Page 1

PIB: Oil firms list objections

• Lobby lawmakers over ‘draconian clause’ • Fault ceding of powers to Minister –Page 4

NEW INSIDE

–Pages 33, 34 & 47

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.07, No. 2208

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

SUNDAY

N200.00

AUGUST 5, 2012

Okagbare finishes last in 100m 100m men’s final holds today Serena wins Olympic Gold medal Senegal, Egypt crash out –PAGES 70-71

Aviation road show

Disquiet in govt as minister takes senators abroad –PAGE 2

Lawmaker scrambles for estacode Jonathan sets up independent advisory committee on aviation

Martins takes over from Okogie • Promises renewed evangelisation –PAGE 5

Alleged $620,000 bribe

Police await AGF’s advice on Lawan Former Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie (left) and his successor, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins during his installation as the new Archbishop of Lagos, yesterday. Photo: NAN

–PAGE 4


INSIDE Politics

Ahmed, Saraki in second term blues —Pg 19 Opinion A thieving political dynasty —Pg 16

Miscellany

Shoddy implementation of the electric power sector reform —Pg 53

Entertainment Secrets of my marriage —Omotola —Pp 34 & 39

Pp 36, 37, 38

Insight Nigerians must go! • Tending the Nigeria/ Ghana fractured relationship —Pp 23 & 26

The Arts Talent is important, but hard work is better —Pg 51

2

NEWS THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

T

HE Senate has accepted Aviation Minister Stella Oduah’s offer of a three nation ‘Foreign Investment drive’, it was gathered yesterday in Abuja. Three senators are to undertake the trip to China, the United States of America (USA) and Canada with Mrs. Oduah, ostensibly to study those countries’ airspace policies and airports and compare with Nigeria’s with a view to determining the nation’s inadequacies. A similar offer had earlier been rejected outright by the House of Representatives which felt accepting it could compromise its principled stance on the way the 2012 budget is being implemented by the executive arm of government. The House is currently locked in a stand-off with government over what it calls the slow pace at which the budget is being executed and gave government up till September 30 to ensure 100 per cent implementation otherwise it will initiate impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan. Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, last Thursday met Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of the House of Representatives to plead with him to prevail on his colleagues to soft pedal. The Presidency and the leadership of the ruling PDP have also been mounting pressure on Tambuwal to rein in his colleagues. However,The Nation on Saturday gathered yesterday in Abuja that the Senators showed no qualm in accepting the minister’s offer. One of them was even said to have gone to the Ministry on Wednesday to ask that his basic travelling allowance for the trip be handed over to him directly rather than be paid through a third party. The PDP Senator was however prevailed upon to follow due process by forwarding his bank details to officials of the ministry to enable them process the transaction. Sources also said President Jonathan has set an independent advisory committee to personally guide him on how to correct the rot in the aviation sector. This will be without any prejudice to the report submitted by the Air Commodore John Obakpolor (rtd.) Technical and Administrative Review panel which looked into the June 3, 2012 Dana Air plane crash in Lagos. Though our correspondent gathered that were reservations in government circles regarding the three-nation tour considering the huge financial implication sources explained that the President was told some positives gains would be recorded from the trip.

Aviation road show: Disquiet in govt as minister takes senators abroad • Lawmaker scrambles for estacode • Jonathan sets up independent advisory committee on aviation From Yomi Odunuga, Abuja Bureau Chief

Officials of the ministry, its parastatals and all lawmakers last the National Assembly’s aviation committees were scheduled to depart Abuja night for the trip. An aviation source said of the trip: “I can tell you that no one in The Presidency is exactly convinced about how a road show on the Nigerian aviation sector can attract investors. It may end up being a jamboree but it is too late in the day to cancel the trip. “However, it is shameful to see how some of our lawmakers, especially the senators, scramble to get their estacode from the aviation ministry. You ask yourself whether these persons ever learn from the mistakes of others. “Just last Wednesday, one of them practically

spent the whole day trying to convince officials to hand over his BTA to him. It took the intervention of some directors to convince him to leave his bank details so that the money could be paid. And I speak of a man who once occupied a very high office in his state of origin. What is wrong with them? “From what we know that trip is a jamboree and we do not need that sort of distraction at a time when there is a big question mark over how that sector is being run. Somehow, some powerful forces have been able to muscle their way through and the trip will go on as scheduled. “However, the President has decided to take his destiny in his own hands. He has set a high-powered presidential advisory committee on the aviation sector. The committee is saddled with the sole responsibility

of working directly with him with the aim of ensuring safety in the sector and raising the operational standards in line with the best global practice.” It could not be confirmed at press time whether the senators had collected their BTAs for the trip. Reacting to the Reps’ rejection of the trip offer on Friday, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Aviation on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, said: “There is no malicious intent about this trip at all. We are going on an investment drive. We had investment road show where we opened a basket of opportunities for investors whom we are going to meet during the tour. “We intend to visit a few countries and meet some investors we have had contact with. We are going to woo them to tell them that we are ready for their investments.

“It is not a trip for leisure at all, it is a working tour. We decided to invite members of the committees in the two chambers because they are critical stakeholders whose experience and input could help our investment drive. “The lawmakers have always been part of our programmes. They participated in our recent conference on aviation development in Africa. We need to carry them along so that if we come back to Nigeria, they will be in the full picture of the investments we have attracted and assist us with the appropriate legal framework. “So, it can never be a curious trip, we are not persuading the lawmakers to go abroad.” A source close to the ministry told our correspondent last night that the minister is travelling with six special assistants and one director in the ministry.

•L-R: Gov. Jonah Jang of Plateau State with the Commander, Special Task Force (STF), Maj.-Gen. Henry Ayoola during the governor's visit to Jos community and the family of Late Sen. Gyang Dantong at Bachi Village, Riyom (LGC) of Plateau State on Friday. Photo: NAN

Failed bombing: Sympathisers besiege Fika Emir’s palace

S

YMPATHISERS have been trooping in their hundreds to the palace of the Emir of Fika, Yobe State, Dr. Mohammadu Abali Ibn Mohammadu Idrissa to congratulate him on his escape from death after a suicide bomber failed to reach him on Friday. The bomber was prevented from reaching the emir by worshippers who formed a cordon around him as he left the mosque at the end of the jumat

From Duku Joel, Damaturu

prayers. The Emir’s police orderly also succeeded in pushing the suspect away and as he landed on the ground the explosive went off tearing him into pieces. One of the callers on the Emir was the Emir of Gudi Alhaji Isa Ibn Khaji who prayed that Allah may continue to protect him Other Emirs in the state have also sent delegations to felicitate with the royal

father. Trade associations, groups and religious leaders like Ulamas have also visited the palace. Speaking to newsmen at his palace Dr. Idrissa called on his people to continue to live in harmony. He said of the attack:”What happened on Friday was unfortunate. I heard an explosion while we were coming out of the Mosque. It is very

bad that this is even happening in the holy month of Ramadan when all Muslims are fasting. “We thank God that no life was lost. May God grant quick recovery to those that sustained injuries. I call on our people to continue to pray for calm and for peace to be restored in our state and Nigeria at large.” Security has been beefed up around the Emir’s palace.


Column

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

The festival of royal pythons

OR the past few weeks, this column has been entertaining readers with some Aesopian fables of political animals or what General Obasanjo, in a moment of scriptural revelation, famously referred to as “this animal called man”. We have had dogs killing tigers. We have had the feast of the goat. Last week, it was the trial of cows. Some have in fact argued that certain countries, particularly in Africa, are no better than human zoos with feral denizens tearing at each other to death. We refuse to be drawn into this controversy. All we have been able to establish so far is that there are animals, and there are animals. Whether humans are animals or animals are human remains to be seen. But for this column, it has been a spectacular display of the animal kingdom on a historic and parabolic canvas. Even as an oral form, parables also have their own politics. Political parables are strategic interventions in political discourse when reality defies the tools of conventional Political Science. It is meet therefore to conclude this series on animals with snakes or serpents. Snakes are also animals. But it is only a suicidal fool who would keep some species of snakes as a pet at home. Please come with this column on this historic exhibition of Nigeria’s royal pythons. It may well be the last snapshot of political antiquity, or what the cheeky and irreverent Salman Rushdie would call, “the Moor’s last sigh” Some scientific observations are in order at this point. For big snakes such as anacondas, pythons and boa constrictors, there are two significant moments which are always a source of anxiety coupled with muted excitement. This is either when they are casting off their slough, that is shedding old skin, or when they have swallowed an unusually big prey. Both moments involve a degree of immobility and enervation which makes the serpent very vulnerable. A big snake can be rooted to the same spot for several days while the digestive process gets underway. This is when it becomes an easy prey itself. While lizards shed their dead hide in flakes, snakes cast theirs in one single slough which makes the spectacle surreal and memorable. But when casting its slough, the big snake often becomes furious and irrationally defensive. This is because the milky substance secreted to aid the process often gets into the eye rendering it partially sightless. This is why it could lash at anything in blind and impotent fury. In a significant intervention during the week, Nigeria’s most successful political generals, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, bemoaned the state of the nation and expressed concern about the swift descent into anomie and ungovernability. However one disagrees with their political antecedents and the incorrigible nature of their suspect worldviews, one cannot discount or discountenance their strategic importance and centrality to the resolution of the

F

S

3

nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu

•Python

current national crisis. Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels. But you must give it to the two gentlemen that they are acute political cardiologists when it comes to reading the heart beat of the nation. They know when things are going awry and when to make bold moves on the political chessboard. Being notable habitués of the political crematorium, they know where the ashes are kept. You can accuse them of rank hypocrisy but not political cowardice. There is little doubt that Nigeria now faces a grave threat to its existence or the survival of the current civil dispensation. The security situation has worsened in the past fortnight with the Boko Haram sect serially humiliating the state and the military hinting darkly and ominously of being overstretched. While the new NSA is yet to achieve notable success, two traditional notables of the north have barely survived a ferocious personal assault. The emirate stands demystified. Militarily, politically, economically and even diplomatically, the situation has never been graver than this.

Something will have to give very shortly. With an impeachment axe dangling over Jonathan’s head, with the economy virtually imploding as a result of outlandish corruption, the diplomatic snub handed over to Nigeria by Hillary Clinton is a measure of how isolated Nigeria currently is even from its western patrons. In the light of this scary background, no one can fault the concern of the two military titans and elder statesmen. Given their outstanding ability as military and political strategists, it is no surprise that the joint communiqué of the two retired generals was primed to achieve maximum impact. It is a measure of their importance—and self-importance— that they let it be known to us lesser mortals that they met themselves first before trying to extend the courtesy and privilege to other members of the conclave of former Nigerian rulers. Those thus effectively sidelined include General Yakubu Gowon, their old superior officer and former Commander in Chief, and Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the first executive president of Nigeria. What

Generals Obasanjo and Babangida seem to be saying is that they are the joint masters of the contemporary Nigerian political turf. They may be right. What then is the political basis of what many may consider an overweening conceit and arrogance of power? Between them, the two have ruled Nigeria the longest accounting for almost twenty years of our post-independence existence. One is our second longest military ruler ever while the other is our longest ruler if civilian and military tenures are added. What is even more significant is that between them the two have been directly and indirectly responsible for the emergence of several heads of state with Babangida directly responsible for the emergence of Ernest Shonekan/ General Sani Abacha and most probably General Abubakar, his childhood playmate. This is not to discount the role of the Minnaborn general’s tanks in the putsch that brought Murtala to power. Babangida also played a major if not the star role in the emergence of General Obasanjo as civilian president. In the case of General Obasanjo, he is directly responsible for the emergence of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and the political ascendancy of Goodluck Jonathan. He is also known to have used his military incumbency to facilitate the election of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979. It can be seen from the statistics that no two individuals have dominated Nigeria’s postcolonial political space as the two generals. They have been with us since the civil war and they are still with us almost half a century later in the worst nightmare of post-colonial Nigeria. If their medicine had worked, we ought not to be in

Baba, mind the gap

A

S the inclement weather worsens on the Nigerian political terrain, as the turbulence intensifies in the land, snooper is minded to issue a travel advisory to Yoruba leaders, particularly the revered elders of the House of Oduduwa. It is painful these days to watch some of them jumping from one political platform to the other in search of political relevance or simply to settle old political scores. Very soon, they may find themselves lining behind the devil himself. We appeal to our elders to refrain from this unworthy drama. Baba, please mind the gap. Those of them who are still familiar with the British Underground Rail System must remember that whenever a train is approaching a station platform, disembarking passengers are usually advised to mind the gap between the train and the platform. “Mind the gap,

please”, the audio system repeatedly announces. In extreme cases, people have been known to fall off the platform straight into the fatal jaws of live electric cables below. In less fatal but comically distressful circumstances, people have been known to jump from one platform to the wrong platform only to commence a journey to nowhere. A visitor from Nigeria who was headed for Willesden Green on the Jubilee Line suddenly found himself in Waterloo. Another Nigerian commuter, obviously well-versed in British history, who was heading for Richmond took the wrong District Line and ended up at the Tower Bridge. He let forth a historic scream which shook the train to its foundation. Finally, a minor Nigerian royalty who went, against advice, on a solitary shopping spree on the Metropolitan Line found himself

stranded on one platform and quickly made for the other, thinking that all roads must lead home one way or the other. He was eventually fished out of an Old People’s Shelter in Whitechapel. The linguistically challenged Kabiyesi had been robbed and mugged to the bargain. As the royal pythons rumble in acute irritation, this is not the time for old men to be ambling from one political platform to the other in obvious distress. Pythons have been known to consume babies and political oldies with equal celerity. As a youth, snooper once chanced upon a mighty python with the head of an antelope stuck in its mouth. It was not a pretty sight. If our elders and political heroes have nothing more worthy and worthwhile doing, they should sit back at home to watch the festival of the royal pythons with their doting grandchildren

this desperate situation that we have found ourselves at least. When these military colossi advocate “grassroots initiatives and dialogue” as panaceas to the problems confronting the nation, one is almost tempted to laugh them to scorn. The point is that both are antidemocratic dinosaurs and classic exemplars of the cloak and dagger politics normally associated with political cabals and sectarian military cells. If either were to be a genuine believer in dialogue, one would not have annulled the freest and fairest election in the history of the country while the other would not have attempted to rule Nigeria in perpetuity through the infamous Third Term gambit. While General Babangida appears genuinely contrite and remorseful about his grave political error, General Obasanjo has continued to live in denial despite crushing evidence to the contrary. The two cannot escape the charge that they are the principal architects of the very woes they are bemoaning. In view of the carnage and bloodshed that has gone on, in view of the misery and biblical suffering that this country has witnessed, in view of the lost opportunities, one might be tempted to ask the two gentlemen to take a walk or even say something ruder and more discourteous. But that would be demeaning the highest institution in the land. In any case, this is not the time for unproductive anger. This is the time for strategic focus and brilliant initiatives from those seeking to genuinely transform Nigeria Nobody can jump ahead of the contradictions of their time. Our two generals are very much products of their time and eras. It was the golden age of autocrats. In most parts of the world, the era has ended. But in Nigeria, its powerful residue and offensive ordure remain. . Generals Obasanjo and Babangida are our last surviving royal pythons. They will not depart lightly. If the opposition remains disorganised and disoriented as it appears currently, nothing will stop the formidable duo from once again imposing their solution and granite will on the national crisis. That will be the last rumble in the jungle of royal python. As the apocalyptic rumbling intensifies in the Nigerian jungle, it is useful to keep the thread of this Aesopian fable in mind. It is raining thunder and sulphuric acid. There is a golden rainbow in the horizon. Will the royal python cast its slough in a symbolic deference to transformation or will it seek to swallow a prey much bigger than itself and end up in soup? Only time will tell.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

News

4

Yobe urges residents to disregard false text messages From Duku JOEL, Damaturu

HE Yobe State government yesterday asked the general public especially residents of Damaturu to disregard false text messages aimed at causing disaffection between Christians and Muslims in the state. It deplored the antics of the brains behind such hate messages at this time when everyone is yearning for peace in the country. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Information Affairs, Abdullahi Bego, in a statement, said: “We are compelled once again to urge people to discountenance a false text message being circulated by some mischievous elements wanting to cause disaffection in our state. “The text message, signed by an unidentified source purportedly from ‘CAN Abuja’ claimed thus: “Yobe is boiling now, churches are being burnt, many Christians killed.” “We wish to state categorically that this text is false, misleading and mischievous. “This is the third time in the recent past that these mischievous elements would spread this kind of false information to create false impressions on the minds of unsuspecting members of the public.

T

O

NLY the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), is standing between the suspended Chairman of the House Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, Mallam Farouk Lawan, and the commencement of his trial for alleged corruption. Also slated for trial for the same offence is the Clerk of the committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo. The duo has been recommended for trial by a Special Task Force headed by Commissioner of Police (CP) Amodu Ali. They are alleged to have accepted $620000 as bribe from oil magnate, Mr. Femi Otedola. They face seven years imprisonment if convicted by any High Court of Justice under the enabling Act of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission. The maximum sentence is in addition to the payment of a fine of not less than five times the sum of the value of the gratification. The police have already

Alleged $620,000 bribe: Police await AGF’s legal advice on Lawan’s fate • Anxiety as Police ask Lawan, Emenalo to report on Tuesday • Risk seven-year jail term/$3.1m fine • Rep hires Afe Babalola (SAN) From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

asked Lawan and Emenalo to report again on Tuesday. It was gathered that police report on their investigation of the matter and the recommendations of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar, are now receiving the attention of the AGF. The AGF is expected to determine whether a prima facie case has been established against the suspects and who, between the police and the ICPC, should prosecute them. A reliable source in the know of the case said last night: “The police have really concluded their investigation and the Office of the AGF is already in receipt of

the report. “It is a fait accompli that the two suspects will be prosecuted. The AGF will give his legal opinion on how the trial of the suspects should be handled. He will determine when they will face trial and whether it is the police or ICPC that will manage the case. “As a matter of fact, the AGF and the IGP have had audience last week, which was suspected to be in connection with the arraignment of the suspects.” It was not immediately clear yesterday whether the police invitation of Lawan and Emenalo for Tuesday is routine or for the commencement of their trial. A source in Lawan’s defence team said: “We are al-

ready aware of the fact that our client and Emenalo have been recommended for trial. We are also battle ready but we learnt that they are waiting for AGF’s advice. “Whatever it is, Nigerians will know the truth during the trial. As for Lawan’s report on Tuesday, I think it is a routine thing. We have been going there as prescribed in the bail terms offered by the police.” Responding to a question, the source said: “There are many angles to this case but we are battle ready in all fronts. We have civil and criminal dimensions to the case. As for the civil aspect, the alleged bribe giver has sued the House of Representatives and the Ad Hoc Committee for allegedly in-

•L - R: Former World Court Judge, Prince Bola Ajibola; Guest Lecturer, Imam AbdurRahman Ahmad; Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Suraj Ishola Adekunbi; Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; his wife, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun; Chief Judge of Ogun State, Hon. Justice Olatokunbo Olopade; and Chairman, Ogun State ACN, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello; during the Special Ramadan Iftar at the Arcade Ground, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta... yesterday.

PIB: Oil firms list objections

M

ULTINATIONAL oil companies operating in the country are kicking over many vital clauses of the much acclaimed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) sent to the National Assembly three weeks ago by President Goodluck Jonathan. Eight areas of the bill are particularly irritating to the oil firms and have asked the Presidency to re-examine the issues raised failing which they may scale exploration activities over the next few years. Top on the list of their apprehensions are: increase in taxes, royalty and the ceding of powers hitherto exercised by the President to the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Simultaneously, they have launched into lobbying Senators and members of the House of Representatives to address the contentious issues once debate on the bill commences. Sources close to the oil companies described the clauses as not investorfriendly. One of the sources said: “The IOCs are uncomfortable with the PIB and if care

• Lobby lawmakers over ‘draconian clause’ • Fault ceding of powers to Minister by Jonathan From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

is not taken by the National Assembly it might lead to divestment in the nation’s oil and gas sector by oil majors. “They prefer the old PIB to the new one which they rate as ‘choking and unfriendly to investment.’ That is why they have raised a crack team to lobby Senators and members of the House of Representatives. “For instance, the powers given to Minister of Petroleum Resources are too enormous. The powers hitherto vested in the President are now to be exercised by any Minister in charge of Petroleum Resources. “These powers can breed corruption because any Petroleum Minister can do and undo without reference to the President. If an arrogant, wild, or corrupt person becomes Minister of Petroleum Resources, he can bring down the oil industry.” Another source in one of the oil majors said: “From

the way the PIB is designed, Nigeria’s oil industry is no longer lucrative to the IOCs because they may end up making only about 3% profit every year. “The deductions as contained in the PIB are many. For example, oil companies pay 3% of their capital expenditure budget to Niger Delta Development Company (NDDC). In this new PIB, they have to pay another 10% into a Petroleum Host Community Fund; and 85 % as Petroleum Profit Tax. So, they will have about 2-3% to cope with.” The source alleged that the PIB has carefully given 40 per cent derivation to the oil producing areas in the Niger Delta, adding “Currently, the oil producing states in the Niger Delta get 13% derivation and NDDC receives 3% but with the proposed 10 % for host community, the Niger Delta will be receiving about 26%. And if you add regular allocations to oil producing states from the Federation Account, the Niger

Delta will be taking almost 40%.” An oil executive said of the proposed high taxes and royalty: “The main objective of the government with the PIB is to maximize revenue from oil and gas. But the government does not know how to go about it whether to increase taxes or boost production. “The government said the taxes are too small, they need to increase them through the PIB. But they have not taken cognizance of the fact that the taxes are high at present in the oil and gas sector. “The implication of high taxes in the bill is that in the short term, the Federal Government will earn more revenue within the first five years of operating the bill. After five years, if there is no new investment, production will drop, there will be a drastic fall in revenue and unemployment in the industry will increase. “It takes a minimum of five years for an oil field to produce. Some of the oil com-

panies with new oil fields will manage to ensure the next five years to recoup their investments before calling it quit.” Asked to be specific, the source added that the IOCs are not happy with arbitrary increase in royalty on oil and gas in the PIB. “Even before the PIB was finalized, the IOCs made their feelings known but the government ignored these observations. “For example, the government wants to increase the utilization of natural gas for power supply and petrochemical. The IOCs are not opposed to effective utilization of natural gas but the government has increased the royalty on gas from 5-7% to 12% under the PIB. “With the increase in royalty, how does the government encourage investors to come in? The direct implication is that most of the gas projects will not be viable. Some of these projects, like Oke LNG (Chevron/Shell); Brass LNG (ENI, Total, NNPC), will be dead on arrival. Any other future projects will be dead on arrival because nobody will touch them again.

dicting his companies. Lawan has sought the leave of the court to be joined in the civil matter with a legal giant, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), as his counsel.” There were strong indications that ICPC might handle the trial of the suspects. It was learnt that the suspects might be arraigned in line with Sections 8, 10, 15, 20 and 20 of the ICPC Act 2000. A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The lawmaker and the Clerk can be tried cumulatively in line with sections 8, 10, 15, 20 and 20 of the ICPC Act 2000. “Alternatively, each of the suspects could be tried based on alleged violation of any of the said sections. The outcome of investigation by the police will determine the charges against Lawan and the Clerk of the House Committee.” Responding to a question, the source added: “This is not the first time that ICPC will be handling the trial of public officers under the same sections. We should not lose sight of the fact that it was the ICPC that prosecuted the case of a former President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara; ex-Minister (Prof.) Fabian Osuji and others when the bribe-for-budget case came up. “The same ICPC is prosecuting a former Minister, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, who was at one time a National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).” On the prosecution of the suspects, another source claimed that by virtue of Section 26 of the ICPC Act, the Attorney-General of the Federation is empowered to prosecute Lawan or any other suspect. He said the Nigeria Police may not have anything to do with the prosecution other than giving evidence during trial on their findings. He also said that ideally, the case ought to be concluded within 90 working days. The section says: “Prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be initiated by the Attorney-General of the Federation, or any person or authority to whom he shall delegate his authority, in any superior court of record do designated by the Chief Judge of a State or the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja under section 61 (3) of this Act; and every prosecution for an offence under this Act or any other law prohibiting bribery, corruption, fraud or any other related offence shall be deemed to be initiated by the Attorney-General of the Federation.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

News

Five killed as explosions rock Maiduguri

Pirates kill two naval ratings, injure two others

•Troops raid homes By Abiodun Joseph with agency report

•Abduct four expatriates

F

IVE persons have been assassinated in Maiduguri on a day explosions rocked much of the city. Those killed included a father and his two sons and three others in Gwange area of the metropolis. As the explosions raged troops engaged suspected Islamic radicals and raided homes. The explosions, which began late Friday, occurred in three neighbourhoods notorious for attacks blamed on the Boko Haram sect, and residents fled as troops went door-todoor arresting people suspected of complicity, they said. It created much panic particularly among residents of old Maiduguri, Gamboru ward, Custom area and Gwange. “Last night, there were explosions in Gwange area which went on till the late hours and today the explosions continued in Kalari and Budum neighbourhoods,” Modu Ari, a Budum resident said. “Soldiers moved from house to house arresting people, forcing residents to flee their homes to escape arrest,” said Ari, who had left his house with his family on Saturday. Ali Faltaye, a resident of Kalari, said troops battled suspected sect members in the area, sending residents fleeing to avoid being caught up in the fighting or arrested by soldiers. “Since morning, loud explosions have been going on in the area and soldiers have been breaking into homes making arrests,” Faltaye said. Military and police authorities were not available for comment. The group has stepped up bomb and gun attacks since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Oil, gas: NEITI to audit JP Morgan, Federation accounts From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

T

HE Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) yesterday unfolded plans to audit subsidy payments, remittances to Federation Account and the JP Morgan Account management. The Director, Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, who made this disclosure in the Extractive Industries Transparency Industries (EITI) Implementation Report, said the audit will be concluded by the end of 2012. “For oil and gas, the scope of the on-going audits has been expanded to include upstream, downstream with required attention on such issues as subsidy payments, remittances to Federation account and the JP Morgan Account management etc. This is in addition to physical and process issues,” he said. According to him, before the Solid Minerals audit commenced, NEITI carried out a mining scoping study of the sector in 2011 with the support of the World Bank MultiDonor Trust Fund.

5

•3-storey building under construction collapses in Port Harcourt From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

P

•Accident on Ojoo-Iwo Road in Ibadan, yesterday.

PHOTO: NAN

Martins takes over from Okogie • Promises renewed evangelisation T HE Most Reverend Alfred Adewale Martins yesterday mounted the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos,39 years after the last occupant, Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie, was installed. Archbishop Martins was until now the Bishop of Abeokuta. He promised to pursue his task with vigour saying, “I embrace the task. Let us renew our commitment to evangelisation.” His crowd-pulling installation was performed at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos by the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja. Such was the crowd that canopies had to be erected at the nearby City Hall and Freedom Park to accommodate people who watched the proceeding on large screens. Also huge was the number of priests in attendance. Among them were the Archbishop of Benin City and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Augustine Akubeze who gave

By Nneka Nwaneri

the homily. Bishop Akubeze told Lagos and Catholics that they have nothing to fear on account of the exchange of baton. He said of Cardinal Okogie: “He is a priest with a difference. He is a friend and companion to the marginalised, helpless and voiceless; an activist of repute, who guided the archdiocese with diligence and respect. He was the prophetic voice that challenged those in government, and did that for all his 39years in office. “There is a tripod here: the Caller, the called and the purpose. God chooses the weak of the world to shame the strong. Bishop Martins has been called and chosen for service, not as a duty, but what God wants.” He then turned to the new archbishop, saying: “This position demands a great measure of service. You are to be courageous and yet simple. Every call has a purpose at-

tached to it, and just like St Paul, you are to proclaim the good news and give sight to the blind. You share in the three offices of Christ: Priest, Prophet and King. You should be the voice of the poor and learn from Jesus and how he succeeded in his mission. “The work here is more daunting than what you have in Abeokuta. It is remarkable to know that your appointment is coming at this time, just like Abraham who travelled far to respond to God’s call.” Cardinal Okogie thanked God for his 39 years of accomplishment and said the church’s motto of “Faith, courage and love” had kept him going. He said: “Thirty nine years down the line, we can now testify that our faith has not been in vain. The One who gave the task did in fact provide the means of accomplishment. To him I give glory. “My words at this moment are words of gratitude

to God for some days of joy and also dark nights. The nights were necessary and good. “My nearly 40 years in the vineyard has been anything but inspiring. Most governments have come and gone, both military and civilian, and most of them have not had the genuine interest of Nigerians at heart. Their interest is to pursue their own personal agenda and favour their own circle of friends and government. “As a result, our intervention was misconstrued by those in authority in particular. In reality, far from being confrontational, we only wanted to challenge those in government and authority to deliver good governance, so that the interest of all Nigerians will be met. Cardinal Okogie gave a rundown of the scorecard of the archdiocese, adding that successions were established so that there will be growth and continuity in the church.

Declaration of ‘Ogoni Autonomy Day’ treasonable, says Amaechi

G

OVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has described as treasonable felony Thursday’s declaration of autonomy for the Ogoni in the state by one Goodluck Diigbo who claimed to be acting on behalf of the people. Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, told journalists that Diigbo’s aim is not achievable and the man will flee at the slightest attempt to question him by the security agencies. He said: “On Ogoni autonomy, I wish them well. Ogoni autonomy is not achievable. The man (Diigbo) who declared Ogoni autonomy will run into the bush tomorrow morning. What Diigbo is doing is treasonable felony. You do not declare autonomy on the pages of newspapers and magazines or on radio and television.” Diigbo, an Ogoni, claims to be President/Spokesman of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). The Chairman of MOSOP

•Ogoni leaders hold marathon meeting From Bisi Olaniyi and Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

Provisional Council, Prof. Ben Naanen, in a telephone interview from Ogoni last night after the MOSOP Congress, maintained that there is peace in Ogoni. He said the trouble makers have been put in check. He said the congress at Bori was well attended by Ogoni people from the four Local Government Areas of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme. Naanen asked Diigbo to stop deceiving himself with his August 2 declaration and stressed that Ogoni people are not bothered about Diigbo’s activities. The chairman of the MOSOP provisional council also said Ogoni people at the congress resolved that the recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Ogoniland must be implemented to the letter. Security agencies in the state - police, SSS and the Joint

Military Task Force declined to speak on Diigbo’s pronouncement. Earlier on Friday, Prof. Naanen and other Ogoni leaders disowned the declaration of ‘Ogoni Autonomy Day’ by Diigbo, insisting that Ogoni people are not for sovereignty. They said all that their people are interested in is the creation of Bori State out of the present Rivers and the effective implementation of the recommendations contained in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland, submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja in August last year. They asked government to take lawful measures to check Diigbo’s anti-state activities and protect lives and property in Ogoni, stressing that the cult boys being used by Diigbo for violence constitute an enduring threat to peace in Ogoniland. Governor Amaechi also told reporters that the over 40 waterfront settlements in Port Harcourt would all be demol-

ished before the completion of his tenure in 2015 under his administration’s urban renewal programme. The Njemanze waterfront at Mile One, Diobu, Port Harcourt, was the first to be demolished in 2009.It is yet to be developed and has been turned into a hideout by criminals, who rob, rape, maim and kill innocent people on a daily basis, while the Abonnema Wharf waterfront was demolished about a month ago. Amaechi said: “I will demolish waterfronts till I leave. Criminals live there. We demolished Abonnema Wharf waterfront before the agreed date, after payment of compensation to the landlords, because the rival cult boys in the area were shooting for many days and fighting over which group would control monies being collected from tanker drivers. “Abonnema Wharf people asked Rivers State government to come and demolish the waterfront. They said the armed hoodlums were raping the women and committing other crimes.”

IRATES yesterday, off the coast of Bonny Island, Rivers State, attacked a ship being used by an oil servicing company, killing two naval ratings and injuring two others. Four foreigners on board the ship were kidnapped. It was learnt that the naval personnel on board put up a fight to prevent the kidnap of the expatriates with two losing their lives and two others getting injured. The injured are now receiving treatment in a hospital in Port Harcourt. “An oil servicing company was attacked by gunmen. We lost two of our men and four expatriates were abducted, one Malaysian, one Iranian,” Navy spokesman Commodore Kabir Aliyu said, adding that a Thai and an Indonesian were also taken. He said the attack took place around 33 nautical miles off the coast of Bonny, the country’s main oil export terminal. Netherlands-based Sea Trucks Group, whose boat Jascon was attacked, confirmed that four of its staff had been seized and that two other security guards were also wounded in the attack. “The two remaining injured security personnel are now in Port Harcourt hospital for treatment,” spokeswoman Corrie van Kessel said in a statement. “Sea Trucks Group is making every effort to find out the whereabouts of the kidnappers”. The navy sent a helicopter and another ship into the area to help the attacked ships and search for the people who carried out the attack, Aliyu said. The attack is the second in a week. The first took place penultimate Thursday in Bayelsa state when pirates attacked an AGIP boat killing one and injuring another. Violence by militants in the Niger Delta ebbed in 2009 with a government-sponsored amnesty program promising exfighters monthly payments and job training. Bonny Island, the headquarters of Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State, is the base of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company and the crude oil export terminal of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), as well as other oil servicing companies. Meanwhile, a three-storey building under construction yesterday collapsed at Ekere Street, Rumuabiaka, Port Harcourt. There was no casualty. A witness, who gave his name as Uche Okechukwu, said he and others in the neighbourhood noticed that the blocks started falling off followed by the entire structure collapsing.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

News

6

Ondo 2012: Ehinlanwo to fly CPC’s flag From Damisi Ojo, Akure

T

HE Ondo State chapter of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) at the weekend elected Prince Soji Ehinlanwo as its governorship candidate for the October 20 election in the State. Ehinlanwo, son of the former senator representing Ondo Central, emerged winner of the party’s primaries held at Solton Hotel, Ijapo. He defeated his opponent, Mr. Abiodun Iwatan. The party’s Women Leader, Mrs. Daramola Oluyemi, was also picked as Ehinlanwo’s running mate.The event was witnessed by all political stakeholders including officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police, State Security Service (SSS) officials and civil defence personnel.Ehinlanwo was declared the party’s governorship candidate by chairman of the congress, Chief Ajibade Emiabata, who is also the Chairman Lagos CPC. He commended the peaceful manner the primary was held.He promised to eradicate unemployment in the state, particularly among the youth. The International Consultant attached to the European Commission (EC) berated the ruling Labour Party’s (LP) profligacy, alleging Governor Olusegun Mimiko and his cabinet members have retarded the pace of development in the state. Ehinlanwo urged the citizenry to vote out the ruling administration, which he claimed is full of corruption, deceit and windowdressing projects.

Ex-minister faults Edo PDP’s petition F

ORMER Defence Minister and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Major General Godwin Abbey (Rtd), yesterday described the party’s petition to the governorship election tribunal as uncalled for. He advised his party and the governorship candidate, General Charles Airhiavbere, to work with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in delivering the basic dividends of democracy in Edo. Abbey spoke in a moni-

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

tored live telephone interview with Independent Television (ITV) in Benin City. He said that the July 14 governorship election in Edo had been declared as the fairest and freest in recent times in Nigeria. He advised Airhiavbere to join hands with the progressives and start to work towards 2016. Abbey said: “I am calling from United States of America

where I have gone for a medical check up. And I was told my party had gone to court to challenge the governorship election. ‘’You see, I just want to advise that my brother Charles Airhiavbere should join hands with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to build our state while I also advise him to start working towards 2016. “Well, as I said, if anybody advises my party and Charles about the petition to tribunal, I see it as uncalled for because the election has

been adjudged the fairest and freest in recent time in this country.’’ The member representing Orhiomwon II constituency in the Edo House of Assembly, Hon. Patrick Aisowieren, also called on Airhiavbere to join hands with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Oshiomhole in building a new state. Aisowieren, who was reacting to the petition filed by the PDP and its candidate, said that the whole exercise will end in futility.

We did not shut down 52 base stations- NESREA

T

HE National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) has debunked allegation of shutting down 52 telecommunications base stations across the country. The agency discredited the claim reported in a national daily, describing the statement as an attempt to mislead the public. The Chief Press Secretary of NESREA, Sule Oyofo, in a statement in Abuja, stated that the report credited to the Vice Chairman of the National Communications Commission (NCC) was false. Oyofo said: “The state-

…says 20, 000 stations pose health threats From Olugbenga Adanikin and Halima Sogbesan, Abuja

ment supposedly credited to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC is not correct; this may well be a calculated attempt to mislead the public and peddle falsehood.” However, he explained that there are about 20,000 base stations in the country violating extant environmental laws and regulations. He noted that these stations pose health threats to residents around the areas. “In Nigeria of today, there are about 20,000 exist-

ing base stations nationwide a majority of which are indiscriminately cited without regard to the environmental and health consciousness of peace-loving Nigerians and without regard for the extant environmental laws and regulations.” He alleged that the agency had requested telecom operators to provide their Environmental Audit Report and Environmental Management Plan but received no response. Oyofo further blamed the operators for poor services experienced by sub-

scribers, accusing them of negligence. He explained: “If at all Nigerians have been experiencing poor services, it is not due to NESREA enforcement activities but rather the usual casual manner telecom operators have always handled their activities –which incidentally have impacted negatively on the environment and a threat to the safety of lives of innocent Nigerians.’’ He restated the commitment of the agency to ensuring Nigerians live in a safe environment.

From Olugbenga Adanikin and Halima Sogbesan, Abuja

T

HE Federal Government has denied alleged disbursement of harmful cocoa agrochemicals to the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN). The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, at the weekend in Abuja said the ministry is not responsible for the procurement or award of contracts for agro-chemicals. The federal government, he explained, only facilitated access to agro-inputs under its Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme where farmers contribute 25 percent of the cost while government contributes 25 percent for procurement of agro-inputs at 50 percent of the market price directly from suppliers. Oyemomi also faulted claims of the possible harmful and destructive effects of some of the agro-chemicals listed on the GES scheme for cocoa production. The Permanent Secretary explained that the said agro-chemicals were screened and certified safe by the Cocoa Institute of Nigeria, among other agencies, stressing that cocoa farmers were involved in the decision to roll out the agrochemicals. According to him: “the four agro-chemicals listed on the GES for cocoa production are not unpopular, dangerous or harmful to cocoa trees as insinuated by a faction of the Association. ‘’They are pesticides that have been screened and registered by the Cocoa Institute of Nigeria.’’

How to tackle terrorism in Africa, by expert

Ogun begins healthcare scheme

By Adeola Ogunlade

T

By Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

T

HE Ogun State government has announced the introduction of Community Based Healthcare Insurance Scheme (CBHIS). Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, explained the scheme is a “cost sharing healthcare formula system between the state government and citizens.’’ The Commissioner, who explained that CBHIS is relatively new to the rural communities, spoke at a workshop organised at the weekend by National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), for Ogun State Government officials in Abeokuta. According to Soyinka, the premiums to be paid would be decided by the respective communities involved in the CBHIS. The state government, he stressed, would run the scheme in conjunction with private Insurance firm(s) for efficient management of the money.

FG denies disbursement of harmful agro-chemicals

•L-R: Chief Executive and Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Coprs(FRSC), Osita Chidoka; Director Public Affairs, Nigerian Communication Commission(NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, at the monthly jogging exercise... yesterday

N

O fewer than seven persons have been held by the Police for allegedly inflicting machete cuts on the forehead of a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Lukman Owonikoko, in Oyo East Local Government Area. The victim was said to have been immediately rushed to an undisclosed private hospital in the town where his forehead was stitched on the bill of the Caretaker Chairman of the Local Government, Alhaji Mutahir Adekunle. It was reliably gathered that the incident happened when the ACN’s secretariat in Ibadan, the state capital, released some bags of rice for distribution among members for the Ramadan.

Seven held in Oyo over assault From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

The bags were reportedly handed over to 82- yearold Chief Adedokun Farinu chosen by leaders and members of the party in the area to represent them on all matters, pending the constitution of new executives at the local and ward levels. Chief Farinu was the pioneer chairman of the party in the state. It was learnt that no sooner had the bags arrived the residence of the former party chairman that a rumour spread to some youths that the consumable items were being distributed secretly to selected leaders and

members. Angered by the misinformation, the aggressive youths numbering about twenty were said to have hurriedly mobilised themselves and resolved to move to the former ACN’s chairman’s residence at Farinu Estate in the Oyo-West Local Government area to demand for their share. They were said to have met two members of the party in the compound, including Owonikoko, who reportedly alerted other members through mobile phone. On sighting the reinforcement of ACN members in a convoy of vehicles, the youths were said to have

taken to their heels. The youths, it was learnt, later regrouped at Oke-Eletu Junction in Oyo East Local Government Area, apparently waiting for Owonikoko, who they said prevented them from having their share of the rice. The rampaging youths were, however, overpowered by sympathisers and neighbours who came to the rescue of Owonikoko while some of them were arrested and taken to the police station. Commenting, the council caretaker chairman, Adekunle described the situation as unfortunate and criminal. He called for calm among the people of the area, saying the situation was under control.

HE Chairman, Trans Africa 2000-Security Consults, Ghana, Mr. Syl Juxton Smith, has appealed to African leaders to develop homegrown strategies to tackle terrorism, militancy, sea piracy and other security challenges in the region. He spoke recently at a 2-day African Security Conference in Lagos. Though there have been various ad hoc measures to fight insecurity within the region, the security expert said “there have not been coordinated efforts among member states on the causes and possible solutions that are sustainable.” Smith lamented that the continent is faced with high rate of poverty, bad leadership, youth unemployment, tribal sentiments and unchecked cases of corruption, which he said are fuelling terrorism. He restated the need to educate and sensitise Africans to become more aware on the dynamics of terrorism.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5 , 2012

‘Lagos Assembly budget office will enhance budgeting’ By Oziegbe Okoeki

C

HAIRMAN, Committee on Economic Planning and Budget of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has said that the proposed Budget and Legislative Research Office of the Assembly would be saddled with the responsibility of providing technical support to lawmakers in the House and the budget-related committees of the House. Obasa stated this at a public hearing on ‘The Lagos State House of Assembly Budget and Legislative Research Office Bill, 2012,’ which held at the Lateef Jakande Auditorium in the assembly complex yesterday. The Bill, when it becomes law, Obasa said, “will no doubt lead to much desired institutionalisation of transparency, financial prudence and accountability in budgeting and good governance of the state and this will also serve as an important tool for the implementation of policy decisions to achieve social, economic and political objectives.” In his welcome address, deputy speaker, Hon. Kolawole Taiwo, who represented the speaker, said the bill is meant to strengthen democracy. “It will serve as an information gathering house and settle disputes among varying opinions and political leanings,” he said. Stakeholders present commended the House for its initiative to establish such office, saying its importance to the state is enormous. The Auditor-General for Local Governments, Hassan Mubashiru, canvassed for input of House Service Commission in recruiting the budget and research officers. A representative of Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Abel Asein, appealed to the House to adjust the title of the bill as a law to establish Lagos State House of Assembly Physical Planning and Budgeting Process in Lagos State. Hon. Rotimi Abiru, who gave the overview of the bill, explained that the budget office will empower the executive to do justice to budget.

Sister Beatrice buried

I

T was amidst tears and wailing that Mrs. Beatrice Oburoh (nee Erigha), who died on July 8, 2012, aged 52, after a brief illness, was yesterday buried in her home town, Kokori Inland, Ethiope-East Local Government Area, Delta State. Born July 16, 1959, the late Oburoh was, until her death, the Deputy Managing Director of Sabeanat Nigeria Limited, a company she co-founded in 1992 and which specialises in the marketing of milk powder and margarine. She had earlier worked for African Alliance Insurance Company Limited before she became Customer Services Manager at Express Corporate Services Limited. A devout Christian, she worshipped at the God’s Kingdom Society (GKS), Lagos Island and held positions such as the financial secretary of the GKS Women fellowship, financial secretary of Charity Sisters, and secretary of League of Freedomites, amongst others. She is survived by her husband, Sam Oburoh, and four children.

News

7

MASSOP wants cancer screening for all Ogoni people •Tells FG to implement A S UNEC recommendations

Adhere to road traffic law, Lagos Speaker tells drivers

year after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a report on Ogoniland, the Chairman of the Provisional Council of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Prof. Ben Naanen, has called on the Federal Government to quickly implement the recommendations contained in the report. Naanen, a Professor of Economic History at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), yesterday in an interview in the Rivers State capital, called for comprehensive cancer screening for all Ogoni citizens, following revelations contained in the

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

UNEP report. He declared that the Federal Government had not demonstrated sufficient political will to implement the recommendations contained in the UNEP report on Ogoniland, maintaining that Ogoni people would occupy Ogoniland very soon. The UNEP’s environmental assessment of Ogoniland was initiated by the Olusegun

Obasanjo’s administration in 2005/2006, supported by the government of late Umaru Yar’Adua. So, the report was issued on August 4, 2011. Although a ministerial committee was later set up by the Federal Government and the report submitted to President Jonathan, the recommendations are yet to be implemented, while many Ogoni people continue to die of cancer. At Ogale-Eleme, Ogoniland in Eleme LGA of

Rivers State, the UNEP report reveals that the water contains cancer-causing Benzene, which is 900 times the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) standards for water contamination. So, the Rivers State Government has sometimes been using tankers to supply water from Port Harcourt to Ogale-Eleme and other affected Ogoni communities. Naanen, who denied claims that they was any split in MASSOP, stated that the marginalised Ogoni people had resolved to embark on international campaigns, to ensure the full and immediate implementation of the UNEP report’s recommendations.

•L-R: Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga; Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola; Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olusola Senapon Oworu and Managing Director Lekki Free Zone, Mr Chin Xiaoxing, during the Lekki Free Zone Investment Forum and Opening Ceremony of the Eko Expo 2012 at Lekki Free Zone Complex Akodo, Lagos. Photo: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL.

Osun PDP threatens to drag Aregbesola to EFCC

T

HE Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State has threatened to drag the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, before the anti graft agencies for withholding monthly allocations of local governments. In a statement by its chairman, Alhaji Gani Ola-Oluwa, the party gave Aregbesola one week to release all funds due to the local governments in the state or be dragged before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission. The party said that it was scandalous to note that some

•Go ahead with your threat – Govt. From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

local governments in the state received as low as N600, 000 last month from Aregbesola as monthly allocation from the federation account. The PDP in Osun State challenged Aregbesola to publish the total amount of money he had released to the local governments in the last one year as their statutory allocations. In a swift reaction, the Osun State government through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Sunday

Akere, and Commissioner for Finance and Budgetary Planning, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, said they should go ahead with the threat. Akere said: It is good that PDP did not claim that we are spending the money, but withholding, they should realise that the ACN government would not do anything like they (PDP) did when they were in power. “It is an irony that the PDP, whose chieftains should be covering their faces in shame, is raising issue of corruption. They should be languishing in EFCC nest for the evil they per-

Amosun’s wife visits prisons, counsels inmates

W

IFE of the governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, on Friday at Ibara Prison Command in Abeokuta, identified with inmates and counselled them to always look unto God no matter the situation. According to her, prisons are meant to ensure the rehabilitation, reformation and reintegration of the inmates back into the society, saying “no matter the circumstance, we should not lose hope but look unto God.” She explained that similar visits were replicated by members of the Spouses of Ogun State Government Functionaries Association (SOSGFA) across the prisons and other less privileged homes in the state to establish a relationship with

the less privileged and know how they could be assisted. “Our visit is not a carnival jamboree and it is not going to be a one-off thing, rather it is an opportunity for us to assess the situation on ground across the less privileged places in the state.” She expressed concern over the alarming number of inmates who are awaiting trial and promised to highlight this fact to the governor in order to bring succour to needy inmates. “We have responsibilities to assist our inmates. It is alarming to know that out of 757 inmates at Ibara Prison Command, 537 inmates are on awaiting trial list,” she said. In his remarks, the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons, Ogun State, Mr. Noel Alewon, ex-

pressed gratitude to the governor’s wife for her good gesture and urged her to continue to extend kind gesture to inmates to make prisons a better place. SOSGFA members also visited Abeokuta Female Prison; New Prison in Oba; Ijebu-Ode Prison; Sagamu Prison; Farm Centre in Ago-Iwoye and Ilaro Prison. Also, visited by members of SOSGFA were Stella Obasanjo’s Children Home, Ibara; Remand Home in Asero; and Lepers’ Colony in Iberekodo. Items such as cartons of spaghetti; bags of rice; cartons of juice and soft drinks; noodles; cartons of detergent; and gallons of groundnut oil, amongst others, were given to all the places visited by Mrs. Amosun and members of SOSGFA.

petrated in the state for over seven years. “If they are serious as a party, they should go ahead with their threat, they should go to EFCC to lodge complaint, we are resolved to changing the state infrastructure for the better. No amount of criticism would deter us from fulfilling our pledge to the electorate in the state,” he said. Finance Commissioner said: “The PDP has no moral justification to raise issues with Ogbeni Aregbesola because they have never been known to show fiscal responsibility in any of their dealings. They looted the state treasury and carted away 1.5b naira on Free Trade Zone project that was not adequately budgeted and used N430million to pull down a hotel building without approval or contractual agreement. “The Free Trade Zone scam was supposed to be a loan from local governments. It was never approved or agreed with local government committee. They broke all the financial regulations and created fictitious stadia projects, which gulped N18 billion. “Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola follows due process and ensures revenues are allocated by the Joint Account Committee of local governments and where extra ordinary revenue is agreed to be conserved, it is conserved by them through a process backed up by Omoluabi Conservation Fund law of the state,” he said.

By Oziegbe Okoeki

PEAKER of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, has appealed to Lagosians, especially drivers of commercial vehicles, to adhere strictly to the new road traffic law passed by the House. He made the appeal at his 14th Ramadan Lecture, held at Police Command GRA, Ikeja on Friday. Ikuforiji warned that whoever goes against the law would be apprehended. “Whenever governor wants to assent to any bill, the House always sends a representative but this time, Fashola asked me to come around him before signing the bill into law because of its importance,” he said. Ikuforiji lamented that parents can no longer send their children out because of reckless driving by commercial drivers and motorcyclists. The speaker also told Muslims at the event that the proposed cremation bill, which most people kicked against, is optional and not compulsory. On his part, the National Missioner of Ansar-udDeen of Nigeria, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman Ahmad, reminded those at the helm of affairs that they would be accountable for their actions, whether good or bad.

IGP needs support to tackle insecurity, says group By Esther Mohammed

A

coalition of some socio-cultural or-

ganisations, Ndigbo Unity Forum, has called on every Nigerian to give the police and other security agencies all the needed support to enable them tackle the problem of insecurity in the country. The group also commended President Goodluck Jonathan on the July 12, 2012 confirmation of Mohammed Abubarka as Inspector-General of Police. The forum, after an emergency meeting on the state of the nation, especially the problem of insecurity, said the current state has forced Nigeria to pay dearly in the area of foreign investment, because nobody will invest in a country where there is no security of lives and properties. According to the group, it is for this reason that all hands must be on deck to tackle the issue of insecurity in the country. A statement signed by the forum’s Chairman, Augustine Chukwudum, called on the federal government to equip the police force with sophisticated gadgets so that they can live up to the task of tackling the menace of Boko Haram and other elements that threaten the existence of Nigerian as a nation.


8

News

Akwa Ibom Varsity seeks private partnership From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

T

HE Akwa Ibom State University has appealed to philanthropic individuals and corporate organisations to complement the efforts of the government by constructing and donating buildings for its physical development. The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Sunday Peters, spoke yesterday during the second matriculation ceremony of 525 students of the institution. Peters stated that with the institution’s intake of 525 students, it showed 75 per cent increase in admissions from the 2011/2012 academic session. He decried that the figure is still far below the 800 benchmark in students’ quota and carrying-capacity allocated to the University by the Joint Admissions and Matriculating Board (JAMB). The vice chancellor urged the matriculating students to justify their parents’ investments in their education by facing their studies. He commended Governor Godswill Akpabio for approving the implementation of the Federal Government/ASUU agreed salary structures in Akwa Ibom State University. According to him, the gesture had restored hope and confidence among the academic staff, who would have wished to seek better opportunities in other universities.

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

UNDP worried over data on school enrolment

T

HE Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria, Mrs. Ade Lekoetje, yesterday expressed concerns over nonavailability of reliable data for public school enrolment. Lekoetje said the development is hampering assistance efforts by the United Na-

From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

tions. She spoke while on a courtesy visit to the headquarters’ of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Abuja. Lekoetje noted that the global economic crunch has

necessitated UNDP to monitor its intervention programmes, particularly in developing nations. Lekoetje observed that only statistics on school attendance are available at state and national levels, a development she informed prompted the visit to UBEC. The UNDP’s Country Di-

T

HE Anglican Bishop of Awka diocese, Right Reverend Dr Alexander Ibezim, yesterday lashed out of political and religious leaders, lamenting they have failed to address rising insecurity, corruption and unemployment in the nation. He spoke with newsmen as part of activities to mark his golden Jubilee anniversary and two years of Episcopacy as Bishop of Awka Diocese. Ibezim regretted political leaders do not keep electoral manifestoes, stressing the nation will remain in the doldrums until they change their attitude. He warned: ‘’Politicians may escape from EFCC and other law enforcement agents responsible for corruption but they can’t escape from God’s own court. There is God who will judge us all….’’ The Bishop visited the motherless baby’s homes and the Nigerian prisons, condemning recurring ethnoreligious and political killings in the country.

God has remembered the inequities of Babylon. Christ is coming soonest. Be ready! www.endtimereachout.blogspot.com

HOSPITAL VACANCIES

From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke

T

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

NO MORE TIME

‘Why we donated classroom, library’ HE Nigerian Breweries Plc Aba has donated a sixclassroom block, a library and an eight- room toilet to a secondary school at Ahiaba High school in Obingwa local government area of Abia state. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the Managing Director of NB Plc, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, said the project was an interventionist policy of the firm to addressing infrastructural challenges in the education sector. Represented by the Aba Brewery Manager, Mr. Ukeje Udah, Vervelde said that the project, which was funded by the Nigerian Breweries Education Trust fund established in 1994, had over the years remained a great source of support for education in Nigeria. He said that some of these projects included infrastructural upgrading in institutions of higher learning, donation of computers, laboratories and laboratory equipment, school blocks as well as the sponsorship of the National Reading competition, among others. The NB Plc boss said that the school block, which was fully equipped with the necessary furniture for the entire classroom, would soon have its library stocked with relevant books to promote healthy reading culture among students. Commissioning the project, Governor Theodore Orji said NB’s efforts are in consonance with the vision of the state to transformation in the sector. Orji, who was represented by Commissioner for Education, Monica Philips, commended NB for living up to its corporate responsibilities and urged other companies operating in the state to follow suit.

rector said: ‘’The UN is concerned that the dropout rate for basic education in the country is slightly on the increase and we want to know the baseline for which we can assist, but we discovered upon our arrival that there is the problem of statistics”. Executive Secretary of UBEC, Muhammed Modibbo while lamenting the exit of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in the funding of primary and secondary education, revealed that the Federal Government has granted approval for the expansion of the mandate of the commission to incorporate secondary education. Modibbo noted that budgetary appropriation for each state in 2012 was N852million, stressing that states were required to provide counterpart funds before they could assess the intervention grants.

Bishop chides political leaders

•Former Archbishop of Lagos, Antony Cardinal Okogie and his successor Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins during his Installation as the new Archibishop of Lagos, yesterday. Photo NAN

Ogun PDP crisis worsens, gets parallel excos

T

HE crisis within the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reached a worrisome dimension yesterday. Former Ogun State Coordinator of Obasanjo/Atiku campaign organisation, Chief Oladipo Odunjirin, emerged the new factional chairman of the party. This is contrary to several court orders emanating from the Federal and state High Courts recognizing the Engr. Adebayo Dayo - led Executive Committee as the legitimate organ of PDP in the state. Odujirin was elected in a congress conducted by a three man Committee from the National body of PDP led by Mr. Umaru Mohammed with Samaila Dankaisai and Ibrahim Sidi Bala as members.

Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

The election, which took place in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, witnessed no fewer than 1,600 delegates who voted for all other 29 candidates unopposed. Other elected are: Dapo Adeyemi (Secretary), Bidemi Osunbiyi (Publicity Secretary) while Dayo Fowosere and Yaya Ahmed were Organising Secretary and Deputy Chairman respectively. It was not yet clear if the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ogun State office, witnessed the congress as required. Announcing the results, the Congress Committee Chairman, Ibrahim Sidi Bamodi, said Odunjirin (MFR) has satisfied the condition and was duly elected to function as Chairman

Suspected kidnapper, serial police killer arrested

T

HE Police in Enugu have apprehended a notorious criminal and serial killer who allegedly participated in the abduction of the Provost, College of Education, Eha Amufu in Isiuzo Local Government Area, Prof. Ben Mbah. The suspect, identified as Emmanuel Okoro from Obeokwu Umunkiri in Obingwa local Government Area of Abia State was also said to have killed three police men in Rivers State recently. He reportedly killed Mbah’s orderly identified as Corporal Ikpi Arikpo before abducting the Professor. A release by the Police Public Relations Officer in

From Chris Oji, Enugu

Enugu State, Ebere Amaraizu, said operatives of the Anti kidnap Squad of the command “have been on the trail of the suspect since last year”. It added: “The suspect who gave his name as Emmanuel Okoro from Obeokwu umunkiri in Obingwa local Government Area of Abia State and popularly known as J-BOY as nickname was trailed and arrested at Eleme junction axis of Rivers State on 3/8/12. “He was picked up with one of his gang members in the business of car snatching, one Martins Okoye, who is also helping the police in their investigations”.

of the party in Ogun. The election and subsequent swearing-in of the new executive came up barely 24 hours after an Ogun state High Court sitting in Ilaro ruled that Adebayo Dayo-led executive remained the authentic organ of the party in the state. In his acceptance speech, Odujirin, pledged to embark on reconciliation of aggrieved members of the party. He said: “we will embark on a comprehensive reconciliation exercise by setting up a team to anchor and steer the process. “However, let us sound a note of warning, that this rapprochement will be guided by the precepts and tenets of our great party. “We will not sacrifice discipline, party hierarchy, justice and fair play on the altar of fleeting or contrived peace.”

A Specialist Hospital located at Ijaiye-Ojokoro, Lagos State requires the following persons for immediate employment: (1) Medical Officers/Resident Doctors (Full-time & Part-time) – preferably with Surgical Experience, Accommodation provided (2) Part-time Consultants in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics, General Surgery & Orthopaedics (3) Medical Laboratory Scientist (4) Pharmacy Technician (5) Double-Qualified Nurse/Midwife (6) Graduate Manager (preferably with Hospital management experience) Candidates should scan photocopies of their credentials to eltoremassociates@gmail.com &call 07069708815 within 2weeks of this publication date.

PUBLIC NOTICE NATHAN NEBEIFE FAMILY FOUNDATION Notice is hereby given to the general public that the above names Foundation has applied to the corporate affairs Commission Abuja for registration under part “C” of the companies and Allied Act of 1990 THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Nebeife Ikechukwu Nobert.............Chairman 2. Nebeife Amechi Ogonna.................Secretary 3. NebeifeChukwudi Sunday 4. Nebeife Makuachukwu Frank 5. Nnena Nebeife Obianuju Ndidi 6. Ndibe-Nebeife Nkiriuka Chinagorom AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 1) To foster Unity Among all The Offspring of Nathan Nebeife 1) To encourage Unity, Friendliness and co-operation among the members 2) To promote Socio-Economic Advancement of the members 3) To support and participate fully in members social activities 4) To empower ourselves and assit one another in education,business,contract etc 5) To assist and contribute to the welfare of the needy in our society Any objection to this registration should be forwarded to the Registrar-General, Corporate affairs Commission, plot 420, Tigris crescent off Aguiyi-Ironsi Street, Maitaima PMB 198 Garki Abuja within 28 Days of this Publication. Submited by VITALIS EKOWU ESQ For prime place solicitors.


NEWS REVIEW

9

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

•Okonjo-Iweala

•Tambuwal

Much ado about budget 2012 Like other previous administrations in the country, the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party government is currently on a collision course with the National Assembly over its inability to successfully implement the 2012 budget, writes Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

B

UDGET row between the executive and legislative arms of government has become a recurring decimal especially around here because of the inability of those vested with the implementation of the fiscal policy to carry out that statutory responsibility expeditiously. Bone of contention At issue really is that the country has never been able to fully implement its budgets over the years, a development which seems to suggest that budget implementation is jinxed. For instance, the 2012 budget year was supposed to have commenced before the end of the first quarter effectively, but reports are rife that this was further delayed beyond the time limit set by the law. Perhaps, in their avowed desire to make the executive accountable to the people, the lower chamber decided to take the gauntlet by setting a deadline limit of September for the executive to achieve full implementation of the budget or risk impeachment. Besides, it is the contention of lawmakers that the Federal Government may have tinkered with the budget unconstitutionally, a development they reckoned was incongruous with legislative procedures. Reps charmed offensive, it appears, may have led to a chain of reactions from different quarters, chief

among which is the Federal Government, whose spin doctors have not let up since Reps sent impeachment threat to the the President. Blame game Expectedly, the Federal Government's spin doctors have been working assiduously to influence the tide of popular opinion on the vexing issue of non-implementation of the 2012 budget. One of those who rose to the occasion when the budget row began was the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She accused the National Assembly of being partly to blame for the poor implementation of the budget, because, as she said, the bulk of the budget is expended on constituency project by the lawmakers. She also blamed the media for the row, saying, "We have been open and transparent on the figures we have. I want to say that when I read papers, I am amazed at some figures. Some section of the media has been misinforming. We sent out a press release, detailing all what has been done regarding the use of resources, but, even with written comments, it has been twisted, thereby leading to misinformation. I appreciate this opportunity to dialogue.� But the lawmakers would not take what it perceived as government propaganda lightly. The lower chamber, which has been on the offensive, swiftly replied

the Finance Minister, through its spokesperson, Zakari Mohammed, by declaring that the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget proposals by the Reps are less than 10 per cent of the 2012 capital projects and wondered how these could then be blamed for the poor implementation of the budget. As you would expect, the upper chamber easily took sides with the lower chamber. The Senate leader, Victor NdomaEgba, attested to this fact when he received Okonjo-Iweala on the floor of the chamber recently. He said: "The performance of the budget is a major concern to Nigerians because it is through the budget implementation that we deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. "This is certainly not going to be a family meeting; it will be a Nigerian meeting and we are making it as open as possible so that every Nigerian will get to know what truly is happening. "You know, in the many years of military rule, that the National Assembly did not exist, Nigerians got used to living without the National Assembly. Now everything that goes on, because Nigerians have gotten used to living without the National Assembly, is blamed on the National Assembly. "We will like to take responsibility for where we go wrong but what we certainly will not take responsibility for is the failure of others. If others

fail, let them take responsibility." Okonjo-Iweala's volte face In a move interpreted as being genuflecting, it was a cowed OkonjoIweala who addressed the upper chamber recently by arguing as a matter of fact that she had no issues with the constituency projects after all. She said: "Actually, we have no problems with constituency projects. The projects are there. Neither the president nor anyone else has said that. Ministers have launched these projects and they are on it; it takes some time to understand the whole process." On the reports that the budget has been tampered with, she declared: "We have good collaboration with the National Assembly, but there has been one or two things we are working to solve. For some ministry, departments and agencies (MDAs), some projects were moved from one place to another, making it difficult for some MDAs to implement. I want to reiterate that constituency projects are being designed and procured. "On the issue of numbers, there has been conflicting information: Of course, the first thing to note is that this budget implementation started in April, meaning we have implemented it just for four months. In talking about what we have done, we talk about utilisation of resources - what has been released and what has been used from what has been released from N1.3 trillion for capital budget. I want to talk about capital project first because that is where the issue is. Debt servicing has been done and all those statutory transfers of N156 billion, personnel N971 and N1.6trilion on the recurrent." However, the minister faulted the distortion of fiscal period, especially the 2011 budget period which ended in March 2012. "This is not good budgetary practice and we need to change. We have been utilising resources gathered for 2012 - from 2012 N85 billion statutory transfer was done; domestic debt payment of N95b, Personnel cost of N449 billion, N95 billion overhead, and so on. "It was spent until April when 2012 capital budget was approved and it is done quarterly. I will not come for any extension," she said.

While answering questions at the interactive session organised by the Senate recently, OkonjoIweala explained that the government has achieved 56 per cent budget so far. According to her, N404 bilion has been released from the N1.3trillion capital allocation with cash, backed amount of N324 billion. Face-saving mechanism Apparently discomfited by the budget implementation face-off between the Executive and the House of Representatives, OkonjoIweala, has urged Speaker Aminu Tambuwal to intervene. The Minister, it was learnt had a two-hour meeting with the Speaker last Monday in London, where she pleaded with him to prevail on the House to resolve the conflict with the Executive. But the Speaker told the Minister, who is also coordinating the economy, that the budget implementation row is neither personal to him nor the Minister. Tambuwal said it is in the interest of all Nigerians for the economy to be in a better shape through effective budget implementation. He said the House is fighting for Nigeria and Nigerians. She however begged the Speaker to prevail on members to show some understanding and see the process as part of improving the system, adding that the executive would take into account the observations of the House to increase the percentage of the implementation of 2012 budget. Not yet Uhuru In the view of a human rights lawyer and National Coordinator of the Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi, the September deadline given by the Reps for full implementation of the 2012 budget was unworkable. He said there is nothing on ground to back up claims by Okonjo-Iweala that budget implementation has hit the 56 per cent or that the high mark would be achieved next month. The former Chairman of the Delta State chapter of the Committee for Defence of Human Rights hinted that the House is merely playing to the gallery, stressing that even if it succeeded with its plan, it cannot get the mandatory 2/3 majority of Senate votes to succeeded in the impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan. Yet, he opined that the threat is good for the nation's fledgling democracy "as it asserts the independence of the House as a legislative arm of government." Ikimi lamented the perennial delay in signing appropriation bills into law, noting that the contentious 2012 budget was signed in March, a development that he said affects its proper implementation. "I therefore suggest that in a bid to avoiding this kind of unpalatable situation in the future, subsequent budgets should not be on an annual basis, but rather same should be on a bi-annual basis so as to afford government enough time to implement future budgets," he added. As analysts have noted, the best way for the country to get out of this budget crisis is for government to set its priorities right. Pray, is someone listening?


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

News Review

10

Deadly attack, raging fire T

Gunmen attack VP's home, two arrested HREE gunmen attacked the Tundun Wada, Zaria family

residence of Vice President Namadi Sambo on Monday, killing a cobbler and injuring two policemen. The house is being renovated having been vandalised in the aftermath of the 2011 presidential election. The police later arrested two suspects-one while receiving treatment for the gunshot wounds he received during the attack, and the other at the scene of a robbery operation. The Islamist sect claimed responsibility for the attack. On the same day Boko Haram bombed two police station in Sokoto metropolis.

Obasanjo, IBB want Fed Govt/Boko Haram dialogue

F

ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida on Sunday asked the Federal Government to go into dialogue with all the belligerent groups perpetrating violence in the country. The ex-leaders at a meeting on the state- of- the- nation in Abuja also advocated 'grassroots engagement' with a view to putting an immediate end to the spate of mass killings in the country. They deplored the regime of fear and uncertainty in the country and spoke of their plan to convene a session of all former heads of state to find a lasting solution to the insecurity at the end of the ongoing Ramadan.

Six killed, 16 injured as Navy, militants clash in Ondo

N

O fewer than six persons were killed at Igbokoda, Ondo State, on Sunday, during a gun duel between naval officers based in the town and youths suspected to be militants. Sixteen other persons were injured. Trouble started when some youths allegedly went to the naval base with a view to looting empowerment items believed to have been kept there by a member of the National Assembly. The youths were said to have been denied entry, a development that infuriated them. Tension soon swelled up on both sides resulting in the gun duel.

SSS parades suspected killers of Oshiomhole's aide

T

HE State Security Service (SSS) on Wednesday paraded six men accused of involvement in last May killing of Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, principal private secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State. Deputy Director, Public Relations of the service, Marilyn Ogar, told newsmen in Abuja that three of the suspects were directly involved in the killing while the others bought items stolen from the late Oyerinde. Ogar said Oyerinde's security guard, identified as Ali Ihade, gave out his boss by boasting that he was an influential government official and was always bringing home a lot of money. This allegedly attracted the attention of one of the suspects who then led the gang that went on the robbery operation that claimed Oyerinde's life. The police in Edo had earlier claimed they had arrested some other suspects for the same offence. They said one of the suspects named the Reverend David Ugolor, executive director of African Network for Economics and Environmental Justice and a bosom friend of Oyerinde, as their sponsor, an allegation vehemently denied by Ugolor. The suspects paraded by the SSS in Abuja denied knowing Ugolor.

GUNFIGHT

Car blast rock central Tripoli

A

gun battle between youths allegedly competing for space in a market place and a car blast rocked the centre of the Libyan capital on Saturday, leaving one wounded, residents and security sources said. "There was a fight between youths over market space," Mohammed, a young resident of Al-Rashid neighbourhood near Martyr's Square, told AFP. "They were shooting at each other and throwing gelatin," an easily available TNT-based explosive used in fishing, said the resident, adding that the fighting took where the blast took place. place at around dawn. He said the blast could have been caused A car blast -- apparently by "fishing explosives" that were either caused by gelatin -- in or thrown at the car. rocked the same area. Senior officers at the same branch "The car, a Honda Civic, declined to comment on the explosion. blew up to pieces," said a But a foreign security expert who guard stationed at the evaluated the site of the blast confirmed military police base just to AFP that the explosion appeared to metres (yards) from have been caused by TNT used in fishing.

Pakistani firefighters try to extinguish a fire after an explosion in Multan yesterday. At least six people were killed and wounded 10 in an explosion triggered in fireworks material stored in a house in Multan. AFP PHOTO / S.S MIRZA

Reps to Jonathan: Beware of Okonjo-Iweala's advice

T

HE House of Representatives insisted on Sunday that it is not prepared to shirk its responsibility in giving Nigerians a workable budget always. Responding to a statement by Finance Minister Ngonzi Okonjo-Iweala that the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget proposals by the Reps was partly responsible for the poor implementation of the budget, the House said President Goodluck Jonathan should watch cautiously his non-elected appointees and the advice they offer him. Spokesman for the Reps, Zakari Mohammed, said the constituency projects cited by the finance minister are less than 10 per cent of the 2012 capital projects and wondered how these could then be blamed for the poor implementation of the budget.

GRAND VISIT

Truman's grandson visits Hiroshima grandson of exU.S. President Harry Truman, who ordered the atomic bombings of Japan during World War II, is in Hiroshima to attend a memorial service for the victims. Clifton Truman Daniel visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on

A

Saturday and laid a wreath for the 140,000 people killed by the Aug. 6, 1945 bombing authorised by his grandfather. Another atomic blast in Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 more. "I think this cenotaph says it all - to honour the dead, to not forget and to make sure that we never let this happen again," Daniel said after offering a silent prayer. Daniel, 55, is in Japan to attend ceremonies next week in Hiroshima and Nagasaki marking the 67th anniversary of the bombings. His visit, the first by a member of the Truman family, is sponsored by the peace group Sadako Legacy, named after Sadako Sasaki, an A-bomb victim who died of leukemia at age 12.

A

London High Court on Tuesday ordered former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, to refund N164 billion to Access Bank. Justice Burton of the Queen's Bench Division ruled that the money represented proceeds of unlawful share purchase scheme and fund misapplication which Akingbola converted into personal use during his tenure as MD. Central Bank governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said whatever

OBAMA @51

Plays golf, to visit Camp David

P

RESIDENT Barack Obama is playing a round of golf on his 51st birthday, kicking off a quiet birthday weekend away from re-election campaigns. Obama played golf at Andrews Air Force Base yesterday before heading to Camp David, the private presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin (kuhTAHK'-tin) Mountains. Obama got some early birthday wishes on Thursday during a campaign rally in Florida, where supporters sang "Happy Birthday" to the president. Obama joked that his birthday wishes "probably would have to do with electoral votes. Winning Florida wouldn't be a bad birthday present." The president returns to campaigning next week with fundraisers in Connecticut and rallies in Colorado.

a


e

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

News Review

and the icons University professor to study life after death

P

UK court orders Akingbola to refund N164billion to Access Bank money stolen by Akingbola would be recovered from the proceeds of his property to be sold on the order of the court. Akingbola himself expressed disappointment at the judgement and indicated he would appeal.

OP quiz: Does life exist after death? A University of California, Riverside philosophy professor, John Martin Fischer, has been awarded a threeyear $5 million grant by the John Templeton Foundation to study just this topic-and yes, students can take his class. Fischer noted in an email to Yahoo News, "Both I and my postdoc, Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin, will teach related classes over the next three years. I have frequently taught classes on death, immortality, and the meaning of life both at Yale University and UC Riverside." So what's the meaning of life? More on that in a moment. Fischer noted, "We'll be open both to studying religious and non-religious views about immortality. One thing that we'll study is whether human beings would want to live forever: would it be boring? Would it lose its meaning and beauty and urgency? Does death give meaning to life?" According to the university's website announcing the grant award, many anecdotal reports of the afterlife abound, but there has been "no comprehensive and rigorous, scientific study of global reports about near-death and other experiences, or of how belief in immortality influences human behaviour." The research will look at a range of phenomena, including heaven, hell, purgatory, and karma. The grant is the largest ever awarded to a humanities professor at UC Riverside, and one of the largest given to an individual at the university. Fischer said in a statement, "We will be very careful in documenting near-death experiences and other phenomena, trying to figure out if these offer plausible glimpses of an afterlife or are biologically induced illusions," Fischer said. "Our approach will be uncompromisingly scientifically rigorous. We're not going to spend money to study alien-abduction reports." The grant will also fund two conferences to discuss the

CELEBRATION South Africa marks 50 years since Mandela's arrest

S

OUTH Africa unveiled its l a t e s t monument to Nelson Mandela on Saturday, a new statue along a rural highway marking the spot where he was arrested 50 years ago for his struggle against apartheid. Mandela, now 94, was arrested as a young liberation fighter on August 5, 1962, near the eastern town of Howick, just months after he founded the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). He had returned just a few weeks earlier from a trip across Africa drumming up

APGA chair Umeh loses bid to vacate court order

A

N Enugu High Court on Tuesday declined to vacate its order restraining the embattled national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA),Chief Victor Umeh, from convening a meeting of the party's national executive council (NEC).Chief Judge of the state, Justice Innocent Umezulike , said the interim order shall endure until the court rules on the defendant's application on September 17.He said there are weighty legal issues raised and canvassed by counsel to the two parties which make a magisterial pronouncement by the court impossible now.

THE WEEK IN QUOTES "The idea of the National Assembly distorting the budget is incorrect. The National Assembly cannot distort a budget which it has full powers over. There is no law that says the budget must be returned to the President exactly the way it was forwarded to the National Assembly." —Zakari Mohammed, spokesman for the House of Representatives on the row between the Presidency and the House over the alleged slow pace at which the budget is being implemented.

"The Southwest is already enjoying leadership cohesion and prosperity pioneered by Tinubu but actively supported by resident South Easterners. The people of the South South are harvesting the fruits of their resolute resource agitation and the North, the obvious indulged custodians of power, both military and civilian, all supported by us without let. The only sour thumb in this convenient harmony of power and status balance, regrettably points to the South East. It is, therefore, my view that the sacrifice we preach and canvass does not, in anyway, amount to denial or deprivation to our brothers in the Nigeria project." —Senator Annie Okonkwo on why the South East ought to speak with one voice on politics.

"I can say without equivocation that our democracy faces no danger from the military. This is because long before Nigeria returned to democratic rule, military officers who passed through this college were prepared for life of service under civilian leadership and control. Thus, by the time international partners were falling over themselves to give lessons in civil-military relations within the democratic context, most senior officers in the armed forces knew that because they learned this at the college." —Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, at the graduation of members of Course 20 at the National Defence College, Abuja.

•Annie

•Zakari

SYRIA KILLINGS

Artillery, aircraft pound rebels in Aleppo

S

support for the new Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or "Spear of the Nation". The sculpture is made up of 50 steel rods of between five and 10 metres (about 16 to 33 feet) high and when viewed from a certain angle, Mandela's image come into focus. "The front of the sculpture is a portrait of Mandela, it has vertical bars which represent his imprisonment," said the monument's designer Marco Cianfanelli.

findings. Said UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White, Fischer's research "takes a universal concern and subjects it to rigorous examination to sift fact from fiction." The Immortality Project, as it is called, will solicit research proposals from eminent scientists, philosophers and theologians whose work "will be reviewed by respected leaders in their fields and published in academic and popular journals." The research will also delve into cultural aspects of the afterlife. For example, there are reports of millions of Americans seeing a tunnel with a bright light at the end. In Japan, reports often find the individual tending a garden. The professor added that the academic research could include a range of issues, like "heaven and hell: If we are material beings, how can we exist in heaven, where we would not have physical bodies (or not of the sort we have here)? "There is a lot of interest in near-death experiences. We can carefully catalogue them and look into whether there are patterns.”

11

YRIAN artillery, planes and a helicopter gunship pounded rebel positions in Aleppo yesterday, witnesses said, as President Bashar al-Assad's forces tried to break through the insurgents' frontline in Syria's largest city. Syrian forces clashed with rebels around Aleppo's television and radio station, activists said, and a local rebel commander said his fighters were preparing for a "strong offensive" by government forces on the city. In the capital Damascus, troops backed by armour stormed the last opposition bastion on Friday in a drive to crush a rebel offensive that coincided with a bombing that killed four of Assad's senior security officials. The onslaught continued on Saturday as jets bombarded the city, a resident said. Syrian forces battered Aleppo's Salaheddine district, seen as a gateway for the army into the city of 2.5 million people.

•Babangida

FIRST APPEARANCE

Saudi's first woman bows out after symbolic show

T

HE first Saudi woman to compete at the Olympics may have bowed out after only 80 seconds on the judo mat on Friday, but she was hailed as a heroine by many webusers in her homeland and given an enthusiastic reception by the Olympic crowd. Only a week ago, softly spoken and shy teenager Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani had been labelled a "whore" on Twitter by some in conservative Saudi Arabia, but that criticism has been since drowned out by an outpouring of

support and applause. Her appearance had been in doubt due to wrangling days over whether judo authorities would allow her to wear an Islamic headscarf while competing, but in the end she entered the arena wearing something akin to a swimming cap.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

News

12

Multi Choice increases subscription fees

Benue emerges second at international festival

By Bukola Afolabi From Toryila Kajo, Makurdi

N

IGERIA’S leading pay-TV provider, MultiChoice, has announced upward review of its subscription fees. It however said subscribers who renew before expiration are entitled to 10% rebate every month. DStv Family increased from N2, 800 to N3, 000; DStv Compact from N4, 800 to N5, 000; DStv Compact Plus moved from N7, 000 to N7, 500 and DStv Premium rose from N10, 000 to N11, 000. There is however no increase in the prices of DStv Access which remains at N1, 500 while the Dual View Access fees and the access fee for HDPVR both remain at N1, 800. The new fees take effect from October 1. MultiChoice said the increase was necessitated by ongoing hike in the company’s operational and ancillary costs including content acquisition and development, technical infrastructure, satellite lease, facilities and maintenance. The company emphasised that while it is committed to keeping subscription prices low, it is forced to implement an increase in order to continue to provide quality programming, improved customer service and deliver on its promise to remain the choice pay entertainment destination on the African continent.

Sokoto donates motorcycles to NAPTIP From: Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto OKOTO State has donated 5 brand new Kasea motorcycles to the National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking In Person(NAPTIP). The gesture was aimed at contributing to the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement agencies in combating crimes and other related social menace in the state. Presenting the motorcycles to the state Zonal Command of the agency over the weekend, Governor Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, represented by the Secretary to the state Government, Alhaji Isa Gada Sahabi, explained that motorcycles would assist in discharging their responsibilities effectively and efficiently. According to him:” it is our sincere hope that our moderate contribution in this regard will address some of their operational challenges in the aspect of provision of logistics without much hindrance.’’ Wamakko charged NAPTIP personnel to ensure adequate utilisation of the gifts to justify their availability. The state NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Mr. Stephen Naduku, while receiving the items, commended the state government’s effort. Naduku described the gesture as pleasant, while also appealing to government to provide patrol vehicles to the agency considering its wide scope of coverage.

S

N

•L-R: Bishop of Durham, Auckland Castle Market Place, Rt. Rev. Justin Welby; Director of National Issues, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev (Dr) William Okoye; former British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair; CAN National President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; Special Adviser to the CAN President on Anti-terrorism, Pastor Ladi Thompson and General Secretary of CAN, Rev Musa Asake shortly after a meeting in Abuja… recently

Terror attack: CNPP urges Wamakko to remain focused T

HE Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) yesterday advised Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, not to be distracted by recent terror attacks in the state. CNPP said Wamakko should instead intensify the developmental programmes of his administration. A statement by CNPP’s Secretary General, Willy Ezugwu, said: “This is a new low in the chronicle of insecurity that is besetting the nation because Sokoto State hitherto offered some sense of assurance that not all the states in the north are under terror attacks. ‘’The suicide bombings in this state are thus alarming

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

especially because they have the potential to interfere with the ongoing developmental strides in the state.” Ezugwu commended Wamakko for the laudable progress he has made in the state pointing out the governor is now a role model. According to him: “Wamakko has, as a specialist in public administration with professional and people- oriented thinking, challenged his colleague governors by his establishment a School for Developmental Studies as a model to be emulated.” He said every project embarked upon by Wamakko’s government has the hallmark

Community leader condemns electricity tariff

A

N Osogbo-based community leader, Chief Sola David, has criticised the new electricity tariff introduced by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). He described it as a wicked and deliberate attempt by the elite to throw the masses into darkness. David noted that the previous tariff was not commensurate with the electricity supplied to the consumers.

Tunde Busari According to him: ‘’If the customers had protested against the epileptic supply that has become a way of their life in the past years, I know government would not have thought of increasing the tariff.’’ Insisting he is not instigating the pubic against the government, the community leader maintained that Nigerians would go through pain in paying the new tariff.

of the people’s yearning. He noted that the Wamakko administration should strongly consider expanding the adult education programme to include capacity building and skill acquisition for youths. These, he said, will mop up

the idle hands that could be recruited for future attacks. While commiserating with the government and people of Sokoto State particularly the victims of the attacks, Ezugwu urged the Federal Government to rethink existing strategies for combating terror attacks.

IGERIA’S representative, Benue State Cultural Troupe ‘Swange Dance’, has won the second best position in the just concluded 7th Sabah International Folklore Festival held in Kata Kinabalu, Sabah in Malaysia. Presenting the trophy at the Government House in Makurdi yesterday, the first lady of Benue State, Arc. Yemisi Suswam, said Benue came second behind China in a competition involving twenty countries of the World. Mrs. Suswam, who led the delegation, said the weeklong event afforded the state to show case its cultural potentials such as dance, arts, language, as well as the economic advantage of investments to the outside world. She noted that the exchange of cultural beliefs and understanding of one another’s ways of life will further boost the nation’s economic standing and value as well as generate employment. Mrs. Suswam advised members of the cultural troupe to maintain their dignity and invest for something to fall back on. She expressed readiness to influence wives of Northern Governors to replicate the Malaysia lessons sothat the youths of the affected states will embrace peace rather than social vices.


13

COMMENT and ANALYSIS THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Chief Clark and his icons Chief Clark has turned himself into the accuser and judge in this matter

W

HEN I challenged Chief E.K. Clark’s assertion that there was ‘’nothing wrong with placing soldiers on the streets of Lagos’’ last January during the oil subsidy crisis at a conference of the Political Summit Group in Lagos, I knew that I was heading for trouble. I was given the floor to speak a just few minutes after the elder statesman had wowed the audience with his words. And to say that he was infuriated by not only what I said but also the thunderous applause that I received for daring to say it would be an understatement. The old man screamed at me at the top of his voice from his chair even as I had the floor and spoke and he accused me of all manner of unspeakable things there and then simply for daring to disagree with him to his face. Naturally, I continued with my speech and acted as if he wasn’t even there but I knew that he would take his time and eventually hit back at me and claim his pound of flesh. Yet even with that expectation nothing prepared me for the virulence and sheer ferociousness of his counter-attack. And that counter-attack was launched during a public lecture on August 1, when the elder statesman, during the course of his lecture, passionately proclaimed that I was holding myself out as a ‘’moral icon’’ after ‘’embezzling funds’’ that were entrusted to me when I was Minister of Aviation, and that were meant to be used to ‘’stop planes from crashing and to reform the aviation sector’’. This was on live television and it was being watched by millions of Nigerians all over the world. And of course the gathering loved it and cheered him on even though the organisers of the event went to the podium as he spoke and advised him to stop mentioning names and saying such things about people that were deemed innocent until proven guilty. Yet Chief Clark, in his characteristically brazen manner, brushed their concerns aside and boldly proclaimed that he would continue his epistle regardless of all because he was ‘’already in the waiting room before leaving this life’’ and he didn’t care about the consequences of what he was saying. It was all very dramatic but, needless to say, his assertions were false. The whistleblower Though I know that the man hates me with the biblical ‘’perfect hatred’’ I still found it extraordinary that someone of his sheer standing, magnitude and gravitas would seek to pronounce guilt on me on a matter in which he clearly knows nothing about. It is a sad testimony to his excitable nature and his penchant for making unsustainable and irascible assertions that he should, on this occasion, have turned himself into a prosecutor, a judge and a jury in a matter that is before a duly constituted court of law. Let it be on record that not only did I not embezzle any public funds but also that I was cleared of doing so by the Senate Aviation Committee which conducted a public hearing into the whole matter in 2008. Even the EFCC, after initially charging me in July of that same year, dropped those charges one month later for want of evidence. Contrary to Clark’s assertions, I was the one that actually investigated and exposed the embezzlement of N6.5 billion from the N19.5 billion Aviation Intervention Fund which had taken place just before I became Minister in 2006. I was the whistleblower in that matter and I was the one that wrote to President Obasanjo and reported it. Yet, in a manner that is so typical of Nigeria when it comes to such matters, I was punished for doing so and I was later accused of committing the very crime that I had exposed. Is that not absurd? In their zeal to effect the orders of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and to get me at all costs, the Farida Waziriled EFCC, without any prior investigation into the matter, detained me for 10 days in their custody and proceeded to charge me in an Abuja magistrate’s court for the supposed misappropriation of the said N6.5 billion. Yet

•Clark By Femi Fani-Kayode

one month later, after realising the futility of their cause and after establishing all the relevant facts, they withdrew those charges against me and instead prosecuted my predecessor in office for that same offence at the Abuja Federal High Court. Chief Clark claimed that I ‘’embezzled the money’’ that I was given ‘’to use to stop plane crashes’’ yet the truth is that not only did I not embezzle one kobo but also that not one plane crash took place under my watch. This is despite the fact that five crashes had taken place the year before I became Minister. The fact of the matter is that by God’s grace my team and I put an end to those crashes and saved lives. It was as a consequence of our hard work, our prayers, our dedication to duty and the solid reforms that we put in place that those crashes stopped and did not occur again for at least one year after we left office. Yet without knowing these facts, Chief Clark got up in a public forum on live television and not only made the most scurrilous, slanderous and outrageous allegations against me but he also pronounced me guilty of a crime that I did not commit. Is it a surprise that we are in such a mess in this nation when an elder statesman behaves in this indecorous way? It is common knowledge that he is the Godfather-In-Chief of this administration but the question is whether he is making more friends or enemies for his son, President Goodluck Jonathan, when he behaves in this way and when he throws all caution to the wind and pontificates about issues that he knows nothing about? Perhaps I should point out the fact that the charges that were preferred against me by the EFCC in a Lagos High Court on December 2008, six months after the first set of charges had been withdrawn, had nothing to do with the N19.5 billion Aviation Intervention Fund. It was obvious from the outset that all those charges were malicious and politicallymotivated yet for the last four years I have kept my cool, honoured the conditions of my bail and avoided discussing the issue publicly for obvious reasons. I have resisted and fought those charges vigorously for all those years and the likes of Chief E.K Clark and all the others that have sworn to see my end can be rest assured that I will continue to do so as long as I have breath in me. In God’s time and

in God’s way He will vindicate me. It is, however, most unfair for Chief Clark to pronounce me guilty in this matter and to label me as a criminal when a court of law has not done so. This is especially so when our constitution confers on me the presumption of innocence unless and until I am proven guilty. A lesson from history On a final note, let me end this write-up with a word about political persecution and the usage of politicallymotivated charges to intimidate those that are perceived by the government of the day as being vocal and dangerous enemies that must be silenced at all costs. This is nothing new. And regardless of its success or otherwise it changes nothing when it comes to God’s purpose. When God’s hand is on a man for leadership or greatness, you can lock him up in the deepest and darkest dungeon below the sea and throw the keys away, but when the time is right God will spring him out again in order for him to fulfil destiny. The problem with people like Chief Clark and those that do not understand the power of God and the pull of destiny is that they refuse to learn from history. Let me give you some examples. The three greatest leaders that Nigeria ever had, namely, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and President Olusegun Obasanjo all suffered persecution at one point or the other in their lives and every single one of them was convicted by a court of law and spent at least three years in jail. Awolowo was wrongly accused of treasonable felony, Obasanjo was wrongly accused of plotting a coup and Ahmadu Bello was wrongly accused of stealing public funds. All three were targeted by the powers that were at that time who thought that they had successfully silenced and discredited them forever by jailing them. Yet when the time was right, circumstances suddenly changed and God’s purpose spoke for all three of them. Awolowo was brought out of jail to become the de facto Prime Minister of Nigeria, Obasanjo was brought out of jail to become the President and Bello went on appeal, won his case (Chief Bode Thomas of ‘’Thomas, Williams and Kayode,’’ the first indigenous law firm in Nigeria which was the law partner of my late father Chief Remi Fani-Kayode and Chief Rotimi Williams represented him in court) was acquitted and freed and went on to join politics and become the greatest leader that northern Nigeria has ever known. Destiny and the power of God spoke. As relevant is the bitter end terrible sorrows that engulfed those that persecuted them and that orchestrated their terrible ordeals. My point is simple and clear- regardless of what the powers that be decide to subject us lesser mortals to, God alone rules in the affairs of men and determines the destiny of nations. Even though some that stalk the corridors of power today believe that they have the power over life, liberty and death, in reality they control and they have nothing. This is because the God of Heaven alone controls all that is in the universe. Any man that has been so intoxicated by power or by his access to the President to the extent that he is ready to play God at every given point in time ought to be pitied for his naivety. Chief E. K. Clark, the great leader and elder of the Ijaw nation and the political and spiritual father of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in my view ought to be viewed in such a light. Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation

Lekan Otufodunrin Otufodunrin@thenationonlineng.net 08023000621 (SMS only)

Sanity on Lagos roads

T

HE last time I wrote about the menace of commercial cyclists, popularly known as Okada riders on our roads, I got a mail from a reader who shared with me the agonising story of how three persons died in Okada accidents within a week in his neighbourhood. The three persons are among the hundreds that have died in avoidable accidents caused daily on our roads by the Okada riders who a road safety campaigner likened to ants. According to him, regardless of road safety regulations, Okada riders would drive through any available space, however narrow. If it was possible, he said, Okada riders would drive under a vehicle ahead of them in their characteristic hurry to get to their destinations and make more money. That they have been banned from operating on major roads in the Federal Capital, Abuja and many state capitals is a confirmation of the danger they constitute and nuisance they have become to other road users. Before the new Road Traffic Bill signed into law by Lagos State Governor, Raji Fashola last Thursday, the state government had tried hard to regulate the activities of the Okada riders without any success. Even dialogue had failed to make many of them see reasons while they should not endanger not only their own lives, but that of others. The law which will be effective after enough awareness bans operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles on major bridges, Ikorodu Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway and Lekki-Epe Expressway. It also states other regulations which the Okada riders must abide with or be penalised. For too long, the motorcyclists have become a law unto themselves and its high time they are called to order. The new law is not only about regulating motorcycles and tricycles. It includes other safety measures to ensure curb the high rate of accidents on Lagos roads. Henceforth, trailers, with the exemption of fuel tankers and long passenger trucks are now prohibited from entering into or travelling within the metropolis from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Violators risk their vehicles being impounded and payment of N50,000 fine or six months imprisonment. Eating, counting money, making phone calls and engaging in other dangerous activities while driving will now attract a fine of N30,000 for violators. Commercial bus drivers and their conductors now have to wear identification tags while property owners are also compelled to report cases of abandoned vehicles in their vicinity or risk punishment. Officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) are empowered to administer breathylizers on drivers to detect their drunkenness while owners of commercial vehicles are compelled to obtain operating licences from government. While the penalty for some of the offences may appear rather harsh, the intension of the government cannot be faulted. How do we justify the jungle Lagos roads have become, no thanks to reckless drivers who defy all the safety regulations in the Highway Code every licenced driver is supposed to know. The Lagos government should ensure wide public enlightenment on the new law as it has promised. What should be paramount is that citizens of the state are aware of this new law and comply voluntarily as the governor stated and not that it should be exploited by some LASTMA officials and other security agents to collect bribes from offenders. There should be provisions for first offenders who should be warned before they are penalised. Lagos will be a better place if we all learn to abide by basic regulations like the new Traffic law.


14

Ogochukwu Ikeje ohgeeoh@gmail.com 08084235961 (SMS only)

T

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Comment & Analysis

WO weeks of fun has already begun for the sporting world. There are spectacular splashes in the swimming pool and sweaty activity on the football pitch. At some corners, men and women raise their guns, take aim and fire, while others lift bows and release their arrows. On the tracks, the swiftest people on earth are settling scores. Beads of sweat are breaking out and muscles tightening as though they would snap. It is the Olympics, offering the thrills of triumphs as well as the dampener of defeat. Some competing countries like China will leave Britain, the host, with a bagful of medals; some will return home empty-handed. Nigeria, a participant in the games, does not look destined to depart with plenty decorations, our hopes being pinned on one or two events. That is awful. But there is something more distressful: a lot of stars who would have represented the country are only happy to compete for other nations. We have simply lost them. So, it is not just that our country’s representatives at the games are few and far between; worse, they have also been competing against their own flesh and blood on the other side. It is sad but that is the position of things. From France to Switzerland and from the United States to the host country, sportsmen and women of Nigerian ancestry are lifting the spirits of these other nations. Several nations not competing in the summer games also parade Nigerians doing them proud in different events. Idowu Philips, a triple-

See the gems we lose Why Nigerians are competing for other countries at London 2012 jumper at London 2012, has brought honour to Britain. The same country is happy to have Damilola Bakare, a volleyball player, Eniola Aluko, a footballer, Ifeoma Dieke, another footballer, Abdul Buhari, a discus thrower, Margaret Adeoye, a runner, and James Dasaolu, a sprinter. The same country is counting on Lawrence Okoye to throw in some more glory, being a discus competitor. There are lots of them numbering among the best sportsmen and women across Europe and the US. It looks far-fetched to ask: why isn’t any European or American interested in representing Nigeria? Now, there are some concessions to be made. Nigerians are arguably the most adventurous in the world. We are constantly on the move, exploring the world, to do busi-

ness, to study, to live. We settle down and start a family. New generations, new breeds of Nigerians spring up. Among them are those with sport in their makeup. They soon begin to star for their countries of birth. Now, does that happen naturally? Well, not quite. Jonathan Akinyemi was born in Britain but he chose to feature for Nigeria in canoeing at the games. People like him have dual nationality and are at liberty to represent either their country of birth or that of their ancestry. Johnny, as Akinyemi is called, is a rare breed, showing natural love for Nigeria. He failed to progress in the competition but that took nothing away from his example. He lifted Nigerian spirits. But he remains an exception, rather than the rule. What about the others? Well, they made

“Nigeria, a participant in the games, does not look destined to depart London with plenty decorations, our hopes being pinned on one or two events. That is awful. But there is something more distressful: a lot of stars who would have represented the country are only happy to compete for other nations. We have simply lost them. So, it is not just that our country’s representatives at the games are few and far between; worse, they have also been competing against their own flesh and blood on the other side. It is sad but that is the position of things”

their choices and do not seem to regret them. For some of them, Nigeria offers little to be fond of. Few things cheer them up about the country. As the world is soaking up the games either as part of the London Olympic crowd or in front of their TVs, Nigerians at home are hoping Boko Haram will spare us terror for one day. The attacks have been unrelenting. Some who shun Nigeria do so because the country represents everything their parents want to forget. Some of those parents fled Nigeria after trying without success to make ends meet. Some abandoned their academic programmes here because the Nigerian system made it difficult for them. Some tried to do legitimate business on home soil but could find no facilities. They fled. It is not a sporting malaise. It is a national nightmare. It is difficult to see any department of our national life that is spared of this virus. Love for country is very cold. Some of our best academic brains have left the Nigerian campuses. So have our doctors. Nigerian scientists are doing well for other countries. What can be done? Can we stop the exodus? It is possible but if you are expecting an overnight stanch of the outflow, you will be disappointed. But we can make Nigerians fall in love with their country again. We can begin to do the things we have been criminally overlooking, such as nurturing our young. Education is in tatters here but we can start rebuilding it. It is a shame that a country that parades rivers cannot send swimmers to London and hope that they will bring home some good medals. Why should we have all everyone covets and fail to be numbered among the world? We can begin to groom youths. We should not rob them and expect them to be happy Nigerians. That is why our stars prefer to shine elsewhere.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Comment & Analysis

15

The Senate at Asaba The legislative body failed to address the main issues of our nation

W

HEN a body or institution such as the Senate meets, we expect an exalted outcome, or we should. This ambiguity derives from the experience in Nigeria where things do not always turn out as advertised. That was the dismal report our Senate gave of itself in Asaba, Delta State, recently, when it held a retreat to review the 1999 Constitution. By failing to address the fundamental issue of restructuring the country, it decided to give palliatives such as conceding the creation of one state in the southeast, institution of state police, affirming the immunity clause and holding up the seven-year single term tenure for executive position of the presidency and the governor, among others. We believe that the retreat was dodgy in strategy and cravenly in substance in its decisions; the senators did not go to Asaba to represent the vast people of Nigeria. Rather, the so-called august body sat to reaffirm the ossified position of an elite far removed from the conscience and aspirations of the average Nigerian. First, the question of a single term does not address the chronic lack of vision among those in the executive branch. If a governor or president is voted in and turns out to be irresponsible or inept, the people would be saddled with that person for a full term of seven years, which means a lot for a growing nation like ours. Again, we realise, too, that while impeachment is an option, in our ambience of corruption and high-handed manipulations of power, a bumbling governor or president can play the survival card adroitly. The beauty of the second term, in spite of its imperfections, is to give the people an opportunity to exercise their referendum on the executive, either by voting him out or by retaining him as we witnessed recently in the Edo State polls.

I

N Nigeria today, it is of interest to know that there is a rising disaffection emanating from the generality of citizens towards the government. This is due to what is generally perceived as the corrupt, inefficient and selfish tendencies of our leaders. Every Nigerian today complains that the government is not able to provide basic necessities that would enhance a quality and secured life, such as quality education, good roads, well-equipped health sector, economic prosperity, energy, security etc. In summary, most are of the opinion that government is very corrupt and that nothing can ever work in the country. In the light of this, it will be a miracle for things to work out. Besides, vices such as armed robbery, prostitution, fraud, high rate of insecurity, unbridled desire for quick wealth, frustration, anger, etc are various

We expected that one of the drivers of the constitution review, namely our distorted federal structure, would dominate the cerebral moments of the retreat. Rather, the legislative house executed a dodgy approach and decided to pick two issues that affected the federal structure: the creation of states and institution of the state police. Apparently, the Senate was aware that the federation was less than perfect, to say the least. It opted to tinker and tamper with the defective structure in the manner of a medical palliative rather than go to the depths of the matter. The creation of states, in our view, is not the most important matter on the laundry list of national emergencies. In fact, the nation can do without new states. It has been argued that giving a new state to the southeast addresses the injustice of balancing as the region is the least endowed of the regions in the country in that regard. That may well be. Federalism also means giving all peoples and all states a fair treatment in the distribution of the good in the land. Yet, this hardly addresses the fundamental distress arising from the nation’s federation. The establishment of a state police addresses the skewed security system in the country where the chief executive of a state cannot be held accountable for the primary responsibil-

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

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

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

ity of government, which is security. If the state police proposal passes, it would highlight an incremental approach to a fundamental distortion. It will only reify the need to address all the fundamental issues. These issues were raised by the host governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, when he presented Delta State’s position for the conference. He expressed his worries over the distortion that allowed the Federal Government to tower as the main receptacle of national resources. That leaves hamstrung the states where most of the resources reside. The states have been forbidden to explore and exploit the resources in the lands. The Federal Government is the only one that can explore and exploit them for national prosperity. This places a huge burden on the centre, especially when ineptitude and the exigencies of politics and favouritism put the stoppers on creative husbanding of those resources. That is why many states simply wait for federal allocation and feel impotent to make wealth. We also realise that some limited resources belong in the concurrent list and state executives have not done enough in those regards. But even that did not play a big role in the deliberations of the Senate. We are therefore unhappy with the outcome of the retreat, and it seems to us a retreat from the main challenges of the land rather than a bold attack on those things that can enhance our harmony, peace and prosperity. What this implies is that the Senate has only succeeded in stagnating progress. Interest groups, politicians, intellectuals and other concerned Nigerians will reopen the debate and agitations for a new constitution if the reviewed constitution becomes only a sup to the masses.

Oluwagbemiga Olakunle,

the very scarce job opportunities in the labour market instead of creating one. Sadly, there is this mad and unrestrained rush for materialism without a corresponding effort at improving the overall wellbeing of the nation. This is not aimed at condemning people who are working hard to make money legally. Rather I wish to emphasise that it is high time we began to look inwards and realise that Nigeria is our home land. It is our duty to make it that great nation of our dream. In our various professions, our primary concern should be how to make Nigeria a better place to live. This does not necessarily mean that one must be the president or hold a top political office before one can make a change, rather our little efforts starting from where we are now matters a lot.

General Secretary National Prayer Movement

Obagho Omozane Richard, Edo State

LETTERS

The path to greatness emotional outlets through which majority let out their disaffection, distrust and hopelessness.

The system has been so bastardized, that our consensus social value as a nation is now one of sur-

vival of the fittest where the view about life is now how to make quick money fraudulently all in a bid to

satisfy the insatiable desire for materialism and power. University graduates are preoccupied with getting

John Atta Mills’ legacy

W

HEN Prof. John Atta Mills, President of Ghana, died recently, the whole country was thrown into deep mourning. I was shocked by the news that the late President didn’t build a personal house even though he had almost completed his first tenure of four years. A Ghanaian on television described him as a selfless-man who would be missed by his country. As a Nigerian, I wonder if the same could be said of most

of our politicians at their passage. We have leaders who do not give a damn on the public perception of their leadership style or accountability. Will the nation really miss them or heave a sigh of relief at their exit? This should be a food for thought for all our leaders. Once again, we call on world leaders to save the nation of Syria from the path of self-destruction that the nation had embarked upon since March

2011. It is very embarrassing that the Syrian President is threatening to use biological and chemical weapons in his efforts to hold on to power by all means. It is not enough for the United Nations and the Arab League to just condemn the Syrian government for the genocide that is gaining momentum in that country. They should act swiftly and decisively too so as to forestall further loss of lives and property. While we are still

mourning the unexpected passage of the late Ghanaian President and express our heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Ghana, it is our sincere prayers that the whole world will soon rejoice with the people of Syria over their deliverance from this storm that is ravaging their country.

SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 500 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS: sundaynation@yahoo.com


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Comment & Analysis

16

On Ramadan proclamation of OBJ & IBB Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net

S

O many wondrous things happen in our country, especially in the space of rulers. Why many political leaders retire from office to relish their private space in other parts of the world, those that find their way to any form of power in our country are never known to get tired of seeking public attention. It is such post-retirement crave for the gallery that was evident last week when Generals Obasanjo and Babangida chose to use the occasion of this year’s Ramadan to make a public declaration of their readiness to fight another war of unification. Not surprisingly, their Ramadan pontifications fit into the mode of denialist rhetoric. Who could the former heads of state have been addressing when they said: “On our part, we are ready to do whatever is possible to promote the quest for peace and harmony…. to sustain and further enhance the unity and progress of this country”? If they are truly ready to do all of these, should they not have done so

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

‘C

HIEF Olusegun Obasanjo was President for eight years and we had PDP in the Southwest also for eight years. If there was anything good in the mainstream politics or the Peoples’ Democratic Party, that was a long enough period to prove it. That period was the clearest indicator that never must the Southwest go back to the camp of self-seeking main streamers who left Yoruba land with decaying infrastructure. In those eight years, we saw a blistering rivalry between Osun/Oyo (both then under PDP governments) over their joint university. Aregbesola and Ajimobi, in Omoluabi fashion, have since amicably resolved the matter and, worst of all, the Deputy Leader of the Yoruba nation, Chief Bola Ige, was brutally murdered and Chief Awolowo’s statue, which they described as ERE IJEBU (Ijebu statue) was demolished to its roots. These are the people who, again, want to come back to our lives by all means - as if we learnt no lessons - and have raised all manner of fronts including, but not limited to emergency human right organisations which claim to champion the crusade for good governance in Yoruba land even when they have no record of such’ – Quoting Wale Adeoye, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Fayemi, mutatis mutandis. The more I see the rudderlessness that passes muster as governance in our country and the complete insecurity that has enveloped us all, the more I feel like cursing those dogooders who intervened and did not allow the focused Ghali Naaba House of Representatives impeach former President Olusegun Obasanjo to who must be traced a large proportion of the problems that today

A declaration of the readiness of Obasanjo and Babangida to go to war for Nigeria’s unity may not be enough to save the country months back, before the Islamist sect destroyed hundreds of innocent lives? Their fellow patriots would expect them to use their military experience and their long stay in power to identify the forces behind Boko Haram, the killer sect. I believe that President Jonathan would have had the former rulers to thank for such effort. The duo would have addressed their statement to the right audience if they had chosen to write a private letter to Dr. Jonathan. Are OBJ and IBB aware of the demands of Boko Haram, especially the group’s call for domination of Nigeria via Sharia? Our two generals need to remember that religion, like ethnicity, is a major marker of the country’s diversity which Boko Haram has been trying frantically to destroy. If the former rulers are concerned about the country’s unity, they should also remember that what is presently at stake at the instance of Boko Haram is not as much of our unity as it is of our diversity. It is our diversity that is being battered by Boko Haram. If our two generals are willing to join hands with all patriots to sustain and further enhance the country’s unity, they certainly need to re-ex-

amine their mindset regarding efforts by patriots to bring back to the country a federal system that celebrates diversity in order to reinforce unity. Similarly, the advice by the generals to all levels of government to end the needless killings should have been sent directly to President Jonathan who must be in dire need of such advice. Jonathan and his former and current national security advisers have not minced words in calling on all citizens to transform into security operatives. It is ironical that calls for ad hoc and informal decentralization of security –urging every level of government to take charge of security to end the killings by Boko Haram— is coming from two generals who did so much to block the rise of state or local police systems in the country. The former rulers must be aware that the Inspector-General Police believes the central police force can secure Nigeria without any assistance from other levels of government, just as the governors from the regions that had given birth to Boko Haram are opposed to state or local police. Our retired generals need to spend more time to persuade such governors that the central police

needs special assistance from states and communities to fight Boko Haram and to stop similar sects from germinating. It is curious that OBJ and IBB would prefer to address their deep concerns about Boko Haram to citizens, rather than to the country’s Commander-in-Chief at the Council of State, if nowhere else. Who exactly were these former rulers trying to reach when they said: “Internecine crises are raging across the land unabated …. And in the process, untold hardships are being visited on all citizens in one form or the other on a daily basis….”? No amount of denialism can wish away the fact that the real crisis that is killing innocent citizens is the one created by Boko Haram. It is this that requires confrontation in terms of dialogue or coordinated counter violence from the governments. Were the former rulers talking for themselves or pitching in for the president to assure citizens not to panic when they said: “Ample opportunities are, therefore, at hand to bring all belligerents to table for meaningful dialogue with authorities for our future and that of our grandchildren”? It would have helped if the generals had assured citizens on how

A thieving political dynasty It cannot be funny that sons of two PDP National Chairmen have been charged for oil subsidy scam militate against good governance in Nigeria. The era of treating the appropriation bill as nothing more than a rag sheet started with the erstwhile General just as it is conceivable that neither the late Umar Yar ‘Adua, nor incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, would have been president because neither aspired to that high office. Had President Yar Adua not panicked, and mishandled the Boko Haram uprising which saw to the summary execution of the sect’s leader in police custody, President Jonathan, if he were president at all, would not have had a festering urban terrorism inflicted on him due to no fault of his. Indeed, his being a minority South Southerner has merely served to intensify the Boko Haram menace, even if it did not start off as those who lost power wanting to have power back. And then, this is the second coming of Co-ordinating Minister Okonjo-Iweala and I doubt if she sees any difference in the impunity that ravaged her first coming and that of the moment, even when, as Jonathan claims, he is not exactly a Pharaoh. But without a doubt, the executive has been weaned on a diet of total disrespect for the legislature that Madam will not be bothered one bit; not even the threat of impeachment, which the PDP will soon treat as a family affair, can change a disregard for the legislature which daily appears cast in stone. Some lollies may soon be thrown around and mum, will be the word, or has’nt Dr Okonjo-Iweala said it is all about constituency projects?. Nothing has demonstrated the utter repugnance with which Nigerians should treat the PDP come next elections than the EFCC public announcement of the emergence of a

class of truly villainous sons of the kleptomanic leadership of the party, who thought nothing of allegedly stealing Nigerians blind, via a nonexistent oil subsidy. It cannot be funny either that sons of two PDP National Chairmen, the incumbent and a thoroughly pugnacious former one, are now in court, charged by EFCC for various offences in regard to oil subsidy. For ease of reference, let us quote from a Nigerian newspaper: ‘Sons of prominent Nigerians indicted in the fuel subsidy scam were yesterday arraigned by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja for offences ranging from conspiracy and collection of money under false pretences from federal government. Prominent among those who were arraigned are Mahmud Tukur (son of the current PDP chairman), Mamman Nasir Ali (son of the exPDP chairman), Abdullahi Alao (son of the multi-billionaire, Alhaji Arisekola Alao), Alex Ochonogor and a Sierra Leonean, Christian Taylor, all of whom were eventually granted bail’. They and their co- accused persons are alleged by the EFCC to have stolen N13.4 billion. Shamelessly, but totally in character, these fathers who in saner climes should since have stepped aside from their positions until their sons are proved not guilty before the courts, have since sent party hierarchs to town literally bursting our ear drums, claiming that the accused persons, as if Nigerians do not know, are of age and should face squarely the consequences of their actions. It must be bewildering how Col Ahmadu Ali, Nasir’s father, under

whose watch as Chairman of the negligent government agency (PPPRA) the number of oil importers ballooned from a mere 40 plus to over 120 in under one year, intends to wash his hands clean of this profanity. Former President Obasanjo, it must be remembered, it was who dredged Ali out of a near anonymity since he retired from a thoroughly tempestuous military career during which his tenure as Federal Minister of Education irrevocably passed into folklore for its sheer brutality against Nigerian students. Knowing full well the PDP’s uncanny ability to wangle through with its policy of ‘family affair’, I think Nigerians should not delude themselves believing that the accused persons will get their due comeuppance. Rather, Nigerians should, as an oppressed people and victims of a rapacious political party, work assiduously towards uprooting the party come the next elections. As indicated in the intro by Wale Adeoye, the irredeemable party is at it again in the Southwest, particularly in Ondo State where gubernatorial election is slated for October, 2012. The PDP, ever desirous of profiting where least deserved, is currently involved in some high stakes games with the Labour Party, deceiving its paltry members and supporters, that it is going into an election whereas it will actually not contest. In my two articles to date on the election, I did not hesitate to describe Governor Segun Mimiko as a strategist of no mean repute. Therefore, unlike many of his supporters who, simplistically and erroneously, believe that his victory over the A C N candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, –the only other real candidate –is a done deal, he is believed to be ea-

soon these opportunities would materialize? President Jonathan himself had said on several occasions that the violence by Boko Haram would evaporate in a jiffy, only to have to repeat the same assurance every other month. Many patriotic Nigerians are already tired of hearing about the imperative to sustain our unity without giving consideration to the purpose that such unity is to serve. The former rulers are right to observe that the country is experiencing a major crisis that is damaging the unity they once fought for. What the generals need to consider is that whatever troubles the country’s diversity also threatens its unity. The existence of a terrorist Islamist sect with links to al Qaeda, its Maghreb variant, and Somalia’s al-Shabaab is the most dangerous threat to the diversity that the country celebrates and on which its unity can be based. A declaration of the readiness of Obasanjo and Babangida to go to war for Nigeria’s unity may not be enough to save the country. Our two longest-serving heads of state need to assist their successor on the throne to convene a nationwide dialogue to save the country’s diversity, before it is too late. gerly cooing up to the PDP, promising to decamp to the party after the election and handing over to it 50 percent of the posts on offer. The federal government is, under the arrangement, rumoured to be ready to throw open the treasury to the Labour Party candidate. In order to completely outwit the A C N, it is alleged that this collaboration will be made public one week to the election. After all, the fear of Tinubu, in PDP circles, is the beginning of wisdom. These schemes, if true, rather than take cognisance of the highly politically suave people of Ondo State, are actually thoroughly disrespectful of their sensitivities. Without an iota of doubt, and I should know from experience from the Second Republic elections in the state, they remain about the most enlightened of the Nigerian electorate, one which you can only treat so whimsically to your own chagrin. One is not saying the two parties cannot collaborate electorally, but to think you can, at this time and age, deceive the Yoruba man or woman so unintelligently, would be the mistake of the century. A word then about my good friend, Dr Olu Agunloye who was recently reported to have decamped from the A C N. Olu, the highly regarded Traffic Administrator that he had been, is not a politician, has never been and will never ever be one. Talking seriously. A good politician starts off by impacting his party positively but my friend had never impacted any party meaningfully. And both Governor Mimiko and Ashiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu must be laughing. All that mattered to Dr Agunloye are positions and he is damn in a hurry. By the way, when did he forgive Mimiko the 22 ‘sins’, that is, promises he said the governor gave him but none of which he kept? Besides that, a good politician does not begin his quest for higher office by begging reputable citizens to go and beg political chieftains on his behalf. Olu should decode that by referencing one early morning breakfast with a southwest governor. Olu brought nothing tangible to, and took none away from the A C N.


Comment & Analysis

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Tunji

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

I

NOW believe that truly, when a big problem knocks one down, small ones will come and start playing ludo on top of the person. That was what occurred to me when two of the country’s former heads of state asked President Goodluck Jonathan to wake up and give Nigerians the security cover they need. I said ‘they need’ and not that ‘they deserve’ rather instructively because if I talk in terms of the latter, the President might not be owing Nigerians anything beyond what he is giving them, since a people get the kind of leaders they deserve. He could even tell them that he is doing his best and that if that is not good enough, Nigerians can go to blazes. From the look of things, it may not be long before that slips from the mouth of a President who does not give a “damn’’ about making his assets declaration public. Obasanjo and Babangida are parts of the architects of whatever leadership deficit or misfortune we are experiencing in the country today. In case General Babangida wants to be reminded, his annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election contributed immensely to the country’s leadership crisis. It was that criminal annulment that begot the chains of events that eventually culminated in the Jonathan presidency. Perhaps if that election had been allowed to stand, things would have been different. Yet, it is the same Babangida that is talking today about security con-

Postscript, Unlimited! By

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

F

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

Born-again OBJ and IBB Holy Moses! See the people who want to help Jonathan cerns and the wanton loss of lives and property, which continue to be investors’ nightmares. Has this country been able to calculate the number of lives that were needlessly lost due to the annulment of that election, the fairest and freest in the country’s annals? Has anyone bothered to quantify the economic losses of that decision, the economic shutdowns and all? Has anyone ever presented Babangida the social costs of that irrational and senseless decision? If we quantify all these costs in monetary terms, and the cost of Babangida’s transition programme that transited nowhere (put conservatively at about N50 billion), then we know where a man like the former military president should be now in some saner climes. In the same vein, former President Obasanjo who is now shedding crocodile tears about insecurity in the country should reminisce on his contribution to peace and security when he was president. Many of those who have now taken to armed robbery, thereby compounding the problem of insecurity did so probably because they lack meaningful jobs to do. What did Chief Obasanjo do, as president, to create the right environment for

economic activities to flourish? If he did well, the Dunlops of this world, the Michelins of this world, etc. that left the country, in some cases abandoning their billions of naira investments in the process, would not have left, meaning many people rendered jobless by their exit from the country would have remained gainfully employed and be in position to extend the traditional African kindness to their extended family members. Moreover, one of the worst security challenges facing this country today is that posed by the Boko Haram. And, if the assertion of the former National Security Adviser, General Patrick Aziza, that it is a political thing is anything to go by, then Chief Obasanjo is culpable. It is the kind of price to pay for little sins and little unfaithfulness. Chief Obasanjo it was who threw away the zoning formula of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before last year’s election just because he wanted the incumbent president to be the party’s presidential candidate. He knew that whosoever the party anointed was as good as winning the election. Nobody should take this to mean my support for zoning; but the point I am making is that Chief Obasanjo as a

“If they (Obasanjo and Babangida) read law, they wouldn’t have been called to the Bar; if it were in the Queen’s army, they wouldn’t have gone beyond the rank of Sgt. Major; if they had read medicine, they couldn’t have been licensed to practice. The two characters can be bracketed in the same volume of a book”

two-time head of state ought to have been conversant with the dictum, ‘pacta sunt serv?anda’ (pacts are binding). PDP collectively opted for zoning but when it was time to select the party’s presidential flag bearer, the then President Obasanjo said zoning was dead. Aziza told us that was the cause of Boko Haram. In other words, Chief Obasanjo is part of our security problems. Yet, it was more than a case of ‘two fighting’ when the two retired generals engaged each other in a war of words, on the occasion of Babangida’s 70th birthday last year. We are all familiar with another maxim, ‘a fool at 40’. But we were treated to an advanced level of foolery when Obasanjo accused Babangida of being a fool at 70. I guess that was his 70th birthday gift to the gap-toothed general, after the former had accused him of being responsible for the country’s woes. The two of them entertained the world to their satisfaction and we should be wondering what, under the sun, could have brought them under one umbrella again? But that is Nigerian leadership for you. Remember also the case in court between Turai Yar’Adua, wife of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Patience Jonathan, over land matters in Abuja? Unfortunately, it is the same Obasanjos, the Babangidas, the Shehu Shagaris, the Ernest Shonekans et al, mostly failed leaders in their own right, that constitute our so-called National Council of State whose duty is to advise the incumbent president. If General Sani Abacha too were alive, he would have been attending the council’s meetings! Indeed, I laugh whenever

17

I hear that the council met or that it has taken certain decisions on certain matters. The question that comes naturally into my mind is whether any good thing can come out of the ‘Nazareth’ of this gallery of failed leaders. If most of us agree that these people failed, in some cases, woefully, to lead the country aright in their time, what gives us the assurance that they would want the incumbent to succeed and claim the credit that they lost when they were in government (and power in some cases); or that they now have better ideas which they lacked in their time, to move the country forward (to borrow their own cliché?) Be that as it may, the two former heads of state don’t want President Jonathan to be groping for solutions to the security question, as they declared their intention to be of help “ to do whatever is possible to promote the quest for peace and harmony.” Yet, virtually everything they complained about, from “pervasive cynicism” to ‘sense of frustration, fear and despair”, “violence and hatred”, “ample opportunities” to “intolerance” existed aplenty in their own time as head of state. Now, they want to help President Jonathan solve the security problem. If someone promised to give you clothes, won’t you first take a look at what he is wearing before accepting the offer? With helpers like these... Well, I leave the President with the following words of Mike Onwukwe in a commentary carried on-line on August 24, 2011: “If they (Obasanjo and Babangida) read law, they wouldn’t have been called to the Bar; if it were in the Queen’s army, they wouldn’t have gone beyond the rank of Sgt. Major; if they had read medicine, they couldn’t have been licensed to practice. The two characters can be bracketed in the same volume of a book”. Maybe that was what brought them together again!

When less fear is more fear

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

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

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

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


18

A

RATHER distressing and unfortunate trend is gaining ground in the country. An ignorant and mischievous minority working desperately to hijack the mainstream media and public space for the sake of spreading destructive falsehood aimed at creating the erroneous impression that the Federal Government lacks the capacity to deliver democracy dividends to the people of the nation. Members of this minority club masquerading as leaders of the civil society without proper research delve into analysis that are founded on false premises, with the intent of promoting myopic and selfish interests that negate the overall public good. This was clearly evident in the opinion authored by one Ugochukwu Jim-Nwoko on the highly applauded free distribution of books by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to less privileged Nigerian children and published in some newspapers recently. Even though Mr Jim-Nwoko prides himself as a budget and development policy analyst, in the said write-up, there was nothing to indicate that the piece was written with public interest at heart. He kicked off his analysis with false information. He falsely quoted the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, as saying that the Federal Government has committed N68.6billion to the procurement of books for the Nigerian children. He claimed that the Minister said this during the National Book Distribution Flag Off in Abuja. Wrong diagnosis At no time during the National flag off at Abuja did any official of the Federal Ministry of Education or the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC announce that N68.6billion was used to procure the books to be distributed. The Federal Ministry of Education made it clear

IGERIANS believe or, at least, act as if men and women over the age of 70 should be choosing fabrics for their coffins like that woman in the memorable film, Polyanna in which the young Haley Mills – Polyanna – resurrected the woman – and the whole town. I do not know whether Nsukka (University of Nigeria – as I knew and will always know it) has already conferred as honoriscause on Ilara and Nigeria’s illustrious son, Chief Ade-Ojo (Elizade), but the Toyota main Nigeria dealership boss reminds me of three people for three different reasons: Warren Buffet whose swashbuckling business acquisitions in his 80s gives little room for morbid thoughts of the Great Beyond even while he must have at the back of his mind the Psalmist’s injunction that we learn to number our days. The great Polaroid inventor, Land, who dropped out of Harvard but would later say – my words – ‘doctorate Physicists, you are not doing it right; what I want with this camera (the SX70) is for the film to be EXPOSED TO LIGHT while being developed! If you’ll ‘scuse me guys, I’ll do it myself. Where else could my third person that Elizade’s efforts remind me of come from but good ol’ U.S.A.! In college, back in the 70s in the States, I developed interest in biographies/history not only of people but of institutions, and that of Stanford University, an academic powerhouse in the league of America’s Harvard, MIT, Yale & Princeton – interested me: a great institution founded by a father as a gift to other kids, a memorial to an only child he and his wife lost.

N

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Comment & Analysis

Still on free books for children By Simeon Nwakaudu

that as a result of the importance attached to distribution of books to the less privileged Nigerian children in public schools, 15percent of the 2percent Consolidated Revenue Fund allocated for the implementation of the UBE programme was set aside for the provision of instructional materials. How this translates to N68.6billion can only be explained by JimNwoko. For Jim-Nwoko to claim that the Minister of Education stated that N6.8bllion was used to procure these books is totally false and regrettable. For 2012, the Federal Government is distributing 14million copies of primaries one and two textbooks in English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies and Basic Science and Technology subjects. The government is also distributing 4,920,593 copies of assorted library resource materials in junior secondary schools. These resource materials cut across all subject areas. Jim-Nwoko also raised the issue of the mode of the award of the contract for the books that have been distributed. The Federal Government resolved to stick with the major publishers who have been supplying these books since 2009 when this policy was kick-started. These are internationally recognised publishers who have been operating in Nigeria for decades. On the issue of the National/ North Central flag being held at the high-brow Maitama district where Jim-Nwoko claimed that only the children of the wealthy attend. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though located in Maitama, the host school, Model Primary School is a public school. Pupils of the school are the often ignored down-trodden

children of security guards, cooks, house-helps and cleaners. They are as less privileged as any other set of children in other rural and urban suburbs. However, the flag off was symbolic and participating children were selected from across public schools in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs. The teams already set up to distribute the books across the FCT and the states of the North Central geo-political zone were amply represented, while Education Commissioners and chairmen of State Universal Basic Education Boards from the 36 States of the Federation took part in the Abuja programme to key into the modalities to get the books to every nook and cranny of the country. Jim-Nwoko, because of his parochial interest, chose to ignore the fact that the Federal Government in conjunction with the Universal Basic Education Commission has flagged off the free distribution of the books to the five other geo-political zones. The flag off ceremonies have been held in Akure for South West, Katsina for North West, Uyo for South-South, Onitsha for SouthEast and Gombe for North-East. In all these zones, the Education Commissioners, State Universal Basic Education Board Chairmen, Education Secretaries of Local Government Education Authorities, school head-teachers and security agencies have played prominent and direct roles in moving the books to the rural communities and urban poor where they are needed. State Governors have also been involved. The Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has at every stop met with the teams selected to monitor the distribution of the books at State and local govern-

ment levels. Separate meetings were held with security agencies to ensure that anyone found diverting the books is arrested and prosecuted. For the avoidance of doubt, every single book has clear security features and they are localized to individual states. Therefore, if a book meant for Abia State is found in Sokoto State, the person who diverted same can be easily traced by the relevant security agencies that are already part of the distribution mechanism. Transparency has been the watchword in this books distribution exercise. For this year, a wide spectrum of stakeholders has been involved right from the planning stage to the public distribution of these books. Like Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State said during the Onitsha flag off of the South-East Distribution of the books, this is the very first time the books are being distributed with all stakeholders deeply involved. It was the same view that the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio expressed in Uyo after the flag off for the South-South. It is not enough to make sentimental generalization not backed with facts. Privileged Nigerians who enroll their children in private schools get supply of books at the beginning of every academic session. This leaves the less privileged children at a disadvantaged position. All the mechanisms that have been put in place are geared towards ensuring that no poor parent is compelled to pay a kobo for any of these books. Like the Minister of State for Education reiterated at all the venues of the zonal flag off, any parent requested to buy any of these books should approach law enforcement agents. It is a collective goal. To allege that there is fraud in

Putting Ilara-Mokin on world map By Tola Adenle

No, Elizade has not made a scientific breakthrough but Harvard did confer Land with a honorary doctorate of Science and until I read how that hit of the 60s – the camera that made its films “develop before your eyes” which was against the principles of developing films, I had assumed that a “Dr.” Land coming up with that kind of outof-the-world invention must have a REAL Ph.D. Nsukka should be first among many to grant a man who deserves the oft-bandied visionary a honorary doctorate – if it has not. In his 70s, Elizade has put structures that would become two renowned institutions at his native Ilara-Mokin which Dele Ojo once made famous. but while mostly Nigerians above 60 remember the music maestro of the 60s, the star out of Ifedore Local Council of the 2010s is working on a legacy that will not only outlive him, his children and grandchildren but one that would put the university that he’s about to open within the next several months in the category of the great institutions of the world. Elizade must have looked well into the past to fashion a future for the great institution he has in mind. The Chairman of Council is an illustrious first class brains of Ondo State origin, Professor Sylvester Adegoke, one of eleven Ondo State indigenes who are recipients of Nigeria’s National Merit Awards out of the sixty

awardees – nearly 20 percent! While I’m not aware of the name of the founding ViceChancellor being made public yet, I know for a fact that he’s another Ondo State indigene, a high-flying first class scholar who rose to professorial rank back in the late 70s before retiring and joining an international organisation where he worked for almost two decades before retiring. Founding heads of universities have rare opportunities to chart the directions of the institutions they lead. David Starr Jordan, Stanford’s first President (Nigeria Vice Chancellor), laid the foundation to a great institution that has more than fulfilled his dream “of a school which may last as long as human civilisation. … It is hallowed by no traditions; it is hampered by none. Its finger posts all point forward.” Professor Hezekiah A. Oluwasanmi did no less at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) even though he had less financial resources to work with. Those were pioneers who did not see a university as an isolated academic community or learning as a path to be travelled devoid of culture and beauty. While Jordan cared enough for aesthetics to employ the architect who designed New York’s fabled Central Park, Oluwasanmi established a Parks & Gardens unit that was unprecedented in the annals of university campuses in Nigeria. Most evenings of the couple of

years that I worked at the ViceChancellor’s office doing secretarial work in the early years of Ife I saw Oluwasanmi walking around the beautiful campus. If a common and ordinarily-resilient croton was dying among a bunched group in a far corner of the main road of the campus, Parks & Gardens would hear of it the morning after! I have no doubt in my mind that Elizade’s founding ViceChancellor will take advantage of available resources to transform a budding beauty to a stunner. Adjoining the sprawling Elizade University where plantings are many, though needing streamlining and more colours – eh, this is the tropics – is a very impressive 18-hole golf course. My party on excursion had the opportunity of getting to the 18th hole where a hotel is in the pipeline, and my, what a view from the plateau to the hills of Ikere Ekiti 30 circuitous miles away through Akure, my native Iju and then Ikere, as opposed to a straight line that could not be more than ten miles! I can foresee Elizade getting on the Pro Golf Tour in the very near future where the Tiger Woods of the golf world would actually love to play. I do not play golf although I’ve watched enough golf on television to hear Vijay Singh narrate how he once played in Lagos – yeah Nigeria – when he was still coming up and raking up points to qualify for the Big Time! The Lagos Club where he played was nothing much to

the distribution of the books to less privileged Nigerian children is a disservice to the less privileged Nigerian children and their parents who have come to appreciate this genuine intervention of the Federal Government. The books are in all the 774 local government areas of the country and by the resumption of the next academic session in September, the books will be visible across every locality of the nation. It must be stated that the interventions of the President Jonathan administration to ensure that the children of the less privileged access quality basic education is now public knowledge. At the risk of repetition, the administration has made very practical investments in Almajiri, girl-child, boy-child and general adult mass literacy programme. These are programmes that the less privileged are already reaping from. The entire write-up of Mr JimNwoko never outlined any fraud committed at any point of the free book distribution chain of the Federal Government aside the fabrication of the imaginary N68.6billion, which only exists in the mind of the writer. To attempt to attain cheap recognition by disparaging worthwhile government programmes is no longer fashionable. All a patriotic Nigerian is obligated to do is to contribute his/her quota in surmounting noticed challenges in a public programme or indicate areas where improvements should be made for the good of the people. There is no gain cooking up nonexistent data to satisfy undeclared interests. Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant (Media) to Minister of State for Education.

write about compared to Torrey Pines [California], the Congressional Country Club [Washington, D.C. suburb]… and, of course, the Augusta, Georgia home of the U.S. Masters and – St. Andrews, etcetera where Singh would later strut his stuff. I feel certain that with Elizade University, Nigerians who have the means would gladly choose a Nigerian university rather than the thousands of our kids who now journey to Ghana (sounds embarrassing & I mean that in a positive way for the little country that has always proved it can), South Africa and other destinations that take millions in foreign exchange from Nigeria annually. With the kind of plans for staffing and the very impressive accommodation for staff and students (students will be two to a room), I feel excited about this institution that is about to take off in my native state. Here is what Stanford’s Jordan wrote when the college opened its doors almost a century ago: “It is for us as teachers and students in the university’s first year to lay the foundations of a school which may last as long as human civilization. … It is hallowed by no traditions; it is hampered by none. Its finger posts all point forward.” It is not only Elizade- from Elizabeth (his late first wife) and Ade from his own first name – who is excitedly looking forward to hearing words that would go on marble that his first vice-chancellor would utter to call the staff and students to rise to the challenge that a true visionary has thrown their privileged way.


POLITICS

19

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Ahmed, Saraki in second term blues

•Ahmed

H

IS emergence as the Governor of Kwara State last year could be attributed to a combination of fate, luck and strategic political considerations. Indeed for Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, nothing else could have been more befitting than being elected as governor, after serving as commissioner for eight years during the tenure of his predecessor, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki. Ahmed’s nomination both as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his final victory at the 2011 general elections did not, however, come easy, revealed sources privy to the intrigues, intense lobbying and horse trading that characterised the process. The Nation gathered that with just a few weeks to the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) primaries, apprehension had reached fever pitch among PDP members in Kwara State, with no one sure where the pendulum was likely to swing among the few aspirants jostling to succeed Saraki. Interestingly too, the former governor, whom everybody was waiting for to make the big decision, was not helping matters. “For months, many of his (Saraki’s) associates could not read his mind, as the man simply kept his ace close to his chest,” said a source. Investigations, however, revealed that of all the aspirants, Saraki is likely to favour Abdulfatah Ahmed and Razak Atunwa, the current Speaker of the State

Will Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed secure a second term ticket in 2015? This is the poser presently causing ripples in the North Central state, even as there are strong indications that he may be stopped in his track. Remi Adelowo writes House of Assembly. An insider to the political power house in the state said this was because of their closeness to the godfather and their experience. “In terms of cognate experience to run the state, Ahmed and Atunwa are considered to be amongst the most qualified to be governor. “Ahmed, a former banker before he was poached by Saraki, was the Commissioner for Finance before he was redeployed to the less visible Ministry of Economic Planning after an alleged undisclosed misunderstanding with his boss. Atunwa was also unarguably one of Saraki’s ‘anointed boys’ in the cabinet. In the course of his eight-year tenure as commissioner, he was, at various times, in charge of the Ministries of Information and Home Affairs; Works and Transport and Finance. A law graduate from the University of East London, he was running a thriving legal firm in the United Kingdom before the lure of politics compelled him to return home at the instance of the patriarch of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki. However, since stakeholders were insisting then that time was running out, a decision had to be made quickly. So, Saraki finally settled for Atunwa, or so it seemed. The decision, according to sources, pleased majority of party members, who described him as ‘friendly, accessible and generous.’ But as is typical in politics where no decision is taken as a fait accompli until the very end, other factors soon came into play in the battle for PDP nomination ticket.

“Interestingly too, the former governor, whom everybody was waiting for to make the big decision, was not helping matters. “For months, many of his (Saraki’s) associates could not read his mind, as the man simply kept his ace close to his chest,” said a source.”

•Saraki

So, Ahmed and other party stakeholders from Kwara South Senatorial Zone, who canvassed for power shift from Kwara Central, were not ruffled by Atunwa’s alleged endorsement, even when it seemed to have been welcomed by many party members. It would be recalled that the governor then, Saraki, who had ruled for eight years from 2003-2011, hails from Kwara Central; ditto his predecessor, Mohammed Alabi Lawal. Atunwa also hails from Asa Local Government in Kwara Central. So, some stakeholders had argued that to ensure fairness and equity, power should be ceded to Kwara South, which last produced a governor in 1983, when Senator Cornelius Adebayo ruled the old Kwara State from October to December 1983. Also not learning anything to chance, Ahmed also pulled all the strings to turn the table in his favour. A source revealed what transpired: “One particular night, Ahmed went to meet Saraki at the governor’s lodge. For hours, he pleaded with the then governor to give him a chance, promising never to disappoint.” To plug all loopholes, according to the source, Ahmed also visited Atunwa, asking for his support. The then governor eventually caved in to the intense pressures on him from within and outside the state to consider Ahmed, but allegedly gave a caveat: “Ahmed will only run for a single term.” The source also alleged that Saraki, in order not to create any crack in the party, granted a late night one-on-one meeting with Atunwa, where he explained why he had to settle for Ahmed, while calling on Atunwa to support the party’s decision. The Nation gathered that it was at this meeting that Saraki told Atunwa to run for a seat in the House of Assembly, with a promise to influence his emergence as Speaker for “strategic reasons.” Elections over, all the calculations came to pass as Ahmed was elected

governor while Atunwa became the speaker of the House. But barely a year in the saddle as governor, sources are alleging that Ahmed is plotting another term in office. A pointer to the alleged game plan came to the fore some weeks ago when some members of the House of Assembly, allegedly acting at the behest of the governor, wrote a petition against Atunwa, accusing him of sundry offences, ranging from alleged financial mismanagement and high handedness in the running of the House. The alleged ‘rebellion’ to unseat Atunwa was however, foiled, even as some of the Suspected leaders of the plot, who were principal officers in the House, were removed from their exalted positions. With the speaker shoved aside, the game plan, according to political watchers in the state, was to enable the governor have control of the House, unlike the current situation where almost all, if not all the members, owe their allegiance to Saraki, now a senator representing Kwara Central. For now, Saraki has kept out of the fray, telling close aides that it was too early to take on the governor, but sources said “he is very angry with Ahmed right now.” The big question is: Why is Saraki insisting that Ahmed should spend one term in office? “The reason is simple”, said a source, who added, “The elder Saraki never backed any candidate for a second term and the son is also using the same method. The fear is that a governor having spent two terms in office would become too powerful and uncontrollable.” So, with his every move and decision closely shadowed by Saraki’s camp, how Ahmed will navigate through the obvious political minefield ahead of his alleged second term ambition remains in the realm of conjecture.


20

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Politics BAKASSI

CRISIS

How Nigeria can win back Bakassi Peninsula – Oyebode Professor Akin Oyebode is a renowned international law scholar and Head of Department of International Law and Jurisprudence of the University of Lagos (Unilag), Akoka, Lagos. In this interview with Linus Obogo, Oyebode took a critical look at the Bakassi conundrum, and its consequent fallout. Excerpts

C

ROSS River, a once littoral state has become a victim for the loss of the Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroon. Should it be made to pay so much for what happened? Let me begin from the first principle, which is that states are not subjects of international law, their nuisance values are circumscribed within the territory they are located. It is rather the Federal Government that personifies and epitomizes Nigeria at the international plain. Although I am aware that Obong of Calabar went to The Hague, but strictly speaking, the dispute was between Cameroon and Nigeria and Cross River and Cameroon. But politically, it was not too wise to have alienated the states concerned. However, the fallout from the decision to cede the Peninsula to the Cameroon will inevitably affect Cross River State because it robbed it from certain benefits which were to accrue to it because it was a littoral state in terms of the oil wells which would have formed the basis of partaking in what is called 13% derivation. In the light of the Supreme Court ruling or judgment of July 10, on the status of a littoral state and the consequent loss of the 76 oil wells, observers and keen followers of the crisis are of the opinion that Cross River State is being made to bear too much brunt more than any other interest in the entire matter. Do you share similar concern sir? I agree with you totally that the loss of those 76 oil wells and the effective declaration that Cross Rive State was no longer possessing of any outlet to sea definitely created a detriment to the interest of Cross River State. Aside from the loss of revenue in terms of derivation, the naval base in Calabar, which formed the very important lynchpin of patrol and effective security within the seaboard of Nigeria has been somewhat circumscribed, hemmed in and restricted, if you like, on account of that decision. You may want to ask, what is the utility of a naval base which is the Headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command which will no longer have an outlet to the sea except and unless only to the extent that permission is sought and obtained from Cameroon before our

war ships can move out of the estuary to the Atlantic Ocean. Putting it in perspective, the judgment has grievous geo-political implications. I am aware though that the Green Tree Agreement which is still in contention at the National Assembly provided for the ingress and egress of the Nigerian vessels which Cameroon is obliged not to deny us the right not to move in and out of the estuary of the Bakassi Peninsula. But suppose, just suppose Cameroon denies us entry and exit, what are we going to do? Are we prepared to go to war against Cameroon in order to unscramble the egg? That is the question I leave for Ebele Goodluck Jonathan to ponder over. Following the judgment of the Supreme Court, some enlightened opinions have argued that the apex court should have played a more conciliatory, advisory and equitable role rather than to have given a straight legal verdict as it did concerning the disputed 76 oil wells. What’s your thought on this? Honestly, nothing would have prevented the Supreme Court by way of obita dicta, from making a passing remark on the geo-political consequences so that the Federal Government could take a cue to mitigate the losses or damage that Cross River State might incur. So, nothing stopped the Supreme Court from making obita dicta in that respect. There are precedents that can be cited. For instance, when Ekiti State was arguing before the Supreme Court in terms of the sharing formula between it and Ondo State, the apex court had had to adopt what could be described as ‘Solomonic’ wisdom to say that Ondo State should not be too greedy and provided some 60/40 formula in such a way that no winner took it all. That for me could have been a very good precedent for the Su-

•Oyebode

preme Court itself to have imbibed to arrive at equitable settlement. Even in international law, when there is a dispute in terms of international boundaries, continental shelf and what have you, the equidistance principle and principle of equality and equity are not unknown at the International Court of Justice. But in looking at the question formulated for determination, I think the Supreme Court, was rather very legalistic in arriving at merely looking at the law of the matter rather than at the equity and the politics of the issue. With the consequent designation of Cross River State as a nonlittoral state by the National Boundary Commission (NBC), following the re-delineating of its seaward boundary and the attendant security implications for Nigeria, would you say the NBC acted prudently in the handling of the delicate issue? The National Boundary Commission is an organ of the Federal Government responsible for boundary matters. It was acting perfectly in accordance with its mandate. But with that being said, I am not too sure if the mandate of the commission would extend to the international boundaries of Nigeria. The NBC has been involved in boundary disputes between different states and since this one was also a boundary dispute between two different states, so to speak, it could be said that it might have acted within its mandate. The only issue here is the geopolitical aspect of that action in terms of delineation of the international boundaries in effect, of Nigeria and Cameroon is a matter that will need to be revisited. This is because even the boundary adjustment which was effected during the Marwa 1971, there was a

map attached to that declaration in terms of the boundary adjustment that was done by the Surveyor-General of the Federation which became an albatross on the neck of Nigeria. This was what further complicated our matter at the International Court of Justice, so much so that when late Justice Elias was at the ICJ in 1972, he warned Nigeria that because of what General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) conceded to Ahmadu Ahijo, it might create problems in future and his foresight came to pass when the matter came before the ICJ. What I am saying in effect is that the office of the NBC and the Surveyor-General of the Federation should have been guided by the expertise of international lawyers when they are deliberating on matters that have international legal implications. There is also the argument that Nigeria should have protested the composition of the court as presided over by a French judge. Did Nigeria act wisely in terms of legal representation as regards Bakassi? Under the statute of the International Court of Justice, which is part and parcel of the UN Charter, The argument of our legal team of Chief Richard Akinjide said such a declaration coming in March of 1994 should neither be binding nor taken into effect until twelve months after in accordance with the Vienna Convention Treaties of 1969. Regrettably, that preliminary objection was rejected. It was at that point that Nigeria ought to have walked out of the proceeding. But Chief Akinjide and his fellow travelers decided to stay on board thinking that they could still wangle something out of that situation. I must also point out that even

“I am aware that the Green Tree Agreement which is still in contention at the National Assembly provided for the ingress and egress of the Nigerian vessels which Cameroon is obliged not to deny us the right not to move in and out of the estuary of the Bakassi Peninsula. But suppose, just suppose Cameroon denies us entry and exit, what are we going to do? Are we prepared to go to war against Cameroon in order to unscramble the egg? That is the question I leave for Jonathan to ponder over.”

if you make a declaration accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the court, nothing stops you from modifying your declaration depending on the circumstance. Recall that in 1984, in the case between the United States and Nicaragua, the former modified its declaration using the Connolly Amendment saying that it would not accept the jurisdiction of the court on any matter arising from the Western Hemisphere. This effectively removed the jurisdiction of the court in relation to the case brought by Nicaragua. The US diplomats at The Hague got wind of what was coming and informed their home government. This is what countries all over the world are supposed to do. But the Nigeria diplomats at The Hague were moonlighting and savouring the peace of the Netherlands and did not even know, much more alert the Nigerian government that Cameroon had brought a matter before the ICJ which affected her interest. So, I will lay the blame squarely at the doorstep of the Nigerian Mission at The Hague. At that point in time, Nigeria would have gotten wind of what was coming to quickly modify its 1965 declaration on the jurisdiction of the court on any matter pertaining to West Africa. It was actually plausible for Nigeria to have walked out, but sadly, it did not take that option clearly opened to it. You also raised the issue of the French presiding judge, that again was borne out of naiveté by the Nigerian legal team represented by Chief Akinjide and Prince Bola Ajibola. It was something they strongly contested because of the special relationship that existed between Cameroon and France. Do not forget also that before the judgment was delivered, President Sakorzi had invited Presidents Obasanjo and Paul Biya to France, urging them to accept the decision that would be reached by the court. By this time, Nigeria should have smelt a rat. I do not know what happened, but Obasanjo allowed himself to be dragooned to Paris to enter into a Modus Vivendi. It was impolitic and naïve. As if that was not damning enough, the Green Tree Agreement was adopted in New York under the aegis of the Secretary-General of the UN. Again, Obasanjo agreed with Paul Biya on the implementation of the decision, which to say the least was gratuitous. We made so many errors and I understand that the case cost us $300million. It was most infelicitous situation which I hope will never again repeat itself in this country. Even when we compare the team that represented Nigeria with those on the side of Cameroon, it will amaze you that Cameroon had 12 professors of French, English and Cameroonian nationals. But when you look at the Nigerian team, apart from the three professors of which two were English and one Nigerian, I have my doubt if indeed, we paraded our first eleven. Before the case got underway, two distinguished international lawyers of this country, Professors Ayo Ajomo and Itsejaye Sagay were peremptorily removed by the late Abacha junta, alleging that they had NADECO sympathies. It does not matter where your lawyer faces, whether Jerusalem or Syria. All you need is what is between his ears. It was a big faux pas to have removed such distinguished international legal experts. And I hope we do not make this mistake again. Honestly, we did not have a very good outing in that debacle.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Politics

BAKASSI

CRISIS

Political Politics

Nigeria should properly resettle Bakassi people —Ita Giwa In this exclusive interview, a prominent leader of the Bakassi people, Senator Florence ItaGiwa, tells Nicholas Kalu that Nigeria should channel its energies towards proper resettlement of the displaced people. Excerpts:

W

HAT is your reaction to the recent agitation for a review of the 2002 ICJ judgment in a bid to reclaim the ceded Bakassi? First of all, I consider the agitation of a judicial review of the 2002 ICJ Judgment on Bakassi as purely academic in the sense that most legal experts have expressed their views on the subject, describing it as unlikely to succeed. That it is coming nearly 10 years after the verdict also does not help matters. Instead of engaging in exercise of futility, I will rather we channel our energy to properly resettling the Bakassi people. However, any forum, especially with regards to the review of the Bakassi matter, is welcome. In other words, I am glad that at last the Bakassi is being discussed at a national level after all. Some youths under the aegis of the Bakassi Self Determination Front have threatened violence in the area if efforts are not made by the federal government to reclaim the land. How do you feel about this? If you had read my piece on the Bakassi issue which was widely published last week, I made mention that I founded the Bakassi Self Determination Front out of a sense of desperation, when it appeared as if the federal government was not interested in my people’s welfare. At the same time, I also founded the Bakassi Welfare Union. We were promised we will be properly resettled with our traditional institutions intact; Political structures intact; ancestral name, which means identity, intact, because there is nobody in the whole wide world who negotiates his/ her identity. However, Bakassi Self Determination Front was not formed for guerilla warfare or violence but was borne out of self determination to agitate for the proper recognition of the yearnings of the people of Bakassi. I can appreciate the frustration of my people; they have had to roam around, homeless, for all these years and to crown it all, we

were disenfranchised in our fatherland and prevented from voting. I however call on my rightly restive youths of Bakassi to sheathe their swords and exercise some patience. This is a time for all and sundry to channel energies positively towards addressing the serious issues that confront the people of Bakassi. I will also appeal to my young Bakassi compatriots to understand that the very forces that hitherto frustrated the proper resettlement of our people are now admitting that we have never been resettled, so there is a window of opportunity now to resolve the issue once and for all with everyone on the same page. You have made it clear that you want your people to be properly settled by the federal government in Dayspring in Nigeria. Can you tell us a little about Dayspring and also, what would you tell people who doubt the Federal Government’s commitment to resettle the people of Bakassi? As I said in my published piece, Day Spring Island is part of Nigerian Sovereign Territory, and is geographically located within Cross River State. If any place should be designated for Bakassi indigenes to resettle within Nigerian territory, Day Spring is the obvious choice. The fact that my people are predomi-

Political

ripples Chime faults critics over ‘inhuman’ image

G

OVERNOR Sullivan Chime of Enugu State may not be one of the state chief executives that react to every allegations made against them by their political opponents, but he is not taking lightly the current attempts to portray him as an inhuman governor. The opposition elements have not spared the youthful governor, who they have labored hard to project as “inhuman,” following the banning of Okada in Enugu and the alleged introduction of dressing code for residents of Enugu. •Chime

nantly fishermen suggest that they be resettled in a place that will afford them the chance and environment to continue with their traditional vocation of fishing. Ikang, where we were misguidedly taken to, does not offer us such an advantage. Before we forget, it was the Federal Government of Nigeria that ceded Bakassi Territory to Cameroon and not Cross River State, so the federal government is therefore obliged to ensure the proper resettlement of the people in keeping with the federal government’s earlier promise. I must say though that initially the federal government displayed a lot of enthusiasm just after the ceding took place. In fact, President Jonathan, who was then Vice President, was the Chairman of the body responsible for the resettlement of the Bakassi people. As chairman, he showed a great deal of enthusiasm and concern at the time, but for whatever reason, none of the recommendations made have to date been implemented. It is my view that we, being the leaders in Cross River State, ought to have been a lot more proactive in pressurising •Ita-Giwa the federal government to implement the recommendations, knowing that in Nigeria, you must always apply pressure to achieve anything. Unfortunately, I was the only voice in the wilderness. That notwithstanding, I still believe that if the federal government chooses to be proactive in this matter, it has the capacity and means to properly resettle the people of Bakassi. I am now formally demanding that the federal government should implement the recommendation contained in the three year old report that I participated in preparing, which has been submitted to it long ago. Recently a group on Facebook, Concernedcrossriverians Bakassi, accused your person as being an interloper since the creation of Bakassi, benefiting where you did not sow. What is your reaction to this? I find them very entertaining; however the issue at stake is much too sensitive and serious for me to begin to join issues with unknown characters. However, it is noteworthy to make the following clarifications. During the hostilities between Nigeria and Cameroon, I was on ground with the soldiers and helped in several ways. It is for gestures like this that I was nicknamed “Mama Bakassi.”

Mimiko may drop deputy

B

ARRING any last minute change of plan, the Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, may have a new running mate for the forthcoming polls scheduled for October •Mimiko this year. Sometime last year, Mimiko’s deputy, Ali Olanusi, was reported to have informed the governor that once his current tenure ends this year, he wants to retire into private life after being in public service and politics in the last three decades. So, who replaces Olanusi? Sources disclosed that Dr. Olu Agunloye, a former governorship aspirant of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who recently decamped to the ruling Labour Party is one of the candidates being considered for the slot.

21

turf

with Bolade Omonijo boladeomonijo@yahoo.com

Polity, politics and politicians

T

HE turf is, no doubt, tough. For more than four years now, I have used this platform to comment on the political environment, the politicians who parade themselves as leaders and the nature of politics in the country. Of central concern to me is how the activities of those who seized or happened on power underdevelop Nigeria. I have raised issues with the Visionless Vision 20:2020. Questions have been asked here about the principles that inform actions of those in power and reasons for the loud silence from the general public. Commentaries, reports and investigations on critical national issues have formed the fulcrum of my activities in the past 25 years. And, I believe it is time to look back, serve the menu in a different dish and see if the soul of the country can be stirred thereby. This is the main reason for the compilation of my articles and the launching coming up on Tuesday. Throughout my period of reporting politics, dating back to The Nigerian Economist days, the same questions have been repeatedly asked and they are still relevant today. What is the political turf made of? Who are the major and fringe players? What is the mode of recruitment? What are the motives for actions taken by the rulers? Elections present special challenges to reporters and politicians. When you are striking a balance, you please nobody. When, based on objective analysis, you come to the conclusion that the pendulum would swing in a particular direction, the other camp raises the alarm. You could only have been bought over. With the loser, you could never win. During the period that I have been privileged to stand in the gap for the people, the powerless and dispossessed, I have, many times, received insults. Been hounded about and exposed to danger. I covered riots and wars. Yes, I was in Liberia, but was lucky to have survived. In a country where men in power see themselves as the law, criticisms are regarded as sacrilege. This has never deterred me from talking to power. The attendant angry responses were many. These scenes are covered in The Nigerian Political Turf: Polity, Politics, Politicians, due to be presented to mark my years in journalism. It is indeed a first volume of a work that even a careful selection could have reduced to about 1,000 pages. The 362 pages represent a forerunner to a more powerful second volume that will be released by His grace next year. The underlying philosophy is that, if Nigeria must change for the better, the discerning section of the public must rise to the challenges of the moment, we must work to free our country from vampires who have held it hostage. And, where we see men who have contributed positively to the change movement, we need to acknowledge them. This is done in the present volume and more will come in the second part. To underscore this, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State will be on hand to deal with the theme of the book. He is billed to speak on Nigerian Polity, politics and Politicians: The perspective of an active participant. All patriots and nationalists have been invited to come around to reason together. It is a platform for discussion and sharing ideas. It is time to revisit what when wrong in past Republics and transition schemes. How did General Ibrahim Babangida impact on the polity? How and when did the promise fade? What impact did his ban on oldbreed politicians and the attempt to breed a new leave on the turf? What informed the endless IBB, Abacha transition schemes? What about the interim arrangement. How was the house built and why did it crumble within three short months? The most important task before us as a people is to ask: What is the way out. Dr. Fayemi has the charge to lead this discussion and provide us with food for thought as we prepare for a very uncertain future. It cannot be the end of the debate. It cannot foreclose further discussions, but, with dignitaries with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Governors Fayemi, Uduaghan, Fashola, Amaechi, Gaidam, among others, there is no doubt that the outcome would advance the course of progress and advancement. The future is here. We all must put our hands on deck to save a sinking shape. I am, overall, convinced that the future will be brighter than the past.


22

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Politics

Can Obasanjo, Babangida solve security riddle? Two former military Heads of State, Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim G Babangida, recently offered counsel on how the current government can tackle the ENERALS Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida are among the most controversial leaders Nigeria has ever had. Years after they left office, they are still considered, among power brokers, as some of the most entrenched political godfathers that influence socio-economic and political developments of the country. So, when, last Sunday, the duo issued a joint statement on the current security threat in the country, their admirers and critics took particular notice and have been asking questions on the workability of the panacea they offered to President Goodluck Jonathan’s government and the political implications of their exclusive meeting in Abuja. Critical observers are also expressing concern over their current capacity to make a difference, alleging that the two generals and former presidents, who used to wield great political influence, may have lost what it takes to fulfill the pledge of reaching out to all the other former Heads of State and powerful stakeholders and persuading them to unite in a bid to tackle violence in the country. This fear, according to sources, may not be unconnected to their alleged loss of political relevance in the present scheme of things. In the joint statement made available to newsmen through Babangida’s spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, the two retired generals asked the federal government to “open talks with belligerent groups responsible for violence in the country.” They also advocated a new approach towards tackling the security challenge, which they described as “grassroots engagement.” “We therefore urge all governments in the country, starting with all the 774 local councils, to comprehensively engage their communities at the various levels, including elders, youth organisations, trade union and associations, women bodies, the clergy and other community stakeholders. “We also call on the federal and state governments not only to encourage these grassroots engagements for peace and beneficial co-existence but should work out the framework to sustain the engagement,” they said. Before now, most Nigerians have expressed the need for former leaders to intervene as a group and assist the current government in its desperate effort to tackle the Boko Haram terrorist actions, Jos killings and similar violent acts. For long, that did not happen until recently, when northern leaders, comprising past heads of state, former army and air chiefs, politicians and businessmen, held a meeting in Abuja, and later expressed worry over the security challenges in the zone with particular reference to the activities of members of the Boko Haram sect. At the end of the meeting, a committee headed by former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Al-Amin Daggash, was set up by the leaders to look at the issue of insecurity. Since then, Nigerians are yet to see positive breakthrough in government’s attempt to tackle the Boko Haram unslaught. Will Obasanjo/Babangida union make a difference? As past leaders, who were very powerful during their time, Obasanjo and Babangida should ordinarily be expected to have the panacea to the current security challenge facing Nigeria. But feelers from some informed Nigerians suggest otherwise, as most respondents did not betray any enthusiasm over the Boko Haram security threat following the recent intervention of the duo. So, what went wrong? It would be recalled that this is not the first time that Obasanjo would be intervening to help the Jonathan administration in its bid to resolve the Boko Haram problem. The first attempt had a very tragic consequence. Not dissuaded though, he has once again offered some counsel and approaches, which critics said are beside the issue. Though Obasanjo was linked to relatively fewer controversies while he served as military Head of State, his eight-years reign (19992007) as an elected civilian president were years of intrigues and deep-rooted political disagreements, a development, analysts said had made him rather unmoved by contrary views. As for Babangida, a former military president, controversy could be described as his

security riddle facing Nigeria. But their intervention seems to have reawakened grudges against them, reports Sam Egburonu the proposal will not work. “I do not see how

•Obasanjo

•Babangida

innate quality. He is neither moved nor intimidated by it. Some people say he actually enjoys controversy. Given these qualities, observers are not surprised that the two former leaders chose to publicise their suggestions the way they did instead of going through the channel expected of past heads of state. Most politicians, who responded to the intervention, therefore dismissed it with a wave of the hand. Politician and pioneer National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie, is one of the Nigerians that are not impressed by the joint statement. He told The Nation that the intervention of the retired generals through a joint statement was nothing short of “grandstanding.” As he puts it, “There is nothing ingenious about the proposal of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and General Ibrahim Babangida to President Goodluck Jonathan on the solution to the Boko Haram scourge. It is appalling that the two former presidents chose to grandstand on such crucial and sensitive national dilemma instead

of utilizing their privileged direct contact to the president or the platform of the Council of State to proffer their solution to Boko Haram if they mean well.” Explaining further, he said, “I am not impressed by their approach to this matter. A joint statement by Babangida, Buhari, Atiku, etc, strongly condemning the Boko Haram terrorism, will go a long way in assuaging public suspicion on their roles.” Yinka Odumakin is also not impressed. Reacting to the intervention of the retired generals and the panacea they offered, he said: “Their recommendations shy from the real issues of justice, good governance and eradication of corruption, which are sine quan non for peace. Dialogue and grassroots engagements are just ladders of relevance for the duo and their hangers on they want jobs for. Truth is that these men belong to our sad past and have nothing to offer for our today or tomorrow.” Comrade Wilfred Frank Agbotobo, a chieftain of Conference for Progressive Change (CPC), from Bayelsa State, was rather angry when he told The Nation bluntly that

dialogue and grassroots engagement could effectively tackle the insecurity and other sundry challenges in the country. It is obvious that these problems originated from the injustice in the system, structural imbalances and corruption in governance. The PDP not only rekindled but aggravated these fundamental problems with their special brand of hate-filled politics and, OBJ, IBB are chieftains of the party.” Not done, Agbotobo added, “I suspect that what OBJ and IBB are brandishing shrewdly is their own version of a national conference which they intend to keep under firm control and manipulation. You must know that these guys are very smart. OBJ once mooted the idea of a conference of ethnic nationalities which he did not encourage afterwards. Now they are haunted by the fear of a possible disintegration which they might not be able to contain or escape from. Agbotobo also insisted that “no dialogue can effectively take root and succeed in a PDPfouled political atmosphere,” explaining that “they - OBJ, IBB, Atiku, Anenih, Jonathan and PDP people, should first dialogue with themselves and each other, and then disentangle the autocratic, hate-filled, corruption ridden, irresponsible and divisive norms they introduced as politics into the national consciousness which is now rapidly blossoming, beyond their control, in forms and manifestation they never envisaged.” Even for Mark Okorie, a legal practitioner and politician, who contested for a PDP ticket to the last House of Representatives elections in Abia State, the joint advice must be taken with a pinch of salt. He explained rather sarcastically to The Nation: “Ibrahim Babangida and Obasanjo are understandably living legends. They command respect in more ways than one among Nigerians. Also, they shared between themselves 19 years of leadership in Nigeria. They are about the most powerful Nigerians alive. The distance an average Nigerian can see while standing, that they could easily see while sitting. For once in recent past, they spoke with one voice. The witch cried at night and the child died in the morning. We should take their advice seriously as there is more to it than meets the ordinary eyes,” he said.

Social Media: In defence of Mark

R

ECENTLY, the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, delivered a keynote address at the Senate press corps Retreat in Umuahia, Abia Sate. The theme of the Retreat was the “Role of the Media in Promoting Good Governance.” The event had in audience the state governor, Chief Theodore A. Orji; Senators Ayogu Eze; Eyinnaya Abaribe; Nkechi Nwaogwu; a host of media practitioners and activists, as well as other eminent Nigerians. When Senator Mark was invited to the podium to deliver his address, he recalled his interaction with the members of the Senate Press Corps who came to invite him to the occasion. According to him, the members of the Corps gave him the liberty to speak his mind on the workings of the media, adding that the power conferred on him by the Corps also granted him the authority to criticize the media. He however noted that he would thread with caution “because a goat will not visit a lion’s den on the pretext that the lion is sick and return home in one piece.” As his observation sent the large audience laughing, the President of the Senate quickly added that he is wise enough to know that the liberty given to him by the Senate Press Corps was a Greek gift. It was as if Mark saw tomorrow or had a premonition of how his innocuous remark on the social media would be misinterpreted and misrepresented by mischief makers who have been lurking around to attack him. In his address, the President of the Senate had asserted that “the emergence of the

•Mark

By Kola Ologbondiyan

social media like facebook, twitter, blackberry messenger, YouTube etc, have changed the face of the media practice by making information sharing easier, faster and quicker. But this is not without its demerits. Social media has become a threat to the ethics of media practice and good governance because of its accessibility and absolute freedom. Every freedom carries a responsibility. Even in the advanced democracies, where we all agree that good governance is practiced, there is no absolute freedom.” He continued, “There must be a measure to check the negative tendencies of the social media in our country. I say this because media practice, particularly journalism, process of news gathering and dissemination oper-

ate a feedback mechanism and where the practitioners erred, there is room for rebuttal. But in the social media, a faceless character can post any information that is absolutely false and misleading but will never retract it. At the end of the day one is bombarded with questions over what one has no business with. “I suggest that schools of mass communication and journalism should review their curricular to include the operations of social media,” Senator Mark submitted. But hardly had he returned to his seat after the address when mischief makers began to work on their blogs in the social media. The message of the President of the Senate delivered in a simple language has not only been misconstrued, it has become misrepresented and had begun to spread like a wildfire. Mark had become the victim of the fear he had expressed before his address. From the excerpts of the speech quoted above, it is manifest that Senator Mark neither called for the censorship of the social media nor alleged that the medium was being used to insult the Nigerian leaders like him. He also did not ask the social media to stop criticizing the Federal Government and to write only on its good sides. Rather, he called for measures that would check the negative tendencies inherent in the use of the social media. That, I believe, is a genuine call that would help refocus the medium. Ologbondiyan is the Special Adviser to the President of the Senate (Media & Publicity)


23

INSIGHT THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Nigerians must go! Tending the Nigeria/ Ghana fractured relationship

•Makola market Accra Central Business district

F

OR the new President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, this is probably not the best time to assume the mantle of leadership. Regarded by many as a Nigerian at heart, President Mahama, whose friends in Nigeria are many, and cut across all classes, has got his first major test barely days after assuming the reins of power. With unemployment and crime soaring daily in his country, Ghanaians believe that the expulsion of foreigners, many of them Nigerians, from their markets will ease the problem. At the same time, Mahama who is on first name basis with many Nigerian leaders may want to avert a diplomatic row. When the four- month ultimatum given to all foreigners, Indians, Syrians, Chinese, and other nationals to move out of the markets expired on June 24, Nigeria threatened a diplomatic row and the government, then led by the late Prof John Atta Mills, had to give Nigerians an extra one month to quit retailing business in the country’s markets. The one month extension given Nigerians has expired and from tomorrow the task force members will start going from market to market across the country ejecting Nigerians who are engaged in retailing. With the general elections just five months away, the question remains, if Mahama, who is now likely to be his party’s flag bearer, will take a populist decision and sanction the ejection of Nigerian traders and risk a diplomatic row with his second home. Apprehension among Nigerians When The Nation visited Tip-Toe Lane Computer Village, at Nkrumah Circle, Accra last week, it was like visiting Computer Village in Lagos, Nigeria. The market is dominated by Nigerians who constitute about sixty per cent, it was business as usual. Hundreds of Nigerians who own shops were selling computers and telephones, while those who could not afford a shop displayed their

•The late President of Ghana, Atta Mills

•Mahama, his successor

The Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh is set to enforce the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, which bars foreigners from petty-trading, hawking, selling and all small-scale retail activities Olukayode Thomas who was in Accra, Ghana reports wares in show glass by the roadside. At intervals, Ghanaians who are Area Boys come and collect ‘Owo Omo Onile’ (illegal tax) from Nigerians, especially those who display their goods by the roadsides. The fee is One Ghana Cedi, (about a N150.) Apart from paying the dues, Nigerians went about their business unmolested, but

this does stop them from gathering in twos and threes to discuss what will happen to them from Monday, July 30. While some are confident that the Nigerian government and ECOWAS will not allow Ghana government to eject them from the market, many are not as optimistic. Most of the leaders agreed to a press interview, but

they were busy jumping from one meeting to the other that they could not grant the interview. For the ordinary traders, talking to the press on the subject was a taboo because of what happened to Michael. A Nigerian, Michael, was one of the biggest traders in computers and telephone at Tip-Toe Lane Computer Village. His shop was a whole building. He was chased out of the market and his building pulled down after he granted an interview to a Ghanaian television station in which he accused Ghanaian traders of petty jealousy and being lazy. Ghanaians invaded his shop after the interview, pulled it down and he was chased out of the market, since then most Nigerians shy away from interviews. But Oluwagbemiga James, (not real name), 35, a Nigerian telephone repairman married and has two kids, left his country in search of better life in Ghana. A 2004 graduate of Language and Communication Studies from Lagos State University, James does not want his real name in print or his photograph taken because friends and relations in Nigeria believe that he is in Canada. James arrived in Ghana in 2010 after friends told him that life was easier there. After failing to get a job, he started repairing phones. He said, “Life here is terrible, but it is better than Nigeria because in Ghana because there is light, I make about N70,000 a month, compared to N30,000 that I made monthly in Nigeria.’’ Dark in complexion and of average height, the soft spoken James said, “If they ask us to leave, we will, but the Nigerian government should send back all Ghanaians in our country too. They don’t like foreigners you can’t find foreigners in their civil service.” Could the decision to send Nigerians away from Ghana be traced to crime associated with some of them? James agrees, “Many

•Continued on Page 26


24

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

INSIGHT •Continued from Page 23

Nigerians came here looking for work. When they could not get, they moved into crime. Nigerians are into all manners of crime you can think of. We taught their boys 419 while our girls are into prostitution, and you see them every night at Vienna City and Nkrumah Circles.” But the real reason why Ghanaians want Nigerians out of their markets, according to him, is envy. “He stated: Nigerians have huge shops; they control business here. So, Ghanaians are jealous. We started the telephone market here. Nigerian goods are cheaper, Nigerians import their goods from China to Accra via Lagos, while Ghanaian ship their goods through Dubai, So, their goods are very expensive. Secondly, they are lazy; we are very aggressive and hardworking. And when we tell them they need to change their attitude towards their work, they get annoyed. One of us, Mike said all these on etv (a local television channel), that the people are lazy. He was attacked and his shop razed down. He accused Ghanaians of lacking customer relations ethics, saying while Nigerians crack jokes with customers, their Ghanaian counterparts only tell customers how much they are selling. They frown at the act of bargaining, adding “Ghana girls love Nigerians because we take care of them unlike their men who treat them anyhow.” James claimed that Nigerians started the computer village six years ago.; “We have more shops than Ghanaians. Most Ghana men cannot pay for shops; Nigerians can pay for five years. The only area I will agree with them is crime. Majority of the criminals in Ghana are Nigerians, but many as they are, they are just a small fraction of our population. Majority of us are hard working, we work Saturdays and Sundays which a Ghanaian will not do. Driving us from their market is like sending us away from their home and if our government does not retaliate any Ghanaian I see in Nigeria is in trouble” The fight over territory Mr Joseph Osei Agyemang, 62, is the President of Tip Toe Lane Traders Association. When approached for an interview, he said, “Unlike our brothers from Nigeria, I am not afraid of talking to the press because I have nothing to hide. Each time I bring a reporter to interview them, they are always scared, but Iam not scared of journalists” According to him, “There is a law that says foreigners cannot do retail business in the market. We are not taking the law into our hands; we just want existing laws implemented. Some people are insinuating that we are chasing Nigerians out, it is not true; we are not government. We started this association about a year ago. I have been trading here for about 36 years. The foreigners flooded here about three

Nigeria / Ghana: Trading Places

•Market in Accra Tip-Toe lane market Nkuma circle Accra

The Schedule of The GIPC Act 478 1994 lists those enterprises which are reserved for Ghanaian citizens: 1. The sale of anything whatsoever in a market, petty trading, hawking or selling from a kiosk. 2. Operation of taxi service and car hire service. (A non-Ghanaian may undertake this service where there is a minimum fleet of ten new vehicles.) 3. All aspects of pool betting business and lotteries, except football pools. years ago. They came gradually, then they brought goods in wholesale and give to us to sell and go back home. Now we have foreigners selling pure water, this is illegal.”’ Agyemang said the campaign started in September 2011 and that government came in

4. Operation of beauty salons and barber shops. Schedule under section 19 (3). Where trading involves someone who is not a citizen, the practice can continue if there is “an investment of foreign capital or its equivalent in goods worth at least US$300,000 by way of equity capital” and if the enterprise employs “at least ten citizens.” February and gave foreigners in Ghana markets four months to quit. He said this would have gone into effect in June, but government gave an extension of a month. “They (Nigerian and other traders) have just two weeks to meet the new deadline. We are happy with the new

Nigerians in Ghana: The good, the bad and the ugly The story of Nigerians in Ghana is like that of a beautiful lady who is rejected by suitors because of bad body odour.

T

HE signature of Corporate Nigeria and individuals contributing billions of dollars to Ghana’s economy yearly

is obvious to a first time visitor. Nigerian banks include GT Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Energy Bank and UBA. They are not just in the country to make up the number of banks, they set the pace when it comes to banking in the West African country. Just like it did in Nigeria, Globacom is giving MTN and Airtel a good fight in Ghana. The telecommunication giant sponsors the country’s football league and national football teams. In oil and gas, Sahara Energy, Forte Oil equity, Oando and others are very active. Other Nigerian corporate citizens in Ghana include Equity Assurance, NEM Insurance, Regency, International Energy Insurance, WAPIC International, Sifax, City People, Arik, Aero, and many others. At the individual level, Bashorun Dele Momodu’s image looms large. The publisher of Ovation magazine is highly respected and connected. There are others such as the President of Nigeria Professionals and Head of Ghana/Nigeria Chambers of Commerce, Otunba Michael Ajayi, media tycoon Iyiola Ayoade, and hundreds of other professionals who sit atop multi-national companies, lecturers, experts in oil and gas and other areas of human endeavour. More Nigerians in prison In most societies, good doers are unsung

•Joseph Osei Agyemang Market President of Ghana Traders at Tip-Toe Lane Market

• John Ukala, President Nigeria Traders Association in Ghana

heroes. The contributions of these to the Ghana economy, providing revenue, employment and raising the standard of living and the way Ghanaians relate and do business, have gone unnoticed. It is the activities of a few touts who are drug runners, prostitution rings, runners scammers armed robbers, and other crimes that have given Nigeria and Nigerians a bad

image in Ghana and elsewhere. Of the over 700 foreigners in prisons, majority are Nigerians. Others include Chinese, Togolese, Beninois, Liberians, Cameroonians, Americans, British and other West African nationals.

•Continued on Page 25

•The notice on the wall of Ghana markets reminding foreigners of the ultimatum to quit the markets.

deadline; we don’t want foreigners in our market. We have good relationship with them but it’s just that they are taking over our market which is illegal”. On the allegation that Michael’s shop was pulled down by Ghanaians, Agyemang agreed, saying: “It is partially true. etv came to interview me after we started the agitation. After they interviewed me, they met Mike and he said a lot of bad things about us and I personally ejected him from the market. I have lived in the United States for 10 years. When you live in another man’s country, you obey their laws.” He accused Nigerians of contributing to the soaring prices of rents and other things in the country. According to him, Nigerians indulge in peddling lies just to justify their stay and whip up sentiments. He said 60percent of the shops at Tip Toe Lane are owned by Nigerians. Agyemang accused Nigerians of being fond of insulting their hosts. “Can you imagine that Nigerians are telling us to amend our laws in the way that it will suit them? How many laws has Nigeria amended to suit Ghanaians or can a Ghanaian go to Nigeria and tell them which law they must apply or chose laws they want to obey? We don’t want immigrants that will come here to sell pure water or telephone. We want those that will bring technology, not buying and selling.” Asked whether involvement of Nigerians in criminal activities is responsible for the ‘quit •Continued on Page 25


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

INSIGHT

25

“When they claimed that there are Ghanaians in Nigeria at the computer village in Lagos, I travelled to Lagos and went around the market, I did not see a single Ghanaian.”

•Remains of the demolished store of Mike at Tip-Toe Lane

Tending the Nigeria/ Ghana fractured relationship •Continued from Page 26 our market’ order, he said he does not know anything about Nigerians involved in crime, “but I know the Chinese are allowing our currency to depreciate. They get interest free or low interest loan from their banks and bring bulk containers thus messing up our currency”’ But he accused Nigerians of compromising Ghanaian security operatives to intimidate Ghanaians. He specially alleged that a particular officer had been bribed to allow Nigerian do whatever they liked. For instance, one Lante Lamptey in February, 2012 in a letter warned the Ghana Traders Association Tip Toe Lane, Kwame Nkrumah Circle that it should stop leading demonstrations against Nigerian traders because “the ECOWAS permits free movement of people together with goods and services especially, trading.” The letter continued, “You are fighting against the Nigerians who have stores while you don’t even have stores to operate. According to the store owners of the Tip Toe Lane, your association does not even exist. It has come

to my notice that you are organising thugs in this your demonstration in order to vandalize Nigerian stores and steal their mobile phones as well. Information reaching my office also indicates that the Nigerians who sell at Tip Toe Lane have accordingly informed their families about your intended demonstration to deprive them of their livelihood and eventually the consequences will be disastrous for the Ghanaians doing business in Nigeria. At this juncture, I will therefore admonish you to halt any planned demonstration. You are therefore requested to submit your grievances for redress since my doors are opened to listen to you”’. However, Agyemang claimed the officer is one of many that Nigerians have compromised, He said:“The minister is meeting with the traders. We know government is under intense pressure, if they bow to pressure, we will withdraw our members and continue our agitation ourselves. We shall start demonstrations and see how far we can go, demonstration achieved success in Egypt and other places recently.”’

Agyemang also accused foreigners of selling “fake products.” Makola Market in the heart of Accra was so named by Nigerians decades ago. It is about the biggest market in Ghana spanning from Tudu to Jerry Rawlings Park. Like in other markets across the country, Nigerians are the only set of foreigners still trading in the markets; shops belonging to other nationals have been closed down. The Organiser and Public Relations Officer of Greater Accra Market Association, Rosemary Laryea has been trading there for 45 years. She sang the same tune of accusing Nigerians and other foreigners of “killing our economy. Our youths cannot get jobs; Ghanaians cannot rent shops because foreigners can pay thousands of dollars, but we cannot pay.” A brick wall At the Ministry of Trade and Industry, efforts to speak with the Minister proved abortive, while the Head of Task Force said he will not talk about it “because it is too sensitive. He added: I would love you to meet the Minister but she is away, but she will soon be in

Govt must intervene on behalf of Nigerian traders -Momodu To describe former presidential aspirant Bashorun Dele Momodu as a pathfinder for Nigerians in Ghana will be apt. Long before Nigerian banks and other big businesses found root in Ghana, the publisher of Ovation magazine was already a household name in the country. His House of Ovation then in Osu but now at Airport Residential Area, Accra, was the meeting point for who-is-who in Ghana. Momodu believes the Federal Government needs to offer more protection for Nigerians abroad

W

HAT is the way forward for Nigerian traders in Ghana? The problem of Nigerian traders here has been on since the days of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. I remember I wrote two articles about it in ThisDay. God bless Yar’Adua and he read it. When he did, the then Minister of Information, John Odeh, wrote a memo and they set up a committee to look into it and it was passed on to the then Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe, and that was the end. I am like a pathfinder in Ghana, I went there before most of the big companies started going to Ghana, so we have suffered even for the Nigerian banks because when I got to Ghana there was no single Nigerian bank. They saw every Nigerian as a fraudster. In the future, history will attest to the gallant effort of some of us. You have the president of the Nigerian professionals in Ghana, Michael Ajayi; he is our president and he has tried. I was always on •Continued on Page 26

•Dele Momodu

Lagos and Abuja to meet the press and the government.” The wait at the Ministry was for about three hours, and while waiting, many Chinese and Indians who wanted to regularise their papers came in. A Ghanaian of Indian descent who is married to an Accra woman with seven kids said he is a staff of a European Company with offices in the market. But the shop has been closed and he told all who cared to listen that he is Ghanaian, and the space they use at the market is only a contact place, adding that their warehouse where they sell wholesale is miles away from the market. He however, failed to impress the task force members. They promised to reopen his office for a brief period to enable him get his computer so that his staff could be paid their salaries, but they made it clear to him that he would not be allowed to continue his business inside the market. The Nigeria High Commission in the country was working seriously to ensure that Nigerians are allowed to remain in the market. This effort may have yielded some result as Nigerians and other West Africans are exempted from paying $300,000 but they must move out of the markets, register their business, pay all taxes and levies including VAT. On ECOWAS we stand But the overall boss of the Nigerian traders in Ghana said this is unfair. The leader, Deacon John Ukala, arrived in the country on March 27, 1971. He argued that ECOWAS has made it clear that in his words“we should do as Ghanaians are doing, pay taxes according to Ghanaian sovereign law. The Ministry of Trade has given Nigerians deadline to register their businesses, because they gave specific date which will soon elapse, but up till now, they are not registering our members; which is our worry.” Ukala says allegations that Nigerians are not employing Ghanaians are not true,He said: “In any business, there must be competition. Ghanaians fail to compete. We buy the same thing as them but we demand smaller profit than them. We want to make smaller profit and sell a larger quantity; this is the ethics that started the envy’’ He dismissed the allegation that Nigerians don’t pay tax. “If you don’t pay tax, you have run, afoul of the law. They will treat you according to the law. Nigerian Union of Trade Association does not acknowledge such people because we advise our members to pay VAT and all others and they comply fully”’. Ukala argued that it is wrong to categorise, Nigerians as foreigners in an ECOWAS state. “We cry to our government because as an ECOWAS member state, the same thing should be good for all of us. In 2008, this same issue arose, we asked them to give us a separate land. After discussing with our High Commissioner then, Musiliu Obanikoro, we were sent there, I and Sanusi (Obanikoro’s second in command) searched for the land. Later, they said it is not possible because if they give Nigerians land, they will take over everything and Ghanaians will be coming over there to patronize us and it will be a problem so they refused.”’ With Ghana government ready to apply its law, Ukala said Nigerians will obey what ECOWAS says, “We will comply by following the ECOWAS protocol which has ordered us to enter, reside and establish. We will register our business and pay our taxes.’’ But another Nigerian said, “Ghana is a sovereign nation, its law supersedes ECOWAS law. In fact, ECOWAS is a toothless bulldog, even with all the power of European Union, United Kingdom chooses the European Laws it wants to obey. They opted out of a single visa and single currency. So, if a country can do that to European Union which is powerful, then what can a toothless bulldog called


26

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

INSIGHT

T

HE extra one month deadline given Nigerian traders in Ghana ends next week, what is the way forward? My position is that as West Africans we have agreed to have an open trade zone with movement of persons and products and this is entrenched in the ECOWAS charter which allows for that, they went further by introducing the ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme to encourage inter-country trade within ECOWAS that you can import product duty-free from one country to another. The basic issue is that while these things are on paper, they haven’t actively been followed up. Everybody signed up to the ECOWAS charter but they all seem to be operating under the confines of their own existing laws. This is an issue we have tried to resolve in many business seminars and summits but it is one not being taken seriously by anyone. As a country, Ghana is trying to protect its citizens so they can be the ones engaging in petty trading. This charter has been there since 1994 and unfortunately, it’s not just Nigerians, there are also Lebanese and Chinese trading but I think it is affecting Nigerians more because they are much larger in number. I think that Nigeria and Ghana have not taken any step to boost the relationship between them. President of the taskforce said that enforcement will start by Monday. I don’t believe that is true. After the expiration of the deadline there will be ECOWAS parliament. It is a very delicate time, cause this is an election year, its five months to the election so Ghanaian authorities are interested in pleasing their populace and will not be doing anything that will not be in the interest of their own country. ECOWAS are trying to make sure that member countries comply but they appear to be too flexible among other issues. Another example is the ETLS scheme which means that you manufacture here and export to another country duty free to other ECOWAS countries but many of them do not do this and they still charge you duties or delay your products and subject them to a long process which ordinarily should not be the case. Is Nigerians’ involvement in crimes related to this issue? The way Nigerians are in Ghana is the way they are in every other part of the world. There are definitely those engaged in scrupulous activities and then those few bad eggs are the ones spoiling the image of everyone. We definitely have some who have committed crimes but we cannot argue the fact that there are a lot of Nigerians there in Ghana

Nigerians must go! •Continued from Page 23 ECOWAS do? Our government should quickly come to our aid before it is too late.” The genesis This crisis that could threaten diplomatic relations between both countries started on February 20, when an Inter-Agency Task Force was inaugurated to check the activities of foreign retail operators trading within areas designated for Ghanaians. The twentymember task force is made up of representatives from the Ghana Revenue Authority, (GRA) Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Police Service, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Registrar General’s Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh, said the inauguration of the new task force was the result of a meeting held with the then Vice President, John Mahama and GUTA to discuss the activities of non- Ghanaians in the retail trading sector of the Ghanaian economy, among other things. With all these stacked against good relations between both countries, the question on most lips today is: which way will Mahama swing? The world and most especially Nigeria, will know in the next few days as the new president needs the Wisdom of Solomon to navigate this tight rope.

‘Nigeria and Ghana must engage each other’ Otunba Michael Ajayi is the President of Association of Nigerian Professionals in Ghana and Director General of the Ghana/Nigeria Chamber of Commerce. He worked as an expatriate in the country for many years as Vice President of an American pharmaceuticals company. He now works in a management consulting firm that deals with business facilitation, business advisory services and business support

•Ajayi

contributing to the economy in legitimate ways some schooling and all supporting the development of the country with huge transfer of foreign currency. Some are lec-

turers in Ghanaian universities, others in banking institutions, financial and non-financial institutions changing the face of banking in Ghana, others are in oil and gas

so it is the escalating act of the these few bad eggs that are most visible that is over shadowing the actual legitimate efforts of the good ones. Let professionals living in Ghana have a voice and that is one of the advantages of having a chamber of commerce. In a country of 150 million, we will definitely have some bad eggs and they are the ones in every country of the world and that is why I try not to focus on that but on the positive side. What is your advice to the governments of both countries? I think both of them should go to the drawing board, immediately revise and review the draft bilateral agreement that has been in existence. We need to do that so that both of them can bring their arguments. The Ghanaian government complained about our traders and Nigerian government should play a better role in supporting Nigerians and their businesses in Ghana. As it is now, each business man or organisation just looks at the market and decides that they want to expand and operate in Ghana. There has to be some kind of concerted government effort to support it. It shouldn’t be that people just come to the country and they are all on their own.

The good, the bad and the ugly •Continued from Page 24 They are serving various sentences for crimes, including narcotics and armed robbery. The Head of Public Relations at the Ghana Immigration Service, ACP Francis Palmdeti, explained that Nigerians dominated the number of foreigners in the prisons probably because they constituted the highest number of expatriates in the country. When The Nation contacted the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Prisons Service, ASP Courage Atsem, for specifics, he referred the reporter to the Nigerian High Commission. Notable cases of Nigerian involvement in crime in the country include that of Stephen Edozie, an Italy-based Nigerian who was arraigned before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly having over 40 pellets of heroin concealed in shoes and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by an Accra Circuit Court. Another 40-year-old Nigerian who hid 31 pellets of cocaine under his genital and swallowed 19 was on Thursday sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by an Accra Fast Track High Court. Emeka Uka, charged with importation of narcotics drugs without license and possessing narcotic drugs weighing 935.5430

grammes without lawful authority, pleaded guilty. When the case was called, Uka raised his hand saying: “I am guilty my Lord.” There was also the case of the arrest of 17 Nigerian nationals resident in Tema for their involvement in several internet scams. A search at their residence revealed a number of fake stamps and documents from the office of the President, and many forged letterheads of several Ministries and departments of public offices. A number of luxurious cars and mobile phones, obviously the fruits of their devious trade, were also impounded by the police. There were also many laptops, desktop computers, fax machines, scanners and other equipment which they used in falsifying documents to dupe their unsuspecting victims. According to the police, who acted on a tip-off, the syndicate had been operating in Ghana for over two years. In Ghana, they assume Ghanaian names and acquire telephone numbers, usually mobile numbers, to perform their illicit business. There are several others involved in other nefarious activities. And the sex workers Ghanaian girls who offer sex for money are currently not happy over the influx of young Nigerian girls into their country.

The sex workers who operate in Adum, a suburb of Kumasi in the Ashanti region, said they were disenchanted that younger and prettier girls from Nigeria are gradually taking over the sex business as they could hardly retain their usual customers. According to one of the sex workers, “it is not that they are better than us in bed but as you know, most men prefer younger girls and these Nigerian girls are younger. “Some are still in their teens and their agents protect them but we do not have agents who make things easier for us. The conditions of work are not fair. We would start attacking any underage ashawo from Nigeria because they are spoiling the market.” Men who patronize the services of commercial sex workers around the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra may be opening themselves up to armed robbery, as some of the sex workers are in league with robbery gangs, the Police have warned. Two of such prostitutes, Helen Johnson, 26, and Victoria Farou, 23, both Nigerians working as prostitutes in Ghana, are currently in police grip for teaming up with robbery gangs to assault and rob unsuspecting male clients who patronise the services of the prostitutes.

Govt must intervene on behalf of Nigerian traders -Momodu •Continued from Page 25

radio and television and the Nigerian High Commissioner at that time, Dr. Kolapo, would call me and say thank you Dele, you are the only one that can talk to these guys because there is always one rumour or the other about Nigerians. There was one scenario where one business man in Tema, maybe he was doing tomato paste or spaghetti, he was dealing in commodities and Obasanjo placed an embargo on the importation of commodities. The man went on full scale blackmail against Nigeria by saying they have banned made in Ghana goods and this was not true, it was a blanket ban against all foreign commodities and Ghana just happened to be a foreign country. I went on TV and radio and told Ghanaians ‘don’t believe your man’ though he has said he lost 2000 workers because of the ban and I told Ghanaians, ‘if he had known Nigerians are his target consumers, he should have gone to establish his business there. Look at me, when I wanted to start my business I came here and I did not force Ghanaians to buy Ovation and now I am investing in the economy which is how it should be. Till now I have not recouped all my investments. Your man sits in Tema and he wants to be feeding Nigerians., The debate is always ongoing, they always say what are we Nigerians doing here and I also believe that the wounds of the ‘Ghana must go’

experience has not totally healed but nobody remembers that Nigerians too were once chased out of Ghana. My former boss at Concord, Mike Awoyinfa, was one of the victims. We must rise above the pettiness of the 70s and put those things behind us but some people are not ready to forgive and forget and I think that is the problem. How do you want the Federal Government to intervene? Unfortunately, we come back to the issue of leadership; Nigerian government has left her people defenceless and rudderless. Even with my level of contacts I have faced such a thing, but I tell them I am too legit to quit and if you run a legitimate business, you stand firm but we know that there are a few bad eggs and I liken them to a boil on the body. While the boil occupies such a small part of the body, when it’s there, it affects the whole body. What the few bad ones are doing is affecting us all. They are not asking Nigerians to leave Ghana, it is just the markets. You cannot practise segregation because we all fought against Apartheid in South Africa. The biggest problem we have is that we have leaders who have never managed a business. With due respect, I have knowledge of Africa, if you tell me a Nigerian has problems in Cotonou, I can tell you exactly what it will be. Our leaders have not

experienced anything outside Nigeria. That is why even when you explain; they cannot understand it that is why running a nation is not just about internal affairs. The question is, who are the strong, respected leaders that we have? We don’t have a Nelson Mandela or Obafemi Awolowo. Obasanjo was the closest we had but unfortunately he was too busy playing politics. Despite our oil wealth, why are Nigerians hustling all over the world? I think that is quite obvious. It’s bad leadership. Some will say there are also some bad followers, but that is not so. MKO Abiola who I am fond of quoting used to say if you want to know if a fish is bad, smell the head, if the head is rotten then the body is gone. So that’s the same thing with Nigeria. Countries are led by one man who has the vision and drive to lead so that’s why when you look at different countries in world history, when you talk about China, you remember Mao. In Russia, people talk about Lenin, in Nazi Germany, you talk about Adolf Hitler. Ghana recalls Rawlings and even our own old Western region had Chief Obafemi Awlolwo. I can tell you that the average Nigerian is not proud of how things are in the country today, because there is nobody today who can say I trust President Goodluck Jonathan to deliver on his promises.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

AGATHA AMATA You are a victim, only if you see yourself as one –Page 43


32

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Glamour

1

The winner of the 2nd edition of Mr Nigeria beauty pageant, Kenneth Okoli, reveals his favourite things to Kehinde Falode.

Favourite shoes designer David Wej

2

Favourite shirt designer Yomi Casual, Bryan Clothing & Wadada Clothing

3

Favourite perfume Emperio Armani

4

Favourite wallet designer Fossil

5

Favourite pet Dogs

6

Favourite wrist-watch designer Emperio Armani & Tag Heuer

7

Favourite sunglasses Gucci

8

Favourite jeans Straight jeans

Kenneth’s

top

10

9

Favourite underwear Boxers

10

Favourite food & drink Fufu with bitter leaf soup & orange juice


THEATRE

t

BIGSCREEN

With VICTOR AKANDE

Faze is

Refazed N

OW Muzik management, led by Efe Omoregbe will on August 8, hold a memorable release party for the fourth studio album of Faze , Refazed. The event holds during thetitled popular Industry Night, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos. The 'Kolo mental' crooner, who was just recently signed alongside J-Martin to Now Muzik management, has prom s fans a memorable album release part ised y. According to Efe Omorogbe, “the Muzik family is indeed happy to be Now working with the veteran who has solidified his stand through the year one of Nigeria’s talented artistes. Wes as are convinced that 'Refazed' will be a reference point in terms of quality song and production.”

K

PAGE

33

plus

e-mail: victor_akande@yahoo.com

izkid W collabos with E

•Faze

back to location because of the fact that I wanted more content and I needed to re-shoot some scenes that I lost when we first shot the movie and add more to the existing scenes. I also wanted to re-edit and put finishing touches to post production.' Halima will also be travelling abroad to •Halima shoot scenes in London and America, while British actors have been contracted to feature in the movie.

Bisi Ibidapo’s dream comes true!

Y

ORUBA actress, Bisi Ibidapo, otherwise called Omo Logbalogba, who just got married to her secret lover based in UK, is pregnant at the moment. Report says the London lover had insisted the actress must get pregnant for him before they could tie the knots. Known for her 'wierd girl' roles in movies, Omo Logbalogba is among the growing list of actresses using the CRV jeep. She has also just recently moved into her Lekki home.

•Bisi Ibidapo

GISTS

American rappers

Halima Abubakar reshoots Mistress OGI State-born actress, Halima Abubakar, is back on location to conclude the shoot of her much talked about movie entitled Mistress. Halima has also been able to convince the winner of the 2011 edition of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria {MBGN}, Sylvia Nduka, as well as other cast to join her on location of the movie. Speaking at the Festac Town, Lagos location of the movie shoot, the actress revealed that her quest to ensure she gets the best out of the movie informs her return to location. 'I saw the movie preview and some interpretations were not convincing enough for me, so I decided to work on it. Also I went

SOUND TRACK

•King Sunny Ade

MPIRE Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) cash cow, Wizkid, is currently reaping the fruits of a rising profile. The talented artiste, who already has a lot of top notch collaborations with Nigerian musicians recently squealed that he collaborated with top American rappers, The Game and Young Jeezy. The Pepsi ambassador who is currently on an American tour with Banky W and Skales revealed via his twitter handler: “I was in the studio with The Game and Young Jeezy and we had a crazy session. We recorded like five songs and it was amazing. I have a lot of other collaborations on the cards with other American artistes such as Chris Brown and more.”

r o f e e t t i m m o C g n i n w o r c h t KSA 35 anniversary

A

KOGUN Lekan Alabi, former Corporate Affairs Manager of O'odua Group of Companies, will he heading a seven-man committee set up to oversee the planning, and activation of the proposed King Sunny Ade's 35th crowning anniversary scheduled for later in the year. Other members of the committee are Mr Clement Ige (Vice Chairman), Chief Bunmi Adesanya, Asewa Iyalode of Ibadanland (member); Aare M.A. Latosa (member); Mr Akin Olaiya (Director of Operations) and Barr Gbenga Makinde of Olujimi & Akeredolu Law Hub (Secretary). Report says Akogun's successful packaging of Evangelist Ebenezer Obey's 70th birthday party in Lagos two months ago was the reason the organisers of this proposed historic event

unanimously agreed that the erstwhile O'odua Group man be made the head of the committee, so his experience could bear on the successful activation of the crowning anniversary. The agreement was said to have come up during a meeting at Ajorosun Club in Ibadan last Sunday. Akogun's appointment came officially through a letter signed by Olutade Makinde, who is the event co-ordinator. Akogun, who accepted the offer, said it was an honour and privilege to chair the planning committees of the landmark event of these two icons. "I remember my write-ups in my weekly column, ‘It's What's Happening’ in December, 1974, in the Sunday Sketch, where I described Obey and Sunny as champions of their trade. How prophetic! I derive great pleasure in celebrating creativity and excellence. Obey and KSA are models and one cannot but be proud to be associated with them. My appointment, in a lighter mood, can be regarded as payback. May God enable my committee to achieve equal success for KSA as we did for Obey last April," he said.


34

Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Beautiful, talented and daring are some of the words that best describe one of Nollywood's sexiest actresses, Omotola JaladeEkeinde. With a career spanning over a decade, Omosexy, as she is fondly called by her fans, is one actress that has earned herself a place in Nollywood's hall of fame. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, the mother of four talked about the secret of her marriage, misconceptions about her and her most recent movie. Excerpts:

Y

OU'VE been in the limelight for so long. What is the winning formula?

Secrets my y of m marriage —Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde

For me, I have been humbled, knowing full well that it's not something you can buy with money. You can't bribe anybody to get that. I don't think there is any strategy that you can use to get this. It's really humbling to know that you can't really explain why you're still there. And it's just by the grace of God. I'm thankful that I'm still here. Many celebrity marriages have broken because of negative newspaper publications. How have you managed to retain your home without any major scandal? I only say this for the benefit of other people who might want to learn from me; otherwise, I shy away from questions like this. The most important person in your life is your family, especially your spouse. I think it's very important for your partner to know who you are. I think communication is very important. Asides love, the most important thing is trust. Your spouse must trust you and share a bond with you in such a way that they feel that they know you. Love is a very thin line, and sometimes you don't even know where it starts and where it ends. But if someone truly cares about you and knows you, irrespective of whether you're together or not, he won't stop trusting you. We might even fall out on other issues, but he might still be able to say, 'you see my ex-wife she can never do that.' I think that's one thing we should try to achieve with our partners. God forbid, but even if I'm not with my husband, I want a situation in which he would be able to say, 'Omotola did what? No, she can't do that.' If you get to that level with someone, whether you're friends or spouse, it's a good thing. So by God's grace, I think that one thing that has helped me is that we both know each other to the point that there are things I know he can never do irrespective of what anybody says. You said that the movie Last flight to Abuja is dear to you. What is the major difference between the movies you've done and this one? I think this one contains more risks. It was very risky in all sense of the word. In a sense, it's not your usual story, drama or thriller. It's a movie based on tragedy. Prior to this one, I've always gotten scripts from Obi, but for some reasons, it never worked out. But when he handed me this script, I told him this is

going to work because I like taking risks. And I feel that it's a movie that is going to change the times because nobody has ever done something like this. I feel it's another Mortal Inheritance. I'm glad he chose me to go on this journey with him. When I got the script and I saw the enormous work, I asked Obi if he was really ready. This is not just drama. I see this as a psychological movie, a movie that can change the mindset of people. Obi has said that you were able to connect with your character in the script. How? I don't know what he means by that (laughs). But it was actually the character of a lady in a long distance relationship with her boyfriend. She also had issues, based on trust and dedication to the relationship, with the boyfriend. So maybe what Obi was trying to say is that I am someone who is always on the move. Yeah, it's more about a woman trying to reach out to someone she cares about, to show him that she would break the world just to let him know that she cares. And she took this step, not minding her own comfort, got on the plane and went to pay him a surprise visit. Maybe that was what he meant when he said I could connect with the character. So that was what this lady did. But unfortunately, she met calamity when she got there. So I guess men cannot be trusted. But you know that was what happened. She saw something and she had to retrace her steps. But unfortunately, she bribed her way into this flight, which turned out to be the Last flight to Abuja. If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do differently? (Laughs) I think that's what Obi was trying to do eventually. When I got the script, I thought to myself, 'what is this filmmaker trying to achieve? Can I go into this filmmaker's mind without talking to him?' I think he was just trying to say, if I got 24 hours to live, would I do things differently? Are there things I wanted to achieve that I'm yet to achieve? Were there choices I made that I would have made differently? And I think that's what I want to take away from that movie personally. The fact that when a crash happens, it's not the poor people that were on that flight, it's not the people who are stealing your money that were on that flight, it could be any of us. I mean there were people who were in their homes that day, and the

Entertainment happens, that is negative, I think is part of the story. It plane just came and killed them. But the most would have been extremely painful if the person that's important thing is that as human beings, can we look my husband, my partner, takes things to heart. But at our lives and say there is something we need to with him, God has been wonderful. The guy no get improve on. Who knows where I will be tomorrow? wahala. What do I need to do right now? It's that realisation that you might not have forever and do things right, What was the attraction? because you don't know if you'll have a tomorrow. I always tell people that when we first met, I wasn't What are those things you'd wish to do differently in love with him, though he said for him, it was love in your private life? at first sight. But for me, it wasn't, I had to grow to love him. People always say that you have to feel that I'm already doing them. 'thing'. For me, I didn't feel that 'thing'. I grew to love What are some of them? him. It was the maturity, and if I hadn't married him, I I would love to be a better actress (laughs). I got a probably wouldn't have married anybody else personal trainer because I love to be skinnier, because I saw the ability in him to see through. He something I would never have done. I have a personal knows me more than I know myself. I don't know gym where I work out when I feel I'm a bit flabby here how to explain it, but he knows me. That was what I and there. But for the first time I'm dedicating saw in him. Don't forget that when I met him, I had myself…though I won't say it's because of this movie, lost my father. So I was going through my own but I won't deceive you, this movie was a wakeup call personal issues. for me. I just believe that procrastination is bad. Those days when I was younger, there were ways I Anything that you know you can do, you do it now. handled things. I was really short-fused. I didn't have Personally, I can't tell you so many things because time to go through things with people. I was always you're a journalist (laughs), and you are not my ahead of my time. I won't have time to explain to you. personal friend. But I'm trying the best I can to live And everybody was always thinking I was very right. I will be lying to myself to think that I'm a difficult. But he was the only one who always perfect being. There are things I need to work on, and understood me. Even my mummy would say in I'm seriously working on them, and God has been Yoruba that I can't get married because nobody would faithful. want to marry me. But I didn't know it What is the similarity between was coming from all the hurt I felt from Omotola and Suzie, the character in Last Asides love, losing my father and all that. He was like flight to Abuja? my therapist. He could relate to me and the most I think I'm just as dangerous (laugh). I explain all those things to me. With him, important thing I've even gone closer to Christ. With the think very hard about things before I do them. I'm a very meticulous person. But maturity that I found in him, I can is trust. Your the minute I decide I'm going to do emulate him. And that's the way I've been spouse must something, I'm very fierce. I don't look able to live with him. trust you and back. And sometimes I have the tendency Do you think you've been the best to go and go and go till you start share a bond mum in terms of spending quality time wondering...I'm very dedicated to what I with you in such with the kids? believe in. I think that something about Yes, at least in my own opinion. a way that they Suzie, she was determined to go on the my kids think I pry into their feel that they Actually, journey to Lagos to see this boyfriend of situations too much. So I'm thinking if I hers. know you. Love were always around, it might have been And she was strong-willed to make a overblown. I seriously think I'm a very is a very thin decision to go back at the point where…I handsome mum. I just came back from line, and think she's strong-headed. I remember Obi Ghana, and someone told me that I was sometimes you always on the phone with my kids. I saying 'Omotola this is you', but he didn't want it to be forced. He wanted me to be don't even know know what they are doing every minute. natural. The movie is such that it has think I'm even a bit too much, and that's where it starts Ibecause different emotions and you cannot afford of where I'm coming from. My and where it to out shine the other person. You have to mother was a disciplinarian to the core. If be part of the story. I even want to train my children the way ends my mother trained me, I'm sure they will Would you say this movie is the mostrun. My mother is an Egba woman, and challenging of your career? you know how Egba women behave. She Truthfully, I'd say no. This is because I was a very strict woman. And I was the didn't have to fly the plane myself. But in only daughter and the first born. And terms of story, I think it's one of the mostafter my father died, she was scared I challenging. I put it only on the same side was going to get pregnant or become with The Prostitute. You remember one of unruly, so she doubled the high the movies I did? I would put those two handedness. So if want to handle them on the same plane for different reasons. If the way my mother handled me, they you remember, The prostitute was the first will run. So I always tell them to be ever scandal I ever had with the marketing thankful for what they have. and everything. I didn't know how to How do you pamper yourself? handle it. It was the first time I ever had I don't pamper myself. I really don't. such an aggressive movie. It could have made my career or broken it. This is one of How do you unwind? those kinds of movies as well. I think this I unwind by working, I love work. But Dana crash has made this what it is if I'm not working, I'm at home. I'm now. If not for the Dana crash I won't homely. I really don't like going out. So be saying what I'm saying now. I my life is pretty simple. If I'm not working, would just have said it's an I'm at home. I think you unwind with adventurous movie. whatever you find peace. So some other When I heard of the crash, the first thing people unwind by going to the beach I thought about was this movie. I said this movie and sitting down there all by is so dear. Who is going to believe that this movie themselves. Some might find it by was even shot before the crash? You know how dancing in the club. You can't really question how people unwind. It is we think. They will say 'now, now dem don quick, whatever makes you happy. I'm quick, go do movie on am.' And their thinking is extremely happy when I'm working. So not going to be in a way that we are genius. It's for me, I'm happy when I'm with my going to be that we are wicked. So it killed me. family, and that's unwinding. I just asked myself, how are we going to recover from this? And for that reason, I Recently you won most-liked actress would say yes, it was challenging. It has on social media. How does it make you taken a lot. It took a lot for me to even show feel? up for the London premiere because I feel There was a time I thought people didn't that some people might think we're not like me. Some people will say I'm a snub. sensitive. And I'm like what did I do wrong now? But I just try to be myself. I think over the years I will really be sad if this movie fails to people have just come to accept me for who I make money or get me some awards. It was am. I think they've come to realise that I'm a very strenuous movie to shoot. Even when not pretending. I'm a happy person. I'm we were on set, it was so difficult to get the contented with life. I'm just me. Maybe that's permission to shoot. You know, about 70 why. percent of the movie was shot at the airport. We shot on the tarmac. We had near-death But I guess maybe before they didn't experience. We went through a lot of ups and understand that. Maybe somebody sees me downs. There was a time the whole camera fell when I'm yelling and they think that I'm harsh. on the camera man, but thank God. So I just try to be myself. But I don't know how to pretend. I'm a diplomatic person. I'm learning Beneath the glamour, what are the pains of now. I just believe in being yourself and after a being a celebrity? while people will get to understand you. Personally I don't think there is any pain of People who care about you will avoid making being a celebrity. I think anything that your angry.

39

Illrymz, Femi Kuti in joint video

P

OPULAR radio and TV personality, Illrymz, recently released the highly anticipated 'Teacher Teacher' video, featuring Afro-Beat legend, Femi Kuti, after popular behind the scenes footage and teasers. The video which blends the fiery energy of Femi Kuti with the cool flow of Illrymz was directed by Contagious Collective and was also shot at the famed New Afrika Shrine. “We tried to delicately but boldly fuse these two genres,” Illrymz stated. “Teacher, Teacher is an experimental sound with a broad message for everyone. I am humbled by the response the video is getting across all boards.” he added. Currently, the song is riding in the top 10 countdowns on popular urban stations like Soundcity, Nigezie and the Pepsi Top 10, among others. The music video is also set to debut on other international platforms including Trace Africa, MTV Base and Channel O.

Nomoreloss still Standing

N

OMORELOSS, who has been on break for the past six years, is back with a new single. Entitled Mo ti lo, the song is from his forthcoming album, Standing, scheduled for release in October this year. The artiste says Standing is a collection of sounds and messages for different genders. This new work, he reveals, is co-produced by OJB Jezreel, his mentor and friend, Arfiff Amoo, aka Riffy Cones, Emeka Phat E, AJ (producer of Iyawo Asiko), Mr. Daz, who has been his producer for close to a decade and the latest kid on the block, Black Jersey, who is the producer of the new single Mo ti lo. According to Nomoreloss, “this song is a testimonial of sorts which in part speaks of my experiences and positive view of life.”


Sport&Style THE NATION

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

PAGE 35

Samson Siasia speaks

after Super

By Taiwo Alimi

V

ETERAN table tennis star, Funke Oshonaike-Irabor may have suffered a shocking exit from the ongoing London Olympic Games, but the mother of two has revealed that her husband's love and support gave her the confidence and determination to attend yet another Olympics. The African queen, who has six All Africa Games gold medals in her kitty, disclosed that her husband of seven years convinced her to continue in the ping -pong game after putting to bed a second time. The London Games was not really palatable for Funke, as she was knocked out on Day One of the Games by Wenling Tan of Italy after beating Neda Shahsavari 4-3 in the preliminary. “My husband is my greatest fan and he is Contd. On page 38

FUNKE OSHONAIKE-IRABOR SQUEALS

Hubby remains my biggest fan


36 NATION SPORT & STYLE

Federer: How I met my wife at the Olympics T

tennis HE Olympic Games forever changed re he finally legend Roger Federer's life, long befo s ago. won a gold medal in Beijing four year of 17 Grand Federer, who holds the all-time record les crown in 2008, Slam titles and took the Olympic doub men's singles is tenn is a hot favourite going into the For the Swiss on. bled Wim of ts cour ic icon held on the pics has had on Olym the t effec master, however, it is the important to so es Gam the es mak that life onal his pers Village in etes' Athl the in table him. It was at a lunch tennis player, n akia Slov met he that 2000 in ey Sydn his wife and now Mirka Vavrinec, who would become . hters the mother of his twin baby daug the world, in in ts even ial spec t mos the "It is one of is a special "It said. rer sports, in life, anything," Fede enough to nate fortu be can you if and of part be thing to ything. ever ns mea it al med win a medal or even a gold se, because of cour of me, for ial spec extra is it "But ." what it means to how my life has gone in 2002 after she Vavrinec's career on the court ended ed to refus that y injur foot ng suffered a debilitati Federer's properly heal. Since then she has been ling his publicconstant companion, while also hand relations matters. h of his success Federer has regularly attributed muc wife. He's his with hip ions to the stability of his relat for nearly a n essio prof his of top the at ined rema decade. and our "It has always been a nice thing for us and the fact met we time the t abou think relationship to "It is said. rer Fede " pics, that it took place at an Olym introduced, were we n whe time the is it that pretty cool ther a long time and obviously now we have been toge all the and lives our e shar and ly fami a and have experiences. because you "It doesn't make you want to win it more is, tenn play you why is That always want to win. be the best you can because you love the sport and try to rience enjoyable. at it. But it just makes the whole expe of good think only I When I think of the Olympics what it has and is it t even t grea a t wha of think things. I personal my ged chan and r, done for me and my caree too.” life,

SEXY ADMISSION

Australian women's swimming team adopts popular erotic novel for relaxation

T

HE Australian women's swim team have found a novel way to relax while competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games; they are all reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The female swimmers are turning to the erotic bestseller in order to unwind when they are out of the pool according to athlete Alicia Coutts, who won the gold medal for the women's 4x100m freestyle relay at the weekend, along with her team mates Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlange. Miss Coutts, 24, says she became hooked on the book after picking it at a service station when she and the 20 other members of the team travelled from their training camp in Manchester to the Athletes Village in East London. 'Most of the swimming girls are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. We're all talking about it,' she told Australia's Herald Sun. 'Everyone has been talking about it. My manager said just forget about the sex bits and it's actually a really good story. I've found it really interesting. I can't put it down.' The relaxation tool certainly isn't doing the women any harm, as well as her gold medal, Miss Coutts won silver in the 200m Individual Medley final and she and teammates Bronte Barratt, Melanie Schlanger and Kylie Palmer came second in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay. Miss Coutts says she's already onto the steamy second instalment of E L James' trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker. Her teammate, Stephanie Rice, 24, has also admitted to being a fan of the book and recently tweeted a picture of herself reading it.

37

NATION SPORT & STYLE SUNDAY, August 5, 2012

Victoria Beckham, 38, has also admitted to loving the book, which has been dubbed 'mummy porn'. The mother-of-four says she has even recommended the books to her mother, but is too embarrassed to discuss their content with her. 'I'm halfway through the second one,' she told the new issue of America's Glamour magazine. 'I even bought my mum the book! But every time she tries to engage in conversation about it, I kind of dodge the subject. 'I don't really want to talk to my mother about S&M.'

Contd. On page 37

DOTING DADDY

Nicklas Bendtner plays the role of the doting dad as he spends the day with his son

O

N Monday, Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner was ordered to pay almost £5,000 in fines after he was caught driving without a licence and insurance. But putting his court woes behind him, the sportsman was pictured yesterday as he spent some time with his one-year-old son. The blonde father and son duo were spotted as they went for an afternoon stroll in Knightsbridge alongside a mystery blonde, thought to be the child's nanny. Proving that he's one of the more stylish football players, he mixed casual wear with some formal pieces. The 24-year-old rocked a black blazer with a grey oversized scarf, a pair of black Converse and khaki harem sweat pants; he finished off his look with a pair of aviator styled glasses. Nicklas was seen playing with his little boy as he picked him up and turned him upside down. Earlier this week, the young father

was fined £4,750 and had six points added to his licence. The footballer, who was on-loan to Sunderland last season, was pulled over by police in South Tyneside on May 13. Detectives discovered the 24-yearold was not insured on his £40,000 Audi and had no driving licence. Bendtner, who was charged with driving without the correct licence, using a vehicle without insurance and two counts of driving a vehicle with a registration plate not conforming to regulations, was found guilty in his absence by magistrates at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court. The Danish international, who has been linked with a move to Spanish side, Celta Vigo, at the weekend, was also ordered to pay £85 costs. Bendtner allegedly told the police when asked why there was no insurance or proper number plates on his Audi Q7 that he had a 'friend who sorts that out for me.’

'Hottest female Olympian' doesn't expect medal in javelin

P

ARAGUAYAN javelin thrower Leryn Franco has admitted she has far more chances of retaining her title as “hottest female Olympian” than she does of leaving London with a medal. Franco was Yahoo's second-most searched Olympian, trailing only Michael Phelps, at the 2008 Beijing Games and was voted the most attractive competitor by several men's magazines. She managed just a 51st place finish in Beijing. Despite improving her performances over the last four years, she's still not expected to finish in the top 20. "My situation is different from most of the other javelin throwers," Franco said. "I am not just an athlete. I have to be honest; my career is really in the media. "If people open a magazine, they can see me there. Modelling and fashion is my job, too. It takes up much of my time and enables me to make money. It is flattering to me that people find me goodlooking and enjoy seeing me wearing good fashion items." Franco, who participated in the Opening Ceremony, will not compete until Aug. 7, the fifth day of track and field events. She threw a personal best of 55.65 meters at an event in Buenos Aires last year, but that mark is nearly 17 meters shy of the world record.

NATION SPORT & STYLE

CELEB-FITNESS FROM THE NEWSROOM TO GOLF COURSE

Ted Iwere says ‘Golf keeps me mentally alert’ Teddy

PHOTOS: BOLA OMILABU

T

Just like in daily affairs. When you have a challenge you think through it, before taking a decision and executing it. How long have you been playing golf? I have been playing golf since 1993; that is playing continuously. How do you rate Nigerian golf courses? I have played in many golf courses in Nigeria and abroad. Between Akwa Ibom and IBB in Abuja l would rate Abuja as more challenging but Ikoyi course, though look plain, is also very challenging. How well have you preached the gospel of fitness to your friends and family? None of my children is playing golf. My wife tried to play, in fact we bought a club for her but it is there in the house. She took lessons but did not follow up. Same with my children, they seem to be interested in other sports. Do you observe a strict diet to assist in your fitness? I am not choosy when it comes to food. I take practically everything. But l doesn't eat much. I eat only twice a day. I usually take fruit in the morning, like today l took two apples in the morning and it is now that l have finished playing that l can take a meal, my first for the day. I may not even take anything heavy for the rest of the day again. What do you do now? Right now l am in the online publishing business. We have two titles now; the first is Best of Business which can be found online in www.bestofbusinessonline.biz. The other one is Business Dispatch. It is like an online journal for business owners and aspiring business owners. It is for people who want to grow their businesses and we can offer them advice and information on how to grow their businesses better. It is in its second year and Business Dispatch is just starting. Business Dispatch is like a business publication, the only difference is that is it online.

ED Iwere, erstwhile Managing Director of Daily Independent Newspapers, could be said to be a fitness freak. It was under his watch that Daily Independent shot to the top of the news' ladder in Nigeria. Two years ago, he midwived a new online business news media, Best of Business. But away from the newsroom, Mr. Iwere is still busy as ever, revealing that he has long imbibed the spirit of keeping fit from his days in the secondary school. This, he said, has kept him on top of his game as a newsman and entrepreneur par excellence. The man, who published a business magazine in Nigeria in the 1980s, here sheds light on his fitness routine as well as his experimentation with table tennis, before berthing on the golf course, in this interview with TAIWO ALIMI. Excerpts... At what point did you decide to take fitness very seriously? I have always played some form of sports right through my secondary school days. I started with table tennis then moved on to tennis. I fashioned that into my working life and then, l took it to club level. I started with Apapa Club and then moved on to Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, and later to Ikoyi Club. I played tennis for a while when I joined Ikoyi as well as golf, but I soon realised that l did not have enough time to combine both so l had to settle for golf. Though l still play table tennis and tennis once a while, it is golf that l play regularly now. How have all these engagements kept you fit? Well, l wouldn't consider myself athletic, but I am not sickly either. I think I'm above average in term of physical fitness and l believe that these activities have kept me in great physical condition. What is your fitness routine? On average l play golf twice a week. And that is basically on Wednesday morning and then Sunday afternoon after church, but if there are competitions on Saturday, l take it in between. Do you do any other form of exercise, like working in the gymnasium? Once a while l work in the gym, I have one at home which l use, though not regularly. How fit do you think you are? I don't walk too much, except in the house because I drive most of the time. Most of the walking l do is on the golf course. Basically l would rate myself above average. After a round of game of golf, where l can walk and play for four hours or more, l don't feel tired at all. As soon as I finish playing, l take a shower and feel refreshed. Then, I'm as good as ready for the day's work, ready to go for the whole day without any stress or fatigue. So based on that, l can say that l am very fit. What other benefits do you derive from playing golf? It keeps you mentally alert. It is more mental than physical because any shot you want to play must come from your head first. So it keeps you thinking. It is a game that requires precision and precision requires mental alertness. It is like it helps you surmount challenges.


Sport&Style SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

PAGE 38

PAGE 38

‘Hubby remains my biggest fan’ From page 35

Funke

“My husband is my greatest fan and he is always encouraging me,” she said. “In the run to the Olympic Games in London, he encouraged me to return to training after delivering our second baby. “He loves me so much and because he understands my love for table tennis, he wants me to continue to play the game. I might probably hang my racquet (bat) after the Olympics but it also depends on my husband because he really loves me playing the game.” “I might probably hang my racquet (bat) after the Olympics but it also depends on my husband because he really loves me playing the game.” Oshonaike-Irabor, who lives in Hamburg, Germany with her husband and two children, happily recalled how she fell in love with her husband at first sight. “You won't believe it, but my husband got me so easy. You know what; l like men that are down to earth. You don't have to pose to win a lady’s heart. I remember the first time we met, he was speaking pidgin. I was in my sister's shop in Germany and he just came inside and went to my sister and said: 'I like your sister now, wetin dey happen dis girl don win my heart 'and that was it because l just looked at him and smiled. “After three months, I was pregnant for him. Thank God we are still very much together in love because we are getting to love ourselves more each passing day.” Through her husband's support and love, the youthful looking player, who won four Gold medals at the 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, noted that she has known the true meaning of love. She said: “He (my husband) is the reason why I am waxing stronger in the game because he did not ask me to replace my love for table tennis for him. He taught me how to multiply my love for table tennis

and my family. I think my husband met me playing the game and l think the most important thing is love. “He loves me so much and knows that l love table tennis so much. He has never for once, since we got married, attempted to stop me from playing the game. He appreciates what l do and would always be by my side when I'm playing to give his support. I have a very good family and I'm very proud of my family. Believe it or not, l don't want to be in any other family than this and l thank God for that. I have a loving husband that can die for me and two wonderful boys that make me happy each passing day,” she added. On her most memorable tournament, she said: “The most memorable one surely is the Africa games in Abuja where I won four gold medals for Nigeria. That was really great. Then the most disappointing was the Africa Games in Algeria in 2007. Then, l just gave birth and l had a disappointing outing in spite of the fact that l managed to win two gold medals. We were all together in the Games Village and it was not so conducive. I had to wake up at night to take care of him so every time l go to the hall I'm always very tired, so like l said, l wanted more but these two medals were okay. So the baby was like a distraction.” She concluded that future of women's table tennis in Nigeria is bright: “There are lots of up and coming players but the only thing they are lacking is exposure. They are inexperienced as such, they need proper coaching. There's scientific approach to the game. We equally need better facilities. The tables we are using here are a bit slow to the ones that are used in international competitions. Our girls are coming up but they still have more to learn. Government must equally support the game. We used to get as much as seven gold medals, but other countries, particularly the North Africans, are closing down on us. “

Samson Siasia speaks

Life after Super Eagles H

E may have been sacked from the exalted position as the manager of the Super Eagles, but Samson Siasia is still strolling on the fast lane. The first to earned huge pay package as the Nigeria's national team coach, offers are still pouring in for him long after he was shown the exit following the country's failure to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations. But some disappointments, according to the coach who is fondly called SiaOne or World Cup Coach by admirers, have their blessing during his unveiling as a brand ambassador of Johnnie Walker. The former Nigerian striker who scored one of the goals at the USA' 94 World Cup is the first Nigerian to be recognised as a Johnnie Walker Giant with his sterling qualities which are in tandem with the exotic brand. “I felt great being selected as the Jonnie Walker giant because nothing like this has ever happened in Nigeria," started Siasia who featured for French side, FC Nantes in his younger days in conversation with The Nation Sport & Style. “I'm so happy to be classed with giants like Manu Dibango, the great musician; the Ethiopian long distance runner, Haile Gebrselassie for his unprecedented accomplishments in Marathon races, which have encouraged thousands to follow in his footsteps and other Johnnie Walker Giants like Sir Richard Branson, arguably the world's most famous entrepreneur. "These are great men with special stories .I think the team at Johnnie Walker looked at my progress from my days a player through my coaching career with the under- 20 and under- 23 as well as up the Super Eagles.

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

Argentina, I guess that was what made them to select me as one of the Johnnie Walker Giants. What Johnnie Walker is saying here is, 'if you believe in yourself, nothing can stop you from getting to your destination.' "Nobody can stop anyone who has a dream.It has been a very long road but I'm still walking towards my dreams and destinations. “I want to build one of the best football academies in Africa added to that is a football reality show, Soccer's Next Pro, which would help scout for the hottest football talents in Nigeria. It's going to be like the American Idol of Soccer. You know they have some talent hunt competitions over the years and none has really lived up to expectations. Asked to compare between being a footballer and coach, he said:“Coaching is more challenging. As a player I did not worry about a lot of things. All I had to do was to go in there and play. But as a coach you have to worry about the tactics, to know the right players to play and all that. These are the challenges you cope with as a coach. My toughest match as a coach was when I was fired as the Super Eagles coach. I wasn't anticipating that I would be sacked. I wasn't actually sure that I was going to lose my job at the end because I knew I was doing the right thing.Sometimes in life as a coach you need some time to build the team but I wasn't given that chance.The biggest lesson I learnt is that you should follow your gut feelings...there are certain things I didn't do well then but now I

have learnt from it. Looking at lIfe after Super Eagles, he stated:”I have more time for my family now compared to when I was fully involved with Super Eagles. I have four children but they are all in the US and are all grown up “My wife, Cassandra has been very supportive at the home front even while I was away. They all recognised the fact that I was on a national assignment and as such

Samson Siasia and wife Cassandra

gave me all the necessary support required to succeed. “You know around here when you lose your job, you lose a lot of friends. These are people they call 'friends of the office'. The moment you lose your job, those guys are gone.But I'm happy my friends have stood by me thus far and kudos to Jonnie Walker for recognising my contribution to the game," Siasia sounded off.


40

Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012 putting on a mask and they think that makes me an Egungun. In the last three or four years, mask parties have become popular. People should get used to the fact that everybody can put on a mask. It doesn't have to be occult. Also, there is deception. People don't ask questions. They need to ask questions from their pastors and their spiritual leaders who preach to them only about prosperity and not about life after here. What is the most important thing in our Christian lives? Is it the money we make here or our salvation? All we hear today is prosperity. That is 419. Who would you regard as your role model? My role models are numerous, and they have grown in number over the years. It starts with my own parents. My parents have been biggest influence in my life. I will leak a secret to you. I grew up in a university environment. I was therefore raised in our culture. We have heard a lot about Lagbaja, but who is the person behind the mask? The guy behind the mask is a quiet guy somewhere else. All I talk about is Lagbaja. When did the concept behind the mask first hit you? It first hit me about five years before my first album. I actually made my first costume in 1985 but it was kept under my bed because I still didn't have the courage to do what I had in mind. The whole idea came first of all from trying to tell a story with my image, the message of the story being the mask itself, even if I never sing. I am saying that the mask is a symbol of the facelessness of the so-called common man. That was how the whole idea came. I was a little worried being a Christian how people will term me. I am not an Egungun. It is just the prejudice that we have that we appreciate masks as masquerade. Once I had that concept with the message, I had to decide the means. I have met a lot of people who think I invented Lagbaja as a word. I find it very amusing. It shows how much we are losing our language and our culture. using our traditional instruments. It is not They don't know that Lagbaja is not my like I must use it, even though I have invention. It is a Yoruba word that used it on my recent album Knock Knock existed before I was ever born. It means Knock. It is mostly for others who are somebody, nobody, anybody or used to programming and working with everybody. Just the way you say Tom, the computer because it is important for Dick and Harry. Since my mask is a them to appreciate that the computer is a symbol of the common man's tool and our culture can also make use of facelessness, the name Lagbaja naturally that tool. just fell in place. With hip hop being the in-thing You have been putting the mask on today, how would you encourage young for about 20 years. Does it have any side Nigerians to play Africano? effect? I don't care to encourage anybody to go It doesn't. The only thing is that it is not into Africano. Each person can choose his comfortable, especially when performing career and decide where to go. in the afternoon, outdoors. Apart from There are insinuations that people that, there is no side effect. who are into preserving African culture Are you married? tend not to believe in God. What is your Yes, to my saxophone. take on that? So, when will you get married to a That is a very important question but human? again, it is your choice. Religion is Without the mask, e be like say the between yourself and God. When I bobo don marry o, but with the mask, take off my mask, I must confess he is always married to his to you, I go to Church. I saxophone. worship. I won't tell you If you had not been a the Church o. I tell musician, what would you people not to be afraid have been doing? of my mask. It has nothing to do with the Maybe I would have been occult. It is a symbol. a teacher because believe Don't think that I must go me, it is probably one of to perform one ritual before the most important I can put this on. I have said jobs. As we speak here it repeatedly that my mask is today, it is thanks to a symbol of the facelessness one teacher who did of the common man. When it something for both of comes to deep spiritual us. It might look like issues, it is up to me to a small job, but it is define how I want to go. major and I love interacting with As a Christian, what people. When I peculiar clash do you know something, face between your faith I am able to and the push for communicate it upholding culture? and I help others The major to achieve it. challenge is Apart from that, I people's might have prejudice, the worked in fear of what advertising or they don't marketing. •Lagbaja know. I am

A lot of people do not know Bisade Ologunde, aka Lagbaja, grew up in an academic environment. With his first album released 19 years ago, the artiste cum cultural icon says that he is set to launch out his own genre of music called Africano. OVWE MEDEME caught up with him at the Design Workshop Series, a workshop series held monthly to boost the interest of students of University of Lagos in the arts. He talked about Africano, the Africano Manchine concept, life behind the mask and a host of other issues

When I take off my mask, I practise Christianity — —La Lagbaja W

HAT was your experience relating with the young people? My biggest audience has always been people who can think and an academic community is the place where you find that. In fact, they didn't even ask some of the things I was expecting to hear today, very tough questions. In the academics, it is all about your mind. It was a beautiful experience. I loved it, although it took me quite a while before I was able to make it. We have been on it for a couple of months now but eventually I made it. I had a good time and I know that a few folks here will go back home with greater respect for the African culture. Did you take anything from them? Of course I did. For example, I would say I was pleasantly surprised that they understood more Yoruba than I expected, because it means that our culture is not dying out as fast as I thought. Still, this issue of religion, I can see again from here today that we need to do something about opening people's mind not to have a conflict between their culture and their religion. If you look at the bible and things that happened, for example, if you look at what happened to the Israelites in Egypt and some of the things they had to do on some particular days, you will see that their culture was part of even their normal spiritual life. We should be careful not to throw our culture down the drain out of fear of what we really don't know the truth about. I am not saying that we should follow one babalawo. Find what you believe and know why you believe it. I could see all that from some of the questions they asked me. Also, I could also see a proof of how much young people are into the American culture. Nothing is bad about that, but we can learn from different cultures but at the same time, that doesn't mean you should abandon your own culture. Use the best of what you have. I got all that from the interaction I had with them. You appear to have been off the radar for some time now. What have you been up to?

Lagbaja has been a bit busy, but I have been working on a new genre of music which I call Africano What is Africano all about? Everything music started from Africa and that actually is the story of Africano. Rhythm is an African thing. For the last three years, people have been talking about swag but swag no start today. It is all about rhythm. The truth is that music is rhythm anywhere in the world. Civilisation actually started from here in Africa but na your mumu leaders and your mumu self gave it to them and now we are far behind. I started out playing jazz, but I decided that my first concern will be how to promote and preserve the culture. In my music, I use all kinds of drums. People need to emancipate their minds and be proud of their own thing. That is the whole concept behind Africano. There is a huge relationship between dance and the beat. That in a nutshell is Africano. I am taking it a step further with what I call Africano Manchine. How does the Africano Manchine work? Because a lot of young people are too busy to learn their instruments, we decided to computerise it in a way that they can drag and drop the beats to their songs. It is our next project which by the grace of God, I should be finishing next year. I started it in 2008. No be say I no hear English o. The 'N' is there because it is a marriage of man and machine. It is a way of putting those beats together in a way that you can convince people that you are actually playing on stage. Hopefully by next year, by God's grace, I should be done with it. Is it right to say that the Africano Manchine is your way of attracting the younger generation to your style of music? What I can tell you is that I am not even the one that will use it. I can compose, arrange drums and all that. I am trying to make our culture acceptable to young folks who live by the computer, who live by their iphones, android and stuffs like that, who can use their devices without losing out on the possibility of


Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

41

Sound Sultan celebrates 12 years on stage

N

•Obey

•Kore

•Abiara

Feast of Worship concert beckons F

EAST of Worship Live is entering its sixth edition this month, with the show slated for Friday August 10, 2012 at the Ultra-modern Church Auditorium of Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C) Agbala-Itura Zonal Headquarters, Agege, Lagos. Organizers say the event which starts at 9.00pm prompt will feature accomplished Nigerian music legend Evangelist Obey Fabiyi, Juju-Gospel Maestro- Yinka Ayefele, Dr. Bukola Akinade (Sewele Jesu), Kenny KORE of the Olori-Oko fame, Afro-Gospel Artiste, Israel Abiara, Lady Evangelist

Taye Ojo, the trio “Fowo to mi” crooners-THE EFFECT, petite but powerful soul gospel act-YEMMY, and Mass Choir, among others. The concert will be hosted by Prophet Dr. S.K Abiara, the General Evangelist CAC World-Wide. This year's concert is supported by Mutual Benefit Assurance Plc, Moses Adebayo Nigeria Ltd, Obokun Freight Forwarders, Bablolly Ventures, Totaltelecom Solutions, Multizee Ltd Haulage and Green Star Line Ltd.

•Sound Sultan

S

UNDAY, July 29, Bode Thomas Street, Lagos witnessed a gathering of celebrities, fashionistas and lovers of style at the opening of Yomi Casual Clothing. The event which was attended by the crème of the entertainment industry started with a red carpet reception. Designed as a champagne party, the occasion was not just an opportunity to open a new showroom but also a medium for showcasing the latest of Yomi Casual designs. According to the 2012 winner of the City People Young Designer of the year award, the opening of the showroom was an opportunity to celebrate all who have supported him by wearing his designs over the years. “We have been in the business of producing designs, though in a much smaller environment. We felt that with growing demand, comes the need to expand our outfit; that is why we are opening this showroom. Yomi Casual is a fashion outfit. We make people look good for a living. We make nice cut to fit tunic that will make you stand out in any crowd. We focus on doing tunics because that is what we want to be known for,” said Makun Amongst celebrities who attended the event were popular comedian AY, Alex

Ekubo, Gideon and Ajibade from the popular soap opera-Tinsel, Nollywood Diva-Ebube Nwangbo, 2010 Big Brother Africa winner- Uti and 2012 Big Brother Africa Stargame contestant-Chris. Also in attendance were popular Nigerian comedians Elenu and Emeka Smith, Naija FM OAPUshbebe, Nigerian music iconSammie Okposo and supermodel Ejiro Jalogo. The event was also a show of support from the fashion industry as great designers such as Mudi, Alvin Couture, Oshodi and Femi Toys were also visible open in their support for Yomi Casual.

Oge Okoye, Shyshy Shillon others for TGIF

success with young talents in music, LL is set for the debut edition of fashion and music.” a neighbourhood entertainment She hinted further that her vision is to show, tagged TGIF Night. The equip young people with skills that show, aimed at honouring top movie would make them independent, bring and music stars who have contributed about social changes through interactive their quota to the development of the sessions and seminars, and also create entertainment industry, is expected to jobs by building the confidence of the kick off in the last weekend of youth. August. This first TGIF Night will According to Adeyinka celebrate acts in Ikeja and its Oloyede, the brain behind environs. Stars expected at the show, the event is a the event include Oge Ogoye, monthly gig meant to Shyshy Shillon, Jaywon, Labi celebrate and honour Olayori, TVC presenter, role models in fashion, SLK, a comedian and Frank comedy and music. It is Osodi, a world renowned also expected to fashion designer and provide a platform for several others in the young people to exhibit entertainment world. their skills and hone TGIF Night is expected their talents. to be an amazing forum “Every month, with upcoming singers, we'll host event comedians and where young people designers exhibiting in the creative arts their skills, while gather and sit with role outstanding acts will get models who will the opportunity to exchange notes and share understudy and work the secrets of their with established acts. •Oge Okoye

A

Celebrities welcome Yomi Casual

OTABLE singer, song writer, and producer, Lanre Fasasi, popularly known as Sound Sultan, is gearing up for a musical concert to commemorate 12 years of his presence on the music scene. The talented artiste said he will also use the concert to launch his sixth album tagged E Dozen Easy. “I have been on the stage legally as an artiste for 12 years and I've been working tirelessly to make sure I bring to my fans, family and well wishers a very great concert to celebrate my 12th year on stage with the launch of my sixth album launch which will take place in September.” The concert, he said, will be different. “There will be lots of theatrics. I'm working in collaboration with a dance group and the stage performance is going to be like a movie,” he added. The widely travelled artiste also revealed other artistes that will be rocking the stage with him; “O yes, you should know some usual suspects, those I've featured on my previous albums; Baba Dee, 2face, Banky W, M.I., and someone I've never featured before.”

Student body honours Paw-Paw

S

TAR actor, Osita Iheme, popularly known as Paw-Paw of the Aki and Paw-Paw fame, has received a special recognition/award from the Mbaitolu Students Union of Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, Imo State. The honour was bestowed on him during the union's Cultural Day held on Sunday July 15, 2012. The students body, through its president, Comrade James Achuko, Paw-Paw

said Iheme was honoured for his contributions in human development in Mbaitolu Local Government Area of which he is an indigene. The award by Mbaitolu Students Union also confers patron status on the star actor who ventured into Nollywood in the year 2000 through his role in a movie titled Cold Blood, directed by Emma Ogugua. It is on record that Osita Iheme who was recently bestowed with the national honour of Member of the Federal Republic, MFR, by President Goodluck Jonathan, has instituted several programmes aimed at encouraging students in his home State (Imo) and beyond in their educational pursuits.


42

Entertainment

BIG

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

CINEMA GUIDE

PICTURE Supported by: SILVERBIRD CINEMAS

Cocktail:

United in differences

W

HEN 24-year-old Veronica (Deepika Padukone) and Meera (Diana Penty), 23, start living together during the summer in London, they have very different agendas. Meera is awkward, introvert and recovering from a hoax marriage to Kunal Ahuja (Randeep Hooda) who has duped her of her life-savings by using the pretense of setting up a base for them in London. She is spending her time under Veronica's roof until she can get some footing and find a job in this foreign land. Veronica, on the other hand, is a wild-child, impulsive, constantly looking for distractions to escape facing issues of a troubled upbringing. Being poles apart brings the two close, forging a loyal and solid friendship. Directed by Homi Adajania, Cocktail could be described as a love triangle. But unlike many like it, the three protagonists in this one get to know who loves whom pretty early in the picture and the revelation isn't stretched till the climax. Although highly predictable, the film is as much flippant as its protagonists and the scene tone remain subtle even in the most dramatic sequences. The humour is inherent and scenes like Saif's first encounter with Deepika or Dimple Kapadia's artificial respiration to Deepika are hilarious. Anil Mehta's cinematography is picture perfect. Pritam's music is peppy and some new voices add freshness to the soundtrack.

LAGOS Ice Age 4 Featured Actors: Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 94 min Ice Age 4 (3D) Featured Actors: Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 94 min Madagascar 3D Featured Featured: Actors Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 94 min Snow White Featured Actors: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 127 min Bol Bachchan (Indian) Featured Actors: Ajay Devgan,Abhishek Bachchan,Asin Thottumkal Genre: Comedy Running Time: 150mins The Amazing Spider-Man 3D Featured Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 136 Mins The Amazing Spider-Man (Rating: 15) Featured Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans

Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 136 Mins The Past Came Calling Featured Actors Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha, John Dumelo, Marie Gomez, Oliver Jolliffer, Penelope Bouchot Humbart Genre Drama Running Time 110mins Think Like A Man Featured Actors: Chris Brown, Gabrielle Union and Kevin Hart Genre :Romance Running Time: 122 min Madagascar 3D Featured Actors: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith and Chris Rock Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 93 min Men In Black Featured Actors Will Smith,

ABUJA

Brave: A princess’ choice of sinister turf us daughter ERIDA is a skilled archer and impetuo en Elinor Que and y) noll Con y (Bill us Ferg g of Kin her own e carv to ed rmin Dete (Emma Thompson). sacred to the om cust old agean es defi ida Mer path in life, Lord MacGuffin uproarious lords of the land: massivesh (Craig Ferguson) into (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Mac bie Coltrane). and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Rob chaos and fury in ash unle y entl Merida's actions inadvert the kingdom. is such that it is a One of the unique qualities of Brave, ted by its trailers, crea ons flick that surpasses the expectati The female protagonist and other forms of advertisements. it thick, much so when element is another factor that makes . the lead act handles the role real good character of this There is so much to ponder about the rderly red hair. diso , wild with aggressive Scottish princess witch (Julie old In the woods, Merida stumbled on an “change” her to l spel a s hase purc she Walters), from whom tence on insis her drop mother in the hopes that she will ge her chan does l spel The . tials nup ing Merida's impend causing of ead Inst . cted expe she mother, but not in the way ly sical phy her ges her to change her mind, it instead chan . bear zly into a towering griz t, by cleverly Here again, the animators score a poin and body face 's bear a onto s tion emo an grafting hum animal-like lly ntia esse r thei g movements without losin tion - seeing emo real 's story the of crux the is This nature. al body, and anim her into ely plet com g Elinor disappearin one of the are c ami dyn ear the subtle shifts in the human/b s. bute attri t nan poig and ng ralli enth t film's mos

M

The Amazing Spider-Man Featured Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans Genre: Action/Adventure Married but Living Single Featured Actors: Funke Akindele, Joke Silva, Joseph

Benjamin, Tina Mba, Femi Brainard, Kiki Omeili, Yemi Remi Genre: Action/Adventure Men in Black III Featured Featured Actors: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin Genre: Action/Adventure Dark Shadows Featured Featured Actors: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 113 min The Avengers Featured Featured Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 142 min The Hunger Games Featured Featured Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 142Mins

PORT HARCOURT Ice Age: Continental Drift Featured Actors: Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 94 Mins Snow White and the Huntsman (Rating: 15) Featured Actors: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 127 Mins Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Featured Actors: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith and Chris Rock Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 93 Mins The past came calling (Rating: 18) Featured Actors: Chioma Chukwuka-Akpota, John Dumelo, Nigerian actors, Nigerian actresses, nigerian movie directors, Nigerian movie producers, Nigerian movies, Ruke Amata Genre: Drama Running Time: 110 Mins The Amazing Spider-Man (Rating: 15 )

Featured Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 136 Mins Think Like a Man (Rating: 18) Featured Actors: Chris Brown, Gabrielle Union and Kevin Hart Genre Comedy Running Time122 Mins Ties That Binds (Rating: 18) Genre: Drama Running Time: 92 Mins


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Agatha Amata, a graduate of Botany, delved into television production fifteen years ago with her ex-hubby and Nollywood actor, Fred Amata. Now divorced after 12 years of marriage, the single mother of two shared with ADETUTU AUDU how her strong-will has kept her going in the last fifteen years and why she is not likely to reconcile with her former husband.

I

T has been 15 years of running Inside Out with Agatha. How do you feel? I feel blessed. It has been a great experience. It had all its ups and downs, good and bad, but all in all I will say I have been very blessed to have the privilege of hosting the programme for 15 years. I have said it so many times and I will say it again, it is an education that no school could have given me. What was the initial motivation for you? I have always liked talk shows, TV shows and stuffs like that, and I enjoyed watching them. But I realised Nigerian TV stations don't have any programme that allows people to come and say their minds. When we have phone-in programmes, you noticed that people were always willing to call and complain. I just wanted a programme which an average man on the street, a common man, could come out and vent, where we could meet people who are supposed to be in charge of taking care of things; Be it a bus conductor, molue driver, Okada rider, students, among others who can face people in authority to say we are not happy with these things; Or I wanted to commend you for this, but you need to do this. It is just to give common man a voice - that was the motivation. What would you say were the initial challenges? Electricity is the biggest challenge in this country. I have said the government should make it one-point agenda and leave the rest for us. The fact that you have to generate your own electricity is an added unnecessary cost. The second is that we don't really have a lot of companies that advertise. By the time you finish with telecoms and banks, who is left? The others are not big enough to do advert; most of them run to radio stations. Even now, they prefer print and outdoor as opposed to electronic media. TV advert is expensive and you are not guaranteed that many people will see it except there is electricity which is not always available. The last one is that in Nigeria we pay TV stations, which do not happen in other climes - it is the other way round. So as an independent producer doing your own thing, you have to generate your own power, produce your own programme, look for the adverts, then you go and beg TV stations with money before you can show it on air. Those challenges still exist, but the longer you stay, the more you find a way round it. And when people realise that you are there to stay, you get support in terms of advertising or product support.

How has the programme impacted on you as a person? Inside Out has changed my person, the way I think, reason and the way I see life. A lot of us take things for granted, we don't know how privileged we are. The programme has helped me to wear other people's shoes. I will give one or two quick examples. I did a topic on people with disability in Nigeria and a deaf woman who represented them on the programme said several things I can’t forget till I die. She said 'radio and TV are useless to me because I can't hear. I can't go to police station if I am oppressed or use hospital. I have never heard rain. When I had children, my children would cry themselves to sleep because I can't hear their cry. In this country nobody cares about you. A man on the street does not understand sign language and there is no way to communicate with him. Assuming they put advert on TV and radio that people should vacate Lagos today, I will still be sitting down because I won't know'. After listening to her and the episode, I wrote to TV stations if they can introduce sign language even if it is just the news section. And I am glad Lagos Television (LTV) responded. That is an example of how passionate one can become because you now understand. She also talked about how their deaf member was almost beaten to death by the police because they thought he was being rude not knowing that he could not hear. I did another topic on child labour and a woman narrated how poor she was. I could not understand why her child who should be in school would be selling. And she said ' all those children wey una dey see wen una go party,wey stand for una to finish na our children be dat. Dat is the only time dem dey see food chop. And when we see these children a lot of us drive them away, we don't know how important those leftovers are to them. I have talked about pensioners and I have worked with widows. I would not say I was wasteful before, but now before I spend on anything that is not important, I think about it. A woman came into my office with her child, she said she was thrown out of her house because she could not pay rent, how much are we talking about, N15, 000? That is the money some of us spend in Chinese Restaurants or on recharge cards, and that is why somebody slept under the bridge. You hear different kind of stories and I don't believe that after hearing all these as a human being, you will not change except if the person is made of stone.

43

‘You are a victim, only if you see yourself as one’

I have seen a brilliant child, the child comes first all the time and the mother had to withdraw him from school because they couldn't pay school fees. How much are we talking about, N7, 500? When you keep hearing some of these things, you know that you can't just leave it and walk away and there is no way it won't affect you as a person. When I want to buy things now, I think. If a weave-on is more than N2, 500, I won't buy. So, all those Brazilian or Peruvian weave-ons are not for me. And let me tell you, though I don't spend money on all these things, I still get them as gifts. After 15 years of Inside Out with Agatha, what next? I have come out with a new programme. Though it is not new, I call it Inside Out Extra. The concept is that after complaining and talk about the issues on Inside Out with Agatha, we want to do one-on-one interview with the authorities concerned, who can effect the change we are talking about. We have done few recordings. I have talked to governors and we even talked to Hon. Abike Dabiri, because we got a lot of response from people in the Diaspora on how they are being treated, including the Nigerian High Commissioner. We are also coming out with Inside Out Kids because we discovered that kids need to be heard too. The original Inside Out with Agatha remains too. Where do you draw your strength in all these? God. I am not a Pastor and I don't even come close to it. Infact, I am one of the sinners in the world. But I know for sure that God is with me. He has been my strength and my provider. I cannot but acknowledge him. There are people who work harder than I do, but they do not receive the kind

of favour I get. And I am passionate about what I do, it has grown beyond being a TV programme. If somebody could walk up to me and say, 'I was about to commit suicide and after watching a particular episode of your programme I changed my mind, today I own a paint manufacturing company,' then you know it is not just a TV show. Now people with disabilities say they can watch LTV news, it is no longer a programme. You started your programme while you were married to your ex, Fred Amata. You have moved on without him, how is life without him? I don't have a TV background, I am science student. I started the programme because of him. Part of what Inside Out had done for me is that it has made me grow as a human being. In life you came alone, you will go alone. There is nobody, including your children, that would love you so much and when you die, they would want to enter the grave with you. What you owe people or human being is to be truthful, fair and just. A lot of people don't realise that Fred and I are best friends. I can call him and talk to him. We are connected for life; we have two wonderful children and anybody who sees my children knows their daddy. So it would be stupid of me to think that I could wish him away. I don't even want to wish him away. The reason Inside Out is here today is because of who I married. There is nothing in this life that I want to do that Fred would not be mentioned, it is not possible. My story is incomplete without him. The truth is that we were married for 12 years, it didn't work and one will not kill himself. I have seen a lot in life and I heard stories of people who had struggled with it and where they have ended. It is better for you to be apart, have mutual respect for each other and let your children know that you both love them and move on with life. My children can take my phone and call him, they can arrange to meet him without telling me.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Glamour

44

Social

ADETUTU AUDU (E-mail: crownkool@yahoo.com, Tel: 08023849036)

Jennifer Obayuwana’s long wait

T

HERE is no gains

aying Jennifer Obayuwana, daughter of John Obayuwana, who pioneered Polo, a luxury goods store, is one of the bestdressed upwardly mobile ladies in this part of town. While her impressive performance as the executive director in her father's business cannot be rubbished, Jennifer is still struggling in her love life. A mother of one, though not married, she reportedly fell out with the father of her child many years ago, and subsequent attempts to reconcile them proved futile. She was also romantically linked with another dashing dude, Gbenga Ajayi, who swept her off her feet. But the relationship did not also stand the test of time. Rumour mill is agog over her relationship with hip-hop sensation, Dbanj. She is said to be a regular visitor to his Lekki home, but because of squabbles between Dbanj and his music partner, Don Jazzy, Jennifer seems to be out of the picture for now.

The pact between Diamond Bank's Alex Otti and Anselm Tabansi

T

HAT the Group Managing Director, Diamond Bank Plc, Alex Otti, oozes grandeur is not in doubt. The former Executive Director, Public Sector (South), First Bank Plc, has veered into the hospitality industry. He drew top celebrities to the formal opening of the magnificent edifice located on the highbrow Victoria Island. Aptly dubbed Morning Side Suite, the cozy suite, informed sources say, is being managed by Anselm Tabansi's Fahrenheit Hospitality Group. The lawyer-turned-interior designer is a force to reckon with in the hospitality business and many fun-lovers have high expectatio ns of the newlycommissio n e d edifice.

•Otti

•Tabansi

Okunoren twins up ante

O

NE of Nigeria's most successful fashion brands, the Okunoren twins, are not resting on their oars. After ten years of bespoke tailoring services, the twins are set to open their first store. For ten years the Okunoren twins have been injecting glamour into the world of African fashion, winning them respect within the industry, along with a host of A-list devotees and followers. Come September, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, as well as friends, family and well-wishers will gather to formally open their flagship store in Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos. They established their brand in May 2002 at the age of 19 and were inspirations to thousands of young men and women of their generation.

Charles Odunlami rebrands

C

HARLES Odunlami, UK-based promoter who shot top Nigerian music stars like Tuface Idibia, Pasuma, Faze and Tony Tetuila to limelight, is rebranding. The former PMAN scribe who left Nigeria for greener pastures in the United Kingdom is coming back with full force by teaming up with UK-based outfit Stanza Promotions, owned by London socialite, Ayo Aina Shodipe, upon the death of his former business partner, Mike Disu, years ago. The business he founded with the late Disu, M&C Promotions, has been transformed to Charles Ajibade Promotions, intending to further advance the image of Nigerian artistes within and abroad with his new partners. Fully aware that the terrain has changed, the showbiz promoter cum-socialite, we gathered, is leaving no stone unturned to face the new challenges associated with the business.

Why society lady, Yeye Bola Dare, wears white

T

HAT Yeye Bola Dare is another lady that wields a lot of power in Abuja and close to the first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, is not debatable. So powerful is the former media practitioner that she could be referred to as madam fix it in the capital city of Abuja. Not only is she madam fix it, the vivacious woman who runs Mother Theresa Orphanage in Gwarimpa, Abuja, loves wearing white on Wednesdays and Fridays. A source close to the stylish and glamorous society woman, who takes delight in giving life and hope to the less-privileged children, said the reason she wears the colour on the two days is because those are her prayer days.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Dumebi Kachukwu’s large heart

N

OT many people will forget in a hurry the celebrated crashed romance between Abuja-based businessman, Dumebi Kachukwu, and Somachi, daughter of former Minister for Aviation and Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, who is also the elder sister of rave of the moment, Naeto C. The ex-couple have since moved on as Dumebi remarried last year, while Somachi has relocated abroad with her four children, products of the union. The Abuja-based businessman still has the interest of his former in-law at heart. We gathered that he gave the rap sensation, Naeto C, and his wife, Nicole, who got married few weeks ago, Porsche Cayenne, said to go for a mouth-watering sum of N12m. The gift was presented to the couple on his behalf by his friend and hip-hop act, Dbanj. Despite that the gift has generated a lot of controversy within the social and entertainment circles, observers, no doubt, commended Dumebi's gesture.

Glamour Moet Abebe causes stir in modelling

J

OHN Abebe, the brother of the late first lady, Stella Obasanjo, is a force to reckon with in the game of cricket. One of his daughters, Laura Monyeazo Abebe, aka Moet, is also causing stir in the Nigeria modelling industry. With her raw talent for creating expressive images, she is fast becoming one of the industry's most sought-after talents. Apart from modelling, she has also featured in the musical video of Lynxxx and Banky W's Alabukun video. The model and dancercum-upcoming actress has done campaigns aimed towards black women enforcing the need to be proud of their complexion, and worked with the photographer Aubrey Fagon, which is one her greatest achievements till date. 23-year-old Moet, we learn, is presently studying law at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

Ex-Gov. Ayo Fayose bereaved

T

HESE are definitely not the best times for the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose. News filtered in that he lost one of his sisters, Aderonke, last Saturday. The deceased, aged 42, was said to have passed on after a brief illness. This is coming after another sister, Bimpe, was diagnosed of breast cancer.

Nike Oshinowo's love for Tuface Idibia For many who may not know, we can reveal to you that one-time beauty queen, Nike Oshinowo-Soleye, is one of the fans of hip-hop sensation, Tuface Idibia. One of the hit songs of the awardwinning music act that got the former beauty queen's attention is the African Queen. Just like music lovers have applauded the musician over the song, Nike believes Idibia must have had her in mind while composing the song. So, if you really want Nike Oshinowo to let her air down, rock her with Tuface's African Queen.

45

Yemi Alli’s love for tree planting

I

F there is one past time that the Chairman of Odiolowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, Honourable Taofeek Adeyemi Alli, has, it is tree planting. A source close to the council boss revealed that Alli loves nature; beautifully-planted and neatly-arranged set of trees gives him pleasure. Little wonder he is always a conspicuous participant whenever the treeplanting campaign is flagged off.

Reality bites for Mary Charles

M

ARY Charles is a big player in the beauty industry, she is one of the earliest pioneers of permanent make-up and tattoo in Nigeria and she is not a small fry in the social circuit and never fails to attract notice. Informed sources are saying business has nose-dived for the mother of twins. Her studio located on highbrow Allen Avenue which was a Mecca of sort for celebrities has become a shadow of itself. And tongues have also been wagging on her nonappearance at classy grooves; some people are postulating that her inability to finance her high-profile lifestyle may have led her to going low-profile.


46

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Glamour

&

OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821) raphseg2003@yahoo.com

Change of baton at Rotary Club of Festac By Muyiwa Hassan

R

OTARY Club of Festac Town, Disrict 9110, Nigeria, held installation ceremony of Rotarian Victor Chidi Achuonu as the 31st President, alongside induction of Board of Directors and fund raising for 2012-2013 projects in Lagos

L-R: Rotarians Florence Okoye and Alex Geonlebedun

L-R Guest Speaker, Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, the outgoing president of Rotary Club, Festac, Rotarian Gabriel Amalu, and new president of the club, Rotarian Victor Chidi Achuonu, during the installation ceremony of the club

L-R: The out going president and his wife, Mr and Mrs Gabrie l Amalu, and new president and wife, Mr and Mrs Victor Chidi Achuonu

L-R: Former Assistant Governor, Rotarian Steve Bossey, Assistant President, Kingsley Nwosu, and Rotarian Tunde Ogunmekan

Mr and Mrs Goddy Chuma Amalu

At Mopelola Taiwo’s investiture as District Chairman of International Inner Wheel, District 911 By Olusegun Rapheal

P

L-R: Mrs Osenike Ajadi, outgoing Chairman, Mrs Julie Shekoni and New Chairman, Mrs Mopelola Taiwo Adisa

L-R; Prof. Olu Akinyanju and Mrs L-R: Princess Sarah Sosan and Mrs Grace Adekoya Sunbo Osunbayo

Chief Emmanuel Babatunde Adisa

ENULTIMATE Sunday at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, a new District Chairman of International Inner Wheel, District 911, Mrs Mopelola Taiwo, was installed. The new DC joined the Inner Wheel Club of Lagos Centre in 1984 and in 1990 moved to the Inner Wheel Club, Opebi in Lagos. The event attracted top officials, members of Inner Wheel, friends and family members of Mrs. Adisa.

L-R:Dele Aina and Olori Oluyemisi Rotarian Kamorudeen Omotosho and Taiwo wife


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

47

VOL 1 NO. 037

Brands & de-marketing T

HE key components of a brand are product (offer), name and promise. It is interesting to note that all that takes place around brands in whatever name revolves around these three components. So, there is the offer or product, the name for reasons of identification and differentiation, and the promise, that establishes the reason(s)why for such brand person. Immediately the product on offer assumes a personality, it becomes responsible for all that happens as a result of its being, such as keeping appointment (timing), presence, fulfilling promises and communicating. So, when professionals say a brand is a product with a name, the objective is always to underscore the basics in the definition of the brand's person; its all little technicalities in the world of brands and brands management that are pieced together in telling interesting stories. Part of such story is the consumer's experience, trade influences, price mechanism and movement, sales activation and promotion; it involves other imperatives such as research and planning, advertising, brand line extension…on and on. All these mentions must be coming as spin-offs to many of professionals at this point, but we are coasting home somewhere. There is also this very interesting marketing tool (or should I call it instrument) known as DE-MARKETING. At the beginners' class, we were told this is a tool used by practitioners to limit a brand's pursuit towards achieving some aspect of set-marketing objective for bigger gains in the future. So, managers of a given brand may decide to hold back in distribution to limit market or shelf presence, for some reasons. Or, a brand may just be over-priced in such a manner that may initially be considered injurious to its market performance, for reasons considered of strategic importance to the managers. Now, when marketing decisions that are not manifestly in the immediate interest of the brand is taken, it is termed a de-marketing move. But in such moves are always expectedly made in the interest of the brand. Otherwise, every action taken or decision made for any given brand should be towards growing the brand in the face of prevalent market situation. To do this effectively, begins with proper brand positioning statement (exclusive area for consultants). The BPS is a statement that establishes who the brand is and what it should be known and taken for. It serves as the steering wheel for its managers, towards presenting or representing such brand to the public. It is the BPS that shapes the image of the brand towards achieving its desired image. Interestingly, the culmination of a brand's impression at the market place and the consumers' perception of any brand is a function of how much it aligns itself with its positioning statement in delivering on its promise. So, a brand fails as a person soon as it permits a disconnection between its performance and the promise it made. Suffice, therefore, that the success of any brand depends on the consumer's perception. I am yet to see any brand that continues to exist at the market place when the consumers see it as not fit to continue. However, the consumers' power is dependent upon some factors, primary of which is the power to vote disposable income. The primary consideration in the definition of

a brand's market is ability to pay the price for such brand. So a brand can only be influenced by those who BUY it the consumer's influence is also dependent on socio-dependent variables to include literacy, sophistication, media habits, lifestyle, etc. when all the variables are under the consumer's control, then we have the ideal market situation THE BUYER'S MARKET. To a large extent, that is the situation with markets in developed and sophisticated economies; markets where the brand adheres to all the expectable. In those markets, the brand either keeps to its promise(s) to the last detail or dies. The judgment is instantaneous. Whereas such markets are equipped to check any form of

consumer abuse, same cannot be said of the primitive ones with all their short-comings. Consider this very sad story involving FedEx in Southern California, USA presently streaming (as at Thursday December 22, 2011, about an irresponsible employee. According to the footage captured in a surveillance camera, the FedEx driver was to deliver a customer's parcel, which is a computer monitor. On getting to the address, the guy just carelessly tossed the monitor over the fence. That was awful in any case, but it is worse so because at the time, the recipient was not only at home, the gates to the house were wide open! Can you ever imagine that? Whatever stopped the guy from simply knocking and going in to carefully deliver the parcel, he did the unimaginable. FedEx is spending more than can be imagined to undo the damage this unfortunate development is costing the brand presently. In a market like ours in Nigeria would'nt the driver and the company have been free to go? Where would have been the surveillance camera to pick the driver? Even if the consumer complains, it would have been his/her word against

the driver's. Fed Ex has not only replaced the damaged monitor, its senior vice president Mathew Thoraton just posted an unreserved apology on the net for the driver's misbehavior! But I still recall my experience with NIPOST speed delivery service some time in 1988/89, I sent a parcel from Sokoto to Lagos till date, it is yet to arrive. Within the first week of their failure to deliver the parcel to the destination I made my complaint, wrote letters through Sokoto office to Lagos headquarters, without response. In fact, the most senior officer at the Sokoto office then advised I forgot about the matter because nothing will come out of it. So it turned out. So, the efficiency of any brand is to a large extent dependent upon the extent of the market's development and sophistication. The prevalent situation in the underdeveloped or developing markets is the reason why brands will not keep to their promises, compromise, abuse and cheat consumers without consequence. How else would one describe a situation where sales promo based on raffle draws are never won by anybody and so much lies are told on newspaper pages of winners. Often times you find that names and addresses of publicized “winners” are not given to easy independent verification. Sometimes you see awkward combination of names from places so far away from common imagination, it discourages further questioning. Unfortunately, consumer protection is not popular in this market, so the consumer remains at the mercy of persons ad brands that decides to abuse the system. Bad as the situation is today with the consumers, however, we like to put it before all such brands careless with delivering on their promises that they are gradually burning their candles (from both ends) , with the consumers. Indications are that the population of discerning consumers is growing, and very soon brands will be accountable for their deeds, in this market. When that happens, it will reverberate as the consequence of involuntary DE-MARKETING to all such brands that are presently taking us consumers for granted, such that will not be unto any good. It is bad enough that nobody cares for or about the consumer, irrespective of the horde of nongovernmental organizations signed up for that role and even the government institutions established for same reason. Even when brands flaunt their NSO and NAFDAC numbers, it all amounts to nothing before the consumer. But to all you liar-brands, rest assured you are compromising yourselves for the future, as you continue to abuse consumers for immediate gains. “To all our Muslim Readers, we salute your resolution and commitment to the will of ALLAH and wish you all the best of the season” RAMADAN KAREEM


48

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

We don't falsify results -Sidi Osho Sidi Osho is the pioneer Vice Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti. Before the appointment, the Professor of Agriculture had had over twenty-five years experience in teaching, research, food-processing and development. In a recent encounter with Yetunde Oladeinde, she talked about corruption, awards of so many first class degrees in some private universities, cultism on campus and the challenges of running a private university in Nigeria.

U

NLIKE most other vice-chancellors who are not readily accessible, Professor Sidi Osho interacts freely with her students. She stated: "This is 21st century education and the Vice Chancellor would come to the level of the students and parents. It is not an isolated office at all. That is the only way you can lead aright. You need to give them information first hand and not through a third party. My students call me and they have access to my number. I have a Facebook link and we chat. We talk about the founder, the VC and so many other issues. Sometimes, they get angry and they tell you on Facebook." She goes on to tell you that although there is an age range for admission, which is 18 to 21 years, "but we have a 14-year-old with five-point GPA, they would look small and tiny but they cope, they are very intelligent. Some students are old and they lie about their age. Our goal is to mould them into great minds. Someone who is overgrown has other ideas in their brain and they would corrupt others.� Asked why a lot of first class degrees are awarded to students graduating from some private universities. Osho replies: "Just because you pay does not give you automatic license to adjust the results. We don't falsify results. Let me give you the modus operandi for doing examination. We run a fifteen-week cycle, a structured calendar. In the fifteen weeks you should have 85 to 90 per cent contact power in class, and there is registration for coming to class and taking notes. You do tests and exams, there is continuous assessment and if you don't pass, it is your problem." The students, Osho informs, also assess the lecturer at the end of the semester. "It is based on that questionnaire that we decide whether to continue with the lecturer or discontinue. Some lecturers do not have enough skills and can't impart knowledge, some can't even communicate with the students and parents. You get that information from the assessment and the students don't put their names for victimisation." Asked to comment on why some private universities had their licences withdrawn recently, and she admits that they did not follow due process. "We have what is called the NUC-approved curriculum for programmes. And no course that we run in ABUAD is taken up without a licence. That is the rule. So, if you see any university that is being closed down because of this, then the withdrawal is because they do not consult with NUC and they go ahead to do programmes. Now, when you have the curriculum, you comply." Osho continues: "This is the minimum standard, you can do more and we do more. Our students have to pass through five centres. They must pass through the Language Centre. So they would learn

French and Chinese and then we would enhance Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo. A lot of our students cannot write their mother tongue, neither can they write their names or a sentence. We take that opportunity to brush them up. It is compulsory and then they do a field trip to France or China. They do this throughout the four or five years before they graduate. So they have the opportunity of job seeking because they are trilingual." The need to be prepared for job market, she says, is very important. "Our students must pass through the Entrepreneurial Centre which includes water plant, bakery and cafeteria. We have 151 enterprises that they can embark on. We encourage them to develop their own skills. They belong to business cells, we have two great musicians who run their own night clubs, have their CDs already in the market. We also have drama and a very strong choir. They make bracelets, bangles and they are very innovative. Our goal is that they should be employers of labour, not always working in the system. We know that unemployment rate is high. If we don't train them to have extra skills, they cannot be prepared for the job market." The students, Osho tells you, also have to pass through the Sports Centre and a lot of them have been discovered that are athletic. "In the last two years, we have won the best at the Inter- University games. We came second and third in football and basketball respectively. Right now, we are finishing our swimming pool. To build a healthy body makes you build a good mind. And it takes away the pressure of academics. They have to pass through food security. Every student must have a farm. The founder is a farmer and I am also a farmer. I am a professor of Agriculture and our students grow maize and cassava, sell them and make money. It doesn't matter whether you are studying Law, Engineering or whatever course. When they graduate, they would be able to make up their minds whether they want to pursue an enterprise or career line." Developing leadership qualities, Osho says, is also pertinent and it must begin from the classroom. "Here every student must pass through the Leadership Centre which we call the finishing school. When you have a full education, you can interact properly. Every student that is a graduate of ABUAD must be able to prove that they justify the certificate. Leadership is about integrity, honesty, transparency and being

prepared to work in the world. So you must be attached to an industry or enterprise and they do International internship before they finally travel out. They come out full of ideas and ready to take the world." How would her students studying Medicine cope without a Teaching Hospital. Asked? She replies: "When you have a College of Medicine and you don't have a Teaching Hospital, you have to attach yourself to a Medical Centre. It is not easy to set up a Teaching Hospital. LUTH and UCH are also independent of their universities. They only come together at the provost level. We will get there, and for us to be licensed we need to attach ourselves. So, immediately we started, we were given a benchmark of things to achieve. First is a full laboratory for basic Medical Science. We have the best laboratory in Nigeria. Then you must have an anatomy building, an animal house, which was completed before we got the licence. Once our students do the first eighteen months, they will go to the Federal Medical Centre. Right now, we are putting up student hostels and they will be resident there until they graduate. And before they graduate we have an MoU with Barlow Medical and Texas Medical Centres, both in the United States. They will go there to do another three months," Osho explains. Next, she goes on to confirm that cultism is very real in Nigerian universities. "From research we see that a lot of these students are involved in cultism from secondary school. As vice chancellor for the last two years, I found that a lot of parents do not play their role. Students are neglected, they have independent minds, do what they want and they are not well-managed. For that reason,

they join and make all kinds of friends. You don't even know your child and when they get to the university, daddy and mummy are not there. When they get here, the first problem we have with them is rebellion." So how can the rebellious ones be checked? She reveals: "Here, we have lightsout at ten and there are monitors. You can't get out because there are only two exits. Then you have those who steal money from their parents at home. We have four- and twobedded arrangements here and so they would steal from each other. They can't practice cultism in ABUAD because of the close- knitted structure. We have a patrol on every floor and the rooms are like the typical face-me-I- face-you arrangement.� Osho adds: "We also have a mixture of students within each floor, not a situation where all Engineering students are in a particular room or on a floor. If you have tendencies, then we monitor you closely. There are cameras, human monitors and the SSS in the school would call you. We also have a good Counselling Unit and when we see that you cannot be reshaped you are asked to leave. If you cannot be remolded, your studentship would be terminated. Our Counselling Unit is also very strong. Some student have gone into bad habits because of poor role models." The energetic woman has travelled widely in Africa and all over the world while managing research projects for International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC), United Nations Children Education Fund, (UNICEF), World Bank and UNDP. She is also a member of the Committee on National Food Policy and Food Security in Nigeria.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

New WOMAN with

49

YETUNDE OLADEINDE

molaralife@yahoo.com

Every gambler knows when to run

A

M

Choosing the right friends...they control who you are!

AKING good friends is not always easy. They say you can judge a person by the friends they keep, and it's true on many levels. The obvious meaning is that you can tell a lot about someone by knowing who they keep as friends. However, many life coaches know that the friends you have also shape who you are. You spend a lot of time with your friends, and you look to them for approval and support. So their influence can be large. If you look at your friends, you'll see the major influencers in who you currently are. Developing friendship depends on many factors, including your personality type, upbringing and neighbourhood. The hardest part about making new friends is trying to meet new people. It's normal for this process to be difficult, as you might feel nervous, shy or awkward about approaching people. However, when you start making meaningful and supportive friendships, you'll be glad you made the effort. If you are not sure about the kind of friends you have, here are some questions to help you check if you have chosen well or made a mistake: Do you feel good about yourself with your friends? Friends sometimes have agendas which don't serve you very well. Do you feel disapproved of often? Good friends will tell you what you need to know even when you don't want to hear it, but some friends may have other reasons for showing you their disapproval. If that happens too often, your self-esteem may suffer. Do you feel good about your friends? It's not unusual to spend time with people for reasons like convenience, lack of an alternative, feelings of obligation, habit, and so on. But do you like them? Do you think they are good people? If you had to start again and

traits equally important. For example, you may want a friend who can spend a lot of time with you. You may also prefer to have friends who avoid behaviours you consider negative, such as smoking or drinking.

build a new set of friends, would they make it into the team? Do your friends support your aspirations and help you grow? Are all your mates from your schooldays or from work or from your neighbourhood or social class? Are they all of the same gender or outlook? If so, then they may act in very subtle ways to keep you consistent with their sense of identity. Givers and takers. Does your friend leave you feeling better or worse? Good friendships are all about mutual support and growth, but some friends are big takers they dump their problems on you, tell you what you can't do, play on your fears and keep you where you are. You may want to limit how often you see these friends, and so limit their drain on your own energies. Instead, find friends where the balance is more even; where mutual support and growth is the norm. If you have reviewed your friends' list and find that you need to make new friends or increase your influence, there are some pointers; Step 1 Think about the qualities that are important to you in a good friend. Similarly, reflect on the traits you don't want that person to have. Although most people agree that certain basic qualities are necessary in a good friend, such as loyalty, honesty and dependability, you might find other

Step 2 Develop your interests. Join a sports team or a club. Picking good friends is easier when you have something in common. You don't have to like everything your friends like, but you're more likely to find people you want to spend time with when you share the same interests. Step 3 Improve your self-esteem. You enjoy being around people who feel good about themselves. No one likes to be around people who are negative. You're more likely to attract friends with positive qualities when you focus on your own positive traits. Step 4 Be authentic in your interactions with others. Don't put on a phony act just to impress other people. You'll end up attracting people you don't have anything in common with, and you'll have to work hard to keep the act up all the time. Step 5 Volunteer at an organisation. People who have a commitment to helping others are usually the kind of people you want as friends. According to research, volunteering provides a person with the opportunity to make connections with people who are likeminded, conscientious, empathic and kind-hearted.

Source: Google

LL work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Yes, that reminds us that leisure is a very important part of our lives. It is at this point that we play games and relax. A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for pleasure and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration; and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements. So, it is not supposed to be a do-or-die affair, and that is exactly what a good relationship should be like. But how do you find out if your partner is sincere or not? That could be a tough one but the best way out is to bump in when you are not expected. Here you would discover the personality in their true colour. That was exactly what Nnamdi did a few weeks back. He was supposed to be out of town and his 'Treasure' thought the coast was really clear. For her it was good riddance to bad rubbish! She, therefore, alerted the guy who was 'back-up' in the arrangement, that she was available. Fortunately or is it unfortunately for her, Nnamdi walked in to have a firsthand view and confirm all the stories he had been hearing all along. “I wanted to cry but I realised that she was not worth my tears. She ran after me trying to blame the devil for her actions. I did not utter a word because I knew it was over.� The love game for many is indeed a gamble. You try to make it work but if you can't, then it is better to let go. What would be, would be, no matter how hard you try. When a guy really likes a babe, he would be ready to forsake everything else. At that initial stage they are obviously in fantasy land or island. There is no stopping them until a third party gets them out of the subconscious to reality. Here they are admonished (at different intervals) not to put their love eggs in one basket. Once the drums of uncertainty are beaten, the scramble begins. Gambling for survival, therefore, becomes the order of the day. Is it really working? Should I run for cover? Can we continue like this? Or should I look for something more interesting and attractive? The answers to these questions could make or mar that particular relationship. Most times, it is usually a gamble with the 'To be or not to be ' question hanging in the balance. For the unlucky ones, the gambler may have to run at a certain point. Running may take place almost immediately halfway through the storm or just towards the end of the love game. The latter experience is the saddest because it comes at a point when almost everyone is certain that the lovebirds have crossed the Rubicon. At that point, they would have spent precious time, energy and resources to make this love project work. Now, instead of getting kudos for a job well done, all you get in return for your investments are knocks. Knocks that pierce the heart like poisonous arrows. In order to save yourself from being an emotional wreck, it is better to run away with the 'wretched remains', because you have come to the realisation that you are on the brink. To enjoy a relationship, you must share a number of things in common. In addition, the couple must be ready to make sacrifices, the fifty-fifty love kind of thing. But if she is giving 70 and you are givin a miserly 30 per cent, then it isn't going to work at all. Maureen is actually in a faulty relationship she has had to endure for about 18 months, but now she just can't carry on again. Having been a victim thrice, Maureen decided to stoop to conquer this time around. She used to be vivacious before she met this last guy and after the first three months her self confidence was undermined. She actually became a shadow of her former self because this 'Mr. Right' is a very jealous character and very possessive indeed. No qualms, she thought things would get better gradually, but somehow it didn't. Now, she is ready to tell anyone who cares to listen that she's ready to take the next available flight out of this 'love craft'. Lesson learnt is the fact that you can force a love horse to the river but you cannot force him or her to drink from the river of love. Usually, we fall in love with our fantasies, our needs and expect the person we are dragging along to toe the line sheepishly. Most times, we seek unions that would guarantee the ultimate satisfaction of our vanities, no matter how selfserving they are. Throughout the courtship period, lovebirds scheme to achieve their individual goals and you wonder if they could ever emerge as one. Everyone wants financial and emotional security, but striking a good balance comes when you are ready to give so much for the one you love. Agree? Not everyone would agree with that view. The truth of the matter is that we always look around for partners that can help perpetuate our brand of love. When they resist, then it would be time to abandon this love canoe for a better love boat, one that would accommodate our whims and caprices.


50

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Etcetera

SUNNY SIDE

Cartoons

By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE

deewalebf@yahoo.com 08060343214 (SMS only)

A twenty-first century guide

OH, LIFE!

THE GReggs

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. —Steve Jobs, June 2005 •Continued from last week PARENTS and guardians instinctively protect their wards from risk and discomfort, and encourage safe choices. But there is a significant difference between what is best for you and what is good for you, and some parents don’t get it. Fresh and ambitious doctor, lawyer, architect or accountant you may be, but a fine young man with good character you must strive to be, Junior. And shun the image of a materialistic mimic, young woman. Society is changing. More women attend higher institutions. More degrees are awarded to women. Women outlive men. Women are happier. More men commit suicide. Men are more likely to be victims of violence. Homeless men are more common on the streets. Real wages for men are falling. Increasingly, girls outperform boys in school. Real wages for women are rising. The sooner the transformation is realised, the better for peace, progress and understanding for all. Man or woman, in turn will you be a friend, employee, parent, and mentor. Guide the young people that come after you. Recognise that you have the potential to be the most powerful force in society. But only in your job will you be clearly rated and rewarded for your performance. You owe your boss loyalty, as you do other competing influences in your life. For instance, leaving a task undone at work so as to attend to family or friends may be interpreted as ‘dodging’ duty, just as cancelling a date with loved ones to finish work might mean ‘avoiding’ the people that matter in your life. You will need to find a balance all the time. Remember that you live a limited life. Nothing, least of all tomorrow, should be taken for granted. Would you regret spending your life the way you do or are about to if you were to expire next week or next year? Better still, would you be happy with your lifestyle if you outlive the next decade or two? In the end, mind that you don’t overdo the greatness stuff; only follow your passion with strong commitment. Being another Ghandi, Mandela, Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great requires luck and other circumstances beyond your control. The less you think about it, the more likely greatness would ensue. And if it doesn’t, there is nothing wrong with being stable and dependable. Now, you are under no obligation to follow this guide to the letter. Grasp what you will and move on. Good luck! •Concluded

Puns to elevate

CHEEK BY JOWL

•Two peanuts asked for service in a bar. One was salted, the other roasted. •Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie. •A horse walks into a bar. The barman says, "So, why the long face?" •A dog gave birth to puppies near the road. It was arrested by the police for littering. •Think; a chicken crossing the road should be ‘poultry in motion’. •A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was doing, a nurse said, 'No change yet.' •A teacher confiscated a rubber band pistol from algebra class. She said it was a ‘weapon of math disruption’. •Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One bored hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'

QUOTES

•Men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. How many of them will own up to a lack of humour? — Frank Moore Colby •Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at. —Anon

Jokes Humour New Cashier THE bank manager was in the final stages of hiring a cashier and was down to the final two applicants. The first one he interviewed was from a small institution in New York. He was a nice young man, but a bit timid. The second applicant, Jim Johnson, was a burly young man who seemed quite sure of himself. “He looks like he can take care of any situation,” thought the manager, and decided on the spot to hire him. He told the first applicant that he could go and that they would let him know. Turning to Johnson, he said, “Jim, I like the way you carry yourself. That’s an important asset for the job of cashier. However, you must be precise. I notice you didn’t fill out the part on the application where we asked for your formal education.” Jim looked a little confused, so the manager said, “Where did you get your financial education?” “Oh,” replied Jim. “Yale.” “That’s excellent!” said the manager, overjoyed that applicant attended the prestigious Yale University. “You’re hired!”

“Now that you’re working for us, what do you prefer to be called?” asked the boss. “I don’t care,” replied the new cashier. “Yim, or Mr. Yohnson.” Stunned Hubby A FOOTBALL-MAD man overwhelmed by the revelation by a psychic that his pregnant wife would be delivered of triplets decided to take her for a scan at the hospital once the pregnancy was sufficiently advanced. His worries eased when the result showed a single baby, however. He still had his doubts, being a devout man, so when his wife was admitted for delivery at the hospital, he became quite jittery. On the day of delivery, he had a crucial meeting to attend in another state and anxiously put a call through to the hospital once he was free. “What is the condition now?” he asked the voice at the other end. He fainted when he heard the answer as he had, in error, dialed his beloved football stadium. The answer? “It’s 3-0 …” •Culled from the Internet

R

ULES for Writer ’s Fountain writing mystery: The crime should be may please you to bestow on them. Avoid reliance on divine revelation, feminine intuition, believable. While the details of the murder – how, where, mumbo jumbo, jiggery, pokery, or coincidence. and why it’s done, as well as how the crime is The culprit must be capable of committing the discovered – are your main opportunities to crime. introduce variety, make sure the crime is Your reader must believe your villain’s plausible. Your reader will feel cheated if the motivation and the villain must be capable of crime is not something that could really the crime, physically and emotionally. Don’t try to fool your reader. happen. The detective should solve the case using only Again, it takes the fun out. Don’t use improbable disguises, twins, accidental solutions, or rational and scientific methods. Your detectives should truly detect crimes supernatural solutions. The detective should not presented to them using those wits which it commit the crime. All clues should be revealed to the reader as the detective finds them. Do your research. Random points: •The puma and the leopard are the highest Readers have to feel you know what you’re jumping mammals. They are able to reach a talking about. You may develop a good relationship with the police in your area, and height of 16.5 feet. •Each nostril of a human being registers smell possibly spend time with the police forensic in a different way. Smells that are made from team. Get all essential details right. Mystery the right nostril are more pleasant than the readers will have read a lot of books like yours; left. However, smells can be detected more regard them as a savvy bunch. Wait as long as possible to reveal the culprit. accurately when made by the left nostril. •The most recycled product in the world is They’re reading to find out, or figure out, whodunit. If you answer this too early in the the motor vehicle. •On average, a person passes gas 14 times a book, the reader will have no reason to continue reading. day.


THE ARTS

51

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Talent is important, but hard work is better - Helon Habila

T

ELL us a little about yourself and how you got to the level you are now. My name is Helon Habila. I just came for the Fidelity Workshop which I’ve been teaching every June/July (Summer) for the past three years. It has been running for the past five years but I started three years ago. And this is the first time we’re doing it in Lagos. I really fought to have it brought to Lagos. Last year, we did it in Nsukka; the year before, we did it in Abuja. So, this is the first time it’s happening in Lagos. And I’m glad we did because Lagos is very inspiring. This is where I wrote my first novel, ‘Waiting for an Angel.’ This is where I got my first break as a writer. And I think even the participants really enjoyed it more because it’s more accessible to reporters, television, and publicity. So, it gave the whole thing a different kind of dimension. It made it more interesting. And it’s quite central. A lot of the participants didn’t have to travel like we had in Nsukka. Let’s talk about literature. From what you have seen since you came back, what do you think is the responsibility of the writer in a situation like ours when you have so many socio-political issues? First of all, I must say that I’m quite impressed with the output that I have seen. I have been here for just two weeks and I already have been given novels. I’ve seen Richard Ali’s novel. I’ve seen Eghosa Imasuen’s novel. So many novels are already out. So, there’s so much dynamism. Unfortunately, I haven’t read them yet. But I think the concern of a writer in our kind of economy, our kind of society, is always going to be the same for a long time to come. It’s going to be the same from what it was with people like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, to the second generation, to us. And I think there is an emerging fourth generation already. The issues are not going to be that much different. We’re always going to be struggling with the socio-political issues. We’re always going to be conscious of what’s happening all around us because before you can have a change in the template, in the whole paradigm, the whole system has to change. And it hasn’t happened. We still have the same lack of satisfaction with the youth – young people are finishing university without any hope of getting a good job that they deserve. They went to school, they studied, but they can’t get a job. These are things I think that will continue to haunt our literature. I’d say the duty of the writer, first of all, is to write a story the best way he can but what kind of story is he going to write? I don’t want to be prescriptive. I don’t think that writers should be prescribed on what to write, but from my own experience, saying this is what I see writers writing about. I think it’s going to take a long time, especially those who are based here because they’re engulfed by this

Helon Habila, winner of both Caine and Commonwealth prizes in literature 2000 and 2003 respectively, has written three world acclaimed novels, namely, Waiting for An Angel, Measuring Time and Oil on Water. In this interview with Edozie Udeze and Joe Agbro Jr. he talks about his writing career and how he has fared in the world of literature and more pressure just like when I was writing my first novel. You have been interacting with many writers outside these shores. You have read a lot, you are now an associate professor of creative writing. Do you think Nigerian writers are meeting the standard in terms of grammar and theme? I think they are doing that. I

• Habila.

think Nigerian writers are really doing quite well. Not only locally, but internationally. I don’t have to tell you. You’re a man of letters yourself. You’ve been following the reviews, the trends, and they’re not just writing; they’re winning prizes. And they’re getting good reviews in the best papers. There are writers who would write books and

PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

won’t get a single review. So, for a review to appear in The Guardian (UK) and The New York Times, you must know what it means. I think Nigerians are getting a lot of attention, not just because they’re Nigerians but because they are doing well; they’re good writers, and they’re winning the prizes. What do you think informs or shapes an author’s style? So many things - his dedication, his reading, his background and his interest. But, mostly, literature is a kind of contemptuous thing.... Seventy percent of what you write is informed by what you read. So, there’s a lot of literature feeding off literature. But, then, I would mention the socio-political issues, especially in countries where things don’t work very well. There’s that existential dimensional to write. People just write about day-to-day struggle, about existence. That is what we see informing writers. You made the transition from being a writer to now teaching writing. What does it take to do that? How has it been like for you? I think the best thing that has happened to me is to teach creative writing. In a way, I think I’m learning because with writing, you are really learning all the time. I keep telling my students that I learn more from them than they learn from me. They think I’m joking, but it’s the truth. You don’t just read books now, but you read them to teach them. So, you have to analyse every line. You have to appreciate, discuss, and argue with the students about everything in the book. And you have to read everything that’s been written about the book before you can teach it. So, it really helps to make me see writing in a different way, not just as a writer but as a teacher of writing, and also the theme from the students’ perspectives as they grapple with it. And to work with students is quite inspirational. You see these students, they come and you try to tell them how important it is to write, to revise, to review, and to have a good work ethic. And you see these students come in, not very good first year, second year, you’re still with them. Then, by third year, you see the students blossom and really write. There’s something really inspiring about that. And it kind of confirms your own belief that anybody can be a writer if he really puts his mind to it. And it’s all about hard work. It’s just like any other profession. Talent is important, but hard work is really more important and you learn that and you remind yourself of that too You mentioned how hard work is more important about being a writer. Now, what’s your view on when a writer puts in a lot of work and reviewers and critics tear it

apart? They are not God. I review myself. So, I know they all have their own angles from which they are approaching the book. So, I read the bad reviews and the good reviews and I try to take something from it unless the reviewer is a total idiot and you know their history and you don’t really see anything to learn from them. But, if I know a reviewer and I respect him and I’m seeing his works, I read his reviews very well just to learn something. But, let’s not forget that it’s not a measure of how good your book is. Even if it doesn’t win prizes, if it’s a good book, it will still come up one day. People like the author who wrote ‘Moby Dick’ died penniless, but look at his book, ‘Moby Dick’ now, it’s seen as a great American novel. It was so bad that his name was even misspelt on his tombstone. So, life is short but art is long. Art is going to be forever if it’s good. I take consolation in that. But, I think I’ve been lucky. Most of the reviews have been good to me. As a teacher of creative writing, what are the essentials of a good book? A good book! Hmmm... There are so many things. You have to understand the character of writing, I think. You have to read a lot on the things that have been written on it – not just novels. You have to understand how characters work. We call the arts the humanities because they are about human beings. So, I always tell my students that the characters in a novel are the most important things. If you understand human beings, what it takes to make them happy, sad, I think you can write an interesting story. Make your characters convincing and everything else will follow. Capture their mannerisms and speeches, capture their complexities. You have to understand the language though and how to bring everything alive. Let’s look at authors and how they live. In advanced countries, authors live off their works. I don’t know if that really happens now. But, down here, if you don’t combine writing with doing other things... I must correct you on that. Not in even advanced countries do writers live on their work. They don’t. Well, it’s only like 4% of them that live on their works. But most writers that I know have 9 to 5 jobs. Most of them teach creative writing just like I do. Most of them are published authors teaching poetry at the university. They are some of them who write poetry who don’t even sell more than a thousand copies – the whole print run. But they’re writers, so they work at any Continued on page 52


52

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Arts/Reviews

Book

Law and policing

I

NADEQUATE publications on the police profession have inspired the Commissioner of Police, Osun State Police Command, Kalafite Adeyemi, and her husband, Dr Nath. Adeyemi, to write a book titled “Justice Through The Law: A police investigation perspective”. The 174-page book is, indeed, a product of two brilliant authors whose respective professions enrich its content to make it a must-read for the rank and file of the Police Force as well as civilians, including scholars on police studies. Investigation is a subject among other reasons Nigerian public are resentful of police work. To the public, Nigeria Police are bereft of the required capability to conduct a comprehensive investigation leading to the resolution of high profile crimes, especially those involving prominent figures in politics, business and media. Realisation of this perhaps is one of what informed the authors’ strong emphasis on the subject in 63 pages as the book illuminates the fact that mere identification of a suspect and his eventual arrest and detention is the beginning of a matter. This is a contrast to the public belief which turns them against the police in the event the suspect is left off the hook having been vindicated in the course of investigation. It is worthy of note that many prosecutors have faced embarrassment in the court for lacking adequate knowledge of the courts requirement, in terms of strict adherence to the rule of evidence. The book is divided into five chapters: (1) Information and Police work (2) Law and Society (3) Police

On Tuesday, the MUSON Centre, Lagos, will play host to prominent Nigerians for the public presentation of Mobolade Omonijo’s The Nigerian Political Turf: Polity, Politics and Politicians. Olukorede Yishau reviews the book

T Tunde Busari

Investigation (4) The Police and Evidence and (5) The People vs O.J. Simpson. Interestingly, all the topics are treated with much clarity with a view to achieving maximum comprehension and to justifying the purpose for which it is written. And if this book is available to all serving officers and rank and file, and it is exhaustively read and digested, it would have broken a new grounds on how investigation should be conducted. So it is advised that the book is given a wide circulation it deserves to enable its target readers have it, read it and keep it in their shelves to serve as reference material to solve investigation problem. The foreward, written by a former Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, offers an inspiring summary and, indeed, an apetizer to readers of good literature at home and abroad.

Creativity is hard work Continued from page 51 kind of jobs they can just to sponsor their writing. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s about the money. It’s not about the fame. It’s about just having that passion and believing that you have something to contribute and this is what God gave you to contribute and you do it very well. And if you’re really good, you’ll stand out. How do you perceive publishing in Nigeria and trends like eBook publishing in the country? I think it’s a big opportunity. You know I self-published ‘Waiting for an Angel’ as ‘Prison Stories’ here in Lagos before I won the Caine prize. You had to write it, read it, and edit it yourself. There’s nobody who will do it for you. There were no editors. There was nothing like e-publishing. We didn’t have that. Even having email accounts was a big thing in 1999 and 2000. But, people now can just send their stories to anywhere in the world. And they can communicate and exchange ideas with critics online on all sorts of forums. I tell younger writers to take advantage of this. We didn’t have half of this. You could even write to an author who will reply you. So, I think they (young Nigerian writers) are doing well. But, it’s not only in Nigeria, it’s all over Africa, but here in Nigeria, there’s this boom on e-publishing and I think it’s going to get bigger because we are a country of 167 million people. Imagine selling a 100, 000 copies of your book. That’s a bestseller anywhere in the world. The publishers can really think outside the box in terms of distribution. They can really do a lot. I’ve seen a new publisher, Parressia, there’s Cassava

What manner of polity, politics and politicians?

• Habila.

PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

Republic, and of course there’s Farafina. There are others out there. I think they just need to work on distribution. You can’t just print book, you need to find a way of actually selling the books and that’s where the money is. And I think that’s the next thing they will do. As a writer, what’s the toughest part of what you do? The toughest part of what I do is to sit down and write... It’s what I do. I enjoy doing it, but it’s hard work. It’s really hard work. That’s why not many people are writers because it’s not easy to just sit down and block out everything and have that focus and write. At the first draft, you’re almost despairing but by the time you sit down and after the first sentence, second sentence, it’s gone. The rest of it is just gritty hard work - just like going to the farm.

HE viewpoints tickle, tease, thrill, puzzle and, at times, pamper. The lines drill with humour, sarcasm, anger and disapproval of sordid happenings in a polity so turbulent that many an Andrew has checked out. They read like lines written by a keen observer who is mostly unapologetic. He does not spare the rod and spoil the child. Imageries also emerge. One that clearly stands out is that of the average Nigerian politician, who comes out as an unconscionable, greedy, corrupt leech who feeds fat on the people. There is also the other side identified as the progressive politician, who regularly makes sacrifices to ensure the people get their dues. These and more are what you will encounter in Mobolade Omonijo’s The Nigerian Political Turf: Polity, Politics and Politicians, which is a fitting chronicle of the country’s the good, the bad and the ugly. This book of essays, analyses and ‘tit bits’ traces Nigeria for about a decade. In that era, there was an Olusegun Obasanjo as President, there was the late Umaru Yar’Adua, who was too sick to lead and there is Goodluck Jonathan, who inherited Yar’Adua’s seat and has made history as the first minority to rule Nigeria. What he is doing with power is another matter which though ongoing has generous space in Omonijo’s lucid prose. At the state level, there were also interesting characters such as the Ogidigboigboi James Ibori, the Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and many others. Omonijo did justice to this era through his columns in the Vanguard and The Nation, which have now become this new book due for public presentation on Tuesday at the MUSON Centre, Lagos. A major point in the book centres on the National Political Reforms Conference, which Omonijo covered and reported, analysed and put into perspectives like no other. He did not just report the conference. He mingled with the delegates, deciphered their mindset and followed the behind-thescene moves that formed the decisions at the conference. Through Omonijo’s writings, the public was able to know whois-who at the conference and their agenda. He also pointed out his fears about the conference ending up a waste of public fund because of the government of the day’s lack of political will to implement decisions taken there. The author shows that in such a setting, interests were juggled and called attention to the strength of institutions of state, which ought to bear the burden of supporting the national structure. The book reminds us of the shameful role played by the state

under the Obasanjo presidency in the impeachment rigmarole in Oyo, Ekiti, Bayelsa, Anambra and P l a t e a u States. The author says “every leader would gladly or inadvertently slip into dictatorship of varying degrees, if allowed. That the Obasanjo government has decided to bare fangs at this point is a reflection that the people are not sufficiently vigilant. Activists have generally gone to sleep since civilians took over the reins of government. “As this lion roars and terrorises the environment, the only way to free the people is to have a counterpoise, groups that can stand up to the government… The only way out is for the people to get organised to oppose strange policies and anti-democratic practices.” The book brings to life such real life but dramatic events such as the Ngige versus Federal Government debacle, the crisis which did in the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the unresolved murder of the late Chief Bola Ige, the many battles the Labour movement had to do with the Obasanjo administration over incessant fuel price increment, the botched Third Term agenda and the battle Bola Tinubu had to do to retain his seat for a second term after Hurricane Obasanjo swept away his colleagues such as Aremo Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Lam Adesina, Niyi Adebayo and the late Adebayo Adefarati. In free-flowing prose, this columnist helped the public understand the issues of that era and took a position which portrays him as a man of the people. Omonijo writes with decency, comments with fairness and takes stance that he is convinced about. The over 300-page book drips with a feeling of conviction about each issue he discussed. Omonijo’s emotions show when he wrote about matters which bother on assassination such as the murder of Ige. Also, his humanity shows when he decides to praise people he has found worthy. For him, it does not always have to be about lamentations alone, despite the fact that largely ours is a land in which evil has become a cancer spreading beyond its base. The article, Nigerian Politics: Gathering cloud and silver lining on page 40 sets out the views of the author on politics and the polity. He said: “Politics everywhere is about power, its acquisition and use. Only the lion-hearted dare venture into the arena. But, in developed countries, the risks

have been minimised because of the set of laws, traditions and ethos that all participants are made to respect. “While a few step out of line, when caught, whatever the level at which they were playing, they are made to pay the prescribed price. Such was the experience of Richard Nixon in the United States of America… “In Nigeria, the law has failed. Those in power could do whatever they want to those opposed to them and, rather than offer protection to the weak, the instrument of law is deployed to support the strong. Power is not to elevate standards, but an instrument for primitive accumulation of wealth and suppression of the weak.” He concluded that “politics should be more of service to the people, not sheer display of power.” On Pages 250 and 251, he recommends that the concept of Peoples Power be brought to play to force leaders to accord respect to the led and enthrone the Rule of Law. He cites the example of how the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) regained the Southwest states of Ekiti and Osun to buttress his position on Peoples Power. Omonijo was at his sarcastic and witty best when he wrote on the National Honour. In his review of those to whom the Federal Government conferred the national honours in 2004, he volunteered his own list of men who ought to be considered. His list: Fred Ajudua, Arthur Nzeribe, Godwin Daboh, now late,Wada Nas, now late, Justices Egbo Egbo and Stanley Nnaji, Lamidi Adedibu, now late, Emeka Offor, Chris Uba, Iyiola Omisore and Salisu Buhari. If what you crave are facts, this book has them; if you love humour, it has plenty of it; and if your favourite is prose laced with some poetry, this book flaunts it. Omonijo’s book, which is being released to mark his 25th anniversary as a journalist, is a collection of treasures, which should be held dear. It sure will serve as a good reference material for researchers into the era it covers, especially the Obasanjo presidency and the drama which characterised the Yar’Adua tenancy at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.


53

THE NATION ON SUNDAYAUGUST 5, 2012

Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji

Shoddy implementation of the electric power sector reform A

GAINST the backdrop of persistent By John Maku epileptic power supply in the country o v e r t h e y e a r s , t h e f e d e r a l access rights, consumer protection and government in 2005 enacted the Electric licensee performance standards, competition Power Sector Reform Act, as a giant stride and market power, power consumer towards mitigating the enormous challenges a s s i s t a n c e f u n d , o f f e n c e s , of poor electricity supply to the economy. inspectors/inspection, etc. Section 95(2) The thrust of this Act was to unbundle the states that: “The inspectors shall, in addition erstwhile National Electric Power Authority to any other functions that may be assigned to (NEPA) into holding distribution and them by the Commission, be responsible for generation companies and, subsequently inspecting undertakings to ensure the safety fully privatise the power sector. Since the of operations and to investigate accidents”. enactment of this Act, effort at ensuring that it The implication of this being that the achieved its mandate has been punctuated by functions of the defunct Electricity either bureaucratic red-tape or deliberate act Inspectorate Services (E.I.S) Department of of sabotage by some groups in both the public the Federal Ministry of Power was and private sectors who see privatization as a automatically transferred to NERC by the monster that must be done away with. instrumentality of section (95)(2) of EPSRA Without any fear of contradiction, kudos since 2005, when this Act came into effect. must be given to the administration of It is on this score that it becomes rather President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for taking the bull by the horn once again, to ensure transformation and full privatization of the power sector. Now that all policy documents for this exercise: the legal framework, the road map, the electric power policy, etc., have been made handy, and the federal government has reached a cruising level in it's strive to fully privatise the power sector, any haphazard implementation of the enabling act could stall all well intended efforts of government at achieving a direct shot at the bull's eye. The Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 established the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and armed it with the responsibility to regulate the activities of the key players in the emerging privatised electricity market. The regulatory function of NERC encompasses licenses and tariffs, acquisition of land and •Transformer

incredible that despite this obvious provision in the enabling act, a department in the Federal Ministry of Power is still flaunting itself as though it were oblivious of the fact that the Electricity Inspectorate Service function of the Federal Ministry of Power has ceased to exist, and any act carried out by such a department on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Power from the date the act came into being, must of necessity, be declared a nullity and of no effect whatsoever. As a follow up to this, Section 99 of the ESPR Act, 2005, also states as follows: The Electricity Act and the National Electric Power Authority Act as amended are hereby repealed. Further more, Part XIII (Interpretation and Citation), especially, section 100 states, “in this Act: …”Electricity Act” means, the Electricity Act Cap. 106 LFN 1990 as amended. It is simple and clear that by this analysis the EPSRA 2005 repealed the Electricity Act Cap. 106 LFN 1990, which created the defunct Electricity Inspectorate Service Department of the Federal Ministry of Power. One of the problems with public administration in Nigeria has to do with wrong allocation and definition of functions. The basic functions of ministries are the development and formulation of policies, while relevant agencies and parastatals are established to ensure effective and efficient implementation of government policies. Thus, the Ministry of Power should occupy itself with the formulation of policies that will ensure enabling environment for the generation, transmission and distribution of stable electricity in Nigeria.

From all indications, it is evident that the federal government through the enormous investment it has made in the power sector has demonstrated sufficient courage and political will to succeed where others have failed. It is therefore imperative to opine that since this government has learned to do things differently to ensure stable power to transform the economy for good, any attempt to stall this process by going back to the old and obsolete manner of doing things must be resisted. The Federal Ministry of Power cannot abdicate its responsibilities of policy formulation to descend to the arena of regulation or at best inspectorate services when it was not privy to the contract and transactions between NERC and players in the emerging deregulated market in the power sector. On the other hand, another creation of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005, is the National Rural Electrification Agency. Section 88(9) of EPSRA 2005 gave the agency the mandate to: expand the main grid, develop isolated and mini-grid systems and renewable energy power generation. Similarly, section 88(11) also empowers the agency to set up and administer a fund under the name “Rural Electrification Fund”, for the purpose of promoting, supporting and providing rural electrification through public and private sector participation, as well as, the coordination and standardization of national rural electrification programmes. The implementation of National Rural Electrification Programme will bring significant and widespread development benefits to Nigeria. The expansion of access to electricity in rural areas of the country is a necessary pre-requisite for increased agricultural productivity, job creation, income generation, and general economic development. Business and residential customers that rely on expensive private generators for electric service during typical “brownouts” or on low energy value/high cost traditional energy sources, such as kerosene, will see significant cost saving with reliable grid and off-grid based power available for rural consumption at reasonably low tariff. It is already obvious that even the implementation of the reform in the power sector has suffered some set backs because of deliberate acts of some Nigerians who have benefitted from the epileptic status of the sector to frustrate every effort of government to sanitize it through privatization. In the same breathe, some people in the officialdom also believe that the establishment of the Rural Electrification Agency by the government is tantamount to encroachment into their chiefdom; but the fact that a blind man says that he does not feel the heat of the sun does not mean that the sun does not exist. In other climes the world over, rural electrification has attracted the attention of serious minded governments in their efforts to ensure reduction in poverty rate, high incidence of crime rate, rural-urban migration, etc, through the use of rural electrification to create a stable rural economy. The establishment of the Rural Electrification Agency by countries such as United States of America (USA), India, Brazil, Uganda, Tanzania, etc, has gone a long way to making the rural electricity subsector very attractive to investors through incentives such as capital subsidies aimed at achieving low tariff for the rural people and the urban poor, especially in the emerging privatised electricity market. There is no gain saying the fact that, if the federal government must succeed in transforming the power sector and consequently attract both local and foreign investments and their subsequent multiplier effects, then the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005, and the robust roadmap to sustainable electricity in the country, must be implemented to the letter; otherwise this laudable policy will end up like other well articulated, developed, formulated but failed federal government policies.

Maku is of the Dept of Public Administration, OAU, Ile Ife, Osun State


54

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Miscellany

Cross River woos America, turns on the charm in Maryland Liyel Imoke, the governor of Cross River State, recently visited the state of Maryland in the United States of America to meet investors and market the potential of the state.

Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke (M), and State of Maryland Secretary of State, Mr. John McDonough (L), signing a friendship agreement between the two states, with Mrs. Imoke (R) and officials from both states at the State House Caucus Room, Annapolis, Maryland, USA

I

N the past 10 years, Cross River State has increasingly become synonymous with vision. It takes only the power of vision to lift a largely agrarian state to the most popular tourism destination in black Africa. Perhaps it could be argued, and rightly so, that Governor Liyel Imoke and his predecessor have some things in common with the renowned American legal scholar, Stephen S. Wise. It was Wise who once observed that “Vision looks inwards and becomes duty. Vision looks outwards and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upwards and becomes faith.” Governor Imoke was obviously looking upwards and turning his vision into an article of faith when he sealed a friendship pact with the state of Maryland, United States of America, penultimate week. Perhaps it had become obvious to Imoke that to ensure that Calabar retains its present top of mind awareness among tourists in and around Africa, the state would have to do a new thing, to ensure that vision moves from a mere aspiration to faith. And that was what happened when the governor and his team signed a formal agreement with Maryland, America's 15th largest economy at Annapolis, the capital of Maryland. The agreement signing was done after one week of suave presentations and demonstrable competence by the governor's team, made up of the Commissioners of Education, Health, Investment Promotion and ICT. Meeting of like minds The week started with a meeting between Imoke, his delegation and Christian Johanson, the Secretary of Maryland Economic and Business Development Department; the state's Economic Development Agency. Addressing the Cross River State team, Secretary Johanson expressed delight at the opportunity to deepen ties with Cross River and Nigeria. The team was warmly received by Johanson who enthused that Maryland was home to the highest concentration of Nigerians in the United States and that commerce naturally followed such ties. He expressed hope that the special ties being forged between Maryland and Cross River would give rise to commercial activities between the two states. Harping on the common ties existing between both states, Johanson disclosed that since 2005, the state of Maryland had increased its export to Nigeria. Maryland is the centre of research in the United States, it plays host to 13 tertiary institutions and a lot of health, research, ICT

and military installations owing to its proximity to Washington DC. Its annual budget is over $300b. Jonhanson was of the view that as the world keeps shrinking, “the spoils can only be enjoyed by those who engage.” In his response, Governor Imoke said he was pleased “by the progress made in solidifying the partnership”. He described Maryland as an ideal state for Cross River to partner with, given its huge NigerianAmerican community. While highlighting similarities that exist between the two states, Imoke said the collaboration will help Cross River improve on its tourism and agricultural drive as well as enhance his administration's service delivery to the people of Cross River State. Maryland and Cross River have a lot of similarities in their thrust into agriculture, education and tourism. The Governor said Maryland typifies what Cross River would like to be, adding that the partnership, which he expects to be mutually beneficial, offers tremendous opportunities that would enhance the Cross River State economy. As a sign of things to come, the Cross River State team was immediately after the meeting with Secretary Johanson, provided an opportunity to show the state to some would-be investors. A state of beauty But before then, the Americans were treated to a piece of magic when they were given a glimpse of what Cross River has to offer in terms of natural beauty, tourism initiatives and business opportunities. After watching the five-minute video tagged Africa Undiscovered, Secretary Johanson and his team could not contain their excitement. Enthused by what they had just seen, the man whose business it is to drive investments in Maryland promised to visit Calabar as soon as possible. From the World Trade Centre that houses the Department of Business and Economic Development, Imoke took his team to the Black Historical University in Bowei. His mission was to seek assistance in drawing up a curriculum that would put the Cross River State child academically at par with his or her peers anywhere in the world. Expressing hope that the partnership would deliver the result, Imoke identified the people as the key to development. According to him, “What we have learnt from you is that plenty of attention must be given to education. For us to compete in the

global economy, we need to key in. It is one thing to have an education; it is another thing to apply it. “We see a need to key into technology. We are establishing a new polytechnic. So we need partnership to improve on the quality of our education. The new polytechnic will focus on education that will enhance the development of the person and society. “Our strategy is to have 90% of the graduates of the institution get employment as soon as they graduate. So, this partnership offers us the opportunity to introduce technology into our curriculum.” For Imoke, Bowei University, which also undertakes research for several American Health Institutions, can also help Cross River improve on its healthcare delivery to the people. While informing his host that his administration is in the process of building a 100-bed international hospital, he identified healthcare as critical and fundamental to his development plan for the state. He was of the view that the only way to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is by providing access to affordable and qualitative healthcare. In his own remarks, the Cross River State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Offiong E. Offiong informed their hosts that the Imoke administration has introduced e-learning or digital education right from the primary school level to tertiary school level.

Disclosing the ambition of the state to become the hub of education in the West African Sub-region, Offiong asked the University for a Staff Exchange Programme. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Angela Oyo-Ita also reeled out the achievements of the Imoke-led administration in the health sector. She however, identified data collation and management as a challenge, and called for assistance in that area. Responding, the Dean of the Graduate School of the university, who incidentally is a Nigerian, Prof. Cosmos Nwaokafor expressed excitement at the opportunity offered by the partnership. On the various requests by the Cross River State team, Professor Nwaokafor said: “We will sit over your request and get back to you”. Mutual benefits He revealed the willingness of the university to offer admission to Cross River State students, saying a “degree from this institution” will help in the state's drive for manpower development. From Bowei University, the next point of call for the delegation was the Prince George's Country Secretariat. Receiving the team, Prince George's Country Executive, Rushern Bakar III, expressed happiness over the relationship and said he was looking forward to a journey to Cross River. For Imoke, the country is one key partner that has a lot to offer Cross River, especially given the number of Nigerians resident in the country. “What is important is change. We have to key into best practices. We see a lot of similarities between us and we think we can benefit mutually.” The best of Nigeria The following day Imoke and his team were treated to a gala night by the Cross River State Community based in the United States. Held at the Bethesda Marriot, the colourful evening recorded an impressive presence of dignitaries including Nigeria's Ambassador to the US, Tony Adefuye. Multiple-award winning writer, Ngozi ChimamandaAdichie, her hubby, and parents were among hundreds of Nigerians, who came out to honour Imoke and his team. The Black Chamber of Commerce was also represented. Imoke, as usual, used the event to market the Cross River State brand. He listed the achievements of his administration but most importantly, urged Cross Riverians resident in God's own country to invest their resources, talent and experience in the cause of developing the people's paradise. In the course of the evening, the state of Maryland made a proclamation in honour of Imoke. The following day the governor and his team had fruitful discussions with the top management team of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington DC. IFC is currently partnering Cross River to build the 100-bed American International Hospital in Calabar. The American odyssey ended with a reception for the governor by the Efik community.

Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke (R), and State of Maryland Secretary of State, Mr. John McDonough, exchanging gifts after signing a friendship agreement between the two states at the State House Caucus Room, Annapolis, Maryland, USA


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

55

Day I challenged my boss at the Customs —PAGE 56

Ijebu Igbo has been without a traditional ruler for 18 years. The throne of Orimolusi has been embroiled in intrigues and has thus remained vacant. Taiwo Abiodun last week visited the town and reports

Ijebu Igbo: Two decades without a monarch

•Palace overgrown with weeds

I

N the last 18years, since the death of Oba Adetayo Ikupakode Orimolusi, the ancient town of Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, has been without a monarch. The selection of a successor after the death of Oba Ikupakode led to serious divisions in the town. It tore the quiet town into half and divided the citizens so much that they were unable to speak with one voice, at least as far as the monarchy issue was concerned. However, this cycle seems to have come to an end as the Court of Appeal in Ibadan has on June 14 ruled that Saliu Adebisi Sadiku should ascend the throne of his forefathers and become the spiritual and community leader of town. This has thrown the town into a festive mood. The past is another day In the last 18 years the people have lived in mutual suspicion and mistrust due to the rivalry among the contestants to the throne of Orimolusi. The level of mistrust and animosity is so palpable that the issue of the monarchy is discussed in hushed tones behind closed doors. Feelings of gloom and mixed feelings enveloped the town. Many of the elders and chiefs refused to speak to the press for fear of reprisals. Due to this fear and mixed feelings, the hitherto magnificent palace was abandoned and it has now become eye sore. The big palace which was once the envy of other neigbouring towns has been abandoned and deserted; it is today a home for wild plants! Trees have sprouted from its walls! The palace that once played hosts to the high and mighty of society, both from home and abroad, has almost turned to an animal pen where all sundry animals go to sleep at night. The once beautiful and massive gate has fallen apart, thus every being has free access to its once hallowed chambers. A young man who spoke to our cor-

PHOTOS: TAIWO ABIODUN

respondent pleading anonymity said, “Imagine, the palace has become a meeting point for the okada riders. All sorts of people now organise party and entertain guests there and as if that is not enough, goats have turned the place to their abode since there is no gate and any form of security. It is a shame, just because of the tussle over who is the right person to be enthroned.’’ Many regretted that the town has suffered untold hardship because of the protracted tussle and that this has led to the collapse of facilities and infrastructure and affected its economic development. In fact, in the course of the crisis many lives have been lost and properties destroyed. Brothers have grown suspicious of brothers and hitherto tight knit families have fallen apart. Counting the losses “We suffered a lot of setbacks” said Pa Suara Okunneye [84], the Balogun Musulumi of Ijebu –Igbo. According to him, “During the period of interregnum the vacant position of Oba caused Ijebu Igbo not to take its place in the scheme of things. We have been struggling, grappling with things and not allowed to take our share or benefits from the government. We are a town bordered by Ondo, Osun, and Oyo town, which all have their Obas and were able to interact with governments of those states. But in our own case we have been losing a lot, especially the benefits from our forests.” He alleged that Oyo and Osun States have been encroaching seriously on their lands, forest reserves, and mineral resources and that without a paramount ruler it has been impossible to stop these acts. He added, “There’s supposed to be a bridge on the Osun river at Ako road, if the bridge had been constructed it would have reduced the distance between us and Odigbo. Now we have to go through Ijebu –Ode to Ore before we branch back •Continued on Page 57

• Okunneye


56

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Life

Day I challenged my boss at the Customs For 35 years, Taiwo Adiatu Paschaline Gbadamosi worked with the Nigerian Customs Service. The first few years were exciting for her, as she began to learn the ropes from her senior colleagues. Along the line, she contributed her quota dutifully, tasting the good, the bad and the ugly sides. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, Gbadamosi, who clocked 60 recently, goes down memory lane to recount her days at the Customs, achievements and challenges.

H

OW did you get into the Customs Service?

I actually did not know about it until a senior in secondary school told me about the recruitment in Marina. So I went there and I was successful. After going through the police and Customs training, I was posted to the Preventives Commandant's office in 1972. I started work at the age of 19years. I was very smart and I enjoyed every moment on the job. The Nigerian Customs is an interesting para military organisation to work in. You have to be disciplined or you would face orderly charge. I was a disciplined officer, very dutiful. But I must say that I was troublesome too especially at the Police College. I gave them a tough time. I used to go for Sunday jump at the shrine. I usually returned around 9pm when they are doing the roll call. Most times, what they do was to take the crew strength and when you are missing they take your name. One day they took me to the orderly room and I would have been there for 14 days. I warmed the guy who was in charge and defeated him because his witness was my ally. What would you consider as the high point in your career? I worked first at the Customs headquarters, Marina. Then I moved on to the International Airport, Sapele in Warri, Apapa Port and retired at the Kano Command. The most memorable experience for me was when I worked at the headquarters. Then I was young and fresh from school and I had so much energy in me. On the job, I had a number of memorable moments. One of such was when I challenged the Customs Area Comptroller at Apapa for not reshuffling his roster. He used to place people permanently anywhere. So they sent me to NIPOST, Lagos, as punishment. The place was not a permanent seat and they changed to roster every two weeks. I had to buy a register and book myself. Somehow, they could not break me. It was the worst thing they could do to me. Can you tell us some of your duties then? I was in charge of the collection of revenue, prevention of smuggling and some ad hoc duties. These were special assignments which were not part of the everyday duties in the department. We were also in charge of the apprehension of drug barons. It was not easy apprehending them because they kept on devising all kinds of methods. At that time Indian hemp was very popular with little or no knowledge about cocaine. It was during

the Tunde Idiagbon days that the issue of cocaine came to the fore. Then some of them would keep the cocaine in their shaving powder container. This category of people used to travel light carrying Harrods or Selfridges polythene bags. That period, therefore, witnessed the arrests of people like Iyabo Olorunkoya who had 7 suitcases of Indian hemp. There was also the arrest of one Oke, wife to Group Captain Nathan Mash of the Airforce. The arrest was based on information because Nathan Mash used to pass his suitcase on the tarmac because he was the Airport Commandant. His motherin-law and wife were cultivatin g the Indian hemp whil e he

was selling them abroad. NDLEA has taken over that job now and they make arrests on a daily basis. How did your parents influence your life? My father was a soldier. He was a disciplinarian and he was even more strict compared to what I experienced on the job. My younger brother , Idowu, was an Air force officer. I wanted one of my sons to join the military but he detested the idea. My son said he had no business with the military. He works with Globacom at the moment. How did you spend your leisure then? In those days, I used to go to Fela's shrine for relaxation, four times in a week. I wasn't married then. I liked Fela's music and his person. I liked everything about afro beat. I am a good dancer. Every Saturday, I used to go to a club called Batakoto on Broad Street, Lagos. I also won the Miss Batakoto dancing competition. I actually enjoyed my youth to the fullest and I am not missing anything now. Later on in life, I met my husband on duty at the airport. I liked his height and he was very handsome. What does it feel like to be 60 years old? I would say that life at 60 is beautiful, it's lovely. I don't feel 60. For me, 60 is just a number. I read my Bible and commune with God. I also relax with films and music. I also went to church for thanksgiving and I had a parlour party. What is life in retirement like? I served Government for 35 years. I retired 10th August, 2006, as Assistant Superintendent of Customs 1, Level 9. If I was in the Army, it is the equivalent of a two-star Lieutenant. If you have to advise young people, what would you tell them? I would advise our young girls to stop running after Aristos. Most times they endanger their lives and get killed. Our women should stop running after material things. Leaving the children in the hands of house helps all the time is very dangerous. In my days, it was tough because the house helps were elusive. Sometimes, they would collect three months salary and work for only two weeks before taking off. But I have been lucky in such a way that my posting were to places where I could take good care of my family.


Life

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012 •Continued from Page 55

to Odigbo. We have a school in the area, that school is 27miles to this place and our children there and our domestic animals used to come down to Ajue which is another border town between us and Ondo State. We are losing a lot from there and we cannot blame the government because there is no traditional ruler to fight for us.” The contest for the throne According to the octogenarian, it has been tough to fill the throne because “someone who is not entitled to the throne was chosen. The case was taken to court and this led to several adjournments which led to the delay thus elongating the vacuum. With the June 14 judgment by the Court of Appeal in favour of Prince Saliu Adebisi Sadiku, we are waiting for proclamation from the state government.” On what the town had gone through in the almost two decades of not having a paramount ruler, Okunneye said, “Interestingly, it was difficult. During this time Ijebu had been divided into five quarters and having the zonal Obas. These five Obas cannot speak for the town as a whole to the extent that there was near anarchy in the organisation system but now when the new Oba is proclaimed we shall be relieved.” On why no regent was chosen to stand in place of an Oba, he said, “It is not in the custom of the town to have such. We could have had such if the former monarch had appointed one, but we have no regent at all. Again those who should be kingmakers have all died. About two years after the demise of the last monarch, about 13 kingmakers were alive then, nine of them sat down and deliberated, unfortunately they chose from the female lineage instead of a male lineage in accordance with the tradition of Ijebu –Igbo. So, the person in the male lineage went to court and the decision was quashed. Along the line, due to several adjournments, all the kingmakers died one after the other. Today, there is none alive! That is why the government came in. I remember that armoured tanks were placed at strategic locations of this town, people lived in fear then and everyone was suspecting the other person. It was war

57

Ijebu Igbo: Awaiting the king-elect

•Ijebu Igbo people waiting for their king

here because of the throne. But thank God peace has returned to this town.” In history, this is about the second time the town would be without a monarch. The first was in 1914 when the then monarch died shortly after ascending the throne. This incident led to a loss of interest in the throne. This lasted for 15years, until the people cried out to the then British Colonial government. And now for another 18years. During the first time the Osugbos acted on behalf of the king between1914 and 1929. A new dawn Today, Ijebu –Igbo is singing a new song, a joyful song because of the court verdict. Alhaji Lateef Agbona, 75, was elated that the town will soon be witnessing a new development. He

said, “When Adetayo Ikupakode Orimolusi [the late monarch) died in 1994, all the members of the family picked Sadiku Orimolusi but another camp came up to contest, and they went to bring a man who is from a female lineage which is not acceptable and not in our culture. Well, we thank God that all is over. Let the new Oba be installed and let us start a new life again,” he pleaded. Ahmed Salau, a cattle dealer was overwhelmed with happiness, he said ‘We have been praying to God to answer our prayers and He has answered. We are only expecting the governor to give us the date of coronation and installation. This old man (the monarch-elect) does not need our money for he is a successful man. He will surely develop this town. Our palace

that is an eyesore will be rebuilt. I feel sad seeing our palace taken over by weeds. It is a shame leaving the palace like that for the past 18years.” For Ruffy Quadri, his joy knows no bound, “I am glad, I am happy. The case has been on since and we have nobody to lead us, we are like sheep without, shepherd. Our new monarch will take us to higher level by the grace of Allah. Let us join hands, cooperate with him and I know he will perform. Let us bury the hatchet, let us move forward,’’ he pleaded. A 78-year- old said, “We have to thank God for having this educated and enlightened man as the monarch. I knew him since 1948 when he was my teacher, until he travelled out to England in 1962 for greener pastures. He

has seen it all and he will use his wealth of experience to lead the town well and to the path of prosperity.” Ijebu - Igbo natives are predominantly farmers and businessmen. One of its most famous indigene, is the chairman and founder of Globalcom Communications, Otun Mike Adenuga, and the late Apala maestro, Haruna Ishola. However, the road to the throne may still be slippery for the new monarch as the party which lost the case has threatened to fight its case to the Supreme Court. There are also reports that he has been receiving threats from his opponent. In the meantime, the town has been agog in the last few weeks savouring the news that it may soon have a reigning monarch.

INSTALLATION OF MR. SUN GUO PING (JACKSON) AS THE GRAND PATRON, CHINA TOWN MARKET

•L-R: Mr. Sun Guo Ping (Jackson) Chief Abibat Mogaji, Bishop John Ehindero and Raliyat Adebayo, Asoju General Lagos Island, during the Installation of the Grand Patron, China Town Market, Ojota.

•L-R: Chief Abibat Mogaji, Alhaji Wasiu Atanda Balogun, Kudrat Tejumola, Kuburat Badmus, Taibat Borokini and Mr Sun Guo Ping (Jackson) receiving his certificate of office from President General.


58

Your HEALTH THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Getting rid of pot belly

T

Taming y m m u t r u yo If your tummy is larger than your waist line, you have a higher chance of reducing the size of your brain and developing a heart disease. Rita Ohai writes.

A

LTHOUGH it is common knowledge that Nigerians are generally susceptible to a pot belly due to their high-carbohydrate and fatty diet, very few know the potential risks they expose themselves to when they relish heavy meals like pounded yam and egusi at odd intervals. Due to the festive lifestyle of the average Nigerian, most people with large stomachs run the risk of having significantly smaller brains by the time they reach their 50s than their flat-belly counterparts. Dr. Florence Ibeh, a resident doctor explains, “Having a 'pot belly' in middle age raises the risk of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia (forgetfulness or memory loss) because abdominal fat is more 'metabolically active' and is recognized as the most dangerous, hidden type of fat which can block the blood vessel going to the brain and limit

oxygen supply.” Ibeh believes the dangerous effects of abdominal obesity on the brain may start long before the signs of dementia appear. In line with applying caution when matters of the waist are concerned, researchers state that even if your belt buckled somewhere between flat and semi-fat, you were not home-free. They found that adding a few inches to the waist increased the risk of damage in the arteries, even if body weight remained within the normal range. Nutritionist and health consultant, Boye Ajibade enlightens, "People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease. The risks are even higher when fat is mainly concentrated around the abdomen. "What's important is that people consider their body shape as well as

their weight. Controlling both by eating less and being more active is an effective way to reduce your risk of heart and circulatory disease." After factoring out one’s blood pressure, age, smoking, cholesterol status and body shape, it is important to pay attention to the kind of foods eaten and the time these meals are ingested. However, the good news for patients is that it's not a totally helpless situation. According to Ajibade, "Little improvements in our feeding habits prove beneficial in the long run. It's the kind of thing you work on by incorporating regular routine exercise into everyday living. “It's not about crash diets,” he says, “It's about learning portion control. So the best thing we can do is unlearn everything our parents taught us. Meaning, we should definitely not finish everything on our plate." Other health risks arising from a bulging tummy include type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease and cardiovascular diseases.

HE dreaded pot belly is also known by other names like “beer belly,” “beer gut” and “paunch.” Doctors recommend men have a girth no bigger than 40 inches and women should stick around 35 inches. Although tummy exercises effectively strengthen your stomach muscles, doing 1,000 'sit-ups' a day will not do much for the fat that is covering them. The true way to get rid of your pot belly is through dietary discipline and lifestyle adjustments such as these: Step 1 Give up nighttime snacking. During the evening, your metabolism naturally slows down. If you eat right before going to bed, the calories you consumed are likely going to be stored as fat and your pot belly will continue to grow. To reverse this problem, avoid eating late at night. Step 2 Pass on the junk food. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar and are low in fiber. Examples of these are cakes, cookies, doughnuts, fast food, deep fried foods, whole-fat dairy products and commercial baked goods. Eat clean sources of calories instead like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, fish, beans and whole grains. Step 3 Drink water instead of high-calorie beverages. When you drink beverages that are high in sugar and calories, your brain will not receive a similar message that it does when you eat whole foods. The result is you can drink excess calories and not feel full, especially when you drink them with your meals. Avoid beverages like soda, processed fruit drinks, sweet teas, milk shakes, flavored lattes and alcohol. Drink eight to 10 cups of water a day instead. It has zero calories, it helps with hydration, it flushes toxins from your system and it can also keep you feeling full when you drink it with your meals. Step 4 Eat multiple meals a day starting with breakfast. If you eat a small meal every two to three hours, your metabolism will increase, you will have consistent energy levels and you will be less tempted to overeat. Create meals that are a balance of protein and carbs. Step 5 Eat less calories a day. To lose weight in your stomach, sides, back, legs, arms or anywhere on your body, you need to create a caloric deficiency. Step 7 Give your metabolism another boost. Building muscle can increase your metabolism even more, and it should focus on your whole body. Do exercises like bench presses, upright rows, back rows, triceps dips, biceps curls, step-ups and ab crunches. Perform 12 to 15 reps and do three to four sets of each exercise. Step 8 Work out on a regular schedule. In order to fully lose your pot belly, you need to be consistent. Do weight training three days a week on alternating days and do cardio on the other three alternating days. Perform 30 minutes of light activity on your off day. Exercises you can apply this to include running, indoor cycling, elliptical training, rowing, stair-stepping and rope jumping.


59

BUSINESS

‘Poor budget implementation responsible for underdevelopment’

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

-- Page 61

Hope rises for capital market Worried by the lull in the stock market, the Federal Government has hinted of plans to revamp the sector through a strategic bailout, reports Bukola Afolabi

Multimedia, animation camps hold in Abuja, Lagos

A

I

F you are one of those whose businesses have been affected by the fall of the Nigerian capital market, then you may just begin to heave a sigh of relief. Reason: the Federal Government has promised to give a bailout to the market and bring back the good times once more. It would be recalled that when the meltdown began some years ago, some of the stock-broking firms had not only placed their nonessential workers on half salary, but actually embarked and are still embarking on a massive job cut, while some closed shop outright because things fell apart. It is a known fact that the financial meltdown which rocked the global economy dealt a huge blow on the Nigerian stock market. Giving his perspective on the dire straits of the capital market, a stockbroker who pleaded anonymity said that as a result of the lull in the sector, most firms have no option but to close shop. “You can see what has been happening in the stock market. For a while now, we have virtually been idle, we have not been doing anything. You have a case where there is a long list of investors wanting to sell their shares, but you hardly find any buyer. How do we survive under such conditions? This is a terrible experience for us. We cannot continue like this,” he lamented. Echoing similar sentiments, Chief Tola Akanbi, the Managing Director, Stock Option Limited, said the parlous state of the sector has made it difficult for those that want to sell their shares to get buyers for them on time. Commenting on the development, the National Chairman, Association of Corporate Investors of Nigeria (ACIN), Mr. Oderinde Taiwo, is sad that the situation, if not checked, would get out of hand, adding that all hands must be on deck to revive the market. According to Taiwo, the bearish trend in the market called for the concern of all stakeholders, stressing that the call by stockbrokers for a recess would be an avenue for everyone to put heads together to seek for a way forward. “I think all stakeholders should come together to proffer solutions to this issue. We cannot continue like this unless we find lasting solutions to it. If we fail to do it on time, the economy will be greatly affected and the trust in the Nigerian capital market will be lost.” He added that the situation had become so bad that stock broking firms now practically beg share-

Briefs

• Floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange

holders to come and buy shares, a sign that things are no longer rosy for them. Adeoye Gbolahan, another stock broker, said that their means of livelihood is now threatened as there are no ways stockbrokers could have commission, which they can use to feed themselves and their families if people were not buying shares. He said the fear created by the meltdown made people to lose interest in the market. The stockbrokers, through the Association Stock -broking Houses Owners of Nigeria (ASHON), said that what the market needs is a bailout from the government to enable them redeem their margin loan debts, running to over N2 billion ASHON’s former Chairman, Mr. Rasheed Yusuff, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Trust Yields Securities and Investment Limited and the incumbent Chairman, Mr. Emeka Madubuike, said in the wake of the crisis, that the government should not turn deaf ears to calls for bailout for the market. Like Yusuff, he Managing Director of Deap Capital Management and Trust Limited, Mr. Emmanuel Ugboh, urged government to intervene to save investors of the acquired banks to ensure that their investments in the sold banks were not completely jeopardized. “Having achieved the sale of the affected banks, may be one of the things we should look out for is for government to have mercy and look at these shareholders and say, look these people’s hard earned money were invested in these banks . We must find a way of accommodating them and going forward since these banks actually didn’t die.” To demonstrate government’s

resolve to bail the market, Minister for Finance and Coordinating minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that government will grant bailout to the capital market. Though the news is cheery, stakeholders remain doubtful of the intention until it is actualised. The Minister announced that the Federal Government would release a forbearance package to operators (stockbrokers), as part of measures to stimulate confidence in the market, which should hopefully increase liquidity. Okonjo-Iweala’s good news, which came after over four years of the near-crash of the market and disclosed to audience at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the African Development Bank (ADB) in Arusha, Tanzania, was said to have been considered based on assumption that it was the key hindrance to market recovery rather than the unresolved fraud cases involving key and leading players in the market. She pointed out that the Federal Government, through the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), had intervened successfully and safe-guarded the banks. “We are working on the forbearance; we have now agreed on it, and we are going to implement it. We are having discussions about how to do it. We must remember that we don’t want any moral hazard, we don’t want those stockbrokers who did the right thing to think that they are not appreciated or that they have been neglected,” she said. Finance Minister, however, did not disclose when the forbearance package would be released to the stockbrokers, but assured that “the nation’s capital market will rebound”. Market sources, who pondered

on what she premised this on or why she chose this time to make such pronouncement as it was not provided in the typical ‘government speak,’ said they would not expect any concrete issue out of the statement. Meanwhile, as stock prices continue to fall, stockbrokers are insisting that the rule on price movement on the downside of trading be reversed as a way out of the persistent drop in the value of shares in the capital market. Reliable market sources disclosed that the operators were insisting on the reversal as they reasoned that the decision of the downward review of the long standing rule in the market, which was solely the Nigerian Stock Exchanges decision, had only further aggravated the slide of the market. The NSE had in the wake of the meltdown announced a review of the rule on price movement on the downside of trading from five to one per cent maximum, leaving the upward movement at five per cent. The sources said rather than achieve the objective for which the rule was reviewed, the market ‘has continued to decline with the investors’ confidence waning by the day. Commenting on the issue, chairman of the Association of Stock broking firms, Mr. Emeka Madubuike, said that forbearance was the oil needed to compliment the new trading regulations introduced by the regulatory authorities. According to Madubuike, stock broking has become an endangered profession after the near collapse of the capital market. Although the government pronouncement on forbearance package was a welcome development to capital market operators, it still sounds like waves to some of them as they do not know the nature of the forbearance package.

RENA Multimedia, the world’s leading training brand in the creative industry, held its inaugural camps in Lagos and Abuja at the weekend. The camps, according to the organisers were designed to prepare Nigerians to benefit from the global creative industry which value the United Nations Development Programme, in its 2010 report titled: Creative Economy: A feasible development option”, put at about N48trillion (US$300billion). Targeted at Nigerians with interest in multimedia, animation, gaming, with applications in the movies, media, advertising, among other sectors, the camps will expose participants to the newest trends in the creative industry. Resource people will be drawn from the creative industry, Arena Multimedia and Middlesex University, with participants given the opportunity to win scholarships worth N1.3million that will enable them benefit from the globally recognised certification programmes. Arena Multimedia, an arm of APTECH, will avail Nigerians the opportunity to train at its centres that have been established in Lagos and Abuja, with many more training centres to be opened in the nearest future, said Jogun Dosekun, operator of the Arena Multimedia franchise in Nigeria. Resource persons at the camps include Mr. Sunil Janardian from Arena Multimedia and Prof. Raj Gill of Middlesex University, as well as other experts drawn from the global creative industry. The camps provided skills set for participants interested in animation, stop motion, animation filmmaking, principles of animation and international case studies. With 16 years of experience in training and over 350,000 trained students, Arena alumni are now professionals in many wellknown studios across the world.

Firm partners institute on renewable energy

P

NN, a leading pan-African technology service provider in the development of the communications and power sectors in nine African countries has entered a four-year partnership with the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) to provide renewable energy capacity building within Nigeria, and to work with the institute to standardise training quality in Nigeria as part of the Federal Government’s power reform programme. To deliver under this collaboration, PNN will work with the Renewable Energy Technology Institute (RETI) to develop and deliver programmes that meet international standards. RETI is expected to work with NAPTIN to consolidate and standardize training across Nigeria for all persons, establishments and institutions that will participate in the country’s growing renewable energy sector; and will award three levels of national certification, which will qualify participants to work anywhere in the power industry, globally. At the recent press conference, Engr. Reuben Okeke, the Director-General and CEO of NAPTIN, said, “NAPTIN’s choice of PNN was mainly based on PNN’s clear understanding of the requirements for improving standards of training for all personnel in the renewable energy sector, as well as standardizing knowledge across the board, at all levels of participation.


60

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Business News

Committee resolves NACCIMA boss seeks cooperation controversy over export grants among public, private sectors

T

HE Joint Committee on Commerce, Customs and Excise has finally brought to an end the controversies surrounding the misuse of the Export Expansion Grants (EEG) by recommending the lifting of the suspension on issuance of negotiated duty credit certificates and disbursement of funds from the EEG. Shedding light on how the issues were resolved, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), David Adulugba, recalled that the Federal Government in its determination to enhance the contribution of non-oil export to the national economy, introduced a package of incentive through the promulgation of the Export (Incentive and Miscellaneous) Act, CAP 118 of 1986, to encourage Nigerian exporters to increase the volume of their exports, broaden export products and market coverage and diversify the productive base of the economy. The NEPC boss noted. “The redesigned EEG is an incentive for performance against the key provisions of National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies, (NEEDS), as applied to non-oil exports, and

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

also as stimulus for engendering further export activity. One significant feature in the scheme is that the EEG rate became company cum product specific and not wholly product based. “The EEG scheme has contributed meaningfully in the diversification of the Nigerian Economy by way of increase in non-oil exports, creation of employment opportunities and value addition to primary commodities. Non-oil export increased 11fold from USD 0.21billion in 2000/2006 to USD 2.3 billion in 2010. During this period, the share of non-oil exports in Nigeria’s total exports increased from 1 percent to 4 percent. “Nigeria has started exporting processed cashew, cocoa, rubber and ginger to the United States which has perhaps the most stringent quality standard for agricultural products world-wide. The EEG policy has encouraged non-oil exports to pass through formal trade channels with proper documentation and repatriation of export proceeds through commercial banks as verified by CBN.” It would be recalled that the lower chamber last October had adopted a resolution

on the need to investigate the alleged misuse of the export expansion grants by some industrialists and referred same to the committee for further legislative action. Expectedly, the committee organised an interactive session with the EEG implementation Committee chaired by Sylvester Ogbaga, with inputs from other members of the committee namely: Mohommed Sabo Nakudu, Chairman on Customs and Excise, Uche Chris Okorie Clerk, Committee on Commerce, Baba Mohommed, Clerk, Committee on Customs and Exercise with representatives from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, among other various sectorial associations. The committee, Adulugba further stressed, recommended that there should be effective collaboration among agencies of government that are responsible for the implementation of the scheme, adding that the need for survival and growth of non-oil export including the real manufacturing sector cannot be over emphasised.

PHOTO SHOP

O

NE way to boost the critical sectors of the economy especially in times of economic recession is for players in the public and the organised private sectors to build a synergy of cooperation, experts have said. This was the submissions made by a cross-section of experts who spoke at this year’s bi-annual conference organised by the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mine & Agriculture (NACCIMA), in Lagos recently. Tagged: “Impact of Gov-

By Stella Edmund

ernment Intervention Funds in the Transformation of the Nigeria Economy”, the conference had in attendance participants drawn from the public and the organised private sectors. In his keynote address, the National President of NACCIMA, Dr. Herbert Ademola Ajayi, stressed that once there is mutual understanding between private and public sector, it would be easy for them to forge a partnership to develop skills and knowledge in sectors like agriculture, small and medium scale enterprises, manufac-

turing. Echoing similar sentiments, a consultant to NACCIMA, Mrs. Olarewanju Oniyitan, said cooperation was needed to ensure all-round development in the country. While giving an assessment of the socio-economic impact of intervention funds disbursed across the six geopolitical zones of the country, she observed that the SouthSouth recorded 16 per cent, North-West 14 per cent, North Central 13 per cent. Others such as North-East and South-East recorded a miserly 6 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, she noted.

Firms facilitate hip, knee replacement surgeries

N

IGERIANS no longer need to travel abroad for surgical procedures involving the replacement of the knee or hip joints, as Smith & Nephew represented in Nigeria by Morison Industries PLC has made implants available in Nigeria and these procedures can now be carried out locally. Smith & Nephew is a world leader in joint reconstruction procedures, advanced wound management products and orthopaedic trauma management systems. Speaking after a recent Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgery at DELSUTH,

By Esther Mohammed

Dr Adetayo Olagbegi, the Smith & Nephew Business Development Manager for Nigeria, explained that TKR procedures are primarily indicated for patients with chronic joint diseases with severe pain and loss of function such as chronic arthritis or in some cases severe varus (bow legged) or valgus (knocked knee) deformities of the knee. According to Dr Olagbegi, people with bow legs or knocked knees are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life. He explained further that this is associated with joint

swelling occasioned by the progressive loss of cartilage in the knee joint. Total Hip Replacement (THR) on the other hand is indicated as a result of pain and loss of function associated with erosion of the cartilage surrounding the bone surfaces in the hip joint. The procedures have been performed recently in DELSUTH (Delta State University Teaching Hospital), UBTH (University of Benin Teaching Hospital) Edo state, UPTH (University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital) and LASUTH (Lagos State University Teaching Hospital).

Aregbesola woos prospective investors

P

•From left: Prof. Raj Gill, Vice Chancellor, Middlesex University, United Kingdom; Jogun Doseku, Executive Director ,Theodore Allen Consulting (operator of the Arena Multimedia franchise in Nigeria) and former Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communication Commission, Dr. Earnest Ndukwe, during Arena Multimedia's Camp Training in Abuja recently

•From left: PR Manager, Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel, Lagos, Ubong Nseobot; General Manager, Southern Sun, Cape Town, Garry Reed; Guest Relations Manager, Southern Sun, The Cullinan, Nabila Cassim; Guest Relations Manager, Southern Sun, Cape Sun, Charlene Camphell during a facility tour of the Tsogo Sun Hotel Group properties in South Africa by a Nigerian delegate recently

ROSPECTIVE investors interested in doing business in Osun have been assured of a conducive operating environment. Giving this assurance on Thursday was Governor Rauf Aregbesola at a public forum in Lagos. The governor, who was the guest speaker at the August edition of the Business Luncheon organised by the management of AES Excellence Club, said Osun State was ripe for investment. In his presentation tagged: “Transformation and Investment Opportunities in Osun State”, Aregbesola recalled that on assumption of office, he met Osun in a state of depression just as the economy was comatose. He, however, said it was gratifying to note that through the intervention of the current administration, the hitherto comatose economy is now showing a lot of promises across the sectors. Specifically, he said, with the six-point Integral Action Plan of his administration, the state has witnessed infrastructure upgrade in the last couple of years as well as boosting the agricultural and other productive sectors of the economy. He also assured that the state government has set modalities in place to have a land bank, which would enable access to free land for prospective investors in

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf the state. According to the governor, the land bank, which is the first of its kind in the country, will give opportunity to whoever is ready to patronise it. While assuring investors of a tax holiday, Aregbesola, however, pointed out that not all the taxes are determined by the state. “For the tax that are based and determined by the state, of course, there will be tax holiday, but for corporate tax that Federal Government collects, those ones are beyond my control.” Speaking earlier, Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu, President, of the AES Excellence Club, while justifying the need for the business luncheon, said it

is aimed at contributing to the development of the economy. “The club which has as her motto “Fast tracking National Development” meets bimonthly to brainstorm on issues of national importance and proffer practical solutions which she forwards to the government for consideration and implementation,” he noted. Ajagu, however, hinted of plans by its members to explore the opportunities available in the state. The highpoint of the occasion was the conferment of the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies on the governor by its chairman, Chief Nike Akande, former, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Prizes galore at Unity Bank promo

T

HE city of Lokoja was alive when Unity Bank Plc recently held its second zonal draw of its ongoing promo tagged: “Aim & Win promo” held at the Confluence Hotel Lokoja, with lucky winners carting away cash prizes and several other gifts. Mr. Hauwa John Musa from Keffi, Nasarawa State, emerged the star prize winner of a motor bike worth N75,000, while Jubril Ruqqayat from Suleija in Niger State went home with a TV set. Justifying the need for the promo, the Zonal Director of the bank, Mr. Alhaji Aminu Bafa said it was designed to in-

By Adeola Ogunlade culcate savings habit in Nigerians. Bafa further noted that other savings account customers that emerged winners in the draw observed by representatives of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission have since collected their prizes. Also speaking at the event, the Regional Manager, Mr. Shehu Sani, said “the sales promo is aimed towards showing appreciation and rewarding loyal customers with various gift items ranging from cars, motorcycles, generating sets, among others.”


Business

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

INTERVIEW

‘Poor budget implementation responsible for underdevelopment’ Chief Richard Uche, a chartered accountant by training, was former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, (ICAN) and has also served in different professional capacities over the years. Uche, who is the current president of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, (NECA) shares his views on a wide range of socio-economic issues in this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

•Uche

A

S the new helmsman at the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, what is your agenda for the organisation? You know the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, is the umbrella organisation that caters to the interest of Nigerian employers in the country; it is an advocacy organisation for employers. As a representative organisation of employers we are supposed to be catering for private sector employers on matters of economy, labour and social issues. My plan in the next few years will be to continue along that line and advocate for their interest ultimately. We will continue to play these advocacy roles during my tenure. And as you know, many things are cropping up. For instance, corporate governance, corruption, lack of transparency on the part of government and so on. This will be receiving our attention during my tenure as NECA president. The issue of industrial unrest across the sectors has been hotly debated in recent times. What steps, in your view, can be taken to ensure industrial harmony? As you rightly observed, there has been a spate of industrial strikes in the last three to four years now. We have seen all kinds of strikes, lockouts, some of them illegal and due to lack of dialogue between labour, employers and government. These things are not good for the economy at all. There should be a platform where government, labour and the employers can come together and discuss issues before they degenerate into strikes and lockouts as we have seen in recent times. The current clime is characterised by flagrant disobedience of court orders, spontaneous and illegal strikes, vandalisation of company’s property in the name of strikes,

disrespect for union jurisdictional scope (sympathy strikes), disregard for grievance and trade dispute procedures, resistance to structural changes, partisanship by custodians of process and procedure for trade dispute resolutions. Unfortunately, the casualty of this is the Nig e r i a n economy. What I’m emphasising is that there has been too many strikes because the principles governing industrial relations are not being adhered to. Where there is a rule of law, we don’t want labour going on strike when there is a court order against it. There is also supposed to be an Industrial Arbitration Panel that is supposed to meet regularly and discuss issues of labour and industrial relations, but they are not meeting. Unless they meet and discuss issues before they degenerate to strikes and lockouts, we will continue to have this kind of situation. There is a lopsided relationship between labour and employers. This needs to be even out for industrial harmony to be guaranteed. To take you back on the issue of the Industrial Arbitration Panel, you find that most times, workers have been known to get confrontational because they always have this impression that the employers want to force a fait accompli on them. Take the fuel subsidy strike for instance; labour was waiting to have a roundtable dialogue with the government which was scuttled… On the matter of fuel subsidy, our stand has always been that there should be withdrawal of subsidies because we think it creates avenues for corruption and so on. It is not good for the economy. Specifically, during that January impasse, there was need for all three parties to be brought in the picture, that is labour, government and employers. But nobody appeared to be talking to employers. The whole process involved only government and labour. As employers’ representatives, we felt our point of view should have been taken into account. At the end of the day, it is something that all the three parties, namely: labour, employers and government, as espoused by the International Labour Organisation, should be involved in but we weren’t

listened to. When government eventually agreed to remove the subsidy, we were not brought into the picture and that situation is worsening today because the subsidy that was removed then was actually built up because of the increase in the price of crude oil. Of course, with the revelations that we are hearing today, the fraud and sleaze that has attended the whole process is mindboggling, to say the least. So in your view, who is to blame for labour unrest if we use the fuel subsidy episode as a case in point? Without any fear of contradiction, I won’t want to apportion any blame to any particular group because they all have their issues. As I hinted earlier, the three parties were not carried along. In our own case, we only managed to get our views across through the newspaper articles we featured here and there and that was not good enough. We queried a situation where the government spends over 1/5th of its budget on subsidy. It is not good enough. That doesn’t happen elsewhere. Its eventual removal has not helped us at the end of the day because it is worsening by the day because of the issue of corruption. The other issue that has been hotly debated is the issue of increased wage bill incurred by government. What do you think is the way out of this trend, particularly as it relates to huge recurrent expenditure? That is not good enough. In the early 80s, over 70 per cent of the budgets were expended on capital projects. That is why you see all these projects like flyovers, bridges and roads, that was when they were built. Today, we spend a meagre 25 percent or so on capital projects, which is not sustainable. The burgeoning increase in salaries and the number of people employed by government and so on has not left it any space to attend to capital projects which is critical for the development and growth of any economy. As I said, over the years, we have watched with concern the gradual and worrisome escalation in the cost of governance. We believe it is not prudent for a country to spend over 70 per cent of its yearly budget on recurrent expenditure, leaving less than 25 per cent for capital expenditure. Where an increasing ratio of government budget is used to support its administrative structure, poverty will abound and remain pervasive as economic growth declines or even stagnates. Let us recall that in the 1970 s, total recurrent expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure was about 32.04 per cent, increasing to a tolerable 38 per cent in 1983. Unless infrastructure is put in place, employment cannot be generated. In most economies in the world, it is the private sector that is the engine of growth, not the government. We need to have the government concentrate on those things that impact on capital, such as building of infrastructure and so on, which would enable business in the

61

private sector to grow and ultimately create employment. In a related development, businesses have also been groaning under the weight of huge running costs such as generating power among other infrastructure. What is NECA doing to address this situation? It comes back to what I have said earlier. Government must reduce its recurrent expenditure and concentrate on providing the enabling environment for business to grow, such as provisions of things like power, energy because without it, there can be no development. In the globalised world that we live now, we need power to drive the economy. We need good road networks and all that. Without government concentrating on these things, the economy cannot grow as expected. And when we say economic growth, we don’t mean this 8 per cent growth rate being over hyped by government apologists. In my view, in assessing the performance and health of the nation’s economy, the government should go beyond the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate as indices such as the number of new jobs created, per capita income, sectoral inflow of Foreign Direct Investment, amongst others, should feature prominently on the scorecard, and not GDP, which statistics have not translated to improving the quality of life for Nigerians. GDP growth must be felt in terms of infrastructure. There have been strident calls for the institutionalization of corporate governance procedures at both the public and organised private sector. Don’t you think this issue of corporate governance is being over flogged? No, I don’t think so at all. The truth is that if there is no transparency, if we don’t follow corporate governance procedures in what we do either at the private or public sector, there will not be any growth because resources that are supposed to be used for engine of growth go into private pockets. So, good corporate governance is of great essence in making sure that our economy gets on the path of growth. Elsewhere, the issue of corporate governance is not debated; it is a part and parcel of governance at all sectors of the economy. We only hope that the ideal of good corporate governance will become part of our culture as a country. This is because any country desirous of developing economically cannot but adopt this ideal of good corporate governance. Nigeria has had the misfortune of not being able to implement its budgets to the letter over the years. How can this trend be addressed? That is a very good observation. This issue is currently generating heat between the executive and the legislature, which is to say that we are not yet out of the woods. The fact remains that if we do not implement our budgets, we are indirectly shortchanging ourselves as a people. The only way, in my view, we can address this issue of non implementation of the budget as we have seen over the years is by setting our priorities right. Once we can set our priorities right as a people, it will be very easy to implement our budgets. Ministries and departmental agencies (MDAs) have a duty to work assiduously to achieve this. With less bureaucracy on the part of government, the issue of poor budget implementation will be a thing of the past. Without a strong political will on the part of government to carry out its avowed responsibility to the people, it will not be possible to get the budget on a fast track of development. Nigeria has become an import-dependent economy even for things we have the capacity to produce. Do you share the sentiments by government to ban the importation of some of these locally available items into the country as a way of encouraging local production? Of course, it is a good development I must say. This issue of import-dependency is so bad that even the food we eat nowadays such as rice and things like that find their way into the country, which is not supposed to be. Given our natural endowments such as arable land and all, Nigeria has the added advantage of being the food basket of the West African sub-region. But, unfortunately, we have not explored our agriculture base as well as we should. The moment we decide to focus more attention on agriculture and mining of other mineral resources at our disposal, I have no doubt in my mind that we can generate additional streams of income for the country and drive real economic growth across the sectors.


62

Business

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Beyond Talent

PROFILE

NPA helmsman to continue with Suleiman’s legacy M

ALLAM Habib Abdullahi, who was the Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Nigerian Ports Authority until last week, formally assumed office as the Managing Director of the agency famously referred to as the “Gateway to the nation’s economy” last Tuesday. At a colourful ceremony, the agency’s workers turned out in their numbers at the organisation’s headquarters, NPA HOUSE, Marina, Lagos, to bid farewell to their former Managing Director, Engr. Omar Suleiman, who officially handed over the reins of office to his successor, Abdullahi. Members of the Senior Staff Association of Corporation, Transport and Communication (SSACTAC), NPA Branch, led by their President, Comrade Umar Jimoh, carried Suleiman shoulder high, chanting solidarity songs immediately he alighted from his car at the NPA premises. At the handover ceremony proper, held inside the office of the NPA’s Managing Director, Suleiman was full of appreciation to God for the opportunity given to him to serve. “My career in NPA has been remarkable, memorable and fulfilling because it is not everybody that com-

•Abdullahi Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

mences his career in an organisation that reaches its peak, its zenith or in plain language leads it even for a day. The history of the leadership of NPA attests to this fact since it is obvious that very few thoroughbreds commenced their careers in the Authority had the rare privilege of attaining the position of Managing Directors. Today, I stand before you as one of these few and am immensely grateful to God Almighty for having placed me in their ranks.” Besides, he also thanked President Goodluck

Jonathan for the opportunity given to serve and the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, for supporting him all through his tenure. The new NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, commended his predecessor for his committed service and wished him the best in his future endeavour. Suleiman served as NPA Managing Director from December 2010 to July 25, 2012. The newly appointed Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr. Habib Abdullahi, has officially taken over the reins of the organisation’s affairs at the Marina headquarters in Lagos even as he has expressed his fears over the enormity of the task ahead of him. Abdullahi who until now was the Executive Director Finance and Administration of NPA has, however, assured that the challenges are not unachievable and that he is going to improve on the legacies that have so far been laid down by his

former boss, Eng Omar Suleiman. Speaking at a brief handing over ceremony to usher him in as the new helmsman, Habib said that this is not the first time he will be taking over duties directly from Eng. Suleiman, he explained that he had taken over from the outgoing Managing Director in London and that it was pretty difficult to fit in his shoes then. “Not all of you may understand the feeling that I have, a feeling of gratitude to God and a feeling of fear because of the responsibility that God has bestowed on me, I have worked closely with Eng. Omar Suleiman, he has been a friend, a brother and a boss, this is not the first time I am taking over from him, I did so in London and I know what he left there and I know how difficult it was for me to fit in what he left,” Abdullahi said. While commending his predecessor for successfully piloting the affairs of the organisation, he noted that the outgoing NPA boss was the most humble, easy going and most friendly Managing Director that the organisation has ever had. He appealed for the cooperation and support of the management and staff of NPA as they have extended to the former NPA helmsman.

Fun galore as Malta Guinness hosts Arsenal star players

F

OR lovers of the round leather game in Nigeria, particularly for the over 40 million fans of Arsenal, arguably one of the top famous English football club sides in the world, the memories of the rendezvous with three of the club’s leading stars, namely Bacary Sagna, Lukas Podolski, and Per Mertesacker, would remain ever green. The trio came to Nigeria courtesy of Malta Guinness. Hints that the day was going to be a memorable one began as over 100 lucky ticket winners were in the audience for an exclusive filming session at the Eko Hotel as dance sensation, Kaffy and her crew, taught the players steps from the Malta Guinness Low Sugar workout, which has been designed to encourage Nigerians to get active. Guests at the event were treated to a sneak preview of the workout by Kaffy and her crew, before watching Sagna, Mertesacker and Podolski have a go at the steps themselves. Speaking about the Malta Guinness Low Sugar workout, Per Mertesacker said, “I really enjoyed the Malta Guinness Low Sugar workout. We did a lot of coordination work when I was very young in Germany, doing aerobic exercises in the gym with a step up, and I got in touch with some special movements from when I was

•From left: Bacary Sagna, Sola Oke, Head, Innovation Guinness Nigeria, Per Mertesacker, Wole Adedeji Brand Manager Malta Guinness, Lukas Podolski and Emmanuel Agu, Marketing Manager Malta at the launch of the Malta Guinness Low Sugar Workout at Ball Room Eko Hotel…recently

young today. So that training helped very much! I was impressed with the whole dance group and their teacher Kaffy, and would like to thank them for a great morning’s exercise.” Later the same evening, a further 100 Malta Guinness ticket winners had the once-ina-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the players at a live Q&A fan event as the players took to the stage to answer the questions of the Nigerian fans at the event. At the event, German international, Mertesacker,

tipped fellow countryman Podolski for big things next season, while new signing Podolski revealed that the Gunners would be looking to compete on all fronts in 2012/ 13. Sagna on his part assured supporters that no amount of money could prise him away from Arsenal. All three players talked of how excited they were to be visiting Nigeria, praising the passionate reception they had received during the trip, before delighting the attending fans with a repeat performance of the Malta Guin-

ness Low Sugar workout. Emmanuel Agu, Marketing Manager, Malta Guinness, commented: “As the Official Malt Drink of Arsenal in Nigeria, we were delighted to work with Arsenal FC to reward Malta Guinness consumers with exclusive opportunities to interact with the Arsenal FC players. We have more exciting activities planned with Malta Guinness Low Sugar over the coming months including giving more consumers the chance to get active with the Malta Guinness Low Sugar workout!”

By Adetayo Okusanya Email: adetayookusanya@hotmail.com

The gift of feedback

I

HAVE heard and used the word “feedback” often in my life and career, and I have developed an intuitive and contextual understanding of the word. However, I looked up its definition for the first time, as part of my research for this article. There are several things I found informative about the various definitions of feedback that can be applied in the context of career development. First, performance feedback is input. It is the return of information to you about the results of your performance. Second, performance feedback is influential. It has the potential to change your behavior and your capacity to produce results. Third, performance feedback is about control. It is essential for your self-regulation and course correction. In a nutshell, performance feedback is what helps you confirm whether or not your efforts (input) are generating the results you desire (output). Last week, I wrote about feedback from the perspective of the giver and shared several ways in which a manager, supervisor or team lead can “feed-back” results to their team members constructively. Today, I will be looking at feedback from the perspective of the receiver and discussing how you can leverage feedback to improve the results that you achieve. Putting it in perspective, receiving constructive performance feedback is not a new phenomenon. Most of us have received it in some form since the day we were born. We cry and a feeding bottle is shoved in our mouths. We try to ride a bicycle and we lose our balance and fall. We come home from school with poor test scores and lose privileges. We ask a girl out on a date and she rejects us. We graduate from college with third class results and find it difficult to get a job. Constructive feedback happens to everyone, every day. It is a natural part of living, developing and succeeding. Here are ten things you can do to increase the impact and import of constructive feedback on your performance and career. Ask for feedback from your stakeholders regularly. Many people are afraid to give constructive feedback and often need your permission. Always seek first to understand. Clarify by asking for specific details about situations and behaviors being referred to. Stay calm and refrain from defensive or angry behavior. Feedback is not about “who you are”, rather “what you have done”. Demonstrate open and receptive body language. Tension in your hands, face, voice and shoulders can discourage people from providing honest feedback. Focus on the issue and not the person. Feedback is about you and not the person giving the feedback. Great things sometimes come in unpleasant packages. Take responsibility for your actions and don’t try to turn the table. Look for the improvement opportunity in the feedback. There is always something to learn and something that can be refined. Make it constructive and instructive by finding the golden nugget for your career. When in doubt, investigate. Validate the feedback with other “objective and unbiased” individuals. Let the matter be confirmed by the mouths of two or more witnesses. Always ask the person giving feedback for their suggestions on what you can do better. Take feedback seriously and commit to taking action. Never say that you will act on it, if you know that you won’t. Don’t forget to say thank you. Accept the feedback for what it is worth i.e. a contribution to your development. Avoid explaining or justifying your behavior, or even worse trying to prove the other person wrong. Feedback can be scary to receive because it is something we have little control over. We can control our attitudes, actions and words, but we cannot control how others perceive, judge or give us credit for what we have done and how we did it. The quote, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”, forever changed my attitude towards feedback. It made me see it, whether positive or negative, as something that has the potential to make me great. I stopped being afraid of feedback and actively sought it. Once, I created a survey and asked a number of colleagues and stakeholders at work to evaluate my personal attributes. The feedback from the survey informed me that the people I worked with gave me credit for accountability, confidence, decision making, communication and team work and believed that I could improve in the areas of vision, interpersonal awareness, influence and leadership. This invaluable information helped me to prioritize my professional development efforts and improve my overall performance. I encourage you to see feedback as a form of intelligence gathering, and its use as a “sharpening of your saw”. Boost your career development and build up your career immunity by regularly treating yourself to a good serving of constructive feedback. Remember, feedback denied often translates into success delayed. • Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge


63

WORLD NEWS THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

Africa suffers from dearth of true leaders -Malawian President The President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, was recently in Nigeria to attend the summit of African First Ladies. In spite of the tight schedule, she took some time out to discuss the different crises facing the African continent with some journalists. Our Abuja Bureau Chief, Yomi Odunuga, was there. Excerpts:

F

ROM your position as a woman and President of Malawi, what do you think should be the role of the spouse of a President in this modern period? First, let me thank you for welcoming me to Nigeria. I have enjoyed the warmth and welcome. Secondly, it is a great honour for me to be here to be a keynote speaker at the first ladies’ summit. I have always felt that first ladies are another set of stakeholders that we need to take advantage of. This is the first time that this organ is being organised to promote peace. I feel that, if organised, that network can play a very important role, especially in influencing their spouses. Sometimes you find that issues that provoke conflicts on this continent are very minor and are things that a spouse can play a part in intervening. Sometimes it is out of greed. Sometimes it’s misunderstanding. I will want to take example of the first lady of this country. I have always heard and read about the things she is doing. The way she reaches out to the poor. Poverty is another area that can provoke conflicts. Lack of transparency and accountability is another area. Usually, the key person that people look to for accountability and transparency is the Head of State. I believe sincerely that the spouse can play a role in influencing the husband to be more considerate. As the husband takes care of matters of state, the spouse can reach out to the poor and help alleviate poverty and engage in programmes for the youths. The youths are strategic because they are the first ones that can provoke conflicts. I believe personally that first ladies of Africa have a very critical role to play and I also believe that we should not ignore them. The African Union must take into cognizance the role that they play. What is your impression of the summit? I think the issues they are going to discuss are

important. I believe one area I will recommend that they should add to the list of issues is the issue of the education of the girl-child. I have been promoting education of the girl-child in my country for the past 30 years, long before I went into politics or became the head of state. The reason is not only because of the future but a way of saving their lives. I believe that there are two issues. One, when a girl stays four more years, I don’t know about Nigeria; in a country like Malawi, primary education is free, but secondary education is not free. The poor girl-child goes to school up to standard six or standard eight, but cannot proceed up to secondary education. In that community that she lives, there is nothing else left for her than to think of getting married. So, a poor child gets married at 15 when she should still be growing up. Instead of postponing motherhood by four more years that she should have been in secondary school, she ends up incubating early. She ends up dying giving birth or ends up having serious complications because her body is not ripe. Secondly is the fact that we need our women to be educated and we need our women to participate in leadership. There is no way they can participate in leadership if they are not going to school. Are there other new things you want to talk about, like how to reduce conflicts such as terrorism and intertribal wars in Africa? I was privileged in March, 2012, just four weeks before I became President, to chair a dialogue in South Africa. We looked at post-conflicts, rehabilitation, reconciliation and economic recovery. I insisted at that meeting that what we need to be discussing across Africa is prevention. I think what is most critical for us as Africans is to have structures in our countries that will be the watchdogs that will see possible areas of conflicts and arrest them before they begin to spread out. That is

number one. Secondly is the fact that I have found that usually, it depends on who is at the seat. You will find that people fight for 20 years and then they come to the table and reconcile. They will ask themselves what was all the fighting about? I think the problem mainly is lack of accountability. I think when the gap between the rich and the poor is so wide and the rich are the one in the leadership, they don’t want to inform their people about what is going on. Where is the money? Why are many languishing in poverty, while others are rich beyond imagination? It is when those who are left out; those few left behind, those few uninformed begin to ask questions that conflict starts. They ask, where are the projects? How have you implemented the projects? It is the leadership that must change. Africa has had rulers for too long. We need leaders now. We need leaders that are home grown. In Africa, we have Botswana. Very few countries can boast the type of reserve Botswana has. They h a v e diamond. But even t h e i r succession process is smooth. You will never hear of strife in t h a t country. Essentially, it is the culture of leadership that you have. Do people trust it? Is it transparent enough? Is it reaching out? Is it generous enough to the people? Does it care about the well-being of the masses they claim to lead? Are they leading or are they ruling? You go into a country, where you cannot even speak with the President because he

is god. Whereas, when you go to another country, you can have a cup of tea with the Head of State. That is a leader. So, there is a difference between a ruler and a leader. A ruler is there; nobody can talk to him. He is like a god. You don’t know what he is doing. All you see is him changing cars and building mansions. The poor people will likely get organised and say ‘no, enough is enough. You can rule, but you cannot rule us.’ One of the problems facing Africa is poverty and many countries in the continent depend on foreign assistance to sustain their economies. How do we move away from this position? That is true and Malawi is one of those countries. In Malawi, 40 per cent of our budget is supported by donors. I have been saying since I became President that even the countries that give us the aid, are in problems themselves. We see it every day. For me, Africa is so rich. It is the continent of the 21st century. Africa needs to stand u n i t e d . Africa needs to move quickly from aid to trade. Africa needs to begin to build that capacity that w h e n anything goes wrong, at least, it should have the capacity to stand on its own. Thank God, we have examples on the continent. A country like Kenya, 95 per cent of its budget is selfgenerated. We know success stories on the continent of Africa. What the rest needs to do is to learn from those countries with success stories. We always find it easy to

“For me, we must have leaders on this continent not rulers. We must do away with dictators. We must ensure this continent does not tolerate any conflicts. We must find ways of preventing conflicts”

proffer solutions to these problems. We talk about wealth creation. We talk about poverty eradication. Yet, things are not changing. Where do the problems lie? Is it due to a seeming lack of political will on the part of those in government? I have always felt that we are moving slowly from this position to a position where we can become self-reliant. If you remember, in 1964, Kwame Nkrumah was pushing for industrialisation. Other countries opposed him saying that was wrong. At a time, there were coups. We have moved from coups to democracy. Where we are now is the position that we are not going to tolerate dictators anymore. We are not going to tolerate coups anymore. Structures have been put in place. There is ECOWAS. Now leaders know that they cannot take any short-cut. You must go through the ballot box. That, for me, is an achievement. That is progress. Now we have women presidents. That was unthinkable 20 years ago. For me that is progress. For me, I am not worried. I think we are making progress. How do you want to see Africa in the next 20 years? For example, in my country, I want to see men and women live as equals. They should be free because when you acquire political freedom, then you move very quickly and acquire economic freedom. Then the country acquires social and economic development. For me, I want to see a country where people are free in order to bring out their full economic potential. That will happen depending on how our democracy matures and how we grow our economy. How transparent we are and what kind of leaders we shall put in place. For me, we must have leaders on this continent not rulers. We must do away with dictators. We must ensure this continent does not tolerate any conflicts. We must find ways of preventing conflicts. That is why this

peace summit is very critical. The African Union should listen to their recommendations. What is the percentage of women in government in Malawi? Right now, we are at 25/ 26 per cent. When I served as foreign minister in 2006/2009, I was able to achieve 46 per cent in women in the diplomatic service. Before that time, I could not do anything. I could not perform. I have got 25 per cent representation in government. It is my intention to move very fast, especially in the diplomatic service. How is politics in Malawi? Turbulent or peaceful? The dialogue I chaired in South Africa was in the first week of March. The following week, I came back to Malawi. At that time, things were very bad and our relationship had deteriorated. Civil societies held a meeting around March 6 and 9, 2012, when they gave the President 60 days in which to either resign or call a referendum. He should call a referendum for people to decide whether they want him to continue or resign. That was how bad the situation was. Within the 60 days, before he was able to meet their demands, he died. I took over on the 7th of April after 48 hours of tension. We were on the brink of bloodshed. The Constitution was very clear. I have been sidelined for two years. Within 48 hours, they were trying to maneuver to choose somebody else and to ensure that they wouldn’t follow the Constitution. Unfortunately, in Malawi, a Vice-President is elected as well. The then President could not sack me. He just expelled me from his party. They were trying to use that to say that I could not become the President because they said that I was not in the party. So in 48 hours, it meant we had no leader. That was a breach of the Constitution. That was the time we can say there was tension. The moment I took oath, it was like a relief to everybody. So, the situation is quite normal now.


64

T

World News

HIS week, Kofi Annan announced his resignation as the UN/Arab League peace envoy to Syria. That he resigned was less surprising than his assumption of the forlorn mission. War crowds the air and there is little appetite for peace among the domestic Syrian and international players who could write an end to this martial chapter. For someone as cautious and wise as Annan, he must have been placed under extreme pressure to accept this hopeless assignment. Annan’s embassy was dead at the moment of its conception. Tired of being used by all sides and not properly utilized by any, the esteemed diplomat threw in the towel. It is better to cede to failure than to have his name further linked with a diplomatic futility that had become a perverse sideshow to a full blown war. Yet, this outcome was apparent months ago. Last February, this column asserted: “Syrian clearly is at war with itself. At the same time, competing international powers have made of Syria a proxy battle to alter the regional and global balance of power. Already too many people have died and more will. Some people have reduced this to a battle of good versus evil, of the advent of democracy versus perennial despotism. Others counter that this is a contest of order versus chaos, of secularity versus religious extremism. The arguments of both sides do little but add ballast to the heavy self-righteousness of their proponents. Neither side admits to the narrowness of its own self-interests yet each paints the broadest condemnation of the other. War is hell and Truth is an angel. Thus, where War is, Truth will not be. What is generally said about the Syrian crisis has more to do with the speaker’s subjective views than with what is actually taking place in Syria… The nation tears apart...We must realize Syria is already gripped by civil war. Western nations want to ignore this fact so they can continue to berate Assad for massacring his own people. To admit this is civil war would be to admit Assad has the right to combat those against him.” This statement is truer now than when it was written. The constantly pounding of western media that Assad “was killing his own people” has been a source of foul bemusement; this sermonizing has been nothing if not an inane and cynical. Throughout history, it has been found to be extremely difficult to prosecute a civil war without “killing your own people.” Internecine lethality is the essence of the thing. If killing fellow citizens disqualifies Assad from office, the same prohibition should objectively apply to his opponents, the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA). Months ago, a Human Rights Watch report condemned the FSA for illegally executing regime soldiers and sympathizers. The UN has reported that the FSA commonly used child soldiers. One FSA commander admitted to releasing prisoners in order to provide them secretly booby-trapped or bombladen cars, thus turning the ill-fated parolees into unsuspecting suicide bombers upon returning to their pro-Assad redoubts. However, mainstream media buried these stories because it wanted to portray the Syrian opposition as paragons of democratic virtue. The way the media has lionized the opposition is as if Solon, Pericles, Thomas Paine, George Washington and the fife and bugle corps from the American revolutionary army were leading the march on Damascus. Finally, even the mainstream media had to admit the cracks in this canard when social media sites became flooded with images of a FSA mob executing regime sympathiz-

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Syria and Iran: After the fire, disaster looms It takes one lie to start a war but many truths to end it

•Karzai By Brian Browne ers and informal militia. Corporate media outlets were forced to broadcast the news or risk being identified for the well-paid propagandists they are. Yet, paid too handsomely to be deterred by the truth, Western media discounted the murders as merely the unfortunate but inevitable eruption of indignation on the part of the purported freedom fighters. In other words, Assad was to be blamed for the wrongs committed by his enemies upon his own supporters. In this whole episode, Assad has been painted as the protégé of Mephistopheles while the FSA is pictured as the epitome of rebellious propriety, save for the occasional yet excusable execution of unarmed people. In too many ways to be coincidental, corporate media’s coverage of Syria is redolent of the slanted work they performed in Libya. In both nations, Western reporters claimed without reservation or doubt that the vast majority of people backed the rebellions. Without precise opinion polling or an election, how could they arrive at this weighty conclusion? Their verdict has been worse than guesswork. It is their own subjective bias misrepresented and globally broadcast as fact. In the lexicon of the Cold War, this would be deemed propaganda intended to so concentrate the public mind on the vileness of the extant leader that the public blinds itself to the warts on the opposition and those supporting it. The media is nonchalant about the veracity of their assertion because the media’s function is not to inform the public. Its role is to condition the public’s mind so that we will agree with subsequent decisions taken by the West and its local allies even before the decisions are made. If the media does its job well enough, we will be deceived into clamoring for the West to take the steps it had already connived to make. Our opinions will have been shaped outside of our minds and without our knowledge. We are deluded into legitimizing policies that should be denigrated. We are told the FSA is making great strides in capturing territory although this stew of ragtag irregulars is outmanned and underequipped. These claims are brought forth to gain public sympathy and underscore the right-

•Ahmadinejad eousness of the FSA cause. In general, our heart pulls for the underdog and the advance of an inferior army implies that it is being led by a power higher and more august than mere human exertion and ambition. This is the meat of dreams and novels. However, such claims are largely bogus and have fragile connection to reality. To believe the FSA is living off the land and fighting by using weapons confiscated from Assad’s army is to believe Robin Hood and his merry men have been transported across time to be reincarnated on the arid steppes of Syria. The FSA gained ground after receiving considerable foreign assistance. Reports that the FSA has been left to its own devices is false advertising intended to obscure that the rebellion is the beneficiary of foreign action. The reports are ploys to detract our attention. When an accomplished thief makes an obvious gesture toward your spouse’s purse with his left hand, you should realize he has already lifted your wallet with his right. This week’s report that President Obama signed a directive authorizing covert operations in Syria is one such feign. The report was presented as breaking news. In fact, it is old history. Washington wants us to believe that, because of the gains of the opposition, America decided only now to become more supportive by initiating clandestine operations. The reality is something different. As in Libya, underthe-radar, covert assistance has been ongoing for several months. Thus, the recent news flash was akin to writing home to tell the folks your wife is pregnant — after she has delivered the baby. Western covert agents and military advisors have been on the ground molding the FSA into a more lethal weapon. Fighters from Libya and Al Qaeda subsidiaries throughout the Middle East have trickled in by the hundreds if not thousands. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO member Turkey supply money, materiel and logistical support. During the Libya fracas, corporate media ran ceaseless stories about Gaddafi’s troops amassing to let loose massacre on the city of Benghazi. Gaddafi’s alleged plan to decimate that city was used to stir the international community into action, thus rationalizing NATO’s incursion. Yet, there was

no evidence of Gaddafi plans to attack the citizenry. Objective indicators were that he sought to battle, brutally and without quarter, those fighting against him. The purported massacre was fiction, a wellbaked pretext for NATO’s incursion. Today, the media makes the same noises about an impending massacre in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. There is no concrete evidence that Assad intends wholesale slaughter in the city. In fact, much of the city has been long considered an Assad stronghold. Why would he set fire to his own supporters when he is locked in a death match with domestic and external enemies? It makes little sense. However, the claim is being trumpeted to maneuver public opinion in the direction where it will gladly support the significant and overt expansion anti-Assad intervention in Syria. These observations are not made to abet Assad. This ancient land must be particularly accursed to have suffered first under the homicidal father then a son who has sadly remained obedient to his father’s benighted creed. Bashar is a savage in a business suit, a gargoyle in elegant attire. He gets no defense because he deserves none. However, just because he is bad does not mean those opposing him are any good. They may be no better than he. Most of the wars and battles that man has suffered were not of good versus evil or democracy versus despotism. War usually pits one ruthless, ambitious foe against another. During the first chapter of WWII, Hilterite Germany attacked Stalinist Soviet Union. Certainly, Stalin was depraved, but the German attack was not one of liberation versus oppression. It was a battle pitting the madman of Berlin against the maniac of Moscow; it was a fight between Hades and Hell. Those stuck in the middle would catch both Hades and Hell. That average Syrians are trapped in a similarly lethal vise is more a likelihood than in believing the opposition is comprised of leaders with the pleasant civic disposition of lifelong Rotary Club members. Syria has always be a tough street in a harsh neighborhood. Rival sects and clans are the basic currency of its politics. Retention of power is the lodestar. The political culture prizes intrigue, a strong fist and a long memory for insults and slights. It is naïve to think FSA lead-

ers, many of whom are recent defectors from Assad, have changed their fundamental outlook. If you cannot see their spots and stripes, it is because the media has applied a liberal amount of paint to them. However, these people are what they are. No amount of public relations make-up can make that ugly fact disappear. It is also wise to discount the importance of the purported democrats comprising the Syrian National Council, the political equivalent of the FSA. In this situation, civilians operating in exile have little sway over FSA commanders. The man on the ground with gun in hand literally calls the shots. The assuring interviews by SNC leaders speaking about a new democratic Syria guarantee nothing. Even if they are not being disingenuous, they speak only for themselves. In a war, he who wins victory at the point of his bayonet dictates the peace. The warrior rarely yields power to those who did not join him in the martial risk. Should Assad fall, it will be the commanders and brigands of the FSA, not the dapper exiles in London and Paris, who decide what comes next. Western nations are not fixated on removing Assad because it will cause democracy to blossom in Syria. They care less about democracy or the welfare of the Syrian people. That staunchly authoritarian Saudi Arabia, at America’s behest, is the primary bankroller of the opposition scuttles any notion of a democratic awakening. The truth be told, Israel also supports the antiAssad undertaking. The goal is not to remake Syria, the goal is to cripple her. Syria is Iran’s primary Arab ally. Reducing Syria to a state of perpetual turmoil undermines Iran’s quest for leadership in the Middle East. With Israel no longer as sure of Egypt as in the past, keeping Syria roiled lends Israel some breathing room and affords more time for temporizing on peace talks with Syria and the Palestinians. As long as Syria is a mess, talks regarding the Golan Heights and the waters of the Jordan are on hold. This breaks to Israel’s advantage. Moreover, with Assad preoccupied with his own survival, he cannot afford the luxury of being the conduit of Iranian subvention to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. In a material way, Assad is not in hot water because of his governance but because of his connection to Iran. Years ago, American conservative strategists identified Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria as nations in need of acute remodeling. Iraq and Libya have already walked the plank. Their despots have been ousted but what followed in their wake has also been far from salubrious. Now Syria has been given an appointment with the executioner. Although its leader is depraved, we should be wary of this development. Powerful nations now cynically manipulate international human rights law — the international duty to protect civilians — to advance selfish geopolitical interests that have nothing to do human rights. These governments have arrogated to themselves the right to determine which other governments have the legal right to fight civil wars. As brutal as civil wars may be, the international community must exercise a degree of circumspection. International law, especially human rights law, was never intended to become a cudgel by which strong nations directly determine the leadership of weaker ones. This practice would make law so subservient to power politics that there would be no law. In the end, the desires of power-hungry and self-righteous men do more damage when they are realized than when they are defeated.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

65

An evening with Lagos Police PPRO, Ngozi Braide

EBERE WABARA

WORDSWORTH T 08055001948

ewabara@yahoo.com

2012 Olympic Games D AILY Sun Front Page of August 1committed this voiceless blunder: “Zara, Queen’s granddaughter, wins Olympics silver” London 2012 Olympic Games (adjectival circumstance—only before noun): Olympic silver. The Guardian Editorial of July 31 intervened this week with four flying contributions: “The CBN had, while injecting the fund to (into) to the sector, said that (sic)....” “There is no doubt that the aviation industry is facing very severe financial crisis.” Conscience, Nurtured by Truth: a very severe financial crisis or severe financial crises. “...ageing aircrafts and high operating costs.” ‘Aircraft’ is noncount. “Of all the first generation (a hyphen, please) universities, OAU is arguably the one that was able to preserve its known ideology for the longest.” I do not agree with the usage of ‘arguably’ by a majority of Nigerian writers. The explanation I got from one of the country’s frontline editors sometime ago was not convincing: when you have points to justify your claims, it becomes arguable and when there are no justifications, you employ ‘unarguably.’ If you are sure of your statement, make it declarative by jettisoning ‘arguably.’ And if you are unsure, do not make claims. If you do, be ready to argue it elsewhere when confronted (not in your contribution). For the avoidance of doubt, ‘arguable’ (adjective) and its adverb (arguably) mean: ‘…for which good, if not necessarily convincing, reasons may be found/ open to doubt/not certainly, but reasonably held to be.’ (Source: THE NEW LEXICON WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 2011) My grouse about this excerpt is the intrinsic element of doubt. “Guinea elected a president in an election that witnessed series of crises and postponements.” (Blueprint, July 23) The long road to democracy: a series of crises and postponements. THISDAY of July 19

contained a gaffe: “In one breathe, there are those who are still….” Take a fresh breath before we continue. “…it was a soothing balm.” (THE GUARDIAN, July 19) What else do balms do apart from soothing? The next three blunders are from THISDAY of July 20: “It is however a consensus opinion that the home, that is parents, should bear the prime responsibility of introducing the subject.” For grammatical sanity, jettison ‘opinion’ from the extract. “The occasion was held in Victoria Island.” Get it right: on Victoria Island. “The accused policeman was said to have actually demanded for N10,000 before he was….” Simply yank off ‘for’ from the excerpt. “Mark advocates for more states” ‘Advocacy’ in the verbal context does not take ‘for’. “Two arrested over heroin seizure at Lagos Port” (THISDAY, July 20) Very soon, I will arrest THISDAY editors for (not over) juvenile mistakes. The July 21 edition of THE NATION ON SATURDAY entertained four unwholesome lines: “…she opens up on how she gained entry into the world of make-belief….” Grammar is not make-believe. “…the food situation in the continent….” Classical writing: on the continent “Conspicuously absent at the wedding reception was former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and his children….” Three issues: ‘Conspicuously absent’ is sheer illiteracy! (Absent at the….). ‘Military president’ can only come from a confused head. We can talk of military leader or military ruler (not the contradictory and vexatious extract). Finally, IBB and his children deserve plural treatment (were, not was). TheNEWS of July 23 offered its readers an incorrect line: “…Ciroma will continue to advocate for a Northern president.” Yank off ‘for’ in the interest of our diseased democracy. “Producing ice-blocks without tears” (Newswatch, July 23) English without tears: ice cubes (not blocks).

Nigerian Tribune of June 30 advertised two offensive lines: “Unfortunately, the reality in Nigeria today is: who will throw the first stone?” The hard fact: cast the first stone. “Customs intercept tanker load (what happened to the hyphen?) of drugs” The Nigeria Customs Service is an entity. So, NCS intercepts…. From DAILY CHAMPION of June 30 come the next four gaffes: “Fasehun commends Jonathan over....” The commendation for (not over) the verdict should go to the judiciary. “A masquerade cooling off with pure water after a street show….” (BUSINESSDAY, July 23) Just two things: a masquerader…and sachet (or packaged) water. ‘Pure water’ is Nigerian English and smacks of cerebral infantilism. THISDAY of July 3 contained two blunders: “…is aspiring for the gubernatorial (governorship, preferably) seat in the state under (on) the platform of ANPP.” “Fayemi orders for reduction of fees at UNAD” Let us delete ‘for’ in the interest of scholarship. FROM MY SMS PORTAL Thanks for your very educative column. It is a shame that newspapers publish all these gaffes. What is the work of their editors? I used to advise students to read novels, magazines and newspapers. Not anymore! (Dr. Inyang Etoh, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State) Your lengthy reaction to the anonymous respondent on the issue of the count and uncountable nature of ‘property’ was rather gratuitous, as his assertion on the subject must be a reflection of his shallow knowledge of English language. At best, he should have been referred to the dictionary meanings of the word as you did in your paragraph two, and hope that he and others like him would learn something this time. Considering the plethora of ludicrous assumptions and views of the numerous arm-chair critics that abound in Nigeria on every subject under the sun—from football to astrology—are prepared to be upset every Sunday? Do not allow anyone to frustrate your laudable efforts. (Max U z o r / A b u j a / 07067789391)

HE first female Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Conchita Braide, a

By Olusegun Rapheal

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), last weekend, was hosted to a dinner by

Young Achievers Nigeria magazine at Rumours Night Club, GRA Ikeja, Lagos.

•L-R: Dan Okoro, Ngozi Braide and Ibrahim Adeduntan

• Tony Ngwolo and Chief Uzoma Nwadike, Braide’s father

PHOTOS:Olusegun Rapheal

•Imo State NYSC Co-ordinator, Mrs Chinwe Ojukwu, (right) with the camp director Mrs. Comfort Chukwuka at a welcome party organised by Guinness Nigeria Plc for corps members in the state, recently.


66

THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012


THE NATION ON SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

67


68

WORSHIP THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

NEWS

P

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan should be pitied for being alone in the sea of problems caused by the Boko Haram insurgency, Chairman Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in Oyo State, Bishop Taiwo Adelakun, has stated. Adelakun, who is the head of Victory International Church, Ibadan, spoke with reporters yesterday on the annual convention of the church slated for August 5 to 12. According to him, Jonathan should be pitied because he is surrounded by some people who have their loyalty either to Boko Haram or other interests. He urged Christians to pray for the President, say-

INTERVIEW

‘Jonathan deserves ‘Why RCCG is stronger at 60’ of Lagos Province 9 of the Redeemed sympathy, prayer’ Pastor-in-Charge Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Oluremi Olubola, From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

ing his disclosure that some top government officials have sympathy for the radical Islamic sect should be a cause of worry for Nigerians. Adelakun explained that the prevailing situation in the country informed the choice of the theme chosen for this year’s convention which is “Born to win.” The cleric observed that the situation in Nigeria today has made citizens lose hope.

According to him: “The Church owes him prayer for him to succeed because the spate of violence, especially in the northern parts of the country, is targeted at making sure he does not succeed in his transformation plan. “The President should be bold enough to reform his cabinet to reflect loyalty while he should be bold enough to expose those sympathetic to Boko Haram in other arms of government for the security agents to treat them accordingly.’’

Cleric to Northern leaders: checkmate Boko Haram

T

HE Area Superintendent of The Apostolic Church, Nigeria, Iju station Lagos, Pastor Aniedi Akpan, appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to devise workable dialogue with the Northern elites in the fight against insecurity in most parts of the region. Akpan said engaging the region’s political and religious leaders will tackle the Boko Haram insurgency that has crippled socio and economic activities in the North. He spoke at the 5th annual convention of the church recently. . The event with the theme Do all things without murmuring and disputing attracted thousands from Lagos and Ogun States. Akpan faulted the recent plans by the federal government to engage members of

By Adeola Ogunlade

the radical Islamic sect in dialogue. Boko Haram members, he said, are thugs who do not understand the pathway to peace but violence in driving home their grievances. According to him:“we are tired of the needless killings, maiming and destruction of lives and properties in most parts of the North, which have continued to throw the nation into mourning and fear, hindering development in any society.’’ The cleric noted that the Northern elites across party and religious divides have a socio and moral responsibility to identify members of the sect and call them to order in the interest of national peace and stability.

He also challenged church leaders across the country to continue preaching the truth and avoid monetising the gospel for self aggrandisement. Akpan asserted that the present socio-economic challenges facing the country are results of the increasing cases of unchecked abomination and atrocities permeating churches across the country. Akpan, who was recently given an award by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as one of the most distinguished pastors in Africa, said: " the church in Nigeria can be repositioned to be relevant in Africa’s development if church leaders get back to the old landmarks where repentance, restitution, holiness and fear of God were the priorities.’’

Church donates drugs to communities

D

RUGS worth over N150, 000 were last week donated by the Zone 12, Ogun Province 4 headquarters of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) to communities under its jurisdictions. This was in fulfillment of the province’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the outgoing year. The exercise attracted many residents of the communities within the province. The Provincial Pastor, Henry Adeyemo, explained the gesture was to put smiles on the faces of indigent residents.

By Sunday Oguntola

According to him: “asides from bringing smiles and joy to the heart of the families, we also want to bring the word of hope and encouragement from our Master Jesus to the families around.’’ He added that the CSR was anchored on the instructions of Christ in Acts 10: 38 to go about doing good. ‘’We don’t want to just preach the Word but make sure lives are affected and touched by the church’s generosities.” Recounting the many strides of the province, Adeyemo said it has em-

WHAT AND WHERE? Oguntade, Braithwaite speak on insecurity

R

ETIRED Justice of the Supreme Court, George Oguntade and former Presidential candidate, Dr Tunji Braithwaite, will lead other discussants at the annual lecture of the St. Jude Ebute Metta, Lagos. The lecture holds today at the 145-year-old church. Oguntade will speak on

“Between pacifism and militancy: How Nigerian Christians can protect their faith, persons and churches”. Other discussants are the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Lagos Mainland, Rt. Rev Adebayo Akinde, who is the special guest of honour, scholars and academics.

barked on provision of potable water through the sinking of two boreholes for churches in Ewu-Lisa axis, Bisodun village in Ofada axis. There were also tutorial classes designed for students preparing for WAEC and JAMB examinations. He said the province also visited prisons last April. The visit, according to Adeyemo, was ‘’quite an eye opener.’’ The Assistant Pastor of the Province in charge of CSR, Pastor Ebenezer Olusola, restated the provincial commitment to uplifting lives. He said the exercise was reinforced by the instruction of the church’s General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, to employ CSR as a veritable vehicle to propagate the gospel. Olusola said: ‘’We shall not relent in our efforts at putting smiles on the faces of our host communities. ‘’We shall also make sure that members benefit from all the church programmes aimed at making life more meaningful for them.”

spoke with Adewale Adeyinka on the 60th annual convention of the church holding on 6th-12th August. Excerpts:

W

HAT is the secret of the growth of the RCCG 60 years after, despite the death of its founder many years ago? Well, in RCCG, we believe in divine appointment. Since it was God who appointed the current General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, and was not elected by man to succeed the founding General Superintendent, Rev. Josiah Akindayomi, that means God had a hand in him. Once God is involved in anything, it will work. If it was man, there would have been chaos. So, it has been a divine appointment. It is God who picked and chose him, not man. That is why we didn’t have much acrimony that attends succession in other churches. Would you say the vision and mission of the church are on course 60 years after? Let us look at this from the vision statement of the church. First, it is for us to make heaven. Second, to take as many people as possible to heaven and the third is that we want to have members of RCCG in every home throughout the world. For us to achieve the first one, - that is to make heaven, holiness is our watchword and our habit. You cannot go to heaven without being holy. So, to achieve number one vision, you must be holy. Now, to achieve the second and third visions - to take as many as possible to heaven and to also have members of the church in every home in the world- we came up with the strategy of church planting. What we are saying is not enough to win souls but those souls won must have a place to worship so that they can grow spiritually. For this reason, we say let us have churches planted

C

HRISTIAN and Islamic clerics last week attended a one- day symposium organised by the Ecumenical /Inter religious Dialogue Commission, an arm of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Oyo State, with the theme: Violence and insecurity in Nigeria: a religious concern. Participants were drawn from Oyo, Ogbomoso, and Oke-Ogun areas. The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese, Most Reverend Emmanuel Badejo, said Boko Haram insurgency has generated accusations and counteraccusations among Christian and Muslims. The guest speaker, Dr. Tunde Ayeleru, an associate professor of the Department of

•Olubola

in five minutes walking distance in developing countries of the world. The idea is that once somebody gives his/her life to Christ, he should not be going far looking for a place to worship God, so as not to be discouraged by distance. We don’t want people, after giving their lives to Christ, to have excuse of the church being far from them to worship and grow. And it has been working. So, God is helping and the project is working. What are the things in store for those contemplating attending the 60th convention of the church? We can look at it from the theme of the programme: Come Up Higher. The idea is that no matter where you are now (your level in life), God wants you to come up; and if you are doing well spiritually, finan-

cially or physically, God is saying come up higher still. Nobody can say he has got it all. God is always asking us to come up higher irrespective of our level now. Part of the things he has for us during this year’s convention is that He wants to draw us closer to Himself so that we can have a more meaningful life, to serve the community better and have victory in our daily life. The theme speaks for itself. It addresses everybody’s issues believers and non believers. For those who have not given their lives to God, God is saying “come up higher to me; take my yoke, my yoke is light.” We expect God to give us jubilee miracles such as healing, salvation, blessing, prosperity etc. These God has guaranteed for those who will come in faith. And nobody will be disappointed in Jesus name.

NEWS Forum identifies obstacles to peace, security From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

European Studies, University of Ibadan, noted that spiritual poverty accounts for more than 90% of insecurity and high incidences of material poverty in Nigeria. According to him: “Our leaders do not care for those being governed but rather concentrate on amassing illgotten wealth. “They do not care about the plight of the people. The rate of unemployment among our graduates is very alarming while social amenities are either non-existing or decay-

ing. “Poverty is terribly ravaging on the down-trodden. Remember, devil finds work for the idle hands.” An Islamic scholar in OkeOgun area, Alhaji Amuzat Kazeem, attributed violent cases in the nation to “disregard for sanctity of human lives.” He commended the Catholic Diocese for the timely interactive forum, which he said would go a long way in harmonising mutual co-existence among religious organisations.


69

Worship

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012

Overcoming the strongman

Pastor Amanda Ogunro

TOTAL FREEDOM

W

HO is the strongman? Humanly, a strongman is a man who is stronger than his opponent. He knows much about him, his weaknesses and his strength and therefore knows where to hit him. The strongman in Mark 3:27 is Satan and his demonic power. His goods are his captives. “Spoiling his house” refers to setting at liberty those who are enslaved to satan. This power over satan is especially evident in the casting out of demons or evil spirits. Now, let us examine the characteristics of a strongman: The Characteristics of the Strongman (1) He is very subtle, deceitful, crafty, a liar, trickster, cunning, wicked, evil and steadfast. (2) He has the power to manipulate and influence your mind in order to lure you into his stronghold. His strongholds are within your thoughts. Satan operates through one’s thoughts to defile one’s life. We learn from Mark 3:27 that the strongman also has a house. The house of the strongman is built to secure his goods. His goods are his captives, that is, the spirits of humans and their possessions. The most important of these stolen goods are the human spirits held bound. This is what I call “Spirits in Prison” However, because Jesus cannot physically come down, each time we are engaged in this battle, He has given us His power to use. Jesus has thus made this provision for us by His crucifixion, death and resurrection. With His blood, he brought salvation, deliverance, healing and restoration of broken lives. John 19:30. Before Jesus left for heaven, He found another personality, another comforter, the

Holy Spirit, to help us because He knew satan was on earth. John 14:16. So the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God, continues to be with us. Thus, the revelations, communion, comradeship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit are indirectly with Jesus. Hebrew 13:5. He left for heaven to represent us before the Father as our high priest, advocate and intercessor. We are connected to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. We can only get this power by receiving Him, believing in His word and His name. John 1:12. When you thus exercise by faith the authority and power in His word and His name in this spiritual battle, Jesus will automatically appear in person at the battle scene, though invisible. He is with you to fight the battle on your behalf and win. The word of fire in your mouth is destructive to satan, his demons and their powers. Jeremiah 23:29. Victory is yours not because of you but because Jesus has already fought on your behalf. This is what 1 Timothy 6:12 talks about when it says “fight the good fight of faith ...” Fight is never good, rather fight is ugly but in this case, your fight with the devil is good because Jesus has already fought and given you victory. Thus, you bind the strongman in Jesus Name. Mathew 18:18. Jesus has given you a legal right with power over the forces of darkness. Luke 10:19. As long as you are a genuinely born again child of God and without any spiritual strings or attachments, victory is sure. Colossians 2:15. Spiritual strings or attachment refer to ancestral or inherited covenants/ curses or a direct covenant cut with the devil. Without a genuine salvation, that is, if your salvation is partial, or worse, you are born again only with your lips, the strongman will be a very hard nut to crack. It is your sincere salvation that brings about the Holy Spirit’s in-dwelling. It is God’s desire for the strongman to let go of the goods in his house but you have a very important part to play in this battle. The Lord has promised in His written word that all the lawful goods in the strongman’s house will be taken away by Jesus, the Lord of Hosts. Jesus does not beg the strongman to release the goods in his house.

NEWS

• Mrs. Abraham with the SUV

Rather, He commands the goods to be released by force. Luke 11:22. The hold of Jesus is His Name where there is protection and safety only for the righteous. Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” How to overcome the strongman By the word of God. 1. Jesus is the word of God. He defeated satan by the written word of God. Matthew 4:4. 2. By the blood of Jesus. – The strongman is not afraid of anything and nothing could overcome him in heaven before he was cast out but by the blood of Jesus. Revelation 12:10-11. Apply the blood on yourself and your possession and victory will be sure. By the anointing (the 3. Holy Spirit). - It is the anointing that removes the burden and destroys the yoke. E.g. Yoke of oppression, sickness, joblessness etc Isaiah 10:27. By faith. – The 4. strongman is a mountain just like Goliath to the children of Israel. David defeated him by faith in God. You can also defeat whatsoever strongman by faith. Mark 11:22-24. 5. Persistent prayer. – Daniel refused to give up until answer came from above because of the strongman of Persia. Daniel 10:12-13, Luke 18:1 6. By prayer and fasting. The strongman is easily cast out without resistance but not in all cases. There are terrible and powerful demons that must be defeated by prayer and fasting before they leave. Matthew 17:19-21. 7. Deliverance. Deliverance means freedom from your enemies. Luke 13:11-12. Are you crippled in the spirit, in your relationship with God or in your marriage? I say to you, man or woman, thou art loosed from your infirmity in Jesus name! Next month, I will be teaching on the Power to Set Free I know you have been blessed by this teaching. Write and share your testimony with Pastor Amanda Ogunro. Rivers of Living Water Ministries, P.M.B 2854 Surulere, Lagos or call 018401701, or email- info@rlwm.org . Visit our website on www.rlwm.org

How to connect Divine help(3) Bishop Wale-Oke

DIVINE MESSAGE

S

ERVE Him With All Your Heart Finally, if you really want God’s help, you have to serve the Lord with all your heart and all your soul. Serving Him by obeying the word of His command. Serving Him by winning souls to Christ. Serving Him by paying your tithes, giving your firstfruit and your generous offerings to support missions and worldwide evangelism. Serving Him by building the house of your God, raising His altar wherever you can. The help of the Lord is made available to you so that you may serve Him acceptably, effectively, productively, above all other reasons. If indeed your heart is willing and ready to truly serve the Lord, He will pour His help upon you in very amazing ways. He has said in His word that if you will obey and serve Him, He will make you to spend your days in prosperity and your years in pleasure (Job 36:11). He promised that if you serve Him with all your might, then He will bless your bread and water, and keep you healthy and strong, free from every form of sickness and disease (Exo. 23:25). He promised that if you will truly serve Him,

then you will not serve your enemies, but rather you will have dominion over all your adversaries (Deuteronomy 28:47-48). Those who truly served Him found His help. If you too will truly serve Him, He will help you indeed. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee (Exodus 23:25). If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures (Job 36:11). Win Souls For Christ Soulwinning was the main task Jesus our Lord left for all His true disciples. In five places in the scriptures, He asked all His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:15-20, Mark 16:15-20, Luke 24:46-49, John 20:21, Acts 1:8). That it was repeated again and again by our Lord after His glorious resurrection shows how important and dear to the heart of God the matter of soulwinning is. God does not want anyone to perish. Rather, He wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). To underscore how important soulwinning is, Jesus Christ said that there is great joy in heaven when one sinner repents and turns to God (Luke 15:7,10). The surest way you can make heaven to rejoice is by winning souls to Christ. You endear yourself to God when you are a consistent soul winner, and this

will put the help of all of heaven at your disposal. When our Lord Jesus gave the command that we should go into all the world and preach the gospel, it was with a promise of His abiding presence, to work with us. He said “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). His glorious presence is always with someone who is truly committed to soulwinning. And there is no way the glorious presence of God will be with you and you are not helped in all your ways. When the presence of God is with you, you succeed and prosper in all that you do. You enjoy uncommon favour. You make progress. Eventually, you become truly great. That was the story of Joseph (Genesis 39: 2-5, 21-23). That was the experience of David (II Samuel 5:10). That was exactly what happened with Jesus when He was on earth in the flesh, to secure our redemption (Acts 10:38). That was the testimony of His early disciples when they obeyed His command to go and preach the gospel. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen (Mark 16:20). For further information, counseling and prayer, please contact me on telephone number: +234 816 308 7780, +234 816 363 6364 or send an email to bishopwaleoke@sotsm.com. You may also write to P.M.B 60, Agodi Post Office, Ibadan.

WHAT AND WHERE?

Gospel Baptist marks 40th anniversary

T

HE 40th anniversary of the Gospel Baptist Conference of Nigeria and Overseas holds from August 7-17th. The anniversary, which holds at Chapel of Great Commission, Awe, Oyo State, will feature ordination of minis-

ters, special thanksgiving and outstanding service merit awards. The Archbishop/President of the church, Most (Rev) Magnus Atilade, in a statement, said the theme of the celebration is go forward… God leads.

There will also be special fund raising for evangelism and development on Thursday. Atilade said: ‘’The anniversary will afford us the opportunity to appraise our journey so far and restragise for greater exploits.”

NEWS Church leader gives widow N7m SUV

T

HERE was intense excitement last Sunday at the Omega Power Ministries, Port-Harcourt when the founder/General Overseer, Apostle Dr Chibuzor Chinyere, handed over the key of an Infinity Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) valued at over N7 million to a poor widow. Chinyere had called out a woman always sweeping the altar during the service to step forward. Kogi-born Madam Abraham stepped out thinking she was going to be prayed for. To the amazement of the congregation, the general overseer dangled the key of a white Infinity SUV with registration number QX 56 to the poor widow, a petty trader. The euphoria that greeted the gesture lasted for hours. The overjoyed beneficiary rolled on the floor, praising God. She said: “I am a petty trader and I sell Akamu (pap)

By Sunday Oguntola

and Akara (Bean cake) beside God’s Power in Rupkoku Area of Port Harcour. ‘’I am a widow with four children; three ladies and a young man, I live at Rukpoko in a one bedroom, commonly called face me I face you.’’ She went on: ‘’ I met with the man of God eight years ago through my eldest daughter Mrs. Patience Ayaowe, who was searching for fruit of the womb, having married for five years without conceiving. ‘’The man of God prayed for my daughter and she became pregnant and delivered successfully.’’ ‘’On another occasion, I was privileged to meet with the Apostle again when I had problems concerning the claim of my late husband’s gratuity. ‘’He prayed over the issue and one week later, my late husband’s gratuity was released to me. I became a bonafide member of OPM sometime in 2007".

The widow said she had developed interest in the work of God over the years, which informed her decision to join the sanitation department. According to her, ‘’I work with an open heart not expecting to please anybody but God. ‘’I took delight in cleaning and sweeping the church, particularly the altar of God. I did this service to God not minding if I was noticed. ‘’Unknown to me God was watching and compiling my book of record waiting for a particular day to reward me with a surprise that will transform my life forever. ‘’Today, I am going home with a car I have never dreamt to get in the whole of my life through the servant of God”. Her eldest daughter, Mrs. Patience Ayaowei: ‘’I have made history. I was the first to join OPM in my family and I brought my mum alongside my other siblings. ‘’I have no regrets on the steps and I am grateful to God for the great man of God’’.


http://www.thenationonlineng.net

QUOTABLE “It is curious that OBJ and IBB would prefer to address their deep concerns about Boko Haram to citizens, rather than to the country's Commander-In-Chief at the Council of State, if nowhere else.”

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 7, NO. 2208

—Ropo Sekoni.

I

N an archetypal sermon delivered on July 22, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly bemoaned the sorry pass in which Nigeria has been dragged by the misrule of the President Goodluck Jonathan government. Suspecting that the president was incapable of arresting the drift, the pastor advised him to resign. “He (Jonathan) deserves our sympathy, our prayers and whatever else we can honourably and legally do to make sure he gets back to his home-base safely,” wailed Bakare. “Mr. President may be doing his best but the impact is not felt anywhere except in the bank accounts of oil vultures, his corrupt political allies and corporate cowboys.” The State Security Service (SSS) probably felt the pastor was impertinent and so he was invited for a chat in their Lagos office where he was counselled to tone down the stridency of his political messages from the pulpit. The pastor admittedly leaves everyone in a quandary. It is doubtful whether any of us, the SSS, or Bakare himself knows exactly in what capacity the pastor delivers his pungent messages and sermons. There are times when to his audience his exegeses retain their precision and even perfection, and they soothe the wearied souls of Nigerians reeling under the profligacy and cruelty of the federal government. There are also times when to the SSS his sermons seem driven by the catalysing influence of the pastor’s position as convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), a politicising non-governmental organisation that fights misrule with the hybrid weapon of liberation theology. And it seems obvious to us that there are also times when to Bakare himself his sermons can neither be pigeonholed, given its sometimes syncretic veneer, nor its momentum controlled, given its unlimited popularity with the public. But whether as a politician or pastor, Bakare’s fiery messages have seldom been unlawful. They may sometimes seem insurrectional to government, disagreeable to social and political conservatives, and unduly excitable and excessive to traditionalists, particularly in the Christian faith. It cannot, however, be denied that as a lawyer he always knew where to draw the line between legality and illegality. Even if his exegesis can be questioned, he knows that his constitutional right to dislike Jonathan’s policies and methods, or to call for his resignation or impeachment, can neither be questioned nor abridged. More than this, he knows that in any battle between himself and the state, the state is more likely to be worsted at every turn, for the public will ask whether the state wants to regulate sermons it has no spiritual facilities to interpret, or whether it wants to take away free speech guaranteed by the constitution. It is not a surprise Bakare returned from the SSS lair hardened. The pastor is an agreeably conceited man who, with Pauline fervor, believes his sermons are generally unimpeachable. Though he comes across as being endowed with the gift of teaching rather than the gift of prophecy, he exercises

Dame Patience misses the point

F Pastor Bakare and the SSS

•Jonathan

•Bakare

his spiritual liberty to cross from one territory to another in the fashion of someone with a much deeper understanding of the nature and course of spiritual gifts. He has never been dissuaded by the controversies that attend his teachings, considering how he has taken on far more popular preachers than he and not come out clearly as winner; nor has his zeal for prophesies been attenuated by the fog of their disputed outcomes and lack of precision. Such a man, the SSS should have known, was not likely to be incommoded by the threats or admonitions of either the secret service or even the presidency itself. Indeed, the SSS is unwise to call for a toning down of pastoral messages simply because they appear uncomplimentary to the president. The messages do not instigate division in the country nor incite sectarian violence. They are admittedly hard on a president who is deemed, no matter how subjectively, to be uninspiring. It is not the business of the secret service to shore up the president’s legitimacy or burnish his sullied image. If the campaign to get the president to resign or be impeached should succeed, it is hard to see how that would affect the constitutional responsibilities of the SSS or their standing in the society. The agency should mind its business and not get embroiled in the murky waters of sectarian controversy. Surely one Boko Haram is enough for this generation. But by this clumsy assault on free speech, it has become impossible not to compare the Jonathan presidency with the reviled Chief Olusegun Obasanjo government. Obasanjo, we recall, expounded the worst forms of highhandedness in circumstances that gave licence

to his bullying tactics, and sought occasion against his hardened enemies as vigorously as he tried to unhorse his hesitant friends. But he could never be accused of not making up his mind one way or the other, even if he often made it up wrongly. Obasanjo was no democrat, and you could never hear him declaim upon that esoteric topic either by the little plainness he had struggled to acquire in the city or by the warm obfuscations that came to him naturally in his rustic background. At least he was no democrat, and he showed that lamentable deficiency enthusiastically. Jonathan, as I have written in this place many times before, is the perfect Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He is as comfortable espousing democracy in one breath as he is gaily practicing authoritarianism in the very next breath. He never ceases to talk loftily about democracy, but that apparently is where his talents end, as if there is a disconnect between him and his speechwriters, and between his real, quiescent self and his extemporaneous, bubbling self. If the SSS could do nothing to remedy the great flaw in the president’s character, it should do nothing to diminish the few liberties vouchsafed to us by our imperfect, military-inspired constitution. In fact, had I been minded to call for the president’s impeachment, as the House of Representatives sensibly threatened a few weeks ago, and as Bakare echoed, I should think it a sacred duty necessary to be discharged in the service of future generations whose future and wellbeing are being endangered by an opinionated presidency and a compromising and ingratiating elite.

Jonathan’s amusing hyperbole

N

IGERIA is unlikely to overcome its troubles anytime soon if the mindset of our rulers is an indication of what lies ahead. Some three days after the Edo State governorship election, President Goodluck Jonathan resorted again to his usual hyperboles during the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in Abuja. “We witnessed what happened in the First Republic and we know the circumstances that led to the collapse of the First Republic and Second Republic,” he said ruefully, “and we also know what is happening in other African countries. If the ruling party over-intimidates and over-imposes, using the weight of the Federal Government and the citizens revolt, it weakens the political system and creates confusion and instability… They abuse us more, but we allow it. It is the PDP that is handling the affairs of the country and stabilising democracy in the country.”

The president’s incoherent statement is clearly tinged with regrets. But apart from exaggerating the contribution of his party to the growth of democracy and stabilisation of the polity, he displays something else very unnerving and intriguing. His statement underscores his absolute lack of democratic conviction. He seems to say that he and his party could, if they choose, stand in the way of the democratic process, as if somehow he could justify intimidation and imposition, since what appears reprehensible to him is “overimposition and over-intimidation.” And when he refers to what is happening in other African countries, he falls into the trap of lowering his country’s standard by comparing it only with worse-case scenarios. Here then is the kernel of the matter for the typical African ruler: The Nelson Mandela example is unattainable, so the ruler craves for the cesspool where autocratic rulers cavort; he expects every gesture towards de-

mocracy, no matter how insincere, to be regarded as a favour by his subjects, something some governors, including Adams Oshiomhole, recently pandered to; and instead of being propelled towards noble and visionary deeds, the ruler prefers to reluctantly do what is right only because to do otherwise would cost him the throne. It is taking four excruciating years of the Jonathan presidency to convince every patriot of the need to seek for and vote visionary leaders who are passionate about democracy and lofty governance. As Jonathan’s last media chat showed, every time he is criticised, he thinks he is being abused. However, we cannot escape from the fact that he is not a democrat by choice, though he couches its principles in hyperbole. It seems to me in fact that he talks democracy under duress and thus cannot advance it with his habitual detachment, let alone defend it with his life.

IRST Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has offered what appears to be a strong reason to justify the reallocation of the controversial land on which the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) recently laid the foundation stone for their secretariat. The land is subject of a dispute between the AFLPM, of which she is current president, and Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, the immediate past First Lady. The disputants were expected to settle the case out of court before Dame Patience suddenly jumped the gun. The point is not whether she is right or wrong; the point is her apparently contemptuous treatment of the courts, her disregard for due process, and the fact that as the current First Lady, she seems indifferent to the ridicule and opprobrium the land affair has dragged the office of First Lady.

I

Boko Haram trashes theories

N the continuing controversy over the causes of the Boko Haram insurrection, the pendulum has swung back and forth between those who see largely religious reasons for the violence and those who see socio-economic alienation. In the din, not much attention or even credibility has been given to what Boko Haram leaders and insurgents see and say of themselves. On August 1, newspapers reported the sect as claiming responsibility for the coordinated attacks across parts of the North that included the Zaria (Kaduna State) home of Vice President Namadi Sambo. The Islamist sect put it elegantly: “We have reasons for all our activities and we only kill those who wrong us. We attacked Sokoto because many of our brethren have been incarcerated there. We are gladdened by the successes we recorded at the office of the AIG in Marina and the police divisional office at Unguwan Rogo as well as the police station at Arkila. We wish to reiterate that our crusade is not for personal gain; it is meant to ensure the establishment of an Islamic state by liberating all Muslims from the excesses of the infidels. We strongly believe that Almighty Allah will reward us with his famous paradise in the hereafter as he rightly said in chapter 9 verse 111 of the Holy Qur’an. We wish to strongly warn people to desist from collaborating with security agents. The fact is that we are the warriors of the Almighty and even the security forces are finding it difficult to contain our activities. We want to stress that in our struggle, we only kill government functionaries, security agents, Christians and anyone who pretends to be a Muslim but engages in assisting security agents to arrest us.” That Boko Haram is fighting for the establishment of a theocracy is no longer in doubt. In fact, the sect seems to have finally answered the puzzle of why it also attacks Muslims. Though it has an indeterminate size of sympathisers in the North, some of them members of the critical elite, I believe that it does not represent the entire North, nor can it honestly presume to. But I also think those who keep adducing other reasons for the sect’s insurgency are mischievous and living in denial. The sect said it before, and has now reiterated it, that it is inspired by narrow sectional and religious goals, including the tantalising prospect of establishing a theocracy along the Sahelian belt as far west as Mali through to Mauretania.

Published by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025, Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Marketing: 4520939, Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Telephone: 07028105302 ISSN: 115-5302 E-mail: sunday@thenationonlineng.net Editor: FESTUS ERIYE

The Nation August 05, 2012  

The Nation August 05, 2012

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you