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NEWS

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•Governor gets second term nod

•Senators visit vehicle plant www.thenationonlineng.net

VOL. 8, NO. 2696 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH

N150.00

•PDP SEEKS REMOVAL OF G-5 GOVERNORS P4 •CONCERT FOR MANDELA IN LAGOS P10

•People running after the police fired teargas to disperse lawmakers, who sat on the street in Port Harcourt…yesterday

Amaechi to meet President on missing $49.8b, others

Police bar Rivers lawmakers from sitting

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ATTLE-READY policemen, led by Rivers State Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu shot live bullets and fired teargas canisters at the 25 lawmakers loyal to Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who sat yesterday at the centre of Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, near the Assembly Complex.

•Mbu set to go on course From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

The policemen also barricaded the main gates of the Rivers House of Assembly with three Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and many patrol vans, preventing the 31

lawmakers from sitting. The 25 lawmakers loyal to Amaechi, who is also the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), and the six legislators being backed by the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, as well as their supporters, were not allowed to move near the Assembly’s gate. Continued on page 4

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

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IVERS State Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi plans to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan over allegations of non- remittance of some funds by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the federation account. Amaechi, who is the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), said the Forum, after its meeting in Abu•Amaechi

Continued on page 4

Obasanjo joins Jonathan, aides at breakfast in Kenya •SEE ALSO PAGES 2,3&6

Security to probe letter’s content From Yusuf Alli and Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

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OURS after his letter went viral on the Internet and landed on many breakfast tables —courtesy of many newspapers— former President Olusegun Obasanjo had breakfast with President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday. There was no invitation to the ex-President whose sudden appearance at breakfast surprised Jonathan, who was said to eat at his lounge in Nairobi, Kenya. Also yesterday, The Nation learnt that security agencies may probe Obasanjo’s allegation that Jonathan is training snipers to kill

•Lagos State Agric -Yes Trainees during their graduation at the Agric Training Institute, Araga PokaEpe... yesterday PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

Continued on page 4

•CITYBEATS P10 •SPORT P24 •SOCIETY P43 •POLITICS P51 •FOREIGN P61


THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

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NEWS OBASANJO’S ATTACK ON JONATHAN

Obasanjo... B NEWS ANALYSIS

O •Former Ghananian President John Kufuor (left) and President of Carbon War Room, London, Jose Figueres, at the 2013 Access Bank Conference in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA

•From left: Chairman, Access Bank, Gbenga Oyebode, Senator Remi Tinubu and Director, Access Bank, Tunde Folawiyo, at the 2013 Access Bank Confrence in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA

•From left: MD/CEO, International Style Weeks Ltd, Bassey Essien, Dean, School of Media & Communications at Pan Atlantic University, Prof Emevwo Biakolo and Alhaji Tajudeen Dantata, at the Irish Investment Event in Lagos.

•The guest speaker, Gbonjubonuola Sanni; Country Director, Ghana- African Child Social Empowerment Centre, Alex Obi; Executive Director , African Child Social Empowerment Centre, Bonaventure Enemali, during a programme' Moment with Children', organised for stundents by the African Child Social Empowerment Centre in Lagos.

LUSEGUN Obasanjo, retired general, civil war hero and former military Head of State and President, is combative in this Yuletide . It was as if he is going into another war. His Christmas present to the Commander-In-Chief and National Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came too early. It signalled the parting of ways between the benefactor and his political son. In a fit of anger, Obasanjos hit his estranged political son, President Goodluck Jonathan, with his sword. The letter to the President was full of bile. But it is also instructive. The former PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman doubted Dr. Jonathan’s competence, saying that he is unfit for a second term. Instantly, the President became an orphan after his mentor delivered the deadly blow. Obasanjo’s verdict is that Jonathan’s government is deficient in character, integrity and honour. The benefactor had become Jonathan’s albatross. The former President cleverly isolated himself from the administration, as if he did not lay its foundation. He showcased the hollow in Jonathan’s score card, urging Nigerians to make him answerable for ineptitude. Leaning on public opinion, which had put the Federal Government on the edge, the former leader exploited public emotion and sentiment to nail its coffin. The timing of Obasanjo’s letter to the President is strategic. It has come at a time the President is facing battles on many fronts. As the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken the government to task over the national drift, aggrieved PDP chieftains are challenging the President to a duel. The bomb was also delivered to Aso Rock at a time the President has come under attacks by stakeholders who perceive him as a burden to the ruling party and the polity, owing to poor performance. Now, the letter may boost the North’s campaign that 2015 should be the terminal year for the administration. Opinion is divided on the motive of the long letter. This is primarily based on the perception of Obasanjo’s dual status as a statesman and a bad ruler, whose presidency also left a sour taste in the mouth. There are some puzzles: What is the legacy of the self-acclaimed gerontocratic monitor? What good example did he lay for his successors-the late Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua and Jonathan? Is he fighting the President because he accepted his letter of resignation as the BoT Chairman gleefully and without much reflection? Is it because Jonathan is indifferent to Obasanjo’s loss of grip on the Ogun State PDP? Is Obasanjo on a patriotic mission? In the past, the former President has attempted to pull down perceived and imagined foes and some notable leaders. Instructively, Jonathan lacks the charisma, charm and carriage exhibited by these celebrated leaders. Many critics have suggested that Obasanjo has an obsession with history. They say that he wants to be accorded the pride of a rare leader, who towers above others in national history. While history cannot deny him a vantage place, critics have expressed reservation about the validity of making him a role model in good governance. Obasanjo’s allegations against Jonathan are on the front burner. Two are laughable, not because of their veracity, but the kettle may have the

•Dr Jonathan By Emmanuel Oladesu Group Political Editor

calling the pot black. Obasanjo alleged that the President is not tackling corruption. In the past, critics raised the issue with the Obasanjo Administration, although it set up anti-graft agencies which targeted perceived foes for political liquidation. The second allegation is the one term agreement. But in the past, there were echoes of third term. The letter has revealed the consistency of Obasanjo’s pastime in blissful retirement. That is the passion for taking on past leaders for the purpose of bringing out their faults. After retiring as the military Head of State, he had ventured into book writing. In his controversial book, ‘Not My Will’, he mocked the indomitable Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Premier of Western Region, who had visited his school when he was bare footed. He pointed out that, despite his ambition and long struggle to rule the country, he missed the opportunity. However, Obasanjo emphasised that the same position landed on his palm without struggle. In fact, in 1979, Gen. Obasanjo had remarked that the best material may not become the President. Many believed that he was referring to Awo. Obasanjo also took on Dr Nnamidi Azikiwe, teacher, philosopher and first ceremonial President. He described him as a towering leader who fell from the position of pre-eminence nationally, only to carry on with life in his old age as a tribal chieftaincy holder, the Owelle of Onitsha. In his view, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, a First Republic federal legislator and Minister of Health from Borno was a rich businessmen, but an unserious contender for the Presidency. The late Aminu Kano, the champion of the oppressed, was described by ObasanJo as a renowned placard carrier, who can even protest against himself. Obasanjo also dismissed Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the late Gen.Tunde Idiagbon, his juniors in the Army, as autocratic military rulers who held the nation in its jugular. He criticised Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s economic policies. On the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), he disagreed with IBB on the implementation process, saying that adjustment must have human face, human heart and milk of human kindness.


THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

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NEWS

HAN

OBASANJO’S ATTACK ON JONATHAN

o... Benefactor turned albatross ‘

The recent letter has revealed the consistency of Obasanjo’s pastime in blissful retirement. That is the passion for taking on past leaders for the purpose of bringing out their faults. •Chief Obasanjo

When Babangida tinkered with the transition timetable, Obasanjo rallied prominent Nigerians to protest the elongation of military rule. He was one of the leaders who suggested the Interim National Government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan. He

•The late Yar’Adua

•Gen. Buhari

said the option was regrettable but understandable. The suggestion nailed the coffin of “June 12”. Of course, Obasanjo said the winner of the historic presidential poll, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, was not the messiah.

In 2007, when the third term project collapsed, Obasanjo threw his weight behind Yar’Adua/Jonathan ticket. When Yar’Adua could not cope with the rigour of office, due to health problem, he said at a public lecture that, although a person can help somebody

to find job, but when he knows that he cannot perform the task again, he should vacate the seat. Now that Obasanjo has turned the heat on Jonathan, there will be parting of ways. Ironically, the former President had recently ac-

cepted the task of reconciling the President and aggrieved PDP chieftains. But, with this letter, there is loss of mutual confidence. The personality rift will also take a further toll on the PDP. Now that Obasanjo has declared war on Jonathan, what next?

Reply ex-President, activists tell Jonathan A

CIVIL society group, under the aegis of the United Action for Democracy (UAD), has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to respond to issues raised in the letter sent to him by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo, in the letter, which was widely circulated in the media yesterday, chronicled the alleged atrocities of the administration. Addressing reporters yesterday in Abuja, the UAD expressed apprehension over corruption allegations, state-induced terrorism and promotion of ethnic and religious divisions in the country. The group’s National Convener, Comrade Baba Aye warned that unless the issues are addressed by President Jonathan as timely as possible, the Nigerian people would continue to live in fear of the unknown. Aye said: “The UAD regards these allegations with utmost seriousness and demands an urgent verifiable response from the Presidency”. The group urged Nigerians to rise and defend their democratic and not be cowed by “cowardly militaristic machinations of the Nigerian state, supposedly in a civilian garb.”

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‘Nigeria on the brink of collapse’

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N elder statesman, Chief Deji Fasuan, has said the country is on the brink of collapse. Fasuan was reacting to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan. His statement reads: “Nigeria is in the doldrums, we all knew about it Nigeria is the butt of all jokes the is well known but what is new if not alarming is that a former President and godfather of the incumbent sat down and wrote to the President and to the world at large, an eighteen page letter, full of explicable indictments and stating boldly that he stands by them is a new dimension to the political history of Nigeria. “Some people have cast OBJ in one conclave which is Obasanjo in government is a dictator a small time tyrant with a big measure of impunity whereas OBJ out of government is a model democrat, even a patriot who loves his country dearly. Has this compartmentalisation again come in to the fore? Whatever conclusion Nigerians arrive at one fact has emerged, Nigeria totters Nigeria is on the brink. This reminds me of my age long belief that Nigeria is too big a space to be ruled by a blackman, any blackman, God does not endow the blackman to tule colossal landmarks like Nigeria. Rather the blackman is ideally suited to rule or to preside over small estates like the ones that dot the West African Coast. In short, he lacks the commitment and capacity to manage affairs of Nigeria. “For a long long time to come, OBJ’s exposure will be a subject of passionate debate the corporate offices, among professional politicians, market places and University Union Government. The Americans spoke about 2015 some years back and we jeered at them. “Are we not nearing their doom’s day? God help!” From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

Lamenting the heightened insecurity in the land, particularly in the Northeast, the

UAD deplored the apparent inability of government to address the situation. “It is particularly worrisome that there is surreptitious sharpening of the teeth of

state terrorism going on, which could take us back to the dark ages of the Abacha dictatorship. The civil society group warned the leadership against the pursuit of selfish political interests in manners that could plunge the nation into avoidable crisis. “There is hardly any clearer testimony to this than the December 2 letter of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan. “What needs to be added is that the pursuit of selfish personal and political interests, which is brewing a crisis of gargantuan proportions, is not limited to President Jonathan and his own clique, but is a general nature of the band of brigands that are the country’s leaders, and the neoliberal capitalist system which they run. “Information to this extent has been provided by a former President, Chief Obasanjo, in his recent letter where he stated that the President has placed over 1000 Nigerians on political watch list and is training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely”.

PDP chief to Obasanjo: I’m not a criminal

GUN State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and business mogul Prince Buruji Kashamu has faulted the contents of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan. Kashamu, in a letter to Jonathan through his lawyers, said Obasanjo goofed by describing him as a criminal. He said the letter contained several deliberate misrepresentations and outright falsehoods, adding that it was wrong of Obasanjo to tell the president how to govern, when to vacate the position of President of the country and who not to associate

with. The letter reads: “Whereas the language of this unholy treatise betrays the workmanship of the several idle professional letter writers that hang around the former President, the concepts are unmistakably that of a man who having been worsted and outsmarted politically seeks to play his usual “raging bull in a china shop” role to the hilt with the hope that he would destroy something really valuable to you in the process. “We have no doubt that you would have yourself seen through the morass of ill-motivated statements made in that document and might have already given it the treatment it de-

serves by discarding it into the nearest dustbin. “Although most of the falsehoods contained therein are primarily designed to make you look incompetent and unproductive as a leader and your associates as criminal and unpatriotic elements, it is clear that the author’s pettiness and character assassination attempt is also targeted at our client, Prince Buruji Kashamu on whose behalf we write this rejoinder. “At pages 14 to 15 of the letter General Obasanjo makes libelous, false and totally fictional statements concerning our client and pretends to quote extensively from a non-existent paper which he claims was produced

by an obscure scholar, Lansana Gberie, who, from a search on the internet, is revealed to be no more than a Senior Research fellow with the Africa Conflict Prevention Programme of the Institute for Security Studies in Addis Ababa, an equally obscure organisation. “This campaign of calumny against Prince Kashamu has been a continuing though failed project of the Obasanjo led group and has culminated in several libel suits and other court actions including those that were twisted by Obasanjo’s statements and the fake quotation set out by him and ascribed to one Lansana Gberie.”

•Kashamu


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THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

NEWS Obasanjo joins Jonathan, aides at breakfast in Kenya

Boko Haram responsible for attack on military base, says Shekau

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Continued from page 1

his political enemies in 2015. If necessary, the Federal Government may throw open the probe of the allegation, a source said. The President is said to have sent Obasanjo’s letter to one of the security chiefs. There was, however, pressure on Jonathan last night not to directly reply his estranged political godfather, Obasanjo. Obasanjo visited Jonathan in his lounge at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi amidst tension, a source said. It was gathered that when the ex-president reached the lounge, there was “pin-drop silence” as no one expected such a visit after his bombshell. The source, who pleaded not to be named because he was not permitted to speak to the media, said: “Obasanjo said he came to visit the President as it is customary to honour a sitting President. “Obasanjo tried to exchange banters, but the President, who was calm, just chose to look at him without referring to the letter. Obasanjo also did not refer to it. “All members of the presidential entourage displayed disdain for Obasanjo, but he carried on as if he did the right thing. “Curiously, Obasanjo joined the President for breakfast after which he left. We were all touched that he had no regret for writing such an odious let-

•President Jonathan arriving in Kenya...yesterday

ter.” As at last night, there was pressure on the President not to “heat up the system” by replying Obasanjo. A senior government official said: “Many leaders in the country have been appealing to the President to gloss over the letter because it has been the habit of Obasanjo since 1979. “Obasanjo did it to the administrations of Shehu Shagari, Buhari-Idiagbon, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, and the late Umaru Yar’Adua. Asked whether the government will not address any of

the allegations, the official said: “While the government may address a few observations in the letter, many Nigerians have been prevailing on the President not to take up issues with Obasanjo.” Responding to a question, the source added: “Others mentioned in the letter can defend themselves. Also, some pressure groups, which have more insight into JonathanObasanjo relationship can put a few issues in the public domain. ” The source said Obasanjo might have released the letter because he felt slighted that Jonathan referred to him while

PHOTO: NAN

paying tribute to the late Nelson Mandela at the Aso Rock Chapel last Sunday. “I think he was hurt that the President said Nigeria had no Mandela but tiny minds who think they can direct affairs from their bedrooms.” The probe of the allegation of training snipers may be open to international agencies for verification, it was learnt. The President and security agencies were reportedly shocked about the allegation. “So far, there is no evidence that snipers are undergoing training in any part of the country. And no formation in Continued on page 60

PDP to court: order removal of governors for defecting to APC

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HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the court to order the Houses of Assembly in five states to impeach the governors who left the party last month for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Its lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon, filed a case before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, urging it to order the removal of Governors Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Wamakko

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

(Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara). The governors, who were members of the Group of Seven who joined others to form the New PDP led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje, dumped the PDP. Joined in the suit, which is yet to be slated for hearing, is the Independent National

Electoral Commission (INEC). The PDP cited Sections 177 (c), 221 and 222 (c) of the Constitution as the basis for which the court could declare the governors ineligible to remain in office, having defected to the APC. The PDP formulated five questions for the court’s determination and prayed it for six reliefs. The reliefs include an order mandating or directing the

State Houses of Assembly of Adamawa, Rivers, Sokoto, Kano and Kwara states “to commence impeachment proceedings against the 2nd - 6th defendants (the governors) forthwith.” The others are declaration that: •by the combined provisions of section 177 (c), 221 and 222 (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Continued on page 60

HE Isamist sect, Boko Haram, claimed yesterday responsibility for the daring raid on military installations in Maiduguri earlier this month. Its leader Abubakar Shekau, in a video obtained by the French news agency (AFP), said it got “spoils” from the raid. “Allah the Almighty has given us victory in the attack we launched inside Maiduguri [which was] called Borno in ancient times,” said Shekau in a 40-minute clip. Speaking in Arabic, Hausa and Kanuri, Shekau added: “We stormed the city and fought them [and] Allah blessed us with lots of booty.” The video, which was obtained through an intermediary, shows Shekau dressed in military fatigues with a turban and Kalashnikov assault rifle leaning on his chest. He speaks for 19 minutes. The rest of the tape shows images of burning buildings and aircraft said to be from the December 2 attack in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

It also shows a display of weapons the banned Islamist group says it seized in the attack, including dozens of Kalashnikovs and rockets. The authenticity of the tape could not be verified independently but it appears to back up descriptions from witnesses and the military, who described aircraft being destroyed and buildings set on fire. The camera footage appears to show militant gunmen with their heads covered, carrying assault rifles in the army and air force compounds, with buildings ablaze in the darkness. At first light, groups of men are seen setting fire to three fighter jets on the tarmac as fires raged in the cockpits of two helicopters in aircraft hangars. In another shot, a burnt-out tank is seen in a deserted street. The military said only three decommissioned aircraft and two helicopters were “incapacitated”. Continued on page 60

Amaechi to meet President on missing $49.8b, others Continued from page 1

ja yesterday underscored the need for the meeting. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in a letter to President Jonathan, said the NNPC had failed to remit $49.8 billion to the Federation Account. The sum, he said, represented the proceeds from crude oil sales between January 2012 and July 2013. But the NNPC has denied the CBN governor’s allegation saying it was borne out of Sanusi’s misunderstanding of the workings of the oil and gas industry. The communiqué by the NGF after the meeting said: “There is a weighty allegation contained in a recent letter to Mr. President by the CBN Governor on the state of the economy. “Therefore, members mandated the forum’s chairman to request for a meeting with Mr.

President in order to deliberate on issues of critical national importance. “The meeting with the President has become necessary because the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for November, planned for Dec. 9 and 10, was shelved for undisclosed reasons.” It also pointed out that the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, scheduled for Dec. 12, where such issues could have been discussed, was postponed indefinitely. The NEC meeting, the forum said, had not been convened in the last four months. But it condoled with the government and people of South Africa over the death of its former president, Dr Nelson Mandela, noting that Mandela left a legacy of quality and selfless leadership which was Continued on page 60

Police bar Rivers lawmakers from sitting Continued from page 1

Wike declared that the six lawmakers loyal to him would soon sit on the floor of the Assembly. He condemned the decision of the 25 lawmakers, led by Deputy Speaker Leyii Kwanee, to sit on the main road. Speaker Otelemaba Dan Amachree is overseas for medical treatment. The self-acclaimed Speaker, Evans Bipi, who represents Ogu/Bolo Constituency, said at the appropriate time, he would reconvene the House, insisting that the 25 proAmaechi lawmakers remained suspended, in line with the April 29 decision of the Chief Felix Obuah-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. The Rivers PDP said Amaechi should be held responsible for further crisis in the state, describing yesterday’s alleged use of hooligans to occupy the House of Assembly complex by the supporters of Amaechi as provocative. The Bipi-led lawmakers were determined to sit, in line with Wednesday’s judgment of the Federal High Court

(FHC), Abuja, presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, which declared as unconstitutional, the taking over of the Assembly by the National Assembly. Wike’s supporters stayed in front of the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre on Moscow Road, beside the police headquarters. Amaechi’s gathered at the Workers’ Square, near the main gate of the Secretariat Complex. With the likelihood of the anti-Amaechi lawmakers to storm the Assembly from 8 am, like they did during the fracas of July 9, the policemen took over the main gate before 8 am, making it impossible for the legislators, Assembly workers and journalists to have access to the complex. Three APCs were positioned at the Assembly’s gate, with over 50 patrol vans and an army of policemen. Moscow Road, which hosts the Court of Appeal, was closed to traffic. Of the 25 pro-Amaechi lawmakers, around 10:45 am, 22 with chairs provided by Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, started sitting

on the road, by the junction of Moscow Road and William Jumbo Road. In a show of force, at 11:05 am, policemen invaded the road, firing guns and teargas canisters. Mbu, who is leaving Rivers on Sunday, preparatory to his one year course at the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru near Jos on January 30, led policemen to eject the lawmakers, who sat for about 20 minutes. While the sitting lasted, the Deputy Speaker Leyii Kwanee, who presided, said the legislators loyal to Amaechi planned to sit, but were shocked to discover that policemen had barricaded the road. They also wanted to brief Mbu about the planned sitting for adequate security, he said. Other lawmakers who spoke at the sitting were Josiah Orlu (Eleme constituency), Victoria Nyeche (Port Harcourt 1), Ibiso Nwuche (Ahoada West) and Gift Nwokocha (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni). As Aye Pepple (Bonny) held the microphone to speak, po-

licemen stormed the place. There was confusion. The pro-Amaechi legislators condemned the police action, saying they came to perform their legitimate duties. Wike, a former Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt; the DirectorGeneral of Amaechi Campaign Organisation in 2011 and the grand patron of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), spoke through the Secretary-General of the GDI, Samuel Nwanosike. The Supervising Minister of Education said: “We will go to the Rivers House of Assembly to sit, when Rivers Police Command is notified of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, with the Certified True Copy (CTC). Rt. Hon. Evans Bipi will preside. “The 25 pro-Amaechi lawmakers are deceiving themselves. They remain suspended. On the day of the sitting, we will inform the whole world that the lawmakers are more than six. Rt. Hon. Evans Bipi will announce the proper reconvening of the House and the lawmakers will sit without fear.

“Why is Amaechi and his supporters desperate to sit? Imagine the desperation of sitting on the road. Rt. Hon. Bipi and the other lawmakers will not go to that ridiculous extent, because they are loved by Rivers people and remain gentlemen.” The pro-Wike lawmakers are Bipi, Michael Okechukwu Chinda (Obio/Akpor II constituency), Kelechi Godspower Nwogu (Omuma), Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor I), Victor Ihunwo (Port Harcourt III) and Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, the Chief Whip (Andoni). Ibani, until his December 1 defection to Wike’s camp, was one of the 27 pro-Amaechi members. The chief whip is a political “boy” to the Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, from Ikuru Town in Andoni Local Government Area, but defected at the GDI’s rally in Ogu, headquarters of Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area. Initially 27 lawmakers were supporting Amaechi. One of them, Tonye Harry, a former Speaker and deputy to Amae-

•Mbu

chi while he was Speaker for eight years, recently died. He has not been replaced. The Obuah-led PDP, through the Special Adviser to the Rivers Chairman on Media, Jerry Needam, said: Continued on page 60

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 08099365644, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

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THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

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N NEWS EWS

Atiku to leaders: speak up

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•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (middle) with members of the Local Government Consultative/Advisory Council for the 20 local governments in the state after the governor inaugurated the council in Abeokuta...yesterday.

Obasanjo’s letter causes confusion in State House

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ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, which was released to the media on Wednesday, caused confusion at the State House in Abuja yesterday. The former President raised weighty allegations against Jonathan. The President was away in Kenya attending the 50th Independence anniversary cele-

•Sambo, Anenih, Gulak, others meet behind closed-door From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

bration of the East African country. The letter was believed to have resulted in a series of separate meetings yesterday between Vice President Namadi Sambo, top government officials, presidential aides and

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains. Sambo met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe; the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe; the National Publici-

ty Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh and Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Umar Sani, in his office. Information Minister Labaran Maku and Transport Minister Senator Idris Umar later joined them at the meeting. Sambo, Maku and Umar

Sagay, Ubani, others: letter shocking

Ex-President lacks moral right to advise AGOS lawyer Mr Femi President, says Falana Falana (SAN) has said

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former President Olusegun Obasanjo lacks the moral right to advise President Goodluck Jonathan on economic and political issues. Rather, Falana urged Nigerians to use the intra-class squabble in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to get organised and take their political destiny in their own hands. In a statement yesterday in Lagos, Falana said: “The time has come to end the opportunism of discredited rulers who are in the habit of exploiting the frustrations and disenchantment of the people to become emergency heroes.” The activist, who was reacting to Obasanjo’s 18-page letter to Dr Jonathan, described the President as “a faithful student of the Obasanjo school of politics”.

By Adebisi Onanuga

Falana noted that Obasanjo, in the letter, accused the Jonathan administration of “incompetence, abuse of office, corruption and gross mismanagement of the resources of the nation”. He added: “Apart from accusing the government of celebrating criminality, including drug trafficking, Chief Obasanjo blamed the administration for the rising wave of impunity, terrorism and ethno-religious strife in the country.” The frontline lawyer noted that instead of dismissing the contents of the letter, the Presidency should respond to the allegations raised “therein seriatim”. Falana said: “In particular,

the allegation that the Federal Government is setting up a Presidential Strike Force to carry out terrorist attacks on political opponents should not be swept under the carpet.” According to him, while Obasanjo accused Jonathan of allegedly diverting $7 billion from the Federation Account, he (Obasanjo) had not accounted for the over $20 billion which he diverted from the same account. “The 36 state governments sued the Federal Government over the illegal diversion of such huge public fund by former President Obasanjo and the case is pending at the Supreme Court. “The Senate recently indicted Obasanjo, (Umaru Musa) Yar’Adua and President

E •Obasanjo

Jonathan for mismanaging the Federation Account to the tune of N1.5 trillion. The Senate has recommended the revocation of the fraudulent privatisation of public assets carried out by President Obasanjo. “The Transcorp Hotel was bought by a sitting President through “blind trust” while the House of Representatives indicted the Obasanjo regime for spending $16 billion to generate darkness.”

‘Jonathan is product of Obasanjo’s interference’

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lawyer, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN), has said President Goodluck Jonathan is a product of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s meddlesomeness in the nation’s politics. The lawyer was reacting yesterday to the sundry allegations in Obasanjo’s letter against Jonathan. He noted that though the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter to the President were mere allegations, “we must not lose sight that Jonathan is a creation of Obasanjo’s interference in the electoral process”. Ngige said: “It was Obasanjo, who foisted (the late President Umaru Musa) Yar’Adua/Jonathan (ticket) on Nigeria. The election that brought them to power in 2007 was not free and fair, which was also confirmed by the late Yar’Adua himself. I don’t expect a person whose election was by hook and

•Ngige, Fasanmi, Sani seek answers to allegations By Leke Salaudeen

crook to behave like a democrat or keep to an agreement. The lawyer said Obasanjo could not be playing the ostrich when Jonathan was his own creation. According to him, whatever Jonathan is doing today is what Obasanjo has done in the past. The lawyer said Obasanjo wanted a third term after serving two terms, adding that there were cases of high profile political assassination when he was in power. Ngige said: “Obasanjo also worked against the interest of his party when he supported Ikedi Ohakim against Ifeanyi Ararume, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Imo State in 2007. Anything Jonathan is doing is a rehash of what Obasanjo did during his time in

power. “So, Obasanjo writing to Jonathan is like trying to play smart. But Nigerians cannot be fooled,” Ngige added. He, however, advised Jonathan to examine the message, search his conscience and make necessary sacrifices to move the country forward. Elder statesman and Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, said the content of the letter “is a terrible indictment on the PDP”. He said the Obasanjo’s letter was the beginning of the end of the PDP. Fasanmi urged the National Assembly to set up a committee to investigate the issues raised in the letter, adding that they should impeach Jonathan, if the allegations were found to be true. The Afenifere chieftain said Obasanjo obviously had

later left others to attend a scheduled meeting inside one of the conference halls of the VP’s office while the others moved to Oghiadomhe’s office to continue the meeting. The Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, also held a meeting with the Vice President. Anenih declined to comment on issues discussed when reporters asked him to.

ORMER Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday urged senior citizens, who got copies of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, to speak up. In a statement by his media office in Abuja, Atiku urged the nation’s elders to speak up to reduce the tension created by the weighty allegations in the letter. Obasanjo said he sent copies to former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and former military President Ibrahim Babangida. Second Republic Vice President Alex Ekwueme and a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Yakubu Danjuma were reportedly copied. Atiku said like every other Nigerian, he was nervous about Obasanjo’s allegations. He said the allegations were too disturbing to be treated with kid gloves. Atiku explained that at a time the rest of the world was looking at Nigeria as a beacon of hope for stability, the content of Obasanjo’s letter should be urgently addressed by former leaders and elders.

his facts before making such damaging allegations against the President, a member of his party. “The PDP has no right to be in government. It is so much divided. It lacks discipline. It has ruled for 14 years without anything to show for it. The PDP government is an embodiment of corruption,” he added. Spokesman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Tony Sani said while it might be indecorous for the former President to leak the altercations between him and Jonathan - known to be his political vassal - it was more indecorous for the Presidency to resort to uncouth language for replies. Sani said: “On the whole, except perhaps the aspect of Mr President arming snipers, the former President has said what most Nigerians already knew.”

By Adebisi Onanuga

MINENT lawyers yesterday expressed shock and dismay on former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, with the plethora of allegations in it. Obasanjo, among other allegations, accused Jonathan of aiding corruption and polarising Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines. The lawyers were particularly piqued that the President allegedly placed about 1,000 Nigerians on political watch list and that he was training snipers and other armed security personnel in a secret location. The lawyers described the allegations as weighty and that they should not be dismissed with the wave of the hand. The Chairman of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Monday Ubani, described the allegation as “very grievous”. Ubani said: “It is a very grievous allegation. If those allegations are true, then something needs to be done very fast to nip all those things in the bud. “Clearly, Nigeria is on the verge of liquidation and, if you place over 1,000 people on watch list and you are going to use snipers to eliminate them - as the President - then that is very grave for this country. “Then, given the fact that these allegations came from Obasanjo, a top notch of the PDP, tells you that there is more to it than meets the eye.” Constitutional lawyer Prof. Itse Sagay described the allegations as capable of causing Nigerians great anxiety. He said: “They are very serious allegations and they could set the country on a state of alert and anxiety. This is because for somebody at the level of Obasanjo - a former Head of State and, I will say, the mentor of the current President - to have made these serious accusations, it sends an alarm bell ringing, which could be troubling to every rational citizens. I am indeed very troubled. “What even frightens me most is the allegation that snipers are being trained in the same place where (the late Head of State, Gen. Sani) Abacha’s killer squads were trained and that there are some Nigerians under political watch list! That is very frightening, because it is not something you expect under a civilian democratic government, except under a military dictatorship. “So, it is very frightening and I am very unsettled about it, particularly given what happened to the late Prof. Festus Iyayi, whose cause of death has not yet been resolved. It is very, very disturbing.” Chief Ladi Rotimi-Williams (SAN) said the content of the letter was powerful. The lawyer agreed with Obasanjo that a lot was wrong in the country. He noted that President Jonathan would be doing a great disservice to himself if he considered the letter as insulting rather than taking appropriate actions on the issues Obasanjo raised. “The President is like a son to Obasanjo. A father from time to time may deem it necessary to tongue-lash his son when he finds the son going in the wrong direction. This is what the former President has done. “If I were privileged to advise President Jonathan, I would tell him to take it in good faith.”


THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

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N NEWS EWS

‘Govt’s inaction fuels violence in Nigeria’

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global rights advocacy group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has blamed government’s inaction for the recurring ethno-religious violence in the North. The “inaction” has resulted in the death of scores of innocent people in the region, especially the Northeast. HRW said government’s reluctance to bring the perpetrators to justice, the ineffectiveness of the nation’s criminal justice system and

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

the inability to conduct thorough investigation, sustained the prevalence of the violence. It noted that rather than confront the problem of sectarian and communal violence, the government often politicised it and set up commissions to investigate killings. The group stressed that the government failed to act on the reports from such commissions. HRW’s position is based

on a report it released yesterday in Abuja following its investigation into violence in Plateau and Kaduna states in 2010. The report, titled: Leave Everything to God: Accountability for Inter-Communal Violence in Plateau and Kaduna states, Nigeria, catalogues horrific sectarian violence in both states, with over 3,000 people killed since 2010. In the 146-page report, HRW noted that the Nigerian government ignored years of mass murder in Plateau and Kaduna states.

It said victims of communal violence, including women and children, were hacked to death, burnt alive or shot because of their ethnic or religious identities. The report examines government’s failure, with rare exceptions, to hold perpetrators accountable, although many were known in the affected communities. HRW decried extra-judicial killings by security agents deployed in the troubled areas. The group noted that

even where the attorneygeneral of the federation (AGF) made efforts to prosecute, the state did not always follow such prosecution to the end. It said the Boko Haram sect also blamed its resort to violence on the government’s inability to ensure justice. HRW said the only way to tame violence in the country was to ensure that perpetrators of violence “are investigated and prosecuted and victims compensated for their losses.”

Army promotes 27 to maj-general By Joseph Jibueze

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HE Nigerian Army has promoted 27 Brigadiers-General to the rank of Majors-General. Among them is BrigadierGeneral A. O. Amusu, the second woman to be promoted to the Major-General rank. Nigeria’s first woman two-star general, Major-General Aderonke Kale (rtd), was also the first woman to head the Nigerian Army Medical Corps. The promotions, the Army said, were in line with sections 10 (1) and 11 (b) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Those promoted are: Brigadiers-General J. N. Nimyel, L. K. J. Ogunewe, S. N. Muazu, L. W. Wiwa, A. B. Abubakar, A. O. Edokpayi, T. C. Ude, A. A. Salihu, O. E. Ekanem, S. Yusuf, A. O. Okoh, E. J. Atewe, P. A. T. Akem, C. O. Okoro, Y. M. Abubakar, M. A. Alkali and S. J. Davies. Others are: F. O. Alli, A. Mohammed, A. Oyebade, I. I. Abbah, N. O. Amerie, J. G. S. Hamakim, R. N. Nkado, S. A. Adebayo, and A. C. Olukolade. The officers are of the Regular Combatant and Direct Regular Commission.

•The Choir of the Redeemed Christian Church of God performing at the 2013 Holy Ghost Congress... yesterday.

•Pastor Enoch Adeboye ministering... yesterday

ABU hails The Nation for Newspaper of the Year, others’ awards

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THE management of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria, Kaduna State, has congratulated the management and workers of The Nation for winning the Newspaper of the Year and five other awards. The university said the awards have placed more responsibility on the organisation to surpass its achievements. In a letter of congratulation to the Managing Director of The Nation, Mr. Victor Ifijeh, by ABU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, the university management noted that the awards meant more work for the newspaper. The letter reads: “On behalf of the Council, the management, staff and students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, I wish to felicitate with the board and management of Vintage Press Limited, the publishers of The Nation, for the gigantic feat in winning the Babatunde Jose Newspaper of the Year prize at the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA), 2013.

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

“A gold fish, they say, has no hiding place; just as exceptional hard work and commitment to professionalism are always recognised and honoured. It is in recognition of this uncommon determination to inform, enlighten and keep surveillance over the social and political process of the society that you are so honoured. “The awards have placed more responsibility on The Nation to do even better, meaning more work by the management and staff to surpass the achievements and remain the best. “The Ahmadu Bello University appreciates the exemplary social responsibility functions, which your company does excellently and joins your readers and well-wishers in saying congratulations and more power to your elbows.”

Body gets 315 complaints in Lagos By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor

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HE Lagos Office of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) has received 315 complaints from the residents and resolved 241 cases, its Commissioner for Lagos, Mr. Funso Olukoga, has said. The commissioner, who addressed reporters in Lagos, said the commission had settled a dispute in which about N30 million was paid by a respondent to the complainant without filing any paper in the court for litigation. Olukoga described the PCC as a veritable institution for alternative dispute resolution, adding that its activities had led to court decongestion. He said: “Considering the statistics for the year, 315 complaints were lodged and 241 were resolved. Complaints against federal government ministries and parastatals have been about pensions and other terminal benefits, while complaints against Lagos State have to do with activities of the Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Urban renewal Authority and the Ministry of Waterfront. “We have established and contacted these agencies and efforts are on to resolve issues between them and residents affected. Also, complaints against local governments are being attended to by our area offices.” Olukoga listed other achievements as the opening of a website for complaints, the creation of additional telephone lines, skill enrichment programmes for workers’ efficiency, cordial relations with private and public organisations, restructuring of operational strategies and sensitisation programmes. He regretted that consumers were still being exploited by the operators in the service sector, especially in the Aviation and Telecommunications sectors.

APC to resist perversion of justice in Rivers Assembly

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HE All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday it will resist any attempt to cause a constitutional breach in the Rivers State House of Assembly. It warned against any reliance on Wednesday’s judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which nullified the takeover by the National Assembly of the functions of the House of Assembly, to perpetrate any mayhem or unconstitutional acts in Rivers State. In a statement yesterday in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC also warned the police and other security agencies not to provide cover for renegades to engage in any illegality. The party said the role of security agents was to ensure the safety and security of all lawmakers, “if and when the House decides to sit.” It noted that the six lawmakers, who opposed Governor Chibuike Amaechi would

By Olamilekan Andu

attempt to hide under the cover of the judgment to convene the Assembly with the purpose of removing the Speaker as a prelude to impeaching the Amaechi. APC warned that any such act would constitute an illegality and trigger a cataclysmic reaction, “the end result of which no one can predict.” The statement added: “The six legislators opposed to Governor Amaechi do not and cannot form a quorum (nine members) that will even allow the House to convene legally, not to talk of at least 20 members - representing two-thirds majority - that can constitutionally impeach the Speaker. In a House of 32 members, there is no way six members can be more than 26, even under the warped arithmetic which the Jonathan administration has been conjuring up in recent times to back the losing faction of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

“However, we are aware that the renegade legislators, with the backing of President Goodluck Jonathan, have nothing but disdain for constitutionality and the rule of law, hence will have no qualms in carrying out any act of impunity. “We are, therefore, constrained to warn that we, in the APC, will take any impunity in Rivers as an impunity to all and will resist such with a spontaneous explosion of people power, not only in states under our control but across the country.” The party urged the police to avoid being used to perpetrate violence and chaos, adding that the police commissioner had ordered that roads leading to the Assembly complex in Port Harcourt be barricaded, perhaps as a prelude to escorting the renegade members to convene to illegally remove the Speaker. APC urged President Jonathan not to allow personal and partisan considerations

to blot out his responsibility as the father of the nation and put in jeopardy his constitutional role of ensuring the country’s unity. It said: “We are aware of the letter to President Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo virtually accusing the President of destroying the same nation he was elected to preside over and uplift. We hope he will not allow Obasanjo’s prognosis about him to come true so soon by backing any move that can plunge Nigeria into chaos. “This is because we, in the APC, have resolved never to sit by and allow anyone - no matter how highly placed - to engage in actions that will make our country a laughing stock and a pariah in the comity of nations. “Therefore, there will be no peace anywhere in the country if this Federal Government supports the perpetration of impunity in Rivers. This is not a threat but the sure consequences of any acts of impunity.”

The party called on all people of goodwill, especially past leaders, to prevail on President Jonathan to back off the renegade MPs who are hell bent on causing mayhem in Rivers. Also, the party has described Wednesday’s court ruling as bizarre and alarming, against the background of the massive mayhem that was unleashed in the Rivers House of Assembly last July. It wondered why the court would say there were no facts that the House of Assembly could not carry out its functions, with the Mace as well as heads broken and the hallowed chambers desecrated by a free-for-all that was watched all around the world. “What else must occur before the stipulated conditions can prevail for the National Assembly to take over the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly? Is it when MPs are slaughtered like rams that such a condition will be deemed to have prevailed?

•Mohammed

“We are astonished and concerned by this court ruling, especially coming shortly after we warned the Judiciary not to allow itself to be used by unscrupulous people to reverse the gains that have been achieved under the present chief Justice, who has embarked on determined and sincere efforts to clean up the Judiciary,” APC said.


THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

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NEWS

Alaafin, Arisekola endorse Ajimobi for second term

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HE Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, and the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji AbdulAzeez ArisekolaAlao, endorsed yesterday Governor Abiola Ajimobi for a second term. They gave their support for Ajimobi’s re-election at an empowerment programme organised by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu, at the stadium in Ibadan, the state capital. The Speaker distributed items worth N26 million to over 700 members of her constituency. The items included freezers, electricity generating sets, tricycles, vulcanising machines, wheel chairs and a brand new Nissan bus. In attendance were Ajimobi; In-

Man, 71, remanded in prison for ‘rape’

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N Akure Magistrate’s Court yesterday remanded Ganiyu Kolawole (71) in Olokuta Prisons custody. Kolawole was arraigned for allegedly defiling a sevenyear-old girl. The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Charity Adeyanyu, said the accused should be kept behind bars pending advice from the

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

terim Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Lai Mohammed; APC State Chairman Chief Akin Oke and other party chieftains. Oba Adeyemi urged the people to re-elect Ajimobi, saying he (Ajimobi) listens to people, takes advice, honours elders, reveres the Yoruba tradition and has delivered on his campaign promises. The monarch listed some of the governor’s achievements as the construction of the Mokola flyover; beautification of the environment; restoration of peace and the construction of many roads. Arisekola-Alao said the governor has transformed Oyo within a short period,

•Alaafin

•Arisekola-Alao

adding that it would be in the state’s interest to give Ajimobi another four-year mandate. He urged Mrs. Sunmonu to continue reaching out to the masses. Mohammed described Mrs. Sunmonu’s gesture as appro-

priate. Oke said political office holders from the APC would continue to make life easier for the masses. Defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord were received into the APC.

You’re idle, Ogun APC tells opposition

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HE All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State has accused the opposition of idleness, saying its criticism of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun administration is not constructive. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Sola Lawal, APC alleged that the candidate of the People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN) in the 2011 governorship election, Mr. Gboyega Isiaka, was part of those engaging in “destructive criticism” of the government. It said: “Close watchers of recent events in Ogun State will readily understand why Isiaka found his present ignoble path fascinating. It followed closely on the heels of his failed bid to crawl his way into Amosun’s circle in

the name of new party formation.” Isiaka recently alleged that the state was broke and condemned the 60-storey skyscraper proposed by the government in Abeokuta, the state capital. APC said the opposition was only being hypocritical, adding that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration of former Governor Gbenga Daniel left a “crushing debt of over N60 billion” behind. It said the Amosun administration, rather than compound an already bad situation, had been clearing the financial mess left behind by its predecessor. APC said the proposed 60floor edifice would house hotels, residential apart-

ments, malls, offices and a cinema. It said the project would be funded in phases. APC said: “Unlike the profligate administration served by Isiaka, the Amosun administration has moved the science of government expenditure away from the mundane pedestal of bread and butter to the lofty realm of rigorous financial wizardry, an accomplishment helped largely by the fact that the helmsman himself is an accountant. “The Amosun administration has consistently avoided the loan option, owing mainly to the fact that the previous Daniel administration cruelly mortgaged the state. “In the manner of a vision-

Ogun gets Homecharter centres

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HE Ogun State government has created centres for its Homeowners charter programme. The centres are strategically located with dedicated staff, who will help residents regularise their documents. Commissioner for Physical and Urban Planning Gbenga Otenuga said the centres were created to avoid the problem of third party in the processing of land documents. Otenuga said the centres would be opened

immediately Governor Ibikunle Amosun unveils the programme in Abeokuta on Monday. He urged homeowners to take advantage of the initiative in order to benefit from the government’s urban renewal programme and protect their properties. Otenuga said the processing fees had been discounted and fines waived under the charter. He said: “The fees were extremely reduced to cushion the effects of the economic situation in the country.”

20,000 graduate at OSPOLY

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WENTY thousand students of the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree yesterday graduated. The graduands belonged to the 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 sets. The Rector, Dr. Jacob Agboola, said 36 programmes of the institution, cutting across both National and Higher National Diploma levels, had been fully accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and other relevant professional bodies. He said the institution’s efforts to complement the state government’s vision of vocational and technical training has yielded positive results as the poytechnic would soon begin courses in Arts and Design and Tourism Management at the National Diploma level. Agboola said the institution had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sussex University in England on an exchange programme, adding that many students of the polytechnic have benefited from the programme.

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

He said an MoU was signed with the Pinnacle College in Britain to enable graduates of the institution convert their diplomas to Bachelor’s degree. Agboola said the graduating students have been exposed to the reality of life with the quality of education they received at the polytechnic. He said: “Our policy is to make our products self-reliant and competitive. Hence, our students are exposed to global best practices in vocational and entrepreneurship education. In implementing this, we are aware that we need personnel, especially in entrepreneurship studies. “Indeed, the six point integral Action Plan of this government has made the provision of functional education, which is a cardinal objective of this administration, more achievable. I therefore, thank Mr. Governor for providing enabling environment for tertiary education to thrive in Osun State.”

ary, it is not a surprise that the gargantuan height of Amosun’s intellectual capacity would confound dwarfs in the opposition. It is the stuff great dreams are made of and only the deep can fathom landmark heroic constructions in the mind of a visionary. Such is the case of the vilified skyscraper.”

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). Kolawole allegedly committed the offence on December 2 around 1:30pm at Oba-Ile in Akure North Local Government Area. His plea was not taken and the case was adjourned to February 27, 2014.

Ekiti council workers to get minimum wage arrears

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KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has assured local government workers that arrears of the N19,300 minimum wage will be cleared this month. Speaking at an interactive session with council workers in Gbonyin, Oye, Ikole, Emure and Ekiti-East local government areas on Wednesday and in Ekiti West, Efon and Ijero-Ekiti councils yesterday, the governor said machinery had been set in motion to pay the arrears. He said the arrears were owed because workers delayed in embracing the biometric data capture system, through which the government pays salary. Fayemi said a committee had been set up to look into how much the government owes council workers as promotion and minimum wage

arrears. He said his administration would continue to pay salary promptly and improve workers’ welfare. Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) Chief Ranti Adebisi said over 3,000 council workers had been promoted, adding that a review of the sack of some workers by the previous administration was ongoing. He said many of the council workers redeployed to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), who were on grade levels 4 and 5, were promoted to Grade Level 7 because of their professional certificates in Education. The workers, who opened up to Fayemi on issues bothering them, hailed the governor for acceding to their demands.


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THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

NEWS Amosun inaugurates Advisory Council

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GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun inaugurated yesterday the Local Government Consultative/ Advisory Council for the 20 local government areas. He said the council was created to spread good governance to the 236 wards. Amosun said the council would interface between him and other stakeholders as well as provide feedback on the impact of government policies at the grassroots. The council would advise the governor on matters affecting the local governments; explain government programmes to the people at the grassroots and monitor projects. Advising members of the

Oyo lawmaker donates office complex to FRCN

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi greeting some workers after an interactive session with local government employees at Gboyin Local Government Secretariat... on Wednesday.

Ekiti, Osun elections are test cases, says Jega

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NDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega has said the challenge before the electoral body is how to conduct successful general elections in 2015. He said next year’s governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states will be test cases for INEC. Jega assured Nigerians that the lessons learnt from the recent Anambra State governorship election would be considered in the preparation for subsequent elec-

•Anambra lessons to be factored into preparation From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

tions. The Anambra election has been adjudged the worst conducted by the Jega-led INEC. Jega acknowledged that there were some flaws, though he is still of the opinion that the election met the minimum standard. He spoke yesterday in Abuja during a meeting with 37 Resident Electoral Com-

missioners (RECs). Jega urged the commission’s workers to put in their best to ensure the success of the 2015 general elections. He said: “The lessons we learnt from the Anambra election must be factored into our preparation for the 2015 general elections. I call on all RECs and staff to be united as we prepare for the general elections. “We are moving towards

Prove that Fayemi is behind Ekiti killings, activist tells Fayose

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IGHTS activist Mr. Morakinyo Ogele yesterday urged former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose to provide evidence that Governor Kayode Fayemi is behind the extra-judicial killings in the state as he (Fayose) alleged. Ogele was reacting to a publication in which Fayose alleged that activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) and other activists were keeping quiet over killings in Ekiti because of their relationship with Fayemi. Speaking with The Nation in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Ogele said they kept quiet on the matter because there was no evidence linking the killings to Fayemi. The lawyer said he and Falana would not hesitate to “wage war” against the Fayemi administration, if there are proofs that the governor was involved in the killings. He said Falana rose against Fayose because there was evidence from the State Security

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

Service (SSS) that all the extrajudicial killings in Ekiti were allegedly done by Fayose. Ogele said: “The laughable statement by Fayose’s media aide, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, is ridiculous. Falana cannot be faulted for not demanding the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the politicallymotivated killings at IgbaraOdo, Ifaki, Ijan, Ilawe, Omuo, Erijinyan and Emure-Ekiti. “It should be noted that Falana, who has been going against extra-judicial killings in the world, cannot be accused of supporting Fayemi. The stories are still based on rumours, because no one has come out with evidence that Fayemi is behind the killings. “Fayose must understand that Falana is an acknowledged rights activist, whose contributions have enhanced the welfare of the masses. This has earned him human rights awards in America, Canada,

Britain, Yugoslavia and other European countries. He has also been given awards for fighting for democracy. Nearly all African countries have appreciated him with sundry awards. “May I call Adelusi’s attention to a 33-page report of the SSS, where the agency documented evidence of killings in Ekiti State from 2003 to 2006, and his boss was seriously indicted. “Again, Fayose is facing a murder charge over the killing of Mr. Tunde Omojola at the Ekiti State High Court. The Court of Appeal dismissed his legal move to prevent his arrest by the police and some members of his killer squad have been convicted for murder. “We have evidence of Fayose’s dangerous activities in Ekiti State. We urge Fayose to bring out his evidence linking the Fayemi administration to the killing of Ogundare and others. If this is supplied, then we shall not hesitate to go against Fayemi’s government.”

‘Deji’s selection must follow due process’

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HE Ondo State Council of Obas has urged kingmakers and heads of ruling houses in Akure, the state capital, to follow due process in the selection of a new Deji. It said this would sustain the peace in the town. The monarchs, led by the council’s former Chairman and the Amapetu of Mahin Kingdom, Oba Lawrence Omowole, made the plea during a condolence visit to the

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

family of the late Deji, Oba Adebiyi Adesida. They hailed Akure residents for complying with the sevenday funeral rites for the late Oba Adesida. Describing the late Deji as an advocate of peace and justice, they said his love for his people stood him out. The monarchs urged the Akure Council of Chiefs to ensure that the

Deji’s demise does not affect the town’s administration. The council’s spokesman, Oba Lawrence Omowole, said the late Oba Adesida would be missed for his kindness and unique approach to issues. He said: “We urge you to be calm and see the passage of the late Deji as the will of God. We are here to sympathise with you. His death came when we needed him most.”

the last lap of our work and preparations will begin in the next one month or so. I urge all of us to contribute our best as we prepare. “There will be two governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states before the general polls. The challenge for us is to make the two governorship elections test cases in terms of remarkable improvement before the general elections.”

council, Amosun said: “This council must not be seen as a parallel Local Government Administration. You should complement them in the effective administration of local government councils and not struggle for supremacy with the Local Government Administration.” He thanked the people for their support, which he said facilitated the successful implementation of his administration’s policies and programmes. Responding on behalf of the Advisory Council, Chief Dayo Abatan assured Amosun that members would replicate his vision in their respective wards and local government areas.

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MEMBER of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Temitope Olatoye, donated yesterday an office complex to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Moniya, Ibadan, the state capital. FRCN Director-General Bola Agboola thanked the lawmaker for the gesture, saying it would aid the dissemination of information on government programmes and policies. Agboola, who represented the Chairman, FRCN Board of Directors, Mr. Ben Murray Bruce, described Olatoye as a politician without boundary. He said: “This is contribut-

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

ing to our expansion objective of serving our people better. Amuludun FM is the best indigenous radio station in Oyo State, which is enjoyed by many people. Olatoye has advanced this cause through this donation. May your shadow never grow less.” At the ceremony were the governor’s wife, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, and House of Assembly Speaker Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu. The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, was represented by Chief Yusuf Ayoola.


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CITYBEATS Man arraigned over A inferior building material 38-year-old man, Chidozie Okeke, was yesterday arraigned before a Lagos Magistrate's Court in Ejigbo for allegedly using inferior materials to roof a building. He was said to have breached public peace by his action. The prosecutor, Corporal Ubi Usani, alleged that Okeke obtained N650,000 from a Professor, Chike Anamdi for the fraudulent purchase of 0.45 millimetre aluminium roofing sheet.

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Usani said the defendant, rather than using the right aluminium, chose to use inferior aluminium material measuring 0.35millimetre to roof the building. The prosecutor further al-

leged that the defendant also conducted himself in a manner likely to cause breach of public peace by refusing to put the building in good order as agreed with Anamdi. The prosecutor said the offences committed are punishable under Section 321(I) and

armed robbers operated in the area for about two hours, raiding five houses and carting away unspecified sums of money and valuables. He urged the Divisional Police Station at Obasanjo Junc-

tion to arrest the situation forthwith. Ebofin urgedOgun State Government and Ado-Odo Ota Council to rehabilitate the roads in the community. "Residents in the commu-

nity are farmers and traders who have found it difficult to ferry their items to markets. It has also become impossible to transport sick children and expectant women to nearby hospitals," he said.

Church lifts widows, others at conference

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HE Ketu, Lagos International Headquarters of The Christ Redemption Bible Church, a Pentecostal ministry, will empower widows, orphans and other needy Nigerians on Sunday when it winds up

By Uyoatta Eshiet

its annual congress which began on Monday. Its Founder and General Superintendent, Pastor John Abiodun Ogundare, who spoke with The Nation, added

that on the first Sunday of each month after anointing service, various food items are shared among the needy at the church's Christ Redemption Avenue, off Oluwalogbon Street headquarters.

Globacom offers free phone repairs

ELECOMMUNICATIONS giant Globacom, in line with its customer service tradition, is offering a rare opportunity for all telephone subscribers, irrespective of their choice networks, to repair their faulty smart phones free of charge at the various Gloworld shops in the country. During the first phase of the scheme tagged Phone Doctor in Lagos, the telecoms outfit, in partnership with Nokia, brought in technicians who carried out free repairs of users' smart phones. The company also offered 10 per cent discount on all Nokia smart phones purchased, while it gave away Nokia and Glo

CITYBEATS LINE: 08078425391

‘Protect govt facilities’ By Musa Odoshimokhe

Section 166(D) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011. Okeke pleaded not guilty. The magistrate, P.E Nwaka admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N100,000, with two sureties in the like sum and adjourned the matter till January 29, 2014 for hearing.

Activities of hoodlums worry community

ESIDENTS of wasimi Onipanu in Ota, Ogun State have urged the police to patrol the area regularly to check night marauders. The hoodlums, they claimed, are threatening the residents' security. The Oremeji Wasimi Onipanu Community Development Association chairman, Mr Babalola Ebofin told The Nation yesterday that the call became necessary as the festive period approaches. Ebofin said a fortnight ago,

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By Remilekun Osasona

THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

freebies including 200 free mobile apps. The Phone Doctors visited the Gloworld shop on Victoria Island, Lekki, Ikeja Mall, Apapa, Surulere and Yaba Gloworld. The project, it was learnt, will proceed to other Gloworld shops in the country on dates to be announced in the second phase of the project. Globacom's Head of Gloworld, Brenda Akhigbe, said the gesture is for all customers irrespective of their networks. She disclosed that bundled SIMs with free data plans were given out to consumers who bought devices during the exercise.

• Mrs Fashola

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IFE of Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola has called on Nigerians to protect government property in their domains to prevent waste of government funds. She spoke yesterday at the commissioning of Ijora Oloye Nursery and Primary School, Ijora Olopa, which was constructed by the Apapa Local Government. She said the era when

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people treated government property with levity was gone, adding that if projects executed by government are protected, it will enable government to embark on new ones instead of expending money on the repair of existing ones. She said: "You as parents must tell your pupils not to destroy the school items provided by government. You the pupils and teachers must take care of your new classrooms and furniture." The council's chairman, Mr Ayodeji Joseph said that government was bent on delivering the dividends of democracy through people-oriented programmes like provision of schools, primary healthcare and good environment. "We have put in all efforts to make teaching and learning convenient for pupils in this school as we have done in all other public schools," he said.

Monarch celebrates

HE Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be Chairman and Father of the Day respectively at the 40th coronation anniversary of the Onijanikin of Ijanikin, Oba Momodu Ashafa which holds on Saturday. According to a statement by the Chairman, Onijanikin @ 40 Sub-committee on Publicity, Odunayo Adebowale, Governor Babatunde Fashola will be

Special Guest of Honour. The Saturday occasion will be the grand finale of a weeklong event which began with an interdenominational thanksgiving service at the Palace of Onijanikin last Sunday. Other events were: book exhibition/competitions and free medical treatment; conferment of chieftaincy title on prominent some personalities; environmental sanitation; Muslim prayers and conclusion of all games, among others.

NEWS (SHOWBIZ)

Top artistes show off business prowess

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S if hit by fans’ criticisms for choosing Ghana for his cocoa business, Dapo Oyebanjo, a.k.a. D’banj, has declared his intention to set up a fish business in Nigeria. The Kokomaster, as he is fondly called, said the proposed fish business would be called Eja Nla Fisheries Nig. Ltd( ‘Eja Nla’ is the Yoruba phrase •D’Banj with Don Jazzy for Big Fish). By Victor Akande The business is expected to deal in catching, industry suffering in processing and wholesale/ Idanre, Ondo state?” a fan retail of all kinds of fish. said on Facebook. The Afro-pop star was “Is he saying he does said to have boasted that not know the cocoa he had been contacted to be industries in Yoruba land the official fish supplier at have all been taken over Aso Rock. by middlemen? Or he is Reports say the artiste has not aware of the purchased three fish economic importance of trawlers and named them K- setting up a lucrative Switch, Kokoboat and Jazzy. cocoa industry in his News of D’banj’s visit to country? God help us in Ghana, a few months ago this country,” lamented where he was spotted in a another music buff. cocoa farm, went viral on D’banj is known for the social media, with fans putting his hands into decrying his choice several pies, but not location for investment. many thought the “When will Nigerian showman could think of politicians, businessmen agriculture for a business. and celebrities ever learn Apart from his Night their lessons? How can Club, Koko Lounge, which Skibanj or Dbanj be taking appears not to be a cocoa farm up in Ghana trending any more, when we have a cocoa D’banj had also owned a

mobile phone, Kokomobile, which did not fly either. Industry watchers feel that the reason the artiste his delving into agriculture, apart from the viability of the occupation, is to rival his former label mate, Michael Collins, a.k.a Don Jazzy, who was said to have floated Marvin Energy, an Oil and Gas business with his brother months ago. Like Don Jazzy, Top of FormBottom of FormPSquare, the popular Nigerian twin singers, have also gone into oil business, complementing their earlier investment in Real Estate. Known for their spendthrift nature, this business sense exhibited by these artistes has been praised by fans who took the debate to various social network platforms. While many ascribed the business plight of these music stars to undue rivalry among themselves, others believe that the trend by this new crop of singers is a backup to their singing careers, as some artistes who are known to have trended in the past are finding it difficult to live up to their usual glamorous lifestyles.

Free concert for Mandela in Lagos

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NOWING that music was one of the efforts that kept the struggle by former South African leader, Nelson Mandela on, plans for tributary music concerts are ongoing all over the world. Nigeria is not left behind in this gesture that has seen some pre-panned concerts, adding slots to honour the memory of the late freedom fighter who passed on last Thursday. Notable American rapper, Jay Z, who is currently in the midst of his Magna Carta World Tour, closed off his show last Monday at the Los Angeles’ Staples Centre by dedicating a song to the memory of Mandela. Last Sunday, the crowd at the Bayelsa International Jazz Festival went into a frenzy, when visiting South African Jazz artiste, Hugh Masekela, wrapped up his segment of the show, singing his ‘Bring Back Nelson Mandela’s hit. One of the solely dedicated concerts for the late African political icon, which is coming from Nigeria, will be convened by Mo Abudu‘s Ebony Life TV, in collaboration with some top Nigerian stars. Tagged “The Legacy Lives: A Tribute Concert”, the event, which is being planned by Funmi VictorOkigbo of No Surprises Events, has been scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 18, at the Ocean view Restaurant, Victoria Island, Lagos. Organisers say the show is being

By Victor Akande

•Waje with Darey Art-Alade By Victor Akande

put together to “celebrate the extraordinary life and times of the legendary freedom fighter, nation builder, liberator, humanitarian, democrat, and philanthropist and Nobel Prize winner for Peace.” Expected to perform at the show are music and comic acts, including D’banj, 2Face Idibia, Darey Art-Alade, Burna Boy, Ikechukwu “Killz”, eLDee, Tiwa Savage, J Martins, Timi Dakolo, Niyola, Zaina, Mo Eazy, Waje, Omawumi, Mike Aremu, Engager, Chioma, DJ Babus, Julius Agwu and Rocksteady. In the words of Abudu, the concert “is one of the least of things we can do as Nigerians, Africans and global black citizens of the world to honour a unique, caring and very humble global character.” The Ebony Live TV boss, who noted that the concert would not attract gate-takings, also said, “It is a free concert for the expensive price of liberty paid for by the selfless Madiba. We made a call to the industry and we got really tremendous responses. For all our music stars and partners, we cannot thank you all enough for your sacrifice, kindness and generosity, which themselves typify the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’, which is South African word for humanity.”


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BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

AGF orders return of unspent funds From Nduka Chiejina (Asst. Editor)

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HE Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) has directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to remit all unspent balances in their recurrent and capital expenditure cash books into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) not later than 31st of December, 2013. This was contained in circular part of which read: “All unspent recurrent votes for a financial year shall lapse at the expiration of the year. Consequently, all unspent balances in the recurrent expenditure cash books at the end of 2013 financial year must be paid back to the CRF latest by the close of work on Tuesday, 31st December, 2013.” With regard to unspent capital balances, the AGF instructed the MDAs to transfer such funds into the CRF, as ”the cash book will be ruled off and copies of mandates collected for the unspent balances.” The particulars and total amount of all uncleared mandates drawn on the capital accounts, the AGF said, “should be forwarded to OAGF not later than 31st December, 2013 for information and further necessary action.” In respect of executed contracts on which retention has been deducted in line with the relevant contract agreement, the AGF instructed the MDAs to “prepare a list of such deducted retention in readiness for collection by Treasury Officers on 31st December, 2013 during the closure exercise.” The AGF said the list should contain the names of the contractors/consultants, the contract sum, cumulative payments to date and amount of retention payable.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$117.4/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,396.9/troy Sugar -$163/lb MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N11.4 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -8% Treasury Bills -10.58%(91d) Maximum lending -30% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -1% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $45b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

“Until recently, the Nigerian banking industry had not given much attention to sustainability beyond ticking off environmental impact assessment on checklist for credit risk assessment for evaluation of loan applications, other jurisdictions have for decades been engraving sustainability ethos in their financial system,” –CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Oil benchmark: Senate, Reps stick to their guns T HE battle to arrive at an appropriate oil benchmark for the 2014 budget ended in a stalemate yesterday following sharp disagreement between the Senate and the House of Representatives. The meeting of the Conference Committee of the National Assembly saddled with the responsibility of working out the appropriate benchmark for the budget failed to arrive at a compromise. A source at the meeting said though the Senate shifted ground from $76.5 to $77 per

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Asst. Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

barrel of crude oil, the House of Representatives was said to have remained unyielding, adding that members of Lower House insisted their proposed $79 per barrel or nothing else. Following the sharp disagreement, the meeting was adjourned indefinitely. Also, The Nation learnt that

the disagreement between the Senators and House members may may further delay the presentation of the 2014 budget proposal to the joint session of the National Assembly this year. The source said: “The National Assembly is expected to commence their end of year recess by Thursday next week. If the benchmark is not ready as at now, when will they meet again this year?

“With the way things have played out so far, it is safe to say that everything about the 2014 budget has to be deferred till next year which is rather unfortunate.” Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, confirmed the development through a text message. “Meeting ended in a stalemate. No agreement because despite Senate shifting to $77 per barrel, House members remained adamant at $79. Meeting adjourned sine die,” his text message read.

• From left: President, International Association of Business Communication Nigeria chapter, Mr Chido Nwakanma, Director, Centre for Leadership in Journalism School of Media, PAN Atlantic University Lagos, Richard Ikiebe and Director of Corporate Communication and CSR Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Oparah, during CEO Breakfast Meeting by International Association of Business Communicators Nigeria held at Moor House, Bankole, Ikoyi...yesterday. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

Reps to AGF: we’ve not cleared you over $1.092b Malabu Oil deal T HE House of Repre sentatives has asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, to urgently correct the impression he has given the world that the House has cleared him over the controversial $1.092 billion Malabu Oil deal. The House had set up an adhoc committee headed by Hon Leo Ogor to probe the deal. The Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Hon Ali-Ahmad who spoke on the issue yesterday in plenary, said the AGF could not have been cleared when the House had not considered and adopted the report. The report was therefater adopted on the floor of the House. The House had complained that paragraph six of a letter written by the minister dated Monday, 20th May, 2013 to a foreign NGO, gave “the impression that the House of Representatives is one of those authorities that approved the deal involving OPL 245.” The single recommendation of the report submitted by the Committee on Justice which was mandated to investigate

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

the letter by the minister stated: “Based on our findings and observations, and without prejudice to the report of the Ad hoc Committee on the Malabu Oil and Gas Company Limited, and other pending report of the House on the issue, we recommend that the Attorney- General be directed to make appropriate correction in paragraph six of the letter in question in line with paragraph (vi) of our findings and observations, and communi-

cate same to those concerned for record purposes.” The committee in paragraph (vi) of its findings and observations, stated that the minister issued the letter in good faith and in the best interest of his professional ability and capacity. “And by so doing, we believe that he did not intend to breach the privilege of the House, or any of its members, nor was the letter intended to pre-empt the resolution of the House on the report of its ad hoc committee in OPL 245,” the report added.

The Committee report said that the minister in response to a letter written by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo--Iweala on the issue, “ wrote back to Simon Taylor of a global Witness, United Kingdom (copying Minister of Finance, Minister of State Federal Ministry of Finance, Nicholas Hilyard, The Corner House, and Lucas Manes, Re: Common) wherein amongst others, the Attorney General made the statement that the House: “Had instituted a probe into the transaction and at the end, they were satisfied that there was no infraction of the Constitution or any other Nigerian law.”

Telcos under investigation over fraudulent promos From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

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RAUDULENT practices in marketing promo tions by telcos in Nigeria came under the lens of the House of Representatives yesterday as the Chamber mandated its Committee on Communications to investigate alleged unwholesome practices in the sector. The report of the committee is expected to be laid before the House within four weeks. The House also sought an end to the face-off between the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN) and the BON/ Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) as it gave its Committee on Information the mandate of the House to step in between the warring parties. The House has further urged that the airplay ban imposed on the music of COSON members by BON and IBAN be withdrawn. The resolution was sequel to the adoption of the prayers of a joint motion brought before the House by two members, Hons. Eddie Mbadiwe and Frank Enokorogha. The lawmakers drew the attention of the House to allegations of “unethical” practices by telcos that send text messages to subscribers, asking them to partake in certain sales promotions, and charging them fees even when such subscribers do not partake in the promotions. They said the companies have garnered millions of naira and that “innocent citizens who have not subscribed to some of these sales gimmicks are being charged without authorisation and credit refunds are refused when demanded.” The lawmakers noted that there is a need to checked the trend or “Nigerians would continue to unlawfully lose their hard earned money without hope of any redress.” Similarly, another motion brought in by Chairman of the House Committee on the Diaspora, Abike DabiriErewa under matters of urgent public importance, got the House intervening in the said the current face-off between BON, IBAN and COSON.

Marginal fields investors get two-year deadline

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HE Department of Pe troleum Resources (DPR), yesterday warned Nigerian companies bidding to acquire marginal fields in on-going bid rounds that they have only two years within which to develop them or lose them. Its Director, George Osahon, who gave the warning in Abuja, during a road show for the 31 marginal fields, said the DPR will no

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

longer tolerate what transpired in 2003 where field winners were unable to develop the fields 10 year after the possession. He said: “Any company that is bidding this time around, you cannot have a promoter that has more than 25 per cent shares in the company. Also among the promoting team shareholders,

you must have at least one of them being somebody who is an experienced upstream exploration and production components “I must say that access to financing is critical in the bid process. I have not said the stock of cash in your account. They must be able to see from the information you provide your access to finance. “One of the issues we have

had so far is that people get fields, 10 years after they get the field, nothing is done. We take those fields from IOCs, give them to Nigerian companies and another 10 year down the road, those fields have not been developed and then you ask yourself what is the difference. “We do not want to give these assets out and wait for another 10 years for them to be developed,” he said.


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COMMENTARY FROM OTHER LANDS

EDITORIALS

Oil crisis (5) •Now is the time to take on solutions to the laxity of NNPC and government collusion

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HE problem with the oil industry in Nigeria came to a head in 2012 when its mammoth corruption in the form of subsidy fraud touched off a strike. The nation was prostrate, and the omen for the collapse of this democracy was real enough for the genteel façade of the president to be demystified. A crackdown followed rhetoric of presidential defiance. It was then that basic issues of our industry riled many Nigerians with its monstrous clarity: round-tripping became a common phrase typifying the lifestyles of indolent men who made money from our patrimony by doubling their intakes for supplies that never happened. Opacity explained the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) failure to reconcile the amount of crude sold with the sum of money remitted to the federation account. We also understood that the president, Goodluck Jonathan, had ceded the control of oil pipelines to persons who were once outlaws fattening on the theft of the oil in the pipelines. What was familiar to followers of the industry was the unwieldy structure of the NNPC that made it vulnerable to corrupt manipulation by the top players of government and industry. Cosmetic tinkering had only in the past led to an illusion of solution by previous administrations, leading, for instance, to the birth of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). But the essential challenge of the industry has been the inability of the government and players in the industry to subject themselves to due process and the essentials of moral integrity. Hence, today, we do not know as a matter of certainty

how much crude oil we extract and, consequently, sell. We are subjected to the good faith of the NNPC. But that was before when ignorance nourished a naïve belief by many Nigerians that the custodian of oil told us the truth. What we need now is truth, and it is the only principle that can reconcile us to any sincerity in the industry. We recommend a breakdown of the various layers of its operation, and all its books made available to Nigerians. We condemn what has become routine rigmarole by the NNPC in answers to questions on its operations on the floor of the National Assembly. Never since we have managed oil in Nigeria have we been faced with charges of corruption at the scale we have had under the administration of President Jonathan. We have lost confidence in the ability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate its seedy finances. We therefore call for a bi-partisan panel to look into the custodian of the nation’s pot, and issue a report about the working of the corporation, with a view to instituting a standard with regards to the upstream, middle stream and downstream sectors. Who are the oil licensees? How are they selected? How much oil do we refine a day, who do we supply, when and through what routes do we supply them? Those are some of the issues the panel will resolve. We also need to have a transparent accounting system that matches sales with receipts. The panel will also show a template for guarding oil resources. With massive theft of oil daily, it goes without saying that

placing brigands in charge of its safety has failed as a model. A security overhaul is urgent. The consequence of the laxity in the NNPC and the industry has now been reflected in the finance minister’s inability to account for why proceeds from the excess crude account are being drawn upon to pay monthly allocation to states. How do you draw on that account when the difference between oil price and the benchmark has held steady throughout the year at over $30 dollars per barrel? The consequence is biting the states in paying salaries and executing projects. Without a serious onslaught on the failings of NNPC and government laxity, oil might indeed presage economic crisis with its social and political implications for Nigeria.

‘The consequence of the laxity in the NNPC and the industry has now been reflected in the finance minister’s inability to account for why proceeds from the excess crude account are being drawn upon to pay monthly allocation to states. How do you draw on that account when the difference between oil price and the benchmark has held steady throughout the year at over $30 dollars per barrel?’

Kano’s Sharia police •Hisbah’s arbitrary actions against innocent alcohol contradicts Nigeria’s laws

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HE men were obviously very hard at work. Newspaper visuals showed them amidst the wreckage of thousands of bottles they had destroyed with single-minded devotion. Clad in blue shirts over black trousers, the men belonged to the Kano State Shariah police also known as Hisbah. The objects of their umbrage were 240,000 bottles of beer confiscated from trucks entering the state by these enforcers of morally correct behaviour. In addition to the beer bottles, the Hisbah also destroyed 8,000 litres of a local alcoholic beverage known as ‘burukutu’ as well as 320,000 packets of cigarettes. This action was reportedly taken in pursuit of a directive by the state government to cleanse the commercial hub of ‘immoral practices’. Thus, speaking at the bottle breaking ceremony, the Kano Hisbah

‘Beyond this, there is the question of the Value Added Tax (VAT). All states of the federation share from this tax that is paid into the Federation Account. But a huge percentage of this ta x is derived from the sale of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. Is it morally right for a state to benefit from this revenue stream while precluding its residents from consuming these supposedly morally repugnant products?’

Chief, Mallam Aminu Daurawa, expressed the hope that “this will bring an end to the consumption of such prohibited circumstances”. Giving notice of even more vigorous exertions in future towards morally sanitising the state, Daurawa declared, “We hereby send a warning to unrepentant offenders that Hisbah personnel will soon embark on an operation into every nook and cranny of the state to put an end to the sale and consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants”. Of course, the state government may be well meaning in its determination to safeguard the health of her residents by preventing the sale and consumption of intoxicating substances like alcohol and cigarettes. However, the consumption of these items clearly does not constitute an offence under Nigeria’s laws. At best, the choice to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes falls within the province of private moral behaviour. Except for products expressly prohibited by the law, all that can be done is for the state and other concerned individuals and groups to engage in moral advocacy to discourage the consumption of these items, for health or other reasons. There are also sanctions against drunken driving, for instance, which the state has a duty to enforce. We fear that the discretion given the Hisbah in this regard may encourage religious fanatics to take the law into their hands and impose their own private moral codes on those who do not necessarily subscribe to their ethical worldview. The fact that such large quantities of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes could be

confiscated and destroyed suggests that there is a large market for the products in the area. For, it is unlikely that businessmen would risk sending the products to areas where there are no buyers and their chances of making profit minimal. The imposition of a single religious code of behaviour on a complex and heterogeneous society like Kano, like the Hisbah seeks to do, is impracticable. It has little chance of success; rather both sellers and buyers will be driven underground and a black market will thrive beyond the reach of the law. Beyond this, there is the question of the Value Added Tax (VAT). All states of the federation share from this tax that is paid into the Federation Account. But a huge percentage of this tax is derived from the sale of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. Is it morally right for a state to benefit from this revenue stream while precluding its residents from consuming these supposedly morally repugnant products? Kano’s Hisbah police are reported to number about 9,000 men. This is only another indication that state police is an idea whose time has come, given the glaring inefficacy of the prevalent unitary policing structure. However, there are so much more for Hisbah to do in helping to promote security in Kano than policing the consumption of alcoholic beverages or cigarettes. For instance, they are said to be involved in community development and dispute resolution. Those are certainly more productive lines of engagement for the outfit.

New Iran sanctions? Not now – Members of Congress should let the White House do its work of negotiating a deal with Tehran.

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EGOTIATING with Iran on a permanent agreement to ensure that it doesn’t develop nuclear weapons is challenging enough. But the Obama administration simultaneously must deal with members of Congress who are determined to impose new economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic that could jeopardize not only the final agreement but also the interim deal reached in Geneva last month, in which Iran agreed to suspend progress on its nuclear program. In testimony Tuesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John F. Kerry pleaded with Congress not to legislate new sanctions during “a very delicate diplomatic moment.” He’s absolutely right. Congress played a constructive role in approving the existing sanctions that put pressure on Iran to come to the negotiating table. But new sanctions legislation, which probably could be enacted only over a presidential veto, likely would have the opposite effect. Even when Congress appropriately asserts a role in foreign policy, complaints will be heard from the executive branch about “535 secretaries of State.” But in this situation that criticism is apt. It is Kerry (along with diplomats from other nations) who has been negotiating with the Iranians and has a superior reading of Iranian intentions. Congress should defer to his conclusion that the approval of new sanctions now, even if they were timed to take effect after the six-month period covered by the interim agreement, would derail the talks. The interim agreement says that the Obama administration, “acting consistent with the respective roles of the president and the Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclearrelated sanctions.” That language could be read to say that the agreement could survive even if sanctions were enacted over a presidential veto. But there is no reason for Congress to test that hypothesis. (Iran’s foreign minister says that if new sanctions are imposed, “the entire deal is dead.”) Some supporters of sanctions no doubt believe that inflicting further economic pain on Iran will make it more inclined to compromise. Others, however, would be happy if no deal were concluded, because they believe the best and only way to ensure that Iran doesn’t develop a nuclear weapon is through military action or regime change. The U.S. and its partners shouldn’t be willing to accept a deal that falls short of depriving Iran of a nuclear weapon. But as President Obama rightly put it when he announced the interim agreement, “I have a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully, rather than rush toward conflict.” Congress should allow him and Kerry to get on with that job. – Los Angeles Times TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina

• Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •General Manager (Abuja Press) Kehinde Olowu •AGM (PH Press) Tunde Olasogba

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness •Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) •Press Manager Yomi Odunuga Udensi Chikaodi •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Legal Counsel John Unachukwu •Dep. Business Editor Simeon Ebulu • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye •Group Sports Editor Ade Ojeikere •Acting Manager (sales) •Editorial Page Editor Olaribigbe Bello Sanya Oni


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

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CARTOON & LETTERS

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IR: An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission recently visited Nigeria to evaluate her economy. The mission met with “the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; senior government officials; members of the legislature; and representatives of the private sector, with a verdict that Nigeria’s economy did very well during the year.” Given the group that the IMF mission met, no other form of verdict would have been possible. Even when you talk of “representatives of the private sector”, you have to ask: Who were those chosen representatives? The IMF report reads in part: “Nigeria’s economy has continued to perform strongly in 2013. Real GDP grew by 6.8 percent in the third quarter of 2013 (compared to third quarter 2012), supported by robust performances in agriculture, services, and trade.” But the next sentence reads: “Oil theft/production losses have adversely impacted export receipts and government revenues, leading to a significant drawdown from the Excess Crude Account.” And then in the next sentence: “Inflation declined to 7.8 percent

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IR: University is like the garden that nurtures the crops of tomorrow. What kind of a future does a nation expects that shrivels the seeds that will bear a bountiful harvest? Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is on strike for alleging that the government reneged on their 2009 agreement. When two elephants fight, the grass will suffer. The country is struggling to come out of the malaise that has bedridden the society for awful long. The strike by ASSU is threatening to put the education system back into a state of comatose. The malfeasance in the Nigerian system smells to high heaven. The government is like a derailed train squeaking to get back on track. Education has totally collapsed

EDITOR’S MAIL BAG SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 800 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. E-mail: views@thenationonlineng.net

How IMF deceives Nigerians (end-September 2013) from 12 percent at end 2012, in part owing to lower food prices and monetary policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The exchange rate has been stable, and the banking sector is well capitalized with low levels of non-performing loans.” What the IMF means by “inflation” should be defined for ordi-

nary Nigerians to confirm whether it “declined”. But a “robust performance in agriculture” in a country that is importing food items in billions of dollar? Forget the mythological “lower food prices”. This is IMF’s second realistic observation: “But fiscal buffers are low and a sustained high rate of growth is needed to reduce unemployment, and poverty.” The next sentence

however chips-in a mixed bag: “Fiscal consolidation is progressing well, and the momentum needs to be preserved through the ongoing election cycle.” A veiled reference to money stolen for elections? The next sentence is long and windy: “Key public financial management reforms are underway, including the implementation of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) and integrated

information management systems, but lower-than-budgeted oil revenues are impacting budgetary plans at federal, state, and local levels and highlighting the need for rebuilding fiscal buffers to manage oil revenue volatility.” The IMF and World Bank are neither straightforward nor trustworthy. World Bank and IMF are never bothered about mass poverty, so long as they control money to lendout to “poor nations”, and they charge “low interests”. Why did the report avoid the issues of debts and infrastructure when Nigeria is in darkness and many book-readers lose their sights and are wrecked? No reference to corruption and misappropriation which ruin Nigeria’s economy! • Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph. D, University of Ilorin.

A good term deserves another

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IR: A democratically elected government must meet the need of the people that voted them into power. Since governance derives it backing from the constitution and the people, it is mandatory for government, to listen, carry along and feed the people back, about its activities. The contrary view also holds that when a government voted into power refuses

to perform or meet the yearning or aspiration of the people that voted for them, same electorates or the people being governed have the right to reject such government by voting them out of power in subsequent elections. Senator Ibikunle Amosun has within two years in office proved critics wrong by being responsive and progressive in the discharge of

owing to a government that lost its conscience. Officials devalued education to naira and kobo. Politicians channel the fund for education to their private accounts. University authorities will deny a student admission if he or she does not have money to pay for bribe. The list of abuses on the education system indicates a nation that is on collision course with destiny. The products of this damaged system are like a wasted generation. Workers who believe one can bribe one’s way to excellence. Under-performance becomes an acceptable norm. A bank clerk frowns at a customer for demanding a professional service. She lacks the knowledge that it is the customer that keeps the bank in business. Majority of university graduates

are unemployable because they did not pick up any valuable skill as students. No wonder there is a high level of criminality in the society. Full-fledged youths roaming the streets without an occupation, they will kidnap, rob, prostitute and engage in other vices for mere adventure, talk less of the necessity to survive. The opportune ones will be a leach on their families and suffer depression for feeling worthless. There is a proverb in Igbo that one does not speak with an empty stomach. It is pitiable, as terrible as it is, one rarely hears of a lecturer being kidnapped. On the other hand, politicians guard their life like it is a bank safe. Compare the lifestyle of a lecturer and that of a legislator for example. They are

ASUU Vs the students

his duties to the people of the state. Today, the common man is not only happy in the gateway state, the peace which was once eluded the people some years ago has returned. The entire senatorial zones in the state are witnessing massive reconstruction and rebuilding process. Senator Amosun has done very well to reposition the economy of the state. He has taken the Internally

both pivotal to the functioning of a civilized society. The legislator makes laws that are barely visible in the sight of the suffering masses and lives in utmost luxury. The lecturer teaches students under dilapidated roofs and lives on a salary that challenges a miser to scale through poverty. Lecturing can be compared to priesthood. You become a lecturer because you have the elevation of the human condition at heart. The future of the students is not enviable, and consequentially, the Nigerian condition worsens. Democracy allows the populace the chance to vote out a government that is not trustworthy. ASUU should be considerate. • Pius Okaneme Umuoji, Anambra State.

Generated Revenue (IGR) to an enviable and sustainable position, thus generating the funds to embark on infrastructural development. Today, peoples’ welfare and security are better off. As no nation or state survives without a major attention to its educational sector, here in gateway state, he has given the primary, post primary and the state tertiary institutions a very good attention, by increasing their funding and stabilizing the academy calendar. Students now, learn in a better and more conducive environment. The people of the state now see what the government is spending the money on. Amosun has further proved the essence and importance of taxation to rural and urban development, through the provision of essential services like good roads, water, health facilities and the rest to the people. In life, you don’t loose a winning team; rather you encourage them to do more. Amosun has so far done well. We can only encourage him to do better, through mobilization and support for continuity beyond 2015. • Ademola Orunbon Federal Housing Abeokuta

Estate,


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COMMENTS

Elite scum and other abstractions Email: tunji_ololade@yahoo.co.uk 08038551123, 08111845040

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OLD plated doors and sofas. Plastered walls and Venetian glass. Platinum pumps and home theatre. Spring locks, expensive cars and wine cellars. Trophy wives and concubines among other things epitomize the good life; in our fatherland. Civilization has been improving our houses and husks no doubt but it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. Great thanks to modernity, we have learnt to build castles even as we cannot yet create noblemen and scions to inhabit them. In our fatherland, the “civilized” citizen and elitist’s pursuits are no worthier than the savage’s. He spends the greater part of his life in pursuit and acquisition of basically gross necessities and luxuries that at the end, impoverishes him worse than the most contemptible barbarian. That has to be shocking given that in the prime of his life; at the apex of his growth and self-actualisation, he becomes a President, Governor, Industry titan, religious leader and “very successful” activist or media consultant to mention a few. Ultimately, he becomes “rich” fundamentally in societal terms.

The Nigerian elite is “rich” and yet irrevocably poor. This poverty that I speak of connotes the poverty of his intellect and psyche. Insidiously weaned and self-propelled by a discontent that is at once insatiable and detrimental to his being, he engages in an eternal pursuit of luxuries and accoutrements that to him and his privileged peers indicates the “good life.” Basically, he is handicapped. And this handicap of his extends beyond the familiar trope of the human forelock or Intelligent Quotient (I.Q.) if you like. Like a canker, it eats into his psyche and ravages him till he becomes not much in constitution and expression. Thus the alarming desperation by which he strives as a constituent of the Nigerian society; hence his many vanities and vulnerabilities, particularly his inclination to engage in everything and anything in pursuit of money and attainment of the “good life.” The Nigerian elite perpetuate the irony of a contrived metaphor. Although by virtue of its purported civilization, it is expected to serve as an instrument of positivity and progress, it isn’t. Rather than facilitate the process of growth that till

‘Truth is, it’s the cronies and associates of serving public officers that are able to afford such conveniences at such ludicrous rates. Once they acquire them, they put them up for lease at rates that makes Shakespeare’s Shylock fundamentally, a saintly man’

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TEVE Osuji’s”Expresso” column in The Nation of Friday, November 1, in which he lashed Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State for destroying his state’s economy, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun for his looks, faith and his education policy and Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the Federal Minister of Agriculture for being adept in theatrics than his official portfolio was indeed an excoriation. Osuji, no doubt, holds his own as a columnist in this well-respected Nigerian newspaper but he displayed such a crass error of judgment especially as it relates to Aregbesola and his education policy Osuji’s assertion that Ogbeni “loves his politics dearly… [but] always so quick to act to impress his people” made it sound like Ogbeni has committed a serious crime for being passionate about his politics and articulating his values to his people willing to listen. Osuji’s other assertion that Aregbesola “always seems to rub off people the wrong way— from his oft soap-box like grandstanding, to his shaggy beard and his Islamic religion fervor” that “always seems to leave some sour curd for people to chew” is ridiculous. Pray, how could Aregbesola’s articulation of issues based on his personal political philosophy and his values have amounted to grandstanding? Why would anyone feel that he’s being rubbed the wrong way just because the governor’s hair follicles decided to cluster below his chin, and he simply let them be? Why should a chief of state who simply takes his religion serious leave some sour curd for Osuji—or anyone for that matter—to chew? For the aforesaid from Osuji without any shred of evidence that a poll or survey was taken that ascertained that people are being rubbed off the wrong way is nothing short of sheer dislike, if not hatred for the governor’s person. And it’s indeed very unfortunate. Ogbeni’s holistic approach to major policy decisions as exemplified in his policy on education which Osuji had singled out, can never be “an unwarranted exercise in mysticism and magic” in that there’s verifiable evidence of a huge jump in the enrolment of students into public schools because even parents who had their wards in private schools withdrew them because of the glaring improvement they saw in the public school system after Aregbesola took office. What’s more? The State of Osun came from the lowest bottom to the top bracket as one of the states in the country that recorded the highest percentage of students that passed the WAEC examination with at least five credits including English and Mathematics within a short period after he commenced work as governor. Osuji needs to be reminded, in case he had forgotten, that the transformation in the education system currently underway in the State of Osun is the outcome of an

date, remains elusive to the Nigerian State, it terminates it; rather than ignite hope in their less privileged compatriots, it extinguishes it. Every day, the citizenry watches helplessly and in awe, the appalling recklessness with which it extinguishes their hope and profit from such enterprise. It would be overkill perhaps if I endeavour to relate Nigerians’ political hara-kiri at the recently concluded general elections to a treacherous and annoyingly insolent elite class. It could be akin to giving a skunk a bad name if I hereby blame Nigeria’s crushing woes on the highly selfish and hypocritical elite piloting her ship of state. This is neither to flay the elite for the villainy it perpetrates nor is it meant to castigate it for the eternal hopelessness it fosters. This is to commiserate with the nation’s elite class, middleclass, uppermiddleclass, upper class, aristocracy or whatever highfaluting title appeals to their ego. A savage lust is basically its woe. Take for instance, the abject horror the nation’s government perpetuates in the name of providing decent shelter or “affordable and lowcost housing for all.” It would no doubt be deemed preposterous to allege that via such “citizenry-centred” and over-celebrated efforts, they brazenly embezzle public funds. So doing, it perpetrates a twopronged atrocity with chain reactions: it defaults in its promise of “affordable, low-cost housing” and subjects the citizenry to untold hardship characterized by homelessness thus the burgeoning shanties and slum republics prevalent in our most high-profile cities. To this, I guess not a few elitists in government and their acolytes within and outside the corridors of power would argue that it is not the duty of the government to put

food on everyone’s table. They would argue that the government couldn’t provide decent shelter for all even if it tried. Then they would seek refuge in the workings of capitalism which purportedly provides for every man to fend for himself, according to his means. Not a few elite would pertinently state that the persistent failures of their class to facilitate an acceptable human state of affairs in the country are hardly unforgivable failures. They would claim that they merely add up to their inability to fulfill their constitutional obligations due to the “Nigerian factor” and because doing so would impose avoidable inconveniences on them. They would aver that it would be basically inexpedient to fulfill their statutory responsibilities given the unstable and feral nature of Nigeria’s democracy. Simply put, it is the moral character that breaks down. How many Nigerians can afford to pay N7 million, N15 million or more cashdown or within a year, to acquire our elite-driven two and three-bedroom contraptions shamelessly dubbed “affordable and low-cost housing estates? Truth is, it’s the cronies and associates of serving public officers that are able to afford such conveniences at such ludicrous rates. Once they acquire them, they put them up for lease at rates that makes Shakespeare’s Shylock fundamentally, a saintly man. Even in the medieval era, every family owned a shelter sufficient for both its coarser and simplest wants. Today, in Nigeria’s towns and cities, where civilization supposedly prevails, the fraction of those who own houses is negligible. The rest pay an annual rent that basically renders them impoverished and barely able to feed and clothe, not to talk of owning a house.

The Nigerian elite care less about such issues than about getting one of its own into power. Its members are loyal not to posterity and ideas but to the pursuit and attainment of wealth and power by any means. In an ostensibly capitalist country, these self-styled vanguards of capitalism espouse and brazenly perpetrate an oppressive social philosophy that upholds the existence of the average Nigerian as an imperceptible social organism—a view which implies that his needs are not valid instruments for perceiving social reality and improving it. So doing, they project themselves as the chosen few supposedly endowed with special insight and ability to direct others. This implies the existence of an elite foundation of knowledge and aristocracy; a sociopolitical arrangement inaccessible to logic and beneath the mind. Notwithstanding its astounding rise to relevance, the Nigerian elite will be toppled off its high horse sooner than it can ever imagine. This is unavoidable in spite of the citizenry’s seeming idiocy and duplicity. Preoccupied by pursuits antithetical to national development, the Nigerian elite obviously do not know that it has lost the weaponry that guaranteed its rise to eminence and made all of its conquests possible: idealism and morality. It had to lose them precisely at the height of its success, since its claim to both was a fraud; the evident realities of its politics demonstrate the brute illogicality and inhumanity of its social code and gospel of sacrifice. The Nigerian elite do not preach sacrifice as a temporary means to some desirable and lasting end. Sacrifice is its end—the sacrifice of the lives of others. It is the commoner’s independence, prosperity, and happiness that the elite wish to destroy. And it is succeeding in its plot.

Osuji got it wrong on Aregbesola By Femi Odere education summit which was held at the inception of Aregbesola administration whose participants included some of the country’s best educationists that included Prof. Wole Soyinka, among others. It is appalling to see a member of the fourth estate who was supposedly trained to see and analyze societal ills like those confronting Nigeria to have opined that “there is absolutely nothing to reinvent” in this country’s education system. Education—especially in the public sector—like all other indicators of growth and development in the Nigerian society, is nothing in comparison to what obtains in neighbouring Ghana and some other African countries, not to even mention developing countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Brazil. A serious chief of state desirous of development in his domain cannot help but reinvent what had proven so pathetically disastrous over time and had impeded the growth of his people and societal advancement. Yes, the school calendar, structure or classification may not be the problem confronting the nation’s education sector but it’s most certainly part of the problem. Even the architects of the 6-3-3 system that Osuji thinks is perfectly in order had since discovered that it’s no longer relevant to the present reality. If “Opon Imo,” a computer device invented by the Aregbesola administration that puts all academic curriculums as well as past WAEC questions, among its other features, on the fingertips of 150,000 senior secondary school pupils in the state, aside from pulling down old school buildings and replacing them with new ones, are not enough demonstration that the government has already declared education to be “one of its core priorities,” as admonished by Osuji, I don’t know what other evidence he needs. For him to have said that the government’s provision of uniforms and meals for the students is not necessary is a reckless and dangerous display of ignorance. What makes Osuji think that the government cannot afford it? Perhaps, what seems to be the common thread that runs through the vituperations of Aregbesola’s detractors is not so much about the governor and his policies—as their arguments have never been able to gain traction—but the audacity of the man to step where even angels fear to tread. No sooner did he mount the governorship saddle than he invented a flag, a crest and an anthem for his state, a move that

drew the ire of those whose thinking have either been heavily militarized or did not understand the place of a state in relation to the federal government in a democracy. Even the Jonathan administration found that legitimate move so outstandingly bad that it almost declared a state of emergency on the state on the warped thinking that the state was trying to secede, only for us to wake up one morning to find that Bayelsa, his home state had done exactly the same thing and not a single word of condemnation came from the President. A misguided faction of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and its co-travellers went up in arms when the governor took Sukuk (Islamic bond), having accused him of attempting to turn Osun into an Islamic state. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who presides over a predominantly Christian country, has just announced its country’s readiness to raise money with the Islamic bond in order to shore up his country’s ailing economy. Ogbeni is no doubt unusual but it takes an unusual set of leaders to turn an unusual country like Nigeria and its component parts around. • Odere is a media practitioner.

‘A misguided faction of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and its co-travellers went up in arms when the governor took Sukuk (Islamic bond), having accused him of attempting to turn Osun into an Islamic state. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who presides over a predominantly Christian country, has just announced its country’s readiness to raise money with the Islamic bond in order to shore up his country’s ailing economy’


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COMMENTS “He is not wise to me whoever is wise in words only, but he who is wise in deeds.’’— Aristotle

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ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo’s 18-page letter to President Goodluck Jonathan dated December 2, 2013 was his vantage self - a man that unduly seizes any opportunity offered by any unease in the polity to become the nation’s unsolicited and underserved ombudsman - ostensibly to achieve a personal motive. The letter was badly written as it exemplifies the inner agony/exasperation of a former leader whose past misdeeds are beginning to haunt him. Obasanjo is helplessly watching the PDP’s sinking ship because of Jonathan’s 2015 agenda and he could not fathom the harsh consequences that would befall him post2015. Obasanjo wanted to ride on the crest of public disenchantment with the Jonathan government to win popular adulation. He did this in the past and get away with it. He deployed the style to bring down his selfinstalled former President Shehu Shagari in 1979 against huge public outcry. The same method he adopted today against Jonathan was used against Ibrahim Babangida, a military despot that he later colluded with to annul the June12, 1993 Presidential election won by MKO Abiola. Obasanjo met his waterloo in late Sani Abacha who resented his odiously deceptive public criticism of his government by throwing him into gaol. Gracious God helped Obasanjo out of that labyrinth to later become the president of this country. It was during his second coming that he masterminded the crisis in which the nation is currently embroiled. In the said letter sub-titled: ‘Before it is too late’, Obasanjo was unnecessarily verbose about the (mis)use of the awesome powers of a president. Any right-minded person will agree with Obasanjo, though a major causative factor in the entire mess in the country. It is however frightening to note that the Ota farmer is alarmingly, just seeing a semblance between what is happening today and what occurred during the grossly detestable Abacha regime. It is good that Obasanjo has confirmed to us that all signs show that Jonathan is going to contest in 2015 despite earlier personal assurances to him that he was not going to contest the election. The erstwhile president as former leader of the ruling PDP is better positioned to know the inner thinking of the presidency and its evil machinations. After all, Obasanjo knows the

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HE mere suggestion by the Presidency that it was not a snub further rubs pepper on the injury. It is to tell us that we don’t even know when we are insulted. It is like someone giving you a backhanded compliment and then turns around to try proving to you that he did not mean to insult you. In order words, you are so thick to decipher a put down. This is where our government and the people in charge of our affairs are. How can we properly analyse the situation, learn the lessons there-from and make sure it never happens again if we do not see the situation for what it is? I speak of course about the Nelson Mandela memorial service of Tuesday in South Africa in which Nigeria attended as an on-looker while six selected heads of governments across continents rendered eulogies in honour of the great African leader and icon of the modern world, Mandela. President Barack Obama of the United States represented the western world; Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff stood in for South America; India spoke for Asia and Namibia could be said to have taken up the slot of Africa. Other speakers included President Jacob Zuma of South Africa; President Raul Castro of Cuba and the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban KiMoon. People have argued that on account of Nigeria’s frontline activism during the apartheid era alone, she deserved a spot at the podium during the memorial rites of Nelson Mandela. That may be true for Nigeria provided streams of funding, was an operational base; imbued the struggle with strategic training and logistical support. Nigeria was also in the vanguard of the Organization of African Unity’s boycotts and economic blockade of the apartheid regime. She boycotted the 1976 Olympics Games on account of the South African situation and British Petroleum (BP) was thrown out of Nigeria and its assets confiscated. These are just samples of actions taken by Nigeria in her drive to free the people of South Africa and help them regain their freedom from white oppression. But one thinks it would be far-fetched and presumptuous to expect the events of about three decades ago to govern the moment. Nigeria needed not have played roles in end-

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Obasanjo’s crocodile tears on Jonathan • Jonathan

extent to which he devilishly deployed the presidency when he was in Aso-Rock Presidential Villa for a grueling period of eight years before he was forced out of power. Whatever devilish plot of Jonathan would fail and if possible, he would, like Obasanjo, be disgraced out of power. Obasanjo in the letter, wrote about corruption that has become so endemic under the current dispensation. But he should be reminded that what obtains today is just a continuation of the immoral foundation of deceitful graft and an improvisation over the mis-rule that he planted. Unfortunately, Obasanjo has suddenly become a lecturer on the virtues of trust and reliability/honour, but the question is whether he possesses these virtues in and outside power or not. This column’s aversion to the current president going for another term is because he has

proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is incapable of effectively ruling this country and not because of any agreement. Perhaps, if he had been another good leader of example at the centre, this column would have no option but to crave his continuation. But with the situation on ground, it is better for Jonathan to realise that what he could not do in six years of being in the saddle by 2015 would not be achieved if given another fouryear term. So, Obasanjo should stop fooling himself about anything called sanctity of agreement, trust and honour because he lacks all these in his entire public life and service to the nation. In 2003, he purportedly breached same agreement with the northern cabal that put him in power. In 2007, he nearly succeeded in his bid to secure a third term agenda but for similar public outrage akin to Jonathan’s bid for re-election come 2015. In his personal life, Obasanjo has no place for trust and honour. He should come out and tell Nigerians what happened to the contract/ understanding he had with the Alliance for Democracy governors in the South-West in 2003. He reneged on that agreement and went ahead to manipulate the ousting from power of four AD governors in Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Oyo states. Obasanjo deceived the Afenifere leadership including the late Pa. Ayo Adesanya. It was only the highly discerning Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, then governor of Lagos state that outsmarted Obasanjo in his garb of trickery/tomfoolery. And the entire south-

EXPRESSO STEVE OSUJI

SMS 08111526725, email:steve.osuji@yahoo.com

MANDELA: The great Nigerian snub ing apartheid to deserve a special place at the memorial of N e l s o n Mandela. Nigeria was ignored simply because she has not lived up to her stature and• Jonathan eminence in the scheme of things in Africa and the world at large. Nigeria’s sheer size in the continent, her political and economic magnitude if well harnessed, ought to give her an unassailable preeminence in Africa. But because leadership has failed increasingly in the last few years, she has not lived up to her dominant and influential roles on the continent. If we had got our acts right, Nigeria ought to supply the bulk of critical manpower in tertiary institutions, finance, judiciary, defence and security across most of black Africa. And by virtue of our abundant oil and gas resources, we ought to supply the entire continent with fuel energy, bitumen, gas, electricity and other industrial by-products of crude oil. These are natural influencers that go with our sheer size and natural endowment but which lack of vision has de-

prived us. Lastly, the extremely poor quality leadership of the last two decades has completely reduced Ni• Obama geria in the esteem of the peoples of Africa and the world that we are no longer worthy to be mentioned in the gathering of the best of the world. We must face the harsh fact that Nigeria’s leadership has become so leprous today that the world would conspire to ensure that it does not take the same podium of honor taken by world leaders of note; by our unremitting malfeasance, we have alienated ourselves. Nigeria moves inexorably south when the rest of the world faces north. Year-on-year, we are rated among the most corrupt people in the world, among the most diseased and the most poor; they note the cash stash of our presidents, ministers, legislators and politically exposed people in all parts of the world with quiet disdain. They see us regress in all human development indices like child mortality, education enrol-

west is reaping the gains of Tinubu’s political dexterity, courage and triumph over Obasanjo’s con today. His only hope is in the centre government ruled by Jonathan, his once-upon-a-time protégé, to forcefully reclaim the southwest and that hope is being dashed because Jonathan is not pandering to his parochial whims and caprices. I am not surprised that Obasanjo would seize any opportunity to take irrational swipe at Tinubu, his nemesis in southwest and Nigeria as a whole at any opportune occasion like he did in his latest letter. The thrust of Obasanjo’s letter when carefully read is not the interest of Nigeria or even that of democracy. It is the fear that PDP might be the first ruling party to lose power at the centre through the ballot and not according to him through military ‘coup’ that has become obsolete. Obasanjo still believes in do-or-die politics which according to innuendoes from his letter, Jonathan has failed to use to secure the south-west for him. He is still bitter that his nemesis, Tinubu has made him pale into political insignificance in Nigeria. Obasanjo should tell Nigerians how much of billions of naira of Nigerian tax payers money was removed illegally from public till and wasted on his failed third term ambition. In Lagos for example, can this anecdotal former leader tell us how Ade Dosunmu, PDP’s candidate’s fortune in the 2011elections was affected? There was no way Dosunmu could have defeated Action Congress of Nigeria’s Babatunde Raji Fashola whose feat speaks for him. If Obasanjo were to be in power, he would have forcefully installed any PDP candidate irrespective of what the electorate of decided. The country would not forget how Obasanjo denied Rotimi Amaechi the PDP ticket after winning the primaries in 2006 but for the court that restored his mandate. This column cannot easily forget how Obasanjo committed electoral fraud across states of the federation just to ensure that PDP remained in power. Let the opposition party and the Nigerian people not be deceived by Obasanjo’s deceitful letter or relent on their oars of getting PDP out of power in 2015. Obasanjo is not different from Jonathan. He planted a terminally ill Umaru Yar’Adua to succeed him in 2007 so that when he died, a weak Jonathan as deputy would succeed him and still remain subservient to his parochial dictates. All Obasanjo wanted was for the PDP crisis to be finally resolved so that the party would continue to mis-rule Nigeria. Let no one be deceived!

ment, diminishing per capita and the inability to conduct elections. All the fundaments of human civilization are in recession in Nigeria and they know that we are inexorably a dying country. When our matter is raised among the comity of nations, they sigh resignedly fearing that Nigeria is bound to end up as the last big, basket case of the 21st century. Snubbing Nigeria at the Mandela memorial was neither a mistake nor a chance happening; it was a well reasoned, calculated and pre-meditated action designed to save the face of the world from a Nigerian embarrassment. But true to type, our leaders miss even this point.

Is PIB the be all and end all? I have never given a damn about the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in all the years of its roundabout trips between that National Assembly and the Petroleum Ministry. First I had the natural inclination to suspect that something must be wrong with a legal document that is a tome of 223 pages. What the heck? Second, I hold the oil ministry and its key subsidiary, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as currently constituted, in eternal disdain seeing how other national oil firms have grown over the year and lifted the economy of countries. Third, I never thought a legal framework or the lack thereof is the bane of Nigeria’s oil sector – the stunted growth, the rabid corruption and the unrestrained madness in that quarter cannot be as a result of an absence of a particular piece of legislation. But in the heat of a debate over our blighted oil industry recently, a respected colleague availed me a copy of the PIB insisting that my perspective would change should I endeavor to go through the rather rumbustious tome. If it has such redeeming values, how come the National Assembly has kept it in its underground cellar for over a decade; how will it clean the Augean stable that the NNPC has become? Still skeptical though, I have promised to give it a shot some good day when the weather is sunny and there are glimmers of hope in the horizon. NOTE: EXPRESSO proceeds on vacation till January 2014. This is wishing you dear reader a song-filled season and may you wake with a bright new sun on the other side of this annal.


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COMMENTARY

FEMI ABBAS ON

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HE title of today’s article in this column is the theme of the 9th Conference of ‘Religions for Peace’ held in Vienna, Austria, about three weeks ago. This year’s World Assembly of Religions for Peace (RfP) focused on building bridges and greater social cohesion amongst the world’s religions. The theme also imports a focus on religious repression among and within the world’s religions. After two days of intensive deliberations, in Vienna last November, the Assembly resolved to make a declaration which may serve as guidance for religious leaders all over the world and the declaration was unanimously adopted as follows: “We - more than six hundred religious leaders and people of faith representing all historic faith traditions and every region of the world – have convened in Vienna, Austria as the 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace.1 We have come from the global Religions for Peace family of ninety national interreligious councils and groups, five regional councils, one world council, and international networks of religious women and religious youth. Our respective religious traditions have called us to work together for Peace. Previous World Assemblies of Religions for Peace have discerned positive elements of Peace, common threats to Peace, and a multi-religious consensus expressed through shared values for Peace. We commit to common action based upon these deeply held and widely shared values, as a foundation for affirming the imperative of “welcoming the other” as the heart of our multi-religious vision of Peace.

Re-affirmation We reaffirm the positive elements of Peace shared by our respective religious traditions: Peace is central to our respective religions, and our diverse faiths compel us to work together to build it; Love, compassion and honesty are stronger than hate, indifference and deceit; All men and women are endowed with human dignity, share common humanity, must care for one another, and are called to consider the problems faced by others as their own; We accept the call to stand on the side of and raise up the most vulnerable, and to promote just and harmonious societies; We value women and men as equal partners in our efforts to build peace; Children are a paramount concern; the special state of childhood deserves our protection and care, and should receive

femabbas756@gmail.com 08115708536

‘Welcoming the other’ priority from among our societies’ resources; Non-violent conflict transformation through dialogue and reconciliation are central to peacemaking; The use of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction is immoral; and Advancing human development and protecting the earth are part of the struggle for Peace. The positive elements of Peace we share are inextricably linked to our shared calling to confront common threats to Peace. These threats include: The misuse of religion in support of all manner of violence, including violent extremism; An ongoing spiritual crisis that erodes values that support life; Violent conflict and the proliferation of arms; Extreme and growing inequality, including widespread violations of basic rights; Violence against women, abuse of children and weakening support for families; Extreme poverty, preventable diseases left untreated, and broad scale lack of opportunity; and Environmental degradation, natural resource depletion, and climate change, all of which threaten civic order and human flourishing.

Confession While we confess that some religious believers betray the peace teachings of their faiths, we continue to commit ourselves – and our communities – to a culture of Peace that advances shared well-being, grounded in common healing, common living and shared security.

Rising hostility The 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace calls attention to a new threat to Peace – rising hostility. We are deeply troubled by this rising hostility, in society and within and among religious communities. This hostility toward the “other” is an extension of intolerance, and too often takes the form of violence. Victims of hostility are often vulnerable populations, including members of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities; migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced and stateless persons…. 1. Religious communities can work to reverse the rising tide of hostility toward the “other” by advancing a multi-religious vision of Peace and through multi-religious action. Specifically, the Religions for Peace World Assembly calls on Religious leaders and people of faith to: Honour and protect human dignity whenever and wherever it is under attack; Foster more active collaboration between women and men in exalting the dignity of women and girls, and work together to prevent violence against them; Speak out on behalf of vulnerable individuals and groups, and all people persecuted, or whose existence is denied, because of their faith; Recognise that the well-being of immediate and extended families, as well as of communities, are a prerequisite to the wellbeing of children; Address issues of responsibility and accountability for the causes of climate change; Acknowledge the value of youth-led, grassroots initiatives aimed at welcoming others and promoting sustainable Peace;

NEWS ‘Lar was married to masses’

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husband and wife, he said to me, ‘I want you to know something about me, I’m a man of the people, I love them, and I respect every human being. “If we have to get married, I want you to know that and be part of me in that regard. I am for the masses, particularly for the needy and the helpless. “The Lord endorsed our union and we eventually got married on January 30, 1960. “My husband lived his life as a man of the people; I am not surprised that his home calling has attracted

•Kwankwaso

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ANO State Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso has sought media support in sensitising the

public on the danger of street begging. The governor made the plea when the management of Freedom Radio visited him at the Government House, yesterday. Kwankwaso said it was disheartening for Kano and the North to allow citizens to beg instead of encouraging them to engage in productive economic ventures.

We, the Delegates of the 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace, are united in our commitment to resist threats to Peace that take the form of hostility toward the other, and to take positive action to welcome the other by promoting the true flourishing of all human beings. These dual commitments and corresponding calls to action express our multi-religious vision of Peace”. This Declaration was made in Vienna, Austria this day of 22 November 2013. More will come in this column about Vienna Conference of ‘Religion for Peace’ in the near future.

From El-Zaharadeen Umar, Katsina

K •The late Lar

such huge tributes. “It was Solomon’s wish to reach home before his death, but the Lord Almighty said his time was up. “The lord knows best where, when and time to take his own and no one can change his programme.”

Kwankwaso seeks media support From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

Welcoming the other

Shema presents N113b budget

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

RS Mary Lar, wife of the late Chief Solomon Lar yesterday said her husband was married to the masses. She spoke during the valedictory court session held in his honour at the State High Court, Jos. Mrs. Lar said: “I am my husband’s only wife but he was married to the masses. My husband made me understand his love for the masses even before we got married. “When we knew ourselves enough and thought of being together for life as

Advance spiritual values essential to shared well-being; Reinforce acceptance of diversity in our communities; Welcome the other through prayer and service; Engage in multi—stakeholder partnerships to welcome the other; and Leverage the power of multi-religious networks to “welcome the other” by advancing human dignity, shared well-being and citizenship through concrete multi-religious action. 2. Governments, international organizations and civil society to: Promote transparent governance that ensures and protects the development of comprehensive well-being and full enjoyment of universal human rights for all; Provide legal remedies for victims of intolerance; Promote social policies and legal norms that recognize the dignity of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced and stateless persons; Advance citizenship that ensures human dignity while protecting the safety and wellbeing of all individuals, including freedom of religion or belief, and other rights of individuals and groups, whether in the majority or in the minority; Ensure the protection of places of worship; Eliminate nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and stem the proliferation of small arms; Promote restorative justice to heal both the victims and the perpetrators of violent conflict; Address threats of nuclear exposure and contamination to protect all living things and future generations; and Support and partner with people of faith, religious leaders, religious communities and religious networks in their efforts to welcome the other. 3. All people of good will to: Call attention to, and work to eliminate, all forms of intolerance and discrimination by states, by non-state actors, by civil society, by religious groups and leaders, and by individuals.

He said street begging is dishonourable and must not be allowed to continue, adding that no responsible society will allow its people, especially children, to adopt begging as a vocation. Kwankwaso appealed to the media to uphold professional ethics and not allow proliferation of inflammatory statements that will heighten tension and destroy the peace the state is enjoying.

ATSINA State Governor Ibrahim Shema has pre sented a N113 billion budget proposal to the House of Assembly. Shema said the target of the budget was social responsibility to be delivered to the people. The governor said Capital Expenditure of N81.2 billion will consists of economic sector (N22.1 billion), social service sector (N14.8 billion). According to him, regional development, administration, judiciary, legislature and quick intervention funds would cost N40.1 billion. Shema said recurrent expenditure is N32.5 billion where personnel cost would cost N19.2billion, overhead cost gains N8.4billion.

Jigawa awards N14.9b projects From Ahmed Rufa’I, Dutse

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IGAWA State Governor Sule Lamido has approved the re lease of over N14 billion for the building of township roads in the 10 local governments. Commissioner for Information Babandi Ibrahim said this yesterday after the state executive council meeting. He said: “The state has approved the award of contracts for the building of township roads across the state, which includes Hadeja (N2.5billion), Kazaure (N2billion), Gumel (N1.9 billion), Malan-madori (N1.2 billion), Kafin-hausa (N1.9 billion), Megatari (N1.7 billion), Kaugama (N9.4million), Guri (N1.3 billion), Roni (N8.7million), Suletankarkar (N9.9million).” The Commissioner for Water Resources, Hannafi Yakubu, yesterday resigned his appointment.

Alumni reunite By Nneka Nwaneri

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HE Lagos State chapter of the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto, will on Sunday hold its annual reunion with a visit to the Yaba Psychiatric Hospital. Thereafter, members will converge on the Elegushi Beach, Lekki, for a health talk and picnic.

‘Nigeria lacks purposeful leadership ‘ LACK of purposeful leadership has been identified as the major challenge facing the country. The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI), Yinka Oyinlola, said: “Holding a public office is not the same as leadership and this is evident when one looks at the transactional nature – instead of developmental – of the way Nigeria is administered. “Notwithstanding the resources of any country, without the leaders who are able to explore and exploit the resources, the ‘blessings’ will continue to remain a ‘curse.’ “One can arguably surmise that if there is failure of leadership, it is because we as Nigerians persistently opt for bad leaders. However, one should not naively arrive at such a conclusion given the process of ascension to power of elected leaders. “The only way out is to have leaders whose compass can discern right and wrong and who work in the interest of Nigerians.”


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A 16-PAGE PULLOUT ON THE SOUTHSOUTH STATES

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

PAGE 25

MOSOP orders mass action over UNEP Report From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

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•A child standing around one of the houses destroyed during the Odi invasion

Anger in Odi over Fed Govt’s refusal to pay N37.6b compensation Eleven months after a court judgment ordering the Federal Government to pay the Odi community in Bayelsa N37.6 billion as compensation for the destruction of the community during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Goodluck Jonathan administration is playing hide and seek, writes MIKE ODIEGWU, YENAGOA

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ULVERISED houses, charred roofs and tombs of their loved ones grimly remind them of the sad day. Wounds of devastation have remained fresh in their minds 13 years after troops deployed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo invaded their ancestral land. It was November 20, 1999. Soldiers raped their women, mowed down hapless able-bodied men, shelled and bombed houses. The lively community was reduced to rubbles by the “marauding beast.”

The people still recalled the fate that befell their late Paramount Ruler, King Efeke Bolou. The federal troops killed him and destroyed his palace. The palace, till today, is yet to be rebuilt. In climes where the rule of law works, Odi, a community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State would have been witnessing some degrees of reconstruction and rehabilitation. But Nigeria is a theatre of the absurd; a state where even the authorities, most times, show total disregard to pronouncements of a court of compe-

If the Federal Government cannot observe the rule of law now that our brother is the President, is it when somebody who is not from the state becomes the President that we will get this money?

tent jurisdiction. Therefore, Odi, despite winning

a judgment against the Federal Government, may have to wait till eternity for the enforcement of the court order. In fact, the disenchanted people of Odi are patiently waiting on the government to pay the N37.6 billion awarded them by the Federal High Court. Though no amount of compensation would take away their sad memories and restore the dignity of Odi Kingdom, the least the people expect the government to do is to honour the court judgment. •Continued on page 26

HE Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has commenced peaceful and non-violent direct mass actions to protest the “callous” refusal of the Federal Government to implement the recommendations contained in the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoni land. The MOSOP President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, expressed shock over the attitude of the officials of the Federal Government on the UNEP report, which he said was essential to transform Ogoni land. The UNEP’s environmental assessment in Ogoni land was initiated by the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 and supported by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, with the report submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja in August, 2011. The far-reaching recommendations are yet to be implemented. Anglo/Dutch oil giant, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) was sent packing from Ogoni land in 1993, while the renowned environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists were hanged at the Port Harcourt Prisons on November 10, 1995, during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha. The oil firm is yet to return to Ogoni land, 20 years after. MOSOP said: “The nonimplementation of the recommendations contained in the UNEP report has made Ogoni an environmental wasteland and a dead zone. “We will like to re-affirm our position that the implementation of the UNEP report, in strict conformity to its recommendations, is non-negotiable. “Tying restoration of our environment to commencement of oil production in Ogoni, as being touted, is not only infantile, but also insensitive, most unfortunate and will be greatly resisted.”

•Continued on page 37

INSIDE

•Kokori’s troubles

•Anti-tribalism music •All for peace

KOKORI, a town in Delta State, needs help to overcome humanitarian crisis caused by fracas between the military and suspected criminals. •PAGE 29

A RISING star is leading a revolution against tribalism and other vices using his talent as a musician and song writer. •PAGE 28

•Beware! deathtrap

•Monarch at last

TWO communities in Akwa Ibom State want the government to end the killings and wanton destruction of property in their climes.

THE Rumuolumeni/ Rumepirikom/Iwofe communities in Rivers State are passing through hell over poor road networks.

AFTER 67 year, Ellu, a community in Delta State, has succeeded in installing a traditional ruler to provide leadership for the people.

•PAGE 30

•PAGE 34

•PAGE 38

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Anger in Odi over Fed Govt’s refusal •Continued from page 25 A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, in February, ordered the government to pay N37.6 billion as compensation to victims of the military invasion. The court categorised the damages to include special damages of N17.6 billion and general damages of N20 billion. It also gave a permanent injunction stopping the government and their agents from attacking Odi again. The suit No.FHC/PH/CP/11/2000 was filed on behalf of the community by Prof. Kobina KemeEbi Imananagha, Chief Ndu Gwagha, Chief Shadrack Agadah, Mr. Idoni Ingezi and Mr. Nwaka Echomgbe. Justice Lambo Akambi delivered the judgment and ordered the government to pay the money in the next 21 days. Akanbi described the attack on the people of Odi as genocidal, reckless, brutish and a gross violation of the rights of the victims to life and to ownership of property. Justice Akanbi berated the government for the “brazen violation of the fundamental human rights of the victims to movement, life and to own property and live peacefully in their ancestral home.” Making reference to various statements by government officials, including that of President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Assembly as well as video evidence of the invasion, the judge described the content of a government counter-affidavit as “worthless”. Lead counsel to the Odi people, Lucius Nwosu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), referred to comments credited to Jonathan that the soldiers did not kill any member of the gangs accused of killing the policemen but helpless members of the community. Jonathan said during one of his presidential chats: “It was only old men, women and children, who could not run, that were massacred in that military operation. “A situation where you turn guns and artillery purchased

with taxpayers’ money against the taxpayers, is a call for sober reflection and a matter of serious concern. It calls for atonement for the dead and compensation for the living, for the trauma and loss they have been made to suffer as refugees and loss of their precious homes, loved ones, friends and objects of reverence.” Throughout the proceeding, the counsel to the Federal Government and the military did not make any formal appearance. The Federal Government’s lawyers argued that they did not get any invitation from the court. Court records show they actually received invitations but refused to honour them. In the spirit of the judgment, the government was supposed to have paid the money on or before March 13. But, in its usual show of disdain to court orders, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)led government started playing to the gallery. Lawyers to the government began to bring spurious applications to the court in a bid to either frustrate the payment or stop it. Odi has on five occasions when such applications were brought before the lower and higher courts floored the government. Even at the Court of Appeal, the community won. Lawyers to Odi, Nwosu (SAN), Lawal Rabana (SAN) and Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), have consistently taken their helpless colleagues in the federal team to the cleaners. In one of its failed applications for stay of execution, the government had pleaded with the court to grant its application pending the determination of their appeal on the grounds that it might be difficult to recover the money from the community should its appeal on the matter become successful. However, Lawal urged the court to disregard the plea of the Federal Government insisting that Odi people were not foreigners that could vanish after getting the money. He said: “You cannot say

•One of the houses destroyed during the invasion

that because of N37.6 billion, your citizens, in whose land you explore crude oil, should be subjected to suffering. The Federal Government of Nigeria cannot go bankrupt or collapse if the money is released to the Odi community. “In the event that the appeal succeeds, the Federal Government can get the money back, as these people are not foreigners that will abscond. Odi will continue to remain an integral part of Nigeria forever.” As expected, the appeal failed. The dilly-dallying game continued and got to a point where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sponsored an application at the Federal High Court seeking to stop the pay-

MOSOP orders mass action over UNEP Report Continued from page 25 The marginalised people also stated that they were committed to resisting all attempts to start oil and gas extraction in Ogoni’s four local government areas of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme, without first clearing the environmental mess inflicted on their communities and negotiating terms of a new relationship with the accredited representatives of the people. MOSOP said: “We consider the inaction of the Federal Government of Nigeria as genocidal impunity that demonstrates domestic terrorism. Everyday, local Ogoni communities record rising death rates in circumstances linked to environ-

mental pollution. “We are experiencing severe decline in agricultural production, thus heightening food insecurity and compromising our survival. Any government that does to the weak and voiceless, as Abuja is doing to the indigenous Ogoni people, has no place for higher values, but driven by malice and inhuman motives. “Since genocide is a crime against humanity and an assault on global peace, the world must come together as one, against the genocidal approach of the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people, because it may extend to other Nigerian nationalities. “We will like to state that implementation of the recom-

mendations contained in the UNEP report will define Ogoni people’s response to the upcoming federal elections.” The umbrella organisation also stated that the traumatised Ogoni people, led by MOSOP, would continue to march on Port Harcourt and its environs, in protest against the “criminal” failure of the Federal Government to implement the UNEP report. MOSOP added that the protest by the Ogoni people and their friends would also be happening all over the world, especially in Lagos, Abuja, Yenagoa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

ment of the money. Still, it failed. Irked by the delay, a faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) had given the government a seven-day ultimatum to pay the money or face series of attacks against its oil installations in the Niger Delta region. Despite the threats, the government has remained adamant over 10 months after the judgement. There are fears that if the money is not paid before electioneering begins next year ahead of 2015, it may take divine intervention to honour the court ruling. A member of Odi Council of Chiefs, Chief Bruce Wilson,

said the community had resorted to divine intervention through fasting and praying. “We have declared days of fasting and praying. We don’t know why the government is wasting time. They can’t say they are not ready because the money is there. We are waiting and we know that God will make it happen”, he said. There are, however, indications that the development may pit the community against their kinsman, President Goodluck Jonathan. The people are not happy that Jonathan had failed to order the enforcement of the judgment. A member of the Odi Legal Committee and retired Naval

Commander, Koku Imanana, said the people of the community within and abroad had been ordered to come back home on December 20 to take a collective stand on the matter. He lamented the delay in paying the money and said it was unfortunate that “it is happening when someone from the state is the President of the country”. He insisted that Odi would speak against the system. “If the Federal Government cannot observe the rule of law now that our brother is the President, is it when somebody who is not from the state becomes the President that we will get this money?” He quarried.

Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom T

HE Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Traditional Council in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State on Wednesday inaugurated a new governing council to administer the affairs of the Kingdom for the next two years. The council, led by Lucky Oromoni, was sworn in by the Regent of Ogbe-Ijoh, Chief Samson Mamamu, at OgbeIjoh, headquarters of Warri South West Local Government Area. Chief Mamamu, in his address at the brief ceremony held at the town hall, noted that from time immemorial, the kingdom has had five arms of its traditional government comprising the Traditional Council, Governing Council, Elders Forum, Women and youth wings of the Kingdom. Noting that the ceremony

From Shola O’Neil, Warri

came barely 18 months after the demise of the traditional ruler (Pere of Ogbe-Ijoh Clan), he appealed to every member of the Kingdom to remain law abiding in the days ahead. He said: ‘The tenure of the last Governing Council expired since 23rd October, 2013, and by the special grace of God, we are to inaugurate the new council to take up the welfare of the Kingdom. We have sailed through a number of undemocratic anomalies. We resettled our minds and are able to marry them into peace. It is our appeal to the Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom to love themselves, cooperate in pursuing their national needs towards bigger victory.” Mamamu warned that the commonwealth of the Kingdom must not be mismanaged

Chief Favour Izoukumor, Chief Samson Mamamu and Chief SF Ogbokeme during the inauguration of Ogbe-Ijoh Governing Council

or hijacked by few to create poverty for the larger society. “Mismanagement of victory is the beginning of poverth,” he stated, adding that those who


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

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NIGER DELTA REPORT

l to pay N37.6b compensation

•Jonathan

He continued: “If a Bayelsa man cannot pay us as the President, who else will become the President and pay us? We are going to take a stand on December 20th. We are not happy.” Another member of the Odi Council of Chiefs, Chief Michael Okringbo, appealed to the government not to waste further time in paying the money. He observed that government was always slow in obeying judgment awarded against it by the court. He said: “If the court had prescribed judgment against us, the government would have come down on us with anger. Now that the government is guilty, they are foot-

dragging. “We are begging President Goodluck Jonathan to use his good offices to intervene and enforce this judgment. We are saying this because we know that soon the 2015 politicking will start and our matter may be relegated to the background.” Also, Prince Tari Bolou, the son of the late king, said Odi people were not happy with the government. He recalled being the first to champion the course for compensation when Obasanjo later visited Odi after the invasion. “We took the pains to institute a legal action against the government but l feel so bad that the government is wasting

•Obasanjo

time to pay this money after we had won this case. Most of the people are still displaced. Let them pay the money. “The general Odi is angry including the monarch. President Goodluck Jonathan should use his good offices to intervene and ensure that the money is paid,” he said. Odi’s invasion was caused by the killing of 12 policemen by armed gangs based in Odi on November 5, 1999. A wide range of estimates have been given for the numbers of civilians killed. Human Rights Watch concluded that “the soldiers must certainly have killed tens of unarmed civilians and that figures of several hundred dead are entirely

plausible.” Nnimmo Bassey, former Executive Director of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA), claims that nearly 2500 civilians were killed. The government initially put the death toll at 43, including eight soldiers. By Jonathan’s admission, the bombardment of Odi did not succeed in curbing militancy in Niger Delta. He said it worsened militancy in the region and attracted international outcry against the Federal Government. He said if the military action in Odi had stopped militancy, there would have not been any need for the amnesty programme for militants in the Niger Delta initiated by the

late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. He said the bombardment of Odi in retaliation for the killing of 12 policemen in the community only succeeded in killing old men and women, pointing out that no single militant was shot dead in the action. His words : “After the invasion, I and the governor entered Odi. Ordinarily, the governor and his subordinates would not have moved in at the same time. We entered houses and we saw some dead people. Most of the dead were old men and women, but none of the militants was killed. None. Bombarding Odi was meant to solve the problem, but it never did. If the attack in

inaugurates Governing Council

•Hon Lucky Oromoni (middle) with members of Egbe-Ijoh Governing Council

are yet to achieve their aspirations into the council must be patient and join hands with those elected for the overall good and development of

Ogbe-Ijoh. Among those inaugurated on Wednesday were Wurusibewei Diebo (Assistant Secretary), Ebibor Dio, Godwin

Enighan, Isaiah Afodor, Stephen Anegba, Garenwei Eyoroagagha and Jeremiah Toweh Financial Secretary, and members respectively.

The chairman of the electoral committee, A. O Kokori said the candidates for the position of Vice Chairman and PRO were disqualified while Secretary

elect, Mr Simon T could not be cleared because of petition. Addressing the traditional council and other members of the Kingdom after thep inaugu-

Odi had solved the problem of militancy in Niger Delta, then the late President Yar’Adua’s government of whom I was privileged to be his deputy, would not come up with the amnesty programme. That is to tell you that an attack on Odi never solved the problem of militancy, rather it attracted international outcry and many people began to say things rather than the attack on Odi.” But despite his belief, his government is playing hide and seek over the court order on the N3.7 billion compensation. And the question is: Will the Odi people ever get this money?

ration, Hon Oromoni assured that his team would live above board and would consult the traditional council before major decisions would be taken. He promised to constitute a constitution review committee to review the 2003 Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom Constitution, adding, ‘We shall also as a matter of priority, key into the peace and security agenda of the state government and to ensure complete peace in Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom. We shall also ensure that all ongoing projects are completed and execute new projects within the period of our tenure in office.’ The ceremony was attended by Chief Favour Izoukumor, Fiyewei of Ogbe-Ijoh, chiefs A D Oyibo, Samuel Ogbokeme, Friday Igbegbe, John Ajemitolo, Mrs Veronica Eselemon, Newton Aloku andi Broderick Donokoromo. Others are chiefs David Pere, Adviser of the council, Michael Azosibe, Richard Evene, Tony Tekedor and Harrison Gbenekama.


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

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Pupils in all red for Christmas Carol I

T was all red at Mary Virginia Nursery and Primary School Iriebe in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State last Friday as Archdeacon Brown Education Centre (ABEC), organised a one-day Unity Day/ Christmas Carnival Carol in Nativity Play, 2013. The event was colourful in every standard and well attended by parents, guardians and invited guests who were treated to intelligent and inspiring presentations by children and pupils of the schools. It was the end of the term/year activity of the schools. The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Dame Christie Toby, academic and administrative staff, pupils and students of the schools rolled out the drums to showcase how far they have positively impacted on the lives of the young ones and to thank God for preserving their lives and those of their parents in 2013 and also to pray for the years ahead. Dame Toby equally used the occasion to give account of what the schools have been doing in the past years, even as she explained what informed the event. “We have so many reasons to thank God this year and we are confident that He will continue to uphold us throughout this year and the years ahead. We thank God for His presence among us, especially in all we do and the excellent performances of our children in local, national and international examinations. “At Christmas time, we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace. Jesus took our place to give us His peace. Christmas is the season for peace. Jesus came to break the cycle of sin and blame by reconciling us with God by shedding His blood on the Cross of Calvary. “When we live in peace with God, we will be eager to make peace with our fellow mankind. Let us try to give and receive the gift of peace this Christmas,” she said. She also explained why she is investing on the ‘rejected’ of the society through the special/inclusive education. She said: “I believe in the saying that in Africa, there is no idiot. There may be slow learners. No doubt, we should

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

give them a chance by giving them the right environment. Through this, we will get them there.” She, however, expressed regrets that some parents still lock up or hide their children and wards that have one form of challenge or the other, when they could give them a chance acquire education. The chairman ParentTeacher Association (PTA) of Mary Virginia Nursery and Primary School, Dr Victor Okoro expressed his satisfaction over the standard of education in ABEC Schools and the level of knowledge being impacted in the children. “It is a thing of joy seeing these children’s performances today. When I look at these schools and what they have, I think above the sky is their limit; because these reminds me very well of my background at Government College Umuahia. “When I see what they are doing, it is of very high standard and compares to what we were having in those days in government special schools,” he said. Former Deputy Governor of Rivers State and husband of ABEC’s Chief Executive, Sir Gabriel T. Toby, said: “Our aim and vision is that the Nigerian child should be given the best in education. They should be made to be independent. There should be no reason for any sorting. There should be no reason for mal-administration in education. So, the children that passed through these schools are confident in themselves. But more importantly, we want them to be spiritually good. We want them not just to grow in knowledge but also in character, founded in Christ. “To us, this aspect is important because we believe that education without foundation in Christ will be meaningless. This is what drove us into this. Very importantly, we are not into this venture to make money; looking at the facilities we have and what we accept to raise these children. “The issue is, let the children get good and quality education; let the parents get the good of the best. We thank God that all the children that

•Students at the ceremony

•Another set of students at the ceremony

have passed through this school are getting admissions and excelling all over the World. They are making first-class in all their schools in the United Kingdom, Ghana and the United States, among others. This shows the quality of education we impart in the children.” Sir Toby, as he is fondly called proffered solution on how standard of education in the country and state could be raised. “I think Governor Chibuike Amaechi has started very well in terms of structures. The environments of these newly built

schools are conducive to teaching and learning. “To have environment that is conducive to teaching and learning is good for both the teachers and students. It is the first thing to be done. The other thing is equipment. We have visited some of the schools. The equipment are right. Then you have to train the teachers and let them get committed. If you have good environment and the facilities to enable teaching and learning to be easy; with right

and adequate instructional materials, there is no reason the children will not do well. “The issue now is the sustainability of this policy and also making sure that those who get into that system don’t get into it to make money and go away; but they get into it for the passion and the love they have for the children they teach,” he said. Also speaking, the Administrative Manager of Schools, Ifeoma Eucharia Alio, told the Niger Delta Report their motivations in impacting the right

knowledge in the children. She said: “The first motivation in giving our best to the children is that our pay is very high. As you know, when they pay you well as a teacher, you won’t look back; you will put in your best. “Apart from this, there are some fringe benefits teachers and workers in the school enjoy. These make it both difficult for us to leave or think of leaving the school. Instead, we think of ways to improve on our jobs so that we could be retained.”

Fighting tribalism through music

H

E is called Real Pee Ajaba. He is the new kid on the block; currently making waves with hit songs as Imperfect Me and Tear Rubber Love. Also noted for the uncanny similarity of his voice with Tuface Idibia, Real Pee is a man that is unique in his own right. Born Pius Ajaba in Utugwang in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State, he believes strongly that messages could be disseminated through music. According to him, music should not be about dance and rhythm but most importantly about the message – a point that may be responsible for distinctiveness of his words in his music. His words: “We need the

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar message to stay alive and keep going. We don’t just need sound. Not just singing and dancing.” This, he said, has been the philosophy behind his songs. He recently dropped another single entitled Mission Master whose message, he said, is meant to fight tribalism which is one of the problems the country is experiencing. In a chat with Niger Delta Report shortly after the making of the video of Mission Master which is his third video, he said Nigerians need to look beyond the pettiness of ethnic, religious and other kinds of differences to forge ahead for the benefit of all.

So many people understand messages through music. That is why I am passing most of my messages using music as a medium…I just want people to understand that, as a man or woman, you have to think about why you are here on earth. We need to work together for a better tomorrow •Real Pee Ajaba

“This is one of the reasons the country has remained stagnant

and somewhat divided. The video is not just about

the video itself but the message. The message here is:

what is your mission? I like to preach because we all are sent from God to deliver message in different ways. I promised that with the talent God has endowed me with; I would not waste it. Every song I sing I must pass a message. It is not just about singing and dancing. “So many people understand messages through music. That is why I am passing most of my messages using music as a medium. When we ask what people’s missions are, it is a question that can get someone embarrassed. “I just want people to understand that, as a man or woman, you have to think about why you are here on earth. We need to work together for a better tomorrow,” he said.


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Humanitarian crisis worsens in Kokori As troops of the Joint Task Force maintain the clamp down on Kokori community in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State beleaguered residents of the troubled town have expressed concern over growing humanitarian crisis and alleged human rights violation perpetrated by the soldiers. Niger Delta Report gathered that schools in the area have remained closed while the students and pupils of both private and public schools in the town have been left out of the ongoing first term examination exercise in primary and secondary schools across the state. Similarly, health facilities, clinics and pharmaceutical shops, markets and other commercial activities have grounded to a halt since the latest onslaught. The situation has heightened concerns on possible humanitarian crisis in the area. Kokori has been a battleground since the arrest of Kelvin Iburvwe for alleged kidnap, armed robbery and other crimes on the 25th of September in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. His supporters and members of the Liberation Movement of Urhobo People (LIMUP) have been engaged in several skirmishes with security operatives. Troops stormed the town again following another bloody clash with armed youths on Thursday, November 28. At least one person was killed and hundreds others displaced following the latest siege. Property worth millions of naira, including buildings, cars, motorcycles and household property were also destroyed in the latest face-off. Our investigations revealed that in spite of the Joint Task Force’s assurance that residents were free to go back to their homes, the community remains deserted. The Joint Task Force confirmed that very few residents - about 10 percent - remain in the town. Those who stayed back are facing hardship resulting from the collapse of social and economic activities in the town. Their plights are not being helped by the vice-like grip on the town by soldiers. It was gathered that all entry and exit points out of the community are manned by combat

•Some of the properties allegedly destroyed by soldiers From Shola O’Neil, Southsouth Regional Editor

ready soldiers drawn from the 222 and 3 battalions of the Nigerian Army. Residents say movement is banned except through the Kokori-Isiokolo axis. They say cars are prevented from entering the town while walkers are subjected to harassment by troops. An aged resident who stayed back, Chief John Egbo, told our reporter that he walked a long distance to Isiokolo even to get basic necessities, adding that he relied on his wife who fled the town to get him food. “The only way to get into Kokori as at today (Wednesday) is through Isiokolo road and by keke (tricycles). They would drop you at the entrance to Kokori by the house of an SA to the governor. From there you trek into town through a bush path. “But today we are now hearing that even the kekes would not go again because some of them (operators) were beaten up by soldiers yesterday (Tues-

day). So the hardship is getting worse for people inside the town. There is no food, we used to go to Isiokolo to get provision now we are running out of cash and we are not even allowed to go back in again,” the source told our reporter shortly after he left Kokori. Our source, who asked not to be named, said the ban of tricycles was another move to tighten the noose on residents, apparently to compel them to flee the town. “Even children are not allowed to play outside. As I was leaving this morning, two young children who were playing outside were chased back inside their homes by the soldiers. They say they don’t want to see anybody outside; movement is being restricted.”Another residents of the town expressed dissatisfaction over perceived nonchalant attitude of government and civil society groups in the face of abuses and untold hardship being suffered by residents. They accused troops of looting and wilful destruction of

•Chief Egbo in front of his house

houses and property that were abandoned by fleeing inhabitants in the wake of the latest onslaught on the community. One of the residents, Mr Victor Etaghene, told our reporter that three of the four flats in his house were looted allegedly by

PHOTOS: SHOLA O’NEIL

the troops. He said other valuable items including water pumping machines were carted away. He said: “The four flats and a storey building were vandalised by the soldiers, but the borehole water pump was

removed by the area boys. One of my tenants who were in when the soldiers came narrated how the soldiers vandalised the first flat before they (tenants) took to their heels. They now reside in Okpara Inland. The other tenant tenants (civil servants) relocated to Ughelli.” He appealed to the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Red Cross to come to the need of the suffering people of the town. The Commanding Officer, 3 Battalion, Lt. Colonel Otu, who took some journalist to the trouble town recently, debunked the allegation of looting and destruction, saying, “It is an attempt to rubbish the good work the troops are doing in Kokori aimed at restoring law and order in a community that hitherto drifted towards anarchy.” Otu said troops deployed to the town are closely monitored by five high ranking officers, stressing: “Discipline is maintained as one is not unaware of the possible fallout in an operation of this nature.”

Cross River restates commitment to empower rural communities

T

HE General Manager of Cross River Community and Social Development Agency (CRSCSDA) Mr. Victor Ovat, has said the government has voted over N1 billion for the implementation of the Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) for next year. The project, which is a partnership among the World Bank, Federal Government and Cross River State governments, is designed to support empowerment of rural communities to develop, implement and monitor micro-social infrastructural projects; including natural resource management interventions in their communities. He also said the project which was supposed to be wound up this year by the World Bank had been extended to 2014. Ovat further said the state government had declared its intention to continue supporting the programme even if the World Bank eventually pulls out. “The governor has pledged that with or without World Bank funding, the project would continue. The Cross River State government has voted N1. 015billion for CSDP so that, with this, we can sustain the tempo of activities already started by the project. “Beyond that the World Bank has given an extension for the project by one year. We are expecting more money from the World Bank to support what we are doing,” he said. Ovat, who spoke during a training capacity workshop for

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

beneficiaries of the project in the state in Calabar, lamented the poor culture of sustainability of projects in the country. His words: “We discover that we do not have a culture in Nigeria and Africa to look at projects post-completion. We look at projects only from the points of conception. So, once a project has been completed in terms of construction, we forget it. Nobody does anything about it. The effect is that, over time, we keep losing what we have done and keep looking for money to do new things. That is not a good way of going about life. “The developed world does not continuously replace but they always add to what they have because they have developed a culture wherein they try to manage to sustain what they have; such that the resources they have would be used to maintain and create additional infrastructure. But we have a culture of abandoning and doing new ones whether or not we have the resources. ”So, coming from this background, we want to drive this process that would bring about a change where people would now see or look beyond the completion stage of projects to aftercompletion. To do this, we know we need to engage the different stakeholders, create awareness and build their capacity. We want communities to set up committees that would manage their projects after completion. So, even after 10 to 20 years, the people would still be benefitting from it.”

‘We want to drive this process that would bring about a change where people would now see or look beyond the completion stage of projects to after-completion. To do this, we know we need to engage the different stakeholders, create awareness and build their capacity’


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Akwa Ibom communities seek

The two communities of Uda and Effiat in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have sent Save Our Soul (SOS) message to Akwa Ibom State government following killings and wanton destruction of property in recent times, writes KAZEEM IBRAHYM

T

HE hall at Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State penultimate Wednesday was filled to capacity with elders, women, different youth groups and clan heads. The elders dressed in their traditional attires. They all assembled to chart the way forward following the prolonged crises that had engulfed two communities of Uda and Effiat. From their looks, it shows all was not well. One speaker spoke after the other. All they search for is how peace would return to Uda and Effiat communities that have been at war with one another for over a decade. There was a renewed tension between the two communities following the killing of a pregnant woman and a mother of

•The Council Chair, Victor Antai (right), listening to one of the elders during the peace meeting i..

two from Uda by Effiat communities last week; a situation that made the chairman of Mbo Local Government Area, Victor Antai to call a meeting of all the stakeholders to resolve the impasse. After the meeting, the elders, women and the youth all marched to the state headquar-

ters of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and the state police command in Uyo, the state capital, to protest the lackadaisical handling of the protracted crisis perpetrated by politicians in their area. According to them, the protest was meant for them to register their complaints through

the heads of security formations in the state for onward delivery to Governor Godswill Akpabio. The group passed a vote of confidence on Chief Antai for the manner he has been managing the crisis in Effiat Clan which has claimed many lives in the past five years. They argued that but for the

mature and dexterous manner that Antai has been dealing with all the parties in the crisis, it would have escalated to engulf the entire council area. While briefing the Director of Security, Akwa Ibom State, Thomas Minti who was represented by the Acting Director, Emmanuel Esumoni, the coun-

cil chairman said the entire local government area decided to take their plight to the security formation so that they could impress it on the state government to wade into it and bring the suffering of the people to end. Antai said as chief security officer of the state, the killing of dozens of Mbo sons and daugh-

A Foundation’s one year of touching lives “M

Y name is Chile Iheanacho. I am from Umuerim in Umuajuloke community in Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers State. I thank God Almighty for bringing O.B.LuluBriggs Foundation to Omuma. I have suffered from pains and torture as a result of hernia for nine years. "Out of fear, I continued to live with the discomforts until my father called to tell me about the free medical mission in my local government area." Iheanacho's was one of many testimonies and appreciations at the 21st edition of O.B.Lulu-Briggs Foundation free medical mission held at Obiohia community of Omuma Local Government Area between November 18 and 22, 2013. The foundation, which was set up by High Chief Lulu-Briggs 10 years ago with the aim of giving free medical treatment to the rural poor of the Niger Delta, has made a total of 21 outings across communities of Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states. In 2013 alone, it made four outings in the average of one outreach in each quarter and treated a total of 21,932 people who were suffering from different kinds of disease. Surgeries were carried out in Opokuma in Kolokuma/Opokuma and Emeyal 11 in Ogbia Local Government Area both in Bayelsa State. About 9,063 patients; of whom children accounted for 1, 477 were treated. There with 66 surgical operations that day. The team also visited Enwang/Oron in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa/Ibom State where they treated 6,837 patients, 824 children and performed 56 surgeries. At the Omuma outreach recently, of

•From right, the Executive Director of Lulu-Briggs Foundation, Mrs Sienye Lulu-Briggs, the traditional ruler of Omuma Etche, HRH...

6,032 patients, 1,315 were children while 16 operations were performed. The President and Founder of the Foundation, High Chief Lulu-Briggs and his wife Mrs. Sienye who is also the Executive Director of the Foundation, were present at the flag-off/ closing ceremony of the event on November 21. Speaking at the occasion, Mrs. LuluBriggs explained why they decided to give free Medicare to communities: She said: "One major challenge facing the rural people is not just the issue of healthcare cost to economic hardship, but the fact that rural areas often have fewer general medical practitioners, ophthalmologists, dentists and certain relevant specialists

may not be available. As a result, their health issues can become more serious by the time of diagnosis. Again, many of them would ultimately be referred to secondary or tertiary health facilities far away from their dwellings. "Also, rural communities have a large proportion of elderly people and children; with relatively few people of working age. This often results in higher dependency ratio. When compared to their urban counterparts, rural dwellers have poorer socio-economic conditions, less education and higher mortality rate. "It is in recognition of these stark realities that the foundation has given special attention to rural communities in the dispensation of free health-

care, in assisting the elderly, healing communities, improving lives and creating opportunities in these parts of the country." Mrs. Lulu-Briggs advocated for the provision of quality, effective, accessible and sustainable healthcare to all by government, saying it would encourage sustainability of Nigeria's already-large population. She said the choice of Omuma for the round-off of this year's programme was divine, revealing that the local government area was not originally listed among local government areas and communities considered for the trip. She likened it to Paul the Apostle who, by divine relation, went to Macedonia despite negative prophe-

cies against his safety in the area. She further said she clearly heard the voice of God calling them to Omuma and overlooked the resistance and objections which members of the team raised over the decision. The fears followed tales of killings and kidnappings in the area. She added that difficulties encountered at every stage of preparation for the trip rather confirmed and strengthened her faith that God actually spoke to her. Mrs. Lulu-Briggs said the number of children and the aged that came out to take advantage of the programme as noticed on the second day of the event further confirmed that the finger of God was in their coming to the local government area. At the Obohio Health Centre, thousands of patients, including old, young and children were noticed at different points struggling to get card/tally, prescriptions, or patiently seated under canopy shades to see the doctor, as the hospital's general consultation hall, all balconies and passages were filled with patients. Twenty-two-year-old Miss Oluchi Nwuju, who lived with hernia for 20 years, also testified of how God used the foundation to give her another chance in life. She thanked the founder and financier of the foundation for giving her the chance to live normal life again. Earlier, the organisers of the outreach had paid a courtesy visit at the palace of Chairman Omuma Council of Chiefs, His Royal Highness (HRH) Eze Monday I. Ojiegbe; the Omu 11 of Omuma. Spokesman of the visiting medical team, Chief Membrene told members of Omuma Council of Chiefs that they brought good news to members of the


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

NIGER DELTA REPORT

lasting peace ‘ Mbo crises have overwhelmed me. That is why I have brought these people here so that you can see the anger in them, talk to them, and see how we can meet with the state governor…God gave the oil to Mbo to better the lives of the people; but what we are seeing is quite opposite as oil has brought us woes

ters have overwhelmed him, adding that it is only the state and federal governments that could surmount the hostility in the area. His words: “Mbo crises have overwhelmed me. That is why I have brought these people here so that you can see the anger in

them, talk to them, and see how we can meet with the state governor. “God gave the oil to Mbo to better the lives of the people; but what we are seeing is quite opposite as oil has brought us woes.” He explained that the crisis

community and thought it necessary to visit and inform them. Chairman of the local government area, Mr. John Anucha, in his response, thanked the team for coming to help the people and consolidate on what the state government led by Governor Chibuike Amaechi and Omuma council had been doing in the area of healthcare delivery. The foundation's Director of Programmes, Miebaka Nabiebo informed the chiefs that the community was not originally in the lists of communities for the outing but that Mrs. LuluBriggs suddenly came up with the name. In its good will message, the United Ladies of Omuma led by Lady Comfort, expressed women's gratitude for the gesture of the foundation. "What you have been doing in the land of Omuma in the past days as you have done and yet to do in other communities and local government areas across the country is a thing worthy of emulation by all wealthy Nigerians. The Director of Health, Omuma Local Government Area appealed to the foundation to assist with keeping the Obiohia Health Centre functional. He said: "Because of security challenges in the area some years ago, the general hospital we had was shut down; leaving us with access to just primary healthcare treatment. "Unfortunately, among the 12 primary healthcare centres we currently have, it is just this that is functional; all others are like first-aid centres. "I therefore want to use the opportunity provided by this event to appeal to the foundation to, please assist us in any way to keep this remaining one

on." A young widow shared a testimony which added an element of humour to the programme as she testified how, in all that was said at the crusade, what she focused on was on the name O.B.Lulu, and she received a miracle which sort of lifted a heavy burden from her. In the same manner, another participant at the programme told the crowd of how, apart from receiving the miracle of salvation, her little daughter was healed at the crusade ground. In a short exaltation at the event by a Pastor from the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), noted that the reason for God creating man was for man to do exploit on earth, to the glory of God. He said the family of LuluBriggs is a shining example of that, saying that they are fulfilling the purpose for which they were created. the resistance and objections raised by members of the team over the decision. The fears followed tales of killings and kidnappings in the area. She added that difficulties encountered at every stage of preparation for the trip rather confirmed and strengthened her faith that God actually spoke to her. Mrs Lulu-Briggs said the number of children and the aged that came out to take advantage of the programme as noticed on the second day of the event further confirmed that the finger of God was in their coming to the LGA. At the Obohio Health Centre, thousands of patients, including old, young and children struggled to either get card/tally, prescriptions, or patiently seated under canopy

erupted more than 10 years ago because of the fraudulent attempt by a gubernatorial aspirant from the area who has been duping the people of their rightful entitlements from the oil companies operating in the area. “When it erupted more than 10 years ago, I wasn’t the council chairman then. So, it would be illogical to say that the local government authority is sponsoring the crisis which recently culminated in the burning down of houses and killing of a pregnant woman in Effiat Clan of the local government area.” Antai said. Responding on behalf of the state director of State Security, the Assistant State Director Mr Emmanuel Esumonu said the agency was aware of the crisis, even as he promised to table it before Governor Akpabio for quick resolution. Esumonu lamented that what normally causes crisis; especially in the Niger Delta region is the tendency of a few people to divert what should have been the common wealth of the entire people. Also speaking, the President of Essu Nlap Oro, Apostle Etim Ante, said it was unfortunate that since the crises started, the victims of oil revenue struggle are often innocent people who have nothing to do with oil politics. Ante called on the authorities to prosecute those behind the killing of Mbo sons and daughters.

shades to see the doctor, as the hospital general consultation hall, all balconies and passages were filled with patients. Twenty-two year-old Miss Oluchi Nwuju, who lived with hernia for 20 years, also testified of how God used the Foundation to give her another chance on life. She thanked the founder and financier for giving her the chance to live on. Earlier, the organizers of the outreach had paid a courtesy visit at the palace of Chairman Omuma Council of chiefs, HRH Eze Monday I. Ojiegbe, the Omu 11 of Omuma. Spokesman of the visiting medical team, Chief Membrene told the members of Omuma council of chiefs that they brought good news to members of the community and thought it necessary to visit and inform them. The local government council chair, John Anucha, in his responses thanked the team for coming to help the people and consolidate on what the state government led by Governor Chibuike Amaechi and Omuma council had been doing in the area of healthcare delivery. The Foundation's Director of Programmes, Miebaka Nabiebo, confirmed to the chiefs that the community was not originally in the lists of communities for the outing but that Mrs LuluBriggs suddenly came up with the name. In its good will message, the United Ladies of Omuma led to the flag-off ceremony by Lady Comfort, expressed the gratitude of the women of the LGA for the bringing the good news to them.

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Deathtrap called Rumuolumeni

Thugs unleash mayhem on Edo

Piqued by the perceived insensitivity on the part of government over the plight of members of Rumuolumeni/ Rumuepirikom/Iwofe communities as a result of the dilapidated state of the singlelane road, youths of the communities took to the street to protest government’s negligence. ROSEMARY NWISI reports.

O

OUTHS of Rumuolumeni community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State recently blocked the everbusy Rumuolumeni/Rumuepirikom/Iwofe Road from all forms of vehicular movement to protest the continuous deterioration of the road. The demonstration, which lasted for almost two weeks, was meant to attract governments’ attention to the very poor state of the road which they claimed have been neglected by the state government. The youth, numbering over 100, mounted blocks along the road on daily basis to ensure no vehicle goes in or out of the single-lane road to several petroleum tank farms, Eagle Cement factory, Nigerian Naval Base, and the Ignatius Ajuru, University of Education. They chanted different songs to express their disappointments at the government, the Monier Construction Company (MCC) which is the contractor purportedly handling the rehabilitation of the road. The youth accused Governor Rotimi Amaechi of abandoning the community (Rumuolumeni) and those indigenous to it after they had overwhelming-

ly supported him during the •Activists at an oil spill scene 2011 general elections. They insisted on blocking Junction of the road. Its conthe road to avoid vehicular tents emptied on a street adjamovement until MCC returns cent to it. One person lost his to site. life while some others received However, the state govern- various degrees of burning in ment, through the Commis- the incident. sioner for Works, Victor GiaNo fewer than four vehicles dom, intervened by appealing were burnt. Several shops, to the protesting youths to stop houses and electric poles were the protest and dismantle the also burnt. road blocks as dialogue with Eye witness said after the government continues. fuel-laden tanker fell; fuel Giadom reportedly prom- spilled into the street. The ised immediate remedial product surged far and burst works on the road; especially into flames on getting to where the most horrible spots to al- a woman was frying bean cake low for easy movement pend- (akara). ing when the issues delaying While the fire raged, a mothe main work would be ad- torist suspected to be an engidressed. neer working for one of the The Commissioner for companies at Iwofe was drivWorks, however, gave approv- ing along the road when he al to companies operating in noticed the fire. Suspecting the area to begin rehabilitation danger, he jumped out of the of internal roads in the com- car ran for safety. He, howevmunity as requested by the er, rushed back to apparently youth to allow movement of save some official documents. their vehicles and men. In the process, he was burnt to Unfortunately, weeks after death. the promise, no rehabilitation According to our source, the work had begun on the road. explosion from his car affectInstead, the situation of the ed a close by storey building road is getting worse. and razed. Last week, a fuel-laden tankAlthough there was no caer from one of the tank farms sualty, a maid who tried to esat Rumuolumeni lost its con- cape from the burning house trol and fell at the Paragon by jumping down from the

•Mkpee

balcony of one of the storey buildings in the premises out of fear was injured and hospitalised. Residents and road users blamed the poor state of the road for the incident, even as they appealed for assistance from state government. They also expressed displeasure on the failure of Governor Amaechi to visit the scene of the incident and families of the victims. In a chat with Niger Delta Report, a resident of one of the houses torched who simply identified himself as Wajino said: “I was inside the house. It was my boss who noticed the fire first because he was standing at the balcony of our apartment. “When he saw the fire coming, he ran into the house and asked us to carry the three children. Shortly after, we rushed out of the house. The car that was parked close to this compound immediately exploded and the fire went upwards onto the roof of one of the buildings in the compound. The entire compound was covered by thick smoke. “We later discovered that what we thought was water as

it spilled the entire area was fuel, after all.” “People keep saying it was diesel. They were not there when the incident happened; but I saw it, perceived the odour and moreover, it is only fuel that can wreak the kind of havoc it did. If it was to be diesel, the fire would have been minimal. He, however, expressed gratitude to God for saving them from the incident, adding: “In all, we give God the glory because what happened could have been worse. This happened between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. when most people were still awake. Assuming it happened when we had slept, waking up and trying to escape with sleepy eyes trying to wade through the thick smoke and raging fire, it would have been more tragic. “The government should understand that what the poor need are basic infrastructure like light, water and good access roads, among others. As you can see, the fuel-laden tanker fell because the road is in a terrible shape. “Heavy duty vehicles ply this road from morning to morning. The government

should come to our aid by rehabilitating this road so that these avoidable accidents could be prevented. This would also save the people from unnecessary deaths. “I am not also happy that since after the incident, Governor Amaechi has not considered it worthwhile to visit the scene or extend his condolences to the community and the bereaved families. “Human beings like him died in those incidents; innocent and law-abiding citizens that were returning from work. If government is alive to its responsibilities and had fixed the road before it deteriorates to this extent, the tanker would not have fallen and the men would not have died,” he said. Reacting, the spokesman of the youth of the community, Felix Chinda said: “I and other youths were at the Saint John area of the community when we heard about the fallen tanker with petroleum products. Before we got to the Paragon Junction; the scene of accident, the tanker was already on fire. Before this time, we have been talking and appealing to

A cleric’s lamentation A

LL is not well with the presiding Bishop of Warriors of Christ International Church, Rev John Richard. He is having running battles with one of his disciples. The Bishop said trouble started when the disciple, who voluntarily gave the church an offering of N500, 000, later demanded a refund of the offering. He said the money was not an offering but a loan to the church. The Bishop, who is one of the popular TV preachers in Port Harcourt, said: “He was a member of my church who joined to receive God’s favours and miracle in his life. He was not a regular member for so many years and was attending Assemblies of God Mission before changing to become our

From Precious Dikewoha,Port Harcourt

member. Upon his miraculous healing, out of his own volition, without any solicitation, gave a voluntary offering of N500, 000 to the church. “After one year, he came back to the church and demanded the refund of the N500, 000 on the pretext that his former Pastor of the Assemblies of God Mission felt humiliated and has organised with other members of the church to pursue the refund of the money. “His strange attitude made me to realise that he has been paid to destroy me and my ministry. Since this trouble started about1,000 members have disappeared from the

church. How can somebody give offering to God and come back to demand it? There must be something making him to act the way he is acting. That is why I said he has been paid to destroy me.” He said it was after he disagreed to return the money that armed men stormed his church. “On October 8, unsuspectingly, the premises were suddenly invaded by certain armed persons accompanied by heavily armed Mobile Policemen as the Church was observing its weekly Fasting and Prayer Session. Everyone was taken aback and extremely shocked and helpless. Like the kidnap of Rt. Rev. Ignatius Kathey, an Archbishop of an Anglican Church here in Port Harcourt, the con-

gregation assumed the hostile intruders were kidnappers. They resisted and were resolved to see that their General Overseer was not injured or abducted. “The congregation, afraid that I was going to be abducted, forced themselves to rescue me; as they dragged me with very firm grip on my trousers like a criminal. The men proceeded to ransack my office, breaking into cupboards, doors, furniture and the church’s possession. When the situation was fast degenerating into a state of anarchy, a member of the church had to call the Joint Taskforce (JTF) Commander on phone. The timely intervention of the JTF calmed the embarrassing, disgraceful and undisciplined situation.” He said it was the interroga-

•Members of the church, including a pregnant woman, who were arrested by the EFCC men tion by the men of JTF that made the armed men to disclose their identity as men of the Economic and Financial

Crimes Commission (EFCC). He added that, as soon as the JTF officials left the scene, the EFCC officials and policemen


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ni -Iwofe Road

o community

•Mkpee

government on the need to make this road motorable and passable. “This road is so bad that even pedestrians find it difficult to pass through it. Every day, we witness several accidents involving tankers on this road. “It is unfortunate that the government is not concerned about the plight of the people. We are tax-paying citizens. We are pained that we are left alone to our fate. What you have seen here is a child’s play. When you get to Big Tree area where the community has its market, you will see a worse situation. Four vehicles were burnt. Shops and people’s other means of livelihood were burnt. At this time of the year, a 33transmission line was caught off from the electric poles while no fewer than 10 poles were damaged by the fire. Two different storey buildings and a bungalow were torched and several fences were damaged, among others. “We are still appealing to the state government to come to our help. After the youth of the area blocked the roads preventing any form of vehicular

movements, the Ministry of Works met with companies in the area. Government promised to direct the MCC, the contractor handling the project to come up with a palliative measure pending when serious construction work will be carried out on the road. Unfortunately, three weeks after the protest, neither the government nor MCC has shown any sign of seriousness to commence work on the road. “Governments are getting a lot of revenues from companies operating here every month, yet the companies have no access to their businesses as a result of the state of the roads. They companies are crying, residents are lamenting, farmers are worst hit as their farm products cannot be conveyed to the places they are needed. Also commenting, the chairman of the youth organisation, Noble Nnamdi Oluegele appealed to government to look into the people’s plight. “Both the federal and state governments have investment in Rumuolumeni. The community also hosts the Nigeria Naval Base; the University of Education and the renowned Eagle Cement factory, among

others.” Mike Okonkwo, a road user whose vehicle sunk at the bad spot at Big Tree expressed sadness on the state of the road and called on the government to fix the road. “We are not happy over the dilapidated state of this road. I have been here since two days; there is no road to pass through. Yet, we are conveying products as dangerous as PMS (fuel), on a road like this. “We are appealing to government to fix the road to avoid unnecessary loss of lives and property,” he said. Members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the state government are trading blames on what cause the unfortunate incident. While NUPENG blamed the poor state of the road for the incident, the government said it was caused by tankers that are not road worthy that were used to convey petroleum products. Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Works and the officials of the MCC for comments failed. Their telephone contacts were not available as at press time.

arrested three of his pastors. Among those arrested was a pregnant woman. “The pregnant woman and

other pastors arrested were badly assaulted and taken away to unknown destination. The EFCC and the Mobile policemen went further and ransacked my office; scattered all the sacred items of worship, broke bottles of olive oils in the office and carted away N400,000 in the table drawers, including Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards and other personal items. “The pastors and the security man arrested were hurriedly arraigned before a Federal High Court. Our lawyer secured bail for them the same day, Thursday, October 10, 2013. “Irrespective of the bail granted those arrested, the EFCC and police defiled the court order and continued to detain them in Port Harcourt Prison. All these are happening in a democracy where fundamental human rights of citizens are enshrined in our constitution. This is, to say the least, a most frustrating expe-

rience and a great threat to security of life and properties.” He has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police and copied the Senate President, the Director of State Security Service (SSS), Commissioner of Police Rivers State to use their good offices to investigate the matter. EFCC’s spokesman Wilson Uwujaren said it was untrue that the commission has been compromised over the issue. He noted that there was a petition against Bishop Richard by some persons over alleged obtaining money by false pretence from members of his church. Uwujaren said the commission has no time chasing a pastor . “Nobody paid EFCC to investigate him. We have not finished investigating money laundering and other financial crimes before we could be looking at somebody like him. The issue is that we are acting based on the petition before us.

Rivers Varsity boosts research

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IVERS State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt has embarked on N10 billion Corporate Society Project (CSP) to boost research and development . The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Barinem Fakae who explained this also said that massive input of resources and finance for facility upgrade is needed from stakeholders to enable the university to realise this laudable project. Speaking in Port Harcourt during the formal launch of the 1st RSUST Corporate Society Day, Fakae in his paper entitled “The Journey so far and the Way Ahead,” painted a very sad picture of the situation of things in the premier state university before the State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi who is also the Visitor of the university sent him (Fakae) and his team on a rescue mission to the school in 2007. Six years down the line, the V-C stated that he and his team have delivered by ridding the school of all manner of corruption like admission racketeering, infrastructural and environmental decay, inaccurate records, incessant strikes, low information communication technology (ICT) and cultism that posed credibility challenges to the school. Having cleared the mess he inherited, the university has now turned to be a foremost evarsity in the country with all its 39 programmes approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC); thus making it to be voted the “Best Regional University” by the European Business Assembly, Oxford, United Kingdom. Fakae also said that out of 124 universities in the country, the RSUST is among the 27 considered qualified for visitation by the NUC for the purposes of institutional accreditation. “We are now institutionally accredited with an impressive score of 67.25 per cent and rated “A” in the second category to operate as a university for the next five years.” He also said that by the last quarter of 2012, the RSUST shot up from 76th position to the 19th position on the World Webometric Ranking Table of Nigerian universities. The V-C also disclosed that the university now pays the highest salaries in the university system in Nigeria with retirement ages of staff adjusted upwards in line with the demand in Nigerian university system; thus making the staff to resolve that strikes will not be an option again when demanding better conditions of service. Listing out the numerous corporate interventions which the university has started enjoying since it overcame its credibility challenges; he stated that the success of elearning is dependent on a viable virtual learning environment which would, no doubt, draw on a lot of resources; “hence the need to engage the corporate society and well-meaning alumni.” Speaking at the occasion, Governor Amaechi, who noted that partnership is built on trust, also assured investors of adequate protection if they invest in the RSUST corporate investment project. The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon. Chuma Chinye, also praised Fakae for not bowing to pressures to be mired in corruption, insisting on using the little he has received to achieve much. Amaechi, who likened the case of Fakae to the footballer Stephen Keshi who has now proved that Nigeria does not need a foreign coach, also urged the staff to realise that RSUST

Of 124 universities in the country, the RSUST is among the 27 considered qualified for visitation by the NUC for the purposes of institutional accreditation We are now institutionally accredited with an impressive score of 67.25 per cent and rated “A” in the second category to operate as a university for the next five years

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

is an ivory tower and therefore, solution to problems should not be through strikes. The Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Godwin Tasie urged investors not to be afraid of investing in the university and assured them that with Fakae and his team, “your investment will be protected.” Tasie, who was the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, 9th Governing Council of RSUST before Amaechi dissolved the council, said he was impressed that the university which used to be like a “bush” has now been turned into a cozy, serene learning environment. While urging politicians to eschew politics and ethnicity from education, he recalled that he was made a one-time V-C of University of Jos because ethnicity was not considered. He also called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to hasten the completion of the “one hostel which it has been building in the university from one generation to another.” In his remarks, the Pro-Chancellor of RSUST, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte noted that the school is now living up to the dreams of its founding fathers by fast turning into a worldclass citadel of learning. Delivering the lecture for the day titled “Corporate Partnerships in Developing Educational Curriculum and Research,” the President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Emeka Unachukwu who called on investors to invest in the RSUST project also lamented that “no Nigerian university has made it to top 200 in the world.”

Groups urge speedy resettlement of Bakassi returnees

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S a result of lack of seriousness on the part of the Federal Government over proper re-settlement of the displaced people of the ceded Bakassi Peninsula, several groups have appealed that something should be urgently done about the situation. Ani Esin, Eneyo Eyo, Maurice Ekong, Ekeng Effiom Ekeng and Emmanuel Edet who are leaders of Bakassi Union, Association of Dayspring Landlords, Save Bakassi Group, Bakassi Indigenous Contractors and Busi-

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

ness Forum and the Niger Delta Youths Movement respectively said in a joint statement that they had to join forces following unresolved issues about the ceded peninsula. They also called for payment of compensation to the people of Ikang in Akpabuyo Local Government Area whose environment has become Bakassi Local Government Area. Other issues they raised included the unpublished report of the Cobham Committee on

the resettlement, unresolved and complicated issues about the maritime boundaries and the citizenship of Bakassi indigenes abandoned in the Republic of Cameroon. They, however, commended President Goodluck Jonathan and the Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke for nominating their son, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw as chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). This, they said, had rekindled their faith and hope in the country and their situation.


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

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NIGER DELTA REPORT It is a night to remember Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio holds a Special induction gala to celebrate this year’s Sampson Udo Etuk Memorial Lecture, writes PRECIOUS DIKEWOHA

Ibibioland’s honours’

•From left: The member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno and Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Okpolupm Etteh; his Ikot Ekpene/ Obot Akara counterpart, Atuekong Nsikak Ekong; the International President of Mboho, Akparawa Nse Ubeh, the Chairman, Conference of Alumni of Nigerian Universities, Chief Richard Oma Ahonaruogho and Mrs. Ufok Nse Ubeh.

•Etido Inyang receiving award on behalf of Sam Inyang from Atuekong Don Etiebet. •Speaker Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Samuel Ikon, presenting Excellence Award to Tambuwal, represented by Senator Ita Enang

I

T has always been the climax of the annual Sampson Udo Etuk Memorial Lecture of the apex socio-cultural group of young people in Ibibio land, the Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio. But, this year’s gala and dinner was laced with a special induction of five ‘special’ members into its fold. The regulars–excellence award and presentation of scholarship –were also part of the night. Among those inducted were the House Leader and member representing Ibeno/Esit Eket in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Akparawa

•State PDP Chairman, Paul Ekpo and Hon Etteh.

E SOUTHSOUTH IN BRIEF

Okpolupm Etteh, his colleague from Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara, Apkarawa Nsikak Ekong, the wife of Mboho’s President, Mrs Ufok Nse Ubeh and the chairman of Conference of Alumni Association of Nigerian Universities, Chief Richard Oma Ahonaruogho The President of Mboho, Akparawa Nse Ubeh said the organisation chose those to be inducted from a wide list of those considered, because of their love for the nation, contribution to its growth and display of individual characteristics that promote love, unity, oneness and togetherness.

The Chairman of the occasion and the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Atuekong Don Etiebet said Mboho has lived up to the expectation of its forebears, the Ibibio Union, by continuing in the tradition of promoting unity and togetherness, even as he said its founders like Obong Sampson Udo Etuk, its first president, would be happy in their graves for the adherence to their ideals. He admonished Akwa Ibom people to continue to be their brothers’ keepers The induction proper provided a comic relief for the otherwise highly

Ex-militants pass confidence vote on Kuku

X-MILITANTS of the Niger Delta, under the aegis of Network of Ex-Niger Delta Agitators (NENDA), have passed vote of confidence on the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku over the implementation of the Federal Government’s amnesty programme for repentant militant youths of the once-troubled region. The spokesman of the group, who is also a former leader of a militant group, Williams Tubor, expressed the satisfaction in a press statement he issued in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Different youth groups in the region recently accused Kuku, who is

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

also the Chairman Amnesty Implementation Committee of running the programme aground; saying that, apart from misappropriating the funds meant for the smooth running of the programme, self-enrichment and abuse of office were also part of the allegations. Kuku was also said to be running a government of exclusion and favouritism to the detriment of the core ex-militants, even as they called for his sack. But Tubor said in the statement that the implementation of the amnesty programme by the chairman was fair to all. He put the number of youth that have benefitted from the

programme at 80 per cent. In their own view, the programme has not only trained ex-militants in the region but has also secured job placements for several of them. He described the amnesty programme as one of the best things that ever happened to people of the region. He described as self-seeking those who are calling for the removal of Kuku from office. He described him as a Messiah to the region, even as he thanked President Jonathan for his choice of Kuku for the amnesty job. The NENDA spokesman particularly lambasted one Mr. Victor Ben (aka Boyloff) and Mr. Soboma Jachreece (aka Egberipapa). He said

the duo were never genuine agitators in the Niger Delta struggle, saying “they do not have followership and should not be taken seriously.” He dismissed as untrue allegations against Kuku and said he (Kuku) meant well for the repentant youths. He is also committed to delivering on his mandate and responsibilities in the region as a cofounder of the Niger Delta struggle. He called on Kuku’s critics to stop forthwith, even as he urged Jonathan and those indigenous to the region to disregard them and throw their weights behind Kuku in the course of delivering on his mandates to the ex-militant youths and the region.


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NIGER DELTA REPORT

’ night officious event; especially when the Deltan inductee had to be made to read his oath of induction in Ibibio language, a standard practice by Mboho. As he mumbled the words, it was laugther all through the gathering. Those inducted said they were happy for the honour done them. Akparawa Etteh said the honour will spur him to do more to achieve the complete unity and togetherness of the people of Akwa Ibom State. The chairman of Ikpoto Akwa Ibom, Nsima Uwak said Ettteh was the “quintessential all-round Akwa Ibom person with roots around the state. He is born to an Ibeno father, Ikono mother, Uyo grandmother and married to an Etim Ekpo woman. The honour, therefore, is for someone whose person is an embodiment of a united Akwa Ibom.” Hon Onofiok Luke said the honour for Etteh “underscores the level of acceptance he enjoys among men irrespective of tribes and tongues.” Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Area, Henry Ekpe Nko said Etteh was a dependable, commited and patriotic Akwa Ibom son whose contributions to the unity of the state was deservedly noticed by Mboho. Excellence awards were given to Hon Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker House of Representatives. Represented by Senator Ita Enang, Tambuwal lauded Mboho’s effort at celebrating excellence. Others were Sam Inyang and the wife of the Governor Godswill Akpabio, Ekaete Unoma Akpabio, who was given an award in philanthropy. Represented by the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr Glory Edet, Mrs. Akpabio said Mboho’s stand in recognizsing excellence and scholarship was worthy of praise. In attendance at the event were Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Sam Ikon; chairman, state PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo; Special Adviser to the governor on Technical Matters, Etido Inyang; former Rector Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Dr Sylvester Akpan, representatives of Ati Annang, Ikpoto Akwa Ibom, Asian Iban Akwa Ibom, The Youth Wagon, and other socio-cultural and socio-political groups in the state. The event is held annually in honour of Obong Sampson Udo Etuk, Ibibio Union’s first president in whose time the union sent its six “merchants of light” to study abroad in 1938 on scholarship. The six included Justice Udo Udoma who was Senator Udoma’s father; Dr Ibanga Udo Akpabio, Governor Akpabio’s uncle and Obong Bassey Udo Adiaha Attah, ex-Governor Attah’s father. Obong Etuk, father of Ekong Etuk, Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in 1991, former President of the Apapa Club and the late Eno Irukwu, foremost broadcaster and former National Electoral Commissioner, declined the scholarship but rather sponsored himself to join the others.

Survivor will never go to the sea again T HE survived three days in a sunken tugboat at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and was hailed as a miracle survivor, but now the Nigerian faces nightmares and questions on whether he used black magic. Harrison Odjegba Okene, 29, has transformed his life since a diver fished him out of the sea. He never again wants to find himself in a boat galley, and has since started working as a cook on firm ground. Okene was the only survivor in a crew of 12 when the Jascon 4 capsized in May, and that still haunts him. He stayed alive by breathing from an ever-dwindling supply of oxygen in an air pocket of the tugboat. A video of Okene’s rescue in May was posted on the Internet more than six months later and has since gone viral. When recounting the rescue at his local parish, even the priest asked him if he had used black magic to survive. “I was so surprised! How could a man of God be saying this?” Okene said, his voice rising in disbelief. Okene spoke to The Associated Press at his modest two-bedroom apartment in the southern oil industry center of Warri, in his first interview with the international media since his ordeal. He didn’t go to the funerals of his colleagues because he feared their families’ reactions — Nigerians being generally very religious but also superstitious. “I couldn’t go because I didn’t know what the family will say, thinking ‘Why is he the only one to survive,’” said Okene. It’s a question that has shaken his steadfast faith. “Every week I ask (God) ‘Why only me? Why did my colleagues have to die?’” His rescuers from the Dutch company DCN Diving, were looking only for bodies and already had recovered four corpses when they came upon Okene. The chubby-faced cook by that time

had almost given up hope, but then he heard the sound of a boat, a hammering on the side of the vessel and then, after a while, saw lights and the rising waters around him bubbling. He said he knew it had to be a diver, but he was on the wrong end of the cabin. “He came in but he was too fast, so I saw the light but before I could get to him, he was already out. I tried to follow him in the pitch darkness but I couldn’t trace him, so I went back.” When the diver returned, Okene had to swim through the dark waters to reach him and still he did not see him. “So I tapped him at the back of his neck, so he was afraid.” When the diver saw his hand he said “corpse, corpse, a corpse,” into his microphone, reporting up to the rescue vessel. “When he brought his hand close to me, I pulled on his hand,” Okene said of the moment that finally made the truth clear to his rescuer. “He’s alive! He’s alive! He’s alive!” he diver shouted. Still, the diver appeared to have a hard time believing he had survived, Okene said. “I knew when he gave me water he was observing me (to see) if I’m really human, because he was afraid.” On the video, there are expletives and exclamations of fear and shock from Okene’s rescuer, and then joy as the realization set in: There was a survivor. Until that moment, Okene believed his colleagues must have escaped. The tug was one of three towing a Chevron oil tanker in Nigeria’s oilrich Delta waters, but on May 26 there was a sudden lurch and it keeled over. “I heard people shouting, I felt the vessel going down, going down, I heard a voice saying ‘Is this vessel sinking or what?’ ... I was in the WC

•Okene (toilet) and the WC fell on my head, things started falling on my head ... My colleagues were shouting ‘God help me, God help me, God help me. Then after a while I never heard from them (again).” His wife Akpovona Okene, 27, said he still suffers nightmares. “When he is sleeping, he has that shock, he will

just wake up in the night saying ‘Honey see, the bed is sinking, we are in the sea.” Okene said he made a pact with God when he was at the bottom of the ocean: “When I was under the water I told God: If you rescue me, I will never go back to the sea again, never.”

Rotary Club donates books to schools

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S part of its social responsibilities, the Rotary Club of Hilltop in Calabar has donated books, pens and pencils worth N300, 000 to secondary schools in Cross River under its 2013 literacy project. The benefiting secondary schools are Government Secondary School Henshaw Town, Calabar, and Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Adiabo. The President of the club, Dr Ani Etokidem said the donation was one of the ways through which the club supports education and to reach out to the needy in the society. Etokidem said the educational materials would help to upgrade the academic performance of the students. According to him, Rotary Club believes in

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

educating the youth because they are the future leaders of tomorrow. “If our youths are educated and empowered, it will go a long way in reducing the rate of social vices in the country,’’ he said. Also speaking, Dr Charles Onianwa, South-South District Governor of the club, said one of the objectives of the club was to help students to achieve their set goals in life. Onianwa also said this can only be possible if the students are provided with adequate learning materials that will enhance their academic performance. He urged the students to make good use of the materials given to them, even as he advised the students to take their studies seriously.

Mrs. Patricia Tawo, Principal of Government Comprehensive Secondary School Adiabo, and Mrs. Offiong Okon of Government Secondary School Henshaw Town, both thanked the club for its wonderful initiative. In the same manner, the Rotary Club of Tinapa, Calabar donated exercise books and other learning material worth N200, 000 to Special Education Centre Secondary School Calabar. The President of the Calabar-Tinapa Club, Mr. Stanley Nwosu, said that the donation was part of their literacy projects in the state. Nwosu further said the learning materials would go a long way in improving the learning ability of the students. The principal of the school, Mrs. Felicia Ufot, commended the club for the donation.

Stakeholders welcome new licensing regulation S

TAKEHOLDERS in the Cross River tourism sector have agreed to comply with the new regulation for licensing of operators of tourism facilities by Tourism Standards Authority (TOSA) under the auspices of the Cross River State Tourism Bureau (CRSTB). In a forum in Calabar, the stakeholders comprising hoteliers, tour operators, fast foods operators, quick service restaurants, travel agencies and night clubs, among others, agreed to adhere to the new licensing regulations which include certificate of incorporation from Corporate Affairs Commission

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

(CAC), tax clearance certificates and certificate of hygiene/fire safety, among other requirements. Under the new regulations, TOSA under the auspices of CRSTB is saddled with the responsibility of regulating and licensing all operators of tourism facilities as well as give direction to their modus operandi in the industry. According to the regulation, upon declaration of the licensing day, no person or persons shall operate a tourism facility in Cross River State unless such facility has been inspected and licensed by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau.

The Bureau shall grant a license for operating tourism facility or service to a person or persons not disqualified under these regulations or any enactment from holding a license as it deems fit and proper. Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Tourism Development, Mr. Wilfred Usani said the forum was convened to formally present to the stakeholders the “new regime” of license regulation. “What we do not want is an industry that is not regulated as it would only be detrimental to the growth and development of the economy.

“Licensing is the bond of partnership between the government and private sector investors. This meeting is principally to disclose to them the format of how the partnership we started in June this year will work for the good of the sector,” Usani said. According to the Special Adviser, the forum is also to make sure that private sector investors are acquainted with the policy development directives of the state in which they have become leaders, fundamental key players in the development of tourism; and they must recognise themselves as pivotal partners in driving the industry.

He said: “Our intention as government is to grow this sector and we cannot do it without the private sector investors who are the owners of the visible enterprise on ground,” he said. The Chairman of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOPS), Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, urged stakeholders to take the new regulations seriously . Also, the chairman of the Association of Fast Food and Confectioneries of Nigeria (AFCON) Cross River/Akwa Ibom chapter, Mr. Ernest Asuquo said: “We cannot do it on our own; neither can the governments do it alone. It has to be by way of partnership.”


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‘Delta North has the right Clement Ofuani, a former presidential aide, former Delta State Economic Adviser and Commissioner, Economic Planning, spoke with OKUNGBOWA AIWERIE on the ambition of the Anioma people and sundry national issues.

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HAT is the purpose of the Lagos platform with Prof. Ephiphany Azinge and other politicians from Delta North extraction with regard to their suspected nursing of governorship ambition come 2015? I will repeat what I said that day when it was my time to speak. I told them that this was a coup that they had executed because they called me up and said Prof. Ephiphany Azinge the Director-General, Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) will be giving a keynote speech at its seminar on “Political Participation as Vehicle for Economic Development of Delta State��� and they would like me to be one of the co-speakers to discourse the keynote speech. I said that if Prof. Azinge is involved in an event like that, I will definitely be there because I respect his intellect and he is my friend. I think he is also friends of eventually all the participants that came and we probably just came there on the strength of that friendship and respect for his intellect. It turned out that they had invited people perceived to have certain political interest to be cospeakers. So, just looking around with our sort of political sensibility, one could eventually presume that they were attempting to organise a minidebate before a debate. They tried to modify some of the things to say. It is about the stakeholders not about aspir-

ants or candidates, which was fair because I do not know anybody who has declared his real political intentions and they made the platform open for us to share our views and perspectives on how to drive economic development in our state. Each of the stakeholders or participants provided their perspectives and their viewpoints. It was left for the audience to take away something from just listening to each and every one of us either in terms of how you spoke, the marshaling of arguments, the sense you were making and your confidence level. There was no scoresheet to determine who came first or second. That, in a nutshell, was what happened. But could you relate your views on your strategies to drive the economy of Delta State through the focal theme of that day? First of all political participation is about your voices being heard and your voices are heard when you are able to be involved in the process of selecting the policy-makers and lawmakers in your direct relationship with them so that you can influence their day-to-day thinking in terms of economic development strategy. We all know that our economy is a largely agrarian one. In terms of physical structure, we are dependent on oil. So, we needed to discuss how we can move the fiscal revenues of the state away from over-dependence on oil sales to other contributors. I pointed out to them that

contrary to what many people seem to think, agriculture today contributes 42 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Unfortunately, it contributes very insignificantly to government’s revenue. The reason these things happen is that the people practising agriculture are doing so at very subsistence level. So, they end up with annual net losses on which they cannot pay taxes. Two, they suffer from post-harvest losses which again, reduces their farming revenue. Then they lack access to market. By market, we mean processing industries; a linkage between agro and agro-processing and the reason there is not enough investment in agro-processing is the infrastructural deficit; which means that if we really have to untangle these economic conundrum, we need to deal with the infrastructure deficit that will drop the cost of doing business and make our industries more profitable. The industries will, in turn, create jobs and also draw along with it the higher demand for agric produce. Therefore, the demand will lead to higher prices and higher revenues for the farmers. The point I am trying to make is that there is not a single silver bullet that you will say once I do this it does this. It is a whole network of inter-related policies and legal developments that a leader and policy-maker should be able to envisage; linkage that exists between the policies you are pursuing and var-

ious outcome to be able to say this is the policy that will lead to a more perfect outcome for us. It is that capacity to think through the inter-relationships of outcomes and policies that we require. If you are saddled with the responsibility of leading the state, what strategy will you adopt as an economic blueprint to industrialise the state? Judged from what I have said, it would focus on giving agriculture the premium attention it requires. But it will not come by way of increased spending on fertilisers and farm inputs and small loan to small farmers. It is going to be something that will revolve around prioritising our infrastructural development in such a way that those critical infrastructure that will make our environment more business competitive will be targeted first. They will become the growth tools that will drive every other thing that we are going to be doing. First is setting appropriate priorities and I think that I have proved that I can do that in the past. So, it is now for the people to examine whether this is the kind of future they envisaged. The greatest challenge is power. Now that power is been repositioned through the power sector road map which the Federal Government has faithfully implemented. We expect that the new challenge would be in terms of attracting much power to each state. Now it is no longer a state responsibility to provide power; it is private

sector-driven. So, you have to find the appropriate incentives to drive more investment from the private sector into the power sector for your particular sector. Luckily, for us as a state, we have what it takes to attract power providers in terms of power generation and power distribution in our state and we should expect that we can drop the cost of power in our state against other competing states like Lagos. There is no reason the cost of power should be the same around the country because some people are closer to where it is produced and these are some of the things that we must do. Then, we also look at the strategies of concentrated industrial development that will significantly drop the cost of doing business because you have common infrastructure for them. These are just policies that you will not directly think that link to agriculture. The truth of the matter is that these things boost industrial capacity and industrial capacity drives agricultural production and that raises farming income. The gubernatorial position in 2015 appears to have been ceded to the Anioma Delta North people, going by the comments from the leading lights of the party in the state. Do the Anioma people have a clear strategy for clinching power? I will say yes they do and if you look at the choices we have made in the past that

•Ofuani

would inform that kind of answer or response. First of all, the one political party that has provided us a road map to archieving that aspiration as Anioma people is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This is because power rotation is

Jubilation as Delta community gets first monarch, 67 years after T

HE people of Ellu Kingdom in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State were ecstatic last the weekend, as they got a monarch for the first time 67, when Othuke Murphy Urugbeze was crowned Ogwara I, Ovie of Ellu Kingdom. The poignant ceremony held at the Ellu Primary School playground drew dignitaries from all walks of life, illustrious sons and daughters of land from within and outside the state. Some of the guests said the ceremony was particularly symbolic because of the controversy and delay in choosing a successor to the former occupant of the stool. Niger Delta Report learnt that the choice of a monarch dragged on for nearly seven decades because of squabbles and debates over patrilineal succession method in the kingdom. The face-offs resulted in litigations before peace finally returned recently. It was gathered that there

From Shola O'Neil, Southsouth Regional Editor

are three ruling houses in the kingdom comprising Isi, Agwa and Uwabor and the non-hereditary stool is rotational among the trio. Ogwara I, a businessman and philanthropist, is from Agwa Ruling House. Leading prominent people of the community to the ceremony, the President General of Ellu Community, High Prince Johnson Eniforo Akpomalue, lamented the fate of the community in those years. He said in spite of its prominent position as a major oil producing community in the area Ellu lacked the basic necessities of life and remains relatively undeveloped over the years. He lamented that Ellu community has not benefited from the proceeds of the oil it produces and contribution to the commonwealth of the country. He said projects embarked upon by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC)

and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had long been abandoned. Prince Akomalue appealed to the state government to come to their assistance by appointing their indigenes into boards of intervention agencies like Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and those of other states and Federal agencies. He particularly pleaded to the state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan to use his office to rehabilitate, redistribute and take over the management of the Ellu water project. "We are aggrieved that despite the fact that Ellu kingdom is one of the major Oil Producing Communities in Isoko land with a flow station jointly owned with Ozoro Kingdom, 11 oil wells, an appreciable distance of pipeline right of way and an access road, we have not

commensurately benefited from the proceeds of the oil." While he expressed gratitude to the state government for its infrastructural development, particularly in EmuEni Grammar School, he said more still needed to be done in the science laboratory and other structures undergoing renovation. Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama (SAN), who performed the staff of office presentation ceremony, appealed to the new monarch to carry out his duties in a transparent manner by being open-minded and just to all. He commended the process leading to the coronation and presentation of staff of office to the monarch and advised the monarch not to do anything that will make his subjects doubt his ability to uphold the sanctity of their tradition. He urged the people of Ellu kingdom, in particular, and Deltans in general, to take advantage of the state's micro credit programme,

•The monarch and his family members stressing that taking advantage of such programme will help improve the domestic capacity of the people. "I urge you all to key into

the policy of Delta Beyond Oil; which means we must key into agriculture, industries and other areas apart from oil. I want to use this


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

39

NIGER DELTA REPORT

t to rule after Uduaghan’ ‘

in 2011 election there was no aspirant from Anioma area that ran for governor because it was expected that Delta South having started its 4year term will complete another 4 years under the platform of PDP and in 2015 the Anioma area will take a shot written into its constitution and so it enforces it. You observe that in 2011 election, there was no aspirant from Anioma area that ran for governor because it was expected that Delta South, having started its four-year term, will

opportunity to urge all sons and daughters of Ellu Kingdom to take advantage of the various programmes of government, particularly the

complete another four- year term under the platform of PDP and in 2015 the Anioma area will take a shot. Now the preponderance of view is that this is an equitable expectation of something that ought to happen

Delta micro credit programme, to improve on your domestic capacity," he said. "I have no doubt that the

‘

for the stability of the state and for rapid economic development. This is because it will create a peaceful environment for that to take place. Now the issue will be how do you pick a particular candidate because it has got to be one person from the Anioma area to

fly that flag and win the general election. Everything that is being done now is what needs to be done politically to achieve that. There is no time when a senatorial district in the last 14 years has come together to say we are presenting a consensus

institution is very significant to the Ellu people and that is why they have all been working hard to make this day come to reality and it has indeed come

to reality. Your Royal Majesty, I appeal to you to discharge all your responsibilities in transparent manner by being open-minded and just to all. You are the father of all your subjects, so you should be fair to all." The Deputy Governor particularly congratulated the monarch for successfully ascending the throne and filling the 67-year-old vacuum, stressing that he must imbibe democratic virtues of dialogue and consultation in dealing with his people. "This is a new beginning and it is particularly commendable that the process leading to the ceremony were carried out peacefully in spite of the long gap," he said. Speaking in the same vein, the Transitional Committee Chairman of Isoko North LGA, Mr Samuel Idise, said his administration holds the traditional institution in high esteem because of the important role it places in the governance of the people at the grassroots. He appealed to traditional rulers to maintain their stabilising role through the promotion of peace and unity among their people and visitors. "As Royal Fathers of the people, I strongly advise you to steer clear of partisan politics in order to uphold the

aspirant. Individuals will indicate interest, some will be convinced by other people that they have the potential. All of these are evaluated through a process that we have all been going through. At the end of the day, some sense will emerge of where the likely pendulum will swing and then one person will emerge. I have often heard that there will be so many aspirants of Delta North extraction as a result. It shows a lack of preparedness and ability to co-operate and co-ordinate. I will simply ask can you find out how many vied for the bye-election into the Senate in Delta Central Senatorial District on the platform of the PDP? It is the same everywhere. Individuals will have ambitions but one person will emerge from the plethora of aspirants. So, it is nothing peculiar to Delta North. The PDP has often been criticised for allegedly imposing unpopular candidates during its primaries. Do you share the concern that the best candidates may not emerge through this process? I think it will be quite wrong to accuse only the PDP of imposing candidates at any level. It is a phenomenon of a developing political system. The defunct ACN hardly even did primaries and now that they emerged into the APC, you can check what happened in the Delta Central Senatorial District bye-elections. APC did not have party, local government and ward structures and yet they produced a candidate. It is nothing peculiar. What we should seek to do is how to strengthen the workings of the internal democracies of political parties in such a way that they will produce viable candidates for the people to make

their choices. First is to ensure that the general elections are largely free and fair because when this is so, any political party that imposes the wrong candidate would lose the election. So, political parties that do not want to lose an election will pick only candidates who they think will help them win an election. This decision can be taken by the party in general, by a caucus and by some leaders. This is how it will always work . Whatever process that is used to select candidates must ensure it produces visionary, viable and quality leadership at all levels. In the First Republic, Dennis Osadebay, an Anioma person rose to position of prominence and was Premier of that region. Do you think the present crop of Anioma have what it takes to come close to his achievements in Delta politics today? I thinks comparing apples to apples, it will be fair or fairer to ask do we have human capital or leaders or potential leaders in Anioma area that will provide quality leadership that would better what we have received from the other senatorial district in the present time? Osadebay was a product of a different era, a different politics, a different demography and face a different set of challenges. But as for whether we have people of the same intellectual development, with the same level of humane appeal, I think we do. We have several of them who can match him. I would urge people of Delta State to taste or to feel that we can do it. We can provide the same type of quality leadership that will drive Delta State in a direction that would make every Deltan proud.

dignity of your high office in your respective domains. It is only by so doing that your fatherly role can best be appreciated and beneficial to all and sundry," he said. Meanwhile, the Okobaro of Ellu Kingdom, Chief Paul John Odhomor, who was one of the illustrious Ellu indigene conferred with chieftaincy title by Ogwara I has commended Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for taking keen interest in the transformation of the state, saying that the current step being taken by his administration to diversify the state economy through the Delta Beyond Oil initiative remains a model for other states to emulate. Chief Odhomor made the observation at Ellu, after His Royal Majesty Murphy Othuke Urugbezi conferred on him a chieftaincy title as the Okobaro of Ellu Kingdom. The new Okobaro said, "The government under the leadership of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has done very well in the development of Delta State. He had done much better than previous governments. He has brought development to the whole of Delta state. There is no local government that has not felt the impact of his three point agenda; peace and security, human

capital development and infrastructural development." Chief Odhomor stated. He noted that with the new vision of Delta Beyond oil of the state, there was no community that has not felt the impact of his government. He called on Deltans to cooperate with the state government, emphasizing that it was the only way development could flourish in the state. "For you to bring government to your community, you must work and partner with government. You must not be seen criticising the government unjustifiably. You draw their attention to what you need in a very humble manner and you will be given what you want. This government is a very sensitive government and it listens to people," he said. Chief Odhomor urged the people of Ellu kingdom to be peaceful and law abiding so as to attract more development to the community, saying "If you want development to come to your community, your community has to be peaceful. In an environment that is not peaceful, government cannot do anything there. So my appeal to the people is that they must see this community as the only community they have."


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

40

NIGER DELTA REPORT COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

I

AM blessed. I can say that again and again. I am also cursed. I can also say that again and again. But how can one be so blessed and yet so cursed? It baffles me once in a while. It does. My father, who Flora Luggard christened Nigeria, is also confused about how to deal with the challenge that I have become. I really did not start as a challenge to my father. No. As a matter of fact, my father was very happy with me when crude oil was discovered on my compound. My father was so happy that it invited oil majors from across the globe to come tap the goodies in my bosom. They were more than happy to rush in. Deals were cut. Many of which were not in my interest. But it was too early in the day for the implications of the corrupt deals to be obvious. It marked the beginning of that era when money was not my father's problem but how to spend it. The crude oil on my compound was bringing so much that my father was donating money even to other people. To be sincere, the coming of the oil majors gave the impression that the good times were here. The swamps were bubbling. The creeks came alive. But the first shock that not all that glitters was gold first dawned on me when the oil on my first compound dried off. Before one could say Jack Robinson, the oil major drilling there left and it dawned on me that they were fair weathered friends. They left no development behind. It was all a legacy of dejection. Before the oil was discovered, the streams and rivers nearby were filled with fishes. The few lands around were also good for farming, which my people abandoned because of the free oil money. By the time the oil major left, the rivers and streams had become polluted. The farmlands were already contaminated and could no longer bring forth edible crops. In fact, many had even forgotten how to farm or fish. The evil wrought on the first area where they drilled did not stop my father from giving them the right to drill for crude on other lands we have. Then one by one, almost all our lands become polluted, leaving farmers and fishermen and women with no means of livelihood. With time, my people began to be creative. They discovered they could break the oil pipelines and steal oil. We thus entered the era of oil bunkering and, till today, no one has been able to stop it. My people did not stop at that. Another word was soon introduced into our lexicon. They call it militancy. We call it freedom fighting. Camps were opened in various creeks. Guns of all shades found their way to the creeks too. Don't ask me how we got the guns. Anyway I will tell you. Many of them we got from politicians, who used some of my people as thugs during electioneering campaigns. We also get supplies from foreigners. You may wonder what foreigners

OLUKOREDE YISHAU

ABOVE WHISPERS •A weekly intervention on Southsouth matters

olukoredeyishau@gmail.com

Southsouth’s song ‘

Of what use is a useless father. A father who lies to his son, a father who shows preference for one kid over the other, a father who takes from one child and gives to the other and a father who, like politicians, lies to his children

stand to gain from supplying us guns and bombs. Wait a minute and I will tell you, even though I am not supposed to say it. But, this, for me, is the moment of truth when we must speak above whispers. In our camps in the creeks, we don't just sit and smoke hemp or sleep with girls, we are actually in business. Yes, we are in the business of bunkering. The foreigners who supply us the dangerous weapons buy the stolen crude from us. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. We also have bases where we have illegal refineries where we use crude method to refine the crude oil. It is crude calling to the crude! I know someone might want to ask about kidnapping of foreigners and wealthy individuals for ransom. There is no need

THE WEEK’S QUOTE

‘ What Shell did (in

Odimodi, Delta State) was out of place. The method they used is not acceptable, very crude. Burying the crude as a means of cleanup is not the best method

__ Odimodi community

•President Goodluck Jonathan

denying this. But, there is no need wasting time on this area. At a point, my father became scandalised at the rate at which I was becoming an embarrassment to him. Not only that, he was also scared that my activities were affecting what he was getting from crude oil sales. So, he came up with a carrot to buy me over. Before then, he had used the stick. My people met force with force and it became clear that force alone could not do it. My people were encouraged to bring out their guns in exchange for cash. The rest, as they say, is history. The violence has reduced, but the bunkering has not stopped. It has even increased of recent and dug huge holes in my father's pocket. And my father cries every day. The international community, especially the American government, is also worried by

LAST WORD

N

EITHER the Federal Government nor its Ministry of Environment has shown any serious attempt to implement the United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland. This land, located in Rivers State, was home to the late author of Soza Boy and other books, Ken Saro-Wiwa, before the despotic regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha hanged him and seven others for reasons not beyond their call for the Federal Government to give the Ogoni people their dues. The late Wiwa and his other comrades were not happy with the way oil giant Shell was polluting their area. They saw how their people were dying because their land had been deflowered by force. They said enough was enough. The junta went for their jugular and the rest is now history. Rather than go for the message, they went after the messanger. Unfortunately, the message has refused to die. The UNEP Report shows that Shell has done incalculatable damage to Ogoni people and its land. It shows that the wrong Shell did before the people chased it out of their land will take years and millions of dollars to right. It shows that the oil giant and the government pursued money at the expense of the people. It shows the people were secondary in whatever calculation the oil giant and its joint venture partner made. It shows how not to treat a people on whose land the country gets its wealth, with which its leaders fuel their needs and greeds.

my tendency for violence and daily comes up with ways to encourage my people to be like the late Martin Luther-King. I confess that I have given my father serious cause for concern. But, unless my father wants to lie, he has also been unfair to me. Of all his six children, no one brings more cash to my father like I do. If you call me the golden chicken that lays the golden egg, you certainly are not exaggerating. All you need to confirm this is to ask my father to bring out the account books and you will see clear signs of what I have brought to the table. Despite this, my father has chosen to spend more money on my siblings while I am the metaphor for lack and want. My people live in abject penury. They die young because their environment has been polluted. Strange diseases have taken over the environ. My father has also been deceitful. Or how do you explain what my father has done on a parcel of my land known as Ogoni? My father killed some of its leading lights, including Ken Saro-Wiwa. All because they insisted an oil major, Shell, was not treating them right. The height of the deceit was when my father got the United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP) to conduct a study on the oil spills in Ogoniland. It did and came up with farreaching recommendations. When the report was submitted, my father promised action. Days turned into months. Months into years and still no action has taken place. And Ogoni people, my people, continue to bear the brunt of my father's deceit. Activists shout daily on this matter, still my father pretends as though no one is talking. My heart is heavy, I must confess. I am disappointed in my father. He has messed me up. And to add salt to injury, my father says I am the devil. This is the same father who once called me blessed. At this stage, I have gone past the stage of respecting my father. He has not been fair to me. So, why should I be fair to him? So, when he said I was cursed once, I told him I inherited it from him. His eyes turned red when I said this and he threatened to slap me and I dared him to do his worst. After all, of what use is a useless father. A father who lies to his son, a father who shows preference for one kid over the other, a father who takes from one child and gives to the other and a father who, like politicians, lieS to his children. Help me tell my father, in case he does not read this lamentation, that once he remains irresponsible, the lure of easy money and the danger of extravagant lifestyle will continue to be stronger for me than any other thing. Materialism will continue to appeal to me and I will use any means available to pursue it. In the creeks, materialism will remain the lord and I will remain a child of pain to my father, except he plays the role of a father indeed. • A book by the wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, “Speaking above whispers”, gave this column its name.

•Last Word is Niger Delta Report’s verdict on Southsouth affairs

Clean-up Ogoni and other lands Quite significantly, when the Federal Government commissioned the UNEP Report, those who thought it was wellmeaning must be gnashing their teeth in regret now. They must be cursing the day they invested their trust in a government that has redefined democracy to mean government of the few, for the few and by the few. It must be pointed out that Ogoniland is not the only land that the oil giants have polluted. Almost all the communities where they drill for oil has one bad imprint or the other. Just last week, Niger Delta Report led with the pathetic story of Odimodi, a sleepy town in Delta State, whose people discovered that Shell might have been clever by half by burying oil spills in the sand, instead of properly cleaning-up the spills. For days, Niger Delta Report pursued Shell spokesperson for its explanation on what happened. It was one excuse after the other. The reaction never came. Shell and other oil majors operate in other countries and record shows that no where but in Nigeria do they carry on with impunity. In Venezuela, the leaders made it clear to them that the oil belongs to Venezuelans and not one else and that guided the relationship between the government and the oil majors. Malaysia even took it a step further. It

allowed the oil majors only five years to drill for oil under an arrangement which saw the oil majors transferring technology and other skills to Malaysians within the specified period. Through its national oil company known as Petronas, Malaysia has been able to turn around its fortune. Petronas does not only produce enough oil for the people. It has abundant to export. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is the country’s version of Petronas, has been unable to make the refineries work at installed capacity, not to talk of having excess to export. What the refineries produce is barely enough for a cosmopolitan city, such as Lagos. Shamefacedly, the country imports fuel from other countries to meet its needs. And to further show that shame does not exist in our lexicon, we allow oil majors to foul our land and people and yet cannot get them to do proper clean-up. Ogoni must be cleanedup. So, should other areas, such as Bonga, where spills have occurred. The Niger Delta has been peaceful for some time now. Frustration can lead the people to take the laws into their hands and, like experience has shown, mob justice is usually difficult to control. What we must do as a country is to do the right thing so that things will remain under control. The time to do the right thing is now.


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

42

NEWS •Essayist Prof Adebayo Williams (left) greeting Rear Admiral Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu at the presentation of a book: Nigeria the Unfinished Business in Lagos. PHOTO NIYI ADENIRAN

•L-R: Rear Admirals Ferguson Dukas, Goddy Anyankpele, James Olamideji and Azubuike Isaac Ajuonu at the presentation of a book, Nigeria the Unfinished Business by Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu to mark PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN his 70th birthday in Lagos.

•Oyo State Governor’s wife Mrs Florence Ajimobi (JP) and a member of the Vale of Catmose House of Lords, Baroness Berridce, when she visited ABC foundation hub, Ring Road, Ibadan.

•Chairman, Ibeju Lekki Local Government, Semiu Surakat (left); Head of African Operation; European American University (EAU), Prof Williams Egbuta; Olu of Epe, Kingdom, Oba Shefiu Adewale; representative of the Oloja of Epe (Oba Kamarudeen Animasaun) the Kemolu of Epe, Chief Olayinka Tobun and Dean (EAU), Dr Kasimawo Suleiman at the conferment of honorary doctorate degree on Oba Adewale at the Lagos State Government challet, GRA, Oke Oyinbo Epe, Lagos. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

•Osun State Coordinator, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mr Kayode Fagboye (left); Southwest Zonal Head, Mr Sheriff Olagun; Director, Enforcement, Mr Garba Machonald; Ekiti State Coordinator, Mr Francis Ononiwu; and his Ondo State counterpart, Mr Wale Ojo at the Southwest Regional Destruction Exercise of fake, counterfeit, substandard and expired products at Sagamu Local Government Dumpsite, Sagamu Ogun State. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

•Assistant Head of Section, School Mobilisation, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs Olubunmi Popoola cutting the tape to mark the 10th year anniversary of Wellspring College, Omole Lagos. With her are Principal, Mrs Oluwayemisi Oloriade (left); Founder of the school, Mr Daniel Isimoya and Head, Olowoira Primary Schoo, Isheri, Mrs Margaret Adebiyi.

•R-L: Vice Chancellor Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), ProfSola Fajana, Miss. Titilayo Olusegun a Mass Communication Student of JABU, SA to Ondo State Governor (Photography) Mr Alade Sam Olusegun at the institution fourth Convocation. With them is the graduand and Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on photograph, Mr Sam Olusesan.

•Pupils of Lagos Anglican schools at the 2013 Xmas Carol held at Howells Grammar School, Bariga.

PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

•Executive Director, Center for Peace, Democracy and Development in the United States Prof Darren Kew, presenting a certificate of participation to Executive Director, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation Imam Abdullahi Shuaib (right) at workshop on Interfaith Conflict Resolution, Strategy Building and Reflective Structured Dialogue at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA. With them is Lagos State University (LASU) Senior Lecturer Dr. Shaheed Timehin.

•Mr Olalere Olanrewaju (left); Mrs Biola Anifowose; Mr Bola Adeyemo, chairman, Mr Adewunmi Ogunbambi and Mrs Yetunde Ajose at a one-day seminar organised by Conference of Local Government Planners in Lagos.


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

43

PEOPLE THE NATION

A FOUR-PAGE SECTION ON SOCIETY

President Goodluck Jonathan led dignitaries to the funeral of the mother of Senator Ayogu Eze, Ma Paulina Omadaja Eze in Umuida, Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State. CHRIS OJI reports.

•President Jonathan (second right) with (from right) Senator Mark; Governor Chime and Senator Eze

Jonathan, others bid senator’s mum bye P

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan was there. He led a powerful team from Abuja to the funeral of Mama Paulina Omadaya Eze, mother of Senator Ayogu Eze. It was an event attended by the high and mighty. The Senate virtually relocated to Umuida, the Eze's hometown in Igbo-eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, to commiserate with one of its own. Umuida had never seen a thing like this before. Its bumpy and dusty roads spewed dust as one dignitary after the other arrived. The President landed in an helicopter in the community's school field. He was accompanied by Governor Sullivan Chime. The mass was on when he and his entourage arrived at St Theresa's Catholic Church. Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Godfrey Onah conducted the mass. He was assisted by more than 40 other priests. There were also top clergy men and women from other Christian denominations. The mass, held at the deceased’s compound, was conducted under a giant canopy, customised to take no fewer than 3000 people. It was filled to capacity. The first Bible reading was taken by Mrs Nkechi Ayogu-Eze; the second lesson was read by Senator Eze’s sister, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeja. The parish priest of St. Theresa's, Rev. Fr. Joseph Odo, was in charge

•’I cried everyday’

of the officiating protocols. Mama Eze’s remains were in a white casket decorated with golden rims and a large cross on top. It was lifted by six pall bearers from APAMS undertakers. The body was taken to the ancestral home of the Ezes, not too far from the church and buried. At the graveside, Fr. Odo spoke of the three principles of gratitude, welcome and prayers. The clergy took turns to perform the dust to dust ritual and were followed by Senator Eze and other members of the family. In his homily, Bishop Onah dwelt on the fear of death. He said he avoided political topics so as not to turn the funeral into a rally. The president, Senate President David Mark and Senator Eze said

they overcame the fear of death after listening to the homily. Bishop Onah said only those who lived in sin fear death. He said the righteous, like Mama Obodo did not fear death because they knew they were heaven bound. He praised Mama Obodo, who was born into a traditional home but embraced Christianity. "Her positive disposition to God and the church endeared her in giving her children good upbringing," he said. He enjoined parents to emulate Mama Obodo. Quoting from the scriptures, the bishop warned against fetish practice insisting that one cannot serve God and Satan. President Jonathan asked the clergy to pray for the country.

‘So she began to question ‘this place I ran for refuge, there is no refuge here.’ So she returned to the traditional way of worship. But something was waiting for her. On that day she had bought the fowl, yam etc and everything that was needed for sacrifice. It was in the night, and then a scorpion stung her...’

He said: "A moment like this when we are talking of somebody who has passed on during the burial, there is something that always encourages us - that is to be thankful for everything that has happened to us. Maybe some young men will ask why we should thank God when somebody has died. To me, I believe we are not thanking God because somebody has died but we are thanking God for bringing that person to have done what the person had done over the years. "Today, we are here to celebrate Mama Obodo. The scriptures say that we are to live for three scores plus ten. And looking at the programme, she was born in 1931, we are in 2013. That is a decade plus above what the scriptures prescribed for us. So, we have every reason to thank God." Senator Eze said: "I must confess that until the Bishop gave his sermon since my mother died on October 2, I cried every day, till today. I am not lying about it. But after the homily by Bishop Onah, I convinced myself that maybe crying could be one of the warning symptoms of fear because I have to desist from succumbing to that symptom. "Like the bishop said, my mum was a very exemplary person. She did not go to school. Her mother was about four months pregnant when her father died. She was born into a polygamous family. But she had a life of her

own from day one. She was able to school herself and she started in a very pastoral way. "She wasn't always a Christian. And it is important that I make that admission. She embraced Christianity at one point but she was losing her issues in quick succession. Every time she had a child, she lost it. So she began to question ‘this place I ran for refuge, there is no refuge here.’ So she returned to the traditional way of worship. But something was waiting for her. On that day she had bought the fowl, yam etc and everything that was needed for sacrifice, It was in the night, and then a scorpion stung her. She left the worship of the idol to run to place where to save her from the sting of the scorpion. After that, the next Sunday, she was the first person to arrive in church. She said: 'If this idol could not prevent the scorpion from stinging me on an auspicious day with all these provisions for it, then that idol is not worth worshipping.' "She ran back to the church and she never left the church. And we grew up under her footsteps because she must send you to farm, she must send you to market and all places. She will never pamper you. I thank God for the training she gave us." Also in attendance were members of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of the Federation, Aloma Mukhtar, other top ranking members of the executive and judiciary, ministers; governors, mostly those of the southeast and diplomats.


44

THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

SOCIETY It was a carnival-like outing at The United African Methodist (Evangelical), Abule-Ijesha, Yaba, Lagos Mainland, last Sunday. It was the church’s yearly Harvest of Songs. Assistant Editor DADA ALADELOKUN was there.

Harvest of songs

E

VERYTHING about the service was unique. The Chairman of the occassion, Elder Oluwatoyin Oyewoga, was at home directing things. The choir and the select guests added colour to the ceremony. Ushers worked hard, arranging the posh automobiles that flooded the premises of the worship centre. So, it was for some of its elders - Gen Oladipo Diya (rtd), Senator Anthony Adefuye and Dr Funke Adebajo. The choir took the centre stage with soul-lifting songs and irresistible drumbeats. Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, the Grand Golden Father of the Day, and Gen Diya joined in the dancing spree, spraying naira notes to the admiration of all. Oyewoga, in his brief speech, told the gathering: “Praise song is the master key for unlocking heavenly blessings. We must always praise God in all situations.” The Minister-in-Charge, The Very Reverend Oladipo Timothy, later mounted the pulpit to

deliver a soul-searching sermon, which echoed Oyewoga’s view. “God, Revd Timothy said, inhabits the praises of His people. This gathering is to praise God for what He has done for the church in the year.” He assured Nigerians that God would turn the country around and make its multi-faceted infirmities things of the past “only if we praise Him and believe in Him.” Diya’s wives - Josephine and Folasade – also devoted elders of the church, were there early enough to be counted. On the event, Diya said: “This is a special day for us in this church because it is what we do whenever the Yuletide draws near. The essence is to thank God for being ever faithful to us and the church as a whole.” One after the other, all the guests gleefully stepped out to laud the programme and make handsome donations into the church’s Building and Development Fund. The event was rounded off with fervent prayers

•Gen Diya flanked by Senator Adefuye (right) and Chief Babatope

by Revd Timothy. The guests were treated to swell refreshments. It was a moment for all to exchange views on sundry issues and cement friendships. Among the guests were former Minister of Transport Chief Ebenezer Babatope; former Military Governor, Ogun State, Commodore Kayode

PHOTO: DAYO ADEWUNMI

Olofinmoyin; former Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Chief Titi Oseni; Evangelist Josephine Diete-Spiff, wife of the first Military Governor of the old Rivers State; Oba Joseph Adewole, the Owa Ajero of Ijero Kingdom; Oba Adedeji Onagoruwa, Alaye of Odogbolu Kingdom and Oba Fatai Irawo-Ogunsi 1 of Odiolowo Kingdon, Lagos.

FIDAU (PRAYER) FOR ALHAJA SAFURIYYAT SUARAU, MOTHER OF A MEMBER OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, HON TOYIN SUARAU IN LAGOS

•Son of the deceased, Hon Oluwatoyi Suarau and his wife Toyin

•From right: Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Dr Idiat Adebule; member, Lagos State House of Assembly Hon Ramotalai Akinola-Hasan and Mrs Abosede Asiru

•Former Lagos State Deputy Governor Princess Serah Sosan (left) and Mrs Adeyinka Oyemade

•Members, House of Representatives Hon Ibukunola Braimo (left) and Hon Saheed Fijabi PHOTOS: ADEJO DAVID

GRADUATION

INVESTITURE

•University of Benin (UNIBEN) First Class and Best Graduating Student with eight prizes at the Nigerian Law School, 2013, Miss Mavis Aghogho Abada (middle) with her parents Mr Clifford Abada and wife Kate (left); her guardian, Chief Richard Oma Ahonaruoghoand UNIBEN Law Lecturer, Mrs Nkolika Aniekwu at the International Conference Centre, Abuja during her Call-to-Bar.

•From left: President/Chairman-in-Council, Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria, Dr. Otive Igbuzor; Chief Executive Officer, Quicklink International Network, Mr. Dele Agekameh and Chairman, Board of Fellows, ISMN, Prof. Oluwayemisi Obashoro-John, during the investiture of Agekameh as a fellow of ISMN in Lagos


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SOCIETY Friends have hosted Alhaji Hassan Bello to dinner to celebrate his appointment as Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council. NNEKA NWANERI writes.

Garlands for a public servant

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N his days at the Federal Government College (FGC) in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, Alhaji Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), was fond of singing this song titled: He that is down needs fear no fall. Penultimate Saturday, he was moved by the warmth that radiated at the Oceanview Restaurant in Victoria Island, Lagos, to recite those lines again. He was before a small gathering of men and women from all walks of life comprising his friends and family members. It was at a dinner to celebrate his appointment as NSC's executive secretary. Many in the shipping world where he grew were in attendance. The reception was an avenue for lawyers and business tycoons to interact. Many stared in bewilderment seeing the 'learned men in fashionable attires and not their traditional wig and gown. Hausa women were not left out. Though their hair were covered, their skirts and gowns glittered; topped with beautiful enchanting smiles. Their mien and carriage bespoke affluence. They were there to share in the joy of the former legal adviser to the NSC whom they all spoke about in superlative terms as a good man with a good heart. Mike Igbokwe (SAN) anchored the event. He called out guests one after the other to speak on Bello. The Special Adviser to the Minister of

Transport on Maritime Affairs, Mallam Dikko Bala, said Bello deserved the appointment because of his forthrightness. Chief Peter Okocha, chairman of Michelle Terminals, endorsed all that was said, describing Bello's appointment as a round peg in a round hole. Bello's predecessor Captain Adamu Biu said his successor would take the council to greater heights. He urged Bello's wife of 18 years to support him by managing the home front well to enable him carry out his task effectively. Others who spoke were the Managing Director of Ports and Terminals, Lizzy Owude; Chidi Ilogu (SAN); and Mrs Ify Akerele of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping. Former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States Prof George Obiozor said it was a matter of time before Bello's good works manifest, expressing confidence in his administration. Also present were Funke Aboyade (SAN) and Miss Margaret Nyamse, who was his classmate. They were the pioneer students of FGC, Ilorin, in 1973. Born 53 years ago in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, Bello's father was the Grand Khadi of the state. He passed on when he was only three years old. His late mother Hajia Hafsat Bello brought him and 15 other siblings up to be lawyers. "Even as the son of a judge, I still have sweet memories of him bringing sweets home for us," Bello stated.

•From right: Alhaji Bello, his wife, Hajia Sa’adatu; Mrs Grace Obiozor and her husband, Prof Obiozor

•Capt Biu (left) and Chief Okocha

The main auditorium of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) was agog during the yearly Conference and Awards organised by the Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit. AMIDU ARIJE was there.

Honour for the faithful

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HE main auditorium of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) was filled. It was three-in-one event: The yearly conference of the society, election of new executive and awards presentation. It was organised by the Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit, an umbrella body for Muslim students in secondary schools, higher institutions and postgraduates. The award took the centre stage on the occasion; no fewer than 10 persons were honoured in various categories. Among them were the Rector, Lagos State Polytechnic, Dr Abdul Azeez Lawal; former Permanent Secretary/Tutor- General Education, District VI, Alhaja Taslimot Akinwande; Alhaja Sherifat Lawal; Alhaji Abdulwaheed Soluade, an architect; Alhaji Taofeek Ajani; Alhaji Abdul Rasheed Oladele and Alhaji Shittu Adepoju The awards segment was anchored by a television-cum-radio presenter, Abdul Hakeem Ishola. The hall erupted in applause as each of the awardees was called out. They stood tall as their rich profiles were read. "Yes these people deserve the award," some guests whispered. Guests did not only whisper to confirm the credibility of the awardees but also shared in their joy. To the awardees, the day will remain memorable. Alhaja Akinwande thanked the MSSN for recognising her role in the growth of Islam. She acknowledged the role of MSSN in her life. "Whatever I am today, MSSN made me. It is not enough to bag certificates in different fields without being morally sound and I thank God MSSN has been doing well in making students morally sound," she said. "I am very happy to be in your midst; I am the happiest today," she continued. She urged the society to issue certificates to students as they learn under them, saying MSSN is a training ground for the trainers. After the awards, the result of the election was announced and Alhaji Kamil Kalejaiye

•From right: Prof Is-haq Akintola; Hon Jimoh and Alhaji Badrudeen

•Hon Muhibat Rufai-Adeyemi

•Alhaja Kudirat Ajagun-Ogunmuyiwa (left) assisted by Alhaja Akinwande to present a plaque to Alhaja Serifat Lawal (middle)

•Alhaji Oyefeso

emerged as the Amir (President); Malam Saheed Ashafa as Naibul Amir (Vice President); Mr Tajudeen Balogun - Secretary among others. While Hafsah Badru emerged Amirah (Female President) In his acceptance speech, the Amir, represented by his Naibul Amir, Mallam Ashafa, sought the cooperation of all to enable him

and his executive succeed. The outgoing Amir, Alhaji Qaseem Badrudeen, thanked all for honouring their invitation. He appealed to the Lagos government to revisit the hike in the state-owned higher institutions' tuition fee. Alhaji Badrudeen also called on the govern-

ment to allow female Muslim students in secondary schools to use hijab. Guests on the occasion included the former Lagos State Elctoral Commissioner, Alhaji Musbau Oyefeso; member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Muhibat RufaiAdeyemi and Chairman, Yaba Local Council Development Area, Hon Jide Jimoh.


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The Ijesa have honoured some of their own for contributing to the development of Ijesa land. The event took place at the Metropolitan Club in Lagos. OLATUNDE ODEBIYI reports.

COMMUNICATE YOUR IDEAS Public Speaking Icon (4)

O •From right:Dr Ajayi; Governor Aregbesola; Chief Aluko; Mrs Laoye-Tomori

•Former Editor of Sunday Times, Mr Tunde Awobiyi

NE of the easily identifiable traits of wise people is their ability to improve on their knowledge. They realise that no one knows it all. There are always people who are more experienced than us and knowledge is progressive. Whatever information we have today may be obsolete by tomorrow because the only constant thing in life is change. Whoever closes his/her mind to new information is heading for a life of isolation. Hence, we have constantly emphasized the need to keep learning in this column.

AMODU LANRE OLAOLU

(Ph.D) sospeak2lanre@yahoo.com.

07034737394 @lanreamodu In agreement with this commitment, it is my pleasure to bring you another Public Speaking Icon today. I admire him because he is multitalented. His leadership style is also worthy of emulation, and he has

•Brig-Gen Rasaki (rtd) and and his wife, Hon Fatimat

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T was a reunion of the indigenes of Ilesa in Osun State when they gathered at the Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island, Lagos for an induction and awards. The event was organised by the Ijesa Society, a socio-cultural organisation devoted to the pursuit of suitable development in Ijesaland. The Ijesa met in a fully air conditioned white-painted hall with wooden ceilings and wooden floor tiles. The white and coffee brown decorated chairs were set around the gold decorated square shaped tables, which had cream and green flowers in transparent vases at the centre. The backdrop and ceiling had sparkling lights with the same colour of designs for the chairs and tables. Most guests wore native attires whose colours blended with the decoration of the hall. Very few wore choice colours. The ushers were dressed in black and white. They were all smiles as they welcomed guests who came in exotic cars to the event.

•Oba Aromolaran and wife Olanike

A reunion of Ijesa indigenes They moved from one table to the other exchanging pleasantries amid high life music supplied by Niyi Ajetunmobi Productions. The event began at the entry of Owa Obokun of Ijesa Oba Adekunle Aromolaran who came in company of his Olori, Olanike and some others. All guests stood as Oba Aromolaran, clad in all-white with red royal beads, entered the hall with dancing, to songs of his praise supplied by the band. Many stretched their necks to see the king’s dance steps; he did not disappoint the guests as he danced in his own style. The opening prayer was said by Prince Adelowo Adedeji. The event barely started when the State of Osun Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, arrived. Aregbesola, an indigene of Ilesa, entered in company of his crew, amid songs praising him by the life band. The National Anthem and

Ijesa Society’s anthem followed. Welcoming the gathering, the President of the Ijesa Society, Lagos, Chief Olatunde Aluko, thanked all for their contributions to the development of the town. He said the aim of the society was the upliftment of Ijesaland. He congratulated the governor on his good works in the state. He said it was the responsibility of Ijesa people to give their total support and encouragement to the governor in transforming the state. He thanked Oba Aromolaran for the peace, unity, and socioeconomic development he brought to Ijesaland, saying the society is happy he graced the occasion. He congratulated the inductees and the honoraries on the joy of the day, adding that the celebration is to set them for greater accomplishments. Chairman on the occasion, Dr Festus Adebisi Ajayi prayed

God to strengthen and reward all Ijesa people. Seven Ijesa indigenes were honoured and 14 new inducted. Oba Aromolaran urged the Ijesa people to live a life of service. He hailed Aregbesola for turning the state around. Aregbesola encouraged the people to embrace hard work, commitment and dedication, saying that maximum effort is required to get maximum profit for you to be effective and efficient in the society. He said the day’s celebration was hinged on devotion and service to humanity by some men and women who have distinguished themselves n the society. He urged the Ijesa people, whom he described as men and women of value, to always unite and restore the beauty of the land and never allow division in the land. He also told them to see the land as a place for investments.

UMUAHIA DAY ORGANISED BY UMUAHIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (U D A) AT ABALTI BARRACK IN SURULERE

•From left: Mrs Rose Uzoma; Abia State Commissioner for Petroleum Chief Don Ubani and Hon Dan Egbogwu

•Member, The Nation Editorial Board, Mr Steve Osuji and his wife

great people skills. Hey, why should I tell you all about him when you can meet him yourself? For your reading pleasure and enlightenment, I bring you Mr. Alfred Olomukoro. Alfred Olomukoro Alfred Olomukoro is a theatre art practitioner and a comedian. He owns a training academy known as Ekwebility Professional Academy, where he is the principal facilitator. "Ekwe" in Delta means laughter, so the academy focuses on developing the ability to make people laugh in its students. The Academy has had the privilege of consulting for the United Nations. Alfred is also an actor, a director, and a professionally trained compère. He also recently authored a book titled, Scores to Settle, a collection of short stories. I leave you with Fred Olomukoro. Factors responsible for interest in comedy While in primary school, I always loved to tell stories in class. I even narrated movies to my classmates. Gradually, they got so used to it that during any free period, they would gather around me and expect me to tell them the latest movie- most of them were boarders, while I was a day student. But unknown to them, there were days I didn't have a story to tell; so I would create some make believe stories on impulse. A title would evolve right there and then, and I would tell them the story, which they always believed. They were always quite captivated by the stories. I was gradually building myself in speaking without knowing. Comedy came into the scene because, in the cause of telling those stories, I added my own humour, my own flavor and I saw them laugh- I love to see people laugh. Also, my sisters enjoyed me reading a book or watching a movie instead of them doing it; they would wait for me to tell them the story. They believed my own version was more interesting than the original. All these developed my creativity in terms of humour and speaking. I seize every opportunity of an event to make a presentation, such a reciting a poem. That was how I got used to facing a crowd. First time before a crowd My first time before a crowd was in my primary school days. I participated in a drama presentation, and I did quite well. I wasn't too shaken by the crowd. I had already rehearsed in the class, so I was not a victim of pressure or stage fright. In secondary school, I continued like that. Though a little fear would naturally come, but as long as I am prepared, I will overcome it. Difference between facing a crowd as a master of event (compère) and as a comedian There is a big difference. In the Nigerian context, most people simply assume that if you are a comedian, you must also be a compère, but it doesn't really work like that. This has robbed a lot of compères their jobs because people expected that they must make people laugh. You can be a compère, but you may not be a comedian. A comedian's basic job is to make people laugh. Nevertheless, a comedian should train as a compère to learn how to observe protocols appropriately. As a comedian, your humour must apply to your audience. It has to impart the people because humour speaks volume. They will laugh, but there should be a message. Your major goal is to hear the outburst of laughter. So, you must put in the required humour ingredients that will stir up people to laugh. A speaker needs to have a very good opening; it could be via humour, or statistics on the subject matter, or stories, people love stories. Also, as a comedian, your first joke is your major joker. If you give a fantastic first joke, even if the next one is not as interesting as the first, the initial one will linger in their minds, so they will still laugh. It is also good that you leave them with the humour that will cause them to ask for more, so that you can leave the stage when the ovation is loudest. These are some of the things we teach at Ekwebility Academy.

•Major Ike Amajuoyi

•Mrs Eleonu Ugochukwu (left) and Mrs Elizabeth Nwaeze PHOTOS: ADEJO DAVID

How easy is it to be funny? A lot of people think comedy is easy or cheap, but it is not. It is not easy to be funny. Comedians do say this and it is true; I have been on stage as a comedian, and I am also a trainer, so I've seen both sides of it. Nigerians are passing through economic depression, so sometimes when they come to events like that, you don't know what's running through their minds. And you want to make such people laugh? They may have been through a terrible traffic, or be experiencing delayed salaries, or victimization at the office, and they want a comic relieve at the event. As a comedian, it is your task to make them laugh. You must have that natural ability in you- there is something in you that makes you original and funny. This interesting interview with Fred Olomukoro continues next week by the grace of God, please make it a date. Dr. Amodu teaches at the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ogun State.


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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

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POLITICS THE NATION

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

Associate Editor TAIWO OGUNDIPE, who recently visited Abia State, writes on the feats recorded by Governor Theodore Orji in the last three years.

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HE vast undulating architectural layout is what instantly strikes a first-time visitor. The sprawling market is designed in rolls based on what a consulting architect on the site termed ‘architectural atmospherics.’ The market is devoid of the choking atmosphere that most major markets of its type have come to be known for. At the freshly ‘minted’ Ubani/ Ibeku Modern Market at the outskirts of Umuahia, the capital city of Abia State, there are large openings and spaces which allow for free circulation of air and unhindered movements of both buyers and sellers as well as merchandise. The shops and stalls are neatly arranged in rows and sections according to the types of business or trading each group of traders is engaged in. As at the time of The Nation’ s visit to the market, frantic efforts were being made by both the traders and the construction workers to put finishing touches to the shops and other facilities. The roads have been asphalted. In an encounter with the Chairman of the Relocation Committee of the Ubani /Ibeku Modern Market, Sir Ebenezer Offor, The Nation was told by him: “We are relocating the old market to this new one. The old market is at the centre of the town. It is an eyesore for anybody coming into the town. When you get into that Okpara Square, you see that the place is very noisy, very dirty. You see all sorts of things, keke, wheel barrows and other things around that place. It is not good for the state capital. “Today you are seeing fewer crowds. Yesterday, the people were many. This week is the end of the relocation exercise. We must make sure by weekend most of the allotters are here. By Monday we are going to seal off the old market though we are not going to destroy anybody’s property. We’ll allow them to pack their wares gently and bring them to the new market. We are going to organise the new market the way it should be. We are going to sectionalise everything according to what each group is selling. We also have a place we call relief side. It is for those who were trading on the rail line before in the old market. They are so many that it is always difficult for people to pass through the place. We have a free zone for them. They are also eager to come into the new market. We are making sheds and stalls for all of them.” The Nation asked Offor about the transparency of the relocation exercise. Offor, a retired civil servant who claimed to have a reputation as a strict, incorruptible person, said: “They know I don’t take and I don’t give. Those who are working with me have to follow my footsteps. Anybody who does that will be dealt with. We are now focusing on the people who have sheds in the old market. When we are through with them, then from next week we’ll start considering those who do not have sheds in the old market.” The Nation also learnt during the visit

• Governor Theodore Orji (middle) commissiioning one of his legacy projects.

Abia: Expanding dividends of democracy that the issue of doors not having been fixed on some of the shops was raging. The chairman said only a few of the marketers were affected - about two to three percent of them. He revealed that the governor directed that each of them should be given N25, 000 to fix the door if they so wished out of the N100, 000 deposit they have made. Each shop goes for N400, 000 to be spread over a period of four years.” The Nation also spoke with Ejidike Onyebuchi, The Chairman of the Association of Market Men and Women. Speaking in deeply accented and halting English, he said: “We now have a very conducive market. We traders in the market are jubilating over how our governor has located this new market for the masses. Each shop is supposed to go for N1.3 million but realising that we traders don’t have money, the governor decided to carry us along. He got the shops to be prized at N400, 000 each to be fully paid back in four years. So we are very very happy. In the old market, there is virtually no amenity. Here now, every amenity that can satisfy people is here. You have the fire service, potable water, access roads, security etc. The market buildings are of high standard. There is nothing like magomago. I am the chairman. I know the people inside the market. I am the person who will put my stamp of approval before a shop or stall is allocated to anybody by the allocation committee.” The Nation also met Chief Sunny Nwakodo, the state Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, who disclosed that the government also made provisions for vast open spaces for various groups of those in transportation business in the state. He said each group is supposed to develop the portions given to them through self efforts. He, however, added that the government made available to them supportive infrastructure including electricity. He also testified that the new market is “very conducive and everybody is impressed.” The Ubani/Ibeku Modern Market is

one of the major legacy projects that the administration of Governor Theodore Orji is bequeathing to the people of Abia State. Apart from the market being equipped with most of the needed facilities, there is also a school and a clinic. There is a housing estate very close to the market. Roads are being built and widened into the new market. Also introduced by the government, are brand new buses carrying the traders to the market and back to town at a much reduced price. One of the traders quipped: “What else do you need? It’s a question of doing your business and going back to town.” Granting an audience to The Nation, the governor spoke at length regarding the evolution of the new market. “You have a market at the centre of the town, obstructing the aesthetics of the whole place and stalling the development and expansion of the town. It is incumbent on me to remove the market to another place so that Umuahia will expand. Some people don’t realise that these things need sacrifices from the citizens. In Umuahia, people’s lands are highly encumbered by government. They don’t have farmland any longer. Some of them find it difficult to find land to build their houses. But yet they have made that sacrifice to give the ones they have to the government for development to thrive in Umuahia. “In some other places, you don’t get that cooperation. If you go there, you tell them you want to take their land and you send a caterpillar there, they’ll fight the people who have come to work on the land. They would destroy the caterpillar and drive you away. But such things are not happening here because they are happy that the state capital is in Umuahia and they want development to be there. “ On the relatively cheap cost of acquiring a shop in the market, he had this to say: “I’m building the market to help the traders. The primary intention is not to make maximum profit. But we will make money. However, it will be minimal over a period of

time. I don’t want the burden to be on the traders. You should know that change is difficult to accept, especially by the traders. If you check history, you’ll see that relocating a market is not easy, especially this one in Umuahia. The idea of relocating it first came up in 1935. Since then till now, no government has been able to do it because the traders had been resisting it. But the approach we took made it easy for the relocation and the traders are extremely happy.” OVERNOR Orji claimed that the government built the new market without assistance from anybody. And, according to him, the standard of the shops is very high. He stated: “If you evaluate the cost of each, you’ll know the cheapest you can get it for is about N1.5 million. Some people would be willing to pay that. But I said no, these are traders, we have to help them. That is a very magnanimous gesture on the part of the government. The traders are on their own moving into the market without being forced. “ The Nation also paid a fact-finding visit to the recently relocated industrial market housing largely those who are dealing in building and industrial materials. The traders moved into the market a couple of months previously. The Nation noticed a number of lapses in the market. The roads have not been fully asphalted as that of the main Ubani/Ibeku Market. The drainage system is also noticeably poor. The governor, during his interaction with The Nation, acknowledged the lapses. “We are not totally through with the work on the industrial market. We made some mistakes in the relocation of the industrial market and we are being guided by that in handling the Ubani/Ibeku Modern Main Market. When we wanted to relocate the industrial market, the workers were extremely hesitant and very aggressive. They even took us to court. Then we had to put our foot on ground to tell them they had to move. Therefore, we were building as they were moving in. Now that they have moved in, we

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‘Starting with Abia South which is Aba area, Greenfield is building a major mall in Osisioma, very close to Aba. There they are going to develop 600 stores of international standard. They have started work. We’ve given them land and they have already started work. ABIC is also building another market in the same area. We are also developing another market in Ukwa East. You know Aba is mainly a commercial area’

are still building, making the drainages, asphalting the roads so that the place will be conducive for them. We are still on the development; we are not through with it,” he said. Governor Orji was asked to react to the criticism from some quarters alleging that he is concentrating all the legacy projects in Abia Central, especially Umuahia axis where he hails from. He gave this defence: “I am the governor of Abia State; the whole of Abia State voted for me. And as such, they are supposed to be participatory in government. We don’t discriminate here in terms of sharing the dividends of democracy. We have three major senatorial zones: Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. I am from Abia Central. But that does not mean that Abia North and Abia South are neglected. We are spreading development to all the nooks and cranies of Abia State.” He spoke further: “Starting with Abia South which is Aba area, Greenfield is building a major mall in Osisioma, very close to Aba. There they are going to develop 600 stores of international standard. They have started work. We’ve given them land and they have already started work. ABIC is also building another market in the same area. We are also developing another market in Ukwa East. You know Aba is mainly a commercial area. We have a specialist and diagnostic centre in Aba. We are building a major operating theatre in Abia State University Teaching Hospital in Aba. These are all in Abia South. “We have built a lot of roads in the whole of Abia South. Virtually all the local governments have been touched. Aba urban, especially, has witnessed unprecedented road construction, or rehabilitation. We are also making sure that Aba is neat. There is a lot of environmental improvement. Refuse is being carted away on a daily basis. People are no longer complaining. In that same Aba, if there is any rainfall, you’ll notice minimal flooding because we undertook the opening up of all drains and construction of new ones to channel flood water into Aba River. “We are also helping Geometrics, the private power station in Aba, in many ways including the construction of roads and waiver of taxes to make sure that the company starts generating power. We are encouraging the small scale industries that are all there. And •Continued on page 52


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POLITICS

Abia: Expanding dividends of democracy •Continued from page 51

more importantly, we have provided good security for the whole of Abia South, especially Aba because the major security lapses we were having in those dark days came from that zone – from Aba, Obingwa and Ukwa West. Now it is no longer like that. In Abia South, also, the courtrooms are being renovated, schools are being built, hospitals are being upgraded and additional ones – general are being built in Aba, Osisioma, Ogunabo and Ukwa East Local Government Areas, Okipe.” OCUSING on Abia North, he declared: “It is the same story in Abia North Senatorial Zone. We have also constructed numerous roads. In Isikwatto Local Government Area, we have about five roads undergoing construction. Some of them have been completed. Also in Umuneji, we have done roads and completed a bridge that was a problem in that locality. We are building a general hospital in Arochukwu. We are building another one in Ohafia and Izia. We are renovating the schools in these areas. We are also working on Ndioji/Ndi Okereke, a major road that had remained bad for donkey years – it is through this road food items are transported from the rural areas to the urban areas. They don’t have another road. By the time we leave office we want to make it an express road. The people of the area are extremely happy about the development. “We have entered into an MOU with a company that is going to produce cement in Arochukwu which is blessed with a lot of limestone deposit. We have250 health centres all over Abia State and they are adequately distributed to Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. Those who criticise us do so out of ignorance because they don’t know what is on ground. “ Governor Orji, however, maintained that Umuahia deserves the preference it is enjoying with regards to ongoing projects. In his words: “It is a fact that Umuahia is the state capital and preference should be given to it so that it will look like one. Somebody can come to Abia and just end up with Umuahia and go. The impression he gets about Umuahia is the one he has gotten about Abia State. So we have to make the place look like a capital city. All governors live in states’ capitals. And we’ve never had any Government House in Umuahia. So I’m building a new one there. Also, where do you expect me to go and build a secretariat? Outside Umuahia? Here is the centre of government. And the civil servants are supposed to live around here. That is why I’m doing what I’m doing. You need a specialist hospital to take care of all these people. And that is why I’m building one around here just like I’m doing in the other areas. These special structures are the ones that are supposed to be at the state capital, Umuahia.” The governor has also been variously criticised for not doing much in the area of industries. Reacting to this during his interaction with The Nation, he said: “When we came on board, I made it specifically clear that government has no business being in business and what we want to do is provide an enabling environment for industries to thrive and private people to invest. That, we have done on our part as government. And we are getting the dividends in terms of the small scale industries that are coming up and being maintained, especially in Aba. As for the existing industries, what we have done is to attract

F

people to come and take them over. An example is the Golden Guinea Breweries Limited where an investor has come all along but is handicapped in reviving the place by the economic crunch. The man comes in everyday to explain to me and to tell me the progress that is being made. Another example is the Modern Ceramics Industry which has been ceded to UCL owned by the Catholic Church. So government is not running the place.” Should a church be involved in business? the governor was asked. In reply, he argued that UCL is a commercial arm of the Catholic Church. And in his opinion, “I don’t think a church can mess up in handling such a thing. So we ceded the place to them.” He, however, stated that UCL was experiencing some difficulties which they are striving to overcome in reviving the ceramics company. He also cited the textile company in Aba which, he said, was also seriously damaged. He reported that his government was trying to see if it could bring in people who can invest and revive the place. In concluding his view on the issue of industry, he affirmed: “But for our government to say I’m going to build an industry – well, any government can go and do that – personally we are not going to do that because we have seen series of failure on the parts of the government’s investing money in setting up and maintaining of industries. What we’ll do is to provide the enabling environment.” Is he considering having an airport in the state, a move, some believe, might enhance the fortune of the state? “Sure,” he said, “Yes it’s there in the pipeline but as of now it is not a priority because we have Owerri airport very close to us, which was built when Abia and Imo States were of one government. The airport is serving us for now. We have Enugu Airport that is also close by, now an international airport, serving us. We have another one close by in Port Harcourt, Rivers State also serving us. We also have another one close by in Akwa Ibom State. So, as of now, the issue of a state airport is not our priority. Our priority is to lay the foundation for an economic take-off of the state. Having an airport is one of the desirables but we want the foundational structures to be on ground. A strong economy, educated and healthy people make up a vibrant state.” What specific efforts is he making to promote and sustain his proclaimed Aba Brand agenda? He recounted: “Several times, I have travelled outside the country on trade missions with the Aba Chambers of Commerce. This is to attract investors. We are also organising workshops and facilitating banks to give them small loans that will help them. Importantly, what I want to do in Aba is to develop a brand – Aba Made. As of now, Aba people are not yet confident in what they are doing and they are not doing much to

market it. They feel that when they put the tag ‘Made in Aba’, people may say it’s a local material. But they are manufacturing goods that are of a superior quality and they use another brand name to sell it. Like clothes, bags and shoes, when they make them, they write Made in Italy. They also fabricate very good spare parts for machines and other products. They also manufacture good drugs and drinks. “I want to instill that confidence in them, that when they make such things they should be proud to market them directly. This was how China started. Before now, Chinese goods were derided but today the difference is clear. They have moved from experimentation stage to perfection. That is what I want to happen in Aba. We have the manpower and resources in Aba. Aba is the only town in Abia State where you don’t have unemployment. Every person who is in Aba is self employed. It’s either you are learning how to be a tailor, a mechanic, fabricate spare parts or become a welder. Even teachers that are sent to Aba end up in the market as traders. So there is no unemployment in Aba. People are not lazy or idle in Aba. What we have to do is galvanise all these talents to make it a brand. And that is what we are working toward. We are holding seminars to inculcate this outlook in them. We are organising fairs to help them to market themselves. You won’t believe that most of the military boots that are worn by the soldiers are made in Aba. Some think the boots are made in South Korea. They have the potentials, we are galvanising them.” NUMBER of critics have decried the move by President Jonathan to orga nize a National Conference as a ruse and an attempt to take people for a ride. Known for being one of the staunchest supporters of the president, he was asked to react to this criticism. He shot back: “The National Conference is not a ruse and the president is not taking anybody for a ride. Afterall, the president did not just wake up overnight to introduce the conference. He took the decision based on people’s agitations. There was pressure on the president. And as a listening president elected by the people, he has to do what those who elected him want him to do. And that’s what he did. He answered the clarion call of the people. I believe that something good will come out of the conference. Nigerians want us to talk.” What does he think of some observers’ arguments that instead of wasting time and money on a new conference, one of the previous ones, especially the one held during Obasanjo’s tenure, should be reviewed and worked on, and also that the conference should be sovereign? In reply, he reasoned: “You cannot say because such actions had been taken before, there should be no new one. No, it wasn’t Jonathan

A

‘But for our government to say I’m going to build an industry – well, any government can go and do that – personally we are not going to do that because we have seen series of failure on the parts of the government’s investing money in setting up and maintaining of industries. What we’ll do is to provide the enabling environment’

who instituted that one. He is the one who has instituted this one and I’m sure he will implement the outcome of the discussions faithfully. The new conference is a progressive move. In any case, the people who were agitating for a conference were not calling on him to come and implement an old one. The call on him is to summon a fresh conference, which he has done. By making a call for a fresh conference, that suggests that the people are not satisfied with the outcome of the former conferences.” On the issue of sovereignty, he stated: “How is it going to be sovereign when we have a national assembly that has the constitutional right to discuss certain issues? This conference is for people to come together to air their grievances as well as views on how to move the country forward. “ The Nation also asked Governor Orji to comment on his succession plan, if he has any? He replied: “It is ideal for every leader to want somebody who will continue with the good legacies. No leader would want a successor who would come after him and start rubbishing the good things he had done. You know you cannot predict human beings. Although a leader cannot make the choice himself, he has to be careful in leading the people to choose rightly. Every leader has that in mind. I have that in mind. The time for that is, however, yet to come. Right now we are facing the completion of our legacy projects. We don’t want to be distracted. Politics has not started in high velocity. It is still being done in low key fashion. People are just holding meetings here and there, trying to formalise things. When politics starts in earnest, we’ll then see what will happen.” He also commented on the argument of whether somebody from another zone other than his should occupy the governorship after his tenure. He said: “We have a peculiar situation in our state. We have three senatorial zones and we have two major ethnic groups: Bende and Ukwa Ngwa. We also have Abia Charter of Equity, not made by me but by the founding fathers of Abia, on how governorship should rotate in the state. Some of these founding fathers are alive while some are dead. I believe for fair play and equity we should abide by that agreement. I will not be the governor who will disrupt it because the words of our fathers are words of wisdom. If you follow the footsteps of our fathers and abide by what they have said, you will always excel. But if you don’t, nemesis will catch up with you.” Which zone does he have in mind, he was asked? “Ukwa Ngwa, he replied, because, as he said, “These are people who have never been governor. Abia North has produced a governor. Abia Central has produced. Bende has produced. Umuahia has produced. For fairness and equity and for peace and in keeping with the Abia Charter of Equity propounded by our founding fathers, it should be Ukwa Ngwa. That is what is written in the charter. The people of Ukwa Ngwa should go and prepare and bring up their choice. But that does not mean that the other zones should be barred from contesting. It is an open thing. When I and my predecessor were contesting respectively, people from the other zones also contested. But I believe for fairness and equity, Ukwa Ngwa should bring out somebody.”

Why APC deserves Lagosians’ support, by Igbokwe

•Igbokwe

T

HE Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged Lagosians to continue to give their support to the progressive platform, promising never to disppoint them. In a statement in Lagos by its Interim Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the party said it will con-

tinue to provide excellent service through its government headed by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN). Igbokwe said: s“We are glad that Nigerians are waking to the reality that the country is being emphatically destroyed through corruption, impunity and wholesale brigandage by the PDP government. “These much were confirmed by former President Obasanjo, a ranking leader of PDP in a recent letter to President Jonathan. We are happy that internal revolt and schism is hitting the PDP, which callously boasted that even with its history of non performance and corruption, it will rule the country till eternity. “We are happy that leading lights and founders of the party are seeing the end of that notorious party and are leaving the party in droves. We are happy that Nigerians are finding in the APC a tent good enough to salvage the country from the asphyxiating rule of the PDP.

“This is a direct tribute to Lagosians who anchored the revival of hope of Nigerians from this scourge. We are happy that this belief is informed in the superlative performance of APC governors, especially in Lagos where meaningful, frugal and competent governance has made the state an expansive oasis that sulks in Nigerians, who are afflicted by the blight of leadership the PDP has promoted in Nigeria these past 14 years. The Publicity Secretary thanked Lagosians for their past support, urging them to renew their commitment to good governance. He said the APC government has lived to expectation in the Centre of excellence. He added: We are proud of the capacity that have been demonstrated in Lagos, which saw a state condemned to an irredeemable urban slum restored to become one of the world mega cities with workable and functional infrastructures. We are

happy that Lagos has been made an oasis of hope where millions of Nigerians flock to so as to escape the drudgery imposed by rudderless and directionless leadership on Nigeria by the PDP for fourteen awful years. Igbokwe said that APC is scandalised by the PDPs legacy of wholesome looting and financial brigandage. He said: “ We are horrified that as poverty riffles through the land, PDP leaders are busy launching newer and more audacious stealing fronts like the unforgiveable stealing of the nation’s oil, the stealing of $50 billion from the nation’s receipts from oil, the plundering of the excess crude accounts, the depleting of the nation’s foreign reserves, the looting of N500 billion from the SURE-P fund, the duping of the nation’s treasury of over N600 billion through dubious import waivers between January and September this year, the stealing of several billions of Naira through the kerosene subsidy scam, the festering

multi trillion naira fuel subsidy scam, etc. “These are marks of failure which trails the PDP governance of the country and what more, the PDP presidency has been wearing these sordid images as badges of honour because it continues to enrich the fat cats in PDP to the detriment of the masses who continue to suffer in the face of this Igbokwe added: “We commend Lagosians for consistently reposing confidence in us, as a party, to give them result oriented leadership, which has become the reference mark in good governance in the woe-laden country and beyond. “We urge them to continue in that regard especially as the APC prepares to end the woeful PDP leadership of the country. We urge them to sustain that faith in us, which is receiving a country-wide approval with the mass flocking into the APC which holds the hope for the revival of the country from where the pests took it to.


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

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THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

54

EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 12-12-13

Investors stake N4b on equities

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HE mood at the Nigerian stock market yesterday was cautious as key market indices indicated that investors might be anxious about possible earnings and share price trend in the weeks ahead. Key indices which underline level of activity and pricing trend were on the negative with more losers than gainers. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities slipped marginally from N12.431 trillion to N12.430 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the main index that tracks all equities quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), also dropped marginally by 0.01 per cent from 38,844.17 points to 38,841.49 points. Turnover was below the average with the exchange of 271.65 million shares valued at N4.04 billion in 4,357 deals.

By Taofik Salako

Market analysts said investors were holding back orders to reconsider market positions ahead of the expected portfolio rebalancing as companies and fund managers move to close their books. Nestle Nigeria led the 26stock losers’ list with a drop of N4.90 to close at N1,125. Guinness Nigeria followed with a loss of N3.71 to close at N256.29. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria trailed with a drop of N3 to close at N108. UACN Property Development Company dropped by 50 kobo to close at N17.50 while Ashaka Cement lost 39 kobo to close at N20.11. Investors continued to look for bargain deals within the low-priced stocks category.

FCMB Group was the most active stock with a turnover of 56.03 million shares valued at N177.58 million in 148 deals. Unity Bank was the second most active stock with a turnover of 28.16 million shares worth N15.02 million in 97 deals. Access Bank placed third with a turnover of 26.89 million shares worth N258.32 million in 149 deals. Banking subsector was the most active with 1,348 deals with exchange of 114.03 million shares valued at N1.18 billion. On the upside, Cadbury Nigeria led 20 other stocks on the gainers’ list with a gain of N2.32 to close at N66. Flour Mills of Nigeria followed with a gain of N1.99 to close at N87.99. International Breweries added N1 to close at N26.20. Union Dicon Salt gathered 84 kobo to close at N9.12 while Unilever Nigeria chalked up 64 kobo to close at N60.50 per share.

NSE trains religious groups on investments

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THE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) brought Nigerians of different religious backgrounds together to participate in a special retail investors clinic aimed at exposing religious groups and clerics to intricacies of the stock market. The clinic under the themed “Investing Strategies for the Prudent Investor” was graced by clerics and leaders from both the Christian and Islamic faiths and experienced facilitators who moderated discussion on key areas such as investment fundamentals, understanding market cycles and asset balancing through diversification. State coordinator, Regional

Council of Muslim Organizations, Lagos State Chapter, Abdulfatai Raji, noted that the training made participants to be aware of the current state of the market. According to him, participants realized that a long term plan for the stock market is advisable and unlike having the sole mind-set of making quick returns, participants were convinced and educated about the stock market as a whole. “This initiative deserves commendation as what we got today is highly informative and as such I am making a passionate appeal to the

NSE to extend this kind of opportunity to other bodies because Nigerians need to be more informed about the capital market” said Raji. Parish pastor, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Faith Connection Parish, Pastor Akinwale Rotimi, said the training would help the participants to understand that they can play in the capital market and make good returns for themselves. “You will agree with me that quite a lot of Nigerians are religious, whether in the Islamic faith, or Christian faith or probably a traditionalist, so religion will play a very pivotal role in this time in that we have many of our congregation filled with uninformed people about the economy. The role of religion basically is to motivate and get the people informed with relevant information that can help them move their lives up the ladder –this is what the NSE has successfully kick-started here today” added Pastor Rotimi.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 12-12-13


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

55

MONEY LINK

Basel Accords’ implementation begins June

T

HE full adoption of Basel II Accords will be implemented by June next year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director, Banking Supervision, Mrs Tokunbo Martins has said. Basel Accord is a financial analysis principle that is expected to give indigenous banks’ financials better credibility. According to her, banks are expected to commence parallel run of both Basel I and II minimum capital adequacy computation based on the requirements of the guidelines effective next month. In a circular to all banks and discount houses on the implementation of the Basel Accords in the country, she said both policies specify approaches for quantifying the risk weighted assets for credit risk, market risk and operational risk for the purpose of determining regulatory capital.

Stories by Collins Nweze

According to her, the computations are consistent with the requirements of Pillar I of Basel II which is expected to ensure that banks have sufficient high quality capital to support their risk taking activities and that they establish effective risk management systems commensurate with their level of operations. She said all banks and banking institutions are expected to adopt the basic approaches for the computation of capital requirements for credit risk, market risk and operational risk. “Within the first two years of the adoption of these approaches under Pillar I, it is hoped that an effective rating system would have developed in Nigeria. “Banks and banking groups are projected to have gathered more reliable data and gained more experience that would prepare them to

consider the adoption of more sophisticated approaches,” she said. Martins said the adoption of the Standardised Approach for Operational Risk and other sophisticated approaches will however be subject to the approval of the CBN. “The guidance notes are applicable to all banks and banking groups licenced to operate in Nigeria and should be applied on a solo as well as a consolidated basis. The minimum capital requirement is retained at 10 per cent and 15 per cent respectively for local and internationally active banks,” she said. She said in line with Basel II Pillar 2, banks are reminded of the importance of comprehensive risk management policies and processes that effectively identify, measure, monitor and control their risk exposures in addition to having appropriate board and senior management oversight.

CBN urges review of revenue formular

T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it recognises that there is an urgent need to review fiscal terms of sharing revenues between the Federal Government and oil companies and to improve governance and transparency in the official oil sector. In a statement, CBN Director of Communications, Ugochukwu Okoroafor said this underscores the need to urgently pass a Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that addresses fiscal terms and structure of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He said the apex bank’s attention

has been drawn to a letter expressing concerns over non-remittamnce of oil revenues by the NNPC. He said it was aware that, on the instruction of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the audit firm, PwC has been directed to audit the revenues of the NNPC. “The capacity of the bank to perform its role effectively is strengthened or undermined by the extent to which the nation is able to increase foreign exchange earnings and savings from these earnings, thus boosting the Excess Crude Account, raising reserve levels, providing currency stability and moderating interest rates

with limited risks to inflation and financial stability,” he said. Okoroafor said in the performance of this role, it was natural for the CBN to be concerned at the low level of accretion to the reserves and the Excess Crude Account, in spite of strong international oil prices, especially as Nigeria’s performance is compared with other oil producing economies. The CBN said it was aware that all stakeholders involved in managing the economy and discussion on how to address the matter are being held at highest levels of government.

Amount N

Rate %

M/Date

3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

GTBank emerges ‘Pan Africa Most Innovative Bank’

G

UARANTY Trust Bank Plc has been adjudged the “Most Innovative Bank” in Africa at the 2013 EMEA Finance Awards Dinner held in London. In a statement, the bank said the award celebrates Africa’s Most Innovative Bank taking into consideration its market strength, profitability, growth & earnings, potential and quality of management of the financial institutions. The awards event also named the GTBank Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Segun Agbaje as the 2013 Pan Africa- CEO of the Year. EMEA Finance is a leading bimonthly global industry publication that reports on major financial events influenced by the international financial industry active in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. According to the Publisher of EMEA Finance, Christopher Moore, “Africa’s banking sector is developing at a rapid rate and GTBank is at the forefront of many areas of inno-

NIDF NESF

OBB Rate Call Rate

Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

SYMBOL

O/PRICE

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 12-12-13

UNIONDICON PRESTIGE AIRSERVICE MANSARD AGLEVENT HONYFLOUR UPL INTBREW CADBURY UBCAP

2013-12-11

8.28 0.60 3.61 2.30 1.55 3.10 3.90 25.20 63.68 1.55

C/PRICE 2013-12-12

9.12 0.63 3.79 2.41 1.62 3.24 4.07 26.20 66.00 1.59

%CHANGE 10.14 5.00 4.99 4.78 4.52 4.52 4.36 3.97 3.64 2.58

LOSERS AS AT 12-12-13

SYMBOL AFRIPRUD PORTPAINT LEARNAFRCA COSTAIN INTENEGINS CCNN MAYBAKER FCMB UAC-PROP NPFMCRFBK

2013-12-11

O/PRICE 2.69 5.94 2.09 0.98 0.58 9.90 2.10 3.23 18.00 0.74

2013-12-12

C/PRICE 2.44 5.65 1.99 0.94 0.56 9.56 2.04 3.14 17.50 0.72

350m

Year Start Offer

Current Before

Current After

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12

113m

113m

155.7

22-6-12

NGN USD NGN GBP

147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57

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

212.4997

207.9023

209.2910

-1.51

149.7450

154.0000

154.3000

-3.04

152.0000

153.0000

155.5000

-2.30

153.0000

154.0000

156.0000

-1.96

DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11

July ’11

July ’12

MPR

6.50%

6.50%

12%

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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX

CUV Start %

%CHANGE -9.29 -4.88 -4.78 -4.08 -3.45 -3.43 -2.86 -2.79 -2.78 -2.70

Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

vation. Its work in linking its socialmedia presence to business performance is particularly impressive, including its ‘Social Banking’ service, which made it the first Nigerian bank to allow customers transfer money and review their account balances on Facebook.” Receiving both awards, Agbaje said: “GTBank uses technology as a strategic means of consistently improving service quality. Being leaders in innovation allows us to provide our customers with the best possible value proposition and further consolidate our leading position in the African market. We are delighted to receive this award for our hard work and dedication to delivering the best value to all our stakeholders.” The Editor of EMEA Finance, Tim Burke said: “With two decades of banking experience, Mr. Agbaje has demonstrated his invaluable insights into the factors that drive success in this industry.

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00

•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

DATA BANK

FGN BONDS Tenor

“Henceforth, banks are required to carry out their Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) on an annual basis, as at December 31, and forward copies of the report to the CBN for review,” she said. Analysts said the global knowledge and expertise in Basel principles reduces the risks of getting things wrong adding that the adoption of the model will further enhance transparency and facilitate the restoration of investors’ confidence in on-going efforts to sanitise and rebuild the financial services sector.

NSE CAP Index

19-09-13 11.432.09 35,891.90

23-09-13 11.494.75 36,088.64

% Change -

MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name Offer Price Bid Price AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 162.54 161.26 ARM AGGRESSIVE GROWTH 9.17 9.08 BGL NUBIAN FUND 1.06 1.05 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.17 1.17 CANARY GROWTH FUND 0.70 0.70 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 1.33 CORAL INCOME FUND 1,605.23 1,605.23 FBN FIXED INCOME FUND 1,000.00 1,000.00 FBN HERITAGE FUND 115.83 115.13 FBN MONEY MARKET FUND 100.00 100.00 FIDELITY NIGFUND 1.67 1.62 INTERCONTINENTAL INTEGRITY FUND 1.05 1.03 KAKAWA GUARANTEED INCOME FUND 143.11 142.62 LEGACY FUND 0.78 0.76 • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUNDARM AGGRESSIVE

Movement

OPEN BUY BACK

Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833

Movement


56

THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013


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THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

NEWS

Police parade 'illegal firearms maker' From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

P

OLICE in Kwara State yesterday paraded a suspected a middle-aged man for alleged illegal manufacturing of firearms. Adeola Odetoye was arrested in Otte, Ilorin, on Monday. Items recovered from him include six locallymade single barrel guns, eight butts and 13 single barrel pipes for dane guns and one expended cartridge. Commissioner of Police Agboola Oshodi-Glover said the command also arrested Alabi Olawole, Kabir Sanusi, Atunde Abiola and Yisau Muideen for alleged robbery. Oshodi-Glover said two cars were recovered - black Honda Accord (Lagos: KM25AAA) and Toyota Camry (Kwara: FFA296AE). He said: "For the Yuletide, the command has put in place adequate security measures. "I am advising residents to shun any act of trial by ordeal as the law frowns at it. "I am using this opportunity to warn our youngsters to desist from the use of fireworks and knockouts (banger), as those found wanting will be arrested and prosecuted."

Reps probe NPC over 2006 census From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

T

HE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives is to probe the National Population Commission (NPC) on the utilisation of funds for the 2006 national census. Committee Chairman Solomon Adeola said NPC must account for funds released for the last census. The lawmakers also seek to probe NPC’s inability to account for N2.2billion over a period of five years. The Debt Management Office (DMO) made the releases through the Service Wide Vote to the NPC between 2005 and 2012 as captured by the queries of the auditor general’s report. The auditor general financial queries showed that in 2005, N908,620,272.00 was released to the NPC; in 2006, it got N32,234,372.00, and N163,689,142.00 in 2009. In 2011, NPC received N159,052,699.40, while it got N902,403,124.00 in 2012. Adeola said the NPC had to be investigated, following the claim of its Acting Chairman, Emmanuel Attah, that N1.6 billion was received during the period. Saying the balance of N400 million would be recovered by the committee, Adeola advised the commission to respond to the over 40 queries raised against it in the auditor general’s report.

Reps angry over 'murder' of Nigerian in Ghana

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HE House of Representatives has said it will demand a coroner's inquest into the alleged murder of a 15-yearold student, Augustine Ogukwe, in Ghana. The Chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said it was time to stop the embarrassment Nigeria was getting from Ghana. She said her committee would request for a coroner's inquest into the boy's death to ascertain criminality or otherwise, particularly since another Nigerian student was killed about the same time Ogukwe died. The father, Obioma Ogukwe, who works in The Sun, told the committee members how Augustine, an SS3 pupil of Ideal College, Community 5 in the port city of Tema, died mysteriously after spending just 12 days in the school. He said: "The school authority and the proprietor said the boy drowned. “But the wound marks were not consistent with drowning. He was 15 years old and was in SS3. He was in the place for 12 days." Ogukwe explained that though the school insisted that Augustine died by drowning, the stab marks on his body were inconsistent with the claim. The bereaved father, who was at the National Assembly with the distraught

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

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•Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa consoling Mrs.Ogukwe...yesterday From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

mother , said there seemed to be an attempt to cover up the real cause of the death. A member of the committee, Aminu Shehu-Shagari, said: "We must ask the House to look into the cause of the death. “A coroner must check whether or not there is criminality in the death. Then, there is also the negligence of the school authority.

Senators visit Stallion's plant

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HE Senate Committee on Trade paid an oversight visit to The Stallion Group at its VON plant, yesterday to review the readiness of the company for the newly-approved Auto Industry Policy. The visit followed the Auto policy released by the government and the skepticism that followed from auto importers that the industry is not ready for its introduction. The members, who were conducted round by the auto plant, expressed satisfaction on the progress so far made and encouraged management not to relent in meeting the proposed deadline for introduction of locally-assembled passenger vehicles into the auto market. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Odion Ugbesia, encouraged them to do all things possible to meet the target for production of saloon cars as the public was eagerly awaiting the benefits of the Auto policy. A former Minister of Information and director of the company, Dr. Dora Akunyili, expressed delight at the achievements of the company. The committee members inspected the production lines, the minibus assembly and the commercial trucks line, and the partially completed passenger car lines. The facility planned will assemble 45,000 units per annum. On the Auto policy, the

Cholera kills 10 in Kano

management noted that industry players had been in discussion with the National Automotive Council and Federal Ministry of Trade & Investment for the past 18 to 24 months. The auto policy was announced on October 2. The Stallion Group proceeded to open its form M's from October 3. Documents to this effect were made available for the Senators. They clearly indicate that Stallion had no prior knowledge of when the policy would be approved. It is pertinent to note that it is not illegal for an entity to establish import documentation for any amount of goods it desires. All players in the industry were at liberty to do the same within the laws of the land. In line with the auto policy, the Stallion Group, a conglomerate employing over 10,000 people, announced its partnership to assemble NISSAN vehicles in Nigeria on October 9. Plans are in top gear to provide four models of NISSAN at the VON plant. VON is currently assembling Ashok Leyland and two Hyundai models. The plan is to increase the Hyundai line by another four models. Evidence of their production to date was inspected by the Senate Committee. Stallion management said: "It will not make economic sense to import three years stock as alleged because we propose to start production at rates more conducive than those importing fully built units."

"We have about 700,000 students in Ghana and the school fees Nigerians pay in Ghana is N170 billion while Nigeria budget’s for Education is N150 billion. “If we had made our education sector standardised we won't be exposing our children to this kind of danger." The Chairman of the Diaspora Committee, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, faulted the manner the death was handled by the school and the Ghanaian authorities.

She said: "The way the college handled the death was not ideal. What we can do is ensure the truth about what killed your son. “We will demand that all your rights be respected. We will take this up with the Ghanaian authority. This is one of several cases. "This same Ghana has said Nigerians must deposit $1 million before commencing business in the country. This is a failure of leadership in this country."

EN persons have been reportedly killed, following an outbreak of cholera in two local government areas in Kano State. Seventy people, it was gathered, have been hospitalised. The outbreak was recorded in Nasarawa and Dala local government areas. Sources said the health control unit of the Health Ministry had received about 300 cases of cholera from various locations in the state. The state Deputy Director, Public Health and Disease Control, Dr Tijjani Husaini, told reporters yesterday that the 70 persons were being treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Kano. According to him, most of the victims were found to have been infected after visiting some of their infected relatives. He said: "We started receiving reports two days ago and the number of affected persons has increased since the first day. "We realised that a number of those hospitalised were affected after they visited their infected relations.” He declined to name the number of casualties, adding that the government had adopted measures towards addressing the situation. The director added that health personnel have been despatched to houses, where cases were identified to control the spread.


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THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

NEWS

UNIPORT 4: Court fixes February 27 for ruling T HE High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has adjourned till February 27, ruling on the admissibility of statements by the 12 accused being tried for the murder of four undergraduates of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). The incident occurred in October last year at Umuokiri Aluu in Ikwerre Local Government. The four victims are Ugonna Obuzor (18) Theatre Art, Lloyd Toku Mike (20) Civil Engineering, Chiadika Biringa (20) Theatre Art and Tekena Elkanah (21) Civil Engineering. Twelve persons, including the paramount ruler of Aluu community and a retired police sergeant, are being tried for the killing. Hearing in the matter has since begun. The Deputy Superintendent of Police attached to the Homicide Department of

From: Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

the state police command, who conducted investigation into the murder, Raphael Ezeji, who is also the first prosecution witness (PW1), yesterday continued with his evidence-in-chief. It has not been an easy task at each of the sittings for the prosecution, led by the Solicitor-General (SG) and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Rufus Godwins, to make progress in the hearing, following the continuous resistance by defence counsel on tendering documents in the widely- celebrated murder case. That of yesterday’s session was not different. At first, efforts by Godwins to tender statements obtained by the police from witnesses, including parents of the

four victims, were objected by some of the defence lawyers. Their objection was on the grounds that the witness at the box (Ezeji) was not the right witness through whom the documents ought to be admitted. They insisted that each of the witnesses, who volunteered and signed the statement, should be docked to tender their documents. The court, however, admitted them as ‘E1’ to ‘E12’, beginning from those of the victims’ parents. However, the court reserved till the next adjournment to rule on whether or not the statements by the 12 accused were voluntary or confessional statements as claimed by PW1. The court will also rule on

whether there is need for trial within trial or not. Counsel to the first accused, Lawal Segun, earlier objected to the admissibility of his client’s statement on the grounds that it was involuntary and called for trial within trial, to ascertain the truth. Suspected that if granted, there is likelihood that counsel will toe the same line, the judge adjourned for ruling and said the outcome would be the guiding principle for others. He adjourned for ruling and continuation of hearing.

Nursing students protest alleged fees hike From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

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TUDENTS of the Rivers State College of Nursing, Port Harocurt have protested alleged hike in fees and levies by the school authority. They have also boycotted lectures. The students said yesterday that they would continue the protest until the school management listened to them. The President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Comrade Nwaorgu Anayochi, said they would storm the Government House, Port Harcourt, if their demands were not met.

Baptists’ quarterly assembly

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HE fourth quarterly assembly of the

Itesiwaju Baptist Association holds tomorrow at Ayetoro Baptist Church, 47, Bamigboye Street, Mushin, Lagos, from 9am. It will be presided over by the Moderator, Rev. Gbenga Ojo of Araba Baptist Church, Ilasamaja, Lagos, and Consultant, Rev. Femi Ajayi of Victoryland Baptist Church, Isolo, Lagos.

PUBLIC NOTICE UGBECHIE I, known and addressed as Ifeanyichukwu Mary Ugbechie, Ifeanyi Mary Ugbechie and Ifeanyi Mary Ugbechie-Egbumoke is one and same person. All documents with these names remain valid. General public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME ADENIYI I, Formerly known and addressed as MISS ALHASSAN HALIMAT SADIAT now wish to be known and addressed as MRS BAMIDELE HALIMAT ONASUWE. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME ADENIYI I, Formerly known and addressed as MISS. OLUWAKEMI FOLASHADE ADENIYI now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OLUWAKEMI FOLASHADE YEKU. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This is to inform the general public of the loss of the Original Right of Occupancy in respect of Plot 1009 File No. PL 21205 Cadastral Zone CO3 Gwarinpa Abuja belonging to Sen. Capt. Cosmas G. Niagwan which he handed over to AGIS in 2010. All efforts by AGIS to trace it proved abortive. If found please return to the undersigned. AGIS and the general public to please take note. Signed: Sen. Capt. Cosmas Niagwan

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This is to inform the general public that Certificate of Occupancy registered as Number 5,Page 5 in volume 2009B of The property at plot 4,Block 106A, Lekki peninsula Residential Scheme 1,Eti-Osa Area of Lagos belonging to Rio Construction limited is missing all effort to trace proved abortive. General public take note SIGNED TOYOSI BANJOKO.

Widow’s case shows Oshiomhole as a statesman, says Obahiagbon HE Chief of Staff to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, yesterday reviewed the altercation between the governor and a widow, Mrs Joy Ifijeh, saying it brought out the governor as a statesman. According to Mr Obahiagbon, a one-time member of the House of Representatives, the governor handled the matter as a true leader. Obahiagbon also said his political ambition would be determined by what the governor wants. On the widow’s matter, he said:“It has brought to the fore the indubitable and irrefragable fact that the comrade governor is quite sensitive to public opinion and responsive to the whirligig of societal dialectics. Certainly nobody has faulted the fact that the widow in question was in clear breach and consequently ran foul of extant laws. Nobody has faulted the fact that the comrade governor is deservable of eulogisation and even panegyrics for leaving the comfort of his office to supervise the adherence of environmental laws, which in itself showcases him as a governor that strips himself of Olympian aloofness to governance issues no matter how routine they may be. “The only sore point in that concatenation of events was the manner of the ventilation of his righteous indignation for which he has since robustly rose to the occasion as a statesman that he is by apologising to the lady, releasing her confiscated goods to her, offering her employment and empowering her financially to grow her business. That for me is what leadership is all about. The ability for a leader to say I am sorry for an act of omission or commission in deference to societal expectations is the fundamental and diaphanous difference between a politician and a statesman. So for me, that incident has stood him out as a statesman than a politician.” On his political future, he said: “Let me quickly say that electoral ambition for me is too early just now. I am enjoying and savouring my duties as chief of staff to the comrade governor that I have not even given the idea of the next elections as it affects my person any thought. But even more fundamental is the fact that I cannot have any electoral ambition that is not authorised by my principal. That is my own understanding of loyalty. “One step at a time my brother. I am a robot in the hands of God. He added: The people are still driving and leading the process of continuously transmogrifying Edo State into a manageable and salubrious whole where man’s happiness shall be optimised. “The gains of the last four years are vigorously consolidated upon.New projects are sprouting up across the three senatorial districts by the day.”

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‘Tambuwal’s attack on Jonathan unfortunate’ From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

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HE former Southwest treasurer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sunday Ogunlade, has condemned the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal over his attack on President Goodluck Jonathan, saying he was not serious about the crusade against corruption in the country. Tambuwal spoke in Abuja early in the week after he presented a paper on the role of the legislature in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. According to him, “the president’s body language seems to be encouraging corrupt practice.” The Speaker, at a one-day round-table discourse to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day organised by the (NBA), alleged that the executive headed by President Jonathan has failed to act on the corruption cases revealed by the National Assembly. Ogunlade, in statement in Ibadan yesterday said: “The statement credited to the Speaker is irresponsible, unwarranted and a self contradiction by the number four citizen of this country, who is from the same party with the president.” The PDP chieftain accused Tambuwal of betrayal in his utterances, stressing that his alliance with the opposition was unfortunate. He went on: “I am not surprised about Tambuwal’s utterances. This is the person elected on the platform of PDP, but has always been hobnobbing with the opposition. There is hardly any function of the opposition, which he does not attend. Whereas he has no time for his own party’s activities.” Ogunlade, however, noted that Tambuwal alone should not be blamed for his misbehaviour, adding that he did not deserve his position, which in the first place, was zoned to the Southwest.


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THE NATION FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2013

NEWS

Tambuwal: Nigeria needs media more than ever •Anyim, governors joke over Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan at book launch

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OUSE of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal yesterday said the media’s watchdog role is crucial in achievement of national development. According to him, Nigeria needs every segment of the society, including the media, to help build a country where there is true freedom. Tambuwal spoke in Lagos at the launch of the book: Conversations with my country, written by The Sun General Editor Mrs Funke Egbemode. Describing the author as “a gift to Nigerian journalism,” the Speaker said it would take an effective media to achieve a country citizens can be proud of. “The country needs our collective effort to augment the effort being made to ensure that we have not only a stable country, but a country where there is freedom; a country where people can actually beat their chest and be proud of,” the Speaker said. The controversial letter which former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote President Goodluck Jonathan was a subject of jokes by dignitaries at the event. As Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim was to begin his speech, Tambuwal remarked jovially that the former Senate President “wants to read a letter.” Anyim said: “You know why I wanted to read this letter was because the Speaker wrote a forward to the letter. Immediately the forward came, then the letter followed.” The audience burst into laughter. Anyim was apparently referring to Tambuwal’s speech last week at an event organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to mark the 2013 International Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja, in which he criticised the President’s alleged penchant for setting up panels and committees to probe corruption allegations instead of referring them to the anti-corruption agencies. In Obasanjo’s letter, he wrote: “May God grant you (Jonathan) the grace for at least one effective corrective action against high corruption which seems to stink all around you in your government.” Anyim joked that he would not add to the “letter”, saying: “I want to assure our audience that I will not contribute to this letter.” He said he accepted to write the forward to Egbemode’s book because of the topical issues she discussed, which can benefit the country. “What we must take away from Funke’s effort to write this book is that from our small corners, our little actions on daily basis, we build or destroy, kill or give life to the future and destiny of not only individuals, but also of the country and indeed humanity at large,” Anyim said. The reviewer, Mr Toni Kan, described the 258-page book divided into three parts, as “wildly funny, often sad, deeply upsetting and keenly reflective pieces.” “In writing this book, Funke Egbemode is proceeding with sure-

•Tambuwal (second right); Senator Anyim (third left); Oshiomhole (left); Uduaghan; Mrs Egbemode (third right) and Mrs Alakija...yesterday By Joseph Jibueze

footed aplomb in the footsteps of illustrious forebears who mined the seedy underbelly of human foibles with the chisel and shovel of homour,” Kan said. Guests had more reason to laugh when Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who arrived shortly before the event ended, engaged in jovial exchanges with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who was the book presenter. Oshiomhole first accused Uduaghan of “rigging” the programme by asking him to speak when he was not listed as a speaker. “Uduaghan as PDP governor has altered this thing, rigged it thoroughly, and doing so even in the full view of both the electronic and print media. I hope this will not be another Idemili North and Idemili South problem,” Oshiomhole said. Uduaghan replied: “That’s how APC oppresses us. They’re always oppressing us.” Anyim chipped in: “It’s like he has not read the letter. The letter says Edo State was rigged. It’s on the 19th and 20th pages of that letter.” Oshiomhole said: “If the Secretary to the Government says that letter is a true statement, I cannot disagree with you, from page one to the end. You said so in Eko Hotel, and you will be so reported. Abi no be so?” A chorus of “Na so ooo” rent the hall. Uduaghan said: “He’s the Secretary to the Federal Government, and he has received the letter.” Oshiomhole: “I thought I have this floor sir.” Uduaghan: “I directed you to speak, and the longer you speak the more money you will donate.” Oshiomhole: “This Uduaghan used to be my friend. You can see what PDP has done to him. It’s nice to hear an elected governor admitting to giving orders to a governor that is older than him, if not by office, but by age.” Uduaghan: “…But taller than you” Oshiomhole: “That one, I will contest it. Because I know the last time we had this argument, we weighed on a scale, and the statistician showed that I had 1.3inch advantage over Emmanuel vertically.” Uduaghan: “That scale was manufactured in Edo State.” Oshiomhole: “…But Edo State used to be the headquaters of

•Aremo Osoba (left), Amuka-Pemu and Dr Kalu...yesterday

‘The country needs our collective effort to augment the effort being made to ensure that we have not only a stable country, but a country where there is freedom’ Bendel, of which you’re now only a part. So, I have the floor now. If not, the workers will go on strike, using my previous connections, and your microphone will not work.” Oshiomhole went on to recount efforts to proscribe the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) after Obasanjo accused him of running a parallel government while Anyim was Senate President. Uduaghan: “Before you continue, there is a benchmark for speaking. It’s N1million per minute.” Oshiomhole: “…But you know PDP never respects benchmarks. Even when they sell over and above it, they never have enough, so don’t even talk about benchmark.” Uduaghan: “That is why the House and the Senate have never agreed on a benchmark. Is that why?” Oshiomhole: “But even the CBN doesn’t agree. So don’t talk of benchmark, because you’re touching the short part of the snake.” Uduaghan: “SURE-P? You mean SURE-P? You said ‘short part’…Short part is ‘SURE-P.” Oshiomhole: “That’s another PDP invention. How many of you are

beneficiaries?...But allow me to finish my speech. Next time, Funke, you want to organise things like this, let the chairman be duly elected. “Once he knows that we elected him, he will listen to us. This federal appointment Funke has made…you even bypassed Edo, and you were going down to Southsouth; what were you looking for? And you can see the problem now.” Uduaghan: “My role here is to collect money. I’m not the chairman.” Oshiomhole: “I will see how you will collect. Already I have reported you to the President.” Uduaghan: “Was it through a letter?” Oshiomhole: “We’re brothers. This same Emmanuel, he will keep kidnappers in Delta, release them midnight to kidnap in Edo and return to Delta warehouse. And I have been protesting. Now I report you directly to SGF.” Uduaghan: “Comrade, you’re going to another aspect now . We know where Mike Ozekhome was kidnapped. He wasn’t kidnapped in Delta.” Oshiomhole: “Yes, but we know where Kokori is located.” Uduaghan: “Kokori is in Edo State.” Oshiomhole: “Kokori? Have you ceded it.” Uduaghan: “It’s on the road between…It has been ceded to Edo State.” Oshiomhole: “SGF, please use your federal might to seize the microphone, because Kelvin…”

PHOTOS: DAVID ADEJO

Anyim: “Governor of Edo you have the floor.” Oshiomhole: “Thank you very much. Now that you have ruled in my favour, God bless you. Just to say that Kelvin is from Delta State. Because of these and other challenges, imagine, some of our oil wells were kidnapped, and all of that is the reason I look the way I look. “So, I wasn’t asked to donate. I was coming here to get a free copy, and when I heard it’s on this floor, I know there used to be a Chinese restaurant here. And I was looking forward to eating good food. “I have to use video conferencing to connect with the parliament in Edo State to see how we can rush a supplementary appropriation to enable me do what I have to do, because if you are not under that umbrella, you don’t have that protection...” Uduaghan: “But you’re collecting taxes from kidnappers in Edo.” Among guests were Senator Tunde Ogbeha, who represented Senate President David Mark; representatives of Governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti). Also present were former Ogun State Governor Chief Segun Osoba, former Abia State Governor and The Sun Publisher Dr Orji Uzoh Kalu; Vanguard Publisher Sam Amuka; Managing Director of Famfa Oil Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, who was the guest speaker and many members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, among others.

Ex-U.S President Bush to Nigeria: tackle corruption

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MERICA’s 43rd President George Walker Bush has advised the Federal Government to fight corruption with the resoluteness that no one is above the law. Bush spoke yesterday in Lagos as the guest speaker at this year’s Access Conference, organised by Access Bank, with the theme: Embracing Sustainable Leadership. The former U.S president, however, urged Nigerians to be patient

By Collins Nweze

with democracy while the government holds the people to account by bursting corruption. He said the powerful should not be allowed to escape the wrath of the law, when they breach the nation’s statute. Bush, who was America’s President from 2001 to 2009, was also the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

He said the United States encouraged governments which fought corruption with aids to support such economies, adding that the criteria for receiving aids had been tied to countries with anti-corruption drives. The former U.S President said Nigerian needed to have clear rules that would be enforceable without prejudice and must hold the government accountable to honour its agreements.

Bush said: “You must apply the law, no matter how powerful somebody may be, as this encourages entrepreneurship and economic development.” He said he was impressed by the Nigeria’s potential, adding that the best way to fight poverty was to create entrepreneurs. According to him, it is in the United States interest to encourage economic growth in vital countries, including Nigeria.


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NEWS Boko Haram responsible for attack on military base, says Shekau

PDP moves against decamping governors

Continued from page 4

Continued from page 4

1999 (as amended) the 2nd 6th defendants who were elected on the platform of the plaintiff cannot continue to enjoy the mandate given to the plaintiff by the people / electorate of the respective states as the 2nd - 6th defendants have defected to the APC; • in the absence of any division known and recognised by law in the plaintiff, the 2nd 6th defendants who were elected under the plaintiff’s platform have vacated or forfeited their seats forthwith upon their defection to APC; •having combined provisions of section 87 of the Electoral Act 2011 (as amended), section 177 (c), 221 and 222 (c) of the Constitution (as amended) the 2nd - 6th defendants’ defection from the plaintiff the APC, the offices of the 2nd - 6th defendants have reverted to the plaintiff; •by combined provisions of section 177 (c), 221 and 222 (c) of the Constitution (as amend-

•Tukur

ed) upon the defection of the 2nd - 6th defendants from the plaintiff to the APC, the mandate reverts to the deputy governor or speaker of the Houses of Assembly or any officer next in rank who is still a member of the plaintiff to function and assume the office of the governor of the states in question; and •A declaration that by the combined provisions of sections 177 (c), 221 and 222 (c) of the Constitution (as amended), the act of defection by the 2nd - 6th defendant from the PDP on whose platform they were elected to APC amounts to gross misconduct.

Maiduguri is considered the spiritual home of Boko Haram (western education is sin). The group’s aim is to impose a harsh form of sharia across the country. Thousands of people have died in deadly violence since 2009, both at the hands of the militants and as a result of the military response to the violence. In the Maiduguri raid, the military said 24 militants were killed and two service personnel were wounded. But Shekau said only seven

fighters died — three in suicide bombings, three were shot and one in “friendly fire”. At least two local residents were also killed, people in the city said. The US State Department in July offered a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to Shekau’s arrest of. In the video, he said “the whole world” feared him, name-checking US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and even the late British premier Margaret

Thatcher. Shekau singled out in particular the United States, which on November 13 designated Boko Haram and its offshoot Ansaru as international terror groups. “You are boasting you are going to join forces with Nigeria to crush us. Bloody liars,” he said, in an apparent reference to a pledge by Washington to support Abuja in the fight against the extremists. “You couldn’t crush us when we were carrying sticks,” he said, adding: “By Allah, we will never stop. Don’t think we

will stop in Maiduguri.” “Tomorrow you will see us in America itself. Our operation is not confined to Nigeria. It is for the whole world.” Shekau’s claims about the international nature of Boko Haram stand at odds with analysts’ general assessments that the group is largely Nigeria-based. But the US has said the group and Ansaru have links with the wider Islamist jihadi network, in particular Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has provided limited training and funding.

Obasanjo joins Jonathan at breakfast in Kenya Continued from page 4

the Armed Forces had been asked to contribute,” a top government official told The Nation. “Maybe the snipers are being trained outside Nigeria by some forces not in government. The security agencies will investigate this claim and re-examine the activities of some ex-militants,” he added. He went on: “If possible, the Federal Government will in-

vite some credible international bodies to verify the findings of the security agencies. “The last time snipers were trained was under the administration of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha. These snipers were then trained in North Korea and Libya. “But upon the death of Abacha, the administrations of ex-Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo did

away with the services of some of these snipers. “Some of them who were reabsorbed into the Nigerian Army had been retrained and re-focused. They are not even in sensitive units where they could relapse into their old habit.” Jonathan and Obasanjo were among the dignitaries who attended the 50th Independence Anniversary celebration of Kenya in Nairobi. At the venue of the event, Obasanjo, who sat quietly, was making calls on his mobile telephone at intervals throughout the event. Speaking at the event, Jonathan called on all Kenyans to unite. He said there was no alternative to unity if Kenyans must develop their country. The destiny of Kenya, he said, lies with its people and

as such the people must strive to take their country to a greater height. Expressing happiness that Raila Odinga was at the event and working with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Jonathan said: “Nobody can love you more than Kenyans so you all have to jointly develop your country. All Kenyans should come together to form an inclusive society. “Since 2007, many African countries like Kenya have been celebrating 50 years of independence and freedom; our founding fathers talked of political freedom to be followed by economic freedom. “The present generation of African leaders must work hard on science and technology as well as industrialisation, so that there could be economic development and freedom.”

Amaechi to meet President on missing $49.8b, others Continued from page 4

worthy of emulation. The NGF also remembered the late Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa, who died a year ago. The NGF said the forum would identify with the Yakowa family during the memorial event being organised by the family.

Among the governors who attended the meeting which started on Wednesday night at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro are those of Zamfara, Kwara, Lagos, Borno, Adamawa, Rivers, Ekiti, Imo, Osun Deputy governors at the meeting included those from Jigawa and Oyo states.

Police bar Rivers lawmakers Continued from page 4

“The PDP notes with worry the presence of armed thugs all around the Assembly Complex, who are neither members nor staff of the Legislative Assembly, but came in buses, in company of some members of the Assembly loyal to Governor Amaechi. “The Party condemns in strong terms, the hiring of thugs in buses in an attempt to take over the Assembly, and also wonders why such twist in his reaction to the Abuja High Court judgment, when shortly after the ruling, his Commissioner for Information, Ibim Semenitari, said the government rejected the judgment and has filed both stay of execution and appeal motions against the decision of the court.” The interim State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Davis Ikanya Ibiamu, said: “You see how power is being used against the people. The majority of the lawmakers in the House of Assembly want to visit the commissioner of police, but the police have refused to allow them see the Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu. “We suspect that the five opposition lawmakers are

going to be sneaked into the House to conduct proceedings. The APC considers this development unnecessary and unacceptable. If the commissioner of police believes he is doing his professional duties, then, he should allow the public to see it as such”. “We call on the National Assembly. We call on the past presidents of Nigeria. We call on Nigerians to condemn what is happening today. Rivers State is under siege. The action of the police in preventing the 25 lawmakers from entering the House of Assembly complex is provocative. We are waiting to see whether they will allow the other five lawmakers to enter the House, sit and attempt to impeach the governor.” The Rivers police commissioner assured that the Assembly’s gate would be opened, when the due process is followed by the lawmakers. He insisted that he remained a professional police officer and had not taken sides. On July 9, an attempt was made to remove Amachree as speaker, for Bipi to be made the helmsman, but Amaechi and some of his aides stormed the chambers, leading to a free-for-all. Some of the lawmakers were injured.


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FOREIGN NEWS

South Africa probes 'fake signer’

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OUTH Africa's Deputy Disability Minister Hendrietta BogopaneZulu admitted that hiring an unqualified sign language interpreter was a mistake but denies suggestions that the government should be embarrassed. However, many South Africans, deaf people around the world and no doubt the US presidential security team will disagree. Ms Bogopane-Zulu says the agency through which Thamsanqa Dyantyi was re-

…’I saw angels,’ says Interpreter

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HE sign language interpreter accused of using fake hand signals at Nelson Mandela’s memorial has said he suffered a schizophrenic episode. Thamsanqa Dyantyi, 34, told the BBC’s Ros Atkins that he saw angels coming into the stadium. Deaf viewers at the memorial service said he was “signing rubbish”, and complained he was a fraud. Mr Dyantyi said he was aware that he might not have been signing exactly what people were saying.

cruited has "vanished into thin air" after providing a sub-standard service for many years previous clients are said to have included other government agencies and the ANC.

Nobody has yet admitted to recruiting SA Interpreters and Mr Dyantyi, but whoever was responsible will no doubt be asked to make a similar mea culpa.

1, 600 Egypt varsity professors to resign

A

BOUT 1,600 Egyptian professors at Al-Azhar University are planning to resign in protest of the recent raids on university campuses that resulted in Egyptian security forces entering classrooms and offending not only the students, but also the professors. Earlier this week, security forces attacked students at AlAzhar as they held rallies in support of 20 of their peers who have been arrested and charged for protesting against the coup.

•To protest army raids on campuses The head of the Federation of the Faculty of Commerce at AlAzhar, Osama Zaid, confirmed the planned mass action to the Egyptian newspaper AlMesryoun. According to Zaid, the professors are planning to establish an independent defence front in order to protect themselves, their rights and their students' rights after the security services' raids on different campuses and classrooms

across the university. Zaid also challenged university officials, asking: "Why the dean of the Medicine Faculty at Al-Azhar University does not follow in the footsteps of the dean of the Engineering Faculty at Cairo University, who resigned after the death of a student there?" He also called on all professors at the university to resign in support of the students' rights.

Kenyatta in equality appeal

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ENYA's President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for Africa to be treated equally on the world stage as his country celebrates 50 years of independence from British rule. Tens of thousands of Kenyans sang and waved the national flag as he spoke at a rally in the capital, Nairobi. At midnight, the scene when Kenya gained independence

was re-enacted. British forces were accused of committing widespread atrocities during colonial rule. In June, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said Kenya's Mau Mau fighters would receive payouts totalling $32m (£20m) as compensation for being tortured during colonial rule. Mr Kenyatta said it was important for foreign powers to

realise that Africa had come of age. "We will embrace partnerships based on mutual respect and win-win scenarios. We will not accept partnerships that do not recognise … we also have the intellectual capacity to engage on equal terms," he said. "Africa has a voice. Fifty years after independence, Africa demands that its voice must be heard," the president added.

Nigeria partners China on substandard products

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HE Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) yesterday held a one day round table on how to enhance Nigeria-China relations. Chief Matthew Uwaekwe, National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer Nigeria-China Business Council (NCBC), said the increasing business engagement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Peoples Republic of China have opened an enormous vista of opportunities at various levels. "Unfortunately however, unscrupulous businessmen are engaging in acts that are in dis-

By Medinat Kanabe sonance with international business best practices which have lowered the quality of Chinese made products imported into Nigeria," Nwaekwe said. University of Lagos, (UNILAG) don, Prof Akin Oyebode said Nigerian business men are the ones who requests for cheaper products so the Chinese companies produce substandard products for them. "After making inquiry, the Chinese people said it is what they request for that they manufacture for them. It is this same people that are building the Lagos -Ikorodu road, and the

Israeli soldier stabs handcuffed Palestinian student in prison

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FFICERS in the Israeli army stabbed an 18year-old Palestinian student in handcuffs after arresting him at his home near the city of Qalqilya, in the West Bank. According to the Israeli news site Walla, Palestinian student Zahir Tabeeb recounted how: "Yesterday at 2am the Israeli army entered our house in a very inhumane and uncivilised manner. They told me to put on my shoes and then took me out to the road where they brought someone to trace my footsteps. Someone had thrown stones at them and they were accusing me. But even though they were told that there was no evidence against me, and that I was not the culprit, an Israeli soldier insisted on taking me to prison anyway. So I

was handcuffed and transferred in an army van to the Haras El-Hodood prison near the village of Ezbet Tabeeb." The Palestinian student, who studies in the Department of Law at Al-Najah University in Nablus, added that: "I was questioned for about a half an hour and then put in prison until 3 pm. At that point, two soldiers entered the cell. I did not recognise their faces but they were dressed in army clothes and held knives. One of them started hitting me while shouting accusations and insults at me. He was accusing me of throwing stones in the streets, but I told him I had not thrown any stones. He turned me around so that I was facing the wall and then stabbed me in my back while I was still handcuffed.”

Abuja road so they have made a point," he said. CICIR Vice President Feng Zhongping, apologised for the importation of substandard products into Nigeria. "I think we should cooperate in economic, political and social economy. We want to make the relationship sustainable. We don't want to just come here to make money but also bring development to the country," he said.

Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader

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UMAN rights groups have bemoaned the execution of an Islamist leader Abdul Kader Mullah, convicted of atrocities in the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan. The groups claimed that the tribunal convicted Mullah falls short of international standards. Mullah, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party was hanged yesterday. He is the first person convicted by Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to be executed. The ICT was set up in 2010 to investigate abuses committed during the 1971 conflict, in which some estimate three million people were killed. His trial earlier in the year sparked protests from Jamaat supporters. Mullah had been scheduled to be hanged on Tuesday, before gaining a reprieve pending a last-minute appeal. The Bangladeshi Supreme Court dismissed the appeal earlier yesterday.


62

THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

NEWS (SHOPPING)

Panasonic introduces home appliances

P

ANASONIC has introduced some new products into the market. They were showcased at its Dealers’ Convention at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. The Managing Director of Panasonic Marketing, Middle East and Africa, Masao Motoki, said: “The new range of room airconditioners with AVS system is to protect component such as compressor from severe voltage fluctuation in Nigeria.” Motoki, who said Panasonic’s Africa marketing strategy, is to understand the choice of the consumer. He further said the air conditioner would also help in tackling the country’s key challenge of air purification and energy-related concerns. The firm also unveiled a new app to provide Panasonic Viera TV users with 5,000 Nollywood movies. This is in partnership with Iroko TV. “The irokotv has been dubbed as the ‘Neflix of Africa’ as it is one of first VOD platforms for the continent,” he said. Panasonic also released its prostyle shouldermount full-HD camcorder HCMDH2 into the market. Equipped with the ‘simultaneous recording’ function, the camcorder allows recording on dual memory devices simul-

• From left: Media Consultant, Mr John Woma; Promoter Panaserv Nig. Ltd, Mr Bhojraj Rupani; Assistant Director Imagine Business Division, AVCNetworks Company, Panasonic Corporation Japan, Mr Yoshiaki Sawada and Mr Motoki at PHOTO: MORAKINYO ABIODUN the launch.

taneously. The new nanoe-G technology embedded within the air conditioner will enable users to deactivate 99 per cent of bacteria and virus attached to filter while the intelligent EcoNavi sensor will save up to 35 per cent energy without sacrificing the comfort level. It also brought into the market two new hair trimmers ER-GC30 and GC 33 designed for a profes-

sional, smooth and safe haircut. These hair trimmers help make a sharp front line cut with less damage to the skin and it is easily usable even without cord for 40 min when fully charged. Its cord and cordless operation makes it extremely user friendly where the user can use it even when the power is off. The firm has also introduced the world’s First Nollywood Smart

TV App – iROKO TV In Nigeria for its Smart VIERA TV’s. Head of Business Development for iROKOtv, Mr Adi NdukaAgwu, said: “We are very happy to have collaborated with one of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers and this exclusive partnership between Panasonic and iROKOtv symbolises a new era for Nollywood movie distribution.

Lagos fabric traders record good sales

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ABRIC traders in Lagos are smiling to the bank. This is because of the yuletide. Apart from buying livestock and food stuffs, Christians, who spend alot this season without considering the weight, also buy items such as ankara and lace. These sales are what the traders are benefiting from. Fabric merchants in Balogun, Iyana-Iba, Alaba market and Oshodi markets in Lagos, testify that there is an upsurge in the demand for fabrics this month. Majority of them said they are satisfied with the income they have generated this season. They, however, wish for the season to continue. At Suru Alaba market in Ajegunle, Mrs Kemi Obadina, who sells mainly various ankara fabrics, said she had made so much profit in the past few weeks, adding that the hope of making more is high because of the turn out at the Fabrics Section of the market. Mr Daniel Patrick, who also sells ankara fabric at Oshodi market, said: “It is a few days to Christmas; many Christian customers have been patronising me, and I hope it will continue this way. My fabrics are affordable and are eye-catchy de-

A

J

UMIA is offering Nigerians alot of discount this season. It wants them to earn money by sharing a link - from private partner to professional website hosts. Co-founder, Jumia Nigeria, Tunde Kehinde, said: “This new programme is open to all people – everyone is welcome to participate to boost their website, blog or social media channel with our brand and additionally profit from it. ‘’We created an easy working winwin situation, which is a totally performance based associate programme. The more people someone can bring to our website, the more they profit from it. We are happy to give this opportunity to everyone and continue the successful affiliate programme to a Partner’s Programme where everyone can join in.” The Partner’s Programme works like this: Jumia allows third parties to place links, ads, and other types of visual references on their websites or social media channels with direct traffic to its website. In return, they get about nine per cent commission from one sale when customers use the links for purchases. In the first month, they earn N500 on the commission for each order. Co-Founder naijatechguide.com, Pascal Okafor, said: ”I am very happy with the affiliate programme because I have increased my income and learned a lot about the readers on my website. Also, we established a close working relationship with Jumia, where we adapted new ideas and evolved the technology of the programme. It is one of the best affiliate programmes in Nigeria.” Jumia said it would be giving promotions and special benefits regularly, adding that its Christmas Special would come up soon.

Praises for furniture firm

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• Fabric merchants By Oluwaponmile Akodu

signs.’’ At Iyana Iba market in Ojo, Alhaja Munira Abbib, testified that sales have gone up beyond her expecta-

PHOTO: OLUWAPONMILE AKODU

tion. She added that in imported laces section, the story is good. Mrs. Folusho Giwa also sells ankara fabrics at the Balogun market on Lagos Island. She said she had lost count of the number of cus-

tomers she had received in the last two weeks. “I think it is because I sell quality fabrics and it is the season for bountiful sales of fabrics for us. She said in excitement,” she said.

Firm celebrates 10th anniversary FURNITURE firm Rosemary’s has celebrated its 10 th anniversary at its Lekki Showroom in Lagos. It has as theme: 10 for 10. The firm’s management explained that during the anniversary, they would give out 10 gifts to 10 customers in 10 days, as well as hold other activities. Rosemary’s is a one stop shop for decor advisory, interior designing, complete and partial makeover, interior renovation and layout consulting with the use of locally made duvets and pillows, blinds, curtains. The management of the company said the reason behind its innovation is to give Nigerians a home to be proud. No matter how small an apartment is, it still can be given a classy look with the touch and spice of a professionals. Chief Executive Officer of Rosemary’s, Mrs Ezinne Ekanem, said the outfit was established in

Jumia offers customers special treat

By Nneka Nwaneri

2003 to give Nigerians value for their money. All through her grooming days, she was born to decorate. “I used to rearrange my father’s house every other day. It began as a joke, then a hobby. So, I had to take it serious and here I am 10 years down the line. “Because we are passion driven, we specialise in making homes as comfortable as it can be no matter the size of the living spaces. It’s all about simple solutions with perfect colour scheming. ‘’Our designs are timeless, versatile and can be used in a variety of ways as it is our belief everyone deserves to live comfortably ‘’Though some challenges abound in the industry such as light, good infrastructure to work on and lack of electricity, they have kept on making Nigerians home proud. ‘’

• From left: Corporate Affairs Adviser Nigerian Breweries, Mr Kufre Ekanem, Managing Director/CEO NB,Mr. Nicollaas Vervelde The winner, Sesu Tilley-Gyado. during the National Art Competition Grand finale, organised by NB , in Lagos at the weekend….PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

HE President, Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Mr. Kola Oyeyemi, has praised Universal Furniture Limited, saying its products are unique. He spoke at the launch of the firm’s products in Lagos. He said he was amazed by the quality of the firm’s designs, urging the company to go the extra mile in introducing innovations into the market. Oyeyemi, who is also General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN, added that it was welcomed development that most foreign investors were beginning to place value on the country’s citizens. He praised the management team for taking the step to engage Nigerians in the production of both office and home furniture, saying the decision has proved to be worthwhile. According to him, the era of depending on international designs will soon become a thing of the past. He said with the quality of the firm’s designs, patronage for locally produced office and home furniture would rise. Oyeyemi further said trainings and the contest recently organised by the company, which were targeted at recognising local talents, would not only boost the market, but also serve as foreign exchange earnings. Guest at the opening described the offerings as unique and superb. They said the new furniture are good They commended the team for believing in the Nigerian spirit. ‘’At least, we can see that Nigerians can actually deliver the best when given the chance, ‘’ one of them said. The Chairman of the Group, Mr. Antoine Moudaber emphasised the commitment of the organisation to ensure the delivery of quality products that would meet the yearning of consumers. ‘’So far, the impact of the made by Nigerians and for Nigerians furniture by the Universal Furniture has provided jobs for over 500 Nigerians, thereby reducing the unemployment rate in the county, he said.


THE NATION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

63

SPORT EXTRA

Oduamadi wants to remain at Brescia

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NAMDI Oduamadi penned a season long loan deal with Brescia over the summer due to his lack of first team opportunities at AC Milan. Despite not being fielded in

•Oduamadi

his natural role as a winger, the 23 - year - old might have done enough to impress the Swallows, who have the option of acquiring him outright at the end of the loan agreement. “Honestly, I have not heard from anyone (in Milan), because they are going through a difficult period in terms of results. “I just have to think about doing well during training for me win to win a shirt. It is still early to talk about the market. “When I came here I said I wanted to bring Brescia to Serie A and this is still my ambition. “If you ask me about my future, I tell you that I will stay definitely,” Nnamdi Oduamadi said to Tuttomercatoweb.com.

Odibe Joins FC Atyrau

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AZAKHSTAN Premier League side FC Atyrau have completed the signing of one - cap Nigeria international Michael Odibe. The financial terms and period of contract have not been disclosed by the western Kazakhstan outfit. However, allnigeriasoccer.com has been specially informed that the 25 - year - old signed a two - year contract, with an additional season inserted into

the deal. Michael Odibe will earn at least 20,000 dollars a month at the Oilers, according to information in the media. The former Arsenal Kiev, Dnipro, Union Saint-Gilloise and Siena central defender has been handed the number 20 shirt for the 2014 campaign. Michael Odibe has been without a club for the past two months after Ukrainian side Arsenal Kiev were declared bankrupt.

‘Lagos Junior League empowering Nigerian youths’

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ITH four years since inception, youth empowerment in Lagos State has continued to be the hallmark of the Lagos Junior League in line with its aims and objectives as the league marked its Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere. Addressing journalists yesterday in Lagos, the Chairman, Kamal Bayewu, said the league was set up with the aim of empowering youths as well as part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the local government areas to its natives. “When we started the league as a limited liability company four years ago, our objective was to take the boys off the streets, which is also the CSR of the government. Also, we don’t just want to empower these boys, we wanted to ensure that they combine sports with education so that they can understand certain things

whenever they are going into any dealings. Economically we have empowered these players with four of them being part of the victorious World Cup U-17 winning team. For us, the objectives have been achieved and what we are also trying to do is to ensure that we stabilise the company so that it can stand on its own as a company,” he said. The Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Council Development Area chairman added: “In terms of profit, we had not broken even but in terms of CSR, we have achieved our objectives because it has not been entrenched in the local councils that even after the exit of the present administration, the league can be sustained by the councils.” Bayewu said that efforts are in top gear to attract sponsors to the league, which he said would yield soon, as the feat achieved would entice the corporate bodies to identify with the league.

•Alampasu

AHEAD OF CHAN

Shorunmu happy with goalkeepers

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IGERIA goalkeeper coach Ike Shorunmu has been impressed by the two new players called up for the 2014 African Nations Championship in South Africa in January. Head coach Stephen Keshi included Sharks stopper Isah Danladi and Golden Eaglets’ number one Sunday Dele Alampasu in his 30-man provisional squad.

And Shoronmu has been happy with what he's seen from the two locally-based players and believes they can prove their worth to the national side. "They (Danladi and Alampasu) have been wonderful along with Dan Akpeyi and Chigozie Agbim, they can even challenge for World Cup places but it might be too early in the day

Obuh sets target at Rangers

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NUGU Rangers’ head coach, John Obuh has promised to return the club to “the glory days” as he prepares for the 2013/14 football season. Obuh replaced Okey Emordi who quit his post as head coach of the “Flying Antelopes” on the final day of the 2012/13 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season. The new trainer sat down with supersport.com and discussed his expectations for

the new season. “Anyone who has followed my career will know what Rangers means to me. I am not just the coach but I am also a fan of this club so I am obligated to do my best to return this club back to its habit of winning trophies and the glory days must be repeated,” he said. Rangers are one of the traditional Nigerian clubs as exemplified by their six league titles and five Cup successes. The Enugu club’s

NYG won’t disrupt U-20 qualifiers

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HE leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has allayed fears in various quarters that the closing ceremony of the National Youth Festival holding in Abuja would have any technical implication on the FIFA U.20 World Cup qualifying match between the Falconets and their Tunisian counterparts holding at the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday. The National Youth Games will also end the same day at the Stadium. According to the General Secretary of the Football Federation Musa Amadu, all

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja the FIFA stipulations on international matches of that magnitude will be observed “The rules are that the visitors should be allowed access to the pitch 24 hours to the match, which they would have today. They are also to be allowed one hour before the match, which they would have on Saturday. So the festival which would end on that day would not affect the match in whatsoever way. The Festival would have ended before then" he concluded. Many Nigerians had expressed fears that the Tunisians who are very good

so let's keep our fingers crossed for now," he told Supersport.com. Asssistant coach Daniel Amokachi was similarly pleased with all the local players and youngsters at the Nigeria training camp in Abuja. "All the players including the young Eaglets have been awesome at training sessions and I personally won't be

in winning technical points easily, considering the ways their club side, knocked Rangers International out of the Confederation Cup on technical issues, and how their Senior National team edged out Cape Verde in the final qualifiers of the 2014 World Cup. Cape Verde fielded a player who was not eligible for the match. The Tunisians held on to that and qualified for the final rounds of the competition. Those who expressed fears are of the opinion that there are every possibility that the closing ceremony of the Youth Games would extend

beyond the 2.00pm that the NSC is projecting to end the games. They are seeing a possibility that the visitors may be looking for any lapses to capitalize on, since they know that their girls may not be able to withstand the Falconets. Meanwhile, NationSport gathered that the timing of the match dominated the discussions between the Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi and the NFF leadership when they visited the Minister on Monday. This we also learnt would be a better way to have a full crowd watch the U.20 girls at the Abuja National Stadium.

last league title however arrived in 1984 with their last Cup triumph recorded a year earlier. With most of the younger fans of the club not accustomed to domestic or continental title celebrations, Obuh is keen to correct things in record time. The former Nigeria Under20 coach is however calling for support from “all who love Rangers” to help him fulfill his objectives. “We must return Rangers back to its pride of place in Nigerian and African football. “If this must be achieved, then all who love Rangers must play their part in helping us achieve this objective. “I need my players to be happy. Everything that is required to make us forge ahead successfully must be tidied up. “Whatever was carried over from last season that needs tackling must be tackled promptly because these are the only things that can bring results,” said Obuh who had previously managed NPFL clubs like Sharks, Kwara United, Niger Tornadoes and Wikki Tourists. Rangers finished in fifth place in the 2012/13 NPFL season with 58 points from 38 matches.

surprised if they make the final squad for the CHAN tournament but we'll have to wait for Keshi to have a look at them and make a final decision," Amokachi said. The Super Eagles begin their CHAN campaign against Mali and the players will be determined to earn a place in the final squad for the competition.

West Ham denies Martins’ link

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EST Ham boss Sam Allardyce has denied reports of a possible move for former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins in January. Martins, who currently plies his trade in America with Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders, has been mentioned as a possible target to bolster the attacking options of the struggling East London side. - I haven't heard anything about Oba, he's playing in America at the moment, Alladyce said on Thursday. - Everyone knows if we're in the market for a player, we'll be linked with everybody. We'll deal with that speculation is speculation, he added. The former Super Eagles’ striker had endured a torrid season with Seattle Sounders, where injuries limited him to only a handful of appearances.

•Martins


TODAY IN THE NATION

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013

I

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

RECALL and reconfirm my tribute titled “An Exemplar of Humanity” on the 92 nd birthday of Africa’s greatest son, Nelson Mandela, on July 18, 2010. Mandela’s life is a shining example of the actualisation of the desirable potentials of human existence; it is a testimony to the possibilities of human goodness; it is a justification of the rationality of faith in humanity; it is a vindication of God’s purposive creative endeavor. I plead against misunderstanding. Madiba is still human. He cannot be a saint for now, at least. But I offer a tribute to a human who towers above his peers in public life, and who as such offers us a glimpse into what we are meant to aspire to, a sample of what we also can be. Why we or at least those of us that choose public life like him fall short terribly at so many fronts is a question that screams out for answer. What matters in the life story of Madiba is not the royalty of his birth. Neither is it the ultimate victory of the cause he championed. It is not even the crown of honour he wore as the first president of a democratic South Africa. The circumstance of his birth was just a chance affair. Nothing morally substantial follows from that accident of history. If you believe in destiny, you would probably find some explanation. But you must be hard pressed to show why many of blue blood ended up as abysmal failures in life. Or when, as a result of the heritage of birth, they ascend the throne of their forebears, nothing consequential followed. And as we know, in quite a number of cases, even in our own clime, humanity fared worse. The victory of the cause Mandela championed is indeed a big deal, one of the most spectacular in the dying years of the last century. Yet that victory would still be a forlorn hope if he didn’t make the choices he made in the first place. And of course, the honour would be a dream if the cause had been lost. What matters then, from a moral point of view, which is the only point of view that really matters, are the choices that Mandela made from the onset of his adult life. And following the course of his life, every step of the way he has most assuredly been concerned about principle. Confronted with the injustice of racism and apartheid, he chose to fight it. Confronted with the natural inclination to vengeance and retaliation, he chose to reject it. Confronted with the African propensity to hang on to power, he chose the dignity of early retirement. At the young age of 24, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had his first degree and was study-

It’s not yet late...you can still ‘PORT’

VOL.8 NO.2,696

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

SEGUN GBADEGESIN gbadegesin@thenationonlineng.net

As Madiba goes home ‘

We do not have a democratic and free society. There is no harmonious living among our people. And there are no equal opportunities. Without democracy and freedom, there is no harmony and peace. It is the law of nature

•The late Mandela

ing to become a lawyer. His life prospects were bright, especially coming from a royal family. But two years later, he chose to join the African National Congress. When the ruling National party declared its apartheid policies, Mandela chose resistance. The rest is history. For a young man, the meaning of these choices was clear. He knew he could run into trouble. But he was undaunted, believing in the justice of the cause. This principle of resisting injustice wherever it occurred was made explicit in the Rivonia Trial: “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if it needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” These are the words that shaped the path of Mandela, as a freedom fighter and as the president of South Africa. The fight against domination of any shape or kind was a moral choice for him. Nothing else, including life itself, really mattered more. He was prepared to die fighting against domination. How many of our so-called public servants from the lowest to the highest level of gov-

RIPPLES IF I WERE IN HOLLYWOOD, I’LL ACT NUDE–Nollywood actress

‘Snubbing Nigeria at the Mandela memorial was neither a mistake nor a chance happening; it was a well reasoned, calculated and pre-meditated action designed to save the face of the world from a Nigerian embarrassment’

ernance can truly mouth these words? Rather, do they not encourage ethnic domination, which is just as barbaric as racial domination, as a means to their own personal advancement? And when confronted with bare-faced injustice from hate-mongers and ethnic war-lords, did they not run for cover, stepping aside to enjoy their loot? Mandela chose to fight for the “ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities.” The resistance of the apartheid regime against this ideal was self-serving. But it was also clear that it was imprudent and short-sighted since the resistance did not serve the interest of White South Africans as much as they thought. It would, perhaps if there was no resistance from its victims. But how can anyone think there wasn’t going to be such a resistance? Sadly, in our context, that ideal remains only a dream even without the elephant of racial domination in the room. We do not have a democratic and free society. There is no harmonious living among our people. And there are no equal opportunities. Without democracy and freedom, there is no harmony and peace. It is the law of nature. Old kingdoms and empires were crushed by the power of the people yearning for freedom.

HARDBALL ARDBALL feels like singing a dirge, a sad, melancholic dirge upon reading the rambling missive of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to his anointed son and current president, Goodluck Jonathan. But the muse fails me; it must have journeyed to a faraway country, having found no sober soil here to sprout. I want to sing, to moan about the black egg laid by the dark crow seven moons ago which has now hatched into a malevolent vulture. I want to weep about the prodigal father who sired a son who would outprodigal him. I want to cry on behalf of the wayward father but tears fail me, my eyes having been worsted by evil sights, is stark like the night thief’s. Hardball wants so much to laugh as our former president was wont at his opponents when he had them by their jolly sac; when he squeezed them with sardonic mirth and he would chant, “I dey laugh o.” I want to echo his laughter with peeling ecstasy but the situation is grave. See who is on the run now; see who is afraid now and crying wolf. He says they are training snipers; what a laugh! Does a president need to train snipers to eliminate people? Are there not trained snipers all over the world waiting to be beckoned upon? Why would any respectable eliminator leave an entire training base of evidence?

H

OBJ: I dey cry o The other day when our dear Bola Ige was vaporised, no evidence whatsoever was left. Even as Baba wrote this long, ‘love’ letter to his ‘son’, he never gave us a coherent answer about our Cicero. He who dispensed wisdom from his front pocket the way his contemporaries would only dispense lucre suddenly became a fool’s tale before our eyes. Marshal Harry met a similar fate. Over a dozen others too all fell under the watch of our Baba Obasanjo; not one was explained or unraveled. In fact, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under his leadership was described as harbouring a “nest of killers.” Haba Baba, when did political killings become the sole franchise of the Abacha era? We were all here between 1999 and 2007; while the Abacha regime had a boisterous gang. PDP’s was a clandestine, sinister machine that ‘worked’ with an especial gruesomeness. The “nest” was not content to eliminate, it picked quarrelled with the cadaver and often went on to squash and pulverise it. Don’t remind us Baba. Every issue Baba brooked in his long, whimsical letter, he sowed the seed and perfected the act. He cries about honour, char-

STEVE OSUJI

Why are so-called leaders not mindful of history? Mandela suffered the indignity of prison life for 27 years because he chose to fight for the ideal of freedom and equal opportunities for all, even when he could have just cared for himself and his family. When he was released, the world, including those individuals and governments that collaborated with his tormentors, jubilated over the triumph of the cause for which he suffered. He had the world at his feet. He could dictate his terms. He chose, again, the consistency of his ideal, to promote harmony in a free and democratic society, rather than pursue revenge and retaliation. Mandela set up the True and Reconciliation Commission with the legendary Archbishop Tutu, a fellow freedom fighter and Nobel laureate as its chairman. Despite the doubts of the effectiveness of the commission, and the fear that injustice was being rewarded, the path of forgiveness chosen by Mandela meant that South Africa could face the future a united nation. It was this approach that earned the trust of Whites inside South Africa and further established the credentials of Mandela as a statesman. The subsequent honours that came the way of South Africa, including the hosting of the FIFA’s World Cup are directly related to this display of a large and forgiving spirit. Finally, Madiba chose the path of honour and dignity when he voluntarily withdrew from the presidency at the end of his first term. With this choice, he sent a clear message to the Big Man syndrome in African politics. He put a stamp of approval on the idea that because one led the struggle for the liberation of a people, one doesn’t thereby acquire a natural right to lead them for life. Mandela’s decision to remain behind the scene and provide useful advice and direction when needed is a welcome development on the continent. But it has been a hard act to follow by so many of our sit-tight politicians. Still the choice is consistent with the foundation principle which has guided him all along: fight against domination wherever it occurs. Obviously if you dedicate yourself to such a cause, you cannot also engage in domination in whatever guise. Principle matters; and consistency with principles is what is meant by integrity. We owe a debt of gratitude to President Nelson Mandela for showing us the possibilities of our common humanity. As the Hosts of Heaven celebrate the bountiful harvest of Mandela’s return, we earthlings celebrate his triumphant ascension. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above acter and keeping word: he was accused of promising to do just a term by his vice. He did not only jettison that, he tried to damage the constitution and organised a voodoo national conference in quest of a third term. He rigged elections at will and all the ones he conducted (2003 and 2007) were all a travesty in the annals of polling in Nigeria. He says “Corruption has reached the level of impunity” but the Jonathan administration must have learnt all the tricks from his political ‘father’. Does Haliburton ring a bell? What about Siemens and Transcorp and power contracts, to name a few out of hundreds of blatant malfeasance that defined the Obasanjo era. Impunity! What is impunity? Who disobeyed Supreme Court rulings at will? Who used state powers to stage impeachments galore across states, sometimes with a handful of legislators and sometimes from hotel rooms? Who deployed police in Anambra to lock up a governor in the toilet while the state Assembly held a mock session that impeached him? Every line of that ego-boosting letter is a farce; let’s just call it a PDP tale, told by idiots full of sound and fury and not just signifying nothing but denigrating Nigeria and her people. But we take solace in the fact that the PDP undertakers are finally singing their end-song.

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Dec 13, 2013