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Newspaper of the Year

‘I left N10b in pension account’ NEWS

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•Oronsaye defends his integrity

News Doctors’ strike cripples hospitals P5 Sports W/Cup: Eagles to train in U.S. P24 Business Budget oil benchmark is $77.5 P11

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper



VOL. 8, NO. 2702 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013



•Choristers singing at the Lagos State 2013 Christmas Carol with the theme: Christmas of Kindness, hosted by Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola and his wife Abimbola at the State House, PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES Marina, Lagos...on Tuesday

CBN, NNPC ‘reconciling $10.8b’

Guard missing as explosion hits Rivers judge’s office


•Nigeria seeks U.S. support to stop oil theft

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt


HE office and car park of Justice C. N. Wali in Ahoada, the headquarters of Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State, was hit by explosion yesterday. The guard on duty was missing. Wali, on Monday, at the Rivers State High Court, Ahoada, restrained Evans Bipi, who represents Ogu/Bolo constituency, from parading himself as the Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly. Continued on page 4


UST how much is the shortfall of the cash that should have been sent to the Federation Account? The question remains as knotty as it was since Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi broke the news of a

From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

missing $48.9billion. “We will continue our work, until we can come to terms of what is actually the shortfall and what is due to come to the Federation Account,” Finance Minister Dr.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said yesterday in Abuja at a news conference. With the minister were Sanusi, Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke and Nigerian National Pe-

APC now in majority as 37 Reps defect from PDP Court orders Senators, Reps to retain seats

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


MAJOR political tremor hit the House of Representatives yesterday, with 37 members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC). SEE The APC is now in the maIt has 171 members. The ALSO jority. PDP, hitherto in the majority PAGES with 208 members, is in the mi-


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171 167 8 5 4 1 2

Ondo and Yobe

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KANO •Nasir G. Sule •Ahmad A. Zarewa •Aliyu Sani Madaki •Bashir Babale •Alhassan Ado •Munir Dan’ Agundi •Aminu Suleiman •Abudulmumin Jibrin •Musa Ado •Musthapha Bala •Mukthari Mohammed SOKOTO •Kabiru Marafa Achida •Aminu Shagari

•Isa Salihipu Bashir •Abdulahi Mohammed •Wamako •Saadu Nabunkari •Aliyu Shehu •Shuaibu Gobir •Musa Sarkin-Adar •Abdullahi Balarabe •Umar Bature. RIVERS •Andrew Uchendu •Asita Honourable •Sokonte Davies •Dakuku Peterside •Mpigi Barinada

•Pronen Maurice •Dawari George •Ogbonna Nwuke. KWARA •Ali Ahmad •Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo •Aiyedun Akeem Olayinka •Mustafa Moshood •Aliyu Ahman- Pategi •Zakari Mohammed KATSINA •Nasiru Sani BAUCHI •Yakubu Dogara





•Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan (right) presenting the 2014 Budget proposal to the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochie at the House of Assembly in Asaba...yesterday.

•From left: National Sale Manager, Coscharis Motors, Justin Ngini, Prof. Johnson Agbede, Mr. Ayeni Akinlogu of the Dept of Animal Producation and Health, Federal University of Technology, Akure, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, Culture Communcation, Laura Oloyede and General Manager ,Briscoe Ford, Mr. Krishna Kulkarni, during Ford conservation and enviornment grants cheque presentaion in Lagos. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAM.

Troubled ti The defection yesterday of 37 members of the House of Representatives from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and other developments in the polity have made this season a troubled one for the president and his party, writes Bloomberg


•Chief Executive Officer, Oando Marketing, Mr. Abayomi Awobokun, serving the first customer at Oando’s fully upgraded Awolowo Road 1 retail outlet in Lagos . With him are Chief Operating Officer, Oando Marketing, Mrs. Olaposi Williams (second left)and Head of Sales Mr. Jonathan Sanyaolu (left).

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is facing the biggest test of his three years in office after the central bank questioned the lack of accounting for $50 billion in oil revenue and a former leader criticized him for failing to tackle corruption. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a stalwart of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, said in a letter to Jonathan this month that he has failed to tackle graft and security threats in Africa’s biggest oil producer. He also accused him of widening a split between the mainly Muslim north and largely Christian south in a bid to retain power. Obasanjo’s criticism came after Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi wrote Jonathan a letter alleging that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. is withholding more than three-quarters of oil revenue earned from January 2012 to July this year. The cumulative effect has been to dim Jonathan’s chances of winning Nigeria’s election scheduled for 2015. “If the vote was tomorrow, the PDP would lose, which would be unprecedented for a ruling party in Nigeria,” Manji Cheto, vice president at consultancy Teneo Intelligence in London, said in a Dec. 16 phone interview. “The prevailing narrative about the advantages of incumbency doesn’t seem to be working in Jonathan’s favour.”

Finance Minister

•From left: A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Funmi Tejuosho, author of Icons of Mushin, Mr Tunde Ogunmola and All Progressives Congress (APC) acting National Legal Adviser Dr Muiz Banire at the launch of Ogunmola’s book in Lagos.

Nigeria can account for the $49.8 billion alleged to be missing, Finance Minister Ngozi OkonjoIweala told reporters yesterday in Abuja, saying the number was a product of “misconceptions and misunderstandings.” A southern Christian who won elections in 2011, Jonathan, 56, hasn’t said if he will run in next vote. His administration is battling Islamist militants of the Boko

•Jonathan Haram group in the north, rampant oil theft, falling revenue from crude oil exports and piracy off Nigeria’s coast. All this has strengthened the opposition All Progressives Congress party. Five governors formerly with the ruling PDP defected last month to the APC, which has called for the president’s impeachment, a demand presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said was “reckless and irresponsible.” In the House of Representatives, 37 members elected under the PDP defected to the APC, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal said during yesterday’s session.

Voters Tired Were the election to be held immediately, “there is a strong likelihood the APC might win, not because they represent a better option, but because people are tired of this administration,” Idayat Hassan, director of Abuja-based Centre for Democracy and Development research group said in a phone interview. “With corruption they see nothing is being done, with security, they see nothing is happening.” Since May 1,224 civilians, troops and insurgents have been killed in fighting with Boko Haram, the United Nations said on Dec. 16. The charges in Sanusi’s letter underline concern about the opacity of Nigeria’s public finances, according to analysts including Samir Gadio, strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd.’s London unit. “The CBN expressed similar concerns about the marginal level of fiscal savings and the NNPC’s alleged failure to remit crude oil sale proceeds to the Federation Account,” he said in e-mailed comments. “Even though NNPC officials denied the accusation, the debate about possible systemic leakages in the oil sector is likely to gain momentum.”

Oil Revenue The Excess Crude Account, which the government uses to save oil revenue that comes in above the benchmark crude price set in the budget, stood at under $5 billion on Oct. 31, down from about $9 billion at the beginning of the year, the finance minister said that day. Minister of State for Finance Yerima Ngama was reported on Dec. 13 in ThisDay as saying the balance had fallen to $3.18 billion. The spot price of Nigeria’s benchmark Qua Iboe crude has exceeded $100 a barrel for most of the year, above the 2013 budget benchmark of $79. It dipped to $99.50 in April,




d times for Jonathan, PDP

•Obasanjo and was trading at $113.81 a barrel as of 2:06 p.m. in London yesterday. Foreign-exchange reserves, which the central bank has been selling to support the naira, are at $44.4 billion, according to central bank data, down from $48.4 billion in June. “The foreign-exchange reserves

‘January could become his last window of opportunity either to sack Tukur or, if the party decides that’s not good enough, Jonathan will have to go, because there’ll be no way he’ll win the nomination at the party primary, and if that happens then his political future is over’

•Tukur position in Nigeria is not as robust as one would expect it to be given they are generating more than $90 billion per year in oil revenue,” Angus Downie, head of economic research at Ecobank in London, said in a phone interview. “The allegation of the unaccounted $50 billion

highlights insufficient transparency in public finances.”

Sanusi’s Exit Sanusi, who was appointed by Jonathan’s predecessor and plans to step down from his post when his

term expires in June, has said the central bank is bracing for public spending “shocks” in the approach to the election. While Jonathan has not yet presented his 2014 budget, in an interim plan released on Sept. 18 he

proposed cutting spending by 10 percent to 4.5 trillion naira ($28.3 billion). Even if that number is passed by parliament, it may not be the final figure for government outlay. “One thing we’ve noticed in the fiscal account is that when the federal government comes up with an estimate for the budget deficit, we make allowances for deterioration, as there is a trend towards off-budget expenditure,” said Gaimin Nonyane, senior macroeconomics specialist at Ecobank. To try to reassert his authority and bolster his election chances, Jonathan may try to force PDP chairman Bamanga Tukur to resign. That could help ease the schism between his presidency and party members who say he should respect a convention to alternate the presidency between northern and southern politicians by vowing not to run in 2015, Cheto said. “January could become his last window of opportunity either to sack Tukur or, if the party decides that’s not good enough, Jonathan will have to go, because there’ll be no way he’ll win the nomination at the party primary, and if that happens then his political future is over,” she said.

Waiting for APC’s new senators NEWS ANALYSIS


T has never happened before. Since the country’s voyage into the democratic terrain in 1999, the president’s party has always been in charge of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Even in the first and second Republics, the opposition never had control of any arm of the National Assembly. But, yesterday that changed, making President Goodluck Jonathan a man of history, for the wrong reason- some may say. The defection of the 37 members •Saraki •Danjuma of the House of Representatives from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All By Olukorede Yishau Progressives Congress (APC) is the latest blow to Jonathan and the nors of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu PDP. This will make it extremely Kwankwaso, Aliyu Wammako, difficult for them to implement their (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako agenda in the legislature. (Adamawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), The PDP, which still controls the Muazu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Senate, has won every national elec- Abdul Fattah Ahmed (Kwara), and tion since the end of military rule. Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), for the Many senators, who are members bold, swift and courageous step to of the new PDP, are expected to an- reposition the People’s Democratic nounce their defection soon. When Party under a new leadership. they do, the PDP’s grip on the Sen“We congratulate the new chairate will be eroded, making things man, Alhaji Abdulahi Kawu Baraje, more difficult for the president and the Deputy Chairman, Dr Sam Sam the PDP. Jaja, National secretary, Prince When the party’s crisis broke out, Olagunsoye Oyinola and other 26 senators backed the Kawu Baraje members of the National Executive faction, which has now become part Committee for their emergence as of the APC. leaders of our great party. In a statement, they said:”By this “We therefore, pledge our unfetdecision that no doubt provides a tered loyalty to the Barage-led PDP soothing balm that will calm nerves National Executive.” in the party, you have written your The senators are the Senate Chief names in gold and will be remem- Whip, Senator Bello Hayatu bered in our political history as men Gwarzo, Kano North; Senator that stood to save the party and Mohammed Ali Ndume, Borno Nigeria’s democracy. South; Senator Ahmad Zannah, “We heartily rejoice with our pa- Borno Central; Senator Abdulahi triots and eminent Nigerians led by Adamu, Nasarawa West; Senator former Vice President Atiku Abdulahi Danladi Sankara, Jigawa Abubakar GCON, and the Gover- North-West; Senator Abdulaziz

•Lafiagi Usman, Jigawa Northeast; Senator Abdulmumini Mohammed Hassan,Jigawa Southwest; Senator Umaru Dahiru, Sokoto South; Senator Ahmed Mohammed Maccido, Sokoto North; Senator Muhammad Shaaba Lafiaji, Kwara North; Senator Simeon Sule Ajibola, Kwara South; Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Kwara Central; Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, Rivers SouthEast; Senator Wilson Asinobi Ake, Rivers West; Senator Danjuma Mohammed Goje, Gombe Central; Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali, Gombe North; Senator Ahmed Hassan Barata, Adamawa South; Senator Bindowo Umar Mohammed Bindiwo Jibrilla, Adamawa North; Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, Taraba North; Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir, Sokoto East; Senator Bashir Garba Mohammad, Kano Central; Senator Abdulaziz Usman, Jigawa North-East and Senator Isa Galaudu, Kebbi North. Shortly after the senators declared their loyalty to the Baraje faction, an angry PDP Chair Bamanga Tukur said the party would do everything within its powers to deal with anyone who attempted to undermine



the authority of the party. He added: “All persons elected on the platform of our great party at all levels who identify with these enemies of the oneness and greatness of our party shall have their seats declared vacant as required by law. “We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that such persons and indeed, any other individuals who attempt to subvert the leadership of the PDP shall reap in full, the consequences of such actions.” But, despite Tukur’s harsh words, senators expected to join the APC are are Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central), Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), Senator Magnus Abe (River Southeast),Senator Wilson Ake (Rivers West), Senator Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara North), Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) , Senator Aisha Alhassan (Taraba North), Ali Ndume (Borno South), Ahmed Zannah (Borno Central) and Umaru Dahiru (Sokoto South). Others are Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), Garba Mohammed (Kano Central), Isa Galaudu (Kebbi North) , Ahmed Alkali (Gombe North) and

•Ake Hassan Barata (Adamawa South). The blow dealt by the Reps on the PDP and Jonathan is coming when the heat generated by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo letter to the president is yet to die down. Obsanjo told Jonathan it would be “morally flawed” for him to seek reelection because of his failure to tackle the country’s myriad problems - including corruption, piracy, kidnapping and oil theft. Before the lawmakers’ defection, five governors broke away to join the APC. All the changing tide has been to the benefit of the APC, which was formed in February following the merger of four opposition parties to challenge the PDP in the 2015 election. All eyes are now on the senators, who will pitch their tenth with the opposition. The noose is surely tightening on the president. Jonathan moved from the vicepresidency to the presidency in 2010 after his predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua, died in office. He won the presidential election the following year. His road to a second term will surely be rough and tough.



NEWS •Atiku speaking ...yesterday. With him are Chief Akande (left), Gen. Buhari (right), behind them from left are James Akphanuodehe, Fani-Kayode, Modu-Sheriff, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Masari, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima and others

I’m considering APC’s invitation, says Atiku


LL Progressives Congress (APC) leaders yesterday met with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in his Abuja home. The APC leaders described the over one hour meeting as a continuation of the party’s consultations with past leaders and stakeholders across the nation. The meeting came on the heels of the defection of 37 members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives to the

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‘$10.8b being reconciled by CBN, NNPC’ troleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director Andrew Yakubu. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was speaking on the findings of a revenue reconciliation meeting convened among the CBN, NNPC, the Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders to clarify the discrepancy. Said the minister: “At the meeting, the NNPC noted that the actual proceeds from crude oil exports over the pe-


riod amounted to US$67.12 billion, and was thus about US$1.79 billion higher than the revenues reported by the CBN (possibly due to timing differences and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) listings, which were not included in the CBN report).” According to the NNPC records, the Finance Minister said, the total revenue of US$67.12 billion comprised revenues which directly accrued to NNPC (for the Fed-

eration Account) of US$14 billion; and additional revenues lifted by NNPC on behalf of other parties as follows: for FIRS (US$15 billion), for DPR (US$2billion), for NPDC (US$6 billion) and for other third party financing (US$2 billion). In addition, domestic crude lifted by the NNPC amounted to about US$28 billion. This domestic crude component, she said, was not reflected in the CBN’s foreign accounts, but rather paid di-

rectly in naira into the Federation Account. As such, “taking account of these various exports conducted on behalf of the nonNNPC parties, the total of US$67 billion was mostly accounted for. This substantially addresses the issues raised by the CBN” she said. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala added that “the Federation Account indicates that over the period January 2012 to July 2013, a shortfall of US$10.8 Continued on page 66

PDP losing grip of National Assembly

HE ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is losing grip of its members on a daily basis, no thanks to its protracted crisis. The confidence of the acclaimed largest party is shaking in the National Assembly, where 37 members of the House of Representatives defected to the All progressives Congress (APC) yesterday. Feelers from the Upper Chamber also suggest that a handful of senators may dump the party before the end of the year. The defection has revealed the weakness of the party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga

NEWS ANALYSIS By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor

Tukur, who has failed to restore order into the state of pandemonium in the party. The trend of defection has also confirmed that President Goodluck Jonathan is becoming increasingly unpopular, ahead of 2015. For the PDP, it is a manifestation of dwindling electoral prospects in the future. The PDP’s claim to a comfortable majority is collapsing. Between now and the next gen-

eral elections, parliamentary response to presidential actions may be dictated by the power play between the two dominant parties, the PDP and APC. Under this two party system, the role of the opposition will be better appreciated in democracy and the result will be good governance. Henceforth, the President will have to moderate his utterances in utter sensitivity to the presence of a vibrant legislature ready to pursue vigorously the national interest. The defection has altered the previous political calculus. Now, in the House of Repre-

sentatives, the APC and the PDP seem to have the same weight, although it is believed that representatives on the platforms of the Labour Party (LP)and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) may gravitate towards the ruling party. The four representatives from the Accord Party may be aloof. Gradually, the country is mirroring the parliamentary outlook of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC) era. Judging by the circumstances of the defection, what is also emerging Continued on page 66

The dynamites were thrown into the premises of the high court, Ahoada at 3 am yesterday, according to a source. The popular Rumuwoji Mile One Market in Port Harcourt, the state capital, was on fire on Tuesday. There were also reports of an explosion around the Government House at 3 am. Dynamites reportedly thrown from a moving vehicle hit two spots, causing damage to property. The presiding judge is safe in an undisclosed location in Port Harcourt. He was said to

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have been in shock over the development. A top Rivers government official, who would not want to be named, described the explosions and use of dynamites to destroy property as “barbaric and senseless”. Police spokesman Ahmad Mohammad could not be reached for comments. Wali also ordered that the status quo ante bellum prior to the July 9 fracas on the floor of the Rivers House of Assembly be maintained. He ordered that Bipi must stop calling himself, acContinued on page 66

Oronsaye: I left N10b pension fund intact

FORMER Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, has said he did not tamper with N6.5billion pensions fund, contrary to the allegation against him before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He said N10billion pension funds were intact when he left office at the expiration of his tenure in October, 2010. He also said a permanent

APC now in majority as 37 Reps defect from PDP nority, with 167 members. A letter by the intending defectors was first read by the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, to the members in the Chamber. The December 18 letter is titled: “Communication of Change of Political Party”, addressed to the Speaker. “We, the undersigned members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), wish to inform you that we have joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). “This action is as a result of the division/faction in the political party that sponsored our election into the House of Representatives. (see House Resolution No: HR/36/2013, vide votes and proceedings of Tuesday, 17 September, 2013 as attached). “Furthermore, we write to inform you that following this division, the faction of the PDP, which we belong to, has formally merged with the All Progressives Congress, APC. “This communication is made pursuant to Section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, for your information, guidance and records,

APC. Atiku told reporters shortly after the meeting, that the discussions were very fruitful, stressing that he had always believed in the two party system. He said he welcomed the formation of the APC, adding that he would meet with his friends and political associates with the view to taking a decision on the next line of action.

Guard missing as explosion hits Rivers judge’s office


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From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

secretary oversaw all contracts relating to biometrics for pensioners in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHSCF) as the Accounting Officer. In Oronsaye’s view, he is being haunted by some forces because he supported a separate agency for Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) since 2004. He said some people had Continued on page 66

22 Senators, 57 Reps get court order to retain seats

FEDERAL High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday granted the prayer of 22 Senators and 57 House of Representatives members seeking leave of the court to restrain Senate President David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, from declaring their seats vacant. The lawmakers were members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who have now defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP had gone to court to seek an please. In all, 11 members from Kano, Sokoto (10), Rivers (eight), Kwara (six) and one each from Katsina and Bauchi defected to the APC. From Kano State are: Nasir G. Sule, Ahmad A. Zarewa, Aliyu Sani Madaki, Bashir Babale, Alhassan Ado, Munir Dan’ Agundi, Aminu Suleiman, Abudulmumin Jibrin, Musa Ado, Musthapha Bala and Mukthari Mohammed. Those from Sokoto State are: Kabiru Marafa Achida, Aminu Shagari, Isa Salihipu Bashir, Abdulahi Mohammed Wamako, Saadu Nabunkari, Aliyu Shehu, Shuaibu Gobir, Musa Sarkin-Adar , Abdullahi Balarabe and Umar Bature. From Rivers State are: An-

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja order to declare the seats of the lawmakers vacant. The defendants in the suit are National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Justice A.R. Mohammed, after hearing from counsel to the Plaintiffs, di-

drew Uchendu, Asita Honourable, Sokonte Davies, Dakuku Peterside, Mpigi Barinada, Pronen Maurice, Dawari George and Ogbonna Nwuke. Kwara State has on its list: Ali Ahmad, Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo, Aiyedun Akeem Olayinka, Mustafa Moshood, Aliyu Ahman- Pategi and Zakari Mohammed. Two other members, Nasiru Sani from Katsina State and Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi, were also on the list. They all wrote their names in their handwriting and signed with the proviso at the top of the pages that states: “ We the undersigned hereby certify that we have perfected all arrangements to move

rected that the 2nd and 3rd defendants (Mark and Tambuwal) should be asked to maintain status quo on any proposed deliberation to declare the seats of the affected and interested Plaintiffs vacant pending the hearing and determination of the Plaintiffs’ motion for interlocutory injunction. He adjourned the suit to January 22 for hearing of the Plaintiffs’ motion dated 28th November, 2013 for interlocutory injunction. He directed that hearing notices should be issued to the 2nd and 3rd defendants.

from PDP to APC, today 28 November, 2013”, showing that the defection had been planned for an earlier date. The announcement of the defection was greeted with a roar by members in applause from the APC members and protestation from the PDP members. The names of the defecting members were read out by the Speaker. Thereafter, all the members involved filed out amidst the ovation. Led by the leader of the opposition, Femi Gbajabiamila, they went to shake hands with the Speaker. There were shouts of “APC! APC! APC!”. PDP members on the floor also countered with shouts of “ PDP! PDP!

PDP!” as they tried to outshine their APC counterparts. Old APC members in the House then went round the chamber, shaking hands with the new members and chatting with them in groups. The defection by the 37 members puts an end to the speculations on their political future. It was a culmination of weeks of meetings and speculations. Efforts by a member, Kingsley Chinda (Rivers PDP), to get the Speaker to reverse the defection was not accepted. Chinda said it was sub-judice for the House to accept the defection of the members to APC as a case on the matter filed by the members themselves “is still alive and pend-


ing”. He urged the speaker to ensure “that they defect at the proper time”. “I have listened to your point and have taken note,” the Speaker rejected. That ended the matter. Earlier, the House said it had accepted the$ 77.5 per barrel benchmark. Tambuwal, who announced the deciContinued on page 66

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





OCTORS yesterday began a five-day warning strike to press for their demands, which include correction of alleged anomaly in the payroll and personnel information system. The doctors, under the aegis of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), stayed away from virtually all government-owned hospitals in the nation. There was unusual quiet at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba; Federal NeuroPsychiatric Hospital, Yaba; Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta and National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi. Most patients left frustrated as they were not attended to. It was particularly difficult for patients needing emergency treatment, as they were advised to seek alternative treatment in private clinics/facilities. At the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), some patients appealed to the doctors to resolve their grievances with the government, instead of embarking on strike. They said the striking doctors should consider the health conditions of the people. The Chairman of NMA in Lagos State, Dr Francis Faduyile, said all Federal Government-owned hospitals in Lagos complied with the directive. He said: “The strike was effective because all doctors complied with the directive.” A senior resident doctor at LUTH, Dr Peter Ogunnubi, said full compliance with the strike was being enforced. He said: “As a result of the poor state of the nation’s health facilities, many of our doctors have been forced to leave the country and work where the condition of service is better. “The budgetary allocation of five per cent to the sector also falls short of the World Health Organisation’s standard that stipulated at least 15 per cent. “The Federal Government has allowed certain policies in the running of health care system, which if not checked, will lead to total collapse and paralysis of the system.” Ogunnubi added: “We are not leaving the patients in the lurch, but we are fighting for their good.” Also, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, the president, Association of Resident

Doctors’ strike paralyses hospitals nationwide

•People watching television at the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital ... yesterday. By Wale Adepoju, Osagie Otabor, Benin, Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan, Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja and Jide Orintunsin, Minna

Doctors in LASUTH, noted that there was full compliance with the NMA’s directive . Dr Olugbenga Owoeye, a consultant psychiatrist at the Federal NeuroPsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, said consultants and resident doctors withdrew their services at the hospital. At the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin in Edo State, emergency cases were rejected but some patients were still at the ward when our reporter visited. Some out-patients said they were not aware of the strike. They waited several hours and later left. At the Central Hospital, patients were not also attended to. Some were discharged yesterday. President of the UBTH chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Goodluck Imodu said only in-patients with critical cases were looked at. He said the strike was total. “The strike is total. We don’t want to suffer the people during the Yule-

tide. We cannot leave the in-patients who are critical; we look at them once in a while. “We don’t attend to emergency cases. We allow private hospitals to operate for people not to suffer.” At the University College Hospital, Ibadan, and State Hospital, Adeoyo, also in Ibadan as well as Oni and Sons, doctors were not attending to patients. But at the hospitals, senior medical officers were around to attend to emergencies. The development led to some inpatients being transferred to private hospitals for proper medical attention. Addressing reporters in Ibadan yesterday, NMA Chairman in Oyo State, Prof Adefolarin Malomo, said the chapter complied with the national directive. The chairman said the need for the strike was to advocate for the patients and good health care delivery in the country. In the nation’s capital, doctors at the National Hospital, Abuja, refused to attend to patients. In one of the hospitals visited, doc-

tors were seen attending to patients, though they acknowledged that the strike was on. A doctor, who pleaded for anonymity, said: “Yes, the strike by our umbrella body has started, but we here are working. “We are tired of these frequent strikes. As I am talking to you now, many patients will die today due to lack of attention. “We have been trained to save lives. Their blood will be on our heads, if we fail to save them because of our disagreement with the government. “I suggest that the NMA executives continue negotiating with the government while we continue to render our services. “They should not compare our work with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). “ASUU can put modalities in place to cover its scheme of work, but in our case, once a life is lost, we cannot bring it back. I totally disagree with these frequent strikes by doctors. “Many of my colleagues are not in support of these endless strikes, but because of fear of being tagged ‘rebels’

Shekarau assures APC of support


ORMER Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau yesterday assured the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of the support of his followers. Speaking during the presentation of a letter, titled: “The Way forward in Building a Formidable APC in Kano State,” at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, Shekarau, who led the delegation, promised that “Kano will be the last state to do anything to mar the progress of APC.” He, however, noted that it was with the consent, support, and cooperation of the people that the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) negotiated for the merger and registration of the APC. Shekarau added: “It is in the spirit of taking our people along, it is the spirit of presenting the views and aspirations of the Kano people that we felt we should meet with the leadership of APC. We have brought to you the feelings and concern of the Kano people as far as APC is concerned.” Presenting the letter, the former ANPP state Chairman Sani Hotoro said: “In Kano State, where the defunct ANPP was firmly entrenched, officials of the state are saying that the APC has been handed over to Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and that members of the defunct ANPP should serve under his leadership.” But the party’s National Chair-

•Party raises seven-man committee From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

man, Chief Bisi Akande, said APC on Tuesday raised a seven-man committee to address the harmonisation of Kano APC. He promised to present the letter to the leadership of the party and the committee. Akande said: “The working of all these sequences of events is going to be in the hands of the committee. “It is like starting a case at the Supreme Court level. So because of that I will not give a reply here because I don’t want the judgment to

start from the top. “But I am going to deliver this letter to the party and the party will hand over the letter to the committee. And the committee will soon begin to work among you. And before we take any step at all, we will meet again to resolve outstanding issues. “We are going to run the party transparently. I won’t say much about the registration or the harmonisation or whatever, because a lot was said at the meeting on Tuesday. We will run the party transparently.”

Judges to begin vacation


EDERAL and State High Court judges will proceed on Christmas and New Year vacation, from Tuesday. But while judges in Lagos will resume January 3, their counterparts at the federal high courts will resume January 6. The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, approved the holidays for the state judges pursuant to powers conferred on her pursuant to Order 45 Rule 4 (c) of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2012. A statement signed on her behalf by the Chief Registrar of the State High

By Adebisi Onanuga and Joseph Jibueze

Court, Mrs. Oladimeji Akinkugbe, said arrangements had been made for those to deal with urgent matters during the vacation. The statement, said “each judge will deal with all urgent applications related to any substantive cause assigned to him or her. “Any urgent application, the substantive cause of which has not been assigned will be dealt with by the judge to whom the application is specifically assigned”, it said.

by the NMA, they just sit at home. “If you check very well some doctors today will join some of our colleagues in the private sector to assist them. As I am talking to you, I am weeping inside.” There were medical activities at the General Hospital, Minna, yesterday but doctors at the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, withdrew their services. Doctors at the Minna Hospital were seen attending to patients. Some of the doctors claimed that NMA officers were yet to communicate the directive to them. Though none of them was ready to talk to our correspondent, a dentist said: "Doctors are still working, despite the directive from the national body." At the Federal Medical Centre, it was gathered that patients were discharged on Tuesday. The state Secretary of NMA, Dr. Mohammed Makanta, admitted that activities at the General Hospital, Minna, which he described as "partial", was to enable doctors discharge their patients.

22 killed in auto crash From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


WENTY two persons were burnt to death yesterday in Takai inTakai Local Government Area of Kano State. An eyewitness said the incident occurred at 12:30 pm. He said nine injured victims had been hospitalised in Takai General Hospital. He said the vehicle was carrying 34 persons and some bags of foodstuff. It was gathered that the vehicle was coming from Magami village in Sulaima Local Government Area. Its shaft was said to have pulled out resulting in the vehicle somersaulting before it burst into flames. “About 17 of the victims were women and children, while 17 were men. The driver and a passenger escaped unhurt. The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Garba Ibrahim, confirmed the incident. He said nine injured persons were taken to Takai General Hospital. Ibrahim said the bodies were given a mass burial on the scene of the accident by the community.

Stakeholders advocate partnership


TAKEHOLDERS have advocated a strategic and coordinated approach to fight corruption in Nigeria. It was at an event to commemorate the Annual International Anti-Corruption Day. The event took place in Abuja with representatives of over 20 government agencies involved in combating corruption in attendance. Chair of the Inter-Agency Task Team on Anti-Corruption (IATT) Ledum Mitee said Nigeria needs to do more than passing laws to fight corruption. He highlighted six things Nigeria must do to ensure success of the anticorruption campaign. Mariam Sissoko, country representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said UNODC was supporting 12 national institutions in the fight against corruption in Nigeria through the ongoing European Union (EU)-funded “Support to Anti-Corruption in Nigeria” project. “We are ready to support the efforts of IATT in coordinating the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy once it is approved by the Federal Executive Council,” she said. Alan Munday, representative of the EU, highlighted the efforts of the EU in the fight against corruption in Nigeria since 2005.



NEWS ‘Bamidele not LP’s candidate’

Jonathan: Confab’ll begin early 2014

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


•Conference ‘to stop open letters’


HE proposed National Conference will begin early next year, President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday. He promised that it would be conducted transparently and Nigerians will determine its outcome. Jonathan spoke yesterday while receiving the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, headed by Dr. Femi Okurounmu. The president, on Oct. 7, inaugurated the 13-member committee with a sixweek time frame. He said: “I have directed the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to make adequate financial provisions, so that the conference will take off immediately we enter next year. “The committee has presented a document with volumes that are quite frightening. For us to move fast, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) will call on some of you from time to time to help us understand this and set up the team that will carry out the assignment. “We request that whenever we beckon on you for assistance, you oblige us. I

Ex-police boss Tsav petitions Rights Commission From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

THE National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said yesterday that it has received a petition from former Lagos State Police Commissioner Abubakar Tsav alleging gross human rights abuses, including extra-judicial killings, in Gboko, Benue State. NHRC’s Chief Public Affairs Officer Fatimah Agwai Mohammed said, in a statement, that Tsav, in the 11-page petition, accused the police and some highly placed politicians of murder and connivance with known criminals. Tsav was said to have expressed concern about the alleged plan to carry out mass burial of bodies at the mortuary of the Gboko General Hospital without the public knowing the cause of the deaths and reporting same to the coroner for possible inquest. Mrs. Mohammed said: “The retired Police Commissioner ,who said his concern is adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and the sanctity of human life, a corruption-free society and the fear of God, has called on the NHRC to take appropriate action on the petition in line with its constitutional responsibilities and requirement.” The NHRC’s spokesperson said the agency’s Executive Secretary, Professor Bem

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

thank you for a job well done and appreciate all Nigerians for the co-operation given to the committee. In fact, the level of consultation went beyond my expectation. “I am delighted that the committee consulted widely in compiling its reports and recommendations, reaching out to various socio-political and economic interest groups. “I was told that majority of Nigerians, who participated in the interactive sessions you conducted in 13 major cities across the country, agreed with our commitment to an indissoluble, united and stronger Nigeria. I understand, however, that one person demanded an outright dissolution of our federalist structure.” The president assured the committee that the government would partner all stakeholders to convene the confab. He said the outcome of the dialogue would end criticisms of his administration by some political gladiators. Denying the allegation that he has a personal agenda to achieve through the conference, he said every

• President Jonathan (left) receiving the report from Okurounmu...yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

Nigerian, whether as an individual or as a group, has an important role to play to ensure its success. He said the outcome of the conference would help to build a stronger, united, more democratic and stable Nigeria. Jonathan said: “The world is watching us and whatever we do will be transparent. I have no personal interest in this conference. I will allow the will of Nigerians to prevail. I believe that by the time we conclude this conference, there will be fewer open letters for Nigerians to read.” Okurounmu denied the

existence of a minority report, stressing that the presence of all members of the committee at the report presentation testifies to that. He said: “Nigerians are waiting for the conference to begin. Mr. President, you have in the committee’s report the essential ingredients for a successful national conference. We have no doubt that you will be endearing yourself to Nigerians by starting the processes necessary to start the conference in the shortest possible time. “By so doing, you would be carving a niche for your-

self in the political topography of our nation and setting your foot upon the throttle of national greatness as the architect of the happily united egalitarian Nigeria. I say emphatically that we have no minority report.” Okurounmu declined to give insight on the modalities for the conference, saying: “That is for the president to release when he feels like. Protocol demands that. It was the Presidency that commissioned us to do this work and we have submitted our report. What he does with the report is left to him.”

Gunmen kill varsity lecturer in Ogun


SENIOR lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye in Ogun State, Dr. Segun Onabanjo, was killed yesterday by suspected robbers. His assailants broke into his Odomolasa home in Ilese-Ijebu around 1am. Sources said the hoodlums stole the late Onabanjo’s belongings and shot him. Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi said policemen responded to a distress call in the area and en-


•Robbers slay council official in Ibadan From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta and Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

gaged the gunmen in a shootout, injuring some of them. Adejobi said: “The incident was unfortunate. The police are seriously investigating this case and the suspects would be brought to justice. We are already working on some leads. We combed the area and found blood stains at the back of the lecturer’s house. We

traced the blood and hopefully, it will help in this case.” Also yesterday, armed robbers struck in Sabo, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, killing the Director of Works, Akinyele Local Government, Mr. Kola Popoola. It was learnt that the hoodlums traced the late Popoola from a bank in Dugbe and shot him while he was driving. Sources said the deceased

continued driving his Infinity Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), but had an accident less than 200km from where he was shot. Police spokesperson Bisi Ilobanofor said Popoola died at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. She said: “The late Popoola, who was driving his Infinity SUV, marked KSF 893 BC, was shot while coming from a bank. He managed to drive himself to the spot where he had an accident. He was rushed to UCH where he died.”

HE Labour Party (LP) in Ekiti State has said Mr. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central Federal Constituency I) is not its standard bearer in next year’s governorship election. In a statement by the party’s Chairman in Ado Local Government, Obafemi Adedayo Anthony, members berated a factional group for spreading “false information to confuse the people”. The statement reads: “The LP existed in Ekiti before Bamidele joined the party and he must accept the structure he met on ground. The LP has remained active in the state and it is wrong to think that Bamidele revived the party when he joined it. “The factional group has hired some goons to paint the town red with falsehood, claiming that LP became extinct with the exit of former Governor Ayo Fayose. This bunch of unserious-minded liars has employed different tricks in their attempt to hijack the party machinery from us, calling such shameful acts politics, but we are not deterred. Rather, we are strengthened in the resolve not to succumb to their blackmail and cheap propaganda. “Bamidele and his cronies, who claimed that he dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of injustice, are now turning round to perpetrate the same injustice in the LP. Nobody can come through the back door overnight and rubbish us. We have been in the LP since 2006 and have remained there.”

Jonathan swears in four perm secs


EFORE the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting started yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan swore in four permanent secretaries and one member of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC). The permanent secretaries are Mohammed Abbas (Kaduna); Mohammed Bukar (Yobe); Saheed Kayode (Lagos) and Abubakar Gusau (Zamfara). The FCSC member is Sirajo Mohammed (Kano).

‘Why PDP wants to stop defectors’

CHIEFTAIN of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State, Senator Suleiman Nazif, has explained why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is “battling” to stop its members from defecting to APC. He said PDP is on the verge of becoming a minority party. Nazif said: “Every Nigerian knows that the PDP is crumbling. It is sinking and is already on its knees. This is the reason it has resorted to all sorts of strategy to stop people from cross-carpeting.” The former governorship candidate told The Nation that almost all principal PDP members have lost their states to the APC. He said: “Today, all principal PDP office-holders

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

have lost grasp in their states. The national chairman is from Adamawa and the state is owned by the APC. “The Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus (Rivers); the Secretary to the Board of Trustees, Senator Waheed Jubril (Nasarawa); the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo (Osun); the Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metu (Anambra); the Women Leader, Kema Chikwe (Imo), the president’s Political Adviser, Ahmed Gulak (Adamawa); the president’s Chief of Staff, Mike Oghiadome (Edo); and many others are from states where the APC holds sway.” Nazif said the PDP’s battle to declare the seats of defect-

‘We have seen so many people move to various parties, so what is new about this one?’ ing members vacant would fail because Nigeria’s political history is replete with so many precedents of such cross-carpeting. Describing the threat as empty, he said previous defectors never lost their seats, so it will not begin now. Nazif said: “We have seen so many people move to various parties, so what is new

about this one?” He said Nigeria needs radical solutions to its problems, adding that the solutions lie with the “extraordinary progressive leaders, who have made sacrifices to merge into the APC”. The APC chieftain said: “It is easy to see why they are desperate. By the time 2015 rolls over, there will be no one left in the PDP. This is an opportunity for us to advocate for a radical change; a radical solution to the extraordinary problems we are facing. “In Lagos State, for example, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu believed that there was need for a radical change, so he opted for someone who could do it – Governor Babatunde Fashola. See where Lagos is to-

day. Today, thousands of Nigerians want to be like Fashola. “In Kano, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso has also instituted some radical changes in governance. His Kwankwasiyya group has brought about effective governance, infrastructural development and management of agricultural potentials. “Look at Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi. He is a radical governor, who came to office through radical means and has been proffering radical solutions to the state’s problems. He is a man of the people and is committed to making Nigeria better. That is why he has stood his ground so many times in the interest of the country.”




Ajimobi inaugurates Asejire Water Scheme •Plants to supply 150m litres daily O YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has inaugurated the Asejire Water Scheme. The scheme, which has a production capacity of 186,000 cubic metres of water daily, is the largest water production scheme in the state. It supplies water to 85 per cent of Ibadan residents as well as Ikire, Ikoyi and Apomu in Osun State. About N262 million was spent on the rehabilitation of the plants. Ajimobi said with the inauguration of the scheme, unsteady water supply would become a thing of the past. He said: “When I assumed office, the water situation in the state was deplorable. The water treatment plants had reduced in production performance to about 80 per cent, due to unimaginable neglect by past administrations and the managerial deficiencies of erstwhile operators. “Indeed, the last time the

plants witnessed installation and construction was 17 years ago, as they were constructed and installed in 1972, 1991 and 1996 respectively. Apart from the old age of the equipment, other factors that led to the decline of water production at the scheme include lack of spare parts for maintenance and persistent interruption in power supply.” The governor said on realising that the performance of the Water Corporation in the last 10 years was less than 1 per cent, the government awarded contracts for the construction of the Ayete Water Supply Scheme to supply water to Tapa, Idere and Ayete Communities; a dedicated power line to the Saki Water Scheme; rehabilitation of the dedicated power line to the Ogbomoso Water Scheme; extension of pipelines to new areas in the state; upgrade of water treatment

plants at Koso and Atori Waterworks in Iseyin; comprehensive replacement and repair of electro-mechanical components at all water schemes and booster stations in the state; upgrade and rehabilitation of the Oyo and Igboho Water Schemes; expansion of the Igbetti and Ogbomoso Water Schemes; rehabilitation of the Ilero Water Scheme and the laying of New Rising Mains from Eruwa to Igboora (Phase I & II). Ajimobi promised to build mini-water schemes in Okeho, Ago-Are, Oje-Owode/ Tede, Sepeteri, Ogbooro, Otu, Iwa, Iganna/Iwere-Ile/Ayetu Igangan, Fiditi, Oluyole and Akufo. He said the government made water supply a priority in the 2014 budget and recently signed a loan agreement with the African Development Bank (ADB) for the fi-

Robbery scare in Oyo: Customer faints as banks remain shut



nancing of the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project in Ibadan. The General Manager of the State Water Corporation, Mr. Gabriel Oguntola, said the project was awarded six months ago. He said eight of the 10 pumps were rehabilitated with 100 per cent efficiency and all critical water treatment units are now functioning well. Oguntola said the rehabilitation will increase water supply from 10 to 80 per cent. The contractor that handled the project, Mr. Stephanus Steiviou, said the plant can supply about 150 million litres of water to about four million residents of Ibadan and its environs daily.

‘Ekiti’ll be an industrial haven’


HE Ekiti State government is committed to attracting foreign investments to the state, the Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, said yesterday. Mrs. Adelabu said the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration was working hard to turn the state into an industrial haven. She spoke at Oriental Hotel on Victoria Island, Lagos, at a farewell reception held in honour of the Consul-General of the Peoples Republic of China, Dr. Liu Xianfa. The reception was attended by top government officials, diplomats and captains of industry. Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola was represented by Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji. Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun was represented by the Secretary to the State Government


From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

tion. Mobile policemen and an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) were stationed at a petrol station near a bank at Owode on Tuesday. A combined team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and regular policemen from the four divisional police commands in the metropolis patrolled the banks. Efforts to contact the branch managers of the banks failed, as they were said to be holding a crucial meeting. A bank official, who did not want to be named, said they got information that robbers were planning to attack banks in the town.

Court restrains Oyo govt from trespassing on property From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


N Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, has ordered the state government to stay away from a property belonging to an accounting firm, Oke Abayomi & Co., pending the determination of a suit on the land. The property is situated at the Ring Road GRA in Ibadan, the state capital. Justice B. A. Taiwo of Court 12 gave the order yesterday as applied for by counsel to the firm, Niyi Ogunjimi. Ogunjimi told the court that despite filing a suit to challenge the alleged illegal revocation of the property’s Certificate of Occupancy (Cof O), the government went ahead to demolish it without waiting for the court to determine the merit of the case. The case was adjourned till January 22.

Shell renovates Old Peoples Home


•Prof. Adelabu (right) presenting a plaque to Xianfa...yesterday.

(SSG), Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa. Also present were the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Philips Oduaoza; MD/CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Bola Adesola; CEO, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mrs. Sola David-Boha; Acting Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography Dr. Olusegun Oyewo and other members of the

institute’s management. Some of the guests, in their farewell messages, said Xianfa improved the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and China during his two years in the country as Consul-General. Prof. Adelabu presented a plaque to Xianfa on behalf of the Ekiti State government. She said the Fayemi administration is not only trying to attract investments locally and internationally,

but embarking on infrastructural upgrade and tourism development. Mrs. Adelabu said her presence at the reception was to market the industrial potentials of Ekiti State to the international community. Xianfa said Ekiti would soon receive the investment attention of the Chinese government. He thanked the organisers of the reception and said his time in Nigeria will remain evergreen in his memory.

Court dismisses suspended Ondo lawmaker’s suit

N Akure High Court yesterday struck out the suit filed by the suspended member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Fola Olaseinde, challenging her indefinite suspension by the House. Mrs. Olaseinde, who represents Ose Constituency, was suspended on June 18 for allegedly leaving fetish objects in her former apartment. The House raised a fiveman panel, headed by Mr. Olotu Fatai, to probe the matter and submit its report within two weeks. But till date, the commit-

OR the second day running, commercial banks in Oyo Town have remained shut. The development, which began on Tuesday, caught many customers unawares. They got to their banks and were denied entry by security guards. At Owode, a woman fainted when she realised that her bank was shut. She was revived by other customers. There was no information from bank officials to angry customers on why the banks were shut or when they would be opened. Customers waited helplessly at the gates of banks in Owode, Ashogo, Durbar, Bode-Ogbomoso and Awe yesterday. They lamented that they needed to withdraw money for the Christmas celebra-

•’I’ll appeal ruling’ From Damisi Ojo, Akure

tee has not submitted its report to the House. This prompted the suspended lawmaker to seek redress in court. The State Chief Judge (CJ), Justice Olaseinde Kumuyi, based his verdict on five grounds. He said Mrs. Olaseinde failed to substantially prove that she was not given fair hearing. Justice Kumuyi said the House has the right to discipline any member that put

its integrity to disrepute. He said Mrs. Olaseinde’s “offence” was not personal because she is a public officer. Justice Kumuyi said it is a crime, as stipulated by law, for anybody to be in possession of fetish object(s), even if it is meant for personal protection. He said the embattled lawmaker representing Ose Constituency should have waited for the outcome of the Assembly’s investigative panel before approaching the court. Justice Kumuyi said the plaintiff could not prove her

case beyond reasonable doubt and struck out the case. Mrs. Olaseinde and her counsel, Adetunji Osho, said they would appeal the ruling. They said: “We have started with the lower court and will pursue the case to a logical conclusion. We still believe in the sanctity of the Judiciary and we are convinced we will get justice at the higher court.” Olaseinde lamented that she had been waiting for the committee’s report for a long time and is being deprived of her benefits at the Assembly.

HELL Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has renovated the Old Peoples Home in Yaba, Lagos Mainland. The company executed the project alongside its partners under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Joint Venture scheme. Its managing Director, Chike Onyejekwe, said efforts are ongoing to provide an alternative source of electricity for the home. Onyejekwe said the company has built 28 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centres in various secondary schools across the country.


He said: “The company is pleased to identify with children with special needs and senior citizens as part of its social investments portfolio, which cuts across health, education and social services.’’ Onyejekwe said the company is working with the Health- Straightening System (HSS) in hospitals at Anambra, Ogun and Niger states to improve service delivery, manpower, financial management and infrastructure. A Director of Social Welfare in the Lagos State Department of Youth and Social Development, Mr. Musbau Abdullahi, urged corporate organisations to emulate the gesture.

Lagos PDP holds meeting

HE Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Assembly holds today at the secretariat in Ikeja GRA. The Publicity Secretary, Mr. Taofik Gani, said party leaders and delegates are expected from the pre-existing 20 local government areas. The Chairman, Capt. Tunji Steve (rtd.), will preside over the meeting.

Governor hails The Sun MD/EIC YO State Governor Adesina Abiola Ajimobi has


congratulated the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Femi Adesina, on his elevation to the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun. In a statement yesterday, the governor congratulated other workers of The Sun, who were recently promoted to senior management positions.

He said their promotions are well-deserved and an acknowledgment of their contributions to journalism and the growth of the establishment. Ajimobi described Adesina as a thorough-bred journalist, columnist and prolific writer, whose professional competence and administrative acumen have rubbed off on The Sun.



N NEWS EWS Family of five killed in Jos From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos


UNMEN struck again in Heipang, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, killing a family of five in a pre-dawn attack. The family was asleep when the gunmen struck at 12.30 am last Tuesday. Residents said the gunmen, who also came with machetes, shot sporadically to scare residents. A member of the village, Abel Abok, said: “We awoke to hear gunshots, but we were afraid to come out because the shots were sporadic. We heard the family shouting and calling for help but we were afraid to come out. “When we came out after the gunmen left, we discovered they had killed everyone.” The Sole Administrator of Barkin Ladi Local Government, Habila Dung, confirmed the attack and the number of casualties. The Special Task Force (STF) on Jos Crises could not confirm the attack, as the spokesman was not available.

Bauchi budgets N133.730 b for next year By Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi •Some of the 37 members of the Adamawa State Executive Council declaring for the All Progressives Congress (APC) at a ceremony in the Government House, Yola...yesterday.

Kwara lawmaker suspended


WARA State House of Assembly yesterday suspended a lawmaker, Iliasu Ibrahim, for falsely accusing a colleague of intimidation. Ibrahim, who represents Malete-Ipaiye-Oloru, was said to have alleged that Yusuf Tanke (IIorin South), planned to send thugs to him. The Speaker, Rasaq Atunwa, announced the suspension after the House adopted the report of its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Judiciary on the petition from Tanke. The lawmakers agreed with the three-month suspension without pay. The House also directed the suspended member to write a letter of apology to Tanke seven days to the expiration of the suspension or be referred to the Committee on Judiciary for further action. The House suspended Ib-

•Constituents threaten to recall him From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

rahim for three months in May last year for alleging fraud against Atunwa. Ibrahim condemned the suspension, saying the allegation was false and described the House’s action as a response to his refusal to join the All Progressives Congress (APC). Ibrahim boasted that he had the support of 98 per cent of the electorate from his constituency. “No intimidation from any quarter can make me change my decision to be a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member because I have benefited from PDP and I will not bite the fingers that fed me,” he said. Members of his constituency have threatened to recall him for his comment on

Senator Bukola Saraki. Ibrahim described the defection of the former governor to the APC as “good riddance to bad rubbish.” A statement by 24 members from the wards said: “We will like to dissociate ourselves from the statements made by the lawmaker. “With his unguarded actions and statements, he has shown his disdain for those who worked for his electoral victory because he never consulted us before taking his actions. “We, the representatives of Ipaiye/Malete/Oloru constituency of Moro Local Government Area, state that we are committed to the ideals of Senator Bukola Saraki. “Saraki’s doggedness and sincerity in the pursuit of good governance have

shown him as a progressive leader. “We salute the courage displayed by our leader, for his action to move from the PDP to APC, as a result of lack of internal democracy and perfidy taking place in PDP. “This action has become a landmark in his political career. “It further confirms him as one of the leading lights among Nigerian politicians. “We wish to reiterate our support for his actions on events unfolding in Nigeria. ‘’Also, we salute the courage and sagacity of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed for demonstrating absolute loyalty to our leader. “We call on our elders, leaders and the people of the state to give the two of them their support.”

‘INEC can’t disenfranchise states’


HE Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against disenfranchising the people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in 2015. The warning followed a declaration by INEC Chairman Prof Attahiru Jega that election would not hold in the three states, if the state of emergency imposed on them by the Federal Government is still in force. In a statement yesterday by the PDM Chairman, Mallam Bashir Ibrahim, the party said INEC should not hide

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

under the state of emergency to disenfranchise the people. Ibrahim said: “Jega’s latest pronouncement is in tandem with the now familiar strategy of the Federal Government to prolong the insurgency in those states. “The plan is to continue emergency rule and use it as an excuse to disenfranchise voters in that zone because the government knows it cannot win a free and fair election in those states. “Clearly, there is no love

lost between the Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan and some sections of the country. “It is the duty of government to cater for the welfare and security of its citizenry. Hence, no eligible Nigerian voter should, on account of insecurity not caused by him or her, be excluded from voting in the 2015 polls. “Let the Federal Government resolve the crisis in the Northeast and in the country to have a peaceful, free and fair election. We will resist any attempt to disenfranchise Nigerians under any guise.


From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

billion would be expended on capital programmes and projects. The governor said N79 billion was proposed as recurrent revenue, comprising over N44 billion as allocation expected from the Federation Account while over N10 billion would come from internal revenue. Wada said over N10 billion was expected from the Value Added Tax, while over

N3 billion would come from the excess crude account. He explained that the budget was aimed at guaran-

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


TRADITIONAL titleholder in the Kano Emirate Council, Muhammadu Danpass, has said more governors will soon join the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said by 2015, APC would have 27 governors. Speaking to reporters in Kano, Danpass said: “G7 is still intact. It is still together. In fact, we expect more governors to join the train soon. “As you can see, the two governors (Niger and Jigawa), who are yet to declare for APC, would soon do so because their followers are pressurising them to do so. They know if they reject the wish of the people, especially their supporters, they would be abandoned. “Besides, as things are today, there are states where the governors have not declared for APC, such as Bauchi and Taraba. I believe they would soon do so, because they are naturally APC states,” he affirmed.

Suswam pays teachers

B •Jega

“Instead of disenfranchising citizens for no fault of theirs, the PDP-controlled central government should tackle insecurity in the Northeast.”

teeing poverty reduction, employment generation and wealth creation.

C & S Unification Church celebrates


‘APC’ll contest with 27 governors’

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

Wada presents N128.7b budget proposal OGI State Governor Idris Wada yesterday presented a budget proposal of N128,720,397,305 billion for next year. The ‘Budget of Reality’ is N3.956.447.110 (2.98 per cent) lower than the present budget of N132.676.844.415. Presenting the budget at the House of Assembly, Wada said the ‘balanced’ budget was aimed at speedy transformation of the state. He said over N58 billion would be used to finance recurrent services, while N70.2


AUCHI State Governor Isa Yuguda yesterday presented a budget proposal of N133,730,830 billion. He said priority would be given to health, water supply, power generation, agriculture, as well as women and youth development. The breakdown shows that N67.75 billion will come from Statutory Allocation and N10 billion from Value Added Tax. Recurrent Expenditure will cost N64,952,900,600 and Capital Expenditure N68,777,929,450. Some of the highpoints of the budget include the allocation of N11,231,000,000 to the Yankari Power Commision; N9,378,646,600:00 for the Ministry of Transport and the State Planning Commission N2, 545,869,700. The Speaker, Yahaya Mohammed Miya, has assured that the budget would be given the desired attention.

HE Ark of Covenant Anniversary Celebration of Cherubim & Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria, OnaIwa Mimo Oke Ayo Headquarters, will continue today with a revival session at 6pm. There will be a vigil tomorrow at 10pm and grand celebration and thanksgiving on Sunday at Km 47, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Opp. Redemption Camp, Mowe. The theme is “Save Me and I shall keep Thy Testimonies,” Ps. 119:46. The Host, Dr M.O. Ogunyooye, said: “God will continually protect all who attends.”

ENUE State Governor Gabriel Suswam has put smiles on teachers’ faces by directing that their two months withheld salaries be paid before Christmas. Suswam’s Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Solomon Wombo conveyed the directive in a goodwill message yesterday in Makurdi. Wombo appealed to teachers to take advantage of Suswam’s gesture and return to the classroom like ASUU, which has called off its six-month strike. Teachers in the state have been on strike for more than three months over failure of government to implement the Minimum Wage. Attempts by government to convince them to return to the classroom failed, forcing the governor to declare the no work, no pay rule.

Lawmaker empowers constituents From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


MEMBER of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Bolomope, has empowered 3,200 members of Egbeda Constituency with items worth N20 million. Some of the items include sewing machines, two tractors, microwave, generating sets, clippers, hair dryers, computer systems, crates of soft drinks, cash gift, among others. Speaking yesterday at the Community Primary School, OkiOlodo, Ibadan, Bolomope said the programme was to alleviate poverty among the less-privileged. The lawmaker said: “The gesture was borne out of my passion and mission to ensure that youths are employed and widows and the aged are catered for.” He noted that the empowerment programme is the third phase, which has benefited over 3,200 widows,unemployed youths, artisans, traders over the years. “For this programme, we are empowering 57, but all along I have empowered 3,200 with over N20 million. “I started with 1,525 widows and 293 aged people. We have graduate attachment scheme, with 64 of them. For this one, we have barbers, hair stylists, fashion designers, shoemakers, chemists. The tactic is that once we train them they will also train two other people who we shall pay for. Bolomope advised the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the materials.




CITYBEATS LINE: 08078425391

Senator Tinubu makes case for the aged

‘We need improved facilities’ By Ibrahim Adam


E realised that we had received favour from God to have been allottees of the then ‘Ile eku and Ile eye’ (rat and bird house); you can now see how useful the house has become - a paradise.” These were the words of Mr Olufemi Oyewole Ojo, chairman of the A-Zone Community Development Association (CDA) which celebrated 30th anniversary of the Federal Low Cost Housing Estate in Ipaja, a Lagos suburb, last Saturday. It was held at the Children Playing Ground (Lion Field) on Kokumo Road in Iyana-Ipaja. Ojo said residents were faced with inregular electricity supply, bad roads, youth unemployment and lack of health facilities. The anniversary tagged: “Building towards a model community and N20million appeal fund for the Multipurpose Community Hall (aka Green Roof), began on December 9 with a cleaning exercise, free medical check, and community meeting.

•Senator Tinubu presenting a gift to one of the beneficiaries of the Elderly Citizen Assistance Scheme, Mr Afolabi Moses at the ninth Town Hall Meeting at Surulere Local Government... yesterday. With them is Chairman of the council , Tajudeen Ajide.

Ikere indigenes hold convention




ENATOR Oluremi Tinubu from Lagos Central yesterday urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the Social Security Bill for the aged sponsored by her. She urged the government, corporate bodies and individuals to help the elderly to ensure that they do not suffer. The Senator, who spoke at a town hall meeting tagged: “The elders are our treasure,” held at Apapa Local Government Secretariat on Burma Road in Apapa, Lagos, said the elderly deserved social protection. Senator Tinubu, represented by wife of the council chair-

By Jeremiah Oke

man, Mrs Sarah Joseph, said going by the records of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the elderly were not being treated fairly in Nigeria. To ensure that the aged are well treated in her constituency, she set up an Elderly Citizens’ Assistance Scheme (ECAS), which gives out N10,000 each to over 1,300 beneficiaries. She said: “The form of social protection is what I sought to promote in a bill on social security for the elderly people which I sponsor at the apex

chamber. The bill has now progressed to the second reading.” The council chairman, Hon. Adebayo Joseph, praised Senator Tinubu’s contributions, adding that her gesture for the aged in her senatorial district is an indication that she cares so much for them. He said she had complemented the council’s effort at empowering the masses and the aged in her constituency, adding that the initiative is a means of survival for the aged. A beneficiary, Mr Peter Ojelabi, said he could not quantify the senator’s gesture, adding that he would start a petty business with the money he got.

Ministry refutes fraud, bribery allegation By Jude Isiguzo



HE Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has refuted the fraud, extortion and bribe allegation levelled against some of its top officials by a miners association. In a statement, its Director of Press, Mrs Tinuade Aiyegbusi, said the Ibeju Lekki Miners Association’s allegations were false, adding that all taxes and revenue are paid directly to designated banks. “The miners claimed in their petition that they go on daily trips of 500; but by the ministry’s records, their daily trips do not exceed 300. Since they

claimed that they go up to 500 trips daily, the ministry will look into the claim since it has become obvious that the miners have been short-changing government and undermining its revenue drive. “The ministry is a revenuegenerating agency and its records of diligence and transparency in its dealings with the public can be verified. Our records are clean,” she said, noting that the ministry had over time observed disunity and fraudulent attitude among the miners. Mrs Aiyegbusi explained: “In a meeting at the office of the Commissioner, Engr. Taofiq Tijani, the miners sought an extension of their mining permit for three months into 2014, a permit that expires this December. The question the ministry asked was: If the driver’s licence of an individual expires, does he ask for an extension of time from the licensing authority? Or if your vehicle licence expires, will you claim that since you did not drive the car because you were out of the coun-

try, you deserve an extension time for renewal? None of them could answer the questions. “On September 30, a faction of the association of the IbejuLekki Epe Miners Association seized power from the duly elected executives forcefully; the ministry was notified through a petition from the Oba Onibeju of Ibeju-Lekki. Various allegations, including misappropriation of funds, were part of the reasons given for the seizure of power from the former executives ... the ministry held several meetings with monarchs and the factions, but all the efforts failed. Consequently, Engr. Tijani suspended the factions and allowed an interim committee nominated by the monarchs to manage mining activities in the axis pending the resolution of the crises by the ministry.” The interim committee, she said, eventually sorted out their differences, but the miners took over the management of the activities again on December 2, began mining operations and asked for extension of time for permit renewal.

Lottery board decries members’ harassment


HE Lagos State Lottery Board has urged the police and local government officials to stop the “undue harassment” of lottery operators agents who are doing legal business. Its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila made the appeal yesterday during a stakeholders’ meeting with Lagos State Lottery Principal and Super Agents at the Adeyemi Bero

Auditorium at Alausa in Ikeja, Lagos. Lottery agents at the meeting said they were often being harassed by policemen and council officials to extort money from them. They urged the board to look into the situation. Gbajabiamila said the board would investigate the allegation and come up with amicable resolution of the problems.

At Coker-Aguda Local Council Development Area (LCDA), where the event was also held, its Chairman, Omobolanle Akinyemi-Obe hailed the senator’s efforts on the aged. She said a bill to cater for the elderly, being sponsored by her, would go a long way to ameliorate the suffering of the aged if passed into law. “Senator Tinubu’s passion for the elderly should be emulated by everyone who believes he/ she will be in that position one day,” she said.

HE maiden national convention of Ikere Development Forum (IDF), a socio-cultural and community development think-tank organisation, comprising professionals and elite of Ikere-Ekiti origin worldwide, will hold between December 26 and 29 in the ancient town. According to the Chairman of the Steering Executive Committee of the group, Mr. Olugbenga Agboola, a HoustonTexas based indigene of the town, the four-day convention will feature community-impact activities targeted at empowering the people and fostering unity in the community. Some of the activities lined up for the convention include: Visit to some of the capital projects of the federal, states and local government in the town; leadership and entrepreneurship youth forum and medical outreach missions. The main event of the meeting will hold on December 28 at the exquisite Emmanuel Event Centre, Ikere. The meeting will feature deliberations on development blue-prints and committee reports that have been generated through leadership brain-storming, online discussions, and previous interactive meetings. The climax of the convention is the investiture of the inaugural and substantive Executive Council of the forum. There will also be a Jumat Service at the Ikere Central Mosque on December 27 and a thanksgiving service on December 29 at St Luke’s Anglican Church, Ikere.




Copyright war: Reps fault NCC By Victor Oluwasegun and Adele Anofi, Abuja

•Chairman, MCSN, Orits Wiliki


HE House of Representatives has faulted the decision of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for failing to recognize the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) as a royalty- collecting society for musical works. The lawmakers are proposing a review or reform of the Copyright Act because, as a regulatory body, NCC has shown itself to be biased and compromised. During the consideration and adoption of a report yesterday, following the investigation of the NCC by the House Committees on Justice and Judiciary, the lawmakers mandated the Copyright Commission to open the door for the registration of other qualified organizations as collecting societies. The report was presented by the Chairman of Committee on Justice, Ali Ahmad. All the recommendations

of the report were adopted by the lawmakers at the Committee of the Whole chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha. The recommendations include: “That, given the state of the law and available technology, the NCC is not justified in refusing to register MCSN, one of the two de facto collecting societies as alternative body in the music industry in Nigeria. “That the Musical Copyright of Nigeria (MCSN), having satisfied all the requirements of the law, should be registered by the Nigerian Copyright Copy Commission (NCC) forthwith. “That the continued refusal to register the MCSN is casting NCC, a regulatory agency, as having been compromised and pursuing only the interest of a particular section of the industry. “That the NCC should be urged to rise above board, in order to be seen as fair and just. “That the NCC should revisit the application of other organizations that applied to it for license as collecting societies for performing and mechanical rights in musical works, with a view to determining whether or not, based on the provision of the Copyright Act and its regulations, they presently qualify for li-

cense as collecting societies, regardless of the existence or non-existence of a licensed collection society for musical works in Nigeria. “That in considering applications for grant of license under the Copyright Act and its regulations, the NCC should desist from giving consideration to extraneous matters. “That the Committee on Justice should liaise with the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, the NCC, the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the Nigerian Law Reform Commission and all stakeholders in the copyright sector with a view to carrying out a review or reform of the Copyright Act and its regulations in order to, amongst others: “Align their positions with the provisions of the Constitution of the country, clear any inconsistencies, ambiguities or vagueness relating to registration and licensing of multiple collection societies. “Make operations of the NCC transparent and accountable to the citizens, particularly Article 5 of the Berne Convention, the Rome Convention and WIPO Copyright Treaty’ to which Nigeria is a signatory and “Make the Act and its regulations acceptable to stakeholders and Nigerians, generally.”

I’ve cancer, says Karen Igho


N the eyes of many, she is very controversial. But the 2011 winner of Big Brother Africa, Karen Igho, can sometimes be down-to-heart, if she chooses to. On Wednesday, December 18, Karen, who is known for her enhanced boobs, disclosed that she had cancer. Following the staggering revelation, her fans have since been worried. Igho had taken to her twitter handler to break the news and the response that followed was unprecedented. According to her, “I have cancer. Are you guys happy?” While many fans blasted her, thinking she was merely seeking attention, others expressed sympathy, asking for words of prayer for her. They stated that what she dreaded most had caught up with her. However, she has since pulled down the post. It will be recalled that she once said that her enhanced boobs were a corrective

By Victor Akande

measure to traits of cancer. “My boobs were never a strategy. When I discovered that I had lumps in my breasts, I removed them and had the boobs job done to prevent any further occurrence,” she had said after her victory in the reality show. There are several touchy stories about her, including the revelation that her dad died of AIDs. The first of 10 kids, her mum was separated from her biological father when she was two years old. Although Karen said her mother is her role model, she grew up living with her grandmother in the village in Delta State. According to her, she met her biological father for the first time when she turned 14 and he died few days after their reunion. Since the curtains drew on the Big Brother Africa Amplified Edition on July 31, 2011, Karen has continued to stay relevant as a celebrity engaging in news worthy activities, including

partnering with breast cancer prevention initiatives, HIV intervention projects and children orphanages.


Tiwa Savage, Femi Kuti, D’banj, others for Music Wek, will be joined by inMeets Runway ITH a promise of


a lifetime experience for guests, organisers of Music Meets Runway, Le Reve Event, have released a list of artistes who will thrill at this year’s event. According to the organizers, some of the sensational acts who will add colour and panache to the event scheduled to hold at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites,

Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, December 21, are Femi Kuti, Tuface Idibia, D’banj, Wizkid, Ice Prince and Tiwa Savage. They will be supported by female acts such as Seyi Shay, Lola Rae and Toni Tones. Popular On-Air Personality, IK Osakioduwa, will host the event, while international model and icon, Alek

ternational fashion designer and fashionista, Angela Simmons, as presenters at the fashion fiesta. The event is supported by Le Reve Pieces, Ciroc Vodka, Sovereign Trust Insurance PLC, ZARON, MNet, Ebony Life TV, Beat 99.9 FM, 97.3 Classical FM, 96.9 Cool FM, Fascinating Nigeria Tourism, Cold Stone Creamery and Bella Naija.






Four sectors get NEXIM’s N30.93b From Nduka Chiejina,


(Asst. Editor)

HE Nigeria Export-Im port Bank (NEXIM) dis bursed N30.93billion and issued guarantees valued at $27.30million between August 2009 and December 2013 under its Manufacturing, Agro-Processing, Solid Minerals and Services (MASS) sector agenda, its managing director, Roberts Orya, has said. Orya told members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency who visited the bank on oversight duties in Abuja, yesterday. He said the manufacturing sector got the lion share of N13.175billion representing 37.6 per cent, AgroProcessing N7.421billion or 21.2 per cent, Solid Minerals N2.535billion, and Services N11.924billion (34 per cent). Orya said: “The corporate transformation culminated in the re-definition of the bank’s mission, vision and strategic objectives, with the intention of channeling its resources into the development of four sectors namely manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals and services, which have high amount of employment and foreign exchange earning potentials in the non oil sector.” On the sealink project which is expected to commence next year, the managing director said the project would be ready for private placement in January 2014, adding that to this end, two road shows are scheduled to be held in Côte D’Ivoire and Cameroon.

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

Okonjo-Iweala presents budget today • Senate, House agree on $77.5 benchmark A FTER weeks of nego tiations, the Senate and the House of Representatives yesterday agreed on $77.5 crude oil benchmark for 2014 budget. The budget will, however, be presented to the National Assembly today by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Some governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were also alleged to have secretly directed their Senators and members of the House of Representatives to support the $77.5 benchmark. The governors said budget benchmark was more of economic interest than political issue. The consensus benchmark

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

was a departure from the position of the Presidency, which has been unyielding on $74 benchmark. Investigation by our correspondent showed that the affected governors are from the North-East, South-South, North-Central. According to a member of the Joint Conference of the National Assembly on the benchmark, the $77.5 per barrel oil benchmark was a consensus position. It was learnt that while the House of Representatives had insisted on $80 per barrel, the Senate opted for $77.5 The source said: “When we

met on Wednesday, we decided that $77.5 per barrel benchmark is a fair deal. So, the budget will be based on this benchmark. “The executive arm also prevailed on us to reach a reasonable consensus on the benchmark. I can tell you that this $77.5 will be acceptable to the executive too. “With this, the 2014 budget will be given accelerated consideration by the National Assembly.” When contacted, a Principal Officer of the House said: “Well, when we had our Executive Session on Wednesday, the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal announced to us that the Joint

Conference had decided on $77.5 per barrel benchmark. “All Representatives commended the decision of the Joint Conference and agreed that it was time to move forward. “At this with jack up, states would be able to meet up with some financial challenges.” A top source said: “The curious thing to note is that governors friendly to Mr. President have also prevailed on their members in the National Assembly to accommodate the 2014 Budget within either $79 or $77.5 benchmark. “According to some of the governors, they have been

NNPC seeks review of tribunal’s ruling


HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to review a ruling by the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT), Lagos Zone, on a dispute over an oil mining lease (OML) 118 Production Sharing Contract (PSC). It said the tribunal wrongly assumed jurisdiction in the dispute. Parties involved are the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Deep Water) Limited, Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited and Total E & P Nigeria Limited, joined as second to sixth respondents. NNPC sought a declaration that TAT, Lagos Zone (the first respondent) lacked the competence or jurisdiction to entertain or adjudicate over rights and obligations conferred on parties to the Bonga PSC. It said the tribunal cannot determine contractual disputes arising from the different interpretation of the various parties to the contract. Shell, Esso, Agip and Total had sought declaratory reliefs at the tribunal over the determination of tax incidences of parties in PSC involving NNPC. The tribunal, in its July 3 ruling, assumed jurisdiction in the case. It held: “The tax assessment challenged in this appeal is within the remit of the Tax Appeal Tribunal.” But NNPC urged the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, to declare that the tribunal’s decision “ultra vires, illegal, wrongful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.” It sought an order of certiorari (order given by a superior court), urging the court to take over the tribunal’s proceedings, determinations and directives and to quash them, as well as the ruling. NNPC prayed the court to make an order prohibiting TAT, Lagos Zone from further hearing and making any interim or final decision in the case of Shell Nigeria Exploration

By Joseph Jibueze

& Production Company Limited and others vs, FIRS and another, numbered TAT/LZ,001/2012, among others. It sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the tribunal (first respondent) from adjudicating on the declaratory reliefs sought by the third to sixth respondents. NNPC said the tribunal erred when it assumed the powers ordinarily conferred by Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution on the Federal High Court to entertain and determine matters relating to government revenue. It claimed that by the provisions of the OML 118 (Bonga) PSC, the third, fourth, fifth and sixth respondents are not tax payers known to the FIRS and as such are unable to successfully maintain an action before the tribunal against FIRS. NNPC added that the reliefs before the tribunal is such that when determined, will have direct impact on Federal Government’s revenue and the contractual relationship in Bonga contract. NNPC, the concession owner and holder of Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 212, executed the Bonga PSC dated April 19, 1993, with Shell as contractor to the operations of OPL 212. Shell, Esso, Agip and Total constitute the “contractor” apparently through a joint venture in the Bonga contract, which sets out parties’ rights and obligations. By the contract’s provisions, NNPC files Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) returns on behalf of itself and the contractor. According to NNPC, the contractor was to prepare accurate PPT returns and submit to the corporation, which in turn files the returns to FIRS. The applicant said in 2010, Shell and others prepared “incorrect” PPT returns for 2009 assessment in respect of Bonga license and forwarded same to the NNPC. NNPC alleged that the returns it received from the contractor was “inaccurate, incor-

rect and non-compliant with contractual terms of the PSC.” It claimed it was compelled to file accurate tax returns with FIRS, which resulted in a disagreement with the contractor. Subsequently, the oil firms instituted an appeal at the tribunal.

They sought “a declaration that although chargeable tax for the year is USD2,042, 706, 851, however, by virtue of the overpayment of PPT in previous years of assessment, the PPT for the Bonga Contract Area in the 2010 year of assessment is nil.”

unable to pay salaries in their states as a result of piece-meal release of the allocations from the Federation Account. “A few other PDP states are backing the $79 or $77.5 benchmark because after managing to pay salaries, they have little left for capital projects and payment of debts. “What they have done is to mount campaign secretly for $79 or $77.5 benchmark in order not to offend President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the national leader of the party.” There were indications that President Goodluck Jonathan might not be physically present based on security reports. There were fears that the President may be heckled at following the increased strength of the opposition in the National Assembly. A member of the House said: “We have been told that Okonjo-Iweala may lay the budget before the National Assembly instead of the President. “To us, it does not matter whoever is making the budget presentation to us.”



NEWS Poor service quality: Telcos get CPC’s Dec 31 deadline


HE Consumers Protec tion Council (CPC) has said that as from December 31st, any service provider that fails to upgrade it facilities so as to improve its service, will be stopped from further expansion and will be denied new subscribers. Speaking at a briefing with newsmen in Lagos, the Director General, CPC, Mrs Dupe Atoki said the agency has received many complaints from consumers, hence, the agency can no longer tolerate the abuse in the telecom industry. She said: ”There is no denying the fact that there is gross consumer abuse in the telecom sector and indeed in all the sectors. Upon assumption of office, in the last six months, I have amongst other activities done an analysis of the complaints that CPC has received. Such


HE Nigerian Commu nications Commission (NCC) said it will auction frequency in the 2.3 Giga Hertz (GHz) band next year through a transparent bidding process. Some operators have demanded that they give the spectrum freely to them or allow them to have it without subjecting it to open bidding process. But the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah insisted that NCC will put the frequency on offer for

compalints are poor network service, lack of sustainability of calls, unsolicited text messages, unsolicited telemarketing calls, sales promotion in spite of poor networking services, non compensation to consumers for loss of airtime and poor service delivery, among others. ”Let me re-emphasise the fact that CPC has enforcement powers to implement all consumer protection laws in Nigeria and the council will strengthen this by collaborating with regulators across all sectors. “I want to emphasise that any service provider that does not meet with the quality, will as from December 31st, no longer be able to expand. Apart from paying fines, any defaulter will not be allowed to get new subscribers.”

• From left: Director General National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Chris Onyemenam, Representative of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Linus Awute, Permanent Secretary (SGF’s Office) and National President, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa at a one-day Business Forum on Resolving Nigeria’s Identity Management Crisis held in Lagos.

NCC to auction 2.3Ghz frequency in January By Lucas Ajanaku

transparent bidding. The regulator also assigned timelines on the activities that will ultimately peak at the licensing InfraCos that will provide broadband services in the six geo-political zones of the country and one in Lagos. Speaking in Lagos at the maiden edition of Telecoms Stakeholders’ Summit, Juwah said based on the time table already drafted

by the NCC, the companies will be subjected to due diligence, assuring that NCC will be fair and transparent to all the bidders. The InfraCos are companies that will help in the deployment of infrastructure in all the six-geopolitical zones in the country towards accelerating broadband services deployment. “By January, 2014, we would put a public notice of expression of interest. By May, we would do the

selections of the bidders and eventually by December, 2014, we would award the winning InfraCos licences,” he said. Juwah explained that the InfraCos would be offered one-off subsidy based on peculiarity of the business model and geographical coverage to better meet the NCC broadband objectives. Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said the ministry has been taking

measures to address challenges facing telecoms companies in the industry. She noted that when fully achieved, having ubiquitous broadband access would help in accelerating economic development in the country. She said broadband would particularly help in boosting the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. She said: ‘ICT sector, today contributes just over eight per cent to GDP. If

the target of a five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2017 is achieved, theere will be an additional increase of three per cent in GDP.” She added that the National Broadband Policy, which is the framework that that encapsulates the broadband initiative in the country, articulates how “we will deliver these broadband targets local government by local government and state by state.”





PRESS RELEASE APPOINTMENT OF ((ACTING) ACTING) CHIEF JUDGE OF RIVERS ST ATE STA INTRODUCTION: In recent times, some individuals and lawyers have been calling on His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi CON, to appoint a Chief Judge for Rivers State or, an Acting Chief Judge, pending the appointment of a substantive Chief Judge.

‘’ If the office of the Chief Judge of a State is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the Governor shall appoint the most senior Judge of the High Court to perform those functions.’’

In particular, an officer of one of the Branches of the Bar Association in Rivers State and, at another time, a Senior Advocate, amongst others, at various media platforms, made the calls. It is important, and it should be encouraged, that citizens take interest in their government and its activities, which such calls symbolise. However, it is more important that expression of such interests should be done with accurate knowledge of the facts and a fair and sincere expression of one’s view of the Law on the matter, when the issue at stake borders on Law, so as to assist the citizenry follow more accurately on the issue. It is important, before we proceed and since the issues here presented also touch on the activities of that Body, to state categorically that the Rivers state Government has the greatest respect for the National Judicial Council (NJC), and will continue to collaborate with it as provided for in the Constitution in aid of its performance of its duty under the Law for the interest of our people.

What can be seen, clearly, is that the Governor needs no recommendation from anyone as to whom to appoint as Acting Chief Judge, nor approval of anyone to validate whomsoever he has appointed. The guide provided by the Constitution to the Governor is that contained in the phrase, ‘’ The most Senior Judge of the High Court’’ which the Governor has interpreted and acted on and which, as stated, remains valid and subsisting not having been set aside by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction.

THE FACTS: The last incumbent of the office of Chief Judge of Rivers State, retired on August 19, 2013. The very next day, i.e. August 20, the Rivers State Governor appointed and swore-in the Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumagu, as the Acting Chief Judge of the State. This was pursuant to Sec 271 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that the Most Senior Judge of the High Court be so sworn-in. In choosing, appointing and swearing in Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumagu, then President of the State’s Customary Court of Appeal, the State Government explained that the Hon Justice Agumagu was sworn in as a High Court Judge and seconded to establish the State’s Customary Court of Appeal and is now the Most Senior Judge in the State Judiciary and that according to the State’s Customary Court of Appeal Law, the President of that Court takes precedence immediately after the Chief Judge of the State and sits in the state Judicial Service Commission second only to the Chief Judge and that the provision of the constitution in that regard must be read together with the State’s Customary Court Law as stated. As expected, there were other views opposed to this: that the Customary Court Law provision that the President of that court comes after the Chief Judge is only as to protocol and that at any event, according to the opponents of his appointment, that the Customary Court, although part of the Judiciary of the state, is not part of the High Court. None disputed the fact that Hon Justice Agumagu was sworn in as a High Court Judge long before any of the Judges now serving in the state judiciary. Whatever different or differing views, the appointment had been made; the Hon. Justice Agumagu entered his appointed office of Acting Chief Judge and commenced the performance of his duties. There was no challenge to the appointment up-till date. In law, that appointment remains valid until set aside, not by a differing view, no matter how eminent the holder of the view, but by a competent Court. For the avoidance of doubt, the said section states as follows: ‘’ If the office of the Chief Judge of a State is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the Governor shall appoint the most senior Judge of the High Court to perform those functions.’’ An unbiased reading of the section will reveal that the requirement of appointment of the ‘Most Senior’ Judge is only at the first instance of appointment. Subsequent appointments need not follow any order of seniority. This has always been so. For example, when the position of President of the Court of Appeal became vacant and pending the appointment of the substantive successor could be named, after the appointment of the most senior in the system, ie the Hon Justice Dalhatu Adamu, the subsequent appointment, in acting capacity, did not follow seniority and that is how the present incumbent, who is not the most senior in the system is there now as the Acting President and it is valid. Not long after the appointment of the Hon Justice Agumagu as Acting Chief Judge, an interested Senior Advocate who also sits in the National Judicial Council (NJC) as a member and who is opposed to the initial appointment and who prefers a particular candidate, ( I am not opposed to those who are opposed to the initial appointment or the interpretation of who is the most senior Judge. I am only opposed to their insistence that their view is the only one the Governor must act on) had hinted that any Judge of the High Court who accepted any further appointment of acting Chief Judge would be sanctioned by the NJC. At that time, the NJC had not had its quarterly meeting then to be held in December. True to that promise, the NJC met and thereafter, wrote to all Judges of the High Court in Rivers State that should they accept the acting appointment, the acceptance would be considered an act of misconduct. Further, in that letter to the Judges, the NJC stated that the Governor should appoint a particular Judge who, in its own Judgement, is the Most Senor Judge, as the Acting Chief Judge. Clearly, the NJC is dictating to the Governor, the particular candidate, to be appointed as acting Chief Judge of the State. One wonders why the NJC did not warn Justices of the Court of Appeal not to accept the appointment of Acting President of that Court after the tenure of Hon Justice Dalhatu Adamu expired and why they did not and have not still appointed the most senior Justice of that Court to the position of Acting President. DOES THE NJC HAVE ANY POWER WHATSOEVER IN THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ACTING CHIEF JUDGE OF A STATE? The answer is to be found in that same section 271(4) which, for purpose of ease of understanding, I reproduce again and it provides:

It is only and only when an appointed person’s tenure has lapsed and the Governor wishes a renewal, that the NJC becomes constitutionally relevant in this regard as it is its Constitutional Powers to approve the renewal. If there is no issue of renewal of the appointment of an Acting Chief Judge, then there is no role for the NJC to play. The relevant Section, therefore, which the Publicists did not bother to refer its listeners and readers to (because they have ruled the first appointment invalid which appointment remains valid because they are not a Court of Law as only a Court of Law can validly so rule) is Subsection (5) of the selfsame Section 271 which states thus: ‘’Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council an appointment pursuant to Subsection (4) of this Section shall cease to have effect after expiration of three months from the date of such appointment and the Governor shall not reappoint a person whose appointment has lapsed’’. It has been our law – and it has not changed – that Bodies established by law (including the NJC) must act within the boundaries established by their enabling statutes. Again, we ask, where is the role of the NJC in the exercise of a Governor’s power conferred on him by the constitution to appoint an acting Chief Judge for a State? Those contributing and issuing Press Releases and granting interviews on this matter have not even bothered to provide this answer to their audience as to how the issue concerns the NJC or where the NJC derives its power to dabble into it as to insist on the appointment of a particular Judge and to issue threat letters to Judges as aforesaid. The simple reason, therefore, for the void in the office of acting Chief Judge of Rivers State is not, as those interested publicists have put it, that the Governor has failed or refused to fill the vacancy, but simply that the NJC, for whatever reason, wrote to all our Judges not to accept the appointment except the Governor appoints a particular Judge. This is curious! Although chaired by the Chief Justice and having as its members, eminent Judges and Justices, the NJC, still, is not a Court. Not only that, it is, itself, subject to the Constitution. It, therefore, lacks powers to declare a Governor’s appointment unconstitutional as it purported to do; neither is there any authority in it conferred by the Constitution, to threaten Judges not to accept such appointment from the State Chief Executive. If the Governor acted outside the constitutional powers granted him, it is not the NJC that has power to so declare, but a competent court. The Governor, not interested in setting up any Judge against the NJC, decided not to make the appointment until the issue is cleared, as appointing the candidate the NJC insisted should be appointed, will mean that the NJC, not the Governor, is the ‘appointing Authority’, a Constitutional description which refers only to the Governor and not the NJC. That will amount to an abdication of a Constitutional duty on the part of the Governor. For the avoidance of doubt, it is only in the appointment of a substantive Chief Judge that the Governor is to await the recommendation of the NJC before His Excellency makes such substantive appointment subject to approval of the state House of Assembly. There should be no conflation of the two situations of appointment of acting Chief Judge and the appointment of substantive Chief Judge. It is the misunderstanding of the role of the NJC and the role of the Governor in these two separate situations, or, putting it more appropriately, the thinking that the role of the NJC is the same in both situations, that has led, with respect, to the comedy of errors by those who reasoned that the Governor is in error. His Excellency is not. The previous appointment having not been voided by any court, the Governor clearly has fulfilled the constitutional requirement of appointing the Most Senior Judge and all arguments on that spent-issue must be regarded for what they are: academic. WHY DID THE NJC NOT ACT IN OTHER STATES WITH SIMILAR SITUATION AS IT IS NOW ACTING IN RIVERS STATE? The impression has been given that the path Rivers State is now treading – of appointing acting Chief Judge- is un-trodden. This is a wrong impression. Adamawa, Abia, and Osun States have, at various times, spanning, in some cases, close to a year and in the case of Abia, more than a year, operated their various Judicial Systems with Acting Chief Judges because the issue of substantive appointment was lingering and in the case of Abia, is still lingering. Did the NJC write to their Judges there not to accept the acting appointment and that if they did, they would be sanctioned? Up till the time of this writing, Abia State still has an acting Chief Judge. In Adamawa, one Judge acted as Chief Judge for several, several months. Nothing in Rivers State resembles these states’ examples and yet the NJC has gone to the extreme of writing to the Judges of Rivers State with a promise of punishment should they accept to serve in Acting capacity. This selective approach must worry all those who love Law and Order and Justice and Equity and Equality. The only reason for this selectivity in treatment is simply that there is no prominent NJC member in those states with a preferred candidate which is the case in Rivers state. I say no more on this until the appropriate time. IS THIS THE FIRST TIME RIVERS STATE WOULD BE WITHOUT A CHIEF JUDGE? Publicists and advocates of a ‘preferred candidate’ have continued to argue that “since the 19th of August, 2013, there has been no legitimate Head for the High Court of

THE NATION THURDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013 Rivers State”. They then added: “As Leaders of the Bar in Rivers State, members of the Body (ie Body of Senior Advocates) consider that this does not augur well for the administration of Justice and the maintenance and enforcement of law and order in Rivers State”. I have since confirmed that there are no Bar Leaders as referred to, to whom such views can be ascribed except one interested senior advocate, giving the impression to the public that only he constitutes ‘Bar Leaders’. I am one of the Bar Leaders in Rivers State. Indeed,Virtute Officii, I am the Leader of the Bar in Rivers State and I hereby state that there was no such meeting of Bar Leaders. Interestingly, the Press Release did not state where and what date the Bar Leaders’ Meeting held and who attended. To confuse this issue and obscure its understanding, the author of the release used the word ‘Body of Senior Advocates’ interchangeably with ‘Bar Leaders’ and all lawyers know that not all Bar Leaders are Senior Advocates and so not members of the Body of Senior Advocates. Further, whereas it was purported to have been issued by a Body (whether of Senior Advocates or Bar Leaders) it was contained on an individual’s letter head paper. Worse still, in using the word, ‘Bar Leaders’ the Release’s Author seems to be of the view that Elected Chairmen of the Bar Association, are not Bar Leaders. That is wrong. They are. And since they are, they are the ones to speak for the Bar Leaders and certainly not the individual who did not say he has their mandate to so speak for the Group. Each person, it must be conceded, is constitutionally empowered to speak for himself but not to confuse that individual’s constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech with speaking for a group out of presumptuousness. It is important that we know which group, exactly, is being spoken for (Body of Senior Advocates or Bar Leaders) so that response will be appropriate to that particular group. Till those Bar Leaders (of which I am one and indeed, the Leader,) speak, the statement must remain what it is: one Senior Advocate’s agitation for a preferred candidate, emboldened by the letter from the NJC to Judges which is now understood as firmly paving the way for that Senior Advocate’s preferred candidate. IMPORTANT HISTORICAL INFORMATION: When Justice Ichoku, former Chief Judge, retired from the state judiciary, sometime in or about August of 2001, there was no appointment of either an Acting Chief Judge or a substantive Chief Judge until November 2001 when Hon. Justice Iche Ndu was appointed and sworn in as the Chief Judge. These ‘Bar Leaders’, were there then and even cooperated with the then Governor and for those months, they did not know or even inform the public that the months of vacuum in the Judiciary hierarchy without either a substantive or Acting head ‘will not augur well for the administration of Justice or the enforcement of Law and order’. This is curious and self-serving, even, hypocritical. ANOTHER HISTORICAL EXAMPLE: In 2003, S.O. Benson Esq., a resourceful Port Harcourt-based lawyer was, along with five others, nominated to the NJC for recommendation to the (then) Governor, for appointment as a High Court Judge of Rivers State. The then Governor appointed and swore in the other five and declined to accept the recommendation of Mr. Benson. In effect, the Governor declined to act on the recommendation of the NJC. His Excellency, then, did not challenge the recommendation in court – he just stated he was not accepting it and left it there and nothing happened. No ‘Bar Leaders’ spoke! The reason given for the non-acceptance was that after the candidate’s nomination/ recommendation, petitions were received from some of his community members alleging his complicity in communal disturbances in his local community in which a life was lost. Although the police later exonerated the candidate from the allegation and a panel of enquiry which indicted him had the indictment quashed by a High Court, the then Governor, still, declined to act on the NJC recommendation. That was in 2003. Ten years later, in 2013, His Excellency, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, revisited the matter, acted on the recommendation, especially since there was both a Police Clearance and a High Court Judgment, appointed and swore in the candidate as a Judge of the High Court. Throughout this period, these Bar Leaders and publicists for their candidate did not rise to the occasion. It is thus clear, that the attempt to paint His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi CON, as disrespectful to the NJC is self-serving and unfortunate. The ‘Bar leaders’ did not condemn the previous administration which did not appoint a Chief Judge or acting Chief Judge for months, which administration did not, also, act on the recommendation of the NJC to appoint a candidate as a Judge, but is now stating that a Governor who obeyed the NJC in the Benson’s case, appointed an acting Chief Judge promptly when the vacancy existed and is unfairly now being prevented from making further Acting appointment, as assigned him by the Constitution, pending the substantive appointment of a Chief Judge, has failed to appoint an acting Chief Judge. This is unfair as it is a promotion of the now entrenched Nigerian system where those who strive to obey the system are condemned and presented to the public as disrespectful and arrogant while those who do nothing in that regard, who, infact, undermine the system for selfish reason masquerading as altruism, are commended and garlanded. CONCLUSION: The framers of our Constitution envisaged this situation as Rivers State is now, where, owing to the nature of Governance and humans and politicians, the appointment of a Chief Judge may not be concluded on time and they also knew it would be unfair and dangerous to the society and the Government, that an arm of Government, like the Judiciary, should be without a Head at any given time. It was because of this that they enacted in the Constitution that, pending such substantive appointment, the Governor should, without reference to any one, to no one whatsoever, make the appointments of Acting Chief Judge until a substantive one is appointed on recommendation of the NJC upon approval of the State House of Assembly. Neither the House of Assembly nor the NJC has any role in this acting appointment. We salute the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution even as we appeal to the NJC to let the Governor be allowed the constitutional role granted him to appoint an Acting Chief Judge until the issue is resolved and a substantive appointment made. Thank you. Worgu Boms Esq. Hon Attorney- General & Commissioner for Justice, Rivers State.








A powerful rebuke of mass surveillance

INEC’s threat


•It is too early to dismiss polls in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states

HE recent admonition by Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that the commission may not be able to conduct elections in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states deserves more than a passing interest. The statement is unacceptable, coming at a time when the commission just concluded a controversial governorship election in Anambra State, in which it publicly admitted its failure. Some INEC officials, during that election were alleged to have wantonly deployed the electoral process to unethically support the candidate of the ruling All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) that the commission eventually declared winner. At a one-day stakeholders meeting organised by the Senate Committee on Electoral Matters in collaboration with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, Abuja, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development, the INEC henchman declared: “The situation under a state of emergency is that you cannot do a free and fair election. Ideally, you cannot conduct election under a period of emergency. It is my hope that the challenges in the North East will be resolved before 2015. If the security is such that we cannot do election, then we may need to fall back on the law to suspend it or postpone it.” We abhor the naysayer approach of INEC to election conduct in any part of the country. The problem of Boko Haram induced insecurity in the north east states is surmountable. More importantly, the state of emergency in those states that

commenced in May was just renewed for an additional six months last month by the National Assembly at the behest of President Goodluck Jonathan. And this is expected to expire in April, 2014, that is clearly eight months before the 2015 general elections which INEC has scheduled for January to February, 2015. The intervening period, in our view, is long enough to restore hope and peace in these states. Rather than see pointers of concerted official efforts capable of hounding Boko Haram out of existence before the next general elections, we are disappointed that Jega is laying foundation that would justify his nullification of elections in these north east states when the time comes. This noticeably regrettable trend is fast becoming the hallmark under Jega. More importantly too, INEC may find it difficult to exonerate itself from justifiable insinuations that these states may deliberately be shut out from the 2015 elections for explicable but punitive political reasons; just because they are opposition states that are not operating on the same political wavelength with the president that is longing for a controversial second term in an intemperate political clime like Nigeria. If this happens, the leeway would sadly have been provided for hostile President Jonathan to appoint his cronies as administrators in the affected jurisdictions. By this, the governors in these states might be forcefully sent out of reckoning. We call on INEC to shed the toga of bias if the commission under Jega truly wants

to restore its fast waning credibility. The most reasonable path for it to toe at the moment would have been to conscientiously be seen to be planning for the 2015 elections and how to raise the projected funds for the exercise. INEC is not a security agency but a statutorily established electoral umpire. The commission should leave security matters for those agencies legally saddled with that responsibility. After all, Jega has not publicly said that his office was notified by any of the security agencies that general elections, in far away 2015, would not be possible in those states. When this has not happened, it is wrong for him to be prejudging security situations in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states that he is not professionally competent to pass comment on.

‘The most reasonable path for it to toe at the moment would have been to conscientiously be seen to be planning for the 2015 elections and how to raise the projected funds for the exercise. INEC is not a security agency but a statutorily established electoral umpire. The commission should leave security matters for those agencies legally saddled with that responsibility’

All funds, no impact


•Of what value are special purpose funds without effective oversight?

NTIL the historic ruckus between the then President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, over the affairs of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, only a handful of Nigerians could claim to have heard of the PTDF, not to talk of imagining the funds said to have accrued to it. Established in 1973 to train Nigerians in the fields of engineering, geology, science and management in the petroleum and gas industry, it receives its funding from the signature bonuses and fees on oil block concessions, bidding fees and charges from acreage allocations received by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and investment income (interest

‘While there may be nothing wrong with having different funds to address specific problems considered pivotal to the economy, the issue is whether the existence of many of the special purpose funds can be justified on the basis of their mandates. Of course, in the absence of effective oversight over their operations, many have suffered gross abuses by those charged with administering the funds’

and proceeds made on investments of the fund’s capital). Although the fund had netted a whopping US$ 1.7 billion by 2000, it wasn’t until the sleaze involving hundreds of millions of dollars starring the duo of the former President and his deputy that the affairs of the fund came into public reckoning. By the same token, Nigerians are today familiar with the nation’s pension funds story. But then, this is not so much on account of senior citizens made to stand in the hot tropical sun in the now familiar ritual of biometric capture to clear the pension house of its many ghosts; rather it is more about the scams in the pension house, particularly the scale of fraud perpetrated by officials. Nigerians are today familiar with the National Assembly Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment’s finding of misappropriation of N273bn pension funds between 2005 and 2011. Over the years, Nigeria appears to have evolved special purpose funds to take care of almost every purpose under the sun; from agriculture to industry, to ecology to small and medium scale industries. We have some, like the National Automotive Council Fund, drawn from two percent levy on auto imports, originally designed to kick-start the development of the automobile sector. There is the rice funds established by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2008 with N10 billion, but which only came into the news when the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,

Akinwunmi Adesina, suspended its operation for gross abuses. The companies that were supposed to utilise the money for the development of the rice sector were said to have diverted it to bring in cheap brown rice from overseas! Not to talk of the N100 billion textile funds, whose impact on the sector’s revitalisation has been, at best, modest. And then there is the Ecological Funds on which the Federal Government charges two percent on the federation account, whose utilisation has not surprisingly been mired in politics. Not even the private sector seems to have been spared of the menace of loose funds with unclaimed dividends said to have reached N60 billion by the end of 2012. While there may be nothing wrong with having different funds to address specific problems considered pivotal to the economy, the issue is whether the existence of many of the special purpose funds can be justified on the basis of their mandates. Of course, in the absence of effective oversight over their operations, many have suffered gross abuses by those charged with administering the funds. It seems about time the National Assembly looked into their enabling laws to see which of them needs to be retained, realigned or scrapped in line with the nation’s developmental objectives. We find little merit in retaining institutions which, apart from being unable to deliver on their mandates, have grown fat and corrupt.


OR the first time since the revelation of the National Security Agency’s vast dragnet of all Americans’ telephone records, a federal court has ruled that such surveillance is “significantly likely” to be unconstitutional. In a scathing 68-page opinion peppered with exclamations of incredulity, United States District Judge Richard Leon, of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia, found that the seven-year-old phone-data collection program — which was established under the Patriot Act and has been repeatedly reauthorized by a secret intelligence court — “almost certainly” violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches. Reaching into the 18th century from the 21st, the judge wrote that James Madison “would be aghast” at the degree of privacy invasion the data sweep represents. The ruling by Judge Leon, who was nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, was remarkable for many reasons, but mainly because there were real people sitting in open court challenging the government’s lawyers over the program’s constitutionality. The plaintiffs, led by Larry Klayman, a conservative legal activist, sued the government after the program came to light. A similar suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union is in a federal court in New York. Judge Leon’s opinion took issue with the government’s reliance on a 1979 Supreme Court case, Smith v. Maryland, which upheld the police’s warrantless capture of phone numbers dialed from the home of a robbery suspect on grounds that the suspect had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the numbers he dialed. But the N.S.A.’s phone-surveillance program is “a far cry” from what the court considered in 1979, Judge Leon wrote. While the circumstances in the Smith case involved a “one-time, targeted request for data regarding an individual suspect in a criminal investigation,” the phone-surveillance program is a “daily, allencompassing, indiscriminate dump” of data from the phones of people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. Further, he reasoned, the Supreme Court in 1979 could not “have ever imagined how the citizens of 2013 would interact with their phones.” “Thirty-four years ago, when people wanted to send ‘text messages,’ they wrote letters and attached postage stamps,” Judge Leon wrote. In other words, as technology changes, so does an average person’s expectation of privacy — the standard by which a court determines whether a search is reasonable. Judge Leon recognized the government’s compelling interest in preventing terrorism, but he pointed out that it “does not cite a single instance” in which the data collection “actually stopped an imminent attack.” In order to reach these issues at all, Judge Leon first ruled that the plaintiffs had standing — that is, they have the legal capacity to challenge both the collection of the phone data itself and the subsequent searches of that data by the government. That is significant, because prior to the revelation of the phone-data sweep this summer, the Supreme Court had rejected a similar challenge because the plaintiffs could not prove that the government had ever collected their personal data. As Verizon customers, Mr. Klayman and the other plaintiffs are now able to show “strong evidence” of that collection, the judge ruled. The judge, in granting the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, ordered the government to stop collecting the plaintiffs’ phone data and to destroy any data it had already collected, but because of the “significant national security interests at stake,” he stayed his own ruling to allow the government to appeal. The decision applies only to the plaintiffs in this case, and not to the American public at large. Though the ruling is limited in those respects, it is an enormous symbolic victory for opponents of the bulkcollection program, and a reminder of the importance of the adversarial process. For seven years, these constitutional issues have been adjudicated under “a cloak of secrecy,” as Judge Leon put it. Now, that cloak has finally been lifted in a true court of law. – New York Times

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

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IR: It is unfortunate that some people in our society did not and still some do not understand why ASUU went on strike. I must make bold to say that it is not for pecuniary benefits. Some people are thinking of material/financial gains instead of the victory this strike has won for the education sector. I think that the more sobering and engaging concern should be what happens now that the strike is over? How do we consolidate on the gains of the strike? It is a many pronged expectations. From ASUU members the public expectations are very high. With the money that will be pumped into our public universities, the question is, how do we shore up the standards in



Now that the FG/ASUU imbroglio is over teaching, research and community service? How do we ensure that our students graduate as well rounded educated people capable of holding their own anywhere in the world? How do we deal with the monster of examination malpractice, sorting, sexual harassment and moral declension in our tertiary institutions, etc? On the part of government, how

do they insist that money released for the development of infrastructure and equipment are not mismanaged, siphoned or shared? The government needs committed involvement in how the money released is spent by the benefiting universities. There is need for a fool –proof monitoring mechanism to ensure proper utilization of funds.

On the part of the students, they must make up their minds to work hard to earn their degrees. The era of sorting, sex-for-marks, examination malpractice should be over as we enter into 2014 which should mark a glorious phase of higher education in Nigeria. Students must insist that they get their best from the lecturers and the university authorities. They

Leaving voters disenfranchised as we saw in Anambra is a template of the big picture of what to expect in 2015 and truthfully, we are not shouting out loud enough against this sort of manipulative games. It is the cry of the Anambra people today; tomorrow it might just be anyone. We must learn to reject fraudulent election processes and results that negate the principles of democracy. If voters register displayed across a state for verification can be mutilated in less than two weeks to an

election as we saw, Prof Jega honestly needs a lot of explaining to do. From INEC’s own admission, it is clear that they were unable to take charge in the state where registered voters are less than two million. This categorically shows that this present INEC is not ready to conduct the 2015 election where political parties in almost 30 states will be involved in scrambling for seats. As a matter of national emergency, Prof Attahiru Jega’s time as INEC boss I think should be up! A welcome over-

stayed is a common attribute with some of our leaders saddled with responsibilities and this has never been healthy for our democracy if history is anything to go by. But before he quits, he should unveil the unseen grandmaster, the manipulative finger that Nigerians are suspecting in the Anambra electoral game of Chess.

Anambra governorship poll in retrospect

IR: In retrospect, the governorship election held on November 16 in Anambra State is a miscarriage in the electoral system. A disgrace to electioneering, a calamity for those who were directly involved, and by extension, a setback for this country. How long do we have to wait for our leaders to create a Nigeria of our dream? I mean, the type they go promising around each time they come begging for our votes? The momentousness of an event is lost in the welter of a thousand details. In my judgment, that election was an outrageously, manually and scientifically rigged process. Honestly, the fact that we have become a people without one voice against wrong doings due to lack of commitment towards national issues has become our undoing. If we cannot collectively and vocally reject wrong practices and say enough is enough, while putting our differences aside, our electoral system will never be beacon of hope. INEC alone is not to be blamed.


• Ogbhemhe R. Iluogwikphe Warri, Delta State.

SOS to Governor Amosun

IR: In September, promotion examinations were conducted for Primary school teachers across board and throughout the length and breadth of Ogun State. Interviews followed subsequently. Promptly, results of the promotion exercise came out last month. And to the amazement of some of us, our results were not released. We thought it was an oversight.

Later, what came to light was that the mass of the non promoted teachers were those of us who are nonindigenes with majority from the contiguous states of Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo and Edo. This has never happened before now and it is our belief and hope that it would not happen during this present dispensation whose creed has been JUSTICE to all without discrimination.

We hear from the grapevine that the governor was unhappy with the development and has ordered the rectification of this anomaly. What baffles us is that some officials whose duty it is to carry out this simple task seem to be dragging their feet. We feel very concerned because some of us are married to Ogun indigenes and besides, we are people of the same race who have been con-

must resist truancy, unseriousness from lecturers and non-committal attitude from the university authorities on issues pertaining to their general welfare. It is therefore of far lesser consequence to be talking about paying lecturers their arrears of salaries. Most lecturers were engaged in their research, community service and academic consultations during the period, lecturers have borrowed so much money to remain alive in order to sustain the battle. Many have died in the process – notable among them is Prof. Iyayi. What ASUU members have lost cannot be quantified. The five months salary arrears is in fact the minimum sacrifice the government is making to assuage the loss incurred by battered academics to encourage them to go back to work. Strike is like a civil war that does no side of the war any good. The government and ASUU must do all that is in their power to make this the last strike in the history of university education in Nigeria. The verdict is that ASUU, federal government, students, Nigerians and parents are the vanquished in this titanic battle. Education sector will only be the victor if the outcome of the strike helps to reposition the education sector for better productivity and efficiency. • Prof. G. O. Ozumba University of Calabar

tributing to the sociological growth of Ogun State. That’s why we are pleading once again with our father, the governor of Ogun State to see through his directive for the release of our promotion. May God continue to bless the governor in particular and Ogun State in general. • Aderibigbe Adedoyin Abeokuta




Crocodile tears on the grave of Mandela


HE death of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013) has attracted a lot of emotions, comments and tributes from many current leaders and past leaders of several countries in the world. Some of these comments are genuine, others are insincere and amounts to crocodile tears. About 100 global political players, both current and those who have held positions of power in the world, including President Barrack Obama, current American President and three former Presidents- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W Bush, and the heir apparent to the British throne Prince Charles as well as our own President Goodluck Jonathan and David Cameron, John Major and Gordon Brown, current and former British Prime Ministers respectively attended the official funeral ceremony held at a big stadium in Soweto South Africa. This must have been a security nightmare for the South African authorities. Mandela who initially embraced the non-violent philosophy of Mochandas Ghandhi-Ji later abandoned non-violence and was largely responsible for forming the Umkhonto we Sizwe (the Spear of the Nation), which was the armed youthful wing of the African National Congress (ANC). The young revolutionaries in South Africa by the 1960s were already getting impatient with the conservative and non-violent approach to African liberation espoused by the ANC. Members of the Pan African Congress (PAC) were already critical of the non-violent campaign of the ANC. We can therefore say Nelson Mandela reluctantly took to armed struggle because as he argued nobody can kill a wild beast with bare hands. In the history of the liberation of South Africa some attention should be paid to the PAC and Azanian People’s Congress’ roles as alternative platforms for the liberation of South Africa. A comparable situation is what happened in the US where the existence of militant youthful groups such as Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led by Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown, as well as the Black Panther Movement of Huey Newton and Eldrige Cleaver, and the Black Muslims particularly the faction led by one of its charismatic leaders, Malcom X with their cry burn baby burn made Martin Luther King nonviolent campaign largely acceptable to the white folks. Even though the situation was not exactly the same, white folks saw Mandela as somebody they could ultimately do business with. This does not diminish the achievements of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela but it is important to put the two global icons within their historical context. The two share many things in common especially their ability to forgive their oppressors. Martin Luther King’s tolerance is firmly rooted in Christian religion while Mandela’s ability to forgive is rooted in political reality. He wanted to build a non-racial majoritarian democracy in South Africa and he came to the conclusion that the only way to do this was by forgiving his racist oppressors who had built in


HEIR relationship became frosty long ago, but they put up a face in public. They pretended as if all was well. It indeed looked well with them, at least, at the superficial level; but deep down, all was not well. They did not start like that, mind you. In the beginning, President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo were close; so close that they saw things from the same perspective. Jonathan was beholden to Baba, that is Obasanjo, because the former president was instrumental to his rise politically. From Bayelsa State, where Jonathan was initially deputy governor and later governor, to Abuja, where he now presides over the affairs of state, Obasanjo had a hand in his political fortunes. Obasanjo was the godfather and Jonathan the godson. As president between 1999 and 2007, Obasanjo always looked out for Jonathan, the political son in whom he was well pleased. Baba, an old war horse, knows how to pick his men. He goes for those who will be subservient to him. Jonathan was a natural choice because he looked like someone who will always obey orders; a man who can be trusted not to rock the boat unlike his worldly wise former boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. Obasanjo may have been deceived by Jonathan's meek and gentle nature. But he forgot what the bard, Shakespeare, said in his tragic play Macbeth that ''there is no art to find the mind's construction in the0face''. If only he could have read Jonathan's mind on his face he

South Africa a first world infrastructure and economy albeit on the backs of the blacks. If he had adopted the Mugabe approach of land expropriation, he would have destroyed his much loved country of South Africa for which he paid huge price of 27 years imprisonment. Since 1994 when he became president and now after having been succeeded by Thabo Mbeki and the current President Jacob Zuma, the vast majority of black South Africans have remained largely poor. Of course centuries of Black marginalization cannot be removed within a few years but young black South Africans are not prepared to wait indefinitely for the fruit of majority rule. This is the challenge facing South Africa today. And some of the militant youths have been known to issue militant statements about the conniving and apologetic leadership of the ANC who are only ready to tinker with the white economic structure of South Africa without radically changing it. This is why incredibly as it may sound, Robert Mugabe is perhaps the most popular political figure in Southern Africa today. This also accounts for the tumultuous ovation he attracted when he entered the stadium during the funeral mass for Mandela. I had the opportunity to meet Mandela in May 1990, when he came to Nigeria, and the University of Lagos conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate degree after leaving prison and before becoming president of South Africa. Professor Nurudeen Alao who was Vice Chancellor asked me and Dr. Tunji Dare to prepare a citation for the great man. We independently wrote this and after comparing notes, Dare said my citation captured totally the essence of the man, and he subsequently published his own draft, I believe in The Guardian. I remember that one of the things the great man asked us was that he wanted to learn how Nigeria has been able to create a forum like the House of Chiefs in the old regions for traditional leaders to participate in governance so that he could do the same in South Africa. I do not know what became of his interest in this regard. After Mandela’s death, I have been thoroughly amused by the comments of our leaders. Some of these leaders have hailed him as a great man, a great African icon and a great world leader that is worthy of emulation. Yet some of these so-called African leaders held power for years without leaving any remarkable or worthwhile imprint on the society. It is surprising that those who overstayed their welcome in office are now acclaiming Mandela as their friend and as someone from whom they learnt something. One only hopes that our current leaders and those after them will learn from this great man’s example, that it is not the amount of money that one has that matters, but that it is the enduring and unforgettable legacies that one leaves behind that really matter. The former American President George W Bush also went to South Africa to pay his last tribute to Mandela; I believe his sincerity. But we should not forget that his Vice President Dick

Cheney regarded Mandela as a terrorist. And according to General Colin Powel, a former American Secretary of State and his successor Condoleezza Rice both of whom are blacks claimed that they were hugely embarrassed to find Mandela’s name on America’s terrorist list. It is surprising that the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping were conspicuously Jide absent in South Africa to Osuntokun pay their last respects to Mandela; they will not be missed of course. And the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found a lame reason about security and the cost of the trip not to go to South Africa. Of course, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was there because Mandela was a supporter of the Palestinian cause and liberation. Let it be remembered that Israel and the United States under President Ronald Reagan assisted South Africa to acquire nuclear weapons in the late 1970s. President Jonathan in some kind of homily during a funeral service for Mandela said that Nigeria is not likely to have a man of Mandela’s stature. I disagree and I say General Yakubu Gowon remains the greatest Head of State of Nigeria with high moral stature on a comparable level with Mandela. Gowon’s case is that of a prophet that is with no honour in his own country. Here was a man who governed this country for nine years and ended up not having a single house or billions of naira, and oil blocs in his name but was responsible for most of the enduring physical infrastructure in the country. Here is a war leader who fought a civil war and ended it without show trials and executions of those on the other side of the conflict. Gowon represents our own Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela rolled into one. Since leaving office, he went back to the university and earned himself a doctorate degree in Political Science and has never soiled his hands with filthy lucre. He has used his moral currency and goodwill to attract funds for good cause such as guinea-worm eradication and has spent along with others, years in praying for the peace of Nigeria. When he was in power, Gowon was a panAfricanist and extended the reach of Nigeria’s foreign policy to the black Diaspora in the Caribbean. History will be fair to Gowon, he may not have had the press and publicity and international acclaim that Mandela has but Gowon among our leaders certainly made a difference. And he deserves to be celebrated now and in the future.

A president in the dock would have known that our Ijaw irredentist of a leader is not one to do business with. That is not to say that Obasajo is a better customer. Obasanjo and Jonathan are two of a kind. They both look like people who cannot hurt a fly, but they can be extremely dangerous. Their colourless looks have helped to a great extent in getting them to where they are today. Obasanjo did nothing spectacular in helping Jonathan to become governor of Bayelsa State after his boss' fell from grace because the Constitution is explicit on the matter, but the former president knew what he was doing by presenting it as if it was of his (Baba’s) making. He made it clear to Jonathan that he was backing him because he found him to be clean and untainted. After all, without saying it, he got Alamieyeseigha out of office because he could not stand corruption! Obasanjo paints himself as someone who is above board. Every Nigerian except him is a thief. Obasanjo does not see anything good in others except Obasanjo. That is Baba for you. You may not like Baba's style but you cannot deny the fact that he can be hard hitting when it comes to criticising others. On such occasions, Obasanjo is unsparing, puffing and huffing as he takes his target to the cleaners. But do that to him, you will see his other side. Nigerians have come to take

‘Obasanjo may not be the saint he tried to portray himself in that letter, but that is not enough to dismiss what he is saying. There are issues in the letter that the president should address. Since this is not a court case, the onus is on him to disprove Obasanjo's claim. He should speak up before it is too late!’

Obasanjo for who he is : a man who sees the mote in others' eyes while a log is in his. Ask Shagari, ask Buhari, ask Babangida, ask the late Abacha, ask even Gowon, who was our leader before him, they will tell you what they went through in the hands of Obasanjo. He tore Shagari, Buhari, Babangida and the late Abacha, who all came to office after him, apart for allegedly bringing misery to the people. He only saw good in Abdulsalami Abubakar and that is because that one handed over to him in 1999. Obasanjo knows when to descend on these people. It is always at the time they are having problems with the public. He knows that whatever he says then, he would be hailed for being on the masses’ side. What a cunny, old man. However, this is not to say that we should dismiss him whenever he intervenes in critical national issues, just as he has done in his 18 - page letter to Jonathan titled : Before it is too late. In the letter, he analysed correctly recent happenings in the country, pointing out that the president should be blamed for some of them. e claimed that the presi dent is nursing a second term ambition, contrary to what Jonathan told him in private. Obasanjo also accused Jonathan of anti - party activities, of secretly training snipers, equipping a killer squad and placing about 1000 people on ''political watch list''. It was no love letter; it was a letter dripping with venom and anger. It was full of bile and if you like vile. It was vintage Obasanjo, who is at his best sending a stinker to those who have offended him. Having gone through the Obasanjo letter, there may be the temptation to dismiss it as the


rantings of a frustrated old man or better still a bad loser. Yes, a bad loser because he has lost out in the power game in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his home state of Ogun and at the national level. ''So, why won't he write such a letter?'' a colleague asked when we got wind of the letter in the newsroom last week. ''Of all his observations which one can he say he was not guilty of while in office?'' the colleague further asked, throwing up a heated debate that night. Obasanjo may not be the saint he tried to portray himself in that letter, but that is not enough to dismiss what he is saying. We should look at the message and not the messenger. There are issues in that letter which the president should address. Since this is not a court case, the onus is on him to disprove Obasanjo's claims. Is he secretly training snipers? Did he place about 1000 people on 'political watch list', whatever that means? Is he interested in a second term? He has since promised to let us know where he stands on that in 2014. But he should do so now in light of Obasanjo's grave allegations against him. Is he equipping a killer squad ahead of the 2015 elections? Is he fighting or ''encouraging corruption through his body language?'' As president, Jonathan wields enormous powers. People can disappear and not be seen again forever if he so wishes. This is why the hair raising allegations by Obasanjo cannot be dismissed by a wave of the hand. He has to respond to them and do so fast to allay our fears. Are we safe or not under him as our president? This is the long and short of the whole matter. So, we cannot afford to throw away the baby (letter) and the bath water (writer). The ball, as they say, is in the president's court. He should speak up before it is too late!

Lawal Ogienagbon SMS ONLY: 08099400204

Sanusi and the oil cabal


he figure is mind boggling. $49.8 billion is what is said to be missing from our oil account. It is hard to believe that such amount could be missing between January, last year and July, 2013, and we are just being told now. If the whistle blower had not been Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi, I would have dismissed the allegation offhand. Coming from him, I cannot do so, considering the fact that state governors too have been shouting for some time now that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has not been transparent in its handling of our oil money. NNPC has since denied Sanusi's claim, but the firm is not convincing enough. This is part of the ‘’haemorrhaging’’ Obasanjo was talking about. We should look deeper into this matter to save our country from the hands of oil goons. Thank God the Senate has initiated a probe. For better result, the probe should be expanded to become a joint National Assembly affair.





ETAILS of Obasanjo’s 18-page letter to President Jonathan are already in the public domain. If you ask me, I will say Jonathan’s only sin is attempting to outperform his godfather in all the departments identified by a ‘godfather who never sleeps’, such as undermining principle of separation of powers by holding in disdain, both the legislature and judiciary, selective war against corruption, politics of subterfuge, vindictiveness etc. If Jonathan is presiding over outright looting of our resources as insinuated by Obasanjo, it is perhaps because there was little left to share following the fraudulent privatisation and monetization policies of the PDP that he implemented with religious fervour. If Jonathan assembled contractors and sitting PDP governors together in Lagos and blackmailed them to part with about N7billion for building church and recreation centre in his Otuoke village, it was perhaps he was trying to outdo his godfather who also collected about half of that amount in similar manner to build a private library in his town. If Jonathan within his first year in office was frantically dumping money in a swamp in Otuoke village in the name of building a university for his fishing community, he was perhaps trying to emulate his godfather who built a private university in his Ota village. It will appear Obasanjo’s objection to President Jonathan 2015 ambition is predicated on the provision of ‘federal character, zoning and rotation’ clause in PDP constitution. But both father and son ignored the same clause in 2011, to immorally pave the way for the emergence of Jonathan as PDP presidential candidate. Obasanjo is accusing his godson of being behind some disgruntled PDP members going around to recruit people into the Labour Party to enhance his electoral fortune during 2015 election. But Jonathan has merely improved on OBJ strategy of fuelling intraparty conflicts within the opposition and inducing disgruntled members with money, cars and security support to decamp to PDP where they were ultimately rigged into

‘It is time the opposition starts preparing a blueprint for the salvation of our beleaguered land that has been repeatedly raped by PDP, the godfather and his godson this past 14 years’


Baleful legacies of godfather and godson elective offices through flawed elections. Ex-President Obasanjo has also accused his godson of ‘providing presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home’. If indeed Jonathan played such role, there was a precedent. Under Obasanjo, Bola Ige, the then justice Minister was assassinated inside his house. Iyiola Omisore, who was given state support to destabilise his party before decamping to PDP, was the only suspect according to the police. From prison detention, Omisore was awarded a senate seat by PDP in a flawed election, a feat he couldn’t repeat as a freeman after serving as a senator for four years. Although Omisore was later to be acquitted by the court, Ige murder like many other high profile murders under Obasnjo has remained unresolved. Ex-President Obasanjo lamented about ‘the serious and strong allegation of NNPC nonremitting of about $7 billion from NNPC to Central Bank occurring from export of some 130,000 barrels per day’. But it has been alleged the process of shielding NNPC started when Obasanjo added the portfolio of petroleum minister to his office as president. If indeed an ’African Development Bank Director informed Obasanjo that the Federal Government is putting the water project for Port Harcourt in the cooler because of Amaechi-Jonathan face-off, Jonathan copied that from his godfather who sat on Lagos state Local Government Allocation despite judicial pronouncement that Obasanjo lacked such power. Unfortunately, Obasanjo out of office is discovering too late that ‘attack dogs’ are more dangerous than identified adversaries. His advice is however too late for a godson

HE government of Rauf Aregbesola from inception promised to be a peculiar administration; three years later the governor has lived to its promises. The six integral action plans of the government remained the compass that guides the working and actions of the government in its core mission to battle poverty, banish hunger, unemployment, restore healthy living, promote functional education, and enhance communal peace and progress. At the inception, for eight months the governor did not appoint commissioners as was the custom in many states. This action of the governor did not go down well with the opposition who threatened to take legal action against him. When he eventually appointed the commissioners, he gave his explanation: “ I used the first eight months to save enough fund for the projects and programmes of the government; our predecessor took a bank loan that grounded the financial wheel of the administration to the tune of 18.6 billion naira to finance stadia projects when we were not hosting any sport competition. Every effort to renegotiate with the bank where the loan was taken failed until we found another bank that bought over the said debts and granted us a convenient loan to finance our projects.” The next surprise was the employment of 20,000 youths under the Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme - OYES. This singular acts was the first of its kind in Nigeria. The ousted government did not waste time in writing off the scheme as ridiculous and insulting for state graduates to be engaged in communal work with ordinary 10, 000 naira per month. They accused the government of deceit over the numbers said to have been engaged. Aregbesola was not bothered by the negative criticism; rather he asked them to verify the actual numbers under the scheme from First Bank who paid the youths monthly. He also replied the opposition by demanding from them what were they able to do for the same youths for a period of 90 months they were in power in the state. Today, the OYES scheme has since received the approvals of the World Bank which in turn sold the good idea to the Federal government and supported the scheme financially. The federal government has since kicked off the scheme under the name YESSO. The prophet is said not to enjoy respect at home, the Aregbesola scheme that was ridiculed and disparaged by political opponents is today being celebrated nationwide for reducing joblessness among our youths. The government has also mobilised youths into farming via O’REAP. Many have been trained within and outside Nigeria to embrace modern farming techniques. Vast hec-

who has followed his godfather’s footstep of deploying hungry attack dogs on political adversaries. And tragically for ex-President Obasanjo, one of his sons who also doubles as media adviser to President Jonathan has asked Obasanjo “to shut up forever and go down in history as spineless coward, driven by sheer greed and indecency,” if he cannot provide evidence for alleged existence of snipers. Such language and impertinence are not unusual during PDP perennial family squabbles. The last of the 10 reasons Obasanjo gave for writing his 18-page letter is in my view the most important. His expression of concern over the inability of an overwhelmed and clueless Jonathan to respond to the nation’s current predicaments is probably not born out of patriotism but out of concern by Obasanjo for his continued relevance as a leader who is obsessed with controlling the present and the future. Unfortunately, this is an impossible task as Leo Tolstoy has tried to prove in his theory of history through his epic novel ‘Law and Peace’. It is the actions of others that in reality define leaders’ legacies. For instance emerging as an ill-equipped accidental leader as military Head of State, Obasanjo in manner of oligarchs started to see himself as the wisest and the best to have happened to our nation. He thereafter arrogantly said the best didn’t need to win the 1979 election, preferring Shehu Shagari, who was only interested in the senate, as he has now admitted in his epistle to Jonathan, to a tested Awo or an Adamu Ciroma that had been groomed by Kaduna Mafia for leadership. The legacy of Obasanjo’s first opportunity to govern Nigeria was defined

by the collapse of second republic due to the mismanagement and incompetence of Shagari. Obasanjo has written many books “My Command”, “Not my Will’, ‘The Animal call Man”, etc, to justify his claim to intellectualism and the right to control our present and future as well as sustain what was unarguably an error of judgment in 1979. Obasanjo claimed God used him to make Yar’Adua president. But God is not mocked. Yar’Adua was so scandalized by the flawed election that produced him that he had to set up the Uwais Electoral Reform Commission whose report Jonathan administration sat on. Apart from the depletion of our foreign reserve within two years, Yar’Adua derailed Obasanjo’s power project policy conceived to generate 20,000Mw by 2010. Today we generate 4,600Mw. Of course we don’t need any other proof of God’s reproach of Obasanjo’s immoral imposition of Jonathan on Nigeria in the name of ethnic balancing than his current 18-page letter alerting Nigerians about the threat Jonathan has become to the health of our nation. The premature rendering of a dirge in the past by Obasanjo, the (oracle of Owu) has always signalled the imminent collapse of regimes Obasanjo has fraudulently built on porous ground. I think it is time the opposition starts preparing a blueprint for the salvation of our beleaguered land that has been repeatedly raped by PDP, the godfather and his godson this past 14 years. And finally since Obasanjo who takes joy in calling himself Mr. Nigeria has admitted charity for president Jonathan can begin at his Ijawland, let me also appeal to our new Yoruba political leaders to plan a response to Obasanjo’s alert and warning that Jonathan is sponsoring disgruntled and selfish Yoruba politicians to derail the modest gains made in the last three years. He has cited Ekiti where Opeyemi must have been assured he could become governor in spite of Ekiti electorate in typical PDP fashion. He cited the case of Ondo where we already know Mimiko is trying frantically to smear the good people of Ondo with PDP’s dishonourable activities alien to Ondo people. Obasanjo also made indirect reference to our respected Dr Fasehun who now finds common interest with President Jonathan. While advancing some vacuous reasons which was an insult to the people of Kano for accompanying Al Mustapha home, his action nonetheless found parallel with that of President Jonathan who Obasanjo accused of granting ‘presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home’.

Osun’s developmental strides By Yomi Obaditan tares of virgin lands are being cleard for large scale farming, loans schemes and farming equipment as well as fertilizers are also being provided to boost farming in the state. The state is gradually becoming the food basket of the Southwest. This effort has made Osun to be voted as second best in poverty index in Nigeria. The Federal office of Statistics has also adjudged it as the best among the states with less percentage of unemployed youths. An issue that shook the administration was the allegation of islamization of the state by the Aregbesola administration. First, the governor was still trying to resolve the contention between the Christians and the Muslims in the state over the use of hijab by the students in the public schools, when the governor granted public holiday to Muslims in the state in order celebrate Hegira-an Islamic new calendar to usher in New Year 1434. The Christians alleged that Aregbesola was about to convert the state into an Islamic state. His defence was that the Muslim have long being denied the right to enjoy such holiday due to the fact of history that favours the Christians as a result of colonialists’ recognition of Christian holidays at the expense of Muslims. He also touched on his mode of dressing which gave room to his critics to accuse him and his government of islamization. He made reference to former governor of Benue State, Reverend Moses Adasu, who for the three years his government lasted wore cassocks and nobody raised an eyebrows. He wondered why people now make an issue about his dressing. Almost all his celebrated breakthroughs were misconstrued out of ignorance or envy. Opon-Imo, an educational tablet that has earned the state and the governor international award and recognition was born in controversy. When the tablet was launched, the political elite especially the opposition was acidic in their condemnation of the device. Newspapers’ columnists added insulting articles upon articles ridiculing the government, but like the Wright Brothers were disparaged initially but celebrated till date over invention of aircraft, the Opon Imo has become an international phenomenon,

that has earned one award after the other. The government educational policy in which schools were reclassified into Elementary, Middle and High schools was similarly misunderstood by some individuals, churches and notably, the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Osun chapter. But when efforts were made to explain the true motives of the government, it became clear that their action was more political especially when they charged the governor with attempting to Islamize the state, whereas the same individuals and organization crying foul hailed the administration from the onset of the school reformation and reclassification exercise. But time eventually proved them wrong that the reclassification was a fulfillment of government continuous educational reform. Sukuk,the Islamic bond that the state of Osun obtained for the pursuit of educational development, turned out to become another controversial issue even by those that ought to know better. CAN alleged that it was part of methods the governor designed to Islamic the state. But government explanation was that the Central Bank of Nigeria and the financial market were behind the bond. Recently, the British Prime Minister declared that his government was set to obtain the Islamic loan. The Federal government has also indicated its willingness to use Islamic loan to finance transport projects in Nigeria. What the opposition thought they could use to rubbish the administration of Aregbesola ended up making him a pacesetter in financial management. The government efforts to transform the state into a harmonious environment conducive for living, especially in the core areas are ongoing. The project will cover one kilometre radius of the selected ancient cities of Ile-Ife, Ilesha, Osogbo, Ikirun, Ila Ejigbo, Ede,Iwo and Ikire. Osogbo the state capital has been upgraded to the extent that the opposition now enviously accuse the government of concentrating development in the state capital - an allegation that is far from the truth. The government has negotiated with the UN-Habitat with counterpart fund of N100 million naira. The reality on ground today is that the governor has done what no governor has done since the creation of the state in the past 21 years. History will surely remember him as a man of vision and purpose who gave his best to transform his people from the wretchedness to prosperous living.





F we refuse to learn a lesson from India, Switzerland, Britain, etc (countries that make a policy of sensibly respecting their nationalities), we shall surely lose Nigeria – may be very soon. The coming national conference offers us Nigerians a chance to change our country’s direction. Will we sincerely and sensibly grab that chance?” That is how I ended this column last week. I have since been following comments related to the Nigerian situation on the popular media as well as on various internet outlets. I find that the overwhelming majority of Nigerians who have made those comments have serious doubts that Nigeria can chart or follow a different direction ever. The overwhelming belief and fear is that the persons who direct Nigeria’s affairs have fixed the path of Nigeria too powerfully in its present direction, and that nothing can now change that. Among other things, that means that even if President Jonathan were to put his best efforts into the making of a national conference, no effective outcome can come out of it. Some of the most influential Nigerian leaders from the North are telling us that their sole and fixed objective is to get the presidency back to the North in 2015, and some of them are being honest by informing us that once they have the presidency back in the North, they will never let it go. Certainly, no perceptive Nigerian needs to be educated about the purport of such statements – namely, that certain sections of Nigeria religiously believe themselves to be the Godordained overlords of Nigeria, that the rest of Nigeria must learn to submit to the overlords, and that the overlords will do anything to assert their will. Now, into this cauldron of Nigeria’s political life, feed the hideous patterns of inter-relationships that have evolved, and that now exist, among Nigerian peoples. In ways that

‘I know that many of us cannot resist the itch to hit at Obasanjo, but the biggest issue about this letter is what it contains. Under what condition would a former Head of State of a country write four different letters to a current Head of State without any acknowledgement?’


HERE will be celebrations today in a number of places across Kwara State and in several other locations across the globe as friends, family members, associates and followers of Dr. Bukola Saraki, the medical-doctor-turned- banker-turned- politician marks another milestone in the history of his biological existence. The unassailable fact is that Saraki today has become a celebration and issue in, and of, Nigeria. It is not possible again to write the history of Nigeria without making provision for the inputs and efforts of this pride of Kwara, the scion of the political dynasty established by the late Olusola Saraki, who in the second republic made waves as leader of the senate and astute political bridge-builder. Glaringly, from his contributions as Special Assistant on Budget to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to his two-term tenure as Governor of Kwara State and now to his seat in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly, Saraki has impacted on the lives of Nigerians in very many special ways. His achievements in Kwara State are unquestionable, both in the enhancement of the economic status of the north-central state and in the stability of the political structure of the state which has given Kwara a unique status in the comity of states across the nation. And if there was any doubt that with the departure of the founder of the Saraki dynasty there would be rumblings and an eventual collapse of the political empire, the way the successor-leader has carried the affairs thus far has only shamed those with such expectations: the structure left behind by Oloye at Ile-Loke is waxing stronger and well positioned to continue the winning streak that Baba built into the system all through the years of his labour for the political and socio-economic upliftment of the people. Three things are worth celebrating about Saraki at a time like this. First is his unusual transformation into a legislative activist, through which he has deftly used the platform of his leadership of the Senate Committee on Ecology and Environment to make sig-

Nigeria: Why don’t we do the right thing now? did not exist at the time of independence, Nigerian nationalities are now inveterate enemies of one another, and the enormity and viciousness of the enmity and hostility are worsening in all directions across the face of Nigeria. Beyond that, almost everywhere in Nigeria, multiple species of hostility are escalating fearfully –hostility between indigenes and immigrants, between persons of different religions, between northerners and southerners, between peoples of the far North and the peoples of the Middle belt, between persons of the Igbo of the South-east and some of the multiple nationalities of the Southsouth. Sadly, desperate Igbo folks forced to migrate from their battered homeland into the homelands of other peoples are increasingly heard claiming to be conquering those other peoples’ homelands. Even the Yoruba, traditionally known for their acceptance and inclusion of strangers, are now, for the first time ever, heard speaking against some of the immigrants in their homeland. Since the 19th century, Ijaw folks have been migrating into the homeland of the Ilaje-Yoruba people in the creeks and lagoons of what is now southern Ondo State, and the relationship between the two peoples has historically been amicable. But today, the hostility between these peoples is almost touchable, and life in these lagoons and creeks is becoming increasingly dangerous. In general, the language of inter-ethnic communication gets more and more ugly all over Nigeria. Even from the highest functionaries of government, all that one can see, since independence, is special consideration for this or that nationality, and special animosity, spite and insults, towards some other nationalities. The probability is increasing fearfully that this dangerous brew will someday, soon, culminate in a horrorsoaked implosion. As Nigeria was entering into independence in 1960, we Nigerians were mostly buoyed up with high expectations and hope. Today, all of that is gone. Nothing of any importance works. Most of our key highways are in ruins, and horrific accidents on them account for rivers of blood daily. After our government had publicly announced billions of Naira on projects to improve our electricity supply, we are, in most parts of our country, less sure

of electricity today than in 1960. Capital is fleeing from Nigeria; even international oil corporations are divesting their investments in Nigeria; and unemployment has simply become an intractable monster. Life has become so uncertain and so brutish that each of us is now focused on instant gratification before we would do anything for any other person. Basic loyalties, and basic sense of duty, are vanishing. The citizen who approaches a public office for the meanest service (like merely obtaining a form) must be ready to bribe public officials first. Fraud and cheating have become our common character, and blood-curdling crimes our regular experience. Public officials and private contractors regularly collude to steal and share funds voted for public projects. Nigeria no longer exists as a country loved by its citizens. The fabric of our society has fallen apart. And in the wider world, Nigeria is now hardly ever mentioned among countries that decent people would want to do business with. Into this whole situation has flashed, in the past few days, the thunder-clap represented by the letter written by ex-President Obasanjo to President Jonathan. I know that many of us cannot resist the itch to hit at Obasanjo, but the biggest issue about this letter is what it contains. Under what condition would a former Head of State of a country write four different letters to a current Head of State without any acknowledgement? What greater proof can there possibly be that the dissoluteness wrecking Nigeria holds even the highest councils of Nigeria’s life? Moreover, is it true that our government is listing some thousands of Nigerians for some sort of hostile targeting? Or that our government is training some assassins and sharp shooters against us? Is this today’s face of the culture of assassinations that has produced so many unsolved murders in our country – to mention only a few, of Chief Bola Ige (Nigeria’s Attorney-General), Chief Alfred Rewane (industrialist and democracy movement leader), Madam Kudirat Abiola (wife of Chief M.K.O Abiola, winner of the 1993 presidential election), Dr. Marshall Harry (National Vice-chairman of a political party), Theodore Agwatu (Principal Secretary to the Imo State Governor), Odunayo Olagbaju (member,

Gbogun gboro Osun State House of Assembly), Chief Ogbonnaya Uche (one time Senatorial candidate), Ahmed Ahman Pategi (Kwara State chairman of a political party), Barnabas Igwe (Anambra State chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association), Honorable Uche Nwoke (one time senatorial candidate), Madam Suliat Adedeji (Ibadan woman society leader), Dr. Funso Williams (Lagos State gubernatorial candidate), Dr. Niyi Daramola (Ekiti State gubernatorial aspirant)? Are these bestialities then what our rulers must practice in order to keep this country together, this country that is obviously not working, this country in which we are all being reduced to abject paupers, and in which we are all being turned into fierce enemies of one another? Why would we continue to allow some people to keep treating us in these sub-human ways? It is time that we Nigerians firmly demand some categorical change in our situation. If President Jonathan sincerely believes in beneficial changes in the structure of the Nigerian federation (as he should, being a ‘minority’ man), and if he sincerely desires to champion salutary changes in the management of Nigeria, this is the time he must make his definitive statement. After the Obasanjo letter, he cannot afford to continue to keep silent over these mighty issues. If he does not believe, and does not desire the needed changes, then there is no sense in his proceeding with a national conference, and there would be good reason to begin measures for the peaceful dissolution of the troubled Nigerian federation – instead of measures for the president’s controversial decision to celebrate the centenary of the 1914 Amalgamation.

Saraki: A life dedicated to the people By Abdulwahab Oba nificant inroads into very many touchy areas of environmental degradation and abuse in several parts of the country that in years gone by would have been confined to just a few officials. The second is his management of the political empire he inherited, and which today has become a veritable tool for the political decision-making of Kwara State. The third, of course, will be his recent political moves which, along with others of like minds, have created history in Nigeria with the emergence of a potent opposition force and voice in determining the political future of Nigeria. Saraki the environmentalist is a legislator with passion for the well-being of people even far removed from his political constituency. His champion of the anti-lead poisoning campaign in Zamfara State, involvement with the review of oil spillage issues in the Niger Delta region, concern and public comments over erosion in several parts of the South-east and northern axis of the country as well as latest involvement in the campaign for Clean Cooking Initiative are all revelations of a Saraki many did not know. And why not, for as a governor of the north-central state, he surprised not a few with his many phenomenal programmes such as the innovative commercial farming initiative that has become a landmark for foreign investment in the sector in Nigeria. Little wonder he was appointed by Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves as a member of its leadership council in March. The council is a public-private partnership formed during the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2010 by the former United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. What of his involvement in the campaign to enforce discipline in the oil sector? No, I am not talking of his robust, ground breaking motion on the investigation of dubious

fuel subsidy regimes whose ripples are yet to settle in the corridors of economic and political powers in the land. I am rather speaking about his campaign to minimise oil spillage by enforcing international best practices in the sector, including appropriate punishment for offenders. As to how far he has managed the political leadership of the state and in particular the structure bequeathed to him by fate via his father, there is little to say he has not succeeded in the last one year. Take, as evidence, the fact that all his father’s political associates; men and women who influence the voting powers in the state, have come to his side. And this is attested to by the clear political victory his structure gained for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the last council election in the state. And now that he has decided to move into the All Progressive Congress (APC), who are those left behind in the PDP in Kwara? Political jobbers? This takes us right to the third issue: Saraki’s involvement in the emergence of a liberation force in Nigeria. Truth is when the issue is national interest, Saraki has always taken sometimes strange but bold decisions that eventually prove his wisdom and political sagacity. That was why despite his strong desire to contest the 2011 presidential ticket of the PDP, once the decision was taken to field Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Saraki fell in line with the national interest. At that time Nigerians wanted Jonathan and Saraki knew it. He followed the voice of the people. And now that Nigerians are yearning for a change to replace the divisive experimentations going on in the national polity as governance, Saraki has since heard the sound from the deep and joined with the voice of change. It is appropriate to celebrate this man. Not too long ago, a critic said this of him: “At the risk of stating the obvious, Saraki didn’t have to come into political office to make money. He was already made. As a credentialed

young medical doctor, he was executive director of a leading bank at a time his contemporaries were middle-level managers. Even after he distinguished himself as presidential aide on budgeting, he could still have made a fortune if that was his driving force. Truth is, Saraki had a choice. He chose to serve his people rather than rise to the commanding heights of banking or becoming a national political gladiator. Clearly, he didn’t come into the game for the money but to contribute to Kwara’s development and serve its people. And the results speak for themselves.” Why didn’t I talk about his faults? Because there is no human without shortcomings but here in Kwara we have decided to look into and celebrate the many commendable sides of this great benefactor than to join the shortsighted critics who fail often even in the professional calling of a critic to wit; a critic must not see just the ugly side of the issue but point out the bright ones too. Happy birthday, Turaki. •Oba is chief press secretary to the Kwara State Governor. He wrote in from Ilorin.

‘He chose to serve his people rather than rise to the commanding heights of banking or becoming a national political gladiator. Clearly, he didn’t come into the game for the money but to contribute to Kwara’s development and serve its people. And the results speak for themselves”’












With the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike over, universities are trying to find their feet again. How will they recover lost ground without compromising quality? KOFOWOROLA BELO-OSAGIE and SAMPSON UNAMKA report.

What next after ASUU strike? “T

HANK God, it is all over, at last,” some students erupted in joy on Tuesday on learning that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had called off its strike. The students had every reason to jubilate having stayed at home for five months and 16 days, a period during which they would have completed a semester. The joy of ASUU’s suspension of the strike echoed nationwide. From Lagos to Ibadan, Benin, Makurdi, Ilorin, Minna, Kano and Abuja, the students and their parents heaved a sigh of relief. The suspension of the strike had long been expected, but it was delayed by the death of former ASUU president Prof Festus Iyayi on his way to Kano for a meeting of the union’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on November 12. Rising from a 17-hour meeting of the NEC held at the Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUT Minna) in Niger State, on Tuesday, ASUU President, Dr Nassir Fagge said the union was suspending its strike following its acceptance of the resolution it signed with the Federal Government last Wednesday. Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Abdulwahid Omar witnessed the signing. The details of the resolution include the Federal Government’s pledge to pump N1.3 trillion into revamping the infrastructure of all public universities in the next six years. With the strike over, public universities are expected to pick up from where they stopped when the


• Fagge

There is no short cut. We have to run the normal academic calendar. We probably will resume January 6 for lectures and run the normal calendar. We cannot afford to compromise quality. We were only five weeks into the new session when the strike started

action began. Though their academic calendar were disrupted, they have redrawn their schedule to catch up on lost time. To make amends, Fagge said members of the union would double their efforts to cover the lost ground. “We have undertaken to go back to the classroom, laboratories etc, to do our best for our students, their parents and our country,” he said. The universities, many of which have fixed resumption for January next year, are considering some

options. Should they run a crash programme so that final year students can graduate and those who have just been offered admission can come in? Many students, especially those in their final year, dread elongation of the calendar, and may not mind a crash programme for them to graduate. Oritsemolebi Eric, a 300-Level student of English at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said he does not want to spend longer than necessary in school if it can be helped. “Although a lot of students have


Dream, work, best NECO pupil urges -Page 28


Retiress lament govt’s failure to review pension

THE Nigerian Union of Pensioners, University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter, has expressed concern over the Federal Government’s failure to increase the monthly pension of its members by 50 per cent, as promised. -Page 45

lost the zeal to read, I will like to be rushed. Anything that will make me to go to the next level as soon as possible, I want it. I do not want to spend extra year in the school because of the strike,” he said. Caleb Adebayo, a 400-Level student studying Law at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) also wants to be rushed so he can meet his counterparts in other schools in the Law School next year. “I will prefer if they rush us so we can meet up with Law School. If we resume now, we will be in second semester of Year Four. To


meet up, they need to rush us,” he said. However, will rushing the academic calendar not negatively impact learning? Mr Soji Oyawoye, CEO, Resource Intermediaries Ltd, a recruiting and human resources firm, said the impact of crash programme is that Nigerian universities produce graduates who cannot apply what they learn in school. He said: “The truth is that there is no way quality will not be sacrificed. Once time is lost, you cannot get time back. People just come up with certificates; they have the degrees but lack the application. Education in most places outside the country is geared towards of the knowledge gained in school but in Nigeria, it is just to possess the certificates. Universities cannot reverse time. The way it is, they will most likely rush the students to sit for exams in topics they were not • Continued on Page 26

•A 10-page section on campus news, people etc

‘We’ll play our role in nation building’ -Page 29




BoI, poly to partner on R&D

THE Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Federal Polytechnic Offa (FEDPOFFA) are to work out details of a partnership that will see to the establishment of relevant small and medium industries to utilise the various research output of the polytechnic. The FEDPOFFA Management met with a representative of the bank, Mr. Ozovehe Ismaila in the polytechnic boardroom to discuss ways BoI can assist in the commercialisation of research output for the benefits of the polytechnic's host communities, Kwara State and Nigeria. The Rector, Dr Mufutau Olatinwo, said the polytechnic is seeking required infrastructural support from government, corporate organisations and international agencies to further develop the institution's research output and contribute to Nigeria's economic development. He said FEDPOFFA requires support for its sweet potato bread and confectioneries research, which has attracted the attention of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, renewable energy, vapourizer, among others. On his part, Ismaila explained the mode of operation of the bank and commended the polytechnic for the researches, which he described as very relevant to the industrial growth of the nation.

Police chief visits THE Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr Agboola Glover-Oshodi, has promised to support the FEDPOFFA Management to eradicate cultism and all forms of social vices among students. He made this promise when he visited the polytechnic recently. He commended the management for its efforts to rid the institution of bad eggs. The Commissioner, who arrived in the company of top echelon of the Kwara State Police Command and members of Police Community Relations Committee in Offa Local Government Area, was received by the Rector, Dr. Mufutau Olatinwo; Deputy Rector, Administration, Dr. Ayo Olaosebikan; Deputy Rector, Academics, Alhaji Biaminu Saliu; Registrar, Alhaji Abdulhamid Raji; Bursar, Mr. Paul Adegbemi and the acting Librarian, Mr. Adegboyega Adedeji among other top officers of the polytechnic. In his welcome address, Dr Olatinwo said the management would sustain the cordial relationship between the two institutions. The Rector also underscored the importance of security as an indispensable ingredient towards achieving sustainable development in a society.


UI, German firm plan solar plant

HE University of Ibadan (UI) is to partner with the NigeriaGerman Energy Corporation to build a solar power plant for the institution to generate its own electricity. UI Vice-Chancellor, Prof Isaac Adewole disclosed this recently at a conference of German Academic Exchange Service, held at the international conference centre of the university. "The whole programme to me has been an outstanding one and has a lot to offer in the development of the university. One of it is that we have been able to resolve to develop a solar power plant for UI, and we believe that if we are able to get this done under the Nigeria German Energy Corporation, we shall become energy sufficient," he said Apart from supplying power to the university, Adewole said the plant will also provide a platform for the university to run a programme in solar engineering. He said: "We believe that once this is on ground, it will be replicated in other universities, because as of today the Vice-Chancellors spend a large chunk of his time thinking about water and electricity, so we can put

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

this aside once it is done, and we can have time to do other serious things. "We will also look at funding

• From left: Rector, Federal Polytechnic Offa, Dr Mufutau Olatinwo; representative of Emir of Ilorin and Magaji Nda of Ilorin Alhaji Woru Muhammed; Vice-Chancellor, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Prof Sulyman AbdulKareem; Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof AbdulGaniy Ambali; and Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology, Dr Ighodalo Ijagbone, at the opening of the NISLT conference in Ilorin.

What next after ASUU strike? • Continued from Page 25

taught. If they elongate the calendar, it means the next set will not come in. That is the unfortunate thing about education in Nigeria.” As a recruiter for many corporate organisations, Oyawoye said he now advises them to organise robust training programmes for fresh graduates to be able to fit into the work place. “We advise that every employer should have a practical training process to make sure that the graduates they employ for entry level get the appropriate training they need for the work place,” he said. Already, many universities have restructured their academic calendar. Some universities that pulled out of the strike started lectures since last month. The Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai and the Enugu State University of Technology recalled their students on November 18. The Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) and the Ebonyi State University (EBSU), Abakaliki followed suit on November 24 and 26. Mr Sunday Gana, Public Relations Officer, IBBUL, said the institution has since adjusted its second semester calendar. Lectures, which started November 18 would continue until tomorrow after which the institution will go on break from December 23 to January 3 for the Yuletide. Examina-

tions will hold for three weeks from January 8-31, and the session would end February 3. For institutions that did not break rank, some have rescheduled to start next year, and they have resolved not to rush the students. The University of Ibadan will now resume January 4 and continue with lectures until the second semester examination starts on March 31, running the calendar normally until June. EKSU VC, Prof Aina said the university has decided to start the session again so as not to sacrifice quality. “There is no short cut. We have to run the normal academic calendar. We probably will resume January 6 for lectures and run the normal calendar. We cannot afford to compromise quality. We were only five weeks into the new session when the strike started,” he said. To ensure that students admitted for the 2013/2014 academic session do not lose a full year, Aina said they would start classes when the school resumes.


bition. Shun indecent dressing and other things that can make you prone to sex. Remain good ambassadors of your parents and the school. The management of the institute does not tolerate any immorality." The Chairman of Ado-Odo/Otta Local Government Area, Rotimi Rahman said despite the negative impression given about the school, he was surprised that none of the students tested positive. He told them to get involved in voluntary organisations that crusade against AIDS in the society as a way of counseling people who still engage in unsafe sex. Medical Director of the local council, Dr Gabriel Adesanya addressed the students on various ways of contracting AIDS, warning that neither age nor status is no barrier. He also called on the society to show love to AIDS patients.

“We are bringing in the new students for the session. So we will likely have two sets of 100 Level students. Fortunately, they are not many. They started screening last Monday. We will spend the normal number of weeks for lectures and exam, and probably end the session in November,” he said. Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUT Minna), Prof Musbau Akanji, also said there will be no rush in his university. “We will take off from where we stopped. There will be no compression of the semester. We will put in the remaining weeks for the second semester,” he said. Dr Tajudden Yusuff of the Department of Actuarial Science and Insurance, UNILAG, said the students will not be rushed because they still have three weeks before the strike. “Of course, the three weeks are enough to cover the course outline. Before ASUU went on strike, I almost finished my course outline

‘The truth is that there is no way quality will not be sacrificed. Once time is lost, you cannot get time back. People just come up with certificates; they have the degrees but lack the application’

Students take HIV test

ANY students of the Ogun State Institute of Technology (OGITECH), Igbesa, have got the thanks to the Ado-Odo/ Otta Local Government Area of Ogun State, which carried out Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) tests in the school and surrounding villages. The event was part of activities to mark the year's World HIV/AIDS day by. Speaking on the occasion, Rector of the institute Dr Adetutu Olusola said he was surprised that the students willingly took the test. He added that he was glad that none of them tested positive and urged them to continue being disciplined and moral uprightness. Adetutu said: "Let me advise you to keep your negative status. And let me warn you against adolescent vices that can jeopardise your future am-

support, as it is going to be a pilot project. UI spends about N400 million on energy yearly. But when we delve into this, our savings will be huge, this is a power plant that

can serve us for the next 25 years." In his own remark, the Coordinator of Nigeria German Energy Partnership, Mr Jeremy Gaines, said the company seeks to create a winwin situation for both Nigeria and Germany, energy security for Germany, and power for Nigeria.

• OGITECH students at the event.

and was already preparing my students for exam. During the strike, the students are expected to have been reading. So for me, when the school resumes I will only use a week to round off my lecture,” he said. Mrs Alawode, FUNAAB’s Head, Directorate of Information, said there is no cause for alarm at FUNAAB as the 2012/2013 academic session had already been concluded before the strike. “Our session ended normally before the strike. It is just that the holiday was extended. The new session will be starting when we resume,” she said. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar urged the government and ASUU to evolve strong mechanism for resolving crisis of this nature to ensure that it does not fester and disrupt academic studies in future. “It has become imperative for ASUU, the Federal Government and other stakeholders to put in a place a mechanism for addressing crisis of this nature so that our students and their parents will not be visited with prolonged closure of our universities in future with its concomitant effects,” Atiku said. The former Vice President, who had initiated an online petition to end the strike, regretted the extended loss of time arising from the closure and its adverse effect, which he said, would be borne in the main by the unlucky students and their fee-paying parents. Additional report by Medinat Kanabe, Ibrahim Yusuff and Jane Chijioke



NUC rewards 17 dons, others at anniversary


HE Nigerian Universities Distinguished Professors Awards (NUDPA) was a beautiful climax to end the activities lined up to celebrate the 50 + one anniversary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) last Wednesday. Reward came for 17 professors who had recorded outstanding feats in the course of their careers. For years, they had toiled in the classroom, laboratory, and on the field seeking to add to knowledge in their areas of expertise. Perhaps some thought that their efforts had been forgotten and would never be rewarded. However, last Wednesday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, the NUC recognised their achievements, putting smiles on their faces. Prof Martin Chike Aghaji was honoured for being the first Nigerian to successfully replace the Aortic Valve with a Mechanical Heart Valve in 1987; Prof Dagogo Fubara, got accolade for the development of Space Geodesy and its application worldwide and usage in tracking space car for USA Naval Weapons (1970-75), Emeritus Prof Festus AdeAjayi was recognised for the best recorded scholarly work on the history of West Africa (1971) and Prof Anya O. Anya was praised for the improvement of human health through discoveries in biology and ecology of helminth parasites (1973). Other scholars recognised for their contributions were Prof Bolanle Awe(Arts), Prof Mark Okoro Chijioke (Engineering), Prof Umaru Gomwalk (Basic Medical Sciences), Prof Akinlawon Mabogunje (Social Sciences), Prof Awele Maduemezia (Physical Sciences), Professor Emeritus Otonti Nduka (Philosophy of Education), Prof ABC Nwosu (Biological Sciences), Emeritus Professor David Okali


Graduate wins NUDTAS award

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

(Environmental Science), Prof Ochapa Onazi (Biological Sciences) Prof Cyril Agodi Onwumechili (Basic Medical Sciences), Prof Daniel Saror (Veterinary Medicine), Prof Ahmed Tijani Sulaiman (Engineering) and Prof Buba Garegy Bajoga (Engineering). Also honoured were the winners of the Nigerian Universities Doctoral Theses Award Scheme (NUDTAS) for the years 2010-2012, in recognition of their outstanding research as well as past Executive Secretaries and Chairmen of the Commission, for their significant roles in the development of the Nigerian University System (NUS). The Chairman of the occasion and Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who was represented by his brother, Dr. Dauda Gowon, felicitated with the awardees, describing them as distinguished Nigerians, who have earned international recognition for themselves and the country through their expertise. Gowon said education is important for any nation wishing to make an impact internationally. He said it was in recognition of its importance that he went back to school after retirement to study up to the PhD level. The former Head of State, however, expressed dismay that the education sector, which used to be the pride of the nation, was gradually losing its place due to the frequent disruption of the academic calendar. On his part, the Supervising Minister of Education, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, acknowledged that the awardees had dedicated their lives to the service of the nation and made significant strides in their chosen fields, both locally and internationally. The Minister commended the

•Prof Okojie (left) presenting a plaque to Emeritus Prof Okali

•Prof Fubura

• Prof Awe

NUC for instituting the award, which, he said, would propel the university to greater heights. The Chairman of the NUC Board, Senator Amadu Ali, said the NUC had grown beyond expectation, from overseeing seven universities in 1974, to 129. He added that this growth necessitates that the Commission should embrace new approaches in handling its quality assurance mandate. In his address, the NUC Executive Secretary, Prof Julius Okojie, said that the Commission had achieved a lot in the past 51 years.

He said that though many people claim that 129 universities were too many for the NUC, they are inadequate to meet the demands of the Nigerian population. He, however, emphasised that, with the increase in the number of universities, there is a challenge for the institutions to produce the manpower needed in the system. He added that the task of regulating the universities, for greater e?ciency had also increased with the expansion of the NUC.

From left: Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Mr Nicolas Okoye, President Anabel Group and Chief Duke at the event.


Entrepreneurship will reduce unemployment, says Anyaoku

FORMER Secretary-General of the Common Wealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku has urged Nigerian youths to embrace entrepreneurship; this he believes will address the problem of unemployment in the country. He gave this charge at the closing of the Nigerian Leadership Summit held at the Intercontinental Hotel Victoria Island, Lagos last Wednesday. Anyaoku, who chaired the summit, delivered a speech titled: Let's Get to Work, in which he blamed social ills in the society such as fraud, corruption, crime etc on youth unemployment or idleness.

By Yusuff Ibrahim and Sampson Unamka

He noted that the Empowerment Nigeria project by the Anabel Leadership Academy (ALA) would go a long way in tackling the problem of unemployment through the provision of key elements necessary for the youths to start their own businesses. In his address, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Edem Duke said his presence at the occasion underscored the Federal Government's support for any project aimed at empowering Nigerians. "I am here, because it is the desire

of the Federal Government that an initiative of this nature must be supported. As Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, I think it is important for me to be identified with this forum," he said. Duke, who promised to remain committed to the initiative, urged the youth to believe in themselves, have good self esteem and respect for one another. The immediate president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Goodie Ibru in his speech titled: Entrepreneurship and the Nigerian challenge, noted that Nigeria as a nation is yet to achieve its full potential to be among the

most developed countries in the world because it has not identified the importance of entrepreneur. He stressed that the main solution to problem of unemployment in the country is entrepreneurship. He said: "We have not yet identified the strategic role of the entrepreneur in Nigeria. And so efforts to encourage entrepreneurship are lacking across all our levels of Government and in some cases even within the private sector. "There is a preference for the large, joint stock corporation run by professional managers than the risk taking start-up company propelled by the entrepreneur. "Entrepreneurship is not only tied to national development as we have seen in the United States; it is also tied to job creation. And so for us to get the millions of youths who are unemployed into the work place, I strongly believe that entrepreneurship is the solution." Ibru commended the organisers of the event, describing the event as "innovative solution to an ageold problem". The summit, which was sponsored by Anabel Leadership Academy (ALA), Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry, Silverbird, Nestoil Plc, Diamond Bank and Empower Nigeria. Among dignitaries at the event were: Former Head, Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan; former Vice President, Africa Region of World Bank, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili; House of Representatives member, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Former Presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Mega Party, Prof Pat Utomi; Managing Director Bank of Industry, Mrs. Evelyn Ndalui Oputu; Chairman Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Dr. ABC Orjiako, among others.

A Doctorate Degree graduate of the Department of Plant Breeding and Seed Technology, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ayoni Surajudeen Ogunbayo has won the Nigerian Universities Doctoral Thesis Award Scheme (NUDTAS), instituted by the National Universities Commission. The NUC, in a letter signed by Dr Ruqqayat Gurin, and addressed to the FUNAAB Vice-Chancellor, Prof Olusola Bandele Oyewole, said "I am pleased to inform the ViceChancellor that sequel to our earlier request for nominations and following submissions from your university, in consideration for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 awards under the Nigerian Universities Doctoral Theses Award Scheme (NUDTA), the following thesis from your University, emerged winner for the award in its respective discipline and year". Ogunbayo's doctoral thesis that won him the award is titled, "Genetic Variation Correlation Studies and Multilocational Performance of Lowland NERICA Rice (Oryza species L)", which was supervised by Prof David Ojo, Head of Plant Breeding and Seed Technology Department.

New head for Microfinance Bank THE FUNAAB management has appointed Mr Abimbola Adewale as the new Manager of the university's Microfinance Bank. Adewale is expected to enhance service delivery of the financial institution. The new manager holds a Higher National Diploma in Accounting, Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Management and Master of Business Administration, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, SME Club of the Enterprise Development Centre, Certified Microfinance Practitioner of the Central Bank of Nigeria/ CIBN 2012 edition, Microfinance Association of the United Kingdom and the 2013 Central Bank of Nigeria's PostExamination Monitoring Scheme. The manager has over 15 years banking experience spanning operations, foreign exchange, relationship management, noninterest banking, credit, retail banking, micro credit as well as small and medium scale enterprise segment management, having worked in various banks, including Habib, Oceanic, Unity and GTI Microfinance.

Old boys hold AGM THE 85-91 set of the Methodist Boys High School, Expressway Ibadan, Oyo State, will hold their reunion and Annual General Meeting (AGM) next Wednesday. The Acting Secretary of the MHS Old Boys Association, Aderemi Tella, said in a statement that discussions on how to restore the lost glory of the 53-year old school will be the main agenda, as well as empowering less-privileged members financially, and visiting the sick and families of deceased old boys. He said the choice of MHS as the venue is to allow members see the level of degeneration of the school's facilities so they can prepare financially to assist in the coming year. Tella also enjoined members to meet their N5.000.00 financial obligation ahead of the event.




N23m for online database THE Management of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai (IBBUL) has signed about N23million subscription to access the electronic database of Netherlands-based online book and journal service providers, Messrs El Sevier Science Direct, to boost learning and research drive at the institution. Receiving the Certificate of Agreement from the Country Representative of the company, Mallam Ibrahim Usman, the IBBUL Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ibrahim Kolo said the collaboration was fundamental because universities and research institutions are driven by the volume of their knowledge output, especially now that libraries are occupying the virtual space. With the subscription, Kolo said researchers in IBBUL and other library users will have access to the most current international journals in all disciplines. Kolo thanked the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for facilitating the collaborative process. Usman said IBB University is the 12th in the Consortium of Nigerian Universities to access the database.

Pact on Nupe language TO salvage Nupe Language from extinction, the Nupe Language and Cultural Development Committee is partnering IBBUL to establish a centre in the institution. The Committee Chairman, Prof Samuel KoloTswanya, said after their second meeting that the Nupes occupy a fundamental place in Nigeria, hence the need to revive and institutionalise the spoken language. Tswanya, who is also the Dean, Faculty of Languages and Communication Studies at IBBUL, said to actualise its mandate the committee has evolved strategies to resuscitate the dialect and make it rank among the major lingua franca in the country. The chairman pointed out that two sub-committees have been constituted to facilitate the work of the central working committee: the Roadmap Committee, made up of Prof Tswanya as the chairman, andDr. Abduallhi Mann, Alhaji Ndanusa Yakubu (Sarkin Nufuwan Katsina), Abraham Yisa as members, and Mallam Awaal Gatais (Secretary). The Editorial Committee has Ambassador Solomon Yisa as chairman, while Dr. Mohammadu Ndagi, Alhaji Alhassan Wasagi, Pastor Amos Tsado, Mr Jonathan Gana and Mr Babanya Ndagiis, as secretary. He called on the Nupes within and in the Diaspora to support to committee so as to enable it achieve greater success.


• Prof Mimiko (5th Left), with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Rotimi Ajayi (4th Left), and other Principal Officers of the university after the unveiling.


AAUA names lecture theatre after Mandela

HE Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), in Ondo State, has named its newly completed 500-capacity Lecture Theatre the “Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre.” The Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof. Femi Mimiko, unveiled the name shortly after the death of the former South African president. The VC said: “Our duty here this afternoon is to simply unveil a

Dream, work, best NECO pupil urges


T was awards galore for 113 pupils, who recorded outstanding performances in this year’s Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by the National Examinations Council (NECO) when LearnAfrica, a book publishing firm showered them with cash and gift prizes at a colourful ceremony in Lagos. Nineteen schools and 37 teachers were also rewarded for their roles in preparing the outstanding candidates during the event tagged: the LearnAfrica NECO Excellence award. It was the second time the firm would be organising the event held at the Protea Hotel, Ikeja. Sixteen-year-old Olayinka Funmilayo Tope of Charis International College, Abeokuta, was the cynosure of all eyes for bagging the overall best candidate award. The Ogun State-born teenager, who has already been admitted to study Medicine and Surgery in the University of Ibadan (UI), went away with N100, 000, a laptop and a plaque. She thanked her teachers for impacting her morally and academically, urging others coming behind to work hard as there is no short road to success. "It is good to dream but better to dream and work," she said. Kofoworola Olasumbo

name that the University Council had graciously approved, several months ago, to give to this edifice that has just been delivered. This is our little way of demonstrating how much belief we have in the life and times of a very great man, Nelson Mandela. "The purpose is to underscore the fact that here was a man who was born an African, who lived like an African, but grew and had the stat-

By Sampson Unamka

democratic society which requires the support of all stakeholders. The don, who emphasised on the importance of language and communication, described them as tools of thought and source of ethnic pride. However, he expressed regret about the poor English language proficiency of the country's graduates, arguing that it is the reason why they are not employable. "It is no more a hidden fact that students admitted into our universities and other tertiary institutions are quite deficient in the use of English and communication skills. Many of our graduates today are not employable because they cannot speak the language which has brought about a

consciousness of people for years to come are those great values that I also want us to embrace as a university - values of hard work, dedication, perseverance and love. Any organisation and life that are built on such values will endure and continue to do well. It is that, that I commend to the members of this community so that our university will continue to move in the direction that we desire for it."

Helen Harb of Roemichs International School Ilorin, got the same prize plus the New Concept in English textbook for the best grade in English Language. Aniamai Lucky Emmanuel, a teacher of English Language and Literature-in-English at Charis International College won the National Outstanding Teacher award and went home with N100,000 and a plaque. The school that produced the winners also received free library books as part of LearnAfrica's Support-a-Library Project. Saluting teachers, Chairman

LearnAfrica, Chief Emeka Iwerebom, said the firm believes that there is a seed of greatness in every child which needs to be nurtured to blossom. "But it takes one with remarkable skills to dig deep and bring the greatness to the fore, in the shape and form that everyone can touch, feel, and readily identify with," he said. Defending the integrity of the process, he said LearnAfrica Foundation has no input in the selection of the recipients. "NECO alone furnishes the Foundation with the list of winning candidates. I salute them for the onerous task of making available to us this year," he added. Mr Ikechukwu Anyawu, who represented NECO, said LearnAfrica has made a big possibility in Nigeria. He explained that the winners all made distinction grades. “Many candidates had A1 so we had to go back to their raw score to check for those who scored higher,” he said, urging the winners to continue the sterling performance at the tertiary level. “When you get to the higher institution, you must prove your mettle,” he said. He also said NECO does not fail candidates. "They fail themselves. If you do not work hard, you cannot be an excellent student; excellent students read, very well," he added. Addressing the winners, the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Segun Odubela said their toil had not been in vain. He added that there is dignity in labour.

• Odubela (left) and Iwerebon (right) presenting the award to Funmilayo.

By Medinat Kanabe

Oluwaseun, of Aatan Baptist Comprehensive High School, Oyo, who emerged second best candidate, won N80, 000 and a plaque; while third placed Ibekwe Chieloka Daniel of University Demonstration Secondary School, Benin-City, got N60, 000 and a plaque. Others who were also rewarded are: 17-year-old Odukoya Aduralere of Federal Science and Technical College, Ijebu-Mushin, who got N50,000, laptop, certificate and the New Concept Mathematics textbook for making the best grade in mathematics.

Don makes case for language policy

LECTURER in the School of Liberal Studies, Department of Languages, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos, Dr. Benjamin Osasona has called for the introduction of a curriculum that will explore interactions of technology, science, humanities and the social sciences in polytechnics in Nigeria. Osasona, who made this call at the fifth inaugural lecture of the college, said it will provide opportunities for integrative thinking, creativity and discovery, as well as for good citizenship. He said the humanities and social sciences are instrumental in understanding the past and the future, adding that the co-operation of all these subjects and disciplines are critical to a

ure of the best that humanity had ever produced." Mimiko described the late Mandela as the most outstanding individual in this age, who deserved to be honoured in many ways. Prof. Mimiko urged members of the university community to imbibe the morals of the late Mandela, saying, "What Mandela represented, what he still represents in our mind, and will continue to represent in the

lack of trust in them," he said. "Moreover, the role, status and functions of the English language in Nigeria as the national language and the lingua franca in a multi-ethnolinguistic society and the role of the English language as the language of instruction and examination have placed much emphasis on the mastery of the English language by students. Osasona said this is so because Nigeria does not have a well articulated national language policy which can be found in one document, as well as a policy for languages in education. He said the national languages should be possible vehicles for use in all arms of the state apparatus including bureaucracy and parliament. The teacher also worried about the

• Osasona

incidence of examination malpractice and misconduct, especially at secondary school level. "For this reason our universities and tertiary institutions have no faith in the certificates that our students flaunt," he said.


My score card, by Auchi Poly Rector

Protecting the girl-child


Page 42


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0805-450-3104 email: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013



‘We’ll play our role in nation building’ Fifty undergraduates have promised to assist in achieving effective university administration to boost national development. They spoke at the 12th Correspondents’ Workshop organised by The Nation in conjunction with Coca-Cola System in Nigeria. AYODEJI ADESINA and OPEOLUWA SONUGA (400-Level Law Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) report.

•CAMPUSLIFE students in a group photograph with workshop speakers and facilitators after the event


O students have a role to play in achieving an effective university administration system? “Yes,” say the speakers at the 12th CAMPUSLIFE Workshop held at Citilodge Hotel in Lekki, Lagos last weekend. The three-day capacity-building seminar sponsored by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited also featured the fifth award ceremony where student-contributors to Campus Life were rewarded. Student-writers from different campuses invited for the event converged on the Matori, Lagos headquarters of Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation on Friday. The event kicked-off with a tour of The Nation’s facility. The students were conducted round by CAMPUSLIFE Coordinator Wale Ajetunmobi. The first port of call was the Newsroom where the students learnt about newspaper production. They also visited the Production room, Pre-press section and Press Hall, where they learnt about newspaper printing and circulation.

Because of the late arrival of some of their colleagues, the students could not proceed to the NBC plant in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, on excursion. The event was cancelled to meet up with award dinner. For the students, it was an opportunity to catch up again after a long time of communicating with one another due to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike. On their way to the hotel, the students were treated to a sumptuous meal of rice and chicken at Sweet Sensation eatry. On Saturday after breakfast, the workshop began with the rendition of the National Anthem. Ajetunmobi took the participants through writing rules to refresh their memory on campus journalism. Mr Agbo Agbo, husband of the late pioneer Editor of CAMPUSLIFE, told the students to always read their published reports for improvement. The duo of Caleb Adebayo, 400Level Law, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, and Uche Anichebe, a student of the Nigerian Law School, Lagos campus, made presentations on a

four-day Peace Conference they attended in their capacity as CAMPUSLIFE reporters two months ago in Port Harcourt. The seminar was facilitated by Chevron in conjunction with CocaCola Nigeria Limited. The students said the event enable them to learn how to promote peace in the society, adding that they had become change agents. They urged their colleagues to promote peace in any community they found themselves. Adesuwa Ifedi, the country coordinator of Enactus Nigeria, a nongovernmental organisation promoting entrepreneurship among students, said because of Nigeria’s population, its youths were strategic to the world market. She told the participants, who she described as “Caleb generation”, to keep hope alive, saying those who did not believe in the coming good days in Nigeria may not witness the period when it comes. Stressing that Nigeria’s future is bright, Ifedi said foreign firms that left the country in the 1980s and early 90s were returning because “Nigeria is too big to ignore”. She said youths should acquire


necessary skills and knowledge to be relevant in the emerging business world and end poverty on the continent. Ifedi played a video about the life of an average Nigerian, going through human evolution phases and ended up with these posers: “Did he live his life as a footprint on the sands of time? Or as a legacy in the minds of men or as if he never were born on earth?” Mr Fred Chiazor, Coca Cola’s Scientific Regulatory Affairs Manager, spoke on Sparkling facts to dispel certain beliefs about CocaCola products. He said continuous intake of the beverages could not cause diabetes. Tolu Ogunlesi’s entry into the Elizabeth Hall of the hotel drew applause from the students. The unassuming Ogunlesi began his presentation in an unusual manner. He asked: “How many of you would love to practise journalism after graduation?” Dazed by the poser, a few of the students answered in the affirmative. Ogunlesi asked again: “Isn’t it that everybody here is a writer?” Ogunlesi, a trained pharmacist

turned journalist and CNN/ Multichoice African Journalist Award winner, said he never set out to become a journalist during his undergraduate days. Noticing the bewilderment on the participants’ faces, he said he had a different plan after graduating from the University of Ibadan in 2004. He wanted to be a management consultant, he said. “I cut my professional tooth in Accenture, a consulting company, and I just wanted to practise as a management consultant. But the opportunities that opened for me changed all the plans,” he said. Ogunlesi, who spoke for 20 minutes, said his penchant for “stringing words together” changed his life and discipline. He told the students to prepare to face life’s challenges, saying what they set out to become may be different from what life would bring to them after graduation. He urged the student-writers to adapt to the new media, saying journalism is changing from the conventional print and electronic media to digital platform. He advised the students to keep an open •Continued on page 30

•Varsity holds Christmas Carol -P44•NANS honours Etsu Nupe-P44



CAMPUS LIFE Predictions, forecasts and our youths


N January 2005, it was widely reported that the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) predicted that Nigeria would no longer be in existence by 2015. The CIA received criticisms and bashing from most Nigerians who rubbished the ‘prediction’. When the Boko Haram (BH) insurgency started, we all suddenly became political and security analysts as we tried to analyse the prediction using BH as a point of reference. Since the release of the purported American prognosis, there is hardly any other day you do not have commentaries in leading newspapers and the broadcast media about it. Prominent political leaders even keyed into it, using it when it suits them to showcase their contrived patriotism. With the conflation of the crises rocking the PDP (which led to five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aggressive permutations for the politics of 2015, more people are talking about this supposed American prediction. The prediction also came alive vividly during our 12th Campuslife capacity building workshop held last weekend. One of our workshop speakers, Mrs. Adesuwa Ifedi, country director of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Nigeria, in her presentation, dubbed the present generation the “Caleb generation”. Borrowing from the story of Caleb and Joshua in The Bible, Mrs. Ifedi pointed out that Caleb, alongside his colleague Joshua, differed from their 10 colleagues who formed the party of spies sent out by Moses to explore the promised land. Because of his boldness, foresight and

Pushing Out with

Agbo Agbo 08116759750 (SMS only)


determination, he was able to convince Moses and the Israelites that they are able to occupy the promised land despite the fact that the inhabitants were more powerful than they were. While asking a question, one of our students pointed to the 2015 purported CIA report. Mrs. Ifedi wanted to know if he had also seen the June 2010 report by McKinsey and Co on the potential of African economies – including Nigeria – and how they will grow by 2020. As the exchange between speaker and student went on, it became apparent that the student was more comfortable in believing the CIA ‘report’ than McKinsey’s because he believed that events in the country point dangerously to that prediction coming true. I need to point out here that not even the denial by the former United State’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCulley in February, this year was able to douse the flame of the report. McCulley had said in an interaction with journalists in Ibadan: “No US government official predicted that Nigeria will break up by 2015. That statement must have emanated from a private agency, but clearly not from the government. I must state at this point that the US is interested in Nigeria as a very important country in Africa. We have been impressed by the role played by

Nigeria in the peace process in the sub-region. Let me say a bit about the forecast here. Titled: “Lions on the move: The progress and potential of African economies”, it examined the sources behind Africa’s economic growth acceleration since 2000, analysed the prospects for future growth, and identified some of the most compelling business opportunities ahead. It also developed a framework for understanding of how growth challenges and opportunities will differ for Africa’s 53 individual countries. Because of the ruckus it created, I reviewed the document last year. The 17-page report turned out to be a summary of the outcome of a oneday conference of ‘US experts on Africa’ convened in January 2005 and sponsored by the country’s National Intelligence Council to discuss likely trends in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next 15 years. This document titled, ‘Mapping sub-Saharan Africa’s future’ is freely available on the Internet. My concern is this: like my student, some Nigerians still use the “report” as the “road map” for the future of our country. Just like the altercation that went on between the speaker and the student, some Nigerians are not taking the McKinsey’s report serious because they are like Caleb’s 10 other colleagues that the Bible did not even mention their names. Because of time Mrs. Ifedi did not go into details, but rightly pointed out her fears – which are mine as well – that the forecast may come

true, but it would be foreigners that would reap the benefits and not Nigerians. Why did the researchers believe things will improve in Africa? They said Africa’s collective Gross Demestic Product (GDP) in 2008 stood at $1.6 trillion, roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s. Africa’s combined consumer spending in 2008 was put at $860 billion and the number of new mobile phone was put at 316 million subscribers. Africa also have 60 per cent share of the world’s total amount of uncultivated, arable land. The number of African companies with revenues of at least $3 billion was put at 20. So, what would things look like by 2020? The reports forecast states that Africa’s collective GDP will rise to $2.6 trillion in 2020, consumer spending will rise to $1.4 trillion, there will be 1.1 billion Africans of working age in 2040, 128 million households would have discretionary income by 2020 and 50 per cent of Africans would be living in cities by 2030. Can you begin to see the potential if it materialises? Despite this report, most Nigerians are concerned with the purported CIA report about the breakup of the country. But just like our speaker pointed out at the workshop, there are questions we should ask ourselves: why are Nigerians in Diaspora returning home? I make bold to answer that they are seeing the potential we are not seeing because of our cynicism that nothing can work in the country. I’m afraid that her prediction may come true – as is becoming quite evident – with the takeover of the commanding height of our economy by foreign concerns while we look on helplessly. Perhaps I need to point out that Africa’s economic pulse has quickened, infusing the continent with a new commercial vibrancy. Agreed, many of the 53 individual African economies face serious challenges, including poverty, leadership, disease, and high infant

mortality. Yet, Africa’s collective GDP has been rising since 2008. As I pointed out to the students, it’s high time they started preparing themselves for the future. Thank you Coca-Cola Nigeria and NBC Campuslife started as a fourpage pull out in August 2007 through the determination and doggedness of an Amazon and initiator/pioneer editor, the late Mrs. Ngozi Agbo. Overtime, it grew to a 10-page weekly pull out that it is today. Through her determination and courage, Ngozi was able to singlehandedly convince Coca-Cola Nigeria and Nigeria Bottling Company to start sponsoring the segment. The Coca-Cola System has thus been sponsoring the pages for six years and they deserve commendation for this. Since the pullout made its debut, it has remained the leading national publication amongst Nigerian undergraduates as well as other students, both at the postgraduate and pre-tertiary levels. Campuslife is also a trailblazer. Since it hit the news stand, almost all newspapers in Nigeria now have segments dedicated to campus issue, thanks to the vision and foresight of Ngozi. I want to seize this opportunity to acknowledge some individuals who have been at the forefront of this project. I would like to identify Mr. Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs and Communications Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria; Mrs. Yanju Olomola, External Affairs Director, (NBC); Ms. Yomi Onakoya, Corporate Communications Manager (NBC); Mr. Emeka Mba, Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria and Ms. Bisi Aweda, Communications Officer (NBC). Thank you all for providing the platform to positively impacting on a generation of Nigerian undergraduates who would be eternally grateful for your support through the capacity building workshop/Awards held twice every year.

Student-contributors to CAMPUSLIFE were honoured at the Fifth CAMPUSLIFE Award held in Lagos last weekend. FEMI OGUNJOBI (400-Level Language Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) PHILIP OKORODUDU (500-Level Electrical, Electronics and Computer Engineering, Delta State University), EDDY UWOGHIREN (100-Level Medicine, University of Benin) and KINGSLEY AMATANWEZE (400-Level Material and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka) report.


HERE was silence in the hall decorated in red and white to reflect the brand colours of the sponsors – Coca Cola Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Bottling Company Limited. The students, who are writers from different higher institutions, smartly dressed - some in suits and others flowing gowns - moved quietly into the hall. They were all anxious, because they could not tell who among them would win the coveted prize - Reporter of the Year. The welcome speech by the compere, Ayo Owodunmi, a presenter with Radio Continental, invigorated the atmosphere. Welcome to the Fifth CAMPUSLIFE award, a yearly event organised by The Nation in conjunction with Coca Cola System in Nigeria to reward student-contributors to CAMPUSLIFE. The event with the theme: Challenges and prospect of university administration in Nigeria was held at the Lamboghini Event Centre in Lekki, Lagos. Prof Pat Utomi, the guest lecturer’s entry excited the students. Charging them to provoke debates on how the nation could move forward despite its limitations, he said he was thrilled to know there were students who still possessed progressive thoughts about the declining education system. Utomi looked at the university administration system in the past, saying admission regulation in universities, such as University of Ibadan, was strict compared to schools in the United Kingdom.

Reward for excellence

•The Nation rewards CAMPUSLIFE contributors He said: “In our days as students, the educational system of Nigeria was so strong that it was easier to be admitted into Harvard University than to be admitted into the then University College, Ibadan. The future of this country depends on the knowledge of the youth and the values they uphold. Our colleagues who went to London to study were seen as average students who could not meet requirement to study at home. “But today, there is no such thing again. The drop in quality of education has watered down the process of administration in our universities. Gaining admission into a Nigerian university is as easy as you can ever imagine. All those strict admission regulations have disappeared; a student cannot just apply to any school in London, he must fulfil the admission requirement.” Recalling how as an undergraduate he challenged the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, the late Colonel Joe Garba, on Nigeria’s foreign policy, which, he said, prompted the minister to visit his school to address students, he wondered why the youths of today are reluctant to read. Utomi said: “As students, you have as much part in determining the future of the country as anybody in positions of authority.”

He charged the students to use their articles to expose the ills in the society, saying everybody cannot be leader at the same time. Utomi, who left after the lecture, presented prizes to two winners. He congratulated the students on their achievements, urging them to use the award positively. At the end of the lecture, Utomi asked: “What is the mission of your generation?” Mr. Clem Ugorji, the Director of Public Affairs and Communication, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, challenged the students to follow Utomi’s path. He stressed that the strength of any society depended on the values its youths uphold, adding that Coca-Cola would not relent in investing in programmes that would add value to the youths. He said: “You are planting a seed in your life that only you will harvest in no time. We believe we are investing in people who are going to fix the wrongs in the society.” Things changed when it got to the award stage. As the categories were being introduced by the compere, the students became nervous. The award was divided into seven categories of Culture Report, Campus Sport, Personality Profile, Opinion, Investigative Report, Entertainment Report and CAMPUSLIFE Reporter of the Year. In the Culture Report category,

there were three entries with four nominees. The nominees were Gilbert Alasa and Tolulope Ogunleye with entry report For their culture, they rise, which they co-authored; Taiwo Isola, a student of University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), with the entry Cultural display at its best and Johnpaul Nnamdi, a Corps member, with the entry Projecting African culture in French language. Johnpaul picked the prize. In the Investigative Report category, Kamaludeen Abubakar, a 200-Level Geography student of Nasarawa State University in Keffi (NSUK), won with his entry, Who killed them? Kemi Busari, 400-Level Political Science student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in IleIfe, Osun State, won the Entertainment category with his entry, A comedy taken too far. Gilbert Alasa, 400-Level Foreign Languages, University of Benin (UNIBEN), won the Opinion prize, with his article titled: “We need a new amnesty”; Tolulope Ogunleye, a graduating student of Mass Communication of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) won in the Sport category with “A race of life”, while Uche Anichebe, a student in Nigeria Law School, Lagos campus, won the Personality Profile prize. Gilbert won the coveted CAMPUSLIFE Reporter of the Year

•Gilbert...the overall winner

with his report titled: “Wild world of campus pimps”, which was rated best by the judges. The gathering rose as the compere announced the overall winner. With measured steps, an elated Gilbert, walked to the podium to receive the prize. As he made his way through, others stood up to honour him. Gilbert made history; he is the first student-writer to win the prize twice. Editor of The Nation, Mr Gbenga Omostoso, praised the students for keeping faith with the newspaper, which, he said, has provided a platform for youths to contribute their quota to educational and national development. He also thanked the sponsors for keeping faith with the project. •Continued on page 31





•Uche Anichebe (Law School, Lagos) and Caleb Adebayo •From right: Suleiman Hassan Dutse (NTA TV College) (OAU) speaking on the Peace conference they attended. and Ese Okoduwa (DELSU)

•Richard Adura-Ilesanmi (AAUA)

•From right: Femi Ogunjobi (OAU); Yinka Olatunbosun (IBBU); Abdulrahman Zakariyau (ABU) amd Awwal Mijinyawa (ABU)


•Mba speaking at the workshop •Adebisi Adeniji (UI)

•Otufodunrin (left) with Ogunlesi at the workshop session

•Chiazor in a session with the students •Ifedi

‘We’ll play our role in nation building’ •Continued from page 29

mind on all matters and take advantage of social media. Getting a job in media houses, he said, would soon require candidates sending links of their original works on their blog. “The quality of your work and who you know would greatly influence how far you can go in journalism,” he said. Ogunlesi noted that that there is no end to self-development, saying: “There is no excuse any more. There is no excuse to not know or find out new things. Find experts to learn from and do things that will make experts want to listen to you. People will always give serious people attention. Writing can be learnt. We learn a lot by imitation. When you read a particular writer for so long there are tendencies you begin to reason and write from perspective similar to the writer of such works.” After the workshop, the students

went on community outreach campaign to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in IdiAraba. They visited children being treated for cancer through Child Survival and Development Organisation of Nigeria (CSDON), a non-governmental organisation established by wife of former Cross River State governor Mrs Onari Duke. After the outreach, the participants visited CSDON office in Ikoyi, Lagos, where they spoke with Mrs Duke on how to end infant death in Nigeria. According to Uche, it was a lifetime experience for her to be part of the youths being mentored through CAMPUSLIFE. UNIMAID’s Taiwo Isola said his flair for selfless service was renewed after the workshop. He hailed The Nation and Coca Cola System for creating a “progressive” platform for youths to channel their thoughts on issues affecting them and the nation.

•From left: Emmanuel Shebbs (UNICAL); David Osu (FUT MINNA); Johnpaul Nnmadi (NYSC Calabar) and Ibrahim Jatto (UDU, Sokoto)

•Tolulope Ogunleye (LASPOTECH)

Reward for excellence •Continued from page 30

In attendance were the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK), Prof Boniface Egboka, represented by former Head of Mass Communication, Prof Kate Omenugha; Vice-chancellor of Bells University of Technology in Ota Ogun State, Prof Adebadoyo Adeyemi, represented by Dr

Adebowale; Head of Mass Communication Department of the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Dr Charles Oni; country coordinator of Enactus Nigeria Mrs Adesuwa Ifedi; Online Editor, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, Editorial Page Editor Mr Sanya Oni and Managing Editor, Mr Waheed Odusile, all of The Nation.

•From right: Kingsley Amatanweze (UNN); Ekene Ahaneku (IMSU); Segun Odunayo (AAUA); Adeyemi Olalemi (UNILAG) and Taiwo Adebulu (NYSC Ibadan)







•From right: Tajudeen Yakubu (Ado Poly), Sikiru Akinola (OAU) and Kemi Busari (OAU)

•Prof Utomi (left) presenting Investigative Report prize to Kamaludeen

•Ifedi (left) presenting Entertainment prize to Kemi Busari, a student of OAU, Ile-Ife

•Uche Anichebe (left) receiving Personality Profile prize from NBC’s Ms Aweda

•From left: Taiwo Adebulu (NYSC Ibadan) and Msonter Anzaa (BSU, Makurdi) •From left: Dr. Oni and Prof Omenugha

•Mr Sanya Oni

•Dr Adebowale

•Students congratulating the winners

•The Nation’s Editor, Mr Gbenga Omotoso (fifth from left), Online Editor, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin (second right), Editorial Page Editor Mr Sanya Oni (fourth right) and Managing Editor Mr Waheed Odusile (right) with the winners: L-R: Tolulope Ogunleye (Sport), Kamaludeen Abubakar (Investigative), Kemi Busari (Entertainment), Gilbert Alasa (Opinion and Reporter of the Year), Uche Anichebe (Personality profile) and Johnpaul Nnamdi (Culture)

•Ugorji speaking at the event

•Mr Agbo Agbo

•From right: Philip Okorodudu (DELSU), Ese Okoduwa (DELSU) and Mubarak Salaudeen

•From Right: Chidiebere Enyia (IMSU) and David Osu (FUT MINNA)

•Coca-Cola’s Public Affairs and Communication Manager Mr Clem Ugorji (fourth right), Community Affairs Manager Emeka Mba (right) and NBC’s Communication Officer Bisi Aweda with the winners

•From left: Zayyad Ibrahim (BUK); Kamaludeen Abubakar (NSUK) and Suleiman Hassan Dutse (NTA TV College, Jos) PHOTOS: NIYI ADENIRAN



CAMPUS LIFE The Federal Polytechnic in Auchi (Auchi Poly), Edo State, has held its 21st Convocation, which was graced by visitors from all walks of life. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO reports


HE management of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi (Auchi Poly) has been praised for its efforts to beautify the campus and make its road passable. The campus hosted a large number of visitors during its 21st Convocation last week. As they drove into the campus to attend the event, the visitors praised the Dr Philipa Idogho-led administration for improving on the infrastructure in the school. The authorities also broke the jinx of combined convocations, a feat many believed is a new dawn in the history of the institution. For a long time, the polytechnic was known to have a culture of combining convocations for two or three sets of graduands at the same time. This development often resulted in delayed issuance of certificates, a condition that made many of its graduates to look for jobs with letters of attestation from the school. Dr Idogho listed challenges the management faced to reposition the school, stating that they later became the tonic that propelled her into action to eliminate the problems. She said she was leaving the school better than she met it. She said: “Auchi Poly has, recently, been rated high among and this is evident in the geometric increase in the number of those seeking admission into the school. Also, the school consistently maintained its premium position on the Webometrix ranking index as the second best tertiary institution in Nigeria and on the polytechnics category, the school ranked best in Nigeria and in Africa.”

My score card, by Auchi Poly Rector Dr Idogho announced that the polytechnic won the Nuxart Art prize - arts exhibition on fabricated products competition among tertiary institutions in Nigeria, adding that it was the third time the school would be winning the prize. She revealed that polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) in Awka, Anambra State, on the award of degrees in 11 courses, including Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Civil Engineering and Accounting in a bid to enrich the school’s courses. “The Senate of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, after an assessment of the polytechnic’s facilities and infrastructure, approve the affiliation, which is pending before the National Universities Commission (NUC) to carry out an independent assessment of available facilities and manpower and certified the agreement as advised. “On the pursuit of academic excellence, the school will not relent in its attempt to institutionalise the culture of inaugural lectures. To this end, all chief lecturers with doctorate degrees engaged in teaching and research by the school must

comply with directives and ensure they deliver their inaugural lectures in their respective fields. So far, only two accomplished scholars have performed this academic ritual, namely the late Dr Okhaishe Idokpesi and my humble self,”she added. She said the institution secured a working relationship with the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom on the training of academic staff and students, noting that four academic staff had benefited from the gesture. The Rector promised that her administration would continue to prioritise security of life and property on the campus. She noted that the school had constructed seven speed breakers on the busy AuchiBenin highway, which is notorious for accidents. In a convocation lecture titled: Climate change and biodiversity: Implications for national development, Prof Medina Kadiri of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) alerted policy makers to the dangers inherent in climate change. Kadiri, a former Edo State Commissioner of Environment and Mineral Resources, drew audience’s attention to the menace of flooding, erosion and other ecological problems, saying: “We must stop paying lip service to

•Dr Idogho speaking at the ceremony

these dangerous signals and begin to act proactively to forestall the weather disaster.” The occasion featured the conferment of fellowship awards on deserving recipients, including a former High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador Aziz Garuba; Ogbashi of Auchi Kingdom, Alhaja Zulietu Abu Momoh and the tra-

Protecting the girl-child The Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA) has held a campaign to sensitise Calabar residents on violence against the girl-child. ISAAC MENSAH reports.


HE girl-child is believed to be vulnerable to gender violence which is described as a global problem. Statistics shows that six out of 10 girls and women across the globe experience gender violence. They experience physical and psychological assault at home, school and in their communities. Many victims do not get justice, but the Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA), a group of students and youths, believes that violence against the girl-child and young women can be eliminated if there is adequate awareness. To stem the scourge, the Cross River State chapter of the association embarked on a campaign to Watt Market, one of the largest in Calabar, to sensitise traders. Members of the association drawn from different chapters across the state capital carried banners bearing “stop the violence” in a procession to the market. They divided themselves into small groups and spread across the perimeter of the market, speaking to traders, buyers and passersby on violence against the girl-child. The Cross River State leader of NGGA, Mrs. Grace Otu-Edem, reiterated the association’s commitment to create as enabling environment for the girl-child to live without violence. Otu-Edem said the campaign was being carried out by World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) to advocate for girl-child’s rights and end gender violence. She said the association decided to make the market its port of call this year because of large numbers of buyers that visit daily. Emphasising the need for people

to speak against the violence, Otu-Edem stressed that girls remain the world’s greatest untapped resources. The Deputy Chief Commissioner of NGGA, Eastern Zone, Dr Maria Nya, condemned a situation where parents refuse to send their girls to school, but rather used them for child labour. This situation, she said, amounted to violation of girlchild’s fundamental right to education, saying the offence was punishable under the law. Nya, the Administrator of Saint Agnes Educational Centre in Calabar, said: “Long gone are the days when the girl-child is relegated, kept at home to do household chores or sent to the market to trade when their peers are in schools. The girlchild has the right to be educated just as her male counterpart.” She warned parents against domestic violence, harassment, rape, forced marriage and prostitution, and female genital mutilation, which, she noted, were punishable under Nigeria’s extant laws. Christiana Odigie, 300-Level History and International Studies student of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), advocated that there must be end to child marriage. She noted that child marriages posed threats to the lives of young girls, because it disrupts their education, but also cause health problem such as Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF). Responding, Mr Charles Obaino, a shoe dealer, promised to extend to others.

•Participants with officials of the association after the campaign

• Participants enlightening a trader on girl-child right

ditional ruler of Igueben, Okaigun of Esanland, Ehizogie Eluojerior. Dignitaries who graced the event included representatives of the Minister of Education Nyesom Wike and Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, royal fathers, rectors, chairman and members of the school Governing Council, among others.





ATURE abhors solitude. Several levels of bonding are needed in the cosmos to attain terrestrial harmony. Plants need the sunlight of the sun for photosynthesis.Animals and plants are interdependent for survival. Even streams are said to be cleaner when interlinked for mutual purification. The narrative of creation also harped on the value of community. That explains why God created Eve to make Adam realise the true essence of life through the instrumentality of community. But when man attempts to break this natural principle, he sets himself up for a quandary. That was the case of Raskolnikov, a character in Crime and Punishment by Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky. His acute poverty and insolvency made him to contemplate solitude, to be withdrawn from the company of fellow men and evade the travails of his existence. But soon, he realised his folly: no man grows outside the bounds of society. Man finds the essence of his being through his active involvement as a member of society. Like Raskolnikov, many people have been pushed away from society and forced to live in a world of their own. They have sight but they cannot appreciate the glow of the sun, the calm of flowing streams and the air that heals our fur. They walk on the streets like we do. But through their weary gait and griefstricken eyes, you can perceive the tragedy of their plight, the tributary of pain that hounds them around, their shattered dreams, their dashed aspirations and their


The empathy chasm ‘’sorry joys and gaily-endured hardships’’, apologies to Balzac. To parody late 2Pac Shakur, they die to live. In reality, they are not living. They only exist. Today, we see lots of persons who are victims of this existential dilemma. Nigerian youths are described as “wasted” and other unflattering labels. At school, they lack a voice of their own and their hope of a better future is dampened by the failure of the system. In churches and mosques, we find adherents who are alienated from the pulse of living. So, we sympathise with them through endless and sometimes misplaced supplications. Is it enough to hand them a loaf of bread and not teach them to fish? We often forget that the morally vulnerable are part of a society’s social structure. That was the flaw committed by state bureaucrats in Aminata Sow Fall’s The Beggar’s Strike who employed brutal force to evacuate beggars from the city. But Coca Cola and Nigerian Bottling Company understands that developing an individual to paddle his own canoe is the best form of empowerment. So, they break the banks every year to give their fair share of sponsorship to the CAMPUSLIFE Project on the platform of The Nation newspaper. They knew that youths are the drivers of every prosperous economy and that through empow-

erment, they can rise above the tethers of their time and create the future of their dreams. They realised that when youthful energies are left fallow, they readily find expression in crime and unrest. So, Coca Cola and NBC have continued to foster a working template to develop Nigerian youths to become part of the bigger equation. That, perhaps, is the utmost expression of empathy. In The Empathic Civilisation, Jeremy Rifkin argued that wealth and class culture will continue to create divisions in a society but ‘’empathic extension is the only human expression that create true equality between people.’’ That empathy speaks so loud in the Coca Cola brand. They understand that shared values, empathy and experience are crucial to a winning brand just as air is vital to life. But how many firms in Nigeria support educationrelated projects? How many organisations adopt literary initiatives in their corporate social responsibility? The emphasis, of course, is always on the bottom-line. And that has been the greatest argument against capitalism. They tell us to dance. They tell us to dress semi-nude on runways and flaunt ‘’vital statistics.’’ They tell us to spend 91 days watching nude and amoral fellows all in the name of reality shows. True social cohesion would be elusive unless society ap-

preciates the value of moral empathy. That empathy has birthed a family; a kin that helps one another to crack their kernels open, to find treasures buried in caves, peaks and abyss, to take space and succeed together. But again, that family was created by the late Mrs Ngozi Agbo. She demonstrated empathy towards what she called a ‘’distressed generation.’’ She did not sit in a comfy office, complaining about the situation. She did not get herself drown in leadership criticism. She knew she had to act. She knew that noble intentions are inconsequential unless they translate into moral action. Till she breathed her last, Aunty Ngozi dissipated her energy, resources and time to salvage the lots of Nigerian youth through the weekly pull-out. To be candid, CAMPUSLIFE has continued to open doors of boundless opportunities for all of us. Dayo Ibitoye who won the 2013 Nigeria Blog award (Technology category), Ngozi Emmanuel, Nigeria’s youngest lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University; Ayodele Obajeun, Line Manager at P&G; Jumoke Awe, girlchild advocate and entrepreneur; Gbenga Ojo, publisher of Exceptional magazine; Nosakhare Uwadiae, Silverbird Television (Benin); David Osu, UN ambassador and a host of others who are doing well in their respective fields, all attest to the value proposition of CAMPUSLIFE.

By Gibert Alasa Coca Cola, NBC and The Nation newspaper have set an example on the premise that society thrives at its best when bridges are created for the young, vulnerable and forsaken flocks; that understanding that people have a lot to offer society but they would first have to be assured they are part of that society. Hence, through empathy, we offer a restorative balm to those people isolated from society, the Raskolnikovs of our time, those folks who look but find no meaning in stars, rocks and existence, those feeble fellows who require a push and pull, a longing for acceptance and the assurance that their miserable life counts. Only empathy could help us to connect those dots. •Gilbert, 400-Level, Foreign Languages, UNIBEN

How does PDP crisis affect us?

HE self-acclaimed largest political party in Africa Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – is sick at the moment. The PDP is experiencing some internal crises, which daily deepen the crack in the supposedly strongest political organisation in the country. The crises came to the fore at the August 31 Special PDP Convention held at Eagle Square, Abuja, where some of the party’s stalwarts staged a somewhat embarrassing walkout on the party leaders and the President Goodluck Jonathan. The walkout was staged by stalwarts who leaders of the party had dubbed rebels. The aggrieved members led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje included seven governors being persecuted either by the presidency or the party leadership. The governors - Adamawa, Kano, Kwara, Rivers, Niger, Sokoto, and Jigawa - thereafter unofficially

formed a group called “G7”. Their reasons for the walkout cut across problems of lack of internal democracy, favoritism, and some other personal issues. In particular, the leadership style of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the PDP chairman, does not go down well with the aggrieved governors. This led to the formation of “New PDP”, generally being referred to as n-PDP. This faction led by Baraje posited: “Not only has the constitution of the party been serially violated by its chairman and some other party executives, most of the other organs of the party have been left virtually non-functional by some of the members in high authority who believe they are above the law.” As the battle rages on who owns the soul of the PDP, other national pressing issues, top of which is nonimplementation of 2009 agreement reached with Academic Staff Union

of Universities (ASUU), which led to six-month strike action by university lecturers and rendered students idle, are not being attended to. Our roads have been described as death traps; unemployment still ravages the system, the number of jobless youths has increased in a direct variation with armed robbery. These and other numerous challenges facing the nation were not made priority of the government. The presidency, which is led by PDP, appears more interested in resolving the party’s internal crisis than attending to myriad of problem facing us. There have been several attempts to see that the PDP is put in one piece again. These attempts even included a meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the aggrieved governors. After meetings that lasted for several hours, the G7

governors laid down some certain conditions before the party can enjoy peace. Topping the list of these conditions was the removal of Tukur as national chairman but how does this improve the welfare of the masses? The problem is still ongoing with the division in the party deepening. Many of its faithful are wondering if the crises would prove to be cancer that will lead to the ‘death’ of PDP and its domination across the political landscape. Given that the recently-formed All Progressives Congress (APC) is keeping a keen eye on the situation and strategising to dislodge the ruling party from power, many PDP leaders are afraid because if this happens, that will be the end of the PDP in Nigeria. But with the political crises in the ruling party, how would 2015 general elections be conducted without fraudulent practices? Is it not the

ranked 144th among the 177 countries monitored. This implies that Nigeria has plunged deeper in the pit of corruption in the last one year, because last year the country was ranked 139th. As expected, this revelation was greeted with mixed reaction. While some expressed disappointment, others believed the country should rank lower judging from cases of monumental corruption being perpetrated in high places today. There is nothing that has not been said; blames have been traded, accusations and counteraccusation and all. While we all rant, we should not forget that we have not heard the President’s explanation on why the level of corruption in our country has taken such a turn. This is more so because he has promised on several platform to fight corruption, tooth and nail. Why then have we not seen positive changes in terms of reducing sleaze in the past few years? Of course, this is very unusual. We all remember how the presidency had come out to explain, sorry, deny the fact that 100 million Nigerians still live in poverty; a report that was pub-

lished by the famous Forbes magazine. The Federal Government vehemently refuted that fact, with claims that Nigeria is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and with our vast resources, it was impossible for a 100 million citizens to still wallow in poverty. Logically, that is very correct but unfortunately with the level of corruption in our country today, the resources are not extended to the masses. Our leaders are definitely not oblivious of the fact that the country has enough resources to cater for more than 60 per cent of the population. The question, therefore, is: where have the resources gone? This, of course, brings us to President Jonathan’s excuse which is still pending. The FG is probably still trying to cook up some cock and bull story for Nigerians in explanation to this bitter phenomenon. They must be finding it really tough, I must say. This is because there is really no excuse. Nigeria has all that it takes to win the fight against corruption and eradicate the scourge. It must be noted that some of the countries at the bottom of the list this

year are countries at the edge of precipice - Somalia, Libya, Syria and Mali. These are countries whose governments are not functioning effectively. As a result, people have to explore every means to survive. But in Nigeria’s case, there is a functioning government; why do we have to be on the same level with nations that are absolutely helpless in corruption index? What is our excuse? There used to widely-held belief that corruption in Nigeria would continue unabated because of the “high and mighty” - the untouchable in our society. During the tenure of former Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria experienced positive changes in terms of corruption and our ranking on transparency internationals index also improved greatly. Ribadu may have his shortcomings as human but it was obvious he put in his best to erase corruption on the face of Nigeria. Then, there were no sacred cows, the high and mighty in government were pulled down once they were found guilty of sleaze. Today, this is not quite the case. Why

By Khalid Ibrahim time to clamour for change in leadership and vote for people that will work for the masses’ welfare and wellbeing? •Khalid, 200-Level Sociology, BUK

Corruption and Nigeria’s excuse


By Sarat Alabidun

T is no longer news that Nigeria remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Transparency International, a non-governmental organisation that monitors and publicises corporate and political corruption in the world recently published this year’s corruption perception index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide; unsurprisingly, Nigeria has declined further. The list is in a descending order of least corrupt nations to the most corrupt nations. This year, Nigeria is

wouldn’t we be one of the most corrupt countries in the world when all we can give a minister who fraudulently acquired bullet-proof vehicles without following due process is a pat on the back? Our sister country, Ghana, did not hesitate to show one of its ministers the way out recently when she was found guilty of corrupt practices. The least Nigeria can do is to follow good example. I doubt Nigeria would ever find a valid excuse for the terrible state of corruption neither would we find the perfect perfume to ease out the stench of impunity from our quarters not until we decide to act and fight corruption from our immediate environment. We are also guilty, and a nations rulers they say, are only a replica of its followers. When we decide to shun corruption no matter how minimal, then we are takeing bold steps to finally see to the end of corruption and bold steps would someday become giant steps. Now that Nigeria has no excuse, are we going to walk the walk or just talk the talk? •Sarat, 200-Level Applied Chemistry, UDUS




•The school choir redering a song during the carol


HE Adeleke University, in Ede, Osun State has held its third Carol service on its Ceremonial Ground. Its Registrar, Olusegun Ojo, led the opening prayer. The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oluwole Amusan, thanked participants for sharing in their joy of the day.


NLY 809 of the 7,666 who applied to the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), in Effurun, Delta State were admitted. The Acting Principal/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Nnnena Dennar said at the matriculation that the students deserved kudos for being among the lucky ones. She said: “The selection process, which made it possible for you to be admitted, was vigorous and transparent; this is to ensure that the best candidates were admitted.” She advised them to be focused and hardworking in order to achieve their dream. She said: “Today, you are keeping date with history as the

Varsity holds Christmas Carol From Adewale Babarinde ADELEKE

The Bible reading was taken by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who was represented by the Commis-

sioner for Environment, Prof Olubukola Oyawoye. In his, message titled: The incarnation, the university Chaplain, Pastor Olugbenga Efuntade, said Mary, the mother of

Jesus Christ, was not carrying an ordinary child, but an offspring of the Holy Sprit, adding that Christ humbled himself and became obedient to death on the Cross . The choir entertained the audi-

PTI admits 809 of 7,666 applicants By Joseph Eshanokpe

matriculation oath taking makes you bonafide students of this great institute. The oath taking should be taken seriously, as the consequences of its breach could be monumental to any offender.” She also said the institute was established by Act No. 37 of September 19, 1972, and was amended by Act No. 52 of January 1, 1975 provides training and research in oil technology and produces technologists and technicians and other skilled per-

sonnel required for the oil industry, among others. “Since inception, 41 years ago, the institute has been a hub of petroleum expertise with a reputation for providing high quality technical education and research in petroleum related disciplines. It has to develop competent technical manpower that is driving oil and gas sector in the country. I am glad to say that PTI is a household name in the oil industry, as there is no oil company that does not have PTI graduates in its employment. You are, therefore, expected to maintain

the high academic standard set by your predecessors.” She said the institute is wellequipped with professionals and state-of- the-art equipment that are second to none in the sub Saharan Africa to develop its students. “You must, therefore, pride yourself very high above students from other higher institutions. For the institute to be at the cutting edge of technology, the academic standards are raised. From 2014/2015 academic session, the minimum entry qualifications for admission into the institute will be five O’level credits, in-

ence with spiritual hymns while invited choir groups, which included In His Image, Apostolic Faith Church, Osun District choir, Orchestra, Ajike Chimaobi Ajike, John Edo and Phenom and Zoe, took their turns to perform at the ceremony. Chairman of the university’s Governing Council, Dr Adedeji Adeleke, prayed for the students success. cluding English language and Mathematics. “With this development, prospective students will be required to meet the minimum requirements for admission into this great institute.” , “Success does not come by wishing and hoping but hard work, smart work and enthusiasm.” She added: “You must work very hard to attain it and avoid any social vices that could dash your dream. Management is poised to provide a conducive learning environment for you to excel in your chosen career. It now behooves on you to make wise use of the available opportunities.”

On and Off Campus By Solomon Izekor 08061522600

•Etsu Nupe receiving the award plaque from Momodu

NANS honours Etsu Nupe


HE National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has conferred the most student friendly Royal Father of the Year award on the Etsu Nupe. Presenting the plaque to the mon-

From Sikiru Akinola OAU

arch in his palace in Bida, Niger State, NANS Secretary-General, Daniel Momodu, said the award was in recognition the monarchs ruler for his contributions to education development, youth empowerment and nation building. The monarch thanked the students for the honour, adding that he would continue to be their friendly. He urged them to be good ambassadors of the country.




Retirees lament govt’s failure to review pension


HE Nigerian Union of Pensioners, University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter, has expressed concern over the Federal Government’s failure to increase the monthly pension of its members by 50 per cent, as promised. They spoke during the celebration of World Pension Day at the UNILAG Staff School Hall. The union’s Vice Chairman, Mr Babatunde Sanni, lamented that the the government made the promise since July 2009. "When they did not pay it and we threatened to protest, the President called a meeting and said it would be reduced to 33 per cent, but up till now, we have not gotten anything," he said.

YABATECH Rector begins second term

By Medinat Kanabe

The Treasurer, Mr Thomas Adeoye, also faulted the Federal Government for increasing the salary of military pensioners by 33 per cent when the civilians fought for it. "We fought for an increase in our pension and instead of attending to it, government went ahead to increase that of the military. Are they scared of them? We fought for it, we should get it too," he said. The Chairman, Mr Andrew Adeosun said the pensions are no longer adequate to meet their needs and urged the Federal Government to introduce minimum pension, like minimum wage. "Our monthly pension in most cases cannot take care of our funda-

mental needs. There is, therefore, urgent need to introduce minimum pension for pensioners if our lives is to be better than what it is now. "Senior citizens, who spent their hay days serving their fatherland for more than 30 years meritoriously, should not be made to regret their honest services. Properties confiscated from pension thieves should be auctioned and the proceeds realised should be appropriated and spent on settling pensioners," he said. Adeosun, represented by Mrs Sola Olanrewaju, the Assistant Secretary, added that the high unemployment rate has further worsened their lot as their wards cannot take care of them because they do not

have jobs. He told members to eat balanced diet, drink responsibly if they have to, avoid stressful situations, sleep very well and do moderate exercises. Mrs Rukayat Akpamkpa, Director Medical Services, UNILAG Medical Centre, talked to the pensioners on how to take care of their health. She said: "Check your health regularly. Don't wait until you fall ill before you go to the hospital." She focused on high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart failure She said: "If you see any sign, go and treat it before it results to severe complication. Eat balanced diet, do not eat too much carbohydrate, protein, or fat, instead eat fruits."

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie


HE Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Dr Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, has pledged to consolidate on her achievements during her first tenure. Speaking when workers and students came to congratulate her on the renewal of her appointment for a second term of four years, she pledged to take the college to greater heights. The Rector said she would ensure that the college improves in line with President Goodluck Jonathan's transformation agenda, with emphasis on access to quality education; conducive learning environment, good staff welfare and zero tolerance to cultism. She added that the premier institution was determined to be the leading polytechnic in Africa in providing first rate academic, professional and entrepreneurial education to positively impact the technological and socio-economic development of Nigeria. She thanked the management team, workers and students as well as the new governing council for making her first tenure remarkable. Dr Ladipo's first tenure lasted from December 10, 2009 to December 9, this incomplete year.

Varsity mourns monarch THE Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Prof Adebiyi Daramola, has described the death of the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida as a monumental loss to the university community, the people of Akure, and the nation. Daramola described the late monarch as an affable personality with deep love for education. The Vice-Chancellor, who commiserated with Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko; the Chairman, FUTA-Akure Partnership Forum, Chief Reuben Fasoranti; the Adesida Royal Family and the Akure Kingdom said with the Deji’s demise the country has lost “a symbol of unity, a complete gentleman and a leader who was the rallying point and unifying figure for all communities in Ondo State.” “He was a lover of peace who was deeply interested in the progress and development of the higher institutions in his domain. He was a friend of our university and his ascension to the throne further cemented the partnership between the Akure community and FUTA. As a University we will miss his fatherly advice and support which he gave without reservations,” Daramola said.

Students win software contest

• Dr Ladipo acknowledging greetings from the workers and students


HE Nigerian French Language Village (NFLV), Badagry and the Inter-College Association of French Teachers (INTER-CAFT) have renewed collaboration to enhance the French language immersion programme in Nigeria.

French Village meets HODs The management of the NFLV met with the members of INTER-CAFT, represented by the Heads of Department of French in Colleges of Education in Badagry between Thursday and Saturday last week and ad-

• Muazu Baran, representative of the Executive Director, North, First Bank; and Jacob Nandi David during the donation of a Toyota Hiace bus to the Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos. Inset: Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Titus Alams tests the bus.



dressed some issues that affect the running of the programme. In a communiqué signed by the Acting Director-General of the NFLV, Dr M.I. Alawode, and INTERCAFT President, Mr Uche Sholokwu, both parties resolved to ensure that all colleges should send their French Language students to NFLV for their immersion programme; and take advantage of the village's training for French lecturers. "All stakeholders in the colleges of education are enjoined to send their students to the NFLV for the Language Immersion Programme…Provosts are enjoined to encourage teachers of French Language in their college to participate in trainings: workshops, seminars and conferences organised by NFLV within and outside the country," the communiqué reads in part. The stakeholders also seek grants from TETFund for the programme as well as a better relationship with the French Embassy. On the part of the NFLV, the participants want the French school to ease the visa/border issues that delay students attempting to cross the border, and maintain the status quo on school fees.

THREE FUTA students have emerged winners of the Second Annual Software Competition organised by the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, in conjunction with Microsoft Nigeria, Huawei and the British Council. The competition which held at the British Council office in Abuja, had 15 teams representing different universities across Nigeria. FUTA’s TEAM EAGLE INC. made up of Aboluwarin Olaoluwa, Banjo Mofesola and Oladapo Oluwadara, won the first prize with a software programme called Enchanter, which they described as a ‘Twinkle-of-an-eye card exchange system’. The trio, all 300-Level Computer Science students, used the Near Field Communication (NFC) to develop the software which allows people to exchange virtual complimentary cards with a click of their phones. The team also won the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, ISPON students' competition held at the Tinapa Business Resort, Cross River State recently. Receiving the winners, the ViceChancellor, Prof Daramola, described them as whiz kids who have internalised and are projecting the excellence in technology which has become the hallmark at FUTA. He saluted Dr Kayode Alese, the Dean of Students Affairs and Coach for mentoring the team to success.

Institute urges members to uphold ethics

HE Chartered Institute of Administration has urged new chartered members not to compromise its ideals of integrity, openness, patriotism, hard work and non-partisanship. The institute’s President/Chairman of Council Goddy Ibominabo gave this charge at the induction of new members at the Golden Tulip Hotel, FESTAC, Lagos. "I am sure that all the inductees of today would readily agree with me

By Adegunle Olugbamila

that the process leading to their qualification and admission into the professional membership of Chartered Institute of Administration was quite tasking. This is essentially because the institute prides itself with excellence and professionalism, and would like to ensure that those that desire to join its membership are equipped with requisite administrative knowledge and skills to function as profession-

als. You will be required to apply the skills and knowledge acquired in order to build effective framework in your respective organisations," he said. He said their membership affords them rights to be awarded membership certificate, use the appellation 'Administrator' before their name, attend the institute's conference/annual general meeting, be informed of the institute's activities, vote and

be voted for during elections, use the institute’s library and receive CIA journals and other publication, among others. He also told them that they should take advantage of the institute's Continuous Membership Education and Training (COMET), designed to update the members' knowledge of administration. The institute, which Ibominabo said was established via Act No 103 of 1992 (now Cap C7 LFN 2004) is

• Ibominabo

empowered to regulate the training and practice of administration within professional membership framework throughout Nigeria. He urged state governments to partner with the institute in training their administrative workers as recommended at the All Administrators’ Conference in Abuja earlier.





Provost praises ITF THE Provost of Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo, Prof Adeyemi Idowu, has commended the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for initiating the Student Industrial Works Experience Scheme (SIWES), which has provided an avenue for students to develop their personal skills. Idowu said this at the fourth quarterly zonal meeting of SIWES Coordinators in Ondo and Ekiti States hosted by the college. Represented by his deputy, Dr. Olufemi Olajuyigbe, Idowu noted that the SIWES programmes have provided students with opportunities to be innovative, proficient, and resourceful, adding that students have also acquired leadership, presentation, interpersonal and time management skills. Idowu urged them to look into the challenges of the timely payment of students and supervisory allowances to the institutions that participate in the programme.

APPROACHING DEADLINES Ghent Scholarships in Belgium for Developing Countries - 2014 Continued from last week Scholarship Application instructions: Important: You must demon-

strate that the university of your studies, your current or future employer has a relation with Ghent University (former or current). For example: staff exchange, research projects, publications, etc. Your application will not be eligible if you cannot establish any connection with Ghent University. The deadline for 2013-2014 was

21 December 2012 for new students. The next deadline will be around December 2013. It is important to read the admission requirements and visit the official website (link found below) for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship. Deadline For Application : Dec 2013 (annual)

School holds talk

THE School of Education of ACE Ondo has held its maiden interactive session. It also inaugurated a Student Welfare Committee that would address some of the challenges of facing students in the school. The session, held at the Babatunde Ipaye hall in the college, had in attendance the Dean of the School, Dr Oyenike Oyinloye, her deputy, Dr Abiodun Ambode, and all heads of department (HoDs), and other teachers. In his welcome address, Oyinoye noted that the School of Education places premium on students' welfare to ensure they enjoy their stay while studying in the college. She said through the interactive session, the school wants to remove all forms of hindrances that could hamper any student. She said: "You are leaders of tomorrow and you need to receive all necessary training that would enhance your leadership training.”

• From left: Adewole Ajao, Opeyemi Awani and Philip Osei-Bonsu after their graduation from the Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, where they bagged Masters of Sciences degrees.


Lagos SUBEB chief, others get award

T was awards galore at the seventh Award of excellence of The Nigerian Education Times, held at the Centre for Management Development (CMD), Lagos. Some of the recipients were: WAEC Registrar Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, who won the Pillar of Education,

Institute partners APTECH


RIME Innovation Institute of Technology (PIIT) is partnering APTECH to groom students to become professionals and employers on graduation. Addressing reporters at a briefing in Ajah, Lagos, the institute's Director, Mrs Ngozi Odoh, said the PIIT also provides technical services on ICT (Information and Communications Technology) education among other services. In 2007, the Federal Government established the Innovative Enterprise Institute (IEI) as a sub-sector to regenerate value education based on the societal needs, taking as key individuals’ development into sound and effective citizen, and their full integration into the community, provision of equal access to educational opportunities for the citizenry inside and outside the formal system. According to Odoh, PIIT is partnering APTECH Limited on two brands- APTECH Computer Education (ACE) and Maya Academic of Advanced Cinematic (MAAC) Further, she said PIIT was incorporated in 2011, accredited, and licensed by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the Federal Ministry of Education in August. She said the National Innovation Diploma (NID) of the institute is equivalent to the APTECH Certified Computer Professional (ACCP) national

By Adegunle Olubamila

diploma, direct from APTECH International. She said unlike universities and polytechnics where students still go for training after graduation, PIIT offers in-depth technical training for their students thereby giving them a mileage over their counterparts. "PIIT is like a private polytechnic on its own; the certificate is globally-recognised and accredited. Our students choose their career path right from their admission, and start doing things on their own even before graduation," she said To be admitted, the institute's Registrar Mr Samuel Adepoju, said candidates must possess five credits in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) including English and Mathematics. Aside approval by NBTE and FME, Adepoju said PIIT also enjoys endorsement from Cisco Network Academy. According to him, some of the programmes under collaboration include: Certificate of Proficiency in Information System Management CPISM (six months); Diploma in Information System Management DISM (12 months); Higher Diploma in Software Engineering HDSE (18 months); and Advanced Diploma in Software Engineering ADSE (24 months) Diploma in 3D Animation and Film Making D3D (six months); and Visual Effect VFX 18 months.

By Sampson Unamka

award; Joel Babalola, a professor of Education Management, and Dr Benedicta Agusiobo, another educationist/consultant. The Provost, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED0, Ijanikin, Mr Wasiu Olalekan Bashorun clinched the Outstanding Provost of College of Education in Nigeria award; while the Outstanding Educator in Nigeria went to Dr. Olu Oni, another educationist. Chief Emeka Asoegwu won the Outstanding Education-friendly Personality award, while the Outstanding School awards were shared between Greensprings School, Lekki, and Covenant Child Academy, Ijeshatedo both in Lagos. The Lagos State SUBEB Chairman Mrs Gbolahan Daodu

claimed the Oustanding SUBEB award while the Chairman of Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area Obafemi Durosinmi emerged the Education Friendly-Personality of the year. Mr Tunde Ogunsola, Editor-inChief, The Nigerian Education Times, said the award is designed to identify and reward some distinguished Nigerians and corporate bodies for their immense contributions to the growth and development of education in Nigeria. Mrs Daodu thanked the organisers for the award. She said: "I give God the glory. He is the one who enables us achieve whatever we were able to achieve and one is humbled by the recognition that at least little effort is recognised. We just hope and pray that God will give us the strength, power, wisdom and understanding to continue to forge ahead to ensure that

Course starts September 2014 Scholarship Website: You can visit the Official Scholarship Website for more information and updates at: http:// d e v c o o p e r a t i o n / mastergrants.htm Source :Scholars4Dev education in Lagos State is improved and becomes better by the day." Project Director, Covenant Child Academy, Mrs Delight Oliseh, described the award as a sign of fulfillment. "With this award, we believe that the management of the school will work harder, the staff will work harder because the Bible says ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’” she said. The father of the day, former Lagos State governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande said the essence of education cannot be over emphasised: "We celebrate education because it is the most important sector. What can we do without education? We must sustain education and it is also a collective responsibility everybody must contribute to, he said" The event also featured the launch of a new book Letter to the Nigerian youth,written by Ogunsola. Ogunsola said: "As a trained guardian and counsellor and a journalist, I have been able to observe the ability of our youths for the past years. I noticed there are a lot of inherent potential in them, but certain issues are weighing them down. "They are unable to really develop themselves to a level that we believe will make them impact the society well. It is on that note that I decided to identify those issues that are weighing them down, encourage them and their parents and to resolve this issue so that they can move forward." Mrs Daodu lauded Ogunsola for coming up with the book which she said has good messages for youths. "We need every minute of our time to find a way of talking to our children, to the youth on the way they should go, particularly in respect of values. The book is something I recommend to everybody whether young or old. Parents and guardian should buy it for their children," she added.

• From left: Director PIIT, Mrs Vero Ebi; Managing Director Bill Option Nig Ltd, Mr Ade Akindele; Director PIIT, Mrs Odoh and the Registrar Adepoju at the briefing.





HE first of N1billion PanNigerian computer laboratories established nationwide by the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) has been inaugurated at the Government Girl Secondary School in Rumouokuta, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. It was inaugurated by the supervising Minister of Education Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, with the assistance of the Director-General, National Teachers Institute, Kaduna, Dr, Aminu Ladan Sharehu Npom. Speaking at the event, Wike said every state is expected to have one computer laboratory each considering that the world is increasingly digitalising and Nigeria cannot afford to be left out. He said the essence is to enhance the quality of teacher training and the nation's education for national development. Wike said: "Let me commend the management of NTI for this laud-


Wike opens N1b computer lab From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

able initiative, which clearly shows its commitment to providing quality, training and education facilities to improve the quality of teachers and knowledge in our basic education system. "I urge all teachers in the state to avail themselves of the service this computer laboratory is set to offer to improve their competence for a more productive and fulfilling education and professional career." The Director-General NTI Dr Aminu Ladan Npom, said he was encouraged to source for a brand of computer sets and accessories worth N1billion through a collaboration with an international donor agency.

Aminu said: “Considering the importance of ICT to the production of quality teachers in Nigeria, I am happy that we are starting the flag-off ceremony of the commissioning of NTI computer laboratories for teachers in 36 states of the federation including Abuja. "I will like to thank the Computer Aid International for sup-

porting me to acquire these computers and other accessories to enhance the quality of teachers in Nigeria. It is our duty to remain focused in the transformation effort to improve the quality of teachers,” he said. Theoccasionwasattendedby commissioners of education in the Southsouth, NTI Governing Board chairman. Ali Sa’ad Birnin Kudu, among others.

Rivers TVE centre to open January

HE Port Harcourt Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) Centre will become functional in January next year, Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Dame Alice LawrenceNemi has said. Speaking when the 30 recruited trainers for the centre visited her office, Mrs Lawrence-Nemi said TVE was key to the development of any economy especially, Rivers State. She said Governor Rotimi Amaechi seeks to entrench the German style of technical education in the state. To this end, the government sent the trainers to Germany for training. "Technical and Vocational Education is an important aspect of education. It plays a major role in developing a flexible and welleducated work force. Vocational education prepares people for specific trades, crafts and careers at various levels. Technical and Vocational Education prepares people for the world of work. It is

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

important to have a background and a skill set that allows graduates to become immersed in the global economy right from graduation," she said. Mrs Lawrence-Nemi said the Port Harcourt TVE Centre would have the same equipment as similar centres in Germany, and would offer courses like bricklaying, tiling, plastering, fashion design, woodwork, electrical works, metal and welding and sanitary works. The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Dr Richard Ofuru, said only the most qualified trainers who passed their tests would teach at the centre. On behalf of the visitors, Augustine Awoyesuku promised that the government's investment would not be in vain.

• Rivers State commissioner for Education Dame Alice Lawrence-Nemi and Perm Sec Dr. Richard Ofuru (m) in a group photograph with the German-bound teachers

• Pastor Adebowale Oyeniyi, Chairman of the occasion presenting a trophy to the winners of the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) National Bible Quiz Competition, Precious Agu and Thomson Uka of Methodist High School, Aba.

42 pupils battle for LIRS essay trophy



ORTY-TWO pupils drawn from private and public secondary schools in the six education districts of Lagos State have defended the essays submitted for the sixth Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) Secondary School Essay Ccompetition. They made oral presentations of their entries to a panel of judges at the LIRS headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. LIRS Executive Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler, said the contest was put together by the LIRS management to enlighten the pupils about the essence and use of tax revenue in the Lagos. Fowler said 315 schools were selected to submit entries. Of the lot, he said 300 schools participated, from which 142 entries were received from junior secondary school (JSS) participants; and 158 from their senior secondary school (SSS) counterparts. After grading based on the 80 per cent qualification mark, he said only 17 JSS pupils and 25 SS pupils made the benchmark. Fowler referred to the 42 students as 'best among others'. He said winners of the contest would be would be presented with scholarships, computers and other consolation prizes during the next edition of the Lagos State Tax conference coming up January next year .

By Jane Chijioke

The junior pupils wrote on : The impact of tax payment on the Lagos of our dreams, while the senior category debated the topic: Tax payment empowers government to achieve its objectives. The pupils spoke extensively about education, transportation, health, and infrastructures among others, called on the public to fulfil their civic obligation to achieve the state’s mega city dream.


ICT firm introduces School MX project

HE Special Adviser on Education to the Lagos State Governor, Otunba Fatai Olukoga has urged teachers and

By Musa Odoshimokhe

pupils in primary and secondary schools to take advantage of the School MX Project to enhance

• Pupils of AOCOED Staff School, Oto Ijaniki, Lagos dancing the school’s funfair at the school premises.

teaching and learning skills. Olukoga, who spoke at the launch of the project, sponsored by MajdateK Nigeria Company in Lagos, was represented by Mrs Kayode Olusola, a member of staff of the ministry. The School MX Project is an Information Communication Technology (ICT) package which can be installed in any interested school at an affordable rate. The idea, according to MajdateK Nigeria, is to bring ICT to the door step of schools. The chairman of the occasion, Najmudeen Suleiman, said the project would advance the learning process of schools which subscribe to the new technology. He said: "MajdateK Nigeria has the required expertise and has successfully executed projects in numerous technologies. With a highly formidable and resultoriented team, it has demystified human endeavour with ICT solutions in schools." He noted that the dynamics of the world today revolves around ICT, which Majdatek Nigeria Company is taking to education.




Govt okays journalist’s novel for schools A NOVEL, The Young Boy and the Island, written by a journalist, Mr. John Ighodaro, has been approved by the Federal Government for use in primary schools. In a statement in Calabar, the author said the novel would henceforth be used by all public primary schools in the country to develop pupils interest in literature and teach them life's lessons. The book, published by the West African Book Publishers Ltd, has been described in superlative terms by editors. One of them, Mr. Hyacinth Egbulem, said of the novel: ''It is a seminal book, very rich, accessible and easy to understand. It is a rare book, rare in the sense that you can't

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

compartmentalise it and say it is meant for a particular group only. "It is a book that every shade of society will enjoy reading irrespective of one’s education or calling in life. It can be read in the primary, in secondary schools or even at the university. It speaks to everyone.” Another editor with the publishing house, Mr. Samson Akindoyo, described the novel as ''an unusual way of handling rejection, hatred and ugly relationships. This is a story for all and sundry. It teaches us that no

matter the condition, there is always a way out and many of our so-called problems are not really beyond us as we may think, as the solutions are usually in us. Self discovery is all that we need. Many awhile, our challenges are taken past their usual limit but they are not outside the realm of possible resolution." Ighodaro is also the author of Milikoos Island and Placards, which he revealed was inspired by the subject of the Christmas message to Nigeria by the former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Sunday Mbang in this year 2000. The author, a journalist, playwright and short story writer, hails from Edo State.

• From Left: Director, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Bode Adams; Head, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, FirstBank, Mr Ismail Omamegbe; Director, Lagos State Empowerment and Resource Network (LEARN), Mrs Awoyomi and Group Head, Retail Banking Lagos Main FirstBank, Mr Seyi Oyefeso, at the launch of FutureFirst

FirstBank initiates career, financial literacy programme I T is not everyday that top executives have time to chat with school children. But many among the managers and other employees at FirstBank of Nigeria have volunteered their time to counsel secondary school pupils under the bank's FutureFirst initiative, a career counseling and financial literacy programme. Under this Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, the bank workers counsel the pupils on how to choose careers, the requirements needed to study various courses, attitudes and aptitudes to cultivate for one hour weekly for a period of 8-13 weeks The career counselling programme is designed to equip public secondary school pupils with the knowledge they need for career planning and fulfillment to prevent the pitfalls that can be associated with the wrong career move. The bank’s Group Managing Director (GMD)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Bisi Onasanya, said the programme would help the young ones avoid mistakes in their careers and finances. "As Nigeria's leading financial services institution, we are setting the pace in this regard, through our Corporate Social

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

Responsibility Platform, to avert the negative effects that may result from financial indiscipline and inadequate career choices. In implementing this initiative, volunteers from several departments in the Bank would assist in the facilitation of the career counseling programme for the students," he said. Apart from employees volunteering to counsel the pupils, the bank is also partnering with Junior Achievement of Nigeria (JAN) to run the financial literacy aspect of the programme in select schools. Throughout the 2013/2014 academic session, JAN will train 600 pupils in 20 public secondary schools in Lagos on starting, financing and running businesses to sharpen their entrepreneurship skills. They will get opportunities to put what they learn into practice by starting businesses they can run in their schools. Underscoring the importance of the initiative to the bank, Mrs Folake Ani-Mumuney, the Head, Marketing and Corporate Communication, said in an

‘There is no denying that at FirstBank, the future is our most present priority. It is on this premise coupled with our passion to see a more financially independent generation that we have designed ‘FutureFirst’

interview that it aims to prepare youths for the future they would like for themselves by exposing them to realities and possibilities. "There is no denying that at FirstBank, the future is our most present priority. It is on this premise coupled with our passion to see a more financially independent generation that we have designed 'FutureFirst'. The initiative was dubbed 'FutureFirst' because the bank believes that young people, who are the beneficiaries of this project, are its most present priority and represent the future of the nation, as well as the future of the Bank," she said. The Lagos Empowerment and Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N), the pet project of the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, is also partnering on the FutureFirst initiative. Speaking at its launch in Alausa, Lagos, Director, L.E.A.R.N, Mrs Bisi Awoyomi lauded the bank for considering the development of Nigerian youth as priority, saying it is in line with L.E.A.R.N's objectives. Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, praised the bank saying the state government would support laudable initiatives aimed at advancing education in the state. “Many youths today have derailed because of the wrong career choices they made or were made for them. It is, therefore, our collective responsibility to consciously guide these children and instill in them financial discipline and planning so that they become adults we can all be very proud of," she said.



Travel as a learning tool


ESPITE the harsh economic climate and security challenges facing the country, it is refreshing to find that people are still traveling to their hometowns for the Yuletide. Earlier this week, when passing by east-bound buses in Oshodi, I noticed a large number of travellers around the vehicles - some arranging bags, others buying last minute


Belo-Osagie 08054503077 (SMS only)

necessities from hawkers, and some others just waiting impatiently for the bus to fill and the journey to begin. Quite a number of the travellers were children. I thought they were fortunate. There are many among their peers who stay put in the big cities throughout the year and hardly get the opportunity to travel to their villages or connect with their roots. There are various reasons families do not travel 'home' regularly. For some, it is because of lack of funds. Financing a trip home for father, mother and children, and probably one or more relatives is not cheap. Fares hit the roof during festive seasons, yet travellers must not go empty handed. They usually travel with gifts for grandparents and other members of the extended families, foodstuff, and even fancy gadgets. They also have to ensure they have enough clothes to show off and money to share. Without these, a trip home can be far from exciting. Another reason many people put off travelling is because of the fear of witches and wizards or other spiritual attacks. It is like nearly all Nigerians, regardless of educational attainment, share a superstitious gene. We almost always attribute whatever phenomenon we do not understand to the activities of wicked people with spiritual powers. I once knew someone who linked her sickness to a trip she made to the village. A third valid reason from refraining from frequent travels is the bad state of our roads. It takes the very bold to make regular trips on our inter-state roads. Many are simply appalling and cause untold hardship for road users. But travelling provides a very important avenue for young ones especially to learn about their roots. In this age of modernisation, where it is fanciful for city-based parents to speak only the English Language to their wards, a trip home can help the children appreciate their mother tongue and cultural heritage. When surrounded by relatives conversing in the same language, they may get more interested in learning so they can belong. Apart from learning the language and culture of their people, children can also learn about places, their history and geography when they travel. These lessons will beat any they can learn in the four walls of a classroom because they are actualities - the children can see, feel, hear or taste whatever they are learning about. In my primary school days, one of the textbooks we used for English Language was about how a family of four travelled all over Nigeria in their car. Back then, I found the idea very interesting. However, the poor level of security in the country has stifled that desire to see Nigeria. While I still love travelling, I will not consider visiting a place where there is trouble if I can avoid it. If people do not travel to their hometowns regularly, then they are also unlikely to travel to other places of the country where they have no families or friends, especially now that there are greater economic and safety concerns. Sadly, it is foreign countries that gain from these problems. Though more expensive, many affluent people do not hold back from giving themselves and their families foreign trips as treats. The cost of air tickets, hotel bills, feeding and shopping, to mention a few is definitely not what the average Nigerian can afford. Many of the elite schools in Nigeria also organise trips for their pupils to all other countries but Nigeria. Tourism sites in Nigeria are far less attractive to these people, resulting in capital flight to the countries they visit. So, instead of learning more about our country, our children learn more about the foreign countries, or they do not learn much at all (if they do no t travel at all). But we cannot blame people for not travelling, or for choosing to travel overseas instead. It is the government that can drive change. The first thing the government must address is insecurity. People will not go near places that are insecure for leisure. If our security agencies can effectively tackle crime, and our roads and tourist sites are in good conditions, many more people will travel around the country. If many more children travel around the country, they may become more patriotic Nigerians.

From my Inbox Re: A guinea pig again (published December 12, 2013) Madam Belo-Osagie: Your contribution in educating the people is highly commendable. Really, if we allow those concerned to groom half-baked doctors, then we are doomed. God forbid! A stitch in time saves nine. Cheers, Austin Orifa, DC 3, Akoko Edo, Edo State.












MDAs underfunded, Senate panel alleges 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456

OW much has the Federal Ministry of Finance released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) this year? The ministry claims to have released 90 per cent of the MDAs’ budgetary allocations to them but the Senate Committee on Science and Technology has implored the media to verify the claim. During a visit to the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) in Lagos, the committee chairman Senator Robert Boroffice said since the beginning of the year, the MDAs ‘cannot boast of more than 50 per cent budget performace’. He said: “As journalists, do your investigations. Visit parastatals, agencies and ministries. Look at what was budgeted for them, what was approved and what was eventually released. And do your calculation, it is a simple arithmetic. The visit of the committee is not to fault the executive in its functions, but to ensure that the fund released to the agency is judiciously used; find out the problems confronting the agency, and as legislators, where can we help? I was a director-general in a science and technology agency where I spent 18 years in the ministry, the story is pathetic. Science is not seen as being relevant. “What am seeing here at this agency of Science and Technology is pathetic. They are given little money. You cannot do science in an envelope- that it cannot exceed that amount released to it hampers research. You see research is not about building houses. In science, you may spend about N10 million on research, and yet not see the results. You see in research, you are dealing with enzymes, products production, microbes and antibiotics; our people are used to capital. When you talk of capital project, they are look-

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

ing out for buildings, so if you are not building or constructing, they say you don’t need money.” “Agencies like this are handicapped. If you add a kobo to what is presented by MDAs, you are accused of blowing up the budget, whereas, there is no Ministry of Finance official nor of the Presidency here. We, as Senators, are elected by the people and we know their problems, so when a proposal of N10 million, is put forward and we know it needs N50million, the ministry kicks and insists it cannot go beyond what is in the envelop. It is a terrible experience.” On the claim that it is expensive to register natural medicine products with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Boroffice said: “NAFDAC can be invited for dialogue. NAFDAC is working for the government on behalf of the people, so for a government that wants to promote entrepreneurship and create wealth, if an agency of government wants to be an impediment to such, it is not an issue. For it is not a foreign agency but indigenous one. It can be invited to a roundtable talk to reduce its registration and licensing fees.” A member of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Gobir said: “Any nation that does not embrace its indigenous or traditional medicine is bound to fail. This is because no nation can depend absolutely on orthodox medicine. The challenges facing the development of traditional medicine in Nigeria are two- some practitioners are not ready to subject their production to good

1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 •From left: Mr Okujagu conducting Senator Gobir and Senator Boroffice round the agency. PHOTO: OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA

manufacturing practice (GMP) and marketability. For instance, this agency has developed some products awaiting marketing and if somebody can come forward to commercialise them with the agency getting the patent right, the products will fly.” NNMDA Director-General, Tamunoibuomi Okujagu said the agency was doing fine because it focuses on specific projects. “This is in spite of perception of most people, especially the elite on natural

medicine. In this age, most expect to see an old man with a white cap and a tooth chanting or claiming to have solution to plethora of health conditions and diseases. Natural Medicine in this new age has transformed beyond that. We now do more of research and evidence based products that are reproducible anywhere in the world. “People should start seeing the scientific part of natural medicine. And that is the major challenge we face as an agency. We have myriads of prod-

1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 Hospital okays 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 herbal 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 supplement 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 N herbal supplement, 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 Adams Desire, has been 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 proven to be effective in 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 the treatment of Erectile Dysfunc- 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 tion (ED), improvement of sperm 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 count and associated quality of 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 life. 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 Its efficacy was established by a 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 medical team headed by Dr 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 Ayoade Adedokun, a family 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 health physician, with the Lagos 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 State University Teaching Hospi- 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 tal (LASUTH), Ikeja. 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 The study showed that Nature’s 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 Field Adams Desire is safe for the 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 treatment of ED and improvement 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456


in semen quality/sperm count. According to the Marketing Manager, Sylken Limited, (marketers of the supplement), Mrs Maryjee Ihejirika: “Adam’s Desire is a scientific blend of eight highly potent natural actives that numerous research have proven to turn around cases of several common occurring sexual dysfunction peculiar to adult males. “Adams Desire achieves fuller and firmer erection by preventing the deposition of fibrin on the capillary walls, increasing blood flow to the penis. It also induces peripheral relaxation of smooth muscles in the vas deference, seminal vesicles, prostrate and urethra by its effect on the nitric oxide/cGMP pathway thereby prolonging in-

•From left: Mrs Ihejirika; Managing Director/CEO, Sylken Limited, Uche Nwana; Marketing Executive Nneka Nwadozie and Medical Sales Representative Deborah Ojo, during the introduction of Adam’s Desire and other Health products in Lagos. By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

tra-vaginal ejaculation/penetration latency time. Adams desire contains amino acid arginine which increases sperm production. Also contains Terristris tribulus extract that supports spermatogenesis, improving both sperm count and morphology. “For stamina, Adams Desire increases the natural level of testosterone thereby exerting anti-fatigue effect. It reduces cortisol to normal when abnormally high, thus alleviating weakness associ-

ated with stress. Increases blood flow and oxygenation to the muscle tissues, thereby increasing their function in maintaining stamina.” On libido, she said: “Adams Desire inhibits the action of acetylcholinesterase on neurotransmitters, increasing the level of cholinergic neurotransmitters associated with sexual arousal enhancement. It contains amino acids alanine, tyrosine and histidine required to produce these cholinergic neurotransmitters. Adams

Desire increases serotonin level that is crucial to memory and sensory stimulation leading to arousal. Adams Desire will improve and enhance your sexual performance, strengthening your marital relationship and prevent marital woes arising from poor sexual performance.” “This is because it will help you achieve fuller and firmer erections; improves libido (sexual arousal); improves sperm count and morphology; gives stamina and corrects premature ejaculation.”

ucts, results of research and intense scientific investigations, to the point of finished products emanating from good manufacturing practice (GMP). These products and efforts showcase the ingenuity and diversity of natural medicine. The value of traditional medicine to the economy is huge. China, for instance, is exporting its natural health products and that has boosted its economy on foreign exchange. About 85 per cent of our people still partonise natural medicine and the market is waiting to be tapped in, and the potential is huge.”

‘Treat infections’


EOPLE should learn not to ignore any infection, especially sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the Director, Saint Herbals, Paul Torty has said. He spoke at the launch of a herbal preparation Batulin in Lagos. Torty said: “Germs are found everywhere. Some are in our bodies to do us good, such as the friendly bacteria that are resident in the lining of the intestines, upper respiratory tract and lower urinary system. Batulin fights bad and dangerous bacteria thereby contributing to immune defense and good digestion. But other classes of microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites wreak havoc and cause health problems when they invade our bodies. Batulin is a quality herbal preparation that is researched to provide remedy to common infections such as toilets infections, candidiasis and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).” He added: “Batulin supports the immune system, purifies the blood and fights infections that manifest as feverish condition, body hotness, internal heat, which generally weakens the body and leads to loss of energy. Infections affect male and female fertility as it affects the quality of sperm production. In researching Batulin, a number of other herbs that have anti infective properties were combined for effective and sustainable results. Batulin is also good for antiviral activities such as influenza. Batulin also restores weak erection caused by infections.”





When cometh Guardian Angels? Welcome Miracle Salt

Herbs and Supplements to Watch in 2014 (4)


ANY Nigerians now know of MORINGA, more than 10 years after Ghanaians began to export it to this slumbering country and discovered the herbs market here to be a huge gold mine. But not many people know much about another gold mine as huge as, if not bigger, than Moringa’s. I am talking about Spirulina, one of the three super foods of the 21st Century. I knew about Moringa at a 2002 Accra Conference on agriculture business in sustainable products sponsored by some agencies of the United States government, Rutgers University and South Africans. That was two years after Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and other member countries of the World Health Organisation (WHO) signed a treaty to upgrade Traditional Medicine TM to the status of Orthodox or Western Medicine. They were to find research into product development, set up collges of Traditional Medicine, register TM practitioners, set up TM Hospitals and regulate TM practice, among other things. By 2002, Ghana had set up a TM products development centre, which till this day receives recipes from the public, checks them for toxicity and efficacy, and recommends them to doctors and hospitals if the resource persons found them effective and non-toxic. The centre does not steal the intellectual property of its resource persons. Rather, they are paid royalties from the proceeds of products the centre helps them to develop and market. And that was how Ghanaian TM products began to swamp the Nigerian Market. The 2002 Accra conference featured star TM products from many African countries. Nigeria walked tall with Jobelyn, a blood restorative formula which has since matured into an antioxidant product with huge benefits in HIV and cancer therapies. Ghana’s leading product was Phytolaria, a herbal anti-malarial developed by a Ghanaian doctor. The East Africans came with a mosquito repellant candle made from the leaves of Dogoyaro leaf powder which keeps mosquitoes, cockroaches, ants and rats at bay. The South Africans brought Roibos tea, an anti-oxidant tea which now sells worldwide. It was at that conference I learned that tea drinking is big business world-wide and that it is more profitable to health to drink anti-oxidant teas, beverages and wines. It is doubtful if any popular Nigerian tea or beverage today has anti-oxidant properties. Spirulina, named a super food for this century as the last millennium was winding up, surfaced at the Accra conference. It was brought by some Americans who cultivated it commercially in Cote d’voire. The Americans invited me to visit their farm, but civil war soon broke out in that country, and I forgot about it. Meanwhile, Spirulina was trickling into Nigeria from all sorts of sources, particularly Europe and Asia. I remember it was at that time I nicknamed one of my sons Spirulina Boy. He hated the bland taste of Spirulina when I introduced it to the dining table. He hated vegetable. If he sighted as little as a green leaf or a pod of okro in the stew or sauce, that was the end of that meal. Yet, he wasn’t growing well, in my view. Then, one day, an idea struck me. I downloaded a beautiful report of Spirulina from the internet and gave it to him to read to us all at table one weekend evening. The report showed how well loaded with protein, iron, vitamins, minerals etc Spirulina is, and how it was helping children to grow and keeping aging people from shrinking in body size and staying fresh, robust and healthy. To my surprise, this boy accused me afterwards of not telling him everything the literature taught him. I realised I may have been lording Spirulina over him, and he may simply have been resisting me. Since then, I advise parents to the latter approach. To elevate the taste, maybe a teaspoonful of Blackstrap Molasses may be added to their Spirulina drink. I witnessed another dimension of Spirulina business at a 2006 conference in Senegal. The wife of President Wede, a French, was making anti-malarial syrup from Dogoyaro seeds for children, and cultivating large farms of Spirulina for sale in their country. Senegal had no petrodollar to fool around with, and had to be mindful about how to spend foreign reserve. As much as was feasible, everything had to come from within the country. This woman did not allow young Senegalese women abuse their bodies and souls in prostitution once they left school and had no jobs. She got the government to set up large farm-settlement type plantations on which she engaged them in vegetable and herbs growing, to take care of the stomach and the health of the populace. I had thought she would jump at the idea of exporting Spirulina to Nigeria. How wrong I was! She said what she was producing was not enough for Senegal and Senegal had to come first. I returned to Nigeria, determined to encourage cultivation of Spirulina in this country. I spoke to Agriculture graduates and Microbiology graduates who were unemployed, believing that they were intellectually equipped. But none of them was interested. All they wanted were jobs! Since that time so much water has flown under the bridge.

Almost all the food supplements network companies now sell Spirulina either in capsules or completed to cereals of all sorts. I prefer Spirulina powder. It has offered me a more creative way to drink “gari” (cassava grains) or “agidi” for breakfast. One juice from two or three oranges, add a teaspoonful of Aloe Lite, an FLP protein/mineral/vitamin complex, one teaspoonful of Blackstrap Molasses, and one teaspoonful of Spirulina provider. To the grill, I crush two weetabix. The meal often sustains me till early evening when I have a light meal with a drink of Moringa leaf tea or Spirulina drink. Why I am bold to suggest Spirulina will make more waves in the Nigerian food supplements market next year is the news, still in wraps, that a governor of a Southwestern Nigeria state has serious plans to set up a state-owned firm which would grow and market Nigerian herbs, including Spirulina.

The Super Health Food One of the richest eulogies of Spirulina in Nigeria this year may be found in the product. Manual or cataloque of NATURE’S GIFT 4 LIFE, one of the companies marketing it in Nigeria. Vetted by an orthodox medical doctor knowledgeable in food supplements and nutrition, the statements accord with the findings of research scientists worldwide on this plant. We are reminded in this document that Spirulina earned the eulogy of researchers and nutritionists as THE SUPER Food of the 21st Century because it was found in the late 1970s to be the single plant source of the widest range of health – providing nutrients in much wider range than any other and in terms of the body’s capacity not only to digest them easily but also to use them. In this regard, I would quickly like to mention one of my first experiences when I began to take Spirulina powder either as a drink or as a spread on food such as rice or beans or in stews or sauce. I had known since the 1980s that chlorophyll, the green coloured part of plants, is a detoxifier, cleanser, blood builder and immune system stimulant, among its many health benefits. But I always found the liquid chlorophyll in my stool green. This meant I wasn’t absorbing all of it for whatever reason(s). I had a different experience when I switched to Spirulina powder. No matter how much of it I took in one day, my stool colour actually got more natural, indicating that not only did I digest all properly, my liver must have been so stimulated to work better that it produced more bile, one of the remedies against high blood and cholesterol levels. The Natures Gift 4 Life Document says of Spirulina: “It is known as the super food of the 21st century because it contains the most remarkable highest quality protein available, higher in protein value than beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, soyabeans, rice, tofu or wheat (three times more than that in beef or fish, four times that of pork and five times that of soya beans) This protein is 95 per cent digestible and absorbable compared to 20 percent from meat protein. It contains 18 amino acids essential for human life (including all the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce- iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, copper,magnesium, manganese, iodine, chromium, phosphorus, selenium, germanium, boron, molybdenum, zinc, vitamins (A, C, D, E, K), Biotin, Inositol, B2, B3, B6, follate, B12, Panthothenic Acid (B5) Beta carotenes, phytonutrients like gama linolenic acid glycolipids, sulpholipids and polysaccharides, ribose, nugleic acids, cholimesterase, manitol (and) carotenoids. It is richer in chlorophyll than Alfalfa and wheat grass and contains no fats or starch. Researchers at NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration in the United States) found it to be an excellent, compact space food for astronauts (One kg of sprirulina is equivalent to 1, 000kg of assorted vegetables). International health organisation have ruled sprirulina as one of the greatest super food on earth. As an ideal food supplement, sprirulina provides the body with all essential nutrients required daily, leaving you fresh, active and energetic throughout the day.

‘Spirulina is the highest food source of BetaCarotene. It contains 25 times more beta carotene than in carrots, Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food, with full spectrum often mixed carotenoids. About half are orange carotenes: alpha, beta and gama and half are yellow zantophilis. They work synergistically at different sites in our body to enhance antioxidant, anticancer protection. Beta-Carotene is Pro-Vitamin A and helps protect your eye sight Europeans and Americans paid little or no attention to spirulina as a food source until about 1970’s, although Mexicans and Asians had been consuming it for thousands of years. What sparked Euro-American research interest in this plant were African villagers in the Lake Chad region. They lived in a slighted environment and were too poor to afford beef or fish proteins which, by Euro-American standards, were necessary for robust health. These villagers lived, instead, on Spirulina which grew on Lake Chad and other lakes. They harvested and dried it in the sun and ate it every day. They did not fall ill from malnutrition or exhibit any symptoms of malnourishment. On the contrary, their life expectancy was high. Now, researchers theorise that spirulina may indeed be the first plant life on earth, and that it may have existed for about 3.5 billion years. Newer studies, as shown in the Natures Gift 4 life document/suggests that: “Spirulina is the highest food source of Beta-Carotene. It contains 25 times more beta carotene than in carrots, Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food, with full spectrum often mixed carotenoids. About half are orange carotenes: alpha, beta and gama and half are yellow zantophilis. They work synergistically at different sites in our body to enhance antioxidant, anticancer protection. Beta-Carotene is Pro-Vitamin A and helps protect your eye sight.” “Spirulina is the highest source of Vitamin B12. It contains 250 per cent more vitamin B12 than cow liver which is the richest animal source of vitamin B12. The vitamin calms your nerves and helps fight stress.” “Spirulina is the highest plant source of iron, which is easier to absorb than in supplement tablets (contains 58 times more iron than in raw spinach and 27 times more than raw liver).” “Spirulina is one of the world’s richest sources of GLA (Gama Linoleic Acid). This is a rare essential fatty acid. GAMA in mother’s milk helps develop healthy babies, studies show nutritional deficiency can block GLA in your body, so a good dietary source of GLA can be important. Spirulina is the only other whole food with GLA. It helps to reduce cholesterol, benefits the heart and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and keeps skin healthy and beautiful. A food source of GLA is important, especially for women. Known GLA foods are mother’s milk and oil extracts of evening primrose, black currants and borage seed. The product literature shows how Spirulina improves immune system activity, which makes it good in HIV and Cancer therapy in particular; how it helps to prevent leukoplakia, a condition in the mouth which may develop in to mouth cancer; how it curbs the growth of candida albicans, a major problem to many people signaled in some cases by oral thrush or gray tongue; how it combats hypoglycemia; how it alkalises and cleans the body and lots more.” It is a remarkable goldmine which can be explored by unemployed university graduates roaming the streets in Nigeria for jobs that do not exist. Sometimes, I wonder if Nigerians would forgive their thieving leaders who plunder the public purse, should these thieves invest generously in Spirulina ponds which provide jobs and cheap health-providing food for the poor. A Spirulina farm is a challenge I have given Spirulina boy after a degree in Agriculture and Genetics, Is he listening?

e-mail: or Tel: 08116759749, 08034004247, 07025077303





•Governors Aregbesola and Okorocha at a rally in at City Stadium, Osogbo

The All Progressives Congress (APC) recently stormed Osun State to drum support for the Aregbesola Administration and present the party to the people at the City Stadium, Osogbo, the state capital. Correspondent ADESOJI ADENIYI writes on the thrills and frills of the ceremony.

Day APC train rolled into Osun T

HE crowd was huge. People came from 30 local governments to welcome the national leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The event revealed Governor Rauf Aregbesola as a crowd puller. As the party leaders stormed the City Stadium, Osogbo, for the mobilisation programme, brooms, the symbol of the progressive party, filled the air. The leaders went back with the impression that Osun State is a permanent stronghold of the APC in the Southwest. The APC National Mobilisation Committee decided to kick off its nation-wide mobilisation from Osun State for obvious reasons. Next year, Aregbesola is expected to renew his mandate for another four years at the governorship election. The leaders came to build support for the governor. But the people spared them the hurdle as they turned the carnival-like event into an endorsement ceremony for the hardworking governor. Led by the Osun State APC Interim Chairman, Elder Adelowo Adebiyi, the party faithful promised to remain faithful to the progressive cause. The Committee Chairman, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, could not hide his feelings. He congratulated the governor and the people. He observed that Aregbesola’s performance had simplified their assignment, noting that his second term had been sealed. In the mood of joy were other party leaders during the popularity walk round the major streets of the state capital. Chief Audu Ogbeh, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory Mallam el-Rufai, former Ogun State Governor Olusegun Osoba, former Minister of Aviation Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, former Yobe State Governor Bukar Ibrahim, Prince Tony Momoh, and APC Interim National Youth Leader Lado Suleja were impressed by what they saw. Turning to Arebesola, Okorocha noted that only a leader that is well loved by the people can gather that kind of crowd at a short notice. Speakers at the ceremony pondered on the proposed elections, warning the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against re-

peating the ‘Anambra mistake’. They also warned the PDP against manipulating the governorship polls in Ekiti and Osun states to avoid the wrath of the electorate. Okorocha, who had visited the state in the past, praised the governor for changing the face of Osogbo. He acknowledged the developmental strides of the administration, especially the dualisation of major roads. He noted that indigenes, whose houses were affected by the road expansion and rehabilitation, still cheered the APC leaders. Okorocha said that it was an evidence that they were satisfied with the urban renewal programme. Urging the people to support Aregbesola, he said giving him a second term will enable him to consolidate on his achievements. Ogbeh was in the same frame of mind. He said progressives in power have made a lot of difference in their states. The elder statesman lamented that they have not been able to replicate these feats at the federal level. However, Ogbeh said that 2015 will be a different year. “progressives will rule this country”, he said. Describing Aregbesola as a symbol of development and progress, Ogbeh urged the people to support him aspiration for continuity. The former Peoples democratic party (PDP) National Chairman recalled that he had predicted the explosion in the ruling party eight years ago. “The party is already sinking now. People are hungry and they are still being asked to wait for transformation,” he fumed. Ogbeh said that Aregbesola has worked hard to make the people earn a living, urging them to

support his bid for a second term. Osoba, who had lived in Osogbo when he was young, lauded the governor’s commitment to the welfare of the state. He said the evidence of rapid transformation has attested to his devotion to the vision of the illustrious founding fathers, especially the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. el- Rufai applauded the people for their resilience. He charged them to register and vote massively for the APC next year, promising that the party will not disappoint them. The former minister advised Aregbesola to sustain the tempo o achievements recorded by his administration in the last three years. He said the people-friendly achievements ate worthy of celebration. Senator Abbah observed the people have not voted for the governor in vain. He said Aregbesola has confirmed that only a progressive government can change the society. He added: “The conservative government has failed and all of us must pushed out the PDP at all levels in Nigeria. Change at the centre is the only solution to Nigeria’s problems”. Mommoh, a prince of Auchi, said, by 2015, the PDP will become an opposition party, adding that the party is jittery, ahead of the polls. He urged the people to defend their votes to prevent another case of stolen mandate. Fani-Kayode, who hails from Osun State, warned the PDP led-Federal Government against infiltrating the Southwest geo-political zone with its rigging machinery. The son of the former Western Region’s Deputy Premier, the late Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, said that eyes are also on the

‘Speakers at the ceremony pondered on the proposed elections, warning the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against repeating the ‘Anambra mistake’. They also warned the PDP against manipulating the governorship polls in Ekiti and Osun states to avoid the wrath of the electorate’

electoral commission. He said: “The rigging style used during the last Anambra State governorship election would not be allowed in Osun and Ekiti states next year. When the Federal Government did it in Yorubaland in 1964 and 1966, the government at the centre fell. The same scenario was repeated in Ondo State in 1983 during the contest between Chief Adekunle Ajasin and Omoboriowo and the Federal Government fell as well. “In 1993, during the Chief MKO Abiola election, the rigging was introduced with the connivance of the military and the government at the centre fell. So, this time around, the progressives have decided to come together and the decision to come together to form a formidable party is not just a tea party. So, we warn that rigging should not be repeated in the Yorubaland to foist unpopular government on the people.” An excited Aregbesola, who commended APC national leaders for the visit, declared that Osun State is a no-go area for the PDP. The governor commended the people for their support, he came into office. He also expressed gratitude to the people for weathering the storm with his government, assuring them of more dividends of democracy. Aregbesola said: “For seven and half years, the people of Osun State have been subjected to serious humiliation. But, within three years of our government, we have tried to restore the people’s hope in many ways with our programmes and policies. “So, no amount of threat by the opposition party in the state can intimidate us. With God on our side, no rigging in the 2014 Osun governorship election will succeed. Our party, the APC, will take over power in 2015 in Nigeria. So, whoever that is yet to register should do so when the voters registration exercise commences.” The governor, who urged the electorate not to be intimated against using their electoral power effectively, said the APC was committed to making Nigeria a progressive nation. He said gone were the days when incompetent people will be given the opportunity to rule the country.
















Investors scramble for low-priced banking stocks



•Equities’ average return rises to 40.26%

NVESTORS appeared to be increasingly scouting for bargain deals within the lower segment of the banking subsector as lowpriced banking stocks continued to dominate transactions at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Transactions on the trio of FCMB Group, Skye Bank and Unity Bank- three relatively low-priced banking stocks, accounted for 43.6 per cent of aggregate turnover volume at the NSE yesterday. Financial services sector, which included banking, insurance and other allied financial services segments, altogether accounted for more than 82 per cent of total turnover volume. The market pricing sentiment tilted to the upside with average daily gain of 0.64 per cent, reflecting the fluctuation that had seen the market alternating between the bullish and bearish sentiment in the past three days.

By Taofik Salako

Aggregate market value of all equities increased from N12.523 trillion to N12.603 trillion while the All Share Index (ASI) rose by 0.64 per cent from 39,130.37 points to close at 39,383.33 points. The increase nudged average year-to-date return at the stock market to 40.26 per cent. With 30 advancers to 26 decliners, the market situation was helped by substantial gains by several highly capitalised stocks. Guinness Nigeria topped the gainers’ list with a gain of N4.99 to close at N240. Nigerian Breweries followed with a gain of N3.99 to close at N165. Mobil Oil Nigeria added N1.95 to close at N117. Dangote Cement rose by N1.74 to close at N211.74. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria chalked up N1.50 to close at N107. International Breweries gained N1.49 to close at N29.88.

Union Dicon Salt rose by N1.02 to close at N11.06. UAC of Nigeria gathered 70 kobo to close at N65.20. Flour Mills of Nigeria added 55 kobo to close at N86.56 while Presco gained 50 kobo to close at N37.50 per share. Total turnover stood at 424.88 million shares worth N3.73 billion in 4,803 deals. Financial services sector accounted for 350.06 million shares valued at N2.34 billion in 2,494 deals. FCMB Group was the most active stock with a turnover of 110.87 million shares valued at N354.79 million in 105 deals. Skye Bank followed with a turnover of 39.80 million shares worth N172.58 million in 102 deals while Unity Bank was the third most active stock with a turnover of 34.49 million shares valued at N17.64 million in 107 deals. On the downside, Unilever Nigeria led the losers with a drop of N2.61 to close at N52. PZ Cussons Nigeria dropped by N1.69 to close at N34.76. Ashaka Cement lost 39 kobo to close at N19.80. Union Bank of Nigeria slipped by 29 kobo to close at N9.11 while National Salt Company of Nigeria dropped by 17 kobo to close at N13.32 per share.




MONEY LINK Inter-bank rate falls on T-Bills’ refund

Foreign reserves slump to $44b N IGERIA’S foreign exchange reserves have declined to $44.1 billion as at December 17, losing $700 million in one month. The reserves, which stood at $44.8 million in November 18, maintained steady fall in the last three months. The reserves were at $44.6 billion as at November 27, contrary to $45 billion recorded in October 14. Data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website showed that at $45.2 billion, the reserves had increased by $200 million from October 14 to 28, before dipping further. The reserves were also at $45.2 billion on November 1 before they kept dropping on daily basis till

Stories by Collins Nweze

November 27. Other figures showed that the reserves were at $47.7 billion on July 1, and dropped to $47 billion on July 15, entering August 1 at $47 billion. The foreign currency reserves had, fives year ago, specifically in August, peaked at $68 billion before the global financial crises impacted negatively on it. Chief Operating Officer, Citi Bank Nigeria, Akin Dawodu said the reserves are assets held by the CBN and monetary authorities,

mostly in dollar to back their liabilities, such as the naira. He explained that manipulating reserves levels can enable CBN intervene against volatile fluctuations in currency by affecting the exchange rate and increasing the demand for the naira. “Reserves act as shock absorber against factors that can negatively affect a country’s exchange rates and, therefore the CBN uses the reserves to maintain a steady rate,” he explained during training for financial journalists in Lagos. Analysis of foreign exchange utilised by sectors revealed that $7.83 billion was expended on the importation of visible goods into the country in the second quarter

T •CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

as against $6.63 billion and $7.74 billion in first quarter and second quarter of 2012, respectively.

Rebasing to boost economy’s size by 60%

•Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


IGERIA’S plan to rebase its gross domestic production figures next year may boost the assessment of the size of its economy by as much as 60 per cent, leapfrogging South Africa as the continent’s largest nation in

terms of total wealth, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), an investment and research firm, has said. According to a Bloomberg report, Nigeria may see its economy measured at between $384 billion and $424 billion in 2014, according to projections by Charles Robertson, the London-based global chief economist at RenCap, in an e-mailed note to clients yesterday. That would compare to about $370 billion for South Africa’s economy, he added. Nigeria is updating its GDP base year to 2010 to give a better indication of the size and composition of its economy. The GDP of Africa’s most populous nation is currently based on production patterns in 1990. The schedule for release of the new

GDP data has been delayed several times this year with the figure set to be published by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in February. “The effect could be dramatic because a national census of business has not been done for 20 years. We expect a big rise in the number of businesses that the NBS can measure,” said Robertson. The data may mean that Nigeria’s growth rate may slow to five per cent to six per cent, from a current seven per cent annual rate, he added. Even a revised per capita GDP from $1,700 to an estimated $2,400 will lag behind South Africa’s at $6,800, according to



Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

Robertson. Nigeria has about 170 million people while South Africa has a population of 53 million. Coordinating Minister of the Econonmy and Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said last month that Nigeria’s economic growth over the past decade has not been inclusive enough and has fostered inequality. Robertson said: “This will not be easy to explain to the population. Rebasing does not mean Nigerians are better off – it just means they are better off than official statistics previously indicated.” South Africa is the site of Africa’s biggest stock and exchanges and its electricity generation capacity is ten times that of Nigeria.

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00


OBB Rate Call Rate

Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m



Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 18-12-13



10.04 28.39 1.65 1.90 0.85 1.12 2.38 4.05 0.56 2.20

C/PRICE 2013-12-18

11.06 29.88 1.73 1.99 0.89 1.17 2.48 4.20 0.58 2.27

%CHANGE 10.16 5.25 4.85 4.74 4.71 4.46 4.20 3.70 3.57 0.07

LOSERS AS AT 18-12-13



O/PRICE 2.01 0.62 54.61 1.91 36.45 1.14 1.14 0.72 4.07 3.43


C/PRICE 1.91 0.59 52.00 1.82 34.76 1.09 1.09 0.69 3.91 3.32


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






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


















July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

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%


CUV Start %

%CHANGE -4.98 -4.84 -4.78 -4.71 -4.64 -4.39 -4.39 -4.17 -3.93 -3.21

Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

HE inter-bank rate fell slightly, by 155 basis points, partly due to improved market liquidity from treasury bills (TBills) repayment and lower interbank funding pressure. As at yesterday, the call/overnight and seven-day money market rates were at 10.8 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. The three-month Nigeria Interbank Offered Rate (NIBOR) slowed to 11.8 per cent, though less activity was done on the tenor. The inter-bank secured lending (Open Buy Back) fell to 10.3 per cent. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) liquidity management remained active, supported by recent change to Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR), the circular issued on 1 August reviewing guidelines for how banks access its Standing Lending Facility |(SLF) window disclosed. The CBN had on December 4, sold N124 billion of 91-day, 182-day and 364-day TBs at stop rates of10.95 per cent, 11.2 per cent and 11.66 per cent respectively. Also, the liquidity management plan was supported by Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) foreign exchange auction and latest CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision to hold rate unchanged at 12 per cent on November 19. The naira strengthened by 0.2 per cent against the dollar in the Interbank and has lost 1.5 per cent of its value year-to-date. The naira closed at N158.6 to a dollar after the initial volatility at the twice-weekly Retail Dutch Auction System (WDAS) ended, partly due to improved dollar supplies of $400 million per auction. The CBN sold $399.99 million on December 16 at N155.73.


19-09-13 11.432.09 35,891.90

23-09-13 11.494.75 36,088.64

% Change -




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




NEWS Gunmen abduct Ukrainian, Greek From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

UNMEN suspected to be pirates have abducted an Ukrainian captain and a chief engineer after attacking a vessel 35 nautical miles off Brass waters in Bayelsa State. The attacked ship, which was said to have a Marshall Island flag, was identified as MT. ALCHE. Security sources identified the ship engineer as a Greek. A security source said 18 crew members were onboard the ship when the hoodlums struck on Monday night. The source, who pleaded anonymity, said while the gunmen robbed 16 others, they isolated the Greek and the Ukrainian and whisked them away to an unknown place. “We don’t know their whereabouts. They attacked other crew members and dispossessed them of their belongings. They took the captain and the chief engineer away,” he said. The source, however, said the victims’ employers have established communication with the kidnappers. “Our waters, especially at the Brass axis, have become a death trap. Almost every day pirates harass and abduct expatriates. It is terrible,” he said. The Media Coordinator, Joint Task Force (JTF), Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said he was yet to be briefed.


Gani Adams: Itsekiri ‘ll benefit from OPC


HE National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, yesterday said the group was prepared to assist the Itsekiri if the need arose. Speaking in Warri, Delta State after inaugurating the state chapter of the OPC, Adams said as descendants of Oduduwa, the Itsekiri would benefit socially, culturally and politically from their relationship with the OPC. Referring to the controversy, which greeted OPC’s inauguration on Tuesday, he said it was not a militant group as portrayed, adding: “We are not in Itsekiri land to cause trouble.” The ceremony was initially thwarted by security operatives, prompting the Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC) to shift it to the home of the Itsekiri Leaders of

Tension in Port Harcourt over Assembly mace


HERE was tension yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, following allegations that a group of lawmakers opposed to Governor Rotimi Amaechi may have procured a new mace to be used on the floor of the House of Assembly tomorrow. It was learnt that the anti-Amaechi lawmakers, led by Evans Bipi, planned to resume sitting at the Assembly tomorrow. A source said with the original mace in the possession of the proAmaechi legislators, the need for a new mace arose. Blowing the lid off the alleged plot, a group, the Rivers State Progressive Youth Vanguard (RSPYV),


PUBLIC NOTICE OMAGBEMI I, formerly known and addressed as Esther Oduore Omagbemi now wish to be known and addressed as Esther Oduore Aina. All former documents remains valid. General public should please take note.

CHANGE OF NAME DIKE I, Formerly known and addressed as MISS. DIKE NMACHI BEAUTY now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OBASI NMACHI BEAUTY. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

yesterday told reporters that two new maces had been procured by Bipi and his men to execute their plan to impeach Amaechi. The group, urging Rivers indigenes to be ready to resist the plot to throw the state into confusion, said the fake maces were brought into Port Harcourt Tuesday night. The group’s leader, Rev. Fred Woke, said they cried out because of the plot to impeach Amaechi, using fake maces. Said he: “The move will start tomorrow with the recognition of Bipi as the Speaker of the House of Assembly by Federal Govern-

ment operatives. This, they believe, will pave the way for the impeachment of the governor. “We are also aware that the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan will be in the state today and her presence will perfect the plan if the people take the matter for granted. “Our men saw two maces being escorted from the airport to Port Harcourt. The move to smuggle them into the hallowed chamber is to ensure that the plan to impeach the governor is successful. Any moment from now, the Federal Government will recognise Bipi as the Speaker.” The state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said it is aware of the

procurement of two maces with the intention of smuggling them into the House of Assembly to be used for sinister motives. The party said it would resist any attempt to remove the current administration through illegal means. Speaking through a member of the party’s Harmonisation Committee, Chief Godspower Amadi, APC said the antiAmaechi lawmakers are being supported by certain forces in Abuja. Police spokesman Ahmad Mohammad confirmed that there was a rumour about smuggled maces. He said it appeared people were being misinformed about the political crisis in the state.

From Shola O’Neil, Southsouth Regional Editor

Thought (ILOT) Chairman, Pa J.O.S. Ayomike. Adams hailed INYC and ILOT for their roles in helping to realise OPC’s dream of having an Itsekiri chapter. He said the event would open opportunities for the Itsekiri and their Yoruba brothers. According to him, OPC was instrumental to the repositioning of the Yoruba as a key national player, noting: “Before, we were considered as cowards, but today the world knows that the Yoruba are not cowards. This is due to the roles of the OPC.” Adams said the group played active roles in the agitation for the realisation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which the late Chief MKO Abiola was believed to have won.

•From left; Central Bank and Minister of Finance, Press on the $49.8billion General and Ministry of

Dickson gives firm N3b to complete road AYELSA State Governor Seriake Dickson has given a road contractor –SETRACO Plc N3 billion to complete the OgbiaNembe Road, in fulfillment of his promise during his tour of local governments.

By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor, Precious Dikewoha

From Mike Odiegwu Yenagoa

He also gave the company December next year deadline to complete the road, which is in Bayelsa East. The governor, who spoke yesterday when presenting the cheque to the company during the monthly transparency briefing at the Banquet Hall, noted that the company said the amount was the balance required to complete the road. The contract was hitherto a joint project between the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The road, described by the government as critical to the development of the state, has suffered neglect for years.


of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, briefing World revenue reconciliation meeting between the CBN, NNPC, DPR, FIRS, Budget office, AccountantFinance held in Abuja.

Uduaghan presents N391b budget

ELTA State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has presented a N391.51 billion budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year to the House of Assembly with an assurance that his administration will finish strong. Tagged “Budget of Consolidation, Sustainable Economic Growth and Development,” Uduaghan said the amount “comprises N159.78 billion or 48.8 per cent for recurrent expenditure and N231.72 billion or 59.1 per cent for capital expenditures.” The governor, who was

accompanied by his deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama (SAN), the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Peter Nwaoboshi and top government functionaries to the House of Assembly complex for the budget presentation, said the budget was designed to sustain the drive towards the Delta State beyond oil initiatives. According to him, “the main focus of year 2014 budget is to sustain the drive towards Delta State beyond oil initiative. We have in this respect put together a budget and busi-

More markets burnt in Rivers


ARELY 24 hours after the Rumuwoji Mile One Market in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was razed, two fire incidents have been recorded in the state, with property worth billions of naira destroyed. The first inferno occurred on Tuesday night at Ahoada Main Market in Ahoada East Local Government and destroyed five fully-stocked food item shops, while the second incident, which happened yesterday morning at Elele in Ikwerre Local Government, involved a fullyloaded fuel tanker. The Ahoada market fire started with a smoke from one of the shops, which later became a huge flame,

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

engulfing nearby shops. The fuel tanker fell around 2am at the Elele main roundabout, spilling its content and leaving four houses and 12 vehicles, including 10 cars and two trucks, burnt. The truck driver, according to investigation, was trying to escape a police checkpoint, when he made a poor turn near the roundabout. The tanker fell and caught fire, which razed vehicles and nearby houses. Nobody died. When our reporter phoned police spokesman Ahmad Muhammad for reaction, his MTN line was not available.

ness plan with the objectives and priorities we set out in the three-point agenda”. “Emphasis in 2014 shall be on the completion of ongoing key projects given the size of carryover projects,” Uduaghan said, adding: “This is a result oriented strategy, wherein an allocation to budget heads are tied to performing projects and programmes that can sustain development.” “It is worthy to note that a budget of N472.006 billion (four hundred and seventy two billion, six million

naira) with a recurrent expenditure of N156.403 billion (one hundred and fifty six billion, four hundred and three million naira) and a capital budget of N315.602 billion (three hundred and fifteen billion, six hundred and two million naira) was approved for the 2013 fiscal year. “I want to restate our strong desire to finish strong and with 2014 being the last full year of this administration in office, Deltans are desirous that the promises and hopes we have raised should be kept,” the governor said.

Amaechi seeks tanker fire probe


IVERS State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said the police command would have to investigate the cause of the tanker fire at the Elele roundabout in Ikwerre Local Government. He said he would instruct P o l i c e C o m m i s sioner Mbu Joseph Mbu to investigate the inferno. Amaechi spoke when reacting to the tanker fire disaster after going round the scene of the incident yesterday. “As I said, what will you say? The problem is when you build roads, people begin to speed and I don’t know, the rumour we hear is that a police

vehicle was chasing them. Whichever way it is, I think we are waiting for the outcome of the investigation. The police must investigate the cause of this fire and we hear one person died and property have been damaged. We need to hear from the police to know what happened before the government can decide on what to do. “I have directed the chairman of Ikwerre Local Government to call back the fire service personnel because some of the fuel flowed into the drainage and they have to drain them so that we don’t experience more fire incidents,” he said.



NEWS Gunmen steal two-month-old baby boy


UNICEF Enugu Chief of Field Officer, Mr. Charles (right), making a presentation to Governor Peter Obi, who visited the office... recently

From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba

HREE unidentified gunmen on Tuesday in Aba, Abia State, stole a twomonth-old baby boy, Testimony Chidiebube, on Sunday. The Nation learnt that the incident occurred around 2:30 am at Umunba in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government. It was not clear why the gunmen stole the baby. A resident, who preferred anonymity, said the men broke into the home of the baby’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sunday Udo. Efforts to speak with them proved abortive. Another source said the gunmen were yet to contact the victim’s parents. Commissioner of Police Usman Tilli Abubakar confirmed the incident on the phone, adding that the police have begun investigation.


Police warn vehicle owners

HE Lagos and Ogun States Police Command have warned owners of accident vehicles parked at the Iperu, Adekunle Yaba, Tolu Olodi Apapa and Ajah Police Stations to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction. They are Vanagon bus XN825APP, Vanagon bus X9153FST, Isuzu bus D2432KRD, Volvo CM444KTU Nissan Pathfinder JA341EKY, Mstu Galati BB286FKJ and M/Benz DM602KJA. Others are M/Benz BD639JJJ, M/Benz BT349AKD, Toyota Sienna Bus UE484KJA V/W Jetta AA217KSF and Toyota Celica FE114KJA.

Council chief preaches peace


Jeremiah Oke

HE Chairman of Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos State, Abdlefatai Oyesanya, has urged the people of the council to imbibe the teachings of Jesus Christ in their daily

APC leaders to hoist party flag in Southeast I MO State Governor Rochas Okorocha, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Chris Ngige and former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) member, Prince Benjamin Apugo, will lead other leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) to hoist the party’s flag in the five Southeast states. The decision, which was reached at a meeting of the party’s Southeast leaders in Owerri, Imo State, is to harmonise APC’s stakeholders and begin mobilisation ahead of the 2015 elections. Onu said the party’s flag would be hoisted in the five Southeast states. “We are poised to mobilise our people to embrace change and kick out the PDP, which

•Party sets up interim executive

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

has done nothing but impoverished our people through bad governance and weak policies.” “We already have 16 states and we will capture more. But assuming this does not happen, we have the strength and spread to remove PDP from power. Since the advent of Nigerian politics, there has never been any strong opposition like what we have today.” Okorocha said PDP’s refusal to guarantee Ndigbo nation-

al positions and its failure to develop the Southeast after over a decade in power, made it imperative for him and progressive-minded Ndigbo to join APC. Said he: “We have come to a crucial moment in our political evolution where we cannot afford to remain in a weak and regional party, which cannot guarantee us mainstream position and leadership. Ndigbo must once again become major players in the political equation. “No person of Igbo extraction is guaranteed a top posi-

tion in the next 25 years under the PDP structure and APGA lacks the national spread to actualise this. APC offers a better platform for us to actualise our objectives, as we are guaranteed at least one of the top positions. Our decision to join the party has yielded dividends, as nine of its 29 top positions are occupied by Ndigbo.” The APC leaders constituted and inaugurated an interim state executive to run affairs of the party until its officials are elected during its congress in February. Apugo urged the executive members to carry everyone along, to ensure that those aspiring to join the party are not discouraged.

N2b tax evasion: Banks disagree with Imo govt


OMMERCIAL banks in Imo State yesterday denied owing the government N2 billion accruing from withholding tax, which resulted in the closure of the banks by the Board of Internal Revenue. The state’s Bank Managers Forum, in a statement by the Chairman and Secretary, Ray Ahumibe and Peter Nwachukwu, said: “In September when we got a hint that the Board of Internal Revenue wanted to disclaim banks on account of arbitrarily-assigned tax figures of


From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

between N100 - N700 million per bank as unremitted withholding tax on interests paid on savings accounts from 2004 to 2011, we took steps to address the issue. “We engaged the Board of Internal Revenue, disclaiming the figures and challenging it to substantiate its position. Banks also provided evidence of due taxes on this sub-head remitted to the government. The board agreed to reconcile with us, but its directors were disbanded.

We were advised to engage higher authorities.” Governor Rochas Okorocha has directed the Forum to apologise to Imo residents for calling banks out on a three–day strike. The governor, who gave the directive when the Forum visited him, noted that only a branch of each of the eight affected banks received a court order to close operation for nonremittance of tax to government, but he was shocked that other branches, including those not involved, joined in the

three-day strike. He said: “Is it an attempt to sabotage the activities of government through a Forum, which is not registered? Why did you not ask your members to discuss with government or go to court for redress, rather than embarking on a strike at this festive period when people need money.” Okorocha described their action as embarrassing to the government, but accepted the banks’ promise to present their records to the Board of Internal Revenue for reconciliation.

UNN boils over suspension of council chairman

HREE trade unions at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), have demanded the reinstatement of the Governing Council Chairman, Dr. Emeka Enejere, who was suspended on Tuesday by the Supervising Minister for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike. The leaders led their over 1,000 members in the protest, carrying placards, reading: “Pro-chancellor must come back”, “Enejere must come back.” Comrades Ifeanyi Abada, Godfrey Ugwu and Onwu Anthony of ASUU, NASU and NAT, who briefed reporters, decried the leadership style in the institution. They said: “We have to re-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

iterate that the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is in ruins. The story of the university today is the story of maladministration, financial impropri-

ety and recklessness, contract splitting and money laundering.” The unions noted that Dr. Enejere had been discharging his functions effectively and challenged him to explain the

justification for suspending Enejere. The unions demanded the reinstatement of Dr. Enejere. The university workers shut down offices and joined the protest.

End-of-the year thanksgiving on Saturday


ESIDENTS of Kasumu Estate (Zone C), OdoOna Elewe, Orita Challenge in Oluyole Local Government Area of Oyo State will celebrate their end of the year/thanksgiving party on Saturday. The Chairman, Board of Trust of the association, Mr. Suleiman A. Ajibola, said the event would be used to launch community projects

which would start at 10.00 am with an opening prayer by the Chief Imam Kasumu/ Isokan Community, Alhaji AbdulRaham Olorunkemi. He said: “We will visit a motherless babies’ home before the beginning of the programme. There will be a lecture on land matter, to be delivered by Barrister Akinjide Sodiq. “Awards will be given to

deserving members of the community. Projects, such as road, borehole, health centre and street light will be launched. “Dignitaries expected include Chief Segun Faleke (Chairman of the day), Alhaja Abosede Adedibu (mother of the day, Chief Sunday Gbenjo (Father of the day and others.

lives. The chairman, who spoke at the first Christmas carol of the council held at the premises of the council secretariat yesterday, also urged, people to cultivate the spirit of harmony regardless of their religion affiliation. The council boss said the teaching of Jesus Christ was on love and harmony, Oyesanya his administration would also continue to deliver good governance to the people of the council.



NEWS Oronsaye: I left N10b pension fund intact Continued from page 4

been unhappy that he wanted FIU excised from EFCC. These are the highlights of Oronsaye’s submissions to the EFCC, which our correspondent obtained yesterday. The source quoted Oronsaye as saying: “The EFCC operatives said I should explain the whereabouts of N10billion. They do not even know how the system operates. I told them I left the N10billion intact as at the time my tenure expired in October 2010. “They said as pension funds were being paid to states, these states were ‘settling’ me in return. No state gave me any return on pension funds. I am a Christian; I believe in Christian doctrine. I did not tamper with pension funds. It is so sad that they have maligned my name.” Oronsaye is said to be consulting. He plans to go to court to clear his name. Oronsaye reportedly denied any relationship with a former Deputy Director of Pension in the Pension Unit of the OHCSF, Mrs. Phina Chidi. Mrs. Chidi alleged that she had been keeping N500 million and $2 million traced to the accounts of Pam Investment Properties Limited in trust for Oronsaye in the last three years. Oronsaye reportedly said: “This is someone I do not

have her number let alone having anything to do with her. Why will someone keep $2million for me for three years and I did not call her once about the money?” “He was said to have challenged the EFCC to screen his call logs and those of Mrs. Chidi in the last three years whether I had spoken with her or not.” “Oronsaye was said to have denied using some companies siphon pension funds. As the Head of Service of the Federation, I was not the Accounting Officer. A Permanent Secretary, who was the Accounting Officer, was in charge of all contracts,” he was quoted saying. “The only contract that came through my office was the initial biometrics project of N35million, which was handled by Innovative Solutions. Even though the contract was within my spending limit as the Head of Service, I notified the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). “And the contract was not inflated. When they had cause to extend the scope of work by some weeks, we only paid them extra working allowances,” he was quoted as saying. Asked if he nominated Osarenkhoe Afe, an IT consultant, as a member of a “pension reform committee,” Oronsaye said no. “I do not know Afe at all.

When we were looking for whom to assist us in doing the initial biometrics, we discovered that he had the expertise, having done a similar job for an agency before. “This is an expert whom I never met before and I had no personal relationship with. In fact, I had to look for his telephone contact when this issue cropped up. “Yet, they said I nominated him into Pension Reform Committee. This man is an expert who got the job on merit.” The former Head of Service said he should be praised for pension reforms instead of denting his image. He added: “On the pension office, when I came in I realised we had problems. I single-handedly carried out a reorganisation of the pension office. “The same Mrs. Chidi allegedly implicating me was one of those fingered in the pension funds fraud. Is this not a case of corruption fighting back? “On our pension roll, we had about 106,000 people but we could only capture about 60,000. On the average, we were paying N1.5billion monthly. But having captured, we were paying about N300million. “Yet, someone will stand up to say I was part of the pension fraud. I did not steal money when I was the Accounting Officer at the Presidential Villa. I was

37 Reps defect from PDP Continued from page 4

sion after a short closed-door session, said the MTEF and benchmark issue had been finally resolved. A motion to allow the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to bring the

Adamawa commissioners for APC



also at a time the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance, I did not tamper with government funds and I left with a clean record. Some dirty people will now accuse me of diverting pension funds; it is so sad.” About N5billion in bogus contracts were allegedly awarded and payments made between January 2009 and November 2010 while Oronsaye was in office. The scandal was uncovered in the Pension Unit of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF). Also, four firms are being investigated by the EFCC on the scandal including Frederick Hamilton Global Limited; Xangee Technologies; Fatidek Venture; Obanlado Enterprises.

I’m considering APC’s invitation, says Atiku with my political associates and friends. “Most of us have been friends and political associates for over two decades. I will call my stakeholders across the country. We will take a decision and address the press and let you know our decision. “I congratulated them (APC leaders) and welcomed them because it will improve competition and governance. It is •Atiku healthy for our democracy. “Once you have one very Continued from page 4 strong party and weak ones, The former Vice President there is no way the opposition described the formation of the can check the government in APC as healthy for democra- power. “If the South Africans faced cy, and would give Nigerians a credible alternative in the Apartheid in the past, Nigeria is facing colonialism. The 2015 general elections. Atiku said: “We want to let struggle has been long for the you know that we had very enthronement of democracy in fruitful discussions and you our country. “It is time we realised we know I have always believed have responsibility to our genin a two-party structure. “So I welcome the formation eration and those yet unborn. of APC. We have discussed I think it (APC) will give Niextensively and I will meet gerians an alternative during

elections. So, I told them I will consult with my associates and brief the press later.” APC Interim National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, who led the delegation, said the visit was to cement a long standing political relationship with Atiku, spanning more than two decades. Akande had, in an earlier remark, said the party decided to meet Atiku against the background of the country being rubbished by the leadership at the centre. “We feel that it is necessary to meet people of like minds to rise up and salvage the country. All of us that met here were comrades in politics. “We only met today to cement that comradeship and all is well cemented. We are moving together to work for this country,” Akande said. Former military Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, said the party leaders would also meet with former

2014 budget estimates today was also passed. The House also adopted the Conference Committee Report on the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

President Olusegun Obasanjo. Buhari said: “We have been visiting others like the G7 governors and we have visited all former Heads of State. “We intend to visit former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he is available to ask for his understanding and brief him on why we formed the APC.” The APC leaders who visited Atiku include Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Senate Minority Leader, George Akume. Others are: Former House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Bello Masari; former Aviation Minister, Femi FaniKayode former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Nuhu Ribadu. Former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, Senator Kabiru Gaya and Senator Suleiman Nazif were also on the delegation.

EMBERS of Adamawa Executive Council comprising Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Commissioners and Special Advisers have defected from the PDP to the APC. Speaking after a meeting yesterday at the Government House in Yola, the Secretary to the Government, Mr Kobis Thimnu, who spoke on behalf of the state executive council members, said their decision to join the governor to APC was a collective one. “We, today, unanimously decided to follow Governor

Nyako to APC for good”, Thimnu said. He said that members of the executive council had confidence in the governor and his ability to deliver as evident in his transformation programmes in the state. “We shall mobilise for APC across the state. In fact, we have established offices in all the 226 wards to ensure the proper entrenchment of the party in Adamawa”, Thimnu said. Nyako, thanked them for the decision to join him saying the APC represented justice and fairness.

PDP losing grip of Assembly Continued from page 4

may be a House of strife and rancour, whose deliberations may be shaped by the PDP/ APC bickering. Nevertheless, there will still be an omission. The response to the issues on the front burner in the House can only be meaningful, if the APC position on them, which is expected to be championed by the opposition legislators, are in the public domain. The Action Group (AG) excelled in this regard in the First Republic because its federal legislators led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Leader of Opposition, pursued the party’s line on action on the floor. Predictably, a section of the House leadership is bound to be jittery. Apart from Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who is a

product of both the ruling and opposition parties, the days of others in the controlling leadership may be numbered. The impeachment hammer may dangle on the Deputy Speaker and Majority Leader, unless they play the survival games very well and earn the confidence of their colleagues, the change in calculus notwithstanding. This defection may not be the last in the House. Other legislators may still be bidding for their time. Although the PDP may threaten the defectors with court action, the option may be fruitless. The defection cuts across the parties. Legislators will not desist from deserting political parties when their chance of survival in them is slim. Ahead of 2015, there will be more surprises.

Guard missing as explosion hits Rivers judge’s office Continued from page 4

knowledging, allowing himself to be addressed as speaker or writing to any person/authority whatsoever in that capacity. Justice Wali also restrained Bipi from presiding either at plenary or committee of the House as speaker and acting in any manner whatsoever as the speaker. Bipi must also not do anything to obstruct, hinder, prevent or disturb Otelemaba Dan Amachree from performing his duties as the speaker. Justice Wali called on the security agencies to enforce the order.

The motion on notice for interlocutory injunction was adjourned till January 6, next year for hearing. The suit was filed by the speaker (Amachree) and his deputy, Leyii Kwanee. The Assembly, other lawmakers and the security agencies were defendants. Bipi vowed never to obey a “kangaroo” court order, insisting that he remained the speaker. The deputy speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly, Leyii Kwanee, declared that anybody who addressed Bipi as speaker would be breaching the law.

$10.8b being reconciled by CBN, NNPC, others, says Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala Continued from page 4

billion was recorded from th e domestic crude oil receipts.” This shortfall she said, has been acknowledged by NNPC, but the magnitude of the shortfall is still disputed by NNPC. The shortfall is explained to be the result of subsidy claims, unrecovered crude/ product losses, and cost of strategic petroleum storage (which is currently not captured in the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) template for refunds). This figure, she said, is also well-known to all stakeholders at the Federation

Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), and is reported and updated monthly. “However, all parties concerned are working assiduously through the ongoing reconciliation efforts to resolve this. Both Finance and NNPC have been in discussions to reconcile; we do so every month after Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting we reconcile our figures, it is not an easy thing,” Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said. She added: “In the course of the reconciliation, from January 2012 to July 2013, we have looked at a short-

fall of about N1.7trillion, the equivalent of $10.8billion. That is the amount that we have been discussing and, of course, NNPC has been disputing some of it. But it is an ongoing reconciliation. We will still continue; we do it every month.” A statement released to the media to capture the efforts to trace the “missing” fund noted that “as a result of the changing structure of the business arrangementsfrom joint ventures to production sharing contracts, alternative financing arrangements, and the impact of the fiscal regime on gas development- the govern-

ment, take in recent years has been declining. In this regard, a quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will help to reverse this trend.” Sanusi said what the CBN had in its records was $65billion shipped by NNPC and about $15billion returned as equity to the Federation Account, but after his letter to the President, it was discovered that “out of the $65billion that NNPC shipped, $24billion did not belong to NNPC; it was crude that was paid by oil companies as tax and royalties and shipment for them from NPDC and so on. So that explains half of the

sum. Now the outstanding issues are with the $28billion domestic crude, which has been taken by NNPC. From our records, we have received $16billion. There is a shortfall of $12billion and we are told that that shortfall has always been a part of an ongoing discussion with ministries of Finance and Petroleum and NNPC. So this is where we are. Finance, NNPC; all parties are going to try to resolve this matter.” Sanusi said: “The CBN has a duty to perform and if we see anything that should worry government, we alert and that is what we have done. We have alerted and

this has been investigated, and looked at and this is the conclusion, the letter was not the end of the investigation.” Mrs Allison-Madueke said to mitigate and minimise the incidence of crude theft, the government has extended an “invitation to the United States to partner and assist us in this, particularly the international dimensions of this crude theft”. “We are in on going discussions with them; we met with a cross sectional team of intelligence experts last week and we had very crucial discussions that cut across many areas of the business,” she said.




Devyani Khobragade: Indian MPs demand action against US


UTRAGED Indian MPs have spoken out in parliament against the arrest and alleged ill-treatment of one of the country's diplomats in New York. Upper house opposition leader Arun Jaitley said the arrest was a clear violation of the Vienna convention. Devyani Khobragade, deputy consul general, was handcuffed upon arrest last week and later strip-searched. She denies visa fraud and making false statements over allegations that she underpaid her Indian maid. The maid had complained the diplomat was paying her less than the minimum stipulated wages under US visa requirements. Following her arrest, Ms Khobragade appeared in court last Friday and was freed on bail. Devyani Khobragade at an event in New York Devyani Khobragade is the deputy consul general of India in New York On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Ms Khobragade's treatment as "deplorable" and Foreign Minister Salman Khursheed said it was his duty to restore the dignity of the diplomat.

•Supports of Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, a Hindu hardline group, carry placards during a protest near the United States Embassy in New Delhi …yesterday. The protest was in apparent retaliation for the treatment of an Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, who was strip-searched after her arrest in New York last week. PHOTO: REUTERS

J Morsi faces Egypt terrorism charges E

GYPT'S ousted President Mohammed Morsi is to stand trial on charges including conspiring with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts. Prosecutors said Mr Morsi had formed an alliance with the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah. Thirty-five others, including former aides and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, have also been charged. Since being deposed by the military in July, Mr Morsi has already gone on trial for inciting murder and violence. The new charges carry the death penalty. Prosecutors describe the new charges as "the biggest case of conspiracy in the country's history". With the latest raft of charges against Mohammed Morsi, it looks like the authorities here

intend to throw the book at him. That's certainly what his supporters believe. They claim that the military, which removed him, is carrying out a legal vendetta against him. A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood told the BBC that they considered all legal moves against the deposed president to be political, not judicial. "All these legal referrals to trial are based on political animosity between the Brotherhood and those who carried out the coup," he said. The authorities here insist that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organisation. The Brotherhood say there are no plans for any response to the new case against the former president, though they are continuing their demonstrations against his removal. These days protests do not usually last long. Stringent new restrictions mean police can

crack down hard and fast on anyone who takes to the street. Human rights organisations have expressed concern over whether Mr Morsi will be able to get a fair trial, the BBC's Orla Guerin reports from Cairo. Mr Morsi's supporters say the prosecutions are politically motivated, something the military-backed government denies, our correspondent adds. He is one of thousands of Brotherhood members to have been detained in a crackdown portrayed by officials as a struggle against terrorism. Hundreds of people have also been killed in clashes with security forces. 'Terrorist plan' Mr Morsi and the other defendants, including the Brotherhood's general guide Mohammed Badie and his two deputies, have now been charged with revealing state

South Sudan fighting spreads after ‘coup attempt’


IGHTING is spreading in parts of South Sudan after a reported coup attempt in the capital, Juba, at the weekend. Violence has erupted in the flashpoint town of Bor, capital of eastern Jonglei state, and in Torit, capital of Eastern Equatoria. President Salva Kiir has accused ex-vicepresident Riek Machar of staging the coup - a claim he denies. The UN called for political dialogue to end a crisis that has left hundreds dead and sparked fears of a civil war. Yesterday, Mr Kiir said he was willing to enter into talks with Mr Machar but that he did not know what the result would be. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply concerned" about the situation in the country. He said: "This is a political crisis and urgently needs to be dealt with through political dialogue. There is a risk of this violence spreading to other states... [and] we have already seen

some signs of this." Mr Ban confirmed that some 20,000 people had taken refuge in the UN mission in Juba. The mayor of Bor, Nicholas Nhial Majak, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that violence had spread there from Juba, where it began on Sunday. Bor is about 150km (90 miles) north of the capital. The mayor said troops loyal to breakaway army commander Peter Gadet had raided the town and there was "a lot of fighting". "There is a lot of panic in town - and we really want the authorities to send more troops to quickly restore hope for the people," he said. The South Sudan Red Cross Society said at least 19 people were killed in fighting there. Joe Contreras, spokesman for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said: "Hundreds of civilians have been streaming into our camp on the outskirts of the town, they're now over the 1,000 mark, and Bor is very tense."

Great British train robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84


RITISH criminal Ronnie Biggs, who took part in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, has died aged 84, his spokeswoman has confirmed. Biggs was part of the gang which escaped with £2.6m from the Glasgow to London mail train on 8 August 1963. He was given a 30-year sentence but escaped from Wandsworth prison in 1965. In 2001, he returned to the UK seeking medical help but was sent to prison. He was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after contracting pneumonia. Train driver Jack Mills was struck over the head during the

robbery and never worked again. He died in 1970. 'Small-time crook' Biggs, who died early on Wednesday, was being cared for at the Carlton Court Care Home in East Barnet, north London. Loveable old rogue or violent criminal? Ronnie Biggs divided opinion like few other offenders. Some admired his audacity the robbery, the prison escape and the 36 years on the run, cocking a snook at authority as he lived the high life in Brazil. Others detested his cavalier attitude to the rules by which most law-abiding people live their lives - and they remem-

•Ronnie Biggs

ber that the robbery was not a "victimless" crime. Jack Mills, the train driver, beaten with an iron bar, never fully recovered and died of leukaemia seven years later. The case of Ronnie Biggs is a reminder of our sometimes conflicting attitude to crime and criminals.

secrets to a foreign organisations, sponsoring terrorism, and carrying out military training and other acts that undermined Egypt's stability and independence. Prosecutors allege that the Brotherhood had prepared a "terrorist plan" that included an alliance with Hamas, the Islamist group that governs Gaza, and Hezbollah, a powerful Lebanese Shia Islamist movement.

Japan boosts military forces to counter China

APAN’s cabinet has approved a new national security strategy and increased defence spending in a move widely seen as aimed at China. Over the next five years, Japan will buy hardware including drones, stealth aircraft and amphibious vehicles. The military will also build a new marine unit, an amphibious force capable of retaking islands. The move comes with Tokyo embroiled in a bitter row with Beijing over East China Sea islands that both claim.

For a country that, according to its constitution, does not maintain any army, navy or air force, Japan spends an awful lot of money on defence. Of course, Japan does have a military, a large and modern one. But it was designed in the days of the Cold War to protect Japan against an invasion from the north, from Russia. But over the last 10 years, China has transformed its military at an astonishing rate. Then last year, a long simmering dispute over a tiny group of islands in the east China suddenly burst on to the front pages.



by Commrade Emmanuel Edet, 15 Abak Road Uyo (08093612597)

istory is replete with stories of monumental developments, groundbreaking successes of renaissance men who have quintessentially exemplified the true and universal meaning of the concept of leadership in every continent in this terraqueous globe we call earth. Greatness is not a field for the pie in the sky romantics or sentimental wrecks, but for the intrinsically capable individuals who can objectively evaluate a grim situation and come up with feasible strategies which creates a balance in the political, social, economic and cultural strata in the country. All of these congeals and precipitates to what we now see as the provision of basic amenities used to make our life better, fully, and richer. The humongous phenomenal infrastructure and consistent progress in the provision of welfare amenities for the indigenes of Akwa Ibom State is pivotal to the exemplary effort of the Akpabio’s administration in the state. As the aphorism goes – “Talk is cheap”. But for the promising Governor of Akwa Ibom state this aphorism has received a rather elongated expression such as “talk is cheap, but action and tangible transformation is the exclusive reserve of the gods!” This is not to say that he is a thin god, but to emphasize his inherent credible personality traits – an achiever, an actualizer, a democrat!. In two terms he has brought drastic improvement and innovation in the Transportation, Agricultural, Education, Skills Acquisition, Health, Tourism, Electricity, and Road sectors of the State. His “scorecard” is replete with transformations in all sectors; even the blind can testify to the makeovers the roads and transportation sectors in the state have received starting from the flyovers on Ikot Ekpene Road, dualisation of roads for safe and convenient transit, opening of new roads to further bolster economic trade and communication, the Uyo City Taxi scheme, Solar powered traffic lights, Construction of Akwa Ibom International Airport, Seaport at Ibaka, rehabilitation of roads and the construction of drainages (to mention but a few). The health sector is not left out of the party as it has begun to breathe healthier owing to the construction of specialized hospitals, deployment of mobile ambulances, 65 reconstructed educational and health facilities etc. Agriculture could be regarded as our inheritance and culture handed down to us by our ancestors. The Governor has rekindle the agricultural touch which hitherto has been put out. The provision of tractors, distribution of modern fishing boats and out board engines, and the release of funding of Fadama development all bear attestation to the remarkable overhauling towards greater performance taking place in the agricultural sector. A nation is only as enlightened and civilized to the extent to which it places premium value on its educational sector. Free education, digital libraries, scholarship to study abroad, renovation of primary and secondary schools is a few of the well accentuated pride of Akwa Ibom State under his administration. Electricity has been a major bane in the country, but the Akpabio administration has further consolidated the federal government effort in the Power sector by embarking on 800 electricity project, vigorous electrification scheme in all rural areas in the state, development of gas reserves for electricity generation, and the Ibom Power Project. It is common knowledge that over 20,000 jobs have been created to assuage the discouraging statistics of the massive preponderance of unemployment and underemployment situation in the state. Scholarships have been awarded to individuals to enable them acquire specialized skills abroad, provision of micro credit facilities, training and empowerment of over 3000 youths with N500,000 each under the Integrated Farmer’s Scheme, and the creation of 200 inter-ministerial direct labour jobs mostly in rural areas are a few of his administration contribution to improving the standard of living of it denizens. Akwa Ibom State being the land of promise is an appreciable addendum to the colossally impressive landscape of the country. It has boosted its aesthetics by creating new museums to further accentuate its cultural heritage and building of world class entertainment centers.Finally, safety of lives and properties is the mainstay for any administration that is worth its weight. Formation of the joint security task force code named Aduma, Training seminars for security personnel, and equipping of security agencies with modern gadgets. The alacritous style in which the Akpabio regime successfully restored the core values of leadership which are - accountability, responsibility and transparency is highly commendable. Indeed, Akwa Ibom State is the Land of Promise. It is the land of promise not only because of its cultural, economic and congenial social atmosphere, but most importantly for having a leader like His Excellency Governor Akpabio who consistently performs beyond the expectations of the people of the state. His administration through various ways delivered to her people the dividends of democracy. In truth, no one can fully evolve without one, two, or more modicums of criticism. Constructive criticisms are essential underpinnings of a democracy, but the recent jangles of negative remarks about the Akpabio’s administration by the camp of the former SSG of Akwa Ibom is very distasteful and has received a rather anemic welcome from the denizens of Akwa Ibom. The governor has proven to be a remarkable brand ambassador of the land of promise by representing the state very well both nationally and internationally. In fact, his laudable infrastructural projects and economic policies have greatly added both colour and fragrance to the lives of millions of the people of Akwa Ibom State. In these respect, the governor out of the objective evaluation of the long-term improvement plan for the state hopes to see in the continuous prosperity of Akwa Ibom State. If he so chooses to recommend a successor for the upcoming gubernatorial election, he should not be criticized malignantly. He does so with the goodwill of the people at heart and also more importantly for posterity sake. It is pertinent to stress that the only reason for evil to continually strive is for good men to sit and do nothing. The governor has so much love for the state and also for the country at heart. But love in itself is never enough to get things done; it is only when the mandate and responsibility of leadership is handed to an individual that he or she can manifest great things with great love. It is not an error to say that having love without power is sick and anemic, and having power with a dearth of love is reckless and tyrannical. That is why a healthy blend of love and power is germane to any leadership. It is with this reason that we are encouraged to support the governor if he so wishes to go into the senate because he is a man who can manifest a congenial blend of power and love. Politics in its truest and purest semantic is about governance and not about chaotic or avaricious hunger for power disregarding the debilitating and horrendous precipitations it leaves on the lives of people. It is high time all unscrupulous political ragamuffins left the political arena so that noble and upright souls can navigate the socioeconomic and political wheel of our great country into the “land of promise”. Politics is a developmental tool with which some of our enlightened leaders in the past have used to reverberate echoes into the annals of history and unto the farthest of eternity. Indeed His Excellency Governor Godswill Akpabio is a great beacon light of hope in this generation. We celebrate this great man as he marks his 51st birthday celebration of life and relevance. God bless Akwa Ibom State.










VOL.8, NO.2,702

TOMORROW IN THE NATION Obasanjo may not be the saint he tried to portray himself in that letter, but that is not enough to dismiss what he is saying. There are issues in the letter that the president should address. Since this is not a court case, the onus is on him to disprove Obasanjo's claim. He should speak up before it is too late! LAWAL OGIENAGBON



ELSON Mandela, the great freedom fighter and first black president of South Africa, was buried last Sunday at Qunu, his remote birth place, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. His death on December 5, after a long illness, evoked an almost unprecedented global outpouring of grief and sadness. Virtually all the world’s leaders, including leaders of countries that had once denounced him as a dangerous Communist and terrorist, mourned him as a global icon, and paid him homage as one of the most outstanding political figures of the 20th century. Through his exemplary life and epic struggle for freedom he touched so many lives, cutting across race, colour, creed, and nationality. Millions of people, rich and poor, all over the world mourned him and felt a profound sense of personal loss at his demise. Not since the assassination of US President John Kennedy in November, 1963, in Dallas, USA, has there been such an outpouring of grief and sadness at the death of a political leader. Nelson Mandela was a man whose entire life was shaped by destiny. In so many ways, he was a man of destiny. Born in a remote part of South Africa, his father was a minor tribal chief. If he had not ventured out of Qunu he would have ended his life unknown as a minor tribal chief. No one could have predicted that he would in future emerge as the leader of the epic and bloody struggle of the South African blacks against apartheid South Africa and eventually emerge as South Africa’s first black president. But throughout out his difficult life and harrowing personal experiences under apartheid South Africa, destiny beckoned him towards greatness. As he wrote in his memoirs, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, not satisfied with the prospect of being a minor court official in Qunu, he fled with his cousin to Johannesburg, the prosperous South African gold city, and the country’s commercial capital, and worked in the mines there. It was a back breaking, poorly paid, and humiliating job, with black workers huddled together in shacks and horrifying conditions. The white mining officials exercised their authority over black workers with unspeakable brutality. When it was discovered that he had fled from home to seek employment in the city and was wanted back at home, he was fired. But instead of returning home, he chose to remain in Johannesburg where he suffered terribly. It was in that city that he encountered the horrors and personal racial humiliation suffered by all non-whites in apartheid South Africa. To borrow the famous words of William Gladstone, a 19th century liberal British prime minister, the apartheid racial system was a ‘negation of God erected into a system of government’. Next to Nazi Germany, it was the most vicious and evil system of government ever devised by humanity. The blacks were treated by the Boers in


attention...OGA JONA



Mandela: The man of destiny

•The late Mandela

their own country worse than dogs. They had absolutely no political or economic rights. They were segregated and made to carry passes in their own country. Blacks who had university education were denied jobs in the government. In Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela went back to school and eventually studied law part time, after which he worked for a while as a clerk in a white law firm. He lived in a one room apartment in Soweto, the fabled shanty town for the blacks. His wages were so low he could barely support himself financially. Even though he was qualified to be an attorney, he and other black lawyers were denied that opportunity by the apartheid system. In the law firm, he continued to encounter the brutal nature of apartheid. The white office assistant employed in the law firm would not serve him tea at lunch break because he was black. Only his white colleagues could be served. It was the personal humiliation he suffered in Johannesburg that led him to join the African National Congress (ANC), then agitating for an end to racism in South Africa. He started a law firm with Oliver Tambo, his lifelong comrade in the long struggle against the apartheid system. He


ASCINATING verbal nuances were evident as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ended its marathon five-month old industrial action with effect from Tuesday, December 17. ASUU President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, said “ NEC has resolved to suspend the strike embarked upon on July 1, 2013, with effect from Tuesday, December 17, 2013, and directs its staff to resume work forthwith.” Interestingly, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, said “Notwithstanding the fact that some of the sessions were typically stormy, I am gladdened by the fact that the strike has been called off and we are here to formalise the process that will work to uphold the renewed confidence between ASUU and the government.” Note that while Fagge used the word “suspend”, Anyim employed the phrase “called off”. To the discerning, the one implies possible resumption, while the other suggests an ending. This subtle but significant difference in diction deserves contemplation. In connection with the likely import of the divergence in their choice of words, in fact, reinforcing the discrepancy, is Fagge’s pregnant statement while addressing journalists at the Bosso Campus of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, where he said, “ASUU would have preferred to undertake the re-negotiation of the 2009 agree-

married early in 1946, but his first wife, Evelyn, who was the cousin of Walter Sisulu, a veteran of the struggle, left him because she could not share his unyielding commitment to the struggle. She was an adherent of the Jehovah Witness, a religious movement that forbade the participation of its members in politics. She could no longer stand his complete dedication to the struggle which left her lonely with four young children to bring up on her own. She did not understand the import of the great struggle and the long time spent away from home by her husband in pursuit of his political objective. The breakup of the marriage had a devastating effect on Nelson Mandela. By his own account, he returned home one day to an empty house, and found that his wife had packed out, taking the four children of the marriage with her. Even the curtains in the house had been removed by his wife. She had asked him to choose between his family and the anti-apartheid struggle. Though painful, as he admitted in his memoires, he chose the latter and continued with the struggle. Most men would have chosen their family. A few years later, he met and married, Winnie, who, unlike Evelyn, shared his commitment to the struggle. But after five years of marriage he was sent to life imprisonment for treason after the famous Rivonia trial in which he said he was prepared to die for his freedom. He could have been given the death sentence, but was spared by the strong international reaction to the 1963 Sharpeville massacre of unarmed and fleeing 67 blacks, shot in the back by the South African police for carrying out a peaceful demonstration. It was while he was in prison that he became the acknowledged leader of the black struggle in racist South Africa. He refused to compromise the struggle despite blandishments of possible reprieve by the racist regime if he abandoned the struggle. When his first

son by Evelyn died, he was in prison and was not allowed to bury him. After 27 years in prison he was finally released by the apartheid regime. So much had changed in South Africa during his incarceration. The struggle for freedom had become bloodier and international support for the black struggle for freedom had increased. Economic sanctions against the regime had begun to bite. Fearing a total collapse of the South African economy, the white business community in South Africa, led by Oppenheimer, openly called for negotiations with the ANC. This paved the way for Mandela’s subsequent release and a review of the racist South African Constitution. In the ensuing elections, the ANC won and Nelson Mandela emerged as the first black president of South Africa. He served only one term as president. His job was done and he retired into private life, pleading that his successors should not call him. Jointly with F.W. de Klerk, his white predecessor in office, he received the Nobel Peace award. As president, he reconciled all the races of South Africa and laid the foundation for a rainbow country. He unified a once bitterly divided nation. He was the only leader who could have kept the country together and end racial bitterness and violence in the country. He made enormous personal sacrifice for the nation. He gave everything up for his country’s freedom, including his marriage to his second wife, Winnie, and his children and grandchildren. He never had a normal family life. Soon after his release from prison, he separated from Winnie. The long period of his incarceration had, regrettably, destroyed the marriage irreparably. As he said when announcing his separation from Winnie, it was the destiny and lot of freedom fighters not to enjoy a normal family life. Africa has produced other outstanding political leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Sekou Toure of Guinea, Abdul Nasser of Egypt, and Nwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. But they all pale in political and global significance to Nelson Mandela, a truly global phenomenon, who, defying all odds fought courageously for his country’s freedom. As President Obama observed rightly, we may never see the likes of him again. The values for which he fought so bravely in South Africa are eternal and enduring. The anomalous situation in South Africa produced this great man of destiny, a truly global icon, now laid to rest in his home town, Qunu. • For comments, send SMS to 08054503031


•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Before ASUU strikes again

Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Universities can stop a recurrence of strike. It is interesting that the chairman of the committee is no other than the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, the very character who, apparently in a moment of pitiable confusion, threatened to sack any lecturer who failed to return to work on or before December 4, 2013. With such a bossy mentality, may Wike not provoke another storm! Fagge put the issue in perspective, saying, “It is our hope that government will honour these resolutions as signed.” This is the crux of the matter. Before the just ended strike, four years ago ASUU had a similar faceoff with the Federal Government which lasted four months, and the terms of resolution unbelievably formed the basis of the 2013 industrial action. So it’s like you never can tell what will happen. Sometime ago, in an intriguing creative response to the challenges facing management of public universities in the country, the respected Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, declared that the institutions probably should be shut down for a two-year period to allow for a re-imagining of the concept of tertiary education. Far-fetched, some critics observed at the time. But, in the light of developments, doesn’t it sound reasonable, given the unending see-saw that the ASUU versus government conflict has become?

ment in the second quarter of 2014, but we were persuaded to shift the date to the third quarter, and we agreed as a gesture of goodwill.’’ So the third quarter of 2014 might be problematic, given the history of conflict resolution involving ASUU and government. It took a marathon 13-hour meeting between ASUU and President Goodluck Jonathan on November 4 to resolve the complicated disagreement, with the government committing itself to injecting N1.3tn into public universities between 2013 and 2018. The compromise involved N220bn yearly government release beginning from 2014, and an agreement to domicile N 200bn in a special account at the Central Bank of Nigeria for the remaining part of this year. The high figures were understandable in the context of the dispute which centred on increased funding of the public universities, a declaration of state of emergency in tertiary education, improved wages as well as payment of earned allowances to academic staff. It remains to be seen whether the formation of a 12-man monitoring committee on the implementation of the recommendation of the

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Dec 19, 2013new