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Aviation Authority( NCAA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu, is from the Southwest. He is yet to be cleared by the Senate. Obi said qualified Nigerians no matter where they come from would be offered jobs in key positions in the industry to add value to the transformation agenda of government. The minister, he said, was poised to ensure that professionals from different ethnic background, who will add value to government’s vision would be engaged as key personnel in the industry.

‘Aviation needs professionals and we have those professionals in the North and I don’t know why this government wants to relegate the North in the aviation sector’

SAHCOL invests N20b on equipment THE Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) invested over N20 billion on passenger and aircraft handling equipment between 2009 and last month. Its Managing Director, Mr Oluropo Owolabi, said while unveiling some operational equipment acquired by the firm that the investment was part of the firm’s plans to expand its operations and enhance service delivery. Owolabi said in the next few months, SAHCOL would invest more money in the building of cargo warehouses in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. He said the investment was part of the strategy to become the leading cargo and passenger handling operations in Africa. The new operational equipment would position the firm strategically to compete in the industry, where airlines are constantly asking for improvement in service delivery. Owolabi said the decision to acquire more operational equipment was to eliminate delays hitherto caused by inadequate equipment, affirming that the enhanced equipment operators will fast-track service delivery in the sector. He listed some of the equipment to include commanders’ 15i, 30i, 40i loader and 45i, which according to him, is ultimate in ground handling company.The 15i loader is a single operated vehicle capable of lifting and carrying very high capacity cargo, adding that it is hydraulically powered and electronically controlled.The 15i, he said, is capable of handling B757, 767,777,787, A340 and any lower deck, passenger and cargo aircraft. The 30i and 40i loaders, he said, are not only hydraulically powered and electronically controlled, but that they also have the capacity of handling A380, 747 and all wide body aircraft and heavy cargo and container. The vehicle, he said is equipped with stabilisers, side guides, emergency pumps for ease and safe handling of heavy cargo loads in aircraft.

NAHCO upgrades training centre NIGERIAN Aviation Handling Company Plc (nahco aviance) has announced the upgrading of its training centre to a world class International Air Transport Association (IATA) certified learning and development centre. The newly designed L&D Centre, according to a statement, has state-ofthe-art facilities, such as a syndicate room, main training room, e-learning, e-library, e-centre VIP lounge and a functional website. The centre will help to facilitate online recruitment tests/exams, competencies tests/ assessment. The statement further said the centre will offer the industry the muchdesired training support, especially in ground handling competencies, through its 34–day intensive training programme in ramp and cargo operations as well as passenger services. It will also offer industry standard compliance or mandatory trainings, such as aviation security personnel training, searching and screening techniques, cargo screening, access control, documentation and passenger handling training, among others.

BA launches route update BRITISH Airways has partnered with Langham Hotels, London fashion label PPQ, and renowned British model Georgia May Jagger for a special event on board its new Boeing 777-300ER. The event, according to a statement, is to celebrate new service updates on the Australian route. From this month, passengers travelling between Sydney and London will enjoy the new 777-300ER aircraft, the latest aircraft in the British Airways fleet boasting updates to all cabins on board. In addition, the Australian service will now fly into Terminal 5, British Airways’ award winning home at London Heathrow. With the move to Terminal 5, Australian passengers will be able to enjoy smoother and more seamless connections with British Airways vast European network and access to award winning lounges including over 100 retail and dining options. One very special guest at the event was British model Georgia May Jagger wearing Tech Empire dress by PPQ. “I'm always happy to support British Airways. It's great to be here for this event and at such an exciting time for Australia,” said Georgia May Jagger. “I love coming to Australia and thanks to British Airways’ fantastic style and service. The journey from the UK was a joy.” Held in British Airways’ award winning Club World cabin, guests at the event were treated to a taste of the new Tiffin at The Langham afternoon tea. Featuring a selection of afternoon tea treats, and served in true Langham, Sydney style, the Tiffin continues the timeless British tradition of high tea, and the first to be served onboard an aircraft. •From left: President of Aviation Round Table (ART),Captain Dele Ore; Auditor, Rafiu Balogun and a member, Captain Afeez Taiwo, at a briefing in Lagos. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

Skilled manpower bane of aviation, says Senator


HAT is the major challenge facing aviation? It is the dearth of skilled manpower, says Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma Speaking at the opening of the Constitutive Assembly of the Association of African Training Organisation (AATO) organised by the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) in Abuja, Uzodinma said this deficiency had prevented the sector from growing and gaining better global recognition despite its potential. Over the years, he said, there had been over dependence on the International Aviation Training Institute, at the expense of other African training centres. Uzodinma said: “Ours is to encourage them to ensure that the number of foreign training that has besieged the industry will be reduced.

“NCAT, if given all the support it requires is in a position to train aircraft engineers, inspectors and instructors that can train others with a view to ensuring that local and international needs of the industry are obtained here locally because we have the resources. “But I think what we are lacking here is that we don’t have the manpower arrangement in sufficient numbers and if they are encouraged to intensify their efforts, we will have all we need to meet up with global expectations.” Also, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Managing Director George Uriesi has said the sector holds the key to Africa’s economic prosperity. He spoke at a meeting of the Airports Council International (ACI), African region, in Morocco. Uriesi said aviation was vital to the region’s growth. He harped on the designation of airports as regional hubs to maximise their

potential, stressing that the development of cargo ports was aimed at opening up the country to benefit from its full potential as an agro-allied economy. Uriesi said: “The obstacleremoving leadership provided by our Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Stella Oduah, has repositioned the country as a serious global player ready to occupy its pride of place.” The conference, he said, fell within the framework of the initiative launched by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Airport Council International (ACI), to promote safety. This, he said, had allowed stakeholders to contribute to the requirements of a safe and secure air transportation system. The conference, he added, was meant to sensitise participants on the importance of runway safety and the need for collaboration, among stakeholders in air transport.

Group tasks minister on facilities A GROUP Aviation Stakeholders Square Table has urged the Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah not to relent in her efforts to upgrade of airport infrastucture. Its President Captain Balarabe Usman (rtd) said only a consistent programme, such as her airport remodelling could address the decay, airport infrastructure has suffered in the last 15 years. The group noted that Princess Oduah has since last year turned the airports into huge construction sites, due to the projects designed to modernise airports. Capt. Balarabe, the first Director of Aviation Security Services of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), noted that the remodelling is the second most significant project in the country. He explained that nothing significant has taken place at the airports, after the Aerodrome Development Programme of the mid- 1970s that led to the creation of the then Nigerian Airports Authority, the precursor of FAAN. He said it was regrettable that rather than receive commendation for bringing about tangible improvements in the industry, the Federal Government, represented by the minister of Aviation, was being castigated by some industry stakeholders. The critics, Capt. Usman noted, were pursuing selfish and sectional agenda. He wondered why “these armchair critics”did not cry out in the decade when the industry was run aground, through policies and activities. He said it defied logic that a minister, who is doing her best to redress the rot in the industry, was being vilified. He called on Princess Oduah not to be distracted, but to continue with the transformational work she is doing.




New kid on the internet block T

HE Chief Executive, Business Impact Limited, Olatunde Samson, hit it at 24. He was an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, when he started his own company. He started after seeing potential business opportunities. He studied Business Administration and graduated in 2007. They call him the youngest whiz kid because of his exploits on the Internet. He moved from receiving N4,000 as a monthly allowance from his parents to making his first million while in the university. His company trains young entrepreneurs on how to build and sustain their businesses. Samson is an example of success, because he overcame poverty to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs today. A characteristic that has set Samson apart, is his strong will to achieve and a resourceful spirit. His first taste of success was in online business. He poured his life into the business. “I came about Internet business when I was in 200 level. After gaining admission, I studied the environment for one year and I discovered that you have to do something to keep body and soul together. “When I got to 200 level, I tried to raise funds to augment my little allowance from my home. That was how I stumbled on Internet business. It was my pastor at RCCG (Maranatha Parish) that

Stories by Daniel Essiet

introduced me to the business. He was also into Internet business. That was how I started. The pastor monitors my progress even up till today. The Internet business is what I do for a living. Though young, inexperienced and without capital then, Samson took the leap of faith and started his own company. Not having enough business knowledge, he had to learn the rudiments from his mentors. On how he made his first break from the Internet business, Samson said: ”What I did to make my first million was to sell products of experts. We call it resale right business. “Different experts write often to create products, which they put on the net for sale they give copyright out after you buy. “You can re-brand the product. Change the name if you like or sell it the way it is, you will make your money. It is a legal business. The first method I used was to get access to those products. I observed that most Nigerians were not open to making money on the Internet. I had to look for a way to recreate the product, then resell it. I made N2.5 million in two weeks in September 2008 from creating and selling my products. What I did was to turn what I know to a video. I did about six videos on how to go about the business . “I combined the videos and sold it out to Nigerians. In two weeks,

my income was N2.5 million.” Looking back, Samson has proved to be a skilled risk-taker, who has demonstrated intuitive ability to recognise and meet unfilled needs in the market. His eye for innovation spills over to all areas of the business, as he is continually seeking out and listening for new ways to improve life for the company’s clients and team members. Samson has come a long way. “Doing everything on my own without outside help; and growing it to this point with no large capital investment”is his greatest business accomplishment. He has a tremendous amount of energy, which is balanced between his entrepreneurial and technical abilities. That is, his talent lies both in starting ventures and following through with the attention it takes to sustain them at a level of excellence. He saw an unclaimed, yet promising niche in the computer industry that people failed to see. According to him, there are a lot of things to do on the Interne . “We have a lot of opportunities, but some will not work for Nigerians because of limitations brought about by yahoo-yahoo boys. “We have close to 25 businesses we can do on the Internet. What you have to do is to get a computer system (Pentium 11 or 111) or a laptop, am internet connection and you need the basic knowledge on how to use the Internet effectively. You need

someone to mentor you. You also need focus and dedication. Lastly, you need God to bless you. One thing about Internet business is that if you can locate a need, you create solution for it. You will keep on making money in Nigeria. “If you look around, you will see different opportunities, different needs which need solution. People need you to give them solution and they will pay you any amount. What we did was to look for a loophole of what people could do to make a living. We were able to locate the need, create solution to it by putting it on video. Till today, we are still selling the videos. The package is N25,000.“ For his efforts, Success Digest awarded him the Small Business Person of the Year. The entrepreneur must have a backbone, and capacity to sustain and to be agile enough to organise ideas and business growth, he said. He is committed to helping the unemployed. He is working with non-profit organisations to help them start home-based businesses. He believes his aims are achievable. His vision is to expand. His advice to young Nigerians: “One of the greatest instruments that can help to achieve this is for young people to develop a new mindset. We must begin to see possibilities in impossibilities. “The Nigerian dream is a possibility and we youths must not


focus on the ills of this country but see bliss. John Mason wrote that Edison was afraid of the dark—yet he overcame that obstacle in a big way and invented the light bulb. “That should be our attitude to Nigeria.We must cease to be complainers, but endeavour to be problem solvers. What’s more, Charles Caleb Colton said: ‘Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is the one elicited from the darkest storm.’ “So every youth must make sure to see gains even in the midst of pains and then take up the campaign for peace and positive change. Firstly, however, we must heed the words of the legendary Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Kebbi to assist SMEs get loans


HE Kebbi State Government said it would support members of the state chapter of National Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI) to obtain loans from the national body. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Alhaji Abdullahi Gebe, said this was part of government’s efforts to improve industrial development in the state. Gebe, who addressed officials of the association in Birnin Kebbi, advised them to register their proposals for the NASSI’s loans. NASSI Secretary in the state, Alhaji Sama’ila Sulaiman, said the

state chapter would form a committee that would work with the government to obtain the loans. He said: “The association will ensure that members benefit from the Bank of Industry’s loans given the facts the funds have been set aside as loans to small scale industrialists with 4.5 per cent interest rate.” He said the association would embark on a tour in the state to ensure members registered and benefitted from the loans. “It is lamentable that small scale industrialists have remained dormant in spite of the opportunities that abound and we will ensure that the trend is reversed,” he added.

NDE to create 10,656 jobs

T •Some micro finance officers during the presentation of motor cycles to beneficiaries under the Federal Government/International Fund for Agricultural Development (FGN/IFAD) assisted rural finance institution building programme in Bauchi State.

Why youths are involved in crime, by NBTE chief O VER 60 per cent of youths are either unemployed or underemployed, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Executive Secretary, Dr Mas’udu Kazaure, has said. He spoke at the opening of an entrepreneurship sensitisation workshop organised for rectors of polytechnics and provosts of colleges of education at the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State. The two-day workshop was organised by NBTE in conjunction with Covenant University. “Officially, over 60 per cent of our youths are either unemployed or under-employed. “Consequently, the army of restive youths has resulted in vices, such as increased urban violence, kidnapping and insurgency,” he said. He also said the implementation of entrepreneurship programmes is mandatory. Kazaure said the accreditation

would soon start, adding that the programme is aimed at improving the technical skills of graduates. He said research has shown that many graduates of the country’s tertiary institutions are deficient in entrepreneurial skills, adding that, if the trend persisted, Nigeria might wait for long before advancing in technology. The secretary said the deficiency was worsening the country’s unemployment situation. “It will be a mandatory requirement for accreditation of all programmes beginning from the next accreditation exercise which will commence soon. “Such areas as entrepreneurship curriculum, entrepreneurship development centre existence and management, and practical activities being undertaken have been inserted for ef-

fective evaluation and assessment during the accreditation exercise,” he said. The host and Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Prof. Charles Ayo, called for an improved polytechnic system through qualitative programmes and adequate funding. “There is nothing much wrong with our education system. All we need is sustainability of good programmes and the implementation of workable policies. “We must ensure that polytechnics are encouraged by way of funding and infrastructure in order to get our teeming youths adequately equipped technically to drive our economy,” he said. The Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Bali, Taraba, Dr Jen Umaru, said entrepreneurship education was vital to technological advancement. “Our challenge in this respect is how to use technical education to develop skilled personnel, which will be geared toward self reliance.

HE National Directorate of Employment (NDE) will create 10,656 jobs for graduates of education under its Graduate Coaching Scheme (GCS), the NDE Director-General, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed, has said. He spoke at the Micro-Trade Fair for NDE beneficiaries in Northcentral zone in Lokoja. The theme of the trade fair is: Job creation through the promotion of micro and small enterprises for economic development. Mohammed said the directorate had in October last year introduced the scheme to create jobs as well as “solve the national malaise of mass failure in public examinations’’. According to him, the scheme is aimed at helping candidates with deficiencies in public examinations, such as West African Examinations Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and Joint Admissions Matriculation Board(JAMB), to improve their grades through proper coaching. Represented by Mr Jibrin Aye, the Director, Inspectorate Division, Mohammed said the fair would enable exhibitors to establish contacts outside their imme-

diate localities. He said the directorate had trained unemployed graduates on the use of mobile phones to conduct financial transactions and some on mobile banking business. Mohammed thanked the Kogi State Government for its cooperation, noting that the partnership would go a long way in poverty reduction and increased wealth through creation of employment opportunities. Governor Idris Wada, represented by one of his Senior Special Assistants, Mr Henry Ukwubile, said the focus of solving unemployment had shifted from government white collar jobs to self-employment, adding that in the next 20 years, nobody would be talking of government jobs. He urged the participants to tap into every programme of the directorate. He pledged the government’s continued partnership with the NDE. The state NDE Co-ordinator, Malam Abdulkadir Sa’adu, said as at the end of last year, over 3.7 million unemployed Nigerians were employed through the various programmes of the directorate.



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-


O most Nigerians, especially in the Eastern zone, Onitsha in Anambra State is noted for its commerce, as Lagos symbolises the nation’s economic hub. This frontier has been expanded by Onitshaborn artists to include the promotion of cultural activities, especially visual art. The home town of Nigeria’s foremost artist famed for painting the portrait of Queen Elizabeth of England, the late Prof Ben Enwonwu, recently celebrated the Ofala festival to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the ascension of Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe to the Obi of Onitsha (Agbogidi) throne. As part of activities to honour the Onitsha monarch, and appreciate his support for the arts, a group art exhibition, Orakwue featuring 17 artists was held penultimate Saturday, at the Alexis Gallery, on Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. The exhibition, which was mainly sponsored by Diamond Bank Plc, among other supporters, attracted leading art collectors and patrons who share in the dream of Alexis Art Gallery, Lagos in lifting Nigerian contemporary arts and artists. It featured 35 paintings, sculptures and ceramics by 17 artists. The core exhibitors are the Onitsha Agbo artists that included George Edozie, Afam Okwudili, George Nwadiogbu, Ato Arinze, Osaji Dubem, Gaby Emengo, Chinwe Uwatse, Frank Anammah and Onyeoma Mbanefo. Other guest artists were Abiodun Olaku, Alex Nwokolo, Gbenga Offo, Duke Asidere, Agorsor Kofi, Fidelis Odogwu, Tola Wewe and Dominique Zinkpe. The strength of the group exhibition is its diversity and richness as it featured top-flight painters and sculptors, seasoned hands in the creative business as well as not-too-popular artists who are tapping into the platform to get wider audience for the exposition of their collections. Again, the 17 artists were not only from Nigeria but also from West African countries such as Ghana and Benin Republic. The exhibition offered viewers a wide range of high flying Nigerian contemporary artists who are sought after by many collectors. Imagine the richness of a collection that has works by Tola Wewe, Abiodun Olaku, Alex Nwokolo, George Edozie, Duke Asidere among others.

•Ibeji by Tola Wewe


Orakwue: All hail the monarch For being a culture icon, His Royal Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, Obi of Onitsha (Agbogidi), got an April bouquet - group art exhibition, Orakwue – from his kinsmen artists in Lagos, Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME reports. EXHIBITION This spread, according to the proprietor of the two-year-old Alexis Art Gallery, Patty Chidiac was to create a strong formidable creative group for the all important exhibition. She noted that the gallery was excited and privileged to host the monarch on his 10th year on the throne with the group exhibition featuring 40 works from 17 artists.

Interestingly, the exhibition opening did not take the regular format. It was preceded by a red carpet session. Few hours into the opening, over 10 out of the 40 works on display at the exhibition were tagged. At the centre of the medium size hall of the gallery, is a 78-inch wooden sculpture, Queen by Dominique Zinkpe from Benin Republic. The sculpture which is the cynosure of all eyes depicts a armless African Queen with a crown sitting comfortably on her head. The lower

Council acquires Abuja Art Village


HE National Council for Art and Culture (NCAC) has acquired the over three hectares of land of Commonweath Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Arts and Crafts Village, in the Central Business District (CBD) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. A new Certificate of Occupancy(C of O) has been issued to the council by the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS). NCAC Executive Director Mr Mwajim Maidugu handed over the C of O to the Minister of Culture, Edem Duke in Abuja last Friday. The Social Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Teritory Administration (FCTA) has been engaged in a long drawn battle with NCAC over the ownership of the land. The Secretariat has said the structures on the land were erected by the FCT as a social safety net for talented young men and women to exhibit their craft skills and to showcase Nigeria’s cultural heritage to the world.” Duke said the ministry, on its renewal programme, would collaborate with the private sector to make the place vibrant as a craft market. Located strategically adjacent the Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers, the Arts and Crafts Village, covering about 22 hectares, was originally allocated NCAC in 1987 for the construction of its permanent site and other facilities. For lack of funds for immediate development, the piece of land was fenced by NCAC but activities did not start there until 2003, when the Federal Government initiated the construction of round tents that would serve as arts and crafts market for expected visitors during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The village played host to dignitaries from all walks of life during the event, including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and wives of heads of states as Africa’s emerging market for indigenous arts and crafts. According to Maidugu, the intrigues to revoke the land by the former FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir el ‘Rufai persisted and the culture agency temporarily lost its ownership. “But we did not fold our hands; we continued to meet subsequent ministers with all the documents indicating that the piece of land legitimately belongs to us.” Interestingly, by the time the Minister of FCT, Senator Bala

•Duke From Bukola Amusan,Abuja

FACILITY Mohammed returned the land to NCAC, what remained of the 22 hectares was barely 3.24 hectares. Maidugu added that between 2003 and 2010 when the remaining portion of the land was returned to the council, the tents occupied mostly by visual artists and arts and crafts dealers was entirely under the management of FCT, which used the opportunity to sell a greater part of the land. He recalled: “After CHOGM, when el-Rufai revoked the land, we believed it was not done properly and that is why we must praise the present FCT Minister for trying to right the wrong in terms of land allocation. He has seen that this land appropriately belongs to us and has found it, in his wisdom to re-allocate it to us.” As for the arts and crafts dealers, Maidugu said the relationship between NCAC and its tenants would remain cor-

section of the piece- waist to toe- is an intricately produced art that reveals the power, sex and religious influences in the culture of his people. Some of his works are disturbing and arresting constructs of the imagination mirroring the dilemmas and complexities of the artist’s life. Ato Arinze’s terra cotta works such as Holy Mother, were also a delight to the eyes just as the paintings kept turning the heads of viewers.

dial considering their passionate desire to promote the enterprise. He hoped that with the development of the village through the private/public partnership more customers would be attracted both from within and outside the country to the centre. “Our relationship with the present tenants would be very cordial. Part of our coming is to add value to the efforts of the tenants. We will encourage them to stay while we think of how to improve the facilities here and enhance patronage.” When the village is fully developed, Maidugu assured that even the roadside artists would also be accommodated as a studio would be constructed and experts in various arts sector hired to train and retrain younger generations of artists. “More importantly, there would be a research and products department that would see to it that the products are of international standard.” The place, when fully developed, the NCAC boss stated, would accommodate, among other facilities, the Council’s permanent office block, exhibition centre, semi-permanent pavilion for the yearly regional market (Arts and Crafts Expo) as well as performance theatre. Duke expressed delight over the return of the centre to the Ministry. His concern now, he said, was getting investors from the private sector to collaborate with the ministry, not only to ensure that the place is immediately developed but also to promote the activities of arts and crafts dealers to the international community, using modern communication technology. “I do not know how many of them have access to Internet. Foreigners who buy arts and crafts do so through the Internet. I don’t think anybody has spoken to these people about entrepreneurial development, about skills and about new technologies with which to develop their products. That is where the ministry comes in — to help promote their business and improve the quality of their products.” The Minister reiterated that his tour of the village was not to disrupt the on-going business of crafts dealers but to move them from the basic element of low earnings to the practical generation of revenue for themselves and the nation at large. He said the fact that the place was given out to entertain wives of heads of states made it an important landmark for the nation’s arts and craft industry and as such, should be developed beyond its present status. “We are going to develop and improve this facility on a collaborative platform with banks and other private sectors so that it will become a modern art and craft market with conferencing facilities, first class restaurants, improved theatre for performances and lots of varieties that will make the place a complete and unbelievably beautiful venue,” Duke assured



The Midweek Magazine



HERE is a fascinating edition of a collection of the works of the late Chinua Achebe simply titled ‘An Image of Africa’. It is published in the Penguin series of great ideas that features such great minds as Chuang Tzu, Epictetus, Niccolo Machiavelli, Rene Descartes, John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin among several others. The first part of this book contains what Achebe considers as nothing but sheer racism in Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. In his clinical dissection of Conrad’s novel, Achebe contends that “Heart of Darkness projects the image of Africa as ‘the other world’, the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality”. Achebe continues: “In my original conception of this essay I had thought to conclude it nicely on an appropriately positive note in which I would suggest from my privileged position in African and Western cultures some advantages the west might derive from Africa once it rids its mind of old prejudices and began to look at Africa not through a haze of distortions and cheap mystifications but quite simply as a continent of people – not angels, but not rudimentary souls either – just people, often highly gifted people and often strikingly successful in their enterprise with life and society”. Even though he was immensely successful as an individual writer, thinker and intellectual, it is highly unlikely that Chinua Achebe died a fulfilled and contented man. This is because Africa, his beloved Africa, despite its immense human and material endowments, still lies in the throes of poverty, impunity and underdevelopment. It would appear to me that if Joseph Conrad were to resurrect today and write a novel about Africa, he would still characterise the continent as the ‘heart of darkness’. From all indices of human development, Africa lags pathetically behind – in education, health, infrastructure, poverty, disease, ignorance among several others. Ironically, the second part of this Penguin collection of Achebe’s work comprises of his seminal short essays simply titled ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’. Although these essays were

An image of Africa : Between Achebe and Conrad penned over three decades ago, they are ever so still relevant to contemporary Nigeria. It would appear to me that Achebe’s ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’ confirms Conrad’s deprecatory disposition to the black man. Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth. She harbours natural and mineral resources beyond imagination. She is blessed with abundant human genius. In his last characteristically well written but controversial work ‘There was a Country: A personal history of Biafra’, Achebe documents how the British colonialists ran an impressive and efficient public administration in Nigeria . All that has gone to the dogs. As Achebe bluntly put it over thirty years ago, “Nigeria is not a great country. It

is one of the most disorderly nations in the world. It is one of the most corrupt, insensitive, inefficient places under the sun. It is one of the most expensive countries and one of those that give least value for money. It is dirty, callous, noisy, ostentatious, dishonest and vulgar. In short, it is among the most unpleasant places on earth!” Our severe critic is not finished with us yet. According to him, “It is a measure of our self-delusion that we can talk about developing tourism in Nigeria. Only a masochist with an exuberant taste for self-violence will pick Nigeria for a holiday; only a character out of Tutuola seeking to know punishment and poverty at first hand! No, Nigeria may be a paradise for adventurers and pirates, but not tourists”.

‘We have become so used to talking in millions and billions that we have ceased to have proper respect for the sheer size of such numbers. I sometimes startled my students by telling them that it was not yet one million days since Christ was on earth. As they gazed openmouthed I would add: not even half a million days’

Are these the words of an incurable cynic who hates his country for no just cause? Are they the musings of a mind incapable of loving his country, warts and all as a true patriot should? No, I believe these words are borne of genuine affection for the fatherland, a deep desire that an otherwise well -endowed country achieve her full potentials. They are words of truth and truth, all too often, is a bitter pill to swallow. Three decades after Achebe’s words, the infrastructure across the country has decayed abysmally. The public education sector is comatose at all levels. Public health care has virtually collapsed. Kidnapping, armed robbery and suicide bombing have become commonplace across the land. Poverty has worsened. Corruption has deepened. The Nigerian state is clearly on the verge of collapse. I believe that Achebe despaired that our generation of Africans, by our actions and inactions, were actually confirming the inferiority tag implicit in Joseph Conrad’s depiction of the black man. Take the scale of corruption in contemporary Nigeria for example. Privileged officials siphon billions of Naira of pension funds into their private accounts. Yet, pensioners who have spent the best part of their lives serving their country die of exhaustion on endless pension ques. Before now, the norm was to steal thousands and then millions of Naira. Today, the fashion is to guzzle billions of Naira or even dollars. As Achebe put it three decades ago, “We have become so used to talking in millions and billions that we have ceased to have proper respect for the sheer size of such numbers. I sometimes startled my students by telling them that it was not yet one million days since Christ was on earth. As they gazed open-mouthed I would add: not even half a million days!” Yet, see how things have worsened. The inimitable Chinua Achebe no doubt today walks tall among our ancestors. He was an icon of integrity. He was a wordsmith of incomparable clarity. But then, we must heed his words of wisdom and mend our ways or else things will irreversibly fall apart and the great man would have to apologise to Joseph Conrad if their paths cross in the great beyond.

Oshiomhole urges Afenmai to preserve their heritage


VER a dozen masqueraders and cultural troupes converged on the Ikelebe Sports Arena, Auchi, Edo State last week to celebrate the heritage of the Afenmai people. It was a colourful presentation embellished with heavy thudding strokes of the drums, dexterous and enticing footsteps in addition to an exhibition on sculpturing, skin decoration techniques, and masquerade costume production. The celebration was at the instance of the Centre for Afenmai Heritage & Cultural Studies, a creative outfit for the promotion, propagation and documentation of heritage of the Afenmai people. Six local government council areas were represented with two troupes each. The Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole who was the Special Guest, stressed the need for the people to ensure that their past is never allowed to go into extinction, reiterating the state government’s preparedness and willingness to partner with the centre in promoting the art and culture of the Afenmai people. He expressed satisfaction with what the founder and director of the centre, Prince Alhaji Usman Abudah had single-handedly put together. He stressed government’s readiness to key into the creative pursuits that would be of immense benefit to the forthcoming Edo Festival. Prince Abudah said the outing was to unfold the natural nature of the people through the lyric formats in masquerade presentation that was equally sustained in footsteps and instrumentation. “The emergence of the centre to assist in a thorough approach to unveil the rural based artistes, artisans and disciples of the often-forgotten aspect of a people’s past. It is also to document several historical locations that need to be fully put on record in various forms that the government alone cannot pursue. Apart from that, it is to promote tourism locally rather than talking from Abuja when the real locations are at home.” Abudah recalled that the centre had in the past promoted the heritage of Afemai land with its attendance at the COJA 2003 in Abuja featuring Ikao Masqueraders and the participation in the Lagos Black Heritage

•Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole (centre) inspecting some of the exhibits

HERITAGE Festival in 2010 in which it featured a 45-member contingent. He disclosed that the centre has published numerous reports on artistic works and festivals of the land in various Nigerian newspapers and television stations. The chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Aliru H. Momoh, Ikelebe III, the Otaru of Auchi kingdom praised the efforts of the founder and director of the centre in pro-

moting the artistry of the Afenmai people and called on him to sustain the pursuit. Oba Danesi, the Aidonogie of South Ibie Kingdom also graced the occasion. A lecture titled Masquerades don’t lie: Oshiomhole as a case study was delivered by Dr. John Edemode of the Mass Communication Department of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi. Constance Bolivia Osigbemhe Memorial Band provided some entertainments for the guests as he performed some ever-green tracks of his late father.



The Midweek Magazine You don’t like U S A L V I the sea




ON’T be fooled by the quaint title, You Don’t Like The Sea is an introspective collection of urban contemporary stories of a grimly disillusioned society fast sliding (inexorably?) into anarchy. You will come across ordinary men and monsters caught up in the thin line between the arbitrariness of the ironfisted despot ensconced in his gilded palace and the decisiveness of the lynch mobs prowling the streets. Expect anger, madness, massacre. Lots and lots along with empathy, philosophy and outstanding lyrical prose by this red-eyed sage with the silver tongue. While you’re still nibbling at the aforesaid title, the opening salvo, Temptation to forgive Jacob hits you like a battle tank. The author is quickly at work. As you make your progress you are going to find out this is a technique Mr. Edosomwan uses time and again to devastating effect: the frontal assault at your senses leaving you petrified in horror even as you luxuriate in the depth of perceptiveness and breadth of understanding given life by a profusion of fully-realised characters, high and low. It is a full-body experience dilating your senses and subverting the knowledge gained simultaneously! There are so many good ideas it can fill a few novels. In shock, you marvel at the blitz! Temptation to forgive Jacob offers this sampler: What is a boy of tender age to do when he discovers one fateful night that his weakkneed but loving father is committing crimes against humanity and yet feels no remorse? As you rally your defenses to contain this onslaught you are being treated to a lightning-tour of how bad fruits come from good seed when the soil is the human heart. Besieged and overwhelmed on all fronts you find yourself reaching the tactical decision that perhaps it is expedient to throw up your arms and stop resisting when the battle cry itself serenades you. Surrender never tasted so good! The Big Loan might strike some read-


You don’t like the sea


Aimua Edosomwan

ers as ploughing the same furrow as James Joyce’s ‘Portrait of the artist as a young man’, but despite the dubious thematic convergence and use of extended interior monologues, the favourite technique of the Irish master for developing his plotlines, this conclusion will not bear scrutiny. Indeed if anything one gets the impression this angst-ridden, postmodernist tale is autobiographical in basis, such is the raw power of some passages. Be it the rambling ones of brooding alienation like a mind slipping its restraint and coming apart at the seams or the more meditative ones there is no loss of authenticity. The antihero’s loss of the means of livelihood tells a parallel story to his inner loss of faith and high-minded ideals in the face of unraveling certainties, plummeting self-esteem and creeping dissolution. It is a credit to this writer’s profound

Account of Liberia’s Civil War


N this book, Agbogu brings to the fore the already dwindled echoes from the horrendous Liberian war which up till today still has its debilitating grip, and its suffocating effects, on the country. To properly appreciate what the author has done, let me crave your indulgence to allow me retrieve from the monument of history what culminated in the scholarship that produced the book. Post-Conflict Peace Building in Liberia stemmed from the event of what is today known in history as the First Liberian Civil War which was an internal conflict in Liberia from 1989 until 1996. According to Wikipedia, the conflict killed over 200,000 people and eventually led to the involvement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the United Nations(UN). The peace did not last long, and in 1999 the Second Liberian Civil War broke out. Samuel Doe took over power in a coup in 1980 against William R. Tolbert. Doe became the first Liberian President of non-Americo-Liberian descent. Doe instantly established a military regime called the People's Redemption Council. He was initially supported by a large number of indigenous Liberian tribes basically because they had been excluded from power since the founding of the country in 1847 by freed American slaves. President Doe did not in any way improve the lives of the Liberian citizens by any inch different from what his hybrid pred-

BOOK REVIEW Title: Author:

Post-Conflict Peace Building in Liberia Ogochukwu Agbogu


Dr S.O. Afolayan

Pagination: 72 ecessors did as he merely clamped down on opposition, orchestrating a pogrom sinisterly fuelled by his paranoia of a counter-coup attempt against him. Doe promised a return to civilian rule, but the election he staged in 1985 was widely condemned as fraudulent and a mere self-suc-

vision and narrative ability that such a deeply personal account of the quest for meaning and sustenance which in full flight reads like visceral jottings in a private diary also conceptualised the fate of a country – Nigeria anyone? – undermined by forces it could easily master falling off a cliff. It is a breathtaking achievement given that a topic of such profound social relevance could easily be mishandled by a lesser writer’s pandering to leftist sloganeering and street cred ethos. Instead we get a front-row seat in a riveting drama of a soul set upon by the sublime, biting reality and trivia fighting for its life, commonplace considerations having turned threatening as well. It requires a deft touch and the author delivers in a shattering finale where truth itself emerges as a blunt instrument in an incredibly brutal milieu. You know you’re in trouble when good attributes fetch bad results, And the bad ones? Don’t go there. Even the narrator’s remarkable erudition constitutes a grave danger which serves as a potent metaphor for a country like ours led by inept rulers although blessed with gifted citizens thriving in other corners of the globe. Intelligence as a curse? Think Nigeria’s oil. The looming uncertainties of the narrator’s life, and the vague and restless urge arising from his growing restiveness, to toe the one familiar path he knew, but one that once led him to the brink of perdition is but the take of one member’s absorption of a general failing: a collective refusal by the larger society to stay away from a course that proved disastrous in

‘The antihero’s loss of the means of livelihood tells a parallel story to his inner loss of faith and high-minded ideals in the face of unraveling certainties, plummeting self-esteem and creeping dissolution.’ cession manipulation by international monitors. Charles Taylor, who was once a member of Doe's government had left the government, after being accused of embezzlement. Taylor assembled a group of rebels in Côte d'Ivoire and this became the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Taylor's NPFL invaded Nimba County on December 24,1989. The Liberian Army retaliated against the region, attacking unarmed civilians and burning villages. Many left as refugees for Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire, but opposition to Doe increased as Prince Johnson, an NPFL fighter, split to form his own guerrilla force and named Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL). By the middle of 1990, a civil war was raging. Taylor's NPFL soon controlled a larger part of Liberia, while Johnson began advancing into the capital, Monrovia dangerously narrowing Doe's survival tendencies. ECOWASattempted to persuade Doe to resign and go into exile, but despite his weak position - besieged in his mansion - he refused. While making a brief trip out of the Executive Mansion to ECOMOG Headquarters, Doe was captured by Johnson on September 9, 1990. He was tortured before being killed. When the crisis lingered for too long, the ECOMOG was evoked and in the Chapter Two of this book, the untold in respect of the diverse functions of the ECOMOG is adequately explained. For instance, during the said war, as Nigerians, we only had access to the event through news reports and many things remained unclear to us, especially has it concerns the warring parties, the principal actors as well as the United Nations . In the Chapter Three, entitled: United Nations and Peace Building in Liberia; the book expounds the involvements of the United Nations, through the mechanism of UNIMIL in foisting peace on the battered Liberia. The

the past. It is nothing short of the dance of death. Rather than do that why not stop for a while in a restful place with this book and heed its many lessons. Have you ever looked away in a moment of fear only to see your worst nightmare jeering at you? Of course not! But that’s exactly what happened to the couple in Stroll away. Marooned in a city under siege, hiding from the rampaging militia, the only thing missing to complete the apocalypse was a mental meltdown. But that was exactly what happened on the day they planned their escape. Hallucination or dignity? They just might mean the same thing in this gritty psychodrama that reveals a primordial fault line of the human constitution: the wholesome trait and its antithesis springing from the same primeval urge. If you find yourself looking askance at loved ones or even yourself thereafter you should be able to tell your therapist how it all began because I bet you’ve come across nothing like this in recent fiction Though in vastly different ways, this story along with Roach’s demise and Temptation to forgive Jacob highlights the hideous transformation that awaits even decent, respectable folks caught long enough in a position of proximity to evil. The message is clear, and it is a powerful warning to all and sundry: evil dehumanizes you more than you can ever tell. You May Hang Me Now (after the libation) tells of a senior citizen, a former aide to a government top dog in the petroleum ministry who is left devastated when his doctor announced he had late-term cancer. But there’s life in the old dog yet and he proved it aplenty when he ran into a reporter out on her very first assignment. Overwhelmed by her personality at lunch, this normally taciturn fellow got the idea to bless her career with the scoop of the year. He reveals the juiciest scandal ever which naturally enough promptly ends up in the headlines. The blowback turns their lives topsy-turvy and a dictator falls from power and that’s just the beginning. Raking over old wounds or taking on entrenched interests is always a perilous enterprise and the nasties in this fastpaced political thriller don’t come any nastier. They throw bombs, ask no questions and take no prisoners. book proceeds by stating: "UNIMIL also engage in programmes that sought to have direct effect …quick impacts and employment projects" (p.20). As we are also informed in Chapter Four, "NGO's have important roles to play in the peace building" and this is why the chapter proceeds to explicate the significance of the NGO's in the post war peace initiative of Liberia. In the last chapter of the book, we are made to see the World Bank as a 'Peace Building' organisation and this alone has gone a long way to establish this book as a valuable material to possess. Having said this little about this book, it is believed that I have performed my duty of introducing to you all the latest inclusion into the series of non-fictional writings that evolved out of the Liberian imbroglio, contributed by Ogochukwu Agbogu, of whom I am sure will continually stimulate people with his scholarship and academic experience. Doe had led a coup d'état that overthrew the elected government in 1980, and in 1985 held elections that were widely considered fraudulent. There had been one unsuccessful coup by a former military leader. In December 1989, a former minister Taylor moved into the country from neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire to start an uprising meant to topple the Doe government. During the civil war, factions formed around Taylor and those who supported his former soldier with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, Prince Johnson. Johnson took the capital Monrovia in 1990 and executed Doe, while Taylor's forces, the Armed Forces of Liberia, and Johnson's forces battled for the control of Monrovia. Peace negotiations and foreign involvement led to a ceasefire in 1995 that was broken the next year before a final peace agreement and new national elections were held in 1997. Taylor was elected President of Liberia in July 1997.



The Midweek Magazine



Size or weight, it’s balance

Habila’s Good bye, Lagos out soon

Preservation of artistic work


ONTEMPORARY artist, Victoria Udondian has said that the preservation of textile materials is a task for the future. She spoke in Lagos at an interactive session at the open studio event held at Ajao Estate, a Lagos suburb. She gave an insight into the orgin of importing used cloth (okrika) and how Europeans preserve their textile works from extinction. However, textiles and fabrics are very fragile because they need a good gallery to preserve them. She urged Nigerians to see the merit in textiles, weaving and all artistic works because they hold the key to our past heritage. According to her, the origin of importing foreign cloth began through charity adding that the privileged donated cloth to the less privilege. She noted that was how the importation of foreign cloth began and created means of making money. The government and individuals should help in preservation of fabric work. “The best fabric works are always purchased by Europeans and other foreigners because they have a good gallery to keep works for futuristic purpose. In Nigeria, we do not have good galleries to preserve our fabrics,” she said. Udondian is passionate in creating fabrics


•Udondian(left) during a presentation at the Open Studio event By Olushola Orebajo

VISUAL ART and textiles because she uses it to communicate to the public. Udondian, who graduated from the University of Uyo with a BA in painting in 2004,

said: “In my work, the garments used and the weaving as well as the sewing methods implored are imbued with strong ethical and social values which painting alone can’t portray”. She hopes to have her first solo art exhibition in Lagos before the end of the year. She has not had any solo because she feels she is not prepared but thinks she is now.

NEW book on Lagos by Helon Habila will soon be published. Though his first three books are novels, his most recent publication is a remembrance of things past all through his years in Lagos. The author tells it with a novelist’s eye for detail, starting with his very first visit as a teenager, his meeting with the very best and worst of literary Lagos, living through the Abacha dictatorship, early frustration in becoming an author, assistance from the most unlikely quarters and the timely Caine Prize in 2001. Tentatively entitled Goodbye, Lagos, the finished manuscript has been sent to his publishers in London, Granta. It was gathered that it would be published in Nigeria. His first novel, Waiting for an Angel, that won him the Caine Prize, was published in 2001. Measuring Time followed and then Oil on Water. All have been well received. Goodbye, Lagos has been described as a tour de force by those who read the manuscript. Habila is the first writer ever to benefit from Chinua Achebe Fellowship instituted in the late writer’s honour at Bard College, New York.










Fayemi, Amaechi chart course for youths

Arabic school graduates 24

A lift for youths through agric








Page 45


300 ex-militants now entrepreneurs


•Hon Kuku

VER 300 ex-combatants in the Niger Delta have been trained in various entrepreneurial skills and assisted to operate small businesses. They were trained under the Amnesty Programme following a process of disarmament, demobilisation and federal government pardon. The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku whose office played a crucial role in the training, expressed his satisfaction with the programme. He said in Lagos that the training and support given to the beneficiaries would help them “grow small businesses that will not only make

By Ogochukwu Ikeje

them the new generation of entrepreneurs but also lay a solid foundation“ to break the cycle of poverty as well as contribute to the economic growth of the country. At the event, the trainees were given initial jobs tools with which to start their businesses. Such tools included welding machines, building and fishery equipment, amongs others. One of the beneficiaries, 31-yearold Endurance Egodibia, who graduated from a welding firm in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State capital,

told Newsextra that the training meant a lot to him. Getting his jobs tools, he said, “will change my life from the former one to a better one.” Egodibia is looking forward to setting up in Port-Harcourt. So are others expecting to start managing their own businesses in different parts of the country. Kuku said “over 13,000 delegates have been deployed to local and foreign training centres for various skill acquisition programmes and formal education. He also said over 2500 delegates are studying different courses in local and foreign institutions, adding

that more than 4,608 ex-militants are being trained in skills. The Special Adviser said further that many of the trainees have been employed in various governmental and private establishments in the country and abroad. The beneficiaries were also told that with the training they have acquired and the support provided, they were in good stead to lead meaningful lives, and that after three months, their stipends will be stopped. A representative of the ex-militants said they will be of good behaviour and “will not put the Amnesty Programme to shame.”


HANKS to a non-governmental organisation, Labake Illumnant Foundation, widows and orphanage children in Osun State are in good supply of food, clothing and even toys. The NGO donated food items, toys, infant formula and fairlyused clothing to some of them, especially inmates of homes. The youngest of the inmates are six months old, while the oldest are up to 15 years or above. The organisation visited four homes, which included Our Lady of Fatima, Osogbo, Fiwa Aye Orphanage, Erin-Oke, Enu O Gbaope Orphanage, Abiye Orphanage, St. Mary’s Rehabilitation, Osogbo and Development Centre, Ipetumodu, all in Osun State. The widows in the area were also not left out as some of them received a cash donation of N20,000 each from the foundation to start up petty trading or re-float existing businesses. Established in the memory of the late Mrs. Labake Coker, who died on May 5, 2012, the foundation caters for the needs of widows, orphanage homes as well as centres for the rehabilitation of the physically and mentally challenged persons across the country. The late Mrs. Labake Coker lived all her life in Alagbole, an Ogun border community near Lagos State, using her little resources and maintenance money from the children to cater for the less-fortunate members of her neighbourhood. Her daughter, Adenike Coker, who initiated the project, told the beneficiaries that the foundation is not out to establish an orphanage home or less-privileged centres but to help existing ones in meeting the needs of people in their care. She said the Labake Coker Illuminant Foundation has no boundaries when it comes to reaching out to the less-fortunate and neglected members of the society, even as she said that caring for them is a continuous thing. The United Kingdom-trained financial expert who worked for Customs and Excise (England) and

•Adenike Coker (middle) and the children in one of the orphanage centres

Foundation feeds widows, orphans NGO caters for the needy in Osun From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

Middlesex University (England), said she decided to start the project at Erin Oke in Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State because her father, Coker, hailed from there. She added that the next beneficiaries could be orphanage homes in Port Harcourt Rivers State or Ogun State. Adenike said: “The foundation is meant to be supportive. We are not creating our orphanage homes or

whatever. We are just there to help other orphanage homes provide things they need. It is specifically for widows, orphans and children with disability. Our aim is to provide for people like the widows. “I realise that it takes only little for them to be able to start petty businesses. We don’t intend to baby-feed them. We just want to give them something that would enhance their ability to feed themselves; N20,000 to look after themselves and children.

“Back in the UK, I had collected clothes used by my children, brothers and I for donation to those children in the orphanage homes. We have also brought children’s toys, foods, infant formula, for them. “We have been going round. I started from Erin Oke in Osun State because my father hailed from there. The next one could be in Port Harcourt and another one could be in Ogun State. We are setting up a website on what has been done and the needs of such orphanage homes

for people who might want to donate directly if they are touched by what they have seen. “We will be accepting aids for the needy once the account of the foundation is set up. I have been doing all this from my purse. However, a friend supported with N30,000. God willing, it’s going to be a continuous process. One of the things I planned to do was to set up a foundation when I grow older but I never knew it would be this quicker. I was waiting until I’m like 55 years old when I have retired •Continued on Page 46




KITI State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi and his Rivers State counterpart Chibuike Amaechi were among the dignitaries who attended the second edition of the Future Awards Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders in Ekiti State. The symposium which held at Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort, AdoEkiti, its capital, focused on how to enhance the capacity of youths. Other dignitaries who attended the event included Professor Pat Utomi, Tonye Cole of Sahara Group, Kola Oyeneyi, Dr Oke Okechukwu of Thisday, Ajayi Olowu, Odia Ofeimum, Chike Ogeah, Delta State Commissioner for Information, among others. Professor Utomi’s speech kicked off the event. He later joined the panel of discussants and conducted a review on the state of Nigeria. The discussants with Professor Utomi were Kola Oyeneyi of the Venia Group; Japheth Omojuwa, a social media activist; Ajayi Olowu, Gbenga Sesan, Social Entrepreneur and Dr Oke Okechukwu of Thisday. Delivering a speech entitled ‘Friends, Fellows, Countrymen: We have so much work to do’, the Executive Director of The Future Project, Chude Jideonwo said: “We need to build our capacity for leadership and we must learn from the massive pool of political knowledge our speakers dish out today. With this, we as young Nigerians

•Continued from Page 45 from active service. “In Christianity, we talk about the first fruit of the year; that is salary for January. I usually give it to my church. But this year, I have decided to send my first fruit, which was N300, 000 to Nigeria. I was able to use it to assist a widow who was about to be ejected from her apart-

•From left: Chike Ogeah; Rotimi Amaechi; Kayode Fayemi and Tonye Cole at the Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders

Fayemi, Amaechi, others course for youths By Ahmed Boulor

will be able to define our character of involvement for 2015.” The second discussion for the day entitled, ‘Getting your Hands Dirty: A Practical Guide to Political Participation’ had as discussants, Governor Kayode Fayemi, Governor Rotimi

Amaechi, Tonye Cole, Chike Ogeah, Pat Utomi and Odia Ofeimum. All reeled off nuggets for effective political participation. “Regarding Nigeria, I think transformation not revolution is possible,” said Governor Amaechi. “You cannot change the government from outside. If you don’t get involved now, you will continue

to protest from the outside for the rest of your life,” added Tonye Cole. “Only in Nigeria that ignorance appears to govern knowledge because we let it be so,” said Governor Fayemi. The young participants were fully involved in the interactive sessions, exchanging ideas with the panelists and offering their

Succour for orphanages ment shortly after her husband’s death. “We paid for a three-bedroom apartment for her and the children. I was so happy that I was able to come to their aid. I didn’t know her but

the Pastor told me about them. Part of the money was used to pay for the woman’s rent for a year to put her mind at rest. We used the rest to help other people. There is a girl, brilliant and being raised by a sin-

gle mother. She was supposed to register for West African School Certificate (WASC) but does not have the money. I paid for it.” According to the mother of three, who runs a Creche and Nursery School in England through the foundation, she aims to draw the attention of kind-hearted individuals and institutions to the needs and challenges of some needy orphanage homes and rehabilitation centres for possible support.

own suggestions. The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders, a platform leading from The Future Awards, is the next stage of its involvement in building a new generation of leaders to engage the nation’s governance and economy through knowledge exchange and building of networks. Adenike, who said she got the inspiration to care for the needy from her late mother, explained that educational and enlightenment programmes would also be carried out on career path, sex education, HIV and AIDS and teenage pregnancy for Nigerian youths. She said: “If people know what we are doing, they will do something. I’m not going out there begging for money. I want the foundation to speak for itself. If people see what we are doing and become touched by what the foundation does, let them partner with it. There are a lot of 419 foundations. There is little we can do. The vision will not die.

Foundation sensitises on NOMA


•Chairman, Somolu Local Government, Hon Gbolahan Bago-Stowe, presenting Budget 2013 to the Leader of the House, Hon. Bola Adetona at the secretariat

Council consolidates on infrastructure


HAIRMAN, Somolu Local Government Area, Hon. Gbolahan Bago-stowe has made it clear that his administration will be focused on providing more infrastructure for its constituents. The direction of the council in the year was contained in the budget proposal presented to its Legislative Arm. The chairman presented a budget of N2,012,804,469.02 for the year 2013. The expenditure proposal was tagged “Budget of infrastructural Re-

By Emmanuel Udodinma

newal”. Bago-stowe explained that the administration was determined to consolidate on the gains of last year. But much as the chairman would want to step up infrastructural growth, he also wants to enhance human development, he said. This, he said, was to replicate the giant strides being recorded at the state level.

Breaking down the budget, he said the sum of N760,500,000 which represents 38 per cent of the expenditure profile, will be devoted to capital projects. Overhead cost was put at N678,000,000 which is 33.7 per cent of the budget, while 247,648,292.23 million has been proposed for teachers salary and N326, 813,628.72 million for personal cost. He craved the cooperation of everyone in the council to ensure that the vision of the administration was realised.

N organisation, the Jegede Paul Foundation, is leading an awareness campaign on the NOMA disease, which is said to be deadlier than AIDS. The foundation has started a campaign in Lagos against the disease that has killed 120,000 Nigerians based on a survey conducted in 2007. According to Mr. Jegede Abiodun Paul, the organisation’s founder who is also CEO of JaPaul Oil and Maritime Services, the level of ignorance on the NOMA disease is too high hence the foundation is partnering a Francebased organisation, Les enfants Normale to lead the campaign and treat some victims. “The NOMA disease is predominant in children from 0-7 years and adult people battling with the HIV virus. If the disease is detected early, it can be treated with ordinary antibiotics but since it affects

mostly the poor due to malnutrition, the disease grows unabated and it becomes difficult, affecting the mouth, throat, eyes and finally the heart that it takes about £40,000 to treat a patient. This is pathetic and our foundation has decided to start a massive campaign against the disease beginning with the launch and also the opening of Life Fountain Orphanage come April 13 on Saturday,” he said. Miss Victoria Remi Nkong, a member of the foundation’s board of trustees, said: ”As a charitable organisation with a mission to uplift the society through socio-economic and ethical empowerment, Jegede Paul Foundation is saddled with the vision to change lives and impact the society; we have plans to visit various communities in need of better conditions of living as we have recently done at Isale-Iwaya community”.



Ahmed inspects projects


WARA State Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed has embarked on an inspection tour of projects which were initiated by him or by his predecessor. The tour was informed by the need to ensure that projects are executed according to specifications. Some of the projects inspected included the General Hospitals, Ilorin, Offa and Omu-Aran which are undergoing rehabilitation. Others are Amberi Water Booster Station, Erin-Ile-Ilemona Road and Irra Road, all in Kwara South Senatorial District. During the tour, he warned that contractors handling various stateowned projects should expedite action on them to ensure that they are completed on schedule, even as he said contractors who carry out shoddy jobs or finish behind schedule would have such contracts revoked. Ahmed said: ”At the beginning of every financial year, we have a budget which is an articulation of programmes that we intend to spend the people’s money on. Once these projects have been given out to contractors, they need to be taken to completion. We want to be sure that works are carried out the way they have been idealised for implementation. “On the strength of that, once projects are ongoing, there is a strong project monitoring team, a special adviser on infrastructure who also doubles as check and balance on developmental projects. We also need to see for ourselves the extent of progress made on such projects to ensure that we get value for our money. “That is what informed our re-


HE Chief Executive Director of Podium Industries, Chief Paschal Duru has praised the chairman of Oto-Awori Local Council Development Area, Mr. Bolaji Kayode Robert for winning the Local Government Chairman Award for the year 2012. Duru said: “There is no doubt that the man despite his difficult background has managed to channel meager resources to substantial benefits which in many years can never be forgotten.” According to him, the chairman’s approach to leadership is creative and based on the peoples’ participation in delivering the dividends of democracy. Duru added that Robert’s humility and concern for the welfare of the people is a commitment he made since assumption of office. He described the council boss as

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

cent visits to various projects that are ongoing to ensure that we get value for our money. Anywhere we go to, we expect that contractors should have gotten the job to a certain level to which we have funded them. “So far, we are happy with what we have seen. Our contractors are working accordingly and anywhere we expect to see things and they fall below our expectations, the contractor will be given a marching order. “The [new projects] we have inspected now are works that have been encapsulated into the budget. In other words, we have clearly outlined what we intend to do with the peoples’ money. Other projects like roads, water, energy, schools and health that are yet to start will be carried out as encapsulated in the budget. “We will ensure that these projects are carried out once the funds are available. We have the responsibility of working within the limited resources that we have. We are one of the states that receive the lowest in terms of revenue allocation from the Federal Government. Also, our revenue base is not very strong in terms of internally-generated revenue. This is largely because we have a public sector- driven environment. “We are just trying to create an enabling environment to bring in the private sector to drive the system and create additional taxable environment that will increase the taxes and generate more revenue so that we can do more projects for

•Governor Ahmed (left) and his team during the inspection of Omu-Aran General Hospital the people. “We also expect to see improvement in our health sector because a healthy society is a wealthy society. We must see, as part of our human capital development, a very strong healthcare delivery system put in place. “That is why we pursued the renovation of hospitals. Primary health, secondary and tertiary

health institutions are being equipped with the human and material resources that will give us the necessary platform for a proper healthcare delivery system. These are all geared towards ensuring that we have a strong economic environment. “Education is not left out. Over 200 classrooms would soon be renovated at the basic and second-

ary levels to create additional infrastructure for our students. Additional textbooks and laboratory equipment would be supplied to schools and mega schools will be constructed. “These schools will create platforms to accommodate neighbouring schools in terms of infrastructure like laboratories and other training equipment for students.”

Industrialist hails council chief a committed democrat, a passionate believer in uplifting the downtrodden of the society. Though it was a keenly contested competition among notable local governments such as Mushin, Lagos Island, Ajeromi Ifelodun and Apapa, Hon Robert seemed to have no problems claiming the top prize. In the tradition of LG News, organisers of the awards, thorough research and investigations are carried out every year across the local governments in the state before deciding on the best performing chairmen. Robert’s award attracted prolonged applause. Duru noted that the choice of the

winner should not have come as a surprise because his activities and achievements were not found in the previous administration. Robert’s achievements included the construction of one of the best ultra-modern office complexes in the country, three modern Primary Health Centres, three modern primary schools, construction and rehabilitation of roads, free health missions. Others included poverty alleviation programmes, youth empowerment through training in ICT, scholarship and several structures including rehabilitating parts of a federal road. The chairman won a brand new KIA salon car.

Robert reiterated his commitment to continued service to the teeming populace of the council. He said: “The truth is that seeing is believing; everybody is conscious of the new environment, there is a massive reformation; the residents are proud to see various developments and Oto - Awori LCDA is working.“ Chief Paschal stated that other local government chairman in the country should emulate the principles of the man whose simplicity and hard work have endeared him to the people. “It is my wish and the general wish of the people that Bibiire who has the backing of the teeming populace should represent Ojo Federal Constituency in Abuja come 2015.

•Duru “I enjoin the people of Ojo, Iba, and Oto to give unflinching support to the executive chairman, Mr. Bolaji Kayode Robert (Bibiire) come 2015”

There is no doubt that the man despite his difficult background has managed to channel meager resources to substantial benefits which in many years can never be forgotten

•Hon. Bolaji Robert (second left) receives the keys of the prize car



If you want to reach out to a wide range of people, agriculture is the best way to do it because you reach out to a lot of people at the same time


N order to empower Nigerian youths and reduce restiveness in the North, a nonprofit group, the Nehemiah Youth Empowerment Initiative (NYEI), has enrolled 50 young people from Kaduna into a threeyear farming scheme. This is coming at a time when the youths in the country have been frustrated as a result of the unavailability of white-collar jobs, as well as the lack of infrastructures for self-employment. NYEI at a media-parley held in Lagos, disclosed that the 50 beneficiaries of the scheme have been provided lands, seedlings, trainings as well as the assurance of a ready market for their product, just as he noted that their only payback is that they must also impact other lives from their communities. Chairperson of NYEI, Emilomo Unuigbe, said the organisation is aimed at empowering young adults between 18 and 30 years, to pursue careers based on their God-given talents, hoping that they in turn will be able to replicate same in the society. “In light of the recent ongoings in Northern Nigeria, we felt the need to empathise with the Northern youths; as such we agreed that we could reach these young adults through the platform of agriculture. So, we commenced the first phase of the “I am Nigeria” project in October, to reiterate our oneness as Nigerians despite our diversity. “300 potential farmers attended the event in Gujeni district in Kaduna, 50 of whom were short-listed based on their ability to display a keen interest in becoming agro-entrepreneurs. The first 25 of these 50 wrote the Leventis Foundation agriculture exams and 13 of them were successful. The NYEI sponsored and enrolled these 13 candidates in the Leventis Agriculture Program. “The successful 50 community champions, as we like to call them, will be given parcels of land and equipped with the resources required to farm over the next three years,” she said. Unuigbe, who said the group’s maiden event held in July 2011

•From left: Yinka Oyeniji; Cole; Unuigbe and Seyi Dare at the briefing

A lift for youths through agric By Precious Igbonwelundu

at the Eko Hotel, disclosed that their next port of call will be the Southeast, where they also intend to initiate a project that will benefit the youths in that region. “In April 2012, we partnered with an NGO called Growing Business Foundation (GBF), at the South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, to equip young entrepreneurs with ICT skills in order to have online presence and universal access. “NYEI also organized a concert for the young entrepreneurs where celebrities who have excelled in various areas such as music, comedy, fashion, movies and dance, came to inspire these

young entrepreneurs. We are not in this for money but for the love of country and to also foster those things that unite us as a nation.” Founder NYEI, Tonye Cole, who said the major challenge faced by youths was the acquisition of farmlands, commended Senator Nenadi Usman for her commitment to the initiative, adding that the land given to the beneficiaries was donated by the senator. Cole said the group considered agriculture in the North because it is the best way to meaningfully engage a greater number of people. His words: “If you want to reach out to a wide range of people, agriculture is the best way to do it because you reach out to

•Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Kehinde Bamigbetan (left) presenting JAMB photocard to a beneficiary, Miss Oladele Motunrayo during the presentation of free JAMB form to 200 beneficiaries

a lot of people at the same time. “Secondly, one of the common means of livelihood in the north is farming. It is something they do and are used to. Although more of their agriculture is still subsistent, we are working with relevant agencies to introduce large scale commercial farming “I chose Kaduna because being a Niger Deltan, I know how we felt when we had unrest in that region. People from other parts of the country felt as though the region was in another country. No one understood the issues raised, neither did they pay attention to the plight of the

people. So, when the North started having its own issues, I spoke to some people from the north and realised that there was this feeling of disconnect or abandonment from the rest of the country. “The feeling was building up for the rest of Nigeria because people did not care. As far as they are concerned, what is happening in the north is not felt by those outside the region. So, it really bothered me and I started thinking of how to show them that the rest of Nigeria care about them and feel their plight. “That was how we came about empowering young people in Kadunu because we believe that aside taking their minds off crime, they will in turn empower others.”

Arabic school graduates 24


O fewer than 24 pupils have graduated from the Madarasatul Nurul Islam, Arabic School, Marafa Estate Kaduna. The graduation followed a series of recitations from the Holy Quran and sections of the Hadith, the sayings and teachings of the Prophet. Chairman, Governing Board of the School and former Commissioner in Kaduna State, Alhaji Zakari Isa Chawai disclosed this at the graduation ceremony. The school was established to inculcate islamic knowledge, moral and intellectual discipline as well as the fear of God in pupils. He explained that the school has grown from its humble beginnings and now accommodates a student population of 226 with 191 children and 35 women. Chawai, however, noted that the school was facing challenges, including inadequate furniture and other basic requirements. “We have two sections for children and women,” he said. “The population is fast in-

From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

creasing and we are in need of support to meet our teaching which include furniture and upgrade of existing facilities.” Speaking, Chairman, Kaduna North local government , Alhaji Samaila Suleiman, represented by Muhammad Bashir Tukur, Councillor representing Kabala/ Marafa Estate ward, said: “I hope the knowledge you acquire will be useful to Islam and humanity in the spirit of the fear of God.” Similarly, District Head of Gabasawa and the Dan Kaden Zazzau, Alhaji Jibrin said true leadership was founded in the spirit of the fear of God. According to him, the challenges facing the country were due to lack of fear of God. He observed that ”unless we embrace God and recognise our responsibilities to one another we will not be out of the bondage of hardship. “Our leaders as well as followers must return to God for his guidance and salvation out of the crises, particularly in the north.”












One injured as drivers block ugu road Onitsha-Enugu •Commuters stranded •Govt: problem to be resolved soon


OR more than five hours yesterday, the OnitshaEnugu Expressway was blocked with buses by drivers, who protested multiple taxation by the Anambra State Government. But for the intervention of the police which deployed over 100 men in the area, the situation would have been disastrous. Over 1,000 drivers blocked the road, leaving Enugu and Onitshabound commuters stranded. There was no movement between 8.30am and 2pm as the drivers engaged emblem officials in a shouting match. One of the drivers was beaten up by the revenue agents. Following the maltreatment of their colleague, the drivers mobilised and chased away the revenue agents. The police arrested the revenue collector, who allegedly injured the victim. The Commissioner for Transport, Dr Chike Ohamobi, told reporters that the problem would be resolved. The drivers claimed that they

•The blocked Onitsha-Enugu Expressway...yesterday. INSET: Nwoye From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

paid more than N1, 000 for various emblems daily. They said they were told to paint their vehicles in the state’s colour. The Secretary of the Union of Enugu-Onitsha Route Welfare Association (DEORWA), Ndubuisi Nwigwe, said the situation had become unbearable, adding that it

was only in Anambra that they pay such levies. The victim, Ikechukwu Nwoye, said the luggage of his passengers was confiscated by the revenue collectors and his vehicle impounded. The commissioner said the drivers were misled by some persons, adding that it was only the state that has what he called “consoli-

dated emblem” for the Southeast. The commissioner said the consolidated revenue costs only N5,500 per annum, which is sold in local governments. The registration of inter state buses is pegged at N4,000. He said: “Once you pay this money, there won’t be any problem; but some of them do not pay. “We told them to brand their

Man arrested for trying to sell daughter


HE police in Abia State have arrested a 32-yearold man, Obinna Obu, from Umudim Imeziowa in Ezeagu Local Government of Enugu State for allegedly trying to sell his six-year-old daughter. The suspect was arrested at Umuode Osisioma Local Government while ‘negotiating’ with the suspected buyer, Eze Ochiegbu, from Isiala Ngwa South Local Government. The little girl would have been sold for N500,000. The Commissioner of Police, Usman Tilli Abubakar, said his men acted on a tip-off and swooped on them, adding that the victim had been rescued. Obu said Ochiegbu may have charmed him as he was haggling the price between N300,000 and N500,000, when they had earlier agreed on N500,000. His wife, he said, was not aware of the deal. Abubakar said some suspected child traffickers were

Akume mourns ACN chieftain


HE Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, has commiserated with the family of the late Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Vice-Chairman (Southeast), Chudi Nwike. Nwike (61) was abducted on the Auchi– Abuja road on March 19 and his body was discovered in Agbor, Delta State, on April 9. In a statement yesterday, Akume said: “I feel very shocked, concerned and disheartened by the murder of the ACN vice-

From Ugochukwu UgojiEke, Umuahia

also arrested at an eatery in Osisioma Local Government. Four people -three women and a man- were trying to induce an expectant mother into labour with the intention of selling the baby. The commissioner said the suspects were caught as they were about to carry out the act on Mrs. Ogechi Eberendu, who lives in Owerri, Imo State. Mrs. Eberendu was lured to Abia State by her friend, Nkiruka Ogbodo. The commissioner named the suspects as Uchechi Duru, Ngozi Obasi, Tochukwu Uwakwe and Ugochukwu Okafor. Abubakar said two fake soldiers were arrested after they allegedly robbed and stopped a duo who were trying to take a little boy, Husseni Musa, to Sokoto State to be sold. The commissioner said his team learnt that Dambala Yahaya from Birni Kudu in

vehicles for security reason; branding of commercial vehicles, motorcycles have been going on in this state. “It began based on the resolution of the House of Assembly. This situation is embarrassing, but we are going dialogue with them, when the contractor handing the exercise returns from Abuja. They should be patient.”


Kano State was driving a Toyota land cruiser with registration number AJ 953 AHD and others from Niger Republic were travelling to Sokoto State, when they were stopped by the fake soldiers. He said: “The fake soldiers made away with the vehicle, their luggage and little Musa. “But we rescued the boy and recovered the vehicle and everything in it.” Abubakar said his men went after the suspects and arrested Emmanuel Aroh from Awgu

in Enugu State. “He was seen in an army uniform and he is suspected to be a member of the gang that robbed and kidnapped little Musa.” Also paraded was an expectant mother, Ngozi Aroh, from Abiriba in Abia State, who was caught selling substances believed to be Indian hemp. Ms Aroh said she had been in the business for three years and that she receives her wares from a supplier, who lives in Benin, Edo State.

Senator Obi loses wife


HE wife of the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, is dead. Deaconess Colette Ojirhomu Obi passed on just before midnight on April 14 at the National Hospital, Abuja. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

I was offered N3b to impeach Okorocha, says Speaker


HE Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Benjamin Uwajumogu, yesterday revealed how Martin Agbaso, the elder brother of the impeached deputy governor, Jude Agbaso and some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allegedly offered him N3 billion to impeach Governor Rochas Okorocha. Speaking during an interview with reporters in Owerri, Uwajumogu alleged that the elder Agbaso, a businessman, PDP National ViceChairman (Southeast) Au-

•Agbaso: From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

gustine Akobundu and others, promised to give him the money, if he facilitates the impeachment to pave the way for Jude Agbaso to become governor. He said: “Last August, the elder Agbaso invited me for a meeting, saying he wanted to assist me from being removed from office. “I attended the meeting in Anambra State at the home of the businessman. We had PDP members, including Akobundu, in attendance.

Speaker can’t say that

“I was told that the Presidency has directed that impeachment proceedings be commenced against Governor Okorocha, so that Jude Agbaso can take over. “The sum of N3billion was offered to me and adequate protection. “I asked them to give me the evidence that was required to impeach the governor and till today they have not given me any evidence.” Uwajumogu added: “Okorocha got wind of the matter and confronted

Agbaso and me. “I owned up and since there was no evidence I didn’t think it was anything to worry about.” The Speaker also debunked claims that Agbaso’s impeachment was predetermined. “I am surprised by some of the information being released by the Agbasos. “If there was any predetermined impeachment action, it was to be against the governor, which was to be sponsored by Martin Agbaso and

the PDP in line with the directives of the Presidency.” But Akobundu said: “I am not aware of what he (Speaker) is talking about. “I am a member of the opposition in the state and can’t be talking about impeachment. “The PDP is concerned about restoring good governance in the state. The party’s spokesman, Blyden Amajirionwu, described the Speaker’s claim as unfounded and total falsehood. Martin Agbaso said: “I am not sure the Speaker can say anything like that.”

chairman by suspected kidnappers. “His death is indeed a great loss to all of us and his fatal travail in the hands of hoodlums further highlight our security inadequacies as a nation. “This is a sad but obvious indication of how vulnerable we all are wherever we may be in Nigeria and this does not portray us as a people who believe or attach importance to the sanctity of life. “We should not hesitate to condemn these barbaric acts but more importantly, we should challenge the security outfits to stop paying a lip-service to security issues. We, as private citizens, should take it up as an obligation that we contribute in whichever way we can towards reversing this trend of wanton killings in all parts of this country. “I condole with the family of the deceased, the ACN and indeed all Nigerians. ”He contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria. “May his soul find peace in the bosom of the Lord.



EQUITIES Skye Bank doubles dividend as profit grows by 873%



HAREHOLDERS of Skye Bank Plc would receive 100 per cent increase in cash dividends as the bank yesterday presented its audited report and accounts for the 2012 business year, showing industry’s highest net profit growth of 873 per cent. On the basis of the impressive net earnings, the board of the bank has recommended an increase in cash dividend per share from 25 kobo paid for 2011 business year to 50 kobo for 2012. The audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2012, prepared in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and approved by all financial services regulatory agencies, was presented to the investing public at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday. The report showed impressive growth in profitability as the bank rode on the back of expansive business base and increasingly efficient cost management to deliver impressive returns to shareholders. The report showed that profit after tax leapt to N12.64 billion in 2012, representing a remarkable increase of 872.6 per cent on N1.30 billion recorded in 2011. Profit before tax had leapt by 480.9 per cent from N2.84 billion in 2011 to N16.51 billion in 2012. The bank also recorded significant improvement in the top-line as gross earnings rose by about 25 per cent from N102.36 billion to N127.73 billion. The bank’s balance sheet also showed impressive performance as the bank’s focus on quality growth brought down the relative level of non-performing loans to its lowest level. The bank’s assets quality improved considerably as non-performing loan/gross loans ratio surpassed industry’s target of 5.0 per cent at 4.95 per cent in 2012 as against 6.39 per cent. Deposit base expanded by 22.4 per cent at N790.09 billion in 2012 compared with N645.45 billion in 2011, reflecting the strong profile of the bank in the intensely competitive banking industry. Total assets crossed the N1 trillion mark to N1.07 trillion in 2012 as against N914.27 billion in 2011. Equity funds firmed up to N106.89 billion as against

•Equities lose N63b By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

N100.11 billion in the previous year. This performance underlined Skye Bank as a returndriven bank. Earnings per share increased to N1.01 in 2012 as against 20 kobo in 2011. At current market value, earnings yield stands at about 16.8 per cent while dividend yield stands at 8.3 per cent, within the top bracket of earnings and yields of quoted equities. A dividend cover of 2.02 times for 2012 as against 0.80 times for 2011 underlines the ability of the bank to sustain its impressive dividend payouts. Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director, Skye Bank Plc, Mr Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, said the earnings report underscored the commitment of the bank to its goal of quality and sustained growth and returns to shareholders. “In a year of impactful regulatory interventions, including tight monetary policies, we recorded growth in the most of our performance indicators. For instance, we grew our interest income by 35 per cent from N74.9 billion to N101.0 billion, signaling an accretion in our volume of business transactions, while customer deposits grew by 22 per cent from N645.5 billion to N790.1 billion,” DurosinmiEtti said. According to him, the improvement in the intrinsic profitability of the bank showed that the management clearly understands the competitive edges that the bank should build on as it steadily moves to its goal of a leading top-tier bank. He pointed out that the critical performance ratios in terms of returns, efficiency, non-performing loans and liquidity, were well within acceptable regulatory levels noting that the directors of the bank were confident that its focus on defined growth segments and efficient use of its branches and various electronics platforms will put it in vantage position to meet its future plans. “We will further leverage on our expertise and comparative advantage in key growth areas including com-

mercial banking, corporate banking, project finance, trade finance, public private partnership and public sector to unlock significant growth in incomes while we further reduce costs by building on our increasingly popular retail banking franchise. We see a whole lot of opportunities in the large commercial and corporate sectors, retail market and small and medium enterprises and we will fully explore these in the periods ahead,” Durosinmi-Etti said. He assured that the bank was on a good stead to sustaining the impressive performance in 2013 given the early indicators in the year. Meanwhile, the Nigerian stock market slipped to the negative yesterday as losses by fast-moving consumer goods companies overwhelmed the tenuous bullish rally that started the week. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities lost N63 billion to close at N10.656 trillion as against its opening value of N10.719 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the common valuebased index that tracks all quoted equities, slipped to 33,334.67 points from its index-on-board of 33,532.89 points. Nestle Nigeria led the decliners with a loss of N8.99 to close at N936.01. Conoil lost N2.23 to close at N24.10. Nigerian Breweries followed with a drop of N2.19 to close at N160.41. Cadbury Nigeria dropped by N1.49 to close at N33.01. Unilever Nigeria lost N1.27 to close at N52. Zenith Bank dropped by N1.02 to close at N19.04 while Mobil Oil Nigeria slipped by N1 to close at N120.50 per share. However, the UAC of Nigeria (UACN) Group rallied on the back of impending release of the group’s results. UACN topped the gainers’ list with a gain of N2.01 to close at N57.01. CAP, another member of UACN Group, followed with a gain of N1.10 to close at N41.10. Cement Company of Northern Nigeria added 90 kobo to close at N10.50. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated rose by 51 kobo to close at N16.01 while United Bank for Africa (UBA) chalked up 44 kobo to close at N7.70 per share. Total turnover stood at 352.15 million shares valued at N3.59 billion in 6,693 deals. Banking subsector accounted for 233.38 million shares worth N1.97 billion in 3,379 deals.





Taxation key to sustainable devt, says CITN chief


HE development of any na tion is a function of the effi ciency and effectiveness of its tax system, President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Sunday Femi Jegede, has said. Speaking ahead of the 15th Annual Tax conference holding from May 7 to 11, 2013 at the Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, Calabar, Cross River State, he said that by enhancing revenue drive through taxation, governments are able to stabilise their economies, and create the needed development and improve the living condition of their citizenry. He explained that this year’s conference with the theme: Global Stability, Revenue Generation and Economic Growth’ will serve as unique opportunity for participants to interact with tax administrators and policy makers as it remains the largest gathering of tax experts in Africa. The CITN boss regretted that tax policies applied in most countries have failed to achieve their objectives, thereby denying the people the potentials and advantages accruable from good fiscal policy reform. He said the conference, like the 14th edition held last year in Abuja will address these key tax issues that will transform the economies of nations and build lasting wealth for their citizenry. He said the lead paper of the conference would be presented by Niger State Governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu while Acting Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Alhaji Kabir

ICAN elevates 795 members to Fellowship status


HE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has given 795 of its members’ Fellowship award. Speaking at the weekend after the conferment of the award on the recipients, ICAN President, Adedoyin Owolabi, said the accountants attained the status between January 1, 2003 and March 31, 2013. “As a professional Institute, we have every reason today to celebrate the attainment of this special status by these award recipients. This conferment is the highest professional status that can be attained by any member of the prestigious accountancy profession worldwide,” he said. He said the conferment is in line with global practice and means that recipient has demonstrated professional knowledge, skills and excellence in the discharge of their duties. He added that the recipients are expected to continue to exhibit an unwavering

Stories by Collins Nweze

Mohammed Mashi will be chairman of one of the sessions. Also expected at the event are Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio as special guest at the Gala Nite and his Cross River State counterpart, Liyel Imoke as special guest at the opening ceremony. Also to attend is the outgoing President of West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI), Prince Kunle ‘Quadri and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s tax administration as well as representatives from the academic community. Professor Akin Oyebode of International Law and jurisprudence, University of Lagos will be one of the discussants. The CITN boss explained that sub-themes for the event are - The Imperatives of Service Delivery in Governance; Fraud, Corruption and Taxation; Transfer Pricing and thin Capitalisation among others. He said the theme of this year’s


conference was informed by contemporary realities of this era where economies of many countries are passing through economic turbulence that can be addressed through efficient tax system. “The conference has been packaged to be a yet another rewarding experience for all participants, and will feature tax experts and policy makers that will enrich the knowledge of participants on tax matters,” Jegede said.


HE Nigerian College of Accountancy (NCA), the training arm of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) has produced 5,160 postgraduate accountants during the 2010/2011 and 2011/ 2012 sessions. In a statement from ANAN, its President, Hajia Maryam Ladi

by her leadership qualities. Jang said ANAN is moving toward becoming an international accounting college adding that the state government had seen this from the facilities at the college. The Director-General of the college, Dr Joseph Adebisi recalled that the first convocation of the college was held in 2001

Ibrahim disclosed this at the fifth convocation of the college held in Jos. She said the college was a postgraduate professional accountancy college modeled to scientifically advance the profession. The Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, said the state government appreciated the good works of the ANAN boss going

Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016


Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 16-04-13


O/PRICE 0.71 1.55 9.60 1.07 0.75 0.75 2.65 0.64 1.29 2.75

C/PRICE 0.78 1.70 10.50 1.17 0.82 0.82 2.89 0.69 1.39 2.94

CHANGE 0.07 0.15 0.90 0.10 0.07 0.07 0.24 0.05 0.10 0.19


O/PRICE 1.70 6.27 2.04 1.54 2.16 2.21 26.33 0.76 0.54 1.25

C/PRICE 1.53 5.65 1.84 1.39 1.95 2.00 24.10 0.70 0.50 1.17



Sold ($)

Rate (N)


















Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %


147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57










Bureau de Change 152.0000




(S/N) Parallel Market





27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37

28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16

% Change -1.44% -1.44%





July ’11

July ’12





Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%


LOSERS AS AT 16-04-13



Offered ($) Demanded ($)

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20

without a building at the permanent site. He also said that the second convocation took place without a building on the site, saying that the turning point came when the third convocation was held in the only building at that time. The fourth convocation marked the third consecutive convocation that took place within two years.



OBB Rate Call Rate

commitment to ethical values of accountability, transparency, honesty and integrity as espoused by the profession and the Institute. He added that by creating a distinct class of Fellows, the Council strategically sets out to build a generation of professionals, who embody the culture of excellence, and represent the conscience of the profession. Mr Owolabi also stated that the number of fellows in the Institute will rise to 8230, which is about 22.3 per cent of their total membership. “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,” he said.

ANAN’s college produces 5,160 accountants



By Sampson Unamka

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 138.34 152.72 0.80 1.14 1.10 100.00 1,000.00 1,786.88 15.58 1.39 1.87 10,855.53

9.08 1.00 137.92 152.03 0.78 1.14 1.09 100.00 1,000.00 1,781.87 14.82 1.33 1.80 10,528.92


CHANGE 0.17 0.62 0.20 0.15 0.21 0.21 2.23 0.06 0.04 0.08


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%




04 July, 2012

07, Aug, 2012











PERATIVES of the AntiPipeline Vandalism Unit attached to the Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force have uncovered three illegal jetties in Lagos. The jetties are behind three houses in the Kadoku area of Konu in Ikorodu, on the outskirts of Lagos. Their entrances are built in a way that a visitor would mistake them for normal residential apartments, but at the backyards are waterways leading to some pipeline sites of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The police also arrested owners of the houses which also serve as warehouses for the vandals. The suspects are: Bayo Nofiu, Ogunletti Ofolaho, Ahmed Basheru aka D1, and Razaq Nofiu. Bayo Nofiu said his father acquired the land for him many years ago, adding: "I became a bricklayer when I grew up; my father showed my brother and I, a portion of land in the Kadoku area of Konu, and asked us to build our homes there. Unfortunately, vandals discovered that it was close to the waterways and hence, could be used as a path that links to Elekpete close to Arepo where they used to vandalise NNPC pipelines. "They threatened to kill me and my entire family if I did not allow them to make use of my backyard. Instead of losing out completely, I eventually agreed to their terms when they made me an offer." "They guaranteed my security and above all, I was entitled to five percent of every product that came through my jetty. In had no choice but to accept their terms as the only conditions upon which I could survive." Asked why he did not report the threat to the police, he said: "These men have a formidable union whose membership is growing daily, and they are heavily armed. I did not want to be a

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

•The suspects ... yesterday


Police arrest operators of illegal jetties •How we operate, by suspects By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondent

fugitive in my fathers land. The people that police are looking for are right inside the creeks and as soon as they get information that the police had left, they would return to land. Ofolaho said he bought the land when he realised that there was better economic prospects for him. "Initially, I bought the land close to the water to enable me dredge sand. It was later that a group of boys visited and sold the

idea to me and I had no choice but to agree with them. The truth is that if you live at Konu and you are not a vandal, you will be a suspect to vandals. They would assume that you have been giving information to the police." Basheru described himself as a police informant, adding that was surprised that others could point him out as a suspect. "I have been friends with the police because when I was into haulage business, they used to give me escorts to take me home whenever

Initially, I bought the land close to the water to enable me dredge sand. It was later that a group of boys visited and sold the idea to me and I had no choice but to agree with them. The truth is that if you live at Konu and you are not a vandal, you will be a suspect to vandals. They would assume that you have been giving information to the police

I got to Ikorodu at night. I decided to help the police with the information that would help them stop the activi-

ties of these pipeline vandals. They have a group headed by one Igbekorowa and no matter the number of vandals that get

Gunmen kidnap Lagos council chair Continued from page 1


N the ante room, several women were in varying moods of distress. A woman, sparse of frame, cursed endlessly at some unseen enemies. Mr. Dele Alake, a former Lagos State Commission for Information, came in. His eyes displayed surprise and shock. He had come to express his sympathy with Mrs. Bamigbetan. It was like an action-packed Hollywood movie – guns booming, a vehicle ramming into a tree and confusion all over. When it was over, Kehinde Bamigbetan had been abducted, his driver sustained injury and his wife, distraught. There were many questions that remained unanswered even as the family and the police tried to put the matter into perspective. What was the motive for the kidnap of a public official? Why did the abductors wait until he was 50 meters from his home before snatching him? The last person to see Bamigbetan was his driver, Abiodun Olayiwola, who narrowly escaped with his life. According to Adewunmi Adesanya, Bamigbetan’s Personal Assistant on Political Matters, the abducted chairman left the local government secretariat on EgbeIsolo Road around 8pm. “We were together till 8pm when he left, saying he wanted to go out. That was the last time I saw him,” Adesanya said. Bamigbetan was said to have visited Alake’s office but his wouldbe host had left. He then went to Bourdillon Road where he spent some minutes at the home of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, before making his way home. Olayiwola recounted the abduction. He said: “We were inside the street already. I suddenly saw a car blocking me. I was wondering

I suddenly saw a car blocking me ... They stood in front of the vehicle. My boss was at the back; he was making a call. Before I could think, I heard rapid gunfire. ‘What! I screamed and immediately put the car in reverse to escape. In my effort to escape, I hit an electricity pole and the car stopped ... That was how I escaped, but by the time I got back, they had taken my boss and his laptop

why the driver was driving roughly when two persons jumped down; one at the front and the other at the back. They stood in front of the vehicle. “My boss was at the back; he was making a call. Before I could think, I heard rapid gunfire. ‘What! I screamed and immediately put the car in reverse to escape. The shooting continued and my boss bent down at the back. I was careful so as not to be hit by the bullet. In my effort to escape, I hit an electricity pole and the car stopped. “I got down and shouted to my boss to get down too. That was how I escaped, but by the time I got back, they had taken my boss

and his laptop. Please, help me find my boss,” Olayiwola said. The gunmen continued to fire at the fleeing Olayiwola. The sound was loud and scary. He was wounded in his left hand. “I can’t even remember how the wound came to be,” he said. But there are other versions of the story. According to the Secretary to the Local Government, Remi Gbadegeshin, the events that led to the abduction was well-choreographed. Gbadegeshin said the kidnappers had earlier abducted a man before Bamigbetan was taken on Eni IwaMimo Street. After his abduction, the first man was released. Bamigbetan was allowed to call his wife at 4am yesterday. He also disclosed that the abductors demanded $1,000,000 (One million Dollars) as ransom. Negotiations were ongoing yesterday, it was learnt. ACN chieftains began to arrive at the Bamigbetan’s home early yesterday. Alake said he was “shocked beyond words”. He lamented the increasing level of insecurity in the country, which has led to the kidnap of a public official. “They must have put him under surveillance; maybe for a week,” Alake said, and many in the house agreed with him. He assured the wife that her husband would be found. He then asked for prayers. The crowd prayed hard and long. The woman, who had engaged in cursing, prayed the hardest. The people prayed for mercy and favour for the abducted chairman. Other dignitaries came in. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ademorin Kuye also decried the security situation in the country, but spoke with much assurance that the government was on top of the situation. “This government will not condone any act that will put this nation into chaos. His Excellency has

•Hon Jaiyeola Ajata, Bamigbetan’s deputy, Alhaji Monsuru Obe; Hon Abdulhakeem Abd ... yesterday

put measures in place to ensure his safe return,” Kuye said. Mrs. Bamigbetan’s mobile phone rang incessantly. Most of the time she excused herself to receive the calls. Her son, not more than five years, walked into the living room. Most of the women fell over themselves to show him kindness. He asked for his mother and when he did not find her, he ran upstairs – playfully. At the local government secretariat, the mood of the workers was pensive, with many discussing the incident in groups. “Maybe this will teach him a lesson to always use his security details. Oga would be going around without his security men, that’s him for you; we have complained but he would not listen,” said one of his aides. On Bamigbetan’s street, some of the residents said they were shocked by the news of the abduction. They described Bamigbetan

as a gentleman who had done a lot for the local government. “He is a man of the people; you can even see from his house that it’s not different from many here,” one of the residents said. Other sympathisers that visited the family included Akeem Munir, a Federal lawmaker representing Isolo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives; Mushin Local Government Chairman, Babatunde Adepitan; Egbe Idimu LCDA chairman, Waheed Adebayo, and his Odi-Olowo counterpart, Aremo Yemi Ali. The family was still trying to put together the sequence of events. It was agreed that the abductors waited for him close to his house. But the abduction of a man earlier that night has thrown an interesting permutation into the story. A council official confirmed the man is now in the custody of the police. It was unknown if he was part of the plan or Bamigbetan was just unlucky to have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.




CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

‘Murder suspect has case to answer’


AGOS State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has said a suspect, Omowunmi Balogun, has a case to answer for allegedly beating her two-year-old step-daughter to death. Balogun, 48, of 89, Market Street, Mushin, Lagos, was arraigned on January 23, after her husband accused her of constantly beating the girl, Blessing Ukeghu. The defendant, who has been in prison custody since her first arraignment, had her case transferred to the High Court, following DPP's report.

By Precious Igbonwelundu

Prosecuting Inspector Clifford Ogu told the court that Balogun committed the offence on January 6, alleging that the defendant assaulted the minor, who was her husband's child at will. "There were occasions she beat up the child in the dead of the night, such that neighbours had to intervene. She would beat up the little girl for urinating on her dress. On January 6, the defendant beat up the deceased

so badly for defecating on herself, leading to her death," he said. He said the offence contravened Section 221 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. Presiding Magistrate Motolani Ajayi, while informing the court of the DPP’s advice, said there was a prima facie case against the defendant. "A murder case has been established against the defendant and consequently, her case will be transferred to a court of superior record," Ajayi said.

OPC to MEND: preach peace


Their homes. Inset: A waterway

burnt, he keeps recruiting them. Ever since the task force took over the area, they had been complaining bitterly that poverty was gradually setting in. “I overheard that the police would storm the area, heavily armed, before they eventually did." Another suspect, Oyo State-born Ogunleti Okanlawon, said he was working for Basheru, though he trained as a rewire. He said he used his bus to convey the product from the jetty behind him, to where the product was usually sold. However, during one of the trips, his vehicle reportedly went up in flames. He said: "Yes. I used my bus to help them carry fuel. At the end of each trip, they would pay me between N5,000 and N6,000. At times, I went once a week or twice. I would take the product to OkeOko Junction, from where they would sell

to buses. I was not involved in sales; I only conveyed them to the junction. But I stopped working since February." Assistant Commissioner of Police, Friday Ibadin, who is in charge of the task force, confirmed the incident. He said on Monday morning, he got reports that about 70 vandals forced their way back to Elekpete, adding: "Policemen led by Sector Commander, Lagos, Onaghise Osayande, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP), cordoned off the area and in the process, arrested four suspects. Those arrested in the course of interrogation led us to the spot and the pathways leading straight to NNPC pipeline in Elekpete. Several gallons of stolen crude oil were recovered. "We will sincerely appreciate members of this community if they assist us in our efforts to fish out the rest," he said.

HE National Coordinator, Oodua People's Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, yesterday urged the leadership of the Movement of for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to sheathe its sword and work towards strengthening peace and unity. He described MEND's threat to attack mosques, clerics and as a "big shock", adding that the threat came when the nation was struggling to end the Boko Haram insurgency. "It was a sure call to anarchy. This is surely capable of causing religious and sectarian crises of a magnitude that could be worse than the civil war. While the OPC appreciates MEND's fundamental right to genuine struggle for self-determination in the Niger Delta, we, however, disagree in totality with its latest threat on mosques and Muslims," said Adams, adding: "We are sure that MEND is reasonable enough to understand the magnitude of their planned action and the resultant effect on our nation.

By Dada Aladelokun, Assitant Editor

Let me at this juncture remind MEND that Yoruba make up about 70percent of the Muslim population in the Niger Delta area. And we will not tolerate any further killing of Yoruba in any part of the country," he said. Adams added: "Let us all take some lessons from the experience of the Bosnian war that left hundreds of thousands people dead most of them innocent civilians. Good students of history will know that events that led to that war are very similar to recent developments in Nigeria." Adams urged the Federal Government and President Goodluck Jonathan in particular, to, urgently, stop the dangerous trend, adding: "The president should use his good offices to make MEND and other similar groups across the country see the need for peace and stop this unnecessary bloodshed. "While Nigerians continue to seek solutions to the Boko Haram crisis,


I call on the leadership of MEND to reconsider its threat and join hands with other well-meaning Nigerians in our long search for a peaceful solution ravaging the country."

Fire razes building in Lagos


m Abdullateef; another sympathiser, and Alake

•Mrs Bamigbetan ... yesterday

IRE yesterday razed the top floor of a three-storey building on Lagos Island. The occupants were saved by the alarm raised by traders and passersby. But they lost all their valuables to the fire. It was gathered that the fire, which started about 13:30pm, razed the third floor of House 74, Aroloya Street, off Adeniji Bus Stop, Lagos, within 30 minutes. No item could be salvaged from the six rooms on the floor. Occupants of the other floors and traders around the neighbourhood battled to prevent the spread of the fire. The fire, which was suspected to have been triggered off by electrical faults, was blamed on unstable power supply. A Youth Corps member, Yaya Omotayo, who lives on the first floor with his father, said they were lucky that the entire building was not razed, asking: "Where would we have gone to?" He said he was not aware that the building was on fire because he was engrossed in the movie he was watching. "Our light had not been stable. We were watching movies, but the light kept going off and on. So, we turned on the generator and continued. About one hour later, someone shouted through the window that our house was on fire. I didn't believe the person. I felt it was not true. So, I asked the person shouting if it was our building or the next building. But the person was running; so, I decided to come out and check for myself, only to see that the last floor was completely razed. "At first, we thought it was a stove or something else, but considering the speed with which the fire razed that floor, we felt it could

By Precious Igbonwelundu

be due to an electrical spark. Honestly, but for our neighbours and youths from other streets, maybe not a single building would have survived. "They tried so hard. The fire service officials contacted when the fire started did not get here on time; that was why people almost chased them away when they eventually came. “I still believe they were instrumental to quenching the fire completely. Because what we were doing before they came was to use dirty water, 'pure water' and even sand, to put out the fire. But the fire service men quenched it completely. "I just pity the oc- •The building...yesterday cupants of the last floor. People left but heavy smoke had covered the their homes this morning for work, entire place. only to be called back that they So, no one was able to enter. We have lost all their belongings to started helping others to evacuate fire. Not a single thing was recov- their things while other youths ered there," he added. were struggling to put out the fire. Another resident, Wahab We just thank God that no one Ramon, said they heard people was injured, neither did anyone shouting "fire fire"and rushed out die. Although properties were to know what was happening. lost, the owners will get better He said: "When we saw our com- ones." pound burning, we tried to run The traders blamed the inferno upstairs to bring out some of the on occupants' carelessness, allegproperties of those living there, ing that they must have gone to


work without switching off their electrical appliances. The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Rasaq Fadipe, said the agency had difficulty in accessing the building because of the indiscriminate parking of vehicles. "The fire is suspected to have resulted from electrical problem. We urge Lagosians to be careful and ensure that they disconnect from the sockets, all electrical appliances while leaving home, and be watchful," he said.



FOREIGN NEWS ECOWAS experts meet on girl education From Vincent Ikuomola and Nike Adebowale, Abuja


XPERTS on education from West Africa and development partners will be gathering in Banjul, the Gambia to discuss the issue of education of girl child and other vulnerable children. The Banjul forum will also propose a mechanism for enhancing the inclusion of children, who account for more than half of the population of school age children, into formal education for the timely realization of EFA and MDG goals. The meeting which is under the auspices of the ECOWAS Girls’ education Programme will commence from 16 to 19 of April 2013. The ECOWAS Girls’ education Programme is designed to strengthen the operational capacities of national structures for the promotion of girls’ education by improving access, retention and completion. The program is part of ECOWAS’ efforts to promote universal access to quality education and training opportunities as well as harmonize admission criteria into educational and training institutes in member states. The meeting which is the third is expected will document Member States’report on policies, programmes, initiatives and activities for education of the girl child and other vulnerable children. The expected outcome of the meeting will be incorporated in the ECOWAS priority programme of Education of Girls and other vulnerable children. The document will be used for advocacy, sensitization and resource mobilization within the frame work of MDG and EFA goals and the African Union plan of action for the second decade of education 2006-2015. The conclave will also provide Member States and partners the opportunity to share experiences and best practices on the ongoing and completed educational programmes and activities in the region. It will also help to chart the way forward towards achieving the MDG and Education for All goals as well as the A U Decade of education for Africa by 2015. ECOW AS is adopting multisectoral approaches to the plight of girls, women and other vulnerable groups in order to raise living standards, ensure economic growth and contribute to the progress and development of the African Continent.

China ‘reveals army structure’ in White Paper


HINA has revealed the structure of its military units, in what state-run media describe as a first. The army has a total of 850,000 officers, while the navy and air force have a strength of 235,000 and 398,000, China said in its defence white paper. The paper also criticised the US’s expanded military presence in the Asia Pacific, saying it had exacerbated regional tensions. China’s defence budget rose by 11.2% in 2012, exceeding $100bn (£65bn). The defence white paper, which state media describe as China’s 8th since 1998, emphasised China’s “unshakable national commitment... to take the road of peaceful development”. China’s People’s Liberation Army is on a fast path to modernisation. Following years of double-digit budget increases, the military has acquired submarines and naval destroyers. Aircraft carriers and Chinese-made fighter planes are in development. In 2010, technology to destroy missiles in mid-air was tested. Now, it seems the generals have forged a new marketing strategy. In its latest white paper, the defence ministry takes pains to outline the PLA’s work relating to peacekeeping and natural disasters.

•Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles run from riot police as they demonstrate for a recount of the votes in Sunday’s election, in Caracas Venezuela ...yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

Seven dead in Venezuela post-election violence


IOLENT clashes over Venezuela’s disputed presidential election have killed four people, the state news agency said on Tuesday, as both sides in the standoff planned rival demonstrations. The deaths occurred when hundreds of protesters took to the streets in various parts of the capital, Caracas, and in other cities on Monday, blocking streets, burning tires and clashing with security forces, in some cases. The AVN news agency said two people were killed in Miranda state, which includes part of Caracas, one in Tachira state on the border with Colombia, and another in western Zulia state. It gave no further details. In one of the confrontations, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets in a running battle with masked, rockwielding opposition supporters in a

wealthy district of Caracas. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles is demanding a recount of the votes from Sunday’s election after official results showed a narrow victory for ruling party candidate Nicolas Maduro, the acting president. Capriles said his team’s figures show that he won the election and he has called his supporters into the streets for peaceful demonstrations. The National Electoral Council refused to hold a full recount, saying a 54 percent audit of the widely respected electronic vote system had already been carried out. The election was triggered by the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez last month after a two-year battle with cancer. He named Maduro as his successor before he died and his protege won the election with 50.8 percent of

the vote against Capriles’ 49.0 percent. Both sides have urged their supporters to hold peaceful demonstrations nationwide on Tuesday, raising fears of more unrest in the oil-exporting nation of 29 million people, which has seen plenty of political turbulence in the last few decades. “Imagine if I went crazy and called the people and armed forces onto the street? What would happen in this country? How many millions would pour onto the street?” Maduro said late on Monday, blaming Capriles for the violence. “We’re not going to do it. This country needs peace. Where are the opposition politicians who believe in democracy?” The unrest in Caracas included demonstrations outside the offices of state television channel VTV and the home

17 killed in Ghana mine collapse

Pakistan’s Musharraf barred from May polls


AKISTAN’S former military leader Pervez Musharraf has been barred from standing in general elections in May. An election tribunal disqualified him from running in Chitral in the north-west. Earlier, he failed in an attempt to stand in three other seats. Musharraf’s lawyer says he plans to file an appeal with the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, at least four people were killed in an attack on a convoy of the main opposition PML-N party in the south-western province of Balochistan.

Pervez Musharraf returned from self-imposed exile in Dubai last month saying he wanted to save Pakistan. The former military ruler is already embroiled in a series of legal battles attempting to stave off arrest, and a bid to try him for treason. In addition to his legal and political problems, he is facing a security threat from the Pakistani Taliban, who have vowed to target him with a squad of suicide bombers. There was no immediate claim for the attack in Balochistan. Correspondents say the area has no Taliban



presence and is known to be a hotbed of separatist rebel activity.

On Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral Trail


HE funeral of Baroness Thatcher, the first female UK prime minister, will be along the same lines as those of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Queen Mother. She has been awarded a ceremonial funeral with military honours which takes place today, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. It will be the first time the Queen has attended the funeral of a British prime minister since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. Yesterday Thatcher’s coffin was moved to the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster ahead of a short service for about 100 people led by the Dean of Westminster. A step short of a state funeral, which is normally reserved for sovereigns There is visually little difference between ceremonial and state funerals - the gun carriage during a state funeral is drawn by Royal Navy ratings rather than artillery horses Today the coffin will travel by hearse from the Palace of Westminster at 10:00 BST to the Church of St Clem-

Her funeral bearer party will be 10 - all members of the armed services - who will walk alongside the coffin. Where possible, personnel have been chosen from ships, units and stations connected to those who served during the Falklands campaign. The bearers have been taken from: Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Scots Guards ent Danes - the Central Church of the Royal Air Force - on the Strand. The coffin will then be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and taken in procession from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s Cathedral just after 10:30 BST. The route will be lined by military personnel from all three services.

of the head of the election authority. Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, hopes to highlight the weakness of Maduro’s mandate and stir up opposition anger over his charge that the electoral council is biased in favor of the ruling Socialist Party. The strategy could backfire if demonstrations turn into prolonged disturbances, such as those the opposition led between 2002 and 2004, which sometimes blocked roads for days with trash and burning tires and annoyed many Venezuelans. A return to prolonged trouble in the streets could renew questions about the opposition’s democratic credentials on the heels of their best showing in a presidential election, and just as Capriles has consolidated himself as its leader.

The processional route from St Clement Danes Church, along Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill, will be lined by more than 700 armed services personnel. The services and units represented will be: Royal Navy and Royal Marines, F Company Scots Guards, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, Royal Air Force. The procession will be led by the Band of the Royal Marines and will see the Union flag-draped coffin carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s. Her funeral bearer party will be 10 all members of the armed services who will walk alongside the coffin. Where possible, personnel have been chosen from ships, units and stations connected to those who served during the Falklands campaign. The bearers have been taken from: Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Scots Guards Welsh Guards, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Parachute Regiment Royal Gurkha Rifles

GOLD mine collapse in central Ghana has killed 17 people who were working illegally and had been told to leave by the operator, police and an official told AFP yesterday. The operator had completed its work at the mine near the town of Kyekyewere and returned only to shut down the operation and carry out reclamation work, said the area police commander William Otu. They found several people from the local community mining illegally, who refused when asked to leave. Not long after, “the operator got information that the mine caved in and covered the people,” the police commander said. “The number of those trapped were 22,” said local government official Peter Owusu-Ashia. Sixteen bodies were found dead at the scene, while six others were rushed to the hospital for treatment. “One later died” said OwusuAshia, putting the toll at 17. “We have stopped rescue operations for now.” He explained that the illegal miners were working with tools that they found discarded at the site. The west African nation of about 25 million people is one of the world’s top gold exporters. The country has been hit by similar disasters in the past, including a 2010 incident that killed 32 people in the south of the country. Heavy rains had poured into the clandestine mine causing it to cave in. The previous year 18 people, including 14 women, were killed in one of Ghana’s worst mining disasters. A similar number died in another cave-in in April 2007 at a mine west of the capital Accra.




Margaret Thatcher: Of grave dancing and hagiography



OU turn, if you want to, The lady’s not for turning’, this famous declaration by the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative party conference in 1980 aptly summarized the force of will, the obduracy, the hard line approach to subdue resistance and the sheer pragmatism that characterised her 11-year rule as premier of Great Britain. That the nation was firmly in the grip of her iron fist at the time was saying the obvious. No doubt, an achiever, the late Thatcher is credited with transforming-profoundly- the British economy and life in the United Kingdom of the 80’s-free markets, low tax, a small state, independence, individuality, and self determination; albeit, through the sheer force of personality. Lord Hurd of Westwell, a

By Terry Fade Adewale

former Home and Foreign Secretary during her period as prime minister gave an insight into the personality of the late Baroness. “Mrs Thatcher was very persistent. She would not let go. She went on and on and on until through sheer exhaustion and exasperation the others gave her most of what she wanted”. Her strong personality traits no doubt brought her head long in conflict with several members of her cabinet. Lord Lawson of Blaby resigned from her cabinet as Chancellor over disagreement as to the direction of the goverment’s economic policy. Lord Heseltine also left her cabinet in 1985 after disagreeing with her over the Westland affair. Lord Howe of Aberavon also resigned from the cabinet

Sir John Major, who succeeded her as Prime Minister described her as a “true force of nature”, adding that her outstanding characteristics were “courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private”. Baroness Thatcher, loathed and lauded in equal measures has proved to be a very divisive figure-even in death. Her name evokes both admiration and deep contempt across the land. Critics averred it was extremely hard living through Thatcher’s polarising reign of 11 years; describing her in such cold words as ‘ruthless’, ‘selfish’, ‘heartless’, ‘hard hearted’ and ‘merciless’. Yet many have lauded her for what she achieved for Britain; though critics are quick to add that the transformation witnessed under her was not achieved on a platter of gold. ‘It came with such brutality that spelt doom for mining operations and the manufacturing sector of the British economy’. To many on the Left, Thatcher was a ruthless ideologue whose indifference nay carelessness to the social consequences of her reforms wrecked many communities in Britain. Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London and longstanding political adversary of Thatcher said she was responsible for “every real problem” Britain is facing today. David Hopper, who was General Secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association

during the 1985 strike spoke of her ruthlessness during the strike, adding: “There is no sympathy from me for what she did to our community. I’m pleased that I have outlived him’. Rita Connelly, 61 from Glasgow was quoted as saying Thatcher cannot be forgiven even at death. “She ruined communities across this country and she will not be forgiven”. The present disquiet is more pronounced in Scotland which critics alleged was used by Thatcher as a testing ground for the Poll tax. Morrissey, a musician who composed a song: Margaret on the Guillotine to ridicule the late prime minister called her a barbaric politician without an atom of humanity. He stated in a statement: “Every move she made was charged by negativity. She hated the miners, she hated the arts, and she hated the Irish Freedom fighters and allowed them to die. She hated the English poor and did nothing to help them” Former Home Secretary, David Blunkett said he could “never forgive the damage she did to Sheffield-his home city, “the mass redundancies, and the damage to productive industry”. Lord Kinnock, exlabour leader praised Thatcher for ‘her achievements as a woman in British politics but not on her record’. However, many of her admirers disagreed with this less charitable epitaph. Prime Minister David

Cameron announcing the passing on of the ex premier described her in superlative terms. ‘We have lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton’, he said in his tribute. ‘She didn’t just lead our country, and I believe she’ll go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister’. Lord Patten of Barnes in recalling the 1979 Winter of Discontent observed:”After a period of great social and political turmoil, she made Britain governable again”. Lord Saatchi, co-founder of Saatchi & Saatchi in a glowing tribute observed that Margaret Thatcher developed all the winning ‘arguments of our time’. ‘Everyone wants to be immortal. Few are. Mrs Thatcher is. Why? Because her values are timeless, eternal’. Continuing, he added: ‘Tap anyone on the shoulder anywhere in the world, and ask what Mrs Thatcher ‘believed in’ and they will tell you. They can give a clear answer’. Yet, hot on the heels of every tribute for Lady Thatcher, since her demise was announced has been a The announcement of Thatcher’s death was greeted with sheer anger on blazing streets of Britain and Scotland, bloodied individuals and policemen with riot shields. Within hours, the 30 years of Left wing loathing of Lady Thatcher exploded in wild celebrations. Violence erupted as the Leftists organised ‘Death Parties’ across Britain. It was a

grave dancing of a different kind. From Brixton in South East London to Glasgow Scotland and other municipal towns in the midlands, the anti Thatcher ‘flame’ quickly turned into big conflagration with the Police confessing that the present wild celebrations are actually baptism of fire and a snippet of the storm to come at her funeral. In Brixton, South East London-the scene of riots in 1981, anti-Thatcherites gathered for a death party carrying banners with one saying:”Rejoice, Thatcher is dead”. They opened champagne and cheered shouting:”Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead”. In Glasgow, a death party was held at George Square where several abusive songs were sang to celebrate the passing of a woman they called ‘witch’. Alan Douglas who was interviewed at one of the death parties in Glasgow explained the reasons for their action: “If you lived in Scotland in the last three decades, you’ll know why so many people won’t mourn her death. It feels like a weight is lifted off the shoulders of the country.” As she is finally interred today, love her or hate her she has definitely left a huge and impressionable footprints in the sands of British, nay our world. Mr. Adewale, a veteran journalist, writes from London.



NEWS PDP sinks deeper into crisis as Rivers gets new exco Continued from page 2

assume jurisdiction on a matter involving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a federal agency. They described the rival group that won the case as impostors, who neither bought nomination forms nor participated in the congress that produced the sacked exco members. They said: “Yesterday (Monday), yet again, the psyche of Rivers people, and indeed that of all Nigerians, was further battered by the High Court of the FCT presided over by Honourable Justice Ishaq Bello, which gave judgment in favour of a clandestine group claiming to be the duly elected state executive committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State. “This group of impostors, who openly boast of having

the support of Oga and Madam at the top, did not even purchase nomination forms nor were they anywhere near the venue of the PDP state congress on the date in question. “That in spite of the avowals of the National Secretariat of the party as to who, by all records available to it, are the duly elected state executive committee members of the party in Rivers State and who they have accordingly inaugurated and accredited as bonafide delegates to the National Convention of the party and dealt with on all party matters. “This point was so lucidly canvassed by the party before the judge, who closed his eyes and chose for himself who should run the PDP in Rivers State.” Describing the Abuja court judgment as a travesty of justice and broad daylight robbery, the stakeholders said that

the judgment would not stand the test of time. They said: “That the trial judge could with temerity turn down a report from INEC who monitored the elections as prescribed by the Electoral Act as an unbiased umpire, stating who won the March 17, 2012 State PDP Congress in Rivers State. “That a High Court of a state could assume jurisdiction on a matter involving a Federal Government agency - INEC. “That the presiding judge could delve into intra party matters even in the face of a preponderance of decisions of various courts on such matters and in this instance which matter was, by the trial judge’s admission, already status barred. “That the presiding judge could hear and determine such heavily contentious issues of fact by originating

summons without calling for oral evidence to test the veracity of witnesses. “This travesty of justice and broad day light judicial robbery leaves much to be imagined and casts doubts in our minds over the much talked about reforms in the judiciary now ably championed by the respected Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council.” The protesters, however, said they would respect the verdict and explore every legal avenue to seek redress. They said: “However, we want to use this medium to urge all Rivers people and especially our party members to remain calm while we take steps to exhaust all legal avenues open to us. “This injustice will sure not stand the test of time as the triumph of evil over good is usually only temporary.”

‘We will appeal judgment’ Continued from page 2

out of this stronger and more united as a family.” Amaechi, an Ikwerre from Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), stirred the hornet’s nest, when he declared that it would not be fair for his kinsmen to succeed him in 2015. The statement did not go down well with the minister of

Hope for kidney patients Continued from page 2

gans would not require immunosuppressing drugs because the tissue comes from the same patient receiving the transplant, Dr Ott said. “What is unique about this approach is that the native organ’s architecture is preserved, so that the resulting graft can be transplanted just like a donor kidney and con-

CAN condemns amnesty clamour for Boko Haram Continued from page 2

and alleviating the sufferings of the victims of Boko Haram. The President should also ignore the so-called Northern leaders, who are putting pressure on him and turning serious security matters into politics “Asking the Federal Government to grant amnesty to the Boko Haram sect members amount to calling the government to come and kill the snake with a torch. The JNI must begin to query the change in its value system; a system that now makes them

spokesperson of a murderous and bloodthirsty group without being sensitive to the victims of the sect, a system that allows for the slaughtering of human beings like cows without remorse. “CAN will not fail to point out that the present clamour for amnesty to the Boko Haram sect members by the Sultan and others is a strategy to drive home the message of reaping from where they did not sow. It is a strategy to get a better deal for those they have impoverished for years, by canvassing for amnesty to bloodthirsty,

Islamic fundamentalists who have killed without provocation. The JNI is promoting the culture of crass impunity that desecrates the sanctity of human life. The earlier it retraces its steps and beings to fish out the fundamentalists among them, the better for our dear country.” Details of discussions at the President’s parley with the Service Chiefs were sketchy last night but it was believed the report of the Amnesty Security Committee took the centre stage. The committee was set up two weeks ago to

weigh the possibility of granting amnesty to the sect members. The cloose-door meeting was also expected to consider the position paper presented to President Jonathan on Monday night by the Northern Traditional Rulers, led by Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar. At the end of the meeting chaired by the President and Vice President Namadi Sambo in attendance, State House Correspondents were not briefed. Those who attended the

state for education, also an Ikwerre, from Rumuepirikom community, who intends to either run for governor or the Senator race in 2015. The ambition is said to have propelled him to lead the opposition within the ruling PDP in Rivers. Wike, according to sources, has the backing of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is believed to be uncomfortable with Amaechi’s leadership of the NGF.

meeting included: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Rear Admiral Dele Ezeoba, Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Alex Badeh, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar, among others. President Jonathan raised the committee two weeks ago. Its membership was drawn from the National Security Council (NSC). It was given two weeks to turn reports.

nected to the recipient’s vascular (blood) and urinary systems,” Dr Ott said. “If this technology can be scaled to human-sized grafts, patients suffering from renal failure who are currently waiting for donor kidneys or who are not transplant candidates could theoretically receive new organs derived from their own cells,” he said. Although there were a record 674 kidney transplants in the UK last year from donors who had died, and a further 1,009 transplants from living donors, there is still an acute shortage of kidneys. There are between two and four times as many patients awaiting transplants each year as there are donors. Dr Ott and his colleagues created the kidneys by washing away the cells of organs taken from dead animals using a detergent that kept the organ’s connective tissue intact. He took cells from a rat foetus to make the blood vessels and the specialised filtration cells of the kidney.





APGA CRISES The National Chairman of the All Progrersives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, and the factional Chairman, Maxi Okwu, spoke with CHRIS OJI on the crises rocking the party.

Okwu: I ‘m APGA’s authentic chairman T

•Umeh and his supporters jubilating after the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Enugu.

Okwu’s activities are illegal, says Umeh


OW would you react to Maxi Okwu’s speech that APGA will not embraceOjukwu’s extremist approach? For Maxi to come out and describe our great and respected leader as an extremist, it shows the level of destruction that he is planning for APGA. Ojukwu was never an extremist. Ojukwu was a man who stood very strongly for justice; a man who stood very strongly against injustice; a man who stood against the oppression of people, a man who stood for equity and fairness, a man who stood for the rule of law and a man who stood for democracy. It is an abomination for anybody, who claims to be standing on the platform of APGA, to describe Ojukwu’s virtues as extremist. This is a blasphemy of the highest order. Those of us who worked with Ojukwu as our leader in APGA will not standby and watch a man who does not have any political vision to describe Ojukwu in such denigrating words. APGA is a political party that is committed to the vision which Ojukwu represented as enumerated above. APGA will continue in that direction without apology to anybody. Do you support party members calling for sanction against him? They should tender an immediate apology for this attack on Ojukwu. But for Ojukwu, Maxi probabbly wouldn’t have been alive today. He must apologise to the Igbos and announce publicly that he has nothing to do with APGA anymore. He has demonstrated that he is an enemy of APGA, an enemy of Igbo people, an enemy of the rule of law and an enemy of democracy in this country. For all these years, he has been wandering about, according to the traditional ruler of his community, Achi. He he has never achieved anything politically. Maxi Okwu was in Alliance for Democracy (AD)

in Enugu State. When we registered APGA, he crossed over and had a short stint with APGA. When he was expelled alongside Chekwas Okorie, he joined the Green Party. From the Green Party, it metamorphosed to Citizens Popular Party (CPP). He was the National Chairman of the CPP from 2005 to 2013. Within this period, it never won a councillorship election anywhere in Nigeria. That is the man Governor Peter Obi has brought to kill APGA in Nigeria. Others say apology is not enough. Is this your position too? After the apology, the entire Ndigbo should sanction him. He should be ostracized for making such a statement against the EzeigboGburugburu. He deserves nothing short of that punishment for daring to denigrate our great leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Today, Maxi Okwu is parading himself as the National Chairman of APGA. How would you react to it? We will never accept this. Looking at the short stint he had in the APGA, since he was mentioned in connection with theAPGA on February 16 till date, all the activities in the purported faction they are leading, all of them have been enmeshed in illegality. There is nothing they have done that is legal. They started with an illegal national caucus that has no constitutional power to elect or appoint the interim officials for APGA. That was where Maxi Okwu first emerged and he knew that it was wrong under the provisions of the APGA Constitution. He participated in it and emerged as the interim national chairman. Knowing that his emergence was unconstitutional and unlawful, Maxi Okwu never wrote a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission,

describing himself as the interim national chairman of APGA. There was no correspondence between INEC and Maxi Okwu. There was no correspondence between INEC and Maxi Okwu between that period and today where he claimed to be anything. Instead, he created non-existent things in the name of APGA and on the pages of newspapers and finally deceived the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) into attending their illegal convention that was conducted by 1.00 a.m on April 8, 2013. On March 9, at Awka, they were purported to have held a meeting of state chairmen of APGA/National Executive Council meeting. There is no such meeting under the APGA Constitution where you have the forum of chairmen/National Executive Council meeting. At least, for the communiqué they issued. Everything about that meeting was shrouded in secrecy. The names of people who attended that purported meeting was never published. Unlike us, we have been taking advertorials, publishing names of those that attended our meetings. They hid the list of people who attended that meeting from the Nigerian public. Instead, they continued to engage in propaganda that 36 state chairmen attended the meeting. I suspected foul play and wrote the INEC requesting for a certified true copy of the list of those who attended that meeting, including the notices they gave them, because they were always publishing them in the papers. All these things we requested from INEC, we were not obliged with the certified true copy of people who attended that meeting. On Friday, April 5, it was announce that INEC has acceded to the request of Governor Obi’s faction to convene a convention of APGA on April 8, and they will be attending it.

HE newly elected national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Maxi Okwu, has declared that he is the authentic chairman of the party. He dismissed the re-instatement of Chief Victor Umeh as the national chairman by the Appeal Court, Enugu, as a hoax. The chairman also said that Umeh’s hope of bouncing back as the chairman has been sealed. Okwu said that the ruling has no legal implication capable of hindering the elected national officers from performing their roles as party leaders. Okwu was recently elected as the APGA national chairman at a convention held in Awka, Anambra State capital. However, few hours after the convention, the Court of Appeal ordered for a stay of execution of the judgment of an Enugu High Court, which sacked Umeh and the members of the party’s National Working Committee on February 8. Okwu, who spoke with reporters at his country home, Achi, in Oji, explained that the court ruling had no effect on the newly elected executive. He spoke shortly after he was conferred with the chieftaincy title of “Ogbaturu Enyi,” (one that conquered a giant) by the traditional ruler of Akwunobi Kingdom, Igwe Ginger Ibeneme. He said before the ruling came, the High Court had ruled that the party could proceed with the convention. Okwu added: “Anybody who knows how the court operates will tell you that you can’t stay a declarative judgment, such as that of the Enugu High Court. “You also can’t stay a judgment that has already been executed. The judgment was executed as early as 8a.m on Monday and around 12 noon, some people started talking about othe rder for the stay of execution. “So, that ruling is an exercise in futility. Even, a first year Law student knows that you don’t stay an order that has been executed. We already have a new born baby, which is the APGA execu-

tive and it can’t be aborted again”. Okwu reiterated his commitment to the restructuring of the party, assuring that the next year’s governorship election would be won by the party. He added: “Governor Peter Obi has done so much in Anambra State. He restored sanity to the state. So, I’m optimistic that Anambra people will vote for APGA again.” Igwe Akwunobi had earlier urged the new APGA chairman to remain committed to the responsibility of his office. He said: “You have been going around in the political arena, but in this year, your own time to shine politically has come”. The monarch, who stressed that he was not a politician, but a father to all the politicians, irrespective of their political leanings, called for the equal treatment of the parties by the electoralcommission during the election. But, in a statement, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Anambra State chapter, has called on the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to investigate the conduct of the convention, alleging that the process was controversial. Its Secretary, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said the monitoring of the convention by INEC was confusing.

‘You also can’t stay a judgment that has already been executed. So, that ruling is an exercise in futility. Even, a first year Law student knows that you don’t stay an order that has been executed. We already have a new born baby, which is the APGA executive and it can’t be aborted again’

Ezugwu, who is also a chieftain of the APGA, said that CNPP believed that the convention was an eyesore. He said: “We are calling on INEC Chairman Prof Attahiru Jega to investigate the fraudulent conduct of the convention and the INEC personnel that monitored the proceedings of the event between 1am to 7 a.m that Monday. “How did INEC itself got entangled? I doubt if Jega was given adequate notice to be part of such a deal to monitor a convention at that unholy time or is INEC no longer a public institution?”. Ezugwu also wondered why Gov Obi should applaud the convention and allow his cohorts to discredit the Court of Appeal ,where three judges gave a ruling for a of execution and ordered the reinstatement of the national chairman and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. He added: “I do not see any reason why Governor Obi should support the convention by applauding it and allow the Commissioner for Information and culture, Mr Joemartins Uzodike, to disregard the Appeal court judgment by describing it as judgment in futility” The party chieftain also called on the Inspector-General of Police to investigate the 24 impostors claiming to be state party chairmen of APGA. He said that they had erred by signing the notice of the congresses and convention. He cited a similar case, which is pending in the court where Mr. Sadiq Massala claimed he had the mandate of 20 NWC members to remove Chief Victor Umeh from office, but INEC later discovered that 11 signatories were impostors. Ezugwu advised Governor Obi to engage in activities that can assist in building APGA, instead of creating tension in the party. He added: “Gov Obi should refrain from destroying APGA and disobeying court judgment because he was a beneficiary of the court judgment and rule of law.”

•From left: Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, Maxi Okwu and Dr. Tim Menakaya raising Okwu’s hands after he emerged as chairman at the recent convention of the party in Awka.




EPL:EvertonholdsArsenal A

Arsenal and Everton played out a goalless draw in the only Premier League match on Tuesday evening. Visitors, Everton had the first chance of the match in the 6th minute when Seamus Coleman's through-ball made its way to Steven Pienaar but the South African could only balloon over the crossbar. As the first-half drew to a close both sides had chances to go ahead. First, Ross Barkley turned cleverly in the middle and fed Victor Anichebe. The striker was challenged when shooting but the ricochet almost squeezed under the sprawling Wojciech Szczesny. The Gunners could have led at the break had Olivier Giroud diverted Aaron Ramsey's low cross into an empty net instead of sliding it wide. After the break, Arsenal tested Tim Howard for the first time when Santi Cazorla volleyed from 25 yards and saw his effort beaten away by the American. Barkley was earning a rare start for Everton and he almost broke the deadlock after 64 minutes when he shifted the ball onto his right foot outside the area and fizzed a curling effort inches wide of the top corner. Arsenal's best chance of the match came with 13 minutes left when they broke quickly from an Everton attack. Lukas Podolski freed Cazorla and he waited for Alex OxladeChamberlain's run on the

overlap, with the Englishman's cross well defended by Coleman with Giroud ready to tap in. Giroud did manage to get a shot away two minutes later

when Oxlade-Chamberlain this time found his French teammate. Giroud sidestepped Phil Jagielka but rifled over from an acute

angle. A point leaves Arsenal two points clear of both Chelsea and Spurs in fourth and fifth while Everton are a further two back in sixth.


•Eaglets striker Kelechi Iheanacho goes for goal


HE duo of Ishmael Nwokocha and Julie Abar were the cynosure of all eyes at the Ikoyi club 1938 on Saturday, where they emerged winners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Grand Slam. Nwabufor defeated Thomas Sunday in two straight sets of 6-3, 6-2 in the men's singles final, while Abar's long time rival on the tennis court, Maryam Chukwueke was unable to match her skills on the court. In a chat with the NationSport after his victory, Ishmael, admonished the concerned authorities to invest in the grassroots to ensure that the country can produce tennis stars who would take the world by storm just like the Williams' sisters are doing at the moment. Ishmael said: "For instance, the Ikoyi club organises tennis clinic for kids with the help of good coaches during holidays. Lack of sponsors has always been the bane of sports in the country. I implore sponsors to put in

By Stella Bamawo

more money into sports." Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Eugene Juwah in his speech stated that the Commission was pleased with the participants who made the tennis competition a success. "This tournament is one of the many recreational sporting activities put in place by the Ikoyi club, the première elite club in the country to bring men of like minds but of impeccable characters together. I was thrilled with the reports brought to me of the excellent programme that was held here. Immediately, I made a commitment that for as long as you permit us and resources allow us it, we will always sponsor this grand slam. This is a relationship we shall always be proud of," he said. Winners carted home trophies and prizes ranging from televisions, cooking gas cookers to plates and cutleries.

Special Olympics: Nigeria positive about future

I •Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, behind, vies for the ball with Everton's Victor Anichebe during the English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London, Tuesday

Eaglets face Baby Elephants with World Cup ticket in sight OLDEN Eaglets go into Wednesday’s second West African derby against the Junior Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire at the on-going Morocco 2013 CAN Under-17 knowing that a win will guarantee them a place at the FIFA World Cup in UAE later in the year. Nigeria leads Group B section of the tournament after beating Ghana 6-1 win on Sunday, while both Cote d’Ivoire and Congo cancelled themselves out in a 1-1 draw. Mathematically, Nigeria would be through to the World Cup with a win against Cote d’Ivoire irrespective of the outcome of their last game against Congo on April 20 since they can either come first or second in the final analysis-all the semifinalists automatically qualify for the World Cup. Speaking ahead of the game, Coach Manu Garba (MFR) reiterated that the objective of the team remains the same: “We are happy that we won

Ishmael, Abar emerge winners at tennis competition

our first game against Ghana but winning the second game against Cote d’Ivoire is very important because it would take us to the World Cup. “I saw a bit of their match against Congo and the Ivorians are not a bad side though they are physical but we know how to handle such team.” Garba said he has high hope about his wards delivering the goods having prepared well before the tournament, adding that they are set for a tough battle. “We have prepared well for this championship,” he said

matter-of-factly. “We have not lost a match since we assembled this team and we are certainly not ready to lose now. “My confidence is reinforced in their ability against any team following how they handled a big team such as Al Sadd of Doha, a team that had won the Asian Champions League in the past, complete with a great player like Raul Gonzalez,” he noted. Meanwhile, the CAN Under17 leading goal scorer, Success Isaac who grabbed a remarkable four goals against the Black Starlets, has equally

promised to score more goals to ensure the team’s passage to the World Cup. “I have not set any personal target at this tournament but what is important is for us to beat Cote d’Ivoire on Wednesday,”said Success who has been nicknamed Nasarah (which translates to success in an Arabic and Hausa language) by Coach Garba. “ He added: “Of course, I will score by the grace of God if I get the opportunity but I can’t predict the score line against Cote d’Ivoire. What is important to us as a team is the maximum three points.”

Fashola, others for Odegbami’s book presentation


AGOS State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola is expected to lead other dignitaries to the presentation of a 16-chapter book titled ME, FOOTBALL AND MORE by the ex-international and sports entrepreneur, Segun ‘Mathematical’Odegbami. The ceremony is scheduled to hold at Anchor Events, Lateef Jakande Way, Agidingbi, Lagos on May 2nd. Speaking in Lagos yesterday, Odegbami, who guided Nigeria to its first Africa Cup of Nations title at the 1980 tournament, said Fashola, who is the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, has read through the manuscript and has agreed to write the forward to the book. According to the former Shooting Stars player, the book and its audio version, will be formally presented in a series of launch events kicking off in Lagos and will

also be held in other states such as Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Abuja FCT, Rivers, Plateau, Borno etc. The event will be presided over by Gamaliel Onosode, a Deacon of the Good News Baptist Church one-time presidential aspirant, known for his impeccable integrity and flawless language will be joined by the book reviewer, Professor Adebayo Williams. While explaining reasons behind the book, Odegbami said he’s exploring the opportunities that abound in sports for the development and entertainment of the youths. “About a year ago the idea to put together a compendium of some of the articles that I’ve been writing since 1979 was mooted by few persons that have been following this part of my life. Thus was planted the seed of a book which I shall soon put to bed.

“Apart from the conventional hard copy, there shall also be an e-version of the book available for interested readers on the web worldwide. Secondly and, perhaps, most interesting of all, there will be an audioversion of a section of the book. “The book is divided into three sections- ME, a collection of articles that look at aspects of my life that may not be directly related to sports; FOOTBALL, a collection of my experiences and opinion on various aspects of my time (and out of it) in football; and MORE, about other aspects of my experiences through my decades in sports. Odegbami explained that the section, ME, will be in an audio version with the intension of venturing into new territory in promoting sports and sportsmanship.

NTELLECTUALLY challenged athletes under the umbrella of Special Olympics Nigeria (SON) have expressed their optimism to make the country proud in sports if given the right support and encouragement to excel. The Board of Management, Special Olympics Nigeria at a ‘Thank You’ forum to recap the achievements of the athletes in the last decade and their itinerary for the coming years, said the athletes are poised to make the country proud. The National coordinator SON, Mrs. Folashade Bolumole who addressed stakeholders at the occasion said in the last 10 years, without the various corporate and philanthropic support, the idea to bring out the sporting abilities out of the athletes’ disabilities would not have

By Paul Oluwakoya

seen the light of day adding that alot more bodies need to come on board to give hope to more athletes. She noted that with the support and volunteer work within the period they have been able to give about 91 intellectually challenged athletes the opportunity to see the world organised credible national training and competitions with job offers for about 8,000 sportsmen. "With the help of stakeholders who have been supporting with their finances we have been able to recruit over 12,000 athletes and over 800 volunteer coaches, give sports training and competition opportunities to more than 8,000 people with ID across 5 geo-politicl zones in Nigeria in 7 sports.

Maiden Inter-Primary Schools Sports Meet thrills pupils


S part of contribution to the development of

a total Nigerian child, Olashore International School, has organised an Inter-primary School Sports Competition in Osun state. The athletes that participated in the 2-day event couldn’t hold back their delight on the highlit from the various sport performances. Addressing participants at the grand-finale of the two days-event, Chairman Board of Governors, Prince Abimbola Olashore said the idea behind organising the event stemmed from the School’s conviction to foster unity among young learners.

By Bolaji Aluko-Olokun

"This event is definitely the first of many more which will be organised annually. And I must tell you that many schools will be involved, even beyond the Western part of the country in future editions to make it truly a national competition," he said. At the end of the competition, Saint Clare’s Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Oshogbo clinched the first position with 26 medals, while Local Authority Primary School Iloko-Ijesa and Sonbeam Preparatory School, Ibadan came second and third position with 22 and 20 medals respectively.



NEWS •Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (middle); his deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (third right); outgoing Bishop of Lagos West (Church of Nigeria) Anglican Communion, the Rt. Revd Peter Awelewa (third left); incoming Bishop Coadjutor, the Rt Rev. James Odedeji (fourth right); Chief Justice of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips (second right); Commissioner for Establishment Training and Pensions, Mrs. Florence Oguntuase (left); Special Adviser, Rural Development, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe (right); Justice Babasola Ogunade, Chancellor, Diocese of Lagos West (second left) and others during Bishop Adebiyi’s farewell visit to Fashola in Alausa, Ikeja... on Monday.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (left) with the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I, when the governor led members of the Executive Council to congratulate the monarch on his 99th birthday in his palace... on Monday.

•Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio after receiving some legal publications from the daughter of the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Mrs Bashirat FawehinmiBiobaku, when she visited the Governor in Uyo… last weekend.

•Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire with the Chairman, MosanOkunola Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon Abiodun Mafe, at the kick of Rauf Aregbesola Primary Health Care Centre at the council, Ipaja, Lagos.

•Senator Florence Ita-Giwa (middle) speaking during her condolence visit to the Ikenne, Ogun State home of the Awolowos on the death of Chief Oluwole Awolowo. With her are daughter of the late sage, Revd. Tolu Oyediran (left) and Dr. Tokunbo Dosumu-Awolowo.

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (right); Director General, De Raufs’ a Volunteer Group, Comrade Amitolu Shittu and Director, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Comrade Debo Adeniran, at the presentation of De Raufs Group, at the Leisure Spring Hotel, Osogbo.

•Abia State Governor’s wife, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji (second left) been shown some of the ongoing expansion projects at the Nigeria Breweries Plc by Brewery Manager, Mr Ukeje Udah when she visited the plant.

•Chairman/Founder, Demdap Adiwu Foundation (DAF), Mr. Paul Adiwu (left), member, House of Representatives, Shamsiddin Ango Abdullahi and Chairman, Finance and Appropriation Committee, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Philip Aruwa Gyunka, at the launch of Demdap Adiwu Foundation in Abuja... at the weekend. PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

•L-R: Brand Communication and Media Manager, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Kemi Fabusoro; Sales Director, Paul Udochi; Managing Director, Mr. Emil Moskofian and Marketing Director, Mr. Dele Anifowoshe, at a news conference on Tang Powdered Fruit Drink in Lagos... last weekend. PHOTO: DAVID ADEJO



‘But criminal and calculated‘imaginary’ rerouting of physical structures as important as rivers belonging to the ‘the common man and woman’ is a new dimension in psychological warfare when we are not at declared war’ VOL.8 NO.2,461



NTERESTINGLY, many of those that have condemned the Odi massacre, including President Goodluck Jonathan – remember the embarrassing altercation last year between him and former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo, over the massacre? – and supported the granting of amnesty for the Niger Delta’s militants are the same people that have since been advocating the use of the same force, indeed an even more brutal one than that used in Odi, as the only solution to Boko Haram. For example, The Punch (March 14) which has consistently condemned dialogue with the sect called the amnesty “outrageous” and “gravely precarious.” Yet as recently as January 15 it had praised amnesty for the Niger Delta militants as a “panacea for peace in the hitherto restive oil-rich Niger Delta...” even though, in fairness, it also expressed some concern over the seemingly open-ended approach to the amnesty. The Nigerian Tribune, which also opposed any form of dialogue with Boko Haram in its editorial of July 13, 2011, had apparently forgotten its editorial of February 8, 2011 wherein it said “Soldiers and other security agents, even if they are professionally neutral, cannot bring lasting peace to Plateau State. The people of the state must begin an honest search for peace.” Similarly the Nobel Literature Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka has been vehemently opposed to dialogue with Boko Haram. Yet back in 2001 at the height of the clashes between security forces and the Odua Peoples’ Congress, he petitioned President Obasanjo to condemn what he said were the human right abuses of OPC members and called for dialogue between the organisation and the authorities. In the light of his high reputation as a champion of human rights, let me crave the indulgence of the reader to quote his petition extensively. “What,” he said in that petition, “has become apparent and undeniable is a systematic project of decimating this organisation through acts of intimidation, brutalisation and extra-judicial killings. We cannot stand by and watch these murders continue, openly or in secret. The gaols are filled with alleged members of the OPC. We have evidence of their routine ill treatment, and the resolve of the police to continue in their conduct, in full impunity. Much of these atrocities constitute punishable crimes in any decent society. They are being catalogued, and will be answered some day, unless restraint is exercised and the agents of excess called to strict order, and urgently. “No one advocates violence. State violence is no less reprehensible than the sporadic violence of extreme civil movements in society. An organisation is not condemned by the actions of infiltrators, agent provocateurs, and even the authentic lunatic fringe within a movement. “There is law in this nation - at least, we are persuaded that we now live in a society organised around the principle of legality. The police are not above the law. The police are certainly not licensed as killers in soci-

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA

Amnesty for Boko Haram: between Gumi and Kukah (II)

•Bishop Kukah

ety. We insist: THESE KILLINGS BY STATE AGENCIES MUST STOP... “It is time that the OPC be called to dialogue in whatever states they exist, but most especially in Lagos State... If the path of dialogue is rejected and the current project of piecemeal pogrom is pursued, let it be understood that full responsibility lies in the hands of this government and its security agencies.” At the time of Prof Soyinka’s petition, OPC had clashed violently not only with the police. It had also done so with just about every major ethnic group resident in Yorubaland, all in the name of protecting Yoruba interests. Tell newsmagazine, in its edition of October 30, 2000, accurately captured the organisation’s reputation for violence in its cover story of the four days of mindless killing, maiming and destruction OPC unleashed on Lagos residents from October 15, mostly against so-called Hausa. In a sidebar to the story, the newsmagazine catalogued the organisation’s bloody attacks between July 16, 1999 and October 15, 2000 under the caption “(OPC’s) Trail of Blood.” The description couldn’t have been more apt; the bloody trail included attacks on the Ijaw Egbesu Boys in Ajegunle, Hausas in Sagamu, Ajegunle and Mushin, Igbo traders at Alaba market and even a clash between the Gani Adams and Dr Frederick Fasehun factions of the organisation in Mushin. The difference, they say, is that Boko

Haram, unlike OPC or the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), is faceless and its goals and demands are irrational. The simple answer to the first excuse is, if Boko Haram seems faceless – and it is not, because the authorities very well know and have occasionally been in contact with several of its leaders, including Imam Abubakar Shekau – it is because it seemed politically convenient for government not to put any face to the sect’s leadership. At least twice it was persuaded to dialogue with government and lay down its arms. Each time someone, obviously an insider, leaked the move to a select media before negotiations had even begun in an apparent attempt to scuttle the talks. Worse, the authorities arrested those the sect sent to begin the talks. Whatever anyone may think is the difference between Boko Haram and MEND as a beneficiary of amnesty, the fact is that the militants did not come out from the creeks where they operated from until it was clear that late president, Umaru Yar’Adua, was sincere in his commitment to bring an end to the problems of Niger Delta. So far such sincerity in seeking an end to the insurgency in the North has been lacking in President Jonathan’s government and in its security agencies. As for the argument that the goals and demands of the sect are irrational, there is also the simple answer that however irrational, those goals and demands do not, and cannot, justify the terrible collective punishment the communities in which the sect’s suspected members live have been subjected to all these years. This is the lesson of Justice Lambo Akanbi’s judgment on Odi. In any case, it is not all of the sect’s demands that are irrational. Its stated objective of Islamising Nigeria through the barrel of the gun is certainly irrational if only because the Qur’an (2:256) itself categorically states “There is no compulsion in religion...” It also says in Chapter 3 Verse 20, “...So if they submit then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, then upon you is only the delivery of the message and Allah sees the servants.” In other words, the word is persuasion not force. Islamophobes, of course, love to quote



HE ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) put up a contradistinctive show on Monday when two of its leading lights gave us insight into the party’s expectations in 2015. In Abuja, the party’s chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, told the Southwest caucus of the party led by Professor Taoheed Adedoja that it was necessary for party members to gird up their loins to ensure the party won 32 states in the 2015 elections compared with the 23 states they now have. Whether we believe his altruism or not, Tukur actually spoke unambiguously and with a decent measure of civilised honesty and logic. According to him, “We have to show electoral strength this time. In doing it, we will work hard and work well. We will move with the speed of jet and we will deliver without any foul antics. I use this opportunity to appeal to our members to bury the hatchet and cast away whatever forlorn hope they nurse about the


Chapter 2 Verse 191 of the Qur’an which says “And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter...” as evidence that Islam is a violent religion. This is simply plain mischief – probably worse; mischief, because the quotation is taken completely out of the context of the verse before it and the two after. Verse 190 of the chapter says “And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.” Verses 192 and 193 respectively say “But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” and “...Fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.” Taken as a whole it is clear from these verses that the Qur’an is against aggression. It admonishes Muslims to fight only in self defence and even then never to exceed the limits. No sane person would disagree that bombing churches, schools, motor parks and media houses, killing and maiming innocent people, etc, as Boko Haram has done, is exceeding Allah’s limits even in self defence. But other than Boko Haram’s untenable goal of Islamising Nigeria by force, there is nothing irrational in most of its other demands, especially the demand that the security forces stop the abuse of their powers in carrying out their duties to secure peace, law and order in society. This is a demand that has been repeatedly made by Amnesty International and myriads of local human rights organisations, including CLO and CDHR, even as they have rightly condemned Boko Haram terror. That the country is less secure and less peaceful today than it was four years ago when President Yar’Adua ordered the military invasion of the Maiduguri stronghold of Boko Haram, is proof positive that the preference for the use of force by the authorities almost to the exclusion of other options is a triumph of wishful thinking over the experience of the last four years. The big lesson of these four years of the failure to crush Boko Haram despite the military occupation of its redoubts is that amnesty for its members has become a doctrine of necessity. On its own, it may not guarantee peace, law and order in the country but without it we are not likely to see an end to the sect’s terror any time soon. Besides, it is not likely to cost the country the leg and arm that amnesty for the Niger Delta militants has cost this country – over N200 billion so far, and counting. Now that President Jonathan seems to have made his choice, albeit tentatively, between those like Bishop Kukah who support amnesty and those like Sheikh Gumi who oppose it, he will, hopefully, follow it through in good faith and refuse to be deterred by his more gung-ho security chiefs who have consistently failed to deliver on their boasts of crushing Boko Haram. •For comments, send SMS to 08023211188

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Between Tukur’s altruism and Anenih’s subterfuge future. I appeal to our members to begin to invest in the future right away and doing so involves hard work, diligence and dedication to the cause of PDP.” On the other hand, Chief Tony Anenih, chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), gave hint that the party was likely to play hardball in the 2015 polls. Together with top PDP leaders, including a few governors, Anenih had visited Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State on the same day Tukur was acting coy in Abuja. Since Anenih is not given to niceties or diplomatese, he predictably spoke invidiously about the strength of the party and its chances in the coming polls. Said he gravely: “PDP is not dead in Ogun or any part of the country. PDP

is the party to beat. When the time comes, I assure you we will do what we know how to do best.” There is of course a chance, given the elementariness and accessibility of his terse language, that all he is suggesting is that the PDP is so big and strong that it invariably and naturally wins elections – against all odds. But there is also the discomfiting possibility that what the man with the drawn and sometimes sepulchral visage is saying is that his party knows how to subvert popular will through electoral chicanery. Yes, Tukur shocked Nigerians by alluding to a presidential directive to the party faithful to win nine more states than the party has at the moment, but it is Anenih who is likely to attract more attention, if

not revulsion, with his offensive and mocking assertion that the next polls would be a cakewalk. Pressed to clarify what he meant by his party doing ‘what it knows how to do best,’ the BoT chairman would readily explain that his statement was a mere indication of confidence rather than subterfuge. But far more disconcerting to everyone is the appalling inability of the ruling party to gauge public mood, its apparent detachment from reality, and its overestimation of its modest record of achievements. The public will find it hard to understand why the party hopes to make political gains in 2015 when it has demonstrated nothing but sheer incompetence in the face of mounting insecurity.

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The Nation April 17, 2013  

The Nation April 17, 2013

The Nation April 17, 2013  

The Nation April 17, 2013