Page 1

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Otedola to testify against Lawan

•Russian opponent salutes Nigerian boxer Edith Ogoke’s courage


•Cuban opponent for Chukwumerije

Page 4

•All set for $620,000 bribe trial

•Okagbare crashes out of long jump

AND MORE ON P AGES PA 23, 24, 41 & 42

VOL. 7, NO. 2211 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8, 2012



Death toll rises to 20 in Deeper Life Church attack •SEE ALSO PAGES 2 &3

Two soldiers, others die as gunmen open fire at Ramadan Lecture Survivors relive agony shot at every angle of ‘They the church, even under the bench. I remember seeing one of the shooters heading towards me while I lay helplessly on the ground with bullet wound on my leg. I pretended as if I was dead. They were going round to confirm if we were all dead. I saw some people running out and falling down and I eventually blacked out


KENE, the Kogi State town where unknown gunmen killed 16 Christian worshippers on Monday, had little time to mourn yesterday – no thanks to another raid in which four people were killed. The death toll of the Monday night Deeper Life Church attack climbed up to 20. As the town was struggling to recover from the hangover of the attack, some gunmen hit the Central Mosque, shooting dead four people, including two soldiers. Governor Idris Wada declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Okene Local Government Area and ordered a restriction of commercial motorcycles within Lokoja, the state capital. The gunmen, according to witnesses, wore a white regalia. They drove in a Hilux van to the Central Mosque near the Okene Local Government Secretariat at about 4pm during a Ramadan lecture and opened fire . A source said a soldier, who was at the mosque, gunned down two of the invaders before he was hit. He died. The gunmen were said to have escaped before security agents arrived

•A victim of Monday’s attack on the hospital bed in Okene, Kogi State...yesterday

•A blood-stained section of the Deeper Life Church...yesterday From Mohammed Bashir, Lokoja and From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

at the scene. But in a different account, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Kogi Police spokesman Simon Ile as saying that three men opened fire on the Army patrol team on duty around the area, killing two soldiers instantly. All the major roads in the town were immediately taken over by security agents, who were ready to repel more attacks.

Police Commissioner Muhammed Katsina confirmed the incident. The governor, who condemned terrorism, urged residents to go about their normal businesses as security agents are on the alert. The Deeper Life attack death toll rose to 20, following the death of four more victims. Fifteen people died on the spot after the gunmen bearing automatic rifles invaded the Bible Study Class, shooting indiscriminately. One died in the hospital.

•Another victim...yesterday

Residents were restless as rumours of a planted bomb hit the town. But it turned out to be a hoax. Wada, wearing a bullet proof vest, visited the church and survivors in the hospital. He rained curses on the attackers and promised to track them down. There was thick, red blood splattered on the floor of the church. Shoes and other belongings lay scattered all over the place. One of the survivors of the attack, Mr. Lawal Saliu, recounted the grim mo-

ment when the worshippers came under fire. Saliu, who suffered gun shot wounds, spoke from his hospital bed. He said: “They came into the church in their numbers and started shooting at us.” He said the gunmen ensured that all the exits of the church were blocked - apparently to prevent people from escaping. Continued on Page 2





IGP Abubakar orders 24-hour surveillance of worship centres •Unknown gunmen kill evangelist in Maiduguri •How Sokoto village was attacked, by police


NSPECTOR General of Police Mohammed Abubakar has ordered a 24-hour security surveillance of places of worship and other flash points in Okene and environs in Kogi State. The order came on the heels of gun attacks on worshippers at the Deeper Life Bible Church, Okene on Monday night. No fewer than 20 died. In a text message sent by police spokesman Frank Mba to reporters in Abuja yesterday, the IGP also ordered immediate deployment of additional Mobile Police Force units from other Squadrons to beef up security in the state. He said: “The IGP also appealed for calm, promising that the perpetrators of this heinous crime will certainly not go unpunished. He advised the general public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious movements to the police. “He also advised parents to keep watchful eyes on their wards and protect them from all negative external influences.” The IGP’s order also coincided with the police confirming the killing of of an evangelist with a Pentecostal church in Maiduguri, Ali Samari. He was allegedly killed by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect on Monday evening. Samari, 57, was with the Good News Church (GNC), Maiduguri and was reportedly killed at his Mafoni residence around 6.30pm. An eyewitness said the evangelist was trailed to his house by two gunmen, after closing from work. A source said the evangelist sometimes this year received a warning in writing from men believed to be members of the Boko Haram asking him to vacate his residence. He said though the evangelist discussed the threat with a few people close to him, he, however, dismissed it, insisting that “it is the Almighty God that protects. I leave everything in the hands of God.” Borno State Police Public Rela-

CAN condemns killing of worshippers at Okene


HE Vice President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Femi Asiwaju, yesterday condemned Monday’s killings of worshippers at the Deeper Christian Life Ministry in Okene, Kogi, describing the incident as barbaric. Asiwaju told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that it was unfortunate that the crisis had persisted. “The continuous killing of innocent Nigerians is a bad problem on ground. “Government is doing its best but no solution has been proffered to this problem,” Asiwaju said. He urged the government to ensure that new strategies were put in place to protect the lives and property of Nigerians as well as ensuring the peace of the nation. “This set the building on fire and it was completely razed down. Two Hilux patrol vans were also burnt by the assailants.’’ Musa said that two of the hoodlums were shot at and injured but they were carried away by their colleagues and fled. He said the number of the hoodlums was not known, adding that the police had began investigations into the incident which occurred about 5.30 p.m. and lasted for minutes. Musa appealed to members of the public to give the ‘’usual cooperation by rendering useful information that will prevent recurrence of the incident.’’ NAN observed in Shagari on Tuesday that smoke was still smouldering from the burnt station. . Eyewitnesses said the hoodlums unleashed mayhem on the station from its northern flank where it bordered with a millet farm. The witnesses, who wanted to remain anonymous, said several documents, a motorcycle and some electronics were also burnt at the police station. The District Head of Shagari, Alhaji Sani Abdullahi, told NAN in Shagari on Tuesday that “we were rudely shocked by the unexpected incident. We are also calling for the deployment of more police officers to the division as well as the provision of welfare, arms and ammunition to them.”

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja and Joseph Abiodun, Maiduguri

tions Officer (PPRO), Gideon Jibrin, in a telephone conversation, said the police was informed of the killing yesterday. He said Mafoni, where the murder happened, is one of the black spots identified by the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the police. He said: “It is a place where some members of the Boko Haram use as a hideout and from where they launch attacks on other part of Maiduguri metropolis. The area has been condoned off by JTF with the blocking of three roads, while the stop-and-search was being intensified at the military posts of Lamisula and Dandal Divisional Police Stations.” He said no arrest has yet been made, but said investigations have begun with the police acting on the little information provided by some residents and eyewitnesses. Sokoto Police Commissioner Aliyu Musa yesterday spoke on how a police station was attacked in Shagari village on Monday. He said no life was lost in the attack by hoodlums. Musa spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto. He said: “The hoodlums came to the station on three motorcycles with one Jeep accompanying them. “As God made it, our men were able to repel the attack but the hoodlums threw some hand grenades at the police station.

•Above and on the left are survivors of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Okene attack on hospital beds... yesterday

Death toll rises to 20 in Deeper Life Church attack

Continued from page 1

“Some of them were hanging outside the church gate and were shooting at people trying to use the gate as exit route. There was confusion. I have never seen such a situation. “They shot at every angle of the church, even under the bench. “I remember seeing one of shooters heading towards me while I lay helplessly on the ground with bullet wound on my leg. “I pretended as if I was dead. They were going round to confirm if we were all dead. I saw some people running out and falling down and I eventually blacked out.” Federal College of Education, Okene spokesman Peter Obansa said the Dean of Student Affairs, Mrs C.O. Omeiza, was critically injured

Some of them were hanging outside the church gate and were shooting at people trying to use the gate as exit route. There was confusion. I have never seen such a situation. They shot at every angle of the church, even under the bench

in the attack. Obansa said a “Middle Level Officer” with the school died in the shooting.

He said the school authorities were still finding out if any of its students was a victim. “As a community around the

school, vicinity, we know that some students live there. But we are yet to get a report that any student fell victim,” Obansa said. Wada, at the church, promised to find those behind the killings. He said the blood of the children among those killed will be upon their (the killers’) head. At the Okene General Hospital, on a visit to the injured, Wada promised that the government would pay all their medical bills. The governor urged the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Alhaji Dr. Ado Ibrahim, to wake up and arrest the situation. He told the monarch at the palace that he was displeased with what is happening in his domain. He urged him to use his experience to check the ugly security situation.

The governor described the area’s crime rate as alarming and noted that if the peace in the area is not secured, no meaningful development will take place. Security was tight in the state yesterday. Security agents were at strategic locations in Lokoja and Okene, patrolling streets with Amoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and vans. There was tension in Lokoja, the state capital over the rumour of planted bombs in some strategic areas of the town. At Lokongoma, security agent were drafted to the spot where a bomb was said to have been planted. The situation brought economic activities to a halt. Banks, workers, taxi drivers and commercial motorcyclist all closed down.




A cross section Of Quick Response Group Batch 8 Students o f Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency, demonstrating during the graduation ceremony in Jaji, Kaduna State ...yesterday

People in front of the Deeeper Christian Life Ministry, Okene attacked by gunmen on Monday night....yesterday


A survivor on hospital bed....yesterday

Mark, Anglican Primate, others condemn attack S

ENATE President David Mark From Mohammed Bashir, Lokoja and From Sanni Onogu, Abuja yesterday urged Nigerians to be more vigilant even as he conAbatemi-Usman spoke through demned the killings in Kogi State. a statement issued by his Special Mark described the attack on the Assistant on Media, Michael Deeper Life Church, Okene, as well as Jegede. other places of worship in other states Abatemi-Usman strongly deas “ungodly and wicked”, adding that nounced the action of the terror“Boko Haram members are not fight- ists and commiserated with the ing for God and they must be exposed families of the deceased, while by those who have information about praying for the recovery of the intheir activities”. jured. He said the communal living of NiHe said: “I wholeheartedly congerians is being abused by the sect. demn the unjust killing of worMark said: “We can no longer take shipers in a Church in Otite on our communal lifestyle for granted. Monday night. We should begin to ask questions “My thoughts and prayers go when we find strange people and out to those who lost their lives, strange development around us. those who are injured, as well as “The dictum of being our brothers’ their families and friends. and sisters’ keeper has to be re-exam“For such a horrific event to ocined. When you find strange people cur in my home constituency is reand strange things around your envi- ally devastating. It is especially disronment, make immediate report to heartening that this kind of sensesecurity agencies that are close to you less massacre of innocent Nigerifor immediate and necessary action.” ans is taking place at a time when Describing the activities of the sect we are supposed to be in a prayeras more daring, the Senate President ful mood, moving closer to God.” urged Nigerians to make information Charging the people of Kogi about the sect available to security Central communities to be more agents or those who occupy elective vigilant than ever, the Senator said: offices around their constituencies. “it has become critical to be watchHe also advised security agents to ful of people around us and their take routine surveillance of their beats activities. very seriously. “We really need to be security Mark condoled with the govern- conscious. Furthermore, the secument and people of Kogi State over the rity agencies must beef up their efloss of lives in the Okene attack and forts to uncover the perpetrators urged the governor to remain unde- and bring them to book.” terred in his task of developing the To those behind the heinous and state. odious acts of terrorism, AbatemiSenator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman Usman stated that “it would be (Kogi Central Senatorial District) better for them to agree to dialogue urged security agents to intensify their in order to address whatever grievfight against terrorism. ances they have, so that we can He also urged citizens to be more move towards peace, harmony and vigilant and security conscious to help development.” weed out the perpetrators of evil in Soldiers searched for gunmen their communities. through the night, but have made

•Wada and Kogi police chief Mohammed Musa Katsina in Okene... yesterday

no arrests. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesperson Yushau Shuaib said his agency has dispatched rescuers to the area. Anglican Primate condemns attack The Primate of the Anglican Church, Reverend Nicholas Okoh, condemned the attack. Reverend Okoh who spoke with journalists in Abuja said securing places of worship should not be left in the hands of the church alone. He called on government to expedite action to secure the lives of its citizenry.

•The blood -stained floor of the church...yesterday

Responding to the call for the resignation of the president by members of the Boko Haram sect, the Anglican Primate said that the

sect members are not responsible for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s election and should, therefore, not call for his resignation.



NEWS Fuel subsidy fraud: More oil marketers to face trial soon, says AGF


•Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare during the long jump event at the 2012 London Olympic PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA Games...yesterday. Her 6.34m jump failed to qualify her for the final

ORE suspects are to face trial over petrol subsidy fraud, Attorney General of the Federation Mohammed Adoke said yesterday. He said the trial of fuel subsidy suspects is being conducted in batches, adding that people are arraigned after completion of due diligence investigation. He said the trial of suspects is neither suspended nor stalled. He said: “We are trying oil marketers suspected to be involved in fuel subsidy importation fraud in batches. Each time we have concluded investigation on any batch, we arraign them in court. “So, the fact is that more suspects will face trial soon after diligent investigation has been done by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We do not want to take suspects to court for the sake of it. “Before we arraign any suspect in court, we will ensure there is water-tight evidence to make their prosecution easier. “The trial of oil marketers is neither suspended nor stopped at all. This government is committed to its anticorruption agenda and it has demonstrated it with many cases in court. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the EFCC is working on some cases involving companies linked to some bigwigs, including some influential political leaders. A source in the commission said: “We have a long list of suspects under investigation. We do not just want to rush our investigation and later be

Alleged $620,000 bribe: Govt okays Lawan’s, others’ trial


LL is set for the trial of House member Farouk Lawan for allegedly receiving $620,000 bribe, The Nation learnt yesterday. The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has given the legal advice for the trial of the suspended Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime and the Clerk of the panel, Mr. Boniface Emenalo. The Office of the AGF has engaged a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, to handle the prosecution of the two suspects on behalf of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). The charges against the suspects will be filed any moment from now by the prosecutor. According to sources, the AGF has established a prima facie case against Lawan and Emenalo, based on police investigation. Section 26 of the ICPC Act empowers the AGF to prosecute Lawan or any other suspect. The section says: “Prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be initiated by the Attorney-General of the Fed-

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

before a High Court. “A respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, will handle the prosecution and he has been asked to go ahead to file charges against the suspects after due consultations with ICPC.” Some of the detectives, who handled the investigation, and businessman Femi Otedola, who gave Lawan the bribe in what he called a sting operation, will testify for the prosecution during the trial. “With this development, the police bend of the bribery has been temporarily closed, unless there is any fresh clue on the bribe sum,” the source said. The suspects may be arraigned in line with sections 8, 10, 15, 20 and 20 of the ICPC Act 2000. Also, if the trial is not disrupted with injunctions, the ICPC Act says the suspects are to know their fate within 90 working days of their arraignment in court. Section 26 says: “A prosecution for an offence shall be concluded and judgment delivered within ninety (90) working days of its commencement save that the ju-

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

boxed into a corner where we will be either withdrawing charges or apologising to people. “Instead of making noise or peddling list of suspected marketers, we decided to stick to our covert style in line with international best practices. “The next batch of cases at hand requires more time. The EFCC chair, Mallam Ibrahim Lamorde, will live up to the expectations of Nigerians. The Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujiaren on July 24 said the first set of suspects arraigned before some courts in Lagos were “among the over 140 individuals and organizations involved in the on-going investigations into the subsidy payments by the EFCC. “More suspects will be arraigned periodically as the investigation progresses. “This investigation is massive and extensive; and the Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that every effort will be made to bring all those who defrauded the

Judge kidnapped in Delta


JUDGE of the Delta State High Court was yesterday kidnapped by gunmen Newly-appointed Justice Marcel Okoh, a former Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the state, was kidnapped by gun totting men at Oria-Abraka in Ethiope -East Local Government. He was reported to be travelling to Warri where he is the vacation judge for High Court 4. He was said to have been trailed from Umunede, along the Benin-Asaba Expressway by the armed men who overtook his car at Oria, along the Agbor-Abraka-Ughelli road, where he was ambushed and

•Otedola to testify for prosecution eration or any person or authority to whom he shall delegate his authority in any superior court of record as 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.” A source, who spoke in confidence, said the legal advice had been sent to the ICPC for immediate trial of the suspects. The source said: “Police investigation has shown clearly that Lawan and Emenalo have a case to answer. They will be charged under some sections in the ICPC Act. “As a matter of fact, the police confirmed the receipt of the bribe sum by Lawan and Emenalo, although they refused to produce the cash. “The video and audio clips showed beyond doubt how the bribe sum was collected. The clips will be primary evidence which will be filed


country in the guise of subsidy for imported fuel to book.” In a statement yesterday, he said: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to a report… which suggests that the Commission has, following political pressure, suspended further arraignment of oil marketing companies and their directors suspected to have been involved in the fuel subsidy scam. “The Commission views the suggestion as a distasteful misrepresentation of the reality on ground. “The true position is that there is no untoward pressure on the EFCC to charge or suspend the charging of any suspect to court. “Secondly, the fact that the Commission has not taken any accused person to court in the past few days is simply because the courts have all gone on break and EFCC can only take matters before open courts. “It must be restated however, that, before the first batch of suspects were charged two weeks ago, the Commission had announced that the arraignment of suspects involved in the subsidy fraud shall be at intervals. “ That format was chosen given the number of organisations and individuals involved in the on-going investigation. “After the first batch of suspects (20 in all) was arraigned, the courts went on recess. “When they resume, the Commission would certainly continue with the prosecution of the first batch and arraignment of the next set of oil subsidy scam suspects.


risdiction of the court to continue to hear and determine the case shall not be affected where good grounds exists for a delay.” But a curious aspect of the forthcoming prosecution of the suspects is the fact that the court is at liberty to compel them to retrieve the bribe wherever it is kept. The suspects risk a sevenyear jail term, if they do not produce the cash. Section 15 says: “Any person who, with intent to defraud or conceal a crime or frustrate the Commission in its investigation of any suspected crime of corruption under this Act or under any other law: Continued on Page 59

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

seized. The kidnappers had not contacted his family as at last night. Delta Police spokesman Charles Muka said: “We have recovered his Sports Utilitty Vehicle (SUV) and a manhunt is on for his kidnappers.” Kidnapping of high profile people have increased, with the recent kidnap of Super Eagles midfielder Christian Obodo and a son of the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Ovozourie Macualey. Lawmakers, top politicians and top government functionaries are not spared.

Cuban opponent for Chukwumerije


IGERIA’s taekwondoists at the ongoing Olympic Games in London, will be facing tough opponents when the competition gets underway tomorrow, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. Isah Muhammad, fighting in the men’s -68 kg category, will be taking on Mohammad Abulibdeh of Jordan tomorrow from 11.15 a.m. in the event’s preliminary round. The 28-year-old Interior Design student is the event’s number three seed who is expected to pose a big challenge to the 25-year-old Nigerian. The bout’s latter stages come up later in the day, with the fi-

nal scheduled for 10.30 p.m. Nigeria’s brightest medal hope in the Olympics, and team captain, Chika Chukwumerije, has number four seed Robelis Despaigne of Cuba to contend with in their men’s +80 kg preliminary round fight slated for Saturday. The fight will start from 10.45 a.m. The event’s gold medal match is scheduled for 10.30 p.m. Events of the taekwondo competition which begin today will end on Saturday. It has four weight classes each in the men and women’s categories. There are 64 fighters in each category.

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NEWS ERA/FoEN flay Minister’s comment on UNEP report

President to MDAs: clear electricity bill arrears now


From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

HE Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has carpeted Environment Minister Hajiya Hadiza Mailafiya for blaming the delay in implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Assessment on Ogoniland on the January 2012 protests over fuel subsidy removal. The groups described the statement credited to Hajia Mailafiya as far–fetched misleading and unacceptable. Hajiya Mailafiya, while speaking to reporters after briefing President Goodluck Jonathan on her ministry’s budget performance last Monday, blamed the delay on the anti fuel subsidy removal protest, even as she added that the government would commence the implementation soon. But in a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN said the deferment in the implementation of the report was a disappointing turn in the quest of the Ogoni communities and indeed all impacted communities in the Niger Delta to get justice. The UNEP report, submitted to the Federal Government on August 4, 2011, documented hydrocarbon pollution in surface water throughout the creeks of Ogoniland and up to 8cm in under ground water that feed drinking wells.

•Placard-carrying relations of deceased police officers protesting the non payment of their entitlements in Abuja...yesterday

NEMA receives 111 repatriated Nigerians from Libya T

HROUGH its Direct o r - G e n e r a l Muhammed Sani Sidi, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday received 111 returnees from Libya at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. The returnees were brought into the country aboard Flight ADMG 1915 by the International Organisation of Migration

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

(IOM) from Tripoli, Libya. Sidi urged the returnees to consider the trauma they went through in the foreign land to avail themselves of the abundant opportunities in the country. The NEMA chief, who was represented by the agency’s co-ordinator in the Southwest, Mr. Iyiola Akande, reminded the returnees of the many oppor-

tunities that abound in Nigeria. He enjoined them to consider their return as a challenge to start a new life by contributing to the human and technological development of their fatherland, using the knowledge and practical experiences they have acquired during their sojourn. Reacting to the complaints of some of the re-

FAAC to harmonise federal, state, council budgets next year


HE Federation Account,Allocation Committee (FAAC), through its Sub-committee on the Adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), is to harmonise the budgetary system of the three tiers of government before the end of next year. The Secretary to the FAAC sub-committee on IPSAS, Mr. James Nongo, dropped the hint yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital while speaking at a two-day sensitisation workshop for stakeholders in the Southwest zone. According to Nongo, the harmonisation will be achieved through a uniform chart of accounting system for the three tiers. He said such adoption would come after due approval by relevant stake-


From Oseheye Okwuofu,Ibadan

holders involved in budgetray and financial management of the three tiers of government. The workshop is the fourth in the series of programmes organised by the FAAC subcommittee for the six geo-political zones as part of strategies to get the buy-in of key players for smooth adoption of the new accounting standards. Declaring the workshop open, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Jonah Otunla, who was represented by the Accountant-General of Ogun State, Mr. Adeseye Senfuye, noted that the government has taken concrete steps to ensure that all general purpose financial statements of the three tiers of government become compliant with the pro-

vision of IPSAS before the end of 2012. The AGF said the workshop theme - “The adoption of IPSAS in Nigeria - The role of stakeholders”, was carefully selected to get the needed support of political office holders and professionals to achieve the process. According to him, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had at its July 28, 2010 meeting, approved the adoption of the provisions of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and IPSAS for the private and public sectors respectively. He said: “Consequently, the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) at its meeting held on 13th June, 2011 set up a Sub-committee to provide a roadmap for the adoption of IPSAS in the three tiers of government in Nigeria.

“This interactive workshop in Ibadan which is for the Southwest zone had already been held in Kaduna for Northwest, Enugu for Southeast and Port Harcourt for Southsouth.” According to him, such a forum will be held in Bauchi for the Northeast and Abuja for the Northcentral zones before the end of next month. Participants at the Ibadan workshop agreed that the the government’s decision to adopt the new accounting standard was a milestone that should be encouraged by political players at the federal states and local government levels. They said the adoption of the IPSAS procedure would assist in the promotion of accountability, openness in governance and better credibility rating for the country.

turnees that little was done by the government to safeguard the welfare of the distressed Nigerians during the Arab Spring, Sidi said NEMA and Nigerian embassies in the troubled and neighbouring countries mobilised resources to evacuate its citizens by deploying all available mass media to reach out to them. Those who responded were evacuated, he said. He explained that humanitarian principle abhors forceful evacuation of an unwilling individual. Sidi stated that most of the returnees may be residing at the remotest part of Libya where there was no access to the mass media deployed by NEMA, or that some of them deliberately refused to be evacuated. He cited the latest repatriation which indicated that initially, about 162 were ready to return to Nigeria but the figure rose to 172 at the point of departure. About 61 of the intended returnees declined at the 11th hour when they were asked to board the flight. The returnees are 47 male adults, 52 female adults, four male unde-aged (minor) and eight under-aged female. At the peak of the crises in parts of North Africa on March 7, 2011, NEMA, in collaboration with the IOM and other partners, repatriated about 991 Nigerians, mainly from Egypt and Tunisia, while on the February 27, 2012, about 292 Nigerians from Libya to Lagos.

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has given all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) the marching orders to offset all unpaid electricity bills within the next three months. Information Minister Labaran Maku, who gave the presidential directive through a statement by his media aide, Joseph Mutah, said it was contained in a circular issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. The circular, according to the statement, said that all unsettled bills after the expiration of the three months period will be deducted by the Accountant-General of the Federation from the overhead allocation of the concerned MDAs. It (circular) reads: “The non-payment of electricity bills by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies is a disincentive to the private sector investment in the ower sector and portends a grave danger to the sustainability of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and other allied entities.”

Passenger caught stealing $6,000 aboard Arik Air flight


PASSENGER aboard an Arik Air Flight W3 071 from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos to Accra, Ghana, was yesterday caught while stealing $6,000 from another passenger’s luggage. All passengers had checked in when Azunna was caught by an eagleeyed cabin crew taking the money from a bag in the overhead baggage hold. An alarm was raised and the passenger was arrested by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) security and handed over to the police. He was later transferred to Beesam Police Station. It was not the first time a passenger has been caught stealing aboard an Arik flight. Last year, a business class passenger was also caught while trying to steal N200, 000 from a fellow passenger’s bag.

Govt is maltreating Bi-Courtney, says Babalakin

EPUTY Political Editor Construction giant, Bi-Courtney Limited has flayed the Federal Government for a breach of concessional agreement, warning that the posture could discourage investors. Its chairman, Dr. Wale Babalakin, complained that the government’s refusal to implement the agreement, despite the court judgments in favour of the company,

By Emmanuel Oladesu

has reduced Bi-Courtney into a company that cannot actualise a simple transaction. In a petition to the Director-General, Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC),the company blamed the Aviation Ministry for reneging on the agreement and resolutions of the Coordinating Committee raised by the At-

torney-General, which had resolved the dispute in its favour. Among others, the committee resolved that, in accordance with the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN’s) offer to Bi-Courtney Limited and law, the term of the concession was 36 years. Besides, all domestic flights originatig and terminating in Lagos must be processed by the company. All income ac-

cruing to FAAN by the usage of GAT after the Muritala Mohammed Airport 2 became operational is for Bi-Courtney’s account. Babalakin pointed out that his firm had won all the court cases relating to the implementation of the agreement, adding that appeals by Ojemaje Investments, Arik Airlines, National Union of Air Transport Services Employees

(NUSAID) and FAAN were dismissed by courts of competent jurisdiction. He also recalled that the Federal High Court awarded N132.5 billion as damages against the Federal Government for a breach of agreement. Babalakin urged the regulatory agency to halt what he described as the maltreatment of the company by the Federal Government, pointing out that disobedience of

court orders has cost the company unimaginable financial losses as reflected in the damages awarded against the government. He said the non-compliant posture of the federal agencies has also greatly affected the company and portrayed it as having difficulties in actualising a simple transaction, adding that this does not auger well for investments in the country.



NEWS Ekiti, firm graduate 200 trainees By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado Ekiti

THE Ekiti State Government, in collaboration with Odu’a Investment Company Limited, yesterday graduated 200 trainees under the EkitiOdu’a Skill Acquisition Scheme. The graduates underwent skill acquisition in Electrical Wiring and Motor Rewinding; Painting/Arts and Craft; Catering and Events Management; Carpentry and Joinery; Fashion Designing; Auto Electronics and Mechanical Work; Computer Hardware/Telephone Repairs Metal Fabrication and Welding. The pioneer trainees received their proficiency certificates at a ceremony in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. Certified by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the centre trained the graduates for six months. Governor Kayode Fayemi urged the graduates to face their vocations. The governor advised them to open their businesses in the rural communities to spread development. He said: “Wherever you are, you can be sure of government’s patronage.” Fayemi said the graduates have “a great opportunity to change their social and economic status in the society”. The governor added: “It would be an unpardonable error and a disappointment if you do not put to full use all you have gained during the training to achieve this purpose.”

‘No governorship candidate yet for Ondo CPC’ From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

A GOVERNORSHIP aspirant on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Ondo State, Mr. Daniel Iwatan, yesterday said the party is yet to pick its candidate for the October 20 election. He said no candidate emerged in last Thursday’s state congress of the party held in Akure, the state capital. Iwatan said the CPC conducted the congress in obedience to the law and the party’s constitution. The aspirant said the national executive of the party never sent Mr. Ajibade Emiabata, Rotimi Fasakin and Mr. Rasaq Muse, who claimed to have represented the leaders at the congress. He said: “Only the state executive and delegates from the 18 local government areas are empowered by the party’s constitution to vote for the CPC standard bearer. Presently, no pronouncement has been made by the state executive to this effect.

Daniel’s wife, others for prosecution T for alleged violence HE Ogun State Truth Commission yesterday submitted its report and recommended that seven persons, including the wife of former Governor Gbenga Daniel, Olufunke, and a monarch, Oba Lateef Adeniran, be prosecuted for “engaging in acts of violence”. The five-man panel, headed by Justice Pius Aderemi (rtd), sat for nearly eight months and heard cases of violence, killings, destruction of property, torture and disappearance of persons between April 2003 and May 29, last year, during the Daniel administration. Submitting the report to Governor Ibikunle Amosun in Abeokuta, the state capital, Justice Aderemi said: “In strict adherence to our terms of reference as contained in Clause 5 of the instrument establishing the commission, dated

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

September 12, 2011, the commission recommends that the following persons (Funke Daniel and six others), who were shown conclusively by the petitions considered by us to have engaged in acts of either political violence, abuse of office or hooliganism, should be prosecuted by the Attorney-General of Ogun State.” Others listed for prosecution are: former Sports Commissioner, Mr Bukola Olopade; ex-Abeokuta South Local Government chairman, Akeem Odejimi Ologbowon; Moruf Odejinmi Ologbowon, Jamiu Olododo and the Baale of Oke-Egan, Saburi Kehinde Ayoade.

The panel was mandated to make recommendations on how to avert a recurrence. It found a prima facie case of criminal offences against the seven, based on the complaints by their victims or relatives of victims. Mrs Daniel is to be prosecuted for an assault on a former Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government, Tunde Oladunjoye, and his Personal Assistant, Odunaya Rasheed. Justice Aderemi said the former governor’s wife led armed policemen, government officials and political thugs to Ijebu-Itele, Oladunjoye’s home town. The panel said Oladunjoye established a criminal offence against Mrs. Daniel, adding

that she ordered armed police escorts to beat the former chairman in his house. Justice Aderemi said: “It is the view of the commission that the victim established a prima facie case of criminal offence against Mrs. Olufunke Daniel. She undoubtedly held herself out as a public officer by moving to the petitioner’s home with armed police escorts and ordering the policemen to beat up Mr. Odunaya. “The proven excesses of Mrs. Daniel arose from the widespread abuse of spouses of governors and Presidents when there is no legal basis for the office of First Lady in Nigeria.” Ologbonwon was recommended for prosecution in connection with the alleged

murder of Gbenga Apolola whose body is still missing. Apolola’s remains were said to have been taken away and hidden in an unknown location by his assailants. The panel chair said: “The commission recommends that Ologbowon be prosecuted for the murder of the late Gbenga Apolola, whose body could not be found as it was allegedly removed by his assailants. “The commission holds the view that the fact that the body was not found is irrelevant. The absence of a body is no longer an obstacle to conviction in a charge of murder.” Ologbonwon was also recommended for prosecution for attacking the home of Ojelades in April 2007, resulting in the murder of Chief Ojelade.

Amosun: Ogun among states with highest road accidents From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta


•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (middle) receiving a plaque from the National Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Ayo Fanimokun. With them is the Chairman, Osun State chapter of the institute, Adeniran Ibitoye, at this year’s business luncheon and investiture of the governor, at Leisure Spring Hotel, Osogbo...yesterday

ACN followed due process to pick Akeredolu, says Akande T HE National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Bisi Akande, has said the party followed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) guidelines and the party’s constitution to pick its Ondo State governorship candidate for the October 20 election, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN). Akande spoke in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, when he featured on an Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC) television service political programme. The ACN National Chairman said the former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President scored the highest votes at the party’s primary conducted by its leadership and supervised by INEC officials. Akande said: “There was a congress of the party in Akure and the party’s constitution and INEC guidelines were followed. All the delegates from the wards in Ondo State were allowed to vote and at the end of the day, Akeredolu emerged winner, having scored the highest number of votes. “All we did in Ondo State was in accordance with the

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

laws of the land. No aspirant was prevented from contesting the primary in Ondo State. The ACN is a party that follows due process and rule of law. We cannot afford to do otherwise in the case of Ondo State.” On the endorsement of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP) for a second term by some Afenifere chieftains, including Chiefs Olu Falae, Ayo Adebanjo and Rueben Fashoranti, the ACN Chairman said: “The three of them are glorious political beggars, who have lost relevance in the nation’s politics. “The so-called leaders are only looking for what they will eat. Of what relevance are they? They cannot point to any individual as their follower, even in their home state. Falae, for instance, has always brought bad luck to any political party. He brought bad luck to the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1999. “Fashoranti was the man

who single handedly ruined the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere. Ayo Adebanjo has never contested any election in his life. He only prides himself as a Yoruba leader without any follower. How do you rate the acceptability of a politician who has never contested any election in his life?” Akande said ACN is sure of victory in Ondo with or without the Afenifere leaders. He added: “We don’t pray to have such politicians in the ACN, because we don’t want bad luck in our party. We are happy with where they are and we wish Mimiko the best as they

take their bad luck to him and his political party.” On the defection of some ACN governorship aspirants to the LP, Akande said: “The aspirants have the choice to either stay with us or leave, if they feel unsatisfied with the party’s candidate. But the truth is that the candidates who are bona fide members of ACN are still with us. “We have not lost any of our bona fide members to the LP in Ondo State. Those that left were those planted in the ACN by the LP. Take for instance, Olu Agunloye, who left the ACN before our congress. He was planted by the LP. We knew this before and so we were not surprised that he joined where he rightly belongs.”

Retired civil servant gets title


RETIRED civil servant, Mr. Oso Oladesu, will be installed the Aro of Obalu Quarters, Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State, on Friday. The ceremony will hold at the palace of the comunity’s head, the Obaloja of Obalu. A statement by the planning committee said family members, friends and other would accompany the Aroelect to the palace for oath-taking before the Obalu chiefs. The new chief is the grandson of the late Fagbuleola Oladesu, the grandson of the late Alaaye of Efon, Oba Adetusa Atewogboye Owa Idagba II, who ruled the kingdom between 1893 and 1911.

GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun yesterday in Abeokuta, the state capital, inaugurated four new advanced life support ambulances and 10 refurbished ones to enable the government respond to emergency cases. The governor decried increasing accidents and the resultant deaths and injuries on the nation’s highways. He noted that a significant percentage of such accidents occur in the state. Amosun, who was represented by Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, called for collaboration among philanthropists and corporate organisations to increase the ambulances to 42. The governor said the state last year, recorded 37 per cent rise in accidents over the 2010 figures and the nation 41.5 per cent increase because of “the two busiest highways in Nigeria - the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and SagamuOre-Benin expressway which traverse the state”. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, noted that although the role of health services in emergencies are to save lives through rapid response, he added that the priority of the ministry is to prevent accidents. The Corps Marshall and Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Osita Chidoka, described Ogun State as a champion for launching the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action on Road Safety. He hailed the Amosun administration for taking a cue from the UN agenda. The FRSC chief noted that the number of people that died in accidents in the state would be reduced by 50 per cent by 2020. Chidoka said: “The annual rating of states on road safety has been instituted. The peer review of all the states of the federation and FCT would be conducted for the purpose of ranking states according to their commitment to providing safety on the roads to their electorate...”



NEWS Dana disowns fake drugs From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

HE General Manager (GM), Dana Group of Companies, Mr. Prasenjit Banerji, has debunked the allegation that the pharmaceutical arm of the company is involved in the manufacturing of counterfeit/substandard drugs. He said the company would never compromise its high standard. Banerji was reacting to the arrest of Mr. Okeke Boy and his wife, who were arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Minna, the Niger State capital, with fake drugs bearing Dana labels. He debunked the allegation that some of the company’s staff supplied the suspect with its labels. The GM said dealing in counterfeit/substandard drugs amounts to economic sabotage and the company will never endanger the health of the people. He said: “We cannot manufacture or sell substandard or expired drugs because we are committed to satisfying our customers’ needs.” Attributing the rise of syndicates who fake the company’s products to the high demand for Dana Pharmaceutical’s products, Banerji said: “We are currently producing less than the demand of our customers, so the question of having expired drugs cannot arise.” “We are being praised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on a quarterly basis and they have been giving us clean bills.” He hailed the the NDLEA and NAFDAC for their vigilance. Banerji assured the public that the quality of the company’s products has not been compromised.


‘We won’t allow anybody to destroy Nigeria’ From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja


ATIONAL Leader of Nigerian Advance Party (NAP) Dr. Tunji Braithwaite was sighted at the State House yesterday where he reportedly met with President Goodluck Jonathan. Braithwaite, an advocate of the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (JNC), said the nation would not disintegrate. The former presidential candidate of NAP, who was clad in his trade mark threepiece green kaftan, arrived at the Villa at 5.30pm and left about an hour later.

12 tertiary institutions get N25b special impact fund T HE Federal Government has approved N25 billion for the 2012 Special High Impact Programme Fund. Twelve tertiary institutions will benefit from the fund. They include: Moshood Abiola University, Lagos; The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Anambra State University, Uli; Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education (AIFCE); University of Calabar (UNICAL) and Delta State College of Education, Agbor. Others are Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero; The Federal Polytechnic, Kauran Namoda; Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola; Bauchi State College of Education, Azare; Benue State University, Makurdi and Federal Polytechnic, Nassarawa.

•Two more fed varsities underway From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja and Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe

Minister of Education Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufai announced this yesterday in Abuja during the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Annual Strategic Planning Workshop for tertiary institutions. She said the beneficiaries were selected on the principle of one university and one polytechnic or college of education per geo-political zone. The minister said the allocation is meant for programmes upgrade and the improvement of the teaching and learning environment. She said each of the univer-

sities got N3 billion while the polytechnics and colleges of education got N1 billion each. Urging the institutions to apply the funds judiciously, the minister appealed to institutions that are yet to benefit from the fund to be patient. At the matriculation of the pioneering students of the Federal University, Kashere (FUK), Gombe State, Prof. Rufai said the law establishing the nine new federal universities is awaiting President Goodluck Jonathan’s assent. She said a N3.5 billion takeoff grant has been released to each of the nine universities. The minister said the

president has approved the establishment of two more federal universities. They are to be setup next year. Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Tha’anda Rubai, said the state government will support the university. FUK Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mohammed Farouk said the institution aims to become an international learning centre. He said the school would “produce graduates, who are aware of, appreciate, respect and celebrate diversity in all forms”. Farouk said the Federal Government has mandated the institution to focus on agriculture, education and entrepreneurship.

•From left: The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie; Prof. Rufai and TETFund Executive Secretary Prof. Mahmood Yakubu...yesterday. PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

Court restrains Masalla from parading self as APGA chair A N Abuja High Court yesterday restrained Alhaji Sadiq Masalla from parading himself as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), pending the determination of a suit. On July 16, a faction of APGA, led by the Deputy National Chairman (North) Massala, sacked the National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh. The faction also sacked the National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, over allegations of spending party funds without due process. The Masalla-led faction of the party accused Umeh and Shinkafi of several constitutional breaches in the running of APGA’s affairs. It appointed Masalla as National Chairman and Mr. Morgan Anyalechi, the Na-

tional Vice-Chairman (South) as Deputy Chairman. Justice Hussein BabaYusuf ordered Masalla, Anyalechi “not to take any step toward convoking any national, state or local government executive committee meeting of the party”. In a “motion of urgency”

filed by his counsel, Chief Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), Umeh prayed the court to restrain Masalla’s faction members from parading themselves as the party’s national officers. Umeh urged the court to hold that his “purported suspension” was unconstitutional.

Justice Baba-Yusuf restrained Masalla from expelling any APGA member pending the determination of the motion on notice, which was fixed for hearing on August 16. He ordered that a substituted service of all originating processes in the suit be served on Masalla and Anyalechi by publishing them in The Sun newspaper.

Minister to unveil e-governance portal


INISTER of Interior Abba Moro will unveil the e-governance portal, eCitibiz, to stakeholders at a forum in Lagos soon. The initiative is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Citizenship and Business Department of the ministry and Anchor Dataware Solutions (ADS), a group focused on the provision of world-class Information Communication and Technology (ICT) solutions. Speaking with reporters in his office in Abuja,

ADS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Joel Adi said: “The project will revolutionise the way government business is conducted, improve commerce and industry, create jobs and accelerate the economic development of the country. “The portal will ensure an easy flow of data, integrate and automate the operations of the department and streamline its naturalisation, citizenship, marriage registry and expatriate quota management systems.”

‘Rice production’ll hit 6.4m metric tonnes by 2015’


HE Federal Government yesterday said the production of locally milled rice would hit 6.4 million metric tonnes annually by 2015. To achieve this, the government would attract 100 large rice millers into the country. It plans to form cluster rice farms around the mills and

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

equip farmers with the right seeds and technology. Minister for Agriculture Akinwumi Adesina spoke yesterday at Oriokuta in Owode Egba, Ogun State, while inaugurating a Cottage Rice Mill at S.K.F. Farms. Adesina, who was repre-

sented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, said: “Nigeria is the world’s second importer of rice, spending about N365 billion on about two million metric tonnes of milled rice annually. We spend N1 billion daily on rice importation. “The international rice market is volatile. Nigeria’s

largest supplier, Thailand, is poised to increase the price by over 50 per cent. Hence, if we do not grow our own rice, our import bill may also go up by 50 per cent. “To encourage local rice production, we have started with the Growth Enhancement Support (GES), where the issue of right seedlings is

taken care of. Hitherto, people were just planting grains, without realising that they would not get the expected yield. We will ensure that farmers get the correct seeds to facilitate a higher yield. “The second part is the distribution of subsidised fertilisers and other agro-chemicals to farmers.”

‘No dispute among cocoa farmers’ From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

THE Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) yesterday said it is not divided. It was reacting to a report credited to the Minister of Agriculture Akinwumi Adesina, in which the minister berated the farmers for rejecting chemicals purchased for them by the government. Adesina said only a faction of the association, comprising Kogi, Kwara and Southwest states, rejected the chemicals. Speaking with reporters in Akure, the Ondo State capital, CFAN spokesman Mr. Sunday Fidelis said: “The minister’s claim that we are divided is very laughable. I am from the Southsouth and all cocoa producing states in the region are in support of the association’s struggle with the Federal Government. “We were not consulted before the ministry purchased agro-chemicals for farmers. The chemicals acquired, such as Ridomil, Funguram and Champ DP are not active enough. Their activeness can only last for two weeks after they are applied to cocoa trees. “We are demanding for Ultimax Plus, because we are familiar with this chemical and it is not harmful to our land. It will be active for over a month. We are the ones using them and we know the best chemicals for our farms. We cannot be paying 50 per cent for these chemicals while the federal and state governments are paying 25 per cent each.” Fidelis urged the minister to yield to their request.

Nine consuls get letters of commission From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

THE Federal Government yesterday presented letters of commission to nine consuls and honorary consuls. The consuls include Charge d’ Affairs of Southern Sudan David Buom Choat; United Nations (UN) Women Representative to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ms Grace Ongile and Country Representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Ms Atsoko Toda; Others are Honorary Consul of Liberia in Lagos Dr. Opral Benson; ConsulGeneral of Spain in Lagos Ms. Carolina de Manueles Alvarez and Honorary Consul of Finland in Lagos Mr. Kingsley Akinroye. The rest are Honorary Consul of Slovakia in Lagos Mr. Ramesh Hathiraman; Ms. Victoria Akyeanpong of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the ConsulGeneral of Saudi Arabia in Kano, Mr. Majid Bin Muhammed Elqahtani.



CITYBEATS Qlink launches new motorcycle model

MANUFACTURER and marketer of leading motorcycle brands in Nigeria, Qlink Nigeria Limited have launched a new Sunny Model. A statement by Qlink Sales Manager, Mr. Jamiu Abass, said the brand is the company’s response to the needs of the market. He said: “The new Sunny comes with solid and strong frame, low seat height, super smooth engines and silencer sound, with LED and normal headlights.” Abass said the model is built to customer’s satisfaction and could compete in the international market.

Man remanded for robbery By Tumininu Owolabi

MAGISTRATE Olagbegi Adelabu of the Ikeja Magistrate’s Court has ordered a 30 year-old man, Diamond Chukwuma, remanded in prison custody for alleged robbery. The Police arraigned Chukwuma on a three-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms. Prosecuting Inspector Rachael Williams alleged that the accused and others now at large, on June 19, about 10:00 p.m. at Sanya Bus –Stop, on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos, robbed one Mr. Abiodun Sosomeji. Sosomeji, she said, was robbed of his Volkswagen Passat with number-plate XL 472 LSR, one Nokia Phone valued at N12,000 and N35,000 cash. She said the accused and others still at large, acted contrary to Section 1(2)(a)(b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act Cap 398 Vol. XXII Laws of the Federation 1990, as amended. She alleged that Chukwuma and his gang, were caught with locally made guns without any licence issued by the InspectorGeneral of Police. The offence, according to her, is punishable under Section 28(1)(b)(i) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act, Cap 146 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 as amended. Magistrate Adelabu adjourned the case till August 8.

Man arraigned for ‘assaulting’ policeman By Fisayo Ige

A 29 year-old man, Teslim Agbaje, has been arraigned at the Igbosere Magistrate’s Court for allegedly assaulting a policeman Adeleye Ibrahim and a woman, Biliki Jimoh. The incident, the court heard, took place at the central Police Station, Adeniji Adele road, Lagos. Teslim was arrainged at Igbosere Magistrate’s Court in Lagos Island before Magistrate J.A Adegun. Prosecuting Inspector Gbemileke Agoi said the accused was earlier at the station to report a matter he had with one Biliki. The police, he said, brought the woman in for interrogation and were shocked when the accused rained punches on her. He said Adeleye was trying to separate them when Teslim pushed him away and tore his uniform. It was alleged that blood was gushed out of Biliki’s eye because of the blows she received from the accused. The accused pleaded not guilty. The Magistrate granted him N50,000 bail with one surety in the like sum. The matter was adjourned till August 28.

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Five teachers charged with cheating at WASCE


IVE teachers were yesterday arraigned before an EbuteMetta Magistrate’s Court in Lagos for allegedly aiding students in cheating during the last West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). They were said to have smuggled answers into the examination hall for the students during the examination. Magistrate M.O. Olajuwon ordered the accused remanded in prison custody. • Ikechukwu Martin, 27, Olaoye Sunday, 31, Innocent Abbey, 24, Egbogoh Obehi, 29, and Olalere Olalekan, are being tried for aiding examination malpractices,

By Precious Igbonwelundu

an offence which contravenes Section 322 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. The accused were alleged to have passed answered English Language paper one with serial number, S3021, Mathematics and Economics to the students. The teachers were allegedly arrested by the police, after they smuggled answer sheets to the students at Jeno Grammar School Itire-Ikate, Lagos. The accused pleaded not guilty and were granted N100, 000 bail with a surety each, in the like sum. The matter was adjourned October 10.

•One of the buildings demolished at Maza-Maza, Mile 2 to pave way for

Another Dana plane has hydraulic pressure problem, says witness A

LAGOS Coroner heard yesterday that another aircraft belonging to Dana Airline had hydraulic pressure problem. The General Manager, Air Worthiness, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA), Kayode Ajiboye made this known at the inquest into the Dana crash at Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb. Ajiboye, who made no written deposition, was answering questions from interested counsel. He said the incident happened before the June 3 crash involving the plane with registration number 5N-RAM. Ajiboye said the crashed aircraft was not the one that lost hydraulic pressure while on inward flight to Lagos. The aircraft with hydraulic pressure problem and registration number 5N-SRI was on return trip to Lagos from Abuja through Uyo, on May 10, 2012, when it lost hydraulic pressure in the air. Following this problem, the plane had to be quickly cleared ahead of others, to make emergency landing on arrival in Lagos, he said. According to him, some of the passengers in the plane later called the Consumer Protection Department of the Nigerian Civil

Pilot: Dana crash was avoidable


HE June 3 Dana crash could have been avoided if the pilot and co- pilot had adhered to the check list for emergency management of planes, President Concerned Professional (CAP) Captain Tito Omagbemi said yesterday. At a briefing in Ikeja on the state of the aviation industry, Omagbemi said emergencies during a flight, do not result into air crashes if the pilot responded professionally to the check lists prescribed for the flight by manufacturers of the aircraft. He accused the pilots of poor professional judgement during the flight in their last conversation in the retrieved Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), did not state the steps they took to manage the emergency; when they observed that the aircraft was likely going to have problems during the flight. The former pilot with Nigeria Airways said the employment history of the pilot should be investigated to ascertain how he became a captain on the aircraft

without flying for the mandatory 3,000 flight hours. He said though the pilots are dead, further investigations into how the crash happened could serve a reference point on how to avoid a reccurence. Omaghomi said the aviation industry would continue to have challenges until government revisits the liquidation of Nigeria Airways, which he said in the years past was the hub of aviation in the country as it had experienced pilots with ratings on all aircraft types. The troubles in the aviation industry may be long from being over until government revisits the issue of the unpaid benefits of the staff of the liquidated national carrier, he said. He said the current domestic carriers would continue to grapple for survival, because they do not have the operational capacity of the liquidated national carrier, which invested human and material resources on its workers whether pilots or engineers.

By Adebisi Onanuga

conditioning. He said the plane was taken for repairs by My-Technic Company Limited, Turkey, an

Aviation Authority (NCAA), to complain about the aircraft including the failed air

aircraft maintenance and servicing company. Ajiboye told the coroner, Magistrate Alexander Komolafe, that the ill-fated Dana plane was serviced, adding that a flight check was carried out on it on June 2. He said the plane did not show any sign of problem during the flight-check, adding that this was why it was scheduled for flights the following day. The plane had made three take-offs and two landings, he said, adding that it was on the return trip to make the third landing when it crashed. Another witness, the Managing Director of SO Aviation Fuel Limited, a subsidiary of Sahara Group of Companies, Mr. Alistair Morrison, said his company supplied 4,000 litres of aviation fuel to Dana Airline between 5.00 p.m and 6.00 p.m on June 2, in Abuja. Morrison, who said his company supplies aviation fuel to both local and international airlines said: “On the average, we fuel about eight airlines per day, all receiving fuel from the same tankage. So Aviation does about 50 fuelings in a day nationwide and all the airlines receive fuel from the same batch of fuel”.

Traffic Law: LASTMA officials cautioned on bribe


HE Lagos State Government has cautioned officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) against the collection of bribes from erring motorists while enforcing the new traffic law. LASTMA’s General Manager, Mr. Babatunde Edu, said yesterday that government would deploy competent and disciplined officials . He urged them to shun bribery, corruption and avoid overzealousness in the discharge of their duties while enforcing the new law. Edu warned that government would not hesitate to bring to book any of the personnel found to have engaged in illegalities that could tarnish the government’s image. According to him, officers found wanting would be shown the way out and face possible

By Miriam Ndikanwu

prosecution for such unlawful act. He advised personnel to be alive to their responsibilities and ensure they contribute their quota to the free flow of traffic at all times in order to complement the government’s efforts in resolving traffic congestion. Edu said the government would not relent in its efforts in recognising and rewarding any official found to be outstanding. He said: “This is necessary for the Authority to rise up to the challenges involved in traffic control and management, and to reposition LASTMA as the new face of Excellence in Lagos State. “These are the leverages that will ensure that LASTMA meets up with international standards. This can be replicated here without infringing on the rights of the citizenry.”

Edu implored motorists and residents to cooperate with LASTMA and see the traffic personnel as officers who are committed to the service of their fatherland. He urged motorists to obey traffic rules and regulations and not to hesitate to report any traffic officer found to be corrupt to the authorities.

He advised the public to always take note of the boldly written name on the uniform of any erring LASTMA official, the time and place, where the offence is committed in order to assist the government in its investigation. Such report, he said, would be investigated and sanctions applied.

•Chairman Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA Prince Segun Adetola presenting a free GCE form to one of the beneficiaries at the LCDA Secretariat... recently




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Censors’ board destroys pirated CDs worth N20m


HE Lagos State Film and Video Censors’ Board (LSFVCB) yesterday destroyed N20m worth of pirated film and related materials retrieved from the hawkers. The Board’s Taskforce Office and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) Brigade made the arrests at Yaba, Mushin, Agege, Oshodi, Iyana-Ipaja, Odo-Eran areas among others. The raid was carried jointly out with the

By Fisayo Ige

Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and Copyright Commission in a bid to regulate the industry. The Board’s Executive Secretary, Mr Dapo Awobutu, accompanied by its Legal Adviser, Mrs Bukola Agbaminoja, said they had been on the trail of the pirates since October last year till February this year.

According to Agbaminoja, piracy has remained a major problem in the entertainment industry, especially in Lagos. She said a surveillance group was formed to monitor the pirates’ network and began the raid in February. Those arrested have been charged to court, with some asked to pay fine or sentenced to jail terms. Agbaminoja said the Alaba International Market was the main source of this pirated

items, adding that some of those arrested are still in police custody. LSFVCB vowed to continue the fight against the pirates, adding that it will not relent until piracy is brought to an end. Mr Awobutu warned those with the mind of going into the business to have a rethink, saying: “Tremendous impact has been made and we will continue to jail them.”

Traffic Law enhances less travel time on Lagos roads


road expansion by the state government... yesterday

Lawyer’s son remanded for ‘defiling’ minor N Ejigbo Magistrate’s court has remanded a lawyer’s son, Ikechukwu Eke, 35, in prison custody, or allegedly raping a 10year-old girl. He was said to have defiled the minor, who is his friend’s daughter on two occassions. The victim is father, who is said to be critically ill and needed financial assistance, had sent his daughter to the accused for help to offset his medical bills and for feeding. Ikechukwu, a graduate of Lagos State Polytechnic, allegedly told the girl to close her eyes after delivering the message. The minor, who narrated what happened said: “When I want to deliver the message, he asked me to close my eyes and he carried me and put me on his bed. “Then he started using his finger to put inside my body and after that one, he now removed his trouser and now put his penis inside my vagina.” The minor said he did it on two different occasions and warned her not to tell anybody, otherwise she would die. The victim’s mother, Grace Nurudeen, however discovered that her daughter had been defiled while bathing her. Grace, who is separated from the victim’s father,


By Precious Igbonwelundu

told the court that she came and took her daughter to stay with her only to realise while bathing her that her vagina was wide open. “I asked her who did it and she said it was Ikechukwu who defiled her. “So I took her to Igando Police Station and reported the matter after which Ikechukwu was arrested,” she said. The offence, is said to contravene Sections 137 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011. Counsel and father to the L.A. Eke told the court that the parties opted for settle out of court, adding that the victim’s mother was put in the witness box to indicate her desire to withdraw. But on interrogation by Magistrate M.B. Folami, Grace said she was being pressured by both families to withdraw the case. Folami, who rejected the withdrawal letter from the victim’s mother, said it was not the complainant’s intention to withdraw the case. The Magistrate ordered that the parties seeking withdrawal of the matter should appear before her on the next adjourned date. The accused, who pleaded not guilty, was remanded in prison custody. The matter was adjourned till August 10.

Woman pastor arraigned for alleged theft


By Tumininu Owolabi

51 year-old woman Pastor, Mrs. Adeola Momoh, has been arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court for allegedly stealing N405, 000. Prosecuting Inspector Rachael Williams told the court that the accused allegedly obtained N405, 000 from Mr. Lanre Ogunyinka on the pretence that she was going to give him a-room accommodation but failed to do so. The offence according to her, contravenes Section 419 of the Criminal Code Cap 17 Vol. 2 Laws of Lagos State 2003. She alleged that the accused committed the offence in February 2009 at No. 3, Ola-Oluwa Close, off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja. She said the accused acted contrary to Section 390 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003. The accused pleaded not guilty. The accused was granted N100, 000 bail with two sureties in the like sum. Magistrate Olagbegi Adelabu adjourned the case till August 8.

HE positive side of the new Traffic Law began to have shown across the state as motorists observed improved travel time on Lagos roads. Many residents said they now spend less time on the roads unlike what obtained prior to the signing of the law. “The law is a very good one, especially for those of us living in Ikorodu,” said Gabriel Adeyele, who claimed that by a mere stroke of pen, Governor Fashola has “blessed (him) with additional 30 minutes daily.” A section of the law which

By Segun Balogun

bars members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) from operating on the roads was noticed to have started working. Compliance with this section means commercial drivers now enjoy uninterrupted operation from the ‘boys’ operating for the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). Before now, they always stopped at almost every bus stop to pay union levy, which the motorists were not

always inclined to pay, but which the union often collected by force; a development that often times turned violent. However, many residents, including Mr. Adeyele, have “huge praise” for the members of the NURTW for immediate compliance with the law. “There are many laws that the people have contested with the government and I was scared initially that NURTW will challenge the government, but surprisingly, everything has been peaceful. They deserve

special commendation,” said Yusuff Akinloye, another resident who spoke to The Nation. NURTW’s chairman, caretaker committee, Comrade Tajudeen Agbede, said the union’s defining philosophy since the law became operative was “obey first and then complain.” “We have no choice, but to obey the law of Lagos State Government. We have been going from one bus stop to the other, sensitising our members and they have been complying,” he said.




LP thugs plan to kill me, says A ACN chieftain CHIEFTAIN of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Chief Olufemi Adekanmbi, yesterday alleged that suspected agents of the ruling Labour Party (LP) were trying to kill him. He said this is coming after the violent clash between supporters of the ACN and LP in Akure after the July 28 congress of his party. Adekanmbi, who defected from the LP to ACN, accused the state government of arresting his supporters on trumped-up charges. Addressing reporters in Akure, the state capital, the politician said his life was under threat because he was in the convoy of ACN governorship candidate Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) on the day the party and LP supporters clashed in Akure. Adekanmbi was the ACN House of Representatives candidate in last year’s National Assembly elections. He said although it was LP supporters that attacked

•Ruling party: opposition causing violence From Damisi Ojo, Akure

ACN supporters, the ruling LP fed the public with a contrary story. The ACN chieftain said since the clash, the police have arrested five ACN members on false allegations. According to him, the LP had concluded plans to plant Indian hemp in his home and use this against him. Adekanmbi alleged that the LP had written security operatives to arrest him and his supporters over a crime he did not committed. He said: “My life has been under serious threats since the violent clash between supporters of the ACN and LP on July 28 after our party’s primaries. It is a known fact that it was the LP mem-

bers who attacked the convoy of our governorship candidate before we retaliated. “In their usual propaganda, they portray the situation as if the attack was masterminded by ACN. Ever since the attack took place, the police have been arresting our members for no justifiable reasons.” The politician alleged that the arrest of ACN members was in connivance with the police, who he said had become the tool of the Olusegun Mimiko administration. He said the police had been harassing ACN supporters in Owo and its environs. Adekanmbi said: “It is sad that the police, which are expected to be a non-partisan, have become useful tool in the hands of the LP govern-

ment, which dictates who to arrest. “The police, instead of conducting a proper investigation, are arresting innocent people. The most annoying aspect is that the police have refused to grant those people arrested bail.” But the LP, through its Publicity Secretary Femi Okunjemiruwa, said there had been peace in the state in the last three years of the Mimiko administration. It accused opposition parties of causing violence in an attempt to dislodge the ruling party. The party said Adekanmbi was an aggrieved member of the LP before he joined the ACN, adding that he led some suspected thugs to attack LP leaders at the party’s secretariat after the congress. The LP said the politician should visit the police, if he was wanted. It urged opposition members to play the game according to the rules, saying the electorate should be allowed to vote for their preferred candidate.

Akeredolu to transform Ore


HE Ondo State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has promised to turn Ore into the Southwest’s economic hub. He said he would partner key investors to build a multimillion mega plaza that would serve travellers and merchants. The ACN candidate spoke in Ore in continuation of his campaign tour of wards. A statement by the party’s Director of Media, Publicity and Strategy, Mr

• Many turned out to welcome ACN candidate From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Idowu Ajanaku, said the frontline lawyer promised to make Ore a cosmopolitan town that would compete with Lagos and Ibadan. The town is the gateway to Lagos and the eastern states. Akeredolu decried the deplorable state of roads in the town, Kajola and Odigbo. He said he would build roads and create jobs for youths. The former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Presi-

dent noted that unemployment has reached a critical stage in the state and, therefore, deserves attention. Traditional rulers, traders, youths and party supporters in Ore and neighbouring communities welcomed the governorship candidate. They promised to vote for ACN in the October 20 poll. Akeredolu promised not to disappoint the people, if he is elected governor. He said, unlike the Mimiko administration, he would not abandon the


Owo-Akure Road, the Ondo-Akure Road, the Dome, the Owenna Multipurpose Dam, Akure Stadium and many other important projects.

Indigenes protest Ondo’s debt profile


GROUP of Ondo State indigenes, under the aegis of The People’s Voice, has kicked against the state’s debt profile. It described it as appalling, unbelievable and unwarranted. A newspaper, on August 4, published the indebtedness of some states, with Ondo having $52,255,534 (about N8,360,885,440).

By Adegunle Olugbamila

In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Comrade Idris Olamilekan Rahman, the group wondered why Ondo State, which was financially buoyant during the Olusegun Agagu administration, could suddenly become a big debtor. The group said the Agagu administration

claimed it left N38billion in the coffers in 2009, wondering why the state still has such a huge debt profile. It said: “It is appalling that the last administration left N38billion and the state collects a fat monthly sum from the Federation Account as an oil producing state, while also generating huge internal revenue on taxes and levies.

Non-indigenes warn Mimiko against anarchy


COALITION of nonindigenes in Ondo State yesterday warned Governor Olusegun Mimiko not to turn the state into a theatre of war between indigenes and non-indigenes because of the October 20 election. The coalition said it has been difficult for non-indigenes doing legitimate businesses in the state to suddenly leave the state after living in harmony with their host communities. In a communiqué issued at the end of its emergency meeting in Akure, the state capital, by its President, Patrick Otekpo, and Secretary-General, Samson Ebidighi, the coalition urged se-

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

curity agents to protect nonindigenes. It noted that some non-indigenes were victimised by thugs, allegedly sponsored by the ruling Labour Party (LP). The coalition said it has not endorsed any political party, adding that it would only embrace good governance and better living condition for non-indigenes. Otekpo, who doubles as the National President of Niger Delta Youth Awareness Council (NDYAC), said two people were assaulted in Bolorunduro and Idanre for speaking on the political situation in the state.

He said: “For instance, a non-indigene in Bolorunduro, the headquarters of Ondo East Local Government Area, Lawrence Mojuba, was beaten up a few days ago by LP thugs for having the guts to criticise and rate Governor Mimiko low on performance. “Another person, Segun Olaosebikan (aka Tosibe), was injuried in Idanre by a group of indigenes allegedly loyal to the ruling LP because he refused to support the party in the local government.” The coalition leader decried the activities of some security operatives in the state, saying they arrest non-indigenes arbitrarily on trumped-up charges, mainly on the orders of the state government.

“Where have they (funds) all gone to? Did the government spend the money on the sparse infrastructural development that is nothing to write about but only celebrated on the pages of newspapers and on television screens? The debt is unacceptable, and we think somebody somewhere has to give an account of how we have come to this sorry pass.” The group noted that if the report is true, it means accountability, prudence and good governance, professed by the LP administration, have been replaced by kleptomania and financial recklessness. It said: “Ondo State is blessed enough to have an all-round development, like what obtains in some other states. In the history of the state, we have never had this type of shameful record. Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Adebayo Adefarati and Dr Olusegun Agagu, who ruled at different periods before now, did not plunge the state into debts, despite the fact that they did not have the kind of staggering amount the state now has.”






•From left: Dr. Akintelure, Prof. Eghagha, Imam, Dr. Pitan, Mrs. Laoye-Tomori, Dr. Adamu, Lady Chukwudum, Omonijo and his wife Ayo and Senator •Dr. Fayemi...yesterday Lanlehin...yesterday

How to transform the polity •Tambuwal, Fayemi, Tinubu, offer recipe at book launch


T was yet another opportunity to tackle an age-old intellectual puzzle yesterday in Lagos. Why has Nigeria remained a country of lamentations and what is the way out? Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal, Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said politics must be given a new meaning for democracy to thrive. It was at the launch of the book: The Nigerian Political Turf: Polity, Politics, Politicians, written by The Nation’s Group Political Editor, Mr. Mobolade Omonijo. Fayemi, the keynote speaker, said 50 years after independence and a century after amalgamation, politics and politicking have still not served the people well. The polity, he said, is in need of thorough restructuring. However, if the citizens choose not to play a part in activism in their communities and state, they would only get the politicians they deserve. That, the governor said, would allow for the hijack of the political realm by special interests, religious bigots and ethnic jingoists only keen in the promotion of their narrow agendas. Fayemi said: “So, being political is being patriotic and we all must be ready to leave our comfort zones to embrace active engagement…The choice is, therefore, simple: one can continue to snipe on the fringe and complain that government is not listening to the yearnings of the people. “Alternatively, one can stop agonising about missed policy opportunities and organise in a manner that places citizens as drivers of change, especially in our quest to restore communitarian values and create a future of hope and possibilities for our people. This is why I am in politics.” To Fayemi, the democracy being

•Belgore (left) and Senator Ganiu Solomon...yesterday

By Joseph Jibueze and Olatunde Odebiyi

enjoyed today continues to be threatened by severe internal contradictions. “At the core of the crisis either in the Niger Delta or in the North is the failure of politics to allocate authority, legitimise it, and use it to achieve the social as well as economic ends that conduce to communal wellbeing. “The ordinary people, expelled to the margins of politics and economics for so long, appear now to be knocking insistently on the gate, demanding to be let in - in the renewed context of democratisation and freedom,” Fayemi said. He called for the democratisation of politics in such a way that the ordinary people would become the object and subject of development. Despite the security challenges and the need to find innovative ways of accommodating social diversity, Fayemi said the situation of things does not mean all hope is lost. He spoke on type of leadership needs to get out of the doldrums. His words: “We need leaders who have a clear vision of the future, who see character as destiny, who advocate values-driven reorientation, who don’t just mouth transformation, who are compassionate about changing the decrepit plight of our people, who act with integrity and ethics, who create an entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities in followers, who see leadership as service and responsibility and who are not content with mediocrity. “We must move away from transactional politics to transformative leadership; genuine representatives of our people, not retail traders of the Commonwealth. This is our modest agenda for a collective rescue mission in Ekiti State, and indeed Nigeria.” Tinubu, represented by former Lagos Commissioner for Health Dr.

•Ofeimun (left) and Ajibade...yesterday PHOTOS: OLUSEGUN RAPHAEL

Under the current government, Nigerians are confronted with a reluctant leader, a choirmaster with singers churning out discordant tunes and singing from different pages

Leke Pitan, said corruption remains a pastime in a country where leaders treat citizens like slaves and where life “is a mixture of hell laced with some fleeting moments of reprief.” To him, the present state of insecurity and bombings are symptomatic of a nation in free fall. Nigeria needs to decentralise its policing system -in line with universal policing trends, he said. “The government must act quickly and intelligently to curtail the situation before Nigerians resort to selfhelp,” Tinubu warned. He blamed the country’s woes on lack of visionary and courageous leaders, saying: “Under the current government, Nigerians are confronted with a reluctant leader, a choirmaster with singers churning out discordant tunes and singing from different pages. “Nigeria is right now at a sorry pass

•Prof. Williams...yesterday

and no one needs a soothsayer to reveal it is almost at the tipping point. But we cannot continue like this.” The solution, Tinubu added, lies in the citizens rising in defence of their rights and freedoms, by voting wisely and defending the ballot, otherwise “darkness will descend,” and no one will be spared. Tambuwal, represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Imam Imam, praised Omonijo for his foresight in putting together in a book form everything he observed as a political editor. He urged others to do so. He recalled that when he was growing up in the 60s, youths were able to “immerse” themselves in books because there was less distraction from modern technological tools of entertainment. By reading, the principles of being better persons can be imbibed, and if

people learn to be good at all stages of their lives, they would contribute in making the society a better place. Executive Editor, The News, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, who reviewed the 361page book, said the author blends indignation with passion for Nigeria. A minute’s silence was observed for the late Chris Imodibe and Tayo Awotunsin, two journalists who died covering the Liberian war. Omonijo, who also covered the war for the defunct Nigerian Economist, dedicated the book to the late Awotunsin and the late Imodibe. Guests included Osun State Deputy Governor Mrs. Grace Titi LaoyeTomori; Senators Ganiyu Solomon and Olufemi Lanlehin; and former ACN governorship candidate in Kwara State, Mr Dele Belgore (SAN). Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha represented Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. Chairman, Board Hospitals, Dr. Paul Akintelure, was the chief launcher. Also present were publisher of the defunct Nigerian Economist, Dr. Haroun Adamu; Chief Whip of the Lagos House of Assembly, Mr. Rasaq Balogun, who represented Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN). Anambra State Governor Peter Obi was represented by Lady Ucheoma Chukwudum. Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi was represented by his Special Adviser on Media Dr. Festus Adedayo. Activist scholar Prof. Adebayo Williams, the poet Odia Ofeimun, The Nation’s Editorial Board Chairman Sam Omatseye and General Editor Kunle Fagbemi were there. The compere, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, bought and donated a copy of the book to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.



Communities inspire growth

Wamakko provides millet for the needy







‘Hard work is key to success’ Lagos


Page 13


Ogun to end herdsmen-farmers’ conflict


•Governor Amosun

HE days of clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Ogun State are numbered. This is because the state House of Assembly will soon pass a bill to regulate grazing and movement of cattle in the state. Followed with enforcement, the measure will end tensions between Fulani herdsmen and local farmers in Yewa North Local Government Area of the state. The Chairman of the House Adhoc Committee on Dispute between Hausa/Fulani herdsmen and indigenous farmers, Hon. Peter Banjo, disclosed this when he led members of the committee and top security officers to various communities where there have

been continual bloody clashes. Hon. Banjo, who is also the Deputy Speaker, noted with concern that the clashes had always resulted in loss of life and property, announcing that the Assembly, in conjunction with the state government, would create designated routes and grazing areas for cattle.

Some spokespersons of the affected communities regretted that cattle always destroyed their farmlands while attempts to protest the destruction of their source of livelihood often led to bloody clashes and loss of life. In his remarks, the Seriki Fulani of Eggua, a major crisis point, Alhaji Adamu Ibrahim, assured that the disagreement would soon

Spokespersons of the affected communities regretted that cattle always destroyed their farmlands while attempts to protest the destruction often led to bloody clashes and loss of life

be a thing of the past with the support of the state government. He suggested that all herdsmen should be registered and made to sign an undertaking to be of good conduct while offenders should be apprehended and punished. Representatives of the Nigerian Army, the police, State Security Services, Nigerian Immigration Service, Customs, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, All Nigeria Farmers’ Association, Arewa traditional chiefs and Seriki Fulanis of some major towns were in the team which visited Oja-Odan, OjuduAbiodun, Ibeku, Moro and Eggua.

Plateau heals wounds T

HERE are concerted efforts to soothe the pains of victims of violence in Plateau State and get the people to live happily with one another. The state is asking those affected by the crisis to forgive their attackers. A non-governmental organisation (Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) is also focused on teaching the people to manage trauma, in addition to other services it is rendering in the crisis-ridden state. CAPP has initiated community-driven dialogue among the different segments of the Plateau society to foster and strengthen harmony especially in the crises-prone areas. The thrust of the project is to build synergy with stakeholders, engage in peacebuilding efforts, so as to share ideas and expand the scope of dialogue. Recently, the NGO gathered people traumatised by crisis, especially women who were widowed as a result of the violence, for training on how best to get out of the psychological problems. The training was done in collaboration with the Plateau State Ministry for Women Affairs and Social


Commissioner urges forgiveness NGO trains residents on trauma management From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

Development. Declaring the workshop open, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Olivia Dazyem, called for forgiveness from everyone affected by the series

of crises in the state. Dazyem believes that developing the spirit of forgiveness is the best way to heal crisis-induced trauma. The commissioner gave the advice in Jos in her goodwill message at the opening session of a workshop on trauma

healing for members of communities affected by crisis. Dazyem aid: “Almost every citizen of Plateau State is affected in one way or the other by crises in the state. Many as well are also living with the trauma of the crises. •Continued on Page 47

•Governor Jang



Wamakko gives millet to the needy S

OKOTO State Governor Aliyu Wamako has approved the immediate release of 15,000 bags of millet to the state Zakat and Endowment Committee for free distribution to the needy in the 23 local government areas of the state to assist them in their fasting. A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media , Malam Sani Umar said in Sokoto that the grains would soon be released to the committee, although no definite date was mentioned for the exercise. The statement said: ’’The gesture is part of the state government’s humble way to further alleviate the suffering of the people “Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings •From left: Dr Ayo Ogunsan, Chairman, Executive Trainers; Dr. Simon Daniel, DVC, Kaduna State University, Jenny Brown, Associate Dean, University of Wolverhampton Business School, Prof Tenuche Marietu, DVC, Kogi State University, Mrs Ajoke Ogunsan, CEO, Executive Trainers, and Dr Paschal Anosike, Senior Lecturer, University of Wolverhampton during an international tertiary institution training in the UK.

Victims of post-election crisis to get N310m T HE Kaduna State government has approved N310 million to assist people whose properties were destroyed during the 2011 post-election crisis, Governor Patrick Yakowa, has said. Yakowa said the amount was approved to fulfil part of the recommendations of the Justice Mohammed Lawal Commission of Enquiry, which investigated the immediate and remote causes of the crisis. He made the remarks while breaking the Ramadan Fast at the NUJ Kaduna State Council secretariat. Yakowa said that places of worship and owners of houses and property destroyed during the disturbances would be assisted as part of efforts to reconcile the people. The governor recalled that a committee had earlier been set up to reconcile the people to restore mutual trust among the citizenry. “We should be proud to be Nigerians as we have both human and natural resources in the area of solid mineral and arable land for agricultural development. “Investors are willing to come and develop these resources but there are serious security challenges facing us and we have to deal with them for peaceful coexistence,’’ he said.


Yakowa said another committee, which was under the state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Murkhtar Yero, had been set up to implement programmes with the subsidy funds expected to accrue to the state. He appealed to members of the NUJ to continue to disseminate the state government policies and programmes to the populace so as to ensure peace and tranquility in the polity. Earlier, the Kaduna NUJ Council Chairman, Malam Yusuf Idris, had expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the Yakowa administration in alleviating the suffering of the people and project implementation in the state. The the state government has appointed Idris as a member of the subsidy committee constituted to implement part of the recommendations of the Lawal Commission of Enquiry.


in cleaner environment tend to be healthier than those who live in duty environment. Only the inhabitants can make the environment clean.A little push of clearing the drains will prevent flood, mosquitoes cockroaches and unwanted insects,”he said During the exercise, wives of council officials, councillors, supervisors, special advisers, took broom, rakes and other working tools to encourage the residents to come out and perform their civic duties. Similarly, trucks were designated to strategic locations to cart away the refuse immediately. Residents were advised to avoid constructing anything on the drainage, stating further that “a cleaner Lagos is a healthier Lagos.

•Hon Adepitan (in faze cap ) with other council officials during the inspection



of Islam”. The fast (sawm) begins at dawn and ends at sunset. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sexual relations and generally sinful speech and behaviour. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Ramadan also teaches Muslims how to better practise self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity (zakat).


Osun The commissioner in her contribution disclosed that state Rural Water and Environmental Sanitation Agency (RUWESA) is collaborating with the governor’s wife to spread the message of hygienic environment because of her position as the CTLS ambassador in the state. She stated that the agency through the African Development Bank (ADB) and UNICEF is presently sinking 240 boreholes in Ejigbo Local Government Council area of the state to enhance access to water among the people. Oyawoye added that the state under the assisted programme is also building toilets in 17 public schools in the council area to discourage indiscrimi-

T •Governor Wamakko

nate defecation in the environment. She further stated that in the second phase of the programme, 24 local governments have been selected to benefit from the programme, which include sinking 50 boreholes and 20 toilets per council area to increase access to clean water and enhance hygienic environment. According to her, only Osun and Yobe states are currently benefitting from the UNICEF/ADB assisted programme because of the commitment Governor Rauf Aregbesola showed to the development partners. Mrs Aregbesola also disclosed that her mission as a sanitation ambassador is to ensure drastic reduction in the spread of water-borne diseases by intensifying campaign on healthy living, especially among rural dwellers.


•Former District 9110 Governor Rotary International, Rotn Somo Omoniyi(left) with the former Central Bank Governor, Rotn Dr. Joseph Sanusi at the 2012 annual 9110 District Conference, Rotary International, at Abeokuta.

Don canvasses new lecture methods SENIOR lecturer at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Dr. Ayinde Benjamin, has urged higher institution lecturers to explore the use of modern technology in the course of their work. Dr Benjamin, the AOCOED Director of Applied Scholastic Limited said this at a seminar organised by the Ansar-Ud-Deen College of Education, Isolo. Speaking on the theme: Applied Scholastics Study Technology and its Application for Effective Science Teaching, Dr Benjamin stressed that the use of technology in teaching of science related courses in institutions will stimulate easy assessment and understanding by the students. “The new method is to make teaching and learning more meaningful and it has been tested and trusted elsewhere and it worked. The study of technology allows a person to learn any subject successfully and empower them to achieve the goals they have set in life,” he said. Continuing he said: “This study makes learning more easier because it helps the students to overcome the barriers of learning which are lack of mass (physical object) of what is being studied. When a lecturer is more practical and demonstrative with his students, they understand better”, he said.


HE Ogun Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr Gbenga Otenuga has presented sewing machines, hair dryers and locally made carts to youths across the 20 local government areas of the state. Otenuga said at the occasion that the items would assist the youths in their quest for self-employment, noting that youth empowerment was a cardinal programme of the government. According to him, the gesture which is part of the capacity development programme of the government, will go a long way to reduce the rate of criminal activities among the youths. He added that government was committed to repositioning the youths to enable them contribute meaningfully to the development of the state. “We have established skills development centres across the 20 council areas in the state basically for skills and capacity development for the youths. “We believe that if the youths are gainfully engaged in productive ventures, the issue of violence would be drastically contained in the state.” Some of the beneficiaries praised the government for the initiative, describing it as “a big relief and an attempt at reducing the rate of unemployment in the state’’. Sola Odubanjo, a physically challenged beneficiary from Ijebu-North local government area, who spoke on behalf of other beneficiaries,said they would put the materials into judicious use.

Council chief renders account

Council calls for cleaner environment HE Chairman, Mushin Local Government Area,Hon. Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan, has appealed to residents of the council to keep and maintain a cleaner environment. He made this call during the inspection of thelast monthly environmental sanitation exercise. Adepitan, with the members of his team, visited streets such as Balogun, Buari Disu, Olaseinde, Palm Avenue, Ladipo road, Osifuye, Ofada, Omodigbo and other places. “As a government, we are looking forward to a day when the residents will willingly come out to participate in environmental sanitation exercise without a push from any official of the state or local government. “Statistics have shown that those who live

Ogun empowers youths

Aregbesola’s wife campaigns for hygienic living IFE of the Governor of Osun State , Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola, has reiterated the need for healthy living among rural dwellers to achieve hygienic environment. She disclosed this while featuring on a state television programme along with the state commissioner for Environment and Sanitation, Prof Olubukola Oyawoye. The wife of the governor, who is also the United Nations Ambassador on Community-led Total Sanitation, stressed the need to emphasise healthy living among rural and urban dwellers. According to her, cleanliness is the only means to achieve healthy living and reduce cost on medical expenses, hence she charged the people to be conscious of their attitude to health-related issues.


Aminat Adesina

Benjamin identified problem of learning as communication barrier. “Another barrier is misunderstood words, when a lecturer does not employ the use of good words to communicate with the students, the message may not be clear and well understood,” he said. He explained when the method is adopted, it will help students understand both the theoretical and practical aspect of the subject under discussion. “When a student understands the practical and theoretical aspect of a topic being discussed, it empowers them with learning skills which make them self –independent, he said. Also speaking, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Balogun, identified God-consciousness as tool to understanding. He said only the fear of God will make students respect their teachers, saying this is a perquisite to understanding lectures. “If a student has the fear of God instilled in him, he will always respect his lecturer and when a student likes a lecturer, he will always understand what he is being taught”, he said The school Provost, Professor Tajudeen Gbadamosi urged the students to adhere to all being discussed and make good use of it so as to become good ambassadors in future. “When you put all being discussed into practice, then the sky is your starting point,” he said.

HE Chairman, Ojodu Local Council Development Area, Hon Olumuyiwa Oloro has marked his 250 days in office. He presented the score card on his first 100 days and promised that the council would construct more roads and improve on infrastructure. So far, 17 roads have been rehabilitated, with repairs ongoing on some.He said the council would build more as funds come. He implored the citizens to help maintain and secure the roads, saying the community should desist from burning tyres on the road. He said contracts for Apata Street, Oke-Ira and Ogundele Avenue have been awarded by the state government and the contractors have moved to site. The council chair said: “Over the past months the council has endeavoured to provide drugs and other medical facilities for the generality of our people in all primary health centers. Renovation is ongoing at Oke-Ira Health Cenre, Gbadamosi Health Centre, Ogba Oluwole Health Centres which operate 24 hours. On education, he said two blocks of six classrooms each in Ojodu Primary School 1 and II have been provided. “They are well equipped with desks and benches for the pupils with teachers’ chairs and tables. The two blocks have been commissioned by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon Adeyemi Ibirogba. Aside this,about 150 students would be graduating from Oluremi Tinubu Vocational Center, Ogba soon.”Our youths have been empowered to be self reliant and independent as they can

By Duro Babayemi

now be self-emp He said an Education Trust fund meant to source for funds from the prvate sector to develop the education sector will soon be inaugurated. “The fund would be used to purchase books, equipment and other facilities required by our school as well as maintain our school structure,”the coucil boss said.

Church holds programme CHRIST Apostolic Church Revival Centre Miracle land will hold a three-day powerful vigil from Wednesday, August 15 and 16 will be conducted from 12.00am to 3.00am and on Friday, from 11.00pm till 4.00am. The theme is: From Bondage to Glory.The venue is Off Opeyemi StreetOurun Eketu Mowe,Ogun State. Speaking on the programme, the host, Prophet Ajewole Olawale Joseph, said “the event would loose bondage for the afflicted; all women seeking fruit of the womb will be blessed, the sick will receive healing and job seekers will be gainfully employed. God will meet those with marital problems at the point of need and there will be financial breakthrough for the needy”. The public is enjoined to attend. Ministering are Prophet J.O. Ajewole and other anointed men of God.

Group urges action against domestic OMESTIC abuses experienced in some homes in Nigeria have been attribviolence uted bad manners,poverty and nega-


tive attitudes. According to Nigeria Women’s Aids (NWAID), UK and Ireland Headquarter, the prevalent human abuses particular to Nigeria and other African countries include: maltreatment of women and children, human trafficking and political and economic oppressions. Speaking through its coordinator and president, Felicity Okolo, in Lagos recently, the organisation observed that these abuses have given rise to domestic violence, which she said, “We must break!” To break this cycle of domestic violence, Okolo challenged the victims to speak out. According to her, “by not telling the stories, one would be indirectly aiding and abetting those who are deliberately indulging in it; while by revealing the acts to the general public, you are encouraging them (domestic violence perpetrators) to change. In order to stem the tide in Nigeria, NWAID is already making moves to partner with Project Alert and other similar organisations in the country.

• From left: Vice Chairman, International Cement Company Limited, Elder Babasola Aiyegbusi greeting the Aro of Makun, Sagamu, Chief Ezekiel Oluwale Mayungbo.With them is the Director, International Cement Company Limited, Chief (Mrs) Henrietta Vanni during the presentation of a brand new Hilux Security Patrol Van by International Cement Company Limited to Mokun Community, in Sagamu, Ogun State.` •

Katsina lawmakers to investigate contractors K ATSINA House of Assembly is to investigate the state contractors on the abandoned works on Government Day Secondary School, Yankara in Faskari Council Area and similar projects in the state. The Speaker of the state House of Assembly , Hon. Umar Ya’u Gwojo Gwojo, gave the directive to its committee on education following the motion tabled by Hon. Shehu Dalhatu Tafoki representing Faskari constituency in Katsina. The house also directed the executive arm to immediately ensure the completion of the abandoned Government Day Secondary School Yankara in Faskari Local Government Area in the state. In support of the motion, the members representing Daura, Sandamu, Bindawa, Kankara , Bakori and Dutsinma constituencies all con-

From Isah Idris, Katsina

demned the unbecoming attitude of contractors and called for immediate investigation of their activities. Hon. Tafoki lamented the plight of the parents of students of GDSS Yankara who cannot afford taking their children to a far distance places like Faskari and towns in Zamfara State as it is a border town. Yankara he said, though a border town, constitutes 20 percent of the population of Faskari Local Government Area, while the school has been abandoned since 2009.

Firm rewards customers


PHARMACEUTICAL company, Pharma-Deko Plc has rewarded its dedicated customers.They were rewarded at a prize -giving ceremony at its plant located at Plot C15/3 Agbara Inustrial Estate, Agbara, Ogun State. The company held the ceremony on July 27. The purpose was to reward deserving customers who were instrumental to the tremendous growth recorded in the company’s 2011 financial year. For the first time in the history of the company, Pharma-Deko plc gave away a brand new Kia Picanto (1.0L) to Mahabub Kazzim Enterprises, the Star Prizewinner The second prize of Paggio 3-wheeler PickUp (1 tonne) and Sharp AR-5618 Printer/Photocopy went to A.Y.I Ventures. The number three and four customers, Mabro Pharmacy and Thonny Pharmacy, were both rewarded with PIAGGIO 3-Wheeler Pick-up (1 tonne), and Samsung Laptop/printer/Ups. That was not all, various valuable gifts, including Honda EG680 generator, refrigerators, 1.5 HP Samsung air conditioners, 32’ LG Tele-

By Biodun-Thomas Davids

Meanwhile, Felicity Okolo who was a victim of matrimonial domestic violence, asserted that domestic violence is in every continent and therefore advised girls in the country to be wary of going into relationship with strange men abroad in the name of “greener pasture”, warning that, “you don’t know what you are going to encounter.” Felicity, who has now happily remarried, was once trapped in a loveless marriage arranged surreptitiously abroad to her disadvantage . As she recounted in one of her books: It is My Life and l’m In Charge”, While she was thousands of miles away from her parents and family in Nigeria, she only found solace from singing gospel songs while passing through the thick and thin of matrimonial throes.With courage, she escaped her abuser one night when he threatened to kill her.


•Some of the winners with their prizes

Ogun vision sets, washing machines and gas cookers were also given to over 70 deserving customers. Speaking at the ceremony, an official of the company said: “We are very grateful for the patronage of our highly esteemed customers. “The journey has just begun, even at 50 years of existence of Pharma-Deko Plc, we count on their continuous support for the next quantum leap around the corner. We promise to keep producing healthy solutions for highly profitable business for our distributors”. Some of the products of the company include: include the following: Parkalin range, Revitone Blood Tonic, Salins Liniment, Hexedene mouth wash, Brett mouth wash, Omepraz, Pharmadec drop and syrup, Vitacee drop and syrup, Antsil tablets, Garlic Tablet, Amoquin antimalarial tablet, Parkprim suspension and tablets etc and our non sugar base Sans Cream Soda for the consumer business.













Feeding the world

NNPC not covered by FOI Act? •Coming from the corporation’s legal adviser, this must be a stunning revelation


F really the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has nothing to hide, why does it always want its activities shrouded in secrecy? This time around, it was the company’s secretary and legal adviser, Anthony C. Madichie, a person who should know, that shocked the world on July 31 with his statement that the corporation is not bound by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. The publicly owned corporation made this audacious and miscalculating statement in its response to Daily Trust’s simple request for information concerning its recent recruitment, in line with the FOI Act signed into law on May 28, 2011, by President Goodluck Jonathan. Curiously enough, Mr Madichie added that “it is our position that this definition (of what constitutes statutory corporations) does not extend to statutory corporations such as NNPC and thus, we are not bound by the provision of the act”. It is unfortunate that some supposedly learned men can easily dish out untruths and distorted facts in the name of law, for no other reason than to retain their jobs. While the NNPC’s legal adviser deliberately or out of ignorance indulged in an exercise of selective vision in his misinterpretation and misadvise, people who are not so learned in law know that the legal adviser simply handpicked a section of the FOI Act in which he thought he could find an escape route. But even then, the Section 31 that he referred to captures the NNPC not only as public institution which has board of directors

under the Federal Government, but a very big one at that, especially as it is one public institution on which about 80 per cent of Nigeria’s mono economy relies upon as the source of public fund. The NNPC provides public services, performs public functions and utilises public funds, as it brazenly did in the fuel subsidy scandal. That is why we wonder why its legal adviser closed his eyes to the relevant section 2 (7) of the same Act which defines public institutions in this manner: “Public Institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extraministerial departments of the government, together with all the corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and private companies utilising public funds, providing public services or performing public functions” . Our position is that the request should even go beyond that of Daily Trust’s; we should ask for information about the activities and expenditures of the corporation since 1999. The fuel subsidy scandal is probably only a tip of the ice-berg. The Daily Trust’s request for details of the just concluded recruitment exercise conducted by the NNPC showing the number of applicants from each state, points scored by each candidate at the test and interview, benchmarks set by the corporation, number of candidates who qualified and their states of origin and the number of candidates employed by the corporation and their states of origin is a responsible request in line with transparency and accountability and, indeed,

that of federal character. These details have been kept secret for a long time. Now, for the purpose of justice and fairness, all these information must be published for all to see. The NNPC is not, and can never be, above the laws of our land. The reason why the corporation is trying to avoid the searchlight of FOI Act into its activities is because of the culture of impunity whereby it had systematically flouted the laws of the land, including remittances to the Federal Government on crude oil sales and refined oil. NNPC would have gone away with its criminal wastage of public fund had the House of Representatives not probed into the matter of fuel subsidy that has landed it in a serious scandal. Nigerians must come together to tame the corporation and its leadership’s culture of impunity.

‘The NNPC is not, and can never be, above the laws of our land. The reason why the corporation is trying to avoid the searchlight of FOI Act into its activities is because of the culture of impunity whereby it had systematically flouted the laws of the land, including remittances to the Federal Government on crude oil sales and refined oil’

Respect the law •Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha must hasten to obey court rulings


T may seem extreme and disrespectful to describe Governor Rochas Okorocha`of Imo State as lawless, but that would be a statement of fact. Two clear rulings of the courts of the land against his government and he has chosen to either ignore them outright or stall their execution. Mercifully, we are still in a country governed by the rule of law; we have not yet descended into a state of anomy where orders from properly constituted courts of law may be ignored or flagrantly dismissed. Unfortunately, Okorocha cannot yet choose the laws to obey; indeed, it is incumbent on him to obey all pronouncements emanating from the courts. This is the grievous dilemma Governor Okorocha faces. On June 27, an Owerri High Court ruled that members of the Imo State Judicial Service Commission who were removed from office before the expiration of their tenure be reinstated. The Imo State government was still wondering whether to obey or not when the Court of Appeal, Owerri Judicial Division on July 4, pronounced that the summary dissolution of duly constituted local government councils in the state by Governor Okorocha in June, last year was unconstitutional and therefore, a nullity. The appellate court also restrained the governor or his agents from interfering with the rights of the elected council officers. The court, of course, nullified the aberration known as transition commit-

tees installed by the governor. Obviously used to arbitrariness and disdain for institutions, Okorocha simply ignored these rulings as if they were never pronounced or they had no bearing to his government until weeks after when the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, intervened and ordered action on the judgment. Even then, the governor would only balk and choose to buy time. He promptly declared a three-day public holiday for workers of all the local council areas, thereby putting the offices under lock and key. If there was an understanding of economics, and if the welfare of the people was paramount, it would have been obvious to the government that three days is a very long period to shut down all 27 local councils in the state. Sadly, this is not the first time the Imo State Government has deployed trickery as state policy. Early in the year, it was a four-day state-wide holiday ostensibly to sedate the populace and bar them from demanding their rights. But if there is any economy in the state, it is the worse for it. It must be stated, indeed emphasised, that Governor Okorocha and his counterparts in all parts of the country must not only obey the law but must be seen to be doing so. The reasons are obvious but bear repeating. First, the rule of law is supreme and as an elected leader, he

is a creation of the law therefore, he must not act to diminish the same instrument with which he was created. For instance, if his opponent in the last election had not obeyed the rulings of the courts, the incumbent probably would not be in office today; an ensuing anarchy may have necessitated a state of emergency. The point we are making in essence is that people in leadership positions must be particularly fastidious in standing up for the rule of law. Let Governor Okorocha respect the law even at his detriment; that is the beauty of the rule of law and the touchstone of civil rule.

‘Obviously used to arbitrariness and disdain for institutions, Okorocha simply ignored these rulings as if they were never pronounced or they had no bearing to his government until weeks after when the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, intervened and ordered action on the judgment. Even then, the governor would only balk and choose to buy time’


T has been four years since a lethal combination of bad harvests, misguided trade policies and poor governance combined to create a global food crisis that put millions of lives and livelihoods at risk. This summer’s drought in the American Midwest is threatening renewed spikes in worldwide commodity prices. It may prove an early test for the commitments made after the 2007-08 crisis – notably at a G8 summit in L’Aquila in Italy in 2009 – to improve global food security. Unfortunately, progress has been uneven and in some places policies have actually worsened. On the positive side, the amount of aid going into agriculture has increased, with the caveat that any numerical target is subject to massaging by donors relabelling existing aid. In particular, there has been a welcome focus on providing public goods like new strains of crop suitable for tropical climates. Reforms to humanitarian food aid have been patchier. The US talked a good game at L’Aquila, saying it would move towards the best practice of buying food for disaster relief close to where it is needed rather than dumping its own agricultural surpluses. A local-purchase food aid project has been set up inside the US Agency for International Development and there are reform proposals in the much bigger food aid programmes in the US farm bill, currently being fought over in Congress. But other proposed changes in the farm bill are less helpful, particularly a shift back towards linking farm subsidy payments to output, placing world agriculture and consumption patterns at the whim of US politics. During the 2007-08 crisis, export restrictions by big agricultural producers such as Russia and Ukraine led to huge shortterm spikes in the global price of staple foods. Having failed to make binding agreements during last year’s French presidency of the G20, the world remains short of an effective means of regulating export bans, or even of accepting that logic. Thailand, for example, one of the world’s biggest rice growers, has turned to a misguided populist policy of buying and stockpiling rice from its own farmers, with the predictable consequence of falling exports. Existing World Trade Organisation export rules are weak and proposals to strengthen them failed to make it into the moribund Doha trade talks. So far, this year’s rises in food prices remain mercifully short of the huge jumps in 2007-08. But with key elements of agricultural policy unreformed, the world remains vulnerable to a rerun. – Financial Times

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IR: I was at the Akure Sports Complex when Olusegun Mimiko praised Adaba FM to high heavens for serving as a succour to him at the time that the ousted Governor Olusegun Agagu made the State-owned media, OSRC, a no-go area for him. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Ekiti Governor Ayo Fayose were present among other dignitaries at the swearing-in ceremony. I was there in company of my boss, the Head of News of Adaba FM, Jide Ogunluyi, to do a live commentary on the event. Those were the days (and before his victory at the Appeal Court) that Adaba FM would air Mimiko and Labour Party’s jingles before collecting money. In those days, Adaba FM slaved for Mimiko; I don’t think the Governor should forget this overnight. For close to


Adaba FM, Mimiko and ‘Christmas Gift’ three months, most of us were sleeping at work because we had no accommodation, coupled with the harassment and abuse we suffered in the hands of the Agagu administration. Looking back now, I cannot but ask that should Mimiko have been Agagu, he would probably have hunted all Adaba FM staff out of Ondo State. Agagu was more hit by Adaba FM, yet in those days the staff of the station never woke up to find a man-made gully on the road leading to their station.

Their General Manager was never warned by the government of Agagu. Their reporters did not have to look over their shoulders this much then. Same way Mimiko could not go near OSRC then, can ACN or PDP go near the station now? Where then do they go? Definitely, Mimiko should know that same way Adaba FM provided succour for him, the station, in the same manner, owed it a duty and a social service to provide succour for the

disadvantaged now. One thing I noticed about Mimiko while at the Government House was that he was a smart politician, but my fear has always been that he may someday outsmart himself. It is a fact that Mimiko understands the politics of Ondo State to the extent that he knows what mesmerises Ondo people. A younger brother of a former Commissioner in the Mimiko government, Solagbade Amodeni, even confirmed that Mimiko once

Professional in politics versus professional politicians


The debate on professionals in politics and professional politicians has been on for sometime in the country. Professionals in politics are those who have distinguished themselves in other fields before venturing to politics while professional politicians are those whose source of livelihood begin and end with politics. Receiving a delegation of the federal government that came to commensurate with him on the death of his mother in his office recently, governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, brought up the issue of these two classes of politicians once again. According to the governor, it is only those that take up politics as a full time profession that get involved in ‘do or die politics’. There seems to be a consensus across the land that professionals in politics make better politicians. It is however, too simplistic to narrow the issue of rot in the polity to the issue of professionals in politics and professional politicians. A cursory look at the membership of the National Assembly since 1999, for instance, reveals that most of the

members are professionals in politics. Same goes for governors, ministers, commissioners as well as other political appointees across the country. Even at the local government councils, one is beginning to see the emergence of new crop of young professionals at helms of affairs. Undoubtedly, the challenges confronting politics in the country is not in any way different from those facing other sectors. When we talk of corruption, for instance, the general tendency is to point accusing fingers to those in government. But the reality is that hardly is there a sector in the country where corruption doesn’t thrive. Take, for instance, the banking sector. Who were the people responsible for the collapse of once viable banks in the land? Who were those that pounced on shareholders’ funds to satisfy their incurable thirst for material acquisition? We crucify policemen on a daily basis because they have the misfortune of putting on uniforms that easily mark them out when they embrace anti-social behaviours. But

there are institutions in this country that have simply integrated corruption as best practice. Except we are deceiving ourselves, everywhere is rotten in the country. Even in religious places, where one expects a reasonable degree of uprightness, the story is not different. What we need to transform the country is neither professional politicians nor professionals in politics. Rather, we need a complete re-orientation that cuts across all spectrums of the society. A process that is all encompassing in the sense of a fusion between the physical and the spiritual, something that affects the mind, the soul and the spirit positively. We need to change our value system as a people. We need to re-appraise our undue obsession to materialism and wealth accumulation. It is such mania that is partly responsible for the rot in our socio-political system. How come men of questionable characters and unproven integrity are calling the shotsin nearly every sector? The answer is simple. Money has become our god. In the days of our founding fa-

thers, men of ideas and principles were widely respected and honoured. Ntional heroes such as Herbert Macaulay, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, and Aminu Kano among others did not rise to national prominence as a result of the fatness of their bank accounts. Rather, they won the hearts of men of their generation because of the strength and depth of their ideas and principles as well as their total commitment to those ideals which they hold in high esteem. One other vital key to changing our value system is good governance. Gvernance is about service. It is amusing that people kill, maim, rig as well resorting to other forms of manipulations to acquire power. Leaders that understand and appreciate the whole essence of governance are very few in the country. The way forward, is for everyone to have a strong resolve to always do the right thing. • Tayo Ogunbiyi Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

said he knew what captivates the people of Ondo State. He was also said to have allegedly claimed that as long as you build infrastructures in Akure, Ondo and Owo, second term ticket would be a piece of cake. If this were true, what about Okitipupa, Akoko and other towns in the state where indeed Mimiko seemed to have done nothing? Whenever I think about the over N407 billion that the administration of Olusegun Mimiko has collected as allocation till date, minus the internally generated revenue (IGR), I can’t but remember those days when we would hand over all our monetary gifts from January to December to our mom and at Christmas, she would buy us a pair of shoes or a cheap ready-made clothes and say,”That’s all your money o”. We would protest, but to no avail. Are Ondo State people like us too, while we were growing up? Are these Christmas gifts (projects by Mimiko) commensurate with what the state has taken as allocation so far? Like us, would their protests also be to no avail? It is right for some people to argue that Agagu got allocation as well and did not do as much, but that is like the case of a child who got nothing at Christmas despite all the money he has saved with his mother and one who got a small gift, but lesser in value to what he has saved with his mother. If the mother of the child who gets nothing is wrong for “swallowing” all the money, is the mother of the one who gets a small gift less of a thief? Which of these two mothers would God judge right? These are the issues ACN and PDP members discuss on Adaba FM. Has the station done badly by letting them say the truth? I think Adaba should be commended for being a ray of hope at a time some would gladly cover all sources of light to prevent the truth from being known. • ‘Dimeji Daniels Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State




Moral Coalition Against ‘NASS Salaries, Allowances & Allied Chop-Chop Bill’ . Olympics 2020


OVERNMENT must accept its failure to alleviate short term suffering of ‘Fellow Nigeria’ in electric power, potholes and education. We build Tony bridges but no interim Marinho motorable alternative routes to alleviate the pains of construction diversions. We build roads but do not fill potholes. We build tomorrow’s schools but deny books to children in schools today! Shame! Today’s problems need medicine today and operation tomorrow. Government is selfish, solving its own power problem ‘immediately’ with generators for office and home paid with public money while we await the ‘long term solution’ in 2-10 years. We will no longer wait! For every problem government must offer a 4-point plan: 1) Immediate, 2) Short, 3) Medium and 4) Long term solutions. Nigerians have waited 50 years for a comfortable life, much less than the obscene excesses arrogated to the politicians and senior civil servants ‘immediately’. Politicians must serve – ‘immediately’. The people suffer billion naira public fund scandals. Which politician loves ‘fellow Nigerians’ enough to give them electricity, books in schools, modern hospitals, pothole free roads, cheap petroleum and befitting safe public transport for human beings- not cattle? The true dividends of democracy, DOD, are diverted to politicians’ accounts while they preach – Where else in the world can a serving National Assembly member, from personal emoluments FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE, fund 10 buses, six Toyota Camry, 30 sewing machines, 30 generators, 5,000 bags of rice, undisclosed number of empowerment envelopes with N10-50,000 each et cetera ad nauseum? Sounds good for the few recipients but it is bad for nonrecipients, the democratic process and for political principles and practice! It is morally despicable for a politician employed by ‘fellow Nigerians’ as a servant, to be so enriched ‘above his master’ as to be able to ‘give out’ so much pretending it is from his own ‘private purse’. A government system which

allows such irresponsible concentration or channelling of public money to individuals in the NASS is a rubbish system needing change ‘immediately’. These are not‘Dividends of Democracy’ but ‘Diversion of Dividends of Democracy’DODD. The media should make a public professional democracy decision to boycott coverage of such spectacular miscarriages of morals and failures of democracy until they are withdrawn re-routed! For every one of the NASS members who does good with such money, there are 30 who will do bad! This is political and economic corruption black hole. NASS must listen to the masses or be swept away at the 2015 election where excess salaries will be an election issue. Nigerians cannot afford NASS any longer or bear NASS as a crippling democratic burden. Voluntarily cancel these ridiculous excesses or we, the citizens will establish a National and International Moral Coalition Against ‘NASS Excessive Salaries, Allowances and allied Chop-Chop Bill’. The coalition should start work now. Each professional worker, social and corporate groups’ executives should prepare and pass a resolution proposing an amendment to the relevant Bill. Each executive would seek the backing of its members which total number would appear on the letter-headed submission. For example –‘We the Executive, Representing 320,000 of our 330,000 members of XYZ Union or Market Women’s or Nurses or Tailors or PHCN or NANS or ASUU or NUT or NULGE or UK and USA Nigerians in Diaspora Association support the Proposed Amendment to the NASS chop chop Bill Number so and so.......’. Properly led by an interested Social Media or Poverty Alleviation NGO or Human Rights/ Democracy Group, this ‘fellow Nigerian non-partisan, non-political’ Coalition could give reality to ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’ and change the ‘unrealistically opulent’world of NASS with 25 or 50 million ‘moral authority’ signatures. Let ‘fellow Nigerians’ make this an election 2015 issue and be encouraged not to vote for anyone who supports the continuation of such ‘financial accumulative’ and reckless activities. That is if Nigeria survives the 2014 Centenary Amalgamation Anniversary. The Lagos State Road Traffic Law is welcome but the N20,000 - 30,000 fine is unrealistically high, out of tune with international standards and the local economy. Abroad simi-

lar fines are in line with or pegged to 1-2-3 times the minimum daily wage. Fines of $100-£100 in Nigeria where 70% live in less than $1 a day, and where an entire monthly minimum wage is not N20,000, are exorbitant, draconian and will further fuel corruption in LASTMA demonstrated daily at roundabouts where LASTMA scams entrap Nigerians. The fines for trailer owners are only N50,000, $2-300 or £200 but should be N100,000. Worldwide, traffic fines are money spinners for government, but not excessive fines. Many politicians and wives are at London Olympics 2012 and the convenient Bank of Industry High Level Trade and Investment Summit with maybe a million pounds spent? Unconsciously they will benefit but learn no lessons from the ‘good governance’ of the UK in transport, toilets, power and sports facilities! Will they bring any lessons home? All Olympians have 10-20 years training. Will the politicians help Nigeria invest in all 50 sports for Olympics 2016/2020? The Armed Forces used to provide Nigeria with fantastic athletes and it can again recruit and develop expertise in weightlifting, shooting, archery, the triathlon, trampoline et cetera and pay them. Feeding, accommodation, motivation and coaching are major obstacles for Nigerian athletes. The politicians should spread the mini-stadium of Gov Fashola.

‘The Lagos State Road Traffic Law is welcome but the N20,000 - 30,000 fine is unrealistically high, out of tune with international standards and the local economy. Abroad similar fines are in line with or pegged to 1-2-3 times the minimum daily wage. Fines of $100£100 in Nigeria where 70% live in less than $1 a day, and where an entire monthly minimum wage is not N20,000, are exorbitant, draconian and will further fuel corruption’

Text Message as national mirror “3 things in life that never come back when gone - time, words, opportunity; 3 things in life that should never be lost - peace, hope, honesty; 3 things in life that are most valuable - love, faith, prayer; 3 things that make a person hard work, sincerity, commitment; 3 things that can destroy a person - lust, pride, anger; 3 things in life that are constant - change, death, God. Happy Sunday!-Steve.”


HIS week, this column would have done another follow-up to last week’s discourse on the war against terrorism because of certain revelations. The first is that the more than 200 Nigeriens recently rounded up in Abuja may be released without deportation or any further action. This is because the immigration authorities or a government agency has come up with a funny disclosure that the roaming, suspected illegal immigrants are from the Kanuri ethnic stock in a state in the North. At the time they were intercepted and interrogated, they were found to be Nigeriens. But now, they have simply metamorphosed into Kanuri indigenes. Great country: great happenings. The second is the headlines in some major newspapers last Sunday pointing to the fact that these terrorists are growing in sophistication. Now, they have resorted to massive importation of rocket launchers to prosecute their sadistic ventures. With supplies allegedly coming from such terrorists’ haven as Iran, Yemen, Libya and others, it is very clear that our situation may soon take a turn for the worse, if care is not taken. I was still reading the day’s

newspapers last Sunday when I received the text message quoted above. Prof. Steve Azaiki, the coordinator of the National ThinkTank, is a household name in Nigeria and, therefore, needs no further introduction. I got the message at about 1 p.m. As soon as I finished reading it, the thought of using it as a peg for my column flashed through my mind. I simply replied, “I agree with you and I am going to use this as a peg for my column this week.” If one takes a cursory look at these six mini-verses, you will no doubt agree with me that they stand as the mirror of this society. Let us look at each of the verses. Indeed, time, words and opportunity are three things that never come back when gone. Time, it was, when we had opportunities to make Nigeria great and we squandered them on the platter of ignorance. Remember in the early 1970s, when a youthful head of state said that Nigeria had so much money that it did not know how to spend it or what to spend it on. That was the same time when civil servants were treated to”Naira Rain” in the form of jumbo salary arrears popularly referred to as “Udoji Awards”. Late Jerome Udoji headed the panel that recommended that civil servants be paid bagful of salary arrears. Perhaps, that careless and reckless move became the pillar of the inflation plaguing the country today. Still on words, remember that at the height of the 2011 political campaign, a prominent Nigerian

‘Nobody or no single human being has ever won a war waged against the collective wish and will of a people’

alluded to the fact that if the presidency did not go to a certain part of the country, there would be Armageddon. What do we have today? That takes us to the three things in life that should never be lost peace, hope and honesty. If I may ask: do we have peace in Nigeria or have we lost the peace in this country, nay the whole world? Your guess is as good as mine. If that is the case, do we still harbour any hope in the face of contemporary history? Again, your guess is as good as mine. When it comes to honesty, have we been honest in our dealings as Nigerians or human beings with one another, in our official capacity as government or public officials, politicians, entrepreneurs or ordinary citizens? Have we imbibed best practices in our day-to-day affairs? These are points to ponder on. Here comes love, faith and prayer -three things in life that are most valuable. Do we love one another? Is love a cardinal principle that governs our relationship with our family members, spouses, friends, business partners and others? How much love do we have for our country and the world at large? Do we demonstrate this love in our actions and words? Do we have faith in our country, our leaders, our business partners, our neighbours, and our brothers and sisters? How often do we pray? Do we pray for ourselves alone or pray for others, our children, our friends, our neighbours, our leaders, our country or the world? Do we recognize that love, faith and prayer add value to life? When we talk about a people, we are talking about the collective. What are those things that make a person? Here you have “hard work, sincerity and com-

mitment”. As a person, can you conveniently say that you are hardworking, sincere in your dealings and attitudes, or doing things with every sense of commitment? Do you believe that success comes only from hard work, especially in a place like Nigeria where some people go to bed without a dime only to wake up the following day as millionaires or billionaires? Does this monstrous “oil subsidy” or pension fraud come to mind? Do we pursue our goals with sincerity? How committed are we to the ideals of a sane society? How committed are our leaders to national transformation? “Lust, pride, anger” have been identified as three things that can destroy a person. The lust for something, which could evoke the spirit of getting it at all costs, may have pushed many people to their doom. It is not a crime to be ambitious. Like some philosophers are wont to say, “It is an ambition to come to the world at all”. However, what could create an intractable obstacle in a person’s path is ‘over-ambition’. I think lust and pride are like Siamese twins. Look at the rise and fall of Muamar Ghadaffi, Samuel Doe, Hosni Mubarak and many others in the African continent. Lust or pride could as well instigate anger in a person. And if the person does not know how to temper it, it could lead to self- destruction. If we reflect on the above issues, we would certainly come to the conclusion that, as they say, the only things that are permanent in life are – “change, death and God”. Sometimes ago, the game was certainly up for Ghadaffi, Doe, Mubarak and others, but they detested any change in the status quo. In two of the cases, death ended their obstinacy. The only surviving one among the trio, Mubarak, is a ridiculous human

Dele Agekameh vegetable being advertised on ‘wheel barrow’ every day in a Cairo court. Again, time seems to be up for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria but he does not want to hear anything about change. He has mounted a frenetic war of repression and massacre against the people he intends to govern in perpetuity. Will he win the war? Certainly, not. Nobody or no single human being has ever won a war waged against the collective wish and will of a people. This is where God comes in as a decider. However long tyranny may subsist; however long deceit may last, there is always a decisive moment ordained by God. Perhaps, if we know this, or our leaders know this, we might have been spared the agony of misrule, brutality, dictatorship, lust and greed for power at all costs. These are the messages from the text which has provided the mirror to look at ourselves, our country and the world. And it does not matter whether Azaiki, my friend and brother, is the patent author of these verses. There are lessons to be learnt from them. Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



COMMENTS ‘Dear Prof., I enjoyed your analysis on “Back to panelocracy”. Initially I had nothing to add or contribute but when I read the concluding part I concurred with your submission. There is no doubt that Nigeria is passing through a stage. Indirectly the only Head of State in Nigeria is Okonjo Iweala and Patience is the Vice President. Looking forward for your stimulating and academic articles next week. From Ayo, Ilesha’

• Jonathan Goodluck For Segun Gbadegesin Who is on the people’s side? Nobody. People should take their own destiny in their own hands. PDP is an anti-people oriented goverment. They are very tyrannical, oppressive, conservative, archaic, and ungodly government. Nigeria is worse off now than the peiod before they came in 1999. The only way out is for the progressives to unite and sacrifice personal ego and chase PDP out of government. This may be an uphill task as PDP has gone nuclear in rigging, but with meticulous vigilance as was the case in Edo State. The end of PDP is near. From Apelogun, Ilesha Sir, your piece today on “Who is on the people's side?” is as usual scintillating and unarguably the best from the table of light providers for the darkness enveloping Nigeria's political landscape. But sir, the people - the electorate can only respond appropriately where the people themselves have the right sophistication politically to respond to the tomfoolery, deceit and cunning of the average Nigerian politician. As Nigeria is presently structured, and with virtually all the parties showing anti-people (undemocratic) tendencies through their actions and utterances, we may have to wait ad infinitum. From John Rabiu Jimoh, Ijebu-Ode Sir, I read your message in The Nation Newspaper. Sir, we need change in this country because, President Jonathan has failed us. The only solution is that we should vote for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 general election because it is only He that is not corrupt. Buhari is a disciplined man and only he can rule us. From Muhammed, Kogi State Thank you for the insightful comments on the topic “Who is on the people's side?” In my view, neither of them is on the people's side only God will help this country. From Yamah Thomas Segun, you rightly diagnosed the problem of Nigerian politics and why we are stepping deeper into the increasing hardship by the day. Truly PDP is a political aberation. It is nothing but a Ghana-Must-Go Party of greedy people.

Nigeria can never get better with PDP in power. I pity Jonathan. But the sad truth is that of selfishness, pride and egotism which make the opposition parties refuse to come together to oust the monster called PDP. We are in trouble and hope is dim. From C. Y. Okonkwo Re: Who is on the people's side? Those who are on the side of the people are just the Civil/Human rights society and definitely not our political parties, except Mimiko's LP, Fashola’s AC and Lamido/ Akpabio's PDP from my observations so far. Definitely, not the state and National Houses of Assembly albeit, collectively! Honestly, we are just managing this Nigerian democracy. They are governments that do not give us governance! From Lanre Oseni The splendid piece is correct. Why do the people in power not listen to the hungry and homeless Nigerians? Because they believe that the toiling masses cannot come together with one mind at Gani Freedom Park and demand the keys from them. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna For Dare Olatunji I used to think it was Goodluck that brought Patience to Aso Rock. But from the impunity displayed by Patience from Abuja to Yenagoa, l have no doubt now that it is Patience that brought Goodluck to Aso Rock. A real "madam's husband"! Anonymous. Dear Prof., I enjoyed your analysis on “Back to panelocracy”. Initially I had nothing to add or contribute but when I read the concluding part I concurred with your submission. There is no doubt that Nigeria is passing through a stage. Indirectly, the only Head of State in Nigeria is Okonjo Iweala and Patience is the Vice President. Looking forward for your stimulating and academic articles next week. From Ayo, Ilesha In Public Policy Advocacy profession, which is the fourth "house" of the NASS, panelocracy would be validly recognised as a necessary instrument for carrying people along. The panalists are known as masterminds and their use strengthens checks and balances in democracy. That is to say many sane heads are better than one dictator. Embrace it. From Daniel Wisdom, Port Harcourt Sir, the Legal Icon Femi Falana is not yet a SAN until he takes the oath of SAN. Thanks! From Emma Onuh Sir, The use of multiple panels/ committees on a single problem is deliberate. It is subtle ways by Dr.

‘You have forgotten to include the committee recently set up to come up with the financial implication of settling the workers of PHCN after the planned privatization of the sector negating the existing Hassan Sunmuny-led committee to negotiate all labour related issues with the unions of the organisation. The negotiations are on going. I think the government is really confused. Anonymous Sir, on the issue of constitution amendment, Nigeria has no constitution; military drafted what they wanted and gave us. Until we come together in a round table and discuss how this country can go, they should stop the amendment of the constitution we do not have. From Sunday Uzo, Lagos’

Jonathan's administration to calm and confuse those who are still capable of logical thinking, enrich its party members, and cover up government inefficiencies. It is so sad. Honestly, our 'leaders' need an injection of vision and higher purpose or else it will continue faltering. From Adegoke O. O., Ikhin, Edo State. I reluctantly refuse to beleive sir, that you are part of those who want to protect certain interests in the subsidy scandal as you deliberately refuse to mention Col. Arhmadu Ali as the Chairman of the PPPRA or is it PPMC Board, at the period under review and was even indicted by the Faruk Lawan Report. Please always emphasize this so that people will not forget it. From Gboye Jakie, Lagos Re: Back to Panelocracy. I think the President should lay down his cards on the table and review his goals vis-a-vis achievements. The Panelocracy under President G.E.J should not be a thing of joy because they have not brought any good fruit to this governance. Do we tag it 'abracadabra'? Yes because various panels have been punctured mid-way. One hopes Mr. President will retrace his steps to enable us restore hope in the confidence earlier reposed in him. Time is fast spent. From Lanre Oseni You have forgotten to include the committee recently set up to come up with the financial implication of settling the workers of PHCN after the planned privatisation of the sector negating the existing Hassan Sunmuny led committee to negotiate all labour related issues with the unions of the organization. The negotiations are on going. I think the government is really confused. Anonymous Sir, on the issue of constitution amendment, Nigeria has no constitution; military drafted what they wanted and gave us. Until we come together in a round table and discuss how this country can go, they should stop the amendment of the constitution we do not have. From Sunday Uzo, Lagos Has anyone noticed that the President no more travels anywhere within Nigeria but only travels abroad. If he does not want to go to any Northern state, it is understandable but even when 200 people died in a tanker fire in Port Harcourt, he refused to visit. Interestingly, he has just left for a visit to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. If he is afraid to go anywhere now, how does he intend to campaign in 2015? Thankfully, His wife has also taken her thank you tour overseas. Anonymous A referendum to decide whether a new constitution is needed or not and to decide who should make the changes is the democratic way to go. A referendum will put the "we" in our constitution, because the people, not the British, military, those tainted by flawed elections or activists will be the ones that decide. Anonymous The piece is right. The Farouk Lawan Committee is a product of the corruption it had set out to expose. Has corruption defeated the people of Nigeria? It has conquered the present ruling class not the workers and peasants because state power is not in their hands to be able to measure swords with corruption in high quarters. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna

• Obasanjo For Tunji Adegboyega My dear Tunji, the General in your Sunday write-up is definitely not Gen Patrick Aziza, but Andrew Owoye Azazi. Thanks. From Akinbile Adebambo, Ikire, Osun State. If truth must be told, Obasanjo/ Babangida are very irrelevant in the Nigerian political clime. Coming together to offer panacea for security problems is just a meeting of strange bedfellows. Their advice should be taken with a pinch of salt. They have murdered sleep and they cannot sleep anymore. Anonymous. You always excite me anytime you write on issues of national importance. You hit the nail on the head; the two generals are part of the problems needed to be solved. I think the two of them, according to your beautiful analogy, cannot be part of the solutions Nigerians expect. Anonymous. The letter written by the infamous duo of Babangida and Obasanjo conjures up an image of two old men who have outfoxed themselves into irrelevance and are now seeking relevance in the twilight of their lives. Babangida eroded his enormous goodwill by a display of betrayal so vile in its magnitude that the bile still rankles. Obasanjo, with a huge dose of delusion of grandeur and a bigger dose of vindictive venom, struts the national landscape oblivious of the foul smell he left in its wake. Between them, they have turned the fate of a whole nation upside down- one annulled an election that would have set us on the path of sustainable democracy; the other, in a morbid sense of paranoia and wickedness, imposed first, a sick man on us, then … The rest, they say, is now history. Deflated balloons can’t go out in a bang; so they should save themselves the effort, and steal away into the unforgiving arms of history. From Manjadda, Sokoto. Thank you, my brother; those two former leaders need to cover their faces in shame. What is the benefit of the 1967 war that they fought that they are talking of another war for Nigeria’s unity? Let’s put it straight to them that unity never existed in Nigeria; what we have always had is artificial unity. How long the units can endure as things are is for time to tell. Besides, some section is at war already with the country and there is only one solutuion left , that is national conference. Only birds of the same feather flock together without problem. From Osimiri, Asaba. So, it is now that Obasanjo and Babangida know that Nigeria is having issues with security? What efforts did they make to avert this ugly situation? They should provide solution to President Jonathan on how to tackle the challenges and move Nigeria forward; after all they are not just ex-generals, they are also former presidents. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State.








into 200m semifinal

LIU OUT AGAIN in horror 110 hurdles heat


HINESE athletics icon Liu Xiang suffered more Olympic pain on Tuesday as he crashed out in the opening round of the 110 metres hurdles. The 29-year-old - who four years ago withdrew from the event in front of his home crowd before the opening heat - hit the first hurdle with his left leading leg and crashed to the floor. Liu, who had been affected by back and foot problems in the past month, eventually got up and hopped down the track to be embraced by his fellow competitors. He was helped off the track by Britain's Andy Turner and Spain's Jackson Quinonez. Liu's dream of winning gold in front of his home crowd at the Beijing Olympics had ended in one of the great Olympic anticlimaxes as he turned up for his heat but failed to clear a hurdle hindered by his Achilles tendon injury.


SAIN BOLT continues to chase history just as his competitors continue to chase him. Based on the early returns at the London Olympics, Bolt's chase seems at least as likely to succeed. Returning to the track two days after establishing a new Olympic record in the 100 meters, Bolt advanced to the semifinal in the 200 meters, finishing 1st in his Round 1 heat without seeming to exert much effort. Having already joined Carl Lewis as the only man to win consecutive gold medals in the 100, Bolt



opponent salutes

considering Rio Olympic bid



DITH OGOKE may have lost her quarter-final boxing event here but the Nigerian pugilist has been receiving plaudits even from her conqueror, Russian Nadezda Torlopova who hailed her as a force to be reckoned with in the squared ropes. Ogoke was so good that the crowd jeered the disparity in the scores that gave the fight

to the Russian. The fight ended 18-8 but most of the fans queried the scoring system which was not in tandem with punches that hit target from Edith. Many other countries too had contested results but that of Nigeria drew so much condemnation from everywhere. President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr Sani M. Ndanusa who watched the fight with Sports Minister,

Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Chef de Mission to Team Nigeria, Dr Patrick Ekeji were equally shocked at the final judgment. Edith Ogoke felt elated when the Russian acknowledged that the Nigerian gave her a fight to remember and predicted that she would go places in boxing.

NNAJI WARNS •Chukwumerije

cyclist cries foul


ORTHERN Ireland's Wendy Houvenaghel has accused British Cycling of treating her in a “vindictive” manner at the Olympics and denying her gold medal glory. The 37-year-old three-time world champion claims head coach Shane Sutton selected an unwell rider, Joanna Rowsell, ahead of her. And Houvenaghel believes that after years of hard work building towards London 2012 she deserved to be selected to ride in at least one round of the team pursuit. Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott won gold at the weekend, but because she had not raced, Houvenaghel left the Games empty-handed. On being told she would not be selected for the final, the Northern Irishwoman wished her team-mates luck, left the velodrome and moved out of the athletes' village. She said: “I've been treated really shabbily by an organisation which I have been dedicated to for six years, have won many medals for and have been a key member of the team pursuit team. “To not allow me to ride in a threeminute race, which I can do with my eyes closed, practically, and let me pick up my Olympic gold medal was just vindictive and something which is going to take a lot of getting over.”

•Edith Ogoke


RESIDENT of Taekwondo Federation of Nigeria, Dr Jonathan Nnaji who visited the Village yesterday said that the duo of Isah Adamu Mohammed and Chika Chukwumerije were

doing well but warned that people should not put them under immense pressure. ‘’They are ok and battle-ready. We don’t want people to put unnecessary pressure on them. They know what is at stake and they will do their best for the country’’, Nnaji said. It ciould be recalled that it was announced on Monday that the Captain of Team Nigeria, Chukwumerije and Isa carrying the cross in the Taekwondo event of the London Olympics were drawn to fight a Cuban and


FTER only winning bronze in London's Olympic Park last night, Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva has postponed her planned retirement and is already thinking of the Games in Rio in


four years' time. “To be honest I hoped to retire here after winning gold, but now I am thinking of Rio. I only won bronze and it could so easily have been nothing at all. You want to finish your career with gold,” said a clearly disappointed Isinbayeva after watching American Jennie Suhr take the title with a modest 4.75. It is the result that rankles most with the Russian: “Firstly the world record has not been broken, second, the Olympic record has not been broken. I have often said to myself, 'Enough, I don't want to do this anymore'. But now I understand if I don't do it, who will?” For now her short term aim is the world championships in Moscow next year: “I shall rest in the autumn and the winter and then prepare myself for Moscow and there I shall try to win gold.”


I C K SKELTON tasted Olympic glory at his sixth attempt and roared: “I've waited 54 years for this.” The veteran starred as Great Britain claimed their first showjumping team gold in 60 years after a dramatic jumpoff with Holland. And Skelton, who first appeared in the Seoul Games of 1988, admitted: “It has been a

PHELPS: Golf will fire me

retirement, thinks of Rio

up after Olympics



AVING mastered the art of swimming, Michael Phelps is now ready to try his hand at our beautiful game. Recognised as the most decorated Olympian of all time, the 27-year-old American bowed out of the pool at London 2012 on Saturday evening with a record 18th gold medal and 22nd medal overall. “I'm done,” answered Phelps, when asked if he would ever consider a return to the water. “Sure, I am very competitive in everything I do. I'm not a very good golfer, so if I have a goal of dropping X amount of shots, or working on my short game or putting. “Those things are going to keep me motivated,

appearance in Brazil. "But I'm not going to do that, I'm going to keep on playing. I hope I can do it. I'm turning 31 in a few days, so I'll be 35 for Rio -- I think it's possible but we'll see how it goes.”


54 years for gold

Jordanian respectively. Chukwumerije, a bronze medalist in Beijing Olympics would open his accounts on August 11 against the fourth seeded Cuban, who is the 2011 World University Championship champion while Isa will fight on August 9. The two fighters have been slugging it out day and night preparing for the D’ day.


OGER FEDERER has told CNN he may make another attempt to win the Olympic singles gold medal he craves in Rio in four years' time. The world No. 1 was pipped to the London 2012 crown by Britain's Andy Murray -- the man Federer beat to secure his seventh Wimbledon title just over a month ago. The 30-year-old has won 17 grand slams in his illustrious career and took gold in the doubles with Stanislas Wawrinka in Beijing four years ago, but he has failed to win the singles title in four attempts. Despite the disappointment he felt at being brushed aside 6-2 6-1 6-4 by Murray and missing out on topping the podium, Federer did at least claim his first solo medal. Federer reflects on Wimbledon win Federer: I felt bad beating Andy Murray Defending Olympic gold 2009: Roger Federer gets the giggles "I'm not sure yet, it's four years away. I can retire in the meantime and come again!" Federer told CNN about his hopes of an Olympic


against undue pressure on Chukwumerije, Isah


is looking to become the first ever to pull off the feat in the 200. The 25-year-old Jamaican track star covered the distance in 20.39 seconds, easily defeating a field composed of eight other runners who had never gotten under 20 seconds in this event. Also initially clinching spots in the semifinal from Bolt's heat were Aldemir da Silva Junior of Brazil (20.53) who finished second and Isiah Young of the United States who crossed the line third (20.55).



•Liu Xiang


make me excited and fire me up. I think I will be able to shift that competitiveness to anything I put my mind to.” He's also got one eye on an amphibious biathlon with close friend and Masters champion Bubba Watson. “Bubba said I'm a good swimmer but still terrible at golf,” he added. “So maybe I'll challenge him to swimming and we can go on a course after that. That will be all my competitive swimming after I'm done.”

long time coming. I was running out of time. “We have had a few misses in my time and we have finally got there. It means absolutely everything to win this, especially for showjumping in this country. “I've been to a lot of Games and made a lot of mistakes. But you couldn't do it in a better place than London. The crowd have been absolutely outstanding they've been behind all of us. Without them it would not have been possible.”

IDOWU CRASHES OUT of triple jump


HILLIPS Idowu's appearance at London 2012 was a brief one as he failed to qualify for the final of the triple jump. Described as the invisible man by UK athletics chiefs for his failure to stay in contact amid concerns over his fitness, Idowu finally arrived at the Olympics village on the eve of qualifying. He entered the Olympic Stadium to a

tremendous ovation, but it failed to inspire him to secure a place in the final. He looked tentative in his first leap of 16.47 metres which was followed by a no-jump. He needed to post 16.57m in his final jump to make the final and he had the crowd on his side as he whipped them up at the end of the lane. His run-up was better and there was more conviction in the transition phases, but it only propelled him out to 16.53m. The leap moved him up the standings to 13th, but it was not enough for a place in the final.




The Midweek Magazine



Text only: 08023058761


•Peter King

‘How I cheated death’ ‘If not for this sickness, I would have been at the London Olympic Games. I was invited because they thought I should be there. But even in sickness they still wish to release most of my records at the Olympics. In fact, the organising committee is releasing my old records at the Olympics’ SEE PAGE 26

Diamond Bank to support festival

Fostering unity through live drama

– Page 27

– Page 40



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Renowned Afro-jazz musician and founder, Peter King College of Music, Lagos, Mr Peter King, 74, is bed-ridden, following a stroke. After seven months at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, he is back at his Ilogbo, off Badagry Expressway, Lagos home battling the sickness that has paralysed his left hand and leg. He speaks with Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME on his narrow escape from death, his dream for his 30-year-old school, his relationship with his former students, such as Lagbaja and ASA, among others.

‘How I cheated death’


UT for his steady voice and perhaps the unkempt grey bears, Peter King’s identity has been ‘altered’. He appeared weak and tired, and a shadow of himself. However, he still has his memory intact. He took time to answer questions. At intervals, he battled to sit upright or massage his left fingers, demonstrating a strong will to live and to overcome his health challenge. The Trinity College, United Kingdom-trained musician described the seven months he spent at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba as a narrow escape from death. According to him, to have left the hospital alive was a miracle because its state of facilities “is a national embarrassment”. “Most teaching hospitals are highly rated all over the world. To find facilities, such as water and light at LUTH in that state, beats my imagination. I was even lucky to come out of the hospital alive because many people died while I was on admission there. Some of the medical workers did not even bother about me. It was all about what they can get. Everybody, from the nurses to the doctors, was very cunning,” he said. King blamed his illness on prolonged hours of work without break. He said he worked very hard at his school to ensure standard and quality. “At times, I teach in class and even overdo it to the extent that my wife would be complaining. Sometimes, she has to practically drag me out of class. I believe I overstressed myself because I was in a hurry to bring the school up to standard,” he said. King, who returned home shortly after performing along with his band, The African Messenger of Sango as a member of the British contingent at the Second World Black and African Festival of Art and Culture (FESTAC 77) said he never experienced any symptom of hypertension. He said he couldn’t remember if he ever took ill and, as such, felt his health was okay. For now, his school is being managed by his Jamaican wife. because of his inability to move around and use his hands effectively. Asked if he would consider allowing the school to go public, he said: “Yes, that’s what I will do in the future. Till date, I have worked so hard to sustain the school and it has been a one-man-show. At inception, I designed the structure myself to my taste. I then gave it to the construction company to execute. At the moment, we have started building a studio for recording. It is a storey building.” He added: “Unlike other subjects, the teaching of music demands a lot of sacrifice. I teach most of the students because I play almost all the instruments ranging from drums to string and wind. That is what helped me to sustain the school; if not, Nigerians can disappoint you. So, I was able to run it alone for almost three years before I started bringing in the old students to teach new intakes.” On the relationship between him and his former students, King said some of them like Bayo and Jerry still get in touch with him. He said though many are outside the country, they still write him about their career growth. “ASA always comes to see me, but she travels a lot and now she has settled a bit. When she doesn’t come herself, she sends somebody,” he said. For Lagbaja, he said the masked musician used to come, but he hasn’t seen him lately. There are many foreign cultural agencies in Lagos that will be interested in the school. Have you received any assistance from such agencies? he was asked. He said some foreign agencies that assisted the Peter King College of Music were the French Embassy and Canadian Embassy in Lagos. The embassies, he said, contributed immensely to the growth of the school, adding that they financed the construction of most of the halls. He recalled that the first five years of the school were hectic for him because he worked so hard so that it woould not fail. “When I came here, I bought four acres. One plot of land then costs about N500, and if you multiply it by six, that gives you N3,000 or N4,000 per acre at most. So, we started building the side we are sitting now first. I built a small house for the school, which served as a quarter where the school started. “Within the first four years, it was the Canadians who first came to my aid. They sent us instruments. A Canadian musician, Mr Oliver Jones, came to Nigeria. He used to come here from the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. He was in the country courtesy of the Canadian government. Then, we were already developing the school, but he saw the potential and the direction we were going. So, they did a lot,” he said.

•Fence of Peter King College of Music, Ilogbo

•Students playing football in the college premises.

The man Peter King


ETER KING was born in 1938 in Enugu and grew up in Lokoja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. His parents are from Ijagba in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State. King attended St Marys School Lokoja, Kogi State, St Pauls School, Ebute Metta, Lagos and St Mary’s School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He attended Enitoncan, College in Port Harcourt from 1953 to 1956. In 1957, he joined the Roy Chicago Band in Ibadan, Oyo State, where he played the Maracaso before moving on to the Conga drum. He later joined the Easy Life Band, also at Ibadan, where he played the double bass and the drums. It was here that he learnt how to play the trumpet and saxophone. He moved to Lagos in 1958 and joined Victor Olaiya’s Band playing the alto sax. After this he moved on to join Charles Ewegwe’s band, the Empire Band and finally, the E.C. Arinze Band. He was always learning on the job, trying to find his way, like the other musicians. He left for England at 23 to study music. King spent the first year at the Central School of Music, followed by a year at Guild Hall School of Music and Drama. He spent the following year at London College of Music before going to Trinity School of Music, where he studied for three years. He also did two summer holiday courses in Jazz arranging and composition in 1964 and 1965 at Boston’s famous Berkleye College of Music, in California, United States. In his student days, he formed the African Messengers in England, a group of black musicians playing a fusion of Jazz and African music. It performed at festivals, universities and Jazz

clubs in England along with the great and the good of the Jazz world, such as Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Joe Harriot. The African Messengers also served as back up band for many American acts, such as The Four Tops, The Temptations, Diana Ross, who toured England without a band. The band recorded many records, one of which was “Highlife Piccadilly”, a fusion of Highlife and Jazz, which became popular enjoying a lot of radio air time. The band emerged the best junior jazz band in England in 1964 and came second in the final in Switzerland the same year. King formed another band The Blues Builders and embarked on an extensive tour of Europe and Northern Africa. He returned to Nigeria in 1969 and formed The Voice of Africa based in Yaba, Lagos with the late Fela-Anikulapo Kuti also has his base. The Federal Government asked King to tour the war front during the Nigeria Civil War to entertain wounded soldiers. The trip lasted two months. He returned to London in 1971 and formed Shango, which toured Europe, America and Japan. From 1975 to 1978, he recorded nine studio albums. During this period, he was also director of music at the Keskidee Centre, London. King also wrote music for several plays and television, works include Back Blast by Lindsay Barratt, Jericho by Jamal Ali, Tension Zone by T. Bone Wilson and Jorden Runt by Roly Carlten. He also did many recordings for Swedish television. Shango was one of the bands that represented Britain during FESTAC 77 in Nigeria. It was during this period in London that he was approached to become the director of Boney M, during the musician’s 1977 European tour. Two years later, King and his family returned home and he formed the P.K. Band.


While King was studying in England, he had a band and was still practising.When he returned home, he thought about how to set up a music school. Before then, he was encouraged by a friend, Mr Abayomi Barbers, to join the University of Lagos. “But when I got there, they started the same old story that I should only teach maybe voice, singing, and all that trash. I did not want to do that. That was in 1987 or 1988. Fortunately, I brought my band, The African Messenger of Sango to Nigeria. I was at the FESTAC 77as a member of the British contingent. And that really encouraged me,” he said. Undaunted by his experience at the university, he opted to establish a music college. Location was a concern, as he •Continued on page 27




The Midweek Magazine



Ex-gallery worker eyes SNA top position


•From left: Prof. Soyinka shaking a pupil. Watching are Otti and Mrs Folake Soyinka

Diamond Bank pledges support for festival


ROUP Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank PLc, Mr Alex Otti, has affirmed the bank’s support for the annual Lagos Black Heritage Festival. Speaking when Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka led the festival team on a thank you visit to the bank at its headquarters in Lagos, Otti said the bank’s support was informed by Soyinka’s involvement as a consultant to the festival. “We are supporting the festival because Soyinka is associated with it. As a bank of the future, we have no choice other than to support the future, which is in the children,” he added. Soyinka, who thanked the bank for its gesture in sponsoring the creativity of children, announced the theme of next year’s art exhibition competition segment of the festival. Contrary to the expectation of many, Soyinka secretly wrote the title of the theme on a sheet of paper, put it into an envelope and sealed it before handing over to Otti for safe keeping till next year. According to

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

FESTIVAL Soyinka, it is to ensure no one has prior knowledge of it before it is made public. This act drew applause from the guests. Soyinka, however, disclosed that the general theme of next year’s festival would be on Portuguese influence on Brazil, noting that this year, the focus of the festival was on the linkages and historical contributions of Blacks to the Mediterranean region as reflected in dance, plays, street theatre, music and other culture. The festival exhibition focused on young creativity through the Diamond Bank sponsorship of a painting competition, entitled: The Vision of the child. No fewer than 42 public and private schools in the state qualified for the final competition. The selection panel comprising Mrs Nike Okundaye, Tola Wewe and

‘How I cheated death’

PK is a father to all, says student

•Continued from page 26


R Amechina Kingsley Nnamdi is a student at Peter King’s College of Music. He said though, he enrolled in the school when the proprietor was down with illness, he is not regretting the decision. He described the college as the first choice for learning music in the country. He said despite King’s illness, the proprietor always wished to be with the students in class. “Unfortunately, I came here when he was down with illness, but the old students said he is very good when it comes to counselling students. Sometimes, they bring him on the wheel chair to classrooms to counsel us on what we need to do to be greater than him. He is a great man with a very big heart,” he said. Nnamdi, who enrolled for a two-year certificate course in September, last year, said he fell in love with music from childhood, adding that the hostel facilities and the serene environment were among factors that attracted him to thecollege. These factors, he said, encouraged students to work harder and concentrate because there is no distraction.

Mrs. Peju Ogunmola, pruned the participants from 30 to 18 schools after two screenings. The finalists were invited to Freedom Park, Lagos on March 17, provided with canvasses, brushes, easels and paints for the competition. The winning entries were framed and mounted on exhibition on April 2, the final day of the festival colloquium. All the children were presented with certificates and a customised laptops, while the best six received additional cash awards at a dinner party on April 8. The best six winners are Akinola Ibukunoluwa of Methodist Girls Yaba, (first prize); Doyinssola Akinwande of Apostolic Faith, Anthony Village, Lagos (second); Lotana Nnoli of Chrisland School, Victoria Garden City, Lagos (third); Babatunde Balogun of Greenfield School, Lekki, Lagos (fourth); Sulaiman Sheriff of Unjeland School, Ikotun (fifth) and Sokoya Kayinsola of Apostolic Faith, Anthony Village, Lagos (sixth). The winning paintings and those by other children were exhibited in the hall.

HE Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) will elect officers to lead its affairs for the next four years at its convention holding in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Former Assistant Chief Visual Officer, National Gallery of Art (NGA) Mr Ajene Abraham Isegbe is seeking to lead the association. He is coming into the race with a background that traverses studio practice, art administration and core politics. He will be an astute bridge builder between studio artists, academic artists, gallery owners, art administrators as well as the political and business class. With a degree in Sculpture from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1983, Ajene apprenticed under the master sculptor, Felix Idubor in 1984/1985 after his National Youth Service. Thereafter, he moved to Kano, where he set up ABARTS Gallery and Studios with Architect Ella, the principal partner of Ella & Waziri Associates. In 1987, he opened the Markudi branch of ABARTS Gallery and Studios. Five years later, he veered into arts administration with his appointment as Assistant Chief Visual Officer at the National Gallery of Art, NGA from where he rose to become the Head, National Gallery of Modern Art, NGMA, National Theatre, Lagos. He was later posted to Akwa Ibom State to establish and head the NGMA office. In 2000, Ajene resigned to face full time studio practice at his ABARTS Studio, Markudi, Benue State. In 2009, he was appointed a consultant to NGA, where he completed his duty three years later. At the moment, he is practising at his new Abuja Studios, Newdark Garden, Maitama, Abuja. Ajene, who hails from Benue State, was also one time Personal Assistant to the Deputy Governor of the State and Hon Supervisory Councillor, Obi Local Government Area, Benue State. He has taken part in several exhibitions, among which are Triennial India Exhibition, New Delhi, India, 1997; Nigeria-China Friendship Exhibition, Lagos, 1996; Art Expo Nigeria Exhibition, National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, 2009; ARESUVA Exhibition, International Conference Centre, Abuja, 2010; Nigeria @ 50 AGAN Exhibition, Abuja, 2011 etc. His commissions include: Sculpture of Ogbuiloko, the Warrior, at the entrance of the Och’Idoma’s palace, Otukpo, Benue State; Statute of the “Farmer” in front of Oju Local Government Secretariat, Oju, Benue State; Mosaic logo at the Senate building of the University of Agriculture, Markudi, among others.


Nnamdi said the management is trying its best but ‘they just can’t be like P K and I am missing him personally.’

was fed up with his Maza-Maza, adjacent FESTAC Town apartment, which he described as a ‘noisy zone’. He sought a virgin land in Ilogbo. “I was really fed up with Lagos because after all the hard work during the week days, you still cannot have some quiet moments because of weekend celebrations on the streets. I mean the Owambe party that disturbs creativity. It was a big challenge for me teaching and rehearsing with my band under such conditions. In fact, I was doing so much at a time because I resolved never to return to the United Kingdom (UK) because I brought my wife and child. Asked what kept him back in after FESTAC 77, he said he saw so many possibilities in the country, adding that Nigeria did wonders during the festival. “I have attended festivals across the world from Japan, to Switzerland, Italy for jazz concerts but FESTAC 77 was properly organised. I was surprised. In fact, they blew my mind. Imagine building a town for the festival and the town was booming with surplus good food and everything working fine. So, after the festival, I saw that with lots of dedication, you can do a lot rather than going to England or

America,” King, who has 12 albums to his credit, said. His Jamaican wife is managing the college with the assistance of some old students. “I gave her all the rights to run the school and if she needs advice, she comes to me,” he said. He is not disturbed by the non-accreditation status of the college’s programmes, saying his primary aim is to make a student a musician as quickly as possible by training his ears for good music. He cautioned: ”If you want to be a musician, money is not the most important thing; it is what you want to do with the money that counts.” He said he is not fulfilled yet because the stroke denied him the opportunity of participating in the London Olympic Games. He said: “If not for this sickness, I would have been at the London Olympic Games. I was invited because they thought I should be there. But even in my sickness, they still wish to release most of my records at the Olympics. In fact, the organising committee is releasing my old records at the Olympics.” He said he has lots of compositions that have not been recorded, promising to work on them as soon as he recovers. One of the works is entitled: The Palm Wine Vendor, which he would have released if not for the illness.



The Midweek Magazine


15 vie for Soyinka Prize •$20,000 up for grabs


IFTEEN African authors have been shortlisted by the Lumina Foundation for this year’s Globacom sponsored Fourth Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. Of the fifteen, eight are Nigerians. They are Tanure Ojaide (The beauty I Have Seen), Toyin Adewale Gabriel (Bitter Chocolate), Hyginus Ekwuazi (That Other Country), Chika Unigwe (On Black Sister’s Street), Dike Ogu Chukwumerije (The African American), Akachi AdimoraEseigbo (Roses and Bullets), Odili Ujubuono (Pride of the Spider clan), and Olushola Olugbesan (Only A Canvas). Others are Kgebetli Moele (The Book of the dead), Bridget Pitt (The Unseen Leopard), Sifiso Mzobe (Young Blood), Marie Heese (The Colour of Power), H. J Golakai (Lazarus Effect), Sue Rabie (Fallout) and Arja Sala Franca (The Thin Line). Those shortlisted are from Nigeria, Liberia, South Africa, Mali, Uganda, Gambia and Kenya. The award presentation, which will hold later in the year in Lagos, will be chaired by the former President of Ghana, Mr John Kufour and is expected to give the key note address. Lagos State Governor Raji Fashola will be the host governor while his Ogun State counterpart, Governor Ibikunle Amosun is one of the special guests. Chairman, Board of Trustees of the foundation, Mrs. Francesca Yetunde Emanuel, said the prize is intended to serve as an African equivalent of the Nobel prize, particularly in recognising and encouraging professional and personal excellence. She said the overall winner would smile home with a prize of $20,0000, a trophy, a matchet handle and a pen with its blade resting on a scroll. According to her, the shortlist of authors would be announce this month, but that the prize award process started with an assessment of works by African authors selected within the two years preceding the award year, adding that a panel of five judges is selected from among literary icons in Africa. She said with from 2014, the prize would be awarded in rotation through genres, such as published prose, drama, poetry and essays on political and human rights issues. This year’s edition has assessed 402 entries from 26 African countries. “The increased scope and scale of activities is an indication of the growing appreciation of the prize and its aims. With these increasing activities however, have come more challenges in sustaining the award,” she said. She, however, commended Globacom for sponsoring the awards, adding that it would boost the robust stature of the prize, its reach, African qualities and values. Speaking on the occasion, the Director of Event and Sponsorship, Globacom, Mr Bode Opeseitan, said his firm and Prof. Wole Soyinka share similar aspirations and characteristics in terms of developing a strong, virile African society. He noted that while Soyinka explores the medium of literary works to develop human capital across societies and cultures, Globacom continued to create value with its products and services that enrich the lives of the average African, using the ICT space. Opeseitan spoke in Lagos at a media parley organised by the Lumina Foundation to announce the 15 shortlisted entries for this year’s edition of Wole Soyinka’s Prize for Literature in Africa sponsored by Globacom.

• From left: Emanuel, Opeseitan and Ogochukwu By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)


‘We thought we could organise a book carnival this year, but for logistics we postponed it. Hopefully, we shall work towards it in future. Also, we have established 68 functional libraries in Lagos homes to promote reading. We do provide books to indigent school pupils every Friday and we have established the Wole Soyinka Reading Clubs in schools in Lagos’ He said Globacom had been supporting the movie industry in Nigeria (Nollywood) and Ghana (Ghollywood), adding that the company has also identified with the cultural interests of its hosts. This, he said, includes the sponsorship of FITHEB, the biggest cultural festival in Benin Republic, while in Nigeria popular festivals, such as Lisabi in Abeokuta, Ojude Oba in Ijebu-Ode and Ofala in Onitsha, have featured prominently on Globacom calendar. Opeseitan described Soyinka as a colossus, who towered higher in the African cultural and literary space to become the cynosure of all eyes in 1986 when he broke the record as the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He said the partnership between Globacom and the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa is geared towards providing information, entertainment and create avenues for literary performances, in addition to improving the reading culture and the quality of the books produced in Africa. Opeseitan commended the giant strides that the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa has achieved since it was established in 2005 as a biennial award to be the best literary work produced by an African, adding that within its short life span, it strove to serve as an African equivalent of the Nobel Prize, particularly in recognising and encouraging professionalism and personal excellence. Responding to questions, the Chief Operating Officer of Lumina Foundation, Dr. Promise Ogochukwu, said the foundation wants to promote entries for the prize through reading sessions and bookshop outlets nationwide. “We thought we could organise a book carnival this year, but for logistics we postponed it. Hopefully, we shall work towards it in future. Also, we have established 68 functional libraries in Lagos homes to promote reading. We do provide books to indigent school pupils every Friday and we have established the Wole Soyinka Reading Clubs in schools in Lagos,” she said. He called on all to pay attention to reading because that is what would take the nation far. The former Deputy Editor of The Guardian, Mr Ben Tomoloju, urged the sponsor of the prize to look at intellectual development in their promotion of creativity among youths. He said: “We have seen so much of razzmatazz, but it is high time we looked at the direction of intellectual growth. It is the intellect that will develop the Nollywood. If we develop good literature, we will have quality movie.” The goals of the prize include: propagation of the dynamics of self-enhancement, celebrate excellence, patriotism, integrity, heroism, intellectualism and selfless service epitomised by the man, Wole Soyinka.

‘Mandela is a role model for all’



HE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Westlog Nigeria Limited, Chief Jerry Aham Rowlands, has extolled former South Africa’s President, Nelson Mandela who turned 94 on July18. Roland described Mandela as an inspirational icon who everyone must consider as a role model. He spoke at the birthday party for Mandela in Lagos, where his (Roland’s) firm’s wines were the official wines served at the celebration. Roland said: “He lived a selfless service to the people and we must continue to celebrate him. That is why every one of us must celebrate him. We urge all our leaders to follow his footsteps because he left us with positive leadership.” The Imo state-born business mogul, who has lived in South Africa for 10 years, said the only way to turn around the economy would be to replicate what is happening in South Africa in Nigeria. This, he said, would boost the economy of Nigeria, provide employment for Nigerians and also inculcate the business discipline in South Africa. “In view of that, we are setting up a wine bottling plant in Imo State that will provide jobs for 3,000 workers.”

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

LEISURE He noted that though wine business in the country has shore up, Nigeria’s wine culture is still evolving because Nigerians are known for drinking beer. “But all that has been changing because they drink wine. We will also encourage them to be more concerned about the kind of wine they take. They should look at wines with health benefits, not just table wines. They reduce the rates of heart diseases and that is why Westlog wines concentrate on brewing, manufacturing and distribution of those wines that give health benefits,” Roland said. The former staff member of First City Monument Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA) said his interest in wine production was inspired in 2006, while ata conference in South Africa. There, he discovered, the need to build an economic bridge between Nigeria and other West African countries. This, he said, gave birth to the founding of West African Logistics Nigeria Limited, (Westlog) which focuses on wine production. Within four years of operation, his brands of wine were accepted in the market.





Forecasts Q3 Sept 2012 Oasis Ins Turnover N450m Profit after tax N63.894m Access Bank Gross earnings N54.782b Profit after tax N11.907b Resort Savings & Loans Gross earnings N960.736m Profit after tax N165.540m Trans-Nationwide Exp Gross earnings N170.342m Profit after tax N40.568m GT Assure Gross premium N9.525b Profit after tax N1.241b Pharma-Deko Turnover N454m Profit before tax N10m Cornerstone Ins Premium Revenue N919.418m Profit after tax N41.002m Skye Bank Gross earnings N99.710b Profit after tax N13.933b CCNN Turnover N3.683b Profit after Tax N402.165m Custodian & Allied Gross Premium N8.540b Profit after tax N1.345b UPDC Turnover N10.274b Profit after tax N1.002b Nestle Nig Turnover N28.850b Profit after tax N4.014b UACN Turnover N48.313b Profit after tax N4.611b Julius Berger Turnover N125.541b Profit after tax N3.993b Diamond Bank Gross earnings N27.315b Profit after tax N3.107b Oando Turnover N123.207b Profit after tax N2.967b Presco Turnover N2.400b Profit after tax N613.760m Berger Paints Turnover N976.303m Profit after tax N88.258m Eterna Turnover N56.413b Profit after tax N859.734m Consolidated Hallmark Ins Gross premium N4.110b Profit after tax N511.564m MRS Oil Nig Turnover N76.804b Profit after tax N1.068b Transcorp Total income N2.658b Profit after tax N1.507b Evans Medicals Revenue N1.619b Profit after tax N64.656m AIICO Ins Gross premium N2.561b Profit after tax N344.406m GSK Nig Turnover N6.756b Profit after taxation N580.824m Abbey Building Society Gross earnings N1.300b Profit after tax N217.537m Regency Alliance Gross premium N1.300b Profit after tax N303.777m Total Nigeria Turnover N54.466b Profit after tax N1.804b Red Star Express Turnover N2.888b Profit after tax N200.557m Cadbury Nig Turnover N9.873b Profit after tax N735m Okomu Oil Turnover N2.176b Profit after tax N667.068m Continental Re Turnover N10.028b Profit after tax N1.207b Livestock Feeds Turnover N1.379b Profit after tax N51.654m IEI Gross Premium N4.250b Profit after tax N533.898m


As far as local content is concerned, the ICT industry is uncompetitive because it is cheaper to import a base station than to fabricate one in Nigeria. It is cheaper to import a chip card than to make and personalise in Nigeria. - Mrs Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology

No plan to raise banks’ capital, says Sanusi T

HERE is no plan to increase the capital base of banks operating in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said. The Governor disclosed this exclusively to The Nation in London. He was responding to last week’s Fitch Ratings report, which stated that the recent rapid credit growth or lending by Nigerian banks might lead to weakened assets. The international financial rating agency said in a special report that the development could give rise to weakened asset quality and higher impairment charges if left unchecked. A director in Fitch’s Financial Institutions team, Denzil De Bie, said, “There was a marked improvement in banks’ asset quality during 2011, following the sale of problem loans to the Asset Management Corpora-

By Ayodele Aminu Group Business Editor

tion of Nigeria. However, rapid underlying credit growth of 30-66 per cent was evident in most of the Fitch-rated banks in 2011, which the agency considers will be a negative credit driver if it continues. “Fitch considers that many Nigerian banks have thin levels of Fitch Core Capital, which are lower than is appropriate for Nigeria’s difficult operating environment. Sustainable Fitch Core Capital ratios will be a key rating driver for any future positive action on the banks’ Viability Ratings.” But, the CBN governor said that the rapid credit growth of banks does not warrant an increase in

their capital. He said the banks operating in Nigeria are some of the highly capitalised in Africa. “I have really not read the report but I think what they (Fitch) are talking about is the fast growth of credits, which banks had not been disposed to before now,” he said. Sanusi however, said that the banks should be increasing their lending to small and medium-term enterprises. Under the current dispensation, lenders desirous of being an international bank are expected to have a capital of N100billion; national banks – N25billlion, while N15billion is stipulated for regional lenders. On the implementation of the

Basle 11, Sanusi said this was not on the cards now. He said his major preoccupation is to strengthen banks’ governance. Basel II is the second of the Basel Accords, (now extended and effectively superseded by Basel III), which are recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Basel II, initially published in June 2004, was intended to create an international standard for banking regulators to control how much capital banks need to put aside to guard against the types of financial and operational risks banks (and the whole economy) face. One focus was to maintain sufficient consistency of regulations so that this does not become a source of competitive inequality among internationally active banks. Advocates of Basel II believed that such an international standard could help protect the international financial system from the types of problems that might arise should a major bank or a series of banks collapse. In theory, Basel II attempted to accomplish this by setting up risk and capital management requirements designed to ensure that a bank has adequate capital for the risk the bank exposes itself to through its lending and investment practices. Generally speaking, these rules mean that the greater risk to which the bank is exposed, the greater the amount of capital the bank needs to hold to safeguard its solvency and overall economic stability.

Foundation appoints Ezekwesili Advisor for Africa From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

•Deputy Chief Security Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Igba Austin Iwar (fourth from the right); handing over office furniture items to DPO, Ikoyi Division of the Nigerian Police, Aisha Haruna, as part of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). With them are other officers of the Division.

‘Why banks aren’t funding aviation’


EARTH of long-term finance and high interest rates are the major impediments to funding the aviation sector, banks’ chief executives have said. The bank chief executive officers (CEOs), majority of whom asked that their identity be veiled because of what they described as “the current sensitive nature of the sector,” hinged banks inability to fund the aviation sector on the short-term nature of finance in Nigeria, which is between two to five years. “What the aviation sector needs is a minimum of 15 years loan, but we do not have such type of long term funding in Nigeria. This was why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created the Aviation Fund. They told The Nation that essentially the quantum of funds available to the banks are short-term, which cannot easily be ploughed into long-term investment, adding that the prevailing high interest rate is another impediment.

Four banks post N151b half year profit •Page 30

By Simeon Ebulu Deputy Business Editor

One of the CEOs argued that if you grant loan to an airline, “you cannot charge less than 24 per cent interest rate, saying this is a departure from developed countries where interest rate is less than five per cent.” Besides, the regulation of airfares, which is not commensurate with what passengers in the developed economy pay, is another barrier, he stated. “There is no bank in Nigeria that financed an airline that the loans did not go bad. Nigerian airlines also have their own problems. Sometimes because they collect lots of cash on daily bases, they feel they are making profit and so divert the money. And when there is need to spend money for maintenance or emergency, the money is no longer there,” he said. However, the Group Managing

Director, FirstBank Nigeria Plc, Bisi Onasanya, said on the contrary, the bank still funds the aviation sector. He insisted that FirstBank has the financial capacity to fund the aviation sector and has just done so for an airline. He said what needs to be done is to de-risk the sector. He said: “As for FirstBank, financing the sector is not the problem, but we have to de-risk the sector. In the short-term, they (airlines) look profitable but none of them is making profit. They need to be profitable because banks are not in business to throw out money. Banks need to give returns to their shareholders and cannot continue to retain credit risks.” He explained that “the CBN created the Aviation Fund for them (airlines), but the question is how much has been drawn from the Fund? We need to ask why the airlines are not making profit. Is it the operating environment? he queried.

Contractors’payment raise cleared cheques to N22tr •Page 30


HE Open Society Foundations has appointed a former VicePresident of the World Bank, Mrs. Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili as its Senior Economic Advisor for Africa . The Foundations made the announcement in a statement in Abuja, yesterday. The statement said: “The Open Society Foundations has announced that it has asked Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, a world-renowned expert on economic reforms and economic governance, to lead its new Africa Economic Policy Development Initiative. “The initiative was created to build on the strong growth performance of Africa over the last decade and the emergent urgency for structural transformation of economies to expand benefits to the poor majority through policies that boost private sector jobs and incomes. “Operating from Abuja , Ezekwesili will advise the leaders and policymakers of the countries on their economic strategy and policy reforms that can help boost investment and create job growth in the Mano River region. The initiative over the next three years will expand to include other countries across Africa .

• Continued on page 32

AfDB to govt: Strengthen Pension Scheme •Page 32




Four banks post N151b half year profit F

OUR banks posted N151.4 billion pre-tax profits for the half year ended June 30. First Bank of Nigeria led with a pre-tax profit of N54.1 billion, indicating 125 per cent rise above the previous year’s N24.1 billion. Also, gross earnings rose by 26 per cent from N145.1 billion to N182.3 billion. However, net interest margin slipped from 8.4 per cent to 8.3 per cent. The report showed that non-interest income grew by 48 per cent to N44.5 billion as against N30.1 billion recorded in the comparable period last year. Operating income rose by 21 per cent to N153.3 billion as against N126.3 billion. The improvement in bottomline, according to a statement from the bank, was driven by efficient cost management as cost to income ratio dropped from 69.3 per cent to 58.3 per cent. Impairment charge for credit losses also declined from N14.4 billion to N9.1 billion. There was also year-on-year increase of 17 per cent in net loans and advances to customers to N1.5 trillion, as against N1.2 tril-

Stories by Collins Nweze

lion in the first half of 2011. Yearon-year deposit growth of 15 per cent to N2.2 trillion, was recorded as against N1.9 trillion same period last year. Non-performing loans also dropped to 2.7 per cent, against four per cent last year. Zenith Bank followed with N50.1 billion pre-tax profit. Revenue rose 23 per cent to N151.1 billion while profit after tax (PAT) was N42.4 billion. Zenith’s operating costs were contained during the period, reflecting a sharper quarter on quarter rise in the base for the corresponding period in 2011 but probably also an industry-wide trend towards operational consolidation and revision of third-party supply contracts alongside other cost cutting measures. Operating cost rose four per cent and was a significant deceleration from the 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. Consequently, the 14 per cent rise in operating income was able to push the bank’s cost-to-income ratio lower to 55 per cent from 57

per cent and 60 per cent in first quarter and half year 2011, respectively. UBA also released its unaudited 2012 half year results, showing a 21.6 per cent growth in gross earnings to N111.0 billion from N91.3 billion in half year 2011. Pre- and post-tax profits soared by 159 per cent and 162.8 per cent, moving from N12.3 billion and N10.3 billion in first half 2011 to N31.8 billion and N27.1 billion respectively. Similarly, pre-tax profit and post tax margins more than doubled to 28.7 per cent and 24.4 per cent from 13.5 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively. Diamond Bank’s 2012 half year results, showed a growth of 48.5 per cent in gross earnings from N43.6 billion to N64.8 billion, while pre-tax profit and PAT surged by 408.1 per cent apiece to N15.4 billion and N10.0 billion from N3.0billion and N2.0billion in half year 2011 respectively. The half year 2012 also contributed 11.0 per cent more than first quarter 2012 to half year 2012’s

• From left: Chairman, Education Committee, CITN, Ayodele Da-Silva; Chairman, Publicity & Publications Committee, Chukwuemeka Eze; Deputy Vice President and representative of the CITN President, Teju Somorin and Chairman, Ibadan District Society, Toyin Yusuf during the mandatory professional training programme organised by CITN in Ibadan.

‘Budget implementation controversy slows development’


ONTROVERSIES over poor budget implementation are not new and they may continue to hurt the country’s drive for development, Director, Centre for Social Justice Eze Onyekpere has said. In a statement, he said the culture of poor capital budget implementation at the federal level has been recurring. According to him, since the return to civil rule in 1999, there has never been a year that the federal capital budget attained 75 per cent implementation. This abnormal situation has become the norm and any challenge to the status quo for improvement is resisted by those who stand to benefit from the suffering of the majority of Nigerians. According to the 2012 Appropriation Act posted online on the website of the Budget Office of the Federation, the federal capital vote for 2012 is approximately N1.519 trillion. It will be recalled that the approved budget got

presidential assent in the middle of April and so far, the budget would have been implemented for three and half months by the end of July. Out of the overall capital vote, the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo Iweala said N404 billion has so far been released. Out of this amount, only N324 billion has been cashbacked. Government said only 56 per cent of this N324 billion has been utilised by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government. However, 56 per cent of this cash-backed sum is N181.44 billion and N181.44 billion as a percentage of the overall capital vote of N1.519 trillion amounts to 11.9 per cent. “ So, when Nigerians are told of 56 per cent capital budget implementation, it needs to be properly situated and understood because it is very easy for Nigeri-

ans who do not read in-between the lines to be misled by percentages that are not related to their contexts. By any scoring methodology, 11.9 per cent is not a weak pass but a total failure after three and half months of budget implementation,” Onyekpere said. He said with five months to the end of the year, if the federal capital budget is implemented at the ongoing pace of 11.9 per cent every three months, it will be doing about 36 per cent of the appropriated sum of N1.519 trillion at the end of the year. This, he said, would also represent a failure. Onyekpere said the worrisome state of infrastructural facilities and lack of basic social amenities in the country are a fallout of budget failures adding that despite claims to fiscal prudence, the governments at all levels appear inept in actualising the basic tenets of budget implementation.

gross earnings, as pre-tax profit and post-tax profit improved by 5.0 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively over the corresponding periods. Analysts predict a mixed outing for all the banks as a good number of them are still managing to overcome past deficiencies. “We are still going to see banks that will perform below expectation as more results are released. The truth is that many banks have not fully recovered from the challenges keeping them back for

years. But so far, the results we are seeing are encouraging,” Managing Director, IRIS Consulting and former Director, former Bank PHB (Keystone Bank), Richard Obire said. According to him, the Euro crisis has made it difficult for some banks to retain their foreign lines of credit, and this will definitely affect their results. He said the economy is also having some teething problems, which will also affect banks’ performances.

Contractors’ payments raise cleared cheques to N22tr


HE slow implementation of the Federal Government’s epayment policy on contractors’ payments, taxes, staff salaries and pensions raised the value of cleared cheques last year, to N22 trillion, the Centyral Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. In a statement, CBN said the volume of cheques in the period under review also stood at N37.72 million and will decline as government improves on implementation of the e-payment policy. It noted that the Lagos Clearing Zone accounted for 74.5 per cent (volume) and 70.9 per cent (value) of the total cheque transactions. This, it said, was attributed to the fact that Lagos remained the economic and commercial hub of the country. Cheque clearing activities in the Abuja Zone, however, shrank because of the implementation of e-payment by the Federal Government for staff salaries, suppliers’ and contractors’ payments. According to the apex bank, the volume and value of interbank funds transfer, through the Interbank Fund Transfer System, increased by 32.1 and 26.1 per cent to N492,953 and N117.2 trillion in 2011, respectively compared with N373,248 and N92.9 trillion the previous year. The volume and value of elec-

tronic card transactions increased significantly from N195.5 million and N1 trillion in 2010 to N355.5 million and N1.6 trillion, reflecting an increase of 81.5 and 55.8 per cent, respectively. The increase was attributed to enhanced public confidence in electronic card payments. Data on various e-payment channels for the period under review indicated that Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) remained the most patronised, accounting for 97.8 per cent, followed by web payments, 1.0 per cent, Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, and mobile payments, 0.6 per cent each. Similarly, in value terms, ATMs accounted for 93.4 per cent, web 3.5 per cent, Point of Sales (PoS) 1.9 per cent and mobile payments, 1.2 per cent. The number of ATMs stood at 9,640, while the volume and value of transactions was N347.5 million and N1.5 trillion, at end-December 2011, respectively. The apex bank said the figures reflected increases of 86.7 and 63.7 per cent respectively over the volume and value of N186 million and N954.04 billion, at end-December 2010. The volume and value of mobile payments increased by 215.6 and 185.8 per cent from N1,156,553 and N6.7 billion to 3.6 million and N19 billion, respectively, at end of December 2011.

‘Aggrieved tax payers can appeal in 30 days’


GGRIEVED tax payers have a right to seek redress from government approved agencies within 30 days of receipt of tax assessment, Chairman Publicity Committee, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Chukwuemeka Eze has said. Speaking at the Mandatory Professional Training Programme for tax stakeholders, organised by the CITN, he said the aggrieved are expected to send a letter of objection to the relevant tax authority where, the liability attached to him will be challenged. However, the objection must be raised within 30 days of receipt of the tax assessment after which it may be sustained, rejected, or revised depending on facts presented. A rejection may be backed up with a Notice of Refusal to Amend Assessment (NORA). According to him, the National Tax Policy envisages that there would be disputes between taxpayers and organs of government and has made specific resolutions on them. “The policy recognises that the organ of government that is responsible for the primary activities of assessment and collection of taxes and levies at the Federal and state government levels respectively are the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the various

States Internal Revenue Service (SIRS) or State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIR),” he said. “Arbitration is one of the options available for dispute resolution where there are disagreements over tax matters. The FIRS has a Tax Dispute Resolution Committee for this purpose while a state like Lagos has the Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee.” He said an aggrieved taxpayer may approach the relevant committee in a tax authority to resolve a dispute. He said the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, provides for judicial resolution of disputes and the National Assembly has been empowered to, in appropriate cases create additional courts for this purpose. He said the FIRS Act is not superior to Section 251 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, which gives exclusive civil jurisdiction on tax matters to the Federal High Court. In any case, decisions of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) are subject to further appeal to the Federal High Court, and finally to the Court of Appeal. “A person dissatisfied with a decision of the TAT can only appeal to the Federal High Court upon giving notice to TAT within 30 days after the date on which such notice was given. It should be noted that tax evasion, which is a crime, is not within the jurisdiction of the TAT,” he said.




AfDB to govt: strengthen pension scheme N

IGERIA’S demographic evolution must be researched to ensure good pension scheme and guarantee the future of the retirees, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said. This means the government must know the workers’ age, sex, marital status, income brackets, among other variables with which it can provide the retirement benefits of workers. The Country’s representative, AfDB, Mr Ousmane Dore in a chat with reporters in Lagos, urged the Federal Government to look into the demographic nature of the country before planning any pension scheme. Dore said investigation must be conducted to know who earns what, the gender nature, and workers’ dependents in order to enable pension fund administrators make provision for their retirement. He said the recent discovery of huge pension scams, and the attendant fears that many pensioners might not be able to get their retirement savings necessitated this. He said: “So, we need to be careful about the ways we manage the pension funds. What the government

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

needs to do is to try to ascertain where pension policy has worked. The Federal Government has to look into the demographic evolution of the country to safeguard the future of pensioners. This will prevent a situation where the retirees would not have money to finance their retirement in future.” He said institutional investors have a lot of money in pension funds, adding that the funds must be protected to avoid crisis. “But you have to remember there is pension fund crisis in many parts of the world, including the developed world. So, you cannot use pension money and put it in a place where you know that the risk cannot be taken care of,” he said. He said a situation where certain percentage of pension fund is kept in investible, high yielding, and highly guaranteed projects should not be discouraged in the interest of the pensioners. On project financing, Dore advised the government to look at the sovereign wealth fund, infrastructural fund, oil derivation fund to finance certain critical projects of the economy. He said

the government needs to tap into the Diaspora fund estimated at $40 billion to facilitate economic development programmes. “There are lots of Nigerians in Diaspora financing construction here and there. The Diaspora fund is estimated at $40 billion, which I believe the government can tap from to raise the growth of the economy,” he said. He said only a proactive and decentralised policy can bring in investors into the country. He said a proactive policy that would provide an environment in which investors would flourish will engender growth. Dore said private sector investors can come into the upstream sector, and not the downstream to foster growth of the economy. According to him, the private sector no matter how much finance they have would not be able to provide for instant dams, if the government is not in the lead in some specific areas. He said some countries in Africa have settled for the same level of development. He advised the governments to try and provide a proactive policy to stimulate growth.

CIBN trains bankers THE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has commenced campaigns aimed at addressing customers’ complaints in the banking sector. The institute organised workshops on complaints management in three major cities. The programme tagged Complaints management in the Nigerian banking industry was held in Ibadan, Owerri and Abuja and was at the instance of the Sub-Committee on Ethics and Professionalism of the Bankers’ Committee. A statement from the institute said there was need to instill culture of excellence in the management of consumer complaints in banks with a view to restoring banking public confidence as well as to forestall preventable risks and losses. It said during the exercise, experienced professionals were able to address key strategic issues such as consumer complaints management in the banking sector, best practices in managing complaints and challenges in the banking environment, ways of coping, handling and satisfying difficult customers, framework for complaints management in banks, practical case studies from the Sub-Committee on Ethics and Professionalism, among others. The said customer complaints come mainly because of poor customer service, high bank tariffs, frauds and forgeries as well as bank distress, and such could threaten confidence in the banking system. The training is also aimed at encouraging good banking habits and promoting efficiency in the delivery of financial services as well as boosting public confidence in the system.

MfB launches support programme By Adeola Ogunlade

ULTIMATE Micro finance Bank, Ipaja, Lagos has introduced a programme tagged ‘Traders Support Programme’ for market men and women. Chairman of the bank Mr Wale Odunayo made this known at the lender’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos. According to him, the product will assist the bank to generate more income, adding that under the programme traders are given a fixed amount of money at a reasonable interest rate for a minimum of 90 days. “We are reaching out to several customers at the same time by granting facilities without collateral. Many customers have taken advantage of this generous gesture to access loans with little or no collateral. I hereby implore all beneficiaries of these loans to pay back promptly as the bank has put machinery in place to enforce recovery with the attendant sanctions,” he said. Odunayo stressed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had already been informed to deal with customers who have refused to pay back their loans after which they will be charged to court. He, however, said the operating environment is quite hostile, adding that the cost of funding the bank and others businesses is still high. Odunayo said the bank’s gross earnings for the year 2009 was N29.45 million, 2010 was N22.21 million while that of 2011 was N26.371 million. He added that the bank made N3.644 million as profit last year. A Director at the bank, Dr Femi Adeyeye of Faculty of Management Science, Lagos State University (LASU) said the bank has assisted its customers in realising their objectives.

Firm targets SMEs

• Governor Peter Obi (middle) with the Divisional Director of GLO, South-East, Michael Ehumadu (right) and Commercial Director of GLO, Ike Oraekwuotu (left) when the GLO team visited the Obi at the Governor’s Lodge.

‘Cash management may hit N300b in 2015’ A

N expert has projected that the banking industry will spend N300 billion to manage cash by 2015, unless drastic steps are taken to halt the trend. According to the Country Manager, Accenture, Mr Niyi Yusuf, the 300 billion is realistic in view of the rising cost of processing cash, vault management and cost in transit. Yusuf’s forecast may, however, not hold water given the cash-less initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Speaking during a cashless economic programme in Lagos, Yusuf said the cost of managing cash would increase from the N200 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He said the industry has spent a lot of money in managing cash, arguing that the money could as

well be diverted into productive use. Yusuf said the cash-less programme if well implemented would save the industry a lot of money. He said 80 per cent of transactions conducted in banks is less than N100,000, adding that a lot of money is still being carried about by people. The need to reduce the burdens of carrying cash around informed the decision to introduce the cashless policy. Yusuf said there are over 25 million accounts in commercial banks, and 100 million mobile money accounts in the industry, adding that banking penetration would in-

crease further soon. He urged Nigerians to tap into the cash-less initiative to grow the economy, adding that the cost benefits are many to the depositors, the banks, and the economy in particular. In a related development, the Managing Director, Nigeria InterBank Settlement System (NIBBS), Mr Ademola Osinubi, noted that the direct cost of cash to financial system has increased in the past five years. Citing a five-year projection of the direct cost of cash to the financial industry, Osinubi said the figure has increased between 2008 and 2012. He said the figure has moved from about N50 billion in 2008 to over N100 billion in 2009, about N150 billion in 2010, and N192 billion in 2012.

MANAGING Director, Acquila Leasing, Chuka Onwuchekwa, has said the firm has reached a milestone to prepare for the next growth challenges through strategic initiatives, such as brand transformation. He said the company is prepared to offer cutting-edge service delivery to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large corporate institutions that desire to leverage the advantages of leasing in advancing their corporate goals. Chief Finance Officer, Mr Yisa Akindele said the firm has put in place reforms to deliver fast and quality service to its fast growing clientele base while striving to attain international leasing best practices. Chief Operating Officer, Mr Henk Kruger said the firm is committed to building a world-class leasing firm that will be effective in business delivery functions as it is being positioned for market leadership. Aquila Leasing is focused on all forms of equipment leasing with competence in finance and operating lease, logistics and car hire services.

Exhibition seeks banks’ partnership Banks and other financial institutions have been urged to market their agricultural products and services at the Food and Beverage exhibition to be held in Lagos. Tagged AgrikExpo, the exhibition, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), will give investors in agribusinesses an opportunity to boost their product offerings. Chief Executive Officer of AiQ Capital Limited, one of the organisers, Uzo Nwankwo, said the event will offer banks an opportunity to showcase their agricultural financing packages. He said the desire of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to see to a deepening of the agri-finance value chain must be complemented by banks. According to him, commercial banks have a great role to play in alleviating problems associated with agric credit and must accept new opportunities to share knowledge with agric stakeholders at every forum. A financial expert, Chris Ogbechie of the Lagos Business School (LBS) said: “The AgrikEpo is an opportunity not only for banks but for even oil companies to showcase their corporate social responsibility (CSR) in support of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s food security programme.” The exhibition will hold at the Expo Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites from August 27 to 29.




Analysts: High interest rates’ll reduce firms profit T HE probability of continuing increase in interest rate could worsen financial leverages of several companies and reduce profit and returns to investors, market analysts have said. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently reduced the net open position of banks from 3.0 per cent to 1.0 per cent of shareholders fund; incraised the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) from 8.0 per cent to 12 per cent and restricted cash movement between repo window and interbank. Immediate reactions to the new measures saw steep increase in interest rate as banks adjusted their positions. Average interest rate rose from about 14.08 per cent two weeks ago to 17 per cent last week. Money market data showed that the 7-day Nigerian Interbank Offer Rate (NIBOR) rose by some 349 points to close last week at 17.96 per cent last week as against its opening rate of 14.47 per cent. The 90-day NIBOR rose by some 309 basis points to close last week at 18.63 per cent compared with opening rate of 15.54 per cent. Market analysts have estimated that further liquidity tightening would have spiral effects access to capital and costs of funds. Estimates indicate that the increase in CRR would effectively withdraw N823 billion from the financial system

Stories by Taofik Salako

while overall impact could see average of up to five per cent in costs of funds. Managing director, GTI Securities, Mr. Tunde Oyekunle, said further increase in interest rate could worsen the performance of companies as they would have to grapple with the twin effects of tight access and increase in cost of new funds as well as rise in existing liabilities due from historic debts. According to him, with existing cost variables due to inadequate infrastructure, further spike in interest rate would increase cost of doing business and ultimately impact negatively on corporate performance. “This is likely to have a negative impact on corporate performance, especially to companies that issued floating rate debt,” Oyekunle said. Analysts at Partnership Investment Company Plc said an increase in interest rate would have spiral negative impact on the economy. They however, noted that the apex bank’s policy to restrict funds movement in the interbank may push some funds the other way, which could boost funds allocation

to equities. Analysts at Afrinvest (West Africa) said the financial markets have started witnessing the impact of the recent liquidity tightening measures.They however, expected money market rates to hover around existing levels in the next few days. Market analysts said hardpressed manufacturing companies may face more challenges as their cost of borrowing increases along-

side decline in purchasing power, putting both the top-line and the bottom-line under pressures. Several quoted companies are already carrying huge debt burdens due to their dependence on high-interest bank loans. The downtrend at the capital market has constrained access to alternative funds through issuance of equities and long-term bonds. Chairman, RT Briscoe Plc, Mr. Clement Olowokande had recently decried the excruciating liquidity squeeze and lack of access to amenable capital, which have continued to militate against corporate growth and returns.

He pointed out that in spite of the appreciable growths of 30 per cent in turnover and 42 per cent in profit after tax in 2011, RT Briscoe operated under unfavourable financing structure as interest expenses soared to N776.4 million as against profit after tax of about N216 million. RT Briscoe’s third party borrowings doubled from N4.1 billion in 2010 to N8.1 billion in 2011. Olowokande attributed the huge debt outlay and the pressing financing expenses to the inability of the company to source equity capital since the meltdown in spite of the company’s growing business.

NSE may close flat in August, says Rewane


GAINST the background of the significant equity rally in July, the stock market may witness a moderation this month and close with little or no gain, Bismarck Rewane’s Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) has said. In his monthly review and macroeconomic review for the second half of the year, Managing Director (FDC), Bismarck Rewane, said there could be some corrections in share prices this month as investors lock in profits from previous month. According to him, the stock market would be largely driven by profit-taking transactions in August, and the market could witness marginally correction and shed some gains, especially in the absence of any catalyst. He however, noted that the longrun expectations of the stock market returns remains unchanged as prospects of equities remain high. “Any irrational fall in stock prices will be an opportunity to buy, fundamentals remain favourable regardless,” Rewane stated. He highlighted the possibility of further decline in market’s volume and value as the full impact of the monetary tightening in July becomes more visible in the financial markets. “This is clearly a difficult investing environment but a good mix of both debt and equity investment is a winning formula. We believe the short end of the yield curve is the superior position,” Rewane noted. Rewane, a member director of many quoted companies, advised that with relative undervaluation of most equities, investors should continue to buy quality stocks irrespective of the market trend. He said: “timing the market may be easy in theory, but is difficult in practice.” He outlined that to stay ahead in the returns race, investors should buy and hold good businesses, select leading stocks across different

sectors to create a diversified portfolio and pay attention to “wide moats with strong cash flow.” He singled out the banking sector as a segment with substantial potential for gains noting that the sector’s multiples remain attractive from a historic and relative basis. “Price-to-book value of most banks remains under 1.0. Results released so far show the financial sector have fully recovered while the non-financial sectors are seeing their margins squeezed. Banking sector is also most likely to have some of the better dividend increases during the coming years,” Rewane projected. He however noted that the banking sector might witness initial volatility due to the immediate and intermediate effects of the apex bank’s policies pointing out that higher interest expense will squeeze the net-interest margins of banks. According to him, net interest margin is expected to shrink by 1.50 per cent as banks may not be able to fully transfer costs of funds to borrowers. The stock market had witnessed its biggest month-on-month rally in July as investors pocketed N446 billion in capital gains in a period that saw several stocks trading around their highs. Aggregate market capitalization of all quoted companies closed yesterday at N7.341 trillion as against its opening value of N6.895 trillion for the month of July, representing an increase of 6.5 per cent or N446 billion. The benchmark return index for the market, the All Share Index (ASI)which tracks prices of all quoted companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), also showed corresponding return with a monthon-month return of 6.77 per cent for July. The ASI opened the month at 21,599.57 points and closed yesterday at 23,061.38 points. With the rally in July, the sevenmonth year-to-date return at the NSE stood at 11.24 per cent, equivalent to a gain of N808 billion.

•Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Capt. Adamu Biu (left); Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Nebolisa Emodi and Secretary-General, Union of African Shippers Council Serigne Thram Diop, at PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE the Sub Regional Workshop on Single Window in Abuja.

Ethical investorslaud Islamic equity index


THICAL investors have commended the recent introduction of ethics-based index on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as a major initiative that would broaden domestic and foreign participation in the Nigerian capital market. The NSE, in collaboration with Lotus Capital Limited, had last week launched the NSE Lotus Islamic Index (NSE LII)- a barometer to gauge the performance of equities that comply with Shari’ah, Islamic laws. It is the first index created to track the performance of Shari’ah compliant equities on the floor of the NSE and also the first index to be developed in collaboration with local partners. The NSE already has six indices including the main value-based index, the All Share Index (ASI), which tracks the prices of all quoted companies. Other indices are based on the 30 most capitalised stocks, banking subsector, insurance subsector, oil and gas subsector and consumer good sector. Managing director, Stalk Telecomms, Mr. Akeem Adeleke, an ethical investor, said the introduction of ethical index would en-

courage more Nigerians who relate their beliefs to their investments to participate in the stock market. He noted that the naming of the NSE LII would go a long way to correct erroneous impression by some people that the stock market is like casino or gambling. He said investors who were not willing to participate in interestbased activities would flow funds into desirable equities based on the tracking of the NSE LII. Another ethical investor, Mr. Afolabi Makinde, said the launch of the Islamic equity index would further improve the competitiveness of the Nigerian capital market as key advanced and emerging stock markets have Shari’ah indices. According to him, Islamic finance is the fastest growing aspect of global finance and Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind. He urged government to expedite actions on the proposed issuance of Sukuk bonds, which are in compliance with preference of global ethical investors. In the same vein, Mr. Idris Akintan, commended the manage-

ment of the NSE for its foresight noting that possible financial inclusiveness that will come from the introduction of NSE LII would provide domestic stability that could mitigate foreign investors’ volatilities in the market. According to him, giving the estimated population of ethical investors in Nigeria and Sub Sahara Africa, Nigeria stands to benefit from increased inflow of portfolio investments. While launching the index, chief executive officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, had described the introduction of NSE LII as a milestone in the rebirth, growth and transformation of the Nigerian capital market. According to him, with the launch of NSE LII, the NSE has increased the variety of its indices to seven, giving opportunities to investors with varied investment appetite and interests that track the market’s indices. “The NSE Lotus Islamic Index (NSE LII) consists of companies whose business practices are in con•Continued from page 33

Foundation appoints Ezekwesili Advisor for Africa • Continued from page 31 “The initiative, which will help develop leadership in public policy and economic reforms within governments, will leverage African expertise in the Diaspora to strengthen state capacities in various sectors of economies in Africa “In her role as Senior Economic Advi-

sor, Ezekwesili will oversee the creation of a public policy advisory center in Abuja that will collaborate with Paul Collier, the professor of economics who focuses on developing countries, and others to provide economic policy solutions to pro-reform governments starting with Guinea , Liberia , and Sierra Leone . “She also will help establish a sepa-

rate Africa-wide graduate school of public policy, based in Nigeria , that will collaborate with leading universities including the School of Public Policy at the Central European University . The statement quoted the Chairman and founder of the Open Society Foundations, George Soros, as saying: “I am delighted for Oby to join our team working on Africa .




PZ Cussons vs Unilever: Far apart


IGERIA’S fast moving consumer good (FMCG) industry is dominated by highprofile multinationals, often with several global brands and many business lines. With many businesses locked into a single administrative control, most multinationals fit the categorisation of conglomerate. PZ Cussons (Nigeria) Plc and Unilever Nigeria Plc are two of the largest conglomerates at the Nigerian stock market. Large manufacturers and marketers of many similar home and personal care products, both parade several international brands and are ranked within the topmost bracket of the FMCG industry. PZ Cussons Nigeria and Unilever Nigeria shared many things including business model, foreign ownership and management thoughts. Both operate highly diversified business models. While PZ Cussons Nigeria complements its business with a vibrant home appliances segment, Unilever Nigeria flavours its business with its vibrant seasoning brands. However, in terms of size, PZ Cussons Nigeria is the largest of the two companies with assets base more than twice that of Unilever Nigeria. PZ Cussons Nigeria’s equity funds quadrupled that of Unilever Nigeria. Besides, while Unilever Nigeria runs the normal Gregorian calendar year as its busi-




PZ Cussons 2012

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

9.5 -12.3 -46.3 22.4 6 -55.4 3.9 5.9

2011 % 5.1 6.7 1.3 28 12.1 -1.5 8.3 13.2

Unilever Average % 7.3 -2.8 -22.5 25.2 9.05 -28.45 6.1 9.55

Pre-tax profit margin (PZ)

Stories by Taofik Salako

ness year, PZ Cussons’ business year runs from June to May. Both companies have undertaken significant investments in recent period and more importantly, they have witnessed various forms of restructurings to deepen efficiency and increase productivity. However, audited reports and accounts of the companies showed increas-

ing difference between the performances of the two companies. While Unilever Nigeria appears to be consolidating its performance, PZ Cussons is struggling to keep its pace. Sales Generation Both companies consolidated their top-line performance, pushing up average turnover growth over the years. Unilever Nigeria grew sales by about 17 per cent in

Pre-tax profit margin (Unilever)

Ethical investors laud Islamic equity index •Continued onpage 32

formity with the principles of Shari’ah and we believe that it will increase the breadth of the market and create an important benchmark for investments as the alternative non-interest investment space widens. We are positive that this bold step will bring on board various ethical investors who were previously not sure about the suitability of investing in stocks, to embrace the market –this directly makes our market more accessible and more inclusive,” Onyema said. He said that there are several ways investors in the market would benefit from the NSE LII including by the index serving as an important diversification tool for ethi-

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

2011 % 16.9 14.7 29.8 36.6 14.6 31.3 17 56.8

cally minded investors and portfolio managers both locally and from around the world, who seek to profitably invest in emerging African equities market, serving as a general benchmark for ‘ethical’ funds and also serving as a basis for creating Mirror Funds, Index Funds, Exchange Traded Funds, Index options and other instruments, which would broaden the range of financial instruments being traded on the NSE. Chief Executive Officer, Lotus Capital Limited, Mrs Hajara Adeola, had noted that many ethical investors were not sure whether they can invest in the stock market but the introduction of Shari’ah index would be a cru-

cial step to make the market more accessible and inclusive. “Whilst there are some industries, such as alcohol, “interest based” financial services, to name a few, that are clearly prohibited, there are several companies that are suitable for investment by an ethically minded investor,” Adeola said. According to her, with the advent of the NSE Lotus Islamic Index, more ethically minded investors will be able to easily and safely participate as the NSE Lotus Islamic Index eliminates the research costs, and compliance concerns, an ethical investor was hitherto burdened with when creating an Islamic investment portfolio.

2011, building on modest top-line growth of 5.2 per cent in 2010. These indicated average annual growth of 11.05 per cent in the past two years. Also, PZ Cussons increased sales by 9.5 per cent in 2012 as against an increase of 5.1 per cent in 2011. Thus, average turnover growth in recent years stood at 7.3 per cent. Profitability The profit outlooks of the two companies showed sharp contrast with Unilever Nigeria on the ascent and PZ Cussons on the descent. Unilever Nigeria witnessed significant improvements in profitability in 2011 to push its average annual growth further ahead of its competitor. As against a marginal growth of 0.35 per cent in 2010, gross profit rose by 14.7 per cent in 2011. Profit before tax also tripled from a growth of 8.7 per cent in 2010 to 29.8 per cent increase in 2011. Net profit jumped by31.3 per cent in 2011 as against a marginal growth of 2.2 per cent in 2010. Although gross profit margin dipped from 37.3 per cent to 36.6 per cent, pre-tax profit margin improved from 13.1 per cent to 14.6 per cent. On the other hand, PZ Cussons showed a top-to-bottom decline in profitability. As against modest increase of 6.7 per cent in 2011, gross profit dropped by 12.3 per cent in 2012. This further magnified into a drop of 46.3 per cent in pre-tax profit, eroding negligible increase of 1.3 per cent in 2011. Net earnings worsened from a decline of 1.5 per cent in 2011 to drop of 55.4 per cent in 2012. PZ Cussons’ gross profit margin had dropped from 28 per cent in 2011 to 22.4 per cent in 2012. Pre-tax profit margin halved from 12.1 per cent in 2011 to six per cent in 2012. On the average, PZ Cussons trailed Unilever Nigeria in most indices.Average gross profit growth for PZ Cussons stood at 2.8 per cent as against increase of 7.53 per cent for Unilever Nigeria. Compared with PZ Cussons’ average pre-tax profit growth of 22.5 per cent, Unilever Nigeria’s pre-tax profit growth averaged 19.25 per cent over the past two years. While PZ Cussons carried negative net profit growth rate of

2010 % 5.2 0.35 8.7 37.3 13.1 2.2 16.1 50.2

Average % 11.05 7.53 19.25 36.95 13.85 16.75 16.55 53.5

28 per cent, Unilever Nigeria’s net profit had grown by annual average of about 17 per cent over the years. Underlying fundamentals of Unilever Nigeria were also stronger with average gross and pretax profits margins of 36.95 per cent and 13.85 per cent compared with 25.2 per cent and 9.05 per cent recorded by PZ Cussons. Actual Returns The profit outlook also dovetailed into different returns outlooks. While Unilever Nigeria improved returns to shareholders and other stakeholders, underlying returns by PZ Cussons trended downward below recent average. Unilever Nigeria’s return on total assets improved from 23.7 per cent in 2010 to 24.7 per cent in 2011 while return on equity increased from 50.2 per cent to 56.8 per cent. Unilever Nigeria’s average annual returns on assets and equity thus stood at 24.2 per cent and 53.5 per cent compared with PZ Cussons Nigeria’s 12.55 per cent and 13.2 per cent. On the other side, PZ Cussons fell below average in the immediate past year, depleting average returns to single digit compared with double digit posted by its competitor. Return on total assets dropped from 8.3 per cent in 2011 to 3.9 per cent in 2012. Return on equity also shrank to 5.9 per cent in 2012 as against 13.2 per cent recorded in 2011. Average returns on total assets and equity thus stood at 6.1 per cent and 9.55 per cent respectively. Bottom-line Manufacturing companies are facing challenges on several fronts- from unpredictable exchange rate and monetary policy issues to inadequate infrastructure, multiple taxes and disadvantaged import and tariff policies, to the heightened insecurity being orchestrated by domestic political-cum-social gangs. Besides, the evident slowdown in the economy with resultant adverse impact on purchasing power, manufacturers such as PZ Cussons and Unilever Nigeria need to balance several variables to sustain profitability. Several companies have fallen on their routes-to-the-market strategies, economy of scale, internal administrative cost management and other cost-cutting measures to keep the bottom-line green. Already, PZ Cussons has recognized the requirements for the changing operating environment and has started implementing programmes to ensure that its supply chain cost base remains at a competitive level. As a result, the company has been implementing a supply chain optimisation project, which is expected to significantly reduce overheads of the group’s manufacturing activities. This optimisation will strengthen the bottom-line just as recent investments in existing businesses and new businesses are expected to jumpstart the top-line. Unilever Nigeria, which had embarked on extensive restructuring due to similar slowdown, is reaping the gains of painstaking decisions.




NYSE in talks with SEC to settle data probe T

HE New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has said it is in talks with United States securities regulators to settle allegations that the exchange violated rules intended to promote fair competition. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s(SEC’s) investigation centers on a regulation that prohibits an exchange from sending out data on a private feed to certain clients faster than on public data feeds. The company confirmed the negotiations after Reuters re-

ported on the settlement talks earlier on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. Those people spoke anonymously because the probe had not been made public. “NYSE Euronext has been working with the SEC to resolve alleged violations of Rule 603(a) of Regulation NMS, a technical rule governing the timing of delivery of certain exchange market data,” the company confirmed in a statement. “The company does not expect that any settlement of this matter will be material.” The case stems from an alleged

Spain, Italy debt extends rally


PANISH and Italian bonds has risen further, led by shorter-dated paper which has met revived demand on prospects of eventual ECB buying but details of the promised anti-crisis steps were seen key for more gains. Two-year Spanish yields have more than halved from euro-era peaks above seven per cent hit on July 25 to 3.42 per cent since ECB President Mario Draghi said bond purchases under new measures being hammered out would target shorter-dated debt. The gap between two- and 10year Spanish yields according to Reuters, hit its widest in the euro era at 338 basis points and that differential could widen to 400 bps in coming weeks, according to RBS rate strategist Harvinder Sian. “Two-year Spain (yields) can get down to two per cent...The rally can go on for a couple of weeks but we need to see some details from the ECB in terms of what exactly they are planning. That will be the key,” Sian said. “Particularly we’re waiting to see the maturities they are willing to buy.” Spanish 10-year yields fell 14 bps to 6.8 per cent, retreating further from euro-era highs of 7.78 per cent hit early last week, with equivalent Italian yields 6 bps lower at six perc ent. Two-year paper yielded 3.11 per cent, down more than 20 bps on the day. Strategists and traders said steepeners - bets that short-dated bond prices would rise faster than long-dated ones - were the position to take on Spanish and Italian debt. “We like 2-5s, 2-10s steepeners because they can perform I think very well both in a bullish and a bearish market,” BNP Paribas strategist Matteo Regesta said. Sentiment in Spanish and Italian debt markets - at the forefront of the three-year debt cri-

sis - has improved as investor conviction has grown that the ECB will eventually intervene to lower the two countries’ borrowing costs provided Madrid and Rome request help from the bloc’s bailout funds. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy signalled for the first time on Friday that he may seek a full-blown aid package but said he had not yet made a decision. However, questions remained. Germany remains opposed to the ECB resuming bond purchases. The issue of how the euro zone planned to boost the resources of its yet-to-be ratified ESM rescue fund was also unresolved. Soma analysts said the ECB’s conditional pledge suggests the situation in Spain might have to deteriorate and borrowing costs rise further before Madrid seeks aid, opening the door for ECB intervention, according to some analysts. Bund futures clawed back some ground on bargain hunting after their biggest daily fall since October 2011 on Friday after stronger than expected U.S. jobs data and as investors overcame initial disappointment that the ECB was not immediately buying Italian and Spanish bonds. September Bund futures rose 25 ticks on the day to settle at 143.20, having fallen more than 200 ticks at one point on Friday, while 10-year German bond yields were down 3.4 bps at 1.4 per cent - not far from a record low of 1.126 per cent hit in July. “We’ve seen some short-covering in Bunds after the sell-off last week, whereas the periphery is driven by what Draghi said - that he will focus on shortdated (bonds),” a third trader said. “There are flows into two- and three-year bonds, but not into the 10year. However there are no sellers in the 10-year either.”

Stifel: Wal-Mart to do well in election year slowdown


TIFEL Nicolaus upgraded Wal-Mart Stores Inc to “buy,”saying the retailer is likely to remain resilient during a possible slowdown in consumer spending this year. The brokerage said it expects the US election and the late 2012 ‘fiscal cliff’ debate to hit consumer sentiment, referring to the expiration of lower tax rates on December 31 and the automatic federal spending cuts that kick in early January, unless Congress steps in. Stifel, according to Reuters, also expects the recent rise in corn prices to drive up inflation. “This stagflation scenario, in

our view, is the kind of environment in which Wal-Mart thrives,”analysts at Stifel wrote in a client note. Wal-Mart, with its low pricing, would be able to continue to do well like it did in 2008, the brokerage said, pulling shoppers to its more than 10,000 outlets. As consumers faced high gas prices, food inflation and a shaky housing market in 2008, the retailer benefited from US shoppers looking for cheap groceries. Wal-Mart in May reported profit and sales that surpassed analysts’ expectations as more people shopped at its established US stores and spent more.

violation of the regulation that governs the dissemination of market information, known as Regulation NMS, or national market system. It is still unclear whether the SEC will ask NYSE to pay a fine to resolve the allegations. The case is still likely a few months away from being completed, people familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier on Monday. The settlement talks come during a period of renewed focus by the SEC about the vulnerability of the markets to super-fast computer-driven trading and fears that some market participants are getting an unfair advantage. The SEC is just beginning to

grapple with the fallout from last week’s software glitch that caused a $440 million trading loss for Knight Capital and the recent technology debacle at the Nasdaq OMX in handling the initial public offering for social networking giant Facebook.. The series of technological mishaps have only served to weaken investor confidence, something that took a big hit in the wake of the financial crisis. The SEC ramped up its focus on market structure issues like the one at the heart of the NYSE probe in the wake of the May 6, 2010, “flash crash” in which the Dow Jones Industrials plunged about 700 points in several min-

•Morning commuters are seen outside the New York Stock Exchange.

utes. Earlier this year, the SEC’s market abuse specialized unit disclosed it was conducting roughly 20 different inquiries, ranging from order types to how exchanges police their markets. According to another person familiar with the matter, the private data feeds at issue in the NYSE probe only gave certain clients an advantage that amounted to milliseconds. The person also said the SEC’s investigation into NYSE did not stem from events in the flash crash. But critics say in the world of high-speed trading, that can be enough to give some investors an advantage.

PHOTO: Reuters

Spyker sues GM for $3b over Saab bankruptcy D

UTCH sportscar maker Spyker is suing General Motors for more than $3 billion on behalf of its subsidiary Saab, accusing the United States automaker of bankrupting the Swedish group by blocking a deal with a Chinese investor. Saab Automobile, one of Sweden’s best-known brands, according to Reuters, stopped production in May 2011 when it could no longer pay suppliers and employees. It went bust in December, less than two years after GM sold it to Spyker. GM’s efforts to kill any sale were made to eliminate a potential rival in China, Spyker said. “GM never intended to allow Saab to compete with it in China,” Spyker said in its complaint, filed in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. “When Saab found a way to secure liquidity and continue as a going concern with the help of Chinese investors, GM was determined to scuttle the deal by any means necessary, including the publication of false information about its rights under the parties’ contracts,” Spyker added. GM spokesman James Cain said the US automaker had not seen the lawsuit yet, but added, “It is hard to believe.” Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller said GM “had it coming” with regard to the lawsuit. “They never thought we would survive,” he told reporter. “Well, Spyker’s still here. They assumed Spyker would end up in the graveyard with Saab and obvi-

ously that didn’t happen.” In asking for a jury trial, Spyker is seeking at least $3 billion in compensatory damages, as well as interest and punitive damages, and legal fees. “GM’s actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM’s ... interfering with a transaction between Saab Automobile, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman that would have permitted Saab Automobile to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern.” For months, Muller tried to pull off a rescue deal with various Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese investors, including China’s Pang Da Automobile Trade Co Ltd and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. He told reporters the $3 billion claim was based on what Saab would have been worth if a deal with Chinese firm Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co, or Youngman, had gone ahead. Spyker spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation fees preparing the case over the past six months, Muller said. Spyker’s lawsuit was being funded by an anonymous third party, who will share in any settlement, he said. GM, which operates in China in a partnership with state-run automaker SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, late last year effectively blocked deals with two Chinese investors, Pang Da Automobile Trade Co and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Auto-

mobile. GM said it would stop supplying vehicles and technology to Saab’s new owners because it would run counter to the interests of its own shareholders. Saab filed for bankruptcy months later and stopped producing cars. “GM created the appearance of initially encouraging Saab to enter into a deal with Chinese investors to save the company, only later to unlawfully pull the rug out from under Saab, driving it into bankruptcy liquidation,” Spyker said in the lawsuit. “Indeed, it was GM’s intent by whatever means necessary to quash any financing or investment deal that could save Saab from liquidation, because GM simply sought to eliminate Saab from competition, particularly in the Chinese automobile market,” the complaint said. Spyker charged GM with interfering in a prospective deal with the Chinese companies by claiming it would no longer license its technology to or build cars for Saab even though the last agreement was structured to exclude the U.S. automaker’s intellectual property, according to the lawsuit. Saab had created its own vehicle platform that did not use any GM technology, so GM’s statements that it would not support a deal were “intentionally false” because such support was not needed, Spyker said in the lawsuit. Spyker also said the agreement for GM to supply parts and build the Saab 94X SUV ran through 2014 and was not subject to termination “for convenience” by either company, the lawsuit said.




• Mrs Odutola

-Adebola Orolugbagbe

How student-entrepreneurs make money


ONEY is a major issue for most students. Indeed, it is one of the toughest issues for them and their families. Families can only provide some of their children’s needs; so raising funds for the other needs fall on the students. So, some students have to fed for themselves.They have become entrepreneurs and many work at jobs that pay them low wages. But there are others who also make some good money. Nasbock Bukayo Ogunlude and Miller Fejiro Samuel are among such students.They have found a way of making money to make needs meet. Ogunlude is a student of the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC), Lagos. He established Nasbock Glo-

By Daniel Essiet

bal Group, a platform for website designs. The EDC is one of three Central Banks of Nigeria (CBN) Entrepreneurship Development Centres, managed by the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) to tackle the problem of rising youth unemployment. He knew he could pay for his basic needs if he had money. He needed to come up with a strategy that would enable him buy good clothes and live decently. His business venture has enabled him to do so. Besides, he wants to leave school by start up something on his own without seeking a paid job. Ogunlude told The Nation that he builds

websites for schools.He started without any capital and makes up to N150,000 from one job designing a w e b s i t e. F r o m h i s o n l i n e business,Ogunlude claims he pays his fees. He has a knack for technology, and this has given him a launching pad for e-commerce and web designing. But he is not keeping his success to himself. He is determined to assist his colleagues to make money before leaving the ivory tower. All things being equal, he sees himself making a successful career and much money from his business. He said young Nigerians can make it by identifying market needs and advantage of them. Although many Nigerians

leave universities with good degrees, he claimed,these cannot gurantee them jobs. He said Nigerians need to make money outside their education. For Ogunlade, there is no reason a student can't earn money at school and there should be no excuse for being thrown out of because of lack of money. To assist indigent students, he wants to stimulate their entrepreneurial spirit and help them to set up income generation schemes. Miller Samuel is not a typical undergraduate.He goes to school and plays sports. But, unlike other young Nigerians, he has many little businesses. An Agricultural Engineer-

ing undergraduate of the University of Ibadan, Samuel said students should used learn how to earn money and support themselves. He is a regular at He started trading with $20. In a week, he grew his capital base to $80.Today, Samuel claims he is worth $2,000. He said he embraced website because it requires minimal investment. So, it’s easier getting something off the ground, he added. He set his own hours and has enough time to attend classes and do business online. He is confident that he has enough business savvy to take the plunge and create his business after graduation.

Customer loyalty panacea for growth of businesses


EW customers are the lifeline of companies. Or are they not? Lately, marketers have been spending more time on customers - revamping what customer service means, investing more in customer relationship management (CRM) systems and building teams to improve communication with customers. In this age of social connectivity, customer loyalty has become more valuable than ever. Consumers share stories of their interactions

with businesses on social media, meaning that word-of-mouth marketing is more valuable than ever. Since customer loyalty can be critical to making a sale, ask yourself what you're doing to cultivate it. When was the last time you spent money or resources on making your customers feel appreciated? Many might argue that a focus on customer appreciation isn't just a best practice - it could mean the difference between failure and survival in today's word-of-mouth driven economy.

Here are five ways you can take customer loyalty up a notch:

Improve your ‘Thank You’ Most of us have a Web page or email that thanks our customers for converting, whether that means joining the community, purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter. But chances are good that the "thank you" could use some work. Because the thank you page or email is seen by every single one of your customers, you should ask: Does it

put your best foot forward? Rather than merely using that page to confirm an action, why not add some useful resources, followup steps or company contact information? Other ideas for improvement include lacing in a promotion to instigate immediate action or simply making the message more visually enticing.

Optimise your feedback channels Feedback comes in many forms, but chances are you're getting customer responses you aren't even using. While many companies tap into what their customer service department is hearing, they are less likely to proactively survey their website visitors or to analyse their cancelation and return forms. That's a shame because these are all opportunities to get more information on what customers need. When you take the time to improve your feedback channels, you are telling your audience, "We care about what you think." This reminder can help build loyalty and help you answer concerns in a timelier manner, reducing customer loss and building trust.

Go beyond cancellations as a performance indicator

nister •From right: Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited, Peter Mbah and Managing Director, Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC), Mr Chem Xiaoxing, at the opening of Eko Expo Investment Forum and Business Trade Exhibition, at Akodo, Lekki, Lagos.

Tips on how to start up a small business


TARTING a small business requires determination, motivation, and know-how. Here’s a list of available resources to provide you with the know-how to have a successful small business startup. Identify your business opportunity Choosing what kind of business to start can be an immobilising task when confronted with the multitude of opportunities. Here at About, we have identified the hottest business opportunities to give you a few ideas. It’s important to determine where your passions lie and to understand your entrepreneurial personality type. So, you think you have found the one business opportunity that will bring you freedom, fame, and plenty of profits? Does it meet the eight simple rules? Build a business plan For the majority of start-ups, a business plan allows you to gain a

better understanding of your industry structure, competitive landscape, and the capital requirements of starting a small business. If business planning is beneficial, why do so few startups use business planning? Learn the critical steps to writing a business plan. Name your business What’s in a business name? Everything and nothing. The right business name will help distinguish you from a sea of bland competitors, provide your customers with a reason to hire you, and aid in the branding of your company. Apply these 10 commandments when choosing a name for your business. Choose a business structure Find the best ownership structure for your small business. The most basic of all business legal structures is the sole proprietorship. Other possible structures in-

clude the popular limited liability company, a partnership, or an corporation. Register your business Starting a small business requires the usual paperwork and regulations. Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is responsible for this, for a small business start up you might not really need to incorporate the business as a business name registration will do. Setting up your small business may require a business name registration to avoid embarrassment from local government authorities and to enable you get a a corporate account with a bank. Find start-up money Contrary to popular belief, most small business start-ups aren’t funded by grants, venture capitalists, or banks. Your seed money will come from your personal savings, friends, family, and any other creative means such as bartering.

While you need to know how many of your customers are cancelling, it is a reactive performance indicator. In addition to monitoring your customers loss, you can gauge loyalty by watching your company's "net promoter score," frequency of customer interactions with your business and the length of time between customer visits. By tracking how engaged customers are and how likely they are to recommend

your company, you can get a more complete measure of their loyalty.

Assign someone to manage it Tracking and improving customer loyalty can be a challenge if no one specific is managing it. Good candidates for this responsibility often come from customer service, marketing, operations or product teams. The key qualifications are the ability to work well with others and a belief in the value of both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Whoever you choose should understand that customer loyalty may touch a number of departments at your company, but it deserves its own champion for maximum success.

Evangelise the gains and losses While customer loyalty should have a dedicated advocate, it is a company-wide effort. Unfortunately, customer loyalty scores rarely get touted as much as revenue and profits. Why is that? Many companies see customer loyalty as something beyond their control, that it is the natural result of the websites they build and products and services they sell. But companies have some opportunities to build trust and loyalty by making their interactions with customers the best they can be. To show the importance of these interactions to customer retention, you can share with the rest of the company the results of your loyalty measurements, whether good or bad. This makes it a company-wide priority, and only then are you really taking customer loyalty to the next level. •Culled from CNN Money

Guide for small business beginner


HE logical way to gain financial freedom is to start a small business in Nigeria. It has been observed that most Nigerians who are wealthy started with a small business which they gradually nurture to a big corporation. But succeeding in a small business is not easy. There are several challenges to overcome which includes power fluctuations, multiple taxations etc. Therefore, you need to possess certain qualities embedded with patience to succeed as an entrepreneur. According to Calvin Coolidge, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Educa-

tention efforts in the physical world: to minimise churn by providing great products and serv-

tion will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Now that you know you need persistence and determination, let’s discuss other qualities to succeed as an entrepreneur: Start a business on what you are passionate about: Before considering the small business in Nigeria to do, ask yourself what is it that you love doing and passionate about? What is it that you will keep doing, even if you don’t receive a pay? If you are passionate with your business, you will not mind putting in several hours daily until you succeed. As a new entrepreneur, you need to put in more effort to succeed. •Culled from google

retention as well. As you come up with a strategy, remember that retention programs live or die by a close monitoring of customer behaviour. You want




NIMASA gets N1.3b bullet-proof boats T

O stem criminality on the waterways, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has acquired four patrol boats worth about $8 million (N1,320,000,000). NIMASA Lagos, NIMASA Port Harcourt, NIMASA Warri and NIMASA Burutu can carry 35 passengers each. Ten security officers deployed by President Goodluck Jonathan in the agency would man the boats during patrols, it was learnt. The boats were supplied by Global West Vessel Specialist (GWVS) as part of the concession contract that NIMASA signed with the firm a few months ago. Sources at the Federal Ministry of Transport said the boats can move to over 200 nautical miles on the sea without refuelling. The capacity of the tank is about 75 litres and it can move from Lagos to Port Harcourt in a short time. NIMASA Director-General NIMASA, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, said the

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

boats will help NIMASA to combat piracy and other crimes, adding that they can withstand any adverse condition. The boats, he also said, “will also help the agency fulfill its core obligations, especially in ensuring that the country’s waters are safe for navigation, inadvertently, helping NIMASA fulfill its mandate, which include security and ensuring a pollution marine free environment. The NIMASA boss added: “The government alone cannot solve the problem of piracy due to the paperwork and the bureaucracy that projects of this nature are usually subjected to. An agency that is involved in emergency, such as search and rescue, must not subscribe to the Civil Service way of doing things. There should be some creativity.” He assured that more sophisticated boats would arrive in before the end of the year.

•One of the boats

Stakeholders set agenda for NPA chief


ANAGING Direc tor of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mallam Habib Abdullahi has been urged to study how best the channels leading to Koko port in Delta State can be used to boost business. The National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, said Abdullahi should collaborate with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other investors to turn Koko port round. NPA, he said, should be committed to making the ports the preferred destination for cargoes for the West and Central Africa sub-region by providing the required infrastructure for their operations. He said the dredging of the Escravos channel, which leads to Warri Port included in the fiscal year budget, should be used by the new NPA management to attract merchant ships into the Delta port.

• Ex-MD bows out

• Abdullahi

“The new Managing Director of NPA needs to do everything possible to revitalise Koko port. It should be one of his priorities so that he can send the right signal to majority of stakeholders that the Fed-

eral Government is serious about using qualified professionals for the job,” he said. Another stakeholder, Mr Yemi Johnson, advised the NPA boss to stop illegal charges by terminal operators at the ports. He said Abdullahi should work with stakeholders. He also said his colleagues needed to be kept abreast of all the activities of NPA to gain their support. The General Manager, Public Affairs, NPA, Chief Michael Ajayi assured the stakeholders of maximum support from the new NPA management and urged them to allow Abdullahi to settle in office before bombarding him with complaints. Meanwhile, the former managing director, Omar Suleiman, has formally bowed out. Many workers shed tears when he handed over to Abudullahi. Some workers

extolled Suleiman. Members of the Senior Staff Association of Corporation, Transport and C o m m u n i c a t i o n (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. Suleiman expressed appreciation to God, President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, for giving him the opportunity to serve. Abdullahi praised his predecessor, wishing him the best in his future endeavour. “It is not the first time that I’ll be taking over from my friend and my brother, Omar Suleiman. I took over from him as London Rep and I’m here taking over from him again. I’m part of his administration, having served as ED (Finance and Administration),” Abdullahi said.

Why Nigerians aren’t benefiting from Cabotage Act, by experts W HY are Nigerians not benefiting from Cabotage Act? It is because of the acqusition of single haul vessels by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), says Executive Chairman, Blessed Agencies and Shipping, Mr Raymond Oluwa. He said the Federal Government should be held liable for the influx of old vessels on the territorial waters. “If you allow ship owners to bring old vessels into the country and you register them as cabotage vessels, then you must be ready to give them jobs; forget about IMO laws and the

other laws because you have collected money from the owners for registration,” he said. Oluwa called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure that indigenous ship owners are given jobs by the oil firms since they were registered by NIMASA under the Act. Also, a maritime lawyer, Mr Festus Olayinka, identified the payment of fees while applying for waiver under the Cabotage Act as one of the reason behind the

circumvention of the gains of the Act. He alleged that waivers are granted “before approval because those who apply for waivers are made to pay while their applications are still being processed.” He said: “The Act stipulates 100 per cent for rating; 60 per cent of officers or Nigerians and 40 per cent for foreigners. But the foreigners come in with a waiver clause that the country does not have qualified hands to man the industry.

“Also, if you want a waiver to be granted, you apply to NIMASA and your file would be taken to Abuja for ministerial approval. Before the approval comes from Abuja, you must have paid money to NIMASA. After collecting my money, it is as good as saying that you have granted me the waiver because it would be difficult for you to return my money because by the time the file leaves for Abuja, the job would have been done.” He said the influx of old vessels in the territorial waters was due to illegal bunkering that was flourishing in the country.

‘Privatisation against public interest’ By Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

THE Agenda for Good Governence (AGG), a non-governmental organisation, has called for the review of the port privatisation policy, introduced in 2006. Speaking at a seminar in Lagos, its Executive Secretary, Mr Rotimi Onakoya, alleged that the policy does not favour the nation. The group urged the government to build confidence, grow wealth and create employment in the port system through proper organisation of port operation and legislation. A maritime lawyer, Mr Dipo Alaka said: “Seven years into the concession, we are still being faced with management, operational and administrative problems in the port concession” adding that it should be reviewed. The Federal Government, he said, needs to develop other means of transportation, especially the rail system, to bring about an efficient delivery of goods in the sector. The lawyer said the interconnectivity of the rail system to water ways is very important. “Marine transport is a part of the transportation system and from my professional training and experience, marine transport cannot operate in isolation from other modes of transportation, especially with rail system,” he said.

Group demands Coast Guard THE Seafearers Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to establish a Coast Guard to tackle sea robbery and piracy. Its President, Captain Thomas Kemewerigha, said seafarers work without protection, adding that this has made them vulnerable to sea robbers. The Navy, he said, has failed in the face of incessant attacks on seafarers. He called on the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other relevant stakeholders in the maritime sector to assist seafarers in meeting their challenges. Chairman of the National Seafarers Welfare Board of Nigeria, Otunba Kunle Folarin, said the board has been able to provide free training for 21 Nigerians to be members of the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare (ICSW) licenceship visitors’ volunteers.

Rail and port development THE Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Branch, has said the operation of an efficient rail system is strategic to the development of a port system. President of SSACTAC, NPA Branch, Comrade Umar Jimoh, stated this in Lagos. He said linking the nation’s seaports to the rail system network will not only enhance the movement of cargoes from the port but will help in the improvement of the port system in general. He called on the Federal Government to channel its effort in the development of the country’s inland waterways. “No maritime nation can move forward without the seaports connected to the rail system. Cargoes are not to rest at the ports, ports are not meant to be warehouses,” he added.



The Midweek Magazine


A writer’s gospel for this generation


OING through this work by Abidemi Lateefat BabsLawal, one would wonder at what a precious child she is. She wrote the book while a secondary school pupil of the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos. The choice of words and construction of sentences in the story would want to tempt one to make a choice of her college for one’s child. Abidemi studies Physiotherapy at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, Lagos leading one to even wonder the more. For how would she actualise her dream of wanting to become one of the greatest Nigerian writers, and having Prof Wole Soyinka as idol? Or how do you consider medicine which is science and creative writing which is in the arts? Poles apart, one would say, perhaps she may be one of the Chike Obis. Abidemi, who was born on October 6, 1993, is planning to come out with another book soon. Even the catchy back-cover of the book with a handcuffed child in a police room with tears running down his cheeks while looking regrettingly at a copy of both the holy bible and Quran on the table before him tells the story of a caveat to a wouldbe truant child to yield to the biblical dictum that: “obedience is better than sacrifice”. The story written by the authoress, who grew up in Ajegunle, an area sometime unjustly tagged “notorious” and “jungle” located in Ifelodun Local Development Area (LCDA) of Ajeromi-Ifelodun federal constituency of Lagos State, South-West Nigeria, make it even compelling to be read to clear reader’s curiosity. It is not unjustified to call Abidemi Lateefat, another star like Daddy Shokey, Daddy Fresh, J. J. Okocha from Ajegunle. Thus,


Obedience, not sacrifice


Abidemi Lateefat Babs-Lawal


Feyisanmi (Publishing) Ventures Ltd, Ikeja, Lagos



Year of Publication: 2010

“good things can also emerge from the jungle city…” The story which is set in Omupo and Offa towns in Kwara State, Obedience, Not Sacrifice is about the family of Adeyanju and their only child, Tobi. The couple, Adeyanju and his wife were careerists who were always busy and didn’t have enough time for their child. The fact that


My first love


Taiwo Odubiyi


Sunday Oguntola



Year of Publication:



OURTEEN years after parting ways as lovers, Lisa and Mofe meet again. But so much has changed. Lisa Ayo-Taylor has grown to become the Proprietress of Bright Future International School in a highbrow neigbourhood in Lagos. Mofe Eyituoyo has also returned from the United Kingdom to practise Engineering in a giant oil and gas firm. His attempts to settle down continue to fail woefully. He has only seven-yearold Ama to show for his previous relationships. When Mofe enrols Ama in Lisa’s highly recommended school, he gets another opportunity to woo Lisa all over again. Years before, he left her unceremoniously.Lisa is still well disposed to the handsome, well-built man, she met in her university days. He is now more mature, successful and responsible. But he does not share the same values with her. Lisa has become a Christian five years earlier. Despite this difference in moral and religious standard, Lisa is in still in love with Mofe. She becomes torn between love and Christianity. All her feeling tells her to give in to Mofe’s advances. But her Christian mind keeps calling for cautions. When Mofe eventually becomes a Christian through her influence, Lisa’s joy knows no bounds. Now, Mofe is 100

Courage to love again per cent compatible with her. They have known each other for years. They have shared love and affection. Now, he is a Christian and in love with her. But Mofe is no more the same person. Before, he would have chosen Lisa without any further thought. Now, God

Abeo, Tobi’s mother went through the problems of infertility of the womb for several years made her to prevent the husband from scolding the child, even when his disciplinarian father frowned at his truancy and would want to sanction him. All the same, in spite of all advises and entreaties, peer group’s influences, and that fact that his mother indulged the young man, complicated issues for Tobi who found himself in police net and consequently in the prison yard. The story explores various sources of child’s delinquency and proffers possible solutions for effective upbringing of a child, particularly from wealthy homes. To make for an easy review and pragmatic grasp of the lesson there-in, this very edition has sets of questions presented for exercises by readers after each chapter. The book, recommended for JSS One by the Lagos State government, is an attempt by the authoress to address the decay in the society, aproblem which is of great concern for her. Obedience, Not Sacrifice is a story which not only has lessons for children alone, but teachers, parents, people in authorities and the society at large. It teaches: “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. What later happened to Tobi? How did he end his life? What happened to his mother and father? Readers can only find out by reading the mind of the young writer whose pen speaks in the book. It is a must read for all persons who value morals, proper upbringing of the child and sanity in the society. The young girl is not only worried about what happened to children in the society but, adults and criminal-minded individuals some who may want to profit where they did not sow. “Please, I pray for you to reap the fruit of your labour and profit from the work of your children. DO NOT PIRATE THIS BOOK”, she begs.Would the criminals and shameless individuals who profit from where they have not sown listen to the appeals of this young writer? Time will tell. must lead him. His mind leads him to Lisa but his spirit feels otherwise. When Shewar, a lady he dated just a little after a year before, shows up again, Mofe finds himself drawn to two ladies. Both are Christians and occupy special places in his heart. None of them is unworthy of him. At that time, he realises only God will have to lead him. After much prayer, he chooses one. But his choice is always going to leave the other party heart-broken. This creates an intriguing struggle of love as captured in Taiwo Odubiyi’s newest Christian romance series, My first love. The author takes readers through an enthralling ride that resolves knotty issue. The novel is another masterpiece from Nigeria’s leading Christian romance writer. In it, she succeeds in addressing critical love questions for Christians. The novel tackles how Christians can resist sexual temptation during courtship; how to discern God’s will in marital choice and how to break a relationship without breaking hearts. Odubiyi is in her best element. She weaves corresponding stories around the plot that makes the novel a thrill to read. She writes in simple, easy-to-read language that makes reading enthralling. This novel is another first from Odubiyi. It is a must-read for every person that believes in love and hopes to find true love. In it, everyone will find how love could be dangerous and must be handled with utmost care. The author is commended for her efforts to relate love life to Christianity. In it, heart-broken lovers will find the courage to love again and move on with living. But there are a few typographical errors that the author will do well to address in subsequent works. Also, she leaves readers wondering what becomes of the relationship between Tofe, Mofe’s younger sister and Jude. One would have also wanted to read of Mofe’s eventual wedding with Shewar.


At Watersworth, art is gold By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)


FTER hosting two solo art exhibitions in less than a month, Watersworth Art Gallery in Lekki, Lagos is not pretentious about its mission. Though it entered the busy Lagos exhibition circuit with two artists who are relatively unseen at most exhibitions, it is determined to carve a niche for itself and its clientele. In late June, the gallery opened with a solo art exhibition, Wild About Life by South African artist Celeste de Vries followed by United States-based artist Moyo Okediji’s The New Modern last month. Yet, Watersworth is primarily concerned about building its clientele base, confidence in the artists and collectors as well good image. Proprietress of Watersworth, Chinanza Orji, said at his firm, art work is gold and is handled with care and love. “Here we treat art like gold. We don’t allow artworks to be poorly handled, stepped upon or abandoned, she added. She said unlike other galleries, Watersworth has a defined mission to achieve in the creative industry: promotion and celebration of prolific artists. This, she said, is because the works of these artists live in the minds of the people. “We are interested in artists, who leave impression in peoples’minds. But we are focusing on sculptors who are outstanding in Lagos,” she said. Already, the gallery is planning to work with Olu Amoda, Raqib Bashorun, Deola Balogun, Dada Adedayo, Bisi Fakeye, and Diseye Tantua, a Port Harcourt-based pop artist. But what is the unique selling point of Watersworth?” she said. According to Orji, promotion is the gallery’s primary goal as it treasures talents, cultivate creativity, develop innovation and support originality. Besides, the gallery will be organising experimental and exploratory workshops, gallery talks, interactive sessions and expositions. She explained that the scope of the gallery would cover art brokerage, building and nurturing of all forms of talents and celebrating uniqueness in all expressive forms and mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installations and performance art. She said: “Our diverse understanding of art speaks to all people and our goal is to contribute to the definition and articulation of art as a global language accessible to both the young and old.” She also said: “Visual literacy for anyone to absorb visual images around the society. But I want to play with art in so many ways in order for everyone to enjoy art. Art is the crossroads between creativity and capital. We facilitate artistic expressions and capital investments. In the international market, art did better than the stock exchange in the last 10 years. In other words, art is not simply about beauty.” The graduate of Mechanical Engineering said when Nigerians begin to use art to express themselves and solve social problems the gallery would have achieved its goal.

• Orji



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-


Baby with congenital abnormality gets help By Evelyn Osagie


ELL-MEANING Nigerians have come to the aid of eight-month-old Baby Testimony, who was allegedly born without manhood. With over N900, 000, so far realised in donations, Mrs Charity Atoe’s prayers of getting her baby healed may soon be answered. Penultimate Wednesday, The Nation reported Mrs Atoe’s cry for help. She alleged that the boy was born without manhood. Her case was brought to the public by a concerned Nigerian, Mrs Blessing Uzoatu. Following some Nigerians’intervention, Testimony was admitted last Friday at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), for the first in the series of four surgeries. It was a happy mother that greeted reporters last Friday at LASUTH. “I am very happy and grateful to all those who God has used to come to my rescue. I thank them all. And I pray that God would bless them,” she said amid smiles. She seemed excited going about the day’s schedules. When asked what she was there for, she said: “Thanks to everyone. Today is August 3, the day of our appointment. We are here for his admission. They are going to admit us today. So, I am here for it pending when he would be operated on.” They were later admitted. With his admission, came more information on her condition. The doctors said he has Bladder Extrophy. After series of tests, it was discovered that Testimony actually has a manhood that has been covered by his bladder. And the bladder, they said, may be removed because of infection According to the pediatric doctor in charge of his case, “Testimony has a penis. Aside the bladder, which is open like a book, the penis of this baby is also open like a book at the back of bladder. To give him a new penis, we would have to close that book, as it were, in the same way we would have to close the bladder and bring the muscle which has been pushed to the side to back to the mid-line.” Doctors said even after the surgery the baby would need constant medical care. However, Mrs Charity is optmist. She said: “I hope that at the end my baby would be okay. Please, I call on everyone to join me in prayers for the success of the operations, especially the first one. I trust in God and I know that He will do it for me.” The operation may take place sometime next week as Testimony is still undergoing series of tests, according to doctors. Although the hospital is yet to give the cost of the surgeries, saying the cost is open-ended, doctors have said actual cost would come to light as soon as the surgeries begin. However, Prof. Micheal Bankole said the surgeries may be estimated between N500,000 and N600,000. He added that the boy would need constant medical care which come with its own cost. Hence, it is not yet Uhuru for mother and child. The account is still open for donations at Zenith Bank, Allen Branch, Lagos pending when the doctors would come out with the actual amount. The account number: 2050316159 and account name: Atoe Testimony.

•Mrs Atoe and her baby at the hospital

The Head, Paediatric Surgery, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof Michael Akin Bankole, has over 51 years experience. He is treating Testimony, the baby with congenital abnormality. In this interview with EVELYN OSAGIE, he speaks on his patient’s chances.


OW long have you been working with children? I have been at it for a long time - for over 51 years. I actually graduated on

Nigeria's Independence day. And did my internship and went into paediatrics soon after that. And I have done nothing other than paediatric surgeries since then. So, I don't know how to do anything else. And so, I have devoted my life and time to what I know how to do best. What are some of the challenges you have encountered? Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has never supplied us light 100 per cent. So, we have to have the generator-backup. In fact, half the time, we are usually on generators here. We only cry out when the generators don't raise to the occasion. With the kind of equipment and competence this hospital boasts of, how come cases, such as hole in the heart, are oftentimes taken abroad? Not through us. We have a thriving cardiothoracic unit here. It is not old: I think it was started about four years ago and when we are not suffering from power outage or things like that, they do one case every week. All what is needed to be done can be done here. The patients have a choice. The clients or patients or parents, have various places to go. I can say that Nigeria is probably the least exciting of all the places to go. If you can get to South Africa, you would probably be getting a five star treatment. But majority of patients have gone to India. And when you put the money together that is probably the least alternative place that Nigerians can go. SA is the next. Those who have strong backbone can go to England or the US. The US is a little more complicated, in that if you are not covered by insurance, you would pay through the nose. What is the cost implication? The patient pay, but what it cost I cannot say because I am not part of that team. But I know that the costing is probably one of the limiting factors. But, again, patients who can afford to go to India should be able to pay if it is demanded. Are you aware of Baby Testimony’s case? Yes. I am expecting to see the child this morning and look at the result of the test they have done. And then, we would put heads together and plan when he can be admitted. He would be admitted a week or so before the first surgery is done. And that would be the green light to get started. The rate at which we would go, by the God's grace, will depend on what complications or issues come up during the process. And we pray that we won't have any insurmountable issues, such as electricity supply at the right time that is what we live with in this environment. So far, we know from the mother's history that the child was born with a defect, where instead of the bladder being inside him as a bag of urine covered by muscle and skin, the skin is defected and the muscle that should also cover it is pushed aside and the bladder is open like a book - so that what you see in front of this baby's abdomen is the inner lining of his bladder open out like a book. The first operation was apparently done in Benin (UBTH). Unfortunately, it broke down and they are back to square one. And the mother seems to be the only one running around and had financial constraints and didn't go back to the hospital for recorrective operation. We are in a situation where it is as if nothing had been done to correct it. The only evidence that something was done is a bit of scar tissue that we see around the open bladder. Aside the bladder, the penis of this baby, now eight-monthold, is also involved, in that like the bladder that is open, the penis is also open like a book at the back of it. But, according to the mother and a doctor's report, he was born without a penis. No, he has a penis. To give him a new penis, we would have to close that book, as it were, in the same way we would have to close the bladder and bring the muscle which has been pushed to the side back to the mid-line. At the end, how many surgeries would be needed to correct the anomaly? This baby would probably have about four operations. The first operation to close the bladder; the second to close the penis; the third is to close the pelvic bone to bring it together in front with the muscles in there.

•Prof. Bankole

‘Baby Testimony’s case is hopeful’ INTERVIEW

‘This condition doesn't kill; we have not lost any of our patients till date. We have about four patients of this particular case on our books at the moment...The implication is that he would never be lost to care. He would have to be within the hospital environment, not as an in-patient, but he would be close to the hospital. So that tests are done from time to time to pick up any possible complications’ We may have a challenge with the first one, in that some of the lining of the bladder that has been opened is beginning to undergo changes. That may be a problem. When we get to the point of admitting him, we would test all of those and do more tests. We may end up having to remove that bladder rather than closing it. That is the peculiarity of this child's problem. This bladder has been opened for eight months of its life and it has started to undergo changes. If we use it as we would have if he was newly born, we may get into trouble, in terms of malignant changes in that wall. After removing the bladder, then we would transfer tubes that drain urine from the kidneys to a part of the bowel that would now guide his urine to the outside. What is the name of the baby's condition? This baby has what is called Bladder Extrophy, which means bladder that is built outside. If the child has no bladder, wouldn’t that lead to health implications in future? Yes and no. We would divert his urine to his colon. Empting urine into the colon may raise that possibility in the future. There may be infection from the colon reaching the kidneys. The implication is that he would never be lost to care. He would have to be within the hospital environment, not as an in-patient, but he would be close to the hospital So that tests are done from time to pick up any possible complications. Would the after-surgery care cost more money, given his mother's financial state? •Continued on page 39



The Midweek Magazine


‘People’s misconception almost took arts from me’ Niger State-born Awwal Abdullahi Sakiwa, designer of the Niger State logo, is multitalented. Sakiwa intends to leave footprints in the sands of time. A book illustrator, artist and comic series writer, he believes that arts should go beyond aesthetics to empowerment. He is the proprietor, Let The Children Live and Director of Hill Top Art Centre, Minna, that mentors and empowers the youth through arts. In this interview with EVELYN OSAGIE, Sakiwa speaks on his life and arts, among others.


HIS is the first time Ebedi International Residency Programme would be hosting an artist. How do you feel being the first? I feel great. However, being the first gave rise to some of the challenges I faced with regard to my initial idea of mentoring the children at Ebedi. What is this the idea about? I had wanted to mentor the children at Ebedi in arts, majoring on Fine Arts and comic book writing, which is part of my project called Let The Children Live. Over the years, I have worked very closely with children. And during my interaction with them, I have been able to impact into them the love for the arts; and trained them at the Arts In Vogue Gallery, Minna, which I founded. And in fact through it, quite a number of them are self-employed. And now as the director of the Hill Top Art Centre, we randomly select students from various schools across the state, participants of the annual Schools' Festival of Songs and Carnival of Arts, which involves songs, painting, and on-the-spot writing, among others. So, we pick and absorb the first best three into our centre and mentor them. I also teach Fine Arts in Government Secondary School, Minna, Niger State. For me, it is a tool of mentorship and empowerment of the young from in and outside his state. With the designing of the Niger State's logo and other artistic feats, your pedigree as an artist seems to be growing in spite of your conservative background. What inspired your becoming an artist? My first self-realisation of being an artist was at an early age. From childhood, I came to I know I was inclined with a unique gift. But I didn't know what it was worth until the mid-90s during the first-ever Military administration of Niger State. The then First Lady, Hajiya Fatia Shahibu, was the first to ever support anything that has to do with literary or artistic activities in the state. She inspired the Association Nigeria Authors (ANA) to come up with collection of folktales in the state. So, people were randomly selected to go round the interiors, meet old people to collect the stories, come back and translate them into English. And the stories were given to me to do accompanying illustrations to them. I enjoyed myself doing the illustrations. I read the manuscripts and did the illustrations; but when they were taken back to the First Lady, she went through them and asked where they got the artist from. She was told I was from the state capital, Minna; she invited me over. She hosted me and gave me N5,000. I felt really great. And after the book was produced, I was also given N50,000 for the illustrations. I came back home one day and met that they had sent it to me; and that was a big amount of money at that time. At that point, I knew that practising arts have great worth; and also realised what it was worth being an artist. There is this misconception that artists are never-do-wells. What is your take on it? Such misconception is wrong and unfounded. Professionally, I studied geography, but I am living on the arts. I have done murals for the Hill Top Art Centre Minna; Ijah Central Mosque,Wuse; Tunga Central Mosque, Minna; Calvary International School, Aware, Ondo State; Will Bright International School, Akure, Ondo State, among others. And I have done portraits for eminent personalities. However, I am also passionate about being a comic series writer. My book, a comic version of popular The Story of Bayajiddah, was published years back. Like I said I am not an artist by discipline, in that I had no formal training on how to become one. Mine was purely raw talent and I thank God for it. Indeed, people's misconception of the arts and the artist affected me initially; so much so that I had to drop my love for it. But I was lucky I was able to rekindle it again. Yes. It would require certain cost implication which we cannot say at the moment. That is where Mrs Uzoatu and well-meaning Nigerians would come in.They would need to come to her rescue. And our prayer is that the rescue exercises would be successful and sustainable. What are boy’s chances of survival? The fact that he needs series of surgeries to make it is a challenge. In the context of the status of our equipment here, all the surgeries he needs to undergo can be done locally. There is no operation that does not have a possibility of complication. And this is why when asked how long it would take to correct the condition, I said: "it is not impossible to project ahead of time". Let us just take it one step at a time. If all goes well, we would move to the next step. If we have problems, we may have to repeat it. If there is problem in this direction, we'd move into the other. That is the kind of game one must play with congenital abnormalities that presents like this. However, there is no surgical procedure that has 100 per cent survival. I have seen children die from circumcision. All we can do is to pray not to be encumbered with an illness. After the surgeries, would he be able to lead a normal life and raise children?

‘And then we would mould and make some sculptures and draw in the fine art studio. But along the line, one was looked upon as an outcast by contemporary Muslim brothers and others. And so, because of that rejection I had to kill that love for arts, dropped it as a subject, and programmed myself to forget about it until much later - after my secondary school’


INTERVIEW Although I lost my dad at the age of 10, I was privileged to have attended Federal Government College, Kwali. This helped inspire me more on the arts. In fact, it was one of the best schools in my place with a fine library filled with all kinds of books, especially foreign books with lots of illustrations. As I read them, I was always fascinated by their pictorial presentations such as Peter and Paul among others. That was where I also met people who also inspired me in artistically, such Kelechi Azubike, who became The Democrats newspaper's chief cartoonist in Plateau. Back then, he had sat next to me, drawing imaginatively. I had asked him where he was drawing from. He said "Does it look like I am drawing this from somewhere?" And from then on, I started drawing things imaginary too. And then we would mould and make some sculptures and draw in the fine art studio. But along the line, one was looked upon as an outcast by contemporary Muslim brothers and others. And so, because of that rejection I had to kill that love for arts, dropped it as a subject, and programmed myself to forget about it until much later - after my secondary school. There was this juice company that came to our state who wanted to have an emblem and a cartoon done of a Rabbit pushing with a trowel full of oranges. Fortunately, somebody introduced them to me and I did it for them for N700. From then on, I came back to doing imaginative drawings. Also, in my place there were lots of writers around who will ask me to help do illustrations for their books' cover. And so, I continued and enjoyed doing imaginative drawings. I did the Niger States logo about three/four years back. How were you able to hone your skills to the point of training others? I did personal studies and under-studied one man called Dangana, who really inspired me. He also gave me books from which read about great artists such as Picasso, Vincent

‘Baby Testimony’s case is hopeful’ •Continued from page 39

Why not; provided we don't get into too many complications in the process of closing the penis. Once that is achieved, the business of being able to raise children rests entirely somewhere else that is not involved in this - the penis is only a pipe after all. The things that make baby come from the testes; and his testes are essentially normal. Although looking at the child, one cannot say where the testes are right now because everything is open. So, what is the cost of the operations? The way this hospital operates, there are fixed charges for various operations. For children, the Lagos State government boasts of free health for children under 12. But it is fixed in quote. When they come to hospital beds or feeding, but that is about the extent of the "freedom". The standard operating cost for adults is about twice that of the children and the operations done in this hospital are divided into two: major and minor. However, surgeries for children have been subsidised by the Lagos State government. Most of what Testimony would

Van Gogh. I am into visual art. How many writers have you illustrated for? Honestly, I have lost count. With your work with writers, how developed is creative writing in the North? It is same as other parts of the country, where we have very brilliant, average writers and the upcoming ones. But the problem, basically, is that people outlive their books. In most cases, while the writers are still alive, their books go extinct, in that people cannot find copies of the book around. Most time, when published, the books are not accessible. And this is because there is no marketing strategy. They are concerned mainly about writing and would usually have problems with marketing and continuity because they have gone into 'guerrilla publishing' which is also known as selfpublishing without any marketing strategy in place. Book publishing is an art and must be taken as such. Talking of strategies, book illustration is another marketing strategy. When a book is beautifully illustrated within and outside, it is attractive to the readers. Illustration is another thing lacking in Nigerian writings. One cannot do everything by oneself. Therefore it is good to call on professionals where needed. Nigerian writers should patronise book illustrators more and do more illustrations on their works. However, it is not the fault of writers who go into self-publishing. This is because no matter how good one is, one would need to have or made a 'name' before publishers will even look at his/her script. That is why I praise publishers likeParresia Nigeria Limited and others who are publishing fresh creative writing talents. There are very many creative writers down there that need a ladder to come up. But if they don't have the finance, the 'name' or the means of getting one, how can they get there? I also praise Dr Wale Okediran for what he is doing with the Ebedi Writers Residency. In fact, if the truth is to be told, I am here as a participant and an observer. We hope to replicate it in Niger State where our governor is also supporting everything creative, especially writing. Government and corporate organisation should support the idea. Being in a place like Ebedi brings out the best in and gives one the time to reflect because of the quiet environment where basic things such as light and feeding are provided for one. One would be amazed at the pace he/she can go and what can be achieve here. But i wish they had a library in place and log book for residents which would helpeful to other residents. While in the residency, I was able work on a heavily illustrated book or cartoon adventure stories entitled: Adventures of Pario, which looks at the problems. It would run in series. I also produced a painting of the historic Manor House in Iseyin. have to undergo would be classified under major operations because none of them would be less than an hour or two. Therefore, the charges in the hospital are broken into what they called 'kits', which they would go to the pharmacy to pay for and that would be brought to the theatre, containing the various things that would be used for that operation. Beyond paying in the pharmacy, I as a surgeon, don't keep in my head the cost of all of it. But apart from the purchases for the kits for the surgery, they would use saline antibiotics, blood and other supplies that hospitalised patients on surgical situation would need. They have to pay for them as they are used. And because of that open-endedness, it is difficult to say. In a standard wardround/procedure, which would keep him in hospital for say three/four days before and a week or two after surgery, hence all the surgeries may be estimated at N500, 000 or above. As I said, I am not sure; it may be more or less. Have you encountered this particular case before? This disease doesn't kill; we have not lost any of patients till date. We have about four patients of this particular case on our books at the moment, which have had one stage or the other of their operations. Only one, who happens to be a girl that we can boast of completing her operations - and she is walking and urinating well. We have succeeded in closing her bladder. She came here on the second or third day of life: she is about four years old.



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Creativity and ingenuity Governors should take a cue from this ingenious creature. Rather than wait for the leaves to fall, it has used its initiative to achieve its objectives. Rather than our governors to request for more oil money from the Federal Government, they should, like Governor Raji Fashola, use their initiative to develop what they have within their states. That is the true meaning of federalism. – Pat Utomi •PHOTO: PAT UTOMI

Fostering unity through live drama The Agip Recital Hall of the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos has hosted the presentation of a play, The Five Maids of Fadaka by Ayo Jaiyesimi. Assistant Editor (Arts), OZOLUA UHAKHEME, reports.


OR over two hours, it was no dull moment at the Agip Recital Hall of the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos that night.

At intervals, the audience clapped and laughed in reaction to some hilarious acts by the cast. It was the presentation of Ayo Jaiyesimi’s play, The Five Maids of Fadaka, by a 32-man cast; a collaboration between the Thespian Family Theatre and First@ Art. The performance, which was sponsored by the FirstBank Plc, is an adaptation of the story of the Biblical 10 virgins. It is a theatre concept with a rich blend of folklore, traditional dance and music that naturally takes the audience to a typical African village setting. The play has had 12 showings and featured top notch Nollywood stars, such as Norbert Young, Rachel Oniga, Gloria Young, Bimbo Manuel, Carol King and Iyke Okechukwu and upcoming stars and choreographers. It opened with five female singers, who sang the late Comfort Omoge’s songs, followed by

•Cast of the The Five Maids of Fadaka on stage Ohafia and Ijaw dancers, who capture some slices of the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria. The Five Maids of Fadaka is a story about (Olodo), a King’s lavish wedding and the native preparations that usually go with it. In selecting the bridal train, he sends word through his town crier to invite young maidens from the neighbouring villages in what seems like a beauty pageant. In the ensuing contest, the main focus is not in outward beauty, but the test of the inner constitution and character of the contestants. But thematically, the story is an adaptation of the story of the 10 virgins in the Holy Bible that depicts man’s readiness for the coming of Jesus Christ. The presentation was beautiful as it involved drama, dance, music and storytelling in capturing the message. In the midst of all this, the message was not lost. Of the 10 girls, who acted the role of virgins, five ran out of oil in their lamps, thereby missing the train. Unfortunately, the young girls were yet to appreciate what they will lose at

the end should any of them miss the bridal train. Little wonder, one of them said: “A little disobedience will not kill.” Unfortunately, the five girls that looked outwardly qualified to make the bridal train were those who missed the train eventually due to lack of discipline. A case of many are called but few are chosen. At the close of the play, a member of the troupe asked: “Will you be there when He comes?” To further drive home the message of the play, Infinity’s Olori Oko was rendered as a parting gift for the audience. One actress, who stole the hearts of many that night, was Inna Erizia, who played Mama Ruki. She had a sterling performance with her natural reflexes and use of local dialect as a medium of expression, especially during the market scene. The large cast made good use of the available space on stage, especially when it filed out to herald the maidens’arrival for the Olodo. It would have been better if the stage was larger. This inadequacy came to the fore when the traditional ruler’s bridal train filed out to celebrate the

Olodo. Participation of a large number of young actors and actresses is a strong boost for the resuscitation of stage theatre that is seemingly on the decline. Dress code, too, was appropriate as almost every member of the cast wore dresses made of African fabric. And for the folklores that accentuated the performance, they were laden with moral values and lessons for the young ones.Also commendable is the concept of the set design that recreates the rural village life (a typical rain forest village), which many youths do not know about. Fadaka from the presentation is a land that showcases the beauty of unity in diversity, which is, indeed, a model for Nigeria at this time of unending threats to its existence. If this exciting performance by the Thespian family Theatre is anything to go by, and it is what FirstBank chooses to support, then it must have invested wisely in promoting the theatre of our dream.


•Brownlee brothers take glory in dramatic triathlon

•China's he is on top ahead of final


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

•Liu Xiang unfortunately crashes out of the 110m Hurdles first round

•Zhang Chenglong of China competes on the parallel bars

•Tomasz Majewski of Poland is the 2012 Shot Put Olympic Champion

•Congratulations Felix Sanchez for winning Olympic gold medal in the 400m Hurdles 8 years after Sydney!


•Kirani-Kirani James breaks 44 second record to become the 400m Olympic champion in London! •Jenn Suhr, the women's Pole Vault Olympic champion!

•Marina Alabau Neira of Spain competes in the RS:X

•Nadezda Torlopova (Blue) of Russia competes against Edith Ogoke (Red) of Nigeria during the Women's Middle (75kg) Boxing Quarterfinals.





Suswam hosts Muslims to Iftar


ENUE Muslims community across the 23 local government areas of the state on Monday joined Governor Gabriel Suswam at Government House, Makurdi for Iftar (Breaking of fast). Suswam before the meal urged the Muslims to show love to one another and display tolerance always. “Fasting in all religions is a period of self reflection and to purify ourselves. It is a period we show love to our country - leadership, family and


By Tajudeen Adebanjo

above all, tolerate one another irrespective of tribe or religion so that we can live in peace and harmony with one another,” he said. The governor enjoined them to be security conscious and report any suspicious move to their leaders and security men for prompt action. The leader of the Benue Muslims Community, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi praised Governor Suswam for the gesturte. Alhaji Abdullahi prayed

for the success of his administration and peace in the state. He pleaded with the Governor to appoint a special adviser out of Hausa community. The breaking of Ramadam fast was attended by the Deputy Governor, Chief Steven Lawani; Second Republic Minister of Agriculture Alhaji Alfa Waziri and hosts of Muslim clerics. The event featured short admonition and recitation from the Quran.

Ajimobi’s wife fetes fasting Muslims



Airlift of Umrah pilgrims in Kwara begins

HE first batch of 243 Ummrah pilgrims from Kwara State is to be transported to Saudi Arabia by Medview Airline on Sunday from the Ilorin International Airport. The Permanent Secretary (General Services), Kwara

State, Muritala Shehu, disclosed this during an interview with the newsmen in Ilorin. He said that adequate arrangements had been made to ensure the successful transportation of all the pilgrims to the holy land. The first batch of pilgrims

includes those sponsored by the state government, the local government councils, as well as individuals. The Permanent Secretary advised intending pilgrims to arrive the Ilorin International Airport by early on Sunday, for necessary documentation, be-

fore the take-off. Shehu urged the pilgrims to pray for peace, unity, and progress in the country, while in the holy land. He also warned them to shun all acts capable of tarnishing the image of the country during the pilgrimage.

YO State Government has distributed food items worth millions of Naira to the 355 wards in the state to uplift the less privileged in each local government as Ramadan gifts. The food materials which includes bags of rice, salt, wheat, groundnut oil and semolina among others, were distributed to the women leaders in each of the wards by the wife of the Oyo State Governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi. Mrs Ajimobi said the kind gesture is part of the transformation agenda of the governor of the state to assist the needy for the fasting period. She said: “This is the fasting period and we need to give to the poor and less privileged that is why the governor has deemed it fit to ease fasting for them, especially those

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

that worked tirelessly during the election. Thousands of bags of rice, wheat, salt sugar, groundnut oil and others will be given to the women leaders in each ward of the councils for the needy” The governor’s wife appealed to them to continue to support her husband’s transformation agenda. She urged the beneficiaries to use the food items wisely, thereby giving her assurance to provide more for the needy. One of the beneficiaries from Ibadan South West, Alhaja Oyintunde Gbadamosi thanked Governor Ajimobi for his kind gesture and commitment toward transforming the state to a greater height.

Council chief urges Muslims to pray for peace


HE Chairman, Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Sofola, has urged Muslims to use the Ramadan to pray for peace and security in the country. Sofola made the call in an interview with reporters in Lagos. He said that peace and security were essential in the country and urged Muslims to also remember the nation’s leaders in their prayers. “I implore my fellow Muslims to pray for the leaders that God would touch them and enable them to always have the interest of the people at heart. “I want them to pray that our leaders will create more jobs, carry out infrastructure development and provide social amenities that will help to reduce the high cost of living in the country,’’ Sofola said. •From left: Lagos State University (LASU) Senior lecturer Dr Saheed Timehin; Hon AbdulRasheed Mafe; his wife Oyedoyin and Mrs Sherifat AbdulKareem during the Ramadan lecture organised by Abdul Rasheed Quranic Foundation (ARQF) AT Okunola, Lagos.

RAMADAN GUIDE WITH FEMI ABBAS e-mail: Tel: 08122697498

Youths and the mosque


•Cross-section of Muslim Accountants during a Ramadan lecture organised by the Professional Muslim Accountants at Wahab Folawiyo Central Mosque, Surulere, Lagos.

Clergy calls for establishment of religious think-tank


N Abuja-based cleric, Sheikh Khalid Yasin has called for strengthening of relationship between Muslims and Christians to address the current security challenges in the country. Yasin, who made the call in an interview with reporters yesterday in Abuja, also advocated for the setting up a thinktank by leaders of both religion. He said such body is needed to discuss issues of peace and unity of the nation as well as identify extremists among their followers with a view to

exposing them. “We Muslims have some extremists who are unethical, Christian have theirs too, “ Yasin said. According to him, Christian and Muslins in Africa have been living together in peace and harmony for centuries. “Therefore followers of the two religions in Nigeria must learn to live in peace with one another irrespective of their differences. “Muslims have to be broad minded, tolerant, always willing to forgive, non reactionary and solution oriented, “ he added.

He noted that until the arrival of conspirators in Nigeria, there was peace and religious tolerance among the adherence of the two major religions. “This is the same problem Palestinians are facing today, Arab Jews and Christians lived together thousands of years until conspirators came and disrupted their peaceful coexistence.“ He said that it was better for the refined element out of Christian and Muslims to form interfaith body and pool resources together to build bridges and fabric of tolerance.

“If such body can be formed, the extremists either Muslim or Christian will be defeated and peace will be restored in Nigeria, “ he said. Yasin urged the Muslims Ummah to make a huge investment in the young people who have made discovery on their own to enable them showcase their talent. He stressed the need for wealthy Muslims to build houses and give them out at a subsidised rate to everybody in the society. “We have to be proactive by producing and offering selfless service to humanity.

T is heartening to note that Nigerian Mosques are getting fuller of Muslim youths today. A silent Islamic renaissance seems to be going on especially in the Nigerian society. It looks like a repeat of the situation that led to the formation of the Muslim Students’ Society (MSS) in 1954. With this development, two great possibilities are expected to sail Islam through the coast of good hope in the 21st century. One is the return of the Mosque to its original objective. The other is the inalienable continuation of Islamic dynamism in reshaping the destiny of mankind. The hope that these two possibilities are achievable in the hands of today’s teeming Muslim youths is in fulfilment of a fundamental prophesy about the signs of the last days. One of these signs is that ‘the sun will start rising from the West where it used to set’. The reference here is not to the physical sun. The Prophet was referring to the spiritual photosynthesis of the souls of mankind for the ultimate metamorphosis of those souls from mortality to immortality. The photosythensizer in this case is Islam. And, the fulfilment of this prophesy is gradually being confirmed today either by technology or by the scientists. When Prophet Muhammad (SAW) established the very first Mosque in Madinah (Masjid Al-Qubah) in 622 A.C, the purpose was more than just Salat. To the Muslims the Mosque is not supposed to be just a house of worship. It should also be a school, a library, a hospital, a court, a media centre and a parliament. Without the Mosque, the unity of the Muslims would have been impossible. Mosque is the meeting place for offering Salat five times a day. It is the centre of congregation for Ju’mat prayer every Friday. It brings the Muslims together twice in a year for congregational observance of Eidul-Fitr and Eidul-Adha. Yet, the meeting place called Arafah which is the climax of Hajj is also a Mosque. It is ironic that the Imams who should manage the Mosques lack administrative prowess. And those who claim to be Mosques administrators lack Islamic knowledge. The result is that majority of unemployed Muslim youths who should find succour in the Mosque are frustrated even as the Mosque remains helpless. Where are we going from here?







Afenifere chieftain Sir Olaniwun Ajayi spoke with Deputy Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU on Nigeria’s fledgling democracy and the urgency of a Sovereign National Conference.

‘Democracy not on course in Nigeria’ T

HIRTEEN years after the restoration of civil rule, what is your assessment of this democratic dispensation? Democracy is not yet on course in Nigeria. We fought for independence in this country. Before the amalgamation, Nigerians criticised the colonial government’s activities. That criticism and resistance went on to the 40s, which made the government to change its position and said ‘we must make arrangement with the people to come around and let’s have discussion with them about how they could have self rule.’ When that came, the determination was to make life much better for Nigeria as a country, to make life better for the masses of Nigeria and to make it enjoyable. Are you saying that the dreams of the founding fathers were never realised? If you were around in the 50s, you would see that there was a lot of diversities, a lot of cheers, a lot of happiness, a lot of contentment all over Western Nigeria and all over the country. It is a question of having it more than the other in one place. In the West, it was fantastic. Everybody was quite satisfied that at a stage, when the government of the West at that time saw that there was need to pay workers better, the government freely introduced minimum wage at that time. When that took place, it was not the workers who asked for it. It was government that thought that there must be minimum wage in this region and that happened. Well, in the Eastern Region, they wanted to copy the idea. They started and they failed somewhere along the line. But that continued in the Action Group government, so much that, throughout the period that AG was in power, there was no one hour of strike in the Western Region throughout the eight years because everybody was satisfied. But now, it is no longer the case. At what point did Nigeria start to get it wrong? Things went wrong because we took wrong steps from the very beginning. And that was due to the machinations of the colonial office. The British people who are serving in Nigeria as governors, as police, commissioners of police created problems. There was a lot of leanings that the colonial masters had towards the North. In 1949, the British government decided to have a way of introducing self rule in this country. They made arrangement for a conference of representatives of Nigeria from each of the three regions of the country. At that time, the Secretary to the Colonial Governmen went round and held meetings with people and asked people what really Nigeria wanted. If you wanted democracy, what sort of democracy? What sort of system do you want? Well, we elected to have federalism. Arrangements were made to collate the views of the people. The thing started at the local level, then district level, then finally, regional level. I remember that in the case of the West, the recommendation which the West put forth was that ‘yes, we should have three regions and the system should be based on linguistic principle. There must be the government of Western Region, then government of Eastern Region, but such that in future the minority in the West, in the East or in the North, should have their own governments too, par-

ticularly a place like Middle Belt. they should have their own government and the minority groups in the South, particularly the place we called core areas; Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers Province; should have their own government. But to begin with, the recommendation from the West was to the effect that we limited the thing to Western Region, Eastern Region, Northern Region, but in future, we should give a lot of considerations to the minorities. Then, an arrangement was made finally that representatives should be selected to meet in Ibadan at a general conference where all these recommendations from various parts of the country would be considered. Was that process not lengthy and burdensome? The process was democratic. The recommendation that came from the West came from Egbe Omo Oduduwa, Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM). Then, there was another recommendation. The two recommendations from the West were the same, that is, let us have the regions as we have them now, but in future, give recognition to the minority. So, the meeting started in January 1950. The chairman of the conference was the Attorney-General then. The Governor-General did not attend the meeting. Of course, it was a surprise, according to Sir Ahmadu Bello, that the Governor-General refused to come. The meeting was so important that the Governor-General ought to be part of it. But I must confess to you that the Governor-General had before that conference organised behind the door meetings between the British and Northerners as to what the Northerners wanted. And they came with ready minds. I shall deal with that later. Who were the key representatives at the conference? It was a long process. The meeting went on. We agreed that there should be federalism. Representing the West was a number of people. Papa Michael Ajasin was there. The man called Arthur Prest from Delta and Chief S.O. Awokoya were there. Then, from the North, Tafawa Balewa was there. Ahmadu Bello was there. Emir of Gwandu was there. The East was also represented. But Awolowo was not there. Zik was not there. The late Ooni, Adesoji Aderemi was there. When discussion started about how to construct the country politically, the North came with this idea that they controlled the highest number of population in the country. Therefore, they should have 50 per cent of the membership of the House of Representatives. Of course, others from the West and East said that was very dangerous for the country. How can you have 50 per cent of the membership of the House of Representatives. That is to say that, if you have that, whenever there was going to be a bill, whatever happened, your bill

• Sir Olaniwun

would be passed. That would not good. Do you want federation or revolution? That was the question coming from Arthur Prest. Although we had the revolution in the end because they had their demand granted, 50 percent of House membership. What were the other demands of the regions? The other demand of the North, they wanted the revenue of the country to be shared per capital, that is, per head. Of course, you know that, if they had the highest number of people in the country, they would be in a much better financial position. This was argued for a long time, but they insisted. Then of course, they threatened that they were going to withdraw from the conference. People started begging them not to withdraw. The third demand was that the boundary between the West and North should not be removed. It should not change. Ilorin , Kabba, Offa, should remain in the North. People who lived in these places were basically Yoruba people. It is quite true that Afonja misbehaved, when he made himself the King of Ilorin contrary to the mandate which the Alaafin gave him. He made himself the governor of the place. There was war against him. In the meantime, he asked one Alimi, who was a Muslim cleric, to come to his assistance. Then, he brought a lot of Fulani people and they rose against him, particularly because he refused to be a Muslim. There was war. He was defeated and immediately, he was killed. So, the area went to the Fulani. So, they have been in the place since

then and the Fulani refused to surrender to the place though it is a Yoruba country. As a matter of fact, you will be surprised to know that these people who assume overall power in the country refuse to have ministerial responsibility. They said they didn’t want any of their politicians to be ministers, to bear ministerial responsibility. Then, Abubakar Balewa said I don’t have people capable to be ministers, literacy ratio in my place is two per cent; so I don’t have people to run government. Then, British people came and persuaded them to change that stance and allow ministerial responsibilities to be borne by Northerners. However, it was from that place we started to change the norms. Why did the North and the South jointly resist the demands? Nigeria is a very big country. At that time, we had three vibrant regions. There was no over lordship of any sort. There were separate constitutions for the West, North, East and another constitution for Nigeria. When Midwest was created, it had its own constitution. There was progress. Each region developed according to its own pace. In the West, Awolowo introduced free education, free medical services, housing programmes. He built Liberty Stadium, established farm settlements. The West depended on cocoa. The East depended on coal. The North depended on groundnut. The East copied free education, but they backed out only after two years. At independence, Awolowo wanted to become the Prime Minister. He was

‘The 1999 Constitution was a fraud. It was imposed by the military. The late Chief Rotimi Williams said the constitution lied against itself because of its preface: “We the people.” Politicians have refused to be guided by elders who have the experience. Once they were in power, they constituted themselves into tin gods. Corruption is soaring. It is killing Nigeria. There is mass unemployment. Industries are no more working. So, democracy is not on course in Nigeria’

not selfish. he wanted to replicate what he had done in the whole of the country. he later became the Leader of Opposition. Then, his successor, Chief S.L Akintola collaborated with the North to rubbish his leader. Coker Commission of Inquiry was set up. Along the line, they said they discovered an armed plot and Chief Awolowo and his associates were tried and jailed. The people stood behind Awolowo and his party, to the extent that Akintola’s party had to rig the 1965 Western Regional Elections and hell was let loose and the military took over. Was the military able to save the situation? They created more problems for the country. They abolished federalism and foisted on the country unitary system. Then, there was civil war. It was a needless war. Many lost their lives and property. Many were displaced. The military moved to nationalise the regional property without compensation. I was Commissioner for Education in Western State under Military Governor Oluwole Rotimi. Gowon wanted to take over University of Ife. He passed the file to him and wrote on it back to him that our ancestors in the West would not forgive any body who surrendered University of Ife to the federal government. Governor Rotimi refused. When Governor Akintunde Aduwo became governor, they wanted to take over the university by force. He refused. He was later removed as governor. But there was another opportunity for civilians in 1979, which was bungled by the political class We had an inept administration in the Second Republic. This gave room for politicians in the military to come back. They came back to wreck more havoc. They compounded the problem of Nigeria. Buhari, babangida came with draconian laws. Babangida later abolished the 1993 elections and Abacha took over. Under Gen. Abdulsalami, the transition was rushed. We called for a Sovereign National Conference and a people’s constitution. Many politicians were impatient. The wisdom of elders did not again count. The 1999 Constitution was a fraud. It was imposed by the military. The late Chief Rotimi Williams said the constitution lied against itself because of its preface: “We the people”. Politicians have refused to be guided by elders who have the experience. Once they were in power, they constituted themselves into tin gods. Corruption is soaring. It is killing Nigeria. There is mass unemployment. Industries are no more working. So, democracy is not on course in Nigeria. What is your assessment of the Jonathan Administration? During the launch of my book in Lagos, I bared my mind on the state of the nation. Do you remember what I said? I said that Jonathan may be the last President Nigeria may ever had. I was invited by security agents. He is not prepared for the job and it appears that he lacks the capacity. What is working in Nigeria? There is no regular electricity. There are no good roads. People now run to India for medical attention. There is corruption in the land. Look at the fuel subsidy saga. There is kleptomacracy. How can we move forward? We must come together to discuss the problem in a national conference.



POLITICS ‘Lagos deserves special status’ By Emmanuel Oladesu


EADERS of Yaba and Mainland local government areas of Lagos State have renewed the agitation for special status for the former Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) stressing that its neglect by the federal government is worrisome. The community leaders, who are also members of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) rejected the lopsided federal arrangement, pointing out that a situation whereby the federal government receives 56 percent of national revenue and 774 local governments and 37 local council development areas share the remaining 44 percent is unacceptable. The chairman of Yaba LCDA, Mr. Olajide Jimoh, who spoke on their behalf at the launching of free ambulance services and distribution of medical equipment to schools and special persons, also blamed the federal government for toying with the ecological fund meant for the states. At the ceremony were former Mainland Council chairmen; Chief Tayo Oyemade and Chief Babatunde Ogunsanya; leader of the Community Development Association (CDA) Apostle John Ojo, former member of Lagos state House of Assembly, Adelabu Onibiyo, leader of legislative council, Mrs. Bola John, Chief Tayo Soyode, Baale of Iwaye, Chief Muritala Oloko, Chief Imam of Yaba, Alhaji Salis Hauwa, Iyaloja of Yaba, Mrs. Monsurat Alao, and council Education Secretary Bisi Adetona. The LCDA chairman said Lagos State deserved special allocation and status because it shoulders enormous national and continental responsibilities in education, health, social infrastructure and housing sectors. Jimoh added: “Federal government has abandoned the Herbert Macaulay Road, which is a federal government road. It has been taken over by the state and local government. Federal government has more and lesser functions”. The two ambulance buses, which was procured by the LCDA at N8million, and other medical facilities donated by a non-governmental body, ‘Walterprinz Foundation, were commissioned by the Special Duties Commissioner Dr. Wale Ahmed, who advised the LCDA to register them with the state emergency centre. Schools in Yaba received 30 first aid boxes at the ceremony. Physically challenged people received wheel chairs and clutches. Jimoh said the ambulances services would be free, efficient and courteous, adding that the dedicated lines are “012951735” and “012951563”. The commissioner lauded Jimoh for making health care delivery accessible and affordable in the area, stressing that his feats in the office have erased the erroneous feeling that local government chairmen are not living up to expectation. Ahmed added: “The two ambulances should enter the rescue road map of Lagos and they should be registered with the emergency command centre, with the numbers 767 and 112, so that, if there is an emergency in Yaba area, you can begin work before we make response at the state level. Onibiyo, who is the brain behind the donor-NGO, said: “We should thank Hon. Jide Jimoh for his response. We told local government chairmen in Lagos that health equipment can be secured from the NGO. Not all local governments have distributed their facilities to the people. When the equipment arrived, only Hon. Jimoh donated money to the NGO to get the equipment from the port”.

Impeachment: Reps mean well, says Kaka By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor


HOSE who “blindly” sympathise with President Goodluck Jonathan on his current face-off with the House of Representatives over the “unsatis factory” implementation of the 2012 Budget, to Senator Sefiu Adegbenga Kaka, do not mean well for Nigeria. The senator, who represents Ogun East Senatorial Constituency, told The Nation yesterday that the House is right in its move to impeach the president over the tardy implementation of the budget, adding that the aggrieved members of the House are fighting for the good of deprived Nigerians. “Personally, as a Nigerian senator and a stakeholder who believes in genuinely moving our country out of the woods in line with the progressive philosophy of my party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), I see nothing wrong in what the House is doing; it is nothing personal against Mr. President but a patriotic effort to move Nigeria forward by helping the president to succeed. It is its constitutional duty to call the president to order,” Kaka explained. He further recalled: “It is sad to bring to mind what happened to the 2011 budget. When its implementation was obviously failing, a bill was passed, pushing its implementation to April, 2012 and at the end of it all, not much result came out of the exercise in favour of Nigerians in spite of the fact that the recurrent expenditure of the budget was fully spent.” He said that it would be suicidal for Nigerians to expect the legislature to fold its hands while things are allowed to go wrong through faulty handling by the executive in the face of people’s desperation to enjoy better living. The senator added that the House members must be appreciated for their patriotic effort to put the executive arm on its toes and do the needy in the interest of Nigerians, no matter whose ox is gored. He lamented the array of abandoned federal government projects that litter the landscape of Ogun State despite the claim of the Federal Government over both the 2011 and 2012 budgets, saying that it was high-time the federal government rose into action. Kaka further likened the development to the growth of democracy. “This is democracy in full action. It is only in militocracy that the people have no representatives who can air their grievances or voice for them. Therefore, a deaf and dumb legislature won’t serve the people any good,” he said. He admonished President Jonathan and his cabinet to strengthen their energy and direct it towards turning the challenge posed by the House’s action into furthering their bid to justify the confidence reposed in them by Nigerians rather than bandying words with the legislation on its legitimate oversight duties. • Senator Kaka

Former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose spoke with EMMANUEL OLADESU on the impact of the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State and the obstacles against reconciliation.

Fayose: Why Ekiti PDP is divided


HERE are three groups in Ekiti PDP led by you, the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, and the Southwest leader of the party, Mr. Segun Oni. How can reconciliation be forged among the three groups in the polarised fold? The challenges are within and without. We have to come together by force. Something brought the ACN together before they won the last time. Something must bring us together. We must not wait to collapse all these small groups. We must close ranks. For me, Segun Oni and Olubolade are my brothers, irrespective of our differences. Segun Oni is now the national vice chairman. He will be happy to deliver Ekiti to PDP. It will be a thing of joy to team up and work with all of them. We should forget about this issue of grouping. We must work together. We have no other party than the PDP. You cannot sideline any one of us. Segun Oni is important. Olubolade is important. I believe that I am important too. I have been reaching out to a lot of them, and a lot of our leaders. We should stay together. When we win election, the burden on Olubolade will reduce. The burden on Oni will reduce. The burden on me will reduce. It is an added value that God has give Ekiti PDP the office of National Vice Chairman. We should learn from our past. Since you went back to the PDP, what value have you added to the party? What I will say is that it is only God that is indispensable. But certain people are important in politics. It is not right for me to say that I am important, but I know that I cannot be totally ignored in the politics of Ekiti, not necessarily in the PDP. I have a lot of good following outside the party; the teachers, civil servants, workers generally. I have their sympathy. They have respect for me. I have been governor before. I must have touched some lives. As a result, some people will believe in me. I ma not personalising things. It is not about what is important about Fayose, but what is important about all of us. If somebody tells me now to go and be fighting Segun Oni, the national vice chairman, I will say I cannot do that. There is a certain leverage that that position has given to PDP in Ekiti now. The congresses have come and gone. We were in different factions before the congresses. It is like contesting a general election in the state. Someone will win, someone will lose. The state wil have to move forward. So, we should allow our party to move forward so that we can get power back. We need compromise because it is the same family. So, I believe that I am a value added. I have my own shortcomings, but I have my own good side.


I can go and wake the dead politically to come and vote for our party. I have the quantum of energy I can dissipate to make PDP win. I have certain gifts that can assist the party. But we must equally be careful not to run one another down. We should not use personal vendetta, personal hatred to ruin the party. If we do that, then we have issues. What are the lessons you think the leaders of PDP in Ekiti should learn from the recent congresses that took place in the state? The congress has come and gone. We should see it as a family business. No one can win it all. The Segun Oni Group has won at the zonal level. Every one in the zone belongs to the Segun Oni Group. at the state level, Segun Oni may not have a full hold there. But there is balance. Secondly, the state exco has no power to oppress anybody. Segun Oni cannot call them and they say they would not respect him. We will all fight them together. That was the agreement we reached at Chief Paul Alabi’s house at Ijesa-Isu among ourselves; the minister, Segun Oni and myself. Segun Oni is now the vice chairman. That is enough measure of power. He is supposed to be overseeing the state and I am sure that Segun Oni will not want problems from his state. He will not ignite fire from his home state. He must love all. I am sure that Segun Oni is a man of wisdom. Even, if I don’t know the state chairman, he cannot say that he will not recognise me. I have made my mark in the state. People appreciate me for who I am. They appreciate Segun Oni for who he is and the minister for who he is. It is personal interest that is pushing all of us. So, when we bury personal interests and go for the collective interest of the party, God will help all of us. Before you went back to the PDP, there was hostility between you and General Olusegun Obasanjo. How did you reconcile with the former President?

I will be reconciled with him. You know, Obasanjo is our father. When I was not in PDP, it was a different ball game. I am in PDP now. I have to appreciate him, I have to respect him. I have to work with him. if you want to be in PDP, there is no way you can work without working with Obasanjo. Politics is a continuous thing where we need one another. So, some people will be expecting me to come back to PDP and be fighting Obasanjo. I cannot do that. I will do everything to ensure that my relationship with Obasanjo is normalised. That is the truth, except I don’t want to do politics again. Observers were taken aback when you went back to PDP because they recalled your earlier statement that you will never go back to mind the party. What informed the u-turn or change of? You can make a u-turn when the front gear is not entering. You use reverse. It is part, of life. It is only God that says ‘never’. So, everything we do at a certain time, in as much as we are alive, we can undo it. And if there is a need for you to make amend, redress, you do it. Life is still on-going. People say Fayose made u-turn. Have they not made uturn at any time in their life? It is only from gear one to five that there is no reverse. But, this one, I put reverse. Let them go and call police. How is your party now preparing for the challenge of local government election in the state? We will leave that, until government constitutes an appropriate organ that can conduct the election. The court annulled the previous one that was constituted. When we get to the bridge, we will cross the river. The zonal leader, Segun Oni, has inherited a lot of divided chapters across the Southwest zone. What is your advice to him? My advice to him is this. The credit given to Bode George today is because of he won or lost the state chapters. God will grant him to be able to know that it is only in wining that there will be celebrstion and his name will be immortalised. He should accommodate all shades of opinion and keep his personal interest low in all these things. A leader must be tolerant, accommodating, forgiving, and remember that at a time, we will be judged by what we do. He needs more of home support to achieve his goal. Before things would work out for him, his home front must be strong enough. So, he must first of all rally his home base, Ekiti State, and make peace with all manners of men. When we all stand behind him, he will succeed. Look at Jonathan. He said Obasanjo should stand for him in Mali because he has experience. The moment you still see some of us as your enemies, it will be difficult to forge ahead. So, he must consolidate at home before he can launch out. If he can have the home support, he will succeed outside the state.

• From left: Apostle Afolalu Ogunsanya, Lagos State Commissioner for Informatiion, Mr Lateef Ibirogba and Princess Uzamat Akinbile at the Legislative Valedictory Service held for late Chairman of Agbado Oke-odo LCDA Pastor Kenny Okunmuyide recently.




ESIDENTS of Andoni/ Opobo/Nkoro communities in two local councils of Rivers State have initiated several efforts to accelerate growth in their areas. The communities, like others in the Niger Delta, are oil-rich but that has not translated to development. Their roads and other infrastructures are in bad shape and their environment is devastated by oil exploration and exploitation activities. The administration of Governor Chibuike Amaechi is doing a lot to address these challenges but the communities have expanded their opportunities. Over the last three decades, concern by both communities and policymakers about the negative consequences of oil exploration and related human activities in the region has led to the search for solutions to restore the environment and accelerate growth. At the regional level, we have had the 1.5% Oil Producing Areas Development Fund, 3% Oil Producing Areas Development Fund; Oil Mineral Areas Producing Development Commission and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The states are not left out. Rivers State government set up the Sustainable Development Agency to address the issue of sustainable development. Delta State’s version is Delta State Integrated Development Programme and Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC). Other Niger Delta states have different sustainable development vehicles that go by different nomenclatures. The oil companies that are at the centre of the environmental degradation have also set up platforms to address sustainable development. SPDC has its Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU). Mobil, Eni and Chevron have similar programmes too. All these initiatives are commendable but the communities or the local people are not in the driving seat. One undeniable implication of this scenario is the urgent need to

•A devastated Niger Delta

Rivers communities inspire growth By Sylvester Asoya

change our current development strategy. And that is where the Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro Economic Zone Development Summit comes in. It is basically a platform that brings professionals and stakeholders from the communities to plan for themselves and seek solutions to common challenges. Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro people

Plateau heals wounds •Continued from Page 13

“But I want to assure you that the best way to deal with the trauma and get yourself out of trauma associated with these crises is to develop the spirit of forgiveness. “Once you make up your mind to forgive and forget, the healing is automatic and you will feel free and fulfilled within you. “If all of us are thinking that

•Participants at the workshop

the loss is too painful to forgive, you will be burdened with the trauma of the incident; so the best healing is to clear your mind by forgiving and forgetting the pains in you.” The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Fom Pam Dakwak, in his goodwill message to the participants, said: “The workshop put in place by Community Action for Popular Participation is like a divine

are found in two Local Government Areas of Rivers State on the face value they are one of the most disadvantaged people in Rivers State. The two LGAs are not accessible by paved road. The Chibuike Amaechi administration is building a 41km road with 10 bridges to connect almost all the communities of the two LGAs to the rest of the state. Aside from the challenge of road infra-

counselling which victims of the crises need for the healing of their trauma.” Earlier in his welcome address, organiser of the workshop and programnme manager of Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP), Nelson Amanze, said it is the belief of the NGO that the trauma healing training and counselling will pave the way for the process of genuine forgiveness and reconciliation in the various communities affected by crises. Amanze also disclosed that

structure, they are not connected to the national grid and do not have good source of potable water despite the fact of being located on islands. The state government is building several brand new primary schools and two other 1,000 students’ residential secondary school in the area. The environment is undoubtedly harsh. It is in this development context that they have chosen to do things differently

to achieve sustainable community development through the vehicle of a summit. The Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro development summit has four components. The first is to showcase the latent opportunities that abound in the area and invite potential investors to take advantage and invest. The second component

the NGO which is sponsored by MacArthur Foundation of USA, has a two-year peace building project plan for eight local governments in Plateau

State. Participants were drawn from communities in Jos North and Jos South local governments.

•Continued from Page 48

‘Cassava production to create over 1m jobs’


ASSAVA production will create over one million jobs in the country, the Minister of Agriculture Dr. Adesina Akinwumi has said. He was speaking in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State capital, where the federal government’s agric programme, Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), was inaugurated. Akinwumi who was represented by the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mbucho Kreni, said the teeming youths in the state would be fully engaged in the scheme. He said the transformation plan will boost the production of highstarch and early varieties from 810-month crops that will shore up food supplies and increase nutrition

From Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi

and health of the people. Akinwumi further pointed out that Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava, adding that federal government, state, local government and non-governmental organisations will collaborate to train farmers in modern production methods and supply chain management. Akinwumi said that under the GES programme, cassava farmers in Kebbi will receive 15 bundles of high-yielding cassava varieties in addition to 50 per cent subsidy on fertiliser. He said the inputs will improve production methods as well as introduce new high-starch varieties and disease and pest management.




HE lawmaker representing Ojo 1 constituency at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Muhibat Rufai-Adeyemi has assured her constituents of effective representation. She gave the assurance at a town hall meeting with the people during which she also gave account of her stewardship in the last one year. She said one of the motions she has moved on the floor of the House was on the persistent traffic congestion along Lagos-Badagry Expressway which affects her constituency. A resolution has been passed by the House on the issue. “Another motion was to call on the state government to take advantage of the new policy on power transmission by the federal government to improve power generation and transmission in the state and the House also passed a resolution on the matter,” Adeyemi-Rufai said. At the event the lawmaker, who is serving a first term in the House, gave out bags of rice to all the eight wards in the constituency. She also distributed branded exercise books to all the primary and secondary students in the area. Apart from that, AdeyemiRufai also gave out motorcycles to the ‘Neighborhood Watch’ in Ojo and Iba, “for the purpose of security in our communities and to help them in their operations at night”. She also gave out generators to power the boreholes she sank at Ojo and Okoko. Cash gifts were also given to the aged and widows to assist them. Giving account of her stewardship in the last one year, the lawmaker said she has facilitated the distribution of transformers to communities like Ikemo Quarters, Ojo town; Jejelaiye/Carimo Street, Ilembe Hausa; Movies Ike Street, Tedi Village, while another three •Continued on Page 47 is to present to development partners, government and stakeholders a forward looking master plan that captures the aspirations of the people. The third is to build capacity of the people and communities to prepare them for opportunities and finally raise awareness on sustainability in community development. The Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro concept of development differs remarkably from others. Its ecological protection is mainstreamed in development by community people themselves. Economic self-sufficiency is emphasised. Livable community marked by opportunities for sociability, accommodate diversity, personal development and community participation are prioritised in development planning; access to qualitative and affordable education and healthcare is given precedence; social justice that guarantees peace, law and order is pursued holistically. Most important of all these is that the process is envisioned and driven by communities themselves. At the forthcoming summit,

•From left: Chairman, Oto-Awori Local Council Development Area, Hon. Bolaji Kayode; Hon. Muhibat Rufai-Adeyemi; Deputy Speaker, Lagos Assembly, Hon. Kolawole Taiwo; Mr. Sadiq, Assistant Legal Adviser, Action Congress of Nigeria, Lagos, representing state Chairman, Henry Ajomale); Rabiu Oluwa, ACN leader, Badagry at the event

Lawmaker assures constituents of effective representation By Oziegbe Okoeki

will soon be delivered for Igbede New Site, Odan Anigege, Ijegemo and Graceland Estate. “In the area of education, I have facilitated the admission of many of our youths into tertiary institutions like Lagos State University and Adeniran

Ogunsanya College of Education. I have also organised quiz competition for Junior and Senior Secondary School students and given the winners trophies and gifts; and given donation and materials to our primary schools during their interhouse sport competitions,” she said.

In the area of education, I have facilitated the admission of many of our youths into tertiary institutions like Lagos State University and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education

Adeyemi-Rufai has also constructed boreholes at Ago Hausa, Okokomaiko, Alaworo Market and Ojo which were equally given generators to power them. “Similarly, I facilitated rehabilitation of roads at Shittu Street; road from Volkswagen to Alaba International Market and constructed AjangbadiAfromedia roads,” she said. She has also assisted some of the youths in her constituency in securing employment to different state ministries, departments and agencies. She further promised to commence an empowerment programme for youths, market men and women as well as all members of her party. The Deputy Speaker of Lagos Assembly, Hon. Kolawole

Taiwo who represented the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji at the event, said Adeyemi-Rufai has been very active on the floor. “She has also been protecting the interest of her constituents as well,” Taiwo said. Prizes and trophies were given to winners of the quiz competition; for the JSS category: Lagos State Junior Model School, Ojo came first, followed by Iba Housing Estate Junior Secondary School, Iba while Army Cantonment Boys Junior Secondary School, Ojo came third. For the SSS, Ajangbadi Senior High School, Ojo took the first position; Army Cantonment Boys High School, Ojo came second while Army Cantonment Girls High School, Ojo took third.

Rivers communities inspire growth United Nations Under SecretaryGeneral and Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa will lead high level thought-provoking sessions. A former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service will train budding women entrepreneurs. There will also be a session for youths on leveraging local content law, amongst other breakout sessions. One of the highlights of the summit is the presentation of Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro draft master plan. All stakeholders in the area are deeply involved in the process. There is a fervent believe that when the issue of sustainability is tied to the community’s vision it has capacity to successfully resolve many key development challenges faced by the area. The two Local Government Councils of Andoni and Opobo/Nkoro are not left out. LGA Councils are the most basic unit of governance after the community level thus must buy-in into the vision of the people and design its plans and de-

We are also not unconscious of engendering accelerated capacity building for our citizens through scholarship schemes. This, essentially, is aimed at strengthening our human resource base which remains our biggest asset

velopment projects to meet the needs of the people. Local Government Councils in the delta area more than any other area must formulate goals and projects that are rooted in respect for the environment and human nature especially futuristic consideration. Several post summit activities have been lined up so the gains of the summit are not lost. As good and people-oriented as the intentions of this summit are, the summit will not lose sight of the fact that Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro must consistently evaluate their activities on the gains and challenges of this summit and even the ones ahead. And for us, the key words are ‘continuous engagement’. As a matter of fact, we are setting in motion, processes for assessment of progress by stakeholders who will periodically review the summit’s progress. We are also not unconscious of engendering accelerated capacity building for our citizens through scholarship schemes. This, essentially, is aimed at strengthening our human resource base which remains our biggest asset. Aside the issue of capacity building which is central to our economic agenda, the zone is also mindful of its robust plan towards total economic empowerment which is still on course. And we shall be implementing our programmes essentially through small businesses, cooperatives and entrepreneurial training. In Rivers State, good governance

is a way of life and Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amechi is a well known good governance model. The governor has therefore set a very high standard not just in good governance but also in fairness and accountability. We therefore have no choice but to make government transparent. And our officials at the local government areas are aware and are ready to account for their stewardship anytime they are called upon. Indeed, our plans are quite huge and it is incumbent on us to institutionalize this development plan for the present and even the future generations. We already have a robust development master plan that is a product of professionals and stakeholders who are desirous of a great future for our people. This master plan encapsulates our vision and direction and it is only natural for us to fully institutionalize this effort.

We in Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro know the benefits of experience sharing and networking. We are also aware that continuous engagement with development partners both within and outside our region will do us a lot of good. So we are leaving no stone on turned in this direction. Expectations are high for this summit which promises to change the face of Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro federal constituency. We are hopeful and conscious of a better tomorrow, that is why we are committed to ensuring that peace reigns both among us and with our neighbours. This is the only way we can guarantee the accelerated development which our people seriously need. .Asoya, a public commentator, is a member, Media Committee, Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Economic Summit



Lagos inaugurates community advisory council N spite of restrictions in movement in Alausa, the seat of Lagos State government, the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium situated right in the heart of the state secretariat, was soon filled to capacity. Every space was taken up from the early hours of the day for the occasion meant to begin by 10am. People, including the Chairman, Ikorodu Central Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon. Sheriff Anibode, the Aro of Ikorodu, Chief A. A. Oshi, members of Community Development Committees (CDCs), which members’ participation was pegged at four each and relations of the outgoing and incoming executive of the state Community Development Advisory Council (LSCDAC), streamed into the hall to occupy every inch of it. It was not unexpected; membership of the LSCDAC, comprising Chairmen and Secretaries of CDCs are drawn from the 57 Local Governments (LGs) and LCDAs of the state. The tenure of the executive committee of the sixth council of the apex body of Community Development Associations (CDAs) in the state expired last year to pave the way for fresh elections after those of the nearly 2,800 CDAs and the 57 CDCs across the state. The day’s occasion was to send forth the 20-member executive of the sixth council under the Chairmanship of Alhaji Moshood A. K. Dosunmu after a two-term of six years and enthrone the 24member new executive of the seventh council led by Prince Adewale Awomodu. Dosunmu,



S part of its efforts to create a healthy and conducive environment for the c itizenry, the Ogun State government has set aside N50m with which to strengthen its agencies in order to quickly respond to emergency situations. Governor Ibikunle Amosun broke the news at the opening of a three-day workshop coorganised by United Nations Children’s Emergency Management Agencies and the Red Cross. The theme of the workshop was “Emergency Coordination and Preparedness Supply and Logistic Management”. Represented by his Chief of Staff, Ambassador Emmanuel Ademola Ogunnaike, the governor said that the cash was earmarked for the building of a warehouse and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) offices to enable it achieve optimal performance. “However, efforts are on to ensure that Ogun SEMA is backed by relevant laws and the draft bill to ensure this would soon be forwarded to the appropriate quarters for consideration and subsequent enactment,” Amosun said. He called on UNICEF to broaden their assistance, not only in the area of donation of supplies to victims of disasters but also in capacity building to enhance optimum results. “Though we appreciate the kind gesture of UNICEF, but like Oliver Twist, we are still asking

•Lagos State Commissioner for Rural Development, Ojelabi (third left) with new and outgoing executive of the state Community Development Advisory Council encourages the formation of CDAs is the chairman and his caucus that policies and programmes, who received a standing ovation in the council areas to ensure spend the money of others without directing them also to monitor and and accolades from government “adequate community influence proper recourse to the entire report or discipline, where officials and all others around for and control in development association,” the commissioner necessary, any mismanagement of breathing life into the council, initiatives, decisions and resources alleged, calling for co-operation finance of CDCs/CDAs and ensure making it much more vibrant and that affect them.” The between the people and contractors that their funds are invested in very prudent with council finances, Commissioner further charged the handling projects in their viable projects. hails from Central Lagos. council to plan, co-ordinate and communities. ”It has been observed that a lot of Awomodu, 65, the incoming execute community development CDAs, he said, should be able to CDAs do not have proper records chairman, who retired from the projects in the state and ensure carry out minor repairs on of their account; some don’t even Nigeria Printing, Minting and compliance with government facilities provided for their have a bank account at all while it Security Company (NPMSC), is of communities instead of waiting Ikorodu origin. He was First Vice endlessly for government for such Chairman in the Dosunmu petty things. He urged them to pay Council. Before the new executive their annual dues of N5,000 to was inaugurated, the state government promptly. Commissioner for Rural Ojelabi, who presided over the Development, Mr. Cornelius ceremony in the company of the Ojelabi, who stood in for Governor Special Adviser to the Governor on Babatunde Fashola to perform the Rural Development, Mr. assignment, said the occasion for Babatunde Upe, the Director, the government marked another Community Development, Mr. milestone in its effort “to continue Eniola Awolaru and the Ministry’s to mobilise and support Director of Finance and Community Development Administration, Mrs. Elizabeth Associations to participate Ashiru, implored the new meaningfully in governance.” executive to be transparent and The government, he said,

CDAs should be able to carry out minor repairs on facilities provided for their communities instead of waiting endlessly for government for such petty things

Ogun votes N50m for emergency management for more assistance not only in the area of donation of supplies to victims of disasters, but also in the technical areas such as manpower training for SEMA staff and line ministries and in the provision of state-of-the-art emergency rescue equipment to Ogun SEMA,” the governor appealed. In his address, Commissioner for Environment, Mr Adebayo

Fari, said the objectives of the workshop were to improve the management of emergency supplies, gain new skills in supplies and logistics management as well as identify ways to boost inventory management at SEMA and Red Cross warehouses. He called on UNICEF to partner with the state government to find lasting

solutions to the perennial urban flooding at the lower course of River Ogun, especially at the Isheri axis of Ogun State, among other things. Responding on behalf of the global organisation, the Chief Field Officer and Assistant Representative, Ms Sara Beysolow–Nyanti, represented by the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Mrs.

•Pioneer students of the Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, during their matriculation

Binta Isha-Ismail, commended the steps taken by the Amosun administration to address the needs of women and children in the state. Participants at the workshop were drawn from SEMA and the Red Cross in eight states, Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta under the UNICEF B-Field office.



Foundation trains youths in skill acquisition


ORRIED by the high level of unemployment among the youth in Katsina State, a group Walin Hausa Foundation (WHF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with Green Shield of Nation, has undertaken elaborate training programmes for unemployed youths in the state as a means of tackling poverty among them. The training programmes meant to empower the participating youth have been yielding results. As a result, the first graduation ceremony for 112 graduates who comprises the first batch from Baganzamawa Skill Acquisition Project held at the Conference Hall of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University Katsina recently. The youth, selected from different local government areas, were trained in various trades for production of items which are bathing and washing soaps, liquid soap, air freshener, hair cream, shampoo, rabbit killer and candle, among other trades. The Baganzamawa project of the Walin Foundation is also anchored on the planting and processing of Jathropha curcas to extract oil for production of assorted cream products on commercial bases. This will go a long way in sustaining livelihood among the youth. Chief trainer and planning officer of Baganzamawa project, Hajiya Rabi Yusuf said the training programme was to help idle youths who have no job to get a means of livelihood. “The apprentices, selected from different local government areas, were trained in hair cream making, bathing and washing soaps, insecticides, candle, liquid soaps, air freshener, shampoo and rabbit killers and others trades,” Yusuf said. The wife of the Vice-President, Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, commended the initiator of Walin Foundation Baganzamawa Jathrophy, an indigenous project that is 100 per cent privatelyfunded, for his commitment towards transforming the lives of unemployed youths in the state. Represented by Hajiya Fatima Ibrahim Shema, Mrs. Sambo praised the creativity of the foundation to engage in the production of domestic commercial energy and bio-fuel from Jatropha oil for power generation, cooking, lightening, transportation and domestic services.

From Isah Idris, Katsina

Mrs. Sambo said: “I believe it has potential to increase our earnings from the non-oil exports in line with the Federal Government’s desire for diversification of the economy. “Equally, thousands of unemployed youths in Katsina State will be gainfully employed; the local economy will grow, rural-urban migration will be checked, wealth will be created and eventually, more revenue will come to the government.” She therefore called on governments, organisations and individuals to partner with the initiator of the project by developing infrastructures, patronising its products and supporting it with land, machinery, agricultural inputs and other incentives for expansion and sustenance. Wife of Katsina State governor, Hajiya Fatima Ibrahim Shema, in her contribution, said the activities of Walin Foundation and Green Shield of Nation are catalysts to the state and national economy and are complementary to the state’s effort in training of youths which is ongoing at Katsina Craft Village. She solicited the support of Katsina State, Federal Government and NGOs for the Baganzamawa in the areas of packaging and marketing of their products. Niger State is also a partner in its successes as sheer butter which is one of its raw materials is in abundant supply from Niger State. The North West Coordinator of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Alhaji Ahmed Madawaki said it has keyed into the Baganzamawa projects aimed at developing youths for employment. “For sustainability of any profitable venture, there is a need for entrepreneurial development and

SMEDAN is collaborating with this project by giving the graduates entrepreneurship guide so as to be gainfully employed. “SMEDAN is there as the mouthpiece of entrepreneurs and to find solution to those blockages hindering the success of their business activities,” he said. The Director-General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion represented by a director, Dan Ajumi Ibrahim said its involvement in Jatropha Skill Acquisition, like similar ventures, is in regulation of inflow of technology into Nigeria. He urged the management of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University to change or manipulate the Jatrophy to get more oil as utility derivative products as he decried the poverty level in the country. Kaduna Zonal Director, Dr. Bako Joel who represented DirectorGeneral of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Tribunal has decried the attitude of Nigerians which has damaged the ecosystem dangerously that it needs strict regulations. He said that the Walin Foundation project’s empowerment of the private citizens and individuals was timely, especially at a time corruption has destroyed the productive system, creativity and innovations among the people. National Directorate of Employment (NDE) represented by its Katsina State coordinator, Mr. Yakubu Umar Mani, an engineer, expressed his happiness at the initiative of Walin Foundation which trains able bodied youths thereby making their future bright. Mani further explained that most of the problems confronting the society from crimes to insecurity arise from joblessness among the youth and the dislodging of active people from income-generating activities.

For sustainability of any profitable venture, there is need for entrepreneurial development and SMEDAN is collaborating with this project by giving the graduates entrepreneural guide

“The project is income-generating and if the graduates practise their trade faithfully and honestly, it is capable of making them be self reliant and employers of labour. The initiator of the programme, Justice Umar Abdullahi (Walin Hausa) who is former President of Court of Appeal has dedicated his life to the service of humanity since retirement from the bench. He has singlehandedly funded the initiative as a training and rehabilitating project for youths from poor families in order to be useful to themselves and the society. His son, Dr Abduljalil Umar Abdullahi who is the project administrator of Walin Hausa Foundation, in collaboration with Green Field of Nation, has been meticulous in the planning, resource utilisation, recruitment of apprentices and execution of the training programme in Katsina State. He said that the aim of the initiative is to empower the youth in order to have something doing, especially as bulk of the people are farmers who remain idle after the farming season. “After farming work is over, this training will give these youths an opportunity to be engaged in income-generating venture “We have seeds we plant on our farm that serve as our raw materials. One of the seeds is ‘glacerol’ which are processed into oil from the harvested seeds. There is sheer butter planted and harvested and others used in soap production of other products. “The apprentices have acquired the skills; they have been certified by the national trainer who assured that they are capable of producing household consumables that are safe for use by people. “Our next priority is to provide them with some essential raw materials that they need to take off and they will be on their own practising what they have learnt. We also give them some assistance in marketing their products. “The empowerment programme is self-sustaining because when you bring a person, you teach him what to do and you give him the resources to do it and you encourage him. We have the chief trainer based in Katsina, who will draft monitoring teams to monitor and supervise their activities and products. “We intend to be collecting what

Council chief hosts corps members


• From right: Ikeja Local Government Area chairman, Hon. Wale Odunlami and the leader of the Legislative House, Hon. Edward Arangnafolu cleaning the streets during the environment sanitation exercise

•Governor Ibrahim Shema they produce to market on their behalf. So, as long as they are producing and selling and they have guidance on how to manage their funds, then it is self-sustaining. “The preparation and training of this first batch took about two months but it can be narrowed down. The selection was purposefully carried out because we chose people from the communities that are around our farm. “We intend to expand by diversifying into production of gas for fueling of motorcycle and motor cars from oily seeds we are planting on our farms. If you go to our farm centres, you will see that the harvests of these seeds have started,” he said. The project coordinator of Green Shield of Nations, Dr. Kabir Abdulkadir expressed his happiness over the collaborative effort at building hope for the hopeless youths, the poor and the weak. He said his dream is to empower not only the Katsina youths but also youths from all parts of the country that are in need of lifeline, who need economic empowerment. He commended the effort of the Walin Foundation for the empowerment projects, even as he advised wealthy individuals in the society to join in the fight against poverty. The National Coordinator on domestic energy, Mariya Ibrahim Baba explained that the commercialisation of local energy generation and distribution is a phenomenon that will help improve the lives of Nigerians, especially those in the rural areas.

HE chairman of Transition Committee of Irepo Local Government Area and chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State chapter, Hon. Yekeen Popoola has assured members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) posted to the local government of adequate security and provision of amenities that will make their stay a memorable one. Hon Popoola, who gave the assurance following incessant reports of attacks on corps members in some parts of the country also promised to give attention to the welfare of the NYSC members in the council. In a statement signed by the Director of Information, Mr. Ojekanmi J.A. and made available to Newsextra in Ibadan encouraged corps members to seize the opportunity of the gesture to contribute to the development of the council. Recently, the chairman organised a reception in honour of the corps members to welcome the newly posted Batch B corps members for the year 2012.

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

During the reception, he appealed to all agencies of government and private organisations to treat corps members posted to them well by being committed to their welfare and prompt payment of allowances to encourage them to put in their best. The ALGON boss also appealed to employers of labour in the country to create synergy with management of NYSC to employ corps members after their service rather than relying on them on adhoc basis. In his response, the local government inspector of the National Youth Service Corps, Mr. Ogunro Gbenga thanked the chairman for the reception accorded the corps members, even as he assured the council chief that corps members in the council would put in their best in their primary assignments. In attendance were corps members, community leaders, top officials of the local government led by the chairman and officials of the NYSC in the local government, among others.



They must know that life is not filled with roses. It is filled with challenges. They should apply what they have received in this school, and it will work in their favour

‘Hard work is key to success’


UT what you have learned to good use and work hard, for that is the key to success. That was the message of the Proprietor and Director of Most High College, Lagos, Pastor Babatunde Salami to the graduating SSS 3 students of the institution. Salami was speaking at the valedictory and prize-giving ceremony held at the institution’s Beckly Estate, Abule Egba premises. He said: “They must know that life is not filled with roses. It is filled with challenges. They should apply what they have received in this school, and it will work in their favour. Sincerely, these children have been prepared for the life ahead and I know they can never fail.” On their departure, he said: “It’s hard to let them go. Knowing them for six years is more than enough for me to be their father. I got used to them. They are glorious and wonderful children, and seeing them leave today comes with mixed feelings.” In her speech at the occasion, the outgoing Head Girl, Ohimai Felicita who reminisced on her earliest moments in the school, asserted that the school has built them for the challenges ahead. Her words: “I still remember my first food, first laugh, even first cry but I never expected myself to be writing this as the Head Girl of Most High College 2011/2012 session. Great gratitude goes to God,


HE Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi has expressed the commitment of his administration in partnering with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to reduce road mishaps in the state. Obi gave the assurance at a oneday workshop for officers of the road safety corps held in Awka. Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Special Duties, Chris Iteke, the governor said the state government has mapped out new

•Graduates of Most High College with two school administrators By Olusoji Olukayode

our Creator, who has made it possible for us to see the end of our race. “We all came into this school like young eggs about to hatch, not knowing what would happen the

next moment. But with the assistance of our ever-willing teachers who nurtured us we are today stronger in pursuing our dreams for a greater Nigeria. Most High College has developed us in all spheres of life, academically and morally. This school assisted us to grow in

Obi partners FRSC From Emeka Attah, Onitsha

road projects and that rehabilitation works are ongoing in major routes in Anambra all in a bid to reduce accidents. According to him, Anambra currently has the best road networks in the Southeast while registration programme for commercial

bikes and tricycles operating in the state was conceived to ensure security on the roads. In a welcome address, the Anambra State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Corps Commander (CC) Hyginus Omeje said the workshop was borne out of the com-

•Sector Commander Hyginus Omeje (left) and Zonal Commander Wole Olaniran at the workshop

our social life by inviting motivational speakers to talk to us in order for us to know the challenges of life. We got involved in different competitions which gave us confidence for the wider world.’’ “For other students of Most High College hard work is the key to

success, also ups and downs don’t discourage but make you more determined, so work hard in order to achieve your goals and cooperate with the teachers because they know what is best for you. Buckle your shoes, start moving and invest your time wisely.’’

mitment of the command to reduce carnages on the roads through improved service delivery. He said the workshop and its theme: “Repositioning the FRSC Operations in Anambra through effective and efficient service delivery” was one of the home grown strategies by the command in actualizing the recent Corps Marshals’ mandate to all Sector Commanders to resuscitate and revive field operations in their respective commands with a view to causing a turnaround in their operations. “It is noteworthy that since the inception of this administration, we have left no stone unturned in trying to impact on the people of Anambra State positively through our two-point agenda of “aggressive public enlightenment/engagement and strict enforcement of traffic rules and regulations”. “To actualise our public enlightenment strategy, we have found churches and mosques as a veritable platform to reach out to our people. Between April 2012 till date, we have visited 13 churches and two mosques with our road safety doctrine,” he said. In a special lecture series to the officers, the Zonal Commanding Officer in charge of Edo, Delta and Anambra states,Wole Olaniran said the capacity building workshop was aimed at improving the efficiency and productivity of the officers. He charged the officers to impact positively in the discharge of their duties and reminded them of their mission to “regulate, enforce and coordinate all road traffic and safety management activities

through sustained public enlightenment, effective patrol operation and prompt rescue services. “The workshop is a result of some of the feedback we received from the general public on the attitude of our officers. This capacity building will inform you on how you can improve so that we will be less violent, more friendly, courteous and relevant in the business of road safety. “Our stakeholders in the business of road safety are varied and we should cooperate with them while the ultimate goal is to make our roads safer. For instance, we have observed that most okada riders are averse to using crash helmets. This is to buttress the fact that they are taking the issue of safety for granted. Therefore, we should increase our public advocacy level” he said. Olaniran commended Omeje, the Sector Commander for his giant strides in road safety awareness campaigns within the short period he was posted to the state. He also advised commanding officers to work in synergy with state governments to develop regulations that would encourage more road safety practices. An official of the state sector command, Uffiem Ejem, in a chat with Newsextra said that the workshop has broadened his horizon and inspired him to pursue his work with more zeal and dedication. In his closing remarks, the Sector Commander, Hyginus Omeje said that similar workshops will be organised for commercial transport operators in Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha within this year.



NEWS UNDP: Africa’s growth may rise to 7% in 2015


FRICA’s growth could rise to seven per cent by 2015 driven by a rush of investors attracted by its drive to improve its infrastructure, the Head of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) in Africa said. Ranked as the poorest continent in the world, Africa, according to Reuters, has posted strong growth rates of about five per cent in recent years, second only to Asia, drawing rising inward investment. Although Africa may have enviable economic growth rates by global standards, they are still not enough to pull its growing population out of poverty. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its growth forecasts for Africa in 2012 to 5.4 per cent, lower than previous forecasts. Corruption and civil wars are also likely to puncture the momentum in several African countries, officials said at an African leadership meeting in Mombasa. Many African countries had embarked on rehabilitation and construction of vital infrastructure systems that were quickly attracting investors locally and internationally, Tegegnework Gettu, who heads the UNDP Africa Bureau, told a conference in Mombasa yesterday. “Investment in Africa has gone up to 15 per cent in the last five years alone. This is a remarkable achievement. Africa is, so far, the fastest growing continent globally. We need to keep this spirit. We need to hasten our i n f r a s t r u c t u r a l development, because this is the time for Africa,” Gettu said. “At the port in Singapore it takes eight minutes to clear a ship, in Kenya it takes hours, even days sometimes. Those are the issues we should be dealing with and am glad most African countries, including Kenya, are on course,” he added. An Economic Report on Africa launched in June in Zambia, by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU) reported that Africa was the second fastest growing continent economically in the world after Asia. The report said Africa’s potential required even more investment in human capital and technology, physical infrastructure, agriculture and regional economic integration, among others. However, the continent’s economic growth also faced risks from political crises with the potential to spill over to neighbouring states, thus curbing overall growth, Donald Kaberuka, the president of African Development Bank (AfDB) said. Africa’s economy was affected by the Arab uprisings last year, especially in Egypt, leading to a fall in the continent’s growth from five per cent in 2010 to 3.4 per cent, in 2011, said Kaberuka.

Power supply peaks at 4,237MW


FTER a substantial drop in power generation to less than 3,500 megawatts (MW) in the past five months, the Ministry of Power has announced an increase in generation of over 700MW to 4,237MW. In a statement, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Media, Mr Ogbuagu Anikwe, said: “Public power supply in Nigeria hit a peak capacity of 4,237MW on Monday.” The 4,237MW, Anikwe noted, excludes the spinning reserves, which is between 200MW and 250MW, making it the highest power output ever generated in the country to date. The Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, broke the cheery news to the ministry’s directors yesterday. He attributed the sharp increase to gas availability and praised the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) and the

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, for delivering on the promise to supply gas to the thermal plants. “Gas is coming up gradually and when fully stabilised, we can easily hit 5,000MW,” he said. Nnaji also said although water levels have also improved at the dams, hydro power plant managers at Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro are operating a management system designed to ensure that there is water for power all year round. “We can have more power if we decide to use what is available at Shiroro, for example, but we do not want to do that,” he said. The minister said he was also pleased that the transmission backbone has been able to wheel the power produced effortlessly. He said when President Goodluck

Jonathan assumed office in May 2010, the quantum of power generated in Nigeria was about 2,800MW. The figure spiked by1,000MW within one year, mostly through recoveries from existing plants. By January, this year, the generation capacity peaked to about 4,100MW. The minister had in April assured that there would be considerable improvement in power supply from the end of July, this year because of the scheduled increase in natural gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and in the volume of water at the lakes in the nation’s three hydro power stations at Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba. The Minister had sacked some top officials of the successor companies of the unbundled Power Holding Company of Nigeria

(PHCN) over frequent system collapse, which nearly sunk the country into total darkness. The country had at the beginning of January achieved a new high in electricity generation 4,160 MW excluding 260MW spinning reserves, which was an improvement over 4,189.3MW recorded on December 24, 2011. However, from the beginning of March, there was a drastic drop in supply, which persisted throughout the month. There was frequent system collapse and according to sources at the Ministry of Power, within the month of March alone about eight system collapses were recorded. Irked by the development, the Nnaji summoned a meeting of all the chief executives officers of the 18 successor companies on April 2 where he announced the sack of the Chief Executive Officer, Transmission Company of Nigeria,

• Nnaji

Mr. Akinwumi Bada; Uzoma Achinanya, an engineer and former Market Operator and Mr. Olusoga Muyiwa, Executive Director of Human Resources (PHCN). The officers were replaced immediately with Olusola Akinniranye, an engineer, the executive director, Transmission Services, as the TCN chief executive officer; Evaristus Mogbo, an engineer, was promoted the Market Operator and there was no replacement for Muyiwa.

• GMD/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza (2nd right) flanked by President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria(CIBN), Mr Segun Aina(2nd left); Executive Director, UBA Plc, Mr Emmanuel Nnorom (left); and Registrar, CIBN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, during the visit of the institute to UBA Head Office in Lagos .. yesterday.

NDIC investigates agent banks


HE Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has started investigations to determine if the agent banks the corporation selected are paying depositors of failed banks. In a statement, NDIC’s spokesman Alhaji Hadi Birchi said the on-site visits to selected agent banks is “to assess their level of compliance with processes to ensure prompt payment to depositors of closed deposit money banks (DMBs) and microfinance banks (MFBs).” The Claims Resolution

From Nduka Chiejina Assistant Editor

Department (CRD) of the NDIC, he said, is visiting 93 branches of the agent banks spread across zones. Birchi said the NDIC officials would visit 27 branches in the Southwest, 24 in North Central and 13 in the Southsouth; 15 branches in the Southeast, eight in the Northeast and six in the Northwest zones. The objectives of the exercise, Birchi said, are to: “confirm that payment to depositors is carried out expeditiously and in conformity

with the operational guidelines already given to the agent banks by the corporation; assess and ensure that payments of both insured and uninsured deposits remitted to the banks are made to the depositors of the closed banks without let or hinderance.” He also said: “The investigation is to ensure that the banks properly keep the payment documents forwarded to them by the corporation such as mandate files, signature cards, liquidator’s certificates, deposit registers, to ensure that payment to the

depositors are not impeded by the absence of these records and identify and address areas of challenges being faced by the agent banks that may hinder them from making payment to depositors of the closed banks. “At the end of the investigations, NDIC will further train the desk officers in charge of payments where the need arises.” The corporation conducted a similar exercise in 2009, in 72 selected agent banks branches in the Southwest, Northcentral, Northeast and Northwest.

NNPC, firm sign MoU on power supply


HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) and Genesis Electricity Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) designed to bolster power supply to the Port Harcourt Refining Company ( PHRC) and strengthen its production. Speaking during the ceremony at the NNPC Towers in Abuja, the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Andrew Yakubu said the MoU would give PHRC a new lease of life and curb unstable power supply to the

facility. In a statement the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Fidel I. Pepple, Yakubu applauded the Federal Government for its commitment to address the power situation in the firm and assured the government of its readiness to meet the ambitious target given to the corporation in the petroleum sector. “We all know that power is strategic to all our operations and with this lengthy and conscientious agreement with an indigenous company

on electricity, I believe that PHRC power situation would further improve and impact positively on the product output of the PHRC,” he stated. He expressed optimism that this new model would help the corporation reevaluate how to address power and utility challenges to the oil installations of the NNPC. “We hope that this arrangement will be a win-win situation and it will be a test case that will add value to our installations,” he said. In his response, the Chief Executive Officer, Genesis

Electricity Limited, Akinwole Omoboriowo, assured the management of the NNPC of its preparedness to deploy the best power technology available to PHRC and provide qualitative electric power supply to the plant. PHRC has the mandate to provide efficient petroleum refining services primarily to the nation, at a minimum cost and the international market at competitive prices, while spearheading the development and production of specialised petroleum products.

‘MSME development, panacea for insecurity’


OR Nigeria to overcome her current economic and security challenges, stakeholders must pay more attention to development of micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs] than to politics. This is because, already, political development has out-paced economic development causing the mis-match that has plunged the nation into prevailing crisis. Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Muhammad Nadada Umar, made this assertion on Monday while responding to the conferment on him of Fellow of the Association of Business Specialists and Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (FBSEN). He attributed the current economic and security challenges to poverty and unemployment. The award came in recognition of the Director-General’s contributions to development of business and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.




Investors scramble for banks’ shares


NVESTORS increased stakes on equities by 59 per cent yesterday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as scrambles for banking stocks by bargain hunters lifted market considerations of several banking stocks. Investors staked N2.80 billion on 317.2 million ordinary shares of 50 each in 4,390 deals, representing significant mark up in value against N1.76 billion staked on 188.04 million shares in previous trading session. Transactions were highlighted by upsurge in bids for banking stocks, especially the trio of First Bank of Nigeria, Zenith Bank Plc and Diamond Bank, which share prices trended upward amidst significant demand. Banking subsector accounted for 80 per cent and 70 per cent of total value and volume traded respectively with First Bank leading the most active stock with a turnover of 61.87 million shares worth N753.74 million in 723 deals. Zenith Bank followed with a turnover

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

of 59.88 million shares worth N898.13 million in 272 deals while Diamond Bank traded 30.63 million shares for N83.94 million in 176 deals. Indicating the sellers’ market, First Bank ranked as the third highest gainer with a gain of 40 kobo to close at N12.10. Diamond Bank gained 9.0 kobo to close at N2.80 while Zenith Bank added 5.0 kobo to close at N15.05. Market analysts attributed increasing bargain hunting for banking stocks to noticeable improvements in earnings of banks as recent reforms continued to impact on banks’ fundamentals. First Bank had grown net profit by more than 23 per cent in the first half of this year as the bank harnessed the gains of recent restructuring exercise to improve its market share and profitability. Interim report and accounts of FBN for the first half ended

June 30, 2011 released yesterday showed that the bank recorded double-digit growths in all key profit and loss items with gross earnings and operating incomes increasing by 14 per cent and 42 per cent respectively. The report indicated that gross earnings closed first half 2011 at N139.7 billion as against N122.3 billion recorded in comparable period of 2010. Operating income stood at N120.9 billion compared with N85.6 billion in 2010 while net interest income grew by 54 per cent from N57.5 billion to N88.2 billion. Noninterest incomes also increased by 16 per cent from N28 billion to N32.6 billion. The report further showed a 13 per cent increase in pre-tax profit from N32 billion to N36 billion while net earnings after taxes stood at N31.3 billion as against N25.3 billion in comparable period of2010. This indicated possible earnings per share of N1.92 for 2011 compared with N1.74 posted in 2010.

‘SEC’s dematerialisation deadline unrealistic’


HE Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR) yesterday said the January 1, 2013 deadline for dematerialisation of all share certificates was not realistic. Dr David Ogogo, the Chief Executive of the institute, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He said that the deadline was unrealistic because of the inability of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to enlighten shareholders and other stakeholders on the cost

implication of dematerialisation. Dematerialisation is the elimination of physical certificates or documents on ownership of securities through conversion to an electronic ownership mode domiciled with the Central Securities Clearing System Limited (CSCS). According to Ogogo, the deadline is not achievable as stakeholders must resolve the issue of cost in the interest of the market. He stressed that investors were not against

dematerialisation but could not bear the financial burden of verification. “SEC should intensify its enlightenment campaign for investors on the advantages of dematerialisation for dealers, the investing public and quoted companies,” Ogogo said. SEC had in a public notice dated March 13, set January 1, 2013 as deadline for the dematerialisation of all share certificates. The notice said that all share certificates dematerialised on or before January 1, 2013, would be at no cost to the shareholder, but that there would be a penalty for those done after that date. It also said that the allotment of shares of public offerings would from now be by electronic processes that would transfer shares directly to the CSCS.





CBN develops whistle-blowing guidelines for banks


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has developed guidelines for whistle-blowing in the Nigerian banking sector. The exposure draft, currently being reviewed by banks and discount houses is expected to strengthen governance practices, eliminate perceived ambiguities in and align existing code of corporate governance in the sector with realities and global practices. In a circular to banks and discount houses, the banking watchdog said the guidelines represent the minimum standards whistle-blowing, which all financial institutions under its supervisory purview shall

that an action can be taken to resolve the problem. This will minimize the institution’s exposure to the damage that can occur when internal mechanisms are circumvented,” it said. The apex bank said that going forward, boards and management of banks shall appoint and decide salaries of their Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and top management staff, but such remunerations and appointments shall be disclosed to shareholders. However, each bank is expected to align remuneration with long term interests of the bank and its shareholders, but

such should be sufficient to attract, retain and motivate officers of the bank and balanced against the bank’s interest. The apex bank said that to ensure both continuity and injection of fresh ideas, non- Executive Directors of banks shall serve for a maximum of three terms of four years each while the tenure of CEOs is subject to a maximum of 10 years, which may be broken down into periods not exceeding five years at a time. It said that the Chairman of the Board will henceforth, not be a member of any board committee and or those of the bank’s subsidiaries, except for Governance and Nomina-

cheques, by reducing the cost and days of clearing instruments, as well as articulate the rights and responsibilities of presenting and paying banks in the cheque truncation system. Under the scheme, cheque details will be captured by the bank presenting the cheque or its clearing agent, and electronically pre-

sented in an agreed format to the clearing house for onward delivery to the paying bank for payment. This would reduce the cost and days of clearing instruments and provide for minimum technical and operational standards for cheque truncation as well as facilitate the implementation of an eff

•Boards to appoint, decide CEOs’ salaries Stories by Collins Nweze

be required to comply with. Banks are therefore expected to have a whistleblowing policy made known to employees and other stakeholders. Such policy is expected to contain mechanisms, including assurance of confidentiality, that encourage all stakeholders to report any unethical activity to the bank or the apex bank. “Whistle-blowing is expected to encourage stakeholders to bring unethical conduct and illegal violations to the attention of an internal and or external authority so

NUBAN goes online to enhance cheque truncation


HE apex bank said that the Nigerian Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN) scheme, has gone online, paving way for commencement of cheque truncation in the country. Cheque truncation is expected to reduce the clearing cycle for cheques to two days. It is a process that involves stop-

ping the physical movement of the cheque and replacing the physical instrument, with the image of the instrument and the corresponding data contained in magnetic ink character recognition line. The scheme will provide measure for effective regulation and management of

tions Committee. The Board Committee shall be headed by nonexecutive directors. It said that an equity holding of five per cent and above by any investor will be subject to its prior approval while government is not to exceed 10 per cent direct and indirect equity holding in any bank. The regulator said it shall approve the appointment of external auditors, and such auditors are to render reports on banks’ risk management practices, internal controls and level of compliance with regulatory directives. “The external auditors shall render reports and shall review the work of the internal auditor on each of the bank’s key risk elements to cover risk identification, measure-


nomic growth rates in recent years, due to a commodities super cycle and growing consumer power. But it needs to mobilise huge amounts of money to fund construction of roads, rails and energy generation projects. “The idea is to get a five per cent commitment on

reserves in northern hemisphere markets, where they earn nothing or very little return, he said. The funds raised would surpass by $3 billion the $19 billion that both the Tunis-based AfDB and the World Bank commit to sub-Saharan Africa every year,

the (African central banks’ hard currency) reserves, time has come to work with a triple Arated African institution (AfDB) to invest on their behalf,” Donald Kaberuka, the AfDB president told Reuters. African central banks have invested their foreign exchange



Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m



Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012




2.22 4.19 2.13 0.64 1.13 6.22 0.70 10.00 0.79 1.11


2.33 4.39 2.23 0.67 1.18 6.49 0.73 10.42 0.82 1.15

NGN USD NGN GBP NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N) Bureau de Change (S/N) Parallel Market

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51













O/PRICE 0.60 36.45 1.74 1.14 1.37 1.38 4.99 0.63 6.40 1.02

C/PRICE 0.57 34.65 1.66 1.09 1.31 1.32 4.80 0.61 6.20 1.00

CHANGE 0.03 1.80 0.08 0.05 0.06 0.06 0.19 0.02 0.20 0.02


July ’11

Dec ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 12.6%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%




Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7



0.11 0.20 0.10 0.03 0.05 0.27 0.03 0.42 0.03 0.04

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

he said after an event to celebrate Kenya Bankers Association’s golden anniversary. “The time has come for Africans to tap into the surpluses of emerging countries that is where the money is. But charity begins at home. So, tap into our own resources,” Kaberuka said.

to embark on another crucial stage in its transformation. It said that AMCON CEO, Mustafa Chike-Obi had in a telephone conversation with the Managing Director/CEO of Keystone Bank, Oti Ikomi, confirmed (Rencap Consortium’s choice as adviser and offered his best wishes to staff, customers and stakeholders while expressing his pleasure on the transformation success achieved by the bank in the last one year. “We use this very important development to further reassure all stakeholders and restate Keystone Bank’s transformation goal of being a Top five bank by 2015.”



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

ment, monitoring and control. They shall review compliance with policies and internal control procedures put in place by the board to manage and mitigate the institution’s risks,” it said.

Keystone lauds AMCON EYSTONE Bank has supported the appointment of Renaissance Capital (RenCap) Consortium as advisers by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). The bank said in a statement that after 12 months into its operation, it is set

AfDB plans $22b bond for Africa infrastructure HE African Development Bank (AfDB) has said it will raise $22 billion for Africa’s first infrastructure bond to member nations. Such fund, it said, will be used for investment in projects such as ports and airports. Africa has posted strong eco-

•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

Offer Price

Bid Price


9.08 1.00 123.01 107.29 0.72 1.09 0.93 1,723.08 8.51 1.33 1.80 7,727.45 191.08 1.62



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2011

Current 07, Aug, 2011

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




NEWS No date for Edo PDP petition From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


HE Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Edo State is yet to fix a date to hear the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the July 14 election, Charles Airhiavbere. Airhiavbere is challenging the declaration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as winner of the election. The tribunal Secretary, Ms Josephine Aliyu, said the tribunal can only begin hearing after all respondents have been served. She said the respondents include the governor and his party. Others are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Returning Officer, Prof Osayuki Oshodi. Prof Oshodi is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin.

Youths protest in hospital From Osagie Otabor, Benin


UNDREDS of youths from Idumebo-Irrua yesterday stormed the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, protesting what they termed “employment denial”. They prevented workers and patients from entering the hospital.Accident victims were also not allowed in. Their spokesman, Joshua Egbadon, said they protested to force the hospital management to implement an agreement reached with the community. Joshua alleged that the management promised to employ 30 members of the community but gave jobs to only 18. The hospital’s spokesman, Ernest Ohue, declined to comment.

Amaechi: expand East/West road


IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has called on the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to review the scope of work on the Onne, Alode and Eleme fly-over axis to make it more accessible to motorists. Amaechi spoke yesterday when he visited the minister, Elder Godsday Orubebe, in Abuja. Represented by his Deputy,Tele Ikuru, the governor decried the exclusion of Onne, Alode and Eleme fly-over axis from the rehabilitation of the East-West road. “We’ve noticed a change of plan on the road as the Onne, Alode and Eleme fly-over axis have been left out of the rehabilitation of the East/West road and they are now in deplorable situation,” the governor said. Orubebe said he has directed his technical team to look into the matter.

•The flooded village..yesterday


One dead in Cross River flood


SEVEN-YEAR old child drowned yesterday in a flood on Umon Island in Biase Local Government of Cross River State. Three other children aged between seven and 13 have

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

been declared missing. The flood, it was gathered, was caused by the sudden overflow of the Cross River at the Umon axis. Divers were still searching for the missing children yes-

terday. The remains of the child have been buried. “The flood is not showing any sign of abating and we are afraid of what next would happen, should the water increases,” said 78-year old

Chief Elder Okon Nya Aniyom. He recalled that such an incident had occurred twice in 1971 and 1991. He, however, said none was as catastrophic as the most recent.

Doctors reject patients over colleague’s kidnap


OCTORS at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) yesterday refused to attend to patients, in protest against the kidnap

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

of their colleague, Dr. Blessing Obidike. The doctors vowed to take their protest to the Govern-

ment House, Port Harcourt today. Ms Obidike was kidnapped at Choba on Sunday. She was on her way home from work. Police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam assured that

the victim would soon be released unhurt. Ugwuegbulam advised against payment of ransom. The gunmen are yet to contact her family or UPTH authorities.

NHRC probes demolition of Rivers waterfront


HE National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) ,Abuja ,has said it is investigating the demolition of waterfront in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The Executive Secretary, Prof Bem Angwe, said this yesterday in Port Harcourt when members of the commission took an on-the-spot assessment of three waterfront namely: Njemanze, Abonnema and Elechi beach, which were demolished by the government.

From Clarice Azuatalum, Port Harcourt

Angwe said the commission has received over 200 petitions mainly from outside the country and “the complaints relate to the fact that people are denied their right to shelter and that the act of government amounts to forced eviction.” The executive secretary said though the demolition had taken place, its investi-

Group advises Airhiavbere From John Ofikhenua, Abuja


HE Coordinator, Ekpen Voice of Truth, Samuel Odigie, yesterday advised the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 14 election in Edo State, Charles Airhiavbere, not to waste his money on litigation. Odigie said the election cannot be contested in any court, adding that observers have adjudged the election as one of the freest. “First and foremost, I will ask the PDP not to waste its efforts attempting to sue Governor Adams Oshiomhole. “I always believe that in any sports, you have a loser and a winner. The loser should be able to congratulate the winner. In this case, the PDP knows for sure that Edo election was free, fair and very peaceful.”

Delta seeks support on food security


ELTA State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has urged the Federal Government to pay special attention to the state in its quest to ensuring food security. Uduaghan spoke at the Growth Enhancement Support Programme for Cassava at Oleh yesterday. He said Delta State is an agricultural belt with very clement weather for most agricultural produce and as such, “it is therefore, important that the nation’s quest for agriculture renaissance should focus more on Delta State.” The governor, who was represented by Deputy Governor Amos Utuama (SAN), said: “Any additional impetus to the cultivation of cassava in Delta State will yield tremendous results, because the state is already well known for its massive production of this vital agricultural item.”


gation would determine whether the government took appropriate steps before bulldozing the waterfront. Angwe said if it is found that there were violations, the commission would order for compensation to be paid to the appropriate persons and probably recommend a reversal of government’s decision in line with the mandate establishing the organisation.

Bayelsa to promote Ijaw language From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa


HE Bayelsa State Government has promised scholarships to students of Ijaw language in higher institutions. Also, graduates of Ijaw language will be qualified for automatic employment in the Civil Service. Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs Felix Tuodolo said this when Diploma Students of Izon Language at the Niger Delta University (NDU) visited him. He said the teaching of Ijaw Language in primary and secondary schools would begin next month. He said this is in line with Governor Seriake Dickson’s commitment to the promotion of Ijaw language and culture, his ministry has lined up programmes to propagate the rich cultural heritage of the Ijaws.



NEWS Council crisis: Civil society groups slam Okorocha From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri


IVIL society groups have condemned Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha’s attempt to end the tenure of the 27 council chairmen, who have been rein-

stated. The groups urged Imo indigenes to resist the move, describing it as “undemocratic, callous and capable of inciting political crisis and anarchy in the state”. In a statement, the Chairman of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), Southeast, Dede Uzor, said the governor has refused to abide wholly by the Appeal Court judgment that reinstated the elected council chairmen and has allowed partisan politics to creep into the day to day governance of the state. Uzor condemned Okorocha’s sack of 10,000 youths that were employed by his predecessor as an act of “wickedness and political bigotry”. The statement reads: “The recent plot to abruptly and unconstitutionally end the tenure of elected council chairmen to allow him continued access to local government funds is illegal and should not be allowed. “The CD will mobilise the masses for a protest rally in Owerri, the state capital, to register our displeasure with Okorocha’s style of government. How can he claim to be on a rescue mission when he cannot create employment for the people nor obey the laws of the land? “Politicians should lead by example. The idea of frustrating the reinstated chairmen because they belong to another party implies that there is no democracy in Imo State and the CD will mobilise other civil society groups to protest the dissolution plot and other ills perpetrated by the Okorocha administration.” President of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Uche Durueke said the plot was a subtle way of refusing to obey the Appeal Court judgment. He said the chairmen were already in office before the law reducing their tenure to two years was established. The activist lamented that Nigerian leaders often allow party politics to distract them from their responsibilities to the electorate. He said: “What is happening in Imo today is a typical example of executive recklessness and disrespect for the rule of law.”

Imo health workers, others condemn privatisation of govt hospitals •Govt: it’s for the best


EALTH workers and religious leaders in Imo State have condemned the concession of government-owned hospitals in the state to a private firm by the state government. They described the act as “as absurd and reckless”. Last month, the state government signed an agreement with an Abuja firm, Lantech Solutions Ltd., and concessioned the 11 specialist and general hospitals in the state to it for 15 years. Health workers said the action contravenes Section 10 (1 & 2) Cap L.1 Laws of the Federation, 2004. The State Chairman of the Health Workers’ Union, Dr. Darlington Akukwu, said it is regrettable that despite the directive of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to stay action on the matter, the state government went ahead to privatise the hospitals and sacked eight doctors, who questioned its action. Akukwu said health workers will begin a strike next week to compel the government to rescind its action, which he said is not in the best interest of residents.

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

Another clause in the agreement has attracted the ire of religious organisations, who said it is capable of igniting religious conflict. In the controversial clause, the concessionaire, Dr. Ibrahim from Kaduna State, indicated that he is a Muslim. The organisations said it is strange to have a religious slant in a health service delivery agreement. A prominent clergyman, who preferred to be anonymous, said: “I do not understand why Imo hospitals should be privatised in the first place and why they should be handed over to a Muslim in a predominantly Christian state. There must be a hidden agenda somewhere.” Dr. Edwin Maduagwu, a private medical practitioner, said: “I do not know anywhere in the world where government hospitals are entirely handed over to a private firm. It is not done. The whole exercise is strange and somewhere, there must be a hidden

Obi: we’re committed to development partners


nambra State Governor Peter Obi yesterday said his ad-

ministration is ready to work with organisations and individuals that are willing to contribute to the state’s development. Obi spoke with reporters in Abuja after meeting with the Head of the Department for International Development (DFID) Office in Nigeria, Mr. Richard Montgomery. Though the governor did not disclose what he discussed with the DFID boss, he said the visit was part of his programme of reaching out to organisations and development partners for the good of the state. On why he was so close to

development partners, Obi said no country or state can develop in isolation. He saidAnambra was not working with any development agency before he assumed office because of the prevalence of crime. Obi urged residents to sustain the existing peace and security. On the proposed coming of President Goodluck Jonathan to the state at the end of the month, Obi said the president would inaugurate the industries built by multi-nationals and private investors. He said investment is important to the transformation agenda of the president. On his frequent visits to Abuja, Obi said it was not a


From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

ditional rulers were also present. Market leaders and women dressed in their traditional August Meeting attire offered thanksgiving prayers to God for Eze’s safe return. The monarch, whose face

Obi and Montgomery...yesterday.

picnic for him. Citing an example, he said he left Awka yesterday about 5am to take an 8:30am flight to Abuja in order to make his 10am meeting at the DFID office. He said he would attend

the Economic Management meeting at Aso Rock and two other meetings with prospective investors thereafter before leaving for Enugu today.

was bruised, waved at the crowd. One of his sons, who did not disclose his name, thanked the people for their support. He said: “We thank everybody for their support. Our father just returned and he needs to freshen up, eat a

good meal and sleep. He will address you later.” The Nation gathered that the family has started making arrangements to take the monarch abroad for medical check up. Police spokesman Raphael Uzoigwe said the perpetrators would be apprehended.

Nnewi ruler hale and hearty


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•Gov. Peter Obi (left) with the Mr. Richard Montgomery (right), the DFID Head of Office, Nigeria, after their meeting at Abuja yesterday

Anambra monarch regains freed HE traditional ruler of Ukpo in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, Dr. Robert Eze, who was abducted in his palace on July 29 by four gunmen, has regained his freedom. He was freed on Monday about 12:15am after nine days in the kidnappers den, but got to his palace at 2am yesterday. It was gathered that millions of naira was paid as ransom for his release, but the family and the police have not confirmed it. Well wishers besieged the monarch’s palace yesterday to welcome him home. Governor Peter Obi was represented by his Chief of Staff and the state’s Chairman on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Prof. Stella Okunna. Eminent indigenes and tra-

agenda to it all.” Commissioner for Health Obi Njoku said it became imperative to concession the hospitals for optimal per-

HE traditional ruler of Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Kenneth Orizu 111, is not dead as was rumoured. The Palace Secretary, Prince Joseph Ikeotuonye, told the Nation that the Igwe returned to Lagos yesterday from London, where he had been on vacation. Ikeotuonye denied the allegation that the monarch collected N50 million as gratification for ceding the Agbo Edo forest to the state government to be used as a motor park. He said: “Igwe went on a month vacation and returned to Nigeria this morning (yes-

From Odogwu Emeka Odogw, Nnewi

terday). If you are in doubt, you are invited to the grand reception we are organising for him on Thursday. “Igwe was not sick as was rumoured. He is an old man and needs to go for regular medical check up abroad.” It was rumoured that the monarch slumped in his palace about a month ago and was taken to Dr. Dan Ojukwu’s hospital in Lagos. He was said to have been transferred to an undisclosed hospital in London.

formance. He said: We cannot continue to have hospitals that cannot work and the state government has the right to concession the hospitals to improve on healthcare delivery in the state.”




Robbers steal N100m at Kano market

Benue commissioner explains delay in salaries


ENUE State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Conrad Wergba, has explained the delay in the payment of salaries of some civil servants. The House of Assembly, a few days ago, decried the delay in the payment of salaries to workers and some lawmakers and resolved to summon the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia, to explain the state’s financial status. In a statement, the commissioner said only four lawmakers, the Minority Whip Terkimbi Ikyange of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Majority Whip Christopher Afaor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Benjamin Adanyi (ACN) and

From Emmanuel Uja, Makurdi

Anthony Sende were affected because they did not present themselves for biometric data screening. He said the lawmakers have since been paid through supplementary vouchers, adding that the government is prompt in the payment of salaries. Wergba said this month’s delay was caused by late remittance after the monthly federation account meeting, which now holds in the third week of the month, instead of the second. In the case of teachers, he said the State Universal Basic Education Board has just concluded its verification exercise and in conjunction with



the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, has begun table verification and payment based on the new minimum wage. The commissioner warned stakeholders portraying Governor Gabriel Suswam in a bad light. He assured workers and other stakeholders that the government would continue to live up to its fiscal responsibilities. Members of the House of Assembly recently decried the financial condition of the state, which they said resulted in the non-payment of some civil servants and lawmakers for three months.

IX armed robbers yesterday invaded the popular Kantin Kwari Market in Kano and stole a huge amount of money, which sources estimated to be about N100million. They also stole an undisclosed amount of money at Samfa Investment Company Limited located near the market. According to a source, while the robbers were escaping, one of them threw wads of naira at the onlookers, and as they scrambled for the money, the robbers

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

disappeared. The source told our reporter that the robbers attacked the market from Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Way where the company was located, shooting sporadically into the air to scare away people. “They stormed the market with six motorcycles and a Golf car and attacked the company. They shot intermittently to cause fear before entering the company’s premises where they stole a large amount of money,” the source

said, adding: “We learnt that after the attack, the robbers abandoned their motorcycles, snatched a Honda Civic car from a customer, who brought women to buy textiles in the market, and fled.” The traders and customers were reportedly transacting business when they heard gunshots. They ran to avoid being hit by stray bullets. Police spokesman Rilwanu Mohammad Dutse confirmed the incident. He said there was no casualty, adding that investigation has begun to arrest the robbers.

Woman, 70, dies as rain renders many homeless N early morning The Press Secretary to Govin Kebbi downpour yesterday ernor Saidu Dakingari, Alhaji


rendered many residents of Birnin Kebbi homeless and caused the death of a 70year-old woman. The rain, which began about 3:30am and lasted till 10:30 am, also caused the death of livestock. Major roads were flooded and houses collapsed. The septuagenarian, Hajiya Aishatu Azumi, who lived in

Gandu Quarters, was believed to have died as a result of the flood, which rendered many areas, including Bayan Tasha, Bayan Kara, Gesse Badariya and Aliero quarters inaccessible. Owners of water pumping machines reportedly made brisk business, rendering services to many shop owners whose premises were flooded.

Abubakar Muazu, said Deputy Governor Ibrahim Aliyu has set up a committee to ascertain the extent of damage. Aliyu paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased and directed the state Urban Development Authority to embark on the clearing of canals. A resident, Alhaji Muhammadu Ali, described the rain as unprecedented.

Senator urges security agents on fight against terrorism PUBLIC NOTICE KINGDOM OF CHRIST REVIVAL AND GOSPEL OUTREACH Notice is hereby given to the general public that the above names Church has applied for registration under part “C” of the companies and Allied Act 2004 THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Pastor Olatunbosun Emmanuel Oyedele (G.O) 2. Mrs Catherine Adenike Bosun-oyedele 3. Mr Olusola Peter Obabori 4. Miss Olufunmilayo Teluwo (SEC) AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 1. To preach the gospel of Christ to all nations 2. To handle Spiritual Matters through the power of Christ Any objection to the 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 21 Days of this Publication. PASTOR OLATUNBOSUN OYEDELE General Overseer 08036639039, 08023173425


ENATOR Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman representing Kogi Central Senatorial District has urged security agents to intensify fight against terrorism. He also enjoined Nigerians to be more vigilant and security-conscious to weed out the perpetrators of evil in the society. Abatemi-Usman, who was reacting to Monday night’s attack on the Deeper Life Bible Church in Otite, opposite the Federal College of Education (FCE), Okene, by gunmen, condemned the

act. Assailants were reported to have invaded the church, killing many worshippers and injuring others. The lawmaker decried the action of the terrorists and commiserated with the families of the deceased. He prayed for the quick recovery of the injured. Abatemi-Usman, who is on Lesser Hajj (Umrah)in Saudi Arabia, said it was shocking that such a gruesome, barbaric and impious act could take place in the holy month of Ramadan.

He said: “I wholeheartedly condemn the unjust killing of worshippers in a church in Otite on Monday night. My thoughts and prayers go to those who lost their lives, those who are injured, as well as their families and friends. For such a horrific event to occur in my senatorial district is really devastating. It is especially disheartening that this kind of senseless massacre of innocent Nigerians is taking place at a time when we are supposed to be in a prayerful mood, moving closer to God.”

The senator urged the people of Kogi Central communities to be more vigilant than ever, adding: “It has become necessary to be watchful of people around us and their activities. We need to be security-conscious. Security agencies must increase efforts to uncover the perpetrators and bring them to book.” He appealed to those behind terrorism to dialogue with the government in order to address whatever grievances they have “so that we can enjoy peace and achieve development.”

NYCN constitutes transition committee over leadership tussle


HE Kano chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has constituted a national transition committee to conduct a fresh election into various offices. The Vice-President, Northwest of the council, Hajiya Halima Tanko Rogo, while inaugurating the committee in Kano yesterday,

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

said the committee would organise a fresh election into offices of the NYCN in the state and the 44 local government areas, in accordance with its constitution, which the previous exco breached. She said: “It is disheartening to inform you that reports reaching the national secretariat of the council in

Abuja indicate that a group of people have assembled themselves and organised a purported election in respect of Kano State. “We at the national body of the NYCN were never informed about this arrangement and as such, were not consulted or even invited to come and supervise or monitor its conduct in line with the constitutional

requirements. “The National Youth Council of Nigeria, the mother body of all voluntary youth organisations in the country, deems it necessary to intervene and provide the needed guide that will allow for a level playing ground for all affiliated youth-based organisations to participate, vote and be voted for in the forthcoming NYCN elections in Kano.”

Police recover 15 guns, six laptops •Arrest six in Gombe

G •IGP Abubakar

OMBE State Police Command has said it has recovered 15 guns and six laptops from suspected criminals. It said it also arrested six suspects. Two were nabbed for being in possession of 15 guns. The two suspects were arrested in Kaltungo on Gombe–Yola Road during stop

From Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe

and check. Police spokesman Fwaje Atajiri said two people have also been arrested in the Gombe metropolis and six laptops were recovered. He said two suspects have been apprehended in connection with the attack on Al-

haji Adamu Akongo, the Caretaker Chairman of Billiri Local Government in his hometown. Atajiri said investigation had begun and the suspects would soon be charged to court. He noted that steps had been taken to curb criminal activities and urged residents to assist the police with information.

New Queen of Aso to emerge on Independence Day


OP media executives, politicians and celebrities from Nigeria are expected to attend the final of the 2012 Queen of Aso beauty pageant. The seventh edition of the event, scheduled to hold at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers, is aimed at promot-

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

ing the cultural heritage and tourism value of Nigeria. A statement from the organisers of the event said registration forms are on sale all over the country, with auditioning and television screening to hold in three cities. Twenty-five contestants

are expected to represent the various ethnic groups in the country. The winner is expected to go home with a new Hyundai car, N1.5million educational grant, endorsement deal as well as one year free hair care. The event, coinciding with the 52nd independence anniversary of Nigeria, is support-

ed by the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, NICO, Encomium magazine among others. The winner of the competition is also expected to represent Nigeria at the 2012 Miss Africa Beauty pageant in the Republic of Benin.



NEWS Alleged $620,000 bribe: Govt okays Lawan’s, others’ trial Continued from Page 4

•President Goodluck Jonathan welcoming the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba to the Presidential Villa for a meeting between the Federal Government and Berom delegation on the Plateau State crisis...yesterday. With them are Vice President Namadi Sambo (left), Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, and Col. John Dungs (rtd) PHOTO: NAN

Court stops Okorocha from dissolving local councils


N Owerri High Court yesterday restrained Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha from dissolving the 27 local government councils in the state pending the determination of the substantive suit. Justice Ngozi Opara granted the interim injunction sought by the council chairmen, who were recently re-instated by the Court of Appeal. The suit was filed by the Chairman and Secretary of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON)

Mrs Ruby Emele and Mr Enyinaya Onuegbu on behalf of the others. The council chairmen, who were elected on the platform of PDP had insisted on threeyear tenure for the councils, while APGA insisted on a twoyear tenure. The Chairman of APGA in the state, Mr Marshal Okoforanyanwu, said the amended Imo Local Government Law 15 of 2010, stipulated two years tenure for the councils. However, the court restrained the governor, his

agents or servants, from dissolving the councils and declaring the offices of the chairmen and councillors vacant pending the determination of the suit. It also restrained the governor from appointing any person by whatever name, to take over the offices of the claimants in view of the judgment of the Court of Appeal. Imo Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Chinedu Offor, said the state government would allow the judicial process to take its full

“Destroys, alters, mutilates, or falsifies any book, documents, valuable security, account, computer system, diskette, computer print out or other electronic device which belongs to or is in the possession of his employer, or has been received by him on account of his employment, or any entry in any such book, document, accounts, or electronic device, or is privy to any such act; or “Make, or is privy to making any false entry in any such book, document, account or electronic record; or “Omits, or is privy to omitting, any material particular from any such book, document, account or electronic record; is guilty of a felony,

Regular use of watermelon enhances sex, says expert

A •Okorocha

course. Offor, however, called on the people to remain law abiding and go about their normal businesses.

and shall on conviction be liable to seven (7) years imprisonment.” Section 20 is explicit on the payment of fine, which is going to be five times of the bribe sum. The section adds: “Without prejudice to any sentence of imprisonment imposed under this Act, a Public Officer or other person found guilty of soliciting, offering or receiving gratification, shall forfeit the gratification and pay a fine of not less than five times the sum of the value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or ten thousand Naira, whichever is higher.”

MARRIAGE counsellor, Mrs Modupe Adekoya, yesterday in Kaduna advised married women to embrace regular intake of fruits such as watermelon for enhancement of their sex life. Mrs Adekoya gave the counsel during an interview at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Revelation Sanctuary’s Women Seminar tagged, “Operation do it Right”. She said other types of stimulants were likely to cause cancer in women. She also said many married women had lost their husbands to other women owing to dearth of sex. According to Mrs. Adekoya, sex is not a sin once a woman is married but it is a sin when a woman deprives her husband of quality sex. She said that sleeplessness would not be a major problem in the life of a married woman provided she engaged in “quality sex”. Adekoya urged women to avoid washing their vagina with soap to avert infections.








Executive moment in Nigeria and London


•Usain Bolt of Jamaica leads Noah Akwu of Nigeria and Isiah Young of the United States

Games not good for our business —West End retailers


EST End, London in August has been a tourist’s haven for decades, but not this August as the lure of Olympics Stadium and Olympics Parks scattered all over the city is where visitors want to be and retailers who hoped for an Olympics boost are complaining. Before the game began July 27, West End retailers had hoped for more than £25 million in sales with about 90% of those arriving for the Olympics expected to shop and eat in West End. Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tour Operators Association told the media that : “London has approximately 300,000 foreign and 800,000 domestic visitors every day in August. These people have been told implicitly that they should stay away and they have done so. How far down will be determined by is how long Transport for London maintains the ‘don’t come into London’ campaign.’’ Jace Tyrell, director of communications The New West End Company, which represents leading retailers in Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, told the local press in London that, there

had been an expected drop in tourists. ”There’s been displacement towards the Olympics and fewer tourists as expected, but there’s also been a boost from the Olympic family, who spend more, and numbers of Olympic family are higher than we’ve had before.” But employees at both the Imperial War Museum and the London Dungeon told the media that there seemed to be fewer visitors than normal, with one describing things simply as “dead” to the local media. Paul Wild, 53, a member of staff at the Imperial War Museum in Southwark, south London, told journalists that: “We were expecting a lot more people but so far it has been really quiet and our normal visitors don’t seem to be coming. I don’t know if it has to do with everybody being warned not to come to London that was stressed so much. We usually have lots of families with kids at this time of year because the children are off school, but so far it has been quieter than we expected.” Some businesses in London have suggested that

the Olympics have deterred visitors and that their profits have shrunk as a result. At Oxford Circus, where tourists, office workers and shoppers usually battle for space on the pavement, the streets have been noticeably quieter than usual according to reports monitored in the local rest. Ahmed Waqas says: “Sales are down 50% on last year” Ahmed Waqas, who runs a souvenir stall nearby, had ordered extra stock and planned to work longer hours to take advantage of the expected Olympic business boom - but has already given up any hope of extra sales. Ahmed, 27, says: “It has been a disaster - it is so quiet, the tourists suddenly disappeared in the third week of July and they are not coming back. “Our sales are down about 50% on last year. I blame hotels that put up their prices and scared people away.” At Selfridges, there are lots of customers, but still fewer than might be expected at this time of year. One employee can be overheard telling a customer: “Everyone’s

either in Stratford, or the Londoners who usually shop here have gone away until the Olympics are over.” Selfridges said in a statement that the last week had been “quieter than normal”. “As expected, there has been a reduction in visitors to the West End since the Olympics began, which has had some impact on our footfall too.” But a spokesperson for Games organizers Locog insisted London was “open for business” and was “breaking all records for foreign guests staying in hotels”. “In the long term, the aim is to attract more visitors to experience the capital in 2013 and beyond - to harness the additional long-term tourism benefits that we estimated to be in the region of over £950m over the next five years. “It is not unusual for host cities to experience some displacement at Games time, with transport busy at unusual times across the network and retail footfall and spend in uncommon areas.”And some tourists are simply bemused by talk of a “deserted” London.

LL roads closed, airspace closed, human and vehicular movements must stop, anybody who attempts to move will be termed a security risk, and will be gunned down. Who is town? It is the First Lady, no it is the President, no it is a state Governor, no it is Local Government Chairman, no it is a Bank CEO, no it is Olorunwa, the Chairman of Road Transport Workers, no it is MC Oluomo, the King of Oshodi, and no it is a traditional ruler. In my country Nigeria, many hours had been lost because of executive movement, many wounded, many killed all because of executive movement. The horrible experiences of Lagosians when First Lady Dame Jonathan visited recently are still fresh in our memories. But London the host city of the ongoing Olympic Games has hosted more world leaders in about 11 days more than Lagos has hosted in the last ten years, yet I have not heard of road being locked down in any part of London because of executive movement. At games venue, the likes of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia comes in like other spectators and they were not given any special treatment. When Putin attended the Men’s -100kg Judo finals with David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom they sat on the second row with other spectators. When Putin was educating Cameron on rules of judo — Putin is a black belt holder and serves as the honorary president of the International Judo Federation and even wrote a book about the sport called “Judo: History, Theory, Practice. Journalists who wants to do Amebo by listening to their conversion were not pushed away the SSS boys will treat bloody nosy reporters in Nigeria. The translators who lean over their shoulders were not given a dirty slaps for having the affront to lean on Presidents. Bill Gates, Michelle Obama, Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff ,Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev, Bahrain’s Prince Nasser bin Hamad alKhalifa, Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, Prince Charles, Sir Richard Branson’s, Ivory’s Coast’s new president Alassane Ouattara, Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and a host of other VIPs here are not getting any special treatment. The lesson for our leaders is to emulate their British counterparts and show love to their citizens. Any leader with empathy will not keep their citizens in traffic for a whole day , order they should be beaten or shot, the world is dynamic, and we need to move at the global pace to catch up.

EKO 2012: Attention of would be volunteers AS the countdown to EKO 2012 National Sports Festival begins, Lagosians who want to work as volunteers need to read about Londoners and volunteers from different parts of the world who are working day and night for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Volunteers for London 2012 Olympic Games are not paid, they forced to wear purple uniform and the only free thing they get for their trouble is a travel card and a free uniform , yet the army of 70,000 so-called Games Makers are helping transform international perceptions of Britain. Witty, cheery and knowledgeable despite long days and often menial tasks, Sebastian Coe and Great Britain in general owe them a huge debt. Over the weekend , when many of the public Parks were starting to creak at the seams with an influx of 200,000 people – leading to long queues for everything from a cup of tea to the opportunity to spend money in the megastore – it was the volunteers that maintained the atmosphere of cheery goodwill in this corner of East London that has become a Mecca for the world’s sports fans. One hopes that volunteers for our own Olympics , EKO 2012 are reading this and they are learning some lessons from it.





VOL.7 NO.2,211

The Lagos State Road Traffic Law is welcome but the N20,000 - 30,000 fine is unrealistically high, out of tune with international standards and the local economy. Abroad similar fines are in line with or pegged to 1-2-3 times the minimum daily wage.’ TONY MARINHO



O the Presidential Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution under the eminent chairmanship of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Modibbo Belgore, wants the Office of the First Lady abolished at all levels of government. “The Committee,” it said in its report which it has since submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan, “noted the response from the State House on the First Lady and recommends that since the office does not operate under any legal framework that the operation and the funding (both in kind and cash) of such offices at all levels should be discouraged and abolished forthwith.” This sentiment is probably shared by the vast majority of Nigerians, given the abuse to which the office has been subjected by their occupants at all levels of government, all in the name of philanthropy and what have you. And as if to further deepen this popular antifirst lady sentiment, the spectacle of a most unedifying land tussle between Dame Patience and her predecessor, Turai Yar’Adua, has been playing out lately. The land in question is in the choice location of Abuja’s business district. As the original story goes, it belonged to Turai’s Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WYEF) but was revoked recently and given to African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) currently chaired by Dame Patience. The revocation apparently prompted Turai to head for the court. This, in turn, prompted an obviously embarrassed Federal Government to seek an out-of-court settlement through the intervention of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke. The intervention has failed, at least for now. The Office of the First Lady (OFL) has since disputed this version of the story which has clearly cast Dame Patience in the image of a power-hungry and mean-spirited bitch, given the well-known tragic circumstances of Turai’s widowhood. “Of course, it can be seen already,” said the OFL in a full page advert in Thisday (August 1), among other newspapers, “that there is an on-going deliberate effort to mislead the public by misrepresenting the facts, towards the ultimate aim of demonising the First Lady as a power abuser.” The facts, said the OFL, was that the land in question belonged to the AFLPM, in the first place. So if anyone abused her office at all, the OFL insinuated, it was Turai who, as First Lady, got then minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Adamu Aliero, to change the ownership of the land from AFLPM’s to her NGO’s. “In our view,” the OFL said, “the legal and the moral hues of this whole trend are obvious. But that is a matter between the Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation and the FCT Administration” because, according to the OFL, “the title of the Africa First Ladies Peace Centre was yet subsisting and unrevoked.” The AFLPM, established in 1997 to foster peace on the continent following the widely publicised 1995 UN Beijing Conference on



People and Politics By MOHAMMED HARUNA

The First Lady Syndrome and all that

•Mrs Jonathan

•Mrs Yar’Adua

Women, said the OFL, had agreed to locate its headquarters in Nigeria during its 2008 Summit in Congo, Brazzaville at which Turai was elected president – a second time for Nigeria, the first being in 1997 when Maryam, General Sani Abacha’s wife, hosted the organisation’s first summit in Abuja. On the same day, the OFL advert appeared in Thisday another full page advert signed by one, Dr. Samuel Dagogo, on behalf of “CONCERNED NIGERIANS” appeared in Daily Trust - incidentally the newspaper that broke the story - in support of Dame Patience. The media, “as usual in every matter that concerns the first family,” Dagogo said, was maliciously muddling the facts of the case just to give a dog a bad name to justify hanging it. Last Friday, another full page advert, this time unsigned, appeared in Thisday captioned “Attention! Pipers of Turai’s Land Orchestra. The advert was a reproduction of Daily Trust’s story on August 2 of an interview Aliero’s predecessor, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar, had with the Hausa Service of Voice of America the day before. In the interview the former minister said he it was who, in the first place, suggested

the idea of building the AFLPM secretariat to Turai’s husband, “as a legacy (she) would leave behind...just like the Women Centre built by the late Maryam Babangida and the National Hospital built by Maryam Abacha.” The late President Umaru Yar’Adua, Umar said, agreed and told him to look for land. He found one and duly allocated it to the AFLPM. I am not sure about any malicious intent on the part of the media towards Dame Patience, but from Umar’s seemingly incontrovertible account of the land dispute between the current First Lady and her predecessor, it does look, at least to me, that the press has been grossly unfair to the current First Lady, if only for the simple and obvious reason that the AFLPM, unlike Turai’s WYEF, is not Dame Patience’s personal NGO. But that is as far as I will go in defence of the current First Lady; the AFLPM may not be her personal NGO but, stripped of all pretences, it is, like the NGOs of virtually all our First Ladies at the national, state and local government levels, essentially ego trips – very expensive ego trips of little or no public value. The jamboree-like conduct of last month’s AFLPM’s summit in Abuja was hard to beat as a testament of how useless the organisation is in the pursuit of its objective of peace on the continent - and for that matter, of anything worthwhile. Worse, some of these NGOs - to wit Dame Patience’s Women for Change which she could as well have named Women for Jonathan, given the thinly disguised way she deployed state resources in her attempt to mobilise women and youths for her husband in last year’s presidential election - have proved themselves to be sheer abuse of the privilege of being married to power. Women everywhere have exercised tremendous influence over their men for good or bad. However in Africa, it seems, it has been more for bad than for good if only because, like their husbands, they seem to care more about their own creature comforts than about the greatest good for the greatest number of their people.



As the Christmas double edition of The Economist (December 18,2004) said in a long and rigorous article about “Powerful women in Africa,” the continent stands alone in the way First Ladies have exploited their proximity to power. “Of course,” the magazine said, “it is not only in Africa that extravagant first ladies can be found. Imelda Marcos tried to turn the Philippines into a giant shoe rack...Yet, for consistent big shopping and big ambitions in the office of the first lady, the poorest continent stand alone. In Africa, chaotic and corrupt, where proximity to power is paramount, first ladies can wield greater influence than any minister.” And on the continent itself, the magazine picked Nigeria as the worst offender. “Of all Africa’s big ladies – as with so many of the continent’s excesses – none,” it said, “has been bigger than Nigeria’s.” If you think this was an exaggeration, consider the drastic drop from the 80 per cent rate of child immunisation that the country had achieved under the late Professor Olukoye Ransome-Kuti as health minister, to 20 per cent from 1995 or thereabout when the OFL hijacked the national immunisation programme from the ministry. Consider again how the late Stella Obasanjo dragged this country, kicking and screaming, into hosting what was purely a private sector Miss World contest in November 2002; a contest which tragically led to riots in Kaduna and Abuja that left several innocent people dead and even more maimed. Consider even the current unedifying land dispute between Dame Patience and her predecessor, the outcome of which would benefit no one but themselves and perhaps a few in their charmed inner circle. Consider again the fact that both of them have, at various times, distinguished themselves in advocating for the inclusion of their office, which comes by happenstance rather than by hard work, in our constitution! And so on and so on. Chances then are that most Nigerians, as I said at the beginning of this piece, will agree with the Belgore presidential constitutional review committee that the Office of the First Lady should be abolished. That, I believe, would be wrong. It would, I think, amount to throwing away the baby with the bathwater. True, the office has largely been an object of gross abuse. But then so has every office in the land, and no one in his right mind would suggest abolishing them as a cure. The OFL is not bad in itself. Just as it has been mainly a force for bad in this country, it can also be a force for good. The difference lies in how the public can effectively express its displeasure at any leader who allows his spouse to abuse her proximity to power. •For comments, send SMS to 08054502909

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Legal and logical contradictions in Edo

GAINST all expectations and even predictions, a few members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decided to challenge the electoral victory of Governor Adams Oshiomhole in last month’s governorship election. The defeat suffered by the PDP was so comprehensive and undisputedly clear that neither the party nor its candidate, Maj Gen Charles Arhiavbere (retd), was enthusiastic about filing a petition against the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate’s victory. According to the party’s director of publicity, Okharedia Ihimekpen, the PDP presented a number of legal grounds for their petition. Among them were that Oshiomhole presented a lesser educational qualification than required by the Electoral Act; that the election was marred by intimidation and harassment, which prevented voters from exercising their right to vote in some 11 wards; and that inaccurate voter registers were used in some polling areas. The state chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih,

has, however, dissociated the party from the petition filed by the publicity secretary. The PDP state chairman’s position is the more authentic voice of the party, but except the litigants withdraw their petition, the case will go on. However, it appears that much more than legal reasons, the court action is driven by what a faction of the party describes as its desire to deepen democracy and the rule of law. Why that faction feels challenging an electoral victory deepens democracy much more than congratulating the undisputed victor in the spirit of true sportsmanship is difficult to tell. We can hazard a guess that flirting with legal and logical contradictions may in fact be a peculiarity of the Edo political class. Recall that shortly before the election, the governor himself, Comrade Oshiomhole, had raised the alarm that some elements in the PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had colluded to undermine the integrity of the poll. Then, during the election itself, he charged that there was proof the shortcomings in the July 14 poll were designed by

the opposition to steal the election, an act he was determined to mobilise his supporters to resist. When it turned out his fears were a little exaggerated, he explained that had he not cried wolf, the incredible would have happened. The cry of alarm was in effect his own way of deepening democracy, ensuring electoral fidelity and safeguarding the rule of law. In Edo, in other words, they do the incredible to deepen democracy. If Ihimekpen’s petition secures the backing of Arhiavbere, the PDP candidate in that election, it will just be another evidence of Edo politicians doing the incredible to deepen democracy and the rule of law. We must however hope that the day never comes when Chief Tony Anenih, the man often described as an implacable electoral fixer, will argue that the role he played in undermining the victory of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 1993 presidential election actually deepened democracy. That’ll be the day.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:01-8962807, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation August 08, 2012  

The Nation August 08, 2012