Robbery: Ajimobi inaugurates Army, Police, SSS joint patrol squad Pg. 6
VOL.05 N0. 1970
‘Shehu Kogi poll: Yar’Adua TinubuPg. declined Pg. offer to 4 replies 4 rescue him Obasanjo from prison’ Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Disquiet among ministers ...over lack of direct access to Jonathan
It is an unfair thing to say. The thing is that a minister cannot just walk up to the President to start discussion as it is always scheduled... The story is not true, let any minister that has an issue come out and state it... - Reuben
THE LUCKY CABINET MEMBERS •Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala •Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke •Minister of Justice and AGF, Mohammed Bello Adoke(SAN) •Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru •Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah
Continued on Page 5
98-yr-old man takes 25-yr-old as fourth wife Says: 'I satisfy her sexual desires’
Marrying him was a dream come true. I love him, that was why I decided to marry him. I was not forced to marry him... Now that I have a child Pages for him, I am very happy -Bride 2&3
IN THE NEWS
2011 poll: CJN heads panel to hear CPC’s appeal against Page President 4
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Ninety-eight-year-old Pa Shara Oboh, the landlord of Obudu Mountain Ranch and Resort, is not only strange in appearance, things he is doing at his age are equally strange and unimaginable. OLUKAYODE THOMAS, who met him, reports:
For Pa Oboh, life begins at 98 with a new bride •Pa Oboh
•Pa Oboh with the latest addition to the family
T 98, Pa Shara Oboh, the landlord of Obudu Mountain Ranch and Resort, is proof that the Newton Law of Gravity which states that what goes up must come down may not be a hundred per cent correct. At this advanced age, when most of his contemporaries who are alive by God’s grace don’t venture out of their homes, Pa Oboh daily treks from his house to the main bar at the Obudu Mountain Ranch and Resort, where the youths and oldies gather for drinks and banters. The journey takes Pa Oboh approximately 40 to 45 minutes trekking from his house in the Mountain Village where the natives live, and he sometimes does this twice or thrice daily. Save the stick that he used to rear cattle as a young man, which has now become a fashion statement, Pa Oboh does not walk
with the aid of walking stick, nor does he need a young man to guide him. He can stand straight upright, talk for hours on end, he sees clearly, and hears clearly without the need of an hearing aid, one can conveniently say that at 98, Pa Oboh has the energy of a 30-year-old. If his ability to be active outside makes one curious, his activities indoor should send medical doctors and other classes of scientists to Obudu Mountain Ranch and Resort to study what is in Pa Oboh genes that gives him the ability to procreate at 98. The Old Man of Obudu Mountain married 25 years old Christiana last year, his fourth wife, after a brief courtship. Nine months after the wedding, Christiana has given birth to a bouncing baby boy. While visitors to Obudu may doubt the paternity of the child or Pa Oboh’s ability to procreate at 98, members of his extended
family and other villagers attributed his ability to procreate and do what youths do at 98 to supernatural powers. Many of them posit that Oboh has some supernatural powers and that he communes with some spirit being, who give him the power and ability to outlive his contemporaries, most of whom are dead; and even his younger ones, most of whom are either gone or confined to their homes; they could neither move around like Oboh nor farm, not to talk of procreating. Few who attribute Oboh’s longevity to spiritual powers revealed what they claim has become a folktale in the community. Oboh,
they revealed, was born with white hair all over his body and an all white dreadlocks all over his head, this, they said, is not natural. ‘’ People use to run away from him even as a child, especially when they saw him alone or in the night; it is just recently that they welcome him because he is very old and white hair is associated with old age”, said 80 years old Pa James Ogar. Born in 1913, Pa Oboh said it is true that people ran away whenever they saw him because they believed that he had some spiritual powers which were negative , but he acknowledged that though he has some supernatural powers they are positive. “My power is positive, it is not negative. I catch witches and other classes of evil doers. My power is what I call supernatural
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
•Pa Oboh with his latest bride and their baby
•Pa Oboh with his wives and children power from God. I cannot explain my hair and the dreadlocks, but I know that I was born this way, a razor touches my head once in two years, it must not touch my head until another two years. The white hair you see all over my body is an indication of my cleanliness; I am clean inside. I use my God-given power to catch thieves, witches, wizards and other evil doers. When they see me they panic, because they know I have superior power. It is true that when I was young, many villagers ran away from me because they considered me an evil spirit that could kill but they have accepted me, they know my power is positive”. Looking around the beautiful Obudu Mountain Ranch and Resort, Oboh revealed that the mountain used to be a haven for people of Obudu who were trying to evade tax collectors: the British, the chiefs in Obudu and the Native Authority many years ago. “Then, we were very close to nature, we used to walk and move around naked, even women, it was when Mr. McCaughley, a British Officer, of the Colonial Authority Veterinary Service, came in 1949 that we started wearing clothes. We were basically farmers and hunters. We made palm kernel, palm oil, cocoa, yam and other farm produce, we would take all these to Obudu main market. On a good day, we could sell all our produce for two penny, that was a lot of money then’’. Pa Oboh recalled that then they used to hunt for animals like gorillas, chimpanzee, snakes, and bush cows. Sickness, snake bites and attacks by other animals are treated with what he called cultural medicine. “We use leaves to cure all sort of ail-
ments; sometimes we may have to cut part of the sick person’s body and apply the medicine directly into his blood. “Getting a wife then was as easy as ABC; all you need to get a wife was to be hard working. Once you were hard working, the family of the lady would marry her to you with or without her consent. “ Pa Oboh has had his own fair share of women; shortly after marrying his first wife many years ago, he was thinking of marrying a second wife when his two brothers died in quick succession, so their widows were bestowed on him. With three wives, the thought of marrying more women died, at least temporarily. A few years ago, his wives told him they could no longer live on the mountain because they are old and could not stand the cold weather. Since he is the face and the landlord of the Obudu Mountain Ranch Resort, Pa Oboh could not abandon his domain. That was when the thought of marrying a new wife started. As he was looking for a companion, Christiana, who Pa Oboh loves to call by her native name Oma, walked into his life. Before anybody could say Jack, they were married and as at today, their union is blessed with a baby boy. This reporter had to wait for about 15 minutes before Christiana came back from the stream where she had gone to fetch water. Asked why she chose to marry a man that is old enough to be his great grandfather when there are countless young, handsome and adorable bachelors in Obudu and beyond, Christiana said: “Marrying him was a dream come true. I love him, that was why I
decided to marry him. I was not forced to marry him. I did it out of likeness and love and now that I have a child for him, I am very happy.’’ And for Pa Oboh, why did he have to marry a very young lady when there are arrays of older women in the village who will gladly love to be his companion and given that Christiana is still young and sexually active? Will he be able to satisfy her sexual desires? Hear the response of the 98-year-old man: “I satisfy her, though not every second, but at least four times a week; but the most important thing is that we are happy together.” Pa Oboh attributed his strength to the fact that he drinks palm wine and does not allow himself to be troubled. He revealed that his new wife may not have many kids for him because the cost of training children has gone up astronomically. “I will not marry another woman after Oma, or have many more children. One of my children just came from Cameroon, he needs N40,000, and things are very expensive today,” he said. On the Obudu Mountain Ranch and Resort, Pa Oboh is a celebrity, apart from being the face of the resort with his images on many billboards and many television documentaries about the resort focused on him. On the ranch, Pa Oboh dines and wines with movers and shakers of the country from presidents, to governors and other top government officials. The first president Pa Oboh met was late Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, the first president of Nigeria, whom he gave six cows. He has wined and dined with others, including the current one, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
I satisfy her, though not every second, but at least four times a week; but the most important thing is that we are happy together. Pa Oboh attributed his strength to the fact that he drinks palm wine...
But former President Shehu Shagari holds a special place in his heart. He has so much love for Shagari that he named one of his sons after the former president. Oboh also has good words to say about former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, who started the modernisation of Obudu Mountain Ranch and Resort and the current governor, Liyel Imoke, who has taken the vision of Duke
to a greater height. “I am appealing to all people of Cross River to support Governor Imoke, with our support and co-operation, he will take our state to a greater height.’’ Oboh calls for peace in the Bakassi region. “ We are all one; before, they wanted to move people in Obudu to Cameroon, but we said no, we are Nigerians. The people in Bakassi want to be in Nigeria and we urged both governments to respect the wishes of the people.”
At 98, Pa Oboh’s life is not without many regrets, but one that he believes the society can help him before he turns 100 years in a two years is a befitting accommodation. “I don’t have a roof over my head. I only manage this place, which belongs to the family. I am appealing to well-meaning Nigerians and the government to please assist me with a house of my own so that I will have a befitting centenary celebration.”
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
CJN heads panel to hear CPC’s appeal against Jonathan, PDP Kamarudeen OGUNDELE, Abuja
•From left: Ugandan MP, Hon. Christine Bako; Country Director, International Republican Institute (IRI), Mrs Robina Namusisi; President, Women Arise, Dr Joe-Okei Odumakin; Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) National Women Leader, Hajia Hafsat Mohammed Baba and President, De Grey & Associates, Canada, Mrs Deborah Greg during a roundtable conference on Women in politics at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos on Thursday.
‘Shehu Yar'Adua declined offer to rescue him from prison’ T HE late former Chief of Staff Supreme HeadQuarters, Major General Shehu Yar'Adua could have been alive if he had accepted a plan to spirit him out of the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons in Lagos, according to Kaduna based Civil rights activist and President of Civil Rights Congress (CRC), Mallam Shehu Sani. Speaking ahead of the annual Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Memorial Lecture in Kaduna yesterday, Sani told The Nation that the late Shehu Yar'Adua was offered an opportunity by a prominent businessman who was in jail with him at the time to escape from prison, but he declined the plan, which entailed the landing of an helicopter at the prison to lift the late general to a neigbouring country. Sani, who was detained in the same cell with Yar'Adua who was convicted for planning a coup against the late General Sani Abacha, also alleged that a top ranking official of that government was feeding the late Yar'Adua with up-to-date information on what was happening in the government. Sani said: "A Lagos socialite,
Tony AKOWE, Kaduna
who was detained in the same cell with us for business deals, offered Yar'Adua an escape formula out of prison, but Yar'Adua declined. "The businessman offered to arrange for a helicopter to land on the prison football pitch and pick up Yar'Adua to Benin Republic, but Yar'Adua just smiled, thanked him and declined the offer. "I can also confirm that a top official of the Abacha government was leaking information on the activities of the Abacha government to Yar'Adua when we were in detention. Yar'Adua and I were also together in Port Harcourt Prisons when Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged. Yar'Adua shed tears when Abacha hanged Saro-Wiwa and his kinsmen." Yar'Adua, Sani said, died unhappy with northern leaders, especially traditional and religious leaders, for allegedly abandoning him and for being afraid to tell Abacha the truth. He claimed that the late
Yar’Adua’s main problem with Abacha was that he refused to support his self succession bid. "The late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua died a sad man, abandoned and neglected by most of his friends. Many of his friends distanced themselves from him for fear of Abacha. ‘’Yar'Adua and I were both arrested in March 1995 and taken to Kirikiri prisons. We were kept in Block 2 of the prison cell for seven months until we were both taken to the Special Military Investigation panel headed by Gen Felix Mujakpero. Later, we were charged before the Special Military Tribunal headed by Gen Patrick Aziza. We wore handcuffs and leg chains for the period of the interrogation and trial. But Yar'Adua was not handcuffed until he was sentenced to death.. "Yar'Adua died grateful to human rights groups and the media for standing up for him and others in defiance of Abacha. But he died disappointed with northern emirs and clerics for betraying him and siding with Abacha.
"I had the opportunity of asking late Yar'Adua what problem he had with Abacha and he told me that it was simply because he refused to support Abacha's self-succession plot, and that he told Abacha to come out with a tentative time table for an end to military rule. "Yar'Adua also told me that he was never a party to the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and that he had no hand in the installation of the Interim National Government of Chief Enerst Shonekan. "He said his differences with Abiola stemmed from the fact that he advised Abiola to start the fight against the annulment from the North so that the struggle would not be ethnicised, but Abiola refused. ‘’ The late Yar'Adua also became a very close friend of the late Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti when we were all in Kirikiri Prisons. Yar'Adua told me that Gen. Hassan Katsina privately wrote to Abacha, advising Abacha to free him and all political prisoners. The late Hassan Katsina sent him (Yar'adua) a copy of the letter. Gen. Katsina expressed disappointment that Abacha turned him down."
I didn’t receive any summons, says Lagos Speaker ... as court issues warrant of arrest T HE Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, has faulted a bench warrant issued by a Federal High Court in Lagos for his arrest yesterday, saying he had not received any court summons requesting him to show up in court. By the court’s order, Ikuforiji and his Personal Assistant, Oyebode Alade Atoyebi, are to be arrested by the Police and produced before the court on January 17 next year for arraignment on a 20-count charge of money laundering brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The court, presided over by Justice James Tsoho, made the order upon an oral application by EFCC's lawyer, Godwin Obla, who told the court that the Speaker and his aide broke his pledge to voluntarily present himself in court yesterday. But in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Adebayo said the Speaker had not received any summons requesting him to show up in any court, adding that as a law abiding public officer, he would have honoured such a summons. ‘’The truth of the matter,
ACN accuses EFCC of seeking to ambush, embarrass Ikuforiji
HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the EFCC of acting unprofessionally and sensationalising the anti-corruption fight by seeking to ambush and embarrass the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, over the fraud allegation against him. In a statement issued in Osogbo, Osun State on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the EFCC had already invited the media to cover a planned arraignment of the Speaker yesterday, even when he and his lawyers had not been informed of the arraignment. It said if the EFCC had followed the normal procedure, it would have either served the Speaker a summons or informed his lawyers of the plan. ''Instead, they phoned the Speaker late on Thursday that they wanted him to report to their office to shed more light on their investigations, to which he responded that he was sitting till late and would honour the invitation on Friday. ''Unknown to the Speaker, the EFCC had perfected the plan to arrest and detain him if he had reported to their office on Thursday, and then transport him in a Black Maria to court Friday morning for arraignment. Even though the Speaker and his lawyers were kept in the dark, the EFCC had gone ahead to invite the media to cover the arraignment. ''This is not how to fight corruption. It is mere sensationalism; the type that has opened the EFCC to charges of playing to the gallery and of portraying suspects as guilty even when they have not been tried and convicted,'' ACN said. The party said the Speaker, being a law abiding citizen from a party that strongly believes in the rule of law, will definitely make himself available at the next adjourned date. however, is that no such thing received. So, it will be incorrect as a court summons has been to insinuate that Hon. Ikuforiji
refused to honour a court summons of any such,’’ the statement said.. It added: ‘’As a law abiding public officer, the Hon. Speaker has always made himself available to the top officials of the EFCC since the beginning of the Commission's probing of the petitions by some faceless groups regarding an alleged N7 billion fraud that was sent to the EFCC some months ago. ‘’Despite the fact that the entire lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly have made strenuous efforts to debunk the fraud allegation since it started, the Hon. Speaker has consistently made himself available to the Commission whenever asked to do so. ‘’It will therefore be incorrect to insinuate that Hon. Ikuforiji refused to honour a court summons since none was received by him up till the time he left the office late on Thursday 8th December, 2011. ‘’The Speaker and the entire honourable members of the House assure all Lagosians that they shall continue to enact laws that will promote their wellbeing and the overall development of Lagos State.’’
HE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Dahiru Musdapher, is to chair a seven-member panel of Justices to hear the appeal filed by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), challenging the election of President Goodluck Jonathan. The party is seeking to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which validated Jonathan’s electoral victory on April 16. A statement signed by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Sunday Olorundahunsi only said the CJN “has constituted a full panel to hear the Presidential Election Petition involving the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC”. The statement failed to disclose the names of the Justices that will sit on the panel. But investigation by our correspondent revealed the names of other members apart from the CJN to include Justices Mahmud Mohammed, Walter Onnoghen, John Afolabi Fabiyi, Olufunlola Adekeye, Bode Rhodes-Vivour and Sylvester Ngwuta. The appeal is between the CPC as appellant and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), its chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Jonathan and 39 others as Respondents. The court will begin sitting on December 13.
Kogi poll: Tinubu replies Obasanjo
ORMER Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday reacted to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s comments that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was crying over spilled milk on the outcome of the governorship election which gave victory to the ruling party in Kogi State. Tinubu, who is the national leader of the ACN, said Obasanjo does not have the moral rectitude to pass judgment on the ACN or its performance at the Kogi State governorshiop election, as he has lost the moral compass to comment on such issues, given antecedent while in office. Speaking to reporters at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos while departing on a trip, Tinubu said: “What integrity has Obasanjo in terms of his legacies for Nigeria to speak on elections? The only election that was clear in this country was the one that was organised before the Fourth Republic. The worst legacy in electoral practice was left by Obasanjo. He has no reason whatsoever and he has no audacity to talk about free and fair elections in this country. “Apart from his aborted third term ambition, he brought about and left a legacy of electoral corruption in the country to the extent that his successor , the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, set up Uwais Panel. Instead of implementing UwaisPanel’s report comprehensively on how to improve on the election, they stage managed and sidetracked that report. They went a step ahead by only implementing only one or two items. “What is Obasanjo talking about? He should go away and retired in shame politically. He should leave the political landscape of this country alone. He brought a whole salad of corruption, manipulation and failures.” On the last local government elections in Lagos State, Tinubu said: “He has no audacity to talk about these local government elections. The local government that he didn’t believe in its creation. Is it the local government that he
Kelvin Osa- OKUNBOR denied funding and all other related constitutional malpractices? Did he ever believe in free and fair elections? What is he talking about? He should not be talking in this country. He should go to his farm, retire and cover his face in shame, milk his cows and attend to the chickens.” On whether the ACN will contest the Kogi State governorship elections result, Tinubu said: “We are going to contest the election in the tribunal. Until Nigeria has a free and fair election, we would not be at peace in this country. That is the truth. What legacy has Obasanjo left for this country? Look at the situation with the petroleum sector today, I can show you paper now. Go and look for The Vanguard of 1998. And 1999, when we started the discussion on the petroleum subsidy, what did he do? What has he done? He left that problem till now. What has he done on electricity? He left that legacy of failure till now. The man has no locus to even talk about integrity.” On the recent protest of members of the Odua Peoples Congress ( OPC) on the spate of political violence in the country, Tinubu said : “We have leadership deficiency in this country. I don’t subscribe to OPC’s protest. What are they protesting about? They should talk about the security of lives and property across the country. This is not a matter that is sectional; this is a nation whose image is being battered worldwide. This is a country that is seen as a terrorist nation, that makes life very difficult for its citizens in Diaspora and our travellers. This is a situation that would not bring direct investment to the country. The approach is not protest. It is not a matter of a sectional protest; it is a matter of a national magnitude. “ He further said : “What has he done in the privatization? He left the litany of corruption. It was Obasanjo that made us give another vocabulary in transparency. He said that you can be transparently corrupt. Transparent corruption in TRANSCORP and so many other privatization programmes carried out during his administration.”
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
HERE is disquiet among some members of the Federal Executive Council over alleged lack of access to their boss, President Goodluck Jonathan. The affected ministers claim they are finding it difficult to discuss their plans or proposals with the President one on one, adding that their only contact with the President is the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting which,in their view, is not enough to share confidential information with him. But there are exceptions, as some of the ministers get to see the President as often as they desire. The lucky ministers include Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Finance); Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke (Petroleum Resources); Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN (Attorney General of the Federation/Justice Minister); Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs) and Mrs. Stella Oduah (Aviation). Others are retired Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs); Mr. Labaran Maku (Information); Mrs Sarah Ochekpa (Water Resources); Mr. Mike Onolememen (Works); Prof. Barth Nnaji (Power); Prof. Rukkayat Rufai (Education); Senator Bala Mohammed (Federal Capital Territory); Mr. Olusegun Aganga (Trade and Investment) and Dr. Ayodeji Akinwumi (Agriculture). The perceived disparity in treatment is said to be causing division within the council. The President has a 42-member cabinet made up of ‘senior’ and ‘junior’ ministers. The ‘junior ‘ ministers are officially called ministers of state. It was gathered that some
Disquiet among ministers ••• over lack of direct access to Jonathan Yusuf ALLI and Vincent IKUOMOLA, Abuja
THE LUCKY CABINET MEMBERS Continued from Page 1
ministers are unhappy that since the cabinet was inaugurated six months ago, they have not had one-on-one contact with the President on pressing ideas and plans for their ministries. Such ministers claimed that they had wanted to discuss their plans confidentially with the President but had no opportunity to do so. They expressed fears that a cabal of anointed ministers is gradually emerging unless the trend is reversed. A reliable source said: “These lucky ones have direct and unfettered access to the President to raise state matters. But some have not been able to have audience with the President in the last six months. “Even all memos on contracts are now to be scrutinised by the Economic Team headed by the Coordinating Minister. This is making communication with the President clumsy and some FEC members are becoming second fiddle. “The pattern is that the cabinet is splitting towards the privileged and the less privileged or sulking groups. “There is a suspicion of a growing cabinet within cabinet. Why will a minister not have direct access to his or her
•Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade •Minister of Information, Labaran Maku • Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpa •Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen •Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji •Minister of Education, Prof. Rukkayat Rufai •Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed •Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga •Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Ayodeji Akinwumi boss? “And it has reached a ridiculous level that there are some ministers whose colleagues can hardly discuss or oppose their memos because of the fears of backlash of anointing. No one wants to lose his or her job.” However, a Presidency source said: “The President does not discriminate. Right from the outset, he adopted a fair-minded approach by drawing up a work schedule for all the ministers. He also gives them a free hand to operate, such that no minister is required to see his face before performing. “But the nature of the transformation agenda will certainly make some ministers more visible at the Presidential Villa than others. “For instance, virtually all state matters might require legal direction. Will you now complain that the AGF is al-
ways at the beck and call of the President? “Also, the Minister of Finance, as the coordinating minister, will always be summoned by the President just like her counterpart in the petroleum ministry where the nation’s revenue comes from.’’
•Panel relocates to Kaduna to stave off pressure •Concerned PDP members seek governor’s disqualification HE screening of three key governorship aspirants seeking the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party for Sokoto governorship poll began yesterday amidst tension among their supporters.
Spokesman relives Umaru Yar’Adua’s last days
with the ministers, besides the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. “The President’s schedule is a matter of public record. And whenever he travels, he always ensures that ministers travel with him. “In fact, there is no day the President does not have audience with ministers. For instance, today, he met with three ministers. namely those of Works, Technology and Communications, and Water Resources. “The story is not true. Let any minister that has an issue come out and state it rather than hide behind newspaper reports. “But I can tell you that there is no minister who does not have one-on-one with the President.”
Sokoto poll: Wamakko, ex-minister, senator face screening panel
•Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio (right) welcoming former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon to the Government House, Uyo... yesterday
AGOS, Nigeria (AP) - The late President Umaru Yar'Adua grew so weak while in office he needed once to be carried by a soldier off a runway during a state visit to Togo, ultimately becoming unable to speak in the last weeks of his life, according to a new book by his former spokesman. The book by Olusegun Adeniyi tells of how the ill leader became a political pawn in a charade that saw soldiers deployed without authorisation and rumours of a possible coup float among the elite in the oil-rich nation. It also describes the rise of militancy in the Niger Delta, including how a militant leader stole thousands of machine guns from army depots. Though portraying his former boss in a largely flattering light, Adeniyi's book shows how tenuous democracy is in a nation plagued by vote-rigging and that cast off military rule only 13 years ago. "If we will be honest with ourselves, we all know how we rig elections in this country," Adeniyi quotes Yar'Adua as saying during a closed-door January 2008 meeting about the
It was also gathered that some members of the same set of lucky ministers are driving the withdrawal of fuel subsidy while others are like passengers. The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, however said the report was not correct. He noted that although meetings with the President are always scheduled, no minister can claim not to have had audience with the President. He added: “It is an unfair thing to say. The thing is that a minister cannot just walk up to the President to start discussing, as it is always scheduled. “And don’t forget that the President routinely meets
corrupt election that saw him become the nation's leader. "We compromise the security agencies, we pay the electoral officials and party agents while on the eve of the election we merely distribute logistics all designed to buy the vote." The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of "Power, Politics and Death: A Front-Row Account of Nigeria Under the Late President Yar'Adua" from the author. Reuben Abati, a spokesman for current President Goodluck Jonathan, declined to comment on the book. In the book, Adeniyi acknowledges Yar'Adua's ascension to power through a rigged 2007 presidential election. Yar'Adua, already sickly from a chronic kidney condition, weakened quickly under the strain of the presidency. Those around him tried to protect his image. Adeniyi recounts instructing a cameraman from the state-run television network to film the president from the side only in one instance in 2008 to hide Yar'Adua's swollen face after an allergic reaction. Continued on Page 7
Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation The aspirants are Governor Aliyu Magatarkada Wamakko; ex-Minister of Sports, Yusuf Suleiman, and Senator Abubakar Gada. The panel has, however, relocated to Kaduna to stave off pressure. But a group, Concerned Original PDP Members, sent a petition to the panel demanding the disqualification of Wamakko for allegedly working against the PDP during the April general election. In a swift reaction, supporters of Wamakko reminded that he delivered Sokoto 100 per cent to the PDP at the poll in April. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the aspirants appeared before a four-man panel headed by a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Tijani Yahaya Kaura. Other members of the panel are Hon. Zakari Mohammed, Chuks Azuka, and Baba Lawal. A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: "The screening of the aspirants has started. But there have been claims and counter-claims from their supporters before the panel. "Although most of the petitions weigh heavily against the governor, they also confirmed that Sokoto PDP is sharply divided. "The governor and his supporters or backers have also launched counter-attacks to debunk the allegations as baseless. "The panel will look at all the issues from the three parties before coming out with its conclusion." A member of the panel said: "We are sitting in Kaduna because that is the zonal headquarters of the PDP. We are not bound to screen aspirants in Sokoto. "It is normal for issues to be raised when you are screening aspirants like those in this set. This is because the stake is high. "We will, however, be guided by the constitutional requirements of the PDP. We will not take sides. We will be fair and just to all the aspirants."
It was learnt that a petition that caused tension was sent to the panel by the Concerned Original PDP Members, asking for the disqualification of the governor. The petition was signed by Alhaji Abubakar Babangida (State Publicity Secretary), Alh. Abubakar Magajin Kojiyo, Alh. Mohammed Wadata Usman Guiwa (Former State Assistant Secretary and Zonal Secretary) and a former Executive Chairman of Isa Local Government, Alh. Sharehu Abubakar Kamarawa. They accused the governor of anti-party activities during the last general election. The petition reads in part: "Consistent with his manifest contempt and disdain of the PDP and all that the PDP stands for, Alh. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, even though supposedly a PDP governor, has never let go any opportunity to subvert the goals and interests of the party at every critical turn. "While we have many, some of which have been highlighted from the foregoing, we hereby give two recent examples of Wamakko's anti--party actions against the PDP: · In the last governorship election in Zamfara State, Wamakko was clearly in support of the ANPP gubernatorial candidate against that of the PDP by providing funds and by means of human resources (political thugs) in aid of the ANPP candidates. · Also, in Kebbi State, Governor Aliyu Wamakko proved his innate contempt for the PDP by openly mobilising resources and campaigning for the opposition ANPP (now in the clothing of the CPC) candidates. In fact, it is on record that most of the political thugs arrested in Kebbi State during the last general election were known people in the service of Governor Wamakko in Sokoto State. "Governor Wamakko is known to always boast of his popularity and that he did the PDP a favour by belonging to the party and as such, the party and not him should be grateful for his membership. Continued on Page 7
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Robbery: Ajimobi inaugurates joint patrol squad
OVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday inaugurated the state joint patrol squad, with a warning to criminal elements to steer clear of the state. The 146-member squad, codenamed “Operation Burst’’, is made up of 65 policemen; 55 personnel of the Nigerian Army; 12 Air Force personnel; 7 from the State Security Service (SSS) and 7 from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Ajimobi, while inaugurating the squad at the Governor’s Office car park, said the move was a symbol of his administration’s total and zero tolerance for insecurity. The governor noted that a government exists, in the first instance, to be able to provide security for its people, adding that any government that failed in this regard had lost touch with the fundamentals of government. He recalled that of recent, there had been renewed onslaught of men of the underworld and activities of undesirable elements in the country. “Outcries over the activities of hoodlums and armed robbers, who have literally frozen the peace of the people, have been on the increase,’’ the governor said. Although he said the state had been lucky not to have a share of the unpleasant attacks of the men of the underworld, any proactive government must not wait until it happened. Ajimobi, who attributed the upsurge in criminal activities to the Yuletide season, said that having loafed for the previous 11 months of the year, it had now dawned on the criminal elements that the massive social requirements of the Yuletide period needed to be addressed urgently. “Being loafers and lazy men and women that they are, criminal activities become ready tools with which they
Lagos CJ commissions CCTV Adebisi ONANUGA
ORRIED by the spate of bomb blasts and explosions by the Boko Haram sect in some parts of the country, the Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Inumidun Enitan Akande, has commissioned over 200 high-tec close circuit television (CCTV) cameras for Lagos courts. Justice Akande said during the commissioning yesterday that the installation of the CCTV cameras had been completed for Lagos and Ikeja high courts. They were installed in the chambers of the high court justices, court rooms, probate registaries, offices of court sherriffs and other strategic locations within and around the courts. It was said that the installation of the equipment would soon spread to other courts in the state. Justice Akande said the CCTV cameras would help to scale up security measures in and around the court premises. The Lagos Chief Judge explained that the equipment would help to capture the images of activities in all courts and maintain surveillance.
Bisi OLADELE, Ibadan hope to circumvent the requirements of the festive period,’’ he said. According to him, joint security patrol of both military and police, is the most desirable at this moment. He said his administration had outlined several developmental and economic-boosting activities towards the re-
juvenation of the state, saying this could only come a reality in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. “We have lined up investors who are expected to jump-start the economy, as well as lift social activities in the state from its present state of inertia to one that we can be proud of. “This cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of violence and armed robbery. This was why
we found it expedient to inaugurate this joint task force,” Ajimobi said. The governor, while enjoining the people of the state to be security-conscious all the time, said that armed robbers and hooligans were not some spirits who just jumped down from Uranus. The Special Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Segun Abolarinwa, explained that
the squad would begin with the patrol of Ibadan metropolis with 15 vans and eight Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs). He said additional 34 patrol vans and four APCs would soon be purchased by the government after which the squad would extend its operations to other towns like Oyo, Ogbomoso, Saki and Igbo-Ora.
•From left: General Officer Commanding, 2nd Mechanised Division, Maj-Gen. Mohammed Abubakar; Governor Ajimobi; his deputy, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo; Oyo State Commissioner for Police, Mr. Moses Onireti; and Brig-Gen. Derin Awodele during the inauguration. PHOTO: Femi ILESANMI
Ondo Assembly suspends lawmaker
HE Ondo State House of Assembly has suspended the member representing the Ile-Oluji/ Okeigbo State Constituency in the house, Mr. Gbemibade Folagbade, over alleged unruly behaviour to the leadership of the house. Besides, the assembly confirmed the three commissioner nominees presented to it by the state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. The nominees confirmed after the screening by the committee of the house were a former Commissioner for Special Duties, Niran Sule-Akinsuyi, a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health,
Damisi OJO, Akure Dr. Bade Omoloja, and a former Special Adviser to the governor on Niger Delta Affairs, Bekekime Idhiarhi. Sule-Akinsuyi, who was a member of the house between 1992 and 1993, was asked to take a bow before the house and leave. The Speaker of the house, Samuel Adesina, consequently asked three members to speak on the desirability of the other two nominees before they were confirmed. The only Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member
in the house, who also represents the Ese-Odo State Constituency, Akpoebi Lubi, said Idhiarhi was a good leader of the Ese-Odo Local Government Area who had been contributing to the development of the entire communities in the area. In the same vein, Fola Olasehinde, representing the Ose State Constituency, described Omoloja as an astute technocrat who enjoyed the support of the people of the Ose Local Government Area. The house unanimously agreed that the governor was right to have nomi-
nated the people as commissioners, saying that they were good representatives of their people. The Speaker, thereafter, urged the commissioner designates to continue working as they had been doing before their appointment, asking them to put more efforts and bring good things to the people of the state. However, the majority leader of the house, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, after the confirmation of the nominees moved a motion for the suspension of Folagbade for behaving rudely to the house during the parliamentary meeting of the house.
Lack of coherent food security policy, a time bomb —Rep
MEMBER of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Prince Kola Olabiyi, has said lack of coherent national food security and nutrition policy for the country is a tickling time bomb ready to explode, in view of its serious implications on human survival, national growth and development. Olabiyi, who represents the Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/ Iwajowa Federal Constituency, said the policy, if put in place, was capable of transforming communities into healthy and productive foodsecure villages, ensuring reliable and consistent access to safe, affordable, abundant, and diverse supplies of nutritious food. Addressing reporters at Okaka, the ACN lawmaker said hunger had devastating effects on the daily health and economic productivity of more than 80 per cent of Nigerians, adding that even those with access to food of-
Bode DUROJAIYE, Oyo ten suffered terribly from malnutrition. “Children especially suffer, not only from the direct effect of malnutrition, but from increased susceptibility to disease and other health risks, such as neonatal disorders, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. Under nutrition is the underlying cause of maternal mortality each year.” Olabiyi said. He further said: “Hunger and under nutrition also affect economic development in both near and long terms, while illness, hunger and the need to care for ill children reduce income, particularly for women.” Condemning the recent revelation by the Minister of Finance that government spent N10 billion annually on food import bill, the lawmaker advised President Goodluck Jonathan to be less rhetorical, but be pragmatic in reducing food import bill and guarantee food security for Nigeri-
•Prince Olabiyi ans and recapture lost export maker for agriculture. “What Nigerians need is serious approach to revitalize the agricultural sector and not the cosmetic approach being given to it by the present administration. Imagine billions of naira being wasted annually on importation of wheat, when the chain values of cassava are yet to be fully exploited, let
alone other products like mangoes. “A lot of natural and agricultural resources abound for instance in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State, but no one, not even the government, is tapping them. This is why it is imperative for the state government to rehabilitate all the farm settlements in order to improve agriculture. These resources alone can generate employment for thousands of jobless youths in the area,” he said. He argued that concentration of federal agricultural institutes in the state capitals, to the detriment of the hinterlands, should be discouraged because such system would stagnate research and development. On how best to transform the agricultural sector, Olabiyi suggested increasing the household access to agricultural inputs and credit, improving natural resource management and linking agricultural outputs with local, regional and national markets.
Awori drag Obasanjo, Owu monarch to Truth Commission Ernest NWOKOLO, Abeokuta FORMER President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, have been dragged before the Ogun State Truth Commission , sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital, by the Awori ethnic group, who accused the duo of engaging in acts “detrimental” to their “interest and security.” Acting under the aegis of Awori Consultative Council (ACC), the Awori led by their monarch and ACC Chairman, the Olota of Ota, Oba Moshood Alani, complained that the activities of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the Olowu of Owu , Oba Dosunmu, in Aworiland were having adverse effects on their people. At the commission sitting yesterday, with Oba Alani appearing as plaintiff (representative for his people), their counsel, Alhaji Habatullahi Salako, told the panel headed by retired Justice Pius Aderemi that Obasanjo and Oba Dosunmu were carrying out the alleged acts using the Area Commander of Ota Police Area Command, one Mr Adeoye. Salako alleged further that it is a common knowledge in Ota that the said Adeoye has been transferred to another location and despite a series of such transfers, Adeoye, who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), decided to stay put in Ota. According to the Awori people, he was the instrument being used by Obasanjo and Dosunmu to harass, intimidate and oppress them. But when the case was mentioned yesterday, hearing of the petition was stalled because of the inadequacies noticed in it. The commission observed that in filling the petition, counsel for the Awori people, Salako, did not state explicitly who the petitioners and respondents were. The inadequacies also made it difficult for the commission to know who the respondents were and how to serve them notice of the petition. Justice Aderemi (rtd) reminded the petitioner’s counsel that the usual practice entails that” the petitioners and respondents” should be identified at a glance from the first page of a petition and said the one before them was confusing. “It is totally confusing. The way it is does not help your cause,” Aderemi said. Consequently, the counsel asked for an adjournment to enable him file an addendum that would accommodate the respondents, Obasanjo and Oba Dosunmu, in the petition and to also afford the commission’s bailiff an opportunity to serve them hearing notices. The panel granted the request as the trio of Mr. O.A. Koleowo, Mr. Sina Akinside and Mr Dapo Abudu, counsel for the commission, did not object to the prayer for an adjournment. Hearing for the case was fixed for January 11, 2012. In the same vein, separate copies of petitions filed against the wife of former Governor Gbenga Daniel, Olufunke, was served on her in the open court yesterday through her counsel, Mr Samson Ozah.
THE NATION, SATURDAY,DECEEMBER 10, 2011
Bandits strike again in Bauchi
ANDITS again struck yesterday at Kafin – Madaki, headquarters of the Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State, but failed in their bid to cart away the November salaries of the council staff said to be their main target. The Ganjuwa attack came barely six days after the robbery incident in Azare, headquarters of the Katagum Local Government Area, where
Austine TSENZUGHUL, Bauchi over N32 million was carted away. Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Ikechukwu Aduba, announced the latest attack at a press briefing in his office. “Armed with rocket launchers and locally made bombs from empty cans of Turkey vegetable oil, the
robbers laid siege to the police station and due to their superior fire power, policemen on duty ran for their lives and no life was lost”, CP Aduba stated. Among items recovered from the robbers included two Golf cars with number plates: AT348 TRN, KH532KD, five undetonated bombs, women clothes and two cartons of Indomie noo-
dles. Also recovered from the hoodlums were N696, 471:00, found in the cars, nine rounds of live ammunition, a digger and a shovel. It was the fifth armed robbery attack in Bauchi State within six months being investigated by the police. Most of these attacks have claimed lives of policemen and civilians.
From left: Honourable Aondowase Chia, Benue State Commissioner for Sports; Dr. Patrick Ekeji, Director-General, National Sports Commission; Governor Raji Fashola (SAN); his deputy, Mrs. Joke Orelope-Adefulire; and Wahid Oshodi, Lagos State Commissioner for Sports at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding held at the Governor's office Alausa, Ikeja.
Gunmen kill two mobile policemen in Bayelsa
ENSION has enveloped Nembe Creek in Bayelsa, as gunmen suspected to be sea pirates attacked and killed two mobile policemen and injured two others attached to a police post yesterday afternoon. The victims of the attack
have been deposited at the Nembe General Hospital morgue, while the injured are receiving treatment in an unspecified hospital in the state capital. A security source noted that what must have informed the attack was still
Igbo in Jos declare seven-day mourning for Ojukwu
HE Igbo in Jos have de clared a seven-day mourning for the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu. They have also opened a condolence register at the Eze Igbo Palace for sympathisers. In a statement by the community, the Eze Igbo Jos, Prof Joseph Obilom, said: “All Igbo in Jos are to fast and pray for
the repose of Ojukwu’s soul, starting from Monday.” Prof. Obilom described Ojukwu as the father of the new concept of Nigeria because he fought for equality and fairness among the country’s entities. The Eze Igbo asked all Igbo to come to his palace and sign the condolence register in honour of Ojukwu who, according to him, epitomized Nigeria’s unity.
hazy, but the combined team of the Navy, Army and Police personnel are working to know the motive behind the attack. “We don’t know what might have caused the act. Maybe there was a problem between militants and the Police. We don’t know; we
Abacha’s son responding to treatment
IGHTEEN-year-old AlMustapha Abacha, the last son of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, has been hospitalized at the VIP Ward of Abdullahi Wase Specialist Hospital, following injuries sustained from gun shots during a robbery incident at their Nassarawa GRA Residence in Kano. Al-Mustapha, who was named after the former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, was shot at the left side of his abdomen when a four-man gang of armed robbers stormed their residence at about 8 o’clock Wednesday night. Details of the extent of the injuries he sustained are still sketchy, but it was gathered that doctors are battling to save his life. The police said one suspect had been arrested in connection with the incident, while efforts were being intensified by the security agency to track
Kolade Adeyemi, Kano down three other members on the run. In the meantime, security has been reinforced in and around the hospital to forestall any breach of the law, with relatives and friends coming one after the other to the
hospital on sympathy visits. He is believed to be responding to treatment, and even walking around and interacting with his classmates at the hospital. When this reporter, who spoke to him asked him how he was feeling, he simply responded “I am feeling better now.”
are trying everything possible to get to the root of the matter”, the source added. Mr. Hillary Okpara, Commissioner of Police in the state, who confirmed the incident, noted that investigations have commenced. It would be recalled that a similar incident occurred along Yenagoa Creek two months ago when some policemen were ambushed and killed by suspected crude oil bunkerers. Commenting on the menace of sea pirates in the state, Comrade Lloyd Sese, state Chairman of the Maritime Union, said transporters along the waterways of the creeks are at the mercy of Pirates, saying over 25 persons were killed in similar attacks in 2010. He recalled that the menace of pirates along the waterways led to the mobilization of members of the union to arrest four pirates after a robbery incident at Akassa in the Brass Local Government Area. “The arrested pirates are at the state Police Headquarters, and they have confessed to many attacks. They even mentioned some locations where their weapons are kept, but up till today no one has gone to recover them”, he said.
Libya deports 75 Nigerians
EVENTY-five Nigerians, who were deported from Libya, arrived Maiduguri on yesterday via the Republic of Cameroon. They were received by the Nigerian Immigration Service at the Nigerian border town of Gamburu between Nigeria and Cameroon. They were transported in Nigeria by road by the International Immigration Organisation responsible for bringing or transporting the deportees from Libya to their various countries of origin.
Joseph ABIODUN, Maiduguri. Those deported, who are mostly from Edo State, include 45 men, 16 women with their children. They were received by the Co-ordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Borno State, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, after they had gone through checking and brought to Maiduguri. Farinloye said the deportees would be catered for by the agency in terms of feeding and
medical expenses. He also said the agency would also provide money and buses to transport them to their states of origin. Some of them, who spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity, narrated what they went through in Libya while the crises lasted. They commended the Federal Government for the encouraging steps taken and promised to settle down as quickly as possible and face their future squarely.
Spokesman relives Umaru Yar’Adua’s last days Continued from Page 5 Yar'Adua then had "minor surgery" in Germany, but could only work a few hours a day, if at all, after the procedure, Adeniyi writes. As he grew sicker, Yar'Adua began receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia with government officials suspecting that "American security agents had penetrated the (German) hospital and had gained access to the president's health profile," according to the book. At one point during a trip to Togo, the military officer assigned to Yar'Adua had to drape traditional robes over his arm to hide the fact he needed to nearly carry the president off a landing strip, the book claims. Yar'Adua departure in late November 2009 for a severalmonth stay at a hospital in Saudi Arabia set up a constitutional crisis that saw government grind to a halt in the OPEC member nation. The National Assembly ultimately voted to empower then Vice President Jonathan to serve as acting president. Yar'Adua was whisked back into Abuja under the cover of darkness days later, apparently unable to talk. He apparently was brought back so those close to Yar'Adua could exert control over Jonathan. Soldiers deployed to the Abuja airport to escort Yar'Adua home in an ambulance without Jonathan's knowledge, the book claims. The next day, rumours of a possible coup flourished. "There were fears among (Jonathan's) closest aides he could be shot by the soldiers," the book claims. It later adds: "Signals from the military were also hazy, with fears that some soldiers could take out both Yar'Adua and Jonathan." Yar'Adua died on May 5, 2010. Jonathan was sworn in as president the next day. The book also describes the Yar'Adua-led amnesty program offered to militants in the country's Niger Delta, where foreign oil firms have pumped crude oil for more than 50 years. Despite the billions of dollars earned yearly from oil sales, the region remains desperately poor and polluted. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta was the region's premier militant group, its rise aided by a series of weapons thefts engineered by the group's alleged leader Henry Okah from Nigerian military depots, Adeniyi writes. The theft of thousands of weapons, including pistols, machine guns and rocket launchers, "was so staggering and the crime so well organized that the investigating team could hardly determine the exact amount of arms removed," Adeniyi writes. Okah, who denies leading the militant group, now faces terrorism charges in South Africa over a dual car bombing Oct. 1, 2010, in Abuja that killed at least 12 people. Six soldiers were sentenced to life in prison over the arms thefts.
Wamakko, ex-minister, senator face screening panel Continued from Page 5 "Therefore, we demand that in line with the provisions of the constitution, rules and regulations of the PDP on gross misconduct anti-party activities against the party, subversive actions against the party leadership and hierarchy and the Federal Government, Wamakko should and indeed must be disqualified and expelled from the party." They also accused the governor of violating the agreement reached with PDP leadership in 2007 while defecting from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). They added: "Sir, you would also recall that the PDP/ANPP merger in Sokoto state and the attendant decision to concede the governorship ticket to the ANPP candidate, Aliyu Wamakko was based on certain gentlemen agreements. "It is as sad as telling on the character, nature and disposition of Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko that he has not abided by the provisions and spirit of the agreement in the conduct of his administration since he came on five years ago." A supporter of the Governor, Alh. Mohammed Yusuf, said: "These so-called Concerned PDP Members are out to mislead the screening committee. "The truth is that Governor Wamakko worked round the clock to earn 100 per cent for our party in April. "All elected members of the party in April in Sokoto State are PDP members. Other parties lost out. "What is the business of the governor with Kebbi and Zamfara politics? Wamakko did not sponsor any candidate in the two states, not to talk of sending thugs. This is arrant nonsense. "Some party members are just desperate to capitalise on what happened during the presidential primaries in January to deal with a performing governor like Wamakko."
Pa Egbunike for burial December 16
community leader, Pa Joseph Oknma Egbunike, is dead. He will be buried on Friday, December 16, 2011 at his hometown, Ezi, in the Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State. Fondly called Npinpi by admireres and neighbours, Egbunike, who was born on March 19, 1926, died on November 11, 2011 at the age of 85. According to the funeral programme announced by Ekwi Egbunike, a wake will hold at the family compound in Ezi on Thursday, December 15. A funeral for him comes up on Friday, December 16 at the St Andrew’s Catholic Church, Ezi, his remains would be committed to mother earth at hs compound immediately after the funeral mass. Pa Egbunike started his working career with the defunct Electric Corporation of Nigeria (ECN). He later joned the Royal Navy, and later join the Biafran Navy at the start of the Nigerian civil war. He went on to have stints with the Ibru Oorganisation and Sunflag Mills before retiring in 1996.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
ILLARY Clinton the US Secretary of State must be the most powerful human being on earth today given reactions to her utterances globally in the last few days. Bashir Assad the embattled President of Syria and the butcher of Damascus has no doubt that she is the one stirring the unrests in his nation over which he has remained adamant that he has no regrets killing his people, as they too remained defiant that they have served him and his late father long enough for Assad to give them a breathing space. Russian PM Vladmir Putin has warned the US over interference in the internal affairs of Russia as he said unequivocally that it was Mrs Clinton who gave a signal to protesters who in their thousands are demonstrating that the last parliamentary elections in which Putin’s party won, albeit with a reduced majority, were massively rigged. It did not matter to Putin that no less a person than Mikhael Gorbachev, the man who introduced transparen2cy and accountability into Russian politics and from which Putin has benefitted immensely in political currency and increased stature, has indeed stated that the best way to put a stop to the ongoing political protests in Russia, is to cancel the last rigged Russian parliamentary election results. In Geneva this week Hillary was reported as given a standing ovation by her audience when she reportedly said‘ Being gay is not a western invention it is a human reality‘. She then went on to say that‘ it is a violation of human
Culture, politics and diplomacy
rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave.’ The US Secretary of State then announced a substantial fund to help and mobilize Lesbians Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender [LGBT] people so they can‘ target their advocacy, learn to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets and train their staff , and forge partnerships with women organizations and other human rights groups‘ Coming fast on the heels of the law passed by the Nigerian Senate last month banning same sex marriage and backing the violation of that law with a stiff 14 year prison sentence for offenders and 10 years for those who abet the arrangement, house those involved or make a public show of same sex relationships, there is no doubt that the US Secretary of State was talking at the Nigerian people, their laws and their law makers on the economic and diplomatic consequences of having anti gay laws in the comity of nations. In all Hillary Clinton’s strictures, lectures and accusations mentioned in differ-
ent locations today she made human rights and its violation the fulcrum of her speeches and addresses both spoken or implied. Really, no one can doubt her commitment and devotion to the cause of freedom which is the driving force of American democracy. More importantly her profession as a lawyer as well as her upbringing as the daughter of a Methodist religious Minister, have stood her in good stead and have been very effective and efficient ammunition in her fight to make the world a better place by entrenching freedom wherever and whenever possible in any part of the world. But on this matter of threatening the Nigerian political system over the enactment of an anti gay law, she seems to be operating not only outside her normal intellectual and cultural milieu but she has betrayed grave ignorance and respect for what constitute the norms and mores in any society. A quick remedy of course is a crash program or course on Sociology for her, with emphasis on Culture will show her that from ancient times till now, cultural norms
have always dictated acceptable mode of behavior in human societies and there have always been sanctions to penalize aberrant behavior which is what the Nigerian legislature has done on same sex marriage. Culture indeed is what distinguishes human beings from animals which mate indiscriminately. If the US and its Secretary of State defend same sex marriage it is because they need the votes of such people who are growing in numbers in their society because of the indulgence, misuse and abuse of freedom in their environment. That is an environmental problem as well as a political one for the American state its people and their law makers. Just as Hillary made clear to those that applauded her support for gays in Geneva so also do the Nigerian state, its law makers and people understand so clearly that laws that support same sex marriage and pamper gays are an anathema to the Nigerian way of life which is the same as our culture. I expected this to be apparent to a religious Methodist like Mrs Clinton but obviously her marriage and the
Mona Lewinsky scandal that almost ruined both her marriage and her husband’s presidency have taken their toll on her capacity to see clearly on the LGBT matter. In addition a failed attempt at the US presidency and a tenacity to remain relevant in the hope of another bash at the US presidency, should not create an unfounded, mischievous intellectual frenzy to impose on the rest of the world the decadent and fallen moral standards of the west. Indeed there is no need for name calling on the matter which Hillary and the US say is a human right matter but to which we say we beg to disagree in the name of our culture that it is a punishable misdemeanor. We also think it is even indecent to be discussing such matters in a way that Britain’s PM David Cameron did recently by threatening to cut economic aid to nations that have the sort of law Nigeria has on same sex marriage. It is like saying that because Britain is a monogamous society it cannot do business with nations that have polygamous marriage arrangements. How very absurd can that be! In retrospect however it is easier to see the genesis of the incursion of this dubious subject into the realm of trade and diplomacy. We recall the lukewarm attitude of the present Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to the issue of enthronement of gay bishops in the US Anglican communion and how the Nigerian Anglican community led by former Primate Peter Akinola fought against this obvious perfidy. Primate Akinola and his
supporters then were portrayed as intolerant and combative by the western media because of their stand while the Archbishop of Canterbury dithered and vacillated on the matter. Now the chicken has come home to roost as Cameron’s threat to use anti gay laws as a weapon of trade against those nations that pass such laws has finally let the cat out of the bag on the Archbishop of Caterbury’s earlier, strange impotence on calling gay bishops to order. The engagement of gay bishops is no longer a biblical matter but a human rights issue according to Hillary Clinton spokesperson of the gays of the world and US Secretary of State. All the same we urge caution on the part of those who support LGBT people globally. This is because those who oppose gay marriages feel as strongly as those who support them and since it is a cultural issue it is value laden and therefore a very subjective matter. Since subjective matters are never objectively or scientifically resolved there should be mutual respect for the laws of nations as made by their law maker and representatives . In basic courses on Political Science in the ivory tower there is a saying on human rights. It is that while everybody is entitled to his or her human rights, your freedom ends, where my nose begins. Hillary Clinton, as well as those nations of the west championing the cause of same sex marriage are well advised to appreciate that no matter how long their noses, their freedom to make laws for others ends, where others‘ noses begin.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Your Excellencies, before the rains return With
Vincent Akanmode 08077536312
S the air becomes increasingly dry and dusty and the sun blazes with the fury of an oven, my mind is engaged in a quiet debate on the better one between dry and rainy seasons. Given my detestation for the heat that often accompanies the onset of the dry season, particularly in a country where electricity is never regular to attenuate the impact of heat with fan or airconditioner, I cannot fathom the justification for the bashing many of us gave the rainy season each time we were asked to write about our preferred season in the good old days in secondary school. As a matter of fact, the first rhyme I learnt in the kindergarten (the genuine equivalent of the contraption advertised today as nursery school) was one that urged the rain to go away because little Johnny wanted to play. Ironically, this was at a remote community in Kogi State, which depended on a stream and a couple of wells for its water needs. Somehow, it was lost on us and even our poor teachers that we were on a suicide mission. The more we drove away the rain, the drier would the stream and the wells become. Wittingly or unwittingly, we dismissed a season on which our lives depended and craved for one that came with scorching sun, dusty air and freezing harmattan. We were probably peeved by the burden the umbrella constituted and fascinated by the celebration that accompanied the yuletide, which always fell
within the dry season. It was the only period we were privileged to eat rice, a food item we saw as the preserve of the elite within the community. But times have changed. From the prism of city life here in Lagos, I now see things from a lot more different perspective. The things that guide my thoughts as I pound away on the keyboard of my computer are not the stream, the wells and the seasonal meal of rice and stew fortified with goat meat. While the dry season offers a respite from the ravenous floods that have tormented various Nigerian cities in the recent past, my thoughts are propelled by the deluge of promises from President Goodluck Jonathan and many of the governors as well as their aides that as soon as the dry season set in, work would begin on the death traps that criss-cross the country in the guise of roads. From Lagos to Sokoto and Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, the landscape is replete with roads that are nothing but harbingers of death. Almost on a daily basis, the news media are awash with stories of untimely deaths from accidents occasioned by bad roads. Travellers on the Shagamu-Benin Road have nothing but tales of sorrow. So are the users of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which remains in a deplorable state in spite of the concession arrangement the Federal Government had with a private construction company, Bi-Courtney Highway Services, for the expansion, modernisation and maintenance of the 105-kilometre road more than two years ago. The bad roads have not only contributed to the high cost of food items, they have become a cankerworm that has left the average car owner at the mercy of mostly incompetent auto mechanics. For instance, regular users of the township roads in Ota, the industrial town in Ogun State, have been lamenting their fate. They are regular callers at mechanic workshops. The other day, I plied the strategic road that led to
While the dry season offers a respite from the ravenous floods that have tormented various Nigerian cities in the recent past, my thoughts are propelled by the deluge of promises from President Goodluck Jonathan and many of the governors as well as their aides that as soon as the dry season set in, work would begin on the death traps that crisscross the country in the guise of roads
the town from the old toll gate. I later discovered that the light that indicates the condition of the engine oil on the dash board was delayed each time I started the engine. Worried by the development, I took the car to the mechanic. He observed it and told me I had to change the oil pump. The oil pump was changed, but the problem persisted. Because it was already late, he told me to bring the car back the following day. I
had not reached my destination when the engine went off while the car was in motion. All the effort I made to start the engine again yielded no result. I was introduced to an apparently more experienced mechanic who observed it for some time and declared that the cramshaft had broken and had condemned the top cylinder. Asked what could have been responsible for that, the mechanic also told me that the oil pump must have gone bad and so could not pump enough oil into the engine. When I told him that a new oil pump had just been installed, he checked under the car and realised that the plate that stored oil at the base had collided with the rough surface of the road, making it difficult for the oil pump to function. Last week, I had a reason to ply the road again and my car developed the same problem. I started wondering the fate that must have befallen the regular users of the strategic road. The tales they told me were simply those of woe. Because of its strategic position as the gateway to the industrial town as well other parts of the state, it is one road whose construction and regular maintenance would make a good campaign tool for any administration in the state. Surprisingly, the administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel was said to have abandoned the road completely for the eight years he held sway as the governor. Some residents even said but for the efforts of the Living Faith Bible Church, aka Winners Chapel, which had been doing the resurfacing of the road from time to time, it would have become completely impassable. With the Action Congress of Nigeria now in power in Ogun State, residents of the town are hoping that work will begin on the road and others around the town now that the dry season is here. I have no doubt also that the new season has raised the hope of residents of other communities around the country with regard to road construction.
Our rapacious elites’ Arab Spring nightmares Knucklehead
IVE years after squeezing his share of juice from a thoroughly raped nation, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has suddenly woken up to the reality of an impending peoples’ revolt. Most importantly, that rude awakening is happening at a time when President Goodluck Jonathan has chosen to engage the suffering masses in a battle of wits over fuel subsidy removal. It is coming at a time when the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities have embarked on yet another strike that has grounded tertiary education because of government’s inability to fulfill its part of old agreements. The Ota farmer’s words of admonition could not have come at a better time than this period when most Nigerians are groaning under the yoke of a pernicious economic module. Perhaps, it just occurred to Obasanjo that the enormity of the impoverishment facilitated by his administration and political associates has hit the people so hard that they just couldn’t continue putting up with the public show of plastic laughter and fake smile any longer. In its place, deadly despair is sprouting deadly defiance. What else can citizens do when the rapacious elite that never get tired of worsening their woes have callously remained unrepentant in despoiling them? Sometimes, I wonder if Jonathan is not treading the selfdestruct path with his fixation on the so-called fuel subsidy matter. It is as if his Transformation Agenda is solely built on that platform. Perhaps there is an unconscious drive towards speeding up historical processes that may include mass revolt. In spite of protestations even right within his backyard where the Senate went into a rage over the matter, Jonathan is not the least bothered. Or so it seems. It is all well. But while he is busy living his dream and playing politics with the disturbing astronomic growth in the number of the unemployed, Patience’s husband should patiently digest the ominous import of Obasanjo’s augury. GEJ should give more than a scant regard to Obasanjo’s Monday warning of a likely possibility of a people’s revolt should the crying poverty, primarily induced by unemployment, continue unabated. It may be true, as expressed in some quarters, that Obasanjo is least qualified to talk about youth and graduate unemployment since it was part of the liabilities he handed over to the man that succeeded him, the late Umaru Yar’Adua. What cannot be wished away is the imminent crisis that could erupt if things continue to fall apart. Obasanjo may have woken too late in the night, but his effusions about the stark possibility of the Arab Spring happening here should be enough to wake up the sleeping giant in Aso Rock. That giant, by the way, is Jonathan. To be fair, the disconnect between “economic growth” and “employment generation”, which Obasanjo spoke glibly about, did not start with Jonathan. If past Nigerian leaders had not cultivated the habits of throwing their noses in the sky as the people groan under tough living conditions, there wouldn’t have been a disconnect in the first place. Although the case was worse under military jackboots but it was not any better when Obasanjo returned as a democratically elected President. He just could not separate Obasanjo, the
retired Army General, from Obasanjo, the civilian president. His policies were hardly pro-people in conception and execution. Considering the grotesque ways in which he dealt with presumed enemies, his politics was anything but democratic. He ruled like an emperor and left as a tragic hero. In 1999, Nigerians expected a man from prison to be a hero but he left all, except a band of rapacious elites, wallowing in regrets. Yet, he was right in asking Jonathan to be wary of the people’s revolt. Anyone who has ever truly reflected on how the proverbial last straw broke the camel’s back will understand that there is a limit to what the people can endure in this atmosphere of unmitigated economic chaos. They, the people, just don’t have an inelastic, robotic capacity to continue soaking in all the nonsense that is happening in the name of governance. For once, if Jonathan will be sincere with himself, he will put an end to the huge joke called ‘fuel subsidy removal’ until such a time when Nigeria is truly mature for it. The aggressive campaign to inflict yet another pain on the Nigerian masses may just be the flick that would ignite our homemade Arab Spring. During his eight-year reign as President, Obasanjo increased the pump prices of petroleum products several times. Do not forget that he wiped away the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) that was supposed to continue reinvesting revenue from increased fuel prices into public projects. On all the occasions, the arguments put forward to justify fuel price hikes never changed. The palliatives put on the table remained the same. They were always packaged in the form of deceitful mirage. Roads would be built across the nation; primary health care would be boosted; the public transportation system would be funded and subsidised to provide quality services to the rural and urban mass; jobs would be created for millions of youths and the accruals from the hike would be judiciously managed for the benefits of all. Those were the carrots they dangled to hoodwink the people and the labour union under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole into submission. It turned out that these were just nuggets of lies neatly packaged like scented cologne. As Obasanjo asked for more sacrifice; the cabal in the oil sector simply smiled to the banks while the plight of the populace worsened further. Today, under the ‘Transformation Agenda’ of Jonathan, the story has not changed and the tactics of mass deception is only mildly transformed. The government said the country would collapse if it continues feeding the ‘fat cats’ in that sector. It said the solution is the complete removal of the questionable subsidy and direct the ‘savings’ to tackle infrastructural challenges. For this to be possible, the populace may have to contend with buying a litre of Premium Motor Spirit for N120 or, put bluntly, left to the vagaries of the volatility of market forces which means it could go for as high as N250 in other parts of the country. In exchange, the government is proposing to empower a committee of eminent Nigerians to invest the ‘subsidy savings’ on funding infrastructural development; maternal and child health services; urban mass transit, vocational training schemes; public works and youth employment programme. In short, a select class of eminent persons would be saddled with the responsibility of working
Yomi Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga @thenationonlineng.net SMS only: 07028006913
as government within a larger government. The question then is: what would Jonathan and his cabinet be doing in a setting where the government has willingly delegated its authorities to a group of eminent persons? I really cannot tell if Jonathan truly appreciates the enormity of the problems before his government. This is not just about the effrontery with which terrorists have brazenly pooh-poohed his security blueprint. It is more about the growing disenchantment over the state of the poor citizens scattered across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. It will interest Jonathan to find out how many Nigerians live on a N120 daily ration, not to speak of the number that can afford to buy a litre of fuel at that rate. With N18,000 minimum wage still a subject of bitter dispute in some states, how on earth does this government expect the average family of five to forage for fate in this asphyxiating economic hellhole? With school fees hitting the rocks, how does the breadwinner cope with the economic demands of educating children that would, expectedly, raise the family above the poverty line? Speaking at a recent political rally in Kogi State, Jonathan cautioned that: “In the coming years, youths will revolt against any president or state government if we do not come up with policies that will create jobs.” Well, he is right on one thing— the country is sitting on a tinderbox, breeding millions of unemployed youth who daily witness the monumental waste in government. These same youth are being asked to absorb more punishment as the government begins another process of savings that would guarantee their future. It is a path they have tread before with no appreciable improvement in their lives. All they see around them is the shameful larceny in a system that continues to take from the poor to feed the rich! For the avoidance of doubt, Arab Spring erupted because a people’s concealed anger boiled over. In most of the countries, it came out of a desire for fairness, justice, equality and the cravings for a truly egalitarian society where democratic ethos are not observed in the breach. In Tunisia, it was ignited by the suicidal mission of a young unemployed graduate who set himself ablaze after being frustrated by a system that could not offer him a lifeline—a job. Now that Obasanjo and Jonathan speak of revolt, one can only hope that they would be bold enough to speak further truth to power. Presently, Jonathan is the custodian of that power and what he does with it as he pushes forth his fuel subsidy removal agenda may have grave consequences in unravelling Nigeria’s own Arab Spring. Does he know this?
My father taught me how to be a leader
Monsurat Sunmonu, Oyo Speaker and only female member of the Assembly
Life & style 41
‘Our leader coordinates our operations from Kirikiri Maximum Prisons’
I never thought I could stop womanising …
PEOPLE THE NATION, Saturday, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Mother of four, arrested in place of her husband, dies in Police custody Family kicks as Police deny responsibility The policemen said they would be taking me to the hospital where my wife was receiving treatment... the vehicle was heading toward the Third Mainland Bridge. I protested and the policemen started telling me to take heart, that my wife died the night she was arrested...
T would take a while for 56-year-old Olaoluwa Ojo to overcome the sudden death of his wife, Eunice Oluwakemi. Eunice died in police custody after she was arrested for an alleged offence committed by her husband. The widower fought back tears penultimate Thursday as he recalled the circumstances in which his wife allegedly died in the custody of policemen from the Adeniji Adele Police Station, leaving him with the task of bringing up their four children alone. Recalling how his involvement in a business transaction led to the arrest of his late wife in his absence, Ojo, an auto dealer, said:”I am into the sale of Peugeot vehicles, but I was approached through a friend by a man named Olu to help him sell a Hilux van. He sent the vehicle to my office through one Sunday Adedokun. I took the vehicle and gave it to a partner of mine who deals in that brand of vehicles. “After some weeks, the vehicle was bought for N1.6 million on October 21, 2011. But because I was still nursing the injuries I sustained from a motorbike accident two days before the vehicle was sold, I was not in the right frame of mind to take the money home from Yaba where the vehicle was bought at about 6 pm. So, I asked my partner, Jimoh Sanni, who sold the vehicle, to take the money home. “Because of the Lagos council elections held on October 22, 2011, I asked my partner to bring the money to our office on October 24, 2011 for onward delivery to the owner of the vehicle. Before then, I had informed the owner of the vehicle on the telephone about the transaction and he said I should keep the money till October 24, which was a Monday, because he said he could not come over to pick the money that Friday, since the day was far spent. “I had no reason to doubt my partner, because that was not the first time he would keep the proceeds of transactions involving the two of us. Unfortunately, when I called him that Monday to bring the money to the office because the owner of the vehicle was waiting for it, he told me on the telephone that there was a problem. I rushed to his residence to find out what was wrong. “I met him a few metres from his residence in company with some sympathisers. I asked what was wrong and he explained that he decided to keep the money with a chief in the neighbourhood as soon as I left the day of the transaction because he was afraid of keeping the money at home, given that his wife had travelled out of town and he was the only one at home. “He told me that one of the chief’s wives allegedly stole the money from her husband and ran away. I asked why he did not tell me about it earlier, and he said he thought the woman would be found before the money would be called for.” The owner of the vehicle invited the police to arrest Ojo, Sanni and one Sunday Adedokun through whom he sent the vehicle to Sanni. Two policemen from Adeniji Adele Police Station arrived in no time and arrested Adedokun, who later led them to the homes of his friends. But when the officers, led by one Inspector Hamzat, got to Ojo’s residence at No 24, Oremerin Street, Mile 12, Ketu, Lagos, he was not at home. The policemen then decided to arrest his wife in spite of her protests against the move. Ojo said: “We later learnt from the husband of the woman who stole the money that she had been sighted in Ota, Ogun State. We set out immediately to locate her before she could spend the money. “On getting there, we could not locate the woman, and it was late in the night. The three of us, including the woman’s husband, decided to pass the night somewhere in town. We were there when I received a call from home at about 11.25 pm that some policemen from Adeniji Adele had stormed my home and were about to take my wife to their station because they could not see me. “I tried to speak with the policemen on the telephone but they refused to answer the call when my wife gave them the phone. The policemen also went as far as
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Furore over death-in-custody of
•The deceased (4th left) with the family
Kunle AKINRINADE searching my house, even though they had no warrant to do so. They also arrested my partner’s wife and detained her along with my wife. “Unfortunately, my wife died a few minutes after she was arrested and detained. The area where I live does not even fall under the jurisdiction of the police station where the policemen came from. I also discovered that they did not lodge any complaint at the nearby Ketu Police Station before they stormed my house to arrest my wife. “I returned the following day and went straight to the station to demand for the release of my wife, but the policemen told me to exercise patience, saying my wife was indisposed and was receiving treatment at an undisclosed private hospital. All my pleas for access to my wife were turned down by the policemen. “Surprisingly, at about 10 pm, the policemen said they would be taking me to the hospital where my wife was receiving treatment. But while we were on our way, I noticed that the vehicle was heading toward the Third Mainland Bridge. I protested and the policemen started telling me to take heart, that my wife died the night she was arrested. “To show you how callous the policemen were, they drove me from their station on the island and dropped me under the Mile 12 Bridge, asking me to find my way home. Because of my health, I could not walk at all. So, I sat somewhere under the bridge until some Hausa traders took me home at about 11 pm. “As I speak, the police are yet to offer any explanation on how my wife died or tender an apology for causing the death of my beloved wife. Is there any law that says a woman should be held for the crime of her husband? The cruel policemen killed my wife. I was duly informed that my wife explained to them that she was hypertensive, but they turned deaf ears to her pleas. “Until her death, my wife was a school
Cause of A copy of the death certificate issued on the deceased after an the autopsy report signed by Dr.O.Lawal of the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said she died as a result of Intercerebral Haemorrage and Hypertensive Heart Disease. Cerebral haemorrage is an intraaxial haemorrage; that is, it occurs within the brain tissue rather than outside of it. This occurs when a diseased blood vessel within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak inside the brain. The sudden
increase in pressure within the brain can cause damage to the brain cells surrounding the blood. If the amount of blood increases rapidly, the sudden buildup in pressure can lead to unconsciousness or death. The other category of intracranial haemorrage is extra-axial haemorrage, such as epidural, subdural and subarachnoid haematomas, which all occur within the skull but outside of the brain tissue. There are two main kinds of intra-axial haemorrage: intraparenchymal heamorrage and intraventricular haemorrage. As with other types of haemorrage within the
teacher at Shepherd Hill Baptist School, Obanikoro, Lagos. She was a very supportive and dutiful wife. “Now I am left to grapple with taking care of our four children. I don’t know how I would be able to cope without her.” One of the children of the deceased, who was at home when the policemen came for her mother, Folasayo, recalled that her mother had already gone to bed while they were watching the television in the living room when the policemen arrived their residence the night she was arrested. She said: “The policemen asked us to wake our mother up. She tried to explain to them that my father had gone out with his partner to search for the woman who allegedly stole the money, but they insisted they would detain her in their station until my father surfaced. She even tried to connect them with my father on the telephone but they refused to take the call. “They led her out to their vehicle, which they parked at a distance from our house. We were not allowed to follow them to the car. The policemen are culpable in the death of my mother. Their action smacks of gross
violation of human rights and murder.” In his response, the spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said: “The woman did not die in police custody. Her husband committed an offence and the policemen went to their house to arrest her husband with another suspect in that case. They did not meet him at home. So, the woman volunteered to take them to where her husband was. On their way, an argument ensued between her and another suspect (Sunday Adedokun). A few minutes later, the woman started collapsing little by little and slumped. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she gave up the ghost. She was not brutalised or tortured by the policemen.” “At the moment, the policemen involved have been arrested and are now being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti Street, Yaba while investigation continues.” Eyewitnesses’ accounts, however, contradicted Jinadu’s explanation. Sunday Adedokun, who led the policemen to Ojo’s
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
I connived with others to rob my bank because N57,000 monthly salary was too small for me — Security guard
•The tools used by the suspects to break banks
SUSPECTED member of a 15-man robbery gang has confessed that he agreed to the robbery of a new generation bank in Apapa, Lagos, where he served as a security guard, because the bank was paying him what he called “a paltry monthly salary of N57, 000.” Francis Ajie, 43, was arrested by the operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), based at Adeniji Adele area of Lagos. But confessing his involvement in the robbery incident, Ajie said there was no way he would not have fallen for the proposal when the gang’s leader had been giving him jobs that fetched him millions of naira while the bank paid him a paltry N57, 000 at the end of every month. Ajie, a native of Ogoja, Cross River State, said: “I am a private security guard attached to the bank. The bank was paying N57,000 as my monthly salary. It was not enough for me. It is small money compared to the money I get through the job Oga (Mr. Adewale Adegun alias Papa) used to give me. I used to get hundreds of thousands of naira, at times millions. What is N57,000 to me as monthly salary?” He alleged that the bank robbery was masterminded by one Adegun, the chairman of a branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Ajegunle, Lagos. He said Adegun had a 15-man robbery gang but only he and one Julius Osai were arrested at the bank on that fateful day, while the remaining 13 members escaped before FSARS operatives arrived the bank. He said they had not anticipated any challenge from policemen because the operation was wellplanned and was carried out on a weekend. Asked why they had to be as many as 15, Ajie said each member of the gang had a role assigned to him in every operation in order to meet up with the time frame. He said: “One of us would be responsible for dismantling the CCTV camera and the alarm system in the bank premises and banking hall. Some would stay outside, watching people’s movement in order to know if policemen were coming. Others, he said, included those who would search for the money and take it to the vehicle they used for the operation; those who would carry the cylinder and other instruments that would be used to open the bank’s safe and security door; and those who would be on guard while the operation lasted. He said the other members of the gang still at large were also recruited by Adegun, who was still at large at press time. “If FSARS operatives move fast, they would get the other members of the gang. Papa (Adegun) sometimes uses them as omo onile (site tugs) and agbero (touts). Parading the suspects, the police said Adegun, the alleged gang leader, was at large. But they said they were making efforts to track him down together with other members of the gang who were also at large. Giving an insight into how the operation was carried out, the police said when the gang arrived the bank, they kidnapped the two security men on duty, blindfolded them and removed their uniforms, which they then gave to two members of the gang, Ajie and Osai, to wear. “After wearing the security guards’ uniforms, they pushed them inside the security post and locked them up. Other members
Ebele BONIFACE of the 15-man gang went into action. They disconnected the CCTV camera and the alarm system and chiselled out the key leading to the strong room and the vault. To avoid suspicion by passers-by, they posted the
The bank was paying N57,000 as my monthly salary. It was not enough for me. It is small money compared to the money I get through the job Oga (Mr. Adewale Adegun alias Papa) used to give me. I used to get hundreds of thousands of naira, at times millions
fake security guards outside the banking hall, so that passers-by would think they were securitymen at the bank. “Unknown to the gang, a good Samaritan got wind of what was going on and alerted the Federal SARS when the police division or post could not give him the quick response he wanted. “When FSARS operatives landed at the place, the gang’s members who were outside raised the alarm and the other members escaped.” Ajie was said to have sur-
rendered to FSARS operatives without any resistance, while Osai was found hiding in the ceiling of the banking hall when FSARS operatives combed the place. Even other minor jobs Papa used to give us fetched us hundreds of thousands and even millions of naira.” The items recovered by at the scene by FSARS operatives included an iron cutter, chisels, a sledge hammer, two acetylene gas cylinders, drilling machines and private security uniforms.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
‘Why I gave up the thought of taking an American as second wife’ H
OW well would you say the objectives behind the establishment of Oduduwa University have been
met? We got the licence for the university on November 3, 2009. That means we are just two years old. But so far, so good. From my experience in running tertiary institutions, I believe that very soon, we will be able to achieve all our aims and objectives about the university. Establishing a private university is not just about doing what other people are doing. We are trying to create a kind of class by looking at the things that are wrong in the old schools. When I say the old schools, I am talking about the federal and state universities. For the two years that we have run so far, there has been nothing like examination malpractices, riot or lecturers’ strike. That alone gives the signal that the future is very bright for us in terms of our aims and objectives in establishing a private university. When I look at the number of private universities in Nigeria, I feel uncomfortable that Nigerians are still travelling abroad for degrees. Number one, most people who travel abroad are not concerned about standard. They are possibly looking for greener pastures. If it is about standard, we have private universities that have scored good marks when you talk about class and the deficiencies in governmentowned schools. Those who travel out do so probably because they are looking for something better in terms of money. Unfortunately, those of us who have been there have discovered that their major purpose for going to overseas is not what they are going to meet in most cases because right there, the school fees are very high. Number two, some of them, when they go out, you discover that they go out to work. They cannot even afford the school fees. I think what you are going to get overseas is already on ground here. There are private universities that have been in existence for the past 10 or 11 years and I believe that they are making impact. You have been around for the past two years. How would you rate the private universities? Don’t you think we have too many of them? I don’t think they are being proliferated. As far as I am concerned, there is no proliferation of private universities. When you talk about access, how many people can now be admitted into universities in Nigeria? For example, you would still discover that many of our children cannot gain admission into the universities here in Nigeria. That is why you see so many of these fake universities coming into Nigeria, claiming to do this and that. Even universities in the UK and the US come to Nigeria to recruit students. Why can’t they recruit those who will work there? Then the money that will be useful here is taken outside the country. I think the number of universities is not enough. The unfortunate thing I have discovered about the establishment of private universities is that there are not enough Ph.D. holders, and the Federal Government says we need Ph.D. holders to work in our universities. I think the National Universities Commission (NUC) should come down a little bit and allow professionals too to work in the universities instead of Ph.D holders. We keep advertising but there are no Ph.D. holders. We even said we want to pay what the Federal Government is paying with a 10 per cent addition. Despite that, we still discover that we don’t have people who want to come. Then the Federal Government went to establish more universities and they are still willing to establish more, but there are no lecturers. What is the NUC trying to do about it? Do they want to bring lecturers from outside? Instead of these fake universities coming to Nigeria to recruit students, the Federal Government should go out and look for more people to come and lecture and then
Dr. Ramon Adedoyin, an IleIfe high chief, is the founder of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Osun State and Our Saviour’s University in the USA. He told GBENGA ADERANTI the challenges involved in running a private university and why he thinks Nigerians should shun foreign universities. He also disclosed why he has stuck to one wife in spite of his enormous resources and high chief status. Excerpts: establish more universities. Most Nigerian graduates often do not know beyond the degrees they obtained. As a private university, what efforts are you making to address this? The government has done very well by saying every tertiary institution in Nigeria should establish a centre for entrepreneurial/vocational studies. And we have done so. We have pumped a lot of money into the equipment. You have been in education administration all your life? How much of this experience have you brought into university administration? Somebody once challenged me and said I was a small boy; that he wondered whether I would be able to run a university when we were working on the licence. I told that person that if there was any person that was most qualified, I should be the number one, because all my life, I have been in education. I started as a home lesson teacher. After that, I organised a continued education centre and turned it into a tutorial school. After that, I started a centre of technology, then a polytechnic and
now the university. I have lectured in the university and in primary school. So, I believe that I know all it entails to be a teacher or an administrator in education. What is the difference between running a public institution and running a private one? Well, I have not had the opportunity of running a public institution. But I have had the opportunity of employing people who had been involved in public school administration and I have been able to psyche their intelligence. It is one of the reasons why progress in Nigeria is very slow. I think they should look at it from other angles. They should not look at it from the public sector angle. For example, how many of the newspapers in Nigeria owned by the Federal Government are in existence today? How many airlines owned by the Federal Government are in existence today? Somebody was talking about private universities learning from government universities, are you talking about learning from decay? Are
When I had an opportunity to marry a second wife, the lady was a white lady from America... I wanted her to manage my business in New York. She said she wanted to come down to Ile-Ife, that I should tell my wife and children to come to the US... She was not interested in the business, she was interested in coming down here to displace my wife and children...
you telling me that you want a person who owns a newspaper to go and learn from the government newspaper that failed? I think there is a need for a new orientation about what we are doing in this country. You are into hospitality business. Does it not conflict with running an educational institution? I got into hospitality business by accident. I established Hilton Hotel in Ile-Ife, Osun State. But as God would have it, I got all that I needed in education. I am fully back into it. I prefer to be identified with education. I handed the hotel business over to my wife to manage. So, there is no conflict between the hospitality and education businesses. As someone from a humble background, how do you feel seeing indigent students? I always like to assist. In our university for example, we have a scholarship scheme. We even organised something like a loan for them. Since we have chains of businesses, if we give you a loan, then you can be employed, because you want to serve us back. There are about five categories of scholarship. We have the one given directly by myself, and that is for those who are in need. We have the one given by Oba Okunade Sijuade for people in Ile-Ife and the environs. The university is on Ipetumodu land. The traditional ruler of Ipetumodu sponsors some indigent students who cannot afford to go to the university. Apart from that, we have the academic-based one, the one given by the Vice Chancellor. If you mention private universities in •Continued on Page 22
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Sleaze Plc How banks fleece customers
The Central Bank of Nigeria building, Abuja
resh out of school, Davies slept easy in the soft arms of clichés. Orphaned at 17, she hoped for the best and prepared for the worst. However, following a stint as a cosmetics retailer, the 27-year-old secured a lucrative job in a new generation bank. But ecstatic as she was, Davies understood quite early that the future depends utterly on sacrifices she could make today; thus she decided to live minimally and save every random “kobo” she makes. Such lifestyle was supposed to accord her guaranteed
Olatunji OLOLADE, Assistant Editor
access to the good life. But as you read this, the poor, struggling orphan has drifted miles away from the life of her dreams. No thanks to her banker, a new generation bank. The latter shook every soothing assumption she nursed about her future after serving her a sack letter in the wake of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)'s governor, Charles Soludo's bank consolidation exercise. Ten months later, luck knocked on her door and
she secured employment with a Lagos branch of another new generation bank. But this time around, Davies decided to play smart. She conspired with two of her colleagues to use a simple yet clever scheme to steal N28 million from several customers and recipients of international money transfers, using the proceeds to pay for everything from medical bills to a luxury Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV.) More impressive still, Davies avoided prosecution for more than a year after the bank and state law enforcement agencies issued three indictments on charges of
continuing theft against her. She simply withdrew as much as she could, counted her losses and vanished into thing air. But while she was on the run, she couldn't just keep off the radar, hence she ended up free-lancing for a syndicate involved in defrauding customers of her former bank and two first generation banks by accessing customer Automated Money Transfer (ATM) Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) through a sophisticated hacking method. Continued on Pages 20-21
•Continued from Page 19 Davies was apprehended in a recent sting by an elite police task force in Lagos. And she is currently cooling her heels in police custody and offering useful information to the police about her part in the various scams as you read. This is hardly the path for a lady of her background to tread in life, commented a victim of one of her scams but Davies, despite her pitiful show of remorse, insisted that she had no choice in the matter. “I decided to try it to survive. I didn’t want to be caught unawares in another retrenchment exercise,” she said. She should probably tell that to the marines but Davies surely illustrates the depth of insecurity driving most bank staff to commit and participate in institutional fraud against poor, defenseless customers. The implication and culpability of corporate executives in unethical practices and conflicts of interest do not bode well for bank customers in the country. The spate of fraudulent practices and other malpractices in the banking industry, and the apparent failure of the law enforcement agencies to successfully track down and prosecute the perpetrators has attracted the increasing attention of policy makers and industry watchers who have variously observed that the core banking practices have been traded off and those who benefit most are the CEOs and their loyalists. Soludo’s consolidation exercise undeniably took banking in Nigeria to appreciably fresh heights. Following his Tuesday, July 6, 2004 pronouncements on Nigerian banking sector reforms, the sector has recorded series of expected and unexpected results. The main objective of the reforms was to move the Nigerian economy forward and to strengthen the banking system in order to facilitate development. The first phase of the reforms was designed to ensure a diversified, strong and reliable banking sector, which will ensure the safety of depositors’ money, play active developmental roles in the Nigerian economy and become competent and competitive players both in the African and global financial systems; while the second phase was meant to encourage the emergence of regional and specialized banks. The consolidation exercise, mainly through bank mergers and acquisitions in order to attain a minimum capital base of N25 billion (approx $250 million), was an aspect of the first phase of the reforms. It resulted in the compression of 74 banks, which accounted for about 93 per cent of the industry’s total deposit liabilities, into 25 new banks. Now that the exercise has been concluded, attention has clearly shifted to its term effects on the Nigerian banking system. In few years, the sector emerged from seeming insignificance to become one of the fastest growing industries in the country. The then rapid increase in oil price, booming capital market and influx of foreign investments all served to aerate banks’ ambitious growth plan. Subsequently, there was too much money to go round and the post-consolidation banks expanded rapidly in branches, job creation and purportedly employed some of the very best hands in the country at fantastic salaries. Some of the banks combed through top universities in the world for Nigerian-born graduates, luring them with attractive remunerations and in no time, Nigerian banking industry became a force to watch. Their Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) attained a celebrity status or sort, cruising around in private jets, helicopters and bullet-proof cars. There was also a rapid increase in off-shore subsidiaries in overseas. Many banks bought over big banks in smaller African countries and rebranded them in their own names, and, in order to sustain their colossal images, they contracted foreign advertising agencies to run multi-million Naira rebranding campaigns on their behalf. The principal targets of these campaigns were to position them competitively at par with their counterparts in Europe and Africa. They also jostled to sponsor programmes and advertised on major foreign networks and publications like the Cable News Network (CNN), Bloomberg Europe, Time Magazine, Economist, to mention a few. In the long run, these advertising campaigns attracted huge bills running into millions of Naira they could hardly muster. But while the rapid transformations were well applauded by Nigerians and the world, the desperation and rivalry among the banks attained a troubling height. There were worries about its implications both on the local economy and the depositors of the banks. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, it has become apparent that the whole buzz within the banking indus-
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
try was not without extreme consequences. They became a burden too much for the weak legs of the banks to carry, and, as a result, certain procedures and practices seem to have become a norm for the banks, to the detriment of depositors and shareholders. Burdened with toxic assets and uncomfortable fiscal policies, which halted unexpectedly, sundry income streams of commercial banks, most banks have devised strategies to accomplish income projections. To achieve their goal, a systematic revenue hub in the guise of a cocktail of illegitimate charges has been established to exploit unsuspecting customers by most banks in desperation to meet revenue projections and satisfy shareholders’ expectation at the end of the fiscal year. Since the new Governor of the CBN, Lamido Sanusi, shut the Expanded Discount Window (EDW) and directed that all commercial banks move all contingent liabilities to the books from below the line, banks, unduly vulnerable to the capital market and the downstream oil sector, have shut lending, beefed up deposit mobilisation and intensified loan recovery drive. As financial inter-mediators, banks traditionally create money by extending credit facilities to investors at an interest rate slightly above the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR). But the ripple effects of the global financial meltdown and the venomous monetary policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have ignited a response shock in the financial services sub-sector that have put the treasury of most banks under intense pressure to balance their assets and liabilities. According to Uhomoibhi Toni Aburime, a financial analyst, “though the Nigerian banks’ consolidation exercise has produced few banks that are easier for the regulatory authorities to effectively monitor, reducing contagion risks, reality presents that these banks may be generally termed ‘too big to fail’— as fiscal realities reveal that the failure of a single large bank could seriously disrupt financial markets and result in grave macroeconomic consequences. “This has led to an undesirable extension of the scope and cost of the official safety net. A too-big-to-fail problem has, in turn, increased moral hazard problems: knowing the existence of an implicit safety net, banks have been less careful in allocating credit and screening potential borrowers. This has resulted in an increase in the proportion of non-performing loans and advances. “Efficiency improvements as a result of the consolidation exercise are unlikely to be experienced in the short term. Though the
megabanks were large banks having the capital to generate jumbo returns, these returns are not likely to match the capital and asset strength of the banks. Hence, short-run concentration of the Nigerian banking market have resulted in thinning margins and increased competition among banks as already being observed. Excessive competition has created an unstable banking environment.” Thus to meet revenue projections, most customers are now being ripped off as their accounts are brazenly debited with varied and indefinable charges and interests that basically ridicule banking ethics. Dame Gladys Orhoha, a customer of a first generation bank, recently revealed how her bank deducts •45 Euro every time money is remitted into his account by her son in Copenhagen, Denmark. “They remove •45 every time I visit their bank to receive money sent to me by my son. I have received •7, 800 paid in five installments in the last 13 months and every time I visit the bank, they make the deduction. When I complained to my son, he decided to send me money through another bank, a new generation bank but that bank proved to be worse. They billed me various charges that I could not understand and they ended up deducting •76 from my money. These are asides the commission paid by my son to the remitting bank, and this excludes withdrawal charges, and account handling charges. It was not like this at the beginning of the year,” she lamented. Indeed, most banks have resorted to various schemes to fleece their unsuspecting customers of their hard-earned money. This brings to mind the disturbing note of alarm sounded by Oriade Adeyemo, a forensic accountant, in the wake of Nigerian banks’ recapitalisation exercise and overly aggressive revenue generation drive. According to Adeyemo, most banks in the country engage in various shades of fiscal manipulation to fleece their unsuspecting customers of their hard-earned cash. Investigations further revealed that banks involved in this malpractice take their customers for granted because even those aware of the goings-on are too lethargic, too busy, or lack attention to detail and therefore fail to take the right kind of action. Exploitation by COT Banks have also being known to distort Commission on Turnover (COT) percentile on a weekly or monthly interval. By this scam, the account holder is befuddled by the accounting process while the banks smile away with tons of naira of customers’ cash. A close study of a schedule of transaction between some customers and major banks show that most of the banks
collect from their clients’ accounts, excess charges on COT, interest and facility fees, above limit fee, COT shortfall, bank draft fee, loan interest, fee earned and handling fee, excess debit interest, temporary overdraft fee, returned cheque fee, collection fee and debit correction fee, ATM to ATM fees, letter of administration fee, among others. According to Adeyemo, some of the details that are manipulated include COT, which represents the commission on withdrawals. COT is chargeable only on valid withdrawals. In other words, returned cheque debits should not attract COT. Bank-generated charges shouldn’t attract COT as well as loans liquidation. In the same vein, reversals or mistakes made by the banks should not attract charges but some banks impose charges on mistakes committed by them, explained Adeyemo. When customers approach banks for a facility, they will put a clause in the agreement which they call COT shortfall. For instance, the customer must make N100 million monthly turnover, otherwise the shortfall on the COT will be charged to the customer’s account. It is an illegal charge because the COT is chargeable on valid withdrawals only. Meanwhile, COT shortfall does not exist on the Guidelines on Bank Charges. No bank can force any customer to withdraw money from his account when there is no need for it because such action will negate the equity principle, which says that none shall unjustly be allowed to enrich himself. So, the COT shortfall is a nonissue. Yet by this facility, many banks manipulate the interest charged the customers. For instance, a customer will agree on 18 per cent per annum interest with a bank, but because the bank knows that most customers do not know how interest rates are computed, the bank will go behind and merge 45 per cent. They cash in on their customers’ ignorance. The banks believe the customers would not challenge them. What an average bank customer wants to know is that the money deposited is reflected in his account, the withdrawals and the balance, to ascertain if he can still withdraw some money from his account…In fact, there is a common parlance in the banking sector today which goes like ‘Hit the man first. When you hit him, if he complains, you refund,” stated Adeyemo. Not a few Nigerians have been fleeced via the COT fraud, particularly those who secure bank loans. Most times they observe and grumble that the charges are abnormal but they can’t figure out why. Decimalisation Decimalisation is a process whereby the banks
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
fleece customers are reluctant to pay you any amount after the decimal point. If for example you want to withdraw N3, 290.39k, the bank will only pay you to the decimal point and the remaining 39k would not be paid. Their reason will always be that they cannot get the denomination to pay you. But at the end of every financial year, these little amounts withheld from the accounts of tens of thousands of customers run into hundreds of millions of naira. An internal auditor from one of the top banks confirmed that most banks make huge amounts of money at the end of the financial year from the withholding and deductions of such little amounts from the accounts of customers. He estimated that the banks may have made between N3 and N5 billion in the last half decade.
ATM fraud Asides outright fraudulent and authorised withdrawals by bank staff in connivance with external fraud syndicates, the ATM has become part of an ingenious rip-off tradition of Nigerian banks. Industry analysts argue that many banks employ the ATMs to save cost on their salary overhead.If it is an inter-bank transaction it is alright to charge; but it isn’t when a customer withdraws from his own bank. It should be free particularly because of its cost-efficiency to the bank. Besides, there have also been regular complaints of debit error, when customers get debited for uncompleted ATM transactions. Of course customers understand that machines are inevitably prone to malfunction occasionally. But they are frustrated by the lack of proper channel to recognise and immediately correct the error. “It seems the Nigerian economy is not ripe enough to fully embrace the ATM system. That is why bank customers often get caught in that web. When cash is not even dispensed the machines keep debiting unsuspecting customers, most of whom have lost lots money in this process,” Wilson Arabame, a disgruntled bank customer, says. In addition to the withdrawal charges, customers also pay for SMS alerts. One depositor said she discovered she was charged N200 for SMS alert in her bank statement. Shady charges “Customers are also robbed off a sizeable chunk of their deposits through hidden charges and other deductions made by their banks with intent to defraud them. Oftentimes, the deductions are quite minute that it would take a very meticulous customer to discover them. The charges, usually packaged as interests on loan facilities, administrative charges, and interests on deposits and other sundry charges are regularly skimmed off customers’ accounts without their knowledge,” says Idris Adeyanju, a retired banker and proprietor of an auditing firm. In November 2008, Raphael Nnaji took an overdraft facility of N47 million from a new generation bank. The facility was with a default interest rate of 38 per cent per annum. But through the distortion of the interest rates and sundry other excess charges by the bank, in five years, his company’s account was shaved to the tune of about N18 million. With the help of his sister-in-law, a consultant forensic accountant and lawyer, Nnaji was alerted to the massive fraud being committed against him by his bank. He has since instituted legal action to reclaim his money. Without doubt, most Nigerian banks have become more adept at stealing from customers’ accounts. For instance, they have perfected their ability to distort the percentage of interest agreed on loan facility within a particular time frame and make calculations even more cumbersome for an auditor. Hence, the need for an
had spent the banks’ money recklessly and illegally. Some of them could not explain the huge withdrawals and transfers of funds from their banks and appeared to have made attempts to disguise the original sources of such funds. The fall out of these findings saw CEOs of major banks in the country being prosecuted by the EFCC for gross acts of financial fraud.
•Many customers are hopelessly forced to endure shady and unauthorised withdrawals from their accounts by their banks
auditor proficient in forensic accounting to identify the methods by which they steal from customers’ accounts. Indeed, most economists find it difficult to understand why interest margins on deposits are so low compared to the high lending rates. Most also find it difficult to understand the cobweb of fees, interests and other hidden charges that are laced on loan facilities. The provision of the CBN is that any charge which is outside what is listed in the guide is illegal, unless it is authorised by the customer. The provision also compels the banks to negotiate charges and interest rates with depositors. But since the banks know that most customers don’t scrutinise details of their bank statements, or bother to get a proof of its legitimacy, this provision is taken for granted. This is a direct consequence of the pressure on bank managers to deliver curious profits to the head offices at the end of each month. Further investigations revealed that many of these charges are introduced and checked off over an extended period without prior notice to or consultation with account holders; many therefore do not take cognisance of the rip-offs. Even those who notice get tired of pursuing the matter after several calls without meaningful
For instance, a customer will agree on 18 per cent per annum interest with a bank, but because the bank knows that most customers do not know how interest rates are computed, the bank will go behind and merge 45 per cent. They cash in on their customers’ ignorance
results. In the beginning… It was observed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that some of the banks in the country were showing liquidity strain as far back as October 2008 due to extensive use of the ‘expanded discount window’ (EDW) which extended credit facilities to banks on the basis of collateral in the form of commercial paper and bankers’ acceptance which were ‘sometimes of doubtful. In 2009, the joint inspectors from the CBN and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) were given the task of examining the books of some banks in which they discovered or rather confirmed a ‘can of worms’. Ten banks were among the first set of banks audited. Five of them were cleared but the other five were found ‘wanting’, which resulted in the executive directors being sacked and replaced with new ones appointed by the CBN. Out of the 14 banks examined in the second set of banks audited, nine of them were found to have adequate capital and liquidity to support the level of their current operations and future growth. Four of the banks, including– three of which had their MD/CEO sacked – were found to be experiencing liquidity problem and were directed to obtain an injection of capital as longterm loan and liquidity support. In addition, a number of executive directors were removed and the CBN injected N200 billion as liquidity support and long-term loans for the four banks adjudged to be in a grave situation. The sacked bank executives were alleged to have violated a number of rules. Thus, loans were alleged to have been granted without adequate collateral. Loans, including those given to themselves and their friends, were not serviced and became ‘bad loans’. Reports submitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were found to be ‘cooked’. Bank executives had become stupendously rich as individuals while the banks they managed were becoming bankrupt or ‘failed’. Bank executives were found to be laundering money and using their friends as ‘fronts’ to collect loans from their banks. They
Why bank fraud persists The banking industry plays a major intermediation role in an economy by mobilising savings from surplus units and channelling these funds to the deficit units, in particular private enterprises, for the purpose of expanding their production capacities. However, corporate power within the banking industry has gone unchecked and thus has failed to provide the expected social and corporate benefits. The implication and culpability of corporate executives in unethical practices and conflicts of interest have attained an alarming proportion in the nation’s banking industry. The spate of fraudulent practices and other malpractices in the banking industry, and the apparent failure of the law enforcement agencies to successfully track down and satisfactorily prosecute the perpetrators has attracted the increasing attention of policy-makers and bank customers. “The core banking practices have been traded off and those who benefit most are the CEOs and their loyalists,” lamented Margaret Ndubuisi, an auditor with a Lagos based accounting firm. It has been argued that non-executive directors are too close to executive directors, hold too many jobs and have failed to do enough to check corporate abuses. Lavish ‘fat cat’ rewards and salaries have increased enormously over the years, partly as a result of CEOs being able to determine their own financial rewards and their preference for low pay and job-shedding at the other end of the company. Industry pundits also argue that the protection of limited liability has been used to shield fraud and selfenrichment by company executives and to exploit investors, employees, consumers, creditors, pensioners and citizens. Dodgy but officially sanctioned accounting practices have produced profit manipulation, failures and frauds which cause loss of jobs, savings, homes and pensions. Despite the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Decree enacted in 1994 to sanction erring bank executives involved in corrupt financial practices, the industry still groans under the weight of excesses and fraudulent practices by chief executives of major banks in the country. Taming the monster The battle to prevent, detect and punish offenders must be fought on two broad fronts, according to Abiola Idowu, a financial analyst. “One is to reduce the temptation to commit fraud and the second is to increase the chances of detection. A good salary structure and excellent working conditions, which can help to a great extent to reduce the temptation to commit fraud, needs to be put in place. In addition, management should not hesitate to come to the aid of employees any time there is a genuine financial request, particularly in emergency situations. Such assistance not only eliminates the tendency to defraud the organisations, it helps to cultivate a group of dedicated and highly productive workforce. “Another issue to be considered in reducing the incidence of fraud in Nigerian banking sector is the issue of fraudsters. Banks should have a good hiring and training policy as a first step in the battle to prevent fraud. This is because it has been established that the integrity of an individual are the essential deterrent to crime. A prospective employee’s background should therefore be thoroughly checked to ascertain if that prospective employee has previous criminal record or has dubious background or connections. Also employee’s lifestyle should be closely monitored to determine whether such staff is living beyond his or her legitimate income. Where an employee is considered living beyond the means known to the bank, further investigation should be carried out to determine the source of extra income,” suggested Idowu.
22 •Continued from Page 18 Nigeria, the first thing that comes into one’s mind is money… (Cuts in) Everybody wants to think that the purpose of establishing universities is centered on making money. That is not true. Those who establish schools because they want to make money just come and leave the business. But some of us established it and we have remained in the system. We have been in the education system for the past 30 years; right from the time I left the university. I believe that it is not about making money. You can make money and throw the money back into the system. If you look at me, for example, why do I need to establish a university? I already have a polytechnic. If you are talking about somebody that is comfortable, I think you should be talking about people like me. I think I still want to throw the money back into the system. For example, we keep on building houses in the university. We keep investing in the university. If I am 55 years old now, am I going to live for the next 100 years? It is a legacy. I think most universities have a problem with discipline, especially when it comes to dressing. How do you address the issue? What you have just mentioned is a serious issue, because when you tell students ‘don’t sag’; you tell them that the people who sag are prisoners and that they are copying that from the United States, they don’t want to believe you. By the time you tell them not to do it, they correct it. By the time you are off or they have the opportunity to go out of the university system, they go back to it. It is a serious societal problem. It is not the school alone that should do it; parents and other members of the society should also educate children about it. I am particular about your school. How have you handled the problem? We specify the kind of dress you must wear. We correct them. But when they go out, what happens? In our school, it is well controlled. The problem is the larger society; right from homes. For example, when they are coming in, we tell the security men to check their boxes. When they open, we say this is the type of thing we don’t want. This type of shoes we don’t want. We also tell them we don’t want something that will burn our university down; that is electric cooker and so on. You have a Muslim name. How come your university in the United States is named Our Saviour’s University? It has nothing to do with Jesuism or Christianity. I think it is just that I feel it can be a succour. I have seen what government education is, what private education is and what education is in far away United States. I have been able to compare these. So, I saw the opportunity to establish that and I established it in far away United States. It is registered and accredited. Tell me an experience you will never forget in your life. I think there was a day I cried. That was when my mother died. She was so loving and caring. My father died when I was seven years old. I think for somebody to have brought somebody like me to that level was not a mean feat. When she died, I invited musicians. There were lots of food and drinks, and the people were surprised to see me crying. It had just occurred to me that I had lost my mother, and the impact was massive. My mum brought me up. She sold some of her things to raise me. She never knew how to read or write, not to talk of her child establishing a university. You can imagine I was not happy. She even died before I got the licence to operate a university. She
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
‘I dress to appease my late mother’
was always backing me up. I even started this school business with her house. When I left the university, I was interested in home lessons. I placed a good signboard in front of her house. The pupils thought I was the owner of the house. People started coming and the school started growing until I had enough money to start my own somewhere. I think she played an important role in my life. People cannot but talk about your dressing. Your cap is unique. What is it all about? Yes, this is unique. It has to do with my mum. When she was about to die, we kept inviting doctors. I didn’t want her to die. When she was to die, she said: ‘Stop wasting money. Let me die.’ I said no. She looked at me from head to toe, and I was dressed that way at that time. So, my best dress is this black cap and white agbada with black shoes, though I could have other colours. I believe that anytime I want something specific and I dress the way I dressed before she died, I will get it. I’ve been practising it and it has been working for me. I don’t know whether it is spiritual, but it has been like that. As a successful man, you are bound to have hordes of women seeking your attention. How do you cope with them? There are a lot of challenges about
Yes, this (his dress) is unique. It has to do with my mum. When she was about to die, we kept inviting doctors... When she was to die, she said: ‘Stop wasting money. Let me die.’ I said no. She looked at me from head to toe, and I was dressed that way at that time. So, my best dress is this black cap and white agbada with black shoes...
that. A lot of women are coming, no doubt. But I thank God I have one wife and my children. As a Muslim, your religion al-
lows you to take more than one wife. Why did you embrace monogamy? I had the opportunity of taking a second wife when my wife was giving me female children. People advised me and I also thought about taking a second wife. But right now, I’m not even thinking about that. What I am thinking about now is how to live a good life and leave a good legacy. That is why I give to the needy, and I do that every time. As a traditional title holder, would you allow your female children to get married to foreigners or people outside your tribe? I think I don’t have any objection to that, especially in these days of GSM. You can talk to people anywhere in the world within one minute. I think there is nothing bad in that. You can marry anybody. In fact, when I had an opportunity to marry a second wife, the lady was a white lady from America. She was too faithful. She didn’t know how it is being done here in Africa. I wanted her to manage my business in New York. She said she wanted to come down to IleIfe, that I should tell my wife and children to come to the US. I knew that was the end of my dream about somebody close to me be-
ing with my business. She was not interested in the business, she was interested in coming down here to displace my wife and children. I quickly told her to get away. She was not happy. I’ve had so many opportunities of having so many people who want to marry me; maybe because of generosity, which ordinarily I think is a sacrifice. That is one of those things. Is this the way you dress every time? Most of the time, I appear like this, and most people have termed it to mean all sorts of things. I like to dress like this. When do you wear non-traditional attires? I do that when I’m in my house or when I want to play tennis. Most of my suits are tattered. I only brush them when I want to travel out of the country. The moment I get here, I forget all about them. Even when I went to Mecca, I still dressed like this. Some people even asked me, ‘Are you for hajj or something else?’ I said this is the way I dress; I don’t have to deceive you people . You’re an Alhaji and an Ife chief. How have you been able to marry the two? Being a chief does not make you a spiritualist. The Ooni of Ife prays seriously most of the time. Even he fasts when somebody like me does not fast. I wonder what he wants again by fasting. He prays a lot. His wife too prays a lot, because I’m close to the two of them. You have people from different ethnic groups managing your business. Is this a deliberate act of ethnic balancing? The moment you are able to do my work, I don’t mind if you are Igbo or Hausa. That is not my cup of tea. When I want to give you scholarship, I could discriminate. But if you want to work for me and I’ve seen the quality of the work you want to do in you, I’m not going to bother myself. I could put some sentiment into some other things but not in employment. What message do you have for the Federal Government as regards private universities? The message I have for the Federal Government is that they should not see the establishment of schools as proprietors just wanting to make money. The moment they have that notion, they will not be willing to improve education. For example, the government is discriminatory in its funding of universities. There is this fund, Educational Trust Fund, they now call it a certain name. Instead of distributing it to all cadres, they say it is for government alone. I think this is wrong. I think government should see reasons to encourage proprietors of schools. If they think that if they give money to proprietors of schools, they will not spend it well, government can say, ‘Private universities in Nigeria, we are going to build a library of N20 billion in each of them.’ Let the Federal Government have their contractors to come and build. We will just provide the land. How does the government take back that N20 billion from the proprietor? This is how to do it: the government should say all the students that applied to private universities could not afford to pay that money. Let the government say how much is your school fees? Let’s say it is N400,000. Remove that N400,000 from our N20 billion. By the time they remove this money, the government has contributed indirectly into sponsoring students to private schools.
Edited by: VICTOR AKANDE
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
I never thought I could stop womanising 窶ｦ , r o t c a d o o 窶年ollyw
See pages 28-37
I don't normally talk e about this part of my lif o. I don't know why I'm t, saying it now. At a poin I thought I wasn't just tI lucky with women. Bu think now that I will settle for life. I want a new life and I'm happy
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
STANDh BY! Wit
VICTOR AKANDE E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 08077408676 (SMS only)
nt part of An importa s of any the succes is its civilisation late the mu ability to e t led to the a th factors ther success of o Eric .— s civilisation rt Reine
Flesh Craze part 2: A hypocrite’s version
ODAY I have decided to flip the proverbial coin, from tails up to heads up. Our film industry from the early days of migration from theatre to film has never been so fleshy. So the point is when did it begin going fleshy? From all indications, the Nigerian film industry began going 'fleshy' when we became Zombies, when we began losing our sense of decency, when civilization became modernization and Africanism became outdated, outmoded and primitive. When we began to lose our moral fibre in the name of education and “BEEN TO”. When we began throwing away everything we stood for as Africans and began to submit ourselves to neo-colonization. That was when we started to speak through our noses and then began bleaching of skin. Then we threw away the ancient proven wisdom and started echoing quotable quotes. Though it took a number of years for all of this mis-identity to ferment, the damage was growing and expanding in every way possible. One of those fruits is Nollywood. Unfortunately, the few we sent to obtain education over seas came back more 'illiterate' than they left. Personally, this is one way I can describe a man or woman who, having travelled out to acquire western education, returns with an irritation and disdain for the very culture and tradition that weaned them. It's like a child coming back from the university only to look at his parents as stinking and unwashed. Even though there are a few things in Africa that need re-evaluation and change, it is, like they say, improper to throw away the child with the bath water. Opinion is one of the modern curses I find hard to relate to. Hypocrites have found a way to build a nest in them. Of course we have succeeded in exchanging convictions for opinions. Yet we forget that whereas people may be ready to die for their convictions, nobody has really staked his neck out for opinion. So there is nothing like opinion. Something is right or wrong, good or bad, true or false. Every other thing is 'tales by moonlight'. Grey areas are a fence built for
Please tell Africans to be careful, they are the last vintage of humanity; for their values and humanity, if we lose Africans then humanity is lost forever and perhaps we might not find our way back home. Tell them not to be deceived with our window dressings cowards, for those without convictions or a sense of responsibility. Hence it is not my opinion that we are all infested with the flesh craze. It is a simple statement of incontrovertible fact without fear or favour that both the flesh sellers and the flesh buyers are guilty beyond charge. Look around, the flesh craze is every where, in every profession, the church is not even a safety zone anymore. Pastors' wives and ushers and choirs have also joined in the flesh expo revolution. The spite of it is that the flesh is now used by most churches to lead sinners to Christ. By extension our women are the greatest victims. The woman, the African woman one of our supposed symbols of virtue and custodian of morality, whose golden hands and heart molded warriors and brave men! Alas, they have been deceived and inducted into the 'hall of flesh'. Our tower of respect and honour for this flesh craze has been reduced to packets of sex and business directories. The absence of the true African woman, whose strength was from within, not in the amount of flesh she lets out these were women of virtue and value. In their absence, men, the children of the flesh-crazed woman, have become puppets, gigolos, cowards and bunch of irresponsible mummy's pets, because they have been mothered by women who have lost everything womanly and motherly save their boobs, bums, and perhaps a few cash or office titles. Nollywood is also changing
with the times; this appetite for the flesh you and I have created, Nollywood as an industry is out to fill it. A few who have decided not to go fleshy are actually on the minority based on their personal convictions, even to their own professional detriment. A friend of mine, just arrived from the Scandinavian where she attended a conference, said to me somebody told her at the conference; “Please tell Africans to be careful, they are the last vintage of humanity; for their values and humanity, if we lose Africans then humanity is lost forever and perhaps we might not find our way back home. Tell them not to be deceived with our window dressings” (paraphrased) So Nollywood is us; you and I. Nollywood is a solidified entity of our character progress. There is no alien in Nollywood. Practitioners are our friends, brothers, uncles, aunties and neighbours, friends and colleagues... So why the hypocrisy? How come we can relate without reservation with them during their successes and paparazzi, but when it comes to character and attitude we hide under the umbrella of morality and decency. Where is your sense of decency when you wine and dine with them? Unfortunately hypocrisy and shamelessness have become a way of life. Our national character. It is very difficult to separate your character from your profession; in fact the best of man's character is most x-rayed in their profession. That is why all professions' ethics are founded upon the goodness of humanity. In conclusion, if you think that with all honesty to self, heaven and earth that you are not part of this flesh craze business either as a seller or buyer, then flex your muscle, pick up your stone of condemnation and cast it against Nollywood, but while doing so remember that when you become a Zombie, ultimately you will become Zombie the flesh-eater. The metaphor is yours for keeps. -Victor Dickson is Director, El-Spice Media Group
WRITE TO US! Do you watch Nollywood movies? What do you think of the Nigerian motion picture industry? Send your review of any movie or short essay on any topic of your choice about the film industry in not more than 200 words. Send entries by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS your short comments to 08077408676
Rita Dominic steps up her game
NLY a couple of weeks ago, the media were awash with Rita Dominic's poor co-anchoring of the just concluded Headies Award. But rather than crawl back into her shell and lick her wounds, the delectable actress took it in her strides when she again accepted to be coanchor of the just concluded AFRIFF International Film Festival which held at the Oriental Hotel last Saturday. Paired alongside one of the finest presenters and anchor of Big Brother Africa, Ike Osakioduwa popularly known as Wildchild and elegant finance guru Celine Loader, Rita, unlike what happened at the Headies, walked with her shoulders high, delivering her lines with a sense of panache that complimented her cohosts. Known for her good dress sense, the actress looked extremely stunning in her yellow mono-strap flowing dress and a nice hair to go with it. Even IK, couldn't help teasing her from time to time as she strutted the stage back and forth.
Daniel Ademinokan robbed 5 days after losing dad •Daniel
OPULAR Nollywood director and husband of sultry actress Doris Simeon, is currently grieving for different reasons. The director who recently lost is father is yet to recover from the shock when men of the underworld unleashed their terror on him five days after and made
away with some of his valuables. The actor who confirmed the incidents via a telephone conversation to The Nation also revealed that the burial ceremony of his late father will take place next week. Daniel who recently partnered with beautiful actress Stella Damasus on a production outfit called Index Two, is one of the busiest and best directors Nollywood can boost off hence is rising in profile in recent time.
The other side of Alex Lopez
HE has been off the stage for a while now, but many still remember her for her role in Domitilla. But one thing that many do not know about this actress and single mother is her love for farming which she revealed recently that she started doing when she was a girl growing her village in Obosi, Anambra State. Then, she said, they raised chickens, made garri from cassava, reared goats and other forms of livestock. According to her “I left at a time that the industry was going through a stage and I was also going through a stage. I was growing up and I felt I should try out something new so I went into poultry farming. With my experience as a girl back in the village, it was not difficult, so I went into chicken farming, where I had top clients like UAC and indeed, it was a success,” she said.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Mikel faces Man City hurdle Pg. 34
Drogba: Mata very important for Chelsea
Nation Saturday, December 10, 2011
ARCELONA legend Johan Cruyff does not expect tonightâ€™s Classico to have any bearing on the destination of the Spanish title this season. Barca and Real Madrid meet at the Santiago Bernabeu with the latter currently reigning supreme in La Liga, and are on a
run of 15 consecutive victories in all competitions. Jose Mourinho's side are three points above Barca at this present time, while retaining a game in hand over Pep Guardiola's Catalan giants Cruyff, however, believes Barca can
triumph this weekend, although sees any potential result as nothing more than a psychological blow. "The favourite to win? I can only say that Barcelona always play to win against Madrid," Cruyff told AS. "We'll see on Saturday who comes out victorious.
"The Clasico won't be decisive. There are so many games left. Nothing that happens on tonight will be decisive in the title race. "It's only a game and nothing more than that. A win for Madrid wouldn't all of a sudden mean that they are now the dominant team.â€?
OW long have you been away from Nigeria? I’ve been away from home for almost 34 years now. I left home in 1977. Did you ever come back before now? Oh yes! I was home this year with my wife. Where exactly is your home town? Home town is Effurun in Delta state When and where were you born? Well that’s a long way, I grew up in Ghana, and in Sekondi so all my skills, talking football, started in Ghana, So when did you arrive in Nigeria from Ghana? I came to Nigeria in 1969 How old were you then? I was around 12, 13 years old. What level academically were you at the point you came to Nigeria? Well, I was supposed to go straight to high school but I missed Common Entrance. So I took what we called the late entry. What school did you take the exam into? African Primary School, Effurum, now it’s known as Alegba Primary School and I had my three choices of school, Urhobo College, an all-boys school and St Peters, Agbalo a Catholic school, the third one is Hussey College, Warri. My parents wanted me to go to a co-ed (co-educational school) but my first choice was to go to Agalote, St Peters What informed your choice? Nothing, I missed the one in St. Peters, Agalote. When we went there they were only looking for like five students. So they tested us on athletics abilities. The (Rev.) Father (who headed the school) didn’t know me then, you know I was even crying. So it was sports that eventually brought you out? Correct. Those who were choosing then did not know you were going to be a star in that field? I was very skinny then, very skinny. Mere looking at my physique probably you won’t know that I’m a good player. I cried all my way in the public transportation back home. Where exactly (in Delta)? They call it Warri-Sapele Road. What school were you in Ghana? AMC Zion Primary School, Sekondi, Takoradi Why the shift from Ghana to
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Nigeria? It was a political move, the president there then decided he didn’t want any foreigner in Ghana, all none Ghanaians had to leave Ghana. In a way ‘Nigeria must go’, so we all left, I was young. Were your parents working there then? My parents were there, my mum, dad, everybody, all my sisters and brothers, we grew up in Ghana. When I came to Nigeria, I can hardly speak Nigerian language, I was all Ghanaian. Now that you’ve been away for so long, do you speak your language fluently? We have Urhobo association here (in the United States) but I can speak. Do you still keep in touch with some of your old colleagues? Yes, I still keep in touch with Godwin Odiye, Odiye was our defender. And (other colleagues were) Ojebode (gravely ill), he was the left full back and Sani Mohammed. The midfield(er) was Muda (Lawal), Aloysius Attuegbu, may his soul rest in peace, then Haruna Ilerika too. Then we had Kunle Awesu, then we had Baba Otu on the right, after we had Baba Otu then we had Segun Odegbami. Then before me was the policeman, (Sunny) Oyarekhua. We will play 4-3-3. I was at the center, Segun Odegbami on the right or Adokiye or Kunle Awesu was on the left. Then we had Muda, Aloysius and Haruna (Ilerika). Then Okala was there and Best (Ogedegbe) was the back-up goalie, Ogedegbe? Ogedegbe, he died too, I don’t know, so many people have died, it’s just so surprising. How was it like when you were playing in your school and your talent being spotted? You know it’s something I knew I was going to be doing right from the beginning because even in Ghana, I always, always play soccer when the night falls or sun rises I always play soccer. Anywhere there was a soccer game you were going to find me. I knew from the beginning that I was going to be a football player. Even when my team loses I will just start crying so when I came to Nigeria it was just a continuation. What really helped me was, a lot of people came from Ghana too from my area. So we’re
•Usiyen at the 1976 Nations Cup in Ethiopia.
How my family got deportedfromGhana Thompson Usiyen is a name that sure rings bell in the ears of football fans that graced football matches in the mid-70s. His skill and goals linger in the memories of those who caught glimpses of his exploits while toiling and thrilling in the green and white of Nigeria. Also, he had the privilege of playing with such greats as super striker, Sunny Oyarekhua, irrepressible dribbler, Haruna Ilerika, young defender, Godwin Odiye, captain, capable chairman, Christian Chukwu, giant goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala, workaholic midfielder, Muda Lawal just to mention a few. At age 18, he left secondary school in 1974 and two years later was with the Nigerian senior national football Trojans - Green Eagles with whom he saw and fought on the very fields of Ethiopia to help Nigeria notch her first ever African Nations Cup medal, a bronze in 1976. Today, he lives in the United States of America. He left for the States in 1977 and played for as many as 14 teams in an 18-year spell. Last week, NATIONSPORT’S OLUSOJI OLUKAYODE hit the buttons and put a call through to the former international striker, asking him to tell his story. And he did. He told his story from Sekondi Tekoradi in Ghana where he was born to the deportation of his family from the former Gold Coast and on to exploits with the Green Eagles both on the green grass of home and on the foreign battle grounds, including more always playing. Can you remember any that returned like you did among your mates that also made it to the national level in football? No, even in my family, I was the only one that played soccer. You know, athletes or football players weren’t that encouraged. It’s not like today where you can make a living out of it, so most parents want their children to go to school. At what point did you start representing your school and how did that come to be? Oh, yeah right away, right away. I was a freshman, when they asked me to play for the school, I said ‘oh, no, no.’ they said ‘you can do it’. I played four years. At what age did you leave school? 18 years Would that be 1974? You’re right, ’74 When you were in school were you playing for any club? No, you can’t play for club, I wasn’t playing for clubs but I was playing for Academicals. How and when did you start playing for academicals? From Form one, because my school did very well in Principals Cup. They picked me up and I started playing for Academicals. So every holiday we head up to camp for two months or three years. Every little holiday we had, they always invited us and I looked forward to that. Can you remember your camp site? O yeah, (at) Afuza, we used to have it everywhere, we used to go to Ewosa Grammar School sometimes, but if it’s a long one, like preparing for Nigeria Sports Festival, they’ll put us up in Afoza camp Anyone from your school that rose to national level? My school? Ah, not from my school. One or two were invited. I can remember Wilson Erabo was invited, and when you go to camp the first day you can have 180 to 200 people in camp. And they have to whip people down to maybe 20 and 30. My first year of going to the Academicals I didn’t make it but coach Etemeke recognised my talent. He was the state
coach; he was both for the young and the older team. We were like Under– 18, so he didn’t want to let me go. So he just carried me along to the Sports festival, the very first one. So all through that period up to the time you got to the national team there was nothing like club? No, nothing How was it at home? Were there encouragements or opposition to your ambition? There were always oppositions. But I was so much into football that it didn’t matter whatever anyone did. At what point did your dad begin to take favourably to your playing football? Not that he didn’t like me playing; everybody wanted education for their children, right? So he was thinking I was spending too much time playing soccer and not enough time on my books, so he wanted me to take to my books and forget playing too much soccer. So from there I went to MidWest Academicals and from there into the Junior Eagles and from the Junior Eagles Tiko, said you need to come and play for the senior Eagles. I said ‘no let me stay down with my group’ and he said ‘no’ I must, (join the senior cadre) he was from Yugoslavia, the national coach. So from there the rest was history.. Can you remember some of your colleagues there at the Academicals? Oh yeah, I can remember Mike Ozemnazi, I remember Isaac Osai, I remember Sylvanus Oraiki, I remember a lot of people. Was there any issue arising as to whether you should continue with football or face education fully after you graduated from school? There wasn’t any discussion, it was natural flow. Immediately, I finished school I couldn’t wait playing. What led to your first senior national call up? We played Ghana in Accra (in the) Ghana, Nigeria Sports Festival. So how did it go? Oh yeah, I think we beat Ghana then after that they called me up then I came to Lagos. Actually, I was suspended in that game because I got into a fight. I scored a goal there.
AKINLOYE AT LARGE 08050246155 email@example.com
Eguavoen, my Man of the Year MY man of the year is Austin Eguavoen. The ex-international won the accolade for resigning his appointment after he failed to guide the Dream Team V to the London Olympics which is holding next year. He did not act Samson Siasia who had to be pushed after failing to qualify the Super Eagles for the African Cup of Nations holding in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. By putting in his letter of resignation, the man they fondly called Cerezo, made himself a man of honour, a man that can be trusted. Of all the coaches in the national team who failed in their assignment, it was only Eguavoen who tread the path of honour by resigning and declaring himself a failure. Siasia did not see himself a failure. So is Uche Eucharia and neither did John Obuh. Uche and Siasia even lobbied to be kept on their seats despite failing to fulfill their contractual agreements. They waited to be shoved aside for failing in their respective seats. The fact that Eguavoen is the most failed coach in the employment of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would not stand between him and the award. He finished third in the African U-17 Championship and that gave him the ticket to take the team to Finland to the World Cup. The team lost in the first round. Instead of putting him in the cooler, he got promoted to the Super Eagles. He finished in the semi final, losing to Ivory Coast. He failed to guide the Dream Team V to the All Africa Games in Mozambique and planted the seed of our ouster from the 2012 Nations Cup with the 1-0 loss to the Guineans in Conakry. Now the Olympics failure which came from Morocco. All these will not stop me from declaring him my man of the year. It is not easy to admit that one is a failure. There are so many failures in the land parading them to be successes. They are not thinking of resigning from their plump seats. They occupy seats meant for the successful. Who will get rid of them? Or would they resign? When the news that the Sports Minister has put in his resignation got to me I thought he threw in the towel because of the spate of failures in the nation’s house of football. Not until more flesh was added to the news that I felt differently. He would have been a joint man of the year with Eguavoen. For the spate of defeats and failures that have visited the land, the Sports Minister ought to have resigned. The country’s contingent to the All Africa Games performed woefully. That added to the high volume of defeats and failures in our football house are enough to make the sports minister call it a day. I wonder what the President of the Nigeria Football Federation is waiting for. He also should put in his letter of resignation. IT has not happened that our soccer should get shut down. He should quit. IT is the path of honour and he should tread it in the interest of our football. Like Eguavoen, he should call himself a failure. The technical committee should follow suit. The members should walk away from the job for they have failed. They failed for not guiding Siasia on the right path and for not blowing the whistle on Eguavoen. The committee did not tell Siasia what Nigeria was playing for in that memorable match against Guinea and that the coach of the U-23 embarked on a suicide mission by putting all his eggs in one basket. The new technical committee should be made up of experienced men and women who know what it is all about. The head of the committee, as Mr. Kashimawo Laloko said, should be an accomplished man who has seen it all. Effort is being made to employ a Technical Director for the NFF. While I am in support of hiring one, his assignment should be streamlined. He should not be brought to breath down the neck of the Super Eagles coach. He should not be seen as alternative manager for the Super Eagles. If we want to employ a foreign coach, let us go ahead and hire one. Le us not create an avenue to create crisis where there should be none. FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR AND NIGERIAN PLAYERS No Nigerian player deserves to be listed among contenders for the Footballer of the year for the outgoing season. Except Osaze Odemwingie who operated in the clouds in the second half of the last season, no other Nigerian player shone like a star. The performance of Osaze was not good enough to deserve being listed among the contenders for the African Footballer of the year. Nigerians got listed and won in the past because the country won the African Cup of Nations and the Olympic gold. Nigeria has not won the cup in 17years and only came close to winning the Olympic gold in 2008. Nigeria also did not perform well in the World Cups we attended, crashing out in the first round. So our players were not signed on by big European clubs and did not operate at the highest level. The fortune of players is attached to that of the club and the country. Our players have chosen money. This is why they go to Ukraine and Russia where the clubs pay relatively good wages. These leagues are not on television so it is difficult to monitor their performances.
THE NATION SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
FootballWoes:Falsediagnosis and wrong prescriptions T
HE sports space today is peopled by the following group of experts: those who know but refuse to say the truth, those who claim to know but really don’t know and those who don’t know but are driven to pontificate out of genuine passion. I will add a last group which are in the minoritythose who know and are saying it without equivocation. In all the defined groups, you will find administrators, Journalists, fans and sometimes, the politicians. In the aftermath of the country’s poor run in national team competitions this year, there have been attempts by all groups to examine the cause(s) of the sad turn of events in the sports industry and not just football. There is so much disinformation that the uninitiated will be drowned in the swell of propaganda being spewed by the contending tendencies for the soul of football in Nigeria. But how come a hundredth of the contest for football is not channelled to other sports such as Athletics, Tennis and Boxing etc? Recall the epic battle for the soul of boxing between David Johnson, Frank Okonta and a certain Dr. Fari of the Lagos State Health Management Board. At some other time, the fierce contest for Athletics Federation of Nigeria board leadership between Adeyemi Wilson and Dan Ngerem on one hand versus Mrs. Violet Odogwu-Nwajei dominated media headlines. Before them, it was Tony Urhobo versus the late Abdulkareem Amu. No sports follower in the late 1990’s will easily forget the near brutal verbal and media fight between Eddy Aderinoku and Engineer Habu Gumel. The list is endless but today, it’s all about football, football and football. Recently, most of those proffering solutions to our ailing football industry have been singing the ‘return to grassroots’ mantra and blaming the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for not leading this ‘Back to the Grassroots’ revolution. They point to the past successes of school sports ala Principals Cup etc and suggest that the NFF must go back to that glorious ‘once upon a time’ as though the world still lives in the past. It is this stagnancy that caused us to lose the initiative to drive the League in the direction all other successful leagues headed in the 1990’s because some persons still wanted to enjoy modern success based on obsolete methods. Those who are championing the cause for school sports have honourable intentions but are using a ‘huff and puff’ strategy that is disjointed and bound to yield the wrong results. The idea of a School Sports competition will only lead to the same outcome of
By Harry Iwuala
winning at all cost and defeating the noble objective of identifying budding/ nascent talents. It will be a quick fix if we don’t tinker with the various levels of football league in the country to make them financially viable and attractive to global football community. Now, we have those who know that our problem lies in the inchoate league system that was left behind by the global football reforms of the 1990’s but they would rather proffer solutions that seek to reinforce their relevance in the scheme of things for the purpose of seizing office as NFF Chairman. They are the football politicians and they are the ones that go in at night praying that we don’t get to experience positive change in football administration. Secondly, someone should be honest enough to tell Nigerians how many of the world football and other sports stars from the USA, Spain, England, Germany, Brazil and Argentine to list a few that were discovered through school sports. Is it not true that these talents were groomed through club academies like Manchester United Football Academy in England and private professional academies such as Nick Bollettierri Tennis Academy in the USA? Why
are we deceiving our people and government with lies that have been packaged over the years to suit our ambitions? If the Christian Chukwus, Segun Odegbamis, Henry Nwosus, Felix Owolabis etc were discovered playing school football, it does not mean that my son whose school owns no good sports ground will wait to be discovered that way. But it would have been easier and decent if I took my son to a 3SC Academy for him to have formal education, learn and hone football skills and attract the interest of junior national team coaches. The England Football Association and their counterparts all over the world do not set up nor run academies as is being advocated by some persons. How many will they set up and how would the admission be structured without the hurdles of federal character? We should encourage the NFF and the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) to be alive to their regulatory and organising responsibilities and enforce statutory requirements of participation in the league at all levels. Because these organisations lack the prerequisite capacity and the political will to carry out their oversight functions over the clubs, we have watched the gradual decline of what derelict club system
was inherited from the 19701980s. It is laughable when people claim our football thrived in the era of Emmanuel Okala, Muda Lawal, Godwin Achebe, Haruna Ilerika etc, a period when football was strictly amateur and rendered no financial rewards as has been attested to by those of them who are alive today. Enforcing regulations means club must render audited annual reports, fund junior teams (academies) and work towards owning their own grounds and club houses. Enforcing regulations on club accounting will eliminate the bribing of referees, sale of players without accounting for the proceeds and doctoring accounts for the transfer of players. But the biggest obstacles to running a viable club league are the state governments that fund these clubs and appoint those who manage their affairs. Any honest inquest into the decline of football and other sports in the country will not be harsh on those currently steering their affairs but this does not indemnify them from blame of failing to design a blue-print that can resolve some of the problems over time. Their failure is their inability to embrace change.
Harry Iwuala is a renowned Journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria
VOICE OF SPORTS
With Clement Nwankpa Jnr. firstname.lastname@example.org
Put the blame on me
THESE are troubled times in the annals of Nigerian footballing history. But the test of manhood is not how many times a man falls but how often he picks himself up and trudges on. So our current dwindling fortune in football is not an anomaly. In fact, bigger footballing nations like Brazil had even experienced tougher times but still manoeuvre their ways up because they were able to get to the roots of their woes. We need to diagnose the ailment crippling our football so as to administer the requisite medication. The danger of wrong diagnoses is that one may take the wrong medication. Mere buck passing will not solve the problem. While some are pointing the way of the Aminu Maigari-led NFF, the anti-Patrick Ekejis are heaping the blame on the door-step of the NSC D-G. Just on Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Sports exonerated NFF. In their opinion, the players and coaches should be held responsible for the serial poor results our national teams turned in this year. After the U-23 Eagles ouster in Morocco, the NFF egg-heads were quick to wash their hands off the show of shame on the premise that they provided chief coach Austin Eguavoen with all he asked for. Eguavoen, himself, turned around to lampoon the NFF Technical Committee members for being absent in Morocco. In his estimation, their presence would have boosted the technical output. Nobody wants to take the blame all to himself. It is more a case of shifting some portion to the other person to ease the burden on oneself. Now, the song playing up in my head is Akon’s ‘Put the blame on me’. Since nobody wants to accept responsibilities for our football’s embrace, perhaps, I will soak it all up myself. Please, compatriots, for Nigerian football to forge ahead, I will take the blame away from the gladiators. I am responsible for this year’s misfortunes. I was the one who fuelled crisis and infested Nigerian football with series of court cases. Consequent upon my actions, there were more activities in the court rooms than the NFF Board room. It was therefore this action of mine that ensured that quality time that should have been deployed in deliberating on the way forward for Nigerian football was spent discussing the way to tackle the latest court summon. It was I, Clement, the sports journalist, who was responsible for the last NPL season ending without a sponsor. This inaction of mine reduced the allure of our domestic league; made the clubs cashstrapped and unable to pay their players’ salaries and sign-on fees and most regrettably, turned it into the longest running league in the world. It was the Great Pele who said that, “a country’s national team is as good as its domestic league” so my failure to make our league attractive enough rubbed off on our national teams. Was it not I who screened and appointed all the national team coaches who faltered all the way? I was the one who, as chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, failed to take note of technical details in the pattern of play embrace by our national teams. The consequence is that over the years, the peculiarity of the Nigerian pattern was watered down as the whole world worked out an antidote and curtailed our progress. Need I also remind you all that I was the one who, instead of evolving a national team with a home-based foundation opted for ‘Diaspora’ Eagles. As the U-23 national team coach, I had made the mistake of relying so much on foreign-based players even when it was obvious they wouldn’t be available for the tournament since it was not within the FIFA calendar. I had failed to put my confidence in the avalanche of quality players in the domestic league. I forgot so soon that the Ahmed Musa we are celebrating today was a homebased player just last year. I realized, albeit belatedly, that some home-based players would have fared better than some of the foreign-based ones I paraded in Morocco. If only I had visited more of the league venues. It is so easy for NFF to say, “we gave him (Eguavoen) all he asked for” but I also know that a father does not give his child all he asked for. Will you give him a snake if he asked for one? I was the Technical Committee chairman who approved that the U-23s camped in Ghana despite the gulf in climatic difference between the West African nation and Morocco. Yes, I was the one who missed those sitters that came Osaze Odemwingie and Emmanuel Emenike’s ways in the first half against Guinea. I was the one who, like Mikel Obi, failed to track back and mark when I lost the ball in the midfield. I was the one, who, as Eagles coach then, filed out a team without a holding midfielder against a team that paraded Paschal Fendonou. I am Chairman of the Technical Committee who watched as the boys threw everything into attack without reminding them that at 2-1, the team still stood a chance of qualifying for the Nations Cup. Now that I have heaped our entire football misfortunes on my head, I should also be allowed to proffer the way out of the doldrums. It is simple! We have to now take the domestic league more seriously. I wouldn’t want to believe Glo’s decision to head to court over the league sponsorship is true. It will be suicidal for the league to run another season without a sponsor. Our national team coaches have been lazy in recent times. They now have to be tasked to comb the league venues and get the home-based players more involved in the national teams. In a nutshell, we have to head towards the grassroots. The solution is here, not abroad. Wetin dey for Sokoto, dey for shokoto.
NATIONSPORT SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
OMA midfielder Daniele De Rossi has admitted that it would be a 'miracle' if the Giallorossi manage to finish in the top three in Serie A in the 2011-12 campaign, and added that head coach Luis Enrique needs time to settle in. The Stadio Olimpico side currently sit eighth in the league table with 17 points from 13 games, trailing leaders Juventus by 12 points and are already 10 points adrift of third place, currently occupied by Udinese. Although De Rossi acknowledged that it would be a •De Rossi difficult task to make up the deficit, he assured fans that the Roma manage to finish in the team will keep on fighting. top three and qualify for the "It would be a real miracle if Champions League. However,
we will definitely try to achieve just that," the 28-year-old was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport. De Rossi then threw his support behind his under-pressure coach, who said earlier in the week that he would only quit the Giallorossi if the players wanted him to go. HERE is some good and bad Fellow midfielder Kevin-Prince "Luis Enrique? It's hard to news on the injury front for Boateng will also have to prove his compare him to any other coach I Milan ahead of Sunday's fitness as he continues to battle a know. If I have to come up with a game against Bologna at the back problem. name, I'd say Luciano Spalletti. Dall'Ara. There is more positive news Summer signing Antonio about Mark Van Bommel though. With him, we started playing really well after the Christmas break. Nocerino is a doubt after he picked The Dutchman should again be up a problem in the Champions available for selection this Sometimes coaches just need a bit of League game against Viktoria weekend. time." Plzen on Tuesday. First choice goalkeeper Christian Roma are currently preparing for Although the Italian Abbiati is still out with a shoulder Monday's Serie A game at home international is improving issue and will again be replaced by against Juventus. following the 2-2 draw, it is being Marco Amelia. suggested that boss Massimiliano Allegri will not risk him against the Rossoblu. NTER captain Javier Zanetti has dismissed suggestions that the club's squad is past its sell by date.
VERTON youngster Seamus Coleman believes it will be weird for Mikel Arteta to come up against his former team-mates for the first time. The 29-year-old signed for the Gunners on transfer deadline day for a fee believed to be £10million and has scored three goals in his first 11 appearances and will come up against the Toffees for the first time. “I am sure it will be a bit weird for Mikel Arteta playing against Everton for the first time. He was at the Club so long and is loved by everyone here and it will be a big day for him, but on the day, we will be looking to get one over him,” Coleman said. “Now we have a massive game at the Emirates and there is no better place to put it (our form) right. “(Arsenal) started slowly but they have got great quality in their team and it would be nice to stop them on Saturday. Robin van Persie is fantastic, his finishing is brilliant and he always looks like he is going to score.” A win could see the north Londoners move up to fourth in the table, with Chelsea's match against Manchester City not taking place until Monday night.
The Nerazzurri have had a problematic start to the campaign, with critics arguing that the San Siro giants are just too old to compete anymore. “Age only matters up to a certain point,” Zanetti, himself 38, stated on Wednesday afternoon. “The important thing is to have the right enthusiasm. “I want to remind people that I won the treble with Inter at the age of 36 and I was 37 when we won the World Club Cup.” Zanetti has played in 12 Serie A games for the Beneamata this season and he believes he still has a lot to give. “I always want to be useful to the team,” he continued. “One day the moment to quit will arrive, but I hope that is as far away as possible.”
Italia Seria A league Table - Dec Juventus AC Milan Udinese Lazio Napoli Palermo Cagliari Roma Catania Fiorentina Parma Chievo Atalanta Genoa Siena Inter Milan Bologna Novara Cesena Lecce
13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 12 13 12 13 13 13 13
8 8 8 7 5 6 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 4 3 4 4 2 2 2
5 3 3 4 5 2 5 2 5 4 1 4 6 3 5 2 2 4 3 2
0 2 2 2 3 5 4 6 4 5 7 5 2 5 5 6 7 7 8 9
24 29 16 19 21 16 12 15 14 13 15 10 16 14 14 14 11 14 6 11
10 14 6 9 13 15 13 17 19 11 20 16 15 16 12 18 18 24 15 23
14 15 10 10 8 1 -1 -2 -5 2 -5 -6 1 -2 2 -4 -7 -10 -9 -12
29 27 27 25 20 20 17 17 17 16 16 16 15 15 14 14 14 10 9 8
ALERMO and Cagliari will take each other on in the January transfer market for Frederik Sorensen of Juventus. According to some reports in Italy on Thursday, the Dane is wanted by both island sides after Christmas. The Turin giants will release the 19-year-old before February if they themselves can bring in a new stopper as cover.
Denis Atalanta Di Natale Udinese Giovinco Parma Ibra AC Milan Klose Lazio Matri Juve Marchisio Juve Calaio Siena Osvaldo Roma Palacio Genoa Jovetic Fiorentina Nocerino AC Milan
ARCELONA star Lionel Messi has admitted the upcoming El Clasico tie at Real Madrid could have a significant impact on the Catalans' season. The defending Primera Liga champions are three points behind Los Merengues, who have played one less game, and could see themselves drop nine points off the pace should they lose at the Bernabeu and Real win their outstanding fixture. Messi realises the importance of stifling Real's momentum tonight and believes a positive result at their arch rivals could give them a solid platform on which to build for the rest of the campaign. "It's vital we get a good result," said the forward. "It would set us up for the rest of the season." Barca will travel to Japan for the Club World Cup after the clash with Real, but Messi insists the players can handle the workload. "We know what we're capable of and how far we can go," he said. "We've got a lot of games to get
10 9 8 7 6 6 5 5 5 5 5 4
Saturday Inter Milan v Udinese Napoli v Lecce Sunday Catania v Cagliari Juventus v Cesena Fiorentina v Roma Bologna v Siena Chievo v Atalanta Parma v Palermo
ROBERTO Mancini is adamant that playing in the Europa League will not hamper Manchester City's bid to win the Premier League title. The Italian tactician was disappointed after his City side won their final Champions League Group A game 2-0 against Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday only to go out of the competition due to Napoli's 2-0 win at Villarreal. It means Mancini must try and raise his players for a tilt at winning the Europa League in the second half of the campaign, while maintaining their push for a first ever Premier League crown. However, he does not feel that will impact on their title bid, especially with neighbours and closest rivals Manchester United also facing Europa League football after their shock Champions League exit on Wednesday.
through, that's true, and it's never easy to maintain top form. "But we really don't care what people are saying. We're staying cool, calm and collected. Nobody knows what this team is capable of better
IDIER Drogba has hailed fellow Chelsea teammate Juan Mata, insisting he is a vital player at Stamford Bridge. The Ivorian striker scored twice in the 3-0 Champions League victory over Valencia on Tuesday, with Mata's precise through-ball to Drogba assisting the former Marseille man as he doubled his tally for the evening. The result sees the west London side progress to the last 16 of Europe's elite competition, with the 33-year-old reserving praise for the role of Mata. “Last week I spoke about how good he is and how important he is for the team,” Drogba told Goal.com. “I'll keep saying it because no matter what, no matter if he doesn't score, he's really good and really important for the team, and I think he wears the No. 10 shirt
We need the points.” Monday, Agger is adamant ANIEL Agger insists Despite seeing an 11Liverpool's target of a topLiverpool can't wait for four finish remains tonight's visit of Queens match unbeaten run come to an end on undeterred. Park Rangers as they aim to get back on track following the 1-0 defeat at Fulham. Barclays Premier league Table - Dec The Dane admits the Reds were left disappointed by their loss at Craven Cottage, but feels Man City 14 12 2 0 48 13 35 38 the Anfield clash with newlyMan Utd14 10 3 1 31 13 18 33 promoted QPR presents them Tottenham 13 10 1 2 29 16 13 31 with an opportunity to put their Chelsea 14 9 1 4 31 17 14 28 frustrations behind them Arsenal 14 8 2 4 30 23 7 26 "After the Fulham game it was Newcastle 14 7 5 2 19 15 4 26 the same as every time we lose Liverpool 14 6 5 3 17 13 4 23 it was quiet and people were Stoke 14 5 3 6 14 23 -9 18 upset," Agger told Liverpoolfc.tv. Aston Villa 14 3 7 4 16 18 -2 16 "Everybody who plays football Everton 13 5 1 7 15 17 -2 16 at this level doesn't like to lose, Norwich 14 4 4 6 20 26 -6 16 so everybody was really upset QPR 14 4 4 6 15 25 -10 16 (about the defeat) and also about Fulham 14 3 6 5 16 16 0 15 the way we lost - we had a lot of West Brom 14 4 3 7 13 21 -8 15 chances and I think we deserved Swansea 14 3 5 6 14 20 -6 14 better, but that's football. Wolves 14 4 2 8 15 24 -9 14 "Luckily in football, there is Sunderland 14 2 5 7 16 17 -1 11 always a game next week and a Blackburn 14 2 4 8 21 32 -11 10 chance to bounce back - and Bolton 14 3 0 11 19 34 -15 9 that's something we have to do. Wigan 14 2 3 9 12 28 -16 9
van Persie Arsenal Aguero Man City Dzeko Man City Yakubu Blackburn Demba Ba Newcastle Rooney Man Utd Sturridge Chelsea Adebayor Tottenham Balotelli Man City Lampard Chelsea Helguson QPR Klasnic Bolton Hernandez Man Utd Defoe Tottenham Vaart Tottenham
14 11 10 9 9 9 7 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6
FIXTURES Saturday Arsenal Bolton Liverpool Man Utd Norwich Swansea West Brom Sunday Sunderland Stoke
v v v v v v v
Everton Aston Villa QPR Wolves Newcastle Fulham Wigan
v Blackburn v Tottenham
EAL Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has declared that he will play with one striker against Barcelona in Saturday's 'El Clasico' clash. The former Chelsea boss stated that when the two European giants face-off he plans to use a lone frontman supported by Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria. Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema have both been in good form recently but Mourinho has not yet mentioned which forward he would use. "Both of them will not play. It will be Cristiano and Di Maria and Benzema or Higuain," Mourinho said.
ARCELONA star Xavi hopes to experience the "footballing pleasure'' of winning at the Bernabeu as he prepares to make his 600th official appearance for the club against their great rivals Real Madrid
Ronaldo Real Madrid 17 Messi Barcelona 17 Higuain Real Madrid 12 Falcao A/ Madrid 9 Soldado Valencia 9 Fabregas Barcelona 7 Benzema Real Madrid 7 Llorente Athletic Bilbao 6 Juanlu Levante 6 Kone Levante 5 Barral Sporting Gijon 5 Villa Barcelona 5 Manu Sevilla 5 Postiga Real Zaragoza 5 Agirretxe R/Sociedad 5 Adrian A/ Madrid 5 Cuesta Vallecano 5 Miku Getafe 5 Hemed Mallorca 5
on Saturday night. The first clasico of the 2011-12 Primera Division campaign is the standout fixture in Spain and indeed the world this coming weekend, with Real currently three points clear of Barca at the top of La Liga with a game in hand. There is therefore extra pressure on Barcelona to force a positive result in the Spanish capital,
where they claimed a 2-0 win in the Champions League semifinals in April.
Spanish Laliga Table - Dec
Real Madrid Barcelona Valencia Levante Sevilla Malaga Osasuna A/Madrid A/Bilbao Espanyol Levante v Sevilla Granada Real Betis v Valencia Madrid v Barcelona Vallecano Sociedad Sunday Mallorca Vallecano v S/ Gijon Villarreal Getafe v Granada Getafe Villarreal v Sociedad Real Betis Zaragoza v Mallorca R/Santander Malaga v Osasuna A/Bilbao v R/Santander S/ Gijon Espanyol v A/ Madrid Zaragoza
14 15 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 15 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14
12 10 9 8 6 7 5 5 4 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 4 2 3 2
1 4 3 2 6 2 6 4 6 2 4 4 3 6 5 4 1 6 3 4
1 1 2 4 2 5 3 5 4 7 6 7 7 6 6 7 9 6 8 8
49 47 23 23 16 19 18 21 20 11 10 16 15 14 11 14 13 10 12 12
10 7 14 17 10 19 26 21 17 17 15 22 22 22 20 22 21 20 24 28
39 40 9 6 6 0 -8 0 3 -6 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -8 -8 -10 -12 -16
37 34 30 26 24 23 21 19 18 17 16 16 15 15 14 13 13 12 12 10
THE NATION SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
sat quietly inside the departure hall of the Mohamed 1 International Airport, Casablanca pondering what should have been. Players of the U-23 National Team milled around wearing long faces. The party is over. Nigeria was going home. Inside the aircraft, as we flew over the Sahara Desert and onwards to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, I was able to reflect on the past 15months of the present administration at the Nigeria Football Federation. From the beginning, it was not easy. We conducted an election accepted by reasonable bodies, international organisations and credible stakeholders, but some disgruntled individuals took the cudgel and vowed to make things difficult. They went to court, and for the first time in my life, I appeared in a court of law. World football-governing body, FIFA made it clear that football matters don’t go to the courts but they turned deaf ears and pursued their action with vendetta. While we should have been settling down to articulate our vision and mission and harmonize our programmes for football development in the country, we were shuttling from one court to the order, thanks to detractors and mischief makers. It goes without saying that it has been a difficult past 15 months. In the midst of these, the Super Eagles had an African Cup of Nations qualifying match and we had to go to Calabar. We won the match 2-0 to kick-start the race and everyone was happy that the Super Eagles had rediscovered themselves and were set to put behind them the disastrous outing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa. Days after that win, the elections were annulled by the Federal High Court, Lagos. There followed trips to Lagos and the Federal High Court for hearings. There was a FIFA ban and Nigerian football looked to be headed to the
Inside The Glass House WITH AMINU MAIGARI
Reflections on the past 15 months (1) wilderness. There was an African Cup of Nations qualifier between the Super Eagles and Syli Nationale of Guinea in Conakry upcoming, and plenty of hassles. Eventually, a meeting was convened and the suit was struck out, which enabled FIFA to lift the ban and the Super Eagles to play in Conakry. We lost that match and it had serious consequences for our 2012 Nations Cup race. In September 2010, there was the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup finals in Trinidad and Tobago. As I have always said at every forum, Nigeria has no reason to hold women’s football in disdain. Whether it is women’s football or the men’s version, we take the matches and competitions serious, no matter the situation. And that was why the ladies did not lack anything as they prepared for the tournament in Trinidad and Tobago and at the competition venue proper. Two years earlier, the Flamengoes, as they are called, failed to qualify from their group at the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. The Class of 2010 went a step further, reaching the quarter finals and taking eventual champions South Korea ‘to the rubber’
•Nigeria's midfielder Kalu Uche reacts to a miss
before losing after extra time. That feat came only one month after the U-20 Women’s Team, also known as Falconets, reached the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany, losing to the host nation. After the defeat in Conakry, the need to have a new Head Coach for the team became pronounced. Mr. Austin Eguavoen was handling the team in caretaker capacity and the defeat did not go down well with the members of Exeand cutive Committee, as well as the Technical Sub-Committee. The interview process began a lot of work was done by the Technical Sub-Committee. Eventually, Samson Siasia got the job and was unveiled on the first day of December. The previous month, the women were again on show. Now, do you get it? Women’s football has always been there for us and we have a responsibility to uplift it with everything we have got. As we chart a way forward following the current reverses, we are determined to always include a roadmap for the women’s game, such that the Women’s League and the Women’s Challenge Cup become more glamorous in the way they are organised. The tournaments should also be organized more purposefully, with the aim of discovering talented players, as there is urgent need to replace a few tired legs in the senior team. While the ascent will be on youth football and grassroots development programme, we will also ensure that women’s football gets its deserved attention and applause when necessary. In December, we had to set up an ad-hoc Medical Committee when a player of Ocean Boys FC died while playing in a Premier League match. Sad one. We lost the young man, Emmanuel Ogoli in that match and the findings of the committee were instructive as well as illuminating for the way our clubs are generally administered. December was also the month of the conclusive part of the 2010 Annual General Assembly of the Nigeria Football Federation. The event took place in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and it was a refreshing experience for all the Chairmen and Secretaries of the 37 States of the Federation and the FCT, and our other members who were there.
For the Executive Committee of the NFF, it was a wonderful experience moreover as we were gradually settling down to work, after all the hassles of court cases and all. January came with new hope and new ideas and we doggedly pursued our vision for the Nigeria game. In February, the Super Eagles drew a large crowd to the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos for an international friendly football match against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone. We wanted another team for the match but it didn’t work out and we just had to get the Sierra Leoneans in order not to miss that FIFA free window. Eventually, it turned out to be a worthwhile experience. Even as the Eagles won 2-1 (which some considered a low scoreline), there were positives as the Head Coach talked excitedly about one young man by the name Joel Obi. Today, Joel Obi has become an integral part of the Super Eagles and going strong. There have been lots of memorable moments and amazing occasions. That is what football is all about. There have been unbelievable comebacks and moments of anguish. There have been anxiety and tension here and there and there have also been occasions to smile. I admit that things are not what they should be today, but as was generally agreed at the meeting with the distinguished members of the Senate Committee on Sports and Social Development on Wednesday, there has to be refocus and re-strategizing. We have to look at the players we have at home better than those who play abroad. Sure, all countries invite foreign-based players for international matches. But I share the feeling of the distinguished members that we should have good number of home-based players in any of the National Teams going for international matches or competitions. The experience of Morocco 2011 is an eye-opener. Coach Eguavoen surely did not give the home boys the confidence they needed that they would be the ones representing Nigeria at the competition. By the time he realized that his foreign-based platoon would not be available, it was too late to get the home boys, who naturally thought they would once again serve as training materials, into proper tournament mood.
Mikel faces Man City hurdle •Aiyegbeni targets more goals •Osaze tackles Moses •Ameobi to bounce back with Mapgies
IGERIAN midfielder, Mikel Obi will on Monday face another hurdle as Chelsea battle Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. With Chelsea's 3-0 win against Newcstle which has lifted Andre Villas-Boas’ side back into the top four , these has ease the pressure on his shoulders. However, Man City are simply unstoppable at the moment and chalked up yet another high-scoring win last weak sticking five past helpless Norwich at the Etihad Stadium. It is now 12 victories from 14 for Mancini’s side who continue to lead rivals Manchester United by five points at the Premier League top and they know extending that is a real possibility should the Red Devils drop points on Saturday. Andasking from last week four goals haul against Swansea City, Nigeria international, Yakubu Aiyegeni wlll be aiming to increase his goal tally in the English Premier League tomorrow as Blackburn faces Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. "I always believe I can score goals no matter what league I play in. There is a long way to go but I've done it wherever I've played," Yak said. Rovers registered their second win of the campaign with the victory at Ewood Park. While Sunderland have been less than impressive at home, Rovers have struggled on the road - winless in seven
By Bimbo Adesina trips this season. A loss to Steve Kean's Rovers, who overcame Swansea City 4-2 in their last outing, will see Sunderland drop into the relegation zone. At the The Hawthorns today, Osaze Odemwingie will be hoping to solidify West Brom's position on their midtable position going into the festive period with a win over rock bottom Wigan which parades another Nigerian, Victor Moses. With Osaze's goal scoring form dried up, the Nigerian will up his performance to lift the Albions from slide towards the relegation zone while Moses' may be heading to drop. Wigan remain rooted to the foot of the table, two points from safety, with Roberto Martinez's men in desperate need of a result to gather some momentum before the Christmas period. The Ameobi brothers, Shola and Sammy will be hoping to arrest Newcastle's slide when they visit a Norwich who have won many admirers for the way they have gone about their football this season. Newcastle suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at home to Chelsea last weekend. Newcastle have been the surprise packet of the 2011/ 12 season, sitting in sixth place after 14 games with seven wins, five draws and just two defeats, although those two losses have come in their last three matches.
Utaka set to claim Ligue title by Dec 21
ITH Montpellier still riding high on the French Ligue 1 table, Nigeria striker John Utaka will be aiming for the unofficial league winner at the season’s halfway stage on December 21. Montpellier will heads to Stade du Hainaut today to face Valenciennes in winnable games. Montpellier
holds a three-point lead from second-place Paris SaintGermain after losing only two matches in 16 rounds. Montpellier has never won the league title. The 1990 French Cup is the only trophy Montpellier has lifted and that was when Eric Cantona, Carlos Valderrama and Laurent Blanc were playing at the club.
On Sport Sport On SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
round of golf ends at the 18th hole. But the real fun of the game starts at the 19th hole. This place is like a purgatory where every golfer atones for sins committed on the course. This will go on like forever since there is this endless flow of drinks and chit-chats about general matters. At the 19th hole, you hear all sorts of gists, mainly from hackers who cant get it off from the tee box. Hackers hardly win prizes during tourneys. All they win are piles of divots they can’t take home. There is something like luck and this plays through in the life of hackers as well. The irony here is that if a hacker manages to win a tourney, the prize rarely gets home. And if the hacker gets home, all he can show for a labour grinding round 18hole are gory tales of misfortune. This is the 19th hole… the pulse of the game. The story wasn’t different when the Governor’s Cup played out at the Benin Golf Club last Saturday. The event was in honour of the Edo Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. , a man with many pearls of wisdom. It’s clear Oshiomhole doesn’t know a thing about golf… can’t even say which is a putter in a putter in a golf. But this was his night , in fact his ball and he had to run with it. Well, Oshiomhole in his pearls of wisdom might be looking at the game as a time waster. But he did confess that he got sold on the game the first time he saw the lush grass of a golf course. To properly sell the game to him, the MC on the night, ‘ Do Ur’ Osagie reeled back tales of the sojourn of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon in the game of golf. According to the tale bearer, Gowon, while ruling Nigeria from the Dodan Barracks, a shout from the Ikoyi Golf Club, would wake up in the morning only to see golf balls littering the vast compound. These were stray balls from hackers. Since the balls meant nothing to the general, he would throw them back to the course where they came from. Today the game means so much to Gowon, to that point where he regretted not starting on time. Today, you can see Gown at the Lamingo course in Jos as early as 6.30am, even without a playing partner. At this point, Comrade Oshiomhole was all ears, feeling like he could take a tee drive at the point. He became interested. He
NTDC brings for
Tony Akhigbe email@example.com 0 8 0 94863638
The golf jokes of Oshiomhole vowed he would give the game a shot. Here, the Oduma of Igueben and ACN Chieftain, Chief Tom Ikimi picked up the story. Since Oshiomole already agreed that the lightings and the greens surrounding the course got him sold to the game, the Oduma quickly suggested that the Governor should put in place a process where a part of the course could have lights so night golf could be possible. Oshiomole said he was game but on a condition the women, especially wives of golfers would back the idea of night golf. He gave his
reasons. Hear the Comrade: “The idea is brilliant but my only fear is if this could not be abused by the men. There was a point where the price of oil fell and this affected states allocation. All we had could hardly offset salaries. I called a meeting of the Cabinet so we could find other means to fund several projects on ground. It was clear the meeting would take the whole day and night. It was clear nobody would go anywhere. You could have your bites and drinks but nothing would impede the meeting. At some point in
Onwa rules IBB
Ikoyi Club Championship holds this weekend
OP amateur golfers of Ikoyi Club 1938 (Golf Section) would file out this weekend to show off their skills in this year's edition of the annual Ikoyi Club Championship billed to tee off at the 18-hole golf course Saturday, December 10 and end on Sunday, December 11, 2011. The Club's Competition Secretary, Patrick Ukah, who gave the information in Lagos said, the championship is held to determine the club's champion.
the midnight, wives started calling their husbands. Members of the Cabinet asked that I speak with the wives so they could know they were indeed in the meeting. But at that point, I was saying to myself what happens if these Cabinet members of mine go AWOL most nights. Will their wives still think they were holding all night meeting me. This is reason I want the women golfers to sanction this this night golf project. I mean won’t this lead to another thing?” Trust Oshiomhole. After the jokes, it was all business. And he became so consumed in it when the the Captain of the Benin Golf Club, Kingsley Ehi Okunbor mentioned that in any tournament in Benin, hotels in the city will play host to some 200 golfers from across the country. And this same golfers will still spend some amount during some fourday stay a tourney will play out. Oshiomhole did some mental calculation and he felt it could be some cherry across the bridge if tourneys could be held in Benin every week. But who can stop this? No one. Oshiomhole already wants it The Governor’s Cup engaged some 300 golfers from across the nation. All categories of the game played out. At the end of the day, Benin based golfer, Sharafa Mahmud emerged as the overall winner. He carded a Nett of 70. He plays off Handicap 10. Golfers from the UBTH golf club, however, pinned on the event to showcase that they are no longer greenhorns. One of their own, Dr.Chido Egwuonw e won the Guest Men with a Nett of 70 while Dr. Emmanuel Ighodaro won the Longest Drive.
He added that, though the club could not get sponsors for the tournament this year, it was determined to bankroll the championship that would determine the club’s 2011 champion. “The 2011 Club Championship is in honour of late Adetunji Ogunkanmi, the founding Managing Director of Cornerstone and one of our prominent members, until his death. We want to use this tournament to remember him,”
added Ukah. The tournament is open to only club members with handicap 111, meaning the very best players would be in display to know the club champion. “It is one of the biggest tournament in the club and we expect a full house, over a 100 players and all would play on Day 1. There would a cut on Day 1, so that we would have a lighter fight on final day, being Sunday, when we expect a winner to emerge,” explained Ukah.
THEY keep cutting his Handicap every week and yet there is no stopping him when he steps on tees at the lush IBB golf course. When he feels like it, he beats everyone like a drum to that point he punches hole into the pysche of golfers of that golf. He is Samuel Anyamele, the Onwa Ngwa. Last week, Anyamele did the impossible. Two tourneys were held at the IBB course on Saturday and Sunday, Gadzama @60 and the Citec Classic, and Onwa won both tourneys, posting 60 Nett on each day of the tournament. And this is a veteran, that is over 60 years. “My game gets better with age”, Onwa said. “I am bringing new innovations to the game. I am nearing perfection. Those who jam with me [course betting] are nowhere to be found. They can’t dare the Tiger. I can tell you I am getting lonely at the top. This could be the price I have to pay for winning always”.
Ghana’s example of brotherhood IN the wake of Nigeria’s unending failure at all levels of football, rerun of the following piece published after the FIFA 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa is irresistible. As ever, the thrust of the article begs the question: why is the soul of Nigerian football so tragically lost? NTIL Ghana’s leadership in politics and sports is no longer fashionable, the quarter-final finish of the Black Stars at the South Africa 2010 World Cup will remain a tragic reminder of Nigeria’s lack of collective will to succeed. As did Nigeria and Ivory Coast, Ghana also changed national team coach before the start of the South Africa 2010, but possessed the foresight to institute an operating system which new Black Stars coach Milovan Rajevac had to observe. Nicknamed the ‘Brazilians of Africa’ after a spell of four victories in the Africa Nations Cup finals – now surpassed by Egypt’s six – the Black Stars are considered one of Africa’s greatest sides. They suffered a decline in the early 90s when old maestro Abedi Pele’s skillful reign came to an end and the antagonistic Tonys – Anthony Baffoe and Anthony Yeboah – failed to provide adequate leadership for a team in transition. In the same period, Nigeria’s men’s national teams fished in original waters, landing a series of firsts from the inaugural FIFA/Kodak Under-16 World Cup to the Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games football gold medal. The latter feat remains a tough act for the Ghanaians to follow as only Cameroon has reprised the role of any African team. The Super Eagles team of the same period is also considered one of the greatest sides ever to campaign on the continent and beyond. But for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) ban of Nigeria from the 1996 and 1998 tournaments, the rampaging Eagles forged by former Eagles technical adviser Clemens Westerhof would probably parade loftier pedigree than the lone 1994 Nations Cup triumph and 1996 Olympic Games football gold medal. These days the Nigerians consistently fail to back rating with performance. In place of scintillating attacking play that characterised past squads, a lethargic flavour that is distinctly Nigerian is flaunted now. It does not matter what is stake. Whether national pride in international friendlies, qualification for a championship, or even a crucial preliminary group match in a tournament, the output is the same: eleven green-clad men running around without ambition or drive, banking on luck or prayers from fans, some of whom oblige and turn prayer warriors. The attitude of the players is but the least responsible. Official inclination to jeopardise the team’s chances with consideration for graft in processes ranging from coaching contracts, accommodation arrangements, underhand dealings in appropriating FIFA grants as well as adoption of national character highlight national team mismanagement. Ghana, meanwhile, does not appear bogged down by the same impediments. Factors that seem influential with Nigeria – injuries to key players and change of coach, for instance – are not allowed to skewer plans. You sense that a Ghanaian grand wheel of progress rolls on, no matter what. Ghana appears comfortable creating a culture of firsts. It was the first West African country to gain independence from the British colonial masters in 1957. It took giant steps that fetched the enviable position of international political relevance and today’s consultant role to the rest of the sub-region, including erstwhile big-brother Nigeria. Ghana’s good fortune is further enhanced by the privilege of having two players with Ghanaian blood contest a World Cup match on opposing sides – an act unintended but good for the game all the same. The Black Stars also became the third African country to make the quarter-finals of the World Cup after the feats of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.
To recapture shine THE organisation of Nigerian sports is generally constrained with records in the last two decades particularly illustrative. For instance, the country’s attendance of the Berlin 2009 World Athletics Championships and the 2011 edition in Daegu, South Korea ended in fiasco as a result of deplorable planning, misplaced priorities and corruption. Instead of preparations reminiscent of pre-tournament tours of Cuba and Eastern Europe by the boxers, weightlifters and wrestlers of old, allegations of poor technical details and biased selection emanated from camp. Given inadequate equipment and pitiable funding, the poor medal returns from Berlin and Daegu were inevitable. It may be too late to stem similar result from the imminent London 2012 Olympics, but efforts at redress would be worthwhile in the long run. Channeling youth aggression into weightlifting, rugby and combat sports would evidently help replicate a sports industry that thrives across Europe, South America and Asia, enabling a faltering Nigerian government to concentrate on governance.
And to the philosopher-player RATHER young to appreciate the rarity of the glorious Brazil team led by the incomparable Pele to the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico, I revelled in the exquisite display of the legendary 1982 side in Spain instead. So talented and smooth-performing were Coach Tele Santana’s Selecao (so good they let the ball do the running) that critics rated the team led by Socrates – born Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira – above even their 1970s predecessors. As indisputable leader of the pack, Socrates, a qualified medical doctor who died recently aged 57, personified the exemplary spirit of Espana ’82 even as he failed to lift the World Cup trophy. Yet, the iconic midfielder was of unlikely mould, his languid form belying the intelligence and precocious passing ability that repeatedly deciphered the most determined of defences. Felled unfortunately by food poisoning accentuated by nearly a lifetime of smoking and alcohol abuse, Socrates’ exploits which included 22 goals in 60 senior caps from 1979 to 1986 as well as his intellectual and political bent guarantee eternal mention. Adieu, contemporary of Muller, Careca, Junior, Zico, Branco, Falcao and Cerezzo – distinguished members of probably the greatest national side ever.
THE NATION, Saturday, DECEMBER 10, 2011
STYLE Gossip Interviews
My father taught me how to be a leuanmdoenur,
Monsurat S Oyo Speaker and only female member of the Assembly
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
‘As the only girl among five siblings, I’m already used to being among men’ M
AY we know more about you? I am from Oyo town in Oyo State. My parents are both from Oyo and they live there also, but my father lived in Ile-Ife while he was working with the local government. He rose up to become a senior executive officer then. What was your mother doing while your father was a civil servant? My mother was a Sewing mistress, and she had so many people working for her. It was a big shop in Oyo where many people came to learn how to sew, but she used to go to Ile-Ife during the weekend to spend time with my father. Would you say the lifestyle and the job of your parents influenced you? Yes. It did because my two parents were practising Muslims. The best thing my parents would want to see me do was to pray. While I was in the Children’s Boarding School in Osogbo, although it was a christian school, it was my father who brought a teacher of Islamic Religious Knowledge to our school to teach me Quran and he used to pay for it by himself to come and teach all Muslims there every Sunday. Later on, Islamic Studies was included in the school curriculum and I started learning it because putting me in a boarding school at the age of five didn’t give me the opportunity to live with my parents. I was also in the boarding house in my secondary school at Ilora Baptist Grammar School but apparently, I should have attended St. Theresa’s College, but my father said no because he wanted me to be nearer home to my mother then. Later on, I worked with the Oyo State Water Corporation for some time. I attended Kwara State College of Technology before crossing to England to further my studies. What did staying far from your parents teach you in life? It was very beneficial because it is good to be independent. It is good to think about what you want to do with yourself. It is good to know how to utilise your time because living in the boarding house afforded me the opportunity to know that there is a time I have to sleep, time to read, time for breakfast, time for prep, time to wash and others. That is when you will notice that you don’t have time to be roaming about doing nothing. When you look back to when you were a child, have you ever had the feeling that some day, you were going to become a leader? Have you ever seen yourself becoming a public figure? Yes, when I was in the secondary school, I used to be the sports and game prefect of my school. Whenever we had the interhouse sports competition, I used to run the 800 metres. I also have my records for Oyerinde competition in Oyo Zone. Sometimes I did run 1200 metres and relay. When I got to England, my father always asked me to come home during my holidays and whenever I was at home, my father used to teach me some leadership
rules and guidelines to follow to be a good leader. Have you ever been competing with men before you were made the Speaker of the House of Assembly? I don’t think so. I can recall that I was the only girl among the five children of my family. So I am used to being among men all my life. When I had my children, I got three boys. I may be the only woman in the house, but the way I see other 31 members as my family. I don’t see anything strange about them and I am just happy. Did your travelling to foreign land help you in any capacity in this role? It has really help me a lot because I always compare the United Kingdom (UK) with Nigeria. We have procedures and you have to abide by the procedures. For the fact that I used to work in highly sensitive places, I always remember when I am in this office that you can’t defraud because if you do in England, you will end up in prison. Again, when I remember the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other law enforcement agencies, I will not want to run into trouble. I am happy. When I travelled to UK together with my colleaugues, even though we have some members who had never visited the UK before, going there as a team showed them where I have my experience from. That has helped me a lot in this position. If you want to enter the bus, you have to be on the queue and you have to follow other rules. Their going to the UK was very beneficial and I will always be grateful to the Executive Governor of Oyo State for assisting me with this kind of project, but the benefit there is more than the money. It is a four-year term and we have to start from somewhere. It is just like you are sending your children to a private school which will not go on strike while the public school goes on strike. So you can see the benefit there. So going to England has really helped the House in their conduct; even though they were performing well before but now, they are doing much better. How has it been in this position for six months? I believe we have just started. What I am expecting is even more than this and I don’t want to leave this office without being able to look back at what I have achieved. So I really want to try to achieve my best, although it may not be everything. Look at the teachers that are being paid on the 25th of the month, you can still see some of them complaining that they have not received their salary and I have spoken with the governor and the commissioner for finance about it. We discovered that they were the people who had not opened new accounts because the bank them gave new numbers; that
Hon. Monsurat Sunmonu, is the Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly. In this interview with BISI OLADELE and TAYO JOHNSON, the only female member of the House shares how she learnt leadership from her father, her growing up days and how her sojourn in the United Kingdom (UK) for several years is helping her to lead the male dominated House.
was where the problem came from, not from the executive. However, the governor has promised to do something urgently about it and I know he will because he is a listening governor. You have lived most of your life time in the UK where everything is working well. Now, you have found yourself in Nigeria where things are not really working well and people complain about certain things that need to be done. How are you coping? And what do you think about it? It’s all about determination that this is the way I want to live my life when I get to Nigeria knowing that all that glitters is not gold. I made up my mind to come down here and make a difference in the way people behave. I had always been
coming down to see my parents from the UK during my holidays. So it is not about coming into a strange land; at least I always visited Nigeria two to three times in a year. Do you suffer any stereo-type attitude from any of your members? No. Can you tell us about your family life and when you met your husband? I had my first child in 1987 when I was 28 years old. I was able to cope with my children’s father when he went to study in the United States. I was alone but my mother and my other siblings used to come to assist me. I met my husband here in Nigeria during a holiday visit to my parents. Let us talk about fashion. What are your
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
I was the only girl among the five children of my family. So I am used to being among men all my life. When I had my children, I got three boys. I may be the only woman in the house, but the way I see other 31 members as my family. I don’t see anything strange about them and I am just happy
gs, o n’
choice colours? I don’t have any one in particular. It depends on the occasion. You may see someone putting on an odd colour in an occasion. Because in England, you cannot wear a pink dress for a boy child. If I see a child in a pink dress, what I will say is, how old is she? And if I see a child in a blue dress, what I will say is, how old is he? There is the colour of dress you can wear for a cocktail party and for a funeral. I go for any type of wear depending on my mood. Where do you shop? I do my shopping mainly in England. I have not been able to shop in Nigeria because I still have more than enough clothes I brought from the UK. But for my regalia, I do buy them in Saudi
Arabia whenever I go there for my Hajj. You have the native attire, the regalia and the English dress. Which of these do you naturally prefer? I love the regalia because it is simple and easy to pray with compared with other types of dress. How do you combine your role as speaker with that of a mother? It’s normal; I am looking after my children and I will continue to do so until 100 years when I pass away. My first child is a barrister. He is 24 years old presently practising in Wale Babalakin Chambers in Lagos. After his first degree in the UK, he came down to the Nigerian Law School in Abuja. My second child is still in the university in the UK studying Engineering, while my last kid is yet to complete his
secondary school. How do you see your present position? It’s very challenging because you have to listen to everybody and you have to decide on just one thing. When you have about thousands of people and yet they want you to do something, if you answer only one of them, the remaining 999 will be annoyed with you. So you have to learn to be patient, to listen to people and try to convince them. I am grateful to the people of my constituency for electing me into this position and I promise that I will not let them down. Most people outside the government are always complaining about the performance of those in government, saying they are performing below expectation. I’m sure you must have
complained like that several years before now. What is it like now? I used to complain about people. I complained about this country whenever I came to visit but, I didn’t say people were squandering money because you have to investigate people before you crucify them. That is what is killing this country because we live on speculations and when you speculate about people, it demoralises them. So I want to appeal to people to try and investigate people in government before jumping into conclusions. Are you happy to be a legislator? Yes I’m very happy to be a lawmaker because we make changes with our laws and when we are not there again, we will be able to point back at what we have done.
THE NATION, SATURDAY DECEMBER 10, 2011
Nigeria 2011 Foluke ADEMOLA HE 24-year old absolutely radiates the sleek brand quali ties of beauty, style and elegance. No wonder the stunner from Imo State, Alexandra Nwokedi, instantly won over the judges and audience alike at this year Face of Sleek Nigeria 2011 grand finale, Symphony of Style III , at Harbour Point, Victoria Island. A qualified lawyer, Alexandra glided effortlessly to win the model show, beating 14 other contestants, and she was unanimously chosen to become the ambassador of the Face of Sleek (Sleek Studio) 2011, the nation’s best selling hair and make-up brand. “Symphony of Style III was an exciting celebration of two incredible milestones for our beauty business which we are delighted to have achieved a year ahead of schedule,” said Mrs Ify Ugochukwu, the Managing Director of Sleek Studio Hair. She further said: “When we founded Sleek Studio four years ago, a major ambition was to create and launch a line of hair extensions that had the look and feel of premium Brazilian human hair made of synthetic fibres and available at affordable prices. “Introduced in September 2011, Style Star is our new synthetic weave line which consists of over five stunning styles, available for just N1,000 each.” “Another ambition was to research, produce and introduce our own line of skincare products developed to address the needs of the wide variety of black skin types. Our brand new Sleek Studio skincare line, for men and women, is the answer to dull skin, and it consists of an exfoliating range and a lightening range,” added Sleek Studio Managing Director for Make-up and Skincare, Dr (Mrs) Ebele Ugochukwu, It was the best model show in recent months and an elegant explosion of colours, style, beauty and everything else that is sleek. The night’s extravaganza featured outstanding performances from Tiwa Savage, Whiz Kid and UK Quick Change. Makida Moka and Amai Atafo compered.
THE NATION, SATURDAY DECEMBER 10, 2011
HE 2011 edition of the grand finale of Nigerian Hair Show, the seventh in the series, was held in glam style and pageantry at the Duban International Hotels, and this year’s event was held in conjunction with the International Professional Association of Beauty Spa and Hairdressing and Linda Manufacturing,makers of X-pression, whose two of its products- Rich Braids and Shimmer- were used to create the ethnic and bridal hair segment at the event. Eight stylists from different zones of the country participated.They included Dolly-p Beauty Salon, Marylight Salon, Nke-jay Salon, Style-me Salon, Wani Beauty Salon ,Ify-tex Salon and All Stars Salon. Style me Salon, Molad Salon and Wani Beauty Salon won the first, second and third positions respectively.
•A stylist working on a model
Tory Burch Chairman hires bank to shop ex’s minority stake in company
VEN though it’s been five years since their divorce, Tory Burch’s ex-husband, Chris Burch, still owns a third of her eponymous brand. However, his portion is being shopped around to other investors. What’s more, its price tag - $600 million -valuates the company at $2 billion. This appraisal would bode well should the company go public, as it’s supposedly planning to do in 2013. Meanwhile, if Chris Burch sells his chunk, he’ll get a pile of money to sink into his new retail venture, lifestyle brand C. Wonder. There’s no word on whether Chris will remain involved with the board at Tory Burch, where he currently serves as co-chairman.
•Tory Burch shoes
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Ebonyi indigenes’ day of glory
T was a reunion of a sort for indigenes of Ebonyi State in Lagos when they gathered together last Saturday. Of course, the need to foster unity and maintain harmony was the motive for organising the gettogether. The event was put together by the Ebonyi State Development Association, with the tag ‘Ebonyi Day 2011’ at the National Stadium, Lagos. The event, which was the first edition since the advent of the Elechi administration, is to serve as a platform for indigenes to share ideas on how to develop their state. In a welcome address by the president of the association, Prince Fidelis Nwokeocha, the Governor of the state, Chief Martins N. Elechi, was commended for the giant strides of his administration in the areas of crime fighting, infrastructural development, ongoing road projects, particularly in Ocho Udo city, and
Gabriel KUTELU water project. He called on the government to renovate the Ebonyi House at 19A, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Maryland, Lagos, adding: “We hope the government will attend to this issue as the facility is a citadel for succour and a symbol of pride to our people”. The president described the death of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu as a great loss to the entire Igboland. Also speaking on the occasion, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ben O. Igwenyi, who represented the governor, condemned the act of hawking by the children from Ebonyi on major roads in Lagos. He, therefore, tasked the association to initiate a campaign against street hawking.
•From right: Barrister Celestine Igberi, Chairman, Ikaso, LGA; Prince Fidelis Nwokeocha (JP),The president of the association; Mr Uguru Matthew, Chairman, Abakaliki LGA and Nkama Ude, Chairman, Afikpo-South LGA, Ebonyi State
•Prince Gary N. Enwo Igairavey,Deputy President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, father of the day
•Chief (Mrs) Elem Ebilah, Former Director of Finance Administration, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, at the event
•Dr. (Barrister) Ben O. Igwenyi
•Mr Francis Okpani (left) and Engr. Echem Oko Oleh
RCCG organises evening of African Mama Ajakaiye-Obadan departs at 87 HILDREN, relatives and She retired from the service of tales and dances to celebrate Christmas Cfriends of Mama Eunice the Teaching Service Commission
HE Redeemed Chris tian Church of God (RCCG) is organising a special celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in an evening of African dances and stage performances involving professional artistes and actors. In a release made available to journalists by the church, plans had been concluded to ensure that thousands of Nigerians celebrate 2011 Christmas in a peculiar way with service of songs filled with African tales and flavour. The evening of African tales and dances is slated to take place at the auditorium of the headquarter parish of RCCG Lagos Province 2, Dominion •Pastor Enoch Adeboye Sanctuary, Acme Road, celebrations have been scheduled to Ikeja, Lagos on Sunday, be part of the celebration. This year’s December 11, 2011 by Christmas carol shall possess all trap4pm. pings of African culture and shall be To make the event live presented in a unique manner to guarup to its billing as an antee longer-lasting memory in the evening celebration filled minds of everyone that will be part of with dance drama, Afrithe celebration. This year’s Christmas can folklore, tales and carol promises to be rich in African performances, top dramacelebrations to appreciate the wonderartistes, choreographers ful gift God bestows on mankind as and actors well-gifted in represented by the coming of Jesus reliving African way of Christ to this world.
Olakunbi Ajakaiye-Obadan were full of thanks and praises to God following her peaceful and graceful transition to the great beyond. She died peacefully in her home at Arolu Monatan, Ibadan, Oyo State on Tuesday, November 8, after an eventful and fulfilling life. She was 87. Born on October 1, 1924 into a Christian family, she never departed from the faith till she passed on. The daughter of late Mr Francis Ishola, a prosperous Cocoa farmer from Olojuoro village not far from Ibadan, and late Mrs Victoria Morenike Aduni Ishola (nee Kuye), Mama Eunice had her primary education at Ojagbo, Ibadan and St Peter Primary School, Aremo. She thereafter went to Kudeti Girl’s School (present St Annes School) for her secondary education, finishing in 1941. She then gained admission into Wesley College, Elekuro, Ibadan, where she trained as a teacher. She taught in many primary schools in Ibadan, including St. Paul Primary School, Yemetu; ICC Primary School, Igosun, and ICC Primary School, Oje E5.
of the Old Western State and went into trading in bakery items at her shop in Ayeye Market, Ibadan and later became a distributor to the popular NASCO, Jos. On May 15, 1967, she found her way into the service of the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, as a pioneer staff and worked in the Catering Department for many years. After a meritorious service, she left voluntarily in 1983. In a farewell address presented to her as she was leaving the university, the University authorities noted that “Mrs Ajakaiye is a kind and well behaved mother who is not interested in trouble making. She is always polite in approaching both senior and junior workers and lived a peaceful life throughout her service with us”. In 1946, she married the late Mr Felix Michael Ajakaiye-Obadan of Oke – Ora (Old side), Owan West Local Government Area of present Edo State at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Aremo. A highly devoted Christian, she was baptised in the same church with the name Eunice and was confirmed in the same church in 1941; she remained a very committed and devoted member of the church.
•The late Mama Ajakaiye-Obadan
Mama Eunice was the type one could call the ‘complete woman’ in that she was a very caring mother, dutiful wife and sister. She touched the lives of many in different positive ways. She was blessed with four children, a daughter and three sons. The eldest was the late Mrs Abosede Kutelu. She was followed by Mr Felix Ayodele Obadan, while Oluranti Samson and Oluwaseyi Vaughan came in the third and last respectively.
53 Coping with diseases
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Mosquitoes: The human battle
with Prof. Dayo Oyekole
PART from the capacity to “smell” human breath and sweat, mosquitoes also have visual capacity to sense movement, and that is how they suspect a living being from afar. Their instinct tells them that many things that move have blood. When they arrive at their target, their heat sensors confirm their suspicion and they zoom in on the blood vessels on the skin. Therefore with their chemical sensors, their visual sensors, and their heat sensors, they are well equipped to attack us, humans. Imagine yourself attacking an animal that is about ten thousand to a hundred thousand times your size. Well, that’s what the mosquitoes have guts for. Scientists are working on finding chemicals that can confuse or block the mosquito’s sensors so that these chemicals can be used in repellants. One such repellant product is the Mosquito Cognito® dispenser that emits Conceal® inhibitor. This chemical blocks the mosquito’s sensors and keeps them in the bush, away from us. It is used for various purposes such as protecting the area around expensive race horses; around fishermen; and around lawns, patios or pool areas where mosquito control is necessary. It is also produced as Conceal® Candles. It is claimed to be more environmentally friendly than the popular insecticides, coils, and DEET repellants. The more popularly used chemicals are insecticides that kill mosquitoes without affecting human beings. These are dispensed in spray cans
that we nicknamed “fleet” and we use in most of our homes. They need to be used repeatedly to eradicate mosquitoes indoors and are not affordable for many low income budgets. Oil sprays that cover water surfaces and prevent the larvae of mosquitoes from breathing have been used for pest control by government agencies but they can adversely affect other aquatic life. Vaccines against the parasites that mosquitoes transmit are being researched. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and the eggs develop into lava and then pupae through metamorphosis inside the water. We can use fishes, frogs, dragonflies, and other small aquatic animals to eat up the developing mosquitoes. Unfortunately we often pollute our fresh waters and drive away the predators of mosquito larvae and pupae while the larvae and pupae often survive the poor conditions of polluted waters. If you have a pond, river, or aquatic environment near you that is not salt water, try to encourage the breeding of water animals to limit the flourishing of mosquitoes. Fishes such as catfish, salmon, Gambusia or mosquito fish, and goldfish eat mosquito larvae. The dragonfly nymph (baby) eats mosquitoes and can help us in controlling mosquito populations. Mosquitoes of the genus Toxorhynchites do not drink blood. Their larvae prey on the larvae of other mosquitoes. One predator larva can eat up to 20 prey larvae per day. Such predators that eat mosquito
larvae can be introduced into our aquatic environments with little cost. Within the home, spiders and wall geckos can eat mosquitoes while the mosquitoes rest or while the bloated mosquitoes fly slowly with their heavy abdomens after feeding on someone’s blood. Mosquitoes fill themselves with so much blood so that they can rest for a few days while their eggs are developing. The blood supplies proteins that the eggs need to grow. It is up to you whether you want to leave a few genteel geckos and messy spiders around the house to help your cause. The presence of a foreign object such as a mosquito proboscis and the puncturing of a blood vessel by the proboscis would ordinarily trigger off defense mechanisms which involve: blood platelets clumping together to plug the puncture in the blood vessel; some blood clotting to prevent outflow and loss of blood; and the blood vessels constricting to limit spread of the foreign factor into the body. The chemicals in mosquito saliva have been studied. Mosquitoes and many blood sucking animals produce saliva that contains various chemicals, including anticlotting, anti-platelet, and vasodilatory (blood vessel dilating) substances. These
chemicals work together against the host’s (human’s) defenses and facilitate sucking of blood by the parasite. Mosquito saliva also contain factors that suppress the human immune system so that it would not recognize and react to mosquito proteins during future bites, hence, many Africans do not react to mosquito bites (mosquitoes have us under control). Since mosquitoes feed on plant juices and sugary nectar, mosquito saliva also contains sugar digesting enzymes and antibiotics that limit bacteria growth. Fortunately, scientists know how to study nature and find good uses for what nature provides. For example, the anticlotting factors and the vasodilatory factors in mosquito saliva have been studied by scientists who may use them to develop drugs for patients with blood clotting related heart and blood vessel diseases. Therefore, mosquitoes are not a tale of all woes. Still, we must keep them in the bushes with our mosquito nets and repellants and if they insist on invading our homes, we must kill them with insecticides and ultraviolet light zappers. Dr. ’Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA. For any comments or questions on this column, please Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07028338910
Urinary tract infection
High fever Vomiting and back or abdominal pain may signal the spread of the infection to the kidneys. If bacteria travel up to the kidneys, they may cause PYLONEPHRITIS, a kidney infection. Diagnosis is made on the basis of the number of bacteria and white blood cells found in urine sample. A pelvic examination may also be required, recurrent infections and kidney infections are more serious. Urinary Tract Infections in women can be prevented mainly by practicing good hygiene. Wiping from front to back after urinating or after excreting, washing the area around the vagina and rectum daily and washing those area before and after sexual intercourse are recommended to prevent spread of bacteria into the urinary tract. Drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water and fruit juice helps flush out bacteria, as well as emptying the bladder as soon as the urge to urinate occurs. Vitamin C intake is advised since it makes the urine acidic, which discourages bacteria growth. Cotton underwear is advisable to be worn instead of other kind of fabrics since synthetic fibers tend to trap moisture, which promotes bacterial growth.
HESE are bacteria infections affecting any part of the urinary tract. Urinary infections occur more frequently in women than men primarily because the length of a woman’s urethra is relatively shorter than that of a man. Urinary Tract Infections are usually caused by bacteria such as Escherichia Coli which travels from the rectum to the Urethra, bladder and even to the kidneys. The most common Urinary Tract Infection is of the blad-
der medically known as Cystitis. Factors such as urinary tract stones, injury and obstructions to the normal flow of urine can aggravate or cause Cystitis in either sex. Cystitis resulting from infectious organisms however is much more common in women than in men. This is understandable due to the shortness of the female urethra through which infec-
tious organism can reach the bladder from the outside. In addition, the anus and the vagina, both of which may frequently be sources of infection are situated relatively close to the external opening of the female urethra. In women generally, the symptoms of Cystitis may include a burning sensation around the edges of the vulva. There is usually a frequent urge to urinate and difficulty or pain (dysuria) associated with urination. Urinary retention and dehydration, which are generally under the control of individuals, can contribute to the spread of infection once it begins. The lining of urinary bladder is relatively resistant to infection by most microorganisms as long as the normal flow of liquids through the urinary tract is maintained. Young women often involve or engage in sexual activity or a newly wedded bride’s first few weeks of frequent sexual activity can result in swelling of the urethra and the neck of the bladder, making urination difficult. The inflammation of these tissues can in turn make them more susceptible to infection. Symptoms General It include: Pain or burning sensation while urinating. Frequent urge to urinate. Pressure in the lower part of abdomen. Blood in the urine. Foul smelling urine
•Dr B. Filani is the Chief Consultant of Sound Health Centre, Lagos. You can contact him on 08023422010 or on facebook or email email@example.com.
ROSTRATE enlargement is generally a disease of elderly men; and it is characterized by urine retention, leading to severe pains, anxiety, discomfort, and sometimes, loss of consciousness. The full function of the prostate is not yet fully understood by scientists all over the world. However, it is known that as a gland, it produces fluid called ‘semen’ which is released by men, at the climax of sexual activity. The prostate gland will only grow and function under the influence of male hormones, the most important of which is called TESTOSTERONE, produced from the testicles. The prostate gland surrounds the neck of the bladder and the first part of the urethra goes through it. An enlarged prostate, presses on the urethra and decreases the size of the opening through it, or it forms a dam which holds back part of the urine. The causes of prostate enlargement are not very precise, but they are associated with hormonal imbalance; and available information indicates that most men who use drugs to improve their sexual performance tend to activate the level of their Testosterone hormone beyond the threshold, and consequently, they often end up developing prostate enlargement and related complications. The enlargement can be a simple type called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or it may be cancerous, that is, Malignant Prostatic Hyperplasia. Both the benign and malignant types usually present similar symptoms of frequency in urination, hesitancy, urgency, trickling flow of urine and in advanced stages, there is acute urine retention as a result of blockage of the urinary tract. A man suffering from enlarged prostate will first notice that he has to get up oftener than usual, to pass urine at night. The stream will be small and slow to start. A long time may be required to empty the bladder. Many men with enlarged prostate may have no further disturbance than the “nuisance” symptoms stated earlier. Other cases will get worse until the patient cannot empty the bladder, and must resort to a catheter for relief. Unfortunately, after the urine has once begun to be drawn by catheter, the danger of bladder infection is great. Also, the symptoms and problems of cystitis are likely to occur. Treatment and Control In Holistic Lifecare, it is strongly advocated that the best prospects of controlling Prostate Enlargement, is by going back to Nature. When symptoms of an enlarged prostate are noticed, it is advisable to avoid spices, condiments and alcoholic beverages; to lessen bladder irritation, which may promote infection. It is also important to avoid cold conditions or getting the feet wet, or holding the urine for too long. Prostate Enlargement is not new in African context. In fact, ethno-medicinal research has shown that herbal remedies are very effective, without complications or side effects. The holistic natural remedy being suggested for Prostate Enlargement is a combination of natural extracts of herbs such as Saw Palmetto, Cocos nucifera, Khaya ivorensis and Lycopersicum esculentum. For further information and consultation on Holistic Lifecare research and services, especially on Blood Infections, Infertility, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Chronic Debilitating Conditions as well as mental and social problems, please call on: 0803-3303897 or visit: Mosebolatan Holistic Lifecare Centre, Adeyalo Layout, Ogbere-Tioya, Off Olorunsogo Express Bridge, Ibadan. Website: www.holisticlifecare.com. Distance is no barrier, we can send remedies by courier if need be. We also have facilities for accommodation, admission and hospitalization in a serene and homely environment.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Discordant tunes at North’s peace parley I
RONY, they say, is the stuff of life. Less than 24 hours after a well-publicised peace conference organised by the pan northern Nigerian socio-cultural organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), in Kaduna, the historical capital of the North, elements sworn to have nothing to do with peace in the region struck in a symbolic rejection of the peace initiative. Described as a “mysterious explosion”, the blast left about 12 people dead with many said to be seriously injured.
Augustine AVWODE If nothing at all, the mere coincidence of the blast with the time when the parley just ended spoke volumes. The peace parley itself was more of cacophonous and discordant tunes on the way forward for the sprawling geographical region and far less of a harmonious and united tenor on the way forward for the beleaguered region. General Yakubu Gowon, who was the chairman of the conference, had tasked all
participants to be brutally frank, but how far his admonition was heeded could not be ascertained. He recognised that the challenges before the conference were enormous, and declared that “we must be ready to talk and tell ourselves the bitter truth.” He charged the conference to address some of the problems hampering the development of the region like poverty, unemployment, ethno-religious crises, murder and bomb blasts. But speaker after speaker canvassed dif-
ferent views and situated the cause of the social unrest that is spiralling out of control in the region in different sources with little or nothing to ponder on how to achieve concrete peace and unity. Famous cleric and social critic, Rev. Hassan Mathew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, accused northern religious leaders of conspiring with their politicians to perpetuate conflict in Nigeria by exploiting religious differences. The bishop, who spoke on “Ethno-religious crises in Northern Nigeria,” charged the leaders to stop paying lip-service to the vision of the late Ahmadu Bello and start making efforts at implementing programmes that would improve the conditions of impoverished and illiterate masses of the northern states. In Kukah’s words: “Today, 99 per cent of our discussions are on Sardauna and about Sardauna; but we are being hypocritical. We are seriously looking at almajiri (beggars) in the North, while the Southern states are far developing their educational system to the extent that, the number in one of their states is more than all the ones in one of our zones.For me, if Christians in Kebbi, Zamfara are complaining, let Muslims in other places also complain so that we begin to have good ways of overcoming these challenges. We need a society that is struggling to ensure equality.” Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Pam Pyojock, said that some northern leaders were importing mercenaries from Chad and Niger republics to fight in the Middle Belt region. Jang’s explanation was that: “With the desert fast spreading southwards, the demand for land is putting pressure on the frontline states of Plateau and parts of the Middle Belt. “Mercenaries are being imported from Niger and Chad because of the porous nature of our borders. This is evident from the fact that any time some extremists were caught in violence on the Plateau, some of them turn out to come from these countries. In fact, they end up as a nuisance to those who brought them because they no longer take orders from them. The issue of desertification is, therefore, a very serious problem. How we preach and propagate our religion is also another problem.” A member of the National Executive Committee ( NEC) of the ACF, Alhaji Ahmed Hassan Al-Ghazali, told the gathering and northern leaders to prepare for a bloody revolution, once the teeming youths of the region continue to suffer neglect by the political class and are left to roam the streets without job or hoe for any. Al-Ghazali said: “If corrupt politicians who steal, and are arraigned for trial by either the EFCC or ICPC, and are in the end left off the hook, the country would never know peace.” He canvassed the removal of the immunity clause from the constitution.“I will like to suggest to us and Nigerians as a whole that the immunity clause in the Nigerian constitution should be expunged in order to make our elected representatives accountable to us. “The President, Vice President and Governors do what they like with our money and this is wrong. So they have to stop that. So long as we allow our teeming youths to roam the street hopelessly, we must be ready to face a bloody revolution sooner than later”. While the parley was in progress, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, chairman of the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF), circulated a statement which read: “...there is nothing that guarantees...a future...for the downtrodden northern masses, be they Muslims or Christians, Hausa, Fulani, Bajju, Berom, Angas, Igala or Egbira...This peace conference is nothing but a waste of time and a jamboree and talk show, and also another unique opportunity for elite re-union aimed at renewing political lineages.The so called conference was purely politically motivated...It has nothing
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011 to do with the masses... “ What impact has the meeting on the lives of aggrieved Northerners in Maiduguri, Kano, Bauchi, Damaturu, or Southern Kaduna? What impact does it have on the children in the streets? The debate arising from one of the technical sessions confirmed our argument, for we witnessed how insincerity and sentiment dominated and beclouded the issue of the supposed road map to peace. “ Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 general election, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, said that the current crop of northern leaders were “out of tune” with current trends. According to him, “We keep talking about Sardauna, Tafawa Balewa and the rest of them. They did good jobs and showed the way to our present leaders.Today, it is a modern world and a different world. It is not the world of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or the 1980s. Things have changed and we must take note of that. Let us understand that this north we are talking about today is a different one. We have new challenges that require new approaches and solutions.’’ Meanwhile, the ACF in a 14-point communiqué issued after the conference and published in major newspapers, which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony N. Z. Sani, described the conference as a huge success, judging from the quality of those who attended. According to of the communiqué, “The Arewa Conference on Peace and Unity deliberated on forces of communal violence and disunity in the North and resolved that peace and unity for development of the northern parts of the country and, indeed, the whole country as handed over by the founding fathers is not negotiable. To that end, both the governments and the people must go as far as efforts can go to ensure peaceful coexistence among communities, among faiths and among individuals. It was agreed that social pluralism and accommodation of one another were necessary in other to achieve the common good. “ The peace conference considered the general state of insecurity across the country brought about by ethno-religious crises and the spate of bomb blasts in the northern parts of the country, as well as the prevalent incidence of armed robbery and other crimes. “On politically induced tension and insecurity, conference enjoined political leaders to play by the rules of political contests and grow our democracy to attain its universal standards. “Communal conflicts, which stem from ethnic nationalism, derive from the failure of leaders to exercise power that is inclusive, humane, wise and moral. As a result, distribution of access to state resources is perceived as unfair. That may account for the rise of indigene/settler divides. To address this problem, the conference called on the National Assembly to remove matters connected with citizenship from the exclusive to the concurrent list in the Constitution. This would provide state governments with the opportunity to take decisions that are acceptable to all. All communities are settlers: some come in the morning, others in the afternoon and some others in the evening. People do not determine where and when they are born”, were some of the points the conference rolled out as part of its communiqué. But in the opinion of former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahairu Bafarawa, it is a failure. He accused the region’s elite of shortchanging the masses ,and as such they lack the moral standing to call such a conference. Bafarawa said the solution to the present crisis in the region was not a conference, but rather a sound leadership and fear of God as demonstrated by the late Sir Ahmadu Bello. He stated this while explaining his absence at the parley on Tuesday in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He criticized the group for failing to live up to expectation. According to Bafarawa, “This ACF was formed to bring about unity and progress of the north in education, politics, agriculture, socio-economic development, and if you look at it critically for more than ten years, nothing has been achieved. Rather, they changed the focus of the organisation. They are now doing a business on bringing about peace in the region. If you are talking about peace, you mustn’t gather in Kaduna, it is just a waste of time and long English. “It is the duty of everyone to go back to his
origin and talk to the people, alleviate their situation, and from there, we get peace. How can you get peace when people are seriously hungry and confused? They cannot praticalise what they are preaching. “I am telling you that poor people of the region cannot even afford what to eat, 60 percent of those that gathered there don’t know how much grains cost. So how can such people stand and fight for peace and salvage the North?” Bafarawa was not the only high-profile northerner to stay away from the parley. As the conference opened on Monday, four different former leaders of the country who are of northern extraction also shunned it. They are Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and Alhaji Shehu Shagari. In all, they are three military heads of state and a second republic president respectively. But notwithstanding the absence of such notable names, other eminent northerners were at the conference which was held at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Conference Hall at Murtala Square, Kaduna. Among the notable personalities at the parley included former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, who was the chairman on the occasion.
Others included Vice President Namadi Sambo who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad; the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Bashar and the Shehu of Borno.
Burgeoning cases of conflicts and violence in northern Nigeria Ethno-religious conflict has come to represent the major cankerworm destroying the fabric of the once highly galvanized and politically united northern region. But since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, there has been a rapid increase of political, ethnic and religious conflicts in the region. There has been an explosion of political and religious conflicts in the north. As the level of violence grows, their locations are becoming more provincial and the consequence is that political, ethnic and religious tolerance has been declining dramatically. The case of extreme poverty among the youth, despite the fact that the region has, for the greater part of the life of this country ,produced the leaders remains a paradox that is yet to be explained. The increasing desire to be part of the process of having access to what
This ACF was formed to bring about unity and progress of the North in education, politics, agriculture, socio-economic development, and if you look at it critically for more than ten years, nothing has been achieved. Rather, they changed the focus of the organisation. They are now doing a business on bringing about peace in the region
has been called the national cake has also been adduced as a factor in the whole process. Today, the major problem facing the region is Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic sect which has made bombing and terrorism an art. Boko Haram (figuratively, “Western education is a sin”) has become known internationally following the sectarian violence of 2009. As of today, it is thought to be responsible for “increasingly violent and sophisticated attacks”, in the region. This year alone, the sect had been blamed for a series of bombings in northern Nigeria with the claim that it carried out the June 17, 2011 attack on the police force headquarters in Abuja that occurred the previous day. Officials believed that the attack was the first suicide bombing in Nigeria’s history and that it specifically targeted Police Inspector-General Hafiz Ringim. On August 26, the UN headquarters in Abuja was blown up by a suicide car bomber, leaving at least 21 dead and dozens more injured. A Boko Haram spokesman later claimed responsibility. Apparently uncomfortable with the development and the unending killings going on in Jos, the ACF felt they should find a way to stem the tide of what is obviously turning to a wild, wild north. But from all indications, a lot more remains to be done by the ACF and indeed all well-meaning northerners, if the desire to live in peace and unity is to be achieved. The ACF’s appeal “to all northerners for their patience, cooperation and support in order to achieve the desired peace and unity in the north and the country in general” can only be heeded when the leaders have shown demonstrable will to turn things around through good governance. Nigerians are waiting.
How we’re tackling environmental challenges —Bayelsa commissioner In this interview with a group of journalists, Chief Robert Enogha, Commissioner for Environment in Bayelsa State, spoke on the battle by the government to rescue the envichallenges; it has been more of ronment and make it safe for everybody. Excerpts:
of the fact that you could go days without food and hours without water, but you would last only a few minutes without air. On the average, each of us breathe over 3,000 gallons of air each day. We all need air to live. However, do you know that breathing polluted air can make you sick? Air pollution can damage trees, crops, other plants, lakes, and animals. In addition to damaging the natural environment, air pollution also damages buildings, monuments, and statues. It not only reduces how far you can see in national parks and cities, it even interferes with aviation. Breathing polluted air can make your eyes and nose burn. It can irritate your throat and make breathing difficult. In fact, pollutants like tiny airborne particles and ground level ozone can trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma. Today, nearly 32 million adults and children in Nigeria have been diagnosed with asthma. Asthma sufferers can be severely affected by air pollution. Air pollution can also aggravate health problems for the elderly and others with heart or respiratory diseases. Some toxic chemicals released in the air such as benzene or vinyl chloride are highly toxic and can cause cancer, birth defects, long term injury to the lungs, as well as brain and nerve damage. And in
some cases, breathing these chemicals can even cause death. Other pollutants make their way up into the upper atmosphere, causing a thinning of the protective ozone layer. This has led to changes in the environment and dramatic increases in skin cancers and cataracts (eye damage). We understand you are also going to launch a policy on climate change? We have started putting in place critical efforts and towards ensuring compliance with the law to maintain a sustainable green house and other climate friendly initiatives and policy to address the issue of climate change as it all will affect the state. Yes, the state’s policy on climate change is going to be launched at the summit. We will continue to support the governor and the state House of Assembly in enacting clean energy and climate legislations. And we will continue to develop common-sense solutions for reducing emissions and effluent discharge from large stationary sources like oil installations and power plants. We recognise that climate change will affect other parts of our core mission, such as protecting air and water quality, and we will include those considerations in our future plans. A climate change policy will also be presented and enforced towards the fresh environment that we envision.
HE Bayelsa State government is organising a summit on the environment. What is it all about? I welcome you my friends to this media forum. As you must have been aware, the environment is our heritage and as individuals, we are duty-bound to make sure that we do everything possible to protect the environment. As corporate bodies, we are duty-bound to make sure that in the course of our oil exploration activities, we do not endanger the lives of the host communities through gas flare and oil spills. And, as a government, the onus is on us to make sure that the laws are obeyed, to make sure that the residents keep their environments clean and to make sure the oil companies perform their corporate social responsibilities to the communities. We decided to organise the summit, which is holding between December 14 and 15, so that stakeholders will have the opportunity to brainstorm on the environmental challenges of Bayelsa State and then find a lasting solution to the problem and at the event, we shall be launching what we call the Fresh Air Initiative, a campaign tool that is aimed at sensitising the people and corporate citizens in the state on the gains of a clean, green and pollution free environment. You will recall that Mr President talked about this same fresh air during his campaigns. The government of Chief Timipre Sylva has therefore decided to expand the agenda of Mr President and has thought of using that slogan in contemplating the campaign for an era of fresh air in our state. Of course, Mr President is from Bayelsa State and he should be proud that the fresh air dream is being actualised in Bayelsa. We are expecting Mr President and other stakeholders, including the oil firms, NGOs, environmentalists, community leaders, the host oil communities, fellow commissioners of environment from the south- south, et cetera. As you may have known already, many pollution sources, including cars, manufacturing and chemical plants and products used in homes release smog-forming pollutants. Winds blow the pollutants away from their sources and the heat of the summer sun causes chemical reactions that form ground level ozone-a principal component of smog. Hours after the smog-forming pollutants are released from their sources, smog pollutes the air, often many miles away from where the pollutants were released. Our mission in the Ministry of Environment is to protect human health and the environment of Bayelsa and its neighbours. To achieve this, we are implementing a variety of programmes. The campaign is to help us in reducing outdoor, or ambient concentrations of air pollutants that cause smog, haze, acid rain, and other problems, promote the protection of health and environment and to conserve valuable material and energy resources, move against the action of oil exploiting companies and multinationals that flare gas and degrade the environment through oil spillages and slits as well as the operations of illegal refineries, discourage the deforestation and illegal burning of bushes and other rubber substances, reducing emissions of toxic air pollutants that are known to, or are suspected of causing cancer or other serious health effects; and phasing out production and use of chemicals that destroy stratospheric ozone. These pollutants come from stationary sources (like chemical plants, gas stations, oil installations, power plants, sewages and wastes) and mobile sources (like cars, trucks, and planes). Why the concentration on air pollution? We are not just concentrating on air pollution. But we are mindful
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Breathing polluted air can make your eyes and nose burn. It can irritate your throat and make breathing difficult. In fact, pollutants like tiny airborne particles and ground level ozone can trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma. Today, nearly 32 million adults and children in Nigeria have been diagnosed with asthma...
One of the highest priorities of the state is to make significant and long overdue progress in assuring the safety of the people of the state and the region from the oil exploration and other energy products and byproducts; coupled with the chemicals in our products, our environment and our bodies. More importantly, we will be focusing on the discouragement of the flaring of gas with the initiation of a limitation on the discharge of effluent into the air. This will be tackled by appropriate and collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Environment and the multinationals with investments in oil, gas and other energy source in the state in areas of pollution prevention and cleaner production, waste treatment and removal techniques oil spill contingency planning; decommissioning and rehabilitation of facilities potential environmental impacts on the atmosphere, aquatic, terrestrial, ecosystem and potential emergencies. The other issue we are confronting frontally is how to protect the waters. These challenges demand both traditional and innovative strategies. We will continue with comprehensive watershed protection programmes for the water source in the state. We will initiate measures to address post-construction runoff, water quality impairment from surface mining, and stronger drinking water protection. We will also revamp enforcement strategies to achieve greater compliance across the board. That is why the state government will continue to seek the support of all stakeholders in the state to make it a top priority to keep the state waters clean; otherwise, this might undermine the fresh air campaign of the state and also. We expect all the companies or individuals involved in oil and gas energy investment in the state to create appropriate waste and spillage technology to reduce or completely stop the leakages of waste into the waters. We expect an effective spillage cleaning mechanism to be undertaken by anyone or company engaged in activities that might cause spillages or those engaged in illegal refineries that may protrude into the waters and thereby deny the host communities the needed fresh air. We have cases of illegal refineries and sand dredging activities and these are capable of affecting the waters. We want them to stop because all untreated domestic and industrial sewage dumping into the surface water are a source of pollution of the waters. The Ministry of Environment, through the Fresh Air Initiative drive, will be involved in providing technical and financial assistance to state and local governments and inter-state agencies for the development of solid waste management plans (including resource recovery and resource conservation systems) which will promote improved solid waste management techniques (including more effective organisational arrangements), new and improved methods of collection, separation, and recovery of solid waste, and the environmentally safe disposal of non-recoverable residues. Fresh air cannot be maintained where there are non- existent or bad sewage systems, which can militate against the clean air for the community. Sewage management is one of the most visible problems confronting the state today. Management of sewage in the state in times past essentially consisted of haphazard and uncoordinated responses to sewage
management of the crisis occasioned by inappropriate sewage management; sewage dumping rather than disposal, discharge of raw sewage at legal and illegal dump sites in the state, dilapidated dislodging of trucks that discharge most of their contents on the road before getting to disposal points or even breakdown along the way, contamination of surface and groundwater, devalued and degraded environment et cetera. How are you involving the communities in this campaign? We will begin a new era of outreach and protection for communities historically under-represented in ministry decision-making. We are building strong working relationships with tribes, communities, economically distressed cities and towns, young people and others, but this is just a start. We will include environmental justice principles in all of our decisions. This is an area that calls for innovation and bold thinking and I am challenging all our employees to bring vision and creativity to our programmes. The state and the people of Bayelsa bear important responsibilities for the day-to-day realisation of our vision and mission for environmental development, growth and protection, but the unavailability of adequate funding and fiscal challenges are pressuring the ministry to do more with fewer resources. Strong partnerships and accountability are more important than ever. The ministry will do its part to support state and community capacities and, through strengthened oversight, ensure that programmes are consistently delivered across the state. Where appropriate, we will use our own expertise and capacity to bolster state and community efforts. Our core objective is development and environmental sustainability; so appropriate partnership will be fostered between the appropriate communities, investment communities, multinationals , federal agencies and donors. The Fresh Air Initiative is a programme that will transform Bayelsa environment and will open up the economy for tourist and investors; thereby opening channels for employment opportunities and sustainable economic development. The initiative will return normalcy to the oil exploitation communities, thereby seeing growth in these areas and opportunities, especially in agricultural production. This initiative cuts across the factors that affect the living and operating atmosphere of the states. The current administration believes the Fresh Air concept will help to provide opportunities also for private public partnership in the areas of waste, sewage, and strategic environmental management. It will also open up a new horizon of support and sustainable partnership opportunities between the federal and other state governments within the region; coupled with international environmental development institutions across the globe. For proper enforcement, the relevant environmental laws have been amended and new laws introduced to capture the relevant changes that have occurred in the state’s environment and the foreseen future changes within the states. The laws and regulations when operational will allow all stakeholders an opportunity to further support the administration in building a sustainable environment.
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SPORT EXTRA REGULAR PLAY TIME
Mikel Obi gets Chelsea nod
IGERIAN midfielder, John Mikel Obi has been assured of his Chelsea future by manager Andres Billas-Boas, after the pair held 'clear the air talks' last week. Mikel, 24, has seen his Chelsea appearances severely restricted in the wake of a mistake that gifted Liverpool a goal, and the emergence of Spanish youngster Oriol Romeu. The Nigerian has two and a half years left on his current Chelsea contract, but was concerned enough that he met with Villas-Boas before their Carling Cup meeting with Newcastle, his representative John Shittu told KickOffNigeria.com. "Mikel and Villas-Boas had a clear the air meeting before the Newcastle game, and he was given some assurances about his future," Shittu said.
Shittu explained that Mikel was left out of the match day squad for that game due to
illness. "He had just returned from an illness and couldn't play against
Newcastle, but it's not easy when you're left out of games you want to play.
18TH NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL
Lagos, NSC sign MOU •Fashola advocates grassroots sports development •Promise to deliver NSF in 2012
PECULATIONofapossible postponement of the 18th National Sports Festival (NSF) to the year 2013 was finally put to rest yesterday in Lagos as the Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN)- led administration singed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with officials of the National Sports Commission (NSC), led by its Director General (DG), Patrick
By Innocent Amomoh Ekeji. The event which was held at the Governor’s office, Alausa, is to also formally kick-start the preparations for the biennial event slated for Lagos State from November 27 through to December 9 next year. Delivering his speech to herald the event, Fashola said the decision to host the NSF is deliberate to, first put to test the sports facilities in the state, and also make a statement of commitment to the development of the youths in the state. “When I heard the Acting Minister of Sport and DG of NSC, Patrick Ekeji speak very passionately of the ideas that led to the initiation of the National Sports Festival, it reminded me of so many things. He is a product of the festival, who participated in amateur sports, went from there to professional sports, and through to sports administration, and has continued to lead and serve his country. Also those who can not be forgotten, we must keep them continuously in our consciousness as we organize, lead and manage sports. “Our decision to host the 18th National Sports Festival is not accidental, it is a deliberate decision, first to test our facilities, and it is also a statement of our commitment to the youths of our states. And we must also do our best to be committed to ensure the participation of the physically challenged,” he said. On the readiness of the state to host the competition Fashola said:
“As the leader of this team, our very first objective after a passionate plea by the honourable Commissioner for sports, is to deliver a remarkable festival that will be remembered for a long time. He said Lagos will not host to win by all means, but more importantly will use the 18th NSF as an opportunity to discover and unleash on this country a new generation of athletes that will represent and make the nation proud. He called on the NSC to ensure that the ideas of the NSF are adhered to, and that special emphasis is placed on discovering and development of athletes at the grassroots. “The festival is all about amateur sports before moving to be professionals. If we have an athletes participating in five festivals consecutively, then something is wrong. It means that we have discovered a cadre of professional amateurs, and that is not what this festival was meant to achieve. He promised that at the end of the festival, Lagos will be remembered by all as the turning point for Nigerian sports. He then called on the private sector to catch in on the hosting of the NSF to partner the state in this process of development. Responding, Ekeji said the NSC is determined to support the state in staging a befitting NSF come next year.
Our soccer enemies •continued from back page
to his ban decision. Today, our league has produced representatives to the continent’s inter-club competitions next year. The highest goal scorers in the domestic league for 2010 and 2011 (Ahmed Musa and Jude Aneke) are professional footballers for VV Venlo FC of Holland and Gent FC in Belgium, to mention a few of the exports. Many may argue about the difference it has made since the President’s recant? They may as well ponder over what we did with the forced two years break when the late General Sani Abacha stopped our all-conquering Eagles from participating at the South Africa 1996 Africa Cup of Nations as defending champions. This reprehensible decision set the platform for the free fall that our football has experienced since our pyrrhic feat at the USA’94 World Cup. Did anyone ask what happened to the NFA board that got us to the first World Cup? They were sacked by the overbearing Sports Ministry using the draconian Decree 101. Since that time, we have changed every board, yet the steep fall of the game here. Our football enemies lay siege to the sports ministry. Our football enemies include those who espouse that our domestic league is populated by average players, including those who wear the country’s colours in international competitions. These average players’ advocates must tell us the ratings of the African countries that have eliminated Nigeria from all the soccer tournaments this year. Is not true that our soccer teams couldn’t beat some war-torn countries decisively? Yet our league ran its course, although the longest in the annals of the game. What do we say about those who held the domestic league hostage even when they breached the electoral laws? Again, the courts rescued the domestic game from the throes of death, with the judgment that ensured Victor Runson Baribote ended the 14month season with pomp. No one can comprehend why people who couldn’t get the league a sponsor didn’t want to quit? The ex-internationals are our soccer’s other enemies who feel strongly that it is their birthright to administer the game here without cognate training. This group received rewards in cash, national honours, cars, houses and other privileges with every game. They stayed in the best hotels, got treated like kings and were spoilt to such an extent that they had the temerity to ask for upfront payment before matches, especially before the game against Denmark, which Nigeria lost 4-1 at the France’98 World Cup. But Austin Eguavoen is the silver lining in our dark clouds. Unlike others, he took the honourable path by resigning his appointment when he couldn’t lead the Dream Team V to clinch the 2012 London Olympics’ qualification ticket. He walks tall among his coaching peers and one hopes that our leaders can learn from Eguavoen’s example of knowing when to quit. Take a bow Eguavoen.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
Tomorrow in THE NATION PUNCHLINE
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL.7, NO. 1970
To say that women are no longer honoured in this modern Nigeria is not to even approach the half of it. The truth is that Nigerian men have lost all sense of direction in politics, business, family life and chivalry. Let us face it —Oyinkan Medubi
LL of a sudden, the Nigerian Senate has become the darling of many members of the public including public commentators and analysts. The reason for the widespread approbation of the upper chamber of the National Assembly is the passing of the Same Sex (prohibition) bill, which not only declares homosexuality and lesbianism illegal but prescribes severe sanctions for anyone caught in these ‘perverse’ sexual activities. You can be almost certain that the House of Representatives will quickly follow the Senate in passing the bill so that it can also share in the lime light of public applause. One reason for the widespread approval of this bill by the Senate was the recent subtle threat by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, that his country would suspend financial aid to countries that do not respect the fundamental human rights of homosexuals. The Senate is thus widely percieved as having stood up to the dictates of arrogant imperial powers. Let me state that I find homosexuaity or lesbianism repugnant and contrary to the normal course of human nature. But the fact that I am not a victim of such weird sexual obsessions does not mean I should not be considerate and compassionate towards those who are trapped by these ultimately self-destructive behaviours. The stance of the Senate in passing this bill as well as the vocal cheer leaders at the ring side suggests a puritanical self-righteousness that is at best hypocritical. I can identify at least four reasons adduced to justify the criminalization of same sex activity. First, is the cultural factor – same sex is antithetical to our culture and value systems as Nigerians and Africans. Second is the religious element – The two major religions practised in the country categorically prohibits sex between two people of the same sex. Third, is the health factor – homosexuality is responsible for the AIDS scourge and must therefore be banned in the society’s larger interest. Fourth, is the argument that those who engage in same sex are outrightly out of their minds and must be treated as mentally incapacitated and therefore dangerous elements in the society. In the first place, those who push the cultural angle, assume that there is a uniform value system that encompasses the hundreds of communities that make up Nigeria. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are as many diverse cultures in Nigeria as there are traditional communal and linguistic groups. Some of these communal groups had cultural value systems that emphasized the sanctity of human life and and enforced a system of strict sexual restraint and discipline. In such societies, for instance, the bride must be a virrgin before
Anti same sex hypocrisy
marriage or else the marital union is dissolved. But then, there were also those communities that not only devalued human life through ritual human sacrifices, they also permitted the worst forms of sexual licentiousness. Let us not, therefore, engage in any sentimental romanticisation of our traditional value system as pure and unblemished. Homosexualism has come a long way since the days of Sodom and Gommorah in the Bible. It is only anthropologists and historians who can authoritatively tell us if African societies escaped the influence of this sexual practice across time and space in the course of their historical evolution. Again, we must not underestimate the corrosive effect of the ongoing gale of
western-driven globalization on traditional values even of the most remote societies. Through the internet, Information Communication revolution, modes of transportation that facilitate speedier access of communities across vast reaches of space, satellite television and the mobile phone phenomenon etc, globalization has significantly eroded the cultural bases of previously traditional societies. Thus, Coca -Cola, Mr Biggs, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi Cola, Nike sports ware, the Premier, Spanish, or Italian Leagues, obscene reality television among several others have become intricately woven into the cultural fabric of virtually every society on earth. Globalization has indeed come with a lot of goodies that have added value to human life.
But it has also accelerated the universal homogenization of perverse values such as material greed, spiritual aridity and the moral bankruptcy symbolized by the homosexuality scourge. Those who support the criminalization of same sex liaisons on religious grounds seem to have forgotten that Nigeria is a secular state. Yes, she is not an atheistic or nonreligious society. But secularism implies that the state has no business acting as a moral policeman or trying to enforce the dictates of any religion. What the Senate has done through the same sex prohibition bill is no different from those who want the state to adapt and impose Sharia law in utter defiance of our secularity. As for those who claim that homosexual sex is the source of the AIDS scourge, I am not sure of the scientific status of that proposition. What is evident is that both irresponsible homosexual and heterosexual sex have been proven to fuel the explosion of the AIDS menace. Indeed, I would argue that unbridled heterosexual sex is far more dangerous to society than same sex relationships simply because of the far larger number of people that engage in the former. Some of the harmful effects of heterosexual sex either before or outside the marriage contract include teenage pregnancies that ruin the future of victims, millions of deaths at the hands of quack abortionists and the breach of moral integrity that has destroyed milloins of marriages. Surely a stronger case can be made for an urgent law to reign in illegal heterosexual liaisons outside marriage. As for those who argue that homosexuality is a form of insanity, I ask: Does the insane person deserve punishment or rather compassion and care? What the Senate Bill will do is simply to drive homosexual activity underground where it will continue to fester dangerously. Whereas what needs to be done is to encourage those trapped by this habit to come out in the open so we can know them and through patient love and care seek to guide them on the path of rectitude and wholeness. Some of my readers will wonder if I will make the same case for those who violate minors or have intercourse with beasts. Emphatically no! Neither minors nor beasts have either the maturity or the rational consciousness to voluntarily participate in such acts. But homosexuality is almost always between two consenting adults. David Cameron cannot be faulted when he insists that a truly democratic and open society has no choice but to guarantee the rights of this category of people no matter how much we detest their lifestyle.
Ade Ojeikere on Saturday firstname.lastname@example.org
Our soccer enemies
HE news from the court last week Friday that the current Nigeria Football Federa tion (NFF) board is legally constituted is the fillip of growth for the game. That epoch judgment is the instrument that the Aminu Maigari-led NFF needs to institutionalise football in the 774 local government areas. The NFF has gone through 19 law suits, but the interesting aspect of these legal battles is that that the judges have ruled in favour of the football house. It simply means that those fueling the trouble that distracted the NFF are the enemies of the game, especially that proscribed body that boasts about catering for players’ welfare, yet we don’t know how much it has contributed to Sam Ojebode’s bills at the UCH in Ibadan. Is anyone shocked that the NFF went through these law suits? Don’t be. Some of the people in the present NFF were part of the crowd that pulled down the Sani Lulu-led board under the umbrella of stakeholders, simply because they wanted to belong. What have they brought to improve the game’s fortunes as NFF members?
These stake-breakers (sorry, stakeholders) fashioned out several diabolical machinations to bring the Lulu-led NFF on its knees, despite that regime’s achievements. Remember Nigeria qualified for all the soccer tournaments in FIFA’s calendar, a feat only the Lululed FA has achieved. Today, we are crying that Nigeria isn’t in any of the big competitions. Remember Ibrahim Galadima? Galadima is the former NFA chairman who insisted that our football deserved to be run the way others do as a federation. Again, the stakeholders hounded him out of office, using the apparatus of the government. They annulled Galadima’s elections held in Kano, simply because the lickspittles of government lost their bids. They stopped Galadima, then the incumbent NFA chairman, from attending the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt on spurious grounds. Our football rot started from that competition. Guess what? After humiliating Galadima, these stake-breakers nominated him as Nigeria’s replacement for Amos Adamu in FIFA’s executive committee as if it is hereditary. They couldn’t wait for Adamu to seek all the avenues for redress. Adamu’s exit from CAF and FIFA is already manifesting in the politics of the game, especially with the right to host com-
petitions. If Adamu had been in both bodies, we could, perhaps have hosted the 2012 Olympic Games qualifiers and may have made it to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Maybe. Having chased out Galadima, the stakeholders, doing the bidding of some faceless NSC and Presidency men couldn’t accept Sani Lulu’s independence, which they tagged arrogance. They plotted his removal, but like the Trojan, the Kogi-born administrator fought his way to independence, using the FIFA statutes (many thanks to Galadima), instead of Decree 101 that NSC men wanted. Not one to stoop to conquer. These geniuses dug deep and brought out the contraption called Presidential Task Force (PTF), when it appeared that the country’s flag wouldn’t be hoisted at the South Africa 2010 World Cup held in Africa for the first time in the competition’s history. The Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup, with our usual permutations of having one country to lose for Nigeria to win its last match. Yet, PTF eggheads beat their chests for the feat and removed the chief coach, Shuiabu Amodu. Lagerback, adjudged to be the best tactician from a process supervised by our Man Friday,
was picked to lead the Eagles to South Africa. Yet, when the Eagles failed, Lulu, Amanze Uchegbulam, Taiwo Ogunjobi and Bolaji OjoOba carried the can. So, what happened to those who picked Lagerback? After picking Lagerback for us, they went a step further to meet with the FIFA President during the World Cup, asking him approve their agenda to sack NFF even when the Eagles had not lost out of the competition. FIFA people were taken aback. They saw the forbidden hand of interference under its statutes. They backed the NFF men. Dissatisfied, NSC and PTF men convinced President Goodluck Jonathan to withdraw Nigeria from all soccer competitions. Harakiri, many cried. Others communicating with the President using the social network Facebook explained the implications of his decision to the industry. Those who rooted for the ban must tell us if we would have preferred to remain in pitch darkness (that includes banning the use of generating sets) to allow the government fix power. The President did a recant which paid off. Our women made it to the World Cup and the Flying Eagles that qualified for the World Cup as African champions. Super Falcons emerged Africa’s best. They would have been the first casualty had the President stuck
•Continued on Page 62
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