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•Story of a young lady who wedded a blind man

HE saying that ‘love bears all things, suffers all things, endures all things and conquers all things’, cannot be truer than IN the case of Kenneth Orwell Ulo and Rosemary Amaka Umeadi. Kenneth, who is blind, was recently joined in holy matrimony with Rosemary at the Asumpta Cathedral in Owerri, the Imo State capital. Although the solemn wedding, which began about noon, was without the usual long bridal train and large turnout of colourful guests, one thing was obvious in the minds of the few friends and relatives that gathered to witness the ceremony- that the marriage was ‘uncommon love’ on display. Apart from the faces of the guests, which intermittently betrayed their sympathy for the couple, there was nothing unusual about the wedding nor the couple. However, the uniqueness of the event was the fact that the groom, who is visually impaired and was led by his bestman, was getting wedded to a charming able-bodied young lady. To further underscore the uniqueness of the wedding, the Archbishop of the Owerri Metroplitan Diocese, Archbishop Anthony Obinna, personally officiated at the wedding Mass. In his sermon, the Archbishop, who expressed joy for the opportunity to officiate at the wedding, charged the couple to continue to show love, care and respect for each other despite their obvious challenges, stating that a successful marriage is built on love, peace and joy. He admonished the couple to continue in the fear and love of God, noting that godly virtues, among other things, help a family to remain united in the face of daunting challenges. “Charity begins at home, and as parents, you should set good examples for your children to emulate. For the husband, you should love your wife like Christ loved the church. And for the woman, you should be submissive to your husband and love him unconditionally.’’ Speaking about the couple shortly after the wedding, elder brother to the groom, Mr. Dennis Ulo, described their journey to the altar as tortuous, suspenseful and worthwhile. Reliving his younger brother’s ordeal, Dennis disclosed that Kenneth was not born blind or with any form of disability. He said

•The couple

n Okodili NDIDI, Owerri n Kenneth lost his vision to a mysterious ailment about the age of 11 when he completed his primary school and was admitted into secondary school. According to him, all efforts to save Kenneth’s sight failed. “The news of his blindness devastated our family because he was very intelligent and the whole family looked up to him as a very promising lad. But the fact that he was blind did not deter him from pursuing his educational career. Though it was almost impossible at the beginning due to lack of funds, but public-spirited Nigerians who had pity on him because he was very bright intervened. “He finally got admission into the school for the blind in Umuahia, in Abia State and went on to acquire a Diploma at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO). He did not stop there. He went ahead to acquire a Bsc. Degree in Political Science at the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State. He works with the Federal Ministry of Education. “Today, my prayers for him have been answered because he is a fulfilled man irrespective of his condition, and the entire family still looks up to him. And one thing

e l b u o r t f o l l A bottleeadflyuobsession with Paraga Nigerians’ d

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There are so many things I found in him that I adore. I don’t see his blindness as a limitation or a source of discouragement because we can share my pair of eyes, and together we can see all things. I am indeed lucky to marry him


about him is that he is undaunted in his quest to realise any of his goals.” Also speaking, a representative of the bride’s family, Mr. Paul Umeadi, commended the couple for their dedication and commitment to each other despite discouragement from friends and relatives. He observed that the union was driven by unequalled love, and urged the couple to remain focused and dedicated to each other. “It is obvious that they are in love, and my prayer is that they will continue to find joy in the company of each other. And the entire

Umeadi family will continue to support them in prayer and in every other way to ensure that they have a blissful marriage.” For the bride, Rosemary Amaka Umeadi, who lovingly led her husband by the hand throughout the proceedings, the day was indeed a dream come true. Speaking about her joy, Rosemary said: “I am the happiest woman in the world because I have found immeasurable love in my husband. I have many reasons to love and cherish him because there are so many things I found in him that I adore. I don’t see his blindness as a limitation or a source of discouragement because we can share my pair of eyes, and together we can see all things. I am indeed lucky to marry him.” And for the groom, who stunned the audience when he mounted the podium to read the Bible passage, a task he perfomed to the admiration of all, the day could be best described as wholesome. Reliving the journey, Kenneth said: “I met her five years ago through her elder brother who was my friend, and we instantly became close and started to develop feelings for each other. Gradually we nurtured the emotion and it blossomed into what you are seeing today. “It was not all that easy. At a time, it became very rough and we thought we were not going to make it. But love prevailed at last, and I am happy for the kind of wife God has given me. She is humble, kind and willing to go the extra mile to make me happy. And I don’t think I need anything more than that.”

ed t n a w r e v I’ve ne ried to be mardaughter Elvina –Michael Ibru’s

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Lekki-Ikoyi bridge toll: Court orders stay of execution of judgment


USTICE Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered a stay of execution of the March 27 judgment in which he declared that there was no law backing toll collection on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge. The Lagos State government filed the application for the stay of execution soon after the March judgement. With yesterday’s ruling, tolling will continue on the bridge until the appeal lodged by the Lagos State government challenging the judgment is determined. The plaintiff, in the original suit, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, said yesterday that he was ready for the appeal. “We will pursue the appeal. The ruling is just temporary; it is not a reversal of the judgment of the court,” Adegboruwa said. The court rejected Adegboruwa’s allegation that the state government was not entitled to being granted the application because it had disobeyed the judgment. The judge said: “Though the respondent (Adegboruwa) has alleged that the applicants have disobeyed the judgment of court, a party cannot be held for disobeying an order he is appealing against.” Justice Saidu added that the application by the state government fulfilled the necessary legal requirements. The appeal and Adegboruwa’s cross appeal against the judgment, he said, presented “arguable grounds of appeal” and “recondite and substantial legal issues” to be sorted out by the Court of Appeal. The judge added that the facts presented before the court by the applicants, were in his view, “special and exceptional circumstances” which warranted the granting of the application. The Attorney General of the Federation and the National Inland Waterways, the first and second respondents in the suit, did not oppose the state government’s application for stay of execution. Moving his application during hearing, Lagos Attorney-General, Mr Ade Ipaye, maintained that the court did not make a specific order of injunction stopping toll collection on the bridge.


Joseph JIBUEZE “It’s now necessary to order that parties maintain the status quo,” Ipaye said. Urging the court to grant the government’s prayers, the Attorney-General said the state stood to lose more should the application be refused. He added: ”The loss he (Adegboruwa) is probably going to suffer, even if the appeal is dismissed, can be ascertained in terms of money because he has the receipts. The loss that he will suffer is one that can be remedied. “On the other hand, if that bridge is closed, or if it is opened and all vehicles are free to pass, there is no way to capture the loss that will be incurred in case the appeal succeeds. “It’s in the interest of justice to grant stay pending appeal, or an order to maintain the status quo,” Ipaye said, adding that “status quo is what is going on there now.” Opposing the application, Adegboruwa urged the court to dismiss it because Lagos had failed to obey the judgment. “There is no requirement on the part of the applicant to justify the collection of an illegal toll because your Lordship has already made a decision there is no law justifying it,” Adegboruwa said. The lawyer said the relief sought by Lagos is an equitable one, so a party seeking equity must not be guilty of contempt. “They have never obeyed the order of this court. If your Lordship grants the application for stay, it will validate the confusion that they have created deliberately,” he said. Adegboruwa said Lagos did not show any exceptional circumstances to warrant granting the application. “Exceptional circumstances, even if it exists, has been overruled by their not obeying the law. “I urge my Lord to dismiss the application,” he said. Ipaye had also prayed the court to restrain the defendants from taking any action that will give effect to the judgment. But Adegboruwa said Lagos could not ask the court to restrain itself.

•Hon. Nathaniel Agunbiade, Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation; Senator Gbenga Obadara; Senator Shaaba Lafiagi and Senator Ayo Akinyelure representing Nigeria in the ECOWAS Parliament at the ECOWAS Summit in Ghana on Opportunities for Trade and Finance for ECOWAS countries...yesterday.

Revealed: Why Boko Haram is keeping 234 abducted girls •Chief of Defence Staff heads ‘tactical’ team on rescue •How Jonathan, Nyako traded tackles at security parley


HE Islamist sect, Boko Haram, is believed to be desperate to use over 100 students of Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State it abducted last week as human shield, as plan to rescue them by the military intensifies. The National Security Council at its expanded meeting on Thursday gave the military a marching order to rescue the girls. The military operation is being co-ordinated by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, who has been shuttling between Abuja and Maiduguri in the last one week. The Nation gathered yesterday that the armed forces are taking maximum caution in handling the situation with a view to saving the lives of the girls. “Intelligence report confirmed that Boko Haram found it strategic to keep the girls to save their camps from bombardment by troops,” a highly placed source said. Troops are understood to

Why we suspended work on 2nd Niger Bridge — Minister

HE Minister of Environ ment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, admitted yesterday that the Federal Government erred in commencing work on the construction of the Second Niger Bridge without consideration for the Environmental Impact Assessment Law, EIA. Government,according to her, failed to comply with the requirements of the EIA law in embarking on the project. The ministry has consequently stopped work on the project. The minister told a Turkish delegation during a courtesy call on her that the bridge construction had to be

Frank IKPEFAN, Abuja suspended because “ they did not comply with our ministry’s rule.” “The Minister of works had to run to me so that we might give them certificate to resume work,”Mrs Mallam said. The Director, Environmental Impact Assessment Director, Mr. Kehinde Odusanya, who was with the minister, said in response to a question that: “Because of the national interest in that particular project, the Federal Ministry of Works had to request for an interim ap-

proval just to commence preparation activities.” The Environmental Impact Assessment is a formal process used to predict the environmental consequences (positive or negative) of a plan, policy, programme, or project prior to implementation. It proposes measures to adjust impacts to acceptable levels or to investigate new technological solution. Although the EIA law can lead to difficult economic decisions, strong political and social commitments, it protects environment with sound basis for effective and sustainable development.

Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation be advancing on the area where the girls are being kept. The source said: “From available security reports, troops are around the axis where the abducted girls are being held hostage. “Details of the exact location cannot be made public. “Even the submissions of the service chiefs at the security council meeting were tactical for operational reasons. “The military was trying to avoid collateral damage because the affected area is bigger. It is as big as the whole of Ikeja, Lagos.” The military and the Borno State Government are not saying much for fear that Boko Haram with its widespread cells might pick up sensitive information. A high-powered tactical team was, on Tuesday, dispatched to Borno State by Air Chief Marshall Badeh to boost the morale of troops assigned to liberate the abducted girls. The team returned to Abuja on Thursday night. Another source added: “The team went to give moral and psychological support to the troops to enable them meet the expectations of Nigerians to rescue the girls. “Comprising some Generals in the Armed Forces, the team also shared technical information with the troops to accomplish the mission.” It was also learnt that plan by aggrieved women in Borno State to go into Sambisa Forest to look for the abducted girls may not work. A government source said: “No one will allow these women to go into the forest. These women will also not attempt it because of the delicate nature of the terrain.” More facts also emerged yesterday on the confrontation between President

Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State at the Security Council meeting over the governor’s controversial letter on the state of insecurity in the Northeast. Two versions of the drama on Nyako’s toxic letter to Northern governors were relayed to our correspondent last night by sources at the meeting. One of the source said: “When President Goodluck Jonathan raised the matter on the agenda, Nyako said he holds the President in high esteem and would not do anything to undermine his office. “The governor also said ‘Mr. President, you are a good man, but you have some people around you that are bad.’ “The President was not carried away by Nyako’s sentiments and he asked the governor to address the issues in the letter. He asked Nyako to read the letter to the council. “Nyako owned up to the contents of the letter and read it without any remorse. Like a school boy, he stood up to read the letter. “After the reading session, the President asked Nyako: What do you have to say? While still on his feet, Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Martin Elechi (Ebonyi) descended him.”

An unperturbed Nyako refused to apologize even though most of the governors disapproved of his letter. The Northern governors were shocked that Nyako did not back up his claim with any intelligence fact. Another source said: “It was true that Nyako initially went cyclical praising the President who was unmoved by his U-turn. “At a point, the President attempted to read the letter and when he was trying to shuffle through it. “In a brave manner, the Adamawa State Governor sought the indulgence of the President to read the letter to the hearing of the council members. “But Nyako could actually not defend the contents of the letter. Or, maybe as a former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, he knew too much and he did not want to divulge it at the session. “His reluctance led to some scathing remarks from some governors who took exception to certain information in the letter. “At the end, Nyako had no regrets. He even created a mild sensation when he refused to sit besides a SouthEast governor. This was what happened. We were not happy, but I think we have successfully thrashed the issue.”

INEC approves registration of UPN


HE Inedependent Na tional Electoral Com mission (INEC) has approved the registration of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). The INEC, according to a statement signed by its Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole OsazeUzzi, said the approval was granted in its April 17 meeting. The UPN registration brings

to 26 the total number of political parties in Nigeria. The terse statement reads in part: "The commission at its meeting held on Thursday, April 17, approved the registration of the UPN, the applicant having met the legal requirements for registration "The registration of UPN brings to 26 the total number of political parties in Nigeria."





OVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State said yesterday that he is through with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), irrespective of whether the Federal Government returns the state’s oil wells in Kalabari and Etche, ceded to neighbouring Bayelsa, Abia and Imo states, or not. The governor, who spoke to reporters on the sideline of the inauguration of Port Harcourt as the World Book Capital 2014, vowed that he would not succumb to pressure from some PDP leaders to return to the “dead” party.

PDP leaders are begging me to return, but I’m finished with party —Amaechi Bisi OLANIYI, Port Harcourt

He did not name the PDP leaders. The arrowhead of the opposition to the governor and the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, had claimed recently that Amaechi and his allies were pleading to return to the PDP.

However, the Rivers governor said that Wike does not know what it means to be a minister. Amaechi said yesterday: “I am not returning to the PDP. That man (Wike), they should check him whether he is okay. I have finished with the PDP. I have told them. I made a promise that if they return the Kalabari oil wells, we will see

how it goes, but until that happens. “Beyond the oil wells, I have told them, they have approached me. If they want, I will call the names of those that approached me, but that is not an issue. There are issues that are fundamentally different. If I am a progressive, it must be seen in the type of life I live, in what I do, how I relate with people and the type of governance. “I said people should ignore him (Wike). Are you sure that if I tell the PDP that I am coming back in 10 days, they will not send a dance party here? One problem with leadership in Nigeria is that when you are a president, a governor or a minister, what you say must be factual. You cannot be part of gossip. “So, that young man (Wike), who claims to be Minister of State for Education, who does not know what it means to be

a minister, is saying I am begging to come back to the PDP. What is the PDP? I beg you, please, do not ever ask me question about that young man (Wike), because I will not answer you.” Amaechi also stated that his administration’s initiative had moved from the Garden City Literary Festival to the Port Harcourt Book Festival and also moved on to contemplate establishing a book centre, worth N3.5 billion, not owned by the Rivers State government, but by a non-governmental organisation, the Garden City Literary Association The NGF chairman stressed that his administration’s efforts in the education sector might be responsible for the nomination of Port Harcourt as the World Book Capital 2014. The Rivers governor said: “The second transformation is,

somewhere along line, she (Mrs. Koko Kalango, the Project Director of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014) brought the idea of competing for the World Book Capital and I said, that will not be a bad idea. “So, we funded her to compete and we won the nomination. It was wonderful that she did that. When she came to me and said we won, I now asked her what the World Book Capital is all about and she explained that it is like the Kane Festival by film makers and that is what it is to book readers. “We budgeted nearly N4 billion for the World Book Capital. We are building libraries, but I call them reading rooms, in the city. They are about seven and we are having 23 in all the local government areas. We will equip and furnish the libraries.

Troops kill 40 insurgents

•Lose four soldiers in fresh clash •Recover arms •Lady Mercy Orji, wife of Abia State governor (centre) flanked on the right by Dr. Okechukwu Ogah, Commissioner for Health, and Lady Nene Ananaba, wife of the deputy governor, during an awareness campaign on ‘’Roll back Maleria’’ in Umuahia.

Protest in Lagos as trigger-happy naval personnel kills tanker driver


NGER, protest and lamentations yester day greeted the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos, following the alleged shooting of a tanker driver by a trigger-happy tanker driver. The alleged killing is coming on the heels of warnings against indiscipline issued by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, and Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade, to naval personnels. The protesters, who blocked the Warehouse Bus Stop area of the Expressway burning tyres and causing gridlocks, were said to have taken to the streets after a yetto-be identified naval personnel gunned down the tanker driver for "refusing to give him bribe." The incident was said to have occurred at the early hours of yesterday, around Trinity -Warehouse Bus Stop

Madam Ijaola buried


ADAM Iyabode Ijaola, who died on January 28, was buried in Lemode, Ijoko-Ota, Ogun State yesterday. Madam Ijaola served diligently as the Iya Ijo of the Cherubim and Seraphim Unification, Ogba, Lagos until her death. Aged 71, Madam Ijaola, who died during a brief illness, was survived by children, sisters and brothers.

•Madam Ijaola

Precious IGBONWELUNDU in Apapa, Lagos. According to eyewitnesses, the killer-officer shot sporadically in the air, and in the process, killed the deceased. However, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has urged Lagosians to provide useful information that can lead to the identification and arrest of the suspect. Commander NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Ovenseri Uwadiae, appealed to the masses to be calm as investigations were underway to unravel the perpetrator of the act and bring him to justice. He said: "It is true that there is an allegation that a naval personnel was involved in an altercation with a tanker driver and in the process, shot the conductor. "We must say that the incient is highy reprehensible because human life is involved. "We have commenced investigation into the matter to ascertain if the suspect is truly a naval personnel. We want to assure the general public that the NN has a reputation of not covering up its personnel involved in illegalities. "The suspect would be fished out, and if truly a naval personnel, he shall be made to face the wrath of the law. We appeal to the public to remain calm and maintain peace and order as well as allow proper investigation to take place. "We also appeal to the public to provide us with useful information that will unravel the suspect, as well as the true occurrence to help us know who did the shooting and whether the person is our personnel. "While we are doing our investigation, the police is also

doing an independent investigation because as the defendant in the matter, the NN wants the true position of things to be made known to the public. "The incident is really sad because human life was involved. The CNS is someone that is highly disciplined and he would be the last person to cover up any personnel that engages in illegality. "The information got to me at about 8am that the Liverpool-Trinity Road was blocked by tanker drivers alleging that their member was shot by a naval personnel. "They burnt tyres and blocked the entire road. The policemen were deployed in the area to restore peace. "I have been in touch with the Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, and he has contacted the Area Commander and DPO. The corpse is in the custody of the police. It would be wrong for the navy to take it since the allegation is against us. "The police, as a neutral authority, would be in charge though we are also carrying out our own investigation. "We are yet to get the details of the incident. That is why we are urging the public to come forward with useful information. I did not hear about the bribery allegation, neither were we told it involved Operation MESA." On the efforts of the navy to ensure that such occurrences are nipped in the bud, Uwadiae said the CNS has remained committed to building civil-military relations. "The NN belongs to Nigerians, and was created to protect Nigeria. So, the creation cannot fight its creator. We are a people-oriented navy and in every forum, we always tell our men to be friendly and law-abiding," he said.


O fewer than 40 sus pected fighters of the Islamic sect,Boko Haram, have been reported killed in an encounter with soldiers at Bulanbuli, Borno State,the Defence Headquarters announced yesterday. The battle was sparked by the arrest of some terrorists in nearby Alargarmo by the federal troops, the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said. Olukolade also said that four soldiers died in the en-

Gbade OGUNWALE, Abuja counter, while nine others were injured. More than 16 rifles and a substantial number of assorted calibres of ammunitions, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) materials, SIM cards and electronic items were recovered. He said: "Two of the terrorists were earlier arrested at a local market two days ago, while trying to procure foodstuff while others were spying

on the military base in the area. "Others still being trailed include a terrorist medic who was on a mission to procure drugs for use by his colleagues." The claim could not be independently confirmed. Bulanbuli is located between Alagarmo and Sambisa Forest where the terrorists have established a stronghold in their bloody campaign. •See pictures on Page 6



•Arms, ammunition and other items recovered from Boko Haram suspects (See story on page 5)


HE National Conference sub-committee on National Security has recommended the creation of National Guard Force that should be responsible for border protection, internal conflict and special operations. The sub-committee also recommended the creation of the Ministry of Homeland Security Services to replace the existing Ministry of Police Services. This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by the conference’s Assistant Secretary (Media and Communications),Mr Akpandem James. Apart from creation of National Guard Force and Ministry of Homeland Security Services, it was gathered that one recommendation that would lead to further debate was the recommendation for community policing. Some members of the subcommittee, it was learnt, believed that if accepted, it would pave the way for the creation of state police. The sub-committee also recommended welfare and disciplinary commission which it said should be created to handle issues of motivation and discipline among personnel of secu-

National confab committee wants creation of National Guard, Homeland Security Services

Onyedi OJIABOR, Assistant Editor and Dele ANOFI, Abuja

rity agencies. James said that some of the 20 Standing Committees set up by the leadership of the National Conference have started collating reports of their subcommittees for final submission to the Conference in plenary. He noted that the Committee on National Security headed by a former Inspector General of Police,Alhaji Muhammed Gambo Adamu Jimeta, spent hours in closed session deliberating a report submitted by Senator Bello Maitama Yusuf of the SubCommittee on National Security. He said that Jimeta disclosed at the end of the closed session that the report held a lot of promises as a good policy document on national security. James quoted Deputy Chairman of the Committee and former Director

UN to assist Nigeria protect schools

—Ex-British PM Gordon Brown


HE United Nations (UN) yesterday offered to assist Nigeria in protecting schools in the Northeast following persistent armed attacks on such institutions by terrorists. Former British Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown,speaking for the international community on CNN’s News Live yesterday expressed concern over last week’s abduction of 234 students of the Government Girls Secondary School,Chibok,Borno State by members of the Islamist sect,Boko Haram. “We’ve got to help Nigeria to do this. The UN is going to make proposals on how to protect school areas,” Mr.Brown said. “The disturbing news like this goes beyond Nigeria. If young school girls are kidnapped in Nigeria, and it is happening in Pakistan and Iraq, it raises huge question about the future, the

Kunle AKINRINADE first thing for now is the safety of the girls.” Nigeria,according to him, needs international support to secure its schools against the backdrop of increasing attacks by Boko Haram insurgents. He added:“Boko Haram means western education is a sin and the Islamic militant group is determined to use school as a battleground to prosecute its campaign. “ We’ve got to make schools more secure. About ten and half millions children are not going to school particularly because of lack of teachers and discrimination against female children in rural communities. “ Nigeria needs international support to correct this and we’ve got to deal with lack of facilities and safety too.The international community has got to prepare to assist in this regard.”

General of the defunct Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO), Chief Albert Horsfall, to have described the report as a preliminary document that would enable the Committee come up with a blue-print which would in turn enable the security forces to perform better than they have done in the past. Horsfall, he said, expressed confidence that the report if adopted, would guide the operational commanders in carrying out their assignment successfully. He said that Horsfall went down memory lane on critical security challenges and linked them up with the existing security practice and architecture. According to the statement, Horsfall pointed out that what is available today can be restructured to meet today’s present challenges. He cited situations that

brought about security changes all over the world; and using the September 9, 2011 attack on the United States as an instance, said that the attack changed the structure and approach to national security worldwide. The former DG, he said, stressed that security failure in Nigeria was as a result of improper coordination among the various security agencies and explained that security issues arising from the local government, the state and the federal levels have not been properly coordinated among the security agencies. “He pointed out that unlike the envisaged chain of operation, everybody seems to be taking decisions without relating to the next level but that if properly handled, the flow of the chain could solve the community policing issue being discussed by the

Committee,” it said. It was learnt that serious recommendations aimed at strategically dealing with the country’s security problems were put forward by the Sub-Committee but such details and the position of the larger Committee after a closed session were not disclosed to the public. A chain-link form of security operations from bottom to top and vice versa was recommended to enable everyone in a position to have access to necessary information that would ensure effective performance of security functions, was also recommended. Bello was confident that if what they submitted would be accepted by the Committee and the Conference in plenary and eventually implemented by government, it would solve 90% of the security problems in Nigeria. The Committee on Na-

tional Security has 24 members and boasts of not less than 11 retired military personnel, nine of them retired generals; and three retired top police officers. Some of them are retired Generals Zamani Lekwot; Alani Akinrinade; Muhammed Dan-Ali; Geofrey Ejiga; D. O. Idada Ikponmwen; Alex Mshelbwala; Paul Omu; Jeremiah Useni; Tony Nyiam; Joe Orji and Canice Ohadomere. Besides the former IG, other retired police officers serving in the committee are retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Bashir Albasu and the retired Commissioner of Police, Samuel Adetuyi. The remaining ten members are former members of the National Assembly, former ministers, accomplished lawyers, former top security officers, among others.

Rawlings urges Nigerians to collectively fight Boko Haram


ORMER President of Ghana,Mr. Jerry Rawlings,declared yesterday at Igueben,Edo State that the time has come for Nigerians to collectively rise up to tackle the security challenge in the country. Rawlings said the battle should not be left for the military alone to fight. The occasion was the 70th birthday celebration of onetime Minister of Foreign Affairs and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Tom Ikimi. The former Ghanaian

Osagie OTABOR, Benin

leader hailed Chief Ikimi as a respectable personality whose contribution to international diplomacy sets him apart in Africa. Also speaking ,former military President Ibrahim Babangida called Ikimi a “seasoned technocrat, a hard-core politician and eloquent speaker whose carriage invokes authority in the truest sense.” He added:”The man celebrating the milestone is

not just as remarkable as the age; he symbolizes what makes that age instructively unique: uncommon wisdom, elegance, ageing gracefully, a show of quintessence, a display of finesse, with uncommon outlook.” Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State described Ikimi as a political architect ,saying Nigeria at this point in its life “requires leaders that can stand for Nigeria in order to guarantee future for the

younger ones.” Also at the ceremony were that interim national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Audu Ogbe,Chief John Oyegun, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion,Chief Johnson Arumenmen, Dr Chris Ngige, and Senator Ben Obi. Other guests were Dr. Raymond Dokpesi,Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, former Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor and Dr Doyin Okupe.

World Bank to spend $8b on Nigeria over four years


HE World Bank said it will provide Nigeria with projects worth $8 billion targeting job creation, social services and governance as part of its new country partnership strategy with Africa’s largest economy. Bloomberg said Nigeria will get $2 billion annually, disbursed through the International Development Association and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the

Collins NWEZE Washington-based lender said today in an e-mailed statement. “The bulk of the financing program will focus on increasing installed power generation and transmission capacity and improving the efficiency and governance of electricity delivery,” said Indira Konjhodzic, the World Bank’s team leader for new

strategy. The fund will also boost farming and help increase access to finance for women, she said. Through the partnership the World Bank seeks to reduce extreme poverty in Nigeria, where at least seven per cent of the world’s 1.2 billion poor people live. Only two countries, India and China, are home to a greater share of poor people, it said. The most recent poverty survey by the Nigerian statistics office

shows that 61 percent of citizens were living on less than a dollar a day in 2010, up from 52 per cent in 2004. The assistance program plans to develop a “more effective mechanism for social services delivery” by ensuring access for the vulnerable to “social protection programs, education, health and water service delivery,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank’s country director for Nigeria.




War invariably is a product of a collapse or breach of a security system in any environment, leading to escalation of violence, a breakdown of law and order and the emergence of a massive government in ability to protect lives and property

kraine’s Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov did not mince words this week in talking of War, indeed a third World War, and he certainly knew what he was saying. He accused Russia of leading the world towards a third world war in the way the Kremlin government of President Vladmir Putin of Russia was supporting the pro Russian activists who seized government buildings in Donetsk in the east of Ukraine and successfully, with Russian aid, repelled the efforts of the central government in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine to eject them. War invariably is a product of a collapse or breach of a security system in any environment, leading to escalation of violence, a breakdown of law and order and the emergence of a massive government in ability to protect lives and property. This is a familiar situation in many parts of the world today and our duty here is to highlight some of the nations that have had in recent times to deal with security as a top priority in the last few weeks. Nigeria had a massive security meeting of all state governors on Thursday this week, over the blood letting and incessant killing of Nigerians by the blood thirsty Boko Haram, where it was resolved that the army should use all means to find the school girls abducted from a girls school in Chibok in North East Nigeria. At the meeting it was also resolved to call to order the inflammatory letter of the governor of Adamawa state who had accused the Nigerian President of genocide against the north in the way it was handling the Boko Haram menace. In reality, the language and rhetoric of war and its outbreak are as familiar as they can be chilling, hair raising and outright ominous. US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia over Ukraine, after a break down of agreements, of ‘distraction, deception and destabilisation. ‘In turn his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Levrov accused the US of trying to ‘seize’ Ukraine regardless of its environment to further American and European interests at the expense of Russian security. On his Asian tour US President Barak Obama was not left out of the global beating of the drums of war. In Japan he promised that the US would stand by Japan in its bid to defend the islands in the Pacific that China has threatened to take by force from Japan because they are Chinese. In Seoul, South Korea the US President Barak Obama said that the US ‘stands shoulder to shoulder’ with the people of S Koreawhich is vintage Tony Blair at the outset of the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq by his friend President George Bush of the US- in the conflict with N Korea which has promised to do its fourth nuclear tests in defiance of global security outcry.


Balance of power - security,‘ credibility, and technology In the heat of all these, however, I could still detect the language of lamentation, capitulation or defeat, as in a war, in this week’s explanation of Najib Razak the PM of Malaysia, in the handwringing way he tried to assure the civilised world that his nation had tried its best in the way it has, and is still looking for the Malaysian Airline plane that disappeared from the blue skies with almost 300 people recently into the vast, literally bottomless Indian Ocean. This happened in the same environment with Australia which is helping to use technology the Malaysians don’t have to look for the plane, and which this week showed the world that it still relishes having the British Royal family as Australia’s Head of State, given the warm and emotional way they received the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son on a two week royal tour of Australia which ended this week. My contention this week with regard to the issues I have raised and the nations involved, is that for the world to have peace there must be respect for international law on the global scene and respect for the rule of law as well as the protection of life and property in the respective nations of the world that make up the comity of nations as in the UN. The power for the observance of international law is vested in the UN Security Council where the veto resides in five powerful nations that guarantee world peace and security in a balance of power. These nations are US, UK, Russia, France and China. In member states of the UN, the government of the day guarantees the security and the safety of lives and properties of its citizens. It is in the context of international law and its violation, and the use of power of the states mentioned here today that l now proceed to make some comments on the actions and inactions of their leaders and the consequences of these. Let me start with a Shakespearean analogy on the concepts of peace and war. In Henry the fifth before the battle of Agincourt, it was said - In peace there is nothing so befits a man as modest stillness and humility. But when the blast of war blows in our airs, then imitate the action of the tiger‘. This Shakespearean advice has weathered the test of time successfully and historically. It is meant here for Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan in the way he has handled the Boko Haram terror with kid gloves so far, such that it has become a monster that is now threatening the trust on which Nigeria’s unity in diversity is

based. In Nigeria there is an unwritten balance of power between the north and south which the Boko Haram is using religion to disrupt, thus threatening the soul of the Nigerian nation. That balance disturbance gave rise to the Nyako outburst. To restore the balance all the president needs to do is to vanquish Boko Haram quckly and swiftly to restore confidence in his official role as Commander –in Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces. It is also an advice that can be beneficial for the US President Barak Obama as he pledged support to US allies in the Pacific and Asia. Indeed a White House Correspondent pointedly asked him how credible he was on promises to Japan and S Korea. The question actually made the usually articulate US president to stutter in answering. Which is to be expected when he could not toe his red line on Syria over chemical weapons and Russia has recreated the balance of terror in recent times by seizing Crimea from Ukraine and promising to protect Russian speaking peoples in the former 15 now sovereign nations that made up the former USSR. At present US reluctance in shying away from war or confrontation and preferring diplomacy to war has led to a situation that has created the spectre of a third world war just because the US allowed Russian President Vladmir Putin to have his way first in Georgia, then Syria and now Ukraine. It is now clear that the absence of war is not a recipe for peace and lamentably so too, in this matter. On a lighter note, if indeed the disappearance of a plane with over 200 people can ever be that, I see the disappearance of the Malaysian plane in a new light given the apologetic language the Malaysian leader used to explain his nation’s inability to find the plane. He said even the ‘advanced nations’ could not have conducted the search better. Which to me is a sort of climb down language from an Asian tiger that has always claimed equality in terms of economic development and wealth with the so called advanced nations before, the plane disappearance tragedy. It is even more glaring that the technology to scan the depths of the ocean floors were and are still being provided by the so called advanced nations. Which still makes one to marvel at the wisdom inherent in that timeless advice of good, old Shakespeare, on war and peace.




Knucklehead With

Yomi Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga SMS only: 07028006913

perception of the vacuity that comes with living on past glories was not lost on the intellectuals, business persons, politicians, historians and concerned stakeholders that converged on the new Government House Auditorium in Gombe, the Gombe State capital on December 3rd, 2013. It was the opening ceremony of the 2nd North-East Economic Summit where leaders from the six states of Gombe, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Taraba and Bauchi had met for two days, to discuss ways of transforming a blighted region towards sustained economic development. As the compere rightly pointed out, it was a summit where participants were expected to tell truth to power and evolve a realistic roadmap towards putting the region on the pathway of economic rejuvenation through the attraction of investments both local and foreign. Simple as this objective was on paper, those present were not oblivious of the grave impediments posed to its realisation by the violent, reckless and inhumane activities of the Boko Haram sect. Clearly, without peace, the region can hardly attract the required investments. Although the sect's deadly activities are more pronounced in Borno, Yobe and some parts of Adamawa in recent times, the North-East has become a theatre of war with countless lives lost and property worth billions destroyed. What was once thought to be disjointed guerrilla attacks being perpetrated by a group of ill-motivated, self-seeking youthful Jihadists in Borno State has transformed into a huge monster which now threatens the foundation of our nationhood. For, if the truth must be told, the Boko Haram crisis has become a national malady. Aside the brazenness of the attacks and cold-blooded murders carried out by members of the sect, the Nigerian public is increasingly losing confidence in the ability of the Federal Government to halt the endless spate of senseless killings. More confounding is the fact that the huge presence of security personnel in Borno State did not stop members of the sect from attacking an Air Force base just a day to the opening of the economic summit in Gombe where President Goodluck Jonathan was the special guest. When an ill-trained group of wrongly indoctrinated youth rounds up specially-trained unit of the armed forces and the central authorities did nothing but to offer lame excuses, then we should know we are all in deep trouble. Or is that not the reality of the Nigerian nation today? Or how else can one explain the bedlam witnessed on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on the mere rumour that members of the sect had taken over the road earlier in the week? For the North East, it was a moment of reckoning. As for the leadership in the region, it is one thing to embark on a fruitless academic exercise of gathering eggheads to discuss the NorthEast's descent into the doldrums of economic stagnation. It is another thing to turn the annual ritual into a concrete framework for development and sustained growth. In doing this, the governors must show more than a passing interest in the paper presented by the Guest Speaker and former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, not necessarily because of its


Ogochukwu Ikeje 08084235961 (SMS only) HESE days of reckless slaughter, all manner of decisions including bizarre ones are being taken in the name of ending the bloodbath and ensuring peace. The federal government’s plan to map out grazing routes and reserves for herdsmen’s animals is one of such wacky decisions. One is not ignorant of the need to stem the blood-flow. As hinted in the opening line, the wanton killings can move a stone statue. Boko Haram fighters are running wild in the North, wasting thousands of lives and wrecking businesses and social infrastructure valued in millions of naira. They have sent families fleeing their homes and sources of livelihood. They have attacked military facilities, even claiming lives in those confrontations. Three states in the North are under emergency rule, yet insurgency seems to be increasing in frightening proportions, one of the latest instances being the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls in Borno State. Any wonder why the Jonathan administration, among other things, contemplated talking things over with the terrorists? Lay down your arms and renounce violence, and we will forgive your atrocities, even rehabilitate you, the federal administration told the fighters. What was the answer? We will have none of your overtures, Boko Haram replied. If anything, we are the ones to forgive you if we choose to. Deadlock? Yes, deadlock, but the bloodletting has worryingly continued apace. Consider, too, the onslaught of the presumed herdsmen. They have run riot across the land. Of the 36 states in the


Will the North-East self-destruct? fluidity and eloquence but because it touched at the heart of the matter, where the shoes began to pinch the region---the painful realities that could either make or mar its future. According to Usman, leaders in the region would have to find answers to some hard questions. Do they understand the complexities involved in a region that has attracted the headlines in local and international media for all the wrong reasons? What could have awfully gone wrong that a region which once enjoyed stability, prosperity and rapid economic growth is now practically on its knees, scavenging for investors? How come its abundant mineral resources like gypsum, limestone, gold, diamond, fertile land among others have not been able to attract the kind of investments that would propel the region into an economic hub? Where did the North, especially the North-East with its rich history of great leaders over the past 1,000 years, start getting it wrong? These, he noted, are germane to any attempt at evolving workable solutions. Of course, Usman did not leave the answers hanging in the sky. The region, he noted, must look at itself in the mirror and place the blame squarely at its feet! It is a bitter truth that the present leaders must be prepared to swallow if they don't want to continue to err further in the name of seeking progress. While agreeing with the Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, that destiny, geography and commerce may have brought the peoples of the region together; there is no doubting the fact that they are being torn apart by the double-edged sword called illiteracy and poverty! Well, you may need to add the deep-seated religious sentiments and mutual suspicion between Muslims and Christians in the volatile region. Elements of these, he noted, can be gleaned from the rising social tensions aggravated by the widening disparity in wealth, restricted access to basic human needs and growing rate of youth unemployment coupled with the outrageous greed of political leaders who pay mere lip service to good governance. Question is: are these problems peculiar to the North-East? Not necessarily so. It is just that the flicker of war was lit after many years of prevalent poverty, deepening inequality, uncontrolled religious fundamentalism, sectarianism and ethnic tensions. Inevitably, idle minds became the devils' workplace and the entire region is now reaping the dire consequences of that neglect. The leadership, Usman noted, compounded the problem by their seeming inability "to get the politics right!" So, rather than being a change agent, the leadership has become part of the problem of a region where the law is being supplanted by anarchists with a mandate to banish any shade of western education in addition to foisting their own brand of Islam on the region. Does this then mean that the North-East is dangerously treading on the self-destruct lane? Maybe. Maybe not. But, going by the contributions of participants at the two-day summit, such assumption would appear to be extreme,. Although many readily agree that no significant impact can be made without addressing the security issue, the process of reclamation, they said, should start with an aggressive education drive which would ensure that the millions of children that are out of school in the region get back to the class. Of course, this would have to be carefully planned, bearing in mind that the members of the radicalised sect have attacked and burnt such schools in the past. Perhaps, it is for this reason that Usman and most of the resource persons canvass a stick and carrot approach in resolving the security challenges in the region. While military intervention is seen as necessary, it is not a quick fix solution hence the push for community-based interaction that would turn many an unemployed youth from embracing the path that leads to perdition.

And so, the nuggets for the rejuvenation of the abused region are surmised under five broad headlines: need to kick-start massive modern and commercial agricultural programmes; access to quality education by all youth including the girl child; development of an entrepreneurial scheme that guarantees gainful employment; a determined effort to bridge the yawning gap between the stupendously rich and those rolling in abject poverty; and the need for the politician in leadership positions to stop stoking the fire of deceit and pushing a perennially oppressed people to the cliff hanger. Essentially, what the region suffers today is the consequence of the neglect of these key factors over the years. Listen to Usman: "The North, especially the North-East, needs to ask certain basic questions. What brand of north do we want? What sort of jobs and what role must we play in creating new jobs? Government should create enabling environment by working with the private sector. The political leadership should not start a fire because when you start one you don't know if it will consume you. Some of those that started the fire in the past are busy walking the streets as free men. Unfortunately, they are being touted as leaders. Change the mindset of the youths from destructive energy to constructive energy. It requires hard work." Beyond the rhetoric, Dankwambo and the five other governors in the region have been saddled with the responsibility of saving this once-buoyant geo-political zone from the free fall in which human dignity has been callously abused and raped. They cannot continue to lament about how the pervasive security challenge has taken a toll on development or organise economic summits while the capital city is completely locked down in the name of security. What they are expected to do, if I may borrow the words of one of the resource persons and President of the American University of Nigeria, Yola (AUN), Dr. Margaret Ensign, is to bridge "the gap between the rhetoric of progress and reality of poverty." What kind of progress can the region lay claim to when millions of its children make up the figure that readily put Nigeria at the base of the log of countries with the highest population of out-of-school children? As an observer at the 2nd North-East Economic Summit, I am keen to see how the leadership reinvents itself and changes the fortunes of the region. If the spirit of camaraderie on display at the summit was anything to go by, it is safe to assume that the political class would begin the process of putting the deliverables on the ground after the talk shop. With the calibre of professionals at its disposal and abundant resources it has been blessed with, it will be a tragic twist of history for Nigeria’s North-East to selfdestruct when all that is required to apply the brakes is trust, consistency and national interest. Or is Usman's request too much a sacrifice for those who vowed to return the North-East to its glory years? Only time will tell. ***Note: This piece was first published on December 7, 2013. Unfortunately, all the lofty dreams captured in different presentations during the summit would remain a mirage as long as the region continues to be laden with bombs, abductions, killings and self-inflicted paralysis. Moving forward, the people in the region would have to take their destinies into their hands. Those who think the solutions lie with the bungling whole in Abuja are not only missing the point, they are also prolonging our collective suffering! Let the leaders wear their thinking caps right and stop the blame game.

Before cattle have right of way federation only a tiny few have been spared their attacks. In Ogume in Ndokwa-East Local Government Area of Delta State, 10 youths were reported killed by invading herdsmen on April 6, 2013. The killings reportedly resulted from a disagreement with host community farmers. Nigerians are well acquainted with more of such invasions and killings in Plateau State. Although many attacks go unreported, everyone knows that herdsmen’s clashes with farmers are as much an issue in Taraba as they are in Nasarawa, and indeed in much of the federal land. In Benue, local residents have been reduced to refugees, huddled up in primary schools or open camps after their homes were attacked and their farms and produce wasted by invading herdsmen. Any wonder that federal authorities are about to establish tracts of land, from the North to the South, where cattle will literally have right of way. A panel has been reportedly set up to, as we say, work out the modalities of such dedicated grazing reserves. This is strange and unlikely to help in any way. It may well be argued that since the herdsmen are Nigerians, they reserve every right to graze their cattle everywhere within the confines of their country. This argument is cheap, too simplistic and even likely to create more problems than it may solve. Here are the reasons why. One, the days of innocence seem over in the country. To the shame of the populace, ethnic harmony has since been replaced by mutual suspicion and in some cases even hostility. In Jos where I lived for a decade and relished my time there, I hear the tin and temperate table land has since been divided along ethnic lines, destroying the peace and harmony we knew back in the 80s and early 90s. Back then, the sight of Fulani herdsmen in their wide-brimmed hats and trademark sticks across their shoulders was not frightening. They led their animals up and down the rocky hills with hardly any incident with farmers or locals. In all my time in the Tin City, I never saw a herdsman clutching an AK 47.

That is why some of us ask, why do otherwise simple herdsmen now carry sophisticated weapons? Where do they get such arms from? Who is backing them? There is another reason why the dedicated grazing reserves will not solve any problem. There is nothing to convince anyone of the willingness of the authorities to genuinely resolve herdsmen’s squabbles with farmers? How many trouble makers have been tracked down and punished according to the law after such clashes? How many of those who killed the 10 Ogume youths have been arrested at least to explain why they did what they did? How many killers in those Plateau attacks have been apprehended? Has anyone been held by the police and the law for throwing Benue farmers out of their homes and farmlands and into misery? Why should anyone be hopeful that the grazing reserves will end all hostilities? Before cattle start to roam and graze freely in reserved land from North to South and from East to West, the federal government should consider these few points. Since some of the reserved land is likely to be someone’s source of livelihood, what compensation, if any, will be adequate for the farmer? Will it be fair to dedicate a Northern community’s fishing waters to, say, the Ijaw who mostly depend on water and fishing for sustenance? What about hunters from the Southwest and Southeast having the goahead to hunt game in designated parts of the North, and as frequently as they please? In the final analysis, it is even unhealthy, crude, backward, risky and costly to take animals across the length and breadth of this vast country in search of grazing fields. With the huge resources available to government, it is wiser, healthier and more economical to breed and graze cattle in the home states of their owners. What is required is developing and fertilizing the land for the animals. That way you solve more problems than you would create allowing the animals a free roam up and down the country.




Blurred lines N proper democracies, the driving force of opposition political parties is not only to wrest power from the ruling political party, but also to exhibit its democratic tendencies and principles, especially while carrying out its internal processes. The emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) into the political space in the country was a welcome development to many disillusioned, exasperated and also discerning Nigerians, who craved for change or a credible and capable option to the party ruling since 1999. When, the merger of opposition parties morphed from a dream into a real phenomenon last year, it was literally as if Christmas had come early for many Nigerians. People who, like myself, had toiled with every ounce of strength we had since 2003, to see that Nigerians were given an alternative choice for their future, rather than to perpetually be lumped with only one political brand, felt relief and saw real hope for the first time in this republic. However, it is with a heavy heart that many of us who had such high hopes for the APC have had, to a certain extent, those hopes somewhat deflated. And for any of us, who have had the best interest of the APC in our spirit to say this in such an open manner shows the level of frustration we have been grappling with. I suppose it might be easier to not say anything and pretend that all at home is well, but what would be the point of that if we really want, not to only succeed, but present ourselves as the real truth to Nigerians? With the recent conduct of the ward congresses of the APC, where in most states a one-day exercise is yet to be completed three weeks in, one wonders if at the end of the day, it won’t come down to Nigerians having to make a choice between two sides of a rusty coin. Disappointingly, the conduct of the ward congresses has been marred by controversy, irregularities, postponements, snatching of ballot papers and the alleged imposition of candidates and officials. These are real issues that bother Nigerians, issues that people say are indicative of the ruling PDP, of which the APC is offering an alternative to. But if, at the very foundation of our party, we are unable to have an uneventful congress in the states and conclude them without the kind of incidence that is being witnessed, then exactly what makes us different than what we criticize the PDP for? Newspapers and the social media, since the start of the exercise have been awash with reportage of the appalling imposition, manipulation, rigging and poor planning of the congresses. For instance, the Rivers State chapter of the APC held a parallel ward and local government congress, to protest alleged injustice and discrimination in the party. Also, citing election irregularities, APC cancelled the results of 30 wards out of the 212 in Bauchi State. In several reports from the states, allegations were made of those who emerged winners from the congresses as having done so through a culture of imposition. In Ebonyi State, the APC stated that it would probe irregularities recorded during the ward congresses across the 171 wards in the state. These headlines were what flooded the country during the conduct of the ward congresses of the party. And the stories go on. Events of the ward congresses have thus brought to the fore the shenanigans across political parties in the country. At least the ruling PDP is already widely known for its imposition, consensus and impunity. However, if the APC, the only major alternative to the PDP cannot organize an acrimony-free, fair and credible ward congress, how then will it effect the muchdesired change Nigerians desire? Whether some of these allegations are true or not or whether they were instigated by fifth columnists that have been injected into the APC to wreak havoc, this state of affairs does not


In the 2011 elections, the deplorable events that happened within the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which led to the collapse of a party many had hope in, left it with only the Nasarawa State government

augur well for a party that many have great hope in. In almost all the states, there have been issues and disenfranchisement; some more than others, some rather small. But it is when the smallest things are ignored that they pile up to become huge, big problems. APC must stay aware of these tinny details in order to keep on top of our game and take us to that level of achievement we aspire. It is only when we address and solve each small issue as it arises, that we will be able to smooth out a lot of rough bumps in the road ahead. And that road ahead, while we know it’s going to be rough and bumpy, at least from our side, it will be much less dramatic. As part of this machinery that consistently prides itself in being progressive, for due process, fairness and openness and boasts of its democratic credentials, the events of the ward congress elections across the states are unacceptable. If we want to show Nigeria and the world that we are committed to doing things differently from the way PDP has been doing them in the last four elections, then we have to do them… differently! In the 2011 elections, the deplorable events that happened within the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which led to the collapse of a party many had hope in, left it with only the Nasarawa State government. The events that led to the desolation of CPC in 2011 were not an accident of fact, neither were they completely due to fifth columnists that were thrown in the mix to confuse the party. The downfall of the CPC exposed the lower side of the party and gave credence to the blurred lines between the CPC and PDP. In most instances then, the party was no different from its main rival, the PDP in terms of imposing candidates, cancelling results, lying and cheating. Whatever it was that the CPC accused the PDP of in 2011, the CPC was much more guilty of itself. Now, three years on, the biggest mistake the APC could make would be to adopt the manner in which the CPC selfdestructed and handed the states to the PDP on a shinny silver platter. One would have thought that the manner in which the ACN and ANPP conducted itself to gain control of some states in the South West and North East respectively would have been a better option for the APC than to allow the ugly underbelly of the 2011 ghost of CPC to take it down. The truth is, most Nigerians have had enough. People need change. I am no longer sure that people actually know what kind of change they are looking for, but they just need change! Every day in Nigeria, you see people walking along the streets with a blank look on their faces. Nobody seems to really know what direction this country is going in anymore. Maybe that was why the merger of the APC galvanised the polity in a manner that we have not witnessed in this country, maybe since the election of two great Nigerians; Chief Moshood Abiola and Alhaji Bashir Tofa. Sentiments and jokes aside, Nigerians yearn for governance that is committed to transparency, the rule of law, accountability, respect for democratic tenets and equality. These are the ideals that the APC was birthed to represent;

these are the ideals that the APC must represent in order to succeed. Unfortunately, most of these ideals are indeed lacking in the APC ward congresses across the country presently taking place. And if that is the manner in which the APC will continue to conduct itself, then one shudders to imagine what will happen come the party primaries. It truly might literally be a ‘do or die affair.’ And if what happens during the party primaries remotely resembles anything that happened during the 2011 CPC primaries, then we best be poised to witness a plethora of antiparty activities and the handing of the legislative and state elections to the PDP, yet again on a shinny diamond platter… Geronimo PDP Carry Go! As a party of progressive hope and change, if we want the change that we profess to bring to Nigeria, then we must become that change ourselves. A hitch-free, fair and credible election via our ward congresses would have gone a long way in convincing some Nigerians who are still in-between parties, that hope is not lost because the APC is here to offer positive change. One of the things I appreciate about being a part of the APC is to accept responsibility for our failures. And from what I can see, “something is wrong here.” It is easy to ignore these small, subtle warning signs. But if we do, then we miss the chance of easily solving a small problem before it becomes a big problem. The fact that aspirants and politicians, who should have no business with the executive members, are squabbling about the executive positions of the ward, local government and state, to the extent that we have been unable to complete ward congresses in the party in several states, is a problem that the party has to address seriously. The direct interest of aspirants as to who emerges in the congresses is indicative of an intention to manipulate the party primaries. The APC cannot allow that and must find a way to impede such practice. The APC should champion a good old political shindig where aspirants emerge via the people’s choice, not because their lackeys occupy the executive positions through a questionable congress. The APC should make every effort, to reassure Nigerians of its determination to offer a credible and capable option to the PDP. And that reassurance must start now, as it lays its very foundation. A healthy democracy demands this and the majority of discerning Nigerians are already looking forward to an APC filled with representatives who are truly progressive and democratic, capable of delivering on their promises of change and good governance. Anything short of this is unacceptable to me as a member of APC and every Nigerian that wants positive change for the nation. Unlike the CPC in 2011, our greatest prayer should be that the APC, in 2014 and 2015 should not resemble the manner in which the PDP does its business, while we unobtrusively look on like some lame headless horsemen. If it does, then the APC has effectively blurred the lines of any ideals that may differentiate it from the PDP. And, in the end, should the PDP conduct its business in the way its been accustomed to, then he APC would have no moral right to complain…. Because it did exactly the same within its internal structure. May the APC stand alert to bring real progressive and positive change that some of us know and believe it has the capacity and intention to bring to Nigeria.

Dangerous times are here e commiserate with friends and families of victims of Monday, April 15, 2014 bombings at Nyanya near the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. We pray for the full and speedy recovery of the injured and the sick still in various hospitals and health care centres in and around the Federal Capital City of Abuja and others convalescing at home. The Progressives Solidarity Forum (PSF) is concerned that the approach of the Federal Government to resolving the Boko Haram crisis does not seem to be effective in resolving the issues surrounding the crisis as the lives lost are now running into thousands. We are worried that this crisis remains protracted even after nearly one-year of emergency rule. The crisis continues to escalate even outside the states that emergency rule has been declared. The PSF feels the Presidency and the leadership of the government of the emergency rule states need to work together in a concerted effort to nip in the bud this festering Boko Haram crisis that has now escalated to the Federal Capital Territory. This is not time to play politics. And we would call on the President to show more purposeful leadership and call his spokespersons, the PDP and Olisa Metuh to order. The recent war of words and mudslinging between the spokespersons of the PDP and members of the main opposition party, the APC, over the Nyanya bombings and the activities of Boko Haram, especially since May, 2013 when the emergency rule in the three states were declared as totally unnecessary at a time when the leadership and compassion were needed, particularly from the presidency. Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, raised


We also call on the Federal Government and President Jonathan to show leadership, using all the resources at his disposal as Commander- in- Chief of the Armed Forces and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to fulfil the basic responsibility of a government n



some questions about the sincerity of the president and the ineffectiveness of the methods being used by the presidency to control and combat the menace of the terrorist group. The President must answer these pertinent questions. What is the point in committing so much cash, hardware and military personnel to a project and then declaring an emergency over an area for nearly one year and yet instead of the problem abating, it escalating and increasing in dimension and sophistication. Nigerians would want to know why and how it was so easy for the so-called Boko Haram sect to visit college school girls’ hostel and pick over 200 young innocent girls and drove in convoys of cars and vans across Borno roads that were supposed to be manned by military and police personnel with various checkpoints, unmolested, undetected and without any trace.

There are many questions Nigerians would want President Goodluck Jonathan to answer aside the insecurity that pervades the country. In particular we demand to know about the following: Where is $20 billion? I hope you do understand how far that sum of money could go in addressing the crucial infrastructure deficit plaguing the country; Why was Sanusi Lamido Sanusi suspended, instead of offering him protection for disclosure of criminality and fraud in NNPC and their related agents? Why are the people suspected to have stolen N2 trillion fuel subsidy funds have not been brought to book? What about those who were involved in the pension fund fraud? And why is it that the Governor of the Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido was “suspended” to engender “proper investigations” of allegations against his running of the Central Bank of Nigeria? What have you done about the allegation that a minister wasted a whopping N10 billion on private jet charter for her work as well as family and friends? Nigerians demand answers to all the questions. We also call on the Federal Government and President Jonathan to show good leadership, using all the resources at his disposal as Commander- In- Chief of the Armed Forces and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to fulfil the basic responsibility of a government, as enshrined in our constitution, by protecting its citizens and their properties and if a government can’t provide this basic responsibility, then it has no business remaining in government. • Emokpaire is the Grand Patron, Progressives Solidarity Forum and the Secretary, All Progressives Congress, UK.


10 SOCIETY Former Acting ViceChancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU) and wife of the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, turned 50 last Wednesday. She celebrated with her family members, friends and well wishers. NNEKA NWANERI reports.


She is everyone’s ‘darling’


OD has been keeping our lives so memorable and inspiring. I consider myself so damn lucky to have kept this wonderful lady. It is about 32 years ago we met through her very good friend, Funmi, as undergraduates at the University of Ibadan. It was real love at first sight. I met a young girl so innocent, lovely and down to earth. We took to each other immediately, and since then, nothing has separated us. It was a God-given compliment and we really complement each other. “Ever so brilliant, resourceful, patient, tolerant and God fearing. I cannot but marvel at her bubbling and ever so hopeful spirit. Most times, I credit her silently for being able to live with my restlessness, impatience and stubbornness. It is to her credit that our children have grown so lovely, God fearing and respectful. “She is a wife you keep something valuable and it remains untouched even if you ask her many years later. “The most remarkable is that she is everyone’s darling. But my darling is more than a wife. She is my true sister, companion, confidant and trustee.” With these words, Mr Tunji Bello eulogised his wife and mother of three who was a onetime Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), Prof Ibiyemi OlatunjiBello. Prof Olatunji-Bello struck the golden age last Wednesday. On a hot Wednesday afternoon, they sat underneath the scorching sun. The heat was felt, but the sun rays were barricaded by tents. The chairs and tables were arranged in groups at the open field of Nicon Estate, Lekki, venue of the reception. Everyone was well decked and elegantly dressed. The Easter holidays had just been over, but they had good reason to stay out of work. Wearing a charming smile, elegant and quite unassuming, she could have been mistaken for a lady in her 20s. She radiated beauty and pride. It was her day of glory, and she relished it to the fullest. Many accolades came from dignitaries who graced the occasion. She was described as a woman of substance, yet humble and God fearing. The day was loaded with a lot of activities and began with praise and a thanksgiving service at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) Testimony Chapel, Ilasan Estate, Lekki, Lagos. With singing and dancing, she gave praise to God, as the Testimony Voice Choir led in worship songs. The birthday “girl” did not hide her joy as she sang aloud and

•From left: Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, celebrant’s daughter, Prof Olatunji-Bello, Mr Bello and Lagos State Education Commissioner, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye during the cake-cutting session


•Chief Emiola Ibidapo and wife, Jadesola

•Dr and Mrs Abraham Osinubi

•From left: Mr Ebenezer Akinbolade, Conelius Oyemade and Akin Kekere-Ekun

danced. She wore a golden skirt and blouse over a red headgear. Her handsome husband, with a boyish look, was beside her all the while, also in a joyous mood, joining her in the dance. The young and the old were there to celebrate with her. Prof Olatunji-Bello’s aged mother and father were equally with her. Pastor Tayo Olukoya, in a brief exhortation, urged the guests to count their days as the scriptures have advised. Women dressed well, with everyone adding a touch of gold on their attire. They had beautiful hairstyles flowing down their necklines and accessories to complement the dresses. Prof Olatunji-Bello merited the

honour. The crème of the society and top government officials and captains of industries celebrated the woman who personifies diligence. She went round from tent to tent, table to table and from one person to another greeting them. She wore a charming smile throughout. Chairing the occasion was the Asoju Oba of Lagos, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, who recalled when he first met the celebrant. Okoya-Thomas wondered how she has remained astute despite her academic qualifications. “I personally observed her severally and really asked to know who she really is. Everyone I asked made wonderful remarks about her. Little wonder there was nothing derogatory all through her stay

•Mr Lious Odion

in LASU,” he said. Wondering if she is really 50, he gave an opinion of her as the Florence Nightingale of our time. The chairman stole the show, cracking jokes from time to time, thrilling the guests with humour which made guests laugh. During the cake cutting session, the celebrant and her family members came forward amidst a horde of cameramen, photographers and other guests who struggled to record the occasion. The celebrant and her husband repeated what they did years ago by feeding each other with pieces from the cake and kissed passionately. Just after the pupils of Normadie Nursery and Primary School and

•Dr Leke Pitan

Lagos Anglican Girls Grammar School Surulere did a musical and drama presentation, an endowment fund for prizes in Biology and Mathematics was launched for her alma mater, where she graduated in 1979. She made a speech to launch the endowment. “Our Best in Everything is our motto and that is what has kept me moving. I believe and key into that motto and God has been sustaining me,” she said. Responding to all the accolades showered on her, the professor sang: To God be the Glory. She thanked God for giving her victory and her husband for his support. “Apart from God, he is my rock and pillar of support,” she said.



Republic of the mind and thralldom of fear Being text of the keynote address presented by the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, at the Book Fair in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday. have a cloud of sadness within me as I speak. It has to do with an absence, a non-event which, both as a product in itself and as the product’s fate, could easily stand among similar testimonies as symbolic of the mission of this gathering, and a number of others like it, at least in all societies which value the exertion of the mind and products of the imagination. Before I state what that non-event is, I wish to emphasize very strongly that this is not meant as an indictment of this Book Fair of which I consider myself a part, having been with it albeit marginally from its very inception. That would be grossly misleading. My remarks represent a personal wish, generated by the nation’s current crisis of existence, and extend beyond this present location and time, even though they do take off from there. They are a continuation of a discourse on which I embarked years ago - and formed part of my BBC Reith Lecture series CLIMATE OF FEAR. That discourse was nudged awake quite fortuitously when I visited the London Book Fair three to four weeks ago, where the issue of censorship resurfaced. In any case, this absence I speak of, paradoxically, constitutes an integral part of the story of the Book, narrating the predicament of much of humanity in scattered parts of the world and on so many levels, both specific and general. For us in this nation, that predicament is hideously current and specific. We are undergoing an affliction that many could not have imagined possible perhaps up to a decade ago. In a way, both that product, and its absence are simultaneously instruction and consolation. On the one hand it brings home to us the price that others have paid and still pay - for complacency, timidity, evasion, and/or failure to grasp the nature, and multiple guises of the Power drive. The obsession to dictate, dominate, and subjugate. On the other hand, it consoles us, in that painfully ironic way, that others have been there before, and many more are yet lined up to undergo if I may utilize an apt seasonal metaphor, this being the Easter season - many more unsuspecting nations and communities, currently insulated from a near incurable scourge, are lined up to undergo the same Calvary. To the product then: Its just a book, but then, more than just a book - written by Professor Karima Bennoune, an Algerian presently teaching at Berkeley University, California. And the title? YOUR FATWA DOES NOT APPLY HERE. It is not a work of fiction. It is a compilation with commentary and analysis of course - of experiences of individuals - men, women, young, old, professionals, academics, entire families and others among them her own father. It is a record of unbelievable courage and defiance, yes, also of timorousness and surrender, of self-sacrifice and betrayals, of arrogance and restraint, intelligence and stupidity, fanaticism and tolerance, in short, a document of Truth at its most forthright and near unbearable, the eternal narrative of humanity that illustrates, the axial relation between the twin polarities called Power and Freedom which, I persist in pointing out, stand out as the most common denominator of human history. I feel sad that through this absence, Africa north of the Sahara could not meet and speak to Africa South on Nigerian soil, console and instruct us through a shared experience, one from whose darkness one nation recently emerged and into which the other is being dragged by the sheer deadweight of human mindlessness. It is such an important book, one that has a sobering relevance, does one have to reiterate for this nation? It is not quite over yet for Algeria by the way. Only yesterday I read in the papers that eleven soldiers were ambushed and killed by forces of identical mental conditioning to the ones that are currently traumatizing this nation. We can only hope that Karima Bennoune does not have to drastically update her account through a resurgence of a traumatic past. So much on the product itself. Now comes the question: what would have been the effect of that title on most of us, seeing it displayed in one of



n Wole SOYINKA n


bookstalls of a participating publisher? Lets begin from there. Even before we have opened the cover, what impact does it have on us, the local consumers? This is not a rhetorical question; what is it in the title itself that guarantees in advance that the average viewer would instinctively approach it with some trepidation? This is a familiar battle ground for thousands of affected writers, and constitutes the phenomenon that I wish to drag into this specific context, seeing that the book is available through all the normal sales channels elsewhere, and has been reviewed extensively in numerous media. It leads inevitably to the question: have we been shortchanged, albeit through circumstances too convoluted to go into here in an environment to which such a history is excruciatingly pertinent? One should not cry over spilt milk, yet one should never let an opportunity go to waste to recoup one’s losses wherever possible even in divergent directions. In this case, as I hinted earlier, the very absence forms part of our literary mission. I consider this work of such relevance that I am persuaded that it should be made compulsive reading for everyone in leadership position in this nation, beginning from the President all the way down to local councilors, irrespective of religion, and community leaders. I intend to adopt Professor Bennounes book as entry point into the interrogatories for the very contestation that is summed up in the title of this address The Republic of the Mind and the Thralldom of Fear. I intend to pose questions such as: should such a work constitute a contentious issue in the first place? Is our world now in a condition where a work that may repeat, may explore and narrate unpleasant histories is approached as an instant minefield for its handlers? Is any interest group, as long as it is sufficiently vociferous, reckless and dangerous, entitled to bestride and menace our world once such a minority decrees even factual history unpalatable or unflattering? Do we now instinctively make assumptions of negative responses on behalf of such a minority? Does anyone possess a right of imposition in the first place? What does that mean for any community? I pose these questions because my increasing conviction is that our space of volition and equality of choice is rapidly collapsing under internal relationships based on fear and domination, on dictation and imposition. This is not the view of this speaker alone. Both Egypt and Tunisia, one after the other, are solid proofs that this shrinkage of space is an obsessive project by the assiduous cultivators of the realm of thralldom, and we have seen how it is answered in both instances. My business here is not to urge the adoption of the solutions

pursued in either nation, or indeed Somalia, but to point out an existing agenda of control, manifested in different ways and degrees, and consequently drawing unpredictable responses. But quickly, that question, are the people themselves sometimes collaborators in the shrinkage of that space of choice, that space of freedom? This, indeed, was the disquieting issue that triggered off the London discussion, catapulting the Nigerian predicament to the fore. We must be honest in our answers. When we look into the demands and impositions by one section of society upon another, coldly and analytically, we find that, very often, our instinctive assumptions are totally divergent from the actuality of relationships between such groups. We find that we have conceded what was never at issue, or else can be argued and clarified through mutual exchange. We find that sensitivities are often exaggerated, or else unnecessarily indulged. It is a lazy intellectual habit, one that is born of a timorous attitude for frank and honest dialogue. Mutual respect is built by clarification, not by avoidance or unjustifiable concessions, which is an attitude of condescension, a patronizing approach that is not only disrespectful but unhealthy. To begin with our immediate community here in Nigeria as testing ground, let us consider the People versus Boko Haram. Boko Haram represents the ultimate fatwa, of our time. It has placed a fatwa on our very raison d’etre, the mission, and justification of our productive existence. I do not think that this claim is in contention. The next question is: does the Boko Haram fatwa remotely represent the articulated position of the majority of moslems in this nation? My reading over the past few years is an unambiguous NO! Again and again the declaration that those words represent in Bennounes title is the very manifesto with which the nation has been inundated by moslem intellectuals, politicians, community leaders quite openly in their pronouncements on Boko Haram. ‘They are not true moslems’ has become the persistent mantra from North East to West, all the way southwards across the Niger. Grasping the nearest such declaration to hand, only two days old, the governor of Osun state, a moslem, declared in categorical terms: A visibly angry Osun State Governor called on Moslems to rise against atrocities perpetrated by the fundamentalist group in the name of religion. In his own words: “We must protest seriously against the sycophants who hide under religion to perpetrate evils in our land; it must be done nationwide. We reject everything that Boko Haram represents. Our religion rejects everything these evil characters project in the name of Islam. We must not be silent, because Boko Harm represents evil.” Now what does that mean, this exhortation that has been echoed by Emirs, Islamic scholars, Islamic councils, politicians and lawgivers etc. The least that the intimately connected people of the book publishers, teachers, thinkers of all faiths can contribute, is to exploit opportunities such as this market of ideas to spread the word in all possible forms, most especially where an example is provided through the histories of those who failed to rally the mind when encroachment on the space of ideas was still in infancy. What these voices now proclaim, somewhat belatedly, is simply that the edicts of Boko Haram in short, its fatwas - are worthless and unacceptable to the rest of society. Bennounes’ book, the string of words that makes up the title, is the charter of rejection that the Algerians, as a people, flung at the murderous fundamentalists as they battled for over ten years for their freedom. It represents a collective challenge for the rest of us: to go beyond even the contents of the work and actualize its lessons in our lives. To do less is to concede that the will of Boko Haram is the will of all humanity. Why else are we gathered here? Boko Haram anathemizes books, destroys books and destroys their institutions, but we are here, in a surrounding of, and celebration of books. Yes, indeed, a Book Fair is itself a statement of rejection of Boko Harm’s fatwa. It is an implicit yet overt gesture of contempt for the delusions of grandeur of that movement and its homicidal avocation. But then, a Book Fair owes itself the full complement of what renders it itself. Its mission, as an instrument of enlightenment, must not be compromised by the diktat implicit or overt - of whatever makes no disguise of its contrary mission and manifests itself as an enemy of enlightenment. An army that remains in the barracks even when assailed • Continued on page 61

Gas emission: Lagos Assembly commences investigation into Ogba incident HE Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on the Environment has commenced investigation into an incident of gas emission at Ogba Junior Grammar School, Ikeja, Lagos, sometime in March, where several students became unconscious after inhaling gas. The students were later admitted at the General Hospital, Ikeja. The Committee, led by the Vice-Chairman, Hon.


n Oziegbe OKOEKI n Adebimpe Akinsola, accompanied by Hon. Abdoulbaq Balogun, visited the school premises where she was conducted round by the Principal, Mrs. Omokehinde Mogaji. According to the lawmaker, the visit was to investigate the remote cause of the incident, and to proffer solution, with a view to preventing future reoccurrence. Akinsola said, “the House has mandated the

Committee to find out what is the cause and where  it is coming out   from, with a view to finding lasting  solution to the matter.” She noted that the state government would do everything possible to uncover the source  of the poisonous gas. “We cannot afford to lose any student to any preventable occurrence like this emission. Our children are so important to us, and it is the duty of the government to

protect the lives of our people,” the lawmaker stated. Speaking, the Principal of the school, Mrs Omokehinde Mogaji, said the school had been in existence since 2008, adding that it never experienced such incident until  October 2013, which was later followed the two incidents of March, 2014. Mogaji said: “Each time this incident happened, it is usually on Thursdays when the students return to their classrooms after break time.”

She appealed to the state government to extend its investigation to the nearby shopping complex and buildings around the school premises. The committee thereafter paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) where the gas matter was also mentioned, while the LAWMA management volunteered to assist in clearing the dirt behind the school.

Mr. Oresanya, however, advised that blood samples and saliva should be taken from the affected students, promising  that   relevant environment agencies will look into it and collaborate with the committee as it seeks to unravel the mystery behind the emission. The committee is expected to work closely with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).




n Olatunji OLOLADE, Assistant Editor n OR Jaiye Okanlawon, the shortest path to ecstasy is notoriously a beaker of Paraga (popular herbal concoction). Every morning, just before he brushes his teeth, Okanlawon rinses his mouth with a 100 ml helping of herbal concoction or thereabout. Served generously in a large mug, his favourite is a cocktail comprising afaato, opa eyin, agbo jedi and agbo iba; the first three potions are meant to get him high and serve as aphrodisiac of sort while the fourth one is taken as an antimalarial drug. To guarantee easy access to his liquor, he purchases it in a one litre plastic bottle of spring water and keeps it in his fridge. According to the 25-year-old, the herbal cocktail is very effective. “I take it to keep fit physically and bedmatically (sexually)…everybody has his own formula and mine works for me quite fine. Afaato, opa eyin and agbo jedi cures me of sexual impotence and increases my virility while the agbo iba cures me of malaria and gives me energy. I got the formula from a colleague at work and ever since I started using it, I have had no cause to regret,” claimed Okanlawon. Even during work hours, Okanlawon downs his ‘formula’ as desert at lunch time. After work hours, he wanders across his office to take generous swigs of his dependable ‘formula’ at the roadside pub of a local dealer of the herbal concoction. At the roadside pub, Okanlawon immerses himself in the herbal liquor with scores of other drinkers comprising commercial transporters, menial workers, students, law enforcement officers and the office clerk to mention a few.




A vote for Paraga The owner of the joint who simply identified Continued on page 14

A bottle full of trouble

Nigerians’ deadly obsession with Paraga





Nigerians’ deadly ob

herself as Bolanle aka Ibadi Ara, stated that her liquor became the favourite of most Paraga takers in the area due to her diligence and honesty in preparing the concoctions. “You can see that they are here because they enjoy my liquor,” she said casting a proud glance across her sea of patrons. At Bolanle’s joint, Paraga takers fraternised freely and without inhibitions. They indulged in random sexual banters with the pub owner, often breaking into a loud guffaw every time Bolanle issued a sharp riposte to a patron’s suggestive drone or sexual overture. While many patrons placed their orders above the maddening din, a few others, particularly newcomers at the joint quietly consulted Ibadi ara for an appropriate mix or concoction for their health or pleasure needs and Ibadi Ara duly complied. She recommended mixtures in different doses and at different prices depending on the needs of her clients. At the time of The Nation’s visit, a dapper young man presumably in his mid-30s arrived with a female colleague of his who kept decent distance from the joint. Immediately he arrived, Ibadi Ara handed over a black nylon bag to him. “I am treating him for premature ejaculation. He couldn’t last two minutes on a woman when he started consulting me, but today he lasts four minutes and sometimes, five minutes. If he sticks religiously to his treatment, very soon he will start doing four rounds,” she said. Ibadi Ara explained that the ‘patient’ whom she identified as ‘oga banker,’ had tried orthodox medical treatment to no avail, hence he started consulting her on recommendation from a colleague of his who suffered similar sexual dysfunction until he got cured by her concoctions. Several patrons of Ibadi Ara attested to the efficacy of her herbal alcoholic beverage, claiming it is relatively cheaper and preferable to expensive orthodox medicine. “I use original ogogoro (local gin) for my preparations. I sell finely distilled herbal liquor. You cannot get its type anywhere. There is no stipulated dosage. You can take as much as you can con-


Continued from Page 13

I am treating him for premature ejaculation. He couldn’t last two minutes on a woman when he started consulting me, but today he lasts four minutes and sometimes, five minutes. If he sticks religiously to his treatment, very soon he will start doing four rounds


sume if your body can withstand it. Real men can go several rounds without losing their strength and their heads,” she said with a suggestive smile. “Yes o, a real man can go several rounds of Ibadi Ara’s liquor and everything join,” echoed a commercial tricycle driver who identified himself as David. Corroborating David, Kola Soyode, a steel factory worker, said: “I don’t know what he means by ‘everything join’ but I know that this Paraga is more effective than foreign medicine. I take it three times a day and I never fall sick. Even the so-called literate and sophisticated folk now understand that our local

‘Paraga does not have

–Professor Kehinde Oluwadiya, Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EUTH) HAT would you adduce as the reason for the widespread fascination and thirst for the local alcoholic beverage amongst addicts to the drink? It is relatively cheap and easily available. Like we pointed out in the study, many users also believe, albeit erroneously, that paraga has medicinal values. It does not. Do you agree with the argument that it possesses greater allure to people in the lower income bracket because of their lack of adequate finance to pur-


Paraga is more effective in curing several ailments than oyinbo (orthodox medicine).” Paraga, an herbal healer or killer? A mindset like Soyode’s probably led to the sudden death of Saidi Taiwo. The 32-year-old whose wife recently gave birth to a baby boy suddenly slumped and died at Ago-Igbira, around Adifase, Apata-Ganga area of Ibadan, Oyo State. The deceased reportedly died after consuming the locally-made herbal gin, Paraga, at a relaxation spot called Paraga Joint around 10.30 a.m. The deceased, a commercial driver, reportedly ran away from home to avoid responsibilities, but chose to keep moving from one joint to the other with his friends to celebrate the arrival of the new baby before his death at the weekend. The death was reported at the Apata Divisional Police Headquarters before the family later came to take away his corpse for burial. Several cases abound involving sudden or gradual death of hardnosed alcoholics taken to excessive consumption of the herbal liquor. For instance, the case of a 40-year-old

chase choice expensive liquor? I agree. You hardly find the affluent taking Paraga. The Nation findings reveal that excessive consumption of the liquor often times results in devastating health problems for the takers; what measure would you recommend as effective means to detoxify and rid the liquor takers of addiction to the liquor? There are standard techniques for treating drug and alcohol addiction. Addicts need to see psychiatrists for farmer presented to the Neurology Clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, is instructive to note. The subsistence farmer and native of Eha-Alumona, a rural community in Enugu State presented to the Neurology Clinic with complaints of recurrent difficulty in walking spanning 10-year duration. At the time of his presentation, he had been suffering fevers and tremors of the limbs for one week. Further investigations revealed that his problems started about 14 years ago when he developed weakness in the left lower limb, which worsened progressively and resolved over a few days or weeks without medical intervention. Over the years, he became unable to walk. But a week prior to his presentation at the clinic, he developed fever and tremors of the hands with disorientation. There were no significant associated symptoms and he had to be admitted in a hospital for about five days before being referred to UNTH’s Neurology clinic. It was during this period that he noticed coarse tremors of his limbs associated with confusion and irrational speech. He had taken alcohol in excess for


15 2

•Pics 1 to 3: An array of Paraga herbal concoction


session with Paraga

treatment. What recommendations would you make to the government and health regulatory agencies at checking excessive consumption of the alcoholic beverage? This is actually the most important question. I'll recommend the following: 1. Classify Paraga as an alcoholic drink. Therefore you'll need licence to sell it. I know this no longer works in Nigeria (What does anyway?). But it'll be a beginning. 2. Ban its sales at motor/motorcycle parks. Make it less widely available. 3. Ban its sales outside shops. Prevent its hawking. 4. Intense public education showing paraga’s side effects, its uselessness as a medicinal drink. more than 10years with a preference for local gin, spirits and beer. Often drunk, he had felt a need to cut down his alcohol intake. The tremor and confusion, however, commenced when he could not get access to alcohol during the period of his hospitalisation. The patient had been married to one wife for six years but had no children. He also smoked about eight to10 cigarettes/day. He had worked as a peasant farmer for over 10 years ago and was forced to stop due to the difficulty in walking. His relatives take care of the monetary needs of his family. Further medical examination revealed that he suffered Multiple Sclerosis, a disease which affects the central nervous system. Much of the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is made based on the typical clinical features which commonly have a relapse-remission pattern. Though most sufferers describe episodes of spontaneous remissions, there tends to be a degree of residual neurological deficit with each attack which culminates in a chronic debilitating state with fixed neurological deficits, progressive disability and eventual death. There had been no published report of

•Prof. Oluwadiya a case of multiple sclerosis in South East Nigeria with such clinical and radiologic correlations as the patient’s until he presented his case at UNTH. “This patient represents the first case; his heavy and chronic alcohol consumption with toxic effects on the peripheral nerves and liver probably accounts for features not in keeping with MS such as the glove and stocking sensory loss / high step gait and hepatomegaly, the result of fatty liver or early cirrhosis as suggested by the ultrasound,” according to the head of the medical team responsible for the treatment of the patient, Dr. Ikenna Onwuekwe of the Neurology Unit, Department of Medicine, UNTH. A herbal brew and its synonyms There is no gainsaying that one of the most easily accessible forms of medicinal herbs in Nigeria is Paraga. The local brew has other synonyms like seepe, opa-ehin, foganna and fidigbogi. Paraga is an herbal mixture with assorted ingredients and indeterminate alcohol content. It is popular in many neighbourhoods in Nigeria. It is popularly used as a stimulant and is believed to have curative effects on an extraordinary range of ailments. The


medicinal value’

The haphazard ways they are prepared may pose other health risks apart from those due to their alcoholic contents. Excessive alcohol intake, he opined, can also affect other parts of the body. There is a strong correlation between excessive alcohol use and an increased risk of developing alcoholic liver disease, cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, chronic pancreatitis, and some form of cancer


herbal concoction is commonly sold by vendors in motor parks where commercial drivers and motorcyclists among others have easy access to them. Paraga: an inquisition A three-part academic study conducted by Professor Kehinde Oluwadiya, Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences College of Medicine and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Traumatologist, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EUTH) and Akinola Adegoke, revealed worrisome facts about the quality and safety of consuming the herbal concoction. The study was

carried out among Paraga vendors at bus parks in Osogbo, Osun State, to determine the ethanol concentration of the herbal preparations and the vendors’ knowledge about their preparation and use and at the end of the investigation an academic paper entitled: “Taking alcohol by deception: an analysis of ethanol concentration of Paraga, an alcoholic herbal mixture in Nigeria,” was published. In the course of the research, 28 samples of the Paraga mixture were obtained for analysis from 22 Paraga vendors. The vendors were interviewed in the motor parks using a semi-structured questionnaire. Analysis of the study samples was done by Adegoke, second author of the research work, at the Central Science Laboratory of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife using Colorimetric method. We used SPSS version 15 for the frequency analysis of the data. Ethical permission for the study was obtained from the Ethical Committee of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State. Of the 29 vendors that were identified, 22 agreed (75.9%) to be interviewed. Twelve of them (54.5%) were employed in some other occupations such as trading (seven (31.8%) and barbing; in fact, one of them was also moonlighting as a driver. Twelve (54.5%) start selling Paraga by 6 am, and by 8 am, all of them have begun selling. Nineteen (86.4%) had their briskest sales in the morning, one (4.5%) in the evenings and two (9.1%) during the night. Hardly any sales were made in the afternoons, and so most vendors–especially those with other jobs–do not sell paraga in the afternoons. Raining season was cited by 18 (81.8%) as the season when they usually made the best sales, followed by Harmattan and the dry season, each cited by two vendors. The vendors have been selling Paraga for between one and 20 years (median: 3 years). Twenty (90.4%) sold the preparation from fixed locations such as stands, kiosks or shops while the remaining two were itinerant hawkers of the product. Fourteen (63.6%) of the subjects usually Continued on page 19

Rukayat JIMOH

Shola O'NEIL, South-South Regional Editor


Okungbowa AIWERIE, Asaba



Ogogoro, a dangerous constituent of Paraga

Ogogoro, a dangerous constituent of Paraga Ibadi Ara admitted to using ogogoro in preparing the concoction, “I get my ogogoro from a dependable supplier. I have been using him for four years now…I usually soak the herbs I use in the ogogoro; so doing, the potency of the herbs are extracted into the ogogoro. Some other people use chemical; they use ethanol but I prefer using ogogoro because it is safer and more effective for my own herbal recipes,” she disclosed. Likewise, a popular paraga hawker in Agege admitted to using ogogoro in mixing her herbs. “But I use ethanol or imported gin on special request from certain customers. But many prefer that I prepare the concoction (paraga) with a mixture of ogogoro and imported gin,” she said. Producers and consumers of Paraga may, however, need to exercise caution in usage and consumption of the herbal liquor, particularly potions produced with ogogoro. This is because recent findings, courtesy a research led by Dr O.B Idonije of the Department of Chemical Pathology,

•An array of Paraga mixtures on display at a local joint


Continued from Page 15 made the herbal preparation themselves, six (27.3%) purchased their wares from other producers while the remaining two (9.1%) usually procure their stock from herbal wholesalers. While there was a great assortment of Paraga on display by some of the vendors, the majority of them had just one to four varieties to display. The responses showed that most of the brands on sale contained alcohol. Thirteen (59%) vendors admitted to having only alcohol-containing brands of paraga for sale. The most common ingredients identified by most vendors in making Paraga were herbs, followed by alcohol according to 77 per cent of the vendors. Lime and pineapple were also commonly used. When the investigators enquired about how the samples purchased for laboratory analysis could be stored, the vendors specifically instructed them not to store some of the samples which contained lime and pineapple, in the refrigerator because “cold will spoil their potency”. Although most vendors were unwilling to describe the process of manufacturing their own brand of Paraga, four vendors volunteered to give a detailed description of the process involved: The first respondent revealed: “I mix herbs e.g. kannafuru (cloves), kaun (trona); eeru (Sylopia acthipea), kafura (camphor); alubosa elewe (onion, Allium cepa and Allium ascabricum) together, arrange them in bottles and soak them in any kind of alcohol...” “Some kind of herbs including ginger (Singuber officinale), kannafuru, and kooko oba (African lemon grass), will be cut into square pieces and arranged in a clean bottle. Then I pour any type of alcohol into the bottle,” claimed the second respondent while the third vendor stated that she mixes “and arranges eru (Sylopia acthipea), aayu (garlic (Alium sa tirum), iyere (African black pepper), kaun (trona), kafura (camphor), and other ingredients in a bottle and then pour either water or any of alcohol brand into it.” The fourth vendor claimed to simply, “Combine and arrange (sic) any of the above mentioned ingredients in a bottle soaked with any alcohol of your choice.” The alcohol by volume (ABV) of the samples tested and analysed ranged between 1.20% and 20.84%. Nine samples were weaker than beers (Alcohol by Volume (ABV) of 1-3.1%). Ten were equivalent to beer (ABV: 3-8%) and the rest were equivalent to wine (ABV: 8-12%) or stronger (ABV: 18-20%).

According to the research findings, the burning sensation in the throat associated with ogogoro and the fact that it catches fire when exposed to naked flame are indications of the injurious effects it may have on the human system. It is pertinent, therefore, to note these toxic effects and device a way of detoxifying ogogoro before consumption.


Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State revealed the danger in consuming ogogoro. A research paper was produced from the study, which was conducted by a team led by Dr. Idonije. The paper titled, “A Comparative Biochemical Analysis of Local Gin (Ogogoro) from Different Parts of Nigeria and Imported Gin (Dry Gin) Toxicogenic, Carcinogenic and Sociopolitical Implications,” implies that the crude method of local gin production is inadequate qualitatively due to poor handling and crude technology. Conclusively from the results of the study, excessive consumption of the local gin (Ogogoro) will lead to increase body levels of the contaminants (impurities) present in the local gin resulting in increased toxic and carcinogenic effects as well as sociopolitical ills and vices.’’ According to the research findings, the burning sensation in the throat associated with ogogoro and the fact that it catches fire when exposed to naked flame are indications of the injurious effects it may have on the human system. It is pertinent, therefore, to note these

toxic effects and device a way of detoxifying ogogoro before consumption. Earlier studies had identified the presence of methanol, Iso-propanol, n-butanol and n-propanol in Ogogoro by gas chromatography. The presence of methanol in different samples of Ogogoro has been attributed to the pathways of the microorganisms in the substrate (palm wine). Its presence as a metabolic product of fermentation from palmwine explains the speculation that it would be the possible cause of blindness among Ogogoro drinkers, since it affects the optic nerves. Other compounds (congeners) such as acetone, acetaldelyde, ester and ethyl acetate were also found to be in very high percentage in the locally made gin (Ogogoro) compared to the low values found in the laboratory made gin and the imported dry gin. Their formation could be due to the time of fermentation prior to distillation. The high acid value and percentage alcohol content of Ogogoro makes dependence on Ogogoro as a source of alcoholic drink very dangerous. This is due to the associated conditions of high level of acid in the liver (acidosis)- a condition which if untreated, leads to cirrhosis of the liver. The physiological and psychological effects are those associated with its anaesthetic influence through inducing sedation and relaxation-a condition strongly associated with alcoholism. It is by far one basic course of inflammatory stomach (gastritis). This no doubt implies severe consequences for consumers of Paraga that is generously mixed with ogogoro. Not a typically pleasing picture Globally, there are three main kinds of alcoholic beverages: beers which normally contain from three to eight per cent alcohol; wines, which contain from between eight to 12 per cent alcohol and distilled spirits such as whiskey, gin, or vodka, which contain about 40 to 50 per cent alcohol. However, more than twothirds of the Paraga samples analysed by Professor Oluwadiya and his partner “had ethanol strength that was either equal to or stronger than beers.” According to the Professor, in the preparation of the Paraga samples analysed, there were no specific recipes, the processes involved no calibrations or weighing of ingredients; therefore, the components and concentrations of different batches var-

ied, hence Paraga should be classified as alcoholic beverages, and its sale restricted as such. The production should come under scrutiny, because the haphazard ways they are prepared may pose other health risks apart from those due to their alcoholic contents. Excessive alcohol intake, he opined, can also affect other parts of the body. There is a strong correlation between excessive alcohol use and an increased risk of developing alcoholic liver disease, cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, chronic pancreatitis, and some form of cancer, stated Professor Oluwadiya. According to him, the study “provides incontrovertible evidence that Paraga is an alcoholic beverage. We have also shown that Paraga is haphazardly concocted; the production processes were not structured, thus there are potentials for contamination by both chemical and biological agents. Finally, Paraga vendors are mostly found at or near motor packs and more than 50 per cent of their customers were commercial drivers and motorcycle riders. Considering the prevalence of alcoholrelated road traffic injuries in Nigeria, a policy to restrict access to all alcoholic beverages (including Paraga) in motor and motorcycle parks across the country should be put in place and strictly enforced. A sustainable health education campaign should be established in motor and motorcycle parks to educate drivers and motorcycle riders on the harmful effects of paraga. The health education should emphasize not only on the potentials of paraga to increase the crash risks of users on the road, but on the health hazards of paraga as well. Finally, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), which was formed to prevent and minimize accidents on the highways as well as the Nigerian Police, should be empowered to carry out routine alcohol breath checks on the road. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which the Federal Government of Nigeria has saddled with the responsibility for the control and regulation of the manufacture, sale and packaging of food and drug (including herbal remedies and alcoholic drinks) should rise up to the challenges of regulating the production, distribution and sales of Paraga in the country, advised Prof. Oluwadiya. •Photos:David Adejo





•Calabar roundabout

•Tinapa water park

The new face of CALABAR



•Summit hills dual carriage way, Calabar

n Segun AJIBOYE n

and general beautification has become a way of life. Prior to this time, the economy of Cross River State was civil service-based. In the absence of industrialisation, government was the highest employer of labour. The new breed politicians who succeeded the military became agitated and decided to tap into their intelligence. This brought about the Cross River Vision anchored on tourism development, agriculture and provision of first class infrastructure. Upon his election in 1999, Donald Duke, who took the first shot at governance, went ahead to implement the blueprint based on available resources. Duke laid the foundation for the economic development of the state and his successor, Senator Liyel Imoke, is not only building on it, but expanding the frontiers. According to government sources, through a deliberate economic agenda adopted by the Imoke administration, the Calabar Free Trade Zone that had a low level of economic activities today boasts of over 70 factories all into various forms of production. This has helped to create job opportunities for young people in the state. The Special Adviser to Imoke on Investment Promotion, Mr. Gerald Ada, said the state government was determined in its investment drive to bring in more investors. ‘’Our aim is to open our economy to the rest of the world. In these days of globalisation, you cannot operate in isolation. This explains why we’ve been reaching out to local and foreign investors. The serene, clean and peaceful atmosphere of Calabar has been our unique selling point. This is what is giving us a competitive edge,’’ he added. Under the urban renewal policy of the state government, many roads and streets have been constructed in Calabar. Today, you drive round Calabar with ease. The Airport bypass under construction has further increased the number of entry and exit routes in the capital city. With this road, vehicles coming in or going out do not need to use the Murtala Mohammed Highway that is always busy. On carnival day, it provides a convenient

aP c s Y it


•Aerial view of the az

way for traffic in and out of Calabar. On this bypass which links Lemna Road, is a fly over [bridge] to ensure that vehicles coming to or going out of Calabar South, Akpabuyo and Bakassi are not stuck in traffic. This bridge is the first of its kind in the state. The airport bypass and Lemna roads have dual carriage ways complete with street light. Today, major roads and streets in Calabar have street lights. This brightens the city when darkness falls and helps in movement and security operation in the night. Calabar has become a dot on the map because of tourism. With some tourist sites developed to international standard [Obudu Ranch Resort], tourists have continued to flock into the city. In December, hotels in the city are fully booked. The 32-day Calabar [Christmas] Festival, with Carnival Calabar as its flagship, pulls tourists within and outside Nigeria. Currently under construction is an international conference centre that would facilitate conference tourism in Calabar. It has a-5000 sitting capacity and many other ancillary facilities for relaxation. A five Star hotel is billed for construction within. The Calabar International Conference Centre [CICC] is located within the new development area


•One of Africa's tallest national flags

O stroll arround the boulevards of Calabar, Cross River State capital, visit its tourist sites for sight-seeing or relaxation and to meander along paved streets to enjoy the beauty of an ancient city that has embraced transformation, has become the pastime for tourists who have found the allure of the city too tantalising to ignore. The transition of Calabar from a backwater capital city to a cosmopolitan cum tourist haven means none of its contemporaries, perhaps, has exerted as great an impact on the industrial, social, economic and cultural life of Nigeria as Calabar. What you see in Calabar today is a painstaking re-creation that began in 1999. The development initiative was anchored on the vision of its young politicians, which ultimately has given birth to a new capital city. Undoubtedly, the provision of infrastructure and functional public utilities is integral to the transformation of Calabar, endorsing the once seafaring and pleasure-boating community as one with a huge tourism reputation. Entering Calabar today is to slip into a replanned urban centre bubbling with industrial layouts, housing development and commercial activities. In the city, you are confronted with a network of accessible roads and streets that ease gridlock. The streets are swept clean and wellmanicured. Beautifully dressed residents, including old men and women, who appear hooked on European-lifestyle combine to give Calabar the image of a modern city. A visit to the Marina Beach at Bay side, Calabar South catapults you to a seaside in its pristine state. Here, the slave museum strides you through the pages of history of man’s inhumanity to man. But most interesting is to relax by the sea shore for sun bathing even as you watch ships, yatchs, flying boats and canoes gliding up and down. For visitors by air, the moment you alight from the aircraft and emerge on the precinct of the sprawling airport complex, you see an environment that is in pristine condition with green grasses and flowers. This picturesque outlook sign posts what you are to see as your taxi cab drives through the city to your destination. To the residents, the daily environment sanitation

At night, residents could be seen strolling comfortably under street light to wherever. This night life culture has brought about a boom in nite clubs, hotels, joints and sit-outs. Every weekend, Nigerians from nearby states flock to Calabar to catch peace and have some fun...


known as Summit Hills. This area overlooks the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort. Also, a monorail that straddles the two places is under construction. The idea, according to Governor Imoke, is to build a synergy between the centre and the shopping

complex. Delegates will find it easy to dash to Tinapa for shopping. "When completed, there will be no place like it elsewhere in not just Nigeria but West Africa, "said Governor Imoke of the Summit Hills. That Calabar has continued to dominate the Cleanest City award in the country is not a fluke. It is swept clean early in the morning by staff of the Calabar Urban Development Authority [CUDA] and maintains a culture of cleanliness evident in its aborigines and settlers alike. The streets have drains that channel water out ensuring that the drainages are not blocked. There’s a law against indiscriminate dumping of refuse including water sachet and other disposables. You must dispose of them in a bin or risk arrest and prosecution. The Sanitation Court has been effective on this. In Calabar, it is an offence for you to park your vehicle indiscriminately. Vehicles are parked in designated places to avoid congestion. Both the police traffic control unit and the Department of Public Transportation [DOPT] are alive on this. A fine is paid into a designated government account before any towed vehicle could be retrieved.

Residents of the city have boasted that only Calabar has a better night life than all the capital cities in the South-South and South East geopolitical zones. They beat their chest that the city does not go to bed. Night crawlers have a field day because unlike the ugly trend in neighbouring cities, there is no kidnap, armed robbery, ritual murder and other heinous crime. At night, residents could be seen strolling comfortably under street light to wherever. This night life culture has brought about a boom in nite clubs, hotels, joints and sit-outs. Every weekend, Nigerians from nearby states flock to Calabar to catch peace and have some fun. With a population of about half a million, the town has many ivory towers, including the University of Calabar, Cross River State University of Technology and College of Health Technology. A privately owned university, Covenant, is presently under construction. Whether you visit Calabar physically or watch it on video, this coastal respite offers you plenty of relaxation and opportunities for business and investment. It is an ideal city to escape from the madness of other cities.

Continued from Page 21

Continued on page 38







we drank Champagne from Algiers to Lagos

Inside The


Premiership Top scorers


L a L i g a Ta b l e













with KAYODE ALFRED Tel:08116759807


41 with KAYODE ALFRED TEL:08116759807




‘I live a double life — angel by day, hustler by night!’ (5)

My mother is coming this weekend. You know what that means. You have to behave- no drinking and smoking in the house while she's here. And tone down your dressing and make-up as well. Those your false eye lashes look like caterpillar legs. Get rid of them! I don't want her to get the impression that my housemate is a slut!








Coping with diseaseS With Prof. Dayo Oyekola Ph.D. (Ibadan), NMD,FNCP Tel: 0803-330-3897 Website: E-mail:


Olatunde ODEBIYI



A British ‘airways’ to The Langham

lub A’s C



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Victor AKANDE Entertainment Editor •Galleries Lounge


ECENTLY, I happened to experience the romance between the British Airways (BA) and The Langham, London, a royalty that is one of the world's best hotels. And as they say, birds of a feather flock together. I witnessed the relationship between the highly revered United Kingdom's air vessel and a destination hotel, which is five-star in the real sense of the word. My vacation which is happening for the second time in my entire work life, offered this priceless experience that “planted” me on a BA's Business Class, otherwise referred to as the Club World. As I regaled my way through the Muritala Mohammed International Airport's fast track, I could not but remember actress Funke Akindele's Jenifa character; and at that moment, I wished I could see a detractor trudging along the clustered economic passengers' queue, and then scream some scornful remarks. But, of course, I was only an “opportunist”-permit me to be rude to myself, should you find the word derogatory. The Club World provided yet another enthralling pre-flight moment in an executive lounge, where I met my “peers”, some of them government functionaries, top NNPC officials reeking of “oil” perfumes, businessmen and women, among others. Safe for a journalist colleague, Azuka Ogujiuba of Thisday , I didn't get to meet others in my team until at the arrival lounge in Heathrow, the next morning. But the aura of the Club World lounge at the MMIA, Lagos is not as strong as what you get in BA's Heathrow's Terminal 5. Obviously, Heathrow, which in itself is a community larger than some cities, provides the needed space for all the pre-flight comfort which is like home in transit. There are six lounges within the exclusive British Airways terminal: the Concorde Room, the First-Class lounge, three club lounges and an Arrivals lounge.

Interestingly, Terminal 5, as I later gathered, allowed BA to radically overhaul its airport lounges. Touted as the epitome of elegance and luxury, these lounges, otherwise called galleries, were reportedly built at a cost of £60 million and are capable of hosting up to 2,500 people. There is also a 100 percent increase in the number of showers and bathrooms, a 60 percent increase in washrooms, 25 percent more customer service desks and a total of 166 personal computers installed to make life easier for customers. I never really kept awake on a long flight, especially at night, until I flew on BA's Club World cabin to London. It was not the first time I was flying a Business Class on the same route; in fact, I had flown First Class of some airlines, but with less satisfaction. The beauty of the Club World is not something a first-timer will let slip away. There is so much to behold that I kept myself busy, toying with the 'z' bed position that extends to six-foot, six-inches and allows the body to assume a position similar to that in zero gravity. As I was trying every position, I was also saying yes to every offer of meal and beverage: after all, it was a vacation trip and a starter in a series of intended trips I call a multiple course meal. I was bowled over by the Club World's offering of flexibility to sleep, work or relax, so that passengers can arrive refreshed and ready for the day ahead. It is not surprising that the product is unique because the company holds a patent on the 'yin-yang' forwards/backwards seat design, and is the only airline to offer a seating arrangement of this type. The current Club World cabin has been rolled out across the vast majority of the fleet, with the main exception being certain Boeing 767 aircraft (some of which continue to offer our previous Club World seat). After what I call a fine dining on board, of a three-course meal designed by top chefs, part of my vigil was a stint at the club's kitchen ll as a range of smaller local producers. There, I

London and its remarkable spots. I find this phrase by Samuel Johnson particularly thought-provoking. It says: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” I've decided to keep this analogy close to my chest, until I get back to work and double check with two of my colleagues: David Adejo and Seun Akioye, both returnees who have sworn never to make the UK their permanent residence again. But of course, if the words of John Berger are anything to go by, London comes across as a city that owes no one an apology. He says: “London is a teenager, an urchin, and, in this, hasn't changed since the time of Dickens.” The walls of The Langhan are a preservation of culture and physical identity. This is what you find of most structures in London, which remains an ancient but not rustic city; a modern ambiance of greenery and artistry beyond colours; a city with a rare of yellow or red, but whose buildings, if painted at all, range from off-white, brown, kaki green, brick stones and other reticent colours, priding on quality and royalty. Thus, apart from the flags hanging on The Langham, the portrayal of a true London's colour, for me, began with the politeness with which the hotel officials helped us out of the car on arrival and delivered the luggage to the rooms upon check-in. For two days, The Langham, located on 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, provided the home we were so eager to return to, each night, after a tour of the city. The team •The Langham, London also had Delores Aghedoh (TW Magazine), Nike Sotade (The Guardian) and Lawal Lanre(Ebonyife TV). which is available in-between meals, with a Idowu The cuddle-feel effect of the bed in London's selection of snacks and treats provided by erratic weather, the soothing holistic day names such as Waitrose and Cadburys as well treatment at the Chuan spa and the traditional as a range of smaller local producers. There, I afternoon tea at the Palm Court was equal to helped myself to some glass of quality wines none. The afternoon tea, especially, is an before falling back, flat on the bed. indulgence, which I learnt was born over 140 There were up to 100 films, TV years ago, and has gone ahead to win the programmes and play games on a 10.4- 'Oscars' of the Tea World; The Tea Guild's Top inch digital screen. I thought of watching London Afternoon Tea 2010 and Service of every film. It was a crazy idea, as I hadn't Excellence 2013 for three consecutive years. The been to the cinemas for a while, ever since tea party provided an insight into The my work routine changed- a situation Langham's enviable feats, through our that confines me to the production desk on a interaction with an amiable gentleman, Nick daily basis. It is not the best for the kind of Barrington-Wells, the hotel's Director of exposure my job requires, but it is certainly the Marketing Partnership. The hotel, I must say, has an unrivalled most responsible thing to do at the moment. location in the heart of the West End, sitting I played a bit of every movie, but settled for two between four of the city's most sought-after films which I saw from start to finish; the Oscar- areas: Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Mayfair and Soho. winning 12 Years a Slave, and Mandela: Long With access to the bustling shops and Walk to Freedom. Although I had seen both films restaurants of Regent Street and Bond Street to before, it was a pleasure seeing them all over, and the south as well as the professional and being able to reflect on these two historical films residential communities of Marylebone and by drawing inferences from Nigeria's Half of a Fitzrovia to the north and only a short stroll to Yellow Sun, the much- publicised Biyi Bandele's leafy Regent's Park, making The Langham adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie's Orange perfect for both leisure and business travellers. Prize novel of the same title. With our host, Camilla Barrett, BA's Deputy Part of the Club World's features is the Head of International PR Europe, Africa, Asia possibility of shutting yourself out to others in the Pacific and Middle East, there was no dull cabin. I did, using the electronically-operated moment after the brief snap. In no time, we privacy screens with an innovative opaque were at Jo Malone, the flagship store for hand material, with which I created the seclusion. This and arm massages, where we had a fragrance newly refreshed interior features new lighting consultation with the brand's experts. This visit, and a softer colour palette of neutral warm grey, including our view of the iconic London from navy and blue to create a relaxing and stylish The Shard and the Western Europe's tallest building, is an exciting experience. This, no environment. doubt, is a story for another day, plus the Comfort in this cabin is enhanced by thicker Westfield shopping experience, the ultimate pale taupe quilts, new linen and pillow fabrics in luxury shopping and leisure destination, where the traditional Osborne and little damask design. Nigerians are the biggest spenders. Looking back at London now, even as But the story of BA's trendiness is not reflected only in exquisite lounges, innovative cabins and someone who has been there several times, the warmth of Heathrow's Terminal 5, but in the British Airways/Langham tour experience, I gaiety of The Langham Hotel, a five-star partner, would say, offered new insights and pleasure. and London, a city which, in the axiom of William With an enduring nostalgia, I reminisce on the Sansom, is “a bad habit one hates to lose.” This wine gallery, work and entertainment zones, inscription, like many of its kind, you would find the Elemis travel spa, the leading skincare as you are about to climb the 72--floor Shard expert, which offers customers a spa treatment tower, which offers an exciting aerial view of as part of their travel experience, and the lounge's glow of a Swarovski crystal chandelier. London and its remarkable spots. •BA’s aircraft outside terminal




igeria, it is acknowledged all over the world, has a diverse and rich culture. It is also a fact among tourism practitioners that in these days of niche destination marketing, where each destination and potential destinations try to concentrate on their area of specialization, Nigeria's forte is in the area of cultural tourism and of the best avenue to celebrate and propagate Nigeria's culture is in the area of festivals. At the vanguard of cultural renaissance and the promotion of Nigerian tourism using culture and the tourism product is the Olokun Festival Foundation. The foundation recently marked the Eledumare Festival. It is a festival organized in honour of the Most High God and creator of everything. Once again, the foundation, which over the years, has gained a lot of experience through organizing a series of festivals annually, has put up a wonderful spectacle for visitors and participants. It is the 2014 Eledumare Festival. Speaking at the grand finale which took place in Ijora, Lagos, chief promoter of the Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF), Otunba Gani Adams noted that the import of the whole activities was to give kudos to God, and that it was why the OFF deemed it fit to set aside the 21 days of the 365 days that make up as year, to do nothing but praise the Supreme Being, called Eledumare in Yoruba language. According to him, the set objective is to reawaken the consciousness of the Yoruba race to the lacklustre attitude of the Kaaro Oojiire to the preservation and nurturing of its values and tradition. “We have collectively thrown our values into the wind, while we consciously look barefaced unto the gods, which from cradle charted the way for the liberation of the Yoruba race”, Adams stated. He noted that with the Eledumare Festival, the organization has been able to impress upon people and the entire world that before the advent of Christianity and the Islamic religion, the Yoruba had known and had been serving Eledumare, the Almighty God. “Today, it is sad that religion, rather than being a unifying factor among mortals, is rather dividing us as well as causing untold menace to our existence as a result of needless intolerance on our parts”, Otunba Adams said. He further lamented that intolerance in religion has caused pains, harm and needless acrimony that have succeeded in plundering the state of the world and stunted global development. And that incurable intrareligion differences among the orthodox sects, has put the traditional religion far better than them on the path of tolerance and moral rectitude. According to him, the terrorism syndrome sweeping

•Dancers at the event

Festival for Eledumare Dare ODUFOWOKAN, Assistant Editor the entire world today is an offshoot of religious intolerance just as intra-religious manipulations have altered logical reasoning and made a robot of many souls. “We as a people really need to put on our thinking cap and retrace our steps back to our creator. Eledumare has his reason for creating you as an African. Any attempt to remould yourself to become American will be an effort in futility”, Adams stated. He said that it was an anomaly the way Nigerians and indeed Africans allow themselves to be guided into foreign religions, hand in hand with alien culture, and that as Africans we have our own identity, ranging from religion to governance far before the coming of the colonial masters. “They brought a religion that is almost

Tantalizers hosts Nigerian Idol Season 4 top 12 contestants

Mr Henry Arehun, General Manager, Business Strategy and development (third from left); Mr. Gbolahan Olabinjo, Deputy Managing Director (third from right), both of Tantalizers; with contestants of Nigerian Idol Season 4 the company hosted in Lagos on Easter Sunday.


antalizers Plc, Nigerian leading quick service restaurant chain, hosted the Nigerian Idol Season 4 top 12 contestants at its Victoria Island, Lagos outlet on Easter Sunday, April 20. Tantalizers Plc, which is the official food partner of the ongoing Nigerian Idol project, packaged the event to delight the contestants after the stressful, rigorous and keenly contested initial rounds which saw the emergence of the 12 constants. In doing this, the company provided a relaxed environment for the constants to relax before going into the next round of the project. According to the Managing Director of Tantalizers Plc, Mrs. Bose Ayeni, “Tantalizers decided to partner Nigerian Idol this year because of its belief in Nigerian youths as the leaders of tomorrow and the brand's desire to assist them in realizing their dreams.” The MD also explained that the organizers, contestants, crew and other people involved in the Nigerian Idol project needed to be continuously revitalized and nourished during the exercise, hence Tantalizers coming in to take up that

challenge. In the course of the event, the contestants were treated to exciting and fun time which included meeting with fans, photographic session, signing of autographs and musical entertainment. The contestants also sampled the newly introduced Combo meals presented by Tantalizers. The ten variants of Combos were developed from carefully selected Tantalizers products with PET Drinks. The benefit of the Combo meals to customers is that they are discounted which offers customers better value for money. The day was activity-packed with much to eat and drink as Tantalizers fed the passion of the contestants and their fans. At the end of the event, it was definite that Tantalizers lived up to its pay-off “every bite…a promise kept.” Tantalizers has over 50 outlets spread across Nigeria and the MD mentioned franchise opportunities being available to interested investors.

synonymous with what we have here. But unfortunately, those who came with these religions did not only preach the word, they forced their culture on us, and reduced us to mere robots living on borrowed identity. “The result is that we are now strangers to our natural identity, while it is impossible for us to be the original of those whose culture we are being forced to emulate”, Adams said. While lamenting that culture had been relegated to the background by Nigerians, Adams, who is also the leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) noted, that no nation can make appreciable progress while neglecting its culture and tradition. He stated that Nigeria has potential, but is

not moving forward, even as he called on citizens to give room for the practice of chosen individual religions, even as he stated that a modern and reliable nation is hinged on the ability of its citizens to uphold tradition and religion. Also speaking at the event, guest lecturer, Mr. Danoye Oguntola Laguda, stated that given the level of corruption iin the country, leaders could be held responsible using the African tradition. He lamented, however, that unfortunately the African traditional religion has come to be relegated to the background in the post colonial era in the polity. He recalled that many years ago, Prof Wande Abimbola who is an advocate of the African tradition was sworn into the office of a minister using the African tradition. That it is on record that he left office, without being accused of having embezzled public funds, and that he left surplus funds in the coffers of the ministry under which he served. Laguda, who is a lecturer in the Department of Religion and History, of the Lagos State University (LASU), stated that corruption can be tackled, if we look inward into our traditional religion. He stated that not many Nigerians will truly identify themselves with the traditional African religion because they all realize that it is not a religion that tolerates corruption, or immorality. He lamenting that it gives concern that the traditional religion is not given proper recognition in Nigeria, Laguda also advocated for the inculcation of values of African religion into primary schools so that as the children grow up they are already aware of the morals and principles inherent in it, and not go astray.

Big brands for INDABA 2014


mong the biggest and most prestigious tourism products and services from across the African continent are confirmed to exhibit at INDABA 2014. They will showcase their offerings to the 1441 confirmed top quality travel and tourism buyers (registration is still in process) keen to capitalise on exceptional growing inbound tourism growth to Africa. To date, less than two months before INDABA 2014 opens on 10 May, 398 main stand exhibitors have confirmed their places, and among them are not only international big-name brands like, Tourvest, Mantis Management, Seasons in Africa and the Amalinda Collection and many others, but also the cream of African leisure tourism products, services and experiences such as Singita. Together, these exhibitors have a vast global appeal in both the developed markets (namely USA and Europe) as well as emerging markets (namely Africa, Asia, Latin America), and attract the volume of inbound tourists that the continent wants and needs. Excitingly, a great new addition to INDABA 2014, the TechZone, gives the premium digital service providers to the tourism industry an exciting space to meet both buyers and exhibiting delegates. Confirmed so far to exhibit in the INDABA 2014 TechZone are Travelstart (South Africa's leading online travel agency); (the world's biggest travel and lifestyle social networking community website); TripAdvisor (biggest destination marketing organisation in the world); Expedia (one of the world's largest online travel booking agencies); Springnest (offering simple web, mobile and social marketing for small tourism businesses) and Nightsbridge (that offers the industry real time software and marketing links), with a few others still anticipated to join INDABA 2014. “It has never been more important to plug into Africa's tourist trade. According to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Barometer, Africa attracted three million additional arrivals, reaching a new record of 56 million in 2013. INDABA 2014 is the single biggest and best platform for doing business in African tourism,” says Thulani Nzima, Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism. Many INDABA exhibitors are veteran attendants, with about 62 percent of them attending between 11 to 20 years.



News 57



•From left: Prof Gbadegesin; Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi;Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu;Osun State Governor Ogbeni Rafu Aregbesola; Professor Omole;Senator Oluremiu Tinubu

•Guest Speaker Robert Frankling

•From left: Interim National Chairman All Pogressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Gen Muhammadu Buhari

•From left: Governors’ wives: Erelu Bisi Fayemi (Ekiti); Mrs Olufunso Amosun (Ogun); Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola (Osun); Dame Abimbola Fasola (Lagos) and Mrs Florence Ajimobi (Oyo)

•From left: Former Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Dele Alake, Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila

•From left: Asiwaju Tinubu; Gen Muhammadu Buhari;Alhaji Atiku Abubakar


Poly students protest 10-month old strike

HE National Association of Polytechnics Students (NAPS), yesterday, in Abuja, held a peaceful protest over the protracted strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics. The strike, which is in its 10th month, has paralysed academic activities in the nation’s polytechnics. Students from various polytechnics across the coun-

•Block Abuja Federal Secretariat roads

Gbenga OMOKHUNU, Abuja

try blocked roads leading to the federal secretariat in the nation’s capital to draw the attention of the Federal Government to their plight. Security was tightened around the federal secretariat, resulting in gridlock. Nobody was allowed to enter the secretariat building.

Chanting uncomplimentary songs against the supervising Minister of Education, Ezewo Nyesom Wike, the placard-carrying students vowed not to leave the premises of the Ministry until they are attended to. NAPS Senate President, Comrade Salahu Deen Lukman, who spoke on behalf of the students, said more than 10 students have died

since the strike started, while others have been exposed to different vices. Lukman, an HND student of Kaduna Polytechnic, said the students are demanding three key issues, namely, the removal of the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike and the appointment of a substantive Minister; the removal of the dichotomy between

university and polytechnic graduates; and for government to look into all the ASUP demands and respond urgently. Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Daniel Chike Uwaezuoke, who spoke on behalf of the Minister, pleaded with the students for calm, assuring that government has constituted a committee to look into the matter. ”We have met with almost

all the demands of ASUP and left only with the issue of dichotomy. But the Federal Government has formed a committee tolook at it and come out with a report that will be forwarded to the commission, and from there to the president for a lasting solution. We have not been silent about this matter because it concerns our children and whatever bothers our children bothers us too,” he submitted.




Fayemi our sole candidate, Ado Ekiti people declare HE people of Ado-Ekiti, the capital city of Ekiti State, have declared that the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is their sole candidate in the June 21 governorship election in the state. The people made the declaration during the Governor’s visit to the palace of Ewi, Oba Rufus Adejugbe on Friday, in company with his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the deputy Governor, Prof Modupe Adelabu and the Senator representing Ekiti Central, Babafemi Ojudu. Describing his performance as unrivalled in the history of the town and the state, the people said if it was not for the constitution, they would have supported him for more than two terms in office, as he has brought dexterity, honesty and credibility to governance. Speaking on behalf of the people during the Governor’s visit to the palace, the Odogun of Ado-Ekiti, Chief Oba Aladetoyinbo, who is traditionally the second-in-command to the monarch of the town, praised the governor for fulfilling his campaign promises to Ado people. "The people of Ado-Ekiti have seen your good works. We cannot quantify them because they are unrivalled. You made it possible for Ado-Ekiti to profit from this government. In like manner, you will profit from Ado people's votes." He commended the governor for the roads constructed in the town, the street lights, the Oba Adejugbe General Hospital which is almost completed, amongst other projects.  "Your Excellency, you are the only one that we support. You can be sure, sir, Ado-Ekiti will not betray you. Your commitment to the development of not just Ado-Ekiti, but the whole of Ekiti will be rewarded. The reason the prayers offered by Ado community are speedily answered is our honesty. We don't double-deal. Your Excellency can be sure of our total and unmitigated support." Chief Aladetoyinbo said in spite of the governor's excellent performance in the town, development is never static, hence the continuous clamour by the people for more dividends of good governance which the Fayemi administration has been doling out in the last three and a half years.


Berom/Fulani conflict: Food scarcity looms in Plateau n Yusufu Aminu IDEGU, Jos n HERE are fears of a food crisis in Plateau State as farmers in most parts of the state continue to shun their farms as a result of the violent crisis between the locals and Fulani herdsmen. The National President of Berom Youth Movement, Rwang Dalyop Dantong, raised the alarm yesterday during the 6th Plateau Architecture Dialogue (PAD) meeting, held at the Cabinet Office, Jos. He lamented that farming activities have become difficult in Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Jos South, Wase, Langtang South and Langtang North local government areas respectively because of fear of attack by armed Fulani men, adding that farmlands in the areas in the affected local government areas have been forcefully taken over by the herdsmen. According to Dantong, "The level of insecurity, particularly in Berom land, has made farming almost impossible for farmers. They cannot cultivate their lands because of the fear of attack by armed Fulani herdsmen. "Apart from this, majority of farmers in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and parts of Bokkos local governments were displaced from their farms and their land have been occupied by armed Fulani herdsmen, particularly in areas around Kurra Falls.


1,261 delegates for Kwara APC state congress today n Adekunle JIMOH, Ilorin n O fewer than 1, 261 delegates across the 16 local government areas of Kwara State are expected to take part in today's state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The delegates will elect the 35 officers that will run the affairs of the party for the next four years. The APC’s state interim secretary, Prince Yemi Afolayan, expressed the readiness of the party for the congress, saying “we are completely ready”. Also, the APC spokesman, Sulyman Buhari, said that the party has put necessary arrangement in place to ensure a hitch-free congress. He added that the party’s leadership will adopt its usual consensus arrangement, adding that the system had paid off over time by promoting internal peace and harmony in the party. He, however, said that the system was not to deny any member of the party a chance to aspire for any position in the party.


Victory graduation HE Victory Institute of Catering and Hotel Management, Ikeja, Lagos will hold its 24th graduation ceremony Thursday May 1, 2014 at school’s premises: The Managing Proprietor of the Institute, Chief Christian Francis Olaniyan and the Principal,  Mrs. Modupe Ojo said 42 graduands would receive their diplomas while 59 students will also be matriculated. According to the proprietor, the institute was set up in 1984 aimed to assist the students who were interest in vocational courses like catering and hotel management.


•Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (centre) commiserating with the widow of an APC chieftain in the state, Engr. Akinbayo Beckley, Mrs. Wemimo Beckley (right) and the children during his condolence visit to the Beckleys in Ibadan on Friday.

Three persons burnt to death over alleged kidnap in Osogbo HREE persons, suspected to be kidnappers, were on Friday, burnt to death in Osogbo, the Osun State capital. Investigation revealed that youths, led by commercial motorcyclists, combed the town to pick up the suspected kidnappers in different parts of Osogbo, and attacked them with sticks, woods cudgel and later set them ablaze with disused tyres. A suspect was burnt to death at the Ayetoro area of the city by an irate mob, while the other two were burnt at Plantation and Igbona areas of the town. Another suspected kidnapper, Segun Akinwale, was on Thursday, rescued by the police from being lynched in the Alekuwodo area of the town for allegedly attempting to kidnap a child before his mother found out. His alleged confession was said to have irked the youths, mostly the okada's riders.


•Govt, police warn against jungle justice n Adesoji ADENIYI, Osogbo n It was gathered that the suspect allegedly confessed that nine of his colleagues are already at different parts of the town to kidnap children in Osogbo and its environs. Based on the alleged confession, angry youths moved round Osogbo in search of other kidnappers, during which the three suspects were burnt to death. At Ayetoro area of Osogboa, it was gathered that the suspected kidnapper was found with a baby inside a bag he carried. Drivers at the Ayetoro junction were said to have challenged the suspected kidnapper, who reportedly dressed like an insane person, and opened the bag that was found with him. It was, however not certain if the boy allegedly kidnapped and found in the bag

was alive or dead. The development allegedly prompted the youths in the area to mobilize others  and set the suspected kidnapper ablaze. A similar incident occurred at the Plantation and Igbona areas of the town where youths of the area set ablaze those suspected to have kidnapped some children in the area. The police have been deployed round Osogbo to prevent further break down of law and order. Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Maishanu, has condemned the trend of burning of suspects in the state, describing it as jungle justice, which he said was against the law. He said the state would not be allowed to be turned into a theater of crisis, vowing that the police would do everything possible to forestall fur-

ther breakdown of law and order. Assuring that the police would conduct thorough investigation on the incident, the Police Commissioner warned that people should desist from taking laws into their hands. Also speaking, the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, condemned the development. He warned the residents against jungle justice, saying cases of criminal activities should be reported to law enforcement agencies, rather than the people taking the laws into their hands. Speaking through his Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, in a statement, the governor stressed that the state government would join hands with relevant security agencies to ensure proper security of lives and property of the people of the state.

Kwara police parade 14 for alleged attack on ex-PDP chair house HE Kwara State police command yesterday paraded fourteen persons suspected to have attacked the house of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje. The hoodlums were said to have allegedly invaded the family house of the former national chair of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Baboko area of Ilorin, the state capital, and destroyed no fewer than ten vehicles


n Adekunle JIMOH, Ilorin n parked in the premises. The gate to the main entrance of the house was said to have been riddled with bullet holes. Briefing reporters in Ilorin, the state Police Commissioner, Ambrose Aisabor, said: “On April 23rd this year, we got a distress call from Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje at Baboko quarters that hoodlums were attacking and destroying property in the premises.

“Two patrol teams were dispatched to the scene, but by before the policemen got there the hoodlums had fled. “Three people were shot and are now recovering in the hospital; 14 vehicles, among other property, were destroyed. The building was also riddled with bullets. In fact, bullet holes are still conspicuous on the building. “The leader of the gang was identified and picked up. His confessional statement led to the arrest of 14

other members of the criminal gang.” According to the police boss, Items recovered from the hoodlums include one dane gun, one axe, one hammer, one scrapper, two magical charms, two raps of weed suspected to be cannabis sativa, one pack of rizzler, two palm slippers, two packet of matches, one playing ludo and seeds, two Nigerian voter’s cards bearing Sa,lihu Dauda and one vigilante grand ID card, bearing Dauda Salihu.

Four governors, Sultan, Awujale to open biggest mosque in south west HE Sultan of Sokoto and PresidentGeneral of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, will tomorrow lead Governors Ibikunle Amosun; Abiola Ajimobi ; Rauf Aregbesola and Babatunde Raji Fashola of Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Lagos respectively, to the opening of the New Aiyepe Central Mosque, reputed to be the biggest mosque in the south west region. The gigantic edifice is situated in IjebuAiyepe along Odogbolu road in Ogun State. Oba Awujale, the President General, Ogun State Muslim Council, will chair the ceremony, while erudite scholar


n Tajudeen ADEBANJO n Sheikh Muyideen Ajani Bello and NSCIA Secretary-General will deliver the lecture and keynote address. A statement signed by the Chairman of Aiyepe Muslim Community, Alhaji Musibau Oyefeso, described the mosque as one of the biggest in the country. Oyefeso said it is built on a land area of 30,000 square metres with the main mosque covering 6,400 square metres and ablution centre on 850 square metres. The over 5,000 capacity mosque, according to Oyefeso, is worth two billion naira. The prayer area covered 2,700 square metres, with four minarets, one of which is 30 metres long with 64 windows.

Oyefeso said the New Aiyepe Central Mosque is fully air conditioned and has close circuit televisions (CCTVs). Among the guests expected at the event are: the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu Gambari; Aare Musulumi of Yoruba Land, Alhaji Azeez AlaoArisekola and Baba Adinni of Ososa, Alhaji Sulaimon Adebola Adegunwa. Others are; Chairman/CEO Merit Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Chief G.K Sadiq; MD/CEO Staco Insurance Plc, Alhaji Shakiru Oyefeso; Chairman Odogbolu Local Government, Alhaji Ahmed Shittu; Iya Sunnah of Ogun State and Arowose Adinni of Aiyepe, Alhaja Kuburat Adebisi Shittu; Sheikh Rabiu Abdul Malik Adebayo; Alhaji Adebayo Owoyemi among others.



Amosun’s wife hails AdoOdo/Ota LG boss

Nyanya bomb blast:

Oshiomhole visits victim’s family •Victim for burial today n Osemwengie Ben n OGBEMUDIA, Benin DO State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has commiserated with the family of late Mrs. Omonye Macelina Iyogun, the Abuja office Circulation Officer of The Nigerian Observer newspaper, who lost her life in the Nyanya bomb blast on April 14, 2014. The governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Louis Odion, during a condolence visit to the mother and other family members of Mrs. Omonye Iyogun, said he was pained by the present state of insecurity in the country. While praying God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the sad loss, Oshiomhole said all Nigerians, irrespective of position, must learn to work for only those things that will bring peace and make Nigeria an egalitarian society where peace and justice reign. He said the government would assist to see how the effect of the sad loss could be cushioned. On the Commissioner entourage were the Acting General Manager, BNCL (Observer) Pastor Monday Aigbe, General Manager, Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS) Rev’d Tunde Ebozoje, and the Director, Documentation and publication, Mr. Lucky Wasa. Meanwhile, the burial ceremony of the Late Mrs Marcelina Omonye Iyogun commenced yesterday in Abuja. A statement by the management of the Bendel Newspapers Company Limited (BNCL), publishers of The Observer titles, stated that there will be a service of songs at Plot 02, Aura Primary School, Chief Palace Road, Karchi, Abuja, beginning from 4p.m.

n Kunle AKINRINADE n IFE of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun on Tuesday showered praises on the Chairman of Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government, Comrade Rotimi Rahmon, for bracing the odds in his youth to transform the lives of people. Speaking at a symposium organized to mark Rahman’s 40th birthday tagged “The role of youths in nation building”, held at the council’s secretariat in Ota, Mrs. Amosun said : “ I have watched this young man( Rahman) climbed up the ladder of success  with determination, hardwork and perseverance in the last few years to make immense contributions to the lives of people in this council area. His life is a lesson for our youths that they can become what they want to be in life through discipline and determination. She urged Nigerian youths to prepare themselves early enough for leadership role in the society noting that they must make the right choice on the kinds of role they want to play in life. She said:” The choices you make in life would shape who you are. We are counting on you to take up leadership role in the society but you must have integrity and positive thinking to excel in life. In his address, Ogun State Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said:” The challenge of nation building is how to create leadership and this is the role the youths are expected to play in the society. You don’t just wait until you are older before you can play leadership role in the society. This is one of the things that Comrade Rahman demonstrated particularly as the chairman of all council chairmen in Ogun State.



•Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi receiving an address presented by Rev. Dr. Felix Ekiye, Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria South-South zone, during a courtesy visit to Government House, Port Harcourt.

Tension in Rivers communities over murder of 28-year-old man HE brutal murder of 28-year-old Onyemuche William, who was beheaded by unknown persons, has thrown the Ubima and Omuawa communities in Rivers State into confusion. The Omuawa and Ubima communities are located in Ikwerre Local government Area of Rivers State. Among other things, the two sister communities share a common boundary, one royal stool and have enjoyed peace for many years. There are growing fears among the people that the cruel murder of the late Onyemuche, a native of Ubima community, whose head was  dumped at  the Omuawa  community school, may signal an end to the existing peace between the two communities if the crisis is not properly manage. The family of the victim, who has reported the matter to the police, said they are yet to see the body of their late


n Precious DIKEWOHA, Port Harcourt n son. When The Nation visited the scene of the incident at Omuawa community, there were fears among the residents over a reprisal attack by the youths of the victim’s community.    Speaking on behalf of the family, the victim’s elder brother, Mr. Iheanyi Prince Williams, said his family want to follow due process to ensure justice in the murder of his late brother. He said he has briefed the state Commissioner of Police, adding that he would copy the State Security Service (SSS) and other relevant authorities.   Narrating how his brother was killed, Iheanyi said, “When I came back from travel they told me that somebody called him on phone in the night. And he immediately came out of the house and boarded a motorcycle

and left. After two hours, they called us and said he has been murdered. “We thought it was a joke, but when we got to the scene where his head was dumped, we were amazed to discover that it is really our brother. I know the killers will not go unpunished and I am going to ensure that those who killed him face the wrath of the law.” He called on the two communities to join hands to ensure that the killers are brought to book.   The head of  Ogbakor Ubima Assembly, Chief  Daniel Awuzirike, said the community chiefs will meet to take a decision over the matter in order to avert any possible clash. Effort to speak with the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) of the state police command, DSP Ahmad Mohammad, was futile, as he would pick his call. He also did not reply a text massage that was forwarded to him concerning the issue.

Uduaghan decries rate of school drop-outs OVERNOR Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has urged religious leaders to convince parents to take parental upbringing seriously. The governor made the call weekend in Asaba when he played host to the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church Worldwide, Pastor William Kumuyi. Wife of the Governor, Mrs Roli Uduaghan and other top government functionaries were present at the occasion. Governor Uduaghan, who frowned at the rate of out- of- school children in the country, stated that it is a chal-


lenge for religious leaders to convince parents to ensure that their children have a proper upbringing, noting that the rate of criminality among young children could be linked to lack of parental care. “We hear that about 40 per cent of children that are supposed to be in schools in the country are not in schools, and for us in Delta State, it is about 10 per cent and we are also very worried that we still have people who are not in school. So we set up the ‘EduMarshal’ to ensure that every child that is of school age gets back to school,” the governor said. He added: “We have discovered

‘How an oath I took prevents me from remarrying’ 45-year-old housewife, Mrs. Suzana Abubokhale, has told a Mushin grade ‘A’ Customary Court how a love oath she took with her husband prevented her from remarrying 22 years after they separated. She said: ‘I am now 45 years old but I cannot remarry or bear children because of the oath I took with my husband a few years ago. I want the court to ask my husband to compensate me for the pains and loss it has caused me. I have suffered living under the fear of the oath. Thank God the oath has now been neutralized.” She recalled how her husband had subjected her to incessant beatings while their union lasted adding that he once hit their



n Vivian OKORIE n only daughter on one occasion. “My husband used to beat me all the time, and there was a day he hit our only daughter, Eurica, when she was nine months old causing her body injury,” she said. Responding, Mr. Osezua said he was no longer interested in the marriage alleging that his wife was arrogant and promiscuous. “I will not compensate her for anything. She is arrogant and exhibited infidelity. In her ruling, president of the court, Mrs. R.O Wushishi dissolved the marriage and noted that since their daughter is of age, she could decide who she wants to live with.”

vices among children which are attributable to lack of parental care; I want to beg you as a spiritual leader to admonish parents to be more responsible to their duties as criminality starts from the child’s upbringing.” Dr Uduaghan reiterated that his administration was working to ensure that no child of school age was out of school, disclosing that primary and secondary education are free in the state while over 280 Deltans who are first class graduates have benefited from his administration’s scholarship programme for first class graduates. While urging Pastor Kumuyi to pray for the state and Nigeria as a nation, Governor Uduaghan attributed the achievements of his administration in the past seven years to the handiwork of God, asserting: “The finger of God is working in Delta State.” Earlier, Pastor Kumuyi said that he was on a pastoral visit to the state and lauded Governor Uduaghan’s developmental stride. According to him, “when I was entering Delta State, everything has virtually changed, great things have been done in the state, I want to commend the developmental stride of the Governor,” adding, “I will not be surprised if the state becomes a model in the country, the Governor looks so simple and unassuming, he is a great gift to Delta State and the country.”

Conduct of council polls will be first assignment, says Fayose n Sulaiman SALAWUDEEN, Ado-Ekiti n HE candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has said the conduct of elections into the 16 local government areas of the state would be his first task in office if elected. Fayose spoke in Ado-Ekiti, capital of the state at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE). According to the former governor, a good democrat must be able to show an ability to strengthen the third tier of government, which, according to him, is the closest to the people. Fayose said: “What makes Fayemi a good democrat when he has been destroying the third tier of government, which is the closest to the people. “When I was in government, I conducted local government election. Likewise Governor Segun Oni, who was a PDP governor. It marvels me that Governor Kayode Fayemi, who described himself as a progressive is destroying the local government. “Little wonder , there is a disconnect between  the present government and the people at the grassroots. That was why I reminded the NULGE’s leadership that  they can only judge the future by the past. So, I will ensure that they don’t regret if they vote for the PDP”, Fayose said. While on a tour of Ise Ekiti in Ise/Orun Local Government Area of the state in continuation of his campaigns, Fayose restated his earlier allegation that Fayemi has set the education sector back. He said he was ready to engage in any debate regarding the situation of the sector today in the state as compared with how he left it.





5 killed as herdsmen attack Benue communities HE orgy of violence in parts of Benue State continued yesterday as rampaging Fulani militia shot and killed five Tiv farmers in Tse Dzungwe, Mbakorya, Tombo ward of Logo Local Government Area of the state. The herdsmen, who were said to be armed with sophisticated weapons, have also permanently occupied all the settlements in Tombo ward. According to sources, the settlement occupied by Fulani militia area Tse Tse Dzungwe, Adzegeh, Tse Gbeleve, Tse Avule,Anyibe, Tse Ibwar and Ikyungwa villiage. The dead victims were said to have returned to their homes after heeding the call


n Uja EMMANUEL, Makurdi n by Brigadier General Atom Kpera-led Benue Peace and Reconciliation Committee that displaced people should return to their homes. According to Tyodugh Aper, a community leader in Mbakorya, the victims were attacked and killed in their farms while working on their farms ahead of the new farming season. Youths of the community were said to have protested the killings. A police officer in the local government area, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the killing and said they are making efforts to arrest the herdsmen.

Lekki-Ikoyi bridge: Court orders stay of execution of judgment USTICE Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos, yesterday, ordered a stay of execution of a judgment he delivered declaring toll collection on the LekkiIkoyi bridge illegal. It will be recalled that the judge had, on March 27, held that there was no law backing toll collection on the bridge. He delivered the verdict in a suit filed by a human rights lawyer Pastor Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa. But in another ruling yesterday, Justice Saliu Saidu granted the application for stay of execution filed by the Lagos State Government a day after the judgment was delivered. With the ruling, toll collection will continue on the bridge until the government's appeal challenging the judgment is determined. According to Justice Saliu Saidu, "I hereby grant the application for stay of execu-


n Joseph JIBUEZE n tion of the judgment delivered on March 27, 2014 pending the determination of the appeal by the applicants." Adegboruwa said he was ready for the appeal. "We will pursue the appeal. The ruling is just temporary; it is not a reversal of the judgment of the court," Adegboruwa said. The court rejected Adegboruwa's allegation that the state government was not entitled to being granted the application because it had disobeyed the judgment. The judge said: "Though the respondent (Adegboruwa) has alleged that the applicants have disobeyed the judgment of court, a party cannot be held for disobeying an order he is appealing against," the court held. Justice Saidu added that the application by the state government fulfilled the nec-

essary legal requirements. The appeal and Adegboruwa's cross appeal against the judgment, he said, presented "arguable grounds of appeal" and "recondite and substantial legal issues" to be sorted out by the Court of Appeal. The judge added that the facts presented before the court by the applicants, were in his view, "special and exceptional circumstances" which warranted the granting of the application. The Attorney General of the Federation and the National Inland Waterways, who were the first and second respondents in the suit, did not oppose the state government's application for stay of execution. Moving his application during hearing, Lagos Attorney-General, Mr Ade Ipaye maintained that the court did not make any specific order of injunction stopping toll collection on the bridge.

Ogun moves to avert terrorism S part of the efforts to ensure that terrorism does not have a foothold in Ogun State, the state government is taking measures to make it difficult for any terrorist organization to operate within its domain. The state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun gave this assurance today in Abeokuta, the state capital, at a meeting with security chiefs and heads of security units of religious organizations located along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The meeting, which was conveyed at the instance of the governor, was in response to a false rumour that was widely circulated on the social media that the dreaded Boko Haram sect was operating on the LagosIbadan expressway and that some security personnel and civilians were killed. Governor Amosun, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, said his administra-


tion was aware of the security challenges currently bedeviling the nation and would not fold its arms and do nothing. He noted that the state was home to the largest number of religious organizations in the country, and could be a possible target for the terrorists. He, however, assured residents to remain calm and go about their legitimate businesses.  “The purpose of this meeting is for us to share views, evaluate the current trends and discuss what should be done to create awareness and improve security,” the governor said. In his own remarks, the State Director, State Security Services, Mallam Abdulahi Charanchi, admonished the public to desist from spreading unconfirmed rumours and report suspicious individuals or activities around their areas to security agents.

Two dead, scores injured in Lagos free for all IOLENCE broke out in Ikorodu, Lagos state yesterday following a clash between  two groups of hoodlums. Two persons are feared dead in the mayhem. Several others were injured, some seriously. The free for all fight started at about 8am at the Idi Iroko and Ogoloto bus stops on the Ikorodu/Lagos road. Many commercial vehicles, their drivers and commuters were trapped in the fracas. As people scampered to safety and motorists tried to drive out of danger a heavy traffic built up on the road. The confusion lasted about three hours. Eye witnesses said  trouble started when police, act-


n Adebisi ONANUGA n ing on a tip off, stormed a suspected fortress of bunkerers  to apprehend them. A man was allegedly shot dead by the police during the raid. Witnesses said the victim was a sand digger and not a bunkerer. This, it was gathered, angered  those who knew the victim, especially  a group of hoodlums. They decided to vent their anger on those engaged in illegal bunkering activities in the area. Dangerous weapons like broken bottles, cutlasses and knives were freely used by the hoodlums   during the clash. Commercial vehicles

which ran into the hoodlums were vandalised while their passengers jumped down and ran for their lives. In the process, some of them were injured as the hoodlums descended on them. A combined team of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Operation Mesa (OPs MESA) and police from the Ebute Police station arrived the scene and tear gassed the hoodlums view a view to dispersing them. They later stationed themselves at strategic positions to forestall further fight. All the injured persons were treated at OAK Hospital located at Agric bus stop along Lagos road, while the remains of the deceased were deposited at the morgue of Ikorodu General Hospital.



Republic of the mind and thralldom of fear • Continued from page 11 by enemy forces is clearly no army at all, but a sitting duck. We cannot recommend that we all sign up and join the uniformed corps as they make their rescue sorties into caves and swamps in the forest, not only to destroy the enemy but now, primarily, to rescue our children who were violently abducted from their learning institutions to become lets not beat about the bush, let us face the ultimate horror that confronts us, so we know the evil that hangs over us as a people, to become sex slaves of any unwashed dog. Those children will need massive help whenever they are returned to their homes. To remain in denial at this moment is to betray our own offspring and to consolidate the ongoing crimes against our humanity. There is no alternative: we must take the battle to the enemy. And this is no idle rhetoric; the battlefield stretches beyond the physical terrain. We are engaged in the battle for the mind which is where it all begins, and where it will eventually be concluded. And that battlefield is not simply one of imagination, it is one of memory and history, our histories, what we were, and a consciousness of the histories of others - what happened to them in the past, how they responded, and with what results. My dear colleagues, there may be hundreds of soldiers out in the forests of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, but this battle is very much our own., primarily ours, and we should display as much courage as those who are dying in defence of what we value most, as writers, and consumers of literature. At least I like to believe so, to believe that nothing quite comes quite that close to our self-fulfillment as the liberation of the mind wherever the mind is threatened with closure. This is what is at stake. At the core of this affliction, it is this that is central to the predicament of our school pupils wandering through dangerous forests at this moment through no crime that they have committed.We sent them to school. We must bring them back to school. Why did this nation move out of its borders to join other West African nations to stop the maniacs whose boastful agenda is to cut a bloody swathe through communities of learning, of tolerance and peaceful cohabitation? What does a united world say to the agents of heartbreak and dismay when religion powered mayhem is unleashed against innocent workers gathered at prime time in a motor park to resume their foraging for daily livelihood? It has happened before, let us not forget that, by the way! What, in short, do Book Fairs say as we learn of the steady, remorseless assault on the seminal places of culture, ancient spiritualities and book learning. We have not so soon forgotten the destruction of the monumental statues of Buddha, the historic monuments and tombs of Timbuktoo, her ancient manuscripts repositories of Islamic scholarship that pre-date the masterpieces of Europe’s medieval age? The true moslems, the authentic strain of the descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, pride themselves as people of the book, hence those lovingly preserved manuscripts of Timbuktoo, treasured and tended through generations of moslems. In such circumstances, whose side do we take, when children are blown up and slaughtered in their school dormitories, their teachers and parents hunted down for daring to disobey that phillistinic fatwa that forbids learning? Do we remain in our barracks? And I am not speaking of military barracks! For it has not just begun, you know. We are speaking of the prosecution of a war that, four years ago already, was already galloping to its present blatant intensity. That it has attained the present staggering figures that numb our humanity with the abduction of female pupils to serve as beasts of burden for the enemy, does not disguise past failures, self-inculpating silences, and even tacit collaboration in places. Try as we might, we cannot insulate ourselves from the horrors to which our children are daily exposed through a fear to undergo, even for our own instruction, the vicarious anguish of others. First, it is futile, the ill wind currently rattling our windows will shortly blow down the flimsy structures we erect around our heads. Symbolism is all very well and - yes indeed - no one should underestimate the value of this symbolic enclave whose mandate we shall be acting out over the next seven days. The palpable products albeit of words only that emerge from within this symbol however is what constitutes the durable product, reinforcing morale and conveying to the maimed, the traumatized, the widowed and the orphaned, the suddenly impoverished, displaced, the bereaved and other categories of victims a sliver of reassurance that they are not abandoned. And why should they feel abandoned in the first place? Why not indeed? Permit me to impose on the leadership of this nation a simple, straightforward exercise in empathy. I want you to imagine yourself in a hospital ward, one among many of the over a thousand victims of the latest carnage in Nyanya do remember that the actual dead and wounded are not the only casualties. I could refer you to JP Clark’s ‘Casualties’ for a penetrating expression of the reality of the walking wounded however, let us take it step by step, let us retain within the territory of physical casualties imagine that you are one of them, on that hospital bed. You find yourself in the role of playing host to the high and mighty. You are immobilized, speechless, incapable of motion except perhaps through your eyelids. The guests stream in one by one, faces swathed in concern-local government councillors, ministers, legislators, governors, prelates, all the way up the very pinnacle of power, the nation’s president. They even make promises, free medical treatment, rehabilitation, etc etc. They take their leave. Your spirits are uplifted, you no longer feel depressed and alone. Considerately mounted eye level on the opposite wall is a television set, turned on to take your mind off your traumatized state and provide some escape for the mind in your otherwise deactivated condition. A few hours after the depar-

•Soyinka ture of your august visitors, you open your eyes and there, beamed live, are your erstwhile visitors participating in chieftaincy jollifications a few hundred miles away, red-hot from your sick-bed. A few hours later, the same leadership is at a campaign rally, where the chief custodian of a people’s welfare is complaining publicly about an inside job that is, someone had allegedly diverted his campaign funds to unauthorized use. That national leader then rounds up his outing with a virtuoso set of dance steps that would put Michael Jackson to shame. That is all I ask of you: to undertake a simple exercise in human empathy, asking the question as that victim, what would you think? How would you feel? That is all. Would you, playing back in your mind the reel of that august visitation, would you feel perhaps that the visit itself was all a sham, that those sorrowing visitors were merely posing for political photo shots, that the faces were studiously composed, their impatient minds already on their next engagement on the political dance floor? Or would you feel that this was a time that a nation, led by her president, should be in sackcloth and ashes figuratively speaking of course? That there is something called a sense of timing, of a decent gap between the enormity of a people’s anguish and business as usual? And do let us bear in mind that that dismal day in Nyanya went beyond a harvest of body parts, of which yours could very easily have been part, there was also the dilemma of two hundred school children, some of whom could very easily have been your own vanishing under violent conditions. Would you think that perhaps, in place of the dance floor, a national leader should have been holding round-the-clock emergency meetings on the recovery of those girl children, mobilizing the ENTIRE nation and by entire, I mean, entire, including the encouragement of volunteers, for back-up duties to the military, demonstrating the complete rout of the prolonged season of denial, the total

transformation of leadership mentality in the nature of responses to abnormalities that are never absent, even in the most developed societies. If anyone requires contrasting models of simple, commonsense responses - not even the responses of experts, just leadership - then look towards South Korea. That tragic ferry disaster that overcame schoolchildren on an outing was not even a case of deliberate, criminal assault on our humanity. It was a human failing, probably of culpable negligence, but not part of a deliberate act of human destabilization. It was a frontal, in-your-face assault. Study the nature of leadership response in that nation! Today’s media carry headline banners that nearly two hundred children remain missing. Even if it were twenty, ten, one, is this the time for dancing? Or for silent grieving? What is the urgency of a re-election campaign that could not be postponed in such circumstances? Will the yardstick of eligibility for public office be the ability to dance to Sunny Ade or Dan Marya? The entire world regards us with eyes brimful with tears; we however look in the mirror and break into a dance routine. What has this thing, this blotched, mottled space become anyway? It is a marvel that some still wave a green-white-green rag called a flag and belt out one of the most unimaginative tunes that aspires to call itself a nation anthem. It has become a dirge that is what it is - a dirge, and what we call a flag is the shroud that now hovers over a people that are even incapable of the dignity of self-examination, self-indictment, and remorse, which would then be a prelude to self-correction and self-restitution, if leadership were indeed attuned to the responsibilities of leadership. To sum up, one would rationally expect that the leadership mind, belatedly applied to cautionary histories such as YOUR FATWA DOES NOT APPLY HERE, will courageously attune itself to an altered imperative that now reads: YOUR FATWA WILL NOT APPLY HERE. This would be manifested in a clear response to the enormity of the task in which the nation is embroiled. Not all national leaders can be Fujimori of Peru who personally directed his security forces during a crisis of hostage-taking; no one demands bravura acts of presidents. However, any aspiring leader cannot be anything less than a rallying point for public morale in times of crisis and example for extraordinary exertion. Speaking personally now, my mind goes to the lead role played by President Jonathan in this nation in the erstwhile campaign to BRING BACK THE BOOK an event at which we both read to hundreds of children. So where are the successors to those children? The reality stares us in the face: Among the walking wounded. Among the walking dead. In crude holdings of fear and terror. Today, we shall not even be so demanding as to resurrect the slogan BRING BACK THE BOOK, leave that to us. It will be quite sufficient to see a demonstrable dedication that answers the agonizing cry of: BRING BACK THE PUPILS! Emperor Nero only fiddled while Rome burned. There is no record of him dancing to his own tune. There is, nonetheless, an expression for that kind of dance it is known as danse macabre, and we all know what that portends.

2015: Ijaws plan to install governors in Delta, Rivers HE Ijaw ethnic group in the Niger Delta region may have concluded plans to install their kinsmen as governors in at least four of the nine states of the region in the next elections. Our investigations revealed that key leaders of the ethnic group in Rivers, Delta, Edo and Ondo are unhappy about their political fortunes, in spite of their numerical strength in the states. A source said Ijaw leaders are particularly unhappy that in spite of their population in Rivers, Delta and other states, they have been mere peripheral political players. According to the source, “You know that democracy is about number and population. Yet despite being the fourth largest ethnic groups in the country, we only have one Ijaw governor (Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa) and that is probably because Bayelsa is a homogenous Ijaw state. “In Delta, for instance, we are the largest ethnic group in the south, yet an Itsekiri man was able to emerge governor (Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan), while we cannot boast of ever producing a governor, deputy governor or even the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). “This situation has to change and we are working on it from all the angles. We will ensure that in the next election we produce a good number of Ijaw governors and work towards greater influential positions in state, where we are not in control,” the source, who asked not to be named, stated. Findings by our correspondent show that machinery has been set in motion in


Shola O’NEIL, South-south n Regional Editor Rivers and Deltas towards actualising the dream of an Ijaw governor in those states in 2015. In Delta State, the Ijaw leaders, particularly those from the Izon Ekosotu (Ijaw Council of Elders), have swung into action in this regard. The move has resulted in the birth of the Delta Izon Congress (DIC), which is working underground to ensure that an Izon (Ijaw) man or woman succeeds Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2015. “The plan is to install an Ijaw governor in 2015 and we are capable of achieving this target,” a member of the Brig Gen Cletus Emein (Rtd) –led DIC, who spoke on condition of anonymity stated. The Nation also gathered that some members of the DIC were actively supporting former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Peter Godsday Orubebe, who visited the group recently as part of his ongoing consultation. Although Gen Emein, who is DIC Interim Chairman, reportedly told Orubebe that the group would assess other Ijaw aspirants, there were strong indications that Orubebe may get the nod of the DIC. The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has also joined the fray in canvassing for an Ijaw governor in some states of the Niger Delta region. It was gathered that the IYC, which is the umbrella body of Ijaw youth groups, was using Delta to make their case for Ijaw governors in the region.


IYC Western Zone, comprising Delta, Edo and Ondo states, speaking through Preye Okaba, said it was the turn of the Ijaws in Delta, stressing that there was no agreement that the highest office in the state would rotate within the political districts. Similarly, the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, is poised to do battle with the Ijaws in Rivers State over Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s successor. Wike is believed to be angling for the top job, and he is reportedly being backed by Dame Patience Jonathan, even though he hails from the same ethnic group as the incumbent governor. Recently, Rivers Ijaw elders including Prof Dagogo Fubara, Alabo Biekpo Jack, Amaopusenibo Diri, Dr Francis Minimah and others insisted that it is the turn of the riverine people (mostly Ijaw) to lead the state. Among other things, they said, “… equity demands that 2015 is the turn of the Riverine Ijaws to take a shot at the governorship of Rivers State.” Their feelings were re-echoed by the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubor, who said it was wrong for Wike and other Ikwerre indigenes to aspire to succeed Governor Amaechi. Similarly, there were also reports of plan by the Ijaws in the riverine areas of Ondo State to produce Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s successor in 2016, with the Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, Hon Kingsley Kuku, allegedly warming up for the race.




Former Barca coach Vilanova dies at 45 Mikel, our joker


•Continued from back page

ORMER Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has died of throat cancer at the age

of 45. The club’s official Twitter feed tweeted: “The FC Barcelona is in immense mourning. Tito Vilanova has died at the age of 45. May he rest in peace.” Vilanova took over at the Camp Nou ahead of the 201213 season having been Pep Guardiola’s assistant during the most successful period in the club’s history during which they won three out of four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in 2009 and 2011. Barca went on to make the best-ever start to a La Liga season with 18 wins from 19 games but in December 2012 Vilanova was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. It meant that his assistant Jordi Roura was forced to take charge of the team on occasions when he was undergoing treatment. At the end of the season Vilanova announced he was resigning to concentrate on


•Vilanova his recovery from the illness. Barça sent their “deepest condolences” to Vilanova’s family and said they would be opening a space in the main grandstand at the Nou Camp for people to express their condolences. The club’s president said on Twitter: “Tito Vilanova was

a wonderful person, and will never be forgotten at FC Barcelona. Thank you for everything you taught us. Rest in peace.” José Mourinho had several run-ins with Vilanova during his time in charge of Real Madrid, infamously poking him in the eye in one clash.

The Chelsea manager said on the club’s Twitter account: “Tito Vilanova’s passing is a sad day for football, for Barcelona and most importantly for his family and friends. On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club I send my deepest condolences at this most difficult time.”

Osaze reveals: Why I joined Stoke

IGERIAN striker, Peter Odemwingie has revealed that current Cardiff City boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer influenced his decision to leave the club and join Stoke City in January. Odemwingie scored once in 15 league games for the Bluebirds; a side he joined on September 1, 2013. He has since moved to the Britannia Stadium where he has

•Confirms Solskjaer's influence

netted five times in 12 league appearances for the Potters. The 32-year-old has now revealed that he would have still been playing his football at Cardiff but for a conversation he had with Solskjaer who replaced the man that brought Odemwingie to the club, Malky Mackay.

“I have no hard feelings. When I went everyone seemed happy. The decision for me to go was more from the Cardiff manager when he came to the club. We had a little chat and he said he was not so pleased with the defensive part of my game,” Odemwingie told

Odemwingie noted that defending was not the strongest part of his attribute of his game but stated that he was never found wanting for lack of effort. “I had been trying my best, although that is not the best side of my game. I’m not a strong player, but I do my best and you get the best out of me in the final third. That’s where I get my goals. He also said he needed a targetman and he had wingers he said he felt were stronger than me at the time. “I was happy to accept the situation that he was not too pleased. Two goals in four months at Cardiff was not where I wanted to be. I just needed the change, so everyone was happy,” he said. The former Lokomotiv Moscow man further revealed that no one at Cardiff tried to block his move to Stoke. “Cardiff were happy for me to leave. They were glad to be getting Kenwyne Jones, so it was easy to talk. It did not take much time. It was not really a surprise to move to Stoke because last summer a few clubs were interested in me, including Stoke,” he said. “I’m in the last few years of my career now. If I don’t play enough or perform well enough for the team I will say OK anywhere to a move just for the change. I’ve always been like that. Even if it’s a less strong team, as long as I’m playing that’s all I want,” he said.

for Chelsea, the Eagles will be difficult to beat, especially if our coaches compliment Mikel’s qualities with the right players in the midfield and attack. Writing bits of this column on Monday evening, I saw three Argentine players score all the goals with which Manchester City beat West Bromwich Albion 3-1 in England in a rescheduled Barclays English Premier League game. My heart froze, not because the goals were spectacular, but because it meant that the Argentines would be a free-scoring side at the Mundial. Two of the goals were scored by defenders, although the goal that West Brom scored came from a sloppy defending from one of the scorers, Zabaletta. Add these feats to Lionel Messi’s stunner against Atletico Bilbao on Sunday, then you will appreciate why the Eagles must strive to grab the six points from their first two games, lest the World Cup is over. Indeed, the Argentines are on fire. But they could turn out to be club performers at the World Cup. That is our prayer because it is about time the Eagles got out of the World Cup group stage. My consolation is that Nigeria’s game against Argentina is our last. The Argentines could have qualified. They wouldn’t need the three points and could rest some of their big boys for the second round tie. The flipside is scary because if the Argentines need the game and we haven’t secured six points, then our misery would be complete. God forbid. But do we have any idea of how Iran and Bosnia play beyond our usual beating of the chest? My fear for the Eagles at the World Cup is Bosnia, especially if they lose to Argentina. If we beat Iran, we would assume that things are right and not make daring changes to address the flaws noticed playing Iran before the Bosnia tie. That has been our albatross at the Mundial. We celebrate pyrrhic victories. Brazil 2014 World Cup won’t be any different, with the cocky coaches we have in the team. Carlos Quieroz, we are told, has been compiling our tapes ahead of the opening game. He is renowned for spying on teams. Indeed, he worked for the most successful manager in the English game Sir Alex Ferguson. But the big question would be if Iran has the type of players to interpret his strategies against a better exposed and talented Nigerian side. We’d better not draw that opening game, lest we kiss the competition goodbye. Again, God forbid. I don’t want to be accused of being a prophet of doom. We must keep it tight at the defence. We must anchor our midfield on Mikel and pray that he understands that we must score goals by releasing the balls early to any free mate. Our strikers must not be wasteful. They must score goals not attempt to be classy in their efforts. Our preparations for the World Cup began on Tuesday when the Technical Committee members impressed it on the Eagles chief coach to convince them that some of the players reported to be injured were good enough to be taken to the World Cup. Equally important was the directive that the coach should inform those he dropped about his decision. This is the trend in other places because he could need them for subsequent assignments. The NFF must get the chief coach to address the media after releasing the 35-man or is it 38-man squad for the World Cup. Nigerians deserve to be told why those selected made the list irrespective of what the coaches’ contract state. When we lose, the country is like a grave yard. Most times, the coaches walk away and we are to stew in the mess. We are tired of fielding half-fit players. Those with recent history of injuries must be subjected to rigorous medical tests here to confirm if they are fit. The era of rewarding injury-hit players with a place in our World Cup squad simply because they secured the ticket for us is gone. NFF President Aminu Maigari’s condescending posture towards directives from superior bodies has helped us achieve a lot in our soccer. Last weekend, the news was broken that the Federal Government was toying with the idea of constituting a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to be headed by Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke. My first response was to celebrate the decision because the governor has been the bridge to the growth of the beautiful game here. I also know that the NFF men would be favourably disposed towards working with him. I was therefore not surprised when Maigari backed the decision to have a PTF. He hinged his decision on the fact that the task of lifting the World Cup in Brazil isn’t essentially an NFF affair. I agree, especially if the government is spending its cash on the project. It simply means that with the governor, the government would give enough cash. More so when the NFF are ready to work in tandem with those appointed. This is the way forward, if we hope to make any meaningful impact at the Mundial. Take a bow, Maigari. Up Nigeria! Up Super Eagles! Oba Khato Okpere, Ise!

Foreign athletes storm Benin May 1 for Okpekpe


HEAD of the second edition of the 10 kilometres Okpekpe road race, over 14 foreign athletes will be arriving Benin City the Edo State capital for the competition. This was disclosed by Ambassador Zack Amodu,one of the organisers of the road race on Friday. He also disclosed that there will be accreditation and medical screening of all athletes participating in the second edition of the championship. Ambassador Zack also stated that on the same day,there will be route tour

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin for the foreign athletes in line with international standard. The briefing, which had in attendance the State Commissioners for Sports,Chris Okaeben and the initiator of the Okpekpe road race, Mike Itemuagbor confirmed that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole will be participating as an athlete. Zack further disclosed that vehicles to convey the athletes and officials will be stationed at 5am at the Ogbemudia stadium while

others will be stationed at Yak hotels and Okpekpe community to help convey the athletes. According to the CEO of Padmozi Sports Marketing, Mike Itemuagbor, most of the proceedings from this year’s edition of the competition will be devoted to helping charity. Okaeben said all logistics have been put in place to ensure that the event is a success. He disclosed that the state government was solidly behind the event and will continue to partner with the organisers of the road race.





Stockbrokers urge Fed Govt against arbitrary limit of state borrowing


TOCKBROKERS have called on the Federal Government not to impose arbitrary limit on the amount of debt issues that State and Local Government can raise from the capital market. At the third annual national workshop of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) yesterday, stockbrokers said the huge infrastructural gap in Nigeria requires inclusive participation in the capital market by all tiers of government. They however noted that debt issuance by the subnationals should be relative to their internally generated revenue. President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr. Ariyo Olushekun, said the capital market has a central role to play in the transformation agenda of the government. According to him, the crucial role of the capital market in mobilizing savings and creating wealth through investments makes it a centerpiece in the revamping of ailing national infrastructure and creating new facilities. “Governments at all levels need to be involved in creatively mobilizing and deploying funds to bridge the mass infrastructural deficit needed to revamp the economy. This is why I would

Taofik SALAKO Capital Market Editor

like to urge the Federal Government not to limit the amount of debt that States and Local Governments can raise beyond the current levels set by the Securities and Exchange Commission after taking due cognizance of the level of IGR of these entities,” Olushekun stated. He pointed out that the focus of this annual workshop is on the role of the private sector in supporting the transformation of the critical sectors that would help translate impressive economic growth to economic development. He said key sectors such as agriculture, power, oil and gas, telecommunications and financial services sectors require more collaborative efforts by governments and private sector operators to unearth their full potential. According to him, the workshop is designed to bring together key players in both the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy to brainstorm, and generate ideas which will serve as useful input to the national budget and enhance the quality of the policy making process. He added that the workshop will also assists government agencies to track budget performance and showcase best

practices in service delivery while creating opportunity for the private sector to influence government policies, thereby ensuring the growth and development of key sectors of the Nigerian economy. Also speaking at the workshop, leading entrepreneur and former president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oba Otudeko called on the government to formulate policies that would allow ensure listing of multinationals and foreign companies operating in telecommunications, energy, oil and gas sectors of the economy. According to him, government should use its policies to encourage these major companies to list their shares in the capital market so that more Nigerians could buy and share from their profits. “I am appealing to Mr. President to extend the opportunities foreign investors are seeing in Nigeria to Nigerians. If we had done so for telecoms in 2001, Nigerians would have been a lot richer. There could have been licence condition and I do not think those operators would have refused to be part of it. I understand that there is another opportunity that has been given to some Nigerian oil traders to work with foreigners.


SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL.9, NO. 2830 What exactly is the defining essence, the manifest characteristic of the Boko Haram insurgency that in the last three years has laid large swathes of the North-East socially, politically and economically prostrate? There are those who perceive the incendiary Boko Haram uprising in essentially regional terms. For those of this school of thought, the enigmatic sect’s mindless blood- letting is nothing but a carefully calculated effort to make the country ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan and ensure a return of power to the North come 2015. Articulate Boko Haram ideologues will no doubt be quite pleased with this reading of its activities. Any perspective that helps widen the country’s delicate North-South fault lines will go a long way in helping to achieve its ultimate goal of national disintegration. Yes, the North-East has been Boko Haram’s main theatre of operation with occasional forays to other parts of the North including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. But the effects of the sect’s terroristic enterprise reverberate across the country. When bombs are detonated in crowded motor parks, entertainment spots or churches; when school children are indiscriminately slaughtered or abducted in horrendous circumstances, the implications go far beyond the North. If the economy of any part of the country is being systematically crippled the way that of the North-East is, the entire country is the casualty. The more southerners, many of whom have lived all their lives in the North flee back to their states of origin in the south, the more fulfilled Boko Haram will be that its nefarious organisational goals are being achieved. Any notion that there is some unbridgeable chasm between the North and the South exists only in the fevered and misguided imagination of Boko Haram. The truth of the matter is that those factors that unite Nigerians across regional boundaries far outweigh those that divide them. The danger is that otherwise wellmeaning Nigerians may subliminally begin to adopt Boko Haram’s mind-set and exhibit hostile attitudes to those from other regions without any objective basis. There are also those who perceive the Boko Haram menace from the prism of a fundamental confrontation between Islam and Christianity. True, Boko Haram claims that the institution of an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria is one of its key objectives. However, perhaps due to external influences such as its affiliation with al Qaeda, the sect has increasingly assumed an anarchic, utterly nihilistic character. There is neither rhyme nor method to its madness. For, there is absolutely nothing in Islam to justify or rationalise Boko Haram’s random murder of innocent school children, the aged, women or men. And in its barbaric onslaught against the sanctity of human life, Boko Haram spares neither Christians nor Muslims. How then by any stretch of the imagination can the perverse sect be seen as hoisting aloft the banner of Islam? What we thus have on our hands is a veritable war between a blood-thirsty, criminal and irredeemably deluded Boko Haram sect and the vast majority of decent, law abiding and God-

The political option that we thought would save us as a country is turning around to not only batter us but is threatening to drown us. Mmmn! Now where shall we run to, the hills?

—Oyinkan Medubi

Further thoughts on muslim-muslim ticket

Of course, the political climate has been so poisoned that it may be unwise for the APC to present a Muslim-Muslim ticket. But the earlier we cast off the bewitchment of Boko Haram thinking and clearly demarcate between religion and politics, the better for our polity



fearing Nigerian Christians and Muslims both in the North and the South. Boko Haram believes in senseless murder, hate mongering, sexual perversion and the desecration of the most sacred human values. But the majority of sane Nigerian Christians and Muslims believe (1) in the inevitability and irreversibility of Nigeria as a multi-religious society (2) the tolerance and respect for diverse faiths necessary for the harmonious co-existence of a multi-religious community and (3) the necessity of a secular state as an impartial arbiter in the context of a multi-religious society. Unfortunately, the poisonous Boko Haram virus has insidiously and dangerously seeped into the most unexpected and unsuspecting quarters. For instance, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) recently launched its far reaching roadmap, Chief Olisa Metuh, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman simply dismissed it as a Janjaweed road map without the slightest attempt at rational analysis. That is Boko Haram mentality. Even though he may mean well, President Jonathan’s continuous and well publicised gravitation from one church service to another; his recent elaborate and ostentatious pilgrimage to Israel or his visit to the

Vatican in the midst of the serious Boko Haram religious insurrection at home portray him more as a Christian President rather than the leader of a secular state that he is. This is indirectly playing into the hands of Boko Haram which aspires to abolish the secularity of the Nigerian state. In the same vein, reacting to unconfirmed speculations that the APC may field a MuslimMuslim presidential ticket for the 2015 election, the brilliantly boisterous Femi Fani-Kayode has been up in arms waving aloft the banner of his Christian faith. The otherwise astute polemicist ignores the fact that in our extant constitution, neither the President nor the Vice President represents any religious faith. Indeed, it would be a gross violation of their oaths of office for any of them to exhibit religious bias in the discharge of their duties. Many of those who have supported Femi Fani-Kayode’s position argue that Nigeria of today is not that of 1993 when an Abiola-Kingibe ticket won a landslide electoral victory. The question is: have we grown better or worse? I believe that the vast majority of Nigerians remain as sophisticated as ever in making political choices devoid of sentimental religious

colouration. We have had Christian Presidents for at least 12 years since 1999. What impact has that had on the welfare and well-being of Christians? The problem is that we have allowed Boko Haram’s poisoned mentality to colour our perceptions and devalue our standards. The reality is that the impact of the religious beliefs of public office holders on performance and good governance has been grossly exaggerated. Now, let us briefly examine the electoral assets of the two personalities frequently speculated with regard to the APC ticket. First, General Muhammadu Buhari. He was once military governor of an area that today spans five or six states. He was a one- time minister of petroleum. Yet, he does not boast any spectacular wealth. He is a man of modest means. He enjoys an almost cult-like following across the North-East and North-West. Even in those parts of the country where he has been most venomously, viciously and unfairly demonised, Buhari is respected for his ascetic and disciplined outlook on life. He comes across to me as more of a Christ-like figure than those Christians who flaunt opulent wealth in the midst of abject mass poverty. And what about Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu? By dint of hard work, brilliant governance and courage, he has become a veritable colossus in the South-West. Beyond this he has a vast and useful political network throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria. As Governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007 some of the Christians in his star-studded Cabinet include: Professor Yemi Osinbajo (Attorney General), Dele Alake (Information), Leke Pitan (Health), Professor Idowu Sobowale (Education), Wale Edun (Finance), Yemi Cardoso (Economic Planning), Akin Doherty (Science & Technology), Architect Lanre Towry Coker (Housing), Mrs Kemi Nelson (Establishment & Job Creation), Mrs Teju Phillips (Special Duties), Mrs Eniola Fadayomi (Women Affairs & Poverty Alleviation), Ben Akabueze (Economic Planning), Opeyemi Bamidele (Sports and Youth Development), Professor Samuel Adewole (Education) and Fola Arthur Worrey (Lands) to name a few. Tinubu ensured a befitting chapel was built at the State House, Marina, to enable Christian workers worship conveniently. His administration returned mission schools to their original owners with Christian missions being the greatest beneficiaries. He instituted the annual New Year thanksgiving service at the State House presided over by the respected Pastor Enoch Adeboye and this has remained an enduring tradition. Of course, it is no secret that his wife is an ordained pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. I know of no contemporary politician – Christian or Muslim- with a closer relationship with the Christian community. Surely, this is not the profile of a religious bigot. Of course, the political climate has been so poisoned that it may be unwise for the APC to present a Muslim-Muslim ticket. But the earlier we cast off the bewitchment of Boko Haram thinking and clearly demarcate between religion and politics, the better for our polity.

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday

Mikel, our joker (My World Cup diary (2))

I enjoy sneaking into viewing centres to watch the weekend games because it gives me the opportunity to gauge how sports lovers relate with The Nation and Sportinglife. I deliberately enter such places when games have begun to avoid attention. Yet, I’m recognised and debates start. I listen to their views and leave better informed. These fans follow the game. They perceive writers as experts in their trade. Yet, I tell them that they always confound me with their depth of knowledge. The fans are not always impressed with my silence but that is who I am. On Saturday, I watched Chelsea lose 1-2 to Sunderland. l looked out for John Mikel Obi to see if he would start the game. Mikel didn’t but I was satisfied with what I observed as it concerned his relationship with the team’s manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho won the battle to keep Mikel from Manchester United.

Mourinho again sought a psychologist to talk to the Nigerian in the early days at Stamford Bridge to see himself as a professional and not a disc jockey. As the Chelsea game progressed without Mikel, I nursed writing a stinker about Mourinho because the squad he set out against Sunderland was too weak not to have the Nigerian play a significant role. But my sentiments for Mikel faded out when Samuel Eto’ O scored the opening goal. As Eto’O celebrated, he ran towards the bench to dance Azonto. Then I changed my mind on Mourinho. The Special One tapped Mikel behind him, shrugged his shoulders while dancing on his seat to copy what Eto’O was doing and he smiled. Mikel got up to tap the excited manager on the shoulder and shook hands across Mourinho’s shoulders. I was bowled over. No malice against Mikel, I muttered in between a

smile. Mourinho clearly has Mikel in his plans and keeps him on the bench for tactical reasons. It dawned on me that Mikel would be our joker at the 2014 World Cup, only if our coaches are following his game through Chelsea’s matches. Indeed, Mikel chose his 27th birthday night to prove his world-class act against Athletico Madrid in Spain on Tuesday with a remarkable performance, although he would be excluded from the return leg game at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday. Mikel was Chelsea’s Rock of Gibraltar against the Spaniards, with his stout defending, culminating in a yellow card late in the game. Mikel’s sterling role on Tuesday showed that he is fit for the Mundial. He showed he could be handed duties to decide how a team should play. He galvanized Chelsea’s defence with his spirited challenges to wrest the ball off Atletico’s

players. He earned seven points out of ten from ratings. This underscores why he needs to make Brazil 2014, the platform to wrest the Africa Footballer of the Year award from Yaya Toure next time around. Did I just see you sneer at the thought? Mark my word, Mikel looks set to be one of the heroes of the 2014 World Cup, if he maintains the fitness I saw on Tuesday night and shows the fighting spirit and doggedness while playing for Nigeria. Mikel needs to be told to avoid poking his nose into disputes on the pitch. Such commentaries are done by the team’s captain. The yellow card Mikel received was unnecessary. And this isn’t the first time he has been punished for side comments by the referee. But would Mikel show the same level of understanding with our coaches if kept on the bench for tactical reasons? Read my lips. For sure, our coaches have not earned our players’ respect with their tactics; nor have they shown that they would be fair to all with their selection methods? If Mikel plays in Brazil with the kind of tactical discipline he exhibits playing

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April 26, 2014  

April 26, 2014 Publication for The Nation Newspapers

April 26, 2014  

April 26, 2014 Publication for The Nation Newspapers