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News ACN wins Ekiti rerun House of Representatives seat Sport Blackburn loses as Yakubu faces salary crisis Business AMCON begins valuation of borrowers’ properties

P8 P24 P57


VOL. 7, NO. 1972 MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011


The Nation clinches seven awards at NMMA, DAME


HE Nation stood tall in Akure, the Ondo State capital, at the weekend, winning five awards at the prestigious Nigerian Media Merit Award (NMMA). Also yesterday, this newspaper won two awards at the Diamond

From Olorunleke Akeredolu, Akure

Awards for Media Excellence (DAME). Vendors in Abuja last week declared The Nation Newspaper of the Year. Assistant Editor Olatunji Ololade was the centre of attraction at the Akure cer-

emony. Ololade, who had six nominations, clinched three awards. He won the Malam Ibrahim Shekarau Prize for Education Reporter of the Year, Ernest Sisei Ikoli Prize for Newspaper Reporter of the Year (which he Continued on page 2





•Group Managing Directors of the 24 deposit money banks in Nigeria; Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria and Chairman Bankers’ Committee, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; his Deputies; Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim; MD, Bank of Industry, Ms. Evelyn Oputu; and Governor, Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, cutting a cake to celebrate the end of financial crises in the Nigerian banking sector at the 3rd Bankers’ Committee Retreat in Calabar ... yesterday

Gowon to Jonathan: don’t remove subsidy now President adamant


•Dr Jonathan

PPONENTS of fuel subsidy removal may have lost the battle, with President Goodluck Jonathan insisting that his mind is made up on the combustible issue. But former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon warned at the weekend that the government should pull



•Governors Forum •Federal Executive Council •PDP •IMF, World Bank •NARTO •Oil importers/marketers

of Representatives •Nigeria Labour Congress AGAINST •House •Civil Society Organisations •Organised Private


Sector •CPC, ACN, ANPP, APGA •Senate •Traditional rulers

From Yusuf Alli, Yomi Odunuga and Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

the brakes. Nigeria’s infrastructure should be revived before such a step is taken, Gen. Gowon said.

The President disagrees. He would prefer posterity to judge him than see Nigeria grounded. If the subsidy is not removed, Nigeria will be broke within the next one and a half years, Dr Jonathan said.

Minister of Information Labaran Maku yesterday related details of the weekend meeting between the President and leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The government’s position may be reflected in the 2012 Appropriation Bill, which will be presented to the National Assembly tomorrow. President Jonathan insisted on the withdrawal of subsidy during the midnight session with civil society leaders. A Presidency source said: “The Continued on page 2




NEWS Continued from page 1

•From left: Chairman Tony Elumelu foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu, President Goodluck Jonathan and Former British Prime Minister Mr. Tony Blair during the Church Service at the Presidential Villa Chapel in Abuja ... yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

also won last year), and the BAT Prize for Industry Reporter of the Year. Cartoonist Azeez Ozi-Sanni maintained his winning streak, emerging the Nnamdi Azikwe Cartoonist of the Year. Ololade also clinched the Best Judicial Reporting Award at DAME. Editorial Board Chairman Sam Omatseye won DAME’s Prize for Informed Commentary. He was a runner-up in NMMA’s Columnist of the Year category, which was won by the editor of The Punch, Adeyeye Joseph. Joseph also won the Dele Giwa Prize for Editor of the Year. The Nation’s Wale Alabi also won the Coca-Cola Prize for Brand and Marketing Reporter of the Year. Its former Deputy Editor (Sunday), Wale Adeoye, was a runnerup in the Lateef Jakande Prize for Political Reporter of the Year, which was won by Newswatch’s Akaeze An-

The Nation clinches seven awards at NMMA, DAME thony. Former Group Business Editor Olatunde Kazeem was a runner-up in the Union Bank Prize for Banking and Finance Reporter of the Year. Chuks Udo Okonta, an Insurance reporter with this newspaper, was nominated for the IGI Prize for Insurance Reporter of the Year, which went to Adenike Popoola of The Punch. The Punch won the Babatunde Jose Prize for Newspaper of the Year. Other NMMA winners are: Tope Adeboboye of The Sun (Newspaper Features), Sunday Adedeji of TELL (Photographer of the Year), Tony Manuaka of TELL (Bukola Saraki Prize for Agriculture Reporter of the Year), Maurice Archibong of The Sun (Olagunsoye Oyinlola Prize for Culture and Tradition), Eric Dumo of Scroll

Gowon to Jonathan: don’t remove subsidy now Continued from page 1

consultations have ended and the President and his team have decided that they are not going back on the withdrawal of subsidy and deregulation of the economy in particular. “We have listened to all options or suggestions which have to be implemented as part of the deregulation of the downstream sector. By Tuesday, the President will unfold his agenda and how to go about it. To underscore his determination, the President reportedly told the leaders of the civil society organisations: ‘I know there will be some pains, but we cannot go ahead to borrow every time to finance our economy and capital projects’. Jonathan also reportedly said: “Even if we deregulate and I am shamed, posterity will be there to judge me, that I did the right thing and I will be vindicated when Nigerians start enjoying the benefits of my decision.” Three distinct groups have emerged over the controversy surrounding the proposed withdrawal of fuel subsidy. There are those in support, those against and the undecided. Among those in support are the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Federal Executive Council (FEC), National Association of Transport Owners (NARTO), oil marketers and importers, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Those against are the House of Representatives, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Organised Private Sector (OPS), the Civil Society Organisations (OPS), opposition political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Those undecided are the traditional rulers and the Senate. A statement by Minister of Information Labaran Maku

‘Fix refineries before removing subsidy’


ORMER Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) yesterday called for the repair of the refineries before the removal of fuel subsidy. He said fuel subsidy should be withdrawn with minimal pain to the people as he called for an end to importation of petroleum products. Gen. Gowon spoke in Umuahia where, on behalf of the Carter Fundation Centre, distributed mosquito treated nets and initiated collaboration with the Abia State government on prevention of malaria. He also visited the Government House where he was received by Deputy Governor Emeka Ananaba. The former Head of State said: “If all the refineries in the country are working at normal capacity and importation of petroleum products is stopped, the price of fuel will stabilise and the suffering of the people will be reduced.” Gen. Gowon said if the contrary is done, the prices of goods and services will be too high for the common man, adding that the problem that will come on the outcome of the session with civil society organisations said the President gave reasons why the government will withdraw the fuel subsidy, which has been put at N1.3trillion. One of these is to “avoid the option of borrowing which will make life more difficult for future generations of Nigerians”. The statement added: “The President said the policy of deregulation is not aimed at punishing Nigerians but to create a conducive environment for private investment to develop and modernise the downstream sector of Nigeria’s oil industry. “The President said although Nigeria became a crude oil exporting nation in 1958, it has failed to add value to the sector. “He said export of crude oil means that Nigeria has shifted job creation in the downstream sector of the oil industry and the real value of our oil resources to foreign countries which buy our crude and export refined products at three or four times the cost to other countries. “He said between 1958 and

From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia and Mohammed Bashir, Lokoja

after it might be too much for those in authority to handle. He advised that the funds that will be saved from the removal of fuel subsidy should be channelled into infrastructure and other amenities. On the late Dim Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu, the former Biafran leader, Gen. Gowon said: “He was a man who fought and defended the right of Ndigbo for them to stand on their own. His death is a great loss not only to the Igbo race but to the entire country.” The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) also warned President Jonathan against withdrawal of fuel subsidy. The Labour organisation urged the President not to listen to the dictate of the international monetary organisations but re-direct his energy towards fulfilling his campaign promoters. NLC Vice President Issa Aremu stated Labour’s position in Lokoja at the weekend during the 10th year memorial colloquium in honour of the late Prof. Bade Onimode. He said fuel subsidy is a “dog action

now, Nigeria ought to be a major exporter of refined petro-chemical products to the rest of Africa and the world. This has not happened because government has insisted on controlling the sector to the detriment of its growth and expansion. “He said government has since 2010 given 20 licences to private investors who want to set up refineries and employ Nigerian youths, but which have not taken off because of government price control mechanism. “He pointed out that the situation we now face is that following the discovery of crude oil in neighbouring countries of Ghana, Benin Republic, Chad and Niger, the private investors who have been waiting for policy reforms in Nigeria are now shifting base to go and set up refineries there. “So, if Nigeria does not act quickly by deregulating the downstream sector, we will soon face the embarrassment of importing refined products from Niger or Ghana into Nigeria. “The President described this option as unacceptable because Nigeria has been an

sold to Jonathan by agents of the World Bank”. Describing the planned removal of fuel subsidy as an abuse of the President’s mandate, Aremu said: “The President should follow his transformation agenda by first putting a stop to oil theft, rehabilitation and construction of new refineries as well as ensuring accelerated passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the National Assembly. “Subsidy removal is the same old song which Nigerians have been serially subjected to since the late 1980s. Therefore, it must be rejected. The struggle to halt this anti- masses policy is not that of NLC alone, but the entire people of Nigeria.” Aremu said labour does “not know the existence of any subsidy. We challenge the government to prove their point,” eh said. According to him, the government is only trying to hang the burden of the failure of governance and the NNPC as an institution on the already over stressed Nigerians. There is no alternative to good governance, Aremu said.

oil producing nation more than 50 years before those other countries. “The President, therefore, urged civil society organisations to appreciate the urgency of reforming the oil sector in order to open up vast new opportunities for Nigeria’s school leavers and population of unemployed graduates to be employed into the new refineries and petro-chemical industries that will emerge after deregulation. “He said government is working with private sector groups to establish three new refineries which will refine 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day into finished products for domestic consumption and export. “He said if we add these three new refineries, which will be located in Kogi, Bayelsa and Lagos states, to the three existing refineries, which are already being rehabilitated by their original builders, Nigeria will, before the end of his administration, become a major exporter of finished products. “The President said this will earn more revenue for Nigeria and create opportu-

•Gen. Gowon

nities for employment of our youths, which is a major priority of his administration. “He urged the civil society groups to carefully re-examine the difficult times we are in, particularly given the very low capital budget of 24 to 26% which government has in recent years been left with. Continued on page 60

(Bashorun MKO Abiola Prize for Sports Reporting) and Akeem Lasisi of The Punch (Adamu Muazu Prize for Tourism). The First Bank Prize for Business Publication of the Year (Business Day) went to Emmanuel Uffot of Newswatch (The Guardian Newspaper Prize for Investigative Reporter of the Year), Ogunwale Kayode of Business World (Capital Market Reporter of the Year), Akingbolu Raheem of ThisDay (Bank PHB for CSR Reporter of the Year) and Lucas Olumuyiwa, who won three awards – Aviation Industry Reporter of the Year, Nigerian Port Authority Maritime Reporter of the Year and Peter Odili Prize for Energy Reporter of the Year. Others are: Helen Eni of TELL (Sonny Odogwu Prize for Business Reporter of the Year) Chibue Amalaha of The Nigerian Compass (Conoil Prize for Energy Correspondent of the Year), Chris Ajaero of Newswatch, Chevron Prize for Oil and Gas), Adejuwon Soyinka of TELL, who won the Gani Fawehinmi Prize for Human Rights Reporter of the Year and the Cecil King Prize for Print Journalist of the Year. Toyosi Ogunseye of The Punch (NAFCON Prize for Environment), SolaadeAyoAderenle of The Punch (Female Reporter of the Year), WAMCO Prize for news magazine (TELL), Deji Bademosi of Channels (Television Reporter of the Year) and African Independent Television (AIT), which emerged the Television Station of the Year. Ololade said he was pleased to win the awards. He said: “I’m truly flattered by the awards and even happier that Nigerian journalism and news audience have grown to appreciate the potentials of good features and Developmental Journalism as a vehicle for social transformation. My heartfelt gratitude to The Nation, my family, individuals and communities who spurred me to project such appreciable journalism.” Ozi-Sani said: “I am elated and honoured by the award, especially after last year’s nomination and award of NMMA’s Cartoonist of the Year. I am particularly pleased to receive official recognition for my efforts in using art as a form of commentary on social ills and political happenings. “The latest award further strengthens my resolve to work harder to promote the ideals of my medium, The Nation, and the Nigerian society in general.” The Chairman of Ideas Communications, organisers of the awards, Mr. Yemi Akeju, announced the increment of the prize money from N25,000 to N50,000. He said the prize will become N100,000 next year. Akeju also announced the endowment of two new categories, Foreign News Reporter of the Year by Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who hosted the event, and Property and Real Estate Reporter of the Year by Nigerite Nigeria Limited.

ADVERT HOTLINES: 01-280668, 08070591302, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678




•A cross-section of Catholic faithful during their Sacrament of Confirmation by the Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. John Onaiyekan, at the Sacred Heart Gwagwalada, Abuja ... yesterday.

Experts lament 2012 digital transition deadline From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

NIGERIA may not meet the 2012 deadline of transiting to digital transmission, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Abubakar Jijiwa, said over the weekend. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) set 2015 as the deadline for the transition from analogue to digital, but the Federal Government decided on 2012. Jijiwa, who spoke in Abuja at a lecture organized by the Radio, Television, Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), said the transition would generate employment. According to him, challenges facing the process of the transition in less than seven months may obstacles against the set date. He said private media stations may find it difficult to cope with subsequent challenges that may usher the transition. The DG attributed information technology as one of the challenges that may prevent the country from meeting the deadline. Others, he said include funding, technical disadvantages, power and poor attitude of political leaders He said the advantages inherent in digital transmission outweigh the challenges adding that besides increasing channel and programme content; the transition would meet peoples’ entertainment and information demands. He said: “Switching to digital broadcasting by 2012 will provide enough job opportunity. It will lead to production of more airtime as well as address the country’s unemployment challenges. People can as well have better access to informative and entertaining programmes.”

Catholic Church

‘How Belgore, Mark came up with Doctrine of Necessity’ A FORMER Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the late President Umar Yar’Adua, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, has unveiled those behind the Doctrine of Necessity, which led to the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan as acting President last year when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua was critically ill. He said the credit should go to a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, and Senate President David Mark, and some former state governors, who agreed to a Doctrine of Necessity. He also gave insight into the cold war between Jonathan and the late President Yar’Adua, which dated to the early part of their administration. Adeniyi made the revelations in his book, Power, Politics and Death- A front row account of Nigeria under the late President Yar’Adua, which is due for presentation tomorrow. He said: “Gathered in the office of Vice- President Goodluck Jonathan on the morning of Friday January 5, 2010, were PDP national chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, deputy national chairman, Dr. Haliru Bello as well as national secretary, Abubakar Baraje. Also in the room were Senate president David Mark; his deputy Ike Ekweremadu; and House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole. There were also the Kwara State governor and chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Dr Bukola Saraki; the AGF, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa and Chief Mike Oghiadome, Jonathan’s principal secretary. The single item on the meeting agenda was the Justice Abutu ruling which held that the VP could act for the President without any formal transfer

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

of power. “Leading the discussion was Aondoakaa, who argued that with the judgement, the political crisis had been resolved because the VP could then begin to act for the President. He was backed by Saraki and Bankole, with Ogbulafor, Bello and Baraje also leaning towards endorsing the position. But there was strong resistance from Mark, who argued that the Justice Dan Abutu judgment offered no practical solution because there was no way Jonathan could forward bills or any official correspondence to the Senate in his capacity as VicePresident and expect it to be accepted. “Bankole, however, said the House would have no problem with receiving such correspondences from Jonathan. That created a stalemate. At that period, Mark had concluded that the only way forward was for Jonathan to have constitutional power to be Acting President. “He also believed that the people around the President were not helping matters by using the subterfuge to hide the critical nature of his health from important stakeholders. At the time, Mark was used to receiving phony calls from Saudi Arabia by officials who would ask him “to wait for the President” only to be told after a few minutes that they would call back because the President who had ‘initiated’ the call could no longer be reached. “Because Mark was aware of what was going on, he sought to know from Aondoakaa and the governors what objection they had to making Jonathan the Acting President. Appar-

ently uncomfortable with the question, they all said that they had none and praised the Vice-President. “Yet, what they were proposing was to use Jonathan to avert a constitutional crisis created by the absence of the President without legally investing Jonathan with the power to act in his stead. At the end, the meeting could not reach any useful conclusion because Mark was insistent that the Senate was not going to recognise the Abutu ruling. “Apparently sensing that the crisis was getting more complicated, the Senate president spent the weekend making a series of consultations. First, he invited the lawyers among the Senators to a meeting where he mandated them to review Abutu’s judgment and give him advice within 48 hours. He also told them to invite Aondoakaa to brief them before they came up with their conclusion. “At his session with the lawyer-senators, the AGF could only convince a few of the members about the need to use the Abutu judgment to resolve the crisis, as the majority of the senators felt there was no solution in the ruling. “On Monday, January 8, Mark received in audience a group of prominent citizens, among them Lt. General T.Y. Danjuma and former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Alfa Belgore. It was agreed at the meeting that Yar’Adua would never have allowed the kind of crisis the nation was going through if he was in a position to intervene, so the conclusion was that he was oblivious to what was happening in the country. It was also resolved that the National Assembly had to intervene to save the situation. “In the course of discussion,

Mark had casually asked Belgore, “Your Lordship, the logical thing to do now is to make Jonathan Acting President. How do you think we can navigate this situation legally?” Belgore had said the constitution recognised the Doctrine of Necessity, which he said the Senate could apply. “Mark had actually toyed with the idea of the doctrine, but instructively, Justice Abutu’s ruling (which had Aondoakaa’s imprint) had categorically stated that the Doctrine of Necessity would not apply in resolving the crisis. “But with Belgore arguing that it was the most plausible solution, Mark decided that it was the way the Senate would go. He called his deputy, Ekweremadu and told him of what had transpired, and after calling a meeting of the principal officers, where the idea was easily bought by all, he asked that the House leadership be kept up to date about the thinking of the Senate. “At this point, Mark brought in a small group of professionals to brainstorm on how the doctrine should be applied within the fine details of the law. It was at the meeting that someone suggested that since there was a BBC interview credited to Yar’Adua (though many were sceptical that it was actually him who had spoken), that would suffice in making a strong case in lieu of a letter to the National Assembly. “With the plan in place, Mark then had informal sessions with many members of the Senate, and within 24 hours, he had the support of most senators. By then, the House had also decided to take a similar position on the issue.” Adeniyi traced the crisis of confidence between Yar’Adua and Jonathan to the early days

•The late Yar’Adua

of their administration. He added: “Early in the life of the administration, Jonathan had written a memo to the President seeking for his office to be selfaccounting. Specifically, he requested that the Office of the Vice-President be given the same role and responsibility that were enjoyed by Atiku Abubakar before he fell out of favour with Obasanjo. “After a meeting held at the VI between the duo and attended by the Principal Secretary and Chief of Staff, the memo was turned down in favour of ‘one presidency.’ “Even if Jonathan could forget that slight, his aides definitely could not because they were more affected by the decision. So, when the opportunity came for their boss to become the main man at the Villa, it was no surprise that they led the charge. “On the home front, Mrs. Patience Jonathan was also preparing to be the First Lady. As early in the administration as December 2007, a group of women had paid her a visit, and in the course of the discussion, one had asked: “how is Oga? “To this, Mrs. Jonathan replied: “My husband is in the office reading newspapers.” Then she added in Pidgin English, rather sarcastically: “Abi no be newspaper Turai (Mrs. Yar’Adua) say make im dey read?



NEWS ‘Stop retiring non-teaching staff at 60’ HE Federal Gov-


•The Trauma and Burns Centre at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Annex, Gbagada, Lagos built by the Lagos State Government. INSET: Governor Babatunde Fashola SAN (secon right) being conducted round the hospital by the Project Director, Deux Project Limited, Dr. Walter Olatunde (left). With them are: Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris (right), Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina (middle) and Field Operations Manager, Deux Project Limited, Mr. Jimmy Householder (second left). Story on Page 57


NLC urges Fed Govt to honour 2009 agreement with ASUU T

HE Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the education sector. It said the rot in the nation’s education sector demands urgent intervention. NLC expressed its support for the on-going strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It urged all Nigerians, who seek improvement in the country’s standard of education, to support ASUU’s demand for more funds in the sector. NLC, in a statement by its Head, Information and Public Relations, Chris Uyot, urged the Federal Govern-

By Eric Ikhilae

ment to learn to respect agreements. It said: “It is rather sad that a government, which should be the custodian of the Rule of Law and trust, could so blatantly breach a Collective Agreement it freely entered into with the union. “This bare-faced dishonesty and derision for education displayed by an administration that ostensibly espouses transformation is not only treacherous, but scandalous. “Given these glaring facts, it is sad for the Federal Government to be so prodded into

appreciating this dismal situation through strikes. “More worrying is that its indifference to positive actions speaks volumes about those we have mandated to rule over us - a collection of self-seeking, greedy and insensitive ruling class. The agreement on the minimum wage and its non-implementation by some state governments and even the Federal Government is a case in point. “Any employer or government that violates Collective Agreements with impunity is only inviting baskets of strikes and social chaos. And if that is

the wish of the ruling class, the labour movement is ready for it. “The rot and decay in our institutions of learning demands a declaration of a state of emergency in the education sector. “Thus, we support the perseverance, consistency and patriotism displayed by ASUU and call on students, workers and all Nigerians who mean well for this nation to stand by the union in this defining moment of the struggle for improved standard of education and sustainable human capital in our country.”

Unilorin VC backs union


HE Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (Unilorin), Kwara State, Prof. Isaq Oloyede, has urged the Federal Government to honour its agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in 2009. Oloyede said this would end the ongoing strike by members of the union and prevent further decline in the education sector. ASUU has been on strike for nine days. It is seeking more funding and provision of needed facilities in universities, among others. Oloyede spoke in Abuja at the Unilorin Alumni Associa-

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

tion Dinner/Lecture, with the theme: ‘Nigerian education sector: the role of the Alumni Association.’ He said: “The Nigeria university system is a single body. Though Unilorin is not taking part in the strike, yet, we feel the same way. “The Federal Government has been a bit slow in attending to issues arising from the 2009 Agreement. It could have been faster. The Nigerian university system needs a lot of restructuring and government should not relent when it comes to policy decision. It should stop acting at if it is at

gun point. “Credibility matters and government should not agree to do what it does not have the capacity to do, no matter the pressure. It is hourable for government to honour its agreement with ASUU. There are certain things that may not be practicable, but it would have been better if those things were not agreed on. “It is too late for government to back out of that agreement. There is need for a realistic appraisal of the agreement. I advise government to be more careful if another agreement is to be signed. I believe there is always room for dialogue and ASUU

should be more realistic in its demands.” National President, Unilorin Alumni Association, Mr. Taoreed Odedele urged President Goodluck Jonathan to look into the funding of universities. Odedele said: “Today, university education is becoming unaffordable to the less privileged in the society. The government should come to their rescue, so that in line with the mandate of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), education will be available to all and sundry. “I appeal to youths to avoid being used to cause mischief and unrest in the name of agitations.”

CNPP condemns Education Minister over comment


HE Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has urged the Federal Government to honour its agreement with ASUU, describing the union’s demands as “patriotic and rational.” It condemned a statement credited to the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufia, that the universities were supposed to implement the 2009 Agreement with their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). A statement by CNPP Na-

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

tional Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, reads: “ASUU’s demands are patriotic and rational. We call on the President to, as a matter of urgent national importance, honour the 2009 Agreement. “While parents must contribute in training their children, we believe federal and state governments have enough money to adequately fund our universities. “The source of funding fed-

eral and state universities must be that of government, with parents supplementing; not the other way round. Why is the President building more universities, if he cannot fund existing ones? “How will Nigeria be enlisted among the 20 strong economies by the year 2020, if the federal and state governments fail to invest in human capital development? “We call on the education minister to issue an unreserved apology to Nigerians for the neglect of her duties

and for insulting our intelligence. “A diligent minister would have made sure that the 2009 Agreement between the government and ASUU is implemented fully. What her statement shows is that she is less concerned about the future our children. “We thought that as a professor, she would be pushing Mr. President, who is a former lecturer; to get the best for universities and other educational institutions.

ernment has directed universities’ Vice-Chancellors to stop retrenching non-academic staff at the age of 60. The directive is a move by the Federal Government to halt another strike. The workers had threatened to go on strike owing to the Federal Government’s failure to implement the 2009 Agreement. They are under the auspices of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), under the Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU. The contending issues in the agreement are the implementation of the 65 years retirement age; improvement in the funding of universities and staff allowances; and career structure for technologists on grade levels 14 and 15, among others. Rising from a meeting in Abuja with Education Minister Prof. Ruqayyah Rufai and Labour Minister Emeka Wogu, SSANU President Comrade Samson Ugwoke said the ministers assured them that the issues would be resolved soon. Ugwoke said SSANU is convinced that the government is doing everything to ensure accelerated passage of the bill on the 65 retirement age and other related issues. He said the ministers told the unions’ leaders that the Vice-Chancellors of the universities have been directed by the government not to retire any member of the unions who clocks 60 years or has served for 35 years, pending when the issue will be finally resolved. Ugwoke said the ministers told them to report any Vice-Chancellor that disregards the order to them.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

He said the ministers assured them that their allowances would be improved in the 2012 Budget. Ugwoke said the three unions gave the Federal Government 30 days to implement the agreement. He said: “As a result of appeals made by both ministers, we resolved to grant the government a grace of 30 days, beginning from December 9, within which the contending issues should be fully resolved and implemented. “If the government fails to honour the agreement after 30 days, we shall resume our suspended strike without further notice.”

Group sues Fed Govt A CIVIL society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has sued the Federal Government for the alleged failure to release information and documents on the spending of recovered stolen funds”. The suit was filed last week at the Federal High Court, Ikeja, Lagos, followed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Accountant-General of the Federation on September 26. The motion ex parte brought pursuant to Section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act, and Order 34 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009, and signed by Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP Executive Director.

PUBLIC NOTICE AJALA I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Mojisola Ajala, now wish to be known and be addressed as Mrs Mojisola Titilayo Onifade. All former documents remains valid . General public should take note.




Survivors relive Jos explosions •‘Explosions not caused by bombs’


URVIVORS of the explosions in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday relived their ordeals. Police yesterday said the explosions in Jos, the Plateau State capital were not bombs. One of the victims, who was at a Viewing Centre, Bukky Michael, told The Nation: “We were watching the Barcelona and Real Madrid match when we heard a very heavy blow. We were about 150 watching the match when it happened; all of us were trapped. It was by the grace of God that many survived. It was a miracle, but the injury on some people is so severe that they may have to be amputated. Some are sure to become handicap as a result, but I than God my own is minor injury, I was not admitted.” Another victim Ajik Magaji, who sustained fracture on the left hand, Said: “The impact of the bomb was minimal because it was dropped beside the Viewing Centre. If it was planted inside, the hall no one would have survived.” Police Public Relations Officer ASP Apev Jacob said: “The explosives were not bombs but Improvised

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu and Marie-Therese Peter, Jos

Explosive Devices (IED) which are locally made.” He added:”The explosions happened at three different locations, one happened at Tina Junction, another one at Ondus, Bauchi Ring road and the third is at a place called City of David, all of them are located along Bauchi Ring Road, Jos. “The scene of all the three blasts are football viewing centers and only one person was confirmed dead by our men the 14 that sustained injuries were rushed to the Jos University teaching Hospital and are responding to treatment, some were treated and discharged immediately. “Our men in conjunction with the military in the Special Task Force (STF) ‘Operation Safe Haven’ had moved in immediately and have restored calm there to forestall breakdown of law and order and they have been stationed there for the mean time until further notice” said ASP Jacob. The explosions which occurred almost simultaneously in three different locations in Jos, the Plateau State capital on Saturday

From top: Magaji, Michael and one of the Viewing Centres affected by the explosions.

night has resulted in the death of four persons. One of the victims died instantly while three others died later in the hospital where they were being treated. The incidence also left at least 25 people terribly injured as a result of the blast. Neighboring residential houses were also affected due to the heavy impact of the bomb. Residence of the

Task Force restricts Okada in Jos


HE Special Task Force (STF) on Sunday banned commercial motorcycles, known as ‘Okada’, from operating in Jos beyond 7pm, following the bomb blasts that occurred in some parts of the city on Saturday night. The STF, the team in-charge of keeping peace on the Plateau, announced the ban in a press statement, signed by DSP Ikemefuna Okafor, for the media officer of the task force. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a triple bomb blast rocked three television viewing centres within the Jos North Local Government Council on Saturday night. One person was killed while 14 others were injured.

“The general public and the good people of Plateau should be informed that no motor cycle will be allowed to operate beyond 7.p.mwithin the Jos-Bukuru metropolis. “Riding of motorcycles is only permitted from 6.a m – 7p. m, the enforcement of this ban will be strictly enforced,” the statement read. The statement said the ban would strictly be enforced and warned that defaulters would be prosecuted. It advised all law-abiding citizens of the state to go about their legal businesses as the task force was on top of the situation. STF said: “Any act of lawlessness shall be met with the full weight of the law.’’ The Chairman, Plateau State chapter of the Red Cross

Society, Mr Panpe Manasseh, told NAN that two of the four injured persons taken to Bingham Hospital, had been treated and discharged. Meanwhile, the Plateau government has condemned the blasts which it described as “acts to deliberately instil fear into the minds of the people’’. The Commissioner for Information, Mr Yiljap Abraham, told NAN that it was “shocking’’ that some people were still bent on “causing maximum injury to civilians’’ despite of the general resolve to live in peace. Abraham urged the public to be vigilant wherever they were gathered and report suspicious movements and items to relevant security authorities.

Immigration accuses politicians of importing foreigners for election


HE Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the weekend accused politicians of importing foreigners into the country for election. It said it arrested some foreigners who wanted to vote in the last general elections in Esan West and Estako Central Local Governments of Edo State. Edo State Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Odiawa Fredrick made this known in Benin during an interactive session between reporters

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

and security agencies. Odiawa Fredrick said the arrested foreigners were handed over to the police for prosecution. His words: “Our politicians encourage aliens to register and vote during elections. Most of our efforts are frustrated. We arrested some in Owan West and Estako Central in the last election.” The Assistant Comptroller blamed existing ECOWAS

Protocol for the influx of foreigners into the country but said many of them were registered to stay and work in the country. Also speaking, Commander 4 Brigade of the Army, Brigadier General Obi Umahi said the special security outfit “Operation Thunderstorm” has recorded success in its fight against crime in the state. Brigadier Umahi said several kidnappers and robbers have been killed and arrested since the security outfit was established.

affected areas were left sleepless for the remaining part of the night as no one knew what to expect. Though the Chief Medical Director of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Dr. Ishaya Pam, was not available to confirm the casualties, a nurse at the mortuary section, who

pleaded anonymity, said two bodies were brought to the mortuary. The police confirmed one dead and 14 injured. The impact of the explosive at Tina Junction shattered roofs, ceiling and glasses of surrounding residential houses. One of the residents, Mrs, Rhoda Den-

nis, said: “The impact on our house is so severe that any little wind can blow away the roof of the house because all the ceiling are shattered and the roofing woods had cracks all over, we will require at least N2. 5 million to repair the four bedrooms flat and four rooms boys quarters.”



NEWS Wike urges PTAs to align with Unity Schools’ revival HE Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has urged Parents’/ Teachers’ Associations (PTAs) to key into the Federal Government’s revival of unity schools. The minister spoke when he visited the Federal Government College, Kwali in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He said the Federal Government would collaborate with PTAs to transform unity colleges into centres of excellence. According to him, investments by PTAs in developing schools would sustain them. Wike hailed the PTA of Federal Government College, Kwali, for rehabilitating its boys’ hostels. He said: “I encourage PTAs to invest in the development of facilities in unity colleges. I am impressed by what the PTA of Federal Government College, Kwali, is doing. The total rehabilitation of the school’s boys’ hostel by the PTA is commendable.” The minister added that the Federal Government was working out modalities to absorb part-time teachers recruited by the PTAs. A statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the minister, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, quoted Wike as saying he would continue his direct assessment of schools to keep head teachers committed.


Appeal Court upholds Jigawa senator’s election From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


HE Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna has dismissed the case filed by former Jigawa State Governor Saminu Turaki of the Action congress of Nigeria (ACN) challenging the election of Senator Danladi Sankara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Justice Abdu Aboki dismissed the petition for want of merit. He reaffirmed the judgment of the tribunal, delivered in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, on October 10, which upheld Sankara’s election. Justice Aboki noted that the former governor failed to produce sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations in his petition. The court said the witnesses called by the petitioner damaged his case, instead of strengthening it, saying this compelled the court to rule in favour of the respondents. Justice Aboki said: “This court cannot grant the appeal because the petitioners had all the opportunity at the trial to prove their allegations but failed to do so at every stage. Even the witnesses called by the petitioners ended up enhancing the case of the respondents. “Consequently, this appeal is hereby dismissed. No order for cost.”

Experts to discuss fuel subsidy removal •Nigerians ‘to decide by polls’ •Ahmed seeks NBA’s assistance ROFESSIONALS, stakeholders and other Nigerians will assemble in Abuja today to discuss the proposed removal of fuel subsidy and the deregulation of an emerging economy in Nigeria. A statement in Abuja by the Dean, Faculty Board of the Initiatives, Eseme Eyiboh, organisers of the 10th national roundtable, said the choice for the topic was informed by the prevailing discourse in public domain on subsidy - for and against - and the need to enrich the discussion with informed knowledge to raise public enlightenment and education on the matter. He noted that emerging economies, of which Nigeria is one, constitute approximately 80 per cent of the global population and represent about 20 per cent of the world’s economies. Eyiboh said: “This statistics accounts for regions of the world that are experiencing rapid knowledge-economy under conditions of limited or partial industrial growth.


From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

“This framework provides for the study of how the non-industrialised nations of the world are achieving unprecedented economic growth using new energy, telecommunications and information technologies within a deregulated system. “Can Nigeria, with its vast potentials in human and material capital, take advantage of global order for her growth drive? Is deregulation feasible in a society with a high level of corruption and ineptitude? “Is the continued government subsidy of basic products sustainable and economically viable? Is government regulation of products and services productive or counterproductive? Is the basic issue of deregulation unduly politicised and to that extent suppressing its basic function and value?” Eyiboh, who is member of the House of Representatives, noted that these are

the questions for the experts and which the 10th national roundtable seeks to resolve. He said stakeholders would be provided with the requisite knowledge and capacity to take appropriate measures for “our national growth and sustenance. Those expected at the talk shop include Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; former CBN Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu; Prof. Garba Ganiyu of the Department of Economics, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is the Chief Host of the event scheduled for this week. Nigerians will be opportuned to contribute to the debate on the proposed fuel subsidy. The discourse for and against government’s plan has been raging between proponents and opponents of the policy. Addressing reporters in

Abuja at the weekend on how Nigerians are expected to vote for or against the fuel subsidy removal, Chief Tony Chigbo, the Principal Consultant of Gallop Polls Nigerian Limited, said both camps would have unhindered access to print and electronic media. He said: “As a responsible corporate organisation, Gallop Polls is poised to provide the empirical platform for views of the majority to count even as their votes counted in the April 2011 general elections. Democratic norm and tenets dictate that majority have their way while minority have their say. The judgment of those who voted for change in the April 2011 general elections must be contended with in policy formulation and implementation. Most polices of government, like the case in point have consequences that operators of government may never ever have to face or experience. The input of those that will face and bear the brunt of these consequences becomes

Delta model Akagbue wins GUS 8

Mark backs minister over sanction of BA, Virgin

ELTA State-born model, Christopher Akagbue Okechukwu, is the winner of the eighth edition of the adventure reality show, Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS), sponsored by the Nigerian Breweries Plc. The 25-year-old emerged victorious last night after completing a gruelling task ahead of two other finalists. He discovered the supposed “second lost helmet of General Maximillian” purportedly hidden in Egbetua quarter, Ososo forest in Akoko Edo in Edo State. The undergraduate of Sociology of the University of Lagos has won N7 million prize money, a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) worth N10 million and a wardrobe allowance of N500,000. An awrd ceremony will hold at the Flamingo Hall of Best Western Hotel in Benin, the Edo State capital. The reality show, which used to have 10 to 12 contestants playing for 21 days, fielded 30 contestants in the last 13 weeks in this year’s edition, shooting up budget for logistics and the prize money. Kelvin Durst and Anastasia Azike had a tie and became the first runners-up with N2.5 million prize money. The second runner-up gets N1 million, followed by the third runner up who gets N800, 000. The fourth, fifth and sixth in line get N750,000, N700,000 and N650,000. The seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th contestants will get N650,000 N600,000, N550,000 and N500,000. The other 20 participants had been assured of N150,000 each, while a special prize of N1 million would be awarded to the last woman standing, Anastasia Azike. •Akagbue carrying the ultimate treasure


By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor


From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

developments in the country, discussed security challenges and the outcome Sambo arrived of the efforts by northern Babangida’s home at leaders to resolve the Boko 12.30pm yesterday and left at Harham menace in the reabout 1.40pm, a source close gion. to Babangida told reporters. Both leaders were said to Though security aides to have reviewed the position the Vice-President barred of the North on the 2015 elecreporters from entering tions, resolving to ensure Babangida’s home, the that a President comes from source said Sambo was in the region in 2015. Minna to parley with the Before Sambo arrived, his former military leader, who advance security aides dijust returned to the country rected reporters to leave, after a six-week medical saying the visit was not for treatment in Germany. the media. It was learnt that both “This is a private visit. It leaders reviewed political is not for media coverage.

ENATE President David Mark at the weekend said the National Assembly was behind the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, on the ministry’s decision to fine British Airways and Virgin Atlantic for overcharging Nigerian passengers over the years. Speaking at the flag-off of domestic flights at the international terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, Mark praised the minister for maintaining her ground on the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) issue. He said: “I commend her (minister) for standing her ground. She has made us proud, and the Senate is behind you anytime. I have never doubted the ability of Oduah.” The Senate president lamented that Nigerian airports were formerly not befitting of the nation’s status, adding that the impression of any visitor on arrival at an airport is the determinant of that country’s image. Mark said: “An airport is what you use in judging any nation, because the very first impression starts at the airport. We lacked standard facilities until now.” Decrying the poor maintenance culture among Nigerians, the Senate President said the facilities must be kept clean and used properly when completed. Oduah promised that by 2013 Nigeria would have befitting airports for the comfort and safety of air travellers.


Sambo holds talks with IBB in Minna HE need to reposition the North for the 2015 elections might have been on top of the agenda of a secret meeting between Vice-President Namadi Sambo and former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, it was learnt yesterday. The meeting, which a source said lasted over an hour, was held at Babangida’s Hilltop Mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital. Deputy Governor Ahmed Musa Ibeto, Senator Isaiah Balat and two others were present.

a matter of justice and inalienable right…” Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has urged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to explain the intricacies in the proposed fuel subsidy removal by the Gederal Government to ordinary Nigerians. The governor said the issue requires technical, economical and general understanding to enable the nation know that beyond the removal of fuel subsidy, there are other implications, especially on what would give the ordinary person succour. He promised that the state government would partner the association and uphold the rule of law to develop the state. Ahmed urged the NBA to ensure that the needs of the people reflect in the ongoing constitutional amendments. The governor spoke at the weekend in Ilorin, the state capital, at this year’s edition of the annual Bar dinner and award ceremony at the Government House.

How did you people (reporters) get the information of the Vice President’s visit? Please, you should go. It is a private visit,” the security aide said. But Commissioner for Information Mallam Abdulhamid, who was also at Babangida’s home, addressed reporters. He said: “The VicePresident was on a private visit. He only came to see his father. It was a private visit.” Babangida returned to Minna on Wednesday. He was flown abroad six weeks ago for the treatment of an undisclosed ailment.




Fayemi: you can’t be leader if you are not competent •Governor lectures at third reunion luncheon of Council of One-Day Governors


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday emphasised the need to groom the youth for leadership based on the doctrines of character development, integrity, honesty and fear of God. He also called for the re-evaluation of politics, saying that those who enter public offices through politics must also have alternative jobs they can return to when they leave power. Fayemi said while grooming a successor, self-development, professional competence and pursuit of good name should not be compromised by those aspiring to future leadership. The governor delivered a lecture titled: “Breaking the limits: Preparing the next generation for leadership”. It was part of the activities marking the third reunion luncheon of the Council of One-Day Governors” organised by the New Era Foundation in Lagos. The founder and President of the foundation, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who reflected on the success story of the ‘Spelling Bee Competition and other activities of the non-governmental body, described education and character training as the best legacies for the younger generation. The ceremony, which was held at La Scala Restaurant, Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, was witnessed by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, her Ogun State counterpart, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, wife of Ogun State deputy governor, Mrs Funmi Adesegun, Lagos State Education Commissioner Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, his Home Affairs counterpart Oyinlomo Danmole, Chief Rasak Okoya and his wife, Sade, the Asoju-Oba of Lagos, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, former Education Commissioner Dr

•Mrs. Fashola (fourth right) presenting the keys to the car to Ezenagu…yesterday. With them are Fayemi (third right), Mrs Amosun (second right), Senator Tinubu and Mr. Osilaja PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Political Editor

Leke Pitan, former Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Commissioner Prince Yaba Local Government Chairman Jide Jimoh, his Ejigbo, Mainland and Amuwo-Odofin counterparts - Kehinde Bamigbetan, Dele Adekanye, and Ayodele Adewale - were there. So also were Chief Adeniyi Willliams, Chief Solomon Oladunni, Prof. Osato Giwa, Mrs Yetunde Arobieke, Mrs. Tinu Aina-Badejo, Mr. Lekan Ogunbambo, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, and Hon. Jide Sanwoolu. One of the past “governors”, Alex Ezenagu, a lawyer, got a car gift from Mrs. Tinubu. The car was presented to him by Mrs. Fashola.

Alluding to the remarks on the leadership crisis in Nigeria by Prof. Chinua Achebe, the frontline novelist, Fayemi cited leadership as a critical challenge. Praising Senator Tinubu for her educational programmes spanning 11 years, Fayemi said the New Era Foundation had built a successor generation of leaders through education and leadership training, adding that these efforts were unparalleled in the country in recent times. He disclosed that his administration has taken the cue in Ekiti State by resuscitating leadership training organisations that were moribund in schools, including the Boys’ Scout, Girls Guide, and debating societies. The governor alluded to his own upbringing, recalling that his Chris-

tian parents taught him that character was better than wealth and a good name more important than material acquisition. Stressing that youths should remember the children of whom they are, the governor, who relived his life as a mass server in the Catholic Church, said that what guided his actions in life were the core values of integrity, honesty, commitment, compassion and fear of God. He said the same principles that motivated his participation in prodemocracy crusades also propelled him to enter politics as a means of serving the society. Fayemi also spoke on the elements of leadership, including courage, commitment, determination, accountability, resilience, humility, sharing attitude, passion, compas-

Governors give fresh conditions to back Wealth Fund G

OVERNORS will make a new request at today’s National Economic Council (NEC) – voluntary participation in the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). Besides, they are mounting pressure on the Presidency to concede 30 per cent equity to them in the distribution companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). President Goodluck Jonathan has got legal advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), to go ahead with the implementation of the Fund, which the states opposed, saying it is illegal. Prior to the advice, about $1billion seed capital had been deducted from the 36 states share in the Federation Account. Opposition parties, such as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Labour Party (LP), the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) kicked. The Presidency has been trying to woo the opposition to buy into the SWF. But some governors are insisting on voluntary contributions to the SWF account. A governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are almost striking an accord on the implementation of the SWF so that there will be no recourse to court action. “The agitation of some of us

‘The states have also asked the Federal Government not to deduct their funds to finance SWF without consultations’ From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

is that it should be made optional for states - in line with the principle of fiscal federalism. “The Federal Government has reached an agreement with us that after the withdrawal of $1billion from our share of the Federation Account into the SWF, it will no more tamper with our allocations. “The states have also asked the Federal Government not to deduct their funds to finance SWF without consultations, with only the states that are interested. We have no grudge, if the Federal Government decides to divert all its resources into the SWF Account. “So, if these terms are acceptable to all the parties, the SWF can then take off effectively.” The governor also claimed that at today’s NEC meeting in Abuja, states will make a

case for the acquisition of 30 per cent equity in power distribution companies as a precondition for backing deregulation of the power sector. The session might also be devoted to a preview of the 2012 Budget and the last phase of plans to withdraw fuel subsidy. He said: “We are demanding the 30 per cent equity because if you remove the states’ assets from distribution companies, they are nothing. We buy and install most of the transformers and yet they do not want us to secure equity. “Take the case of Rivers State, which is generating 520MW; why will the state not own equity in distribution companies? “Every issue keeps coming into the nature of our federalism which we need to revisit and make it to reflect true federalism.” On the fuel subsidy withdrawal, the governor said: “We have not resolved the question or nature of palliatives. The Federal Government wants to do a copy or a replica of the defunct PTF but they have not got it right. “They want to decide the palliatives to execute in all the states but we do not want that. This is also one issue we may discuss at the NEC session.”

sion and discipline, noting that a leader cannot also lead from the rear. He challenged the youth never to do in private that which they cannot do in the public because nothing is beyond the view of others. “It is better you do something that is morally defensible,” Fayemi counselled. The governor said when politicians are deficient in honour and integrity, especially when they cannot keep their words, they sink in credibility crisis. He however, cautioned that hope is not lost in polity, pointing out that the “Lagos example” in the last 11 years has shown that credible leadership is possible in the country. He said good leaders should be able to protect their followers and exhibit humility without being weak.

RCCG unveils traffic control measues as Holy Congress opens today By Bunmi Ogunmodede

•Pastor E. A. Adeboye, General Overseer


LL is set for a stressfree traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway during this year’s edition of the Holy Ghost Congress (HGC), the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), assured yesterday. The HGC, a week-long end of the year festival of the RCCG, opens today at the Congress Arena, Redemption Camp, Kilometre 46/48, off the highway. According to the Traffic/ Safety Committee, those coming into and exiting the camp ground should adhere strictly to the regulations to avoid causing undue pains to other motorists from today to Sunday morning, when the curtain would be drawn on the programme. A statement by the committee reads: “To make your

stay comfortable and ensure your exit from the camp comfortable, smoothly and unhindered, we would appreciate if you observe and comply with the under-listed directives. “In extreme circumstances, the operatives on ground may impose additional restrictions or diversions to ease congestion. “Arguing and contravening these regulations causes undue delays, traffic pains to other road users. We implore you to be considerate to others and sincerely crave your indulgence to diligently obey the Marshalls who are posted for your comfort and convenience.” The committee advised those attending the congress from Lagos to approach the Arena through Lotto Road by the NNPC Filling Station after Deeper Life Camp Ground and Damaturu Road entrance, about 250 metres after Lotto. It also urged those coming from the Ibadan and Ijebu ends of the expressway to enter through Car Park C entrance, Main Gate and the Youth Centre entrance. Specifically, it warned that those without the appropriate vehicular pass, would not be allowed access into Car Park B, which it said was reserved. “If you don’t have the current 2011 sticker, stuck on

your windscreen, please park in Car Parks C, D and F, as well as Resident Car Park”, the committee urged. It warned that the perimeter roads around the Arena have been restricted to categories of participants. For instance, Perimeter 1, with access to Haggai, Next Level and Brook Estates and CRM Shops has been reserved as a pedestrian only zone from noon till 30 minutes after service throughout the week. Perimeter 2, which runs behind the altar next to Car Park Park B, has been restricted to vehicles carrying physically challenged, protocol, Assistant General Overseers (AGOs) and Elders. Perimeter 3, running parallel to Perimeter, has also been reserved as another pedestrian zone, with controlled vehicular access strictly for protocol and officiating ministers. It said: “All other vehicles must use the Ring Road. Parking around the Arena Perimeter and on any road in the vicinity of car parks is strictly prohibited. Any vehicle found there will be towed.” To avoid vandalism and theft, the committee warned that owners would neither be permitted to stay inside their vehicles nor allowed to stay within any of the parking bays, adding that no vehicle would be allowed to exit the camp during the service except through the main gate.



NEWS ACN wins Ekiti Rep seat From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

THE candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Oyetunde Ojo, has emerged winner of the rerun in Ekiti Central Federal Constituency II, held at the weekend. Ojo had 27,338 votes. His closest contender, Mr. Kehinde Odebunmi of the Peoples Democratic (PDP), polled 17,344. The results of the other candidates are as follows: OlaOluwa Fasakin (Alliance for Democracy (AD)), 425 votes; Sayo Fatayo (All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA)), 46 votes; Peter Bamigbade (National Transformation Party (NTP)), 153 votes; Israel Ogunleye (Labour Party (LP)), 69 votes; and C.O. Oluwafemi (All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)), 106 votes. The Returning Officer (RO), Dr. Akintunde Aremu, said 46,540 persons voted in the election and 2,059 votes were rejected. The National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Ogun states, Prof. Laye Olorode, and the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ekiti State, Alhaji Halilu Pai, praised the people and security operatives for the peaceful conduct of the election. The PDP rejected the result of the election, alleging malpractices in some wards. ACN’s Director of Media and Publicity Akogun Oguntayo described the party’s victory as “a result of the excellent performance of the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration.” Oguntayo said: “There is no doubt that those who voted overwhelmingly at the Saturday election voted based on the performance of the governor, because four months is not enough to measure the candidate’s performance in the National Assembly.”

Aregbesola lists conditions for development O

SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has said the panacea to the socio-political and economic problems of the nation lies in identifying with the best brains in the academia. Aregbesola spoke at the 10th anniversary of the late Marxist Economist, Prof. Bade Onimode, in Lokoja, Kogi State, at the weekend. The late Onimode was a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo State, and an internationally recognised Marxist, who preached against capitalism. Represented by the Chairman of Osun Tours, Mr. Abimbola Daniyan, Aregbesola praised the contributions of thelate Onimode to the economy. He said: “It is easy to recall the late Onimode’s skillful analysis and suave explanation of complex ideas in the simplest of terms. He made information accessible

•Governor speaks at 10th anniversary of UI DVC

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

to both academics and the common Nigerian on the pages of newspapers in the peculiar days of the IMF loan, anti-SAP debates and the Fuel Subsidy Debate called ‘To take or not to take.’ “The government harangued us with ‘one litre of petrol is cheaper than one bottle (30cl) of coke, and so the price of fuel must go up to stop petrol smuggling!’ “I remember the late Onimode’s highly informed contributions at the famous debate at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos, about 25 years ago, where he said ‘Nigeria consumes what it does not produce and produces what it does not consume.’ And he went on to il-

lustrate it by asking each one to look at what they were wearing. “That simple step swung the debate against taking the IMF loan for SAP and it still resonates. That is the stuff of the organic intellect that was Bade Onimode. “I am confident that our academia, with all the shortcomings in the system, has many more of the Bade Onimode ilk. The point is to not let their efforts go to waste. Nigeria remains complex and the unanticipated political forces now playing the violent roulette is foreboding of serious troubles ahead. “The population mix is favourable, but it is not favoured by the current disposition of state financing without re-directing, with which Nigeria stands no

chance.” On unemployment, the governor said: “The large number of youths must find gainful engagements in enterprise and employment. Achieving this demands a change in the education system. It includes injecting huge sums into transforming education and converting it into a directly productive force. “The goal of teaching and learning is to produce capable minds, who will not be afraid to use their hands and intellect to confront the challenges of life. “We must rid the land of mass poverty, hunger and the irrelevance that we see everywhere in Nigeria today. Time is running out. Life is still a struggle to be fought and won.”

Amaechi to criminals: we’ll get you

From Damisi Ojo, Akure


ICE-Chairman, Ondo State House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Akindele Adeniyi, has debunked the rumour that Governor Olusegun Mimiko gave lawmakers N1 million each to pass the 2011 reordered budget. Adeniyi, who represents Akure North Local Government Area on the platform of the Labour Party (LP), spoke with reporters at the weekend. He said the reordered budget was passed in the interest of the people. Adeniyi said the amount budgeted for the year was not altered, but funds were moved from inactive sectors to areas where they are needed.

Why I joined Ondo ACN, by ex-Senator


Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko (right) presenting the Television Station of the Year award to the Chairman of the African Independent Television (AIT), Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, at the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA), in Akure, the Ondo State the weekend

‘Mimiko didn’t give us N1m’

HE former Deputy Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) in the Southern Senatorial District of Ondo State, Senator Omololu Meroyi, has joined the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Meroyi and his supporters were received into the ACN in Ore, Odigbo Local Government Area, by ACN State Secretary Adedipe Adegboyega; one of the party’s national leaders, Mr. Sola Iji; and the State Women’s Leader, Arelu Mobola Johnson. Meroyi said he joined ACN to pursue the progressive agenda of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and help the people. He said: “ACN is a reformed Action Group (AG) and Alliance for Democracy (AD). Since we in Yorubaland know the impact of these political parties then, there is no excuse for not joining ACN. “It will be wrong for us to

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

seat and continue to watch a governor reorder his 2011 budget at a time when his colleagues are presenting their 2012 budget to their state assemblies. “Many of the industries that tackled unemployment in the state in the past were established by the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin, but previous and present governors failed to develop them. That is why many of our graduates are jobless. “For instance, during the practice of progressivism by the late Awolowo, the first television station, stadium, university, among others, were established in the Southwest. “Since ACN is a reform of AG and AD which were known as progressive parties, we must adopt this party in the Southwest and Nigeria in general to ensure rapid development.


IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has reassured the people of his administration’s readiness to clamp down on robbers and put an end to the criminality in Port Harcourt and other parts of the state. To achieve this, Amaechi said, the Army will be deployed to work with the police in Port Harcourt. The governor spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt at a thanksgiving organised in his honour and Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili by the Catholic Diocese of Port Harcourt at the Corpus Christi Cathedral Church. According to him, “If we could fight the militants, why can’t we fight armed robbers? We will put the Army on the streets until the armed robbers will run away. “We are tired of pleading with armed robbers to return their guns to the police. We will put the Army on the streets because we believe that the police needs support. “I will plead with those whose children are robbers to tell their children to stop. “The current one we hear is that there is a woman leading a gang of three, we will arrest her. For us as a government, that will be our new year gift to our people, that woman and her gang will be arrested and prosecuted”, he assured. Speaking on road projects, Amaechi said government would take advantage of the dry season to complete ongoing projects. “I hear your complaints, and I know you are angry about roads. For the Ada Geoge road, it will be completed, the contractor is slow, he gave us March, let us be patient, the

•Amaechi (left); his wife, Judith; Catholic Archibishop of Port Harcourt Most Rev C. A. Etukudoh; former Rivers State Governor Peter Odili (right); and his wife, Mary...yesterday only thing I will assure you of is that rainy season will not meet us on that road again. Another road you people complain of, is the Rumuepirikom road, it is been worked on”, he said. Governor Amaechi also called on the church to partner

with government for national and state development. “Let the church continue to be a holy church and a conscience to the society and the nation, the church should call public servants and our leaders to account for their roles in our lives.”




Woman killed, two injured in Kaduna village attack


WOMAN was killed and two others sustained gunshot wounds following an attack on Kukum Dutse, a village in Kagoro, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State. “The village was attacked in the midnight; one person was killed while two sustained gunshot wounds. “As we speak, the two are being taken to hospital in Jos for operations to remove the

bullets lodged in their bodies,’’ Mrs Florence Aya, the Chairman of the local government, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview. She described the attack as “very strange and wicked”, pointing out that the villagers had always been “very peaceful”. Mr Elihu Adamu, the Police Commander for Kafanchan Area Command, confirmed

the attack. She said the command was yet to arrest suspects but had begun investigations into the incident. “We have visited the scene of the attack along with the Chairman of the local government, Mrs Florence Aya. One person was killed and two others escaped with gun wounds. “Those with the gun wounds have been taken to Bingham Hospital in Jos, but

we are on top of the situation,” he said. Yahaya Dadai, the Sole Administrator, Kagoro Development Area, who accompanied the victims to Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos, said they were in “stable condition”. “We have just been sent to the X-Ray department preparatory to the removal of the bullets. By God’s grace, everything will be okay,” he said.

Christians demand apology from ACF over Aminu’s statement


HRISTIANS in the North, under the auspices of Concerned Northern Christians, yesterday demanded an apology from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) for allegedly allowing Prof. Jibril Aminu to call for the proscription of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). But ACF said Aminu never insulted anybody during his presentation at the Kaduna conference for peace. It noted that the unionisation of the religious body has allowed politics to creep into the pulpit. In a statement entitled:

•‘Ex-senator didn’t insult anyone’ From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

ACF organised Jibril Aminu to denigrate Nigerian Christians, by its Coordinator, Yahuda Peter Marsa, the group noted that the former senator’s statement was capable of causing genocide in the North in particular and the nation in general. According to them, the long silence by the forum is an indication that the comment Aminu had the bless-

ing of ACF, adding that if Christian elders had made a similar comment about Islam, there would have been a crisis. The group’s statement reads: “We are bound by obligation, again, to unequivocally state our position regarding Prof Aminu’s call for the proscription of CAN at the just-concluded talkshow and waste of funds by a group of persons who are largely responsible for the rot northern Nigeria is

Family of slain man protests bail for accused


HE family of a retired fire officer, Mr. Luka Ayabam, who was killed by unknown gunmen, has petitioned the InspectorGeneral of Police following the bail granted the accused. It alleged that the prosecution was shoddy and compromised. The petition, which was signed by Mr. Oscar Aorabee, the Managing Counsel of Elohim Chambers in Makurdi, Benue State, urged the InspectorGeneral to take over, properly investigate and prosecute the accused.

Fire guts Funtua market in Katsina


N early morning fire yesterday destroyed 20 shops at the Funtua Central Market in Katsina State, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. NAN correspondent, who was at the market, reports that property worth millions of naira were destroyed by the fire, which started at 2am and burnt till dawn. The cause of the fire could not be determined. The fire was put out by the combined efforts of firemen from Katsina State Fire Service, policemen, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and officers at the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) with some residents. The items destroyed included textiles, electronics jewellery and provision. Malam Salisu Foli, a victim, who sells textiles, described the incident as the will of God. He said no one could explain the source of the fire.

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

A Makurdi Chief Magistrate’s Court, presided over by Mrs. Cecilia Bakare, last Wednesday, granted bail to nine persons standing trial over the murder. Mrs. Bakare said there was no prima facie evidence be-

fore the court to indicate that the accused killed the deceased. Those granted bail included Mr. Salem Atsehe, Director General Services and Administration of Gwer local government area in Benue State who was alleged to be the mastermind of the killing.

in today, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). “Recently, we condemned CAN’s endorsement of the removal of fuel subsidy, because Nigerians deserve more than what we are getting, and we are not in any way blinded by sentiments, or biases...” In a text message to The Nation, ACF spokesman, Anthony Sani, said: “I did not hear Prof Jibril abuse anybody or group. But I know some of you in the media would prefer to hear insults and not any positive thing the speakers said that could bring about peaceful existence. I thought the Prof said the unionisation of religions make it possible for politics to creep into religious cockpit with dire consequences on the polity.”

‘UNILORIN 49’ back in court over non-reinstatement From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin


HE reinstated 49 teachers of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) by the Supreme Court have again taken the university authorities to court to enforce the implementation of the judgment terms. The lecturers, popularly known as “UNILORIN 49”, are asking the Federal High Court, Ilorin, to direct the university to comply with the terms of the Supreme Court judgment, including the payment of their allowances and promotion benefits. The recent developments came after talks broke down between the university and the lecturers, who were meeting with the university through their lawyer, John Baiyeshea (SAN). Baiyeshea had, in a letter in May to the university, said only a full implementation of the orders of the court would be acceptable.

Kwara ACN accuses PDP of lying


HE Kwara State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of lying over the execution of infrastructural development in the state. In statement, the state ACN chairman Kayode Olawepo said: “Our attention has been drawn to a news features in one the newspapers entitled:

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

Revisiting Dangerous Ohan Bridge Linking Kwara and Benin Republic. Olawepo noted that “in the said article, the Kwara State Government claimed to have “fixed” the Ohan bridge and that a total N15million was expended on the reconstruction of this very important bridge.

I’ll rule Benue till 2015, says Suswam From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi


BENUE State Governor Gabriel Suswam has said he would rule the state till 2015 when a new governor would be elected. Speaking at the first Sankera New Yam Festival in Zakibaim, the governor urged the residents to disregard rumours that the court would soon sack him. He said nobody owns the election tribunal. Suswam noted that elections have come and gone, saying a government is in place to lead the stste. The governor urged the residents to team up with his administration to develop the state.



NEWS Finbank sues Edo over alleged N7.611b debt

Sylva to PDP: your decision can’t stand B

AYELSA State Governor Timipre Sylva at the weekend spoke of his commitment to the governorship race next year. He described the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) decision to send the name of the aspirant, which it cleared, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a charade. “The party’s decision cannot stand,” Sylva said. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Doifie Ola, the governor said: “This unfortunate decision of the PDP is condemnable in every democratic sense. “But it is all part of a serial illegality that began since preparation for the governorship election in the state. “It gathered momentum and reached a frightening height with a November 19 primary held against the order of a court of law, and despite the absence of INEC. “The action has been condemned by all and it is only natural that anything emanating from that process cannot stand. Nothing has

‘We are confident that the truth will emerge at the end of the day and, by the grace of God and the will of the people, we will be re-elected’ changed from this truth. “As for me and my able deputy, Werinipre Seibarugu, we remain committed to the February governorship election in Bayelsa State under our great party, the PDP. “We are confident that the truth will emerge at the end of the day and, by the grace of God and the will of the people, we will be re-elected.

“The regrettable misadventure of PDP does not change the fact that we are in court challenging the illegal conduct of PDP in the Bayelsa State governorship race and it is only the court that will have the final say in the matter. “Those trying to plant the seed of illegality at INEC must realise that Nigeria is a country governed under laws and PDP cannot afford to be a lawless fiefdom within the democracy.” Sylva appealed to his supporters to remain calm and positive, saying, “We are confident in the ability of the judiciary to return sanity to the political situation in our state, so that together again we shall continue the patriotic task of taking our state to the next level.” Sylva condemned INEC’s acceptance of the candidate from the November 19 primary. ,“Even though INEC has not announced a shift in its



well advised rejection of the November 19 charade, it is only instructive to warn that INEC, a critical institutional bulwark against political arbitrariness, must resist the temptation to be drawn into the mucky waters of autocratic partisanship, which those who nurse a morbid fear for democracy and free choice have reduced the Bayelsa governorship race to.”

No third phase of amnesty programme, says Jonathan


HE chances of some youths joining the postamnesty programme dimmed yesterday as President Goodluck Jonathan said there would be no third phase of the programme. He said the programme closed on October 4, 2009, when the deadline for disarmament expired. Jonathan spoke through the Special Adviser on Niger Delta Matters, Kingsley Kuku. The President said youths, who are clamouring for another phase of the programme, should explore other employment opportunities. Kuku spoke at the weekend at a pre-departure ceremony in Lagos, where 214 ex-militants were sent to India for vocational training. The ex-militants will be trained in electrical installation, under-water welding,

HE Edo State Government has been sued by one of its bankers, Finbank Plc, over an alleged N7.611 billion debt. In the suit filed before the Federal High Court, Lagos, the state’s Accountant General is the sole defendant. The bank is seeking a court order to appoint an arbitrator to adjudicate on the dispute between parties in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap A18 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. Finbank stated that its prayer was informed by parties’ failure to agree on the choice of an arbitrator as required under Clause 25 of the agreement between them. The bank averred in its originating application, that the state, through the Office of its Accountant-General, via letters dated November 13, 2007 and May 5, 2008 applied for a term loan and overdraft facilities to enable it augment the finance of roads and other development projects. It stated that the state, in September 2008, requested that the overdraft facility be merged with the term loan facilities and subsumed under the term and condition

•Condemns roadblock by ex- militants •214 delegates for India By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

auto mechanics, pipeline fitting, crane operation as well as non-destructive testing. Jonathan said the Indian batch is the largest batch. This brings to 2,214 the youths who are undergoing vocational programmes in different countries. The President condemned the blocking of the LokojaAbuja highway by some 1,600 ex-militants last Thursday. He said the protesters cannot blackmail the government through such display of illegality. Jonathan described the style adopted by the protesters as offensive, a blackmail and breach of national security. His words: “Resorting to a

breach of public peace by taking the laws into their hands is against the spirit of non violence, for which genuine exmilitants are known. “It will be completely out of place for anybody to doubt that the post-amnesty programme has succeeded. “We’re warning detractors not to erode the many benefits the programme has brought to the Niger Delta and the country. “In the first phase of the programme, 20,192 were enrolled by the Amnesty Office demobilisation camp in Obubra, Cross River State. “The demobilisation of the second batch of 6,166 will complete their training by December 20. “The Amnesty Office has

successfully placed 7,556 exmilitants in skills acquisition/ training centres as well as in formal education centres. “In all, the beneficiaries are in 33 training centres in the country.” On the blocking of the Lokoja-Abuja Road, the President said: “It is unfortunate that our brothers are mistaking the word development growth, empowerment, education, to mean amnesty. “ Why did I say so, this programme is targeted at the people, who accepted the amnesty offer since October 4, 2009 ,when that window closed, anybody who is still carrying arms after that time is carrying criminal weapons, it behoves the security agencies to go after them.”

By Eric Ikhilae

applicable to the term loan agreement. Finbank stated that the state utilised the facilities, but has allegedly refused to meet up with its obligation under the loan agreement, despite several requests. It averred that the facilities were secured by an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) on the federal allocation account for the state, which was then domicilled with the bank. The ISPO, the bank stated, allowed it to make deductions from the state’s allocation account. It stated that since the state moved its allocation account to another bank later in 2008, it has allegedly reneged on its obligation under the loan agreement. The bank accused the state of refusing to repay the loan, despite making some concessions to the respondent. Finbank averred that the state’s current indebtedness now stands at N7, 611,161,895.33. Although the case would be mentioned for the first time on December 15, Edo State is yet to file any response.

Uduaghan advises monarchs From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba


ELTA State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan at the weekend urged traditional rulers to sensitise and enlighten their subjects on government policy and programmes. Uduaghan spoke when he presented the staff of office to the ruler of Ughievwen Kingdom, Matthew Edirin Egbin, in Otu-Jeremi, Ughelli South Local Government. He said monarchs enlighten their subjects on programmes and policies of the state. Represented by Deputy Governor Amos Utuama (SAN), the governor promised to support traditional institutions , saying that “as a system of government at the grassroots, the institution must be encouraged to perform.

Auchi Polytechnic graduates 6, 535


TOTAL of 6, 535 students of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, in Edo State, have been awarded National Diplomas and Higher National Diplomas. Also Governor Adams Oshiomhole; former state Chief Judge Justice Constance Momoh; former Education Secretary, Prof. Abraham Imoge and the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Dr. Mas’udu Kazuare were con-

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

ferred with Honorary Fellowships. Speaking at the conferment during the 19th Convocation, Minister of Education Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai said the Federal Government was worried over poor performances of students in school certificate examination, decrepit infrastructure, outdated equipment, inadequate funding and lack of commitment of teachers.

Ibom Airport gets anti-bird strike device By Kelvin Osa Okunbor


O check the increasing menace of bird strike and other wild life hazards in the airspace, the Akwa Ibom International Airport, Uyo, has launched an anti-bird and wild life system. In a statement by the airport’s Head, Public Affairs, Mmek -Abasi Akpabio, the technology, which is known as Cordless Land Air Wild Life System (CLAWS), was inaugurated on December 9 by the Airport Implementation Committee (AIC). According to experts, the device is capable of reducing bird-strike and other wildlife hazards by at least 80 percent. The representative of Avian Systems Corporation of Kentucky, United States, Ankit Chudgar, revealed that the CLAWS technology has “only been installed in Akwa Ibom International Airport in the whole of Africa”. He revealed that the device was first installed by the stretch of the run way and that it will be mobilised every 15 minutes before take offs and landing to scare away birds or wildlife intrusion. The Chairman of AIC, Air Cdre Idongesit Nkanga, said the airport has pioneered the technology on the continent because “the issue of bird- strike and wild life hazard has almost become a nightmare in the global aviation industry, Ibom airport inclusive.”





CBN’s e-payment campaign for Abuja


HE last leg of campaign by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sensitise Nigerians to embrace the e-payment system, is slated for Abuja tomorrow. The exercise, which is meant for states in the North/Central zone, would hold at the Main Auditorium of CBN. The mobilisation train, which kicked off in Lagos nearly a fortnight ago, saw top officials of the apex bank criss-crossing six geo-political zones to mobilise stakeholders. Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna were the rally points. The mobilisation train at various points of call witnessed impressive turnout of participants. The Acting Director, Banking and Payment Services system Department of the CBN, Mr G. I. Emokpare, said the purpose of the forum was enlighten participants as important public sector players, on the approved guidelines on the operation of the e-payment system and to seek their support and buy-in so as to ensure successful implementation and adoption. Emokpare said other objectives of the forum was to present the approved Guidelines on electronic payments of Government Suppliers, all forms of Taxes in Nigeria; and Salary and Pension in Nigeria to the stakeholders as part of the overall implementation strategy. He also said they planned to give participants the opportunity to clarify issues for better understanding where necessary to ensure successful implementation; to sensitise the stakeholders about their thoughts on the new guidelines and to as well as receive feedbacks from participants. ”As you are aware, the Central Bank has been in the forefront in promoting e-payments in the country. In this regard, the Bank recently released three important frameworks on electronic payments to guide both the public and private sector stakeholders.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$115.3/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.3% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $32.820b CFA EUR £ $ ¥ SDR RIYAL



0.2958 206.9 242.1 151.8 1.9179 238 40.472

The fact is the longer the regulatory uncertainty of a Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in equally uncertain form hovers over the industry, the greater the likehood that crucial investment is delayed. -Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources

Nigeria’s fourth fast growing economy, says World Bank N IGERIA’s economy is the fourth fastest growing worldwide, a World Bank official, Richard Sandock, has said. He listed other countries that recorded significant growth in their economies to include the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India China, Speaking at the Seventh National Conference on Investment in Abuja at the weekend, Sandock said: “Nigeria has slowly been coming up and has finally taken over from Russia and South Africa. “ Nigeria had recorded a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 10.3 per cent, 10.6 per cent, 5.4 per cent, 6.2 per cent, 7 per cent, 6 per cent, 7 per cent and 7.4 per cent in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 . As the second quarter of 2011, the country’s economy had grown by 7.72 per cent and is projected to hit 7.98 per cent by the end of the year. The World Bank official

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

noted that all sectors of the economy contributed to the growth, adding that in spite of the growth, Nigeria is still facing serious crisis in the labour market. “In spite of the huge growth Nigeria is making, the labour market is still very choked up, as about four million Nigerians are jobless.Though there are changes in Nigeria, most times, it is not about incentives, but the system of the government. “The system should be there for every kind of change. Investors need stability and predictability, meaning in 10 years, their investment will be as protected as the day they came into that country,” he said. Sandock, said, all the government needs is to ensure that the environment is conducive and safe for business to thrive. These days, it is all about the Public-Private Partnership (PPP), let inves-

tors do their thing, that is most important in any growing economy, he added. Two leading experts Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and researchers at Standard Chartered Bank, had earlier the year predicted that the Nigerian economy would overtake that of South Africa. Some economies of the biggest seven emerging countries (China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey – the E7), as well as South Africa, Nigeria, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, will by that time be bigger than those of the G7 (the US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada), according to the report published on the website of Fin24. PwC’s The World in 2050 report, forecast that Nigeria and Vietnam will replace South Africa and Australia’s positions on the list of the 20 biggest economies in the world simply because their economies will show faster

growth. Also, analyst at Standard Chartered said Nigeria’s GDP would overtake South Africa’s by 2015. Speaking in Lagos, Regional Head of Research, Africa Global Research, Standard Chartered Bank, Razia Khan, had also forecast that by 2015, Nigeria would be the fourth most populous country in the world.. South Africa, which is currently the largest economy in Africa, is eager for elevation to the coveted BRIC status of emerging markets, but investors say Nigeria is a more probable African contender, even if promotion for either is some way off. Khan however, maintained that for these projections to be attained, Nigeria needs a lot of structural growth. She also said the planned removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government would help correct a lot of distortions in the Nigerian economy.

‘Banks transactions in FCT down by 74% From Nduka Chiejina, Assistant Editor


HEQUE transactions in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) declined by 74.16 per cent over the past year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said. The drop was attributed to the successful implementation of the electronic payment system introduced by the Federal Government and the limit of N10 million placed on the value of clearing cheques. The Branch Controller, C B N , A b u j a , J o h n Chukwudifu, who gave the figure on Friday night in Abuja during the yearly dinner of the Abuja Bankers’ Clearing House Committee, said a total of 1.02 million financial instruments valued at N831.53 billion were processed through the clearing house by the end of November, this year, as against 3.96 million cheques valued at N2.56billion processed in the corresponding period of 2010. ”This shows that there is a drop in the use of cheque and an increase in electronic payment. Local and up-coming country cheques are considered cleared after two clearing days. The Federal Government policy on epayment and the limit of N10 million placed on the value of clearing cheques are strictly being adhered to in the clearing house,” he said.

StanChat eyes Nigeria for Islamic banking


• A cross section of Arik Airline crew with hampers for August Crew Incentive winners, at the Arik Airline’s office at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Ikeja, Lagos. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

Banks record N19t assets, liabilities in Q3


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) third quarter deposits and liabilities result for the banks have grown to N19.7 trillion. This represents 8.9 per cent increase over the level at the end of the preceding quarter. The funds, which were sourced, largely, from the increase in their unclassified liabilities and mobilisation of demand deposits were used mainly to increase reserves and extension of credit to the private sector. A CBN circular on third quarter economic report shows the apex bank’s credit to the banks, largely, loans and advances, rose by 3.1 per cent to N396.5 billion at the end of the review quarter.

By Collins Nweze

Also, banks’credit to the domestic economy rose by 13.3 per cent over the level in the preceding quarter to N12.3 trillion while total specified liquid assets of the banks stood at N2,trillion, representing 17.9 per cent of their total current liabilities. The development was attributed, largely, to the 151.4 per cent increase in net claims on the Federal Government. According to the CBN report, the liquidity ratio fell by 20 percentage points from the level at the end of the preceding quarter, and was 12.1 percentage points below the stipulated minimum ratio of 30 per cent. The loans-to-deposit ratio fell by 1.5 percent-

age points below the level at the end of the preceding quarter to 43.4 per cent, and was 36.6 percentage points below the prescribed minimum ratio of 80.0 per cent. Total assets/liabilities of the discount houses stood at N333.8 billion, indicating an increase of 20.9 per cent over the level at the end of the preceding quarter. The rise in assets was accounted for, largely, by the 54 per cent increase in claims on the Federal Government, reinforced by the 5.3 per cent increase in other assets. Correspondingly, the increase in total liabilities was attributed, largely, to the increase of 51.1 and 30.6 per cent in the level of other liabilities and money-at-call, during the period.

Discount houses’ investment in Federal Government securities of less than 91-day maturity rose significantly by 347.5 per cent to N55.71 billion and represented 23.6 per cent of their total deposit liabilities. At this level, discount houses’ investment was also 36.4 percentage points below the prescribed minimum level of 60.0 per cent for this fiscal year. The quarterly report showed that there was no borrowing by the discount houses, while their capital and reserves stood at N49.8 billion. Non-oil receipts stood at N667.3 billion, exceeding the budget estimate, the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding quarter of 2010 by 11.1, 34.3 and 27.9 per cent.

TANDARD Chartered is discussing with regulators to offer Islamic banking services in Nigeria and Oman, now that both countries are revamping their regulatory environments to encourage Islamic finance, the bank’s global head of Islamic banking yesterday. Wasim Saifi, according to Reuters News, said the firm, which already has a strong conventional presence in both markets, was waiting for the countries to finalise their regulatory frameworks for Islamic banking but could offer the services in Oman and Nigeria as early as next year. “We are definitely evaluating the possibility of offering Islamic banking in Oman and Nigeria,” Saifi told reporters. “The opportunity is tremendous. We are in discussions with regulators.” Nigeria’s central bank has been pushing to boost Islamic banking in West Africa’s largest economy. The central bank has approved the creation of the country’s first Islamic bank, Jaiz Bank, and Nigeria will seek to launch a debut sovereign sukuk in the next year. Oman said in May that it would open the door to Islamic banking and let conventional lenders run sharia-compliant operations in a bid to keep investment funds in the Gulf state.




•A table of FAAN revenue progression

With over N22billion debts owed the airport authority by foreign and domestic airlines, the aviation sector is in a deep crisis. Will the regulatory agencies ever recover these debts? KELVIN OSA-OKUNBOR asks as he examines the implications of the debt overhang on the industry.

Burdened by huge debts U

NLESS something urgent is done, the aviation sector risks being grounded because of huge debts owed the regulatory agencies. Tongues are wagging over how the agencies will run such a safety and security related industry in the face of the debts. Investigations conducted by The Nation revealed that foreign airlines and domestic operators were owing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria( FAAN), over N22.9 billion as at last September. The debts, incurred from the non-payment or delayed payment of landing and parking fees and other aeronautical charges, are so huge stakeholders are wondering why the agencies left the debts to build-up without applying the brakes at some point. Questions are being raised whether it is a universal practice, or something peculiar to Nigeria. Why are the airlines, including the foreign outfits evading, or delaying payments to the aviation authorities? Is this also the practice in their home countries? There are some of the questions being asked.

PROSPECTS While the regulators strive to devise means of recovering the debts and in-

crease their revenue profile, operators are complaining of rising operational cost and seeming unprofitability as part of the reasons for not paying their bills. To address the challenge, government agencies adopted some strategies. They include the introduction of credit policy by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the new Pay As You Go regime introduced by the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency ( NAMA). It was also in a bid to reduce this debt profile that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA), earlier in the year entered into a non-disclosure agreement with two commercial banks to collect, on its behalf from airlines, its statutory five per cent ticket sales charge, which many domestic airlines fail to remit, resulting in debt overhang running to billions of naira. Last month, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation embarked on a working tour of aviation facilities in Lagos as part of its oversight functions to ascertain the state of operational facilities as well as probe into the accounts of the agencies, namely FAAN, NCAA and NAMA. None of these measures has made any appreciable impact, as the debt profile is not abating, raising concerns that wielding the big stick against the debtor airlines may be the best way to address the issue.

The Managing Director of FAAN, George Uriesi, said the authority could meet its statutory obligation, if those who utilise its facilities pay for it, affirming that a scenario, where FAAN , is owed about N22.991 billion as at September 2011, by active clients, there is a limit to which anybody could stretch the capability of the authority. How and why the affected organisations will owe FAAN such huge debts, according to Ureisi appears like a calculated attempt to starve the authority of funds, such that it will be enable to attain its potentials.

DEBT PROFILE Available statistics, showed that between 2007 and 2011, the revenue of FAAN has been oscillating around N1.1billion and N1.3 billion. However, in 2010, it rose to between N1.6 billion and N2.3 billion .Statistics released by FAAN, revealed that international airlines owed it about N8.842billion, while domestic carriers indebtedness stood at about N3.233 billion. In addition, debts owed by domestic carriers for regional flight operations, averaged N2.737 billion, bringing the sub- total to about N14.813 billion. Besides, concessionaires owed about N5.617 billion and government agencies and others, N2.561 billion

Investigations also revealed that the concept of airport concession has further plunged FAAN into financial quagmire, as a concession holder, managing the car park at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, was indebted to the tune of over N800 million, before the authority took over the facility, for which it now collects N149. 810, monthly, as against the N4.0 million charge against the concessionaire, previously. Uriesi argued that it would be a herculean task for an organisation burdened by such huge debt profile to be able to tackle the challenges of fixing obsolete terminals and decaying infrastructure, which require billions of naira to address, stressing, “ if aviation agencies must deliver, the airlines and others who are indebted to FAAN, must be able to pay up, otherwise the authority will find it difficult to deliver. Uriesi, queried how the agencies can live up to expectation in the face of poor cash flow, impeding their ability to function and maintain the airports, in addition to meeting recurrent obligations. He said it would be an uphill task with the mount• Continued on page 13




Burdened by huge debts • Continued from page 12

ing debts and creditor balances running into N40.4 billion. But, the airline operators on their side are raising concerns why FAAN cannot tackle airport facilities and services including check- in areas, arrival concourse, air conditioning system, toilets, trolleys, waiting areas, directional signage, which are either unserviceable, unreliable, unavailable or user - unfriendly. Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation also challenged the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN), to give details of the terms of its concession agreements, even as the committee urged the authority to explain the rationale for its failure to meet its N35 billion revenue target for the year, having chalked in only N20 billion as at the end of the third quarter of the year. Speaking while receiving presentations for its financial transactions for the year from FAAN management, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, sought from the authority why it should not be tagged a failed organisation having failed to meet its revenue taget.. She explained that despite the huge budgetary allocation to FAAN, it could not boast of any airport in the country that has the trappings of a modern facility , affirming that FAAN lacks basic airport commercial infrastructure, thereby inhibiting it from meeting its obligations. She wondered why the authority appears unable to recover its huge debts, saying it is inconceivable that FAAN could not turn the obvious commercial advantages of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport to a money spinner, instead of relying on aeronautical sources for its revenue. She expressed reservations over the lopsided expenditure profile of FAAN, which is weighed higher on overhead costs, running into 60 per cent as opposed to capital projects which pegs around 40 per cent. The committee chairman also sought to know, why FAAN will pay over N1.2 billion to two of its concessionaires, as opposed to the target N890 million earmarked for such payment. She said : “How come the concessionaires are owing FAAN and could not pay ? It is clear that FAAN lacks live cycle. It then follows that FAAN may have failed as an organisation. This is because of the way and manner the organisation runs, the irregularities that surrounds its concession agreements. It also appears there is no plan to make Nigerian airports look like what they should look like. Could it be privatised, considering the huge investment of capital in the airports , which gives the feeling that budgeting in FAAN is just like a ritual.” She however cautioned the managing director of FAAN, Mr George Uriesi to take responsibility and make the airport system work, as the committee will no longer accept diplomatic answers on key questions that border on the processes and procedure for effective airport administration. She said : “ You have to shun directives from above and work according to the law, because if anything happens, you will be held liable. FAAN has potentials to make as a huge money spinner for government, but it is sad to note that FAAN is on the intensive care unit, which is about to die, but this committee will rescue it from dying.” Worst still, is wide spread ignorance of modern airport management practices and processes.” Commenting on the issue, an aviation expert, Mr Chris Aligbe, who is chief executive office of Belujane Konsult, explained that if the airport system must work well, government must take further steps to embrace full concessioning of major airports including the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, even as he said Lagos deserves at least a major international and domestic terminal, which is re-

quired to cope with the expected traffic. He said: “ We need a legal policy framework that could cater for the development of airports, airlines and ground handling companies, which will provide a road map for the development of the aviation industry. At the moment there is no such specific policy in the aviation industry which we help the industry have good airports and airlines. How do you expect FAAN to manage the 22 airports, and yet remain profitable. It is for this reason that we advocate that all Nigerian airports should be concessioned. That is the only option to achieve global standards for airports, which will bring about private sector funding. It may be difficult to canvass the concession option in the aviation industry for now, because of the old experience of concession. Government then needs to put in place a legal and legislative framework to achieve airport concessions.” Aligbe called for engagement of all operators either they are involved in domestic , regional and intercontinental flights to agree with the terms of operations concerning the payment of navigational charges, as is the practice abroad. He reasoned that it will not serve the industry any good if airlines fail to pay their bills, such that some of the funds will invested to fix operational infrastructure . Also speaking, the managing director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency ( NAMA), Nnamdi Udoh, reasoned that the agencies will only function better if airlines both domestic and foreign pay their bills, a development he said gave rise to the pay as you go regime introduced by the agency. Udoh also affirmed that since NAMA introduced the new payment regime, it has witnessed improvement in revenue, as even as the introduction of sanctions to debtor airlines will help to shape the affairs of the sector. He stated that government was concerned about the huge debt noting that NAMA would be able to provide quality service if the airlines cleared the debts.

•Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah-ogiemwinyi,

It was gathered that Arik Air owes NAMA N1, 107,674,989.30 and NCAA, N2, 502,420.188.11. Aero Contractors is the second largest debtor. It owes NCAA N737, 077,188.30 and NAMA, N731, 334,432.26 IRS Airlines’ indebtedness to the parastatals stands at NCAA, N672, 446,155.22 and NAMA, N343, 624,942.45. While Dana Air owes a total of N643, 354,939.15 to both the agencies, Air Nigeria owes a total of N243, 492,235.39 with debt to NCAA standing at N15, 125,450.65 and NAMA, N228, 366, 784. 74. Chanchangi which operates skeletally owes NCAA N386, 767, 375.99 and NAMA N862, 635,565.90. Bellview which stopped flying in 2009 and is making a comeback with new a new airline, First Nation Airways also owes NCAA, N87, 426, 947.32 and NAMA, 317, 647,309.62. However, the General Manager, Public

Affairs of NAMA, Supo Atobatele, who confirmed the figures, said some airlines had started paying but he did not disclose how much had been collected so far. Also speaking on the issue, an expert who does not want his name in print said : “Aviation in Nigeria is generally very enthusiastic but I think the government is not giving the necessary support needed in terms of importation of aircraft. You see when an airline wants to start operation the owner has to go and source for know how our banks behave. The airlines are suffering from a lot of things; even the cost of processing licence is high. It is not the certificate itself that does aviation; we got our certification, documentation and paper work from the civil aviation in Ghana with less than $10,000. “But in Nigeria if you want to register an airline today, guess how will pay millions just to register and get the certificate. Just to register and get the certificate they say you must capitalise to millions of naira. Infrastructure is a serious problem at the airports. Government should involve the private sector in the provision of facilities at the airports. Airlines are threatened by exorbitant charges. Terminal navigational charges have been introduced and airlines are made to pay up front. I don’t know American domestic airlines that pay taxes to the government that are still required to pay terminal charges. “Even if they do, I think Nigeria, as a developing economy, should waive such. That is why I insist that we need to look at those who advise the government to see whether they are telling government the truth or they are using their imagination. I don’t see why the government should collect navigational and terminal charges besides the five per cent passenger service charge that the domestic airlines pay. Government should look at the issue of terminal charges because the future of Nigerian aviation is great.” Also speaking on the challenges African airlines grapple with, the Regional Vice President Africa of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Mr. Mike Higgins berated the continent over the very high navigational charges and the proliferation of aviation development fees. He said air transport infrastructure in Africa is much in need of improvement as development has been slow due to various reasons. Demuren, also affirmed that aviation business is not a gold mine.He said the rate of return on investment in aviation was about two to three per cent for the airlines or even manufacturers. Stating that marketers have raised price of their product over time while the carriers have only marginally increased air fares, Demuren added: “We cannot operate that way.The price of aviation fuel in Nigeria is ridiculous; too high. We need to knock this down. We are working on it and I believe we will be able to do this. We can’t continue this way.” He expressed gratitude to God that the Federal Government was doing a lot to refine crude in Nigeria, stressing that the country had been doing this before. “There are a lot of loopholes that we are trying to close right now. We are talking with the government. The third meeting we have with the fuel marketers will be major because everybody will be present. “Aviation business is not a gold mine. A lot of people who come to this industry feel it is a gold mine. The rate of return on investment in aviation is about two to three per cent for the airlines or even manufacturers. “Most of the cash flow you see belongs to fuel marketers, maintenance organisation, training facility and they have to pay lease rental, only little belongs to the airlines”, he added. If the aviation industry will move forward, government has to strengthen the capacity of the agencies to sanction debtor carriers and many who owe huge sums, which could be used to develop the sector. The option of moratorium, it has been observed has not helped the system, as airlines are only settling their current bills without recourse to offsetting the huge debts they have accumulated over time. Government must as a matter of urgency arrest the arbitrariness where foreign carriers pay for navigation charges in other countries , only to renege when they operate into Nigeria.















Mr. Putin seeks a scapegoat

Ray of hope •Regulation to make states distribute electricity will improve power supply


TS previous energy policy failures notwithstanding, current efforts of the Federal Government at finding a solution to the challenges in the sector, if sustained, suggest that the country’s energy crisis may abate soon. The 36 state governments will, hopefully, by next month get the statutory right to generate and distribute electricity from and within their domain. This indication was given by the Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, at a workshop on the review of the ‘Independent Electricity Distribution Network’ draft regulation in Abuja, the federal capital. Although, we commend the Federal Government for this achievement, it is rather sad that it took the country this long to get to this point in the sector. For, whereas Nigeria professes federalism as her mode of governance, its public administration praxis is everything but federal. All these years, the Federal Govern-

‘While we are confident that the proposed deal, if well implemented, would lead to improved power supply, we are also not unmindful of the inadequacies in the government bureaucracies. This is certainly not the time that men and officers of the Nigerian Customs Service will refuse to clear, on schedule, items imported by the states or their agents, for power generation and or distribution’

ment had been behaving as if electricity could be decreed into existence when all that is needed to free Nigeria from the self-imposed shackles of energy crisis and its attendant darkness, is an enabling law that federalises the generation and distribution of power. It is obvious now that hitherto, energy policies in the country were shaped in the image of bad politics of the political gladiators and the parochial interests of a few, all of which are adversative to meaningful development. What had happened in both Kwara State (under Bukola Saraki), and the incumbent Governor Rotimi Amaechi in Rivers State, wherein an arrangement was made to side-step the counter-productive National Grid scheme, so as to make internally generated power available to Nigerians in their respective states is commendable. This proposed initiative should encourage the leadership in other states to take the bull by the horns with regard to energy generation and distribution within their domain. Lagos State has a particularly impressive story. It was the first to begin the idea of Independent Power Producer (IPP) scheme in the country. To consolidate on this, the state government conducted an energy audit preparatory to other anticipated IPPs in the state, as soon as the power minister, Prof Barth Nnaji and Amadi made the latest pronouncement on the proposed change in energy policy. But we shudder that Nnaji could still be advocating the idea of National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) after five

decades of operating the redundant National Grid power scheme, which is anachronistic to the socio-economic realities of today. The Federal Government must not bungle this opportunity to gain back a measure of political goodwill and public confidence which previous policy somersaults and failures to deliver on schedule had robbed it of. The current figure of 4,000 megawatts being paraded by the power minister as the current achievement seems fictitious, as it has not translated to improved supply of electricity to many Nigerians, and this has to be addressed. While we are confident that the proposed deal, if well implemented, would lead to improved power supply, we are also not unmindful of the inadequacies in the government bureaucracies. This is certainly not the time that men and officers of the Nigerian Customs Service will refuse to clear, on schedule, items imported by the states or their agents, for power generation and or distribution. It is trite to begin to enumerate the opportunities and advantages of sustained stable supply of electricity in the country. Suffice it to say that most developmentcentred programmes of both the states and the Federal Government rest on availability of a steady supply of power. When this is assured, investors will be motivated to do business in the energy sector. Jobs for different levels of skills will be provided. Based on the same principle of healthy federalism, states can now begin to prospect other idling away resources to improve their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Bonds matter •Delta State govt should use the proceeds wisely


EPTEMBER 29, the Delta State government concluded its N50 billion bond issue – said to be a first tranche out of the N100 billion bond issuance programme –to finance infrastructural projects. The issue, which carries a fixed interest rate of 14 percent with a tenor of seven years and a maturity date of September 29, 2018, which the government claims are tied irrevocably to the execution of infrastructural projects in various parts of the state has naturally attracted more than a passing interest. Not a few critics of the government have said that a state like Delta with so much revenue accruing from the federation account has no business approaching the capital market at this time, not to talk of accumulating debts for the future. There are also concerns raised about possible abuses and mismanagement of bond proceeds. Clearly, these concerns are legitimate. Rather than dismiss them as being misplaced, we are inclined to see the furore over the bond issue as healthy, perhaps a necessary part of the democratic process, stemming from the same basic concerns with issues of value-for-money and accountability, two vexing issues in our public finance system. The question is why the bonds, and why at this time? After all, the state is a leading oil producer, hence a leading beneficiary of the current good fortunes in oil prices. One way to look at the matter is to concede to the state government

its prerogatives as to what constitutes its priorities. The other is to acknowledge the hunger, if not the thirst for accelerated development. The issue is not to deny the imperatives but to see how the capital issue can be pressed into service to deliver the public good. Truth is – no state, not even the Federal Government has enough for its developmental needs. In this, Delta State has merely joined in the trail blazed by Lagos, and which has since been embraced by Kwara, Rivers, among several other states that have exploited the option of the bond market as bridge-head to finance critical projects. Apart from being cheaper than bank loans (indeed they represent the cheapest possible sources of funds), they have longer gestation periods. Bonds enjoy the additional attraction of availing its issuer the benefit of warehoused funds to draw upon quickly as against the normal flow of revenue from the federation account which sometimes comes in trickles and which, more often than not does not reflect the states’ work plans or their statements of priorities. At stake of course is the use to which the proceeds of the bond are to be deployed. The rights of the citizens to have full details of costs, project duration and completion dates seem to us an inescapable part of the process of its completion. Apart from forming the basis on which the people can draw judgement on

whether or not the state government stayed the course, we consider it elementary to the due process requirement. We expect that the state government would not only put up an effective framework for project monitoring and evaluation, it should open up the entire process to public scrutiny. The strictures of the bond issuance process, although tedious, cannot vitiate the need for a proper mechanism for monitoring the utilisation of the proceeds, particularly in an environment where issues of budgetary discipline have remained at a most rudimentary level. Having said that, the ultimate test of the efficacy of the bond instrument as indeed, the intentions of government is when values are delivered timely, and in qualitative terms.

‘At stake of course is the use to which the proceeds of the bond are to be deployed. The rights of the citizens to have full details of costs, project duration and completion dates seem to us an inescapable part of the process of its completion. Apart from forming the basis on which the people can draw judgement on whether or not the state government stayed the course, we consider it elementary to the due process requirement’


WENTY years after the fall of communism, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia seems determined to resurrect the Soviet playbook. His United Russia Party tried to steal a parliamentary election on Sunday, and, when the results still delivered a stinging rebuke, he claimed the United States was whipping up protests and demonstrations. Mr. Putin could have acknowledged voters’ dissatisfaction — his party’s parliamentary majority plummeted from 315 to 238 seats — and tried to address it, like democratic leaders might do. Instead, on Thursday, he accused Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of instigating street protests. He warned that Russia must protect against “interference” by foreign governments and hinted darkly at reprisals against demonstrators. The charges are bizarre. After international observers reported widespread fraud by Putin supporters, Mrs. Clinton expressed “serious concerns” on Monday and Tuesday that the vote was neither free nor fair. It was ludicrous for Mr. Putin to claim that that was a “signal” that brought Russians to the streets three days running despite a heavy police presence and more than 1,000 detentions. The protesters were clear what motivated them: They were outraged by the fraud and tired of the status quo and Mr. Putin. It’s true that Golos, Russia’s only independent electoral monitoring group, receives grants from the United States and Europe. But, as a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia agreed that foreign and domestic election observers enhance the electoral process. The Soviet Union also signed a series of agreements on human rights that it ignored. Mrs. Clinton and the White House did the right thing on Thursday by repeating their criticisms of the vote. She also expressed support for the “rights and aspirations” of the Russian people. They will need to keep speaking out; government opponents plan another protest for Saturday. – New York Times TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile •Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon •Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina •Group Political Editor Bolade Omonijo •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu •Abuja Bureau Chief Yomi Odunuga •Sport Editor Ade Ojeikere •Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu • Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •Chief Internal Auditor Toke Folorunsho •Senior Manager (sales) Akeem Shoge •Advert Manager Robinson Osirike •IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness •Press Manager Udensi Chikaodi •Manager, Corporate Marketing Hameed Odejayi • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye





IR: Naturally one would have waited for government’s white paper on OOU visitation panel before commenting on the crises that have engulfed the institution since 2009 but the rumours making rounds that the report is being doctored compelled this article. The continued silence of the government on the report heightened the fears that Governor Ibikunle Amosun may have bowed to pressure to sustain some illegalities orchestrated by OOU’s governing council as contained in the report some which have been reported by a national newspaper. The government will fare better if OOU’s crises did not spill into 2012. Governor Amosun has repeatedly stated both at home and abroad that he will issue a white paper as soon as the panel submits its report. The zeal with which the panel was set up has dissipated and


OOU’s harvest of crises this portends danger for early resuscitation of OOU which looks like being on borrowed energy. Even within government itself, there is a level of confusion about what are the proposals that might be part of an actual commitment of the state to a more functional and people oriented OOU. The continued withdrawal of funds from the university might have held the government back from rescuing the institution from a cabal who are desirous of ruining it beyond repairs. However, it must be told clear and loud that

the longer the problems remain unsolved the worse the situation becomes due to lack of focus and clear administrative policy by the present management. The present principal officers are not the best OOU could be proud of. Their continued stay in offices would spell irredeemable doom for OOU. The hijacking of a state institution such as OOU, a legacy of vision by Chief Awolowo that traditionally brings happiness and joy to the staff and students by a few individuals for selfish ambitions should be viewed as criminal, unacceptable

and condemnable. There is no doubt that OOU is in crisis as most citizens of the state now know better. The government might think the crisis is normal and will be resolved but the crisis is intellectual and affecting the poor parents and helpless students whose future are tied to a more efficient and productive university. With the future of OOU now seemingly for grabs, the government must make it explicitly clear that it will not agree to any solution that doesn’t include

The sour logic of sex perverts


IR: Like the legendary Phoenix that always emerges from its very ashes whenever it is thought to have been destroyed, Nigerians, for the umpteenth time, were again treated to a grisly spectacle of warped debate by advocates of homosexual practice recently at the floor of the National Assembly. In what may sum up as the kernel of their argument, as espoused by a self-acclaimed spokesperson of the amorphous association called “Nigerian Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transsexuals and Intersex living in Diaspora”, they claim that a number of talented Nigerian homosexuals are living outside the country and helping to develop their host countries but are afraid to come and live in their own motherland, Nigeria, for fear of being victimized. They capped up their grouse with the all-pervasive justificatory catch phrase, “unfair treatment” And thus, proceeding from the standpoint of the above jeremiad, the proponents of homosexual freedom sought to prove to the rest of us how deep we have fallen into the cesspit of ignorance and consequently, how far backward we are from the fast moving bandwagon of modernity, in our continued in-

sistence on repugnancy to morality and religion as bases for opposition to homosexual practice. While it is conceded that homosexual practice has existed for ages in the history of mankind, given the biblical expression of divine malediction against it, at no time since the emergence of the malefaction called sex perversion, has its proponents been as bold as they are now in their collective quest for societal recognition and imprimatur. In their bid to scientifically validate the points as to why the strange malefaction must be allowed to co-exist with the heterosexual practice, the homosexuals usually resort seek to take refuge either in the concept of personal liberty as enshrined in Fundamental Human Rights or in what the term natural orientation. To start with, what is fundamental right? There is a universal consensus that fundamental rights are inalienable entitlements divinely bestowed on mankind by reason only of his being part of human species. It presupposes that the rights guaranteed as fundamental rights are neither bestowed by the law nor can be taken away by the law. Flowing from the above, can it

validly be argued that the divine creator, who, in the beginning, created man and woman and bestowed on them their respective gender capabilities, would again turn around to create a man and bestow on him female sexual orientation, except there is a distortion of the original plan by another?It is this distortion, I make bold to say, that is the missing link in all the arguments about homosexual practice. That a sexually distorted personality seeks to orient himself toward the opposite sex cannot be at-

tributed to the creator as all that God created in the beginning was perfect. Gay, lesbianism or whatever, cannot be justified in any circumstance, anymore than the victims of nymphomania who also lay claim to belonging to that cloistered and nebulous constituency called “natural orientation”. The fact is the sex pervert are in dire need of help, but will they admit it? • Chris Edache Agbiti, Esq. Maitama, Abuja

a comprehensive stakeholders’ forum that will proffer endurable solution to the lingering problems of the university. The searchlight should be beamed on the former administrators of the University starting from the third Vice Chancellor who planted the seeds of discord that have perpetually nurtured by different groups. It will be recalled that the 1996 ASUU strike during which Prof O.Y Oyeneye was the Vice Chancellor started these harvest of crises. That period was when bickering, nepotism and cronyism became official language at OOU. For a productive OOU to rebound, the past administrators must be brought to a round table for dialogue to appeal to their foot soldiers who always poise for a ‘return match ‘at slightest misunderstanding. The likes of Professors Sodipo Olubi, Titus Bamkole, Lai Ogunkoya and Afolabi Soyode, if still alive, should be incorporated to champion a clarion call and a road map for a new OOU. The state and the people have a lot to lose if the university degenerated beyond its present condition. Ogun State sets the pace in education and other sectors and cannot afford to take the back bench in running its universities in accordance with what is universally obtainable. Politics should not override the interest of the people. OOU deserves the best! •Adedeji Solanke (P.hD) Ontario, Canada

Kudos to FCT Minister on sanitation


IR: The Federal Capital Territory and its aesthetics in recent times have taken a new and better look. This is based on the vision and determination of the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of positioning the Territory as one of the 20 cleanest cities in the world by the year 2020. This is also in line with the transformational agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The FCT Minister too an assertive step by appointing Mr. Isa Shu’aibu to head the Abuja Environment Protection Board as pivot

for the implementation of the new strategy for ridding the FCT of dirt and the pestilence it poses. The new strategy seems to be paying dividends, as in a short period of time, the FCT is becoming free of environmental degradation and other social pestilence including but not limited to street hawking along the roads and other noncommercial areas of the FCT, reckless parking of vehicles on the roads that have hampered vehicular movements. Already the enforcement of strict penalties on residents that contravene the AEPB laws is underway,

with an order to residents to make certain that weeds and bushes are not allowed to grow around their houses or plots. The residents of the FCT must gear up to the obligation of certifying that the city becomes cleaner; and we must also assist Senator Bala’s administration in keeping our capital city clean. The FCT Minister has reiterated that with regards to the strict adherence to environmental laws there will be no sacred cows. • Mohammed Awwalu Ibro, Adisa Estate Abuja.




Bayelsa: let PDP live up to its name


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been in power in Nigeria for more than 12 years. By now, the inherited military dictatorial mentality ought to have given way to the assimilation of democratic principles. But internal democracy, principles and consistency have become scarce in the party, causing apprehension in the hitherto assumed secured political firmament. Name is meant to be a reflection of an image. Democracy is not intended to be just an appellation for the sake of it, but a guiding principle in governance that empowers the people. Since the commonplace definition of democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people, then the recurring tag (people) must be at the centre of its reality. And this was what the slogan of ‘power to the people’ by a political party called the PDP must have been fashioned to manifest. The beauty of genuine democracy is not its being built on the people alone, but more when the people have the liberty to actualise the choice of their conscience. It would not matter if the choice should turn sour, an opportunity would have been emplaced to remedy the error of choice. This right of choice might have been what brought about the saying that people deserve any government they have – good or bad. The irony of our new dispensation democracy is that those voted to power see themselves as wiser than those who gave them the mandate. The trend has been that whenever election campaign comes, the people will be elevated with the chant of their right to vote. The aroma of office-seekers’ love for the people would fill the air. But as soon as the people are cajoled to release their votes, the humility and modesty of politicians disappears for pride and arrogance towards the elevation of dominating self-interest. The right of the people to good things of life would not only be relegated, but in most instances it would be turned around as favour to be sought. As concluded by Major General Muhammadu Buhari, not only has PDP underdeveloped Nigeria and caused primordial sentiments to divide the citizens, its credibility as a willing democratic nation remains at the ebb. As was the case under the semi-military Olusegun Obasanjo administration, democracy in the nation still remains on trial. Under Obasanjo was the era of selective obedience to court orders. Even though an elected president, Obasanjo ruled the military way: no respect for justice and the right of the people to determine their destiny. Elections were blatantly manipulated; governors that failed to do the personal will


T may seem somewhat churlish or ill-tempered to raise doubts about the international degree - by which I mean university degrees obtained outside the country, in particular from Europe and United States – at a time when the decay and virtual free fall of our universities have forced Nigerian elites who can afford it to seek resort in training their sons and daughters outside of Nigeria. Let us bear in mind too that this an age of globalization in which an emergent cosmopolitan culture is fast erasing or at least co-opting provincial cultures and identities. There is the point too that an international degree offers a fast-track through which its privileged holder can access the global job market. What more, training that is assisted by cutting edge technologies and state of the art academic infrastructure is likely to place the trainee at a great advantage in terms of fitting-in into the global technocracy. I grant all of these, but confess that my exposure to some of the academic output in some overseas institutions in the shape of for example, post graduate dissertations in the Social Sciences have revived my doubts about the worth and value of these highly marketed and admittedly prestigious international degrees. Let me clarify that my apprehensions pertain more to the Arts and Social Sciences than to the ‘core’ scientific disciplines where the state of technology and laboratories for example may sway the debate in favour of those who think there is no point making a comparison between degrees acquired abroad and those obtained in Nigeria. To put the issue in better perspective, let us recall the widely quoted remark of Trevor Roper, at the time Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford, England, who when confronted with a demand by African students to be taught African history which at the time did not exist in the university curriculum retorted “There is nothing like African history. The history of Africa is the history of White peoples in Africa. Beyond that, all that exist are the barbarous gyrations of savage peoples in remote but picturesque corners of the globe”. To be sure, these remarks were made in the 1960s and were protested by the African students to whom they were made by the eminent professor, but if you assume that perspectives which downplay, mythologise or scoff-at African culture and civilisation no longer exist in the hallowed centers of learning around the world, then you are mistaken. It was not so long ago for example that Tod Moss in an article which appeared in a journal published by Cambridge University Press argued that liberal democracy cannot succeed in Africa because the continent lacks a history that supports such a system of government. In short, racist and denigrating scholarship is very much alive and well in the West. The other day, I screamed very hard at a young Nigerian who studied in the United States and took pains to extol in a newspaper article, American heroes while writing-off disdainfully Nigerian nationalists, most of whom may have been unknown

of the president were yanked off their seats contrary to the civilised rule of law. Whatever the president desired was forced on the people. Therefore, that his eight-year rule thereafter fizzled away without leaving much significant impact on the populace was no surprise. That was also the story of the wasteful years of the military in power. Today, an Obasanjo who was privileged to be at the helm of the nation’s affairs for no fewer than cumulative 11 years cannot be confident of running for a ward election in his Ogun State without being disgraced at the poll. It is a pity that President Jonathan seems to be desperately willing to tow that failed line of his political grandfather. Towing a line of democratic dysfunctionality might just have meant a resignation to end the same way like a failed predecessor. Charity, it is said, begins from home. Likewise, dishonour too takes its root at home. The ongoing political impasse in Bayelsa State, the president’s home state cannot be said to be good for the health of our sagging democracy. Incumbent Governor Timipre Sylva wants a second term, but because the President has some personal scores to settle with him, he is making all efforts to deny the people of their legitimate and constitutional right to place judgement on his eligibility. It is adverse that a president who got to office by grace is the same working to deny another person of grace. And unfortunately, the political party placed to adjudicate with fairness is taking side. Sylva might have been a disappointment to the PDP in any way, but the party should be responsible for his performance for throwing him up as their flag bearer in the first place. If the party now feels it needs a performance-oriented candidate to flag its banner, it should have been done without a trace of Aso Villa and without infringing on the rights of Governor Sylva. Justice is the panacea for peace, progress and socio-economic development. A government cannot go far if it perpetrates injustice, especially when court order are truncated and defied to suit personal purposes. The manner the socalled primaries in Yenegoa were held clearly showed it was all in a bid to oust Sylva. The town was militarised so as to intimidate; whereas the decent approach would have been to give the party members the freedom to vote Sylva out if that was their desire. If not, let the people go for whosoever they want, even among the president’s several men that stepped forward as camouflages. The hope of the people of Bayelsa now is in the judiciary, if only it would be allowed to perform in the way the new Chief Justice of the Federation has publicly enunciated. In pushing Sylva’s case, Femi Falana has even introduced an interesting dimension. His argument is that Sylva’s victory at the PDP governorship primaries held in January is still valid. He said although the election scheduled for April was later postponed on the basis of a court ruling, Sylva remains the party’s candidate as long as he has not withdrawn his interest.

Thoughts on foreign degrees By Ayo Olukotun to her. As I have repeatedly argued in several write-ups, higher educational institutions do not exist in a cultural or ideological vacuum, but serve as the great carriers and conveyor belts of the cultures and civilisations in which they reside. Global powers may of course take scholarly interest in other parts of the world, but this interest is peripheral to their main task of transmitting to successive generations the pillars and building blocks of their own civilisations. Necessarily therefore, one is not surprised to find out that many so-called experts on Nigeria or indeed Africa in the western world have superficial acquaintance with the continent while scholarship on Africa or African studies dwells precariously in the back waters of these institutions. Here we encounter the paradox that while Nigeria has become a very attractive market for overseas institutions, there is little corresponding attempt by these institutions to widen their curriculum and cultural purview to take account of the ranks of Nigerian youths swelling their populations. We owe the revelation to the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that 71, 000 Nigerian students pay as much as N150b as school fees in Ghana, an amount that is more than the N121b which the Federal Government budgets annually for universities. We do not have corresponding figures for the United Kingdom and the United States, but they are likely if computed, to be more astonishing than what Sanusi has revealed. Apart from the cultural underside of the matter discussed earlier, there may be emerging the phenomenon which can be described as degrees for export which implies that to an extent, some overseas universities may for several imaginable reasons carve-out well packaged degrees to satisfy the rising tide of privileged Nigerian youths knocking at their gates for ‘meal tickets’. This remark is not intended as denigration either of the many Nigerians who have studied productively abroad or of the many institutions which throw their doors wide open to the swelling mass of Nigerian youths; as indicated previously however, the intellectual gaps and idiosyncrasies of many of these institutions with respect to other parts of the globe may explain a situation in which adequate attention is not paid to for example to post graduate students working on Nigerian or African topics. Let me illustrate this perhaps surprising assertion with reference to one doctoral dissertation done by a Nigerian resi-

According to Falana, the provision of section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) are now very clear that once a political party has submitted the name of a candidate” to INEC for a particular elective office, “the political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute the name of that candidate” pursuant to Section 32 of the Act. For him therefore, the conduct of a fresh PDP governorship primary in Bayelsa State was unnecessary. This position has now pushed the task to the court. To the Ethnic Minority and Indigenous Rights Organisation of Africa (EMIROAF) the crisis over who flies the governorship flag in Bayelsa State is a time bomb. In a release by the organisation, “It is difficult to understand what has happened between January 2011, and now to warrant the rejection of the same Timipre Sylva by the PDP central working committee.” As earlier said, the party is playing the president’s game. And that is where the error lies. Whatever gives PDP the assumption that it has already won the governorship election, no matter who is fielded is a pride that can be subdued by the people? If truly it believes that power belongs to the people, it should allow the same people to exercise their right of determining their political fortune. Credibility is like virginity. Once it is lost, it can never be recovered. Let PDP work towards retaining the credibility of its name as a democratic party that believes in the rule of law. Let it guide the President to imbibe the ultimate reality that democracy by selection will never work in favour of the people. Imposition of candidate on the people will not yield the result of performance desired by the people. The profitable concept is when the people are allowed to decide who becomes their accountable leader.

‘Let PDP work towards retaining the credibility of its name as a democratic party that believes in the rule of law. Let it guide the President to imbibe the ultimate reality that democracy by selection will never work in favour of the people. Imposition of candidate on the people will not yield the result of performance desired by the people’ dent in the United States and which I spent some time reading on the internet because the author had cited some of my published work in the area of political communication. Although, it is inappropriate to extensively review such a scholarly work in a forum like this, I am constrained to point out in the context of earlier remarks that the study, which is in some respects magnificent, is diminished by factual errors perhaps occasioned partly by a long prolonged absence from Nigeria, and partly because the university from where the student graduated may have no competent supervisor who could have weeded out these infelicities and howlers. The capacity to insert one’s area of study in the contemporary literature is one of the beauties of overseas training given the existence of up to date libraries, digital archives, and public cultures which privilege intellectual work, even for its own sake. It is another matter however for the trainees to engage on a consistent basis empirical topics deriving from their cultural roots about which there may not necessarily exist detailed knowledge in the countries in which they are studying. Another way of putting this point is to ask the question: is a post-graduate study on Yoruba culture better undertaken at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife or at the University of Manchester in England? To answer this question, would in my opinion require that Nigerian universities continuously upgrade their academic support services to render them topical, and as the saying goes, world-class while universities abroad ought to increasingly collaborate with Nigerian universities, perhaps through insistence on part-Nigerian supervision for students working on Nigerian topics beyond the ritual demand for field work which in some cases are dispensed with. This brings us to the well-known expression ‘the global in the local and the local in the global’; this suggests that Nigerian universities, even in their current attenuated state, may still be the best location to undertake certain kinds of research, or at a minimum where the increasing deficiencies of overseas study can be remedied. Finally, the point must be made all over that a nation that downgrades its educational institutions and remains indifferent to the price tags of educating its youths outside its borders is simply mortgaging its own future, as well as deforming the present rather than transforming it. • Olukotun is Professor of Political Science at Lead City University, Ibadan.

‘But this interest is peripheral to their main task of transmitting to successive generations the pillars and building blocks of their own civilisations’





HEN former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon speaks, we are wont to take him very seriously. This is especially so when the issue in focus has to do with the unity and progress of this country. Gowon it was who shouldered the burden of waging a 30-month civil war to unite the country so that the task of nation building can progress. Thus, he is in a better stead to appreciate the sentiments that gave rise to that war, the sufferings, deprivations and the overall toll the war had on this nation. In the same vein, he should be the first person to suffer the pains of seeing all the efforts to keep Nigeria one come to naught. He must have been moved by these sentiments when he bared his mind recently at an international conference on Islam, peacebuilding and political engagement organized by the Bayero University, Kano in collaboration with the British Council. Such frustrations must have been at play when he told his audience that the creation of political domains which they pursued during his tenure as Head of State for the purpose of national unity when “we created the states, had unfortunately been bastardized as a means of keeping us apart rather than bringing us together as a nation”. While calling for re-dedication and the pursuit of national unity, Gowon lamented that “our political journey as a nation has tended to play the ostrich over a few issues that have continued to resurface as thorns in our flesh”. The issues which he said are constitutional in nature include the practice of true federalism, the question of indigene versus settlers, the challenge of revenue mobilization and allocation/ derivation principle and the concept of rotation of power. For him, the nation has the opportunity to address these thorny issues now that the Justice Belgore Commission has been set up to look into matters requiring constitutional amendment. Gowon has said it all. The occasion he chose to express his frustrations is also instructive. It is good a thing that Bayero University and the British Council found common ground on the theme of the conference especially at this time of our political evolution. This kind of constructive engagement promises more benefits to us than the vile attempts to implant discredited alien practices (gay or same sex marriage) on our people.

Emeka OMEIHE 08121971199 email:

Gowon’s lamentations But this is not the first time Nigerians have been challenged to the realities which these issues pose in the task of nation building. Since the return to democracy in 1999, there have been strident calls for these issues to be addressed so that this country can move forward. Many have cried out that as long as these contentious challenges of our federal structure are allowed to fester so long will our nation remain in the doldrums. The strident agitations for constitutional conference, sovereign constitutional conference and far-reaching constitutional amendments are clear evidence of this realization. In this wise, Gowon’s views fit in appropriately into similar ones expressed by Nigerians. But there is a difference here. On account of the unique role he played in the political evolution of the nation, he is the fit and appropriate person to speak on the matter and be taken very seriously else we run the risk of repeating the costly mistakes of the past. But what remains curious however, is that despite the seeming wide consensus on these issues, no progress seems to have been made in redressing them. The question that comes to mind is, in whose interest is it that Nigeria should continue to groan under these suffocating and debilitating problems. Whose interests are better served by the promotion of the negative sides of these destabilizing tendencies? These are the questions to ponder especially as Gowon, the chief apostle of Nigerian unity has lamented the continued slide to the precipice. He has blamed politicians for this ruinous slide in the same manner they were blamed for events that precipitated the first military coup in 1966 and the civil war

that followed. But many including the politicians themselves have severally spoken on the urgent need for true federalism and all the issues raised by Gowon. Many have spoken on the imperative of renegotiating the fundamentals of our existence as a federation as manifested in such issues as revenue sharing formula, derivation, residency factor and power rotation. So will it be right to solely blame the politicians for the unwillingness to take the right steps to save this country? Instead of blaming politicians alone, we should lay the blame at the door steps of a cabal that profits from keeping Nigeria in a perpetual state of conflict. We need to identify and unmask that cabal for this nation to make progress. Among them are those who have displaced the overall interests of the country with their self serving interests. Before now, the Obasanjo administration had responded to the vortex of public opinion on the imperative of restructuring through the setting up of the National Political Reforms Conference. The conference made wide consultations and deliberated extensively on the vexed issues of our federal arrangement. Members made compromises and arrived at far reaching decisions that would dismantle the obstacles to national integration. The conference was able to extract concessions from members to increase the revenue sharing formula from the current 13 per cent to 18 per cent and an additional state for the South-east. It also took decisions on derivation, resource control, true federalism and rotational presidency.

What remained was for the then National Assembly to pass these recommendations into law. But as fate would have it, the third term ambition of Obasanjo threw spanners into the wheel of that visionary and noble exercise. Fearing that further discussions on the matter might be exploited by Obasanjo to push through his obnoxious ambition, the national assembly threw overboard all matters relating to constitutional amendment. With that, all expectations for progress through the redressing of the vexed issues of our federal structure came to naught. It was not surprising shortly after the regime of late Yar’Adua came on board, these agitations resonated with great ferocity. Currently the National Assembly is tinkering with constitutional amendment. President Jonathan has also set up another. All these underscore the point that all is not well with the present constitution bequeathed to us by the military. But it is one thing to recognize the need for restructuring through constitutional amendment and a different kettle of fish to muster the necessary political will to push them through. Before now, attempts have been made to redress these only for such efforts to hit the rocks at the last minute after a lot of scarce resources had been expended. As it stands, nobody is sure that the current attempts will not go the way of those before them. It is a matter of shame that after identifying the sources of the fratricidal conflicts that have held the nation prostrate, we lack the capacity to decisively redress them. The impression one gets is that we are not willing to make the compromises that will enable us live as one united and peaceful country. If that is so, its corollary is the accentuation of primordialism and separatism such that gave rise to Gowon’s lamentations We have another opportunity through constitutional amendment to take decisions that will promote peaceful existence and national stability. We cannot achieve these if we continue to trivialize the compelling imperative which addressing true federalism, residency factor, power rotation and state creation represent. We cannot make progress in a situation of inequitable revenue sharing formula; where the ethnic nationalities are in constant struggle with the central authority for the loyalty of the citizens. We need to devolve powers to the federating units to stave off the bitter competition which over concentration of powers at the center engenders.



URING the Senate confirmation of the reconstituted Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and its subsequent inauguration by President Goodluck Jonathan, some far-reaching comments came forth. In particular, President Jonathan and Senate President David Mark helpfully enjoined members of the new board to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors by working together, and not asunder, in order to enable the interventionist agency perform to expectations of its numerous stakeholders. Such advice, from very high echelons of the Federal Government clearly demonstrates the enormity of the tasks ahead of the Dr. Tarila Tepebah-led board. It also underscores the crucial need for good corporate governance in NDDC and probably other public sector organisations. Moreover, one inference can be made from the counsel by Jonathan and Mark to the new board of NDDC. It is that the NDDC cannot act with effect except the Governing Board acts in concert, despite the plurality of views its diverse composition may generate. Peter Drucker, the management guru once suggested that modern society’s performance is organisations-reliant and managementdependent. Drucker’s suggestion is very apt for the NDDC. This is because several significant developments in the external environment in which NDDC operates heighten the utmost necessity for the commission to deliver good quality human and infrastructure development projects to “the highly beleaguered Niger Delta,” as Professor Wole Soyinka once described the region during a visit to the NDDC. One of these environmental triggers is the Federal Government’s Vision 20:2020. In order for Nigeria to attain the lofty vision of being one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2020, NDDC must rise to the daunting challenge of facilitating the speedy development of the Niger Delta. Moreover, before the introduction of the Federal Government’s amnesty

The new dawn at NDDC By Pius Ughakpoteni programme, the absence of peace in the region used to be cited as a major impediment to development in the Niger Delta. That argument can hardly hold water today, as relative peace now prevails in the region. Above all, the Federal Government’s transformation agenda for improving the fortunes of this country places enormous performance demands on the NDDC. Consequently, but without demeaning the roles of NDDC rank and file, as well as middle, senior and top management employees, the new board has a monumental responsibility to provide strategic leadership for the commission to perform better. Indeed, many corporate collapses have been attributed to ineffective boards and disunited executive management teams whose members failed to work as one. This is the crux of the matter and the critical challenge for Dr. Tepebah and his colleagues. However, this challenge is intertwined with a tremendous opportunity for them to make a difference. In addition, they stand a chance to leave indelible footprints on the sands of time. Theirs is akin to a national call to avert a calamitous collapse of a promising organisation that has the potential to make the Niger Delta measure up to stakeholders’ expectations. But for them to act as a tonic to the NDDC, they may need to draw on tested tenets of corporate governance. One of these is the Cadbury Code of Best Practice published in 1992 based on the recommendations of a committee set up in the United Kingdom in 1991 and headed by Sir Adrian Cadbury. This document advocates “clearly accepted division of responsibilities at the head of a company, which will ensure a balance of power and authority, with no individual having un-

fettered powers.” Although NDDC is not a company, its Governing Board has a chairman, a managing director, two executive directors and several non-executive directors. In order to truly make a difference, the board members will need to really ensure separation of the two key roles of chairman of the board and managing director/CEO of NDDC. Elsewhere, Cadbury, an authority in corporate governance spells out roles of the board chairman, non-executive directors and company secretary. He situates responsibility for effectiveness of the board in the bosom of the chairman. He emphasises that board effectiveness requires the efforts of all members, but above all coaching and leadership by the chair. Cadbury suggests that the chairman is responsible for running the board; a responsibility that is quite distinct from that of the CEO for managing the organisation. According to Cadbury, the non-executive directors have an equally key role, given their expected distance from the day-today management of their organisation. They are in a vantage position to objectively review the performance of the CEO and the executive team. He also suggests that the varied experiences they bring on board are of particular value in strategy formulation. There is no question about it; the new board is composed of extremely experienced people and this strength needs to be effectively maximised with mutual understanding. Cadbury also suggests that board members should seek from the board secretary, impartial and professional guidance on their responsibilities. Similarly the Higgs Report (2003), also issued in the United Kingdom, put forward some characteristics of an effective

board. One of these is a chair who has a strong, complementary relationship with the CEO and other members of the board. Another is a culture of openness and constructive dialogue in an environment of trust and mutual respect. One major shortcoming of the immediate past board was disunity among the top three executives. This was more damaging because as executive board members, they were expected to drive implementation of strategies crafted by the board. Consequently, it may be worthwhile for the new MD/CEO and the two executive directors to also draw on best practices pertaining to the operation of top management teams. Recent studies revealed that a high level of mutual understanding and collaboration among members of top management teams and their participation in strategic decision making promote the quality of strategic decisions and facilitate implementation. In addition, meeting regularly as a team has been found to improve communication and cooperation among top management teams. Above all, it is pertinent to refer to the title and contents of a book by Bob Garrat, that focuses on the functioning of boards of directors- The fish rots from the head. We hope that will no longer be the lot of NDDC with the coming of the new board. • Ughakpoteni writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State

‘One major shortcoming of the immediate past board was disunity among the top three executives. This was more damaging because as executive board members, they were expected to drive implementation of strategies crafted by the board’








Pompey boss denies Yakubu faces wage crisis AVB to join Mikel, others in goal celebrations Fashola admits lot of C Kanu's Phoenix deal work ahead Idoko, Adegoke make history •Fails to lift Blackburn in 1-2 loss R •Win N314,000, travel grants T N N NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL

•We hope to stage best NSF- Oshodi HAT the Lagos State government at the weekend signed the Protocol of Agreement with the leadership of the National Sports Commission (NSC) led by its Director General (DG) and acting Minister of Sports, Patrick Ekeji, to host the National Sport Festival (NSF) is no longer news, but what is news, however, is that Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and his team admits that the task ahead is a herculean one. Speaking to NationSport after the formal signing ceremony held at the governor’s office, Alausa Ikeja, Fashola in his usual fashion conceded that considering the period of time available to prepare and stage the biennial games, there’s serious work to be done. But he, however, expressed optimism that his administration will rise up to the challenge in ensuring that the hosting of the festival is given


By Innocent Amomoh

the best shot. “We will be ready.There's a lot of work to do, preparation to be done, and planning to do. We will need to inaugurate several committees that will be working, there will be a time tag, we will be working over the next ten months in readiness for the games as we progress,” he said. Throwing more light on the views of his boss, the Commissioner for Youth, Sports, and Social Development, Wahid Enitan Oshodi said though it is going to take a lot of hard work, the state is determined to stage the best ever NSF. H i s words: “his excellency has said, we are hoping to stage the best ever National Sports Festival. It is going to take a lot of hard work but we have everything in Lagos. We have a sports loving public, we have the facilities in place. We are just going to have everybody in Lagos and hope they have a good time.” On what the signing of the agreement with the NSC meant to him, Oshodi said: “Officially what the signing of the Protocol of Agreement means is that we kick-start preparations now. There's no going back again. It tells us all the things we need to be doing. Preparation is underway already and we are just going to do every thing we need to do to ensure that we host and host well.” The last festival was hosted by Rivers State, and the 18th edition is slated to commence in Lagos State from November 27th through to December 9 next year.

‘NICEGA Games to foster unity, friendship’


HE 17th Nigeria Colleges of Education Games, NICEGA, tagged 'Akalaka 2012' and been hosted by Federal College of Education (Technical) Omoku in Rivers state is said to be geared towards fostering better friendship and unity amongst the Nigerian students. According to the host Provost, Dr. Silas Oguzor who addressed the press after a facility tour at the host institution, the school is not desperate to host and win but is desirous to attract a participation that will enhance good relationship, with national unity as the watch word. He also noted that the games is expected to throw up new talents that will be groomed to represent the nation at international competitions. Dr. Oguzor who doubles as the LOC Chairman of the games assured of completion of all works at the venues

From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt before the January 25 kick off of the events.While expressing appreciation to FERMA for the ongoing rehabilitation of Omoku major road which will facilitates easy movement between the two campuses of the institution, he also revealed that accommodation for athletes and officials is already being addressed as the students are set to vacate the hostels any moment from now to allow for commencement of renovation works. He also expressed gratitude to the River State Sports Council for offering to assist the institution with transportation and other games equipment for successful hosting of the games that will keep the Oil city of Omoku bubbling with life from January 25 - 5th February, 2012.

World wide coverage for Copa Lagos 2011 K

INETIC Sports have covered what appears to be every angle to make sure that Copa Lagos 2011 is literally unmissable. Giants, SuperSport will be the main producers for the event which gets underway in exactly 1 week. They will have exclusive live coverage, studio at the VIP stand as well as expert analysis coming directly from the elegant stadium itself. Official national partner will be AIT they will be broadcasting the event into the homes of Nigerians all over the country. Indeed the full coverage of Copa Lagos extends to 250 million households globally and live/delayed coverage on over 21 international channels, sponsors are set to enjoy the global exposure their brands will receive The tournament can be viewed in these countries and on these TV stations:

African-SuperSport, Americas-Fox Sports, Asia-ESPN Star Sports, Middle East-Art/Al-Jazeera, Pan-EuropeanEurosports, England-Sky/ESPN(UK), France-Direct 8, Australia- SBS, GermanyDSF, Greece-CONN-Xsports, IsraelCharlton, Italy-RAI Sport, Netherlands,Eredivise, Portugal-Sport TV, Romania-BOOM Sport one, RussiaRTR Sport/NTV Sport, South AmericaTYC, Spain-Canal Sport/TVC/Canal 9, Turkey-Sports TV, Cyprus-Lumiere TV, Brazil-TV Globo. Popular TV station SoundCity will be covering all side events at Copa Lagos including the very glamorous fashion show, exclusive activities in the VIP lounge, red carpet and concert.

EPORTS linking Nwankwo Kanu with a move to Wellington Phoenix are way off the mark according to the club's coach Ricki Herbert. Reports linking Nwankwo Kanu with a move to Wellington Phoenix are way off the mark according to the club's coach Ricki Herbert. Kanu, 35, is apparently interested in securing a 10-game guest stint in the A-League in an attempt to land a lucrative contract in Asia. The former Arsenal, Ajax and Inter Milan striker is contracted to Portsmouth in England's championship but has struggled to get regular game time. In 2008 he was linked with a move to Gold Coast and Sydney FC were interested in signing him a few months ago before balking at the asking price. Herbert said there had been no contact with the former Nigerian captain's representatives and added he had no real interest in signing the striker.

"I think there was a general circulation around all the A-League clubs at the start of the year and I think we've just been part of that correspondence," Herbert said. "I don't think (we're interested) at this stage. The January window is the one (we're looking at). If we do recruit at the club ideally for me it would be someone who would come for a longer period of time. Maybe a longer-term signing for a couple of years." The Phoenix have several players coming out of contract at the end of the season and Herbert has made it clear re-signing key players such as Manny Muscat, captain Andrew Durante and Vince Lia remain the priority now Paul Ifill has been secured for another two years. Durante has already opened negotiations with the Wellington club and appears close to re-signing, while Herbert is also keen to keep striker/ assistant coach Chris Greenacre in the New Zealand capital as well.

Falode charges Flamingoes on national teams’ revival


OORDINATOR of All Nigeria Women national teams, Aisha Falode, has charged the Under17 Women national team, styled ‘the Flamingoes’ currently in camp to kick-start the process of rediscovering the country’s dominance at all levels of the game in Africa. Falode gave the charge when she was introduced to the team and its technical crew by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) crew on Thursday in Abuja. While waving off the charge of some overaged players in the camp, Falode, said what Nigeria needs at the moment is the confidence that it once held as the ultimate super power in women’s football in the continent of Africa and one of the giants of the game in world football. “As the first team to resume camping for the qualifiers for the World Cup, you must prove to the world that we have the players and character to return to the summit of Women’s football and wipe away

recent misfortunes of our national teams not doing well or qualifying for major championships. The CAF Media Committee member, promised on her part to use her position as National Teams’s Coordinator, to ensure that the welfare of all players in camp is well taken care of, assuring that she has the words of NFF President, Aminu Maigari, that all Women’s national teams will be well catered for.

IGERIAN rejuvinated striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni may continue to play for Blackburn without salary as the club is heading for a financial crisis. The relegation-threatened side have been asked to deposit £10m into their Barclays account by New Years' Eve as fears grow about their future. If they fail to do so, then the bank will refuse to extend the club's overdraft with enough funds to cover the players' wages after January Barclays say the payment is part of an

2-1. Rovers took a surprise lead when Simon Vukcevic tapped home from close range after Keiren Westwood parried Chris Samba’s shot into his path. The home side were on top for most of the game but had to wait until the final 10 minutes before getting the breakthrough as Vaughan crashed an effort home in the 83rd minute. Sunderland found the winner in injury time as Rovers sat back and Larsson curled a free-kick into the bottom corner to seal the win for the former Villa boss.

Hodgson: Odemwingie needs time


EST BROM boss Roy Hodgson has admitted that Osaze Odemwingie was short of his best in Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Wigan - but is confident he can still forge a strong strike partnership with Shane Long. The Nigeria hitman made his first start in five games after putting his injury problems behind him in last weekend's 30-minute cameo against QPR. And, although not firing on all cylinders, Hodgson was pleased to see him get another 81 minutes under his belt. "He's been out for quite a while so it's understandable he wasn't at his best," said the Baggies boss. "It was good he could play for 81 minutes because I still think he is a dangerous player. We had a lot of the ball, he had a lot of the ball. It didn't fall for him on this occasion but it's good for

Olowo, Ohawuchi, Ibenegbu vie for Heartland MVP Award

him that he was in there where it matters. "It's good to see him receiving the ball in areas where he is going to be under pressure. We know he is a quality player

and over the rest of the season, if I can get him up there playing with Shane Long on a regular basis, I'm pretty sure we'll be dangerous. We'll see how that partnership

Wigan boss hails Victor Moses W IGAN manager Roberto Martinez hailed the performance of striker Victor Moses after he celebrated his 21st birthday 48 hours early with a crucial role in the 2-1 win at West Brom. Moses scored his first goal for 13 months to cancel out the opener from Steven Reid's free-kick and then won the penalty converted by Jordi Gomez for the winner. Martinez said: "I don't think Victor

has had a bad spell this season. He has been very consistent. He is only 20, he had a great birthday present, on Monday he is 21 and the first goal was as good a finish as you are going to get in this league." He added: "I know that sometimes playing for Wigan you are not going to get as much credit as playing for other clubs. "But the way he has been working on a daily basis, he has got huge potential and I've got no doubts that he is going

to fulfil it." Albion have now conceded penalties in four successive home games but head coach Roy Hodgson preferred not to comment on decisions made by referee Mike Dean. He said: "My wife slaughters me for complaining about the penalties, and she is probably right, so I prefer to say nothing. "People can make up their own mind. We will just get on with it. There is no doubt that it was a penalty for their goal. If he (Dean) got any of the others (decisions) wrong, I don't know. Time will tell. The TVs will go through the analysis. They will come up with the answers. I will keep my mouth shut." Meanwhile, Moses is still waiting for Wigan to reopen contract talks after initial discussions more than a month ago. The 20-year-old, who has just 18 months left on his present deal, has been one of the few beacons of light in a dismal season for the Latics. Moses’ advisers are hoping to negotiate Wigan’s opening offer of a five-year deal worth £14,000 a week, but have so far been met with silence.

rushing over to hug him if they score against Man City on

IGERIA's Emannuel Idoko and Sarah Adegoke made the country proud in the male and female categories of the African Under-14 Masters of the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) after emerging overall winners in the championship which was concluded over the weekend. The lads who arrived the country aboard Kenya Airways on Saturday were received by a representative of the President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) Sanni Ndanusa and the Vice-President of the NTF, Yemi Owoseni. According to Owoseni this was the first time Nigeria would make an impact at the junior tourney after recording so many disappointing outings in previous competitions. However, for those who performed well, CAT will offer further assistance by providing travel assistance in order to participate in the International


•Peter Odemwingie of West Bromwich Albion celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match

By Stella Bamawo

Tennis Federation junior events Grade Four and Five next year. There is also a cash prize of US$1,000 each for winners in both boys and girls categories; US$ 6 00 for first runners-up and US$400 for second runners-up. Nigeria’s Joseph Umeh placed third in the championship which brought together Africa's best eight boys and eight girls tennis players. The players were selected as a result of their performance in All African Under-14 circuit including the African Junior Championships. Meanwhile, Nigeria is gearing up of the Africa Junior Tennis Championship which will be hosted in the country in January. The AJC which has been slated for the National Stadium will gather more than two hundred junior tennis players from West Africa. The Nationsports gathered that 16 courts will be constructed for the tournament.

NPL lists 22 All Stars to face Dolphins •Enyimba, Heartland, Sunshine, Pillars players top list


AST seasons CAF Champions League semi finalists, Enyimba with 4 players topped the 22-man list drawn from the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) for a friendly encounter with League’s defending champions, Dolphins FC during the body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa later this week. The roll call made available to NationSport has the best of the NPL this past season on parade and they include the current All Time Leading Scorer in the League, Jude Aneke of Kaduna United, Ajani Ibrahim of Sunshine Stars, George Akpabio of relegated Plateau United among others. The list comprise of 3 goalkeepers, 7 defenders, 5 midfielders and 7 strikers.

Nigeria lifters head for London on Tueday

HE Nigerian team to the 4th edition of Commonwealth Powerlifting Champioship slated for Bournemouth University, England will leave the country tomorow. The championship begins from December 15 to 18. The powerlifters include Waheed Kareem and Mathew Oluwatuyi, Idris Ibrahim and Muritala Muhammed, Sulaiman Samsondeen (men), Gloria Moses and Toyin Adesanmi (women). The Nigeria team will square up against lifters from England, Wales, Australia, India, Scotland, South Africa and Canada. According to the team's coach, Enefiok Bassey, the target is to win three to four gold for Nigeria. "Ours is to give good account of ourselves. We know the European teams especially will give us a good competiton, but we are up to the task," the coach said. Enefiok noted that the lifters are in good frame of mind with no injury worry. "With the training the lifters have gone through, I have confidence of medal prospect. We have trained under intense pressure, raw and hard way which I believe is an impectus to lift the spirit of

Monday. To them it all seems a bit silly and desperate."




CE defender, Emmanuel Olowo, mercurial midfielder, Stanley Ohawuchi and Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, a.k.a. Mosquito, are the final three nominees short-listed for the Heartland FC Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 2010/11 season. A statement by the club’s Media Officer, Cajetan Nkwopara over the weekend said the final round of voting to select the winner was already in progress while the award ceremony will be performed during the fund-raising dinner cum award night slated for December 17, 2011 in Owerri. Also, four players, Daniel Akpeyi (goalkeeper), Kalu Orji Okagbue, Benjamin Francis and Chinedu Udeh (goalkeeper) are all in contention for the Best Behaved Player (BBP) award while Obinna Nwachukwu, Tope Olusesi, Morris Enete and Onuwa Chukwuka are competing for the Most Promising Young Player (MPYP) award. The screening committee headed by Promise Nwachukwu is expected to round work by Wednesday this week to enable the organizers contact the winners. According to the statement, all the players, coaches and management staff were eligible to vote. Many ex-internationals will also be honoured during the occasion. The event which is part of the strategy designed to bring Heartland FC closer to the corporate world, will be hosted by the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

agreement made by Indian poultry firm Venky's when they bought Rovers last November. But boss Anuradha Desai is believed to be refusing to stump up the cash from Venky's reserves, saying it must come from existing club funds. Blackburn coaches and scouts are said to have been told they face budget cuts and possible job losses in the New Year, according to the Mail On Sunday. However, Aiygbeni could not lift Blackburn against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light as they went down

HESEA boss Andre VillasBoas will join Nigeria international, Mikel Obi and his teammates in the team's goal celebrations. In a Saturday night decision by the management of Chelsea, the coach must be involved in the celebration whenever the team scores. A Chelsea spokesman said: "The manager has asked the players to look across and recognise him and his staff on the bench after a goal. "He believes that by celebrating together it shows we are all in it together. That's the players, the manager, the subs, the staff, the medical people — everyone working and celebrating together." But the idea is being mocked by some of his squad who are said to be increasingly at odds with their rookie boss. A Stamford Bridge insider said: "There are a few players who don't feel very 'together' with the manager right now. "So I'm not sure anybody will be

By Bimbo Adesina the lifters," the coach stressed. He noted that as far as Commonwealth is concerned, Nigeria cannot be held back which is why the competition is going to be intense because they know what we can offer. "We are working the World Championship in Costa Rica next year. If our lifters can achive gold feat, they will have automatic ticket to World Championship. We also want to show Nigerians that there other sports that can make this country proud aside football," Enefiok added. Captain of the team, Waheed Kareem stressed that the team is ready to make the country proud. "With the training, we are sure of medals. We are training from Monday to Sunday, though tough but have strenghtened us for the challenge. At least three gold and two silver," Kareem said. Gloria Moses who is competing in the women's category said the coach has done a lot to put all the lifters on the path of glory. She noted that lack of encouragment has not helped the lifters to achieve their target.

From Tunde Liadi, Owerri The Peoples Elephant has Maxson Ojobo, Eneji Otekpa, Uche Kalu and Bernard Okorowanta listed while the trio of Heartland FC of Owerri, Sunshine Stars of Akure and Kano Pillars have three players each. Warri Wolves, Kaduna United and relegated Plateau United all have two players invited while Ocean Boys, Lobi Stars and Gombe with a player each completed the list of the best of the NPL stars that will be on show in Yenagoa this week during the AGM. The NPL All Stars will be coached by Gbenga Ogunbote (Sunshine Stars), Paul Aigbogun (Warri Wolves) and Ladan Bosso. They guided their teams to 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively in the just ended season. The General Manager of Lobi Stars, Dominic Iorfa is to serve as the Team Manager. Here is the list of players at a glance: Goal Keepers Chigozie Agbim Warri Wolves Moses Ocheje Sunshine Stars Femi Thomas Ocean Boys Defenders Chibuzo Okonkwo Heartland Idris Papa Kaduna United Maxson Ojobo Enyimba Obinna Nwokolo Plateau United Ike Thank God Warri Wolves Ezekiel Bassey Lobi Stars Godfey Oboabona Sunshine Stars Midfielders Rabiu Ali Kano Pillars Ajani Ibrahim Sunshine Stars Ikechukwu Ibenegbu Heartland Eneji Otekpa Enyimba Shehu Shagari Kano Pillars Strikers Jude Aneke Kaduna United George Akpabio Plateau United Adamu Mohammed Gombe United Gambo Mohammed Kano Pillars Uche Kalu Enyimba Osas Okoro Heartland Bernard Okorowanta Enyimba Coaches Gbenga Ogunbote Sunshine Stars Paul Aigbogun Warri Wolves Ladan Bosso Kano Pillars Team Manager Dominic Iorfa Lobi Stars





Unlike other ethnic nationalities, the Yoruba lack a united and cohesive socio-political group for interest articulation. Can Afenifere, which had filled the vacuum in the past, bounce back? Deputy Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU writes on the tragedy of the once vibrant mouthpiece writhing in pains of fading influence in the polity.


Can Afenifere bounce back?

ROM its base in the Southwest, the group fired salvos at the military. Members were rugged, steadfast, committed democrats and unbending pro-democracy crusaders who defiled soldiers’ bullets. Their leaders were harassed, detained and exiled by the power that be. But they did not desert the battle field out of principle and conviction. Throughout the dark period of military rule, Afenifere chieftains, led by the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin, and later, Senator Abraham Adesanya, were thorns in the flesh of soldiers of fortune who held the country to ransom. In honour, integrity and credibility, the group had no deficiency. The apex leadership also commanded the respect of the six geo-political zones. That was 12 years ago. Today, Afenifere is in a fix. Things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold. The once thriving, potent and vibrant umbrella organisation, which had its ascendancy in Awolowo political family, is a shadow of itself. The cord is severed and members who are scattered across the political parties locked in the hot battle for power are in disarray. Now, when Afenifere sneezes, nobody catches cold. To observers, the panYoruba group is now a toothless bull dog. About five years ago, one of the leaders, Chief Rueben Fasoranti, lamented the implications of the disunity in Yorubaland, particularly among Afenifere members. “We have now been relegated to the sidelines precisely because we have lost our unity and focus, and others no longer think they will lose anything, if they do not reckon with us”, he observed. Since 1999, the Yoruba group had ceased to be a united front, although the self-induced stress was somehow managed by its leader, Adesanya, who deployed his wisdom and wielded the two blocs-Ajayi/Adebanjo and Ige tendencies in unsteady cohabitation. Since 1983, members had fought for the restoration of civil rule. When Afenifere/Alliance for Democracy won power in the six states, it however, failed to manage the achievement. The opportunity slipped away in 2003. When the stolen mandate was restored this year, Afenifere had no positive contribution to make to the titanic struggle for the soul of the Southwest. The intra-group crises were in phases, finally culminating into the factionalisation of the fold. Two irreconcilable factions wobble on in antagonism. The first group, backed by the residual class of “Ijebu Mafia”, is led by the foremost politician, Chief Reuben Fasoranti. But the spirit behind it is the former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel. The second faction, which consists of those opposed to the former, is said to be led on paper by another Awoist, Senator Ayo Fasanmi. Both the Acting Leader, Fasoranti, and Deputy Leader, Fasanmi, joined the Action Group (AG) in 1951. In Fasanmi’s group, which is actually the majority, are former AD governors, Southwest Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governors, members of Justice Forum, and many key progressive politicians in the region. However, since his ascension to the position, no regular meeting has been held. Unlike this faction, Fasoranti’s group still meet regularly in Lagos every Monday at its headquater, Jibowu. But both sides are no more in the reckoning of the people. Efforts to reconcile them by the members of the Afenifere Renewal Group led by Hon. Wale Oshun, had collapsed. Representatives from the warring factions turned up at Ibadan, the political capital of the Southwest, for a peace meeting few years back. However, they returned to their respective camps with a resolve to fight to finish. In the April general elections, while Fasoranti camp campaigned for candidates running on the platform of Daniel’s Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), members of Fasanmi’s group, naturally, ACN chieftains. How did the association fall from its Olym-

• The late Senator Abraham Adesanya, Chief Olaniwun Ajayi and Chief Ayo Adebanjo during the 2003 AD rally at Ake Palace, Abeokuta, Ogun State pian height? Why did a strong organisation suddenly become a weak vehicle? Why is Afenifere irrelevant today in the scheme of things? Unfortunately, cracks appeared on the wall, shortly before the 1999 elections. Unable to resolve the initial crisis, which, in part, was a carry-over of intra-group suspicion from Awolowo days, it snowballed into major problem which has taken serious toll on the organisation. Since 1999 to date, there was never a year that Afenifere was free from internal wrangling. What has remained intact is the historical attachment to Awolowo, and not the actual practice of what the sage stood for in all ramifications. In 1999, there was the fusion of the organisation with its baby, the Alliance for Democracy (AD). Four years later, the fusion generated tension and members were instigated to mount pressure for the separation of the two bodies. In 2003, Afenifere became a platform for political trading when AD governors openly campaigned for Obasanjo’s second term bid. In 2007, the house had fallen totally, with Afenifere members scouting for spaces in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Disagreement over how to run the group had led to the exit of intellectuals from the group around 2002. Then, egg heads like Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi and Dr Dapo Fafowora could not cope within the group, despite sharing the goals of the group. The elders insisted on the old method of running the fold, unmindful of the dynamic nature of the contemporary society. Criticisms were rebuffed by Awolowo

associates who milled around Senator Adesanya, labeling them as too young to know the details of the credo. Reflecting on the fate of the group, Akinyemi, whose father was an Awoist, submitted that “Nigeria and Africa have been plagued with the tensions arising from making a transition from political systems dominated by founding fathers to systems managed by first among equals”. The former Foreign Affairs Minister had cause to doubt the moral purity of the leadership, based on experience. While he reasoned that, in crisis period, most of the courageous, steadfast, honourable and dogged fighters on the barricades of a cause would be found in Afenifere, Akinyemi also pointed out that it is open to question whether some of the dramatis personate recognised an Afenifere interest above personal interest. Collectively, Afenifere members are united by its fundamental goals. These are even beyond the promotion of the narrow Yoruba interest. In his book titled: “The kiss of death: Afenifere and the infidels”, ARG leader Olawale Oshun listed them to include the fight for true and sustainable federalism, resource sharing based on derivation, respect, equality and equity for all nationalities, greater autonomy reflecting in the creation of state police and the power to determine the development priorities of their respective people. Many now doubt the ability of the group to vigorously mobilise for the realisation of these fundamental goals. There is no evidence that the split in the Yoruba group has ideological connotation. Ajayi, Adebanjo, Wumi Adegbonmire, Femi Okunrounmu, Fasanmi, Durojaye, Akande,

‘There is no evidence that the split in the Yoruba group has ideological connotation Collectively, Afenifere members are united by its fundamental goals. These are even beyond the promotion of the narrow Yoruba interest. The goals include the fight for true and sustainable federalism, resource sharing based on derivation, respect, equality and equity for all nationalities, greater autonomy reflecting in the creation of state police and the power to determine the development priorities of their respective people. Many now doubt the ability of the group to vigorously mobilise for the realisation of these fundamental goals’

Lam Adesina, Michael Koleoso, Segun Osoba, Bola Tinubu, Oshun, Olatunji Hamzat, Segun Adegoke, and Akin Omojola are advocates of federalism and restructuring. The point of departure is the endless personality clashes. To concerned Afenifere members, the escalated crises that have heralded the eclipse of the organisation to oblivion had their roots in the Bola Ige/Ayo Adebanjo personality clashes and Ganiyu Dawodu/Bola Tinubu battle for supremacy and survival. Right from Awolowo days, Ige and Adebanjo had not enjoyed total cordial relationship, although they remained fiercely loyal to one leader, Awo. As Ige lost the AD presidential ticket to Chief Olu Falae, hell was let loose. When Ige moved against his perceived foes, including Adebanjo, his first act, after becoming a minister under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was to raise his former commissioner when he was governor of Oyo State, Chief Michael Koleoso, to challenge Adebanjo’s bid to retain his position as national vice chairman of AD. The party was destined for two parallel convention; one in Eagle Squares; another at Abuja Gardens. In Lagos State, Dawodu, who never hid his dislike for Tinubu, wrestled for the soul of the AD with the former governor as the state Afenifere leader. The governor acted fast by building a solid political structure that could survive without the pan-Yoruba socio-political group ahead of 2003 elections. When Dawodu, backed by Afenifere leaders of Ogun State origin, moved against Tinubu machinery, following the rejection of the 60:40 formula for the sharing of elective and appointive offices in Lagos state, it crashed. At that stage, it was evident that a progressive route to power was still possible outside Afenifere. This decade has been turbulent for Afenifere. What is worrisome is the lack of crisis resolution mechanism within the organisation. When AD deputy governors; Kofoworola AkereleBucknor and Iyiola Omisore were at war with their bosses, when Governors Adebayo Adefarati and Adeniyi Adebayo were at war • Continued on page 26



POLITICS Adopt PRONACO draft, group tells Jonathan


RONTLINE nationalist and leader of the Movement for National Reformation (MNR) Chief Emakpor Ajise has advised President Goodluck Jonathan and the Constitution Review Committee to adopt the Pro-National Conference (PRONACO) draft constitution to pave the way for true federalism. The 80-years old politician also asked the President to handle the Bayelsa State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)governorship primaries with care, warning that it could lead to another crisis in the Niger Delta. Ajise told reporters in Benin City, capital of Edo State, that a lot of challenges would confront the President next year, advising him to show courage and commitment to national ideals. He said: “There was a PRONACO conference in Lagos in 2005 chaired by the late Chief Anthony Enahoro.

• Governor

Ajimobi cutting the tape to inaugurate the YES-O scheme in Ibadan.

A major initiative to bring youths into his “transformation, reformation and restoration” agenda drew thousands of residents and beneficiaries to the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan last week as Governor Abiola Ajimobi launched the YES-O scheme, which offered 20,000 jobs to youths, BISI OLADELE and TAYO JOHNSON report.

Day Ajimobi moved to tame unemployment A

LARGE crowd gathered at the historic Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (formerly Liberty Stadium) last Thursday to witness another step in the rebirth of Oyo, the Pace-Setter State. The gathering came only six months after a similar enthusiastic crowd defied the scorching sun to welcome a new era after years of unfulfilled expectations. Then, it was the swearing-in of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the symbol of the expected change, at the same venue on May 29. Since he came, he has either been hailed by those who acknowledge the need to take the few steps he has taken so far to give the people improved environment and reorientation or criticised by those who feel otherwise. Ajimobi had stated in one of the public forums that the multitude of people that graced the inauguration of his administration was unprecedented, stressing that the people’s expectations were high. The implication, according to him, is that his administration would not let the people down. Among other steps, the governor stepped forward to flag off the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-0) as part of fulfillment of his electioneering campaign to employ 20,000 youths within the first few months of his administration. As it turned out, several residents and dignitaries thronged the 100,000 capacity stadium to witness a new deal for the youth who were ecstatic at the opportunity offered them to earn a living. Dignitaries who saw the merit in the governor’s approach and thus identified with the scheme included traditional rulers, politicians, businessmen and ordinary people. Itinerant drummers, political supporters and spectators also had fun as they witnessed a project that was described as “unprecedented” in the history of the 35-year old state. The newly employed youths, who from ear to ear despite the scorching sun, were elated all through as they shouted: “YES-O” to salutes from the governor and other top government functionaries who addressed them. The beneficiaries where drawn from across the 33 local governments areas of the State. The education sec-

tor took 5, 400 youths, 4,302 were sent to the Works sector and 3,700 deployed to render agricultural services. Others include 2,672 for Health, 1,515 for Emergency services while 2407 are to be attached to work as Environmental Cadets. Small as their monthly allowance of 10,000 Naira seem, it means the whole world to many of them who had probably lost the hope of earning an income through white collar job or who are weighed down by important family expenditure. Yet, to some, it is a route to the civil service. To some others, it is the platform to acquire the experience needed to fire their career. Job creation is a focal point in Ajimobi’s economic regeneration agenda. He insists time and again that the state boasts of so many potentials that, if well tapped, are enough to better the lot of indigenes and many more who are not too lazy to earn a living. Two other projects which are expected to create additional jobs in millions are the proposed Free Trade Zone in Ibadan and the Okerete TransBorder Market, Saki. The two projects which will soon take off are expected to generate more than five million jobs. Addressing beneficiaries at the event, the governor urged them to be apostles and agents of change. Ajimobi lamented the high rate of unemployment among the youth, saying that the situation, if not addressed urgently, portends danger for the country. He said: “The statistics of unemployment in Nigeria is indeed alarming”, adding that of Nigeria’s 150 million population, about 40 million were unemployed. Because 45 per cent of the Nigerian population is between the ages of 15 and 40 years, the implication is that this menace of unemployment critically affects the youth. “Unemployment poses great danger, not only to the Nigerian nation, but to the peace of this country at large. As it is said, if we don’t engage the youth, they will engage us!” The governor described unemployment as a virus, which had eaten deep into the social fabrics of the nation, saying that it had caused social dis-

quiet from the governed to the government and had the propensity to cause a revolt. According to Ajimobi, unemployment is the harbinger of the spate of crimes, kidnapping, perennial youth unrest and the acutely unstable socioeconomic structure that has bedeviled Nigeria. “If we at the helm of affairs must continue to administer the country without any disequilibrium, an end must be made to come to the problem of unemployment in the country,’’ he said. Ajimobi noted that before now, many administrations had developed a couple of ways of tackling rising unemployment in the country. “For some administrations, gathering a few hundreds of pepper-grinding machines and bicycles to the army of unemployed youth was the appropriate response to this menace. But experience has shown that these efforts eventually entered into the vortex of hopelessness as they soon became enmeshed in political patronage dispensation. Indeed, such efforts soon became a hub of corruption, leaving the recipients of this governmental intervention worse than they were before government’s intervention,’’ he said, adding that only a system that gave dignity and voice to the unemployed could succeed in wiping away their tears.” He said that the YES-O scheme was projected to give the employed a sense of belonging, acting as a resource base for the state in other areas of need. The governor said that right from its inception, his administration was aware that, for it to effectively affect the lives of a great number of its population of which the youth was key, it must tackle the monster of unemployment headlong. His words: “This was why, at the outset of this administration, we made it clear that provision of job for our teeming unemployed youth is primary in the list of our ‘firsts.’ Ajimobi added that the YES-O scheme was just a minute spectrum of his administration’s youth empowerment scheme, stressing that “we intend to engage the youth in productive ventures that would take them away from crimes and other destructive ventures. We do not want the youth to be seen as a curse to our children but one to be relished and savoured,’’ he stressed.

A draft constitution which is a product of that conference drawn up by a committee headed by the late Prof. Jadesola Akande spelt out better ways to run the country. The document has been in circulation since 2007. “The conference proved the point that the amalgamation of 1914 created a lot of problems. When the colonialists were here, they recognised the diversity of the different tribes and treated them as autonomous entities. The military regime distorted all that. The deliberations at the conference proved that Nigerians are not one people, but the people could live together in one country after a careful dialogue on the basis of unity in diversity”. Ajise advised the President to subject the PRONACO draft to a referendum, stressing that it has reflected the peoples’ formula for peaceful co-existence.

Can Afenifere bounce back? • Continued from page 25

over Ondo/Ekiti joint property, when leadership tussle broke out in AD between Chief Bisi Akande and Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, when scores of aggrieved Afenifere/AD chieftains were defecting from the party to PDP, the political family, now more vulnerable, could not resolve the multiple crises. Clamour for restructuring was rebuffed and consequently, the group was in short of fresh ideas. To date, the group has been an edifice on crisis. From D’Rovans Hotel, Ibadan, the group split. The AD presidential convention was expected to be a coronation of a sort for Ige, Afenifere deputy leader. When he lost out, his ego was bruised. A fighter, the former Oyo State governor vowed to revenge. To spite his colleagues, he accepted to serve in Obasanjo’s cabinet at a wrong time and contrary to the mood of the Southwest. He never returned alive. Around the same period, two founding chieftains of Afenifere; Venerable Emmanuel Alayande and Justice Adewale Thompson; rallied other eminent Yoruba elders outside Afenifere to form the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE). There was the suspicion that the new group enjoyed the backing of Ige, whose membership of Obasanjo government became an issue, unlike the appointment of Adebanjo into the tiny constitution review committee and Senator Cornelius Adebayo as minister. When Ige died, his camp became divided. Two associates of Ige; Akande and Akinfenwa, decided to contest the AD chairmanship. Those opposed to Ige in Afenifere queued behind the senator. But Tinubu, Adesina, and Adebayo rooted for Akande’s chairmanship. The Mamman Yusuf/Ahmed Abdulkadir scenario was reenacted, with AD becoming factionalised to its roots. It was becoming clear that AD was about to be liquidated. At will, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was being teleguided to toss the party around with recognition and withdrawal of the same from Akande and Akinfenwa fortnightly. The leader, Adesanya, could not resolve the crisis until he passed on, following protracted illness. Now, the positions of the leader and deputy leader was vacant. Up came Fasoranti as the Acting Leader. Eyes were on him as he stepped into the big shoe. His fitness for the role was not questioned until he pronounced Akinfenwa as the authentic chairman of AD in Akure. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Akande/ Tinubu/ Osoba group consequently revisited the process Fasoranti’s emergence, saying that they were not aware about his nomination by Adesanya. A meeting was summoned, and at the Jibowu headquarter, Fasanmi was made the deputy leader. A battle ensued on who is the leader in post-Adesanya era. Concerned Yoruba sons, including Tokunbo Ajasin, packaged reconciliation, which hit the rocks. ARG also waded into the protracted crisis. At a retreat in Ibadan, Fasoranti and Fasanmi embraced, but there was no renewal of contact. Another opportunity came for the resolution of the conflict when Adebanjo clocked 80. Tinubu, Akande, Osoba and Adebayo were planning to storm the ceremony in a big fashion, preparatory to another round of reconciliation, when their attention were drawn to inflammatory media interviews by the celebrator lambasting them for the decline of Afenifere. They instantly returned the heat. A media war broke out, with the Fasanmi faction vowing never to have anything to do with Fasoranti group again. Recently, Fasoranti’s faction paid a solidarity visit to Daniel, who is standing trial in court for corrupt charges. The former governor is said to be the financial backbone of the group. The action was infuriating to Adegbonmire, who is now a leader of ACN in Ondo State. He said the visit was in bad faith, stressing that it was ill-timed. Now, activities of the faction are reduced to issuing occasional press release on national issues. Unlike it, there is complete lull in Fasanmi’s group. An obstacle to peace is the political composition of Afenifere. In 2008, Fasoranti declared: “We have now decided to throw the membership of Afenifere open to all Yoruba people above 18 years, regardless of present party affiliations, provided they accept the Afenifere credo of making the welfare of the individual citizen the main purpose of government”. Many picked hole in this new approach. At issue is whether ACN and PDP members can cohabit peacefully under the umbrella of Afenifere. Is reconciliation still possible in the fold? Adegbonmire said the door is not closed. “It should be possible for us to come together again. we subscribe to the same ideology and affection for Yoruba. There is no serious Yoruba man who is happy with •Fasanmi the present situation”, he said.




The disabled seek antidiscrimination commission

NGO empowers artisans

Lawmaker offsets patient’s medical bill








Page 27



HE construction of a female orthopaedic ward at St Gerard Catholic Hospital, Kaduna has lifted the spirits of the authorities. The hospital has been playing a crucial role in enhancing the well-being of Kaduna residents as well as those from outside the city. Many emergency cases are referred to it and doctors there have lived up to expectations. But it had a number of challenges. For instance, all the female patients were kept in one general ward, no matter their ailments. Accident victims were kept there too. The situation was uncomfortable for not only the patients but also the medical staff and administrators. The new orthopaedic ward has helped in dealing with that problem. Overcrowding is reduced and everyone is relieved. The ward was built by Heineken Africa Foundation in collaboration with Nigeria Breweries Plc. The ward, according to the Rev. Sister Theresa Dung, the hospital administrator, is one of the several contributions of the company to the hospital’s infrastructural development. Since the relocation of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) to its permanent site in Shika, Zaria, St Gerard Catholic Hospital has increased has been receiving more patients, necessitating the provision of more facilities. Brewery Manager of Nigeria Breweries Plc Kaduna, Peter Ani who led other colleagues to the commissioning, said the project is special because it was initiated and executed in conjunction with Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF). The foundation, he added, was “established by our parent company-Heineken NV to support and enhance the health of people who live in sub-Sahara Africa. The foundation was established with the objective of financially supporting relevant health projects and health-related education. “In line with our corporate social responsibility initiatives, we

•Bishop Matthew Ndagoso (middle) inaugurates the orthopaedic ward, assisted by Peter Ani (second right)

Foundation boosts women’s health Builds orthopaedic ward in Kaduna hospital Traditional birth attendants trained From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

maintain strategic plans for assisting communities within our area of operation. By providing this laudable health care project which

is vital to the community, we seek to elevate the quality of life of the good people of Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria in general”. He noted that the ward was built in response to the challenges of St

Gerard’s, a hospital which has excelled in handling emergency cases. “As a responsible corporate organisation, we are constantly and willfully obliged in complementing governments’ and community

efforts by assisting the populace through provision of social services to our country at large and to the good people of Kaduna State. In recognition of the strategic role that this great hospital •Continued on Page 28

Fayemi urges communities to access development funds



KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has urged the people at the grassroots to access funds at the state Community and Social Development Agency (EKSCSDA). The governor spoke in Ijero, a Town Hall/Village Square meeting initiated to avail the government of firsthand information on the needs of grassroots communities. Such information, the state said, is crucial in the preparation of next year’s budget. The people’s requests ranged from link and feeder road, classrooms to culverts and bridges, all

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

of which Fayemi said could be accommodated by EKSCSDA with little contribution from the communities. Fayemi said: “I like to inform you that some of the projects you have mentioned can be executed through EKSCSDA. All you need to do is provide 10 per cent of the entire project sum and EKSCSDA will provide the balance of 90 per cent. He noted that the state government assisted by the World Bank,

has been attacking poverty in the communities through ‘Community Driven Development (CDD)’ projects once the communities pay 10 per cent of the cost. Meanwhile, the state chair of EKSCSDA, Chief Ibidapo Awojolu has disclosed that it has continued to create awareness regarding its existence and how communities can access its funds. In a resent three-day training programme for stakeholders including the Community Project Management Committee in 17 communities, Awojolu said “…proper, efficient and effective

project management rest squarely on lucid and robust training of the CPMC and other sub-committees”. The training was, among other targets, meant “to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in project delivery and equip participants in he implementation process with necessary skills, knowledge, tools and commitment to do work”, Chief Awojolu said. He was optimistic that if the training was given needed at•Continued on Page 28



Market leaders hail council chief By Yetunde Balogun

•Chief Chijioke


EADERS and members of Shobatex International Modern Market have praised the chairman of Oto-Awori Local Council Development Area, Lagos, Mr. Bolaji Kayode Robert, for providing basic amenities and infrastructure in the area. Chief Stanley Chijioke, President-General of the association, hailed the council chief during a

stakeholders’ meeting, a forum at which market men and women evaluate their business and seek solutions to their challenges. Chijioke said Robert’s administration has touched virtually all aspects of societal needs ranging from education, water, health, poverty alleviation, and youth development. He said, “Although the status of the council is not yet what we crave for from the Federal Government, we have seen what Oto-Awori LCDA has done that several local governments in the country have not done. If schools, primary health centres and water can be provided, what is stopping them from being listed as part of the existing councils? In case the Federal Government does not know, the rehabilitation of Iyana-Era and Cele Bus/Stop on Lagos– Badagry Expressway, an international route linking Benin Republic was done by this LCDA; this is a plus for them. The persistent traffic jams at these spots have become a thing of the past despite financial con-

straints”. He said the LCDA is proactive and steadfastness in its policies and programmes, inspiring residents of the area to support the Robert administration. The market chief challenged the Federal Government to borrow a leaf from Otor-Awori. “If nothing is being done to build infrastructure, boost trade and in-

We have seen what Oto-Awori LCDA has done that several local governments in the country have not done. It has provided schools, primary health centres, roads and water

vestment, improve education and human development, improve power generation, that means we will continue to carry an overflow of burdens, but all these, the LCDA has been able to do in their own little way,” the market chief said. Chijioke said gone are the days when leaders fed the people with words, adding that these are days

of action. He congratulated the chairman on his re-election and prayed that his efforts and determination to raise the standard and develop the council area will yield more fruits. Shobatex market is known across Lagos State for the sale of Italian shoes, bags, textiles and allied products.

Fayemi urges communities to access development funds •Continued from Page 27

tention by participants, it would make a developmental turnaround in the fortunes of rural dwellers. “The vision and mission of Governor Kayode Fayemi is to alleviate poverty in Ekiti and recue Ekiti people from economic strangulation. One of the major outposts of the successful realisation of the objective is the timely intervention scheme of The World Bank in active collaboration with the State Govern-

ment. “Expectedly, it has brought about a harvest of about 135 micro-projects throughout Ekiti State o be commissioned very soon. Before the end of the year, more projects will be commissioned that will open a floodgate of social and economic development of our people. Chief Awojolu said: “Let me hope that at the end of the exercise, we shall be well equipped to the knowledge acquired in the classroom to implement our micro-projects to specifications”, Chief Awojolu said.

Foundation boosts women’s health •Continued from Page 27 has played in its quest and passion for saving of lives, our company has decided to lend her support. In February this year, we donated a mini-theatre equipment to assist your hospital. During the ceremony, my predecessor then, made a promise to further assist the hospital especially in the area of giving prompt attention to accident victims who require immediate surgery for their survival. It is my pleasure that the promise made to you earlier this year is being fulfilled today by the construction and furnishing of a female orthopaedic ward, which we have all gathered here today to commission to the glory of God. It is our conviction that the hospital management will put to good use, this facility to further enhance the hospital’s operations in attending to more and more accident victims who are brought here on daily basis and thereby saving more lives”. The Archbishop of Kaduna Diocese Bishop Matthew Ndagoso inaugurated the new facility. In addition to the ward and other contributions to the hospital, the brewery giant has also earmarked about N33 million to purchase an ultra-sound scanning equipment for St Gerard’s. Newsextra investigations revealed that the company has also trained traditional birth attendants at the Hajia Gambo Sawaba General Hospital as part of its efforts in reducing cases of Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the area. Before the training, the company commissioned a fully equipped

•Traditional birth attendants trained by the foundation and Nigeria Breweries at the VVF centre in Zaria VVF ward and is currently sponsoring two medical doctors on a specialisation course in Holland. After the two-year training, the two doctors are expected to return to the country and to their work with the Kaduna State government. Before leaving for Holland in 2010, the two doctors signed an undertaking to return to their employment with the state government. Specifically, they are expected to boost the medical team on VVF at the Hajia Gambo Sawaba Hospital. At an elaborate ceremony in Zaria, the management of the com-

Majority of women who develop fistulas become isolated and neglected. Kaduna is one of the two states in the North with facilities to treat VVF

pany presented kiths to the 40 traditional birth attendants trained under the second phase of the programme. Ani said on the occasion that the presentation of the equipment marked the second phase of the project which was conceived in 2010, with the construction and furnishing of VVF ward, adding that the third phase of the project, which is still ongoing, is the training of in-house surgeons for sustainability of VVF treatment. Ani, the breweries chief noted that “globally, about 2m women suffer from VVF, out of which between 80 to 90 per cent are in Africa. More and more women are developing VVF as a result of complications during childbirth especially young mothers and those not attended to by qualified midwives or well trained TBAs who are the first point of obstetric care in our local communities. Majority of women who develop fistulas become isolated and neglected because of their inability to live normal marital lives. Kaduna is one of the two states in the North with facilities to treat VVF and we

are pleased to be supporting the government’s efforts in this regard, not just with the donation of a 10-bed ward, but also embarking on the training of personnel towards eradication of VVF in the state. We support the training of traditional birth attendants since they are naturally first point of care in our rural communities. The training has further prepared them to know their limitations while providing care to women in their rural communities with limited access to the hospital care, thus

nipping in the bud the development of new cases of VVF due to poor obstetrics care. Huge resources have been committed to these trainings by Heineken Africa Foundation and Nigerian Breweries Plc. As an organisation committed to winning with Nigeria, we seek to complement the development efforts of the government through intervention in strategic sectors across the country. This project is yet another demonstration of our commitment to this philosophy”.




The disabled seek commission


N enterprising but hearing-impaired man, Ojo Makinde has urged the Federal Government to evolve policies that are friendly to persons with disability. Makinde, who operates a fish farm, also wants a commission created to tackle discriminations against people with disability. Though his hearing is impaired, Makinde is a successful fish farmer. At a press briefing, he reacted to various acts of discrimination suffered by disabled persons. He recalled how difficult it was for him to obtain a loan from a bank chiefly because of his disability. “Despite the fact that I owned a bungalow and a landed property in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, it was difficult for me to obtain bank loan,” he said. “Apart from ability to meet the collateral demands by the banks, my personality as a disabled person prevented me from enjoying access to loan facility. Yet I want to expand my business and it has been very tough.” Makinde lamented how the system has become difficult for disabled people to get jobs. Instead, they are confronted with a legacy of unequal education, job reservation, favouristism, nepotism and all kinds of discriminations. He further explained that one of the factors militating against the aspiration of persons with disability in business is that people still doubt their ability. Moreover, any society that frowns at begging must not frustrate the budding entrepreneur among the disabled. Quoting John F. Kenedy who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your country”, he said that such can only be possible where the environment is conducive. Makinde reminded the federal government of how it failed to sign into law the Disability Bill which has been passed by many states. He therefore requested the FORMER Minister of Education, Dr. Olaiya Oni, has urged Southwest governors to return to regionalism for rapid economic, social and political development. Oni said if the governors adopt this system, the Federal Government would listen to the yearnings of the people in the region. The ex-minister spoke at a lecture organised in Akure, the Ondo State capital, by the Faculty of Art, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in Osun State to mark the 50th anniversary of the institution.


By Olalekan Yusuf

federal government to urgently assent to the bill. Makinde appealed for representation and participation of person with disability to be included in every policy framework in the country. “That is why we are in full support of government creating a commission for Disability Affairs or Ministry to handle the affairs of disabled people.” The fish farmer noted that Nigeria being the ‘giant of Africa’, the living condition and lives of disabled persons should also reflect in the country’s potentials. He therefore urged the government to do everything possible to eliminate discriminations against person with disability and promote their full integration into the society.

Despite the fact that I owned a bungalow and a landed property in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, it was difficult for me to obtain bank loan • Makinde at his fish farm

Go back to regionalism, ex-minister urges Southwest governors

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

He described the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the greatest Yoruba man after Oduduwa. The lecture was entitled “The Challenges of Excellence in the Socio-economic and Political Development of Nigeria.” Oni who was also the Ondo State Chairman of Labour Party (LP) and and an alumnus of the

institution. He said the regional system adopted by Awolowo brought about rapid developments in the Southwest. He said: “When Chief Awolowo and his lieutenants established the Action Group (AG), the cornerstone of their political philosophy of Democratic Socialism was built

•A senior official in the Urban Development Department, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs Jelilat Abdulhamid, explaining some exhibits to Secretary to the Government, Mrs Idiat Adebule (second right) and the ministry’s commissioner, Mr Toyin Ayinde during the last World Habitat Day organised by the ministry at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja. With is Adeniji Adekunle (in cap).

on the four cardinal programmes of free primary education, free health service for age 0-18, integrated rural development and full employment. “It was also their political philosophy that brought about the establishment of OAU in 1962. The Afenifere philosophy that emerged there has remained the hallmark of progressivism in Nigeria politics till today. The former President Olusegun Obasanjo who ruled this nation for eight years, despite the fact is a Yoruba man, the region was totally neglected. “I believe and I think it will not be out of place to state at this stage that the Yoruba nation was the most fertile land in our country at that time to so sow the seed of progressivism not only because they have been exposed to western education and its attendant, socialeconomic and political development ahead of others region. Oni stressed that it was the philosophy applied by the Awolowo

to develop the western region that prompted the late Nnamdi Azikiwe to develop the educational institutions in the eastern region. “As for economic crops-cocoa, palm produce, cashew, coffee, rubber and timber which are major cash crops in the western region were used judiciously to develop the region. Awolowo established a research and training agricultural farm in Akure but this is not functioning again,”the former LP chairman noted. He commended the former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu for his role in ensuring the Southwest returns to the Awolowo philosophy. Also speaking, former Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Special Duties, Hon. Saka Lawal said students have a major role to play to re-brand the nation and revive the Awo philosophy. Lawal who accompanied Oni to the occasion with executives of Sunshine Liberation Forum (SLF) noted that the country is presently sitting on a time bomb especially given the federal government’s plan to remove the oil subsidy.



Ajimobi woos Indonesian investors

EU partners Ekiti on water supply T

•Governor Fayemi

HE European Union has expressed its readiness to partner with the Ekiti State government in a bid to achieve its target of improving the supply of potable water to 80 percent within four years. Speaking during a courtesy visit to the governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the team leader of the EU Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme III, Mr. Daniel Cricks, said his team was in the state to get a formulation report on the water sanitation project being embarked upon. Cricks lamented that water supply in Nigeria was only five percent yet the population was fast growing without potable water provision. The EU chief added that the commitment of the international body to Ekiti State was to help improve the quality of water distribution and sanitation, even as the

Parents urged to show commitment to children’s education


ARENTS and guardians have been urged to show more commitment to the welfare and education of their children. This advice was given by the wife of the Chairman, Remo North Local Government, Mrs. Kehinde Adeleye while addressing a monthly meeting of women groups at the council secretariat. A press statement signed by the council’s Director of Information, Mr. Oloyede Oyeniyi, quoted the wife of the chairman as saying that” no nation can develop or sustain its development without meaningful investment in the development of her youths”. She added that children are the most precious asset of any nation and so they should be well taken care of but should not be over-pampered by their parents. Mrs. Adeleye appealed to women as builders of the nation to complement the efforts of their husbands by supporting them in their socio-political and economic endeavours for their own benefit and that of

Ogun their children. She urged women in the council area to see themselves as partners in progress with their husbands, calling on women to be totally submissive to their husbands as failure to do this would always result in broken homes. Commenting on the desirability of the women Advancement Forum, as it affects them, she said that the programme, an initiative of the Senator Ibikunle Amosunled administration seeks to make women functional, self-reliant and well-integrated members of the society. Mrs. Adeleye also praised the wife of the governor, Mrs. Olunfunsho Amosun, for her humanitarian gestures and for positively touching the lives of the needy and senior citizens in Ogun State.



Fayemi-led administration was taking steps to improve water supply in the state. Cricks explained that the EU team had since been inspecting all water facilities across the state with a view to analysing the water situations, after which a stakeholders’ workshop would be organised to sensitise the public on water sanitation. Replying, Governor Fayemi disclosed that his administration was putting in place a master plan on water distribution in the state, adding that adequate supply of potable water would help curb the spread of water-borne diseases. Fayemi said water supply has improved from 20 percent to 45 percent since the inception of his administration in October last year; stressing that the target of his administration was to hit 80 percent before 2014. He added that though some of the water projects embarked upon by his administration have not been completed, it was inevitable that government make use of boreholes and water plants as temporary measures to address the immediate water need of the people during this dry season.

• Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (second right), Mrs Evelyn Oputu, Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BOI) (left), Mr. Ladi Delano, CEO Bakrie Group of Indonesia, and Kenneth Farrell, CEO Bomi Resources Minerals of the Bakrie Group (right), when the BOI and Bakrie group paid a courtesy call on the governor

NGO empowers artisans


NDIGENT artisans in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area of Lagos State received a boost recently as a Non-Governmental Organisation, The Change Agent, distributed to them, work tools worth N2 million. The Change Agent, whose coordinator, Hon. Dipo Okeyomi, popularly known as ‘Carry Go’

Osun, firm collaborate on youth empowerment T HE Osun State government, in partnership with the Chams Plc., has launched another youth empowerment initiative tagged OYES Sustainable Employment Scheme. With the launch , Governor Rauf Aregbesola will create employment for 5,000 youths by deploying 5,000 Chams Point of Transaction (POT) terminals to beneficiaries. The Chams POT terminals is a hand-held device that will be configured to provide various businesses for OYES graduates which will allow them vend GSM vouchers, cable TV subscription as well as electricity bills. Aregbesola, at the launch, noted that the birth of OSES which is an adjunct of the OYES is a giant step in job creation which will have a positive effect on the economy of the state. The governor, who praised Chams Plc for setting up the POT terminals,advised beneficiaries of the scheme to see the opportunity the state government and Chams have provided for them as chance to be self employed and employers of labour.


From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

Aregbesola said: “This is a major breakthrough in our job creation drive, we are not just creating employment, but we are out to make every beneficiary an employer of labour. This is a scheme that will guarantee you a minimum income of N40,000 when the POT terminals are used for the sales of airtime voucher pins, mobile payment and other IT enabled services.” The governor, however, used the occasion to intimate Osun indigenes of the state of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which his administration moved from N300million to N600million by blocking loop-holes in tax administration without increasing taxes in the state.

• From left: Hon. Dipo Okeyomi, co-ordinator, The Change Agent; Oba Rilwan Oluwalambe of Ojokoroland and Okeyomi’s wife, Folukemi, at the distribution of work tools to indigent artisans in Amje, Ojokoro LCDA, Lagos

Council inaugurates advisory committee


HE Ifelodun Local Council Development Area,Lagos State has inaugurated an advisory committee to assist the chairman in moving the council forward. The committee is made up of the following members: Alhaji Muda Kuti - LGA Party Chairman; Hon. Shuaib Fatai O. Ajidagba- Executive Chairman, Ifelodun LCDA Hon Taiwo Oyewole Adenekan - Member Fed House of Rep Ajeromi Ifelodun Constituency; Hon. Kolawole Taiwo (HKT) - Deputy Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly; Hon. Seugn Ogunbanjo - Former Member Fed House of Rep, Ajeromi Ifelodun Constituency; Dr. Abiola Ajijola - 1st Executive Chairman Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Govt.; Hon. A Giwa - Former Executive Secretary Badagry Local Government; Alhaji S. A. Emiola - Former Local Education District (L.E.D) Secretary, Ojo Local Govt; Chief Remi Williams - CAN Party Leader; Alhaji M. O. Fisabi -CAN Stalwart


• From left: Rotn Lyna Oriaku; Rotn Olisa Mokelu; Rotn Osaro Eko Mwerere; Rotn Chinedu Ebo; Rotn Abraham Ebi Akpi; Rotn Gloria Nwaobi and Rotn Sam Nwaokohu at the installation of Rotn Abraham Ebi Akpi at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.

in Ifelodun LCDA Alhaji S. A. Adekoya - Former Special Adviser on political & legisiative matters Ifelodun LCDA.; Alhaji Sule Adio ; Hon. Olufemi Okeowo; Mr Ajayi (Limson) Olanipekun - Hon. Ahmed Alanamu; Hon. Adeola Garba - Secretary of Committee; Prince S. Olatunji -; Alh. Ola Sheu. After the inauguration of the committee, the chairman of the committee, Hon. Shuaib Ajidagba mentioned some fundamental issues that are vital to the success of his administration. These include security ,education health,road rehabilitation and •Shuaib infrastructure.

Church holds convention

HE week-long convention of the Christ Apostolic Mission Church (Oke Igbala) began yesterday and will end on December 18 This year’s convention is a unique one and the theme of the convention – Love him and let him go, signifies the determination of the Body of Christ called C.A.M.C. to pray fervently to God Almighty for physical and spiritual freedom, divine prosperity and of-course, divine breakthrough in all ramifications for members of the Church in particular, and the generality of Nigerians.


A statement released by the Publicity SubCommittee of the Convention Committee of the Mission revealed that activities for this year’s anniversary will feature lectures, workshops, and seminars by distinguished servants of God. Also, the Music Night featuring fchoir representatives from over 70 parishes of our mission shall hold between 6pm and midnight on Friday December 16. Similarly, the invited guest artistes in persons of Evang. Ojo Ade, Bro. George Audu (the saxophonist) and Sister Busayo Makinde will grace the occasion on Wednesday December 14, December16 and Sunday,December18 respectively.

Lagos is also a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), distributed work tools such as head driers, sewing machines and, handsets, tables and umbrellas for telephone business centres. Chairs and tables were also given out to seven wards and the green zones of the council area for village meetings and afternoon relaxation, after recreation. Speaking on the occasion, Ojoro’s paramount ruler, Oba Rilwan Oluwalambe of Ijokoland commended the gesture, saying well-to-do residents of the area ought to save the youths from the pang of hunger. Oba Oluwalambe said that with the economic situation in the country and the fact that the country has a huge population government at all levels alone could not shoulder the responsibility of assisting the lessprivileged. “As things are, individuals and corporate bodies have to team up and rehabilitate these jobless youths, so that they don’t take to crime in a bid to feed,” the royal father counselled. Speaking at the event which was held in Amje, a community in the area,Okeyomi said, “I have discovered that many of them have professions and trades but do not have the tools or capital to start off; and as they say, ‘teach me how to fish instead of giving me fish’,” he explained. Besides, Okeyomi said the occasion was dedicated to mark the first anniversary of the administration of Osun State governor, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola “who is my mentor and who built me up to this level of having to give to others.” According to Okeyomi, in no time, the group would embark on sinking boreholes in each ward of the LCDA. The NGO, he informed, is not only consigned to Ojokoro as it has spread to other states in the country and that it is beginning to go global with members planting the vision in Ghana and South Africa.


Corona Girls Guide visits orphanage THE Girls Guide pupils of Corona Secondary School, Agbara Ogun State, recently paid a visit to the Akowonjo arm of the of the All Saints Orphanage. They were welcomed by Mrs Bose Ogunbanjo, the administrator of the chapter The girls interacted with Mrs Ogunbanjo on how the orphanage had weathered the storm nearly two decades ago. Mrs Ogunbajo told them how the orphanage established in 1994 by Rev Mrs Dele George, now runs three locations Ogudu, Ikeja GRA, and Akowonjo respectively. Among other things, she said the founder had a passion to reignite hope for abandoned and abused children to give them a better tomorrow. As the pupils took a group photograph with some of the orphanages mostly toddlesr, the Girls Guide Coordinator, Mrs Joy Okechukwu, said the trip was anchored on helping the society which, according to her, is a strong factor behind Girls Guide.

group of Indonesian investors has indicated interest in working with the Oyo State government in agriculture and mining. The investors from the Bakrie Group, led by an Indonesian-based Nigerian, Mr. Ladi Delano, were on a working visit to Oyo State to see the areas of cooperation with the state government in enhancing the socio-economic development of the state. Delano, who spoke on behalf of his group , described the state as an investors’ destination of choice, with a lot of potentials. According to him, his organisation, which he said was the largest in Indonesia, was into rubber and palm oil plantation, mining, oil and gas and steel production, adding that it would invest about $1 billion in Nigeria in the next five years. “We have seen a lot of investment opportunities in Oyo State and we are here to partner with the government. We want to be partners with the government in the development of the economy of this state,’’ Delano said. He praised Governor Ajimobi for his

Oyo leadership style and for his passion for the growth and development of the state, which he said, had attracted his organisation to the state. Replying, Governor Ajimobi expressed regret that the state, which used to be a pace setter, had deteriorated and had thus lost the status. He, however, expressed his administration’s determination to bring the state back to its pace setting status

through its repositioning, reformation and transformation agenda. The governor said that already, there was a 9,000 hectares of land yearning to be cultivated, while about 5,000 youths would be involved in the farm settlement project of the state government. On property development, Sen. Ajimobi, who expressed surprise that the state could not boast of any five-star hotel, said that his government was also looking into the possibility of building one, with facilities such as shopping malls and a recreation centre.

Ondo promotes 1,381 workers


NDO State government has rolled out a promotion package to not fewer than 1351 workers in its civil service following their success in the 2011 promotion examination Besides, the State Civil Service Commission has landed the disciplinary axe on 131 others for running foul of the civil service rules and regulations The affected workers from grade level seven and seventeen have started receiving

•From left: Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Prince Segun Adesegun, retiring Head of Service, Princess Iyabo Odulate, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, his wife, Olufunso, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Suraj Adekunmbi and the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, a lawyer at the sent forth of Princess Odulate

Ondo From Damisi Ojo,Akure

their promotion letters. The Chairman of the State Civil Service Commission, Mr Dare Adebiyim described the jumbo promotion as a further testimony to the caring heart posture of the Dr Olusegun Mimiko administration to the career advancement of civil servants. According to him, “no doubt the exercise has its own financial implications, however the promotion will not draw down our purse, you all know the uncommon commitment of the present government to the welfare of its work force. The cost implication is such that can still be absorbed within the wage bill of the state civil service” Adebiyi admonished the newlypromoted officers to continue to diligently do their jobs and be loyal to the government that has been caring for their career through various welfare packages. “There are some states where promotions are not being carried out, but ours is not like that because the government will never shy away from its mandatory responsibility of delivering the dividends of democracy to the electorate, the civil servants inclusive” the Chairman added He disclosed that Commission’s zerotolerance for acts of indiscipline led to the termination of the appointment of five officers, 126 compulsorily retired and 49 reprimanded for various offences such as fraud, forgery and gross misconduct.

Praises as foundation helps the needy


S a way of giving back to the society, the Mike Igbokwe (SAN) Foundation recently visited five different homes across Lagos where food items were given out to ease the burdens of the needy. The foundation gave out various food items including rice, maggi, salt and vegetable oil worth several thousands of naira to five different homes - the Motherless Babies Home, Lekki, Old People’s Home, Yaba, Little Saints

Lagos By Dada Aladelokun

Orphanage, Palmgrove, Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted and Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice, Surulere. Mike Igbokwe (SAN), the legal luminary behind the project, founded it two years ago, when he became a successful lawyer with practice spanning over two decades, with bigleague clients.

• From left: Board member Mr. Joseph Okoroafor; Igbokwe, Mrs. Adelaja-Adedoyin and Secretary to the Foundation, Mr. Dennis Johnson when the foundation donated some food items to the home

Igbokwe’s inspiration to be his brother’s keeper, NewsExtra learnt, dates back to 1989 while serving in the Benevolence Department of the Household of God, headed by Pastor Chris Okotie, where his team provided food, homes and clothing for the needy. He was later was appointed the head of the department in 1998. “I felt that if individuals could volunteer to take care of the less-privileged, we should support them. The future of these children is very bright. Mike Igbokwe SAN Foundation was set up to support the poor in the society. Launched when I turned 50, we realised that government could not do it alone. This is the time to show love and care now that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. This is significant in the spirit of Christmas. It is our token of love for the inmates of these homes,” Igbokwe explained the gesture. He added: “We should all commend the efforts of the heads of these homes. The work they are doing is fantastic. It is a selfless service which is unquantifiable in terms of cash and sacrifice. It takes patience, love, dedication, sacrifice and commitment to get involved in humanitarian service. I pray that God will reward them.” Sister Dorcas Unigle of the Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted commended Igbokwe: “This effort is commendable because it is rare for people to wake up one day and decide to give food items to the needy in the society. The school is free and relies solely on private and individual donor. It is from donation from spirited individual like this that we use to take care of the inmates. We pray that God will continue to reward you abundantly.”





Behold! A world class mall for Ikeja

•The Ikeja City Mall


T is a building which cannot be missed on the way to the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja. The Ikeja City Mall, which will house the popular supermarket, Shoprite and Silverbird Galleria, among others, will be opened on Wednesday. The multi-billion naira mall was developed by Actis, Paragon Holdings and RMBIA. The companies have a 60:20:20 shareholding in the project. The mall occupies about 28,500 square metres. It consists of 118 shops, cinema, restaurants and other retail outlets. The mall, initially planned to begin operation last month, has been generating public interest. Traffic has increased around the mall since it was learnt that it would be opened before Christmas. Efforts are being made to ensure that the project is completed on schedule for its opening on Wednesday. The project is said to have been financed with a $48.6 million loan secured from Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Standard Bank of South Africa. The complex has various shop sizes, comprising 15, 50, 60, and 100 square metres and other


A structural masterpiece that will house Shoprite, among other world-class retail shops and restaurants, will open for business at Alausa on Wednesday, MIRIAM NDIKANWU reports. customised ones for special needs. Apart from the facility management office, which is accessible to shoppers, traders and customers, the market is strategically located behind the premises of the Lagos State Fire Service. Other unique features that stand it out are: a truck loading and off-loading facility; a rapid response security service; a water/sewage treatment plant; ample parking space with capacity for at least 250 cars, CCTV cameras; 500 KVA generator; high performance (HP) transformers; cleaning services; gardening; landscaping and other top-notch facility management services.” Actis Director for Real Estate Michael Ejekam said he expects the mall "to become a hub for visitors from across Africa and beyond." Ejekam said the decision to site the mall in Alausa was

informed by customers’ interest in similar facilities elsewhere. He said the location would not jeopardise the chaotic traffic in Ikeja as most users of the facility would be those working in the area. Ejekam said Actis would partner with the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to check traffic congestion. "The mall is expected to feature the first and only cinema theatre in the Ikeja suburb, offering a four-screen Silverbird Cinema and Shoprite Supermarket, including special facilities for department stores, banks, cafes, bars, restaurants, hairdressing and beauty salons, among others." A resident, Angel Abraham, who spoke about the project, said: "I am excited about the shopping mall and can't wait for it to begin operation. Each time I drive through Alausa, I’m

LIRS takes tax message to the streets Aspirant rallies support for council boss THE Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has appealed for more voluntary payments of taxes. The agency made the plea at an enlightenment walk round the Ikeja metropolis. An official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the move was part of the strategies to drum support for tax payment. The official urged the people to pay their taxes to enable the government provide for them. He said: “We all want to enjoy great public services: well laid out roads, efficient health care delivery, free drugs, free education, and great schools. All these requires huge financial commitments and only regular payment of our taxes would make the realisation of these services possible.”

A former chairmanship aspirant in Ayobo-Ipaja Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Otunba Ladi Oluwaloni, has urged residents to support the chairman, Alhaji Shakiru Yusuf to transform the area. Speaking with CityBeats, Oluwaloni said:" The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) remains the only viable alternative for good governance in Nigeria, hence, I want to enjoin residents of the council area to work in concert with the newly inaugurated administration to provide basic amenities and massive infrastructural development of the community."

impressed at the pace of work and the commitment of the contractors to ensure that the project is delivered before the end of this year." She described the location as a blessing, particularly to residents of Ikeja and its environs as it would save them the trouble of going through the chaotic traffic on the island to do their shopping. "Judging from the pace of work on the project, it is hoped that it will commence operation during the Yuletide." She said the mall improve the economic viability of the state as more people would be employed to work in the various outlets. Another resident, Mr Taiwo Olapade, described the project as a round peg in a round hole. "This is not the first mall in the state but, from all indication, it appears to be one of the biggest so far, with appealing aesthetics

that one cannot ignore, whenever you pass through the area. "I am expecting operations to start soon, because I love the serenity of the environment and the fact that it will also decongest the influx of people to similar shopping malls across the state and reduce the travel time to those other outlets. "Apart from the fact that it is close to my office and I can easily walk down there to get the things I need, I am particularly looking forward to the bakery so that I can easily have my favourite bread. I am a regular visitor to the Surulere Shopping Mall because of the bread. "This is already generating employment for people in the construction sector and when it is completed it will also engage about 10,000 people who will work in the various sections." Mr Kunle Awosiyan said adding that the location was not bad as such mall exists in highbrow areas of developed cities. "There is nothing wrong with having the Ikeja shopping mall in Alausa, because right in front of the mall is a traffic light with traffic officials that will help in controlling traffic. "We all love the project and are waiting for its eventual take off."

Fed Govt urged to check multiple taxation THE Federal Government has been asked to check multiple taxation to assist upcoming entrepreneurs achieve their target and enhance national growth. According to Prince Adewale Adeniyi, an industrialist and the Managing Director of Adekass Technical Services Limited, the government should address multiple taxation as it is an impediment to growth. His words: “I wish to ask that the government, both at the local, state and federal levels to assist upcoming entrepreneurs in achieving their aims because they actively assist the government in achieving its responsibility to the citizenry.” The issue of multiple taxation also needs to be addressed as this stands as impediment to our growth.Adekass will continue to try its best to face the challenges as much as it can.




School gets lab, generator


ALOMO Senior High School, Ikoyi, has got a refurbished multi-purpose science laboratory, courtesy of Essar Exploration and Production Ltd (EEPL). Besides, the company also provided a 13.5kva generator, a multi-media projector and a desktop computer unit with a printer for the school. The laboratory, which is also equipped with tables and stools as well as inverter and other reagents, can seat 60 students. The Country Head of EEPL, Mr Gorind Kumar Bhattacharya, said the gesture is part of "our corporate social responsibility and our contribution to the advancement of basic science education in Nigeria . "It is important that the equipment and facilities being handed over today are put to proper use. We urge the school authorities to be in contact with the suppliers so that they can take full advantage of the one year warranty given for the maintenance of the equipment. I hope that the students will make full use of these laboratory equipment and will benefit from them in pursuit of their educational goals," Bhattacharya said. Earlier, the representative of

By Oziegbe Okoeki

the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs Wuraola M. Idris, Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary, Education District III, thanked Essar for the project and for collaborating with "Governor Raji Fashola's initiative in turning around the fortunes of our education system." She also implored the staff and students of the school to make the best and judicious use of the facilities "so that it will continue to serve future generations of students. You must handle the equipment with utmost care to prevent unnecessary breakages and damages", she said. "I will also recommend this worthy example to all responsible corporate organisations and individuals to emulate so that together we are sure to win this race of giving our children the highest quality of education, ", Idris said. Thanking Essar for the laboratory, the Principal, Mrs Abosede Adeboye, said the school's old laboratory was a big concern to everybody "until God sent Essar Exploration and Production to the rescue of our science-oriented students. We are happy and we can't hide it because we are confident that with this laboratory our sci-

•Mrs Idris (cutting the tape) with her are: Mrs. Adebayo (right) Mr. Bhattacharya (second right) and Mrs Ojo at the event PHOTO: OZIEGBE OKOEKI

ence students would be able to improve their performances in the external examinations and other competitions they will be participating in", she said. Also present at the event was a representative of the Group General Manager of a sub-division

of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Iyabode Ayobami Ojo, who was thankful that Essar is able to respond to the needs of the school by providing the laboratory for the use of the students and towards the development of science educa-

tion in the school. The sub-division of NNPC has a Production Sharing Contract Agreement with Essar on the OPL 226 and it encourages companies to embark on community development projects of this nature, Ojo said.

Physically-challenged children win scholarships


N the spirit of the Yuletide, the Bestspring Children and Youth Development Foundation has held musical concert for children living with disabilities in Lagos State. The event, held at Yaba Baptist Church, was attended by children from the Save Our Soul (SOS) Village, Isolo; Citadel of Grace Mission, Igando and Modupe Cole Special School, Bariga, among others. Apart from artistes’ performance, the children rendered Christmas carol to the admiration of Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and others. Seven of the orphans, who distinguished themselves, were also awarded scholarships to further their school and vocational trainings. Among the scholarship beneficiaries are nine-year-old Richard Bright, a JSS 1 student, Glory Phillip, 12-year-old, also in JSS 1, Kehinde Shina, a six-year-old pupil of Primary 1, and Abigail Kalu, 11-year-old, also in JSS 1. Others were: Vivian Elvis, an 11year-old Primary One pupil, Marth Emmanuel, nine year-old Basic 3 pupil and Toma Unu, a 20year-old physically challenged girl who has completed her senior secondary education. Unu, an artist, paints with her feet because of her disability. She got a scholarship for further training in painting. The foundation President, Mrs Aramide Oikelome, said the event was organised as part of its contribution to assuaging the myriad of challenges faced by orphans and the physically-challenged. Mrs Oikelome said the seven recipients of the scholarship were selected because they are orphans with brilliant academic records or skills.

1. Fire and Safety Services Control Room Phone Nos: 01-7944929; 080-33235892; 080-33235890; 08023321770; 080-56374036.

By Miriam Ndikanwu

"The criteria we used were firstly, to get children that are orphans, because there are some children in the Homes that are not orphans, they are motherless but they are not totally orphans. But these ones we gave scholarships, are orphans and are academically brilliant. “We realised home managers have issues such as school fees payments, sometimes the children are sent back home because they can't pay school fees. So, this time, we want to pay directly to the school. This would go a long way in plug-

ging leakages,because these homes really have a lot of needs. “The scholarship we are offering these seven orphans takes care of their school fees, uniforms and books for one year. If we get more help, we can extend it to two years or grant them full scholarship," she said. Mrs Oikelome said apart from organising the event for the orphans, the foundation equally carry out frequent visits to the homes; identify their challenges and assist in addressing them. "We have a working relationship with some of the orphanage

homes. We go Unu there, and we inspect what they do. paints Last year, what we with her did was the “Hope feet Alive Project.” We went on inspection to some orphanage homes, with a view to improving on their situation. Some of them needed amenities. One home needed renovation of the boys' hostel and another needed to carry out renovation on its kitchen. After our tour, we held a concert like this to raise funds but what we realised was not enough.

•Senator Mamora, presenting Unu of Modupe Cole Care Centre with her award. With him left are Dr. & Mrs. Oikelome; other Board of Trustees members, Mr. Bola Olayinka and Mrs. Modupeola Ayeni at the ceremony

EMERGENCY LINES 2. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Lagos Zonal Command Phone No: 080-77690200; 01-7742771 Sector Commander Phone No: 080-776909201; 01-2881304 FRSC Emergency No: 070-022553772

3. LASTMA Emergency Numbers: 080-75005411; 080-60152462 080-23111742; 080-29728371 080-23909364; 080-77551000, 01-7904983 4. KAI Brigade Phone Nos: 080-23036632; 0805-5284914 Head office Phone Nos: 01-4703325; 01-7743026

5. Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Phone Nos: 070-55350249; 070-35068242 080-79279349; 080-63299264 070-55462708; 080-65154338 767 or email:

"We had to go to some of our friends and supporters and they gave us money. So, we put all these funds together and we did the renovation and the children were overjoyed. In one home they were fighting over the mattresses because for a long time they have been sleeping on the floor. “For the other home, we gave a new kitchen with new equipments, they felt relived, because before then they were cooking with stove and when it rained, they won't be able to cook again.” She went on: “So, we believe in doing practical things, not just giving them money or foodstuffs. A lot of Nigerians take foodstuffs there, drop them and go. But we want to do some concrete things that will better the lot of the children and tell them that they are as important as every other child outside. “The fact that they were rejected by their parents doesn't mean they are rejects, they are still important and something great can come out of them, if well taken care of." Senator Mamora commended the gesture and stressed the need for the enforcement of the law that addresses the challenges of the physically-challenged in the society. The Head of Citadel of Grace Mission, Mrs Grace Izile, commended the foundation for their gesture. "Bestspring Foundation has been a source of joy to us. In fact, being part of the programme is an opportunity and it's a privilege, I appreciate the programme and, like I said, they have been a source of joy to the home since we started a relationship with them.”

6. Health Services – LASAMBUS Ambulance Services Phone Nos: 01-4979844; 01-4979866; 01-4979899; 01-4979888; 01-2637853-4; 080-33057916; 080-33051918-9; 080-29000003-5.




Council staff wins award


WORKER of OshodiIsolo Local Government Area of Lagos State, Regina Sawyerr, has done the council proud. Sawyerr was picked as the first runner-up of “The Project Manager of the Year” 2011Awards, at the International Project Management Day. She won the award based on a picturesque compendium entitled: “Know the local government - ties for sustainable development brochure initiative” and a pictorial compendium of

By Amidu Arije

developmental programmes and projects of the council. The International Project Management Day was celebrated by the Project Management Institute (PMI), Lagos State, at the Terra Kulture, Victoria Island. It is to recognise project managers for their contributions to the execution of projects. Sawyerr, a Special Adviser to the former Chairman of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Afeez Ipesa-Balogun,

went home with 'an award plaque. He also got an all expense paid trip to attend the 2012 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PMI Congress. Sawyerr thanked IpesaBalogun for giving her the opportunity to showcase the council's achievements. She said the pictorial compendium is an educative and informative resource that educates, informs and enlighten members of the community about the local government - responding to the question 'what do you people really do at the local government?'


Fadama floats farmer's ICT centres

HE National Fadama Project is set to establish Fadama Information Knowledge Service (FIKS) centres to enhance farmers' productivity in rural areas. Speaking at a parley with major mobile telecommunication service providers in Lagos, National Project Coordinator of Fadama III Mr Tayo Adewunmi said the initiative was borne out of the need to alleviate farmers’ challenges in the rural areas. "The wisdom behind this concept is to help the local farmers in rural communities. Through this initiative, we have been able to link up with them, know their challenges, assess their inputs and assist them by providing information that will help them manage their farm and livestock for a rewarding output," he said. The Sector Leader, World Bank Office in Nigeria, Mrs Shobha Shetty, said:"We have received a grant to pilot information and communication for local farmers in Nigeria. What we envisaged is to use mobile phone to pilot the programme and

By Kunle Akinrinade

reach the farmers irrespective of their location across the states of the federation in order to provide them with viable, effective and accessible information that would help them. Continuing, she said: "We have visited India, where a similar programme has been used to better the lot of local farmers and we believe we can use their modules here in Nigeria, to develop local content. “We are particularly concerned about how the farmers can have access to information on weather, crop and

The wisdom behind this concept is to help the local farmers in rural communities

livestock management while, a helpline via a toll free call, would be provided for them to link up with experts on the telephone. The Fadama Community Association would also play an important role in making this initiative successful." The Assistant Director, New Media and Information Security of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) Mr Haru Alhassan, an engineer, commended the initiative. He said: "NCC highly welcome the Fadama initiative geared toward helping the rural farmers by providing them with necessary information that would help them to manage their farms better. A number of telecommunication companies have installed optical fibre cables capable of transmitting information across the states of the federation and this would no doubt enhance the performance of this programme. I have no doubt that this initiative will be successful and help increase the productivity of farmers in far flung rural communities in Nigeria."

•From left: Mr Mark Denton, CEO, MAXvmg, Hampshire UK; Babatunde Ogundiran, Executive Assistant to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy; Mr Deji West, President, Project Management Institute, Nigeria Chapter; Mr Mark Obaba, Project Management Office of Stanbic IBTC Bank; Sawyerr, and Isioma Isiekwenagbu, Chapter Administrator PMI Nigeria Chapter

‘Make use of constituency offices’


EADER of the Lagos State House of Assembly Hon Ajibayo Adeyeye has called on Lagosians to use lawmakers' constituency offices. Adeyeye spoke during an interactive session with members of the State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) and Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) held at the House’s Conference Room. According to him, lack of proper use of the constituency offices by the constituents is a major challenge facing lawmakers in attending to their needs. Adeyeye said if the offices are properly used lawmakers can easily identify the problems facing their constituents and address them. He said: "If there is any frus-

By Oziegbe Okoeki

tration which I have encountered as a politician, it is the non-participation of the elite in the democratic dispensation. Some elite do not know the functions of Executive and Legislative arms; some also do not know the difference between State Assembly and the National Assembly. "When I was elected into the Assembly in 2007, I set up a constituency office where I employed some staff. Throughout my first term, only three letters were sent to my office, one for a wedding ceremony and the other two were for financial assistance," he said. The Acting Clerk, Mr. Olusegun Abiru, said politicians have not done enough in terms of publicity as regards the establishment of

constituency of- Even the fice. elites do According to not know him, "If our poli- how we ticians embark operate on rigorous campaign on the importance of constituency offices as they do during the electioneering campaign, constituents would be willing to meet the lawmakers there rather than at the Assembly. Mr Ayo Adebusoye, a representative of LACSOP, highlighted some of the findings of the group, which indicated that 50 per cent of the offices said their staff are trained in constituent - legislative relations, experience in politics, good human relations, problem-solving skill and good understanding of the constituency while 5 per cent do not have such trained staff.


•A heap of impounded commercial motorcycles (Okada) at the Tax Force Office, Alausa. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

From left: Alhassan, Mrs Shetti, State Project Coordinator of Fadama 111, Mr Folu Ajijola standing) and Adewunmi.

Community denies encroaching on OME alleged school’s land February 6, 1958 and pubtrespassers have lished in Gazete No 10 Vol.


denied encroaching on Birch Freeman School, Mushin, Lagos land. Speaking on the aegis of Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu family and Ewe Agbigbo community in Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos, they said they are not trespassers. They were reacting to Governor Babatunde Fashola's statement while handing over a block of 21 classrooms to the School that the drainage would require the recovery of land from squatters. Fashola, an old boy, issued a red card to the squatters. He promised to work with the Old Boys Association to reclaim every land that used to belong to the school. Briefing reporters, Secretary to Tinubu family, Mr Tajudeen Tinubu, said there was no encroachment on the school land. He alleged that the school is encroaching on others’ land and using government apparatus and officials to harass and intimidate the people without regard for equity and fairness. He accused the school of exceeding its boundary by

By Yinka Aderibigbe

shifting its main gate from its original position, thereby blocking the road to Akobi Crescent and creating untold hardship for the residents. Tinubu recalled that, originally, Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu, was the titular customary owner under native law and customs of Ewe Agbigbo Farm land within which the school land fell in 1834 by grant from the Oloto chieftancy family as represented by Oloto Baalo Oriagbaya who was the sixth Oloto of Oto, Lagos Mainland. He recalled that a portion of Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu family land was acquired by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the purpose of building Birch Freeman High School in 1958 vide Government Notice No 290 published in the official Gazette No 10 of February 13, 1958. According to Tinubu's family secretary, by the Federal Government acquisition notice No 290 dated

45 page 200 of February 13, 1958; "the school's land measured 4.841 acres, but recently the authority of the school pillars erected since 1958 in daylight from their original position in an adventurous and expansionist manner." He told reporters that the authority of the school was deliberately misinforming Governor Raji Fashola on the situation of the school land, that all the structures being referred to as encroachments were all outside the demarcating boundaries of Birch Freeman High School as confirmed by a composite survey plan jointly prepared by Lagos State Survey Department as represented by one surveyor, Mrs A.A.A. Tejuosho and Tinubu family's surveyor, R.O.S. Alabi in April 2009. Mr Tinubu further added that the instrucment of acquisition referred to in 1958 was registered at the lands registry Lagos as No 1 volume 7 by the Chief Land Officer on 30th day of July, 1958.




QUOTE OF THE WEEK “The landmark judgement has put to further shame, your political adversaries, who are still licking the wound of humiliation which you inflicted upon them at the April national polls.” Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Hon. Garba Datti Mohammed, in a congratulatory letter to ACN National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on his recent victory at the CCB Tribunal.

Govt, residents feud over Lekki-Epe road deepens •Case still in court, says counsel


LL is set for the take-off of collection of toll on the EtiOsa, Lekki-Epe Road from Sunday. But the residents are still protesting, despite the Lagos State government’s assurance that their demands have been met. They are threatening to resist the toll collection because of the government’s and concessionaire’s seeming unconcern about their plight. Director-General of the Public Private Partnership Office, Ayo Gbeleyi, said government ordered the start of the toll collection, after addressing virtually all the residents’ demands, particularly around the first toll plaza. The residents contend the toll announced by the Managing Director of Lekki Concession Company (LCC), Mr Opuiyo Oforiokuma, was unfair and did not address their complaints. Spokesman of the Eti-Osa Heritage Group Mr Adewale Sanni, accused the government of insensitivity, alleging that it is more concerned with

• The toll plaza By Yinka Aderibigbe

the purported N4 billion debt already incurred by the concessionaire than the adverse effect of the toll on the people. He said the enforcement would be resisted. A lawyer, Mr Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, who had sued the government over the matter, described the purported takeoff as laughable, wondering why the government could not wait till the determination of the suit pending at the Federal High Court, before giving the go ahead for the toll collection. Speaking with CityBeats on telephone, Adegboruwa said beyond the legal angle, government is yet to address the many issues raised by the stakeholders which led to

the suspension of the take-off last year. "As we speak, what the government called an alternative road was the Oba Yusuf Abiodun Oniru road, which was a major road inside a private estate. What if this road is shut against road users by the estate managers due to the huge traffic that should be envisaged on that route?" Gbeleyi, however, insisted that the government has delivered on all the promises it made at the stakeholders’ meeting last year. He said: “The major agreement reached by the two parties at the meeting was the completion of all the roads meant for upgrading and the construction of the second alternative road up to the Chevron junction. We have not only com-

pleted all the off The roads and slip roads along the road is first bypass of the not all first toll plaza, we have reached 60 about toll per cent completion of the second road construction leading to Chevron, and we have secured the firm commitment of the concessionaire that it would be completed before the end of the year." Gbeleyi said: “Government is set to go on the toll collection because all the alternatives that needed to be provided up to toll point one, have been provided and that is why government is saying that no toll would be collected at toll point two, until the concessionaire delivers on its promise on the alternative roads and the slip roads there. He added that: "Right now, anyone who does not want to use the express road has an option to use the alternative road which has been provided and he can return to the express road around market road area, and continue his journey without any body trou-

bling him to present his toll pass at the second toll gate. What we are saying is that you can completely bypass the Admiralty Circle Plaza, and join the road later to continue your journey without anybody molesting you and you can do this on either side of the carriage way." He said the the road is not all about toll, but value, safety, reduction in travel time, and reduction in the down time of vehicles. “The journey to Epe that used to be a harrowing experience for road users have become more pleasurable and the man-hour gained as a result of this world class infrastructure provided by this private concern cannot be quantified," he added. Gbeleyi said having committed its resources to providing a world class service to the people of the state, government has no choice than to provide an enabling environment for the investor to recoup his investment, adding that the state government has assured Lagosians and indeed all road users that it would continue to protect their interest. He said government would continue to monitor the activities of the concessionaire to ensure that he coontinues to deliver world class service along the corridor. "We have promised that the people would enjoy world class services on this road and we have no doubt in the capacity of this concessionaire to deliver on that promise," he assured. On the toll chargeable on the road, Oforiokuma had explained that vehicles plying the roads have been categorised into six categories. He said, for Motorcycles, toll chargeable is N50, while commercial mini buses would pay N80. Saloon cars and tricycles would pay N120; Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), minibuses and pick-up vans would pay N150; while light trucks and two-axle buses, would pay N250. Heavy duty trucks, and buses with two or more heavy axles would be charged N350. He advised frequent road users to go for the electronic mode of payment called the e-tag and swift pass, which he said would save them time and money.

Firm lifts NYSC sports with N60,000 P

•From left: Brand Manager Top Tea, Ademola Mafikuyomi, Agu Chinonye, Mr Ajiborode, NYSC Camp Director, Bose Akinrele and Sales Manager Mrs Jimoh Titilayo

ROMASIDOR Nigeria Limited, makers of Cowbell milk and Choco, has advocated more involvement in sporting activities to promote healthy living. A representative of the company made the suggestion at the sports ground of the Lagos State National Youth Service Corps, Iyana-Ipaja, where it sponsored a Volley Ball competition among youth corpers. The Brand Manager, Cowbell Choco, Mr Abiodun Ajiborode, who represented the company, said Nigerians, particularly youths, must be active in sporting activities to remain healthy and continue to make the desired impact in the country. He said his company regards

Residents protest murder of neighbours by hoodlums


ESIDENTS of Oreta Community in Ikorodu, Lagos, have stormed the House of Assembly to protest the alleged killing of two members of the community by land speculators. Spokesperson of the community, Babajide Samuel, explained that some land speculators attacked the community at about 11.30 am, destroying properties,

By Oziegbe Okoeki

attacking residents and also shooting sporadically into the air. Samuel alleged that the group killed one Free man Zannu, kidnapped two other residents and left scores of others with serious injuries. The injured, he added, are under intensive care at an un-

disclosed hospital. He said the alleged attack was sponsored, adding that the thugs numbering 30 carried guns and cutlasses. Another woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, alleged that her 25-year-old son was killed by the hoodlums in her presence. The placard-bearing residents,

however, appealed to the lawmakers and the government to come to their rescue by arresting and prosecuting the hoodlums. The Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, implored them not to take the laws into their hands by retaliating. He assured them that the situation would be addressed by the state government.

By Amidu Arije

sponsoring the game as part of its corporate social responsibility. "We sponsor this completion basically as one of our corporate social responsibility as a company. Again. it serves as an opportunity for us to get the consumers to interact with the brand. Apart from the fact that we are giving them cash prizes, we also give them trophy to appreciate their zeal and patronage. He said another motive behind the sponsorship was to reinforce the youth’s buying motive and make them used to the brand. "We are giving out N30,000 to the winner, while the second place winner goes home with N20,000 and third place winner takes home N10,000. We spent N60,000 as cash rewards, beside other materials like T-shirts and face caps which we gave out freely, among other things," he said. Captain of the winning team, Platoon 9, Miss Chinonye Agu, who received the trophy and cash award on behalf of the team, thanked the company for their interest in the sport which made it sponsor the competition.




Igbo leaders mourn Ojukwu


ZENDIGBO Lagos State, Igwe Hyacinth Ohazulike has described the late Ezeigbo Gburugburu, and Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu as a great African and an accomplished nationalist who helped to structure the country for political development. This is as another Lagos-based business mogul and Managing Director of Ndubest Investment Limited; Mr. Ndubuisi Ohia described the death of the late warlord as a great loss to the country in general and Ndigbo in particular. Fielding questions at the Lagos residence of Mr. Ohia during the celebration of the mogul’s 40th birth day and 10th year of successful marriage, Igwe Ohazulike said the best burial package Nigerian leaders can give to the late nationalist will be to restore the confidence of Nigerian people on true federalism, good governance, provision of growth enabling infrastructure, education and


HE Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Chris Oboh has lamented the various problems that have undermined the region. He particularly noted the peculiar environmental challenges including indiscriminate waste disposal, oil spills, air pollution, gas flaring, unhealthy occupational practices, floods and sea incursion. Speaking in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Oboh said that the challenges cannot be met by government alone, stressing that individuals also have to evaluate their unwholesome practices. The NDDC chief, who spoke at an environmental awareness workshop, was represented by the Director, Directorate of Environmental Protection, E. Sam Ayadi-Yala. Oboh said the country and the entire world are now grappling with environmental challenges. “The environment is our heritage we live in it and use its resources like air, land, and water to meet our needs,” he said. “While meeting the ever-growing needs of the people, we also put pressure on the environment. When the pressure exceeds the carrying capacity of the environment to repair and replenish itself, it creates a serious problem of environmental degradation.” The Managing Director spoke of

•From left: Palace chief of Ezeigbo, Lagos, Chief Val Ngonadi; Mr and Mrs Ndubuisi Ohia; Ezeigbo, Lagos State, Eze Hyacinth Ohazulike, his wife Lolo Amaka Ohazulike and Prince Stan Okenwa By Okwy Iroegbu

security of lives and property. Corroborating Ohazulike’s view, the celebrator, who is a

stakeholder in the power sector, called on government to do everything possible to stabilise national power supply before the end of the year so as to kick-start

the 2012 federal budget on the best footing where power stability will serve as a catalyst. Ohia also cautioned on the infiltration of substandard

electrical products into the Nigerian market, saying the scourge has continued to weaken the speed of power sector development.

NDDC holds seminar in Ondo From Damisi Ojo, Akure

the need for the society to embrace a lifestyle that is environmentfriendly. The state commissioner for environment, Chief Sola Ebiseni regretted that none of the NDDC’s borehole water project in the state coastal area is working. He urged the appropriate authorities to deal with the fundamental problems confronting the people in Ilaje and EseOdo local government areas. “We are urging the two interventionist agency NDDC and OSOPADEC [Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission] to live up to expectations by

exposing the problems in the coastal region with a view to tackling them head-on. He said, “The environment is a heritage; nothing can be done without it, people in the mandate area should do everything possible to face the fundamental problem in the riverside area”. In various papers delivered by resource persons at the workshop, Dr. Tijani Alawe of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Lead City University, Ibadan, described waste as any material discarded as having no consumer value to the original owner. He said there are solid and industrial waste, stressing that solid waste generation poses serious health haz-

The environment is a heritage; nothing can be done without it, people in the mandate area should do everything possible to face the fundamental problem in the riverside area

ards to human inhabitants of the area. The aesthetic value of the environment is also affected as a result of waste, refuse, scrap or obsolete materials or any other types of leftover items dumped or scattered about indiscriminately. Also, Dr. Adeyeye Adewole of Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH) Okitipsupa, highlighted risks that are associated with the damaging effects of human activities on the environment. According to him, some experts have predicted that there may not be a “future” for our younger generation, based on the results of various environmental audits which indicate high level destructive activities by man on the environment. The university don, who noted that the situation in the Niger Delta region is precarious expressed the need to solve the problem particularly as they affect fishing and farming. He said efforts should be made to control pollution especially oil spill, and that effective and integrated waste management mechanism be put in place, and incentives and compensation given to farmers and fish-

•Second from left: Ondo State Commissioner for Environment, Chief Sola Ebiseni, Standing with Microphone, Mr. Sam Ayadi-Yala, Director, Directorate of Environmental protection and control, NDDC

ermen. The Director of Ecology in the Ondo State Ministry of Environment, Mr Olumide Kinga in his paper, noted that governments all over the world accord topmost priority to increased farming and fishing activities. He noted that as population increases, there is need for fishermen and all categories of farmers to increase their productive capacity.

Car loan for Ekiti primary school teachers From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


RIMARY School teachers in Ekiti State will soon start enjoying car and housing loan grants, as a bill to that effect may be passed by State Assembly before the end of the year. The bill is to be known as “Primary School Teachers Loans Board. This was disclosed by the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Science and Technology, Honourable Kehinde Boluwade, during the Committee’s working visit to the Board and Management of Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), in Ado-Ekiti recently. The House Committee Chairman stated that the committee has concluded all plans for the bill to be passed into law to enable teachers enjoy the gains of democracy under the present administration and to enhance their living standards. He reiterated the commitment of government towards improving the standard of education in the state. While expressing its committee’s satisfaction with the activities of the Board, Hon. Boluwade urged the management of SUBEB to keep up with their impressive standard of educational management, promising to assist the Board in getting the defaulting contractors back to the abandoned project sites soonest. In her welcome address, Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Profes-





OPE and succour have come the way of two indigent students who are parishioners of Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, Iba New Site Ojo, Lagos. Miss Samuel and Master Chinaka were offered scholarships, which cover JSS2 to SS3, by Mr and Mrs Fidel Morah; proprietors of Tony Field School of Excellence and Fidel Madonna College of Excellence Iba New Site on the outskirts Lagos. This brings to 15 the number of poor students benefiting from the scholarship scheme of the Morahs. One prominent feature of this gesture is that all the beneficiaries are selected from parishes in the Badagry Deanary. Preaching a sermon during the Mass, the Parish Priest of Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, Rev. Father Dominic Okure (O.P) who led Very Rev. Fr John Ola-Maria Agbolade, Rev. Fr Emmanuel Taiwo (O.P), Rev. Fr Charles Onwordi (O.P), in the celebration of the High Mass to commemorate the ceremony which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the schools, praised Mr and Mrs Fidel Morah for venturing into what he called “development of sound minds for the benefit of the entire society.” Continuing, Fr Okure noted that “the formation of the individual through teaching and learning is the greatest legacy to bequeath to humanity for the upliftment of the society.” He opined that “inasmuch as God gives us children, it is our responsibility to train or bring up our children in a manner that glorifies God. But it is also divine in the sense that anyone who undertakes the task of formation or education of the children is participating in the prerogative of God in leading men to the truth. “This divine aspect of your calling challenges you to strive to lead the children to the truth for them to be grounded in the Word, to be grounded in the teachings of Christ. “Educators and those who engage in formation of the young ones should strive to ensure that they do not destroy the natural talents that God endowed them with in their bid to correct what seemingly are stubborn tendencies,” he said. “We know that when we talk of education, it is not just literacy or


S Muslims all over the world celebrate the new Islamic year, Hijrah1433, a Muslim group, United Muslim Association of Nigeria (UMAN) in Oshodi area of Lagos has called on the Federal Government to tackle insecurity and the menace of Boko Harram head on.

•Rev Fr Joseph Nwanua congratulating the students after presenting them with scholarship packages. With them is Mr Fidel Morah; the benefactor

Succour for indigent students By Chinaka Okoro

the ability to read and write. It goes beyond that to being a situation in which an individual is given the ability to overcome the inhibiting factors of life and the ability to do things in a manner that is excellently different for an established norm or that which is not consistent with our own ideas and manner of doing things. “We know that Fidel Madonna has been a school that strives to maintain a balance in education strategies in the sense that it endeavours to avail the students of every opportunity that they need to learn what needs to be learnt to

be able to understand completely what is necessary in the contemporary society, it also tries to make the students appreciate the essence of moral rectitude,” he said. He noted that the challenge of living under the obedience of family is one that has been facing the society right from the beginning of time, even as he disclosed that the business of training the individual could be characterised by difficulties and successes, adding: “from our interactions with the proprietors of the schools shortly before the commencement of the ceremony indicate that Tony Field School of Excellence and Fidel Madonna College of Excellence have been a tale of miracle and the manifestation of God’s

love and grace for us to accomplish greater things if we are able to obey in order to learn.” Noting that the task of formation or moulding of the human person towards success is sometimes complex in nature, Fr Okure disclosed that it is one venture that enhances humanity. “It is for this reason we hail and congratulate the management and staff of Tony Field School of Excellence and Fidel Madonna College of Excellence for dedicating themselves to the formation of minds towards understanding the plans of God. He said that civilisation, growth and progress are situations whereby the human person makes manifest the gifts he received from God, even

Muslims preach peace By Hameed Yekini

The group stated this at a rally it organised to mark the commence-

ment of the new Islamic year, Hijirah 1433 AH. Chairman of the association Alfa Taofeek Nahdat said the govern-

•The pupils outside the six-classroom block donated by Nigeria Breweries Plc to Ohum Community Primary, Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State. PHOTO: OBI CLETUS

ment needed to take the issue of insecurity seriously. Nahdat said Hijirah is a means by which Muslims count their calendar, even as he stated that the rally was meant to create awareness for the importance of the year and why Muslims need to celebrate it. “Hijirah is the new year for Muslims. This is how we often do every year to mark the new hijirah just as Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) did in his own time. In Nigeria what many people know is Christmas and New Year. Even some Muslims do not know the calendar of the Muslims. If awareness rally can continue just the way we are doing it now, I think we will come out of this with a huge success. By celebrating hijirah, we definitely will enhance the Muslim youths to be able to know every month in Islam, just the way they understand the British calendar we use in Nigeria,’’ he said. He said Muslims preach peace and not terrorism neither are they violent people. He added that the Boko Haram menace in the North is a politicised issue which government needs to look into, saying no right thinking Muslims will take

as he hinted that there are a lot of issues in the society today that make mankind to deviate from the plans of God. The plans of God are not anti-scientific neither are they anti-civilisation. But every science, every movement towards civilisation that does not take cognisance of the truth as God has revealed in the pages of the Scriptures is not of God. “It is for this reason that I am throwing a fresh challenge to members of staff of Fidel Madonna College of Excellence, and by extension, to those of Tony Field School of Excellence. In a chat with Newsextra after the event, Mr Morah said the journey thus far had not been easy, even as he expressed his gratitude to God for giving him the ability to weather the storm.

the life of his fellow mankind. “Many people think Muslims are violent people because of the issue going on in Nigeria. They said Muslims are wicked but we want to make this clear to them that we Muslims are not terrorists. We are not Boko Hara,” he said. One of the founders of UMAN Alfa Taoheed Abdul Hameed Oladepo said he is grateful to God for the success achieved so far since the establishment of the association for celebration of the new Islamic year. He said the essence of the association is to make Muslims in the community be united. ‘’I express my gratitude to God and to the entire congregation of Muslims Association in Oshodi. Indeed, I am happier today, just like yesterday when we started the whole thing. We are getting to our destination. The motive of this association is to promote unity and peace among Muslims and people generally, we want to prove this to the whole world that we are not violent people; rather we are peaceful people,’’ he added. The rally, which took off from the Oshodi Isolo Local Government secretariat was well attended by organisations within the local government. They walked down streets like Adeyemi, Church, Ogunoloko, Arowojobe and ended it at Igbehinadun.



The lawmaker made reference to programmes like empowerment in agriculture, vocational trade and trading for genuinely interested men and women

Ondo lawmaker offsets patient’s medical bill From Damisi Ojo, akure

MEMBER of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon Olatunji Dairo, representing Owo constituency II, has paid the medical bill of a patient, Miss Raino Alajo at Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo. The medical experts said Alajo’s ailment may have resulted from the use of hard drugs during pregnancy. The good news is that the patient has received treatment from doctors at the FMC, Owo and she can now walk conveniently, thanks to Hon Dairo who offset her hospital bill. Speaking to Newsextra, the lawmaker said the case of Miss Raino Alajo was service rendered to his people. The lawmaker said at the moment, another patient (name withheld) is receiving treatment at the Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun State. He said as a lawmaker, he will concentrate on issues that would develop the land and the people. The lawmaker made reference to programmes like empowerment in agriculture, vocational trade and trading for genuinely interested men and women. Dairo said though Alajo’s medical bill at FMC Owo amounts to millions of naira, it will not deter him from serving his people. Medical experts and the patient’s mother thanked the lawmaker for his kind gesture and called on other political office holders to emulate him.



NDO State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has commended the Chairman, Interim Caretaker Committee of Okitipupa Local Government, Hon Wale Ogunmade for his outstanding performance. Mimiko, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Hon,Tayo Akinmojo at the empowerment programme to commemorate 100 days in office of the

•Miss Alajo on her sick bed with her mother

Mimiko praises council chair From Damisi Ojo, Akure

chairman said Ogunmade was making the people of the grassroots enjoy the Caring Heart programme of the ruling Labour Party (LP) maximally.

He appreciated the numerous supporters of the party as well as beneficiaries of the empowerment who converged at the secretariat complex ground, Okitipupa for their unflinching support for him and his administration. Mimiko promised that his government would continue to re-

member the people in the area while distributing dividends of democracy, even as he urged them to continue to co-operate with and support governments of LP at the local and state levels. Earlier in his address, Ogunmade had, on behalf of the governor, appreciated the people for their support which manifested in the last election as well as their participation in LP programmes at all times. “Your unwavering attitude has also made us to continue with the Caring Heart Programmes of the state government. I want to assure you that you will always be considered for government’s programmes and actions,” he promised. The chairman disclosed that the partyloyalists would be considered this time round, a departure from the past where dividends of democracy were spread across board in the area, even though, he said, development

would still cut across the 13 wards. “About 70 per cent of these empowerment materials are targeted at making the women happy because Mr. Governor has passion for women. “The women leaders will be given a Haojue Motorcycle each but you are strongly advised to employ a male supporter of our great party to use it for commercial purposes in which case, two persons are empowered with one cycle as the latter will receive salary,” he explained. Ogunmade assured those who were yet to benefit to be patient as so much was still in the pipeline for all loyal members of the party. The women leader of the party in the local government, Mrs. Funke Orogbemi was full of praises for both Governor Mimiko and Mr. Ogunmade, describing them as God-given to the women folk.

Mimiko promised that his government would continue to remember the people in the area while distributing dividends of democracy, even as he urged them to continue to co-operate with and support governments of LP at the local and state levels •Delegates sing at a Jehovah’s Witnesses event in Ifatumo community, Oyo State





With ekpoita / 08022664898




1. Hunk (4) 3. Border on (4) 5. Fiend (3) 6. Standard (4) 9. Recedes (4) 12. Age (3) 14. Cereal (4) 15. Informal Course (7) 18. Hermaphrodite (2) 19. Consumed (3) 20. About (2) 22. Employs (4) 24. Part of Feather (4) 26. Wandered (5) 27. Examine (4) 28. Path (4)

1.Remit (4) 2.Lusterless (3) 3.Imitate (3) 4.Trial (4) 7. Green Area (5) 8. Edible Grass (3) 10. Snake (3) 11. Nobleman (5) 13. Illuminated (3) 16. Bricklayer (5) 17. At No Time (5) 18. Youths (4) 21. Ward off (4) 23. Period (3) 25. Fuss (3)


Fill in the blank spaces in the grid such that every column, row and 2 by 3 box contains the numbers 1-6.


Eddie Murphy May Host 2012 Oscars

POETRY Always there for you You are friendly, kind and caring Sensitive, loyal and understanding Humorous, fun, secure and true Always there... yes that’s you. Special, accepting, exciting and wise Truthful and helpful, with honest eyes Confiding, forgiving, cheerful and bright Yes that’s you... not one bit of spite.

The decision will be announced soon after a meeting of producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer and Academy of Motion Pictures President Tom Sherak, the Los Angeles Times reported. Rumors of Murphy’s nomination surfaced on a Web site that covers black comedians and entertainment. The reasoning behind Murphy as host is to return to the more popular single-comedian host format. The recent two-actor or two-comedian duos haven’t been as successful with viewers. However, Murphy has not been featured live on stage in about 25 years and his film career hasn’t been on fire as of late, aside from voice work in the “Shrek” series. Other names being considered for the role include Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld.

Pep Talk

FARMHOUSE WIDOW Jack decided to go skiing with his buddy, Bob. They loaded up Jack’s station-wagonand headed north. After driving for a few hours, they got caught in a terrible blizzard. They pulled into a nearby farmhouse and asked the attractive lady of the house if they could spend the night. “I’m recently widowed,” she explained, “and I’m afraidthe neighbors will talk if I let you stay in my house.” “Not to worry,” Jack said, “we’ll be happy to sleep in the barn.”

You’re one of a kind, different from others Generous, charming, but not one that smothers Optimistic, thoughtful, happy and game But not just another... in the long chain.

Nine months later, Jack got a letter from the widow’s attorney. He called up his friend Bob and said, “Bob, do you remember thatgood-looking widow at the farm we stayed at?”

Appreciative, warm and precious like gold Our friendship won’t tarnish or ever grow old You’ll always be there, I know that is true I’ll always be here... always for you. - Angela Lee Hillsley

“Yes, I do.”

Do you know.... 1.Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner. What’s her famous name? 2.In the wake of the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1990, a classic U.S. motion picture made its debut in the Soviet Union under the title, “Unesennye Vetrom.” What is the English title of the film? 3.In April 1989, student demonstrations in Beijing were brutally suppressed and lead to hundreds of deaths. What were students protesting at the rallies that resulted in the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 3 to 4? 4.In 1984, two bodyguards assassinated this prime minister who they were assigned to protect.


1.Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Born in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia 2.The English title is “Gone With the Wind.” 3.They were mourning the death of Hu Yaobang. Yaobang had been ousted as the Communist’s secretary two years earlier. 4.India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1917-84) was assassinated by her bodyguards. In 1991, Mrs. Gandhi’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, suffered a similar fate, albeit not at the hands of his bodyguards

Eddie Murphy has emerged as a top candidate to be the master of ceremonies for the 2012 Academy Awards in Hollywood, event officials say.


“Did you happen to get up in the middle of the night, go up to the house and visit with her?” “Yes, I have to admit that I did.” “Did you happen to use my name instead of telling her your name?” Bob’s face turns red and he said, “Yeah, I’m afraid I did.” “Well, thanks! She just died and left me everything

Man on Deathbed As he lay on his deathbed, the man confided to his wife, “I cannot die without telling you the truth. I cheated on you throughout our whole marriage. All those nights when I told you I was working late, I was with other women. And not just one woman either, but I’ve slept with dozens of them.” His wife looked at him calmly and said, “Why do you think I gave you the poison?”

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before. - Polybius



















•Applicants writng an aptitude test

Workers’ fate now hangs on aptitude test If you think you can get a lucrative job on a platter of gold, you better perish the thought. Companies now go for workers, who can pass their aptitude tests. This is the trend in blue-chip organisations, which hire reputable examination bodies to conduct tests for applicants. AKINOLA AJIBADE writes . • STORY ON PAGE 50




Workers’ fate now hangs on aptitude test F

OR many companies, filling sensitive vacant positions is no longer taken for granted. To them, only capable hands can produce the desired results, and bring about growth. So, they are raising the benchmark for employing certain categories of workers. In recent times, organisations reviewed their requirements for engagement to get the best hands in the job market. They are asking applicants for a minimum of second class upper degree, or its equivalent. They should also have a strong drive, ability to engage in logical debates, charisma, in-depth knowledge of their profession and ability to pass pre-employment tests, among other requirements. Of importance is the pre-job tests which companies have adopted. This is evident by the quality of examination bodies hired to conduct such tests. It is a common trend to see firms engaging the services of renowned examination bodies for the tests. The bodies include the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Nigerian Business Technical Education (NBTE), National Examination Council (NECO) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), among others. While the WAEC has been conducting aptitude tests for job seekers since the 70s, other bodies are just going into the business. The bodies prepare questions across boards, to determine the suitability of the candidates competing for jobs. Part of the objective is to find out whether the applicants are abreast of developments in the society; remember what they were taught in schools and to assess their level of intelligence. In the process, qualified applicants are employed after they have met the cutoff points. The Nation gathered that aptitude test has been determining the fate of job applicants. Oil firms, such as Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Nigeria, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, among others, have used aptitude tests to determine the eligibility of their workers. Banks, insurance firms and manufacturing and other entities have joined the train as well. For instance, Royal Exchange Assurance of Nigeria (REAN) has just conducted an aptitude test for some applicants. The test was conducted by WAEC and its result was decisive. Hundreds of applicants were disqualified for not meeting the cut-off point. The company said the test was conducted to employ quality staff to push growth. The company’s spokesman, Mr Austen Agbaren, admitted that the firm hired WAEC to conduct the aptitude test for applicants recently. He said the process of employing the right candidates for the company was still ongoing, adding that it would be pre-mature to make a judgment on it. One of the candidates, who spoke on con-

‘Through aptitude test, it would be easier to know how intelligent and brilliant applicants are. The test shows whether applicants would be assets or not to organisations that want to employ them. When candidates score between 75 to 80 per cent in an aptitude test, such candidates should be relied upon when the chips are down’ •Nigerian Labour Congress President Abdulwaheed Omar

•Minister of Labour and Productivity Emeka Wogu

dition of anonymity, said organisations now test the ability of applicants before they employ them. He added that a candidate loses his chance of getting a job once he or she fails the test. He said employers are not ready to look at your academic qualifications, once you fail an aptitude test. “I think employers have realised that there is a widening gap between the schools and the labour market. They have seen that many graduates cannot defend their certificates. They have seen instances whereby people present fake certificates. They know that half-baked graduates abound in the market, and are not ready to take chances, making firms to attach more importance to aptitude tests.” He said he has learnt a lot from the tests, despite that he has failed to meet the cutoff point set by the insurance outfit. Speaking on the issue, a Deputy Registrar of WAEC, Mr Yusuf Ari, said the body started the conduct of aptitude tests for job applicants four decades ago, adding that the body has been conducting tests for companies across sectors since then. He said: “In the 70s and 80s, it was only WAEC that was conducting aptitude tests for people seeking employment in corporate organisations. The body has done well in this regard by ensuring that good questions were set for such people. After the

test, we ensure that the results are collated and given to the companies that engaged us. Thereafter, the company decides what they want to do with the results of the tests. The companies decide the cut-off points, the parameters for choosing the right candidates for the jobs, and when the new would resume, among other salient issues.” Ari said the test is a major determinant of selecting quality workers, adding that the body has never employed for companies. He said other agencies have followed the footsteps of WAEC, having realised the importance of aptitude test for workers. “We have assisted oil companies and banks, among others, to employ the right workers. It was later we started hearing that individuals and management consultants have started the business of organising skill test for companies that want to employ,” he added. The immediate past Managing Director, Longman Nigeria Plc, Dr Dan Obidiegwu, said companies are not ready to employ workers who would not add value to them. He said organisations are afraid of employing workers that are “not useful”, adding that the development informed the decision to conduct rigorous tests for applicants. He said the standard of education has fallen drastically, arguing that companies

are trying to ascertain whether they are employing the right workers or not. Obidiegwu said big corporations in the United States and Britain conduct aptitude tests for workers, adding that Nigeria should not be an exception. He said the world is experiencing cash crunch, sudden closure of companies, low capacity utilisation, retrenchment, among others. These, he said, make firms to look for candidates who would be of immense contribution to them. “Through aptitude test, it would be easier to know how intelligent and brilliant applicants are. The test shows whether applicants would be assets or not to organisations that want to employ them. When candidates score between 75 to 80 per cent in an aptitude test, such candidates should be relied upon when the chips are down”. Aptitude test is vital to the success of any recruitment initiative. It shows how eligible applicants are, their level of intelligence, and ability to cope with pressure in a firm. However, it is not in all cases that aptitude test reveals how good an applicant is. Findings have shown that written test do not in all cases reveal the true ability of an applicant. Instances abound where applicants have passed an aptitude test, but failed to perform well.



T is a known fact, especially to job seekers without experience, that job candidates that are employed are more desirable than those who are not. Employers seem to believe you are more qualified if you are currently employed, (it is true that you can argue this). This article will focus on the insider-tips and secrets to job hunting and employment searches without your current employer finding out. One, career advice and employment opinions strongly agree about keeping your job search objectives from your current employer, especially during the early stages or at least until you start lining up new work assignments or gain prospective on your current industry demand or job market for those new employment opportunities. You should not inform your employer that you are looking for a new job. Doing so may place both of you in a difficult position. Most employers fill fire you immediately, since your loyalty and commitment will be in doubt. Nice ones may start to seek a replace-

Job search while in employment By Olu Oyeniran

ment for you as soon as possible. And if your employer finds a replacement before you’ve found a job, then you could find yourself unemployed before you find another job, especially if you give notice prematurely. Besides, telling your employer about your job search might burn your bridges if you decide to stay. Anyhow yuo look at it, it is wise to keep your job search a secret until you are successful in finding another job. As a practical advice, if you do not want your employer to find out that you are looking for a new job, then it is wise not to use your work email or phone number for the search. No one is suggesting that your employer will spy on you, but keep your work phone and email for work related activities. On that same note, do not search for jobs while you are on the clock. Even when it seems conve-

nient, one should be wary of job searching while you are on the job. Your employer is not paying you to do that, so don’t. If you have limited resources, consider job searching on off hours but make sure you are not violating any company resource misuse policies. Consider taking a day off or you can spend your lunch break searching if you have the ability for some privacy. However, it is simply not a good idea to job search when you are supposed to be working. Try to use your own time. But then, you need to be committed to your job search and be accountable. You need to create time and work your plans as regards job search. Getting a job, they say is a job. But for those currently in employment, it is a parttime job. It a has to taken seriously, that notwithstanding. Two, office politics, disgruntled employees, or “how dare they” at-

tempt to succeed or improve their career potential. Let’s face it, people talk. If you are job searching and you are still employed at your current job, do not tell your co-workers that you are looking for a job. Avoid posting or broadcasting about your job search on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, or other social networking sites. If you can, try to use former coworkers as references instead of current co-workers. In the same vein, people are nosey. In your effort to keep your job search a secret from your coworkers, avoid having phone conversations in front of them about your job. Be sure that no one can over hear you. Many online employment sites, job boards, or career development sites allow you to block parts or all of your resume information online. If you are concerned the human resources (HR) or your boss will stumble upon your resume online, consider using these privacy op-

tions offered by these services. Three, avoid sudden change of behaviour. Don’t change to being nice or overtly agressive if you have not been like that before. Or, suddenly coming to work early or later. They are all red flags for discerning employers! Lastly, be careful about dressing up for interviews. Suddenly, dressing sharply for lunch time interviews will cause suspicion among your co-workers and your boss. You might have to be prepared for a quick clothing change before and after your interview. Being cautious will help you to find opportunities for advancing your career with minimal chances of losing your current job or creating any uncomfortable situation with your current job.

Olu Oyeniran is the Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Assoiciates. Website: E-mail: Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).




‘Big businesses alone can’t transform economy’


Enterprise Bank Limited (EBL) is an offshoot of Spring Bank Plc, one of the three institutions nationalised by the Federal Government, following its inability to meet the recapitalisation deadline. In this interview in Lagos, Group Managing Director, EBL, Ahmed Kuru, says the institution is now strong and ready to compete. He speaks on other issues, including the defunct Spring Bank workers who have been re-absolved, the challenges of running a new institution, the bank’s mandate and vision. Group Business Editor AYODELE AMINU reports.


NTERPRISE Bank intends to be a medium-sized financial institution, given the dynamics of the industry where scale and size are much more imperative to compete, how does that work out for you? Agreed, scale is very important; we still intend to be a medium-sized bank. With 153 branches, by any standard, that is scale. I am sure when you are talking about scale you may be referring to the size of the balance sheet. A large balance sheet size does not necessarily mean you have the most efficient and profitable bank. So, what we intend to do is to leverage efficiency to create the type of scale you are talking about, but we have scale. Everybody in this industry, today, will tell you that the future is retail business. But retail does not bring money today. It is for the long haul. Most of the banks will tell you they want to be retail banks. But when you scrutinise their balance sheets, you will see that retail does not contribute more than five to 10 per cent to the bottom-line. However, for us to reach the unbanked as we all desire, we have to keep pushing at the retail banking end. Nevertheless, the commercial segment is very crucial and is the area that all of us are now playing in, because it is also the area that gives you quick returns and makes it easy for you to cover the whole spectrum of the market segments. What of the high ends? Of course, there is also the high end, which is also known as the up-finance banking segment– the corporate and investment banking. Based on the universal banking model, there are banks that are playing in that beat alone. For

some of us it is important to maintain presence in that segment also in order to follow the value chain. But you must focus on the segment of the market you want to play in. Every bank in Nigeria, besides those that are playing in the up-finance banking segment will tell you that the retail business is what they are targeting and that informs the recent acquisitions and mergers we witnessing in the industry. Also, the cash-lite project, which is the policy that will limit daily cash transactions for individual and corporate customers to N150,000 and N1million, respectively, starting January 1 with Lagos State as the pilot, is all targeted towards deepening retail banking. The policy is aimed at encouraging banking culture - targeting most of the people that are yet to begin to keep their money in the banking arena without them necessarily coming into the banking halls for their transactions. As a bridge bank, people expect you to maintain and sustain, rather than to build and grow, and that will affect how they relate to the organisation. How do you deal with the reality on a day-to-day basis of being a bridge bank? On whether the bridge banks are here only to maintain and sustain the organisations, I say no. That is not our mandate. Our mandate is to build, grow and run the banks commercially as if nothing is going to happen. If you come to me today with N200 billion with intention of acquiring Enterprise Bank, I will tell you I am very sorry I do not have such a mandate. What I am here to do is to run Enterprise Bank commercially, grow and position it alongside other banks in the industry and make it competitive. In the

final analysis, if at any point my principals decide that they want to sell, it is okay. But that is not my mandate. Our mandate is to grow, build and add value to the institution. You said Enterprise Bank has 1.5 million depositors. With the change in the bank, has the number of depositors decreased? We have about 1.5 million customers. Obviously, in any financial institution, you will realise that not all accounts are operational. You would have a percentage that is operational and another fraction that is not. So, what we try to do is to see how we can convert some of the dormant accounts into operational accounts and at the same time try to get new customers. Definitely, you may have gotten new accounts but the first priority will always be how you can make all the accounts operational. You will find that most of the companies in Nigeria today have accounts with us and other banks as well. What you need to do is to start visiting them and assuring them that you are back in business so that they can make their accounts active again. It also gives you the opportunity to understand the current state of their business to enable you tailor your products to meet identified requirements. To answer your other question directly, the business is obviously increasing. Are all your 153 branches nationwide profitable and do you intend to close those that are not profitable? With every sense of responsibility, it is not usual to find • Continued on page 52




‘Big businesses alone can’t transform economy’ •Continued from page 51

all branches of banks profitable. Typically, the 20:80 rule applies. Twenty per cent of branches providing 80 per cent of the corporate profit. But because of some synergic benefit you have to be in a lot of locations, not because of the viability of those locations, but because of benefits derivable from other locations. For instance, if you want to operate in the East and you don’t have a branch in Alaba Market, you are wasting your time. This is because the Igbo trader may not want to carry cash from Nnewi to Alaba Market. So Alaba Market may not be profitable; you may not even have a customer in Alaba Market but because of the business in Nnewi you have to maintain your branch in Alaba. If you want to be a national bank also it is expected that you would have your operation in all the state capitals. So not all the branches are profitable and it is not unusual. What happened to the workers that were in Spring Bank? Have they been inherited by the present bank? Are the workers expecting any payoffs or have they been integrated? In my opening remarks, I did clarify that one of the main objectives of the intervention is to safeguard employment and that has been made very clear by the regulators and it has been re-emphasised by us. I am not also aware of anybody that has been sacked because of the bridged bank arrangement. Legally, there is no operating bank called Spring Bank in existence with a licence. The new bank has given employment to all the workers of the defunct Spring Bank under new terms and conditions in line with industry practice. It is not just a change of name, the bank is now totally a new entity that acquired the assets and liabilities of a defunct entity. So obviously, if the staff is migrating to a new entity, there must be new rules of engagement on the basis of the new entity and that is what we did. All of them were offered letters of engagement and they were all incorporated into the new entity. So, there is no job loss at all because it is the objective of government that no one should lose his or her job. Nevertheless, going forward, you are running a performance-based entity. Everybody must perform. It is very important. Our mandate is to run the institution commercially and profitably. We intend to do that and the staff is at the core of that mandate. That is why part of our mission statement captures that aspect. We want to have a highly motivated workforce. So, everybody that is working in Enterprise Bank today has equal opportunity to prove himself or herself and as management, we have the obligation to train them, provide the necessary tool and create the conducive atmosphere for them to perform. After we do that, we now demand of them performance because we intend to run a performance-based organisation. There is no job loss. They are all part of us. It is a continuation and every staff has been integrated into one big family.


You said in your statement that one of the mandates of the bank is to break from the past, have you achieved that? What are the challenges of trying to achieve that and, of course, I see that your bank is the most aggressive of the three nationalised banks, how acceptable is your bank to Nigerians? It is always difficult to break from the past, as breaking from the past totally requires more than one action or event, rather, a combination of actions and activities. The event that has necessitated a break from the past is that there was a liquidation and there is a new bank and new administration. But there are lots of challenges you face when you want to break from the past that includes people, culture, customers, processes, branding, ownership etc. Two most important are people related; customer and staff. First of all, you must reassure your customers that all is well through ways and means they can easily identify with. It is necessary to do so because right from the time of the merger that produced the defunct Spring Bank in 2006, there have been issues. So you have to assure them that it is now a new bank with service excellence as our core value. Secondly, as the customer reassurance needs to be done by the staff who, themselves have been de-motivated and demoralised since 2006 due to one crisis or the other, you have to also work on their psychology, motivation and training. They need to be reassured also. Otherwise attending to customers becomes a problem. The reason being that if you are not motivated, it affects how you interact, interface and relate with customers. We require total cultural reorientation. The next important is the internal and external rebranding. It is a huge exercise that comes with huge cost! It involves branch ambience, media engagements, attitude, tools, stationery, personal identification tools and so on. Then you have to change the platform on which you drive most of these processes you are talking about. There are so many challenges indeed. On the other side too, you have service providers. These are people who have provided services to the bank in the last five or six years and because there were issues at the time, they did not come forward to make any claim on the institution. Suddenly, there is a new healthy institution and then all kinds of claims begin to surface. This is a challenge because it directly impacts on your capital. You also have litigations from those who feel that they still have issues to settle. You find that you are dealing with past issues in more measures than current developmental issues. And all these have direct correlation to your day-to-day customer interface. What matters to the customer is to transact his business efficiently through appropriate channels. How do you intend to achieve this? You have to prioritise. I assure you that all the challenges are surmountable. We have strategies in place to handle these challenges and I think we are making very good progress. I also think our customers have


‘You have to prioritise. I assure you that all the challenges are surmountable. We have strategies in place to handle these challenges and I think we are making very good progress. I also think our customers have started responding. They are comfortable that we mean what we are saying because to us it is important that whatever we say, we do it as we have said it. So, there is no challenge that we have seen so far that cannot be tackled and we are tackling all of them’ started responding. They are comfortable that we mean what we are saying because to us it is important that whatever we say, we do it as we have said it. So, there is no challenge that we have seen so far that cannot be tackled and we are tackling all of them. The last couple of months have been a period of evaluation for us. The year, 2012, is going to be our leap year, because we would have every issue in proper perspective, whether people, technology or process. Have you seen a copy of the court order restraining Enterprise Bank from dealing in the assets, businesses and subsidiaries, which are purported to have been transferred to your bank from the former bank? What will happen to the original investors before nationalisation and the legal battles? Whether I have seen a copy of the court order or not, I think is not important at this material time. Yes, I am aware of it but I also think the whole process was appropriately handled subsequently. I think it was a case of misinterpreting a judgment. The law is a very interesting subject. So, legally anybody has the right to put up a claim in whatever way and manner he or she wishes as provided in our Constitution, but we do believe that there is nothing in the process of taking over of the bank that is illegal. However, it is finally left for those that have responsibility to look after these things to ensure that whatever decision is taken is in the manner that will not obstruct business. For us our mandate is to manage the institution commercially and that is precisely what we are trying to do. There are structures within this framework that are appropriately positioned to handle other incidental matters. What did you observe in the style of your predecessor and what led to the shortcomings and how do you intend to surmount these challenges to succeed? They (the former managers of the defunct banks) are totally different situations. They were handed over an insolvent bank, while we (the nationalised banks) were given a highly capitalised financial institution. While our mandate is to run the institution commercially and profitability, they were mere caretakers preoccupied with preparing the institution for recapitalisation and

at the same time sustaining the business. Personally, I think they have done very well given the hostile circumstance under, which they operated. You know banking is a business of trust. To sustain trust under an unstable economic environment with the competition wanting to eat you alive, requires strong frame of mind. They had liquidity, legacy, shareholder, employee and brand challenges. With a strong balance sheet and professional management team we are poised to create the kind of model institution desired by the regulators and our shareholders. And we intend to do that. Part of current challenges is getting skilled workers to blend with our existing resilient workers to create a formidable team. This is because banking is a people business. If you don’t have good and experienced hands you can’t make it! Therefore, our strategy is to attract and retain talents. We have been talking about corporate governance and now we have the opportunity to demonstrate it ourselves. What are you going to tell your customers about the bank? First, we will tell them what other banks are telling them; we are here for good business. We are a customer-centric organisation. We want to understand what they want. Before we came in, because of the situation that I highlighted earlier, even lending was a challenge due to liquidity and infrastructural issues. So, now we have to tell our customers that we are back to business and we are back to business for good. We are in a position to attend to all their banking needs. We are efficient and responsive. Our core values are service excellence, professionalism, innovation, integrity and work as a team of highly motivated service providers. Again, we have to understand what they want and develop our response around their needs. Most importantly we keep to our words. We are back in business and this time around we are back for the long haul. The mandate from our owners, like I said earlier, is to run the institution commercially and profitably. And our intention is to ensure that we leverage service and technology to create competitive advantage. Our vision is to be a bank for value creation.





EQUITIES Sterling Bank issues 3bn shares to ETB


No of Deals 8 3 5 16

Quotation(N) 0.50 23.58 7.65

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 233,333 116,666.50 5,386 120,700.26 752,340 5,755,518.00 991,059 5,992,884.76

Quotation(N) 2.08 5.08

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 10,000 21,800.00 46,911 232,316.91 56,911 254,116.91

Quotation(N) 1.34

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 396,169 526,214.79 396,169 526,214.79

Quotation(N) 4.30 2.50 1.90 4.10 1.22 8.40 13.60 6.30 4.05 1.00 2.30 0.51 0.58 11.50

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 14,688,552 63,196,085.42 3,639,011 9,101,201.49 94,334 179,541.80 2,730,004 10,485,383.12 5,504,424 6,593,733.16 18,133,489 152,905,404.47 14,136,287 190,358,467.06 592,200 3,716,343.66 17,770,833 71,806,550.91 1,718,950 1,703,332.20 13,248,514 30,737,369.10 2,224,000 1,115,788.42 244,238 138,755.88 51,177,703 588,310,063.18 145,902,539 1,130,348,019.87

Quotation(N) 216.00 95.95

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 518,480 112,109,300.27 1,691,827 159,970,289.60 2,210,307 272,079,589.87


No of Deals 1 24 25


No of Deals 24 24 BANKING


No of Deals 94 45 11 31 65 538 319 27 77 21 171 20 19 227 1,665 BREWERIES


No of Deals 59 122 181


No of Deals 22 5 15 39 81

Quotation(N) 12.50 4.80 105.10 40.13

Quantity Traded Value 116,582 13,000 6,553 682,628 818,763

of Shares (N) 1,460,699.63 60,245.00 691,289.64 27,394,985.20 29,607,219.47

Quotation(N) 8.10 15.63 5.11

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 300,575 2,434,668.50 27,031 405,880.40 500 2,430.00 328,106 2,842,978.90


No of Deals 12 11 1 24


No of Deals 9 9

Quotation(N) 2.05

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 434,000 909,900.00 434,000 909,900.00


No of Deals 7 7

Quotation(N) 9.31

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 24,098 230,413.34 24,098 230,413.34

Quotation(N) 29.00 0.53 29.80 26.01

Quantity Traded Value 216,089 1,953,950 425,901 662,719 3,258,659

Quotation(N) 36.51 0.50

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 214,500 7,831,395.00 68,208 34,104.00 282,708 7,865,499.00


No of Deals 42 22 42 43 149

of Shares (N) 6,237,866.69 1,035,937.50 12,521,757.50 17,236,669.24 37,032,230.93


No of Deals 18 2 20


No of Deals 3 3

Quotation(N) 1.78

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 250,000 445,000.00 250,000 445,000.00


No of Deals 14 29 83 152 27 11 10 25 4 3 358

Quotation(N) 48.00 11.02 5.10 4.50 62.50 2.70 4.05 400.00 0.50 0.50

Quantity Traded Value 10,029 378,685 346,027 9,212,171 78,406 83,848 68,900 19,978 20,060 150 10,218,254

of Shares (N) 465,702.40 4,114,802.48 1,758,293.54 41,288,022.57 4,898,638.01 226,519.60 278,729.00 8,010,957.93 10,030.00 75.00 61,051,770.53

Quotation(N) 0.73 1.00 23.65 1.81 1.18

Quantity Traded Value 1,000 189,066 46,379 26,165,790 45,000 26,447,235

of Shares (N) 700.00 185,834.57 1,042,136.13 47,360,131.30 50,850.00 48,639,652.00


No of Deals 2 12 2 12 1 29

HOTEL & TOURISM Company Name IKEJA HOTEL PLC Sector Totals

No of Deals 1 1

Quotation(N) 2.39

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 100 228.00 100 228.00


No of Deals 1 12 13

Quotation(N) 11.15 4.78

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 200 2,240.00 60,694 288,307.64 60,894 290,547.64


No of Deals 1 1

Quotation(N) 0.50

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 5,600 2,800.00 5,600 2,800.00

Quotation(N) 0.52 0.99 0.50 2.10 1.50 0.50 0.56 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 1.00 0.50 0.50 0.50

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 1,508,394 784,427.38 58,600 58,000.00 20,287 10,143.50 21,780 46,287.00 894,400 1,344,070.00 39,999 19,999.50 800,000 432,000.00 17,745 8,872.50 1,286 643.00 160,192 80,096.00 100 50.00 129,268 129,480.76 5,000 2,500.00 17,488 8,744.00 863,792 431,958.84 4,538,331 3,357,272.48

•13 firms on full suspension


TERLING Bank Plc at the weekend finally completed the acquisition of Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) Limited with the listing of 3.14 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each issued to shareholders of ETB on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The listing at N1 per share added N3.14 billion to the market capitalisation of Sterling Bank and increased the lender’s capitalisation to N15.70 billion. Shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc and ETB had in September approved the merger of the two s, paving the way for Sterling Bank to assume all assets and liabilities of ETB and becoming a strong mid-tier bank. Sterling Bank issued two ordinary shares of 50 kobo each in exchange for one ordinary scheme share of N1 each of ETB. This implied an exchange ratio of two shares for two shares exchange ratio where ETB’s share is subdivided into 50 kobo nominal value. Group managing director, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Yemi Adeola, said the emergent Sterling Bank would benefit from increase in its earnings, reduction of costs and synergies from the two banks that would lead to consolidation of its market share. He outlined that with the merger, Sterling Bank would have opportunity to become a major player in corporate banking and other services, which would strengthen Sterling Bank’s traditional strengths in structured and trade finance, cash management and treasury.

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

He pointed out that the merger would lead to economies of scale that would lead to reduction in operating while simultaneously widening the market share of the bank and market penetration, providing opportunities for increased revenues. “With this merger, we are laying the foundation for future earnings growth and better financial performance. We expect to increase earnings, cut costs and significantly build shareholder value,” Adeola said. Meanwhile, the NSE has indicated that 13 companies were under full suspension for failure to submit their full-year annual reports, meaning that investors cannot trade on those stocks. These affected companies included IPWA Plc, Union Dicon Salt Plc, Lennards Plc, Aluminium Manufacturing Company of Nigeria Plc, African Alliance Insurance Plc, MTI Plc and Investment & Allied Assurance Plc. Others include West Africa Glass Industries Plc, Afroil Plc, Costain (WA) Plc, G Cappa Plc, Union Homes Savings & Loans Plc and Poly Products (Nig) Plc. NSE had however, recently confirmed to The Nation that it would not delist the shares of the suspended companies in consideration of the shareholders and to give them room to make necessary changes that would lead to compliance with post-listing rules. The pricing trend at the


No of Deals 42 42

No of Deals 18 5 4 4 5 1 19 3 3 12 1 11 1 3 8 98

Quotation(N) 0.72

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 1,508,192 1,057,635.24 1,508,192 1,057,635.24

Quotation(N) 0.50

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 8,000 4,000.00 8,000 4,000.00


No of Deals 1 1


No of Deals 1 1

Quotation(N) 0.50

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 200,000 100,000.00 200,000 100,000.00


No of Deals 1 4 5

Quotation(N) 0.50 0.94

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 1,824 912.00 57,000 53,580.00 58,824 54,492.00

Quotation(N) 1.58

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 756,570 1,152,135.80 756,570 1,152,135.80


No of Deals 30 30


No of Deals 2 4 14 15 26 26 126 12 225

Quotation(N) 0.50 63.86 33.25 3.46 14.25 133.95 24.85 198.00

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 180,000 90,000.00 1,268 76,960.76 8,978 303,824.78 174,641 596,985.06 46,558,523 663,459,167.25 101,821 13,749,751.61 1,029,704 24,369,490.67 30,318 5,752,315.80 48,085,253 708,398,495.93


No of Deals 5 5 9 19


stock market remained bearish with all key indices closing last week on the negative. The All Share Index (ASI) depreciated by 178.34 points or 0.9 per cent to close on Friday at 19,785.03 points while the market capitalisation declined to N6.255 trillion. All other tracked indices followed the downtrend. The NSE-30 Index depreciated by 0.8 per cent to close at 881.59 points The NSE Food and Beverage Index depreciated by 0.5 per cent to close at 553.06 points. The NSE Banking Index depreciated by 5.2 per cent to close at 255.53 points. The NSE Insurance Index declined by 0.2 per cent to close at 146.65 points. The NSE Oil and Gas Index dropped by 2.0 per cent to close at 236.37 points. Total Nigeria Plc led 38 other stocks on the losers’ list with 200 kobo to close at N198.00 per share. Julius Berger Nigeria Plc followed with a loss of 192 kobo to close at N36.51 per share. However, Guinness Nigeria Plc led on gainers with a gain of N10.99 to close at N216.00 per share. Nigerian Breweries Plc followed with a gain of 395 kobo to close at N95.95 per share Investors staked a total of N8.02 billion on 1.1 billion shares as against a total of 1.224 billion shares valued at N10.4 billion traded in previous week. Banking subsector accounted for 726.04 million shares worth N4.92 billion in 9,072 deals, while insurance sub-sector recorded turnover of 74.8 million shares valued at N54 million.

Quotation(N) 2.20 3.61 3.60

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 8,960 19,712.00 5,560 19,070.80 149,800 535,916.00 164,320 574,698.80

Quotation(N) 12.16

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 2,550 29,536.50 2,550 29,536.50


No of Deals 4 4


No of Deals 1 1

Quotation(N) 100.00

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 4,000 400,000.00 4,000 400,000.00


No of Deals 40 40

Quotation(N) 9.73

Quantity Traded Value of Shares (N) 468,425 4,648,860.40 468,425 4,648,860.40







AMCON begins valuation of borrowers’ properties


HE Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has engaged 70 professional valuers to determine the appropriate values of assets and properties of borrowers transferred to the bad-assets company through loan-purchase agreements with banks. AMCON has invested N3.14 trillion ($19.6billion) so far in the purchase of non-performing loans and recapitalisation of banks. With the bad debts taken over by the corporation, it now has assets spread across the country including real estate properties and shares that were used as collateral for loans. AMCON also has shares in nearly all the banks in the country and several quoted companies. Speaking during the inaugural visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency to AMCON’s office in Lagos, managing director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi, said the engagement of professional valuers to evaluate all its properties the country was part of AMCON’s commitment to ensuring that its assets are managed and disposed off in a transparent process that extracts optimal returns for the tax payers. In a statement made available to our correspondent, ChikeObi explained that AMCON’s assets were primarily locked in the bad loans that it purchased and such assets would be realised upon enforcement of the loan agreements. He however, pointed out that the Corporation usually engage and advise every debtor to explore possible ways of resolving the bad debt through loan restructuring and payment rescheduling. He noted that the corporation only forecloses assets of borrowers who are not willing to pay. The AMCON boss said the

By Collins Nweze

Corporation now has some 9,000 loans under its purview and it has developed institutional capacity to manage these efficiently and in the best interest of the general public, whose funds formed the basis of establishment of the corporation. While outlining the administrative structures and operations of the corporation to the lawmakers, ChikeObi reiterated the commitment of AMCON to open and transparent administration. He said that AMCON would always respond positively to any enquiry from the law makers and the general public. “We understand the need for legislative oversight and we will always respond positively. You don’t have to wait for formal occasions before asking questions, AMCON can be reached anytime so that we can provide answers to your concerns and help us pass these to your various constituencies,” ChikeObi said. Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Jones Onyereri, said the lawmakers have decided to increase the momentum of their oversight functions in order to strengthen national institutions. He pointed out that the visit to AMCON was to gain better understanding of the structures and operations of the corporation and to assess these in line with the Act that established it. Onyereri said the committee was worried about the plight of shareholders of the nationalised banks and other recapitalised banks. He urged financial services regulators to look at this issue again and make provisions for these shareholders. He said several of the affected shareholders were minority shareholders who invested their little savings based on the advice they were given and assurances by the regulators.

• Dr. Fayemi displaying one of the documents of the bond during the meeting in the weekend. With him are his deputy Mrs Funmi Olayinka (left), his wife Bisi (second right) and Ms Oteh

Ekiti raises N20billion bond


KITI State at the weekend con cluded the book building and completion meeting for the N20 billion first tranche of the state’s bond issuance programme after the issue was oversubscribed by enthusiastic investors. The Ekiti State N20 billion 14.5 per cent fixed rate 2018 bond, was oversubscribed by N300 million and despite its seven-year tenor, represented a relatively cheaper capital, given the current average interest rate of 16.5 per cent. The Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the benchmark interest rate, is currently put at 12 per cent. The N20 billion first tranche represents 80 per cent of the N25 billion bond issuance programme of the state. The fixed coupon rate of 14.5 per cent for the bond insulated it from possible increase that might come from a floating rate under the monetary tightening policy of the CBN, while the inbuilt call option allows the state to manage the bond in a lower-interest environment.

By Taofik Salako

Speaking at the completion meeting at the weekend in Ado Ekiti, Governor Kayode Fayemi, said the proceeds of the bond issue would be used to finance the government’s eightpoint agenda, aimed at unleashing the economic potential of the state. He stated that the government is committed to the development of state through provision of critical infrastructure and development of the key sectors of the economy including agriculture, tourism and mineral resources, assuring that the government would use the proceeds judiciously as outlined in the issue prospectus. In her remarks, Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, said the Commission took into consideration the several laudable developmental projects being implemented by the state and the fact that the state applied the proceeds of earlier bond issue during the Adeniyi-Adebayo administration to verifiable projects that vindi-




Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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


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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80


7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011


O/PRICE 10.50 3.30 1.70 1.28 0.69 0.96 23.90 1.52 0.56 3.96

C/PRICE 11.02 3.46 1.78 1.34 0.72 1.00 24.85 1.58 0.58 4.10

CHANGE 0.52 0.16 0.08 0.06 0.03 0.04 0.95 0.06 0.02 0.14


O/PRICE 15.00 38.43 8.05 8.52 2.84 10.15 6.56 0.55 2.35 0.53

C/PRICE 14.25 36.51 7.65 8.10 2.70 9.73 6.30 0.53 2.30 0.52


Offered ($) Demanded ($)



cated capital market as catalyst for development. According to her, capital market has for long played important roles as catalyst for development of great nations and Nigerian market offers opportunities for governments and institutions to access long-term funds needed for developmental projects. She said the funds from the bond issue would complement government’s resources noting that government’s revenues from the federation allocation and internal revenues could never be enough to hasten the development of the state. Oteh, who visited the Ikogosi Warm Spring and some other projects being undertaken by the government, commended the plan to develop the Ikogosi Warm Spring into a full-fledge tourism centre while applauding the state government’s strides in the areas of education and health. She added that the funds earmarked for road constructions from the N20 billion bond would open up the economy and transform the economy of the state.



Sold ($)

Rate (N)


















Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %




















Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N)




Parallel Market






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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%





July ’11

Aug ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 9.4%

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 118.85 98.43 0.76 0.04 0.88 1,642.73 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,351.90 193.00

9.08 1.00 118.69 97.65 0.73 0.04 0.87 1,635.25 7.84 1.33 1.80 7,149.37 191.08


CHANGE 0.75 1.92 0.40 0.42 0.14 0.42 0.26 0.02 0.05 0.01


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 24 Aug, 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 26, Aug, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%




04 July, 2011

07, Aug, 2011













Enugu awards N4b road contracts


HE Enugu State government has awarded N4 billion contracts to build four major roads, Commissioner for Information Chuks Ugwoke has said. He spoke to reporters after the State Executive Council meeting chaired by Governor Sullivan Chime. Ugwoke said N1,808,632,789.63 has been earmarked to build Nguru – Ede Oballa – Eha Alumona road while N988, 404,882.83 is for the Igogoro Amachalla – Ugbaike –Obollo Afor road. The commissioner said the 10.3 kilometre Igogoro – Obollo Afor road would link Nsukka– Ibagwa Ogurute Ahi – Ette road while the Nguru – Eha-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

Alumona road is expected to open up the area. Other roads are Zik Avenue Phase II awarded to Borini Prono Company Nigeria Limited at N1,569,349,993 and the Nara – Isiogbo road awarded at N286,692,000. Ugwoke, who was accompanied by the Special Adviser to Chime on Project Development Prince Uche Nwobodo, said the council approved N113, 421, 742 for the construction of a new State Judiciary Complex, Enugu. He said the two court rooms with a mini cell, two judges chambers, two offices for staff and a multipur-

pose hall for ceremonies would be built through direct labour. He said the council also approved the relocation and reconstruction of two buildings marked for demolition at the 305 Flying Training School, Nigeria Airforce Base, Enugu. The two buildings housing the Library/Hall and Administrative blocks of the school are to be demolished to make way for the Akanu Ibiam International Airport. The council also approved the payment of the state’s counterpart fund of over N367,914,545 for this year’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) conditional grant scheme.

Breast cancer cases rise to 3,000 in Southeast


HE Rotary Club of Enugu city layout, Rotary International District 9140, has raised an alarm on the rising cases of breast cancer in the country. It urged the governments to incorporate Breast Cancer Awareness programme in its primary health care scheme. Addressing reporters in Enugu on the activities of the club’s Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative, the coordinator of the programme, Ogugua Nwankwu, said of the 62 Breast Cancer clinics in the Southeast, its medical team had received over 3,000 cases. She regretted that most Nigerian women were not

From Chris Oji, Enugu

aware of the existence of breast cancer and blamed it on a faulty national health programme. She explained that breast cancer develops when a single cell begins to multiply out of control and forms a tumor, adding that in this complex situation, some cells may break away and travel to other parts of the body to form new tumors. The coordinator identified age, family history, hormone replacement therapy, consumption of oral contraceptive pills, obesity and excessive alcohol intake as well as menstruation at early age as

some of the possible factors responsible for breast cancer among women. She suggested early breast cancer screening. President of the Club Chidi Uzuegbu said the club secured a 3-H grant from Rotary Foundation of Rotary International for project on Breast Cancer Awareness in Southeast and Akwa-Ibom State in 2009. Uzuegbu expressed joy that in the past two years of massive campaign, the project committee had mounted Mammogram machines for Breast Cancer screening at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Anambra State and ESUT Teaching Hospital, Enugu.

ASUU strike: VC calls for caution


HE Vice -Chancellor of Tai Solarin University of Education, Prof. Segun Awonusi, has called on the Federal Government and the Association of Staff Union of University (ASUU) to exercise caution over the ongoing ASUU strike. Awonusi spoke during the launching of film 1920, Creating Avenue for Zealous Youth (CRAZY), organised by the Adegrange Child Foundation at Deprime Hall, Ijebu-

By Adeola Ogunlade

Ode, Ogun State. He said: “The right of the union to appeal on the agreement reached with the Federal Government is ideal, but it is unfortunate that we have had one strike too many.” He implored the Federal Government to implement the agreement it signed with the union. Awonusi, who noted that the new film is aimed at em-

powering youths in rural areas, pledged the support of the institution on the initiative. “It is evident that the fight against corruption, examination malpractice and cultism on our campuses would be won when we work together in different groups on the promotion of godly virtues among youths,” he said. Founder of the Foundation Prof. Adenike Grange said the film is an interventionist prorgramme.

‘Gbagada cardiac centre meant to build local capacity’


OVERNOR Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday said the Cardiac and Renal Centre just completed at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Annex in Gbagada in the Kosofe Local Council Development Area of the state is an investment

Group to build hospital in Anambra From Adimike George, Onitsha

THE Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Anambra State chapter, will build a specialist hospital in Awka, PFN National Youth Leader and General Superintendent of Bethesa Bible Church, Onitsha, Pastor Chidi Innocent, has said. The clergy said the hospital would take care of the health needs of the people and complement the evangelisation of the state.

meant to build local capacity and repatriate the nation's human resources in the medical sector from abroad. Fashola, who fielded questions from reporters after an inspection of the first of its type Cardiac and Renal Centre as well as the Trauma and Burns Centre, also said the facility would help to reduce capital flight. The governor said it would also enrich the economy of the state. Pointing out that the usual practice in this country has been to ship victims of kidney and heart diseases abroad, the governor who was conducted round the Cardiac and Renal Centre by the Senior Project Manager, Mr. Mahdi Abbas, said: "When you take victims of these complications abroad, you enrich other economies and we decided that we have doctors here who have the capacity to surpass those economies, if given the chance". "It is not just a hospital but also, from our preventive strategy in the periodic Hypertension and Diabetes screening, education and ad-

vocacy programme, that is the biggest investment in itself because if that succeeds, the number of diseases and accidents you see arising from those developments will reduce. "It is an investment to build local capacity standing on what exists and also repatriate back the several thousands of human resources in the health sector who left out of the frustration of the unavailability of the environment in which to practice their profession. "So, our target ultimately is that, yes we would keep that capacity and expertise here and see an increasing reduction in the cases that we send out. "We expect to see an increasing reduction in the monies and foreign exchange that we are expending outside and if there is any need for sponsorship of indigent patients, I would rather spend that money locally and let the local doctors in Nigeria earn that money than use it to empower a doctor in Europe or America", Governor Fashola said.








DR Congo poll results ‘lack credibility’, say observers


TEAM of international observers has said irregularities in DR Congo’s presidential election were so serious that the results “lack credibility”. The Carter Center highlighted numerous problems in the vote-counting process. The official results announced on Friday gave President Joseph Kabila 49% of the vote against 32% for opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Mr Tshisekedi says he won the election and is the country’s president. He has urged supporters to stay calm. The opposition have announced plans to hold protest marches next week. “We insist that the protests will be non-violent. The population know this may be a long, long walk but they are ready for it,”

opposition spokesman Albert Moleka told Reuters news agency. Four people died in postelection violence after the results came out. Four other opposition candidates have said the election was rigged and should be annulled. In a statement, the Carter Center, which had 26 teams of observers monitoring the elections, pointed to differences in the vote count between areas where Mr Kabila had strong support and areas that favoured Mr Tshisekedi. Some constituencies in Katanga province “reported impossibly high rates of 99 to 100% voter turnout with all, or nearly all, votes going to incumbent President Joseph Kabila”, the Center said. Meanwhile in Kinshasa, where Mr Tshisekedi has


strong support, results from nearly 2,000 polling station stations were lost - roughly a fifth of the city’s total. The Center said the violations it had documented does not mean “the final order of candidates is necessarily different” from official results.

Russian President orders probe into poll USSIAN President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an investigation into allegations of election violations. Mr Medvedev broke two


days of silence yesterday by posting a comment on Facebook to announce the probe into the parliamentary election result on December 4.

Mugabe insists on re-election bid


IMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has said it would be an act of cowardice for him to retire ahead of elections expected to be held next year. Closing his party’s annual conference, Mr Mugabe, 87, condemned the current power-sharing government as a “monster” which should be buried. Resolutions were passed endorsing Mr Mugabe as candidate, in spite of reports he is suffering ill-health. Correspondents say despite party divisions, public dissent is rare. President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party formed a coalition in 2009 with the MDC party of Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, following disputed elections.

The opposition says the vote was rigged in favour of the ruling Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, which won a slim majority in the State Duma Lower House. Tens of thousands of people in Moscow and around Russia demanded a re-run of the election on Saturday in the biggest opposition protests the country has seen in years. Mr Medvedev wrote: “I do not agree with any slogans or statements made at the rallies. Nevertheless, instructions have been given by me to check all information from polling stations regarding compliance with the legislation on elections.”

Ivory Coast votes in parliamentary elections


HE people of Ivory Coast are voting in their first parliamentary poll since a presidential election a year ago sparked months of violence. More than five million people are eligible to vote, but turnout halfway through the day was reportedly low. United Nations troops are on patrol in the Ivorian commercial capital, Abidjan. The party of Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to step down last year set off

the bloodshed, is boycotting the poll. It complains of intimidation and bias. Mr Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity. Mr Gbagbo’s party, the Ivorian Popular Front party, has accused the electoral commission of bias in favour of the current President, Alassane Ouattara. It also accuses the army of intimidating supporters

during the campaign. Election officials spoke of small numbers turning out to vote in comparison with the presidential elections last year. Casting his vote at midday, President Ouattara urged Ivorians to go to the polls. Nearly 1,000 candidates are vying for 255 posts. With the opposition by and large not taking part, this has turned into a contest between the two main parties in the government coalition.

NEWS Gowon to Jonathan: don’t remove •Continued from page 2 President stated that he subsidy now was“Theencouraged to embark on “He said currently, the entire

capital budget is borrowed, including part of the recurrent budget which makes it impossible to deliver on the major infrastructure projects such as power, railways, major road networks and the dredging of the River Niger which are meant to reposition the country for rapid development and job creation. “The President explained what his government has decided to do is to deregulate the downstream sector of the oil industry and other sectors of the economy in order to attract ongoing capital outflows from Europe and Asia where investors are heading to Africa to set up shop. “He said his administration is doing the same thing the

Chinese did in 1978 in spite of domestic opposition by deregulating the Chinese economy. “He said today because of that singular act, China has overtaken all those countries which failed to reform and has been able to take 300 million Chinese out of poverty in 30 years. “He said rather than allow the price control mechanism and wrong government policies to block the economy from developing, government has decided to embark on a wholesale review of these policies in order to modernise and transform the Nigerian economy to create jobs for our teeming young school leavers and prosperity for all our citizens.

this policy reforms following the clear success stories of similar deregulation of the telecom industry, aviation, and cement production which have over the last ten years grown from strength to strength and employed hundreds of thousands of young Nigerians following those reforms. “He said government, realising that the initial period of deregulation of the downstream sector of our oil industry will lead to increased cost in fuel price, has embarked on a programme of carefully selected social relief interventions to ameliorate the impact on the vulnerable sections of the Nigerian population.”








‘It will be completely out of place for anybody to doubt that MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011




E have two fascinating women on the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan. Ironically, these are the queens of the Nigerian economy. They are both articulate. They carry a measure of charisma with miens that men admire but do not necessarily love and they seem to love to ride storms with the tenacity of hardy men. The first is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the finance minister and the other is Diezanni Alison-Madueke, the minister of petroleum. Both are beneficiaries of international corporations. Alison-Madueke rose at Shell while Okonjo-Iweala soared in the ambience of the World Bank and IMF. Ordinarily, these backgrounds would compel you to think that they are equipped for the maelstrom of the Nigerian economy with its compulsive flirtation with poverty, joblessness and hunger, and its creative failures that turn grand policies to grandiose artifacts. But nothing focuses the imbecility of the duo more than the raging controversy over the proposed removal of the so-called fuel subsidy. Working under the supervision of Goodluck Jonathan, we have a trio who want us to believe and accept what they cannot market. All they say is that the subsidy has to go because we need the money to rebuild the economy. Subsidy has not helped us as a country in the past decades. The beneficiaries have leeched the system to the tune of N1.3 trillion, noted Alison-Madueke. Okonjo-Iweala says the economy will benefit from the infusion of new capital. It is hard to identify who is the echo chamber between the two queens, as the one seems to say a version of the other’s protestation. They want us to believe they know and we don’t. They are the qualified ones, the royal seats of knowledge. President Jonathan oversimplified the issue when he declared that the economy would collapse if subsidy is not removed. The sense of alarm seems a distorted echo of what Babangida said in his peacock days as military president. He asserted that he was amazed that with all the damage he inflicted, the Nigerian economy had not collapsed. Let us not delve into the qualifications of Jonathan. Let us look at the backgrounds of Okonjo-Iweala and AlisonMadueke. They remind literary buffs of the idea called burlesque. It refers to elevating a person to such a high pedestal only to bring the person down in a laughable fall to his rightful level. Very early, Alison-Madueke was elevated to handle a ministry in charge of roads. She wept dramatically on Ore road, and everyone thought she had brought the tenderness and empathy of a womanly vision to governance. This was in contrast to the frigid indifference of men. Alas, her drama was no more than what it was: a drama. We heard


IN TOUCH 08054501081(sms only) •Winner, Informed Commentary 2009 (D.A.M.E) •Columnist of the Year 2009 (NMMA)

Dames of subsidy

•Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala


nothing about the road. Rather than bid her goodbye, Jonathan made her oil minister in the first dispensation. At the end of that reign, she was appointed oil minister again for her “latter reign.” This was in defiance of collective objection from industry experts and practitioners. Her years in Shell only made her incompetent. But she came to office the second time with greater powers. Unlike in her former reign when she had a minister of state, she is the sole minister in this latter reign, giving her a lot of rain, to parody Joel in the Holy Bible. As for Okonjo-Iweala, she is familiar with the ways of international finance from the standpoint of the West. In those institutions, they look at the developing world from two platforms. One, they want to know how it will benefit them. Two, they “help” with what is called a paternalist attitude. That means they look at us as children who must be helped because we do not have the brains to do things for ourselves. That is why they


VOL.7, NO. 1,972

the post-amnesty programme has succeeded. We’re warning detractors not to erode the many benefits the programme has brought to the Niger Delta and the country’

want us to follow the market forces even though they know that African economies cannot compete on an equal footing with theirs. It is that kind of thinking that she brings into Nigeria. Her economic sense has not been domesticated. Hence the so-called Sovereign Wealth Fund is being made available to Western companies like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. She does not understand that the Nigerian economy is for Nigerians and not for Barack Obama. She may have risen high in those climes, but she has not come down to the heres and nows of our society. She should read economist Karl Polanyi who warned economists in his opus, The Great Transformation, that the economy is born in society and not society in the economy. While the case of Okonjo-Iweala is that of naivety, Alison-Madueke’s is that of incompetence. Hence, they would not let the ordinary Nigerian understand the fibs and stark lies of the so-called subsidy. First, we must understand that what they are trying to remove is not fuel subsidy but corruption subsidy. Now, let us look at how it works. A marketer brings in 40 million litres of fuel into the country, but he declares 5million litres and sells 35 million at what is called the Platt price elsewhere, whereas Nigeria has paid him the subsidy worth 40 million litres. He will pocket the value of 35 million litres times N65 The Department of Petroleum Resources that must verify the actual quantity brought in turns a blind eye because some of its top officials have been bribed. Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has the list of those who can import oil. Note that they are different from Pipelines and Products Marketing Company. PPPRA bridges the control price of N65 with



N his speech at the opening of the 5 th Annual Conference of Muslim Lawyers in Kaduna on Saturday, the Sultan of Sokoto,

Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar, suggested that some of the problems confronting Nigeria today could be attributed to injustice. Among the many things he said at the conference, including an admonition to Muslims and Christians to enlighten themselves on their religions, his view on injustice was probably the most insightful. Said he: “I want to make it very clear that the problems facing this country are largely due to injustice meted out to some people. And if you are talking of injustice, we don’t have good governance, and if there is no good governance, there cannot be good people.” These thoughts are probably not original to the Sultan; he was merely rephrasing components of the idea of Social Contract as espoused by Locke, Rousseau, and, through the influence of Jefferson, incorporated into the American declaration of independence. But it is about time someone reiterated to the government in particular, and the country in general, the important connection between


international price which is around N130. They pay the importer. Why did PPPRA lose its independence under the office of the minister of petroleum? She approves the list. This was in her first reign. So, it is clear whatever distortion happens happens in the PPPRA, DPR and the ministry of Petroleum. Can we establish the fuel consumption in this country? To ascertain the truth, we should trace the fuel from port to the end user. How many litres do we consume every day? Let us put a Naira price to it and see whether we actually consumed N1.5 trillion worth of fuel between last October and now. Let us assume that the subsidy is N1.5 till now, what it means is that Nigerians in 2011 consumed about N3 trillion worth of fuel because the subsidy is only half the price. That is about $20 billion worth of fuel. This is apart from PPMC imported fuel which consumes $5 billion worth of fuel every year. That means we consumed $25 billion worth of fuel in Nigeria a year. The so-called refineries still adds to this number, however little. We need forensic auditors to trace these and they should be international auditors supervised outside the political sphere. The process: They go to CBN to request for US dollars to open LC for the importation of petroleum products. The LC is open at the world prevailing rates in the market (Platt). The product is brought into the country, and PPPRA through its various verification channels authenticates. They pay the marketers’ banks the differentials. Forensic auditors must go to PPPRA and the marketers’ banks, and obtain bank receipts, bills of lading for products brought in to authenticate if the products came into Nigeria. A fake bill of lading will be discovered. The CBN has copies of bills of lading as well as the commercial banks. The announcement of some marketers as beneficiaries last week was diversionary. The marketers are too afraid to protest. The real culprits are the political elites. We have not considered those who do round tripping, and declare fuel at the port, obtain subsidy and come back to declare same. This is what we need to stop. If we subsidise the actual fuel that we consume in this country, the expenditure will be negligible. We have not even mentioned the demurrage that accrues astronomically from willful delays. If Jonathan cannot tackle the real culprits, he should let us know. Visiting the sins of a larcenous few on the pauperised mass is unchristian. The dames of subsidy should realise that the economy is about healing the land and not flying to some cloudy theories and pandering parochial interests. May our destiny not depend on their subsidy.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Sultan Abubakar’s injustice theory justice and peace. Sadly, this connection is often irresponsibly downplayed by both elected and authoritarian governments in most parts of Africa, Nigeria inclusive. Even though the Sultan’s reminder of the connection between justice and peace is universally applicable, it is possible he was also referring to the seemingly intractable problem of Boko Haram. It will be recalled that though the Boko Haram sect admitted that their brand of Islam was not mainstream, they claimed they became violent when the authorities began to use extra-judicial means to rein in the sect’s activities. The crisis got to a head when the police extra-judicially eliminated their leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Since then, the sect has promised ominously that the only way to pacify them is to kill its members to the last man. And given the fact that the sect’s membership is being expanded through new recruitments, the problem could be with us for a much longer time than envisaged. More critically, however, it would be unfair

to limit the Sultan’s observation on peace and justice to the crisis bedevilling parts of the North. Any society that ignores the concept of social, economic and political justice cannot reasonable expect to enjoy sustained peace. Not only have the problems that engendered Boko Haram extremism, such as high-handed security operations and officials, continued unchecked, the government does not even appear enthusiastic about ensuring economic justice. Nigeria has become a security nightmare today partly because of economic injustice. More investment in better law enforcement alone cannot check this problem. Given our precipitous descent into the abyss of general insecurity, it is obvious that our government has so far been unable to make the connection between injustice and crises. But this is precisely what it must do, and very urgently too, if the multifarious problems confronting us are not to be exacerbated.

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

The Nation December 12, 2011  

The Nation December 12, 2011

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