Page 1

Jonathan entrusts Nigeria to God –PAGE 8

Even at 44 men still toast me –Mary Onyali-Omagbemi –PAGES 35 & 38

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.07, No. 2342



DECEMBER 16, 2012


Governor Yakowa, ex-NSA Azazi die in helicopter crash Also dead • Dauda Tsoho • Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal • Commander Muritala Daba • Lt. Adeyemi Sowole Bodies recovered, deposited in mortuary Jonathan orders probe Yakowa served his people, say Northern Governors –PAGE 2 BUY AND WIN A BRAND NEW CAR SEE PAGE 71 FOR DETAILS



Two arrested over Kano Assembly member’s killing –PAGE 6

NEWS Sad exit of a general By Remi Adelowo


HE death of Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, the former Army and Defence Chief is as painful as it was unexpected. After his removal as the National Security Adviser (NSA) some months ago by President Goodluck Jonathan, Azazi had retired into a quiet private life, until recently when he was appointed as the Chairman, Bayelsa Flood Relief Committee. That Azazi had an illustrious career in the Nigerian Army is an acknowledged fact. A graduate of the Regular Combatant Course 7 of the Nigerian Academy, the Ijaw, Bayelsa Stateborn gentleman and officer rose through the ranks from a Second Lieutenant in 1974 to a threestar General in 2006 following his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff. He later joined the enviable league of four-star generals produced by the Nigerian Army after his appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. An army intelligence officer, Azazi held the position for about two years before he retired after putting in about 35 years of meritorious service. Before his appointment as COAS, Azazi served as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite 1st Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna. He was also a former Director of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI). Azazi is the third army intelligence officer to assume the position of the Chief of Army Staff, after Lt. Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, who had a brief stint of three months as COAS from August to November, 1993, and Major Gen. Chris Alli, who served from 1993 to 1995. Azazi was brought out of retirement in 2011 by President Jonathan and appointed as the NSA succeeding Lt. Gen. Gusau. As NSA, Azazi went about his work quietly. As the coordinator of national security, Azazi faced several challenges, most especially the menace of the Boko Haram insurgence in some states in the North, necessitating strident calls by concerned Nigerians that he should be relieved of his duties. •Continued on Page 6




HE nation was again thrown into mourning with yesterday’s death of Kaduna State Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and ex-National Security Adviser Gen. Patrick Owoye Azazi (rtd) in an helicopter crash. Their aides Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal also died as were the pilot and co-pilot of the ill-fated chopper ‘The Navy Augusta (helo 07),’ Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole. The chopper was on its way to Port Harcourt from Okoroba in Ogbia Local Government area of Bayelsa State when it crashed into one of the many creeks in the largely riverine state. It burst into flame shortly after take-off before it nose-dived into the the creeks. The victims were part of the large number of mourners who attended the burial of Pa Obebara Douglas, father of Mr.Oronto Douglas,

Governor Yakowa, ex-NSA Azazi die in helicopter crash From: Yusuf Alli, Abuja, Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt and Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

Special Adviser to the President on Research and Documentation. A source said the crash might have been caused by “shuttles probably beyond its capacity. “We are suspecting that the chopper may have become wearied after many shuttles between Okoroba and Yenagoa. We learnt that it had done up to 10 shuttles,” the source said, adding:”The helicopter was carrying VIPs, in batches because of the coastal terrain. The use of the chopper was meant to hasten the movement of the VIPs. President Goodluck Jonathan expressed shock

at the crash. In a statement last night, Presidential spokesman Dr. Reuben Abati said: “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has expressed utter shock and sadness over the crash Saturday in Bayelsa State of a military helicopter resulting in the death of Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Owoye Azazi (rtd), their aides, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal and the pilots, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole. “The President extends deep and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased, and the governments and peo-

•Yakowa and Azazi moment before the crash yesterday. Inset is the pilot of the ill-fated helicopter, Commander Daba

ple of Kaduna and Bayelsa States. He describes the sudden loss of these distinguished Nigerians as extremely painful to the entire nation. “President Jonathan has ordered an investigation into the cause(s) of the crash.” The Kaduna State Government said: “The death has occurred of His Excellency, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa (CON). He died in a Navy helicopter crash on his way to Port Harcourt from Bayelsa State. Other details and burial arrangements will be announced later. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace, amen.” The statement was signed by Secretary to State Government (SSG) Lawal Samaila Abdullahi. The Navy also announced the crash in a statement by its Director of Information, Commodore Kabir Aliyu. It said: “A Nigerian Navy Agusta helicopter (helo 07) crashed today Saturday 15 December 2012 at about 3:30pm around Nembe-Okoroba area in Bayelsa State. “The helicopter was conveying some VIPs to Port Harcourt from Okoroba Village also in Bayelsa State. “Search and rescue operation is on-going by a combined team of personnel from Joint Task Force (OPS PULO SHIELD), Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, NEMA and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. “Further details on the crash will be made available as received.” A source gave graphic details of how the crash occurred. The source said: “The helicopter took off normally from Okoroba at about 2pm for Port Harcourt but it later crashed at about 2.30pm in Nembe area of Bayelsa. “The plane plunged into a forest and burst into flame. None of the VIPs at the burial of Pa Obebara Douglas suspected that

President’s aide’s father buried


HE last guest at yesterday’s burial of Pa Tamunoobebara Douglas, the father of Mr.Oronto Douglas, Special Adviser to the President on Research and Documentation was yet to depart the sleepy village of Okoroba when news spread of the crash of the helicopter carrying some of the eminent guests. Lost to the crash were Governor Patrick Yakowa

of Kaduna State, the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), General Patrick Azazi,Mr.Dauda Tsoho, a friend of Yakowa,Warrant Officer M o h a m m e d kamal,Commander Muritala Muhammed Daba who piloted the helicopter and his co-pilot, Lt.Adeyemi Sowole. Unexpectedly, a hitherto joyous occasion soon turned into sorrow. The vil-

lage was thrown into mourning. There was wailing. There was gnashing of teeth. Men cried as did women. It was hard to believe that a ceremony that had begun on Friday with a novelty football match, traditional wrestling and a colourful wake keep could turn tragic. Apart from Yakowa and Azazi,others at the burial included Governor Seriake

Dickson of Bayelsa State, an Ijaw leader, Chief Joshua Fumudoh, National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) , Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, entertainment guru, Mr.Ben Muray Bruce, prominent businessman, Mr. Oba Otudeko, Information Minister Labaran Maku, Labour Minister Emeka Worgu and Chief of Staff to the President Mike Oghiadomhe.

anything was wrong with the helicopter because it had been making shuttles to ferry VIPs to Yenagoa and Port Harcourt. “But following a distress alarm from the control tower in Port Harcourt, when the helicopter was not sighted on the radar, a search and rescue operation was immediately initiated. “The bodies of the six victims were later retrieved and transferred to a morgue in Yenagoa.” The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said last night that all six passengers aboard the chopper died. NEMA spokeman, Alhaji Yushau Shuaib, in a statement, said: “NEMA has just confirmed the death of six passengers in a Naval helicopter that crashed in Nembe area of Bayelsa.” It was however gathered that a former Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr. Timi Alaibe, cheated death by the whiskers as he was scheduled to be on board he helicopter. Another source said: “When the short listing was done, Alaibe was expected to be part of the batch that crashed. He was directed to join others to board the chopper but he deferred to Governor Yakowa and Gen. Azazi as a matter of protocol. “Most of the VIPs who saw Alaibe off to the temporary helipad assumed that the former NDDC boss had died in the crash.” The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), said it has no mandate to investigate military air accidents. Mr Tunji Oketunbi, spokesman for the AIB, said: “The crashed helicopter is a Naval aircraft. AIB investigates only civil aircraft accidents. You may want to contact the military authorities for further information.” Governor-Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State is currently hospitalised in Germany following the injuries he sustained in a plane crash in Yola on October 25. In March, a police chopper crashed in Jos, killing senior police officers including Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Haruna John. On June 3, a Dana commercial aircraft which took off from Abuja crashed into residential buildings on the outskirt of Lagos. All 153 people on board died.



Just before dusk in Nigeria (An evening embedded with Babalegba)


NARCHY, the natural successor to democratic regression, had arrived dressed like a fivestar general. The mood of the nation was foul and filthy. There was a murky intemperance everywhere. Colourful things were happening which stretch the boundary between reality and fiction to its elastic limits. A constitutional mayhem was unfolding in the old “wild, wild” West. Insurgents in the Delta had dramatically raised the stakes: oil spilled and so did blood. The north had become ominously sullen, the kind of sullenness presaging desperation. The entire south was in noisy ferment. The ruling chief himself was a study in volcanic distemper, erupting at short notice with the pristine violence of a bear at bay. Things could not just go on as usual. Everybody was expecting something to give. If it was a question of aborted hopes, the country could live with that. In its short existence, the ill-starred nation has had to cope with many betrayals and aborted hopes. Somehow, and like a stumped lover, it had always found the strength, the fierce energy to move on. But this time the omens of national regeneration were not very bright. While the naira was being carted away from the treasury, something fundamental had also taken place. The spirit of the nation appeared to have decayed, too. Having passed the point of morphine-assisted rebirth, Lugard’s contraption was expiring before our very eyes. I told an old acquaintance who was quite familiar with the routes to the old Yoruba interior that I needed to see the chief with immediate effect— —as they say in the military. I was bearing an important message from a great crony of his. All my friend had to do was to deposit me somewhere around Wasinmi. I will find my way to the chief’s palatial enclave by routes known and unknown. . Ibogun-Olaogun is an idyllic rural village, a hanging orchard of palm fruits, oranges, bananas, plantain and semi-wild breadfruits running riot in prolific and prolix progeny. The only paved road in the community had been hurriedly rehabilitated for the umpteenth time and it looked like an aberration of modernity in a rustic paradise. I hardly had time to take in the expansive sitting room with its mementoes of global conquests and capitulations to crude vanity when the old man barged in. We had not seen in about eight years, not since he decided to return to the palace, and not since he triumphed against all popular odds. As he charged past me, he stopped dead in his track as a whiff of belated recognition overtook him and his drawn exhausted visage lit up with contempt superimposed on panic. Bitter resentment welled up inside him as he eyed me with angry disdain. “Ta l’omu omo were yi wa sibi?” he growled in Yoruba. (Who brought this lunatic here?) “I have not come here to be insulted. I have a message for you”, I snapped, determined to carry the battle to him as usual. He had been startled by the vehemence and shrill ferocity of my response. But the old soldier, a past master of psychological warfare, was unfazed. “I say who brought this lunatic here? So you have finished writing all your rubbish, abi?” “And I say I have not come here to be insulted. First, your friend said I should tell you that each time in your career that you alienated your true friends and surrounded yourself with sycophants and palace jesters you have always paid dearly for it. And this time will not be different”, I shouted back. I could see that he had suffered a serious deflation. Ever since he barricaded himself in within a wall of unreality and monomaniac delusions, no-

body had taken him to the cleaners like that. He mumbled something and then mused half-aloud to himself. “That one, I sent some money to his wife in lieu”, he mumbled to himself. “In lieu of friendship?” I asked with a sarcastic leer as I leveraged my psychological dividends. “Were ni e se. A foolish and unwise professor. Professor my foot!!!” he screamed. “Listen, you told a friend of mine that I am a stupid man, a professor of idiocy….ojogbon ti ko gbon paapaa”. I shouted at him. “And am I lying? Am I not right? All the rubbish you have been writing, where has it taken you? All the stupid things the likes of you have been saying in your papers, am I still not the leader? Am I still not here? All of you cannot remove one piece of hair from my body. The termite only plans but it cannot eat stone. Wo, let me tell you, you are`all doing yourself, not me”. Buoyed by this self-induced myth of invincibility, he seemed to have regained his devilish sense of humor. He began to sing a famous juju song and to canter round the expansive sitting room like a victorious local generalissimo , giving me the occasional satanic look of triumph. Bi eni bi eni Ara yin le nda loro Ara yin le nda loro, emi ko Bi eji bi eji Ara yin le nda loro Ara yin le nda loro, emi ko…….... “Temi deni” I called out to him with disarming familiarity and by his childhood nickname as a way of reminding him of his humble beginnings as a gravel-loading yokel. He gave me a curious look of disbelief and concern. “Kilowi?” (“What did you say?”) “Ani omo ale ni e se”, ( you are a rogue of ambiguous paternity), he raved with affable relish. I now saw an opening and chose to press home my advantage. “The last time we were both here, this palace was not there. I understand things are also very rosy in Otta. You seem to have done well for yourself oo”, I observed. “Siddon there. Those who partake in the cooking of pepe must eat a bit of pepe”, he replied cautiously, looking for a trap. “So what was the grouse against IBB then?” “Ha, that one, that one”, he began warily, “ that one, na dede nde’ku. Iku nde dede,” a famous Yoruba saying which suggested a duel unto death between two formidable adversaries. The great chief is a man of famously mercurial temperament and even more notorious for sudden and abrupt shifts of moods. He was now eyeing me with towering distrust, as if he had been admonishing himself for being rather too friendly with a traitor, an enemy combatant. He was about to raise the stakes but I beat him to the offensive. “You know looking back, my only regret is that I didn’t allow that boy to rough you up in London when you first got out of jail”, I said looking at him directly. “Don’t we know who sent him? “he began with malicious relish, “ your NADECO professors, OPC stalwarts, Odua thugs, Afenifere infidels, ignorant Nobel Lawrence(sic). Mo siti fo epon gbogbo yin!!” ( I have smashed your testicles) “But…” I began, but allowed convulsive laughter to overtake me. “Shut up. Are you not one of them? In fact why am I talking to this idiot?” His mood shifted suddenly again from adversarial violence to cunning deflation and sadistic baiting. He eyed me with a look of superior disregard. “By the way, awon baba re Afenifere nko?” (How about your Afenifere fathers?) “Don’t even go there!!” I snapped. He began to laugh uncontrollably at

my obvious discomfiture. He eyed me with paternalistic and patronising contempt. “When I heard that they named you secretary, I said foolish boy see where all the grammar, all the grand theory have led him, a seer who cannot see his own future, kai , kai”. He began to sing and canter about again, a very ominous native song about the fatal entrapment of the elephant. “A o merin joba erekuewele “A o merin joba erekuewele Gbogbo wa pata ka lo merin joba erekuewele. Then he stopped abruptly again. He eyed me with savage amusement. “You know those old men who call themselves Afenifere. Ijo ti mola ti nfun won legba nilu yi (since the malams have been oppressing them in this country) For the first time you have somebody who has brought their tormentors really to heels, and they are not grateful. All they know is gra gra; no strategy. Without ever saying so, I have avenged all the humiliations of the tribe. Now they find themselves in league with people like Gambo Jimeta” He had pronounced the name of the former Inspector General with such spite and contempt, and with such a curious native inflection which suggested something completely different. I pointed his attention to this, but he pointedly ignored me. “When I ask Nuhu Ribadu to open the book on that one, he will run to Futa Jallon.” There was a momentary pause as I watched him completely consumed by hatred and vindictiveness. He reminded one of some malignant selfindulgent deity; an aberrant personality, but a truly magnificent aberration with an elemental force of personality. “You have so many enemies and not much time left”, I observed. “Who told you”, he snapped “So, this third term thing is not dead!” I lamented. “Ti nba tun gbo to lenu re, o si gbo tam tam laiya re.”he snarled.(If I hear any word beginning with “t” from your mouth, you will hear something exploding in your chest with the sound tam, tam.) He was by now, a menacing sight to behold. Towering frustration compounded by impotence was written all over him. Something must have been telling him that his time was up. But here was a man who had wrestled with history before and was determined to have another go, his very strength becoming a profound weakness and a source of potentially fatal tragedy for the nation he owes so much. I moved for the kill. “A wise man should have known that a nation is a permanent work in progress. Even if you stay for fifty years, there is only so much that can be done. A great leader focuses on a specific project and then cultivates a cult of heroic example to serve as a benchmark for coming generations. You did that in your first coming. Unfortunately, this time around circumstances have overwhelmed you.” He lurched forward in an attempt to grab me, and as I briskly sidestepped him, I hit my head against something. I opened my eyes to a sepulchre-white world. It had begun to snow heavily in New York.


nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu

Titans and the Titanic

•The bronze head of Olokun


S the political space in Nigeria opens up to fresh possibilities, intense political jockeying has also commenced all over the country. Across the length and breadth of Nigeria , the usual actors are at it again, forging fresh alliances and trying to weld together a shattered national consensus. It is a party of giants. Political titans are on the march again. But the great river of human affairs flows on endlessly and ceaselessly. This time around, impersonal titanic forces also abound, ready to overturn the apple cart. It is in the nature of political ferment to generate their own controversies. We have received numerous responses to last week’s piece titled Four Yoruba and Nigerian Avatars. While many hailed the piece for its captivating logic and flair, a few described it as a seminal analy-

Re: Four Yoruba and Nigerian Avatars


NOOPER is at it again, in his elements in “Four Yoruba and Nigerian Avatars.” Clinically incisive, especially your characterisation of “The Four”. Yes, “Obasanjo…is arguably the outstanding political games-master”, sugbon , “elewon maa..nloga.” Ask him about “The Lion of Bourdillon”, whose heroic exploits in our political firmament are still unfolding. We pray he would not


falter. Just fire on, Tatalo Alamu, we will be reading and enjoying you. ——Feyisola Famutimi . This writing business, osa, often dreary and torturing, is like prospecting for gold. You came close to a prize find in the second essay on Yoruba avatars dripping with rich insights. A book on such lines will be seminal. How does Asiwaju fit into the picture? Professor Ayo Olukotun.

sis of four of the problematic personages who have dominated Yoruba and Nigerian history in the past sixty years. For snooper, what is intriguing and interesting is how most of the commentaries came to agree with our evaluation, particularly of the Owuborn retired general. This morning, we publish two sample commentaries, one from a professor of Communication Theory and the other from a reverend gentleman. Once again, they both end up with the same posers. But since former president General Olusegun Obasanjo is quite in the news these days as a result of the ongoing political permutations and realignment of forces, we republish this morning a piece first published in very early 2006 just as the Third Term fiasco was about to explode in the general’s face. This piece, once again, confirms why the imaginative projection of a fiction writer is sometimes superior to the late insight of political scientists. It is not for nothing that Sigmund Freud regarded Fyodor Dostoevsky, the great Russian novelist, as the master and mentor who saw it all before him. Although almost seven years old, the following piece resonates with the dynamics of power play and the futility of clinging to power in a country with a microplurality of contending and mutually contradictory power-centres.





Yakowa, Azazi’s death painful, say northern governors


HE Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has expressed shock and sadness at the news of the passing away of the Kaduna State Governor Ibrahim Yakowa and former National Security Adviser Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi. Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu described the death of the duo as a great loss not only to the people of Kaduna and Bayelsa States but to the entire nation. In a condolence mes-

sage signed by Governor Aliyu’s Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, the forum said “their passage constitutes a big blow to the people of Nigeria whose lives they touched in their eventful lives that were devoted to public service”.The forum said it is particularly pained by the death of Governor Yakowa who consistently hosted the meetings of the NSGF but has “taken solace in the fact that he lived exemplary and purposeful life with remarkable

achievements as a public servant, administrator, community leader and a dedicated family man.” The statement said the late Yakowa and Gen Azazi were rare gems who would be missed for their immeasurable contributions towards the development of the country. “They were uncommon statesmen, dependable team players, highly disciplined gentlemen and respected mentors of their sub-ordinate officers”, the statement added.


ESTINY put Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa into office as governor of Kaduna state in 2010 against all odds, following the appointment of Mohammed Namadi Sambo as Vice President. Yakowa was deputy to Sambo before (then) newly appointed President Goodluck Jonathan, who succeeded President Umaru Musa Yar’adua after his death in May 2010, picked him as vice president. Yakowa then had to step into office as governor. In 2005, Yakowa was appointed deputy governor by Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, now a senator, following the death of Stephen Shekari. Yakowa’s emergence as governor

•From right, Pastor Adeboye, President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Folu Adeboye and chaplain to the president, Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba.

Bayelsa condoles with Yakowa, Azazi families


AYELSA State Government last night condoles with the families of Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa and ex-National Security Adviser Gen Owoye Azazi, who died in yesterday’s chopper crash along with their aides and the pilots. In a statement by Commissioner for Information and Culture, Markson Fefegha, the government said: “The Bayelsa State Government wishes to condole with the family, people and Government of Kaduna State over the ill-fated helicopter crash that claimed the life of His Excellency, Patrick Yakowa, while returning from a funeral ceremony of the father to the Special Adviser to the President on Research and Documentation, the late Pa Douglas at Tombi area of Okoroba Community, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State at about 16:00 hours on the 15th of December, 2012. “The Bayelsa State Government also wishes to condole with the family of the immediate past National Security Adviser and the Chairman of Bayelsa State Post Flood Management Committee, General Andrew Owoye Azazi (rtd). “Our heartfelt condolences also go to the families of the personal security aides

to both Governor Yakowa and General Azazi . “The vacuum created by the demise of these notable personalities will be difficult to fill given their contributions to the growth of not only their respective states but the country as a whole.”


ORTY-FOUR year old Mukthar Ramalan Yero who was appointed Deputy Governor in 2010, following the elevation of Patrick Yakowa to the position of governor, begins his journey as governor of Kaduna State. Born at Agwan Kaura in Zaria City of Kaduna State on May 21, 1968, Yero had his early education at LEA Primary School, Kaura; Government Secondary

PDP mourns Yakowa, Azazi


HE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Saturday, said it was shocked beyond imagination on the news of the death of Kaduna State governor, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser, NSA, General Owoeye Azazi in a military helicopter crash in Bayelsa State. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party described the death of these Nigerians as a colossal loss. The statement reads, “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed utter shock and devastating grief at the news of the death of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and other prominent Nigerians, including the former National Security Adviser, General

Owoeye Azazi in a helicopter crash today. “ Our great party is shocked beyond imagination and no words can adequately give expression to the depth of our grief. What a colossal loss! “ The nation has lost a great patriot who in about two years in saddle as the Governor of Kaduna State demonstrated an unyielding capacity in welding together varying fragile interests. He rendered quality stewardship to his people. “ Even in the face of daunting security challenges, nothing came close to compromising his iron cast resolve and faith that the phase must certainly pass. It is unfortunate that the nation has lost him at this critical curve in our national history.”

The man Yakowa From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

made him the first southern Kaduna Christian to become governor of the state. Yakowa was from the minority Gwong tribe in Southern Kaduna which nobody would give any chance to climb to the highest political office in the state. Even in Jema’a, his local government area, nobody would have given him the chance to rise to such a position. Before being appointed deputy governor by the Makarfi government, he was Secretary to the State Government (SSG). As deputy governor, he aspired to lead the state as governor, but lost out in the primary for the 2007 governorship election and eventually accepted to serve Sambo who won the primary as deputy. The Southern Kaduna people felt betrayed by the Makarfi administration alleging that he turned his back on their agreement to hand over to a Southern Kaduna governor. So, the search for a deputy to Sambo was a bit difficult as none of those approached for the position agreed to take it. However, Yakowa who was rounding off his tenure as deputy governor to Makarfi, was prevailed upon to accept the position. Unknown to him, providence had something greater waiting for him. Against all odds, he became the first southern Kaduna civilian governor of Kaduna state following the elevation of his boss to the position of

Enter Mukhtar Yero School, Ikara (1980-1985) and Government Secondary School, Zaria (19851986) before gaining admission to study a diploma programme in Banking from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He later gained admission to study for a bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 1991. He also obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration also from the Ahmadu Bello University. A certified Public Accountant, Yero began his working career as assistant accountant during his National Youth Service Corps at Ogun State Purchasing Corporation between 1991 and 1992. He worked as Higher Executive Officer in the Bursary Department of ABU in Zaria in 1993 and later joined the defunct Nigerian Universal Bank Limited as Accountant Supervisor the same year. In 1997, he joined Nalado Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Vice President Namadi Sambo. He became chief accountant and rose to become director, Finance and Administration in 2007. When Sambo became governor in 2007, he appointed Yero as commissioner for Finance, a position he held until he was appointed deputy governor. His appointment as deputy governor was not


without controversy as many interest groups were involved. Many believed then that his choice was influenced by Sambo. But Yakowa dismissed it, saying the choice was entirely his. Yakowa said while confirming Yero’s appointment that he “is a fine gentleman with whom we have been working closely for the past three years in the State Executive Council. I have confidence in him and believe that we shall together, under the guidance of God, steer the affairs of Kaduna State to greater heights.” Married with six children, Yero’s is from the northern zone of the state which produced Makarfi as governor from 1999 to 2007, it is believed that Yero was being considered to take over from Yakowa as governor in 2015 by political forces in the state and in the north. Some political power players in the state who were not comfortable with Yakowa returning as governor in 2015 are believed to have begun pushing some candidates including Yero into the contest. The current development which has entrusted power to him will no doubt actualise that dream. His emergence, though by providence, is likely to change the political history of the state once again.

vice president. Yakowa graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1972. He studied Social Sciences. Following the inauguration of the National Sports Festival, Yakowa became the first man to lead the contingents from the then North Central State (now Kaduna) to the festival in Lagos. Yakowa is also believed to be the first southern Kaduna indigene to rise to the position of a Federal Permanent Secretary. He was probably the first to serve two governors as deputy governor in the country. He was also the first southern Kaduna man to contest and win election as governor in a state where they had played a second fiddle all through, living in the shadow of their Hausa brothers. He was the first Christian to become governor of the state. Yakowa lived all his life as a government official having served in various capacities from the local government to the federal level in the course of his administrative and political career. He was an Administrative Officer, he was a District Officer (DO), Secretary in the Military Governor’s Office, and Local Government Sole Administrator, rising to the top of the civil service in the state as Permanent Secretary in the ministries of Health, Works and Transport before joining the Federal civil service in 1990. He served as a commissioner. At the federal level, he worked as Director, Joint Services in the Ministry of Defence and was appointed Minister for Solid Minerals by the Abdulsalami Abubakar government. He left the Federal Civil Service on June 14, 1999. Married to Amina who is Fulani, Yakowa was part of those who midwifed the aborted third republic as Sole Administrator of the National Republican Convention (NRC), one of the two parties created by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida during his government’s transition programme. . He was also part of those that saw the PDP coast to victory in the 2003 general election, serving as a strong member of the Makarfi Campaign Organisation. He also chaired the screening committee of the PDP in Rivers State. His popular quote is: “With God, all things are possible.” Only recently, he went round the 23 local government areas to commence the construction of about 33 roads contracts of which were awarded to the tune of about N28 billion. He paid 25 per cent of the contract sum to mobilise contractors to site. Yakowa’s last official engagement before his illfated trip to Bayelsa, was last Thursday’s presentation of the 2013 budget to the House of Assembly. On December 1, he clocked 64 and chose not to roll out the drums to celebrate. Rather, he chose to conduct the local government elections on that day.


Ajimobi receives 2,000 PDP, AP members to ACN


VER 2,000 members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord Party (AP) recently defected to the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Atisbo Local Government Area of Oyo State. The defectors were received by Governor Abiola Ajimobi at the local government headquarters in Tede during his official visit to the council area. The governor, while speaking at the ceremony, commended the defectors for deciding to join ACN, which he described as a progressive party, assuring them that they will not regret their action. He called on old members of the party not to discriminate against the new ones, saying that they should all see each other as stakeholders in ACN. The governor also called for unity and cohesion within the party, warning against the promotion of splinter groups which, he said, was capable of polarising the party and weakening its structure. “ACN is ACN. The party is one and it should be seen as such. There should be no splinter group within the party because it will not promote unity and cohesion. We should all hold the party together so that it can be stronger,” he said.

Calabar to get National Theatre – Minister




ALABAR, CrossRiver State, the first capital of Nigeria, is poised to get a national theatre. Dispelling speculations on the construction of the theatre, the minister of culture, tourism, and national orientation, Edem Duke, yesterday clarified that the project is a reality. Speaking to journalists in Lagos, Duke said the proposed National Theatre in Calabar was a brainchild of the national assembly that was incorporated into the 2012 budget. Reacting to an editorial in a national newspaper (not The Nation), Duke, however, said the approved take-off cost of the project was N70m and not N700m as reported by the newspaper. The minister also said paucity of funds is the major challenge affecting the ministry which manages 67 national heritage sites. Calling on the need for re-orientation, Duke, who just came back from China on a cultural exchange programme, said, “There is need for greater collaboration with the private sector in Nigeria.”

Police arrest two suspects for murder of Kano lawmaker


WO principal suspects have been arrested by the Kano State Police in connection with the weekend killing of Alhaji Danladi Isa Kademi, a lawmaker in the Kano House of Assembly. He belonged to the opposition All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). The late assembly member was buried yesterday in his Kademi home town. The Commissioner of Police, Mr Ibrahim K. Idris said one of the two suspects has a strong case to answer. “We have two suspects in our custody right now, and I

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano must tell you that one of them is a principal suspect. From the facts we have in our files, he has a case to answer,” he said. “We are still interrogating the suspects; and more arrests could be made. Our assurance is that within a short period of time, we will get to the root of the matter. Investigation is still on-going; what we cannot tolerate is to allow the case swept under the carpet no matter who is involved,” Idris said. Idris also added that for

now, Police are working on the theory of assassination, going by information at their disposal. Alhaji Danladi who was shot dead by unknown gunmen at his Guest House in Hotoro Muradi was, yesterday according to Islamic rites. The Chief Imam of Kademi, led the funeral prayers for the repose of the deceased, also prayed Allah to grant the family members the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Dignitaries at the funeral were the Governor Rabiu

Kwankwaso; the immediate past governor of the state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and his former Deputy, Alhaji Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo; Alhaji Salihu Sagir Takai, who was the ANPP gubernatorial flag bearer in the last election and the Chairman of the ANPP, Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro. Others were the Speaker of the State Assembly, Alhaji Gambo Salau; the House Majority leader, Hon Hamisu Cidare; commissioners and top government functionaries.

S/W Heads of Service worried by civil servants’ involvement in politics From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo


HE Heads of Service in the South West have expressed worry over the spate of public servants engaging in partisan politics. They want the political and bureaucratic leadership to enact or review the appropriate rules and regulation to redress the situation. Rising from their third summit held at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, Osun State, the six Heads of Service from the geo-political zone, in a communique jointly signed by them, maintained that the phenomenon would not yield any good dividend. The Heads of Service, including their host, Mr. Sunday Olayinka Owoeye of Osun State, Mr. Bunmi Famosaya (Ogun), Mrs. Kosemani Kolawole (Ondo), Mrs. Modupe Adekunle (Ogun), Mr. Tajudeen Aremu (Oyo) and Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe (Lagos), acknowledged and commended the political leadership of South West states for institutionalising merit-based selection processes in the appointment into top echelon of the public service. Urging the governments in the zone to sustain the process which they described as healthy for public service, they agreed that effective regional integration can only be achieved if the civil service emphasise critical policy areas like fiscal sustainability, budget planning and execution, quality of investment climate and service delivery. They said: “We affirm the crucial and indispensable role of the bureaucracy in the actualisation of regional integration and development.” They also emphasised the need for adopting strategic planning to be backed up with adequate budgetary provision to guarantee the sustainability of governments’ many lofty intervention programmes and projects.

•L-R: Member National Council of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Chief D. Obi, German Ambassador Dorothee Janetzke-Wenzel, Director of Goethe-Institut Mr Marc-Andre Schmachtel, and Mr Ogbo Awoke Ogbo, during the 50th Anniversary of Goethe –Institut in Nigeria, at the weekend PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

Tears as two-year-old baby drowns in Awka T EARS are still flowing ceaselessly from the eyes of Mrs. Uche Uba and members of her family in Nnewi , Nnewi North local government area, whose little boy of two years yesterday drowned in a gutter in Isiagu street Amikwo, Awka, Awka South local government area , Anambra State capital. Mrs. Uba, a pregnant

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

food vendor, was alleged to be sleeping in her kiosk when her little boy wandered about playing with another two-year-old girl. She woke up and looked for her son everywhere to no avail until somebody, a ware vendor, allegedly said she should check the gutter.

Behold, the boy was found inside the gutter already stone dead. He was though rushed to a hospital close by, it was a little too late, living the mother distraught and inconsolable. The speechless and confused Mrs. Uba who appeared not to comprehend the situation was appeased by hundreds of sympathisers who thronged the venue.

Hillary Clinton faints, sustains concussion


HE US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who skipped an overseas thisvirus, past week because of atrip stomach sustained a concussion after fainting, the State Department said yesterday. The 65-year-old Clinton, who’s expected to leave her job soon after serving as America’s top diplomat during President Barack Obama’s first term, is recovering at home after the incident last week and is being monitored by doctors, according to a statement by aide Philippe Reines. No further details were immediately available. The statement said Clinton was dehydrated because of the virus and that she fainted and sustained a concussion. She will continue to work from home in the week ahead and looks forward to being back in the office “soon,” the statement said. Congressional aides do not expect her to testify as scheduled at congressional hearings on Thursday into the Sept. 11 attack against a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss Clinton’s status. Clinton backed out of a trip to North Africa and the Persian Gulf on Monday because she was sick. She caught the virus during a recent visit to Europe. She’s known for her grueling travel schedule and is the most traveled secretary of state, having visited 112 countries while in the job. Katsina gov loses brother Alhaji Kabir Shema, a junior brother to Gov. Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State is dead. The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Press Matters, Alhaji Abdulhamid Danjuma, said at the weekend in Katsina that the deceased died at Katsina General Hospital on Thursday night at the age of 46, after a brief illness. Until his death, he said, Kabir was a staff of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Katsina State Command. He said Kabir had since been buried in accordance with Islamic injunction, and that he was survived by one wife and four children.

Oyo VGN arrests three kidnappers in Ogbomoso


EN of the Oyo State Command of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) have arrested three kidnappers in Ogbomoso. The kidnappers, Anthony Chinedu (22), Ayo Akinboboye (27) and Olawoye Kazeem (24) who claimed to have come from Ile-Oluju in Ondo State were apprehended while trying to kidnap a 17year-old girl, Oyelami Oluwaseun, after seduction. It was reliably gathered that the incident happened when Oluwaseun was returning from where her parents sent her around Wema area in the town. “It was around noon, as Seun was waiting for Okada to ride home, when she noticed three men were coming towards her. The three guys pretended as if they didn’t know where they were going,

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

hence seeking direction. The girl suddenly became dizzy while the criminals were attempting to abduct her into their waiting car.” However, according to a source, “Before the girl could be dragged into the vehicle, she regained consciousness and shouted for help. The

VGN men who were reportedly passing by heard her and rescued her and arrested the kidnappers.” In their separate confessional statements, the kidnappers said they came from Ondo State and were notorious for advance fee fraud, a.k.a. 419, adding that they chose Oyo State as their op-

erational base, having duped several unsuspecting people in Ibadan, the state capital. The three kidnappers have been handed over to the police at Owode, Ogbomoso for further investigation.

Sad exit of a general Continued from page 2 But the usually taciturn general courted controversy when while presenting a paper at the South South Summit held in Asaba, Delta State some months ago, accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being partly responsible for the insecurity challenges confronting the country as a result of its controversial zoning

formula, which produced Jonathan as the party’s candidate in the 2011 presidential elections. Azazi was to lose his job, according to Jonathan not because he was incompetent in handling his job, but as the president puts it, “He (Azazi) did a good job, but we need to bring in a fresh hand to handle the security challenges confronting the country.”

The former general took his sack with equanimity and lived a relatively low key lifestyle until recently when Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State appointed him as the Chairman of the State Flood Relief Committee. His death as a result of a helicopter crash in Port Harcourt, Rivers State yesterday, brings to an end the eventful life of an officer and a gentleman.


Kano earmarks N8.2billion on projects From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ANO State government has set aside about N8.2 billion for the execution of several developmental projects across the state. Out of this amount, N5.33 billion will be spent in the renovation, fencing and provision furniture for schools in the state, the state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Yusuf Bello Dambatta, has revealed. According to the Commissioner, this is part of the resolutions reached during the state weekly executive council meeting held at the government house, Kano. He added that the council granted approval to the state Ministry of Education to utilise the 2012 UBE matching grant for projects in the education sector, in the tune of N1.7 billion. Also the council consented to build 100 teachers’ houses in some selected schools at the cost of N339. 8 million, while the Ministry of Education was given approval for the utilisation of N24.4 million 2011 UBEC funds for the purchase of education materials and equipment. Alhaji Yusuf Dambatta added that N214.3 million was set aside for projects aimed at improving water supply in Kano metropolis and N18 million for drilling of 12 motorised boreholes in some women centres in the state. Other projects approved by the council are the construction of a new Zoo at Bagauda at the cost of N182.9 million, rehabilitation of vandalised electricity networks across the state, N70 million for furnishing of 26 new magistrate courts, N50.0 million as well as equipping of Kano Dental Centre and rehabilitation of the Eye clinic at Murtala Muhammed General Hospital at the total cost of about N74.7 million.

Police foil kidnap in Nnewi, five suspects held From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


UCK ran out of a six-man gang of kidnappers operating in two utility RAVA jeeps when they tried to abduct the owner of one of the biggest rental service providers in Nnewi, Chief Chico Anazodo. Anazodo was on his way back home after closing business by 7:30 pm when he noticed that the two jeeps were following him. The gang reportedly scaled his fence, and Anazodo sensing danger to his life scaled another fence of his neighbour, having known the terrain and disappeared to report to the Nnewi Special Anti-Robbery Squad who cordoned off the city and later arrested five of the suspected kidnappers while one allegedly escaped. Officials of the SARS Nnewi confirmed the kidnap attempt but said they would not comment further until investigations are concluded. The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Raphael Uzoigwe, was driving when this reporter tried to get confirmation of the report.


Adetiloye: Ikuforiji, Makinde commiserate with Fayemi, family Prelate Makinde mourns ex Primate


PEAKER of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, has commiserated with the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Primate, ministers and all members of the Church of N i g e r i a , Anglican Communion, and all indigenes of Ekiti State, on the sudden death of the former Primate of the church who passed on last Friday. In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Adebayo, the Lagos State Number Three citizen said: “The death of our highly referred Pa Abiodun Adetiloye, former Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion came to me and my fellow legislators in the Lagos State House of Assembly as a rude shock.” ”Despite the fact that Primate Adetiloye died at the ripe age of 82, it is indeed sad and very painful to lose the elder statesman at a time when our nation is in dire need of the prayers and wise counsel of Papa Adetiloye.It is however a thing of great joy for us at the Lagos State House of Assembly that Primate Adetiloye is leaving us behind as a fulfilled man. He will be remembered as a most influential church

By Oziegbe Okoeki

leader, who led several millions of souls to Christ, through his sermons and teaching of the words of God,” Ikuforiji said. Meanwhile, the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, has described

the death of the former Primate as a loss to the Christian community and the Nation-at-large. In a release by the Church’s Media and Public Relations Officer, Rev. Oladapo Daramola, the Prelate while commiserating with the family, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Most

Rev. Nicholas Okoh and Anglicans in Nigeria, and around the world said “one of God’s Generals has transited from the Church militant to the Church Triumphant. Papa Adetiloye was indeed a servant of the living God. He laid an extraordinary example for people like us to follow and we will surely miss him.,

•From R to L, Hon Minister of state for power, Hajia Zainab Kuchi, Rep.of Lagos State Governor, The Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Taofiq Ajibade Tijani and Perm Secretary Ministry of Power, Dere Awosika, during the fourth quarter Power Summit taking place in Lagos.

Agric scheme: Agro-dealers accuse FG of low commitment GRO DEALERS in Bauchi and Nasarawa States have blamed the Federal Government for its low commitment towards achieving successful implementation of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. The stakeholders tasked the FG to show more concern by partnering genuinely with the commercial banks to make loans accessible for the GES input suppliers. Otherwise, they urged, the Bank of Agriculture BOA should be mandated to provide needed finance to ensure that inputs such as fertiliser and seeds get to the farmers before the farming seasons. However, about 144,160 registered farmers out of 240, 000 have benefited from the GES scheme in Nasarawa and Bauchi States. According to Nasarawa State GES Cordinator, 98,000 farmers were registered but 36, 000 got the farm inputs. The ministry’s State Director, Bauchi, Alh. Mohammed Yusuf also revealed that 148,000 farmers were captured but 108,160 received their inputs. Speaking with The Nation during Post-GES


...As 144,160 farmers get fertilizer in Bauchi, Lafia From: Olugbenga Adanikin, Lafia

media assessment tour at the weekend in Bauchi, secretary of agro-dealers association in the state, Mallam Ibrahim Zubair stated that criteria for accessing the loans were too rigid. Zubair explained that the programme would have been more successful if the banks had re-

leased funds at the appropriate time. “Government said they allocated N32 billion as loan for the scheme but we have tried all effort to get it to the agro-dealers with no result,” he said. Describing the project as well accepted by the farmers, GES State Coordinator, Bauchi, Alh. Abdulahi Ibrahim stated that input suppliers could

not make their supply because of delay at the bank. In Lafia, the Operational Head, Goldagail Nigeria ltd, Mr. Peter James, advised that the programme should commence the scheme early, adding that the FG should commit themselves so that the banks can release the loans early as at when needed.

Relocation of burial site tears Moslem community apart


ENSION is brewing in Onitsha over allegations by the Moslem community that the Chairman of the Onitsha South council area, Mr. Ugochukwu Ezeani, is plotting to relocate them to the burial ground. They, therefore, petitioned the Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, over that. He said the plot was to illegally eject them from the commercial city Their leader, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, who made the allegations, disclosed that the council chairman as part of his plots to relocate them to burial ground swiftly shifted the electricity poles in the Bridgehead to the place they were occupying. Alhaji Mohammed said: “To perfect his plans, he (Ezeani) shifted the electric poles from

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

their original positions to the space the government permitted us to stay to give wrong impression that our shops are under the electric line. But this was done in bad faith just to force us out as he had vowed.” But in a swift reaction, the council boss told The Nation that his

council is more focused in developmental strides than looking for where to relocate burial grounds. He said the governor had assured the Moslem community that all is well with them severally but detractors will always cash in on any meaningful development done in the council to raise false alarm.

Chime is alive, says commissioner


O V E R N O R Sullivan Chime of Enugu State is alive, contrary to the rumours of his death, the Commissioner for Information, Mr.Chuks Ugwoke, said last night. Speculations about

the health of the governor have been rife in the last few weeks. But when contacted,Mr.Ugwoke said he had just spoken on phone with Governor Chime.


Police assure Lagosians of hitch-free yuletide


S activities hot up in preparation for Christmas and New Year festivities, the Police in Lagos have assured Lagos residents of a hitch-free festival period, saying security has been beefed up to protect lives and properties in the state during the festive season. Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Mr. Umar Abubakar Manko, who gave the assurance at the Lagos House, Marina, after the justconcluded Security Council Meeting, said like the period of the recently concluded National Sports Festival, Eko 2012, the Christmas and New Year season will be peaceful. “Our officers and men who ensured safety and peace during the National Sports Festival are still on ground. They are alert and we will ensure that the festivities coming up this period are hitch-free,” the Police boss said, adding that the Police was going to maintain the same level of security that ensured a peaceful sports festival in the state. According to Manko, “We are going to maintain the same level of security, not only for the Christmas but beyond it to the New Year. We assure Lagosians that adequate security measures have been put in place. So, they should feel free to go about their activities during the period.” With the Police Commissioner at the briefing, were Commander 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ikeja Cantonment, Brigadier General Pat Akem, Commanding Officer, NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Navy Commodore Martins Njoku, Commander 435 Base Services Group, Nigeria Air Force, Wing Commander Gbolahan Oremosun and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Major Tunde Panox (Retd).

Katsina gov loses brother


LHAJI Kabir Shema, a younger brother to Gov. Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, is dead. The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Press Matters, Alhaji Abdulhamid Danjuma, said at the weekend in Katsina that the deceased died at Katsina General Hospital on Thursday night at the age of 46, after a brief illness. Until his death, he said, Kabir was a staff of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Katsina State Command. He said Kabir had since been buried in accordance with Islamic injunction, and that he was survived by one wife and four children.



Activist threatens to sue expatriate for racial abuse From YUSUFU AMINU IDEGU, JOS


woman activist, Ms Abigail Kakyes, has threatened to sue an expatriate firm, Bollore Africa Nigeria Limited, over what she described as 'unlawful termination of appointment' and 'violation of her rights'. Kakyes, who was the former Assistant Manager, Customer Service of the company in Lagos, is demanding for an apology and a sum of N100 million as damages for the 'wrongful termination' of her appointment. In a letter written to the Group's President and Chief Executive Officer of the expatriate firm through her solicitors, Akinremi A. Fabunmi & Co., and made available to THE NATION in Jos, Kakayes alleged that she was harassed, racially abused, victimised and sacked for 'no just cause' by the firm. "Our client whilst in this employment, at a certain period knew no rest, to the extent that she would be addressed in negative terms as 'Black Monkey, moron and so on. After sometime, advances were made at our client by her former boss in Kano of which she declined and was termed 'Miss High quality' and thereafter victimised all with the aim to force her into leaving the firm, `` the letter alleged. According to her, while on leave in July this year, she carried out some philanthropic activities at Dogo Nahawa village in Jos, where over 300 people were allegedly massacred in March 2010, by donating to the victims. But that when she notified the expatriate firm of the gesture, she was instead queried and suspended for six weeks against the firm's rules of two weeks.

Kidnapping: CD lauds Imo Police over improved security From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri


HE South East chapter of the Campaign for Democracy (CD) has lauded the performance of the Imo State Police Command in the fight against violent crimes, especially kidnapping and ritual killings. In a statement signed by the zonal Chairman of the group, Uzor Uzor, CD said crime rate in the state has drastically reduced to the barest minimum, adding that the Command has proved that the security challenges in the zone are surmountable. The CD further disclosed that before now, Imo State had the second highest rate of kidnapping in the South East, adding that the commitment of the Commissioner of Police, Baba Adisa Bolanta and his team had restored security and public peace in the state. According to the statement, "before now, more than five people are abducted weekly in Owerri, the Imo State capital, while weekends were nightmares as these rampaging kidnappers held the state to ransom without any form of challenge. But today, the story is different and people can now go about their businesses without fear.


Court stops Imo community elections

RCCG congress: Jonathan entrusts Nigeria to God T

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has entrusted the nation's future into God's care. On Friday, Jonathan told the teeming congregation at this year's Holy Ghost Congress organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God that prayer is the panacea to the country's present challenges. Jonathan assured the congregation that he will not give up on doing what was right, adding, with optimism, "I have a strong conviction that we shall all overcome our present challenges." He attributed his victory in the 2011 general elections to the efforts of the General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, and the innumerable members of the church, who overwhelmingly supported him. He said, "Two years ago, I was here to seek the face of God and ask for your prayers for the last presidential election. I want to thank God that the victory was made possible through the prayers of Pastor Adeboye and the church "I am guided by biblical principles of transparency in leadership; government is pursuing the agenda of regaining the trust of the people to foster unity and peace." He, however, apologised for not making it to the 2011 Holy Ghost Congress after he won the presidency. He blamed it on state assignments and rigours of his work, adding, "But I insisted that no matter the constraints of my work, I must come for this year's Congress to pray for signs and wonders in government," he said. Afterwards, the president knelt down before the whole congregation, and a prayer session for him was led by Pastor Adeboye. In his speech, Adeboye expressed optimism on the ability of the present government to turn the fortunes of the coun-

try around for good. He said, "He is the God of wonders who turns impossibilities to possibilities. Our concerted prayers for the country and her president will surely turn the tide and restore the country's lost glory. With our leaders turning to God for wisdom and sense of direction in prayers, God's mighty hand that delivered Is-

By Damilola Owoyele, Adetutu Audu and Paul Oluwakoya

raelites from Egypt and brought water out of the rock would change our misfortunes." According to Adeboye, a total of 41 babies (20 boys and 21girls) were born during the week-long congress. The congress ended yesterday.

Other dignitaries at the service included Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Senator Oluremi Tinubu; the wife of the Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun; her counterpart from Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola and the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Adejoke Adefulire-Orelope.

•R-L Osita Chidoka, Corps Marshal of FRSC, presenting Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Nigerian Ambassador to Canada, with his new driver's licence, while Senator Emmanuel Anosike looks on

Jonathan inaugurates N600m MDG projects in Abia From UGOCHUKWU UGOJIEKE, UMUAHIA


•Unity Bank zonal head, South, Mrs Patricia Nwaiwu; Divisional Head, Products and Channel, Mrs Fatima Usman rejoicing with star prize winner of Hyundai car in Unity Bank promo, Mr Eta Obot Inyang after car presentation in Uyo, Friday.

Computer Society honours Imoke,Obasanjo, Ovia


HE Nigerian Computer Society, a body of over 10,000 computer professionals in the country, has conferred its Honorary Fellowship Award on Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State. Also honoured by the society at its just concluded Nigerian Information Technology Merit Award (NITMA) in Lagos were former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former managing director of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia. NCS President, Sir Demola Aladekomo, said on the occasion that the awards were in recognition of the exceptional achievements and services rendered by the recipients which have accelerated IT development in Nigeria. On the award conferred on Imoke, Aladekomo explained that the governor has been found worthy of the recognition for advancing technology development not only in his state, but also in the SouthSouth region and nationally. According to him, through Imoke’s exceptional leadership Cross River State has implemented technology projects that have improved

HE election of the Imo State Community Government Council (CGC) also known as the fourth tier of government was yesterday stopped by an Owerri High Court, which granted an injunction restraining the state government from conducting the election. The election slated to hold yesterday in all the 637 autonomous communities in the state, has come under severe criticisms by opposition parties, which described the CGC as illegal and unconstitutional. Imo State Commissioner for Information, Chinedu Offor, said that the election was put on hold by the government to respect the court injunction secured by an interested party, which restrained the conduct of the elections, adding that, "as a law abiding government, we have to stop the election until the injunction is vacated". However, The Nation investigations revealed that the Community Government Council may have run into troubled waters, as most of the communities have been embroiled in crisis over the manner the election would be conducted and the consequences of the results on the communities. Sources disclosed that existing town unions are strongly opposed to the election, which they alleged will undermine their positions as community leaders if another set of administrators emerge after the election.

education, public service delivery and job creation.” Describing Imoke as “an apostle of innovation”, Aladekomo said the governor’s administration has invested massively in IT deployment and he is a public servant that has continually used his high visibility and influence as Senator and Governor to support and advance the cause of technology development in Nigeria. Imoke was also found deserving of the honour for be-

ing the engine behind the establishment of the world class knowledge cluster known as the Tinapa Knowledge City (TKC). “Furthermore, under his watch, Cross River state has aggressively supported and invested in the promotion of software development in Nigeria by single handedly hosting several National Software Conferences organised by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), an NCS interest group.

“Senator Liyel Imoke is a seasoned administrator, innovation champion and technology evangelist,” the NCS President said. Receiving the award on behalf of the governor, Special Adviser on ICT to Cross River State, Mr. Odo Effiong, expressed the governor’s appreciation for the recognition, stressing that the award would further encourage the state to continue to invest more in driving ICT development and innovation in the country.

PDP women to be more active in 2013 -Chikwe


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will undertake various programmes in 2013 in a bid to make the party stronger and better organised to win elections in 2013 and 2014. Unveiling the programmes at the end-of-the -year meeting of PDP Women in Leadership at the party's headquarters in Abuja, the National Women Leader of the party, Dr. Kema Chikwe, called on the women members of the Board of Trustees, the zonal and state women leaders of the party to hold

regular meetings and discus ways and means of attracting more members to and enhancing the popularity of the PDP in the country. The programmes include launching of PDP Women in Power calendar, production of PDP wrappers and the Tinapa Annual International Women in Leadership Training in partnership with the Bridge Educational Trust Plc and Lagos Business School. Others are expanded PDP Women in Leadership meeting, zonal and state

tours and factoring PDP women into government programmes. The meeting was attended by many state and national women leaders of the party including the Presidential Adviser on Ethics and Values, Mrs. Sarah Jubril; Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayatu Rufai; Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina; Minister of Lands and Housing, Ms. Ama Pepple and former National Woman Leader of the party, Mrs. Josephine Anenih.

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated projects worth N600 million executed under the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] in collaboration with the Abia State government for the 2011 project year. Represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Dr (Mrs.) Precious Gbeneol, Jonathan said that the projects will help to cushion the harsh conditions being experienced by the vulnerable and set people in the state. The projects, included 17 state-of-the-art ambulances for the 17 local government areas of the state and 43 health centres completed and equipped in three focal local government areas of Obingwa, Ikwuano and Ohafia. Jonathan said that the projects were targeted at the poor with a view to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. He commended the state government for fully executing the projects which he assured will improve the living standards of the people. He explained that Abia State has been listed as one of the states to benefit from the N1.2billion conditional cash transfer for 2012, which would be designated for projects in four local government areas of the state for judicious utilisation of previous funds. The President noted that in the 2012 project year, four local government areas of the state, Umuahia North, Arochukwu, Isiala Ngwa East and Ukwa East, will be benefiting from the MDGs and urged the council chairmen to ensure maintenance of the projects sited in their areas. In his remarks, Governor











EFCC, Larmode and his critics N IGERIANS are a very delightful lot, with varied and swinging moods, interests and inclinations. And we constantly keep to the Biblical injunction of either blowing hot or cold, but never to be lukewarm. We also have a profound proclivity to argue about every thing under the sun, while at the same time being enthusiastic praisesingers and excellent traducers. And with a robust and free press, we enjoy ourselves thoroughly praising or condemning whomever it catches our fancy to. But the calamity though, is that we dish out praises and condemnations not on the basis of good performances and achievements or on the other hand failures and non-performances but on the dial of our swinging moods, interests and very often from the prisms of ethnic colouration. Or how else can one explain the constant flow of offensive propaganda, laced with intellectual crookedness and a dash of scoffing whims emanating from the stable of the Sun Newspapers against the person and office of Ibrahim Larmode, the incumbent boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Within a short space of two weeks, two of their best minds and leading columnists have trained their pen to churn out articles that cast aspersion on the good work that Mr. Larmode has been doing at the EFCC since its inception, first as pioneering director of operations and now as its Chief Executive Officer. First it was Levi Obijiofor in his column ‘Insights’ and writing on a piece entitled A hopeless EFCC and a corrupt judiciary, where he upbraided the EFCC for not doing enough to convict big criminals in government. And then it was the turn of Amanze Obi, erstwhile Commissioner for Information in Imo State under former Governor Ikedi Ohakim and now the Chairman of Editorial Board of the Sun Newspapers in his own column ‘Broken Tongues’ and in his own piece entitled Larmode’s Lamentations. However, there is an irresistible urge among observers that have been following this media bashing to conclude that there is no smoke without fire as it would be said in the local parlance. And to think that both of them hinged the plank of their attack on the man, on his mere appearance before the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to defend the Commission’s 2013 budget where he tried to solicit for a better funding of the agency as most other chief executives have done and will continue to do for their various organisations is to say the least reprehensible and weighing heavily against balance of reason. At least, it is expected that Dr, Amanze Obi having been Commissioner for Information and later that of Culture and Tourism in Imo State would have, given this experience and background appreciated the importance of good budgetary allocation and funding for a crime fighting outfit like the EFCC under Lamorde, except if he never bothered about budgetary provisions for the ministries he headed while serving in Imo State. For him to be regaling in the fact that the EFCC budget proposal for the coming year is being slashed from N21billion to N9 billion is regrettable. And his depiction of Lamorde as being unable to defend the budget proposal of his agency is not only untrue but uncharitable. If Larmode wore any perturbed countenance at all at the budget defence, it is because he knew and appreciates the fact that the buck

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Wahala dey


• Larmode By Francis Ede

stops at his table and that crime fighting of the magnitude that EFCC does, cannot be done with bare hands. The very prime suspects that we press on the EFCC to chase all over the world and bring to justice have enormous resources at their disposal with which they use to thwart the efforts of the Commission’s agents and officers. Even the long adjournments that they procure in some of our courts, during trials still boils down to their effective deployment of these stolen funds to evade the course of justice. We have seen it happen here in the past and at the end it is the Chairmen of EFCC that were castigated and hounded out of office. While the near excessive desire of Nigerians to see that corruption and graft in government’s official dealings in our polity is tackled head on is understandable given the apparent drawback and negative tendencies it casts on the genuine efforts of some leaders to improve the living standard of Nigerians. And particularly given the mind-boggling disclosures by the various instituted probe committees and panels of both the National Assembly and the Executive on how politicians, senior civil servants and other associated interests helped themselves to the public till, especially on the issue of oil subsidy scam and the workers pension fraud, then the drive for the anti-corruption crusade becomes a self-evident project. Yet all of these are still not enough to permit the kind of rush that may infringe upon the rights of any suspect, because in the eyes of the law such a person is presumed innocent, until proven guilty. This is more so in a democratic environment like ours that thrive on the rule of law and equity. Moreover, even when President Goodluck Jonathan has acknowledged the legal axiom that it is better for 10 guilty persons to be set free than to convict one innocent person, yet his government is doing its

“And to think that both of them hinged the plank of their attack on the man, on his mere appearance before the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to defend the Commission’s 2013 budget where he tried to solicit for a better funding of the agency as most other chief executives have done and will continue to do for their various organisations is to say the least reprehensible and weighing heavily against balance of reason”

utmost to contend and contain this hydraheaded monster in a very unmistakable terms as is evidenced in the ongoing trials of those indicted by such probe panels mentioned earlier and the large sums of money said to have been recovered from them. Mr. Amanze Obi is no doubt a brilliant and seasoned journalist that can play effortlessly with words in some sort of literary calisthenics display. But I pray he uses this gift to advance the good cause of the nation and not use it as a tool to dampen the morale of those who have put in all they have on the line in the fight to salvage this nation. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission needs our complete and unequivocal support in order to achieve the success that we all envisage for it. To do otherwise would amount to doing ourselves a great disservice, and to condone any act of omission or commission that will undermine its efforts at optimal performance as in this instant case of poor budgetary allocation of funding to the agency by the National Assembly is to aid the escape of the same corrupt persons Nigerians want brought to book. As for Larmode his records are there for all to see. An otherwise seasoned operative of international repute who even at the time Obi and his ilk are touting as the glorious moments of EFCC was credited as the unseen hand behind the successes so achieved as the then director of operations. Even though, his achievements now as the Chairman of EFCC is not being celebrated with media and publicity blitz as was the case in the past era, due to his nature of being a silent achiever, those who have followed the activities of the commission closely of late will attest to a renewed and re-strategised approach that is highly effective and not playing to the gallery. Interestingly, Obi in the said piece, approbates and reprobates at the same time as the lawyers would say, for while he pretends to be bemoaning the fact, as he claimed, that the ‘EFCC under Lamorde is anything but inspiring, the fire is gone and what is left is an impotent ash’. Yet he wouldn’t subscribe to Larmode getting the much needed fund with which to relight the fire if indeed it is gone. ‘ Larmode should not put himself under pressure for the sake of the Commission——whatever he gets may be enough for what the government wants him to do’, he surmised. If this is not mischief and a ploy to drag a good man’s name into the mud, I wouldn’t know what it is? But for the first time in a long while, I saw Obi’s ‘Broken Tongues’, really sounding broken like an old piece of record. What has a name really got to do with it? Francis Ede is a poet and journalist based in Abuja.

ITHOUT doubt and more than ever before, our nation is facing threats to national security and we urgently need solutions before we slip into chaos and anarchy. From what can be described as a relatively peaceful country, we have assumed a frightening status of one of the most dangerous countries to live in. Bombing, kidnapping, terrorists’ attacks have become so frequent in Nigeria that it is no longer a major news item. T he popular P- Square duo sang, Wahala dey. (There is trouble). We have lost count of people who had been killed in various attacks especially in northern parts of the country and many have been forced to relocate to safer parts that are also prone to danger. Kidnapping has also become an almost daily occurrence that no one is sure who is going to be the next victim. Professor Kamene Okonjo, mother of Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala was recently kidnapped and it took the deployment of soldiers along with other security agencies for her to be released. Others who had been kidnapped before her and after are not as lucky as she is. Families of some kidnapped persons have had to pay ransom, while others have been killed. In my travels out of the country, I get asked how we are coping with the Boko Haram attacks and other violent incidents that make major headlines in the foreign media. The International community is worried about the implication of major crisis in Nigeria and we have no choice but to stem the very dangerous degenerating security situation. The threats are social, political and religious in nature. They are very intricate and require a lot of wisdom to resolve. My hope is that we would be able to come up with some solutions which hopefully those in government and various leadership levels can consider as we struggle to save our country from disintegration. Let no one be deceived, crisis, no matter how aggrieved some of us may feel, is an illwind that blows no one any good. Those who experienced the civil war and other instances of crisis have frightening stories to tell. The experiences of some African countries are heart-rendering and personally my prayer is that sooner than later when it could be too late, we would get our acts right and learn to live together as one. It’s hard to forget two films on the Rwandan genocide I watched, Sometimes in April and Hotel Rwanda. Hopefully we would not get to that stage of man’s inhumanity to man. What is the way out of our present predicament? Our government has to really be on top of the situation as they always claimed. The government, through the various security agencies, has to ensure the safety of the citizens in whatever parts of the country they live. We need good governance, lack of which is the root cause of some threats we are experiencing. The ordinary Nigerian needs to feel the impact of the government through well thought-out policies that will guarantee better standard of living. Where dialogue is needed, it should be considered to address whatever grievance any good any group may have. Community and religious leaders have to keep campaigning for peace since the perpetrators of the criminal acts belong to one community or religious group. To keep Nigeria peaceful is a task that has to be done. We all have a role to play even if it is talking about it and proffering solutions like we have been doing. Excerpt from a speech at the launch of Cry for Change by Biodun-Thomas Davids in Lagos on Friday, December 14, 2012


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Comment & Analysis

OR five whole days last week, a battle was afoot in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, as it still is in Ibadan, Oyo State and who knows where else in the country. It is a struggle against crime, against abomination and indecency. Until Friday, the security community was trying to locate and rescue an octogenarian queen in Ogwashi-Uku kingdom, Prof Kamene Okonjo, from kidnappers. Two policemen were detained for not being on duty at the palace when the queen was abducted. Questions were also asked as to why the traditional palace guards were either not around when the kidnappers came or, if they were, why they failed to protect the queen. On Friday, we learnt that 63 suspects had been arrested over the incident. This was followed the same day by reports that the queen and professor of sociology had been freed. Her release coming five days after her abduction, brought a huge relief to the Ogwashi monarchy. Seeing Prof Kamene again put the king, Prof Chukwuka Okonjo and their children, among who is Finance Minister Prof Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, out of their torment. It also eased tension, somewhat, on the entire state, which is fast notching up a notoriety for kidnap, and whose governor Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan did his utmost to assure agitated Deltans and Nigerians that the woman would be found. Her assailants were to review downwards a billion dollar ransom placed on her to N200m. In Oyo State, unfortunately, the wife of a former governor of Western Region Brig Gen Oluwole Rotimi, kidnapped also in the week, was still not found as this col-

We’ve lost a crucial war Our eroded values are causing all sorts of problems umn took shape on Friday. As in Delta, security personnel also deployed to battle, and with a bit luck, she too will be found unharmed. Still, the worrying fact remains that we have lost a crucial war. The police, detectives and military may win the battle of freeing abducted grandmothers from their kidnappers, aided in some cases by a huge pile of cash payout, but it is clear that the country has since lost the moral war, one that perpetually fights to keep its values intact. Every society, no matter how remote, has in-built mechanisms and sanctions to keep itself sane. Age, for instance, is valued in traditional societies. Hard work is a thousand times better than cheap fame or fortune. A title is earned, not bought. Africa’s literary pride Prof Chinua Achebe captured this eminently in his Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo amounted to something because by dint of hard work he defied his ineffectual background to make himself

heard. The hero of TFA is a self-made man, not one who stole to become a chief or a layabout who slipped into the fortunes of his father. In Okonkwo’s case, his father left him nothing except perhaps debts and an unflattering lifestyle of palmwine drinking and daylong melodies. In the sane societies with which Nigeria was once richly blessed across its landscape, crime was decisively punished. In some places, a thief was made to wear a garb and crown of shame while dancing round the community in the hope that he will be mortified. A murderer paid dearly for his crime; in some cases, he was even banished. While hard work was encouraged, becoming wealthy was not a door-die. The end did not justify the means. Not anymore. Our moral fabric has since been ripped to shreds and tossed out the window. Hard work has taken the back seat. Leadership grandstanding has taken over, as have trickery, subterfuge, thievery in high places, opulence, contract inflation

“Our moral fabric has since been ripped to shreds and tossed out the window. Hard work has taken the back seat. Leadership grandstanding has taken over, as have trickery, subterfuge, thievery in high places, opulence, contract inflation and what have you. Things we once cherished no longer count. They do not make sense anymore”

and what have you. Things we once cherished no longer count. They do not make sense anymore. When this new, ugly order crept in us is hard for me to determine. But I know that things are no longer the way they used to be. As the economy continues to slump and the naira weakens and more jobless youths roam the street, some bizarre opulence flaunts itself still. More SUVs or Jeeps, as we prefer, cruise our pothole-ridden roads. Mansions continue to spring up in swanky neighbourhoods, leaving lesser mortals in subdued protest. It is news if in a day or week the dailies do not lead with high profile fraud or something similar. I believe that is why the youths seem to have lost patience with everything. Many now risk all to own their own Jeeps and their own mansions. Many take to violent crime such as piracy and kidnapping, their sights set on the millions that will accrue after each operation. They are emboldened, as one arrested pirate inferred last week, by their highly placed sponsors. Some are no longer interested in merely watching their peers, even subordinates, cruise around in sleek cars simply because those rich dudes are leaders. The poor are taking their fate in their own hands by simply joining the bandwagon of vice, of kidnapping, piracy, contract fraud, robbery and the like no matter the cost. That is why kidnappers no longer care if their target is old enough to be their grandmothers. Or perhaps, that is why they care. The older and more connected to cash, the better. That was why they swooped on 82year-old Prof Kamene, never minding her grey hair or weak frame. That was why they seized the equally aged wife of Gen Rotimi and took her away. That was also why gunmen shot and killed a soldier in Delta and abducted a Lebanese construction worker. Nothing matters anymore. All care is gone. Sanctity is lost. So is integrity. It is not hard to explain. We have since lost the most crucial war of defeating forces and tendencies that snatch our sanity. We are now grappling with problems of different kinds.


Comment & Analysis


Again, Ghana shows the way Nigeria has a lot to learn from Ghana, when the subject is electoral integrity


HE December 7 general election in Ghana, from which the Electoral Commission of Ghana (ECG) has declared President John Drahama Mahama winner by a 50.7 per cent margin, is yet another lesson to Nigeria on how to put its democracy on track. Ironically, however, that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the head of the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) election observer mission, was a sharp rebuke to Nigeria. Obasanjo’s terse post-poll comment that there “were hiccups but not such that would grossly undermine the result of the election” sounded too uncannily close to the pious nonsense at home to whitewash electoral brigandage, given Obasanjo’s own odious election records in 2003 and 2007, the 2007 polls breaking all records of electoral infamy, in Nigeria’s troubled electoral history. However, Ghana’s local Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) weighed in on the side of the exercise’s fairness by declaring the results “generally accurate reflections” of the support bases of President Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and his closest rival, Nana Akufo-Addo, of the New Democratic Party (NPP). CODEO then counselled all “the presidential election contestants and their supporters, as well as the general public to place confidence in the electoral commission’s electoral presidential results.” The final standings of the eight parties that contested the Ghana presidency, and their vote percentage shares, are instructive: NDC’s Mahama, 50.7%; NPP’s AkufoAddo, 47.7%; Progressive People’s Party’s Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, 0.59%; Great Consolidated Popular Party’s Dr. Henry Lartey, 0.35%; People’s National Convention’s Hassan Ayariga, 0.22%; Kwame Nkrumah’s old party, Convention People’s Party’s Dr. Abu Sakara, 0.18%; independent candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah, 0.14%; and United Freedom Party’s Akwasi Addae, 0.08%. Though eight parties contested the presidential polls, six of the eight did not cross the one per cent threshold in vote share – as the pre-poll research in the Ghana media predicted. Again, that means the local media did their jobs as clinical surveyors of the environment; and were not part of the pre-election “exit poll” racket as it usually is in this country. Mr. Yeboah, the sole independent candidate, even beat Mr. Addae’s United Freedom Party to the seventh


N the late 80s, the Nigerian football authorities mounted pressure on Nigerian-born English Premier League player, John Fashanu, to play for the country. The lanky striker was then plying his professional trade with Wimbledon FC, a London suburb club with which he won the English FA Cup in 1988. As with other footballers in similar circumstances, he also reserved the eligibility and opportunity to play for England. Media reports at a time when the pressure was intense, quoted Fashanu as saying that he would rather play for the Three Lions because that would serve his “business interests” better. Curiously, this did not stop the authorities from organizing a red-carpet reception for him right from the airport when he came to the country on a private visit. As apparent to discerning minds, the Nigerian, who was later to betroth himself to the country after his soccer career, ultimately played for England. Meanwhile, fatherlandconscious players, risking their limbs voluntarily for the country, like current and immediate past Super Eagles chief coaches, Stephen Keshi and Samson Siasia, were being subjected to some treatment that was less than flattering. Many wondered then why the one who had his heart elsewhere and had yet to kick a ball for his fatherland deserved such honour and glory of royalty while Earnest Okonkwo’s “elastic” Henry Nwosu and “gangling” Rashidi Yekini, the epitome of humility and patri-

position, out of eight. That shows the audacity of independent candidacy; a mark of electoral sophistication and democracy deepening. It is a reflection of Nigeria’s democratic shallowness that independent candidacy is almost political heresy here. That NDC and NPP, the two leading parties, accounted for 97% of the presidential vote shows a de-facto, though not de jure two-party system, that offers the electorate a clear alternative, puts the party in power on its toes, since it is not much stronger than the leading opposition party; and also allows smaller parties – and even independent candidates – to grow with time, break into the big league and challenge for power, as the polity evolves. The promise of democratic inclusion, driven by steady growth and a fair electoral system, can only deepen democracy and facilitate development. That both NDC and NPP have been in and out of government has only strengthened Ghana’s democracy. With parliamentary seats declared so far, NDC with 120 seats holds a 26-seat majority over NPP with 94 seats. Two independent candidates and a PNC candidate make up the parliamentary number. A 26-seat majority again underscores the closeness of the election. But it also tends to reconfirm that NDC is the majority, if not dominant party, which again correlates to the closeness of the presidential election. But regional dominance tells a different tale. Aside from Ashanti and Eastern regions which NPP swept, and Brong Ahafo, Central, Greater Accra and Northern regions,


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where it gave NDC a good fight, NDC completely swept the remaining four regions: Upper East, Upper West, Volta (the home region of former President Jerry Rawlings) and Western regions. NDC therefore won eight out of 10 regions. This NDC regional domination would appear to support CODEO’s stand that the presidential election was a fair reflection of the support bases of President Mahama and Mr. Akuffo-Addo, the two front runners. It would also appear to validate that the Ghana election was indeed free, fair and representative of the genuine will of the Ghana people. Nigerian elections could do with this level of analytical reliability, if democracy must survive here. Yet, the Ghana election was far from perfect. For one, the opposition NPP has alleged an ECG-NDC conspiracy that allegedly resulted in anti-NPP vote manipulation. NPP, in the spirit of fair play, has all rights to voice out allegations – so long as it could prove them – if it feels cheated. But there are disturbing threats by the Ghana Police to “deal ruthlessly” with “recalcitrant NPP supporters”, according to reports by XYZ News, a local medium, quoting Cephas Arthur, a deputy superintendent of Police (DSP), and deputy director of Police Public Relations. Inasmuch as police must ensure security, such military-era threats against the opposition should not have a place in a democracy. Let NDC prove its case in court and let the Judiciary decide according to the facts provided. It can only help to strengthen and deepen the system. Also, disturbing voices have come from Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, wife of Jerry Rawlings and Ghana’s former First Lady, who failed in her bid to grab the NDC presidential ticket and is known to have inspired an NDC breakaway faction, in the National Democratic Party (NDP); and Dr. Afari-Gyan, the ECG chairman. Dr. Afari-Gyan had told the protesting NPP to “go to court” – an all too familiar snipe in the Nigerian electoral terrain, after votes have been fiddled. Mrs Rawlings’s retort was no less acerbic: “If you want peace but refuse to let justice prevail, then you are equal to the person who wants war” – an all too familiar retort by bad losers here. Let the NPP bring forth its facts, let the NDC defend itself and let an impartial judiciary adjudicate. That is the only way to maintain Ghana’s winning story; and keep the country as Africa’s democracy beacon. Enough of sabre-rattling language!

How Nigeria undermines patriotism otism, were taken for granted and treated as such. Issues such as these more often than not got “Big Boss” Keshi fuming. One Nigerian professional who, during his brief spell with the national team, genuinely deserved royal treatment was Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji. He imported into the country the gracious spirit of steaming patriotism which he, like Yekini, unambiguously caused his foreign clubs to appreciate and accommodate. A qualified lawyer and holder of a master’s degree in International Law from the University of Rome, Okwaraji would arrive for national assignments well ahead of schedule. Unfortunately he was taken for granted. On the pitch, despite being deployed most often, in roles at conflict with anything close to his best, Sam


HE recent flood that ravaged various parts of the country calls for concern amongst various people not only in Nigeria but the world at large. However, the recent donation by Chief Mike Adenuga to Bayelsa State is questionable. Why such high donation to a single state in the country? We have other states in the country which witnessed more devastating floods than Bayelsa State that would

would discharge his duties, without complaints. Only a few months ago, the country’s 1994 Africa Nations Cup-winning goalkeeper, Peter Rufai, at a sports/media forum, lamented the non-fulfilment, up till date, of the official promise of goodies, including housing units, made by government to that great team which also did the country proud at USA ’94. A patriotic member of the team who ultimately did not make it to that year’s continental and global shows, Rueben Agboola, paid a heavy price for donning what, in our clime, would pass for an over-sized garment of patriotic zeal. The fair-skinned intelligent cool operator lost his limbs, flair and place in his club, Swansea City, and by implication his means of livelihood, on account of his

unalloyed commitment to Nigeria. Keshi, over a long time, shouted himself hoarse on Agboola’s predicament to no avail. Sunday Oliseh, another former captain of the Super Eagles, under twice-humiliated world record holder of sort, Shuaibu Amodu, led the team to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in dramatic fashion. What a raw deal he got for his unrepentant insistence on coming clean on patriotism! Osaze Peter Odemwingie over the past one decade, laboured to give commitment and dedication refreshing definition and reassuring meaning, asking not what his country could do for him but what he could do for his country. Unfortunately for him, his country has, in her character, a legendary penchant for stage-managing the rubbishing of her most com-

mitted patriots! As a diversionary tactic, however, as exemplified in the Fashanu drama, patriotism-inspiring official obligations, too often, are shoved aside for comic jamborees, hip-hop theatricals and owambe showmanship in high places. Some members of the House of Reps, before their last recess, were reported to have amused themselves with the “dance, dance, dance and forget your sorrow” idea of hosting Mikel Obi to a reception for his “excellence” in winning the European Champions League with Chelsea FC of England. One would naturally expect that such a revered national institution would busy itself with feats of excellence that bring direct honour and glory to the Nigerian flag. The greenwhite-green symbol of Nigeria was not hoisted when Mikel got his medal for his “excellence”

with his foreign club. The consequence has been the progressive growth, in the psyche of the people, of an imagery depicting theirs as a country not worth dying for. The fearsome monster generates massive psychological disillusionment in virtually all national institutions and sectors, including sports and football in particular. Let’s activate our search engine for that citizen who would beat his chest and claim, with the iota of sincerity, that he encourages his footballer son, nephew, brother or friend to go forth and burn himself out for Nigeria. I will trek from Lagos to Maiduguri with Zuma Rock on my head if the search returns as many as one such Nigerian in a million. I am waiting. Dele Akinola, Ikorodu, Lagos.

The recent flood and unfair donations

warrant such a huge donation. The Chief should understand his role as member of the flood committee, which places him on higher moral ground to do justice to all segments of the country. One is not crossed with his donation of such amount to a single state, but his milk of kindness should cut across all the states

ravaged by the recent flood. Chief Adenuga’s contribution to the growth of this country can be seen in the area of telecom industry which places him in the same pedestal with Aliko Dngote. It’s therefore necessary for him to spread his donation to all and sundry. We believe his donation

is not attached to any sentiment as regards Bayelsa State, because other states which were affected by this flood are expecting him to do the same to them. His various investments in the country have made him one of the great employers of labour in the country, which attracted to him some honour and

respect amongst all Nigerians. We hope in future he should ensure he extends such gesture to other parts of the country that need such attention for posterity to write him amongst Nigerians that always touch the lives of ordinary people. •Bala Nayashi, Lokoja



Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni


WO of the regular readers of this column have asked me to comment in the fashion on the implications of the news that the United States will by 2020 become the largest producer of petroleum in the world and that many multinational oil companies are bent on reducing their investment in Nigeria’s oil exploration and exploitation. I would have preferred to ignore this request on the ground that I am not an economist and thus not intellectually equipped to make economic forecasts, if my readers had not given me the permission to give their question just a commonsensical approach, given my lack of expertise in economics. It is my belief that Nigeria will never be the same again after the United States becomes an exporter of petroleum. But the country will not go under because of this and may very well finally have an opportunity to escape what Michael Ross calls the Oil Curse: the view that countries that are not developed before discovering the black gold are more likely than other countries to have less democracy and less economic stability. There should be little concern about American, French, and Dutch oil companies selling some of their business in our country’s oil sector. That there are buyers for such business indicates that the

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Comment & Analysis

O horrible has the current year been for Nigeria and its hapless citizens that even though my distinguished senior at The School –read Christ’s School, AdoEkiti, Emeritus Professor Jide Osuntokun, had his last two columns devoted to the morbidity aspect of this subject, I still could not shy away from the subject. All I succeeded in doing, therefore, is translate ‘Annus Horribilis’, my original title, into its anglicised form. Happily too, we are looking at the subject from different perspectives. Without the slightest doubt, my readers know that neither Professor Osuntokun nor I own the patent to the cryptic epigram, Annus Horribilis’. Rather, it belongs to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11, of England who, on the 40th anniversary of her coronation at Guildhall, London, on 24 November, 1992, decided to bring to the public space, the views of one of her trusted correspondents who had described the year as such. ‘Thank you’, intoned Her Majesty, the Queen, ‘this great hall has provided me with some of the most memorable events of my life. The hospitality of the City of London is famous around the world, but nowhere is it more appreciated than among the members of my family. However, 1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic corre-

America’s petroleum and Nigeria’s future (1) Nigeria will never be the same again after the United States becomes an exporter of petroleum business is not dying and that Nigeria may still earn some foreign exchange from whatever oil business is sold by multinational oil companies. The minister of finance’s disclosure that foreign oil companies make 43% of the revenue from oil while Nigeria makes 57% shows that many oil companies are likely to continue their business in the country. In addition, the fact that China has already replaced the United States as the biggest importer of Nigeria’s crude oil also indicates that buyers of the Nigeria’s oil are likely to be around for years to come. What is likely to constitute a major challenge to the country is the news that the United States will become the largest supplier of petroleum and gas by 2020 as a result of United States’ capacity to obtain light crude and gas from shale formations through fracking. The possibility that fracking may become available in other technologically advanced countries (including China and India) should be the greatest source of worry for Nigeria, especially its economy and polity. Since petroleum export accounts for over 80% of Nigeria’s revenue, it is logical that the loss

of the 12% of Nigeria’s sweet light bought annually by the United States is going to lead to reduced revenue. Already, in contrast to US import of 11% of Nigeria’s light in 2011, United States’ import from Nigeria in 2012 is put at 5%, a reduction of about 50% revenue flowing into Nigeria from the United States annually. By 2020, the United States may not need to buy one barrel of oil from Nigeria. Moreover, increase in US oil export is also likely to reduce the percentage of Nigeria’s oil imported by other countries. The news that Russia is building pipelines to make delivery of its petroleum to other countries including Germany more cost effective and faster than it used to be will certainly reduce the volume of oil imported from Nigeria worldwide. The discovery of oil in many countries, including the fact that Somalia may have more oil than Kuwait will certainly lead to a glut in the oil market and decline in revenue coming to all oil-exporting countries. The bad side of reduction in revenue from oil for a country that is largely dependent on oil export is that there may be less money for infrastructure development. Electricity, road and rail

transportation will be affected adversely by the flow of less revenue to the country. Consequently, the country’s chance of starting new industries may be hampered substantially. Such situation will fuel further migration of manufacturing companies to other countries with better infrastructure in West Africa or elsewhere on the continent. Correspondingly, there will be less funding to education by government at all levels, since all the three tiers of government depend on revenue from oil export. The current situation of decline in the quality of education in the country is, more likely than not, to worsen. Consequently, the country’s competitiveness even within Africa will diminish, thus creating the scare of vicious cycle of underdevelopment. The rate of unemployment will also increase nationally. Economic activities in the informal sector (responsible for over 50% of the country’s economic activities) will also decline. On the good side, there will be less corruption in the country. The demands on dwindling revenue will increase to the point that government at all levels will be more aggressive on taxation. This will

The horrible year 2012 (1) President Jonathan woke up the first day of this annus horribilis to give Nigerians a gift from the very pit of hell spondents, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. Indeed, I suspect that there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty,’ concluded her incandescent Majesty. This 3- part article which should round off the column for the year will commence with something of an analysis of the horrible events that shaped the world, but especially our own corner of it, during the year, the second will interrogate the roads, which if taken would have, most probably, turned things around significantly while the third, and final part, will showcase those few areas of the country where we have seen courageous examples of leadership demonstrated. Not even the first part will attempt to limit the horrible happenings to our unfortunate country. As you read this, Syria is burying its own innocent children, needlessly despatched to the great beyond in a most unreasonable internecine war; the young Afghan girl, Malala Yusufzai, a 14-year-old education rights activist, shot by a Taliban gun man on her way home from school in the Swat Valley region of that blighted country, is still in a London hospital being treated for head injuries; just as Hurricane Sandy showed Americans that there is more than elections, even in democracies, the way it mowed down everything on its way in a deluge

that so easily reminds one of Hurricane Katrina; that demon which, but for God, would have swallowed up our own Niyi Osundare. We thank God for little mercies. Meanwhile, Greece is in a shambles, humbled by a protracted debt crisis that has thrashed the reputation of some leading world economists and politicians the West believed they could rely onif push came to shove, economically speaking, that is. Nearer home in Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo lies flat on its belly. The list goes on, but our emphasis today is on the only country we can legitimately call our own –the ruined and heavily violated, modern day ‘Garden of Eden’, given the resources it pleased God to endow it with. As if propelled by some evil spirit, President Jonathan woke up the first day of this ‘annus horribilis’ to give Nigerians a gift from the very pit of hell –withdrew a so-called oil subsidy, which has since turned out to be nothing more than the colossal sums of money the well-connected - election financiers, families of PDP top men and sundry hirelings – had fraudulently fleeced from our common purse. The whole country went into a tailspin with extra-judicial killings by trigger-happy police men as the icing on the cake. A convulsion erupted with conscientious men and women, leading lights of the Nigerian civil society, the trade unions, renowned artists, musicians and the hoi polloi, thrown

into the mix, all leading to a truly horrendous melt down. Happily, and for once, the National Assembly, especially the lower House, rose in defence of the powerless. The reverberations are still here with us as the federal government continues to use decoys to mess up every attempt to get to the bottom of the rot in the oil sector. Without a doubt, that cesspool will not dry up soon since government is adept at rubbishing every committee report aimed at sanitising the industry; just so, their behind can be protected. To further demonstrate how horrible the year has been, Nigerians only fortuitously got to know through a foreign medium - the Wall Street Journal to be precise that the Jonathan government had entered into a whooping N5.6 Billion contract with militants to guard oil pipelines. Since lies have a short life span, it soon transpired that never in our history has oil theft in the country reached its current levels in spite of that humongous contract and the rumoured employment of some 5000 militants. Meanwhile, nobody in government has told Nigerians that the Navy, whose primary duty it is, has been annulled from our books. And while Dr Doyin Okupe could talk animatedly about a jump from 1.8mbpd to 2.6mbpd, he has not volunteered a word about the high level oil thefts and the consequent plummeting of daily production to levels achieved before the contracts.. This way, it will be reasonable to suggest that

increase citizens’ awareness and resistance to stealing of their taxes by their leaders. The current nonchalance by citizens about the stealing of public funds will be replaced by citizens’ anger and hunger for accountability and good governance. The attitude to public funds as deriving from manna and not from contributions from citizens as tax will disappear. Citizens will be more concerned and sensitive to those they elect to rule them; become more critical of the civil service and more aggressive in their demand for transparency and accountability at all levels of government. For example, serious struggle against emoluments to elected officials at federal, state, and local government level will become part of government-citizen relations. Furthermore on the good side, Nigerians and their leaders will stop hoping for miracles, as the source of economic miracle in the economy will have diminished too much for responsible political to risk not countenancing, as it has been the case for decades since large-scale export of petroleum. As the country struggles with the problem of revenue decline, citizens and their leaders especially will see the sense in shifting their focus from derivation and revenue allocation to production and revenue generation from agriculture in all the states of the federation, as it used to be before discovery of petroleum at Oloibiri. State or regional governments, rather than the federal government, will become drivers of development. And the political structure and culture of the country will be more prone to transformation than it has ever been since 1966. To be continued next week. loyalties are already being surreptitiously bought and caressed, ahead the next set of elections knowing full well that Boko Haram will not stay idle when the jockeying begins for political supremacy between the North and the South-South. This therefore takes us to the issue of security of life and property, failure in which respect, we should be able to conclude that this president has failed; no matter what else he got right. The three menacing threats here in order of their seriousness are the Boko Haram menace, kidnapping and armed robbery. Beginning from the last, one can conveniently say now that nowhere is safe in this country, irrespective of what time of day you are out there or even when attempting to sleep in your own house at night. All our roads are infested with the menace and whole streets are ransacked by hordes of armed robbers who may, in fact, have written ahead that they will visit since they are fully aware of the state of preparedness of our under-funded police force. In the Ijebu area of Ogun state, nay, in any part of the South-West, God forbid a bank open for business when the ‘boys’ have announced their coming. This has gone on for years now without the police having an answer. Without a doubt, the yuletide period will most probably be .worse. For some areas of the country, kidnapping has become an industry –real big business- and it has been suggested that in the South-East, as much as N750 Million is made per month from this horrendous evil. One interesting development had been that in the South-South where kidnapping started, deaths of victims are a rarity. This was because they were satisfied once their sponsors, which at a time allegedly included serving state governors, told them to simply hold on to their victim in the sure knowledge that money was coming. To be continued.

Comment & Analysis



Adegboyega 08054503906 (sms only)


T was such bad news when on December 6, the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) rejected plans by the FCT Administration to spend an additional N9billion to provide infrastructure at the residence of the VicePresident. Then the newspapers went to town the next day with sensational headlines, depicting our country as a poor one which could not afford to splash a mere N14billion on the official residence of its Number Two citizen. The project was awarded in 2009 at a cost of N7billion. The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) initially wanted N9billion more, but had to scale it down to N6billion plus, perhaps after the intervention of the Bureau for Public Procurement. For once, I was compelled to agree with our Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, that it is the media that should be blamed for projecting the country in bad light, thus influencing outsiders’ perception of what is happening in the country. Instead of descending on the senators who want our vice president to live in some ramshackle house, the media started faulting the additional funds requested for the laudable project. What a pity! Now, when an important decision is about to be taken on an equally important personality like the country’s Number Two citizen, one expects those taking the decision to advance impeccable reasons why theyson advanced by the Senate committee? Senator Smart Adeyemi who

Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 07057012862 (SMS only)


NE of my few fond memories of my national youth service corps days (don’t ask me where) was climbing a mountain, and I have never attempted it since over three decades ago. And no thanks; I do not look forward to a repeat of the performance, mountain climbing that is, not youth service; not that I look forward to another of that either. When we were given the schedule of activities for the programme, we found to the dismay of us girls that mountain climbing was conspicuously placed somewhere in a proud corner of the second week or so of camp life. The dreaded day soon came for our platoon and we set off. First, we had to walk for some meters, a distance that seemed endless to my lazy feet but which the same now stronger feet would regard as chicken length. At the end of our trail, we saw the mountain loom large before us, in all of its glorious ten feet or so. We shrieked but the mountain refused to bend lower for us so we had to literally go to the mountain. Ten steps up, most of us females were panting and at the end of our lungs’ supply of air. Not so the sergeants in charge of


Let Sambo have his N14bn palace led members of the committee to the project site said the amount was huge, considering the abject poverty in the land. “The National Assembly is not going to appropriate additional N9bn for the project, especially at a period in this country when people cannot get a square meal. The N9bn is far more than the original cost of the project”. We cannot blame Smart for having such a low esteem of our vice president. He is from Kogi State where tailor, carpenter and some pilot once held sway as governor. So, this parochial mindset must have influenced his decision. Smart is talking as if he is just back from Germany or the US, or wherever. Who in Nigeria does not know that contract variations have become part and parcel of us and we hardly review contract cost down here? Again, imagine a ‘learned’ legislator like Smart talking about people not able to ‘get a square meal’ and the abject poverty in the land. He should tell us when last a government provided Nigerians that square meal a day. I left the university in the mid-‘80s and I know that people had been going on all kinds of methods to reduce their food bills, even since then. We had ‘0-1-1’ and ‘1-0-1’ (the first meaning minus breakfast, plus lunch and dinner; and the second: plus breakfast minus lunch, plus dinner). This is the way it has been at least since the ‘80s. Whereas before then, parents had enough to give their children and they were always confident

Who says this is too much for our VP? to ask the children if they were satisfied. These days, most parents merely ask whether the children have eaten. They would have taken off before the children start complaining that the food is not enough! Again, Smart talked about ‘abject poverty’, is he pretending not to know that is what governments have been spreading in the country for the past few decades? And they are now talking as if it is the fault of the vice president that there is abject poverty in the land. I guess that people like Smart are advancing all these reasons because President Goodluck Jonathan and his team are largely democrats with human kindness flowing in their veins. Imagine if it had been in the Second Republic, Smart and his colleagues would have been put where they belong by some outspoken public officials who would have asked them whether they have seen any Nigerian eat from the dustbin yet. It was the then President Shehu Shagari who was quiet; but he had ministers and other subordinates that were garrulous. As a matter of fact, one of them was so loathed that they organised for him to be ‘crated’ home from Britain, but for some eagle-eyed British police who aborted the plan. The senators ignored all the explanations of the executive secretary

“Some of our leaders are like my friend who always reminds us that he had been taking Irish Cream since he was in his mother’s womb; whenever we tease him that he has a poor man’s mentality. We should appreciate our leaders’ sacrifices by at least spoiling them a little”

Who’s driving? When a man seizes the right of way from another man, it becomes an unprovoked invitation to the third world war. Then, the epithets begin to flow us. Their own lungs appeared to be perpetually full of air for they never ceased to bellow commands at us at the top of their voices, making us girls not only not even remotely think of giving up but to even become fearful. I think their horror was the thought that should any girl fail to make it up the top of the mountain they would be obliged to carry the lump of flesh down back to the camp. Not that they would not relish such a prospect at saner times, but certainly not while going up a mountain. So, they alternately badgered, begged, bellowed, cajoled, hollered, threatened and physically supported us either by giving us a hand from above to pull us up a landing or by pushing us up from below to take us to the next landing. What a sight we made that day, weak female civilians and ever-patient soldiers who made the females feel that by conquering a ten-foot mountain, they could conquer the world. I have never forgotten those soldiers nor their hand prints on my uniform. That experience came in handy when I needed to learn to drive a car. That car looked no less like a mountain that I needed to conquer, and the traffic was even worse. And both had to be overcome, but without the kind soldiers. There was only my teacher, a very impa-

tient and impersonal fellow (who sometimes went by the name of husband) who did not understand why on earth everyone did not come into the world with the knowledge of how to drive a car. So, out in the traffic, any reluctance to absorb a lesson was greeted with a bellow of anger. ‘How can you drive backwards with your eyes closed just because you are afraid of heights?’ ‘Please don’t shout. The soldiers did not shout at us like this in the camp.’ ‘That’s because in the camp you were government property.’ Now, everyone knows that when a learner is unhappy, he/ she cannot be psychologically well-tuned to exploit the learning experience to the maximum level. I believe most women have had to learn to drive under the tutelage of trying and discouraging husbands; so they have not been sufficiently primed to learn well. Why, most of the time, you would think that the war of the sexes was coming to its apogee at the learning wheels. And now, reports are claiming that women do not know how to drive. How can, when their teachers have been these most unsympathetic teachers who are secretly scheming that they would not allow their learners to know everything about driving so that they can retain male mastery some-

of the FCDA, Adamu Ismail, who tried all he could to make the senators see sense in the idea. The man said the place needed furniture, fencing, two protocol guest louses, a banquet hall and security gadgets. According to Ismail, these were omitted by those who conceived the project. Now, tell me, which of these is our vice president not entitled to? Is it the furniture that you want to disagree with? Or you want to say the man should not be protected with a fence as thick and strong as the wall of Jericho in these days of high profile kidnappings and bombings? Are two protocol guest houses too many for the vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Are the senators also saying the banquet hall is unnecessary? We should realise that those who prepared the initial estimate are human beings likely to forget that these items were not included in the original project. Or, they must be some other Smarts who believe in Spartan lifestyle for our vice president! In view of all these points, we should show understanding for why the supplementary budget for the project is higher than the original estimate. All these items could not have been provided with the initial N7billion! Moreover, what if technologies have changed between when the contract was awarded and now; would we want our vice president’s palace to be fitted with yesterday’s technology, today? Now that the Senate committee has made Ismail look incompetent, how will another FCDA official come again next year to ask for another variation, this time including the cost of transporting all the needed

items to site? And the cost of painting, electrical fittings, bottled water and champagne and stuff like that? And what of the cost of the cassava bread that the vice president will eat? And the exotic fura de nunu to wash it down? These are what Smart sat in judgment over and declared, rather offhandedly, that “Fourteen billion Naira to me is huge for the VicePresident’s house. If you are even talking of N10bn, that would be understandable …”. When has the simple question of budgeting suddenly become this rigorous in the country? Have Smart and Co. forgotten that here, we don’t simply spend, we sink money into projects? How come we find it difficult to sink a mere N14billion into our vice president’s lodge? Since when has that paradigm changed? These senators should come off it! They should not infect our vice president with their poverty-stricken mindset. In case the senators do not know, some of our leaders are like my friend who always reminds us that he had been taking Irish Cream since he was in his mother’s womb; whenever we tease him that he has a poor man’s mentality. We should appreciate our leaders’ sacrifices by at least spoiling them a little. The reasonable thing that Senator Smart should have done was to have asked Ismail to ‘take a bow and leave’! All hope is however not lost. Thanks to the empathetic vicechairman of the committee, Senator Domingo Obende, who urged the officials to submit the details of the additional scope of work for which the fund was required to the committee for scrutiny. Scrutiny? Don’t start smelling any rat. And never ask what the senators have been doing since.

where: if not at home, at least on the road. So, yes, women have been badly taught; and yes, the reports have been prejudiced. I was lucky though. My first driving lessons came at the hands of a woman who drove like a pro, so I had learned most of what needed to be known about driving before my teacher changed. Yep, I had learned to drive straight, hold the car steady, not back up into other people, cut people off the road, weave in front of other cars and generally handle my car like a pro cowboy would handle his horse: expertly. Now, when I drive on the road, I am your regular Schumacher without the sports car or the pay. More, I find that I am able to guess the gender of the driver in front of me by how erratically he or she is driving. Have you ever seen a woman drive? Phew! It just makes me want to whistle through my teeth. Whenever you see the car in front of you weaving around a bit, then take cover; the driver is most certainly likely to be a woman and she could be doing any number of things. She could be telling her husband off on the phone for cutting the housekeeping money yet again. She could be changing her child’s nappy in between the lights, and yes, yes, she could also really be tired of keeping house, children, husband and work in different compartments of her brain. Occasionally, they all just merge together into one indistinct mass, drive her insane and it could happen while she’s out in traffic. This is why men do not like to be driven around by women. They have no idea of when the zero hour can come. I have also seen men drive. Indeed, the state of the world is

messy right now because men are driving. When men drive, driving tests go on all the time. They want to test whether the car can go as fast as the end of the speedometer, and what better place to do that than the highways. This is why all the highways in the country are no longer safe for women to drive on: too many men are out testing the limits of their speedometers. Then, have you ever seen men pitch their nerves against other men’s? To determine who owns the road, two grown up men would let their cars drive some meters fender-to-fender close until one caves in and allows the other to go, ‘for now’. Men hate giving way to each other; they’d sooner be caught giving way to a woman. Worse, when a man seizes the right of way from another, it becomes an unprovoked invitation to the third world war. That’s when the epithets begin to flow: ‘why don’t you fold up the road and take it home with you, you this ... this ... this ...!’; ‘Why don’t you drive over me, you ...?!’ and many other unprintable things until your poor passenger ears are quite full. It’s got to the point now that when couples go out, the big question is ‘Who’s driving?’ Neither trusts the other. This is why, when I drive and appear to be a little distracted, shouts of ‘Go get a driver!’ are flung at me from several quarters. But you see, they come from men who are themselves racing inexorably to occupy the bed reserved for them in the hospital; so who are they to tell me I don’t know how to drive. Yes indeed, o, that report about women not knowing how to drive is lying out of its teeth. The sanity of the road right now depends on women drivers. They force the men to slow down.



Comment & Analysis


N Nasir Bello v. Government of Oyo State, [1986] 5 NWLR (Pt. 45) 828, the Oyo State Government executed a convicted prisoner, whilst his appeal was still being heard. Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal agreed that Bello’s Family’s Counsel had failed to claim the appropriate remedy for the injury. Rather, he appeared to be hoping that the Courts would identify and apply a remedy. That was not the duty of the Courts. But the Supreme Court held that ubi jus, ibi remedium, i.e., where there is a right, here must be a remedy. The Court then made this fundamental pronouncement about its world view and guiding philosophy. “I think the Court has attained a stature in the pursuit of justice that a claimant who has established a recognized injury cannot be turned back on the ground that he has not stated the head of law under which he was seeking a remedy” (Karibi-Whyte, JSC) On the maxim ubi jus ibi remedium, Oputa, JSC, declared that it was so fundamental to the administration of justice that “where there is no remedy provided either by the common law or by statute, the Courts have been urged to create one. The Courts cannot therefore be deterred by the novelty of an action.” For his part, a visibly enraged Aniagolu, JSC, declared as follows: “This is the first time in this country of which I am aware, in which a legitimate Government of this country – past and present: colonial or indigenous – hastily and illegally snuffed of the life and liberty of the subject and the principles of the rule of law. The brutal incident has bespattered the face of the Oyo State Government with the paint brush of shame.” In Fawehinmi v. Akilu (ii) Togun, [1987] 4 NWLR (Pt. 67) 797, in which the late great Icon of the Rule of Law and Human Rights sought to prosecute two security officials for the murder of Dele Giwa, the two lower Courts, (the High Court and the Court of Appeal) refused the application on the ground that not being a blood relation of Dele Giwa, Fawehinmi had no locus standi (legal right) to prosecute the case. The Supreme Court reversed these decisions, for according to Eso, JSC, speaking for his Brethren sitting on that case, in Nigerian Criminal Law, every Nigerian is a brother to another Nigerian. He continued thus: “It is the view of my learned brother Obaseki, which I fully share

Kayode Eso: A colossus departs By Professor Itse Sagay, SAN.

with respect, that “it is the universal concept that all human beings are brothers and assets to one another.” He applies this to ground locus standi. That we are all brothers is more so in this country where the socio-cultural concept of “family” and “extended family” transcend all barriers. Is it not right then for the court to take note of the concept of the loose use of the word “brother” in this country? “Brother” in the Nigerian context is completely different from the blood brother of the English language. Though Cain challenged the locus standi of his being questioned as to the whereabouts of his brother, Abel, it was his reason that he was not his brother’s keeper. That might have been in the outskirts of the garden of Eden. In Nigeria, it would be an unacceptable phenomenon. And when it comes to the law of crime, everyone is certainly his brother’s keeper.” In Saidu Garba v. Federal Civil Service Commission [1988] 1 NWLR (Pt. 71) Saidu Garba, head of the Fire Fighting Service, at Onikan in Lagos, was first arrested for the 1983 inferno of the NITEL TOWER Marina, which was bizarre enough; he was then dismissed from the Civil Service. He challenged this in Court. The Government defence was based on Decree 17 of the Buhari Military Government which came into power on 31 st December 1983. The fire incident occurred on 31st January 1983, 11 months before the Buhari Government came into existence. Decree 17 prohibited the judicial challenge of any removal from the Public Service. The two lower Courts held that in the circumstances, their hands were tied. They were helpless. The Supreme Court rejected the cloak of helplessness and declared that Garba’s suit was valid. Decree 17 could not apply to an incident that occurred in January 1983 when the Regime that promulgated it was not even in existence. In Olaniyan v. University of Lagos, [1985] 2 NWLR of (Pt. 9) p. 599, the appointments of Professor Olaniyan and his colleagues in the University of Lagos, were terminated without due process, on the basis of the common law principle of master and servant. A master in common

law, can sack a servant at will, wrongfully or not. The servant can only seek a remedy in damages, not reinstatement. Both the lower Courts accepted this argument. But the Supreme Court rejecting it created a new concept in labour law – “a contract with a statutory flavor”. According to them, the appointments of the appellants were based on statutory law and regulations. This was not the typical common law master and servant relationship. Any termination of appointment which did not strictly follow the laid down statutory terms and conditions of appointment, discipline and termination was illegal, null and void. But the greatest judgment of all is the locus classicus called Government of Lagos State v. Ojukwu, [1986] 1 NWLR (Pt. 18) p. 621. This is the Nigerian Magna Carta. A mansion known as No. 29 Queens Drive Ikoyi, was built by the Father of Chief Emeka Ojukwu, but was seized by the Lagos State Government as an abandoned property during the Nigeria Civil war. Sometime in 1985, when the building was empty, Ojukwu moved in, and brought an application claiming ownership of the property. Whilst the matter was still in the High Court, the Military Governor of Lagos State without a Court Order, sent in soldiers to eject Ojukwu violently. Ojukwu appealed to the Court of Appeal seeking an order of re-statement into the house pending the hearing of the substantive matter. The Court of Appeal granted the Order, and without obeying that order, the Governor of Lagos State appealed to the Supreme Court against it. The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the Military Governor of Lagos State, as long as he was in disobedience of the order of the Court of Appeal. The Statements made by the Judges of the Supreme Court in that case, have become legendary in legal circles, and they constitute the backbone of the Rule of Law in Nigeria today. According to Eso, JSC, who gave the leading judgment: “I think it is very serious matter for anyone to flout a positive order of a court and proceed to taunt the Court further by seeking a remedy in a higher court while still in contempt of the lower court. It is

more serious when the act of flouting the order of the court, the contempt of the court, is by the Executive. Under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979, the Executive, the Legislative (while it lasts) and the Judiciary are equal partners in the running of a successful government. The powers granted by the Constitution to these organs by S. 4 (Legislative powers) S. 5 (Executive powers) and S. 6 (Judiciary powers) are classified under an omnibus umbrella known under Part II to the Constitution as “Powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. The organs wield those powers and one must never exist in sabotage of the other or else there is chaos. Indeed, there will be no federal government. I think, for one organ, and more especially the Executive, which holds all the physical powers, to put up itself in sabotage or deliberate contempt of the other is to stage an executive subversion of the Constitution it is to uphold. Executive lawlessness is tantamount to a deliberate violation of the Constitution. When the Executive is the Military Government which blends both the Executive and the Legislative together and which permits the Judiciary to co-exist with it in the administration of the country, then it is more serious than imagined. On his own part, Oputa, JSC, ended his judgment by saying “I can safely say that here in Nigeria, even under a Military Government, the law is no respecter of persons, principalities or powers and the Courts stand between the citizens and the governments alert to see that the state or government is bound by the law and respects the law.” The above constitute a small sample of the pure and clear stream of immortal proclamations emanating from the golden Court of the golden age of the Judiciary of which Eso was a major player. The judgments of that outstanding Court exhibited courage, creativity, originality of the thought process and exceptional scholarship. The poignancy and painfulness of the departure of Eso and his ilk like Idigbe, Mohammed Bello, Aniagolu and Nnamani, is that Nigeria of today is in the hands of mostly men without character. Integrity, honour, uprightness, discipline, transparency,

for which Eso and his colleagues stood, no longer exists. A major tragedy is unfolding before our very eyes. There is an accelerated depletion of this breed of noble Nigerians, whilst we are witnessing an exploding population of the biblical human thorns or tares in public office. As if I had a prescience of the sad decline of our Judiciary, I made the following comments in 1988, in the concluding chapter of my book: A Legacy for Posterity – The Work of the Supreme Court, 1980 – 1988. “One other point that must give cause for concern, is whether these developments are just a flash in the pan which will disappear into distant obscurity, once the present crop of Supreme Court Judges are gone. Has the Court established a permanent legal culture; an institution of ideas and principles which will remain solid to be built upon by succeeding generations of Judges? Or do we merely have an ephemeral, spirit, which like a comet, will disappear into oblivion as the present great actors of the Supreme Court go one after the other into retirement? After all, Aniagolu is 65 and has now retired. So too have Kazeem and Coker. Eso is 63, Oputa is 64, Kawu is 62, Obaseki is 62. These men will retire in a few years. So of the 11 Justices who with about 4 others have brought about the legal and I believe social, revolution we have been discussing, 7 have left or are virtually on their way out. Will their good works outlive them? I dare say yes. I believe they with their colleagues who will be left behind, have laid down the strongest foundations for a legal system that will make the welfare and freedom of Nigerians and all those resident in Nigeria its cardinal principles. We can also take comfort in the fact that one of the architects of these phenomenal developments has now taken over as Chief Justice and will carry on and build on the great traditions he is inheriting from his predecessors.” My optimism turned out to be sadly misplaced. The golden age culture and achievements were not sustained by the succeeding generations of Justices. With this latest devastating loss to this Country, I am compelled to lament with Shakespear’s Mark Anthony in Julius Caeser: “Here was a Kayode Eso. Whence comes another”?

Ensuring transparency and accountability education T RANSPARENCY and accountability remain critical to the development of any sector of the nation’s economy. This forms the premise of several actions taken by the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to ensure that Nigerians get the value for money invested in different critical sectors of the transformation agenda. Under the present administration, there is no room for wastage of public resources. For the nation’s basic education sub-sector, transparency and accountability are the corner-stone of project execution, award of contracts and supervision across the board. The principal objective driving this subsector has been the desire to ensure quality human capital development. The central belief being that if wastages are controlled within and outside the implementation framework of the nation’s basic education sector, the country stands to benefit more in terms of quality projects that would stand the test of time and attract millions of Nigerian children, youths and uneducated adults to basic education institutions across the country. This is what the Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has brought to the table as regards making transparency and accountability part of the


By Simeon Nwakaudu

implementation process of the allimportant basic education sector of the nation. Since he assumed the reins of administration, officials of the ministry and agencies under his supervision have been compelled to bid farewell to under-the-table negotiations, meetings and decisions on the implementation and evaluation of projects. Wike believes that the decay that attended the nation’s basic education sector before President Goodluck Jonathan took over leadership has been such that all Nigerians must be carried along on the steps being taken by government to address these fundamental challenges. To him, closed door meetings have no place in the administration of the nation’s basic education recovery process. This position has paid off. Officials who approached their functions lackadaisically have faced stiff sanctions as they have been exposed in the public glare of journalists and members of the civil society. The outcome of the bold style of leadership is that several officials saddled with the responsibility of implementing projects and programmes have become alive to their roles in the transformation and the fact that sanctions await them if they neglect

these roles. In the last four months, the minister introduced the novel idea of meeting with contractors, publishers, principals of Federal Unity Colleges and top ministerial and agencies’ officials handling key projects in the nation’s basic education sector. These meetings were initiated after the minister personally led monitoring teams to project sites. The meetings also took into consideration the inputs of several independent monitoring teams that assessed the extent and quality of work at all the sites where basic education projects were being executed by the Federal Government and her agencies. The projects include the phased rehabilitation of 18 selected Federal Unity Colleges, construction of libraries in some Federal Unity Colleges by the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education, almajiri school projects, special girl child education and distribution of free textbooks and library resource materials to public basic education institutions. Armed with the different independent monitoring reports and his personal observations, he subjected all projects to rigorous public examinations in the full glare of the media and members of the civil society. In all instances, the contract sums, actual

releases and level of project implementation were publicly x-ray to decipher the steps that must be taken for government objectives to be realised with minimum delay. It was a common site to see officials and project contractors jittery whenever he fall short of ministerial expectations. A handful of contracts been terminated and some contractors referred to anti corruption agencies in the process. When the Minister of State for Education met with principals of Federal Unity Colleges on the implementation of projects in their respective schools, it was in the presence of journalists and other government officials. Every facet of the implementation of the phased rehabilitation of the selected schools was clinically x-rayed. Whilst some principals were publicly commended, others were admonished to adhere strictly to the guidelines released by the Federal Ministry of Education regarding the use of the special rehabilitation funds sent to them. One after the other, the principals were called to make their presentations which were cross-checked by the Minister and other supervising officials. That public meeting lasted several hours. It was the same process that adopted by Minister when he met with contractors handling Almajiri schools,

special girl-child schools and library projects in Federal Unity Colleges not part of this year’s phased rehabilitation. With pictorial evidence of work done as provided by ministerial independent monitoring teams, the minister examined the claims of different contractors. These meetings led to the realisation that some projects were delayed due to challenges from banks engaged by the contractors. The minister enlarged the scope of the meetings at a point, inviting the bank executives who agreed to change the funding patterns to improve implementation levels. The quest to ensure that the 2012/ 2013 academic session free textbooks and library resource materials get to children in public schools in good time, Wike engaged the publishers every step of the way. These public meetings covered by the media culminated in the imposition of sanctions on all publishers due to their inability to distribute the books across the 36 states of the Federation. To ensure that the unfortunate diversion of books by some criminal elements in the states is nipped in the bud, the minister involved the State Security Service and the Nigerian Police Force in the 2012/ 2013 free text books distribution. -Simeon Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant (Media) to Minister of State for Education.





As the major oppositions’ preparations for the 2015 presidential election gathers momentum, Sam Egburonu reports that the heat is now on the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)


INCE this Monday, when the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, admitted openly that his party was losing members to opposition political parties, some observers could not appreciate enormous underground works currently undertaken by the major political parties in order to wrest power from PDP in 2015. Investigation conducted by The Nation shows that in this singular effort, the opposition seems more coordinated and determined than it has ever been since 1999. While conservative political analysts may have given up on the ability of Nigerian opposition to unite and fight the ruling party, insiders hinted that leaders of the leading opposition parties seem to have realised the need to make some personal sacrifices in order to realise their common goal in 2015. They are indeed working closely with a common passion, said an insider. This explains why their reactions to Tukur’s open admission seem to have emanated from a common script. As if they held a meeting over the PDP’s outburst before commenting on the matter, most of the opposition parties that have spoken on this matter lashed back at PDP that loss of members was a signal for PDP to pack its

• Tinubu



Oppositions’ grand plot to unseat PDP load and leave Nigeria’s seat of power. The parties that reacted this way included Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples party (ANPP). The National Publicity Secretary of ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was quoted as saying, “The PDP-led government has failed to provide the basic needs of the majority of Nigerians and they will continue to lose not only members but the confidence of Nigerians who cannot be taken for a ride forever.” The CPC spokesman, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, argued that the ugly development is a vote against ineptitude. “With a citizenry flustered by ineptitude of the PDP-bred leadership, it is clear that there would be pressure on the party’s membership to find political solace elsewhere. It is very likely for the trend to continue unabated because of PDP’s fading glory.” ANPP was not left out. Its National Publicity Secretary, Emma Eneukwu, spoke in the same fashion. According to him, “The PDP will receive shocks in the 2015 election if there is any semblance of free and fair election. Nigerians are prepared to dump the PDP that has been disappointing them in the last years and seek solace in other parties.” A member of PDP’s National Working Committee, who claimed that only the National Chairman and the Publicity Secretary are expected to comment on record, however, told The Nation that it may be too early in the day for the “so-called opposition to celebrate. But our checks show that the reactions of the opposition parties were based on the outcome of their underground plans

in each of the parties, aimed at repositioning the various parties as a prelude to equitable merger or alliance talks. Former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, disclosed this much last week’s Saturday, during an interactive session with some journalists in Abuja. It would be recalled that Shekarau is the chairman of the 21-man committee of ANPP, which, according an insider, “has the mandate of repositioning the party in the areas of funding, strategy, ideological refocusing and membership drive.” Shekarau said he and the leadership of ACN and ANPP are actually considering total merger arrangement, since, according to him, mere alliance plans have largely failed since the First Republic Although the other major parties involved in the talks have not come out to explain the level of merger or alliance they are willing to have, it seems all the parties are hoping that the opposition will get it right this time around. But as the parties continue the talks, Dr. Desmond Okereke, a political scientist told The Nation that “a merger talk or alliance in this instance that is not preceded by internal strengthening of the participating parties will fail.” Reformation plans: Most of the opposition parties, eager to present at the merger talk table a strong and well organised political party, have since set up reformation committees to dethrone the ruling party in 2015 commenced their reformation strategies long ago. Most of the major opposition parties that have been troubled by internal crisis have since set up reformation committees to help strengthen them in preparation for

eventual arrangements that will ensure the opposition's takeover of the federal government in 2015. While inaugurating the CPC Renewal Committee, led by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, General Muhammadu Buhari explained the essence of the initiative when he said, "This event, which our party considers very important, might not be so viewed by observers and indeed a sizeable followership and membership of our party. I trust it would appear so strange for a political party to expend the time and resources of its members to review itself when the next elections are three and a half years away. Perhaps, even I would have agreed with this view in the postmortem of the general elections of 1999, 2003 and 2007.' El-Rufai had pledged to deliver when he said, "As we renew to emerge as a stronger political party, the ruling party and government will have great incentives to clamp down on our members and organisation. The first reaction will obviously be to try to infiltrate our ranks. We must avoid being caught napping." In ANPP, where Shakarau is coordinating the same project, we learnt that his team is paying more emphasis on rebuilding party membership at the grassroots. it could not be ascertained how successful this drive has been so far. For All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), another major opposition party that has been battling to resolve its internal crisis, The Nation learnt that the major actors have at last resolved to give peace a chance in the interest of the party. The National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh told The Nation that he has forgiven all and expects all to do the same so that the party could move forward.




Ojukwu’s anniversary and A At the first anniversary of the death of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the former presidential candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), leaders of the party, who are currently engaged in a bitter leadership face-off, met at the Nnewi home of their departed national leader, for the traditional removal of the mourning dress and a grand thanksgiving service. It would be recalled that the former Biafran leader died over one year ago, specifically on November 26, 2011, at a London hospital at the age of 78. The anniversary meeting turned out to be a moment of political re-union and soul re-examination over the actions of the current leaders of APGA vis-a-vis the teachings of their departed patron. At the get-together, our correspondent, Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, spoke separately to some of the key actors, including Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh and their host, Emeka Ojukwu Jnr, all of who gave hints that an end to the raging leadership crisis in APGA is in sight. Excerpts

End of APGA’s crisis in sight


We are preaching stronger and united APGA—Obi W HAT does the first anniversary of the late Dim C h u k w u e m e k a Odumegwu Ojukwu mean to you as a person, the people and government of Anambra State and the party in general? As a government, Anambra State has issued a directive urging all Anambrarians and the entire Igbo to pray for him wherever they are. In Anambra State, we are doing the same prayer across all our schools, churches and offices. Ojukwu is a man who cared for humanity and as such, we should continue the work of caring for people. What he meant for the Igbo and what he meant for Nigeria, he lived that hope that is so desired that Igbo people meant well and committed to our people. For our party, he was the light and beacon of the party. It was in the spirit of that beacon that we have been urging for the best for the party by ensuring the fortune of the party and by putting in place, those things that will sustain it.

For me as a person, a lot, because I will continue to see in him that determination, resilience to fight on even when everybody is against you. What are the challenges in upholding his legacies?


Unity, commitment and resilience to continue to see ourselves as a people held together by a common purpose. CAN offers to mediate in APGA family crisis to make sure that there is peace. Are you ready to sheath your sword? I don’t think there is problem in the family. It is ridiculous for people to say that there is problem in the family. If somebody comes to your family and say the only way to make your family stronger is that you should stay together, is that a problem? The answer is no. We are preaching stronger and united APGA. When you visited flood victims, you said you were doing that in the spirit of Ojukwu’s memory. What do you mean by that? Yes, that is true because he would never have seen people suffering and will not get involved and that is why I said, if the Igbo can get together in that spirit, they will achieve anything.

- Ojukwu Jnr •Ojukwu Jnr


HAT does your late father’s first anniversary mean to you? On the 26th of last year, I got terrible news that my father had passed on. So, I felt that the least we can give him is this year. I would have preferred to even give longer. He is somebody that affected many people’s lives. He was a father, a great leader, a great teacher, man of the people and a hero, both to his family and to many others as you can see. So when you look round and see the caliber of people that came, you will know that he lived a good life and set a good example. So, I’m happy and sad as well. The only

thing left for us is to respect legacies he left behind. He always told us while alive that he has done what he can do and it was now left for us to take over and move forward. The governor of Anambra State and the APGA chairman were together in your sitting room. Does that signify on end to the politics of attrition? Politics is politics and there will always be intrigues, shifting aside and changing of things. My hope is that a symbol such as Ezeigbo Gburugburu can bring them here today to shake hands and greet each other. It may not be the end but let’s hope that it is the beginning of the end.

Fresh power play in Enugu Following the long absence of Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, from office, a power play has ensued between top officials of the state, all struggling to control the reins of government, writes Remi Adelowo POLITICAL soap opera is presently playing out in Enugu State sequel to the long absence of Governor Sullivan Chime from the state, no thanks to the alleged ill health. As required by law, Chime had purportedly handed over to his deputy, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, after allegedly transmitting a letter to the House of Assembly through the Speake, Eugene Odo, informing the lawmakers of his intention to proceed on a three months accumulated leave. As acting governor, Onyebuchi was expected to take charge of running the state. But some influential aides of Chime are believed to have a contrary


opinion. Sources disclosed to The Nation that accusing fingers are being pointed at aides like the Chief of Staff to Chime, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Amaechi Okolo, and the First Lady, Mrs. Clara Chime, whose recent actions allegedly undermined the authority of Onyebuchi. It was gathered that as soon as Onyebuchi took over the administration of the state, he summoned a meeting of the State Executive Council (SEC), where he informed the members of the absence of his boss. Our source added, “The acting governor also told the EXCO that the governor said he was feel-


ing weak and would like to proceed on his annual leave, which he said has been in arrears for five years and urged members to remain focused in their duties.” No sooner had the meeting ended that a series of high wire intrigues began to play out in the

seat of government in Enugu. For example, before she travelled out of the country some weeks ago to visit her husband, the First Lady was alleged to have instructed that visitors to the Government House, who wanted to see her husband, should be directed to her instead of the acting governor. Another source alleged, “Once, she summoned the acting governor, but no one is sure if the man responded to the call.” Nwobodo is also alleged not to be comfortable with receiving directives from Onyebuchi. The COS, it was gathered, allegedly issues counter instructions to staff of the Government House, commissioners and other aides of the governor on routine assignments and what she considers to be priority issues of government. In the case of the SSG, he is alleged to be at loggerheads with the acting governor over certain bureaucratic decisions, in addition to the duo’s differences over the execution of some state policies. The Nation’s sources in the

Government House disclosed that Okolo is allegedly insisting that he is in charge of implementing policies on the administration of ministries and other agencies of government in the absence of the governor. The argument of Chime’s top aides, according to findings, is that Chime did not formally hand over to Onyebuchi, and that they are not under any obligation to take instructions from Onyebuchi, who as far as they are concerned, remains the deputy governor. “Let them produce a copy of the governor’s letter to the House of Assembly transmitting power to Onyebuchi. Until that happens, I will not take instructions from anyone else except the governor,” one of Chime’s aides was said to have responded to an enquiry from a lawmaker on the running of the state. As confusion reigns supreme in Enugu Government House, other vested interests opposed to Continued on Page 23



Political Politics


d APGA’s reconciliation I won’t expose Bianca, Obi again —Umeh



F what significance does late Ojukwu’s first anniversary hold for APGA family? We were thrown into mourning because of the way he plays fatherly role in our lives both in the party and in the Igbo nation and today we gathered because it is now 365 days he left us and you will understand why we miss him. Since he left us, it has been very difficult times. If he were to be alive, many things happening now will not be happening both in Igboland and the party he left behind. As for me, as the chairman of APGA, his death has brought me so much pain and so much stress but there is nothing one can do than to submit to the will of God. Since Ojukwu died about a year ago, things are not going the way they should in APGA and his family. What do you think is the way forward? I call on people who he left behind both in the family and in our party to allow peace to reign. It is only in the atmosphere of peace that we can continue to project his mission on earth. It is only through peaceful co-existence that we will be able to realise his noble visions for our people. When he was alive, we

were having challenges but whenever he spoke, everybody listens to him. That is what we are missing today and I want all those who have survived him to remember that Ojukwu was a bundle of love to everybody. He was never somebody who ever discriminated, or somebody who used his influence and power to intimidate anybody. The face-off between you and Mr. Peter Obi, the Governor of Anambra State, on one hand and Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, on the other hand, seems to be affecting the fortunes of your political party, APGA. How far have you gone in resolving this matter? As I have said, we are having challenges. Our party is a human institution where you have divergent interests. What may be lacking now is somebody who will call everybody together and unite us towards one common objective. What you are seeing in our party today is mere conflict of personal interest which ought not to be. Let us put the interest of the people ahead of all of us. Let us not exercise power as if it was not given by God. I don’t see why we should be quarreling. Is there an end to this crisis facing APGA? There is no problem that has no end. Every problem must have an end and that is why when the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East chapter, offers to mediate in the disagreement in the party, I immediately came out to welcome them to come. But, lets pray that CAN will be able to calm all the frayed nerves. I have already said that what I want in APGA is peace. I want APGA to be a united family and a party where truth, justice and fairness will reign . With this temporal misunderstanding in the party, are there any chances of winning further elections? The chances of the party retaining Anambra State are still very bright. What is important now is for everybody



within the party to allow due process to be followed in doing things. We appear to be having difficulties because some people have refused to allow due process. If you wield your power, your influence to dictate, it will cause conflict. We are practicing democracy, whatever we want; let us go through democratic practice to pursue what we want. The problem here today is who governs Anambra State from 2014. Nobody, not even me, knows who will govern Anambra State, not even Mr. Peter Obi can say for sure who will govern Anambra State. It is God who will decide it and as we work towards that, I believe that God’s decision will prevail over all of us and somebody who will run for governor of Anambra State through our party will come through the choice of the people. Once that happens, everybody will work for that candidate. If we don’t do imposition, the whole party will be united and go back to the electorate and I am confident that we are going to receive the support of the people. We are already reconciling and I know a time is coming when all of us will reconcile whatever differences we had for the future of our party. You had earlier said that after one year of Ojukwu’s death, you will reveal a lot of secrets that exist in APGA. Are you ready to reveal them now? People make mountains out of molehills. What I merely said is that I don’t want to join issues with people until we make the first anniversary of the death of our leader. As the chairman of this party, I know the sources of conflict in the party. It is better for us to resolve them in house, then, we will start talking about those things. Our Igbo adage says he who is taking bath wearing his cloth should know himself. It is my wish and prayer that I don’t get provoked to say and I am not going to say anything. Let it be on record that I am not going to expose anybody.

Ebonyi 2015 and the age concern


HEAD of the 2015 general elections, the three political blocs in Ebonyi State have commenced alignments and realignments for the governorship position, even as the southern axis of the state lays claims to a right to produce the next governor of the state. Expectedly, people of the northern axis are already trading arguments with their southern brothers as to whether the position should just be left to the South without a contest as against what held when the south EQUEL to a recent fencecontested for the position with the mending between him and others from 1999 to 2007. the Bauchi State Governor, So fierce is the debate that GovIsa Yuguda, FCT Minister, Bala ernor Martin Elechi himself had to Mohammed, may have put his alrecently lend his voice to the argument when he said the bane of leged governorship ambition at Nigerian politics has remained disparity in power sharing. The the back seat for now, sources governor said for fairness’ sake, the governorship slot should have revealed. shift to the southern part of the state. Some months ago, the relaBut beyond the argument of where the next governor should tionship between the governor come from is another brewing concern, especially among the and the minister became frosty as younger generation of the citizens of the southeastern state. The a result of alleged subterranean youths are insisting that whoever will be their next governor moves by latter to undercut the should not be another old man. Simply put, they want a young governor’s influence in the Bauchi man, not more than in his early fifties, as governor. PDP, by allegedly dispensing paIt is not clear if their demand is based on any unsavory expetronage to some party leaders. rience they had in the hands of the incumbent governor who is But the cold war, we gathered, very advanced in age, but one thing that is clear to observers of is now a thing of the past, as the minister, following the intervention by stakeholders of the the politics of the state is that these young turks will not stop at party, has promised to defer to the leadership of the governor anything to prevent the emergence of another ‘Papa’ as governor. in the state politics.

BalaMohammedjettisons governorship ambition




with Bolade Omonijo

Understanding Imo politics


HE first question that I know my readers are likely to ask is why Imo? During the week, I had the opportunity of attending the presentation in Owerri of two new titles by a colleague and friend, Ethelbert Okere. Okere was a Special Adviser to former Governor Ikedi Ohakim. The flagship of the books, Democracy by Military Tank should interest any political reporter and writer. I got an autographed copy in October and had time to read through, chew and inwardly digest the content. I was at the launch at the invitation of the author and was also saddled with the task of presenting the review written by The Nation’s editorial board chairman, Mr. Sam Omatseye. The book was the author’s account of the 2011 election and how his boss, Ohakim, was robbed of victory. It is a presentation of all that is ugly about politics, the conduct of public policy and governance in Nigeria. But I found it interesting because it can only promote the reader’s understanding of Nigeria’s politics and politicking. It is, in other words, a manual on how to successfully engage in politics in Imo in particular, and Nigeria in general. As I read through the book, I had a better appreciation of why nothing works in Nigeria. It opened my eyes further to realise the contribution of the judiciary, the electoral commission and the security agencies to the rot in the society. Before now, I had thought that the former Independent National Electoral Commission boss Maurice Iwu is more of a partisan agent than an electoral umpire, but I had no proof. In Okere’s book, the evidence is presented. Iwu worked closely with the ruling party in Imo State and Okere confirmed that. Okere has this to say: “Chief (Cosmas) Iwu’s exit from the PDP was also interpreted to mean that there was no love lost between the party and his elder brother, Professor Maurice Iwu who, though was generally seen as non-partisan, was at the same time perceived as nursing a lot of sympathy for the PDP.” In another paragraph, Okere submits, “as a matter of fact, there were speculations that Professor Iwu had become a major financier of the ACN even at the national level, a charge which was vehemently denied. But whether he was in ACN or not, one thing was quite clear to even the least discerning observer of Imo politics. It was that professor Iwu had completely withdrawn his sympathy and support for the incumbent governor, Ikedi Ohakim, who was seeking reelection on the platform of the PDP.” The Okere book has shown that some of those who grace the exalted seat of Chief Electoral umpires are not men of honour. It seeks to support the thesis that the government in power merely pretends to seek men of stature and integrity to handle the sensitive assignment. At the point of appointment, Iwu was presented as one of those who had the 2003 election, a professor of Pharmacology who was respected internationally, an ideologue at the University of Nigeria Nsukka who had distinguished himself in ASUU politics and could therefore be relied on to work for the country, fight for the people and work for national progress. Well, how well he achieved that is well known to all. Imo politics is not just about the Iwu clan. It is a shame that Christian denominations play large roles. Okere points out the role that the Catholic Church played in 2011. In organizing a debate, Okere states that the Archbishop of Owerri made very weighty and suggestive interventions. E presents that Church hierarchy as supporting Rochas Okorocha, a professed Catholic, as against Ohakim, an Anglican. After reading the book, it would be clear that the ghost of the April 26 and May 6 elections in Imo are yet to be laid to rest. As in some other parts of the country, no one can clearly, in good conscience answer the question: Who won the governorship election in the state. It could be said as a friend from the state argued that it would be erroneous to isolate the 2011 governorship election. What happened in the presidential election? The votes recorded in the more contentious governorship poll were considerably lower that what was recorded a week earlier for President Jonathan. Jonathan was credited with more that 1.3 million votes to about 700,000 in the governorship poll. It stands logic on the head. Could, indeed, the conduct of the 2007 election that brought Ohakim to power be said to be qualitatively better than the 2011, especially realizing that Iwu who is here presented as partisanly active superintended the earlier poll? If Martin Agbaso and Ifeanyi Araraume were to present their accounts of the 2007 poll, it is obvious that it would stink as much as Okere’s account of the 2011 polls. It is obvious that if Oguta, Ohaji-Egbema and Mbaitoli votes were discounted, Okorocha would not be in office. But, should the people be disenfranchised? What happened to the poll of April 26 in the local government areas? And, as a tie back, why was the election of April 29, 2007 cancelled? In Nigerian politics, the more you look, the less you see.







Akwa-Ibom 2015: Akpabio, Ekaette in proxy war As political leaders in Akwa Ibom State plot their graph for 2015 governorship election, Dare Odufowokan reports that the once-united political families in the state are set for epic battles


NDICATIONS of how the successor of Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State will be chosen in 2015 are already emerging. Going by the signs that have so far manifested, there are fears that the contest for the Government House will be both stiff and intriguing. While old political rivals like the governor and his predecessor, Obong Victor Attah, are expected to renew their rivalry within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stiff challenges are also expected from the ranks of other political parties within the state, especially the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Of all the camps interested in the coveted position, the impending tussle between Governor Akpabio and his agelong ally and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Obong Ufot Ekaette, is currently the most discussed within and outside the state. As far back as 2007, Ekaette has been an avowed supporter of Akpabio, especially in his many political battles with former Governor Attah’s political family in the state. During the struggle for the state’s PDP gubernatorial ticket in 2007, the former SGF, who had earlier supported the candidacy of ex-deputy governor Nsima Ekere, joined forces with Akpabio to thwart all efforts by Attah’s camp to stop the emergence of Akpabio as governor of Akwa Ibom State. Sources said it was in appreciation of this support that Akpabio nominated Ekere as his running mate after he emerged as the party’s candidate. But in a move aimed at accommodating Attah’s group on the ticket, the party prevailed on Ekere to step down for Attah’s candidate, Ekpo Otu. The alliance between the two erstwhile political allies continued till 2011 when the governor retired Otu and replaced him with Ekere. Ekaette, it would be recalled, had ensured the Presidency’s support for Akpabio during the controversial PDP primaries in the state. But today, as the state look forward to another gubernatorial contest in 2015, the once jolly alliance between the Ekaette and Akpabio is now strained and the two are most likely to be caught on opposing sides of the guber contest divide with both sides struggling to enthrone the candidate of their choice as the next governor of the state. While the former SGF is said to be pushing the ambition of Ekere, who recently resigned as Akpabio’s deputy, the Governor, according to sources within the administration, is rooting for the emergence of another candidate as his successor come 2015. With this scenario, the stage appears set for a political proxy war between the two erstwhile allies. Observers of the state’s politics say flaks are already flying between the two camps with loyalists of Ekaette and Ekere feeling the most heat. The removal of Bishop Samuel Akpan from his position as the Deputy Chairman of the PDP in the state is seen by many as a fallout of the ongoing

face-off. Ekere’s sudden resignation from office few weeks back, according to analysts, is another major repercussion of the proxy contest. There are even insinuations that Ekere was forced to resign as relationship between him and his boss had deteriorated irretrievably. In fact, it was alleged that the state House of Assembly had perfected plans to commence impeachment proceedings against Ekere and his resignation was actually a deft move to save his political career and keep him in the 2015 governorship race. The recent failed attempt by lawmakers in the state to remove the Speaker of the state Assembly, Elder Sam Ikon, is another outcome of the Ekaette-Akpabio disagreement. Ekere’s role in frustrating the alleged impeachment plot is believed to have fast-tracked his own removal. And when Akpabio nominated Chief Assam Assam (SAN) for appointment as Nigeria’s ambassador to Russia, it was interpreted as yet another stroke aimed at the Ekaette camp. The Ambassador is a known political rival of the former deputy governor within the Eket senatorial district where they both hail from. If indications emerging from his body language can be relied upon to make a judgement, Akpabio may actually be plotting the emergence of his Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Umana O. Umana, who is from Uyo Senatorial zone, as his successor. This move, many say, is contrary to the alleged zoning arrangement existing in the state. Therefore, some people have criticised a situation where Akpabio, himself a beneficiary of the zoning arrangement, will want to truncate the system in the race to the 2015 governor-

Others who have been mentioned in the 2015 governorship race in the state are the immediate past senator that represented Uyo in the Senate, Effiong Bob, a one-time governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Larry Esin, and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Chief Assam (SAN)

ship election. Pundits say the zoning arrangement, if adhered to, favours Ekere, because he is from Ikot Oboreyen in Edemaya clan of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of the state. Perhaps, this explains why so much effort was allegedly put into the plot to frustrate him out of office as deputy governor. In the calculation of pro-zoning agitators, it is the turn of Eket Senatorial District to produce the governor of the state. According to them, since former Governor Obong Victor Attah emerged from Uyo Senatorial District and the incumbent governor, Akpabio, is from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Eket senatorial district should be favoured in 2015. But stakeholders against the quest for a zoning arrangement would have none of the above argument. Citing examples of the 2003 and 2007 governorship elections, they posited that both Attah and Akpabio had to contest against aspirants from all the three senatorial areas. “The argument for zoning is a very weak one. In 2003, aspirants emerged from Eket and Uyo to challenge Attah. And in 2007, Ikot-Ekpene and Eket aspirants challenged Akpabio. So, where is the zoning arrangement that will give the ticket straight to Eket this time around? Anybody from anywhere can contest for a winner to emerge. That is all we know,” a lawmaker in the state House of Assembly said. In spite of Akpabio’s perceived support for his governorship dream, Umana may not likely have a smooth ride to clinch the party’s ticket in the 2015 contest. This is because aside himself and Ekere, several other aspirants have emerged in the race for who will become the PDP flagbearer. Others who have been mentioned in the 2015 governorship race in the state are the immediate past senator that represented Uyo in the Senate, Effiong Bob, a one-time governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Larry Esin and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Chief Assam (SAN). Also in the race are Chairman of Local Government Commission and former State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Otu Ita Toyo, former Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Mr. Dan Abia, the current Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Albert Akpan and Anweidighe-Abasi Adiakpan, a new entrant into the politics of the state. One other name on the list is that of a young legislatorHonourabel Onofiok Luke- representing Nsit Ubium Constituency. Luke, according to his supporters, is one lawmaker, who brought government closer to his people through effective representation and the attendant democratic dividends. Other names that are being bandied include the current Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Effiong Abia and a former Senator who represented Eket Senatorial District between 1999-2003, Udoma Udo Udoma.

THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 16, 2012 Continued from Page 20 Chime, according to a source, are alleged to be using the opportunity of the governor’s long absence to get even with Chime, whom they accuse of sundry offences ranging from betrayal of trust, amongst others. Investigations revealed that one of such interests is the once powerful political group, Ebeano, headed by the former governor of the state, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani. The governor was a former member of Ebeano, and served as the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state during the eight years reign of Nnamani from 1999 to 2007. For allegedly betraying the group that brought him to power in 2007, sources disclosed that top members of Ebeano are allegedly lobbying members of the House of Assembly to begin impeachment proceedings against Chime, whom they allege, has abdicated from his responsibilities as the governor. The Ebeano political family is reportedly putting pressure on the House to declare Chime incapacitated and incapable of continuing with administering the state as a result of his health challenges. The group is also claiming that having failed to hand over to his deputy as required by the constitution, Chime has breached the law and must be removed with-



Fresh power play in Enugu


out delay. The Nation gathered that a meeting was convened recently at the residence of a former senator


where the Ebeano group gathered to strategise on the issue of impeaching Chime and plot the way forward for the group ahead the

2015 general elections. While members of the House of Assembly are believed to be sharply divided over the impeach-

ment plans, the Ebeano group is allegedly unrelenting to get the governor out of office. Sometime ago during the burial of the father of the former Minister of Information and Orientation and currently the Director General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Frank Nweke (Jnr.) in Ozzara in the Nkanu area of the state, the Ebeano group met at another undisclosed location to ‘discuss the Chime matter’. The animosity between the group and Chime is indeed deep. Chime and his erstwhile godfather fell apart shortly after the former assumed power. At the end of it all, Chime had the upper hand. The result was that Nnamani was forced out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He subsequently formed another political party, Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC). But the plot to impeach Chime is not flying, especially among the present ruling class in the state. Those opposed to it, according to sources, include the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwenremadu, Senator representing Enugu North, Ayogu Eze, the PDP chairman in the state, Vitta Abba and the Speaker, Eugene Odo. The game is still unfolding.

Distractions of Oyo irritants S

OMETIMES, you cannot but pity ordinary Nigerian people. Due to the progressive worsening of their affairs over the years, especially at the governmental level, they are, most often than not, easy preys to demagogic adulations and selfish analyses. Because they are perceived to have faint memory, ability to deploy rigour in the estimation of political salesmen who canvass tendentious issues, is seldom put to play. This makes the landscape brim with charlatans who brow-beat us all with uncritical submissions that we cannot or fail to interrogate. I reckon that if such salesmen are abreast of our ability to deploy critical thinking, mental rigour and then shuttle into yesterday in coming to conclusions about issues they bring to our attention, they would be frightened off the peremptory ways they take us for granted. Mr. Dele Adigun has traversed very sensitive and highlyrated offices in Oyo State that qualify him to be rated an emeritus. He has been Director in the civil service, Permanent Secretary, commissioner and Secretary to the State Government. In saner climes, he should be a depository of knowledge and government after government should scramble to drink from his brook of wisdom. His contemporary in the state is, highly respected Alhaji Diti Oladapo. Any government Oladapo loans a piece of advice has struck gold; the one that waffles loses life-long investment. But Adigun is a politician. Upon retirement from the service, he has, like a restless troubadour, walked through the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), serving both political leaders like Rasidi Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala. At the expiration of the governments of both, Adigun made spirited but failed attempts to berth at the Action Congress of Nigeria

By Festus Adedayo (ACN) and eventually landed at the Accord Party (AP). It is common knowledge in Oyo State that the ex-civil servant is preening himself for the gubernatorial ticket of Ladoja’s AP and as such his restless and hyper vigor to be seen as the most recent people’s ombudsman. Of recent, Adigun’s penchant for intervening in issues of governance has reached a crescendo. One thread that runs through his pieces is the state of accumulated rot, literally and metaphorically, in Oyo State, which he acknowledges are massive and accumulated. The question to ask is, Adigun, having been at the frontburner of governments in the last decade, how implicated is he in this decadence? Has he adequately explained his Ibadan channelization project during the Chinyere Nwosu era? Could it be mischief or naivety that he would denigrate a government that has chosen as its credo, infrastructural renewal of this accumulated rot, a government which is undertaking more road rehabilitation projects than all the governments Adigun served combined? Is it the touted gubernatorial ambition of this former PS that has jaundiced his reasoning or, ab-initio, he is a case of over-celebrated nothingness that has deposited the previous Oyo State in its valley of hopelessness? A case in point is his “Distractions in governance, perfidy in Oyo State”, which bears striking Siamese resemblance to an earlier piece entitled “Disconnect in Oyo’s N50b bond”. Riddled with vain and incongruous self-glorification and what 19th century British writer, Oscar Wilde, in his De Profundis, called violence of opinion and epileptic fury, the piece lacks the sophistication of the office Adigun occupied. First, he used the occasion of

the piece to justify his gaffe of not being able to distinguish between a bond and a loan. His error of mind was justified by his reference to ex-Osun governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as having collected a bond from the market. Which is a mis-match. Does anyone have to be a finance expert to know that, all over the world, loans in themselves are not evil but their deployment? Great economies of the world are run on loans and bonds. The tragedy of borrowing is using short-term loans to finance long-term projects. Oyo State government is not implicated in this financial malfeasance. My allegation of naivety or mischief, or both, on the part of Adigun runs thus: First, the Oyo government, in building a fivestar hotel at Mokola, is doing that in partnership with an investor. Adigun has accused government of wastage of the bond fund on hotel. Can he pretend not to be abreast of the prevailing discourse and situation? Adigun wonders why government must build a housing estate. His argument falls under the inductive argumentative pitfall. Its analogy runs thus: Because a particular cookie is green and tasty, all green cookies are tasty. Because Lam Adesina and Ladoja, according to him, embarked on barren housing ventures, Ajimobi’s too would be barren. Even sophomore students of logic know that this is vacuous, tendentious and hyper epistemic. However, Ajimobi’s housing estates are conceived as a PPP and funds for the infrastructure on those estates, meant to be provided by government, are the ones built into the bond. Could it be that Adigun’s theorizations are anemic of facts or he is merely embarking on a highwire manipulation to earn the adulation of his co-travelers on this travel? The same suffices for

his denunciation of the circular road which he claimed he and Ladoja conceived, before his decamping to Alao-Akala’s side. This is being conceived as a PPP. Adigun doesn’t want Oyo government to build silos. His reasoning is that it is ‘puerile and infantile, which is amusing. Government did its research and discovered that in Oyo, the problem is not about agricultural production but wastage of produce during the season. The research confirmed that close to 70% of production during the year is wasted due to lack of storage. Government thus decided to arrest this wastage by constructing silos. This is in concert with the enhanced supply of farm inputs and the introduction of YES-O agriculture extension cadets from the state’s youth empowerment scheme. If the state expects more agriculture production because of these initiatives, it is imperative to address the problem of storage that has led to wastage in the past. I became a subject of Adigun’s misguided venom thereafter. Rather than reply him, however, I take his vituperation as my own modest recompense in the quest to make Oyo better. It is no wonder that Adigun has an aversion for the intellect. The governors he served were embarrassments to their minders in the public. In Oyo at the moment, we have a reversal of this seemingly intangible but significant milestone. Omololu Olunloyo makes peremptory reference to this. After him and Bola Ige, he says matter-of-factly, none of the governors who ruled Oyo State ever went to proper school until now. This reflects in the way outsiders view an indigene of the state. They believe that Tokyo or Auxiliary, breeds of governments that Adigun served, are the signposts of the knowledge base of Oyo State. In rebranding Oyo as the place

to be, we needed to tell the world that infrastructural renewal and a knowledgeable man at the driver’s seat are not mutually exclusive. Aside constructing over 200 roads, far more than Ladoja and Alao-Akala ever did combined, dualizing about seven roads in the state, building a fly-over, the last time this was done being 30 years ago, rehabilitating schools, some of whose pupils, until of recent, sat with chairs provided by the Bola Ige government, there is also the need for the public to have the feel that the Adigun-type governors have been incinerated in Oyo State. Adigun dwelled extensively on cants and sophistries. While in one breath acknowledging that there are so many construction projects ongoing in Oyo State as reflected in “inefficiency in project management” which he said had bred traffic chaos, he, in another breath, said nothing was being done in the state. The truth of our state at the moment is that the Adiguns, for more than a decade now, abetted the progressive decay of Oyo State and Ajimobi is unlucky to be the recipient of the residue of a state they brought to dilapidated state. No foundation did he meet but rot and a once glowing past. No template for good governance but mementos of bar room politics, otherwise known as amala politics and governmental heist. Unmaintained bridges are falling; un-swept dirt are mounting; haphazardly done roads are giving way and the more Ajimobi tries, the more the ridges of ineptitude of the Adigun years show their lacunae. But like a matador that he is, Ajimobi’s lingo is, backward to the Adigun years never, forward to the new Oyo State ever! • Dr. Adedayo is Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s Special Adviser on Media.



To say the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), established 13 years ago, has suffered a chequered existence is clearly stating the obvious. But equally worrisome is the instability of tenure of the DirectorsGeneral as most of the agency’s bosses have had to leave office in rather controversial circumstances since inception. Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and Bukola Afolabi examine the issues


T is the dream of every qualified Nigerian to work at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), especially as the big boss calling the shots, but the irony is that many of those who have had the good fortune of sitting atop as the Director-General of that organisation have never had a smoothsail in their career thus far. There is a high turnover of DGs at the agency as controversies always trailed their tenure. They are either accused of not following due processes in the sales of government properties or are dealt with by powers that be, who try as best they can to manoeuvre the activities of BPE for their own selfish aggrandisement. Privatisation as nemesis of DGs As a company saddled with the responsibility of handling the privatisation of government’s properties, BPE had, in the past, handled the sale of government-owned companies like Daily Times, NITEL/Mtel, Ajaokuta Steel Company, NICON Insurance, Nigerdock, Delta Steel Company and Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON. The sale of these companies has been the nemesis of past DGs of the agency who have had to abruptly vacate their seats following different accusations and failure to perform their duties successfully. First, it was Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who, during former President Obasanjo tenure, was the head of BPE. During his tenure as the DG of BPE, el-Rufai was saddled with the responsibility of handling the sale of the moribund NITEL in 2002. Investors International London Limited, ILL, made initial attempt to buy the telecommunication company by offering $1.317billion but later defaulted when it failed to pay the price. Next, BPE, still under the leadership of el-Rufai, made further attempt to sell NITEL by engaging the service of Pentascope, a Netherlands-based company, to manage the company while at the same time preparing for its sale. Pentascope managed NITEL for two years but could not successfully carry out its sale. Instead, at the end of two years, Pentascope left behind billions of naira in debt. Other attempts were made to


Survival struggles of BPE helmsmen

privatise NITEL under el-Rufai leadership, but none were successfully carried out. One of those numerous attempts was in 2005 when Orascom Telecom, an Egypt based company, attempted to buy the company but failed in its attempt due to differences in the amount ($500million) which the Federal Government wanted to sell the company and the price ($256.5million) Orascom offered. Although NITEL was later sold to Transnational Corporation (Transcorp), a company formed by the former Director- General of Nigeria Stock Exchange, Prof Ndidi Okereke-Onyuike and some Nigerians at the cost of $500million in 2006, it never successfully turned around the fortunes of NITEL. Rather, it compounded the problems of NITEL as alleged internal scuffle hampered its smooth operation. In other words,

Mallam Nasri el-Rufai failed to successfully carry out the privatisation process but was allowed to finish his four-year tenure. After this, his tenure was not renewed. Mrs. Irene Nkechi Chigbue was the BPE DG from 2005 to 2009. Her tenure as the DG was also full of allegations that BPE, under her leadership, sold NITEL, Daily Times and ALSCOM at lower price to politicians. She was subsequently replaced by Dr Christopher Anyanwu, a law lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 2009 by late President Yar’Adua. Probably, Anyanwu had thought he would stay longer on the seat when, on assuming office, he said it would not be business as usual as he was not ‘ready to conform to Nigerian way of doing things,’ apparently referring to his de-

sire to change the negative ways things were being done in the agency. He began to realise the gigantic obstacles before him when some powers that be in the agency, who felt his coming to the agency would spell doom for their corrupt practices, began to put machinery in place to make sure he leaves the post. Though Anyanwu, to some people, could be credited for the transparent manner he operated, others, most especially those he had stepped on their toes, thought otherwise. But like a fated script, Anyanwu never lasted on the seat as he was removed within one year and was replaced by Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa. Reminiscing on the circumstances •Continued on Page 25

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2012 •Continued from Page 24 that led to his removal following series of allegations against him, he said, “Those allegations were malicious and unfounded. If they were not, that should have been the basis of accusing me, trying me and finding me guilty before any action will be taken. I am sure you were all witnesses to the fact that it was after the completion of the privatisation of NITEL that trouble broke out in the presidency, the BPE suspension, and then, I was disengaged. Ordinarily, such chains of events might be misunderstood or misinterpreted if you allow silence to be the order of the day.” Continuing, he said, “From the background that I came, I have been teaching all my life. First of all, I taught for 13years in the Law School and then another five years in the University of Nigeria. So, I was not schooled in the intrigues of putting public assets in any private hands without following the due process. As far as I was concerned, transparency was the order of the day. Report by Mohammed Adoke said in summary that ‘the privatisation of NITEL was transparently done and the procedures were strictly followed.” When Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa came on board, on August 11, 2010, just few days before her retirement, nobody thought her tenure would suffer the same fate like her predecessors. But her almost three years’ stint as DG was dogged with controversies over the sales of some government properties, notably the PHCN. The BPE, under Onagoruwa, signed a three-year $23.7million contract with Manitoba Hydro Electric Company of Canada to manage the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. This was done after National Council on Privatisation, NCP, had ratified the decision to privatise PHCN. Trouble began for Onagoruwa when the Ministry of Power refused to sign necessary documents which would have allowed the Canadian company to begin full operation. The Ministry hinged its refusal to sign the documents on the ground that BPE under Onagoruwa did not follow due process in selecting the company as well as failed to obtain a No Objection certificate from the Bureau for Public Prosecution. The development created a rift between the office of the VicePresident and the DG as the Vice-President who was the head of NCP expressed lack of confidence in the ability of BPE to handle such issues. Her trouble was further compounded when Power Grid, an Indian-based power company, further accused BPE of not following due process in selecting the preferred bidder in the deal. The company reportedly wrote a petition alleging that Manitoba had been selected before the financial bids were opened. Though BPE denied the allegation, its denial failed to hold ground as the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, made the situation more difficult when it wrote to the President requesting that it be allowed to select a new management contractor for TCN within 30days, which the President approved. Confirming that BPE did not follow due process in the sale of TCN, Reuben Abati, who is the spokesperson to the President, said, “The management contract in question is $23.6million,



BPE and its banana peels

• Anyanwu



which is above the threshold of BPE. For the BPE to go ahead and approve that contract simply means that due process was not followed. It is a matter of due process, a matter of best practise. The infraction was committed

by BPE.” Besides, Onagoruwa also had to contend with the governors of some states: Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo states who had accused her of not following due process in the selection of the

preferred bidder for the Benin Electricity Distribution Company. All these prompted the Senate to make resolutions some months ago to the president that Onagoruwa should be removed as BPE DG and the Senate’s Ad hoc committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation in its report, said Ms Onagoruwa was unfit to hold the position. Senator Uche Chuklwumerije said: “We recommended sanctions against key officials of the BPE but the President hasn’t done anything about it. It will get to a point of threatening him with impeachment. I will move the motion.” The report added that former Directors-General, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Dr Julius Bala and Mrs Irene Nkechi Chigbue, should be reprimanded by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), “for seeking approval directly from the president instead of the NCP, as stipulated in the Public Enterprises Act 1999.” Informed commentary by economic-cum policy pundits Expectedly, economic and policy pundits who have followed the drama surrounding the removal of the DGs thus far believe it is a sad commentary on the way the country’s public institutions are run. According to Mr. Bismark Rewane, Managing Director/ CEO, Financial Derivatives Company Ltd, he thinks the instability of tenure of office of the DGs is a problem of lack of structure in place. Also commenting on the issue, an economic analyst, Desmond Paul, said, “The problem of improper sale of public enterprise has been a big issue in Nigeria right from the beginning of the privatisation process. The sales were always tainted by scandals and their reversal is a serious indictment of the programme managed by BPE. It has been apparent to Nigerians all along that the sales were not transparently done. So many things were wrong about the process that led to the sale of public assets. Instead of the privatisation of the companies leading to resuscitation and successful operations of the companies, some of them were stripped of the assets by their buyers, with no efforts made to add value to them.” Insider’s perspective Giving fresh insight into the problem of tenure instability of the DGs, a former Deputy Director of BPE, Mr. Charles Osuji, in an exclusive interview with The Nation, said bad politics is at the centre of the crisis bedeviling the agency. Osuji, who spared no punches, said: “The problem with the BPE DirectorGeneralship is that apart from the first two Directors General, Dr. Shamsideen Usman and Mr. Bernard Veer under Dr. Hamza Zayyad when BPE was then TCPC, the rest of the DGs were appointed under the influence of one godfather or the other known nationally and even worldwide. The fact is that the DG, BPE’s appointment is for a term of four years renewable for another four years, if reappointed, making a maximum of eight years.” Expatiating, he said: “Hardly has anybody done eight years as DG of BPE. Once they appoint you over time your godfather becomes less powerful and another

set of god fathers take over and they kick you out. So, apart from the first two who were appointed on merit, the rest had been under one godfather or the other. That’s just the problem we have in BPE. “The appointment of BPE DG is at the mercy of the President and it’s up to those who have been so appointed over time and have been removed prematurely to operationalise their corporate governance. It is their right to go to court if they feel shortchanged but so far no one has done so.” “I think most agencies are under the same kind of condition, it’s the godfathers that rule everybody. Most agencies are run under that kind of circumstance but the problem is that BPE is so peculiar, maybe because it sell assets, federal government assets, you know and everybody is interested in one asset or the other. You know we haven’t had a system where somebody vows that I am heading this organisation and I am not going to determine who buys what. It is very difficult for the country. “No, no, no, one thing you have to understand is that the BPE as a body is very efficient, I don’t even want to go into the mechanism of how BPE does its job, it’s extremely efficient. Where the manpower is not there and that is very rare, it recruits from outside, from the best international practices.” The former staff at BPE while doing a comparative analysis of past leadership of the agency said the immediate past DG achieved less successes compared to her predecessors. Raising a poser, he queried, “In her three years spent in BPE, how much did she make, what privatisation did she do? She just sat down there thinking that the BPE job is a civil service job, it is not. It is a very proactive job, you don’t sit down and wait for things to happen. You make things to happen, you make government move, whether the will is there to privatise or not, you move.” Making oblique reference to Onagoruwa’s appearance at the Senate, Osuji asked rather rhetorically, “How can you cry before people? Is it an emotional thing there? You should show forth your acumen, show the stuff you are made of, how many women cry in the face of opposition? Even if the opposition is there, face it and then come back to real work. I don’t know sometimes they appoint those who cannot define privatisation without looking into a book, it’s wrong!” Any hope for BPE? The challenges at BPE notwithstanding, it is the view of many people that it is still redeemable. To these analysts, with the right mix of leadership and less interference from the powers- thatbe, the BPE will become a public institution that works. One of those who share this optimism is Osuji. “The future of BPE is fantastic,” he argues matter-offactly, adding: “It needs a strong leadership who can also withstand their own godfathers. Yes, get there by the influence of your godfather. But you should be able to tell your godfather this is the right thing to do and they respect you the more. There are lot of Nigerians who can run BPE.”




Mimiko unsettles Ondo PDP As Ondo State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continues to call the bluff of the party’s National Working Committee over the petition it instituted against Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s re-election, Dare Odufowokan takes a look at the current developments and reports that PDP leadership is bent on withdrawal of the petition against Mimiko and may stop at nothing to achieve it.


TRONG indications emerged during the week that the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its gubernatorial candidate during the October governorship election in the state, Barrister Olusola Oke, are still under severe pressure to withdraw the petition they filed against the declaration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko as the winner of the said election. Sources within the party said that contrary to recent public posturing by the party and its candidate, efforts are being made by the national leadership of the party to convince Oke and his supporters to discontinue the case they filed at the tribunal. “The party at the national level did not hide its opposition to our challenging Mimiko’s election. In fact, they made it very clear immediately he was declared winner that we are supposed to congratulate and accept him as the governor. Our leaders even congratulated him immediately, without consulting us. But when we insited on going to the tribunal, they kept mute but offered no support to us in any way,” the source said, adding, “But of recent, a fresh wave of pressure was mounted on our symbol, Barrister Sola Oke and the leadership of the party here in Ondo to discontinue the case. We have been invited to several meetings by both party elders and some eminent citizens of Ondo, all in the bid to stop our case. But we are unbendable. We cannot be cowed,” the senior member of the party in the state, who was also a former council boss in Ondo South senatorial district, said. The Nation learnt that the renewed pressure may not be unconnected with an equally renewed effort by Mimiko to convince the national leadership of PDP of his readiness to dump the Labour Party (LP) and return to the PDP ahead 2015 general election. Sources within the ruling Labour Party confirmed the planned return to the PDP by Mimiko and his political associates. The development, it was learnt, is part of a larger plan by Mimiko and some ex-governors in the South-West to form a coalition against the Action Congress of Nigeria in the zone. “The idea is that with the re-election of Mimiko as the governor in Ondo, there is a chance for the PDP to displace the ACN in the South-West if a

coalition is formed against the party ahead of the 2015 general election. This is why we are desirous of a return to PDP. “Of course, one of the conditions for our return, which the national leadership of the PDP, as well as the presidency, are very keen about, is the discontinuation of the case filed by the PDP in Ondo State against the election of the governor. There is no way we will return to the party and it will continue to seek our downfall at the election tribunal,” a close aide of the governor, who is also a former PDP state exco member, said. It was learnt that the state leadership of the party, which had before now disagreed with the national secretariat of the party in its assessment of the last gubernatorial election in the state, has made it clear that Governor Mimiko remains unwelcome in its fold. This position has pitted the Ondo state chapter of the party against some forces in Abuja believed to be the prime movers of the plot to get Mimiko back into the party at all cost. It would be recalled that the disagreement between Oke, a former national legal adviser of the party and Wadata plaza became public when the national secretariat of the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan congratulated Dr. Mimiko on his declaration as winner of the election in spite of an earlier statement by Ondo PDP, declaring the exercise as unacceptable. The statement by PDP’s Publicity Secretary in Akure, Wale Ozogoro, said the party noticed

Of course, one of the conditions for our return, which the national leadership of the PDP, as well as the presidency, are very keen about, is the discontinuation of the case filed by the PDP in Ondo State against the election of the governor.

misapplication of electoral guidelines in the gubernatorial election. “We are indeed convinced that justice will be achieved as we intend to seek same at the appropriate time. However, the party is not taken aback as to the comments of few individuals who feel that the party should not approach justice to seek redress. We want to put it on record that seeking justice at the appropriate quarter is part of the rule of law, which is the bedrock of democratic ethos . “We, therefore, want to avail ourselves of every available option under the law to seek justice and rekindle the hope and aspiration of all Ondo people that democracy built on fairness, equity, and justice can truly be achieved.” The party, however, urged its supporters to remain resolute, determined and keep faith with it and Chief Olusola Oke, saying it hopes to get justice through the court. True to its words, the party and Oke are now in the tribunal seeking to upturn Mimiko’s election. But reacting to the development, the party’s national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the party in Akure was on its own. “The party has taken its own position of not going to court by congratulating Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. We stand by our statement, it is the position of the NWC,” Metuh said. Sunday Nation gathered that several meetings have already been held to facilitate the withdrawal of the petition and the eventual return of the re-elected governor to the PDP as soon as possible. But the refusal of some leading figures in the party has reportedly scuttled the various attempts. Chief among the adamant leaders, sources claim, are Oke, former Governor Olusegun Agagu, exministers and former gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the party. However the pro-Mimiko members of the party are optimistic that the governor will have his way and join them in the party ahead of the 2015 general election. The group, which is being led by a former Senator in the state, said the party must look beyond individual interest and think of the advantages of having the incumbent governor within its rank. “Though it is not going to be an easy task, we think Mimiko is coming back to the party. Some people are trying to keep him out based on selfish reasons but we will rise above that. But for this tribunal issue, he would simply be here with us today. But that too can be taken care of given a little time,” the Senator said.





k c i s a y l On t i h l l i w man i m a L — n a m o w a –Pages 34 & 39





Kehinde Falode Tel: 08023689894 (sms)


Secrets for


skin By Kehinde Falode


•Elohor Aisien

•Lami Phillips •Continued on Page 29




•Continued from Page 28

Beauty tips for

Christmas By Ariyo Ibironke

•Funlola Aofiyebi-Raheem

•Gbemi Olateru -Olagbegi •Funlola Aofiyebi-Raheem

•Wunmi Bakare




Tips for flawless

makeup application this xmas!

•Pick foundation wisely

•Tonto Dike


•Stella Damasus

•Find your shade





An international photo model who recently returned to Nigeria to setup shoes and human hair stores, Rosbarbara O. Abang, reveals her favourite things to Kehinde Falode

Favourite perfume Kelly Hermes, Chanel-coco sensual & Issey Miyake


Favourite wrist watch My 9800 Euros Pategi Philips wrist watch 3

Favourite bag My Crocs skin Hermes bag (6800 Euros). It will take you three years to get your order


Favourite shoes Rene Caovilla, Valentino & Giuseppe Zanotti


Favourite bra Push up


Favourite ring Diamond & white gold


Favourite drink White


Favourite Nigerian designer Toju Foyeh





Favourite neck accessory Tiny necklace


Favourite food Sushi









Tel: 07029013958



My relationship with Goldie —Prezzo expensive music video shot in Kenya till date? My video for P.R.E.Z.Z.O was the most expensive video ever done in East Africa at that time (2006). But as time went by, people upped their game, so I've always tried to raise the bar in show biz from landing from a helicopter for my shows and trendsetting. It's healthy for competition Let's just say Big Brother was an experience and a half, God had his reasons for putting me in there. I am just grateful to Him and the fans that kept me in the house to the very last minute. All said and done, I am trying to move away from the whole BBA hype. I have a lot of music to present to the fans out there and that's where my energy is focused right now. How does it feel being a 'One Campaign Ambassador'? Being a One Campaign Ambassador is a true blessing. Our continent is suffering from poverty and malnutrition. So I am just privileged to be a part of that movement and would like to make the necessary changes that need to be made to see our continent prosper. What was it like growing up on the streets of Eastleigh? Growing up in the streets of Eastleigh was like attending the school of hard knocks and I believe it's always good to experience both sides of life. That way you get to appreciate people and life in general. Eastleigh taught me how to survive and withstand life's hustle. Is it true that you dreaded Mathematics as a student? Yes! Mathematics was a big problem for me at some point in my school days. But the reason for this was the fact that I never saw eye to eye with my Maths teacher (Mr Woods). But all that changed as the years went by. Why did you run away from home at 16?



Jackson Ngechu, popularly known as CMB Prezzo, was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in the 80's. He grew up in the streets of Eastleigh where he started his music career. Prezzo became a fans' delight in Kenya at the turn of the 21st Century. He describes his early years as being hectic, especially going to school, which, according to him, was not one of his favourite things to do. The talented Kenyan, who won the hearts of Nigerian fans for his sizzling romance with Goldie while in the BBA House, opened up on his relocation to Nigeria, why he ran away from home at the age of 16 and other issues in this interview with AHMED BOULOR. OW did your family receive your plan to relocate to Nigeria? My family has always believed in me. So they were very supportive when I told them about my plan to relocate to Nigeria. It was a tough decision to take, but I had to take the decision because of my career. Kenyans and Nigerians would love to know why you took the decision to relocate to Nigeria… I made the decision to relocate to Nigeria because I needed to change my sound from what we are used to in East Africa. Change is always good, as long as you change for the better. I guess you miss your daughter, being away from her. I definitely will miss my daughter. She comes first in all that I do. But the distance between Kenya and Nigeria isn't that much. I'll be shuttling between the two countries whenever necessary. Is Goldie one of the reasons you relocated to Nigeria? Goldie is not the reason for my migrating to Nigeria. She's a beautiful person, and only God knows what's ahead. But I leave everything to Him. Do you have any plan to collaborate with Goldie on a song? I would love to work with Goldie. I think it will be one big collaboration to offer. We have a huge fan base across Africa, and I am sure they will love to hear something from us. Then again, I believe if it is meant to be, then, it'll be soon. What's your impression about the Nigerian music industry? I salute the Nigerian scene, hence me wanting to be a part of it. They've come a long way and they are very aggressive in what they do. I also love the professionalism by the artistes, media and fans. Do you think relocating to Nigeria would give your music career the needed boost? Most definitely, moving to Nigeria would give my music career a great boost because I'll be on my toes and I've learnt a lot in these few months that I've been here. Working with EL Emcee has been a great experience. Big shout out to him! What is it like being a neighbour of Don Jazzy? Well, it is a blessing to have a top producer such as Don Jazzy as my neighbour. I respect his hustle; he has skills. Would you consider working with Don Jazzy in the future? I would love to work with Don Jazzy. Without a doubt, I believe that working with him will elevate me as an artiste and put me exactly where I should be, "on top". Is the video, P.R.E.Z.Z.O still the most


When I ran away from home at 16, I was just being a teenager displaying my youthful exuberance. I wanted some freedom or wanted to "live a little". I believe most of us have to go through it; it is part of growing up. How did your first album Naleta Action perform in Kenya? My album Naleta Action did very well. We sold out all the copies and had more demand. All praise to the Most High. The album was a breakthrough of some sort. You are also the only Kenyan to have made it to the Big Brother finals… True, I am the only Kenyan that got to the finals in the Big Brother Africa reality show. I believe I was born to be an entertainer, hence my entertaining and surviving eviction for three long months. Again, all praise to the Most High. I want people to know that you can be whatever you want to be in life. All you have to do is to decide how bad you want it. Putting God first in all you do is important too. Is it true that your mum also featured in one of the songs on the album? Yes! My mother featured in my album, she had an interlude to show her support and also bless her son's album.

When I ran away from home at 16, I was just being a teenager displaying my youthful exuberance. I wanted some freedom or wanted to "live a little". I believe most of us have to go through it; it is part of growing up

Rita Dominic wins again!


012 has no doubt been a wonderful year for light complexioned actress Rita Dominic. After a brief hiatus from the film industry, the actress returned to the silver screen this year, and has clearly had a good year. In April, she went home with the AMAA Award for Best Actress in a leading role for her effort in Shattered. Barely a week after, she was named most stylish actress at the FAB awards in Lagos, Nigeria. Rita Dominic was yet again announced a big winner (Actress of the Year) at the fourth edition of the Kalasha film and Television awards, held recently in Kenya. The University of Port Harcourt Theatre Arts graduate emerged Best Actress for her performance in the Kenyan film Shattered. “I dedicate this award to God for his mercies, the media for their immense support, my team for their continuous sustenance, and making me believe that the sky is just a starting point, “she stated.

Monalisa Chinda wins big in Germany


N recognition of her distinct roles and diverse works of advocacy, Nollywood star actress Monalisa Chinda has added another set of awards to her trophy cabinet. The fair-skinned actress was honoured in far away Germany as she was announced winner of the Adler Awards ( and NEGA (Nollywood EGolden) Awards respectively. The award is presented to carefully selected Africans who have shown the greatest promise of contributing to human well-being, through the application of their intellect and knowledge towards the development of their communities. The prestigious Adler Awards was held in Bonn, Germany on December 1st, while the NEGA Awards which celebrates th creative talents took place on the 8 of December. Meanwhile, Monalisa has also been busy putting together an eccentric Christmas Dance Production which will be unveiled soon.





You won't be too far from the truth if you say she's blessed and lucky. Barely two years on the Nigerian music scene, the brand Lami, is fast penetrating into the hearts of music lovers. Popular among her works are Know featuring MI, and Ori Mi Wu featuring Ice Prince. With an impressive debut album, Intuition, the neo-soul singer and song writer is already planning to release her sophomore come 2013. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, the UN and Oxfam Ambassador recalls her experience in the journey of creating the brand Lami. She also talks about love and Christmas.

Only a sick man will hit a woman —Lami O

BVIOUSLY, you are a very busy person. How do you manage to combine work with music?

Right now I'm helping my family out with some stuff. I guess I just have a good team. I have a good team of people around me, so it makes my life a lot easier. And then we try to prioritise, and we pray. We pray a lot. God is the centre of everything we are doing. So it helps and eases the stress. It seems you prefer live performances to commercial music. Is it deliberate and why? It is deliberate. And the way I feel about it is that, with the type of music that I do, I feel like I will be cheating my fans or my audience doing what they have already heard on the CD. And maybe because I didn't grow up in Nigeria, all the shows and concerts I paid for were live. Even if they did contemporary music or they did pop music or rap, it was always live. Maybe not with a live band, but they tried as much as possible to make it a different experience. So I feel like, if you are coming to watch Lami, it should be an experience for you and not just, 'yeah, nice song.' I try as much as possible to flip the script on a lot of the songs, re-arrange it and make it interesting for myself. A lot of times, when you're pushing a single, you are performing the same song in different places, you get bored. So you need to make it interesting for yourself. So you need to ginger yourself up just a little. But how do you become popular if you don't do commercial songs? I think that's with every country. And that's why it's called pop music, which is just a short term for popular. Things like that, if you look at Rihana, and you compare Rihana to Adele, you'll see that they are two different plans and that's why people are really pushing Adele. They are very excited that there is something different that you can hear. And that's why Nigerians were so excited when Asa appeared on the scene. So you will find that nine out of ten, it is popular music that tends to be popular. But I'm the odd person in that ten. I'm number ten.

People like me; I'm just blessed to have people support what I do. And back to the live music, truth of the matter is when I'm on stage and I hear live instrument, it just makes me excited. It makes me want to push harder. It's just how I am. It's not a deterrent or criticism on other people or how they perform. What were you doing before you came into music? And how did music start for you? I was studying. I think if we say professional music, it probably started eight years ago. But I started singing in front of people when I was eight. I started writing when I was ten. And I thought it was a joke. But my siblings always remind me about stuffs I did when I was younger, and how I said I was going to send music to Walt Disney himself, and how I was going to write for Disney. So somewhere in me, I think it was always there. And obviously when I started college, a lot of people, my music teacher, my chapel teacher, everybody kept saying, Lami you are going to be on MTV one day. You are going to be on MTV you know. And somehow, we just moved from there. And when I decided that this is something I actually love, I started taking vocal lessons, adlibbing lessons, learning how to do back-in-vocals, on my own track, working with different producers from different backgrounds. So for all my tracks, I'm doing my back-in-vocals. So all those little things, little steps have helped me to be where I am. For your debut album Intuition, I think Nigerians didn't get to feel the brand. However, for your sophomore, billed to drop in 2013, I hope you will give us one or two danceable tracks? Yes. Let me say this for the debut album, Intuition, I was blessed to be surrounded by people who were already established. People like elDee, MI, Sound Sultan and Banky W. They were people who were around me and helping me to find my feet in Nigeria. So, in a sense that I keep saying that album was skeptofriendic because there are different personalities on that album. There were some danceable tracks, but clearly, we pushed the ones that were more

clearly Lami-kind of music. But for this one, you are going to have danceable tracks, I promise. However, the thrust of the music and the lyrics will still be very me. So you are not going to hear- take your clothes off all my sexy ladies in the building. Luckily for me, the second song, Titilailai, is a very funk-soul. It's danceable and very groovy. It's not Azonto, but it is funk-soul. A lot of people have said it's danceable. It's quite interesting to grove to. At the end of the day, what I keep telling people is that you cannot sell what you don't have. And I am not a pop artiste. I don't want to be a pop artiste. I love the people who are doing what they do. If I go out with my friends and we are listening to pop music, fantastic! Right now, I'm feeling K9's Kokoma. That's the song that I'm feeling. It's easy for me to get into that. Just like Omawunmi doesn't do pop music, but does stuff that you still want to dance to. You just have to identify who you are and make that work for you. What does Christmas mean to you, and what are your plans for the yuletide? Christmas for me is family. It's my parents wedding anniversary on Christmas Day. It has always been the tradition for us to be together, eat and eat and laugh. So I look forward to taking time off, even though Christmas is like the busiest month for us artistes. At the same time, Christmas Day and the Christmas season is about family and love. You are an Oxfam Ambassador, alongside Tuface and Sound Sultan. What does it mean to be an Oxfam Ambassador and what are the challenges? Okay, I would say this. I am a UN Envoy and Ambassador. And what the UN Envoy position basically means is that you have almost an official role. They entrust certain projects or initiatives with you. And one of the initiatives that I came across in the process last year was the Art for Africa Project, a project under the Oxfam Charity. Now Oxfam is an international body. They are big. So when they said they wanted to work with Lami, I was like hey! With Tuface and Sound Sultan, I was like little me? First and foremost, I was totally humbled by the UN Ambassadorship and the Oxfam Ambassadorship, as well as working with Tuface and Sound Sultan. It's really funny because they are two totally different people and they are crazy. But we've been working on a project for ending famine in Africa. There was a famine in East Africa that killed too many children and women. And what we are trying to do is enlighten other African countries, or even Nigeria, about the need to re-strategise agriculture in different countries. We need to move away from processed foods and make sure that people are growing tomatoes, carrots and things like that in their homes, to make sure the people are not hungry. If we do not do that, if the government doesn't pay attention to that, in the next five years, God forbid, we are going to have the same situation as we have in East Africa.

So that is basically what we are doing. We are drawing awareness to that issue. So that is it. Anytime you see anybody becoming a UN Ambassador, people tend to wonder how. I'm privileged to be a UN Envoy, not just an Ambassador. It's really a pretty big deal for me. It's a big accolade and I'm quite humbled. Being a female artiste in Nigeria, what are some of the challenges you face? That's like a completely different story. You need to talk to me for like a whole day. We have to cross so many more hurdles than the men do. We have to spend much more money because, guess what, I gat to do my hair, I gat to do make-up, what else do I have to do? And a guy can just wear his pair of jeans and T-shirt, and go for high-class event. But for us, it's a tall order in terms of your branding. And in terms of just finding your space in the industry, you will find that most of the time, when you are listening to the radio, they say, 'it's so, so, and so show. Billed to perform are MI, elDee, Banky W'. It's the same people and it's always guys. But you know, I'm quite proud that we have some pop female artistes coming up. Tiwa is doing a fantastic job; Storm Records is doing a good job with Sasha. She's a great person also. We have Omawunmi, Waje. Right now, I think the women are kind of gaining ground. I think we are gaining ground. The other day, Omawunmi updated her BB on how she was in Durban and how she sang in front of a lot of people. I can't remember what was happening, but I was proud. You know what I mean; it's really nice for me to see females doing big things. Tiwa Savage is on the cover. She's on the trailers with Pepsi. And that's so cool! We are moving. We are getting there. As you said, Storm Records is doing well with Sasha. What record label are you signed onto? I'm on Jesus Record label (laughs). The truth is we've been talking to different labels, and I'm not an up-andcoming artiste by the grace of God. So if I'm going to sign with any label, it is more of me making sure that I'm still in control of my content. I'm still in control of my brand, and in a sense, my sound. So we are still talking to some labels. We've been talking for like four, five months back and forth. But while that is happening, I'm busy. I'm doing different things. There are talks. Let me just leave it that way. Let me not say what I'm not permitted to. When you came on the music scene, your clique were the big acts in the industry. How did it happen? Luck! God! I think, first thing first, I didn't wait to meet big people to start working. I was in the studio with OJB for about three months, just working, trying to get a feel of what was happening in Nigeria. And a friend of mine, Cecile Amond, who is the CEO of Flytime Entertainment, just said, 'Lami you know what? There is a guy I want you to work with, his name is MI'. He's actually very good. And things kind of snowballed into each other. You know once you start hanging around; you meet the other person and the other person. Luckily, they liked what I was doing. Till now, elDee is like my brother. I just saw him like 30minutes ago. People, like Sound Sultan; they are like my mentor, because they've been around for years. To be honest with you, the answer to that question is that, I was blessed. I never had a ground scheme. I think God just kind of made sure things worked out for me. And this will sound really wishy-washy.

To me it's a sickness. I don't think any man should hit on a woman and vice versa. Instead, break something, hit the wall. But to beat each other, that is just hard abuse

Entertainment But if you are good at what you do and God is involved, you will be okay! I don't think you will come across Sound Sultan, Tuface, and they will tell you they don't pray. They pray. This thing is not easy. There is a great price to pay for what we do on a daily basis; God, hard work and talent. Put those three things together, and you should be fine. There is the challenge of being a female artiste and there is also the challenge of being a married female artiste. Can you tell us about both? (Laughs) Wow! again, the credit, I think, goes to God, because my husband was one of the first people to tell me that I needed to do this professionally. He was the first person to tell me I needed to stand in front of the crowd. He was the first person to tell me to look into writing. He said, 'your writing is really good'. So I am thoroughly blessed in that regard, because I don't have to explain why I am doing what I'm doing. And having somebody like that around me, it's like somebody saying, 'you are a bird, fly'. As opposed to somebody saying, 'you are bird, be a fish'. And in Nigeria, I realise that women are not as celebrated by their husbands as they should be. So I appreciate my husband, because he's spectacularly awesome. He has called me like three times today, 'how was that interview, did it go well?' And you know that also keeps me in check. The good thing about it is, most of my male friends in the industry know him. In the end, he becomes closer to them even than I am. They see him and say Oga Chief. And they hail themselves and whatever. And if he's worried about something, he can call them and say, 'you know what? I'm not sure this decision is right, what do you think? So I'm just lucky. And I have a good team. I have a really good team. My family is superb. My mum is my fan. When I'm out in a newspaper or in a magazine, she buys like 50 copies and gives them out to all her friends. And my dad has taught us to be professional about anything we do. If you are a musician, be a professional. Don't just treat it like a hubby. Do it and do it properly. Me, I'm just blessed. I can't even say 'oh this what Lami did that makes it work'. Your new single, But You, like most of your songs, centers on love. Tell us about this thing called love I love love! (Laughs) I've known my husband for about fifteen years. We've been friends for a long time. And we've gone through different phases. I find that these days a lot of women and men are just interested in getting married. When you get married, outside the wedding, there is a marriage. And these days, we don't pay attention to that. And that marriage is like a PhD course. It is tough. It is hard. It takes being with the right person. It takes you being humble and wise. And I realise that around me, there are so many problematic issues. People do not believe that love exists. So for me, selfishly, I sometimes sing these songs for myself, to remind me of how I feel about love and how it should be, and to also remind people about how it should be. The kind of love that you sing about appears to be like a fairytale kind of love… There is no fairytale love. But there is meeting the person that you want to walk with for the rest of your life. And that doesn't mean it's always going to be easy. But it makes sense when it's with the right person. Marriage is a life-long friendship. It's gangster. Two of you just have to figure it out. In But You, I'm saying, I don't need jara, you are enough for me. Like my dad would say, people who leave one marriage to go to another, how do you know the person you are going to meet is better than the person you left? Until of course he's hitting you or something like that, you shouldn't be involved in that. Let me just put that disclaimer out there, I do not support that. But if you're friends, I think you can work it out. What do you do if hitting you is the only flaw? No man should ever hit a woman, never! I do not support that. Ain't nobody gonna be hitting me, no way! My father didn't kill me. So why should you go to somebody's house and they would be battering you, no way. That is just wrong. To me it's a sickness. I don't think any man should hit on a woman and vice versa. Instead, break something, hit the wall. But to beat each other, that is just hard abuse. What's your regular day like, from dawn to dusk? I don't have regular days. I don't even think there is anything regular about my days. My days are just colourful. Funny enough, the days I think are calm, are the ones…like today, we've been busy, but it's not stressful. Some days are supposed to be calm, but then random things happen. The other day, we couldn't find petrol. Another day my ATM card wasn't working, random things that just change the direction of your day. But I do a lot of talking to my friends, talking to my family. I love watching cartoons. I do not like clubbing much, because in Nigeria, it's the same songs back-to-back. If I'm in a club, I already know the ten songs they are going to be rotating. So that is not fun for me. But most of the time, I'm on my sofa, gisting with my sisters and we are just yarning about anything.


Desmond Elliot, others in Escape to Africa


LOCK buster movie from award winning producer, Daniel Moore, titled, Escape to Africa, will be premiered in the first quarter of 2013 in Nigeria. The movie which features some of the best talents in acting across the nooks and crannies of Africa has been rated as one of the best from this clime. The film, which features established names in Nollywood, Ghollywood, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Gambia, has its main plot set in Sierra Leone's Freetown but with sub-scenes taken in Great Britain. Nollywood actor, Desmond Elliot, plays Paul Barnes, a runaway fraudster and murderer. Barnes in an attempt to escape the long arm of the law flees to the bustling city of Freetown. Sierra Leone's highest paid movie star, Jimmy B, plays the role of Oumar, a bar waiter who lures a European returnee, Miatta Bull (Mabinty Kamara), into a relationship, with the plan to jilt her the moment she takes him to Europe. The storyline was taken from her perspective and she was the narrator, revealing the ordeals she went through, at the same time telling the story of millions of ladies like her. Asides exposing the ills of crime and how it is executed, the movie also highlights HIV, from the stages of transmission, discrimination and rehabilitation. While entertaining its audience, Escape to Africa's underlining message is also a resounding “crime doesn't pay”.

Stella Damasus appointed NDLEA Ambassador


OR the first time, the National Law and Drug Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has appointed sultry actress, Stella Damasus, and singer Yinka Lawanson, otherwise known as Lamboginny, as its ambassadors. Speaking during the official unveiling of the new ambassadors at the NDLEA headquarters in Lagos recently, the Director General of the agency, Dr. Femi Ajayi, said Stella and Lamboginny were painstakingly picked for the honour due to their outstanding positive impacts on youths and the society at large. Stella, according to Dr. Ajayi, has been inspiring the youths with her many activities and projects, while Lamboginny has equally proved to be a worthy ambassador, not just with his music, but with his Say No To Crime projects. “Having said this, it is our pleasure to appoint them as our ambassadors, hoping that they will continue with the good work and help reach out to the youths,” the NDLEA DG noted.


DECEMBER 16, 2012


Ronaldo's gal dazzles with super-model body Mary Onyali-Omagbemi

'Even at


men still toast me'


Gerrard's wife shows off killer legs



NATION SPORT & STYLE SUNDAY, December 16, 2012




BEACH MODE Ronaldo's gal dazzles with super-model body in a black bikini and tiny denim shorts



T seems that even in her down time Irina Shayk is never off duty. The supermodel was seen strutting down the sand as she hit the beach in Miami. The stunning 26-year-old showed off the body that made her worthy of the cover of Sports Illustrated, wearing a black bikini top and a pair of tiny studded denim shorts. Irina accessorised the simple yet sexy ensemble by wearing a bright red cap on her head and carried a pair of flip flops in her hand. The raven-haired beauty let her natural good looks shine though by wearing no make-up on her complexion. Joined by a male friend, Irina was this time not joined by her famous footballer beau Cristiano Ronaldo. But it may well be that Irina and Ronaldo will become more than just boyfriend and girlfriend soon. The Sun recently reported the Real Madrid player might be getting ready to drop down on one knee and ask his Russian girlfriend to be his wife. The couple have been dating for several years now, and even though Cristiano has a two-year-old son through a surrogate mother, he recently dropped hints that he might want to have another child with his stunning girlfriend. 'For now, what I want is to be a good father to my 2-year-old son,' the footballer said, adding that he wants 'one or two more children' in the future, but 'that will depend on many things'. However Irina might be more focused on her career at the moment. She's venturing into presenting work and is currently hosting her first season of Russia's Next Top Model. Speaking to Page Six, the beauty said she's having a hard time watching herself on TV. 'I am very critical to myself. When I watch the show, I am like, "Oh my God, what am I talking about? I should not say that,"' the model judge said. 'It's very hard to see myself on TV judging someone else because I am a

Steve Gerrard's wife shows off her killer legs in a barelythere sequin dress


HE was attending a festive luncheon hosted by her PR manager, but Alex Gerrard was evidently keen to be the centre of attention as she stepped out on Friday. The 30-year-old WAG made sure to don her shortest party frock and put her best assets on display as she headed out for a meal at Gusto restaurant in Liverpool's Albert Docks. Showcasing her toned and tanned pins in a barely there minidress, the wife of Liverpool FC footballer Steven Gerrard showed off her fashion credentials in her sexy stud and sequin ensemble. Although the mother-of-three's tiny frock did

little to keep her warm in the freezing winter weather, Alex sensibly chose to protect herself against the cold by wrapping up in a dramatic black fur coat. Alex completed her Christmas party look with a black leather clutch bag and stud detail heeled ankle boots, which added even more height to her seemingly endless legs. The blonde bombshell opted for dramatic smokey eye make-up, while her long locks flowed in loose waves around her shoulders. Alex certainly seemed excited about the prospect of enjoying a rare day off from her mothering duties. It's been a busy week of partying for the socialite, who is mum to Lilly-Ella, eight, Lexie, six, and Lourdes, one. Earlier this week, Alex attended a festive bash hosted by Liverpool's popular Cricket boutique alongside fellow WAGs Coleen Rooney and Sheree Murphy. And she was evidently keen to ensure she looked her best for the party by putting in a work-out session before the event.

GLAMOROUS WAG Sylvie van der Vaart campaigns for Dutch lingerie brand Hunkemoeller


ESPLENDENT in black and red lace and surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts, Sylvie van der Vaart is the epitome of festive glamour in her latest shoot for Dutch lingerie brand Hunkemoeller. The Dutch model, 34, smoulders through a variety of poses wearing little more than knickers and a basque. The wife of Hamburger SV midfielder, Rafael van der Vaart, Dutch model Sylvie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 but, following treatment, is now cancer free. As a result, the WAG has been able to resume her TV and modelling career, and is now the face of Dutch lingerie brand, Hunkemoeller. She made her debut for the brand at August's Berlin Fashion week, where Hunkemoeller's swimwear campaign was first unveiled. Since then, the model has kept a low profile to focus on her move from London to

Germany with husband Rafael. Her spectacular return to form comes in spite of the gruelling treatment she had to undergo to see off breast cancer. The mother of one underwent surgery and six months of post-operation chemotherapy, which resulted in the loss of her famous long blonde locks. After having her head shaved, the model wore wigs until husband Rafael persuaded her to go without while appearing on the German version of Let's Dance. Her bravery made headlines around the world, with the WAG commenting: 'All the luxuries in the world are no protection against that moment when you are told the diagnosis. Then you are just a woman. 'For me, it was as if a bomb had gone off under our lives. Whether you are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, young or old, cancer knows no boundaries.'

STILL SMITTEN Lewis, Scherzinger dazzle at film premiere T

HEY have been seen together just a handful of times in the past few months.

But with the X Factor winner decided, triumphant judge Nicole Scherzinger finally has some time to spend with her boyfriend Lewis Hamilton. The pair looked closer than ever as they attended the Jack Reacher premiere in Leicester Square. Nicole, 34, and her F1 racing beau were seen staring into each others' eyes as they hugged on the red carpet. Lewis, 27, looked delighted to be spending some time with his girlfriend, who

has been busy with the reality show since she joined the judging panel in June. The 34-year-old singer looked suitably stylish for the event in a demure black dress. The Zeynep Tosun garment boasted satin panels and quilted detail, cut out shoulders and a metal bow embellishment around her neck. Nicole teamed the dress with a pair of black peep toe heels and a snake-print clutch bag and she had her dark tresses pulled up into a tight bun. After leaving the premiere the glitzy couple moved on to in vogue restaurant Zuma for some Japanese cuisine. And clearly keen to explore her fashionable side, Nicole took the opportunity to change for the latenight meal.

Eko 2012 fallout

Team Gombe counts gains, losses T

HE 18th National Sports Festival may have ended, but while some states are still counting their gains, others are counting their losses. For Team Gombe, it is mixed feelings finishing third from the bottom, as they take solace in the prospect the team exhibited at the most prestigious sporting fiesta in Nigeria as they look forward to the next edition in Eket. Team Gombe arrived Lagos venue of the just concluded National Sports Festival (NSF), Eko 2012 beaming with so much confidence, enthusiasm and expectations, but little did they know that their expectations would not be fully met. In the same vein, however, coming from a dismal outing in the 17th edition in PortHarcourt, with no medal to show and finishing last position, Team Gombe has improved to winning one silver and two bronze medals at the 18th edition, finishing in the 35th position on the final log. The athletes from all standards have not disappointed. Prior to the festival, the athletes enjoyed tremendous support from the government under the leadership of Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, and were committed to bringing honour to the state. Though they will not be going back to Gombe State with so many medals, some members of Team Gombe are of the view that they are simply a team for the future and a solid foundation has been laid at Eko 2012. As part of plans to develop sport in the state, the Gombe State Sports Commission hosted the North-West Zonal eliminations in team sports ahead of the festival in Lagos. The mini-sports festival featured five team sports, namely handball, basketball, volleyball, hockey and table tennis between September 17 and 22. Over 1,000 athletes attended the event as the state ensured it won slots to represent the region in virtually all the team sports at the festival. Although no structures were on ground before now, the sports commission is working assiduously to revive sports in the state in line with the directive given by the governor. This was responsible for the early release of funds both for the hosting of the zonal eliminations and the preparations for the festival. Monitoring the team during the festival in Lagos, admirably, they exuded discipline and self control in the various events they participated in. According to Manga Sali, Volleyball coach with Team Gombe, “We enjoyed the support of our sport-loving governor who never turned down any of our requests prior to the festival. Although we had to start from the scratch when this commission was created, we have been able to make significant progress. We have fashioned out a blueprint for sports regeneration and it will soon be handed over to the governor. “Now that the festival is ended, we will go straight into talent hunting. We will keep those who have potentials for winning medals in future and then scout for more talented ones to

replace the aging ones,” an official told The Nation Sport & Style. Collaborating, the basketball team captain, Gafaru Kabiru, who featured in his second sports festival after his debut at the 2004 edition in Abuja, blamed the team's early exit on ill-luck. The Gombe Bulls' point guard said, “One major problem we had was the time for our fixtures and the fact that we have players who were featuring in the sports festival for the first time. “With the experience we've garnered here, I'm positive we will win the gold at the next edition in Cross River.” According to The Nation Sport & Style findings, what the state have going for it is the developmental structure in sport, coupled with the presence of experienced sports administrators at the helm of affairs. The athletes had the best of treatments in terms of their welfare. Allowances were paid and equipment provided as at when due. With this, the athletes are determined to put the failure behind them and aim for a better outing at the next edition of the games in Cross River. The Gombe volleyball team narrowly missed out of being in the final when their smooth run was halted in the semi-finals, but the coach, Manga Sali, was not totally disappointed, saying he had a growing team that can dominate at the next edition of the games. Sali, who was confident his team could win the competition, said there was poor officiating in the games but admitted not only Team Gombe fell victims of the lapses. “We played in the semi-finals, and at that stage, it was either win or lose. We lost, but it wasn't because we were not good,” Sali said. He continued: “I have two internationally-rated players Abdulazeez Adamu and Mohammed Adamu who were in Nigeria's beach volleyball team. We also have Amu Chakuma, a national team centre. These players will definitely excel at the next edition of the sports festival because they are young and determined.”


•Onyali with family


IGERIA'S most decorated athlete, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, is a reporter's delight any day. A chance meeting at the Teslim Balogun Stadium at the just-concluded 18th National Sports Festival (Eko 2012) turned out to be a memorable one for this reporter, as the Olympian and former Team Nigeria captain opened up like she has never done before on her accomplished career and the unknown intimate details as well as her secret of wellness. Onyali, as she is widely known, may have turned 44 last February, but she is looking ravishingly beautiful with youngish, clean skin. Quickly digesting these facts as l stood before this living legend, l started from there: is it true you turned 44 in February, because you are not looking it? Letting out an easy smile, she answered: “Let's say it runs in the family because my mum was a beautiful woman and we don't age quickly in my family. Asides that, it is one of the things you also gain from active engagement in sport. I got into athletics very young and it was not until recently that l hung my spikes, so l was always training. That made me to maintain a good figure and youthful body. “ Yes! I celebrated 44 in February and l have two grownup children, but l thank God that life has been kind to me and wherever l go men still admire me. Up till now that l'm talking to you l still have admirers, mostly men who want to date me; but l am married to the most wonderful man on earth and committed to him, so such advances mean nothing to me. Usually, l calmly rebuff them without being snobbish.” Famous for winning bronze medals in the 4×100 metre relay at the 1992 Olympics Games and the 200 metre race at the USA '96 Games, Onyali says asides from her husband and children, her late mother would remain the best thing that ever happened to her. “I was raised by my mother after my father died at a tender age. Out of the four of us, I'm the eldest and as such a lot of responsibility was thrust upon me at an early age. But my mother taught me well. ”She did not deprive me of anything but encouraged me to take my education seriously, even when l wanted to do only athletics. At a point, she threatened to stop me from running when my grades went down and that decision made me to dig deeper. “Today, l'm happy that l listened to her. Without education, l wouldn't have gotten scholarship to study in the U.S. My mum was there for me when l needed her,” added Onyali-Omagbemi. Growing up without a father was hard enough, but Onyali proved to be a hard nut too tough to crack. She attended St John's Primary School, Olodi-Apapa, Lagos and was actively involved in various sports from youth. Her love for sports increased but took a toll on her education, forcing her late mother to make her discontinue participating in them. With no choice but to study hard in order to get back on the field, she focused on her studies,


'Even At 44, men still toast me' By Taiwo Alimi eventually made team captain and represented her school in inter-house sports where she excelled. Her international career kicked off in 1984 when she competed in Cairo, Egypt where she emerged second in the 200m race. She was later offered free admission into the Texas Southern University. In 1986, she participated in the World Junior Championships in Athens, winning a silver medal in the 200m race. Six years later, in 1992, Onyali and her fellow runners Beatrice Utondu, Faith Idehen, and Christy Opara-Thompson came in as third place in the 4 X 100 relay race at the Olympics. She quit running almost a decade ago, and now works as a consultant while operating her sportswear manufacturing outfit Yali Yali Enterprises in Houston, Texas. OnyaliOmagbemi speaks on other issues. Excerpts... Growing up and athletics I was very restless and athletic as a kid and that made me to join the athletic team in primary school. At Amuwo Grammar School, Ojo, Lagos l met people who motivated my love for athletics and that made me to get more involved. In fact, l became too involved that it affected my class works since l was always on the track. That was when my mother stepped in and threatened to stop me from running unless l took my class works more seriously. So, getting my grades up became my priority. And that helped me to secure scholarship in the U.S. My husband and l I met my husband on the track. We were actually teammates

“I met my husband on the track. We were actually teammates under Coach Tobias Igwe but at that time we were not dating, just good friends”


under Coach Tobias Igwe, but at that time we were not dating, just good friends. As God would have it, we left Nigeria for the U.S around the same time and it was at the university that we started going out. From that moment we realised we could not hide our affection for each other again and decided to get married. We are having a good time together and blessed with two wonderful kids. My husband has been a source of encouragement to me and my career. When I had to train and compete during my active days he was there for our children, especially my daughter, and l thank him for it. My Style I'm not the crazy type when it comes to designer wears. I don't care about names as long as l like the fabrics. I am beginning to feel quite comfortable in women gown now that l am in retirement and more into the business of marketing. Sometimes you have to wear trendy things at functions, so l'm getting down to it, otherwise l am a trousers freak because I got attached to it as an athlete for many years. I have particular interest in shoes and handbags and l can buy them for any price once l like them. I love good , shoes with high heels, well balanced on my feet and on the ground. Most of the shoes I wear cost from N100, 000 and above, while for bags it costs between N150, 000 and N200,000. My mood and occasion define my fashion sense. If l'm going for a cocktail party, l could dress up in lovely gown but when l am attending a sports occasion, I go sporting, go for jeans and shirt or T-shirts. Eko 2012 and athletes' welfare Having a biennial sports festival is a step in the right direction, but we need to do more for the athletes in terms of welfare. The athletes are hungry; they need basic amenities to be able to do well. They are looking for good food, food supplements and financial support to compete at both national and international levels. Let everything work out well from the grass roots for the athletes. I mean from the ward level, to the local government and then to the state/zonal level before they can get to the National Sports Festival level. Some people do mistake the National Sports Festival for an avenue to discover talents from the grass roots; it is not so as far I am concerned. Grassroots is when you have athletes brought up from the Local Government Areas and eventually got to the sports council where they are well groomed for them to compete for their respective states and from there to a big stage such as the National Sports Festival. There are so many steps, so, we need to be more organised in developing talents that abound in the country. I want to see the athletes discovered last year at Rivers 2011 perform better here. That is how to monitor an athlete's standard. The standard should be higher than what we witnessed last year for me to know they are really working on these athletes. I want to see the athletes compete from the junior, intermediate to the senior cadre at the National Sports Festival that would enable us to raise the standard of our athletes. It must be a well-structured programme to get an athlete who can get to international reckoning.





Kenny Ogungbe becomes RayPower MD


ALL it an end of the year gift and you won't be wrong. As you are reading this, Kennis Music Boss, Kenny Ogungbe, would have assumed his new position as the Managing Director of RayPower FM Network and FAAJI 106.5FM. The Proprietors of DAAR Communications Plc, operators of RayPower FM Network, Africa Independent Television (AIT) Network & Global Satellite, DAARsat and FAAJI 106.5FM, made this known recently through Johnson Onime, Director, Corporate Communications & Planning. Mr. Kenny Ogungbe, an Alumnus of Southern University, New Orleans and Southern University, Baton Rouge, both in Los Angeles in the United State of America (USA) where he obtained both his Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and Masters Degree in Mass Communications respectively, was the pioneer Assistant General Manager of RayPower FM, a position he assumed on September 1, 1994. He succeeded the General Manager in 1995 and rose to become the Group General Manager of DAAR Communications Limited till 2000. In 2000 he veered into private production and entertainment practice with the establishment of Kennis Communications Limited, owners of Kennis Music Channel and Kennis Music International, as the Founder/Chief Executive Officer. He was also the Senior Partner of Prime Time Entertainment. He was appointed into the Board of DAAR Communications Plc in 2011. An accomplished broadcaster, he started his career in Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Abeokuta in 1979.

LL is set for this year's Musical Youth Fiesta billed to hold on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, at the Expo Centre, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. In a press briefing, held at the Rehoboth House, Herbert Marculay Way, the convener and chairman of the initiative, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, OON, in company with the Board of Trustees, which include Dr. (Mrs.) Stella Okoli, OON, Pastor Kunle Ajayi, Mrs. Tinu Aina-Badejo, and Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, formally announced the arrangement for the 2012 Musical Youth Fiesta Initiative (MYFI). The theme for this year's event is “Dare to be like Joseph”. Speaking on the reason for the theme, Oluremi said, “Joseph is an exceptional person in the Bible. He was a highly disciplined young man who turned down sexual advances from his master's wife despite all the benefits he stood to get. He is a young man of integrity. And for this reason we decided this year's theme to be “Dare to be like Joseph”. In like manner, we are encouraging every youth to dare to be like him.” The initiative, which has continued to receive the support of notable churches like Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries, The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Christian Pentecostal Mission (CPM), among others, according to the chairman, “Is conceived as an event of soul-stirring musical performances for youth, driven by the youth, in the best spirit of Christmas.” She further said: “performance is open to church groups, choirs, and even solo acts sponsored by a church.

•Senator Oluremi Tinubu (middle) flanked by the Board of Trustees

Musical Youth Fiesta gathers momentum …Senator Oluremi Tinubu promises exciting moment By Mercy Michael

The only condition is that the youth performing must fall between the age brackets of 7 and 21. Let me state that MYF is not a competition. However, performing acts and those who enter musical works will be given honorariums to assist the music ministries of their various churches, as a token of appreciation for their efforts.” In its second edition, the inaugural edition of MYF was held on 21 December 2011, and had its theme as

Lagos edition Monopoly boosts family entertainment

Chris Aire and Duncan Mighty part ways


FTER almost two years of a successful business partnership, watch maker and Hollywood jeweler, Chris Aire, and musician Duncan Mighty have amicably parted ways. Chris' and Duncan's relationship has been hugely successful. Leveraging his connections with music industry heavyweights worldwide, Chris was able to set Duncan up to record and perform with international music superstar Shaggy; shot and released several music videos for Duncan Mighty. Chris also enabled the inauguration of the Niger Delta Music and Art project which aims to scout several young artistes who are currently being groomed to be future stars like Duncan Mighty himself. According to Chris, the partnership has done exactly what it set out to do, and, as a result, Chris is now withdrawing to focus on his other businesses which take up a lot of his time. “This split also gives Duncan Mighty the chance to focus on his home career and continue to develop the young musicians under his tutelage. He is very talented •Duncan Mighty and I wish him all the best.”

“One Church”. Already, nine entries have been received for MYF 2012. No less than 5,000 youths and their chaperons are expected at the event. “The fiesta is a yuletide treat for youth. The gate is free, though those who wish to attend would have to come to this (Rehoboth House) office to collect their wristbands and meal tickets. The wristband admits and secures a gift bag for everyone attending,” Senator Oluremi Tinubu said.

•Nimi Akinkugbe presenting the City of Lagos Edition of Monopoly to Gov Babatunde Raji Fashola


ASHING in on the ambience of the yuletide, Bestman Games, on Tuesday, December 11 unveiled the Lagos edition of popular and age-long board game, Monopoly. By its very nature, Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO of the outfit, stated “Monopoly is a family game and it is hoped, will boost family entertainment this holiday.” Present at the launch of the

game, Development Director of the UK-based Winning Moves, Peter Griffin, described it as a remarkable and major milestone achievement on the African continent. “Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and it has such a rich culture and a rich heritage making it the perfect city for an edition of monopoly. We tried to capture the spirit of Lagos so we changed the

locations, companies and landmarks. The game affords players the opportunity to learn more about what makes Lagos the city it is today,” he said. Production of The City of Lagos edition of the game was facilitated by Bestman Games in partnership with the Lagos State Government via the Lagos State records and Archive Bureau, First Bank and Guarantee Trust Bank. Landmarks featured in the game include Civic Centre, City Hall, MUSON Center, the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Tinubu Square, Freedom Park, BRT Bus Terminals, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Tin-can Island, Iddo Terminal and Oshodi Heritage Park are all included in the Lagos version. The community and chance cards have also been modelled to local circumstances to teach people, especially children about critical institutions like LASTMA, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Waterworks, Kirikiri Jail, LAWMA, National Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, Lagos State Drivers Institute and Lagos State Internal Revenue Service and 767 Emergency Number.

Elvis Chucks bags award for movie


OLLYWOOD producer, director cum actor, Elvis Chucks, who recently premiered his latest work, A Wish, at the Genesis Delux Cinema, has bagged another award for his last project, •Elvis True Citizens, at the Nigerian Integrity Film Award.

Hosted by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the award came up in the category of Public Conduct Film prize, backed by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) 2012 at the Oriental Hotels, Lagos. The award-winning filmmaker who won seven awards from his drama TV series, Happy Family on NTA network, at the popular TAVA Awards 2011, is now a force to reckon with in the entertainment industry. Speaking on the award, Chucks said, “This award has shown that there will always be a reward for diligence and hard work. I am very happy to receive it and I promise my

fans that I will keep doing more for the industry.” The movie, True Citizen, which fetched him the award, features Nollywood veteran, Chief Alex Usifo Omiagbo, former Big Brother Africa winner, Uti Nwachukwu, Alex Ekubo, Bryan Okwara, and Kenneth Okoli. His newest work, A Wish, which features a hilarious cast of Funke Akindele-Oloyede, Patience Ozorkwor, Afis Oyetoro ( Saka), Bishop Imeh Umoh, and Helen Paul from the stable of Diamond Groove Pictures is said to be currently having an impressive run at the cinemas.



As deadline for the complete switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) draws nearer, experts gathered in Lagos to evaluate issues surrounding this project of international concern, and its possible effects on Nigerians. VICTOR AKANDE, who was a delegate at the two-day conference, reports


ROM far and near, top shots in the ITC sector, broadcast industry, regulatory agencies and the media converged at the Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, for a conference that could be described as the first open dialogue in Nigeria on the much talked about transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, come June 17, 2015. No doubt, there appeared to be an uneasy silence on the side of government and the regulatory agencies as to how prepared Nigeria is to embrace the change. Less than three years to go, the average man on the street is not aware that very soon, his television set will no longer be valid as it is today. Not many parents are probably aware that for their present TV sets to be compliant with digital television signals, they will need to acquire a decoder called the Set Top Box. How the Set Top Box looks like, not many people know. How much it will cost them also remains a question that no one could answer, because the white paper from government on whether it will be imported or produced locally is a subject of speculation. But perhaps more importantly is the question of whether Nigerians have a choice of being fed with analogue signals, considering the sacrifices required to transit to digital. Spanning December 5th-6th, 2012, the conference, tagged Digital Dialogue Nigeria, took a cue from a recent one organised by Multichoice Africa for African journalists in Johannesburg, South Africa. The convener of the Lagos conference, Mr. Jenkins Alumona, a digital communication expert and honcho of Strategic Outcomes Ltd, ensured a broad-based participation that hopes to reenergise the pursuit of the digital broadcast objectives by opinion leaders, decision makers and the media. Answering prevailing questions, clearing doubts and proffering solutions on the possibility of a smooth transition for Nigeria, Alumona brought in the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Engineer Yomi Bolarinwa, a professor of communications at the Pan-African University, Mr. Emevwo Biakolo, Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media Matters, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi, a consultant of the ITU on broadcast engineering, Engr. Edward Idris Amana, notable filmmaker and screen writer, Amaka Igwe, and foremost entertainment industry lawyer, Efere Ozako,were also there to jaw jaw on the issues. Facilitators who came from the foreign scene to share experiences of the models in other countries where digital transmission is already being test-run included the chairman of Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) Technical Module, Dr. Nick Wells; Gerhard Petrick, Manager, Research and Development at Multichoice Technical Operations in South Africa, Aynon Doyle, a notable strategist in digital communication technology and South African communication technology journalist, Aki Anastasiou, who was co-

•Prof. Emevwo Biakolo

•Amaka Igwe

•Gerhard Petrick

•Jenkins Alumona

•Aki Anastasiou

•Engr. Edward Amana

Digital Transition:

Does Nigeria need the changeover?

•Yomi Bolarinwa flanked by Bolaji Adebiyi and John Ugbe, MD Multichoice Nigeria

moderator of the forum, alongside popular actor and comedian, Okechukwu Onyegbule, otherwise called Okey Bakassi. Engineer Bolarinwa provided a background to Nigeria's involvement in the decision at the ITU conference held in Geneva, in June 2006 where a switchover date of June 17, 2015 was agreed. This dispelled insinuations that the proposed date could have been an imposition from the western world. Bolarinwa, who declared the workshop open, expressed the seriousness of his Commission on the project, noting that Nigeria had opted for DVB-T2 technology, being the highest grade of the decoder during the Geneva conference. He said it was not true that the NBC has not been active on the transition; rather the white paper, which is meant to provide leeway on the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee since 2008, has not been forthcoming from government. He said in the last eight years, NBC has single-handedly driven the process without the support or input from the broadcasters. The DG said it was necessary for Nigeria, not only to embrace the digital platform, but to also strive to do it well. Bolarinwa noted that public awareness on the issue is low, and urged government to take into consideration the problem of waste disposal that may arise from phasing out of some electronic gadgets in the course of transition, stressing that the most difficult waste to dispose is the electronic waste. But Alumona is optimistic that Nigeria will migrate on the set date, if work is started immediately. Nigerians, he noted,

deserve to know what the government is doing in the direction of transition. He said there is danger in the people not knowing what is happening and that the repercussions of an unannounced blackout can be devastating. The Strategic Outcomes Ltd boss advised that the stakeholders, rather than wait for government to release the controversial white paper, should take proactive steps that could save the nation possible embarrassment that may arise from its inability to meet set deadline. Defending government's disposition to the process, the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media Matters warned against obvious cynicism and criticisms of government policies. He argued that the present administration was doing all within its means to ensure that the switchover is made possible by 2015. Professor Emevwo Biakolo challenged the media in his lead paper titled “The role of the mass media in attaining digital migration 2015.” He said security outfits, including “The Nigeria Police Force, State Security Services (SSS), The Nigerian Army, The Nigerian Navy, The Nigerian Air Force, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Agency and Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency,” would be affected as the switchover would convert the entire broadcast network by switching the terrestrial platform from analogue to digital, just as high power transmissions may lead to interference from or by neighbouring countries. In his paper titled “Technical Imperatives of Digital Migration in Nigeria,” Amana, former executive director of engineering with Nigeria


Television Authority (NTA) was optimistic that Nigeria would meet the deadline. Amana who was on the Nigeria's delegation to the ITU conference in Geneva noted that even though the white paper is yet to be released, it merely provided the implementation framework for the digital transition. He said an event like the digital dialogue conference is capable of prompting government to act fast on the project. Amana urged the government to provide incentives for companies that will be involved in local contents production to drive the digital transition process, adding that capacity building on new engineering knowledge for digital broadcasting is critical. He suggested that transmission should be done in phases, because government would need to choose possible switch off method, whether phased shut off, nationwide shut off or partial shutdown. Amana recommended that for effective changeover, government must set up an implementation committee with clear terms of reference to enable Nigeria meet the deadline. In her presentation, Amaka Igwe stressed the need for major investment in content. She noted that the spectrum provided through digital broadcasting will provide enormous hours of programming, which content would be required to fill. Speaking on the theme: “Dynamics of Content Development in a Digital Broadcast Environment”, Igwe noted that only two choices exist for broadcast organisations on digitisation: be a carrier or be carried, or remain a content provider. She is optimistic about the competitive advantage which the transition will provide, saying that those who lacked creativity and dynamism may fizzle out, while advertising style will get dynamic. Legal icon, Efere Ozako, who took his turn, looking at “creating a framework for digital migration in Nigeria," said there had to be a change in laws, determination of standards, development of policies and aggregation of what needs to be done with steps to effect them and follow up to ensure that time lines are met. He said failure to migrate may take the country back to the dark ages. Ozako said we need to develop policies on e-waste, switch-on and switch-off periods, frequency issues, as well as rates for signal carriers. He urged government to ensure that by December 31, 2014, laws, regulations and polices are in place; content licensees and signal distributors have been appointed, necessary infrastructure has been manufactured, procured and installed by all licensees, modalities for the manufacture and/or procurement of set top boxes have been settled, and that all technical or regulatory hitches and other teething problems have been addressed. Talking about “DVB-T2 around the world”, Dr. Nick Wells described Nigeria as being foresighted for opting for DVBT2, being the latest technology. He said the technology is the best for digital television broadcasting, saying it could typically deliver 50 per cent more data than DVB-T. The scenario, on June 17, 2015 can be imagined, if transition is not done with all the awareness that is required. Picture quality on television will get blurred. Signals will be lost. Electronic repairers will feed fat on TV owners, thinking their gadgets are faulty. Set Top Boxes will experience panic buying. Artificial scarcity may follow. Most likely too, the security network in the country will be compromised if Nigeria fails to meet the deadline. Perhaps then, the reality of the situation will find solace in talk shows on radio, editorials in newspapers and debate in the social media. This is the scenario which the conference sought to prevent. All the delegates appeared to agree that awareness must start immediately, whether or not government releases the white paper. The possibility, as usual, could be that government, unfortunately, is working silently towards the big date.









A Thousand Words to live by

Dr . Bello Genre Action/Adventure Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Comedy Running Time 91min Shaolin Featured Actors Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Bingbing Fan Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 131min Taalash Featured Actors Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji Genre Drama Running Time 150mins Jab Tak Hai Jaan Genre Action/Adventure ARGO Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Drama Running Time 120 min Premium Rush Featured Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91min Twilight Saga 2

Featured Actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115min Sparkle Featured Actors Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Whitney Houston Genre Drama Running Time 116 MINS Skyfall Featured Actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris


Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) is a literary agent who jabbers his way into various book deals. He isn't afraid to stretch the truth to get them. While he is trying to get a book deal from a New Age selfhelp guru named Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis), the guru sees through his deceit and agrees to the deal, only to later deliver a five-page book.

That night, a Bodhi tree magically appears in his backyard, with a thousand leaves. Dr. Sinja goes to Jack's house and they both discover that for every word that Jack says, a leaf will fall off of the tree. When the tree runs out of leaves, the tree will die, along with Jack. In time, he finds that even written words count towards his limit; plus anything that happens to the tree will also affect Jack. When Jack tries to cut it down with an axe, an axe wound appears on him. When squirrels climb the tree, it tickles him. When

a gardener tries to poison it with DDT, Jack gets high on the fumes. With Jack forced to pick and choose his words, communicating with others becomes difficult and full of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings cost him two book deals, his job, and his wife Caroline (Kerry Washington). With his life falling apart and the tree running out of leaves, Jack has to find a cure to the curse. Directed by Brian Robbins, A Thousand Words stars Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis, Clark Duke, Allison Janney and others.

Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Comedy Running Time 91Mins Premium Rush Featured Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 M Okon Goes to School Genre Comedy

Running Time 90 Mins The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Featured Actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115 Mins Sparkle Featured Actors Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Whitney Houston | Genre Drama Running Time 116 MIns English Vinglish Featured Actors Sridevi, Adil Hussain and Mehdi Nebbou Genre Comedy Running Time 134 Mins Sky Fall Featured Actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 143 Mins The Meeting Genre Drama Running Time 120 •Taken (Rating 18) Genre Action/Adventure Single And Married Genre Drama Running Time 141 min



An epic tale of feuding lords


HAOLIN is set in Dengfeng, Henan, during the warlord era of early Republican China. A warlord named Hou Jie defeats a rival, Huo Long, and seizes control of Dengfeng. Huo flees to Shaolin Temple to hide but Hou appears and shoots him after getting his treasure map. Hou ridicules the Shaolin monks before leaving. Feeling that his sworn brother, Song Hu, is taking advantage of him, Hou sets a trap for Song in a restaurant, under the guise of

agreeing to his daughter's engagement to Song's son. Meanwhile, Hou's deputy, Cao Man, feeling that he was being used by Hou, decides to betray him. During the dinner, Song shows his intention to retire and cedes everything to Hou but was informed that Hou intends to kill him. Out of rage and embarrassment, Hou fatally wounds Song. Both families were then attacked by Cao's assassins. The story continues amidst broken relationships, revenge and

forgiveness Also known as The New Shaolin Temple, Shaolin is a 2011 Hong Kong-Chinese martial arts film produced and directed by Benny Chan, starring Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Fan Bingbing and Jackie Chan. It is an updated version of Jet Li's film debut, Shaolin Temple.

Talaash Featured Actors Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji Genre Action/Adventure Shaolin Featured Actors Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Bingbing Fan Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 131min Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91min Dr Bello Genre Action/Adventure Premium Rush Featured Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 min Argo Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 120 min The Twilight Saga 2 Featured Actors isten Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor

Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115 min Sparkle Featured Actors Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Whitney Houston Genre Drama Running Time 116 min Skyfall Genre Action/Adventure The Meeting Genre Drama Taken 2 Featured Actors Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace.



You have to be different to stand out –Akin Esho Akin Esho is passionate about how wedding is organised. The passion led him to establish WED Expo and subsequently Wed Magazine. He shares with Adetutu Audu how he has been able to achieve the feat.


HAT inspired WED Expo? WED Expo came from the need of the Nigerian wedding industry having a major exhibition of its own and all intending brides and grooms plus their families having a one stop experience for everything needed for the big day. Apart from WED Expo, you also publish Wed Magazine. Don't you think it is still the same thing? WED Magazine is Nigeria's foremost wedding magazine and we run WED Expo. The main brand for all we do in the wedding industry is WED. And we actually do have other WED projects coming up. I have always loved the idea of weddings and I saw how many young people were in the wedding industry. The Nigerian wedding industry has the largest amount of entrepreneurs today. We have make-up artistes, photographers, caterers and so on. It has really created an avenue for those who can't get a job to follow their passion in the wedding industry and there are a lot of people that do extremely well. When I came home in 2010, I saw how large the industry had grown compared to before I travelled, and I said to myself that the wedding industry needed the right media to propagate it to the international audience. I looked at what we had in the market and I said we could definitely get something of international standard. That was how WED Magazine started. It was basically from my love of weddings and my love for small business consulting. What would you say has been your business secret? The major secret is God and quality. We focus on the quality of our magazine because to stand out you have to be different. We ensure we improve on content and approach in every edition. Readers love to see quality pictures and we are always prepared to feed our readers with ideas. How easy or hard was it for you to penetrate the market?

It has not been easy and the market is really large. So far what we have done is to increase our reach and we are still increasing just to make sure we fully cover t h e c o u n t r y . What are your challenges presently? Just like every magazine, distribution margin is key, but we are turning our challenges into opportuies by buildour own net-

nit ing work. Wha t is your team like at WED Magazine, and where do you operate from? For now we do our designing and printing outside the country, but we are trying to see how we can do more of the designing here. We run on a structure where most wedding vendors work with us and they also write the articles, so that way it is professionals that are talking and not just someone who has done some research. The maiden edition of WED Expo early this year was a success. When should we expect WED Expo in the future? We always wanted to organise the largest wedding exhibition in Nigeria and it was clearly the largest ever. It came with God's favour, wonderful partners and hard work. We had a vision


and it came to pass. We have immediately started working on WED Expo 2013. WED Expo for 2013 will be held in Lagos in March and Abuja in October. In the future we will be looking at cities where we have a large Nigerian population like London, Houston and Atlanta. Our goal is to create a wedding city in those 4 days, so we need proper planning. And I can guarantee you it will be a total experience. You cannot afford to be anywhere else between March 21st and 24th, 2013. Before now people complain that such exhibitions don't pay off in terms of return on investment, but a few have come out to say their participation was fruitful. What exactly did you do right with this year's Expo? Exhibitions are all about showcasing your brand and getting a lot of prospective clients in a short period. Our secret was volume; we knew the exhibitors needed a lot of prospective clients visiting their booths and likewise the prospective clients needed options. So with our great PR company and our premier sponsors we were able to put the word on everyone's mouth. What are your expectations for next year's exhibition? Our major expectation is to be able to have over 200 exhibitors and over 50,000 people walk. Through the doors at WED Expo 2013, we are working very hard to achieve that and God willing we will achieve our goal. We will be bringing in a lot of new ideas. WED Expo 2013 is going to be an experience. We are also going to have WED Awards. The wedding industry needs an award programme to appreciate excellence. There will also be an 'Experience Room' where people will be able to chat one on one with vendors, decorators… everybody in one room, showcasing their best. So you get into that room and you get so inspired, you'd want to get married the next day. What was growing up like for you? Growing up was good, I thank God. I wasn't born with a silver spoon but God has been good and my mum, sister and brothers have always been a great family and support. I have always been an ideas-person, so getting innovative ideas has been a way of life for me. I grew up in Lagos but always schooled outside Lagos. My secondary school was Federal Government College, Ogbomoso and I read computer science in the University of Benin. Despite crazy ideas about weddings, why are you still single? I am not single. I will be getting married to the love of my life in January of 2013. So you see I am not single. Tell me about your fiancée. Where did you meet her and how did you know she was the one? Her name is Fola Ayoola. I met her through her sister, the CIA agent (just joking), but it took a lot of drilling before I could get her contact. We met in the United States and it has been a ride since we met. She attended my graduation and that was our first date. I knew she was the one because she was God-fearing, calm, supportive and had all my secret wifey qualities.





ADETUTU AUDU (E-mail:, Tel: 08023849036)

Sabina Umeh gets busy


ORMER Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Sabina Umeh, who got married to United States of America celebrated fashion designer, Kesse Jabari is busy in her Atlanta base. Sabrina, who is also a musician, will hit the Nigerian music scene in January with an international promotion tour kicking off in Nigeria. It's a unique collaboration with top artistes like Tuface and songwriter Chasity Nwagbara . The top model-cum-dance instructor's parent companies - SabinaWorld, Juicy Groove and Warrington Consulting - are also set to launch a lifestyle television programme which will promote Africa and 'Sabina For We'.

Babatunde Williams withdraws into shell


Doris Uboh set to wed


ORIS Uboh, a member of the House of Representatives came to national limelight during the uproar over former Speaker Patricia Etteh's approval of N628 million for the renovation of her official residence and that of the deputy speaker. Well, that is a forgone issue. Uboh, who represented the Ika Federal Constituency in Delta State did her traditional wedding in Asaba yesterday. We gathered that the white wedding will hold in Lagos soon.

E is the first son of the late slain politician, Engineer Funso Williams. Babatunde hugged limelight after the demise of his father. He was made the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Corporate Matters during the first term of Governor Babatunde Fashola, a task he performed excellently. Since the expiration of his tenure nothing seemed to be heard about the silver spoon Lagosian. While a source revealed that he might have relocated abroad because he is not ready for the country's murky water of politics, another said he had withdrawn to his shell to face the family business and matrimonial assignment. Babatunde got married in 2006 to Sonita, the daughter of former Information Minister, Walter Ofonagoro.

Bisi Shaba hibernates in Abuja


F you are one of those wondering about the whereabouts of popular socialite, Bisi Shaba, owner of the once popular Bisket Supermarket on the highbrow Allen Avenue, Ikeja, we can reveal that Bisi, the founder of Rabbi Call Evangelical Mission, is in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. She relocated to the city few years ago to baby-sit her newest grand daughter. Bisi is the mother of Solape, an Abujabased lawyer, who had a baby girl for the former Minister of Interior, Demola Seriki.

Latest on Shade Kazeem


NE of the daughters of Alhaji Kazeem, Sade, who berthed the once popular Kas Chicken eatery with outlets in Surulere, Allen/Opebi axis respectively, before it went into extinction, could be likened to a stimulant at parties. In her 40s and a regular attendee at Femi Paul's Grace Assembly, Sade Kas, as she is fondly called, still finds time to attend parties in the company of her friends.



At last, Daniel Wilson says ‘I do’

Maryam Belgore gets baby girl


ARYAM, the first daughter of top Islamic cleric, Sheilk Faruq Sulaiman Onikijipa, who got married to Abdulsalam, one of the sons of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, retired Justice Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, is in her best moment. The Ilorin princess, we gathered, has added a bouncing baby girl to her family. Maryam and Abdul Salam got married in a 4day carnival- like Nikkah and the attendance at the wedding fathia is still a talk of town in the ancient city.


ANIEL Wilson, popularly called Mr. Ragamuffin, is happy again. The 90s singer who moved into confectionery business some years ago is now married to his partner, Yetunde. The couple, we gathered, already have a 6-yearold son before they finally signed the dotted lines at the Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church, Ikeja, Lagos amidst pomp and ceremony with their families and well-wishers.

Atinuke Abioro steps out


NE of the matriarchs of high society, Atinuke Abioro is married to the late Chief Bolarinwa Abioro, socialite and music promoter. The mother of one is a regular face at social gatherings and she has continued to prove that age can not debar her from socials.

Sammy Okposo and Ozioma savour marital life


HERE is no other time for music producer and Glo ambassador, Sammy Okposo, to have gotten married after being an unrepentant bachelor for a long time. Well, that is not the gist. Sammy is definitely basking in the euphoria of marital bliss, despite his brush with the Scotland police during his honeymoon in Aberdeen Scotland. And if you don't know, the man-about town has been 'taken off' the streets, courtesy of marriage. Sammy now looks forward to going home unlike when he was a bachelor. In fact, family comes first to him, as he can reject business offer which is likely to put his family on the line. We spotted him and his wife at the just-concluded Tyme Out with TEE-A special live concert, and going by the way they carried on throughout the event, marriage has paid off for the Delta State born musician. Sammy got married to Ozioma Nwanne Mkparu, the younger sister of Kene Mkparu, the former Managing Director of Genesis Deluxe Cinemas on 1 July 2010.


For Jennifer Uzor, matrimony comes first


OR a long while, Jennifer Uzor, a former model-turnedbusiness woman has taken a back seat in the social circles. Known in social circles as a socialite with a difference, her withdrawal took many by surprise. But the former stakeholder in Movida, one of the top-rated clubs in Lagos, is said to have taken a back seat after her marriage to Madu, a former aide to Senator Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State. Sources say she is happy to be off the social circuit and has been enjoying her confinement to her matrimonial home. Others also squealed that her low-profile wedding is not unconnected with her new-found lifestyle. Insiders confirmed that the popular party gal opted for a low-key nuptial as part of the strategy to make her marriage work.

Gbenga Sokefun re-marries G BENGA Sokefun, one of the three young men behind the famed Question Mark label and elder brother of photography queen, TY Bello, now has every reason to be happy. Though Gbenga is one of the upwardly mobile dudes in the social scene, sadly the US-trained lawyer's marriage to Ronke, one-time senior executive in one of the oil companies, did not stand the test of time. When the couple decided to chart separate courses, the news was met with a lot of surprise, while efforts to salvage the union did not yield much. Gbenga, somehow maintained a low profile and highly cerebral and beautiful Ronke also moved on. She is currently one of the commissioners in the cabinet of the Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun. The gist now is that Gbenga has remarried.

Our error Last Sunday we published a story titled ‘Catherine Okpaleke's kids rule Abuja.’ We have since discovered that the mother of the children is actually Barrister (Mrs.) Florence Okpaleke and not Dr (Mrs) Catherine Okparaeke. The error is regretted.




Femi Falana in happy mood


OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821)


R Femi Falana (SAN), human rights activist and wife Funmi last weekend gave out their daughter, Oluwafolakemi Oluwadamilola, in holy wed lock to her sweetheart, Oluwajuwalo Oluwademilade, son of Rev. Cannon Olusegun Majekodunmi at the Foursquare Gospel Church, Omole Phase-1, Ikeja. Lagos with a lavish reception following at Yard 128, Oregun •Couple: Oluwajuwalo Majekodunmi and his wife Oluwafolakemi Ikeja, Lagos.

•Bride’s parents, Mr. Femi Falana, and wife Funmi

•Groom’s parents: Rev. Cannon Olusegun Majekodunmi, and wife Abosede

•L-R: Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and Gov. Kayode Fayemi

•L-R: Dr. Muiz Banire, former Lagos Commissioner for Enviroment and Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State

•L-R: Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Mrs. Patience Dappa, Dr and Mrs Femi Orebe

•L-R: Arc. Lanre Olayinka and wife, Funmi Olayinka, Deputy Governor of Ekiti State

•L-R: Hon. Bello Malabu, Dr. Kabir Az-Zubair and Alh. Uba Sani

•L-R: Chief Sam Bolarinde, Wema Bank Chairman, and Chief Jimoh Aliu

•L-R: Hon. Isa Aremu and Mrs Funmi Komolafe

•L-R: Hon. Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, Mrs. Olabisi Okuyemi and Engr. Babatunde Okuyemi

•L-R: Mr. Wole Olanipekun, Mr. Wale Afolabi, Commissioner for Justice, Osun State and Mr. Dayo Akinlaja, Commissioner for Justice, Ekiti State

Miss Mosunmola Mary Ogunbiyi (in academic gown), her father, Mr. Banjo Ogunbiyi (left), brothers, Dipo, Dare; sister Abigail, and her mother, Mrs Foluke Ogunbiyi , at her graduation from Bowen University Iwo, Osun State, recently.



VOL 1 NO. 037

Brand Management by Numbers


ET us start by putting in perspective the grand rules for business and brand success; brands management is based on strategic planning and implementation. The strength or success of any brand or business is directly a function of the operating strategic input. That explains why ideal corporate persons engage top end executives to develop winning strategies. A strategy is an overall approach towards achieving identified goals or objective. It focuses on the articulate interpretation of extraneous values-influencers, controllable and otherwise, in relations to own-strengths and weaknesses. Strategy evolution for brands and businesses is based on proper understanding of the broader context operative in the business environment of interest. A strategy is directive, instructive and rewarding. Competitive engagement for businesses and brands start with evolving the strategic option with the most advantageous competitive advantages. Business executives begin with a careful and scientific analysis of the business environment and conditions operative in the chosen industry. Key, therefore, is the underlying logic that a company’s strategic options are bounded by the environment. Strategy evolution is about alignment of co-operative imperatives based on three broad propositions (1) value proposition (2) profit proposition (3) people proposition. Developing the appropriate strategy, therefore, depends on proper appreciation and alignment of these three propositions, in relation to: the structural conditions an organization operates, its resources and capabilities and its strategic mind-set. A winning team must master the handling of the planning process leading on to the development of the right strategy. A strategy is a sum total of the alignment of the three value propositions as stated above. Business, company or brand must create a complete set of consistent propositions, to produce a high-performing and sustainable strategy. The over-riding importance of strategy is its function of driving differentiation for competitive advantage – and positive impact on the BOTTOM – for returns on investment. Suffice that the effectiveness of any operating strategy is measured by its impact on earnings. Strategy bust drive business or brand success. As in broad business consideration, brands support depends on winning strategic planning. We would look at this from the input of marketing communication (advertising). Executives in brands management and advertising are constantly challenged in determining the distinctive characters and peculiarities among brands that will enable competitive advantages. Brand positioning is all about strategic planning. The difference between brands is to the extent of its strategic alignment of the basic elements and propositions. The brand must, among other things, be clear about its person, offer, value-essence, desired image, its target audience/market, its promise and place of presence, tone of voice, associates and price. Advertising creative process starts with a scientific analysis of prevalent market environment, target market, competition, consumer profiling - consumer behav-

Table above is courtesy Media Planning Services, Nigeria Limited.

ior with focus on expectation, value touchpoints, buying pattern, media habit. The above-listed add up to identify and differentiate the brand from among competition. It is only after articulating its uniqueness on all fronts, that the brand can be said to be competitive as a market player. Essentially, therefore, the strategic planning unit, in cooperation with the client service department in a professional environment, is constantly challenged in personality and value differentiation – based on effective strategic plan. Effective marketing communication/ advertising campaign is dependent on effective and results based marketing communication. If marketing communication is about making-known, then it is impera-

tive the operative communication strategy takes into consideration the fundamental three value propositions essential for scientific strategy evolution. The winning strategy must align the value proposition, people proposition and the resource proposition at an appropriate convergence point: they must all work together for competitive advantage and positive impact on the bottom-line (return-on-investment). So, from the start of agency creative process to break of campaign, the common denomination is the application of agreed campaign strategy: brand personality, unique offering, competitive challenges and advantages, consumer behavior - expectations, traits and habits. Depending on the campaign objective, the creative

process may require proper alignment of the various ingredients expressive of the predominant importance of research data in the process of developing a successful strategy. We have had to question the competence and extent of professionalism of persons behind brands support and campaigns in recent times. To say the least, brands no longer enjoy basic differentiation which is the least of musts for competitive advantage, not to mention explicitly the value proposition. Consequently, product campaigns no longer connect with the target market at any of the critical value touch-points. The sequence for systematic sequence in the process of evolving a working strategy has been compromised. Fundamentally, nobody check with the figures any more. Strategy is a basic and important ingredient for business success, but strategy is borne out of scientific interpretation of figures; figures generated from a scientific research process. MC&A DIGEST posits that except research and planning is appreciated in business developmental process, stake-holders will not fully optimize the earning potentials of their invested resources. World over, businesses and brands are apportioning more value to research in the process of evolving operational business/brand strategies. One appreciates the compromises owing to laziness and greed, resulting in unprofessional engagement and inefficient creative products, but global business practice and value standard is pushing for change. Businesses and brands in our local market will continue to fail in delivering on investors’ expectations except there is a general change in the appreciation of the importance of (research) data in strategy development process. The difference between success and failure in businesses today is the extent to which data/figures, research & development planning is appreciated. In the coming months, MC&A DIGEST will push the case for data appreciation in business development, starting with strategy development.



Tannaz Bahnam, an entrepreneur and the founder of Lost in Lagos initiative says there is hope for small scale entrepreneurs and industries if all hands are on deck. She spoke with Yetunde Oladeinde at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos recently.

‘Nigerians are very creative’ What is life like as an entrepreneur? At the moment, this is a handful. I have a new born, a six- month-old baby. I have a company where I produce tea and I have my staff. It comes in different flavours like vanilla, ginger, cream and milk. I make them here, I buy everything locally and make it into a variety that's interesting and exciting to taste. I sell to cafes and restaurants. It's thriving very well because Nigerians love tea. It is doing well in the market. I have been based in about 50 different countries. It's a long list that includes countries like Columbia, Kazastan, Mexico, Ecuador, Serbia Domincan Republic, the United States, and I can keep going on and on. I love living in Nigeria, but like every other place it has its challenges. I love the fact that it's a country that allows people to grow; the people are very friendly and accommodating. I don't talk about the America dream; I like to talk about the Nigerian dream. Nigerians are also very creative people and I love to work with them. If you weren't married, would you have loved to marry a Nigerian? Why not? But don't let my husband hear that (Laughs). Which is your best Nigerian food? Suya is my favourite. I also love tea and jollof rice. I haven't tried amala (yam flour), but I love to explore. But I am not too good with spices. What was the initial challenge marketing your exhibition tagged 'Lost in Lagos'? It wasn't just one challenge. Everything you could imagine was a challenge. From getting people here, I think one of the biggest challenges is marketing. And I think keeping the vendors happy is a big challenge. You want to make sure everyone is happy, both the visitors and vendors, and over time we have learnt how to satisfy both groups and we are still learning. Every little thing, when to start marketing, when to start contacting vendors, when to announce the event and much more. Did you feel like quitting at any point? Oh yeah! Even now I feel like quitting but at the end of the day I am happy. At the beginning of the day you don't want to come near me but by the end of the day I am happy. I am enjoying, I am shopping and chatting with the vendors. What keeps you going? You know my motivation is what keeps me going; when I get an email from someone that says, oh I love your website, I love your event - that is a source of inspiration. When I have vendors telling me we made sales and a lot of good news. I really want people to benefit from what we are doing. For me it is not a big profit-making business, but an opportunity to give others more exposure for their businesses. I know how tough it is to market a new product or market something and how challenging it has been for small businesses in Nigeria. What is your assessment of small businesses in Nigeria?

They thrive by word of mouth; most people depend on word of mouth, they have friends coming in and recommending them to others. At the end of the day they are not likely to get massive number of customers. That is why we want to make sure that they are getting more customers. We are doing this to make a difference, so that their businesses would thrive and Lagos would thrive too. What would you describe as your achievements over the years? For me, I would say that some of our achievements include giving companies more exposure and giving people who live in Lagos more opportunities to get to know Lagos more. It is so nice to know that people are discovering Lagos in a whole different way. I take pride in that Lagos has so much to offer but very few people know that .It is very important to get many positive news out about Lagos. Lagos has a lot of potentials that have not been explored or fulfilled. Every day we see new places opening up, new restaurants and more. How long does it take you to plan for this every year? Every year it takes a little bit longer. You think it would take less time but it takes much time. This y e a r I started in April, next year I will start in February. Are you limiting it to Lagos alone? For now, yes. But we will be spreading throughout N i g e r i a . LostinAbuja, LostinPort Harcourt, LostinKano and eventually through Africa a s LostinAfrica.

How long have you been doing this show? This is our fourth LostinLagos live. It is a complement to our website, which is a guide to Lagos. Everything you need to know about Lagos. So what we have done is to bring the website live to the people. A little bit of Lagos, all the different aspects of life, all aspects of the lifestyle of the people of Lagos is here. Our website is very thorough and we have over 300 people listed under different categories. Naturally, we want them to participate and then a number of other people heard about it and they wanted to take part in it.







It's a souvenir, once given cannot be forgotten


What a woman needs to know when buying a car W

HEN it's time to buy a car, what's the first thing that goes through a woman's mind? Not fuel consumption or car horse-power. Typically, the first thing women worry about when they head to the dealership is "What man can I take with me so I'll get a fair deal?" That's because women are treated much worse than men when they hit the car lot. But even if you grab your dad, brother or boyfriend, the headache has just started. Buying a new car should be an exciting and fun experience, not one fraught with suspicion and fear. But that's how many women feel when they venture out to purchase a new vehicle. Unscrupulous car dealerships sometimes unfairly assume that women are more easily pressured or taken advantage of because they see them as less informed about the realm of the automotive. They may even quote a higher price to a woman alone than one who brings along a husband, brother, or father. Follow these tips on how to buy a new car so you can go in and feel more prepared and less intimidated when you're on the lot or about to sign the papers; The first trick? Be casual.Stay calm and don't get caught up in the heat of the moment. Think carefully, be well-informed and stay empowered. Don't have the same “Must have this now” attitude with the salesperson that you do

when you are buying a new pair of shoes. Approach the salesperson in a more casual, “just browsing” way. Do your homework! You can educate yourself by doing simple online research. Price compare from different online dealers. Investigate the different kinds of automobile companies, with an eye toward features that may differ from year to year. After you have done your research, come up with two or three ideal cars, including year, make, and model as well as establishing a price range for yourself. It is important to put the fuel consumption level and the condition of the road in your area into consideration. Shop around. Visit a number of different dealerships. Test drive a few models, but don't feel like you have to make a decision right now. Most dealers are eager to sell, so you can have an idea of a specific vehicle in mind before you even leave your house. Know your price. Know exactly what you can afford and do not go above that. When the dealer starts negotiating with you, make like a broken record and keep repeating exactly what you want. They may get annoyed; but remember, they want your business. Salesmen vs. Friends. The dealer may be the nicest guy in the world, but he is there to make a sale, not be your friend. Always remember, this is a job for him, no

matter how pleasant or friendly he may seem. On the other hand, if you ever feel intimidated or patronized, or that he may actually be lying to you because of your gender, simply walk away. You aren't under any obligation to make a purchase, and your sassy salesman just lost his commission. If you're not getting the treatment that you expect, or you don't think you're getting the good information, ask for the manager or someone else to help. For many women, they feel they are held captive by having to take disappointing service. It's up to you to speak up or get up. Tempting, but …Avoid temptations. The dealership may be decorated with candy or pastries. See past them. It's also a good idea to go home and wait for twenty-four hours before you make a deal. Don't impulse buy! Remember to price compare and see if they can give you a better rate. Negotiations. Get ready to haggle. Though it can be difficult and uncomfortable, continue to remind yourself that the salesman is not your friend, and that negotiating is part of the game of car buying. At some point he will probably leave you alone in order to make you feel he is not interested or in an attempt to intimidate you or set a firm price. This is also part of the game. Continue to haggle. Source: Google

love feast? Yes, love and falling in love can be compared to a love feast. When you are at the peak of affections turn table then there would be lots of loving in the air. It would be a time to wine and dine. Time to look gorgeous and be the subject of someone's admiration, a time and a season to snap photographs to record these wonderful memories. One other thing that comes to mind when you are feasting and celebrating is to give and receive gifts. It is a way to show appreciation and be appreciated. And there are all kinds of gifts. You need to understand the personality involved to know the appropriate gift to shower on the one you love. There is no point spending a fortune on something that would not be appreciated. A souvenir is a kind of gift that comes to mind at this point. It is something that is kept as a reminder of a person, place or event. When we travel out of the country we usually love to bring back souvenirs that would remind us about the wonderful places we've been to. Friends whose paths cross yours also give you some mementos to bring back wonderful memories shared later on in life. One interesting thing, however, is the fact that there are different types of souvenirs and their quality and attributes make them important or not. Its aesthetics and general design also determine where you would keep it, how long it would be treasured and what it ultimately means to you. Love according to a school of thought can be described as a souvenir. Something exciting to behold, something carefully designed and something valuable. Once you have given love to someone it can never be erased, it can never be forgotten. The only snag, however, is the quality and quantity of loving that you are giving or getting in return. You can actually assess this by cross checking the type of love that was doled out by your 'prince charming' or the lady who has captured your emotions. You can do your assessments by looking at the different souvenirs in your custody. Some souvenirs are filled with memories; some are expensive, priceless, precious, fake or cheap. A romantic experience can also be filled with pleasant memories or bitter memories. What you get is what you give and the experience is going to stick on forever. Love can also be expensive. This means that it is going to cost you so much to merit the attention of the person you desire. Here you may give, give and give so much just to get the other party's emotional attention. This does not mean that you are going to get value for sowing so much affection and love. If the person you are attracted to appreciates what you are doing then it would be a love feast indeed. The memories would be cherished and everything would fall in the right place as expected. This can also be achieved if you haven't placed square love pegs in round holes. Everyone must know and understand their duties and be dedicated to achieve results. Sometimes, the loving you get compares with fake and cheap souvenirs. Even if you really like these souvenirs there is a limit to how long you can keep such. Cheap souvenirs like love are likely to crack peel off or be broken. When it gets to that stage you would be forced to take it off the wall, away from table or shelf as the case may be. In the final category you would find souvenirs that are precious and priceless. Even when you know that you have come to the end of the road, you just can't stop dreaming. The memories are so good, so exciting and each time you reminisce it is likely to transport you to fantasy land. It is surely going to be rated as one of the best romance you ever had. Like a dream you wish and wish that it is never going to end. It's a tape that you just love to play and play all over again. A never-ending love story. A tale of selfless love told by dreamers and generous lovebirds. For 28-year-old Tola, her experience can be classified into a fake souvenir category. Unfortunately for her the memories continue to reverberate even though she would have loved to sweep it under the carpet. A few weeks ago while she was driving to work a thought occurred to her. “I needed to get out of the relationship. It was obvious that we had come to the end of the road. I felt so sad because it was actually affecting my work and social life. Everything around me simply looked like it had come to a standstill.” How did she get to this point and why did she allow herself to be pushed to the emotional wall before taking a decision? “I had been in a relationship for about four years and there was really no value placed on my emotions. Everyday and every minute I felt used and taken for granted.” Her dream and desire had always been to love and be loved. But somehow the more she tried to achieve this simple dream the more elusive it has become. Has love become so discriminatory? Was affection selective and partial? Sadly, she posed these questions to her bosom friend, Temi, who gave her a personal experience that started with tears but ended on a happy note. “We met in church and everyone was so happy about the relationship. Somehow his parents and mine weren't friends and we thought it was not going to end well. There was a lot of frustration in between but somehow things changed gradually and it worked out as planned.” The truth of the matter is that every love story is not the same. But your love souvenir is determined by the goals that you set for yourself, dedication on the part of your partner and the dreams that you share in common. You can achieve this by sending the RIGHT CUES to a guy. No matter the obstacles on your emotional path, always prepare for success.






By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE 08060343214 (SMS only)

The Undertakers



THE GReggs

Maddened by the immediate repercussion of decades of infrastructural decay, our man is at the electricity supply company’s district office to protest a ‘crazy bill’. A CROWD lined the corridors and stairways at the district office of the local PHCN Undertaking early on Tuesday morning, and Yiga wondered if some meeting were planned. In a huff, he cleared the steps to the top storey and joined a group waiting in front of a door he ascertained to be the relevant manager’s. Fairly seething with rage at the N12, 000 current charge for September under the new electricity tariff, he envisaged a fiery exchange with the manager. He checked his emotion, however, to listen in on conversation around. It turned out that most of the men and a few women about the premises were poor citizens similarly roused by the N12, 000 affliction to complaint. Yiga took his turn on a queue to speak with the manager once she began to attend to customers. In front, a young man tearfully tendered bills from two flats on the same block. One had the old electricity meter and the other had none, but both fetched the ‘prestigious’ N12, 000 rating. The manager assumed evasive mode. “You see,” she said, “the same amount was charged the flat without an electricity meter. What if the flat were to receive the true charge?” Staggered by the rationale, the youth mustered a dissenting view. “If I don’t talk now, I know one day it will go to N50, 000,” he said as he turned to go. He vowed to ‘deal’ with any official who dared disconnect the electricity cable in front of his house. Yet another fellow pleaded that the electricity supply and billing of his residence be stopped to allow him resolve ‘school fees issues’. The manager appeared moved, but only to safer ground. “Look, just pay something this month and after the school fees, you can resume settling your bill,” she said in her most affected mien thus far. Yiga watched the man leave as close to tears as possible. It was Yiga’s turn and he fired off. “Madam, last month I paid my bill through your cashless machine and the amount wasn’t credited for this month. And I can’t understand why the bill increases substantially every month. Last month it was about N10, 000 for my humble three-bedroom flat. Before then it was N8, 000.” After scanning Yiga’s bill, the manager, with every angle on her suggesting a pocket dynamite, countered with a broadside. “Don’t worry, the amount will reflect next month (it never did). As for your second enquiry, what don’t you understand there? Power supply improved over the last month, and given the new consumption rate, you consumed more than you did last month. Do you have a meter?” “Yes, but it’s old …” “You see, all old metres have been phased out and …” “But Madam, is that why I have to pay for what I didn’t use?” “You must have used the power or you would not be billed for it. I’m sure you have a boiling ring.” “I don’t.” “Then you must have a kettle.” Poor Yiga. Madam blazed from the hip now. “You know a kettle also has a boiling ring. Look, I had to replace my electric cooker with a gas cooker to conserve electricity myself. By the way, you all caused this problem. When the government chose to sell PHCN, ‘sell it!’ you screamed. Now see the problem.” Yiga didn’t see the problem. Whoever monopolised power supply was obliged to provide value for money, and if that meant someone beside the current operator, then let it be. But Yiga conceded that the process of ownership transfer, after the Nigerian fashion, was fraught with allegations of pension fraud, underhand dealing and compromised bidding. Yiga left, but not before securing reprieve from disconnection based on the manager’s intervention. The respite might be temporary given the ruthless naira-bound approach of PHCN foot soldiers, but it was all Yiga could do to stem complete loss of faith in the system. Why an oil-rich country that yet grappled with an N18, 000 minimum wage conundrum and the premium black market rate of N140 to N150 per litre of premium motor spirit in addition to countless infrastructural inadequacies expected the average citizen to expend half of his disposable income on power supply alone was certainly beyond him.

QUOTE Problems are the price you pay for progress.

Jokes Humour Rapid Rise THE mass transit bus was packed. It was rush hour, and many were forced to stand. One particularly cramped woman turned to the man behind her who was answering a call. She said, “Sir, if you don’t stop pressing so close to me, I’ll call the police!” “I’m sorry,” said the man, “I’m shaking so much because I’ve just been promoted.” “Then you must have a great job,” said the woman, “because that must be the fifth promotion you’ve had in the last half hour.” The New Maid A MAN dials home from work. A strange woman answers. The man says, “Who is this?” “This is the maid,” says the woman. “We don’t have a maid!” “I was just hired this morning by the lady of the house.” “Well, this is her husband. Is she there?” “Ummm ... she’s upstairs in the bedroom with someone who I just figured

was her husband.” The guy is fuming. He says to the maid, “Listen, would you like to make N100, 000?” “Sure, what do I have to do?” “Get the gun out of the hall cabinet, go upstairs and shoot that unfaithful witch and the fool she’s with.” The maid puts down the phone. The man hears footsteps, followed by a couple of gunshots. The maid comes back to the phone. “What should I do with the bodies?” “Throw them in the swimming pool!” “What pool?” “Um ... is this 08212221419?”

Lady and the Rocks A LADY on her first visit to the National Park said to her guide, “Look at all those huge rocks. Wherever did they come from?” “The glaciers brought them down during the Ice Age,” said the guide. “But where are the glaciers?” the lady asked. “The glaciers,” said the guide in a weary voice, “have gone back for more rocks.” •Adapted from the Internet


—Branch Rickey

N writing Writer ’s Fountain errors still: “We’re not so backwards here we don’t know 3. The redundant dialogue tag. Dialogue attributives are unnecessary. about black marketing.” His words knocked the breath out of her, Characters say their lines; they don’t interject, hiss, snort, retort, purr, snigger, bark, or and she sank slowly into the chair. “That’s ejaculate. It is best to simply use “said” as the ridiculous.” “Is it?” Willy clasped his hands together and attributive unless it is a question. You could give the character an action to break up the rested his chin on them. “You sure got no real job.” dialogue on the other hand. An Example: “You heard me.” Willy sat 4. The superfluous adverb. forward as if to add emphasis to his words. Also high on the list of mistakes is the overuse of adverbs. The adverb is connected to dialogue Word power: and tells the reader how the person was •Facetious and abstemious are the only words speaking as opposed to showing them, which that contain all the vowels in the correct order. means that adverbs should not be avoided •“Fickleheaded” and “fiddledeedee” are the entirely. Well-placed adverbs can be very longest words consisting only of letters in the effective, but they lose their punch when every first half of the alphabet. other line has one. “He said ruefully”, “Debo •“Asthma” and “isthmi” are the only six-letter asked hopefully”, “She said wittingly”. words that begin and end with a vowel and These mistakes may appear in published have no other vowels between. books all the time but that doesn’t mean they •“Fortnight” is a contraction of “fourteen should continue to be. Weak writing is weak nights.” In the US “two weeks” is more writing no matter who is getting published. commonly used. Some may not care, often dashing off a story to •“Forty” is the only number which has its grab the money and run, but readers deserve letters in alphabetical order. more. Rewriting and editing to find just the •“One” is the only number with its letters in right words and phrases can make a good story reverse alphabetical order. so much better.



At the Czech Film festival O

N 5th and 6th December, the Czech Republic presented its first film festival at the premises of the National Film Institute (NFI) in Jos. A set of four best rated Czech films from the 60’scalled the Czech New Wave movement was screened within two afternoons. The event was launched by an opening speech of Afolabi Adesanya, Managing Director (CEO) of the Nigerian Film Corporation. Adesanya, in his speech, encouraged students of the NFI to look closely at the internationally acclaimed Czech films and get inspiration from other cultural milieu. “We must know the classics of world cinema to be able to produce our own outstanding films,” he said. The event was attended by a representative of the Plateau State Government, Hon. Sylvanus L. Dongtoe, Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, who appreciated that a representative of the Czech Embassy came to Jos, a place where many artistic Nigerians live, and expressed his hope that the

By Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

reputation of Jos as a safe and friendly city to visitors will expand, thanks to events like the Czech film festival. The representative of the Czech Embassy, Ms. Eliška Koláøová, cultural attaché, delivered a speech on behalf of the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, putting the Czech New Wave movement in context. She also spoke about its most important director – Miloš Forman– who later emigrated to the U.S, where two of his later films, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus are among the most honoured movies in Academy Award history. Films screened at the festival included Firemen’s Ball directed by Milos Forman, The Cremator by Juraj Herz, and Closely Watched Trains by Jiri Menzel. FIREMEN’S BALL Milos Forman is one of the most rewarded directors in Academy Award history- two of his films having won a combined 14 Oscars at the world’s most prestigious film award ceremony. Yet, outside film schools and discussions between cinema buffs, it is

unlikely the name is met with more than a faint recognition, which makes the decision to screen his last film before emigrating to the United States a wise one. Years before the filmmaker directed Hollywood great, Jack Nicholson, in One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest (adapted from the Ken Kesey novel,) which gave the actor his first of three Oscars, he directed this oddball comedy acknowledged as one of the best films from the Czech New Wave, a film movement with a short span but lasting legacy. Firemen’s Ball is the story of a fire department’s preparation for an event to honour the cancer stricken ex-president and a beauty pageant. Despite good intentions, the event crumbles under the weight of its own bureaucracy and general ineptitude of the organisers: gifts are stolen by the guests; when young women coerced for the pageant abscond, an unattractive older woman is crowned; an officer of the department gets a heart attack when lights, switched off to encourage guests return their loot, abruptly comes back on and he is caught returning an item; a

‘Nigerians have problems with spelling’ Spelling is the bedrock of literacy. In this report, Rotimi Eyitayo, initiator of the Teammasters Spelling Bee competition, speaks to Joe Agbro Jr. on the need for good spellers among students


N existence for four years, the Teammasters Spelling Bee is an English Spelling Competition that has been designed for students between the ages of 7 and 17 years across primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools. And this year’s edition, the fifth in the series, will feature in 10 states in Nigeria as well as three countries. The Initiator of the programme is Rotimi Eyitayo, a business consultant, skewed towards Project Management and Process Improvement and who has worked with corporate organisations, religious bodies, schools as well as individuals. With a passion for education, he has facilitated programmes within and outside Nigeria, one of which is the just concluded Gemstone Global Reading Festival that happened in 17 cities in Nigeria and 17 countries across the world simultaneously. Others include the Nigerian Schools Conference which brings together school heads across the nation, the Student Enrichment Seminar and of course, The Teammasters Spelling Bee. Expressing concern over the nation’s reading culture, Eyitayo said, ‘I really believe that Nigerian students and adults as well have problems with spelling. This can be attributed to the fact that the reading culture has gone very low and

• Eyitayo

with the emergence of abbreviations and code words. The average Nigerian student would rather use shorthand and abbreviations to express himself.’ According to Eyitayo who registered Teammasters Limited in 2006 to create and add value to schools, students, teachers, and parents, ‘the competition has been structured to help promote literacy in Nigeria but most of all to develop students’ use of the English vocabulary and spelling skills. Each stage of the competition

fire breaks out and the department it turns out to be as ineffectual at putting out fires as it is at organising a ball. Immensely popular upon release, its peculiar manner of mocking officialdom led the Communist regime in place at the time to ban the film the year after it was released. Today, it may be puzzling a government banned such a hearty comedy. Upon reflection, however, it is not strange: absolutist regimes of inflexible configurations cannot allow its power structures laughed at: laughter can be dissent. Director Milos Forman denied any suggestion he made the film to satirise the workings and effectiveness of the Communist government’s bureaucracies, saying he knew, “…if I be real, if I’ll be true, the film will reveal an allegorical sense.” The world is full of artists who deny a deeper reading of their work. However, if it be true, we can only be grateful, for in this case the product functions both as a regular offbeat comedy as well as a criticism of its time; a time replete with corruption, needless structures, official ineptitude and above all, human stupidity. None-

(District level – State Finals – National Finals and Awards) has been observed to help build spellers’ confidence and competitive skills as well. Over 500 schools had participated in previous editions of the spelling bee, but, for this edition, Eyitayo said he expects 2, 000 schools to participate in the competition. And the star prize winner of the spelling bee gets an opportunity to be the US Consul General for a day. Coordinators of winning students as well as their schools will also receive prizes and all participating students and coordinators will also get certificates of participation. He said, “over the years, feedbacks from participated schools were that an incredible difference was noticed in the academic performance of spellers who participated in the competition.” On what motivates him , Eyitayo says: “The desire to engage students in a unique way and simultaneously develop the educational sector, thereby creating leverage for both primary and secondary schools (private and public) to build confidence, improve on their vocabulary and thereby acquiring life skills.” Obviously, the magnitude of the programme does not intimidate Eyitayo as he said, “our team has been able to position the competition for better participation and acceptance by the general public.” Appealing to sponsors, he, however said: “We still seek for sponsors and organisations that are willing to support this cause.” Apart from helping students “to build confidence, improve on their vocabulary and thereby acquiring life skills,” Eyitayo says it is the desire of Teammasters to “showcase the best we have and win in every endeavour at all cost.”

theless, none of these is peculiar to the 60’s or to Czechoslovakia – every Nigerian has witnessed or experienced slight variations of the events of Firemen’s Ball at least thrice in his/ her lifetime. Makes you wonder: who’d have thought the

closest thing to a film on the socio-political milieu in contemporary Nigeria was made by a Czech director, in 1967? Not you? Me neither. Aigbokhaevbolo is film critic based in Asokoro, Abuja

King Oogbodo lashes out at Nigeria

•King Oogbodo


ROMISING music artist, King Oogbodo, has thoroughly lashed Nigeria in his latest song, Inu N Bi Mi. According to King Oogbodo who is signed on to Blood Entertainment, Inu N Bi Mi is a noholds-barred attack on the deplorable situation in the country “because things are getting worse by the day and if we musicians don’t expose the wrongs in the country, we won’t move forward. “It’s time for us to face the reality which is that Nigeria is not yet a good

country and I don’t beat about the bush about that in Inu N Bi Mi. Without mincing words, I expose the terrible condition of Nigeria and especially the wickedness of our leaders. Hypocrites and sycophants might not like it but the masses definitely will.” It wasn’t only Nigeria and its leaders that he lashed in the song, though, going by his disclosure. “I also took time out to lash traders, teachers, expatriates in Nigeria, craftsmen, the NYSC and the terrorists. These are all people who are contributing negatively to the nation so I let them know of their wrong ways through Inu N Bi Mi.” He, however, added that “though there are many more people for me to actually lash with my acid tongue but I can’t lash everyone in just one song so I lashed all those I could and I’m reserving my whipping lash for the others later.”

Conversations with Wole Soyinka


HE latest book by Nobel laurete Wole Soyinka, ‘Harmattan haze on an African Spring’ will on Tuesday be unveiled at Terrakulture, Victoria island, Lagos. The event organised by Bookcraft Limited is scheduled for 4:00pm and will have Professor Wole Soyinka interact with guests.





Another view ofBible stories W

ITH his descriptive re-rendering of famous biblical stories, sacred truths can, once again, serve as the guiding posts of society’s conscience. Never more than now has a truly Christian worldview, necessary for the moral affirmation of society and professing church-goers, been needed in our age. By using a relaxing and conversational approach, which is reminiscent of American writer, Max Lucado, Ayo Stilo Oni is able to connect with his readers, and bring to them gems of wisdom and tales of faith and survival as contained in the different reconstructions of bible narratives. From Old Testament events to the Gospel, Oni, relying on a postmodern infusion of lyricism and prose, presents a pastiche of bible themes that are most relevant for the agitations of a troubled planet. In the first story, “Floating Rock” the author re-situates Peter’s experience on the sea within Peter’s selfnarrative space. In this story, Oni gives readers the opportunity to hear directly from Peter himself: I was sinking! So, I screamed, “Lord, save me!” He heard my cries and came. I saw Him move gently yet swiftly and held my arm, when I thought it was finally over. Smiling as He brought me up with His faith, he said, ‘So little faith, Peter, so little. Why did you doubt?’ (Pg.14) In terms of style therefore, Oni’s language is replete with vivid metaphors overflowing with messages for every careful reader. His diction is direct, assuring and unhindered. This will definitely set Ayo Stilo Oni apart in a Christian genre dominated in Nigeria by mostly popular televangelists and notable preachers. Now, Ayo Stilo Oni gives readers, whether Christians or non-Christians, the rare privilege of not only having biblical accounts refresh-

Beeta Universal presents Castles in the Air


By James Yeku ingly re-told but also with a pertinent elucidation of critical gaps in some of the original stories. From “Cries of Tears” to “Angel Tears”, the author erects a stage for bible characters and unnamed relatives to relieve their experiences in such a way that readers are moved to cathartic participations. In these and other stories like “The Water Changer” and “I am Less”, Oni takes us through the sandy routes of Palestine, with Jericho and Jerusalem coming alive through graphical imageries and apt illustrations of the instructional themes of Holy writs. In “Proud Love”, for instance, Oni reminds us, through the participatory voice of Uriah, of a soldier’s dedication and loyalty to God and His cause. In this particular narrative, the story of the tragic death of Uriah is re-captured in so pungent a manner that compels readers to desire the many profound lessons of the true biblical account. In “WIJD” (What if Jesus did?) - an obvious re-interrogation of the popular WWJD (What would Jesus do?) mantra among middle-class Christians -, Oni raises significant issues about the attitude and life of Christians, and their preparedness to meet the Saviour. In a way that surmises the authorial tenor of the entire collection, Oni asks: Now, what if this is just a dream, a story, something that flashed by? But what if this is real? Would the trumpet blow, first, in your heart and then ears? Would you recognise him, if he walked again among men? (Pg. 53) It is possible for conservative readers of the bible to view Oni’s efforts as rewriting the canons; with arguments that no prophecy of scripture must be subject to personal interpretation. This, in my opinion, will be a welcome debate, as it will go a long way to validate the significance of the author’s well-intended efforts.

This is not the Gospel according to Ayo Stilo Oni! Rather it is a re-telling of famous bible stories with an imaginative meticulousness and writing style that account for silent issues inferable from the contexts of original scriptural delivery, as inspired in the heart of the author. The 20 narratives in this collection, whether prosaic or poetic, will, no doubt, challenge readers to view the bible from new and exciting perspectives, such that their own journey with God is inspired. James Yeku; Graduate Student, Cultural and Media Studies; Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan GAPS: Ayo Stilo Oni, Gracehill and Milestone Publishing: LAGOS. 2012, 161 pp.

Voices from CBAAC cultural fest


N line with its tradition, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Cilvilisation (CBAAC) recently held its annual festival of culture celebrating children and as has become customary, the event featured an exhibition of artworks from schools across Lagos State. Beaming light on the important role of children in sustainable development in the country the event integrates Nigerian children with the cultural heritage of the country while simultaneously showcasing the artistic ingenuity of the children via the exhibition. The art exhibition, which was unveiled by CBAAC’s Director, Professor Tunde Babawale, spoke the voices of school children as regards the current state of events in the country. Touching on everything from security challenges, religion to cultural associations down to human anatomy, the exhibition portrays the Nigerian child as aware of the happenings in his surroundings, a far cry from the notion that the ivory towers are falling. The Politics of Religious Terrorism, a painting by Ayeni Emmanuel, a student of Navy School, Ojo captures the battle for survival the average Nigerian experiences. It has been argued that religion is a tool used by politicians to perpetuate themselves in office while throwing the attention of the masses away from fundamental issues. Ayeni lends his voice to this argument with the work done with poster colour. Aptly titled, he captures four politicians from different ethnicity, based on their dress code, united in crucifying an already emaciated looking Nigerian.

ITH productions like Iya ile and Man talk, Woman Talk to its credit, Beeta Universal Arts Foundation, affiliates of Fela in Lagos is bringing, for the second time on stage, Castles in the Air by Barclays Ayakoroma. This, according to Bikiya Graham-Douglas,Chief Operating Officer Beeta Universal Arts Foundation, is in its continued effort to strengthen the different spheres of theatre and make professional theatrical performances accessible to the general public in Nigeria. With the Amphitheatre of the Mediterranean Recreation Centre 1141 Kwame Nkrumah Crescent Asokoro Abuja as its venue, the production which started showing on Friday, December 14 wraps up today, December 16. Castles in the Air is set in Nigeria. A story of conflict, a Muslim couple desires for their son Aminu to get married and become a more responsible adult. They fail to succeed with their bid until they receive a letter from a great uncle offering a huge amount of money to the family with conditions that Aminu must marry and father a child within a year. All seems okay and preparations begin on how the money would be spent to upgrade the family lifestyle, until Aminu decides to marry the girl of his dreams, Stella, who is from Southern Nigeria. The conflicts begin between both families as to why the lovebirds cannot marry and caught up in the chaos they fail to realise that they are building Castles in the Air. A satirical story, the production highlights the need for unity in Nigeria and why our diversity should be our strength and not a weakness. BUAF produced this play last year in Lagos. This would be its first production in Abuja. Cast of the drama production include Patrick Diabuah, Inna Erizia, Ikponmwosa Gold, Omololu Sodiya, Bola Edwards, Paul Alumona and Chioma Onwusika.

By Ovwe Medeme

On the sideline, the painting also portrays a crop of politicians united in fleecing the country of its wealth while ethnic division flourishes at the grassroots. In a similar vein, Abioye Benita Adeola, also of Nigerian Navy School, Ojo reflects on the security challenge especially in the in the Northern part of the country via the artwork, Fearful Worship. She comes up with a burning house of worship with littered corpses and frightened people. In her own way, she tells the story of a people who can no longer seek peace where it is found. Other artworks on display include Bata Drummers, Human Kidney, One Nation; Many Problems as well as Egun Ngbachi (Moon Dance) Chaired by Chief (Mrs) Opral Benson and themed Beauty in Diversity, Celebrating Creativity, the event was held at the Exhibition Hall of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. Speaking at the event, Professor Tunde Babawale said the programme was organised yearly to facilitate interaction between children from diverse socio-cultural and economic backgrounds. “Our choice of this time of the year to bring children together for this celebration is our unique way of giving thanks to the Almighty, our creator, for his mercies and benevolence during this year that is gradually winding up. At this programme today, we are here not only to celebrate and enjoy the various compliments this season brings, we are also here to imbue and inculcate in our children the values inherent in and the beauty of African culture.”



•At a Gender’s meeting, recently.

Gender and Constitution review


HE excitement over the review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria reached a high point mid November, with the people's sessions and the public hearings organised by the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively. But it remains to be seen that the “road show”, as Governor Kayode Fayemi described the activities, would lead to outcomes that can meet the expectations of the majority of ordinary Nigerians who desire a constitution that reflects their wishes and aspirations. Already there are signs that the final product of the current review process is unlikely to mirror the will of the people as it seems predetermined by a handful of persons that pretend to know what is best for all Nigerians. The farcical manner in which the constituency debates were conducted lends credence to the thinking that it was not intended to make any difference. In many constituencies the process was brazenly manipulated to promote some issues and downgrade others. This tinkering became highly noticeable with issues of gender justice and women's political rights which the facilitating legislators treated as comedy or irritants depending on their moods. The conduct of these sessions call for a number of questions: first, what informed the decision to have the issues put to vote rather than listening to the positions of the constituents on them? Secondly, what mechanisms were put in place to ensure equal representation of the various groups in the constituencies to ensure fairness and legitimacy of the voting results? Thirdly, how come that such a serious activity was not given adequate publicity? Indeed, it was simply naïve, considering this society's attachment to gender roles, to assume that women would leave their Saturday chores and troupe to the town halls merely based on a few vague media announcements. It was no surprise that men made up about 90% of the participants in most of the sessions. With so many men, likely hired for the purpose, affirmative

As the country embarks on the process of reviewing its constitution, ADA AGINA-UDE takes a look at what the document has in store on gender issues action was killed. The way the questions were framed were also intended to elicit specific answers, and where they did not, the facilitators rephrased and twisted them for effect. Thus in a particular constituency the emotive and simplistic question, “Should certain per cent elective offices be reserved for women” got subjected to several embellishments until the legislator got the answer that suited his intention. Under the guise of explaining the question, he painted a horrendous picture of male extinction should such provision find its way into the constitution. The standing down of gender equality issues became a disaster foretold, as a reliable source has disclosed that the Lower House subsequently threw out Affirmative Action and other gender equality issues from the list of items to be included in the draft amendments expected next June. Now, Nigerian women must rise up to this new challenge, speak against it with one voice and demand a reversal or the whole amendment would be jeopardized. Though this won't be the first time women would be sidelined in constitution matters, we should strive to make it the last. While the 1999 Constitution was being written during the Abacha and Abubakar's regimes, women under the brave leadership of late Prof. Jadesola Akande, cried out against their exclusion from the process. They have not relented in their civilised demand for the correction of institutionalised neglect of their rights as Nigerian citizens, including their rights to compensation as an oppressed and suppressed group, and especially their rights to have a proportionate say in the way they are governed. After one botched attempt at constitutional review, a partially successful one, and a third attempt in the works, the issues of women's citizenship rights and their

absence in decision-making remain as germane as they were in 1999. The recently celebrated humiliation of Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofor and the continued near absence of women in our National and state Assemblies are illustrative. While it is obvious that Justice JomboOfor's travails are easily traceable to constitutional bias against women, the relationship between the same constitution and women's absence in decision-making bodies may not be so apparent, but the nexus exists. The constitution of a country sets the parameters for the coming together of its various components, and defines the rules and values for the evolvement of a cohesive political entity where the welfare, security and functioning of the people are guaranteed. For this reason, certain principles are essential for making a constitution that would be acceptable to the majority, if not all the components of the nation, and also create favourable conditions for realizing the objectives of the union. It follows that constitution making must accommodate a diversity of perspectives as well as mass participation; it must be transparent and open while the persons driving it must be accountable and sincere. Where most of these ingredients are lacking, the outcome is unlikely to stand the test of time as has been the case with the Nigerian experience since Lord Luggard's administration. To a large extent this accounts for the dysfunction of the polity and the mounting complaints from various groups. Of all the groups, women have had to pay the greatest price for Nigeria's constitutional gaffes, being the minority within minorities, the marginalised within all marginalised. Despite this dismal reality, the country's leaders have never treated the issue of

redressing the deprivations and injustices women have suffered over the centuries with seriousness. We have had to live with deeply etched disparities in opportunities for personal functioning and development between men/women, boys and girls and quite often blame the victims rather than taking concrete steps to correct the imbalance. No excuse is acceptable for this treatment. Since the issues are of international spread and concern, some best practices on how to handle them are now available. For instance beyond debates, across national boundaries, on the most effective strategy to address the effects of past neglect and also close the gaps between men and women in access to public decisionmaking, it has been practically demonstrated that constitutional and other legal reforms are the most impactful. Constitutional/legal reforms have worked within and outside Africa bringing a new lease of life, respect and international acclaim to hitherto crisesridden countries and some that recently emerged from civil wars. It is indeed a matter for Nigeria to rue that today Rwanda has attained, through this process, 56.3% women representation in its national parliament. Mozambique has 39.2%, Mexico 36.8%, Uganda 35%, and Burundi 30%. Sadly, the anti-women shenanigans that have attended aspects of the current Constitution Review process in Nigeria suggest that the majority of our representatives are comfortable with Nigeria's 6.8% and its ranking at a humiliating 130th position on the UNDP Gender Equality Index behind Congo, Botswana, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and of course Ghana. This why to improve the Nigerian situation, the Democratic Governance for Development program of the UNDP in Nigeria is supporting initiatives by GERCON that would lead to enhanced constitutional framework for gender rights. Several options are available for closing the gap in women's representation through reforms. It can be addressed by creating •Continued on page 54



Miscellany By Jare Ajayi


HE fourth edition of Oke Ogun Day which was celebrated at Tede, headquarters of Atisbo Local Government, provided the people of Oke ogun in Oyo State another opportunity to take stock about their situation in the scheme of things economically, socially and politically. The result of the exercise was not so flattering as the scorecard in the three areas was low as far as the people were concerned. Professor Joshua Dada Adeniyi, Chairman, Oke Ogun Development Council (ODC), under whose auspices the programme was organised, set the tone when, in his opening address, stated: “My address today, is a repeat call for the attention of the state and federal governments to correct the continued marginalisation of Oke Ogun in the distribution and location of educational, health, economic and socio-cultural facilities, institutions and services.” On education, he said that of the 21 tertiary educational institutions in Oyo State, only a satellite campus of a polytechnic is located in Oke Ogun. “Considering that the area has 10 of the 33 local government areas in the state, this near total absence of tertiary institution is not only unfair, it is unjust, inhuman and epitomises how low the people are rated by the authorities.” Adeniyi, a retired professor of community health and consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO), observed that other areas in Nigeria that are bereft of health institutions are blessed by Federal Medical Centres or teaching hospitals “but Oke Ogun has not been so opportuned.” Consisting of ten local government councils namely: Atisbo, Irepo, Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Iwajowa, Kajola, Olorunsogo, Oorelope, Saki East and Saki West Local Government councils, Oke Ogun is very good in agriculture, hence the establishment of Oyo North Agricultural Development Programme (ONADEP) by the World Bank and the old Oyo State about 30 years ago. But the programme was in recent years re-located to Ibadan. The same way the headquarters of the Old Oyo National Park was relocated from Sepeteri to Oyo Town. Sepeteri is in Oke ogun, the natural location of the wild life that informed the establishment of the Park

Reaching for greater heights

•Deputy Governor, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo presenting Outstanding Award to Barrister Bosun Oladele, former Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Oyo State.

in the first place while Oyo is outside Oke Ogun. “Although Oke Ogun zone is endowed with natural capacities for development in agriculture and industrial sectors… initiatives of developing these potentials are always aborted once they begin to show signs of bearing fruits,” Adeniyi lamented. Among the examples he gave were that of kaolin deposit in Iseyin, Igbeti Marble Industry in Igbeti, clay, gemstones and gold deposits in Atisbo and Itesiwaju Local Government Areas, International Border Markets in Okerete and Iwajowa, and the Ikere Gorge Dam which was abandoned after about 75% completion.” He used the opportunity to re-iterate the necessity of creating Oke Ogun State “so as to put a permanent stop to our age long marginalisation.” He concluded by pledging the continued support of the people to the state and federal government but urged them to “quickly and

urgently remedy the legendary neglect of Oke Ogun.” Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, lauded the organisers of the programme and assured them that the administration headed by Governor Abiola Ajimobi will do its best to better the lot of Oke Ogun people. He called for the continued support for the government. Adeyemo, who is also an indigene of Oke Ogun, seized the opportunity to call on the National Assembly to create Oke ogun State, “for that is where the permanent solution to Oke Ogun situation lies.” Chairman of the occasion, Dr (Chief) Isaac Adisa Ishola Tejubiyi, who described the formation of Oke ogun Development Council as “a major step towards bringing the focus needed to fight the neglect of our area,” saluted “the courage of the leadership of all Unions that accepted to come together under the umbrella of ODC.” He urged them to close ranks and work

together. He then regretted that Oke Ogun which has ten out of the 33 local government councils in Oyo State “cannot boast of any federal educational institution … just as it is deprived in various infrastructure with which any modern society can live a good life.” Besides lamenting the deplorable condition of Oke Ogun roads, Tejubiyi harmered on the security situation as well. A point that Hon Jacob Funmi Ogunmola, chairman, Atisbo local government which hosted the programme, was to further reiterate. Speaking on the rationale behind Oke ogun Day, Deacon Samuel Oyedemi, OPM Chairman, said that it was meant to, among others, forge unity among Oke Ogun people, to raise people's consciousness about their responsibility to their area and to call the attention of the outside world to the plight of the area. Former Minister of Agriculture (State) who is an indigene of Sepeteri in Oke Ogun, Otunba Bamidele Dada also spoke about the significance of Oke Ogun Day. Dada who was Father of the Day, submitted that a forum such as Oke Ogun Day is necessary “to enable our people come together, articulate their concerns and seek ways of finding solutions to these concerns.” He said that although “we are not yet where we are supposed to be as a people, the fact that we are coming together to examine issues is a pointer that we will get there one day.” He said this against the background of the symposium which held the day before at which three scholars examined various issues pertaining to Oke Ogun. Dr Soji Awoyemi of the University of Ibadan spoke on under-development in Oke ogun The Way Out. Brigadier General (retired) A.K. Togun spoke on Security Network: Whose Duty? While the third lecture by Dr. Y.Y. Muslim of the Polytechnic, Ibadan, was on the Feasibility of Oke Ogun State Creation. The symposium held at the Cooperative Hall, Atisbo local government Secretariat. The opinions expressed at the symposium as summarised by Prof Layi Egunjobi at the Saturday event dwelt on the creation of Oke Ogun State, establishment of Oke Ogun University of Science and Technology, security situation in Oke Ogun, unemployment and the need for an attitudinal change to provide an enabling environment for rapid development and an enhanced relationship.

Gender and Constitution review •Continued from page 53

designated women-only constituencies. For this option, some amendment to the Nigerian constitution is necessary as it already contains the lists of established constituencies. There is also the use of party lists which would equally require constitutional amendment since it functions with the List Proportional Representation (LPR) Electoral System which is different from the First Past the Post that Nigeria currently operates. It must be stated here that Proportional Representation would not only address the marginalization of women, but also the emerging trend of having one-party legislatures both at the national and state levels. The uncomplicated method is through agreement by all political parties to field women candidates for some specified constituencies. This third option, favoured

by some European countries, would not require constitutional reforms but the understanding and the willingness of political leaders to open up the space for women. Gender activists have been pushing for this seemingly uncomplicated option since the return of party politics but thirteen years on and still counting, they have met a brick wall. The excuse from party chieftains is that they cannot possibly get intra or inter-party cooperation for this option unless it is provided for in the Nigerian Constitution. But have they asked why it has been possible for their counterparts in Britain, Denmark and other countries of Europe to perform the seeming feat? The answer may be found in the difference between the nature of politics in Europe and Nigeria. In those places politics is essentially a platform for seeking public

office in order to improve the lives of their people. This is not necessarily because European politicians are a special breed but because their democratic institutions have been reformed and refined to make it so. Now, a lot of the arguments against changing the electoral system to LPR and or creating women only constituencies have rested on the amount of work to be done since it would involve tearing down old structures in place of new ones. But with due respect, this argument sounds like an excuse for legislative laziness. How did Nigerian leaders get to the point of regarding mentally exacting work as inconceivable? The legislators should do their bit by legislating and let the experts bother about implimentation. We have also observed that some legislators have been unduly concerned about the possibility of reducing the size of

existing constituencies to make room for the women-only constituencies; unless they know something we don't, bigger constituency does not mean better legislative wok. Their main consideration must be to drive a process that will give Nigerians a document that would become the foundation for seeking the good of the majority, and no effort should be spared to achieve it. If indeed we are serious about turning Nigeria around to a productive, progressive, corruption free country where men and women, rich and poor, indigene or non indigene, royalty or commoner, able bodied or living with disability can realize their aspirations, utilize their potentials and function maximally, we must be ready for radical changes in our ways of thinking and doing things and it must reflect in our grand law- the constitution. Agina-Ude is of the Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN)



A beauty in need of aid —PAGE 56

‘My husband beats me silly’ Funmilayo Bolarinwa married a man she thought loved her. More than a decade after, with three kids and two lost teeth to show for it, she met Yetunde Oladeinde and told her the story of a lost love.


T a recent event, a group of women were doing their best to bring out their best culinary skills preparatory for a party. Then suddenly the phone rings and Funmilayo Bolarinwa grabs it to answer the caller at the other end of the line. To everyone’s utmost surprise her disposition changed and she was shaking and crying almost at the same time. What is the matter? Someone queried. She replies: “It’s my husband. I don’t know why he is angry again.” Why should she be so disturbed when the one she loves calls? How can you be in love and yet live in fear? Well, it’s that things have fallen apart in that relationship. Bolarinwa is a woman who has been abandoned by the one she loved, and instead of allowing her to carry her cross calmly, he resorts to threats, though subtle. In a voice laden with emotion and regrets, she takes you into their love world and how her peace was torn to shreds, living in the shadow of her former self. Today, she is as poor as the proverbial church rat: she engages in menial chores such as washing clothes and plates at parties to feed and sustain the three children the union produced. “I also do some scavenging here and there. I sell bottles, plastics and other things that I find in the process.” Unfortunately for her, one of her sons has been diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia, making life tough and almost unbearable. Facing it alone “I called my husband to tell him about my son who has sickle cell but he decided to abandon us. I have a boy and two girls. He does not provide anything for their upkeep or

pay their school fees. It has been really tough taking care of the children alone. Apart from this, I live in fear on a daily basis.” Her story began in 1995: “We got married at the Christ Gospel Mission Church. We also had a court wedding and I was full of hopes and great expectations in the marriage. We met in church and he promised to be a good husband.” But along the line, Funmilayo began to notice the other side of the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. “We had our first child and along the line he became jobless. Things were very tough but I had made up my mind to stay with him, for better or for worse. Some family members discoura-ged me but I did not listen to them because I had made up my mind not to marry a second husband. Some of my siblings had been married twice or more but I did not want this to happen to me. I was encouraged by our pastor who said that if we got married in church this would not happen.” Determined to make things work against the odds, Funmilayo did her best working very hard to make ends meet. “I used to go to Shaki and Iseyin to bring in garri and other foodstuffs. It was tough but I knew that if I put in my best, we would all have a better future. Then he was a driver and most times, he wouldn’t just go to work. Then one day, he had an argument with a policeman and he was beaten to the point where one of his eyes was affected badly. Along the line, we started attending The Redeemed Christian Church of God, and the matter got to Femi Falana

Chambers. Help came and we went for surgery at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). It was a very trying period in our lives and luckily the eye got better after some time. “At

a point, I realised that I couldn’t even find our marriage certificate again and I was confused.” Just while she was pondering over this development, her husband gave her the red card. “He just kept on complaining over almost everything that I did. Then shortly after we joined The Redeemed Christian Church, he said I was no longer good enough for him.” She was devastated and tried to pick up the pieces in tears. “It was one of the toughest periods in my life. I had emaciated so badly and I was a shadow of my former self. By the time I went to my father’s place I was very sick. Even in that state I just had to do something for a living and that was how I started washing clothes for a

woman who works at the Lagos State University (LASU).” It was not over yet, she went back to her sweetheart again. “Each time I remembered our marital vows I was very sad. We are admonished to stay together forever and I decided to forget all the negative things that happened between us. So nine months after leaving his house, I went back again and we reconciled,” Funmilayo recollects. Love gone awry Once more, happiness radiated in her life and she put in more effort into her trade. “I made some good money from my business and I was able to buy a parcel of land in Ijoko, Ota in Ogun State with some of the profits I made then. When I told

my husband about this achievement, I noticed that he was really angry. He said I was very stupid and asked why I didn’t buy land in Ajah or other areas that were lucrative. I tried to apologise but he hit me on the face. In the process a tooth fell off from my mouth immediately and a second tooth was shaky.” At this point, it was obvious that her man was not comfortable with the progress she was making in her business. ‘‘Things started getting bad, two of the children became sick and they couldn’t stand. A lot of resources went into taking care of them and it also took a toll on her health. I collapsed in the process and that was when the second tooth which was shaky finally fell off. •Continue on Page 56




A beauty in need of aid Kokumo Folashade Oluwaseun is a beautiful lady who has a story to tell. Chinaka Okoro listens to her

•Kokumo Folashade


OKUMO Folashade Oluwaseun, 27, is a beauty to behold. She cuts the picture of a beauty queen, with every physical feature of a healthy, young lady. Regrettably, if she is backing you or not looking in your direction and you call her she would not respond. Not because she is shunning you. No. She has hearing impairment which she has been grappling with since she was two years old. According to Dr. Irene OkekeIgbokwe, Director of Nigerian Army Audiological Centre, Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Yaba, Lagos, Folashade needs N5.38m for ear surgery and hearing aids. The snag, however, is how to get the money since she is an orphan. She lost her parents at a very tender age. Her hearing challenge has made it difficult for her to compose a complete sentence. Tough living Doctors say her ears could not send the signals needed for her to compose speech. When the need for communication arises, she opts to write her thoughts on paper. According to experts, profoundly deaf children can use today’s advanced hearing aids and cochlear implants to obtain access to sound. But this is not enough. A deaf or hard-at-hearing child, they added, also needs an educator. This could be why pretty Folashade picked much interest in education. Despite her predicament, this brilliant lady has been able to rideout the ugly situation of life, especially in academic matters. Folashade, who hails from

Abeokuta North Local Government Area of Ogun State, has been able to complete her Ordinary National Diploma programme. She has not put a stop to her thirst for education; she is currently a Higher National Diploma (1) student in the Department of Business Administration at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta. According to her, she attained this feat because of the scholarship she was offered by the authorities of MAPOLY. Narrating her ordeal, she said: “My predicament began at the age of two after an illness. M y parents suddenly realised that I could no longer hear. Later, a speech impediment was also discovered. “My parents made valiant efforts to take me to various hospitals for treatment. When it was finally ascertained that the only possible cure for my hearing impairment was N3.6m cochlear implant that would take place in India, they lost all hope

because they couldn’t afford such colossal amount of money for the operation. The journey so far has been tortuous. “I was able to complete my National Diploma due to the hearing aids I procured five years ago with the assistance of well-meaning Nigerians who were impressed by my singlemindedness and zeal to succeed in life. “Unfortunately, towards the last part of my ND programme, the hearing aid was damaged, resulting in an adverse effect on my academic performance.” The bottom-line now is that Folashade has an urgent need for N5.38m to correct her hearing challenge. Break down of this sum is N380, 000 to purchase a new set of hearing aids and N5m required for an ear surgery in an Indian hospital as recommended by her doctors. The hearing aids will give her momentary respite from the horrifying pains she currently experiences, even as it will enable her to participate actively during lectures. Dr Okeke-Igbokwe’s covering letter reads: RE: KOKUMO FOLASHADE. “The above named patient was here on August 7, 2012 for a complete audiological evaluation and the result of the test revealed bilateral profound SNHL and amplification is recommended for maximum benefit. Siemens BTE (Behind-theear) 2 N380 000 “Physical examination revealed a healthy-looking young lady without any physical defects. Otoscopic examination revealed clear canal and both tympanic membrane intact. Audiological investigation on Pure Tone Audiometry revealed bilateral severe to prof o u n d sensorneural loss. “A physician recommended cochlear implant in India, which is expected to cost N5 million and medical treatment device the (sic) replaces the function of the damaged ear. Unlike hearing aids, it does the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (Cochlear) to send signals to the brain. It also transforms speech and other sounds into electrical energy that is used to stimulate the hearing nerve in the ear. “It also has both internal and external components. She was diagnosed with lack of speech and language acquisition and inability to hear and no history of familiar hearing loss. “She will require binaural post auricular type of cochlear and hearing aids, with

earmould to enable her to hear better and cope with her education. The cost of the cochlear implant treatment and moulds is N5 million in India.” Folashade is appealing to all to assist her overcome her predicament. “I hereby call on wellmeaning and kind-hearted Nigerians to come to my aid in raising the required amount (N5.38m). This will bring sunshine into my life and also bring to an end untold hardship experienced in cop-

ing with my academic career and in my day-to-day life. I will be forever grateful to you for assisting a poor orphan.” She can be reached on 08180989549 and 08069073051 (text messages only) while donations can be sent to her bank account number: Kokumo Folashade Oluwaseun, Wema Bank 0225665107 or Kokumo Folashade Oluwaseun: Access Bank Account Number 0034194247.

At a hubby’s mercy

•Bolarinwa’s children •Continued from Page 55

my husband said I was a witch and that it was the spirits around me that were responsible for the things that was happening to me.’’ In tears, she continued her story: “The landlord gave us quit notice and I advised that we should try to build a room on my land in Ijoko but he disagreed. Then he would wake me up in the middle of the night quarrelling about so many things. Then one day, my husband told me that he had decided that he was not going to work for a while. He then asked me to take the children to boarding school. He left and we were stranded. We do not know where he lives except that he is a cab driver at the airport. It was a very terrible period and omo onile (land speculators) took the land from me. Luckily, some people assisted me to get the land back.” When the husband, Emmanuel Bolarinwa, was contacted, he confirmed that they were no longer living together as husband and wife. He, however, denied the fact that he was not taking care of his children. Pressed to talk more about the relationship, Bolarinwa, who

was spoken to on phone, promised to visit the head office of The Nation newspapers to come and tell his own side of the story as he could not do so on phone. However, after waiting for him to come and state his case for almost four weeks and his phone going unanswered, we decided to publish his wife’s story.

•Bolarinwa: Before






T was a bright Tuesday morning and you were at a women's forum. The women talked about different issues on leadership, economic empowerment and their rights. Then the discussion moved on to health and a medical doctor, Temitope Akpelishi, took charge telling them she was going to talk about something most women shy away from. In a subtle way the talk kicked off and she dwelt on yeast infection. “It is something that happens all the time and we do not need to be ashamed to discuss with our doctor or people close to us. If you treat it and do not tell your spouse then it is likely to reccur,� she warned. Her subject matter was yeast infection and she tried to examine its causes, the types and how it can be treated. Vaginitis is an infection of the vagina caused by a fungus known as candida. It is characterised by itching, burning, soreness, pain during intercourse and urination. Yeast infection can be spread to a male or female partner. Symptoms of a yeast infection in a man are itching and irritation after sexual contact with an infected woman. Yeast vaginitis can be treated with antifungal medications applied to the affected area or taken orally. Interestingly, candida may be normally present in small amounts in some women and not cause disease. However, the presence of candida without symptoms of infection does not require treatment. Yeast is also commonly present on normal human skin and in areas of moisture, such as the mouth and vagina. In fact, it is estimated that between 20 percent and 50 percent of healthy women normally carry yeast in the vaginal area. Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina. It is very common and is reported by as many as 75 percent of women at some point in their lives. Vaginitis can be caused by a number of infections as well as noninfectious causes such as trauma or chemical irritation. Infectious vaginitis has numerous causes including bacteria. Vulvitis is inflammation of the external genital organs of the female (the vulva). The vulva includes the labia, clitoris and entrance to the vagina (the vestibule of the vagina). An inflammation of the vulva is referred to as vulvitis. Vulvitis, like vaginitis, may be caused by a number of different infections or noninfectious causes. Because the vulva is also often inflamed when there is inflammation of

Delaying breast cancer treatment raises death risk


Yeast and its many troubles By Yetunde Oladeinde

the vagina, vaginitis is sometimes referred to as vulvovaginitis. Although vaginal itching is the hallmark of yeast infections and other vaginal infections (including sexually transmitted infections, STIs), itching in the vagina and vulvar areas has multiple causes. Vaginal itching can also arise due to chemical irritants that may be found in detergents or soaps, douches and vaginal creams, toilet paper, bath products, feminine hygiene products, and vaginal contraceptive products. Women in the menopausal transition may experience vaginal itching due to fluctuations in estrogen levels. As estrogen levels decline in the perimenopause, the vaginal wall becomes thinner and drier, and itching may result. Some studies have shown a link between psychological stress and vaginal

yeast infections. This is likely due to the fact that stress is known to have a negative effect on the immune system and could possibly increase the likelihood of getting a yeast infection. In up to 5% of women, yeast vulvovaginitis may cause a recurrent problem. A recurrent yeast infection occurs when a woman has four or more infections in one year that are not related to antibiotic use. Recurrent yeast infections may be related to an underlying medical condition such as impaired immunity and may require more aggressive treatment Infections other than yeast can cause similar symptoms of a yeast infection and may be confused with a yeast infection. These include bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia, Trichomonas, and gonorrhea. If symptoms of a yeast infection are not eliminated by some recommended drugs, women should see their doctor for evaluation. Likewise, if a woman is not sure that her symptoms are in fact due to a yeast infection, she should seek medical advice. It is recommended that women see a health care professional if they have symptoms of a first-time yeast infection or if you are unsure that a yeast infection is the cause of your symptoms. While it is theoretically possible to spread yeast among male or female sexual partners, most experts do not consider yeast infections to be sexually-transmitted infections. Whether or not it is necessary to treat sex partners of a woman with a yeast infection has been a source of controversy, but most experts agree that it is only necessary to treat those sex partners who may develop symptoms.

new study shows just how dangerous it can be to wait to get treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, shows that the risk of dying from advanced breast cancer goes up 85 percent if you wait more than 60 days to start treatment. "It's been shown that early detection and treatment can increase five-year survival rates to as high as 98 percent. Until this study, we didn't know the profound effect delaying treatment could have," study researcher Electra D. Paskett, an associate director for population sciences at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, said in a statement. The study included 1,786 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2002, and who were followed through mid-2006. The women were enrolled in the North Carolina Medicaid System. Researchers found that treatment was started within a month for 66 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and treatment was started within two months for 90 percent of women. However, breast cancer survival rates didn't differ between women who sought treatment within a month and women who sought treatment within two months. Researchers did find a decrease in survival rates for the 10 percent of women who took longer than two months to get treatment, though. Women with advanced breast cancer were 85 percent more likely to die from breast cancer, and 66 percent more likely to die in general, if they delayed treatment. They noted that a major factor in delaying treatment is barriers to access, particularly among people who can't afford the treatment. Besides getting treatment as soon as possible, there are other lifestylerelated factors that can also improve survival rates for breast cancer patients. Those include eating cruciferous vegetables, having a strong support system, and maintaining a healthy weight.




From left: Mr Oluwole Okunnuga, Director; Mr Kabir Ayinde Tukur, MD/CEO; Mallam Mohammed Zurmi, Acting Chairman; Mrs Omolara Akinwale, Company Secretary and Mr Lukman Folorunsho, Director, all members of Coop Savings and Loans Limited, at the extra ordinary general meeting of the company, held in Abuja, recently

From left: DG NIMET being presented with a memento by the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Professor Chigozie Cyril Asiabaka. Flanked by their wives: to the Left is DG's wife: Dr (Mrs.) Eunice Anuforom and to the right is the VC's wife, Dr Mrs. I.P. Asiabaka,Director, Centre for Women. Gender & Development Studies, FUTO

FG partners firm on renewable energy ...Proposes four years training for over 2,750 across varsities


•Dalha Muhammed displaying his FirstBank HiFi Young Savers Account N1million cheque for tuition fees after emerging as one of the 12 winners of the annual HiFi Account Raffle Draw. He is flanked on his right by Mrs. Adijat Olaniyi-Olopade, FirstBank’s Business Development Manager (Agege BDO) and left Olusola Ogunsakin, Business Manager (MMIA Branch)


OR Nigeria to attain meaningful growth expected of an oil producing nation, it must diversify its non-oil export sector. The Director, Centre for International Development, Harvard University, Professor Ricardo Hausmann, said this at the just concluded 4th Economic Policy and Fiscal Strategy Seminar organised by the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA). Using data he had gathered over the years on Nigeria’s oil production, Professor Haussmann, a Venezuelan, said Nigeria’s hydro-carbon would be exhausted in the next 41 years, and if no new discoveries are made going by the current extraction rate, the nation stands the risk of a bleak economy in the absence of no clearly thought out diversification strategy to nonoil export.

NN, a leading pan-African technology service provider in the development of communications and power sectors in nine African countries, has entered a partnership with the National Universities Commission (NUC) to undertake a train-the-trainer scheme to develop university personnel for the renewable energy sector. The train-the-trainer programme was developed by PNN in conjunction with the NUC in response to the federal government’s plan to produce 40,000MW of electricity in Nigeria, with at least 10% of the power coming from renewable energy sources. 25 staff per national university will be invited to participate in the train-the-trainer programme, to be delivered in collaboration with the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) and the Renewable Energy Technology Institute (RETI), over the next four years. Otunba AbdulRahman Abiola-Odunowo, the CEO of

PNN, noted that the renewable energy sector in Nigeria has suffered from a lack of technical skill and value in service delivery, hence the decision by his firm to develop this training scheme. “What PNN and NUC aim to do with the train-the-trainer programme is fill the gaps in skills acquisition and delivery, such that we are able to transfer knowledge to university lecturers throughout Nigeria, which can then be passed on in a structured, systematic way to the men and women who will work directly in the green energy sector,” he said. PNN is an official development partner of the Federal Ministry of Environment’s Renewable Energy Programme, and one of the pioneering companies that undertake the building of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria. “As an FGN-approved renewable energy partner, we are making sure the train-thetrainer programme falls in line with the capacity building ef-

forts of the federal government for the burgeoning renewables sector,” says Abiola-Odunowo. He added that it will prepare Nigerian lecturers and others to support a massive drive for personnel training throughout the country. Professor Olu Lafe, the RETI founder, said the programme is aligned with NAPTIN’s curriculum and certification standards and that to achieve full certification, participants will be expected to go through 5 levels of training with each level comprising various hours of classroom and field exercises. “At the end of the programme, these trainers will have acquired extensive knowledge of every aspect of the design and operation of renewable power systems, in accordance with international codes of safety. Trainers who complete the course successfully will then be called upon to train staff working in various capacities within the renewable energy sector throughout Nigeria, which

Don stresses diversification from non-oil sector

...Faults government’s job creation strategy From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor), Abuja

Situating Nigeria’s growth within the ranks of oil producing nations of Iran, Angola, Saudi Arabia, and Norway, the Harvard scholar conclusively said that “there is no future growth for Nigeria without non-oil export strategy. Nigeria would need a massive export strategy, a major diversification to nonoil sectors to match her oil producing nation’s peers in term of real growth.” He said the agricultural sector remains a hugely untapped sector that Nigeria could massively harness to record significant mileage in non-oil export which would

also generate employment opportunities. According to him, “Nigeria’s process of development is in the process of diversification and not in the process of specialisation. Your job strategy should be in agriculture where you have 37.5 million hectare of arable land.” Professor Haussmann also faulted the Nigerian government’s celebrated job creation strategy. While agreeing that agricultural value chain has the potential of improving the employment rate, he advised Nigerian government to adopt the Thai strategy of allocating more lands for agriculture to fewer people so that they can produce more rather

than choking the farmlands with many farmers who produce less for the country. He noted that population in the rural areas in Nigeria was growing compared to other developing countries whose rural populace are migrating to the urban centres to work in other sectors, thus freeing up more land for the few farmers that are left in the agricultural belts. In another presentation by Dr. Menachem Katz, formerly of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and currently with CSEA, he highlighted “the role of fiscal policy in promoting growth,” he also faulted lopsidedness of the current fis-

cal policy framework in which oil and gas revenue constitutes over 75 percent of the total revenue. The federal government, he said, had little oversight on over half of those receipts which are allocated beneficiaries of the federation account. Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, CSEA, Dr Ebere Uneze, said that while it is true that real gross domestic product has grown at over six per cent in the recent year, the economy cannot be said to be competitive when compared with other emerging economies. He also noted that Nigeria has been sliding in key indices such as the ‘Ease of Doing Business index.’

will create continuity in the sector,” he added. The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie, expressed great optimism for the project, saying, “Nigerian universities have always been a part of capacity building in this country. Now, through the train-thetrainer programme, they are being prepared to contribute in a systematic way to a very technical field.” Participants in NUC’s train-the-trainer programme will be the key resource people for the deployment of renewable solutions in all Nigerian local government areas under the PAWA 774 community power franchise initiative.

Group holds conference Dec. 20


GROUP, Proven I n t e g r i t y Communication Networks Limited, will hold its fifth Integrity International Leadership conference on development on December 20 in Port Harcourt. In a statement, the group’s Head of Africa Operations, Dr Richard S. Ikpada, said a former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof E. T. Eshett, will speak on the theme ,‘Factors accounting for Africa’s stunted growth; Nigeria as an example and the way forward’. Expected at the event as special guest of honour is former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme; others are Rivers State Governor Chief Rotimi Amaechi; former presidentGeneral, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Prof Joe Irukwu and National Leader, National Action Council, Dr Olapade Agoro Ikpada also said at the event, awards will be conferred on some eminent Nigerians.






Unilever to sustain economic growth through CSR U

NILEVER Nigeria Plc has launched its corporate roadmap to sustainable economic growth. This will be done through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). The Unilever USLP articulates the company vision to double its growth and at the same time reduce the environmental impact of its operations. Speaking at the company’s CSR day 2012, the Managing Director, Unilever Nigeria PLC, Mr. Thabo Mabe said all the company’s CSR and sustainability initiatives were aligned to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan which has impacted positively on the stakeholders in the areas of education, health among oth-

Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf


He added that their brands have been reformulated to make them more environmental friendly and to create a better future every day. “We think of ways we can grow differently and make more out of life and we decided to make our products affordable for everybody so that the grassroots can also enjoy the benefits of every of our brands.” “We make sure we drive exclusively for the future of young children and each of our brands provides solutions to the most encountered health problems among people”, he said. Analysing the changing behaviour

of consumers, the Brand Building Director, Mr. David Okeme said that Unilever always look forward to teaching young children the right behaviour to achieve their sustainability goal of helping 1 billion people improve their health and well being. He said the company formulates some of their products, change their systems and processes to meet consumers’ needs and protect the environment. “Presently, we initiated a programme called ‘grow FM, 45.6’ to

teach two million kids the right health behaviour to avoid diseases and deaths as it always been recorded over the years. “We make these children understand, make the information easy for them, use their mothers to reinforce the right behaviour, make it desirable, make it rewarding and then encourage them to make it a habit for at least 21 days in a month”, Okeme said. In her presentations, the representative from Save the Children, Dr. Abimbola Williams said that

the Unilever Foundation’s three years commitment and donation to support the Save Children’s EVERY ONE Campaign will improve the lives of mothers and their babies in Jigawa and Lagos through improved access to quality care and support at the time of birth and immediate post-partum period amounting to improving the lives of over 400,000 women and new born babies and building the capacity of up to 1,000 health workers to provide quality services and appropriate care to mothers and their babies.

SON certifies PRIMA Corporation on quality


RIMA Corporation Limited, the leading manufacturers of plastic Performs and Caps for Carbonated Soft Drink manufacturers in West Africa has been conferred with the ISO 22000:2005 certification by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria. According to a letter signed by the head of Systems Certification Unit, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Engineer N.A Olujie, the company was awarded the certification after the verification exercise carried out by the regulatory agency. Olujie wrote” following the verification exercise carried out on the assessment of your quality management system, I am directed to inform you that your Food Safety Management System has been recommended for certification to NIS ISO 22000:2005 standard” Presenting the certification to his team at the quarterly reward

and recognition ceremony, the General Manager of Prima Corporation Limited Mr. Rajiv Khanna stated that the company continuously strives to exceed the expectations of their customers, focusing on the best products and services benchmarked with the best in the world. “The achievement of the ISO 22000: 2005 accreditation is a feather in our cap and justifies our claim to be the best in class, both locally and internationally. The Company’s policies on safety and quality highlight its strong commitment to the spirit of ISO 22000". “Each of us at Prima Corporation has a moral obligation to safeguard each other, our customers and our environment by aspiring to operate in a safe, injury free and healthy workplace, consistently producing safe packaging materials for our customers and minimizing the impact on our environment” he added.

•From left: The Chief Launcher, Mr Sunday Bamike, Chairman of the occasion, Mr Babatunde Oremade, and Author of The Book, Mr James Oguns, during the presentation of 'Management Accounting: A Simplified Approach in Lagos at the weekend. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

‘Communication alone cannot solve Africa’s problems’

ANAN boss hails partnership with international body


HE admission of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) into the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) would bring improvements to Nigeria’s economy, ANAN’s president, Hajia Maryam Ladi-Ibrahim, has said. Hajia Ladi-Ibrahim disclosed this in reporters at a press briefing at the association’s headquarters in Lagos recently. She also stated that being member of the world body will help to enhance the capability of the members. “It has not been easy but this go a long way to show that ANNA has actually work over the years to belong to the world body and we want to equally let you know that our sister body; the first occasional body in the country, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), actually sponsored us into the world body and we are very much appreciative of that. This is happening because we are thinking of Nigeria and the pro-

fession, professional accounting, to the benefit of the common man so that Nigeria economy and the world over can begin to see a new life,” she said. Hajia Ladi-Balogun stressed that the professional accounting bodies in Nigeria will further assist the government achieve its goals and plans in its reforms efforts. “Where you found professional bodies talking with one voice and advising the government on what it should do then you will be sure that we will begin to have a new way of life when it comes to professional accountancy body especially in the present situation where the global world is looking at the public financial management sector.” “We want to do what we can do to actually assist the government towards achieving various reforms it’s putting in place, so our membership in IFAC is to enhance capability of our members as much as possible,” she added.

Elumelu tasks leaders on anti-corruption


IGERIAN leaders and citizens have been urged to stop lamenting about corruption and find ways to fight the scourge. This was the position held by the former Chief Executive Officer of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Chairman of Heirs Holding Limited, an African investment company, Mr. Tony Elumelu at the just concluded Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja. According to Elumelu, “we know that some people are corrupt in Nigeria but we pay so much attention to corruption. If every speaker stands up to speak instead

Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya is Executive Director, CMC Connect as well as Secretary General of the African Public Relations Practitioners Association (APRA). In this interview with Adeola Ogunlade, he speaks on Africa’s development and ways to promote the image of the continent in the eyes of the world

By Amidu Arije

From Yvonne Dike Uju and Ibinayin Blessing Bosede (Abuja)

of saying good things all you hear is that the country in corrupt. You do not deal with corruption on the pages of newspapers.” He also stated that the National Assembly has a lot to do when it comes to making laws that will tackle the issue of corruption in the country. Elumelu was unhappy that Nigerians spend too much time lamenting about the issue of corruption in the country instead of commending the good works in the country like the just concluded power sector privatization exercise.



FRICA’S image is mired in corruption, natural disaster and drought, what can be done to improve the image of the continent? There are fundamental issues that must be urgently addressed in Africa. Issues around poverty which must be death with and knowledge must be improved to make Africa citizens not passive participants in their own affairs. Africans must know their right and activate those rights. Image is totally what people think you are and to change those images, we have to change those things that tend to paint us in bad among the continents of the world. Let us deal with the fundamental issues and unless these issues which are poverty reduction, good governance, infrastructure development are address, we will continue to be seen as backward and underdeveloped. Image is an end product of certain things which are either right or wrong. Communication alone cannot solve Africa’s problem, and for Africa to deal with the bad image, it should focus on social welfare that touches the lives of the common man. African leaders must make frantic effort in the provision of social welfare facilities such as

good healthcare, portable water supply, and access to qualitative education for all. What agenda is AFPRA setting for the continent? We are in the process of engaging stakeholders across board. Pubic relation is limited but when it is administer in a right manner, it becomes effective either at the national or continental level. We are building a common strategy for promoting the image, interest, potential, possibilities and hope that Africa offers. On the 8-9th, May, 2013, APRA is mobilising public relation practitioners, media practitioners, civil society groups, marketers, advertising practitioners, brand managers, and government agencies to the First All African Public Relation and Strategy Communication Summit in Addis Ababa with the theme Rising Africa: The Role of Communication. We want to sit down together to fashion out a common strategy for reengineering of Africa’s image. It will also coincide with the fifth anniversary ceremony of the African Union and it will form part of the activities of the programme. We have a ground swell of people and we are using them to reach out to others to join in the campaign for the promotion of the continent’s image. We believe in common currency for Africans which

will make the continent stronger in global trade and commerce. We also believe in common border tariff as that will boost trade and attract investment between Africans. We must make effort to regenerate wealth among the countries in Africa by removing the various artificial barriers to trade within the continent. If we can export goods from Nigeria to Botswana without any hitch within stipulated standard, it will help the continent growth and fight dumping of cheap and fake product from Asia. We must also endeavour to preach hope that African offers. Although APRA has challenge with funding and the wide nature of the continent to reach out to everyone, we believe that we share common challenges as African and we can work together to address them. What is your take about the way the image of President Jonathan is being managed or are there better ways he can be managed? The problem is that there is distrust between the government and the people. There is nothing like image laundering in Public Relation as often times it is counterproductive. Except President Goodluck Jonathan delivers on his campaign promises, the credibility of the government will not improve. Let this present administration reach out more to the needs of the rural poor, the credibility of the government will improve greatly.





JILL OKEKE, 07069429757


Waiting for LAWMA

A scene of debris on one of Lagos streets

How to put on more weight

Alcatel-Lucent builds Airtel's network backbone across Africa Page 64


Consumer Watch


Alcatel-Lucent builds Airtel's network backbone across Africa



Benue LG polls: The joke is on Suswam/PDP


WORDSWORTH A 08055001948

Bury the hatchet T

HE PUNCH of December 12 welcomes us this week: “Four arrested over (for) killing of ‘debtor’” “MTN Service Center in (on) Victoria Island” (MTN Full-page advertisement in the above medium) From DAILY Sun of December 12 comes this wrongdoing: “Lafarge Wapco launches a three prong empowerment program (programme, preferably)” Voice of The Nation: a threepronged…(adjectival usage) THE GUARDIAN of December 11 plotted against the English language: “Specifically, the Senate had then recommended the withdrawal of 3,645 plots from the holders on ground (on the grounds) that they were allocated between May 17 to (and) 29….” Next is its Editorial: “This is appalling and, literarily (literally), incendiary to the tempers now fraying at these oil wells.” “…to the extent of temporary (temporarily) accepting 55 per cent of the National Minimum Wage pending when finances of government improves (sic)….” “Wishing you many more success (successes)” (Full-page advertisement by Proserv Security) From Rutam House we move to Fatai Atere Way. Last week’s edition of this medium contained many lexical inexactitudes right from its front page to other sections: “Kaduna stands still for Sambo’s daughters wedding” Truth in defence of freedom: Sambo’s daughters’ wedding “I quickly completed my mansion and moved in with my family so that the electorates (electorate)….” “Two teenagers were at the weekend shot dead in Kano by unknown gunmen.” How do you know the gunmen? Most publications are guilty of this juvenility! “Your Excellency, we at AEL pray that the Almighty God continue (continues) to grant you good health….” “…because that child sees the mother does same (doing the same) and begins to cry for a piece of the action.” “The face-off between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan over sundry differences degenerated to (into an) open verbal confrontation recently before Jonathan suddenly flagged

off (sic!)an official ceasefire.” “Whither APGA’s reconciliation moves?” Either APGA’s reconciliatory moves or just reconciliation—there is a difference between a noun and an adjective, which applies here. “...close ranks and bury all hatchets in the interest of peace…,” Political ripples: bury the hatchet (stock expression, number notwithstanding) “Babatunde Faseesin rocks with less privilege” Social Circuit: the less privileged “ASCON Oil GMD’s, daughter, Ogochukwu Enenmoh’s weds Alfred Ohiomoba in Lagos” A rewrite: ASCON Oil GMD’s daughter, Ogochukwu Enenmoh, weds Alfred Ohiomoba in Lagos “John Edokpolo who began to collect art works since 44 years ago, (needless comma) gathered contemporary artists and stakeholders together….” Obliterate ‘since’ and ‘together’ for contemporariness. Let us round off the foregoing review of last week’s edition of THE NATION ON SUNDAY: “How we escaped assasination (sic) attempt” ‘Escape’ means an attempt in the context. So, yank off ‘attempt’: How we escaped assassination! “Miss Ada’s mum atimes (at times) rides with her daughter to the club.” “The contribution should be acknowledged, especially since it also results into (in) some form of dislocation for the people.” “This brings to the fore, once again, the flaws and contradictions in the present constitutional arrangement with regards to Nigeria’s fiscal federalism.” To live in truth is to serve: either as regards or with regard to. “Lagos clashes: Panel to tour troubled spots: Get it right: trouble spot, but troubled water. “GSM: Stakeholders converge in Abuja” Truth and reason: converge on Abuja. “The United States remains engaged with Russia to curtail the proliferation of nuclear arsenal and to dispose off enriched uranium.…” This way: dispose of. “America will not revert into (to) its traditionally risky isolationism.” “He therefore holds the priviledge of….” Spellcheck: privilege. “A particular aspect of the southern governors’ meeting is their believe (belief) in the constitutional approach to solving significant national problems.”

“Justice of double standards” This way: double standard. “Delta Police to combat crime with vigilante groups” City diary: vigilance groups. “Jonathan, I remember, said in the television interview that he has (had) since.…” “These people are already falling over themselves (one another) to clinch the offer.” “Sambo at the ministry of defence merely exchanged banters as....” Heart of the matter: ‘banter’ is uncountable. “…yet the level of development in these places go (goes) beyond those from his home state.” “We heard a gunshot and saw his police orderly walking briskly towards us, with a crowd in tow (toe).” “…which in turn offer their accredited courses at (on) those campuses.” “British Council backs grassroot soccer” Get it right: grassroots soccer. “LG lawmakers pass vote of confidence on chairman” No brief: confidence in chairman. “Shareholders poise for showdown with companies” No illiteracy: poised for showdown. “…on the spurious ground that Ouattara is not a bona fide Ivorien.” To live in truth is to serve: the spurious grounds. “All these have culminated into (in) the horrible and deplorable situation in the country today.…” “…by unpatriotic and evil men of power of yesteryears (yesteryear).” “…most people, rightly or wrongly, are getting disillusioned about (by/with) our democracy….” “Promises were made, the (are) therefore legitimate, which any government that wants a re-election must take seriously.” “Given the politics of the times was the incidence of the tarmac lights going off....” There is a world of difference between ‘incidence’ and ‘incident’ (which applies here), just like ‘precedence’ and ‘precedent.’ “Customs impounds 367.5kgs of Indian hemp in Ogun” (DAILY Sun, December 12) The word, ‘Customs,’ takes plural—not singular—verb. Note that the North American English allows singular verbiage for ‘Customs.’ So, if you are a stickler for British English, go for plural.

FTER many false starts, the Benue State Government, under the leadership of Governor Gabriel Torwua Suswam, summoned the courage to “hold” or “conduct” local government elections. Ordinarily, a governor does not need courage to hold or conduct elections; what he needs is preparation. But in the case of Benue State, the governor dispensed with preparation and rather went for courage, to enable him poke his poisoned finger into the already scarred face of Nigerian democracy. And that is exactly what Suswam did. And he did it with the burgeoning impunity for which the ruling PDP has become notorious. On November 24, 2012, the Strong Man of Benue politics, as the governor is fondly called by his gang of supporters, employed strong arm tactics to enable his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), “sweep” the council polls state-wide, netting 100 per cent success in the process. As it were, the socalled council elections may have come and gone, but they have left a yawning gap between hope and reality. But more than this, the outcome of the council polls have left in their wake a plethora of questions. Benue people and, indeed, close watchers of Benue politics are asking: where did the PDP candidates get the votes to secure their wins, given that up till the eve of elections, disgruntled PDP members, including those from the governor’s home-town of Anyiin, were defecting, en masse, to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)? If in 2011, even with funds from Abuja, INEC’s assistance and massive rigging, Suswam and his party could only muster simple majorities, where did PDP get the votes to engineer its “land-slide victories” in the late November polls? How come a party that produced a Senator (in the person of Dr. George Akume, who incidentally is the Senate Minority Leader), four members of the House of Representatives as well as 10 members of the Benue State House of Assembly in the 2011 elections could not as much as secure a single chairmanship position, and least of all, a councillor? How come, the duo of Akume and Prof. Steve Ugbah, the biggest crowd pullers on the Benue political scene today, were seemingly unable to make electoral impact while Suswam, who hardly ventures out without a rented crowd


of some sort, was able to wave the magic wand for the PDP? What has changed between April 2011 and November 2012 to warrant or trigger such a massive and monumental vote-swing? Have residents of Makurdi, the state capital, started enjoying pipe-borne water? Even though they live/stay by the Great River Benue, are they not still drinking water straight from the river, the way they drank it in 2010/2011; and the same way their fore-fathers drank it 200-500 years ago? What has changed? Between April 2011 and now, have farmers fared better in terms of improved seedlings, fertilizer input, agricultural credit or extension/cooperative services? Or have primary school teachers, who have borne the brunt of Suswam’s maladministration since its illfated advent, started having a better deal, by way of the new minimum wage or prompt payment of same? Still, has the sorry state of the Benue pensioners, the most unfortunate of senior citizens in Nigeria, suddenly taken a turn for the better, post-April 2011? So the joke is clearly on the PDP and all those people with abbreviated democratic credentials, who now constitute a loud minority of effusive cheer-leaders in the Suswam court. I dare say, with all sense of fairness, but without fear of contradiction, that nothing of such has happened. And this is why Suswam and his entourage cannot bother about giving cogent answers to the litany of questions: they can, at best, only stammer and mumble, and at worse, resort to a torrent of inanities. As said earlier, the Suswam regime is steeped in the culture of impunity. And in graduating from the crude form of rigging – ballot-box stuffing – to its hitech version ie votes-allocation, Gov. Suswam has dared the Benue electorate, in essence, asking them: what can you do? And he is right: what can they do? Or more poignantly: what have they done? A lame recourse is to go to the tribu-

By Simon Imobo-Tswam

nals ostensibly set up to hear the petitions arising from the charade of elections. But going by our recent experience, that route would only legalise the illegality, thereby putting a veneer of legitimacy on the exercise. So predictably, the ACN has shunned the enfeebled and castrated judicial system. Who does not recall how the machinery of justice staggered and stumbled, thereafter crumpled and finally crumbled at the feet of corruption? It was Rev. Chris Okotie, who philosophised in 2003: “If you push a goat to the wall, it will bite you; but if you push a Nigerian to the wall, he will enter inside it.” But as a great king once said, every bondman bears in his hands the power to cancel his captivity. So the challenge before the State Chapter of the ACN is to show that it can be a good steward of both small and big things, ie its votes and its mandate. As it has been argued elsewhere, the ACN must not only be adept at soliciting votes, it must prove itself capable of protecting those votes. So as Sen. Akume exerts himself, alongside other patriots, to form a mega-party that will displace PDP’s crying ineptitude and crass incompetence at the Federal level, he must, of necessity, forge something similar back home so that come 2015, Benue is rescued from the shackles of this suffocating mediocrity, this intolerable misrule and this avoidable retrogression. And finally, why are Nigerians vociferous in rejecting the state police on account that governors will abuse it, but are silent on state independent electoral commissions, despite the great havoc they are causing the nation in frustrating the flowering of democracy at the grass roots level? Imobo-Tswam, is a media consultant, writes from Abuja.




Nigeria can earn over $6bn from export of seafarers, says Kuku ...As NIMASA sends 525 cadet seafarers to Philippines


PECIAL Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Hon Kingsley Kuku, yesterday said that Nigeria could earn more than $6billion annually if it exports seafarers to other countries of the world to facilitate maritime-related activities, insisting that until a radical and aggressive capacity building programmes for training of maritime professionals are put in place for youths, the country could not sufficiently meet the local content requirement in the sector. Kuku explained that one of the ways Nigeria could bridge the gap in the requirement of indigenous professionals in the maritime sector is for government to continue to develop capacity in the field by sending more youths outside the country for training, such that in a few years time, it could rival the feat of countries like Philippines, which parades itself as one of the countries in the world that export the highest number of seafarers that service the global maritime industry. Speaking at the send forth ceremony for 525 qualified student cadets and ratings facilitated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre in

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

Apapa, Lagos, Kuku explained the training programme facilitated by NIMASA is a manifestation of the desire of government to enhance the capacity of youths to close the widening gap in the demand for indigenous professionals in the maritime sector. He said further: “The Amnesty Office trusts that NIMASA will continue to doggedly enforce all extant cabotage laws to compel vessels entering our shores and doing business in Nigeria to take in young Nigerian seafarers.” Like NIMASA, the Presidential Amnesty Office aspires to help Nigeria meet its quota of well-trained and exposed seafarers and possibly export several others to other countries of the world like the Republic of Philippines, which currently supplies over 30 per cent of the world’s seafarer needs by exporting over 300,000 seafarers to the international shipping labour market. “If the Philippines can earn as much as $6 billion annually as remittances from seafarers export, Nigeria can by 2020 earn even a higher amount from remittances from the export of the skills of the youths,” he stressed.

NUPENG hails Fashola as most labour-friendly governor


O V E R N O R Babatunde Fashola has received the award of the most labourfriendly Governor from the Lagos Zonal Council of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union, NUPENG, saying the State Traffic Law seeks to help the drivers and operators of articulated vehicles do their businesses better. Fashola who spoke at the Auditorium of the News Agency of Nigeria at the National Theatre, Iganmu added that the law provides that drivers, especially commercial drivers, must reduce their intake of alcohol especially while at work or behind the wheels as it often impairs their vision and sense of judgment. He added that it is quite heartwarming now that some of the drivers are now beginning to see reason with the government on the Traffic Law provision as they do not drink during the day anymore while behind the wheels. Governor Fashola stressed that the law constitutes one of the self-cleansing legislations aimed at ensuring that the people stay alive, adding that most road accidents are avoidable but are a result of the choices people make. While assuring the members of NUPENG of his administration’s continued support, he tasked them to realise that some of the old methods of doing things must be changed, especially as it affects agitation for better conditions of service, adding that historically, labour unions were formed to fight colonialists and military governments.

He explained that while the process of strikes are still legitimate instruments for bargaining, it must be the last resort only after everything else has failed because even after every strike and lock downs, the people still return to the negotiation table. Citing examples from across the world, the governor said sometimes ago in Europe, doctors went on strike but the emergency services did not and still attended to very sick people, adding that the Nigerian labour must design creative ways to press home their demands while not shutting down the system because each time it does everyone loses. “If we want to be like other nations, can we continue to do what we like. Why not own tankers that can run on rails, after all the rail alignments from the Apapa Depot to outside the state are still there now?” The President of NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achese, in his address, described Governor Fashola as one of his mentors, adding that he is a comrade governor that is working for the people. The Lagos Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Mr Tokunboh Korodo, in his address also paid glowing tributes to Governor Babatunde Fashola for his labourfriendly initiatives and being a friend and supporter of NUPENG. Prominent among those who accompanied the Governor to the well-attended event were the State Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Kayode Opeifa, and his Energy and Mineral Resources counterpart, Engineer Taofik Tijani.







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AST week, we explored two points vital to African economic development: 1. the need for independent strategic economic thought and policy and 2. government's role as the primary driver of growth freeing African nations from chronic economic depression. Africa will not develop as she ought if she persists on the economic path she now treads. As things stand, her elites shall gain so handsomely that they shall stand shoulder to shoulder with elites from other regions. In fact, the continent's elite will outdo all others. In terms of libertine spending and acquisitive lifestyles, there is nothing that can be bought they won't buy, nothing that can be owned they will not possess, and nothing that can be consumed they will not eat or drink to excess. These addictions and the neo-conservative, hyper-capitalist (financialist) ideology that legitimizes them lend the appearance of prosperity without giving us the reality of the happy objective. Dressing a growling jackal in a dinner jacket does not keep him from making a mess of the banquet hall. Despite the finery, he remains but a mad jackal. Slapping cake frosting on a log may suggest a tasty delicacy; however, superficial attractiveness does not a genuine confection make. Beware! Anyone who bites the object better possess strong teeth and great tolerance for pain. If not, the misadventure will prove more than distasteful; it will be injurious. Such is the fate of the average African under the economic policies and institutions that now steer the continent down the darkened road. These financialist policies have been engineered for the benefit of the elite and the perennial stagnation of the humble. Thus, aggregate national economic figures look benign but the people's reality gnaws harshly like a cold wind suffering the limbs of a homeless beggar. Consequently, we have the inconsistent tale of data reporting robust economic growth yet poverty rates generally remain stagnant. The answer to this riddle is a simple, timeless one. Because money is a social construct and not a natural object like water or lead, it flows upward. A river flows from its source. Money flows toward its source as if it is a self-strengthening magnet. Money goes to where much money already is. Without conscious reform, the economy will continue to be ruled by this unjust principle of accretion. As a result, the center of economic gravity resides at the pyramid's apex. Wealth and assets do not trickle down from the rich to the poor. They move in the opposite direction. We live in the time of "trickle up economics" where the small bit the poor laborer holds floats to the top as part of the ceaseless stream that feeds the boundless appetites of those already too full to be fed anything more. Yet they gorge anyway. Unless we arrest the perverse gravitational pull of items from the poor man's dinky cupboard to the rich man's vast warehouse, the African economy may become highly intimate with nominal growth decoupled from genuine development. An economic model whereby the fat get fatter off the travails of those beneath them is a model that may long endure just as injustice has long endured man's infrequent attempts to vanquish it. However, the longevity of the thing proffers no evidence of its propriety. Consequently, we must reject the neo-conservative economic model so we may create structures that fairly arbitrate the competing interests of our various economic classes by equitably allocating economic costs and rewards among these classes in a manner that promotes shared prosperity. In Africa, elaborate prosperity enjoyed by a small few has become the norm and thus is treated with the morose resignation reserved for those social conventions deemed bad but inevitable. In other regions of the world, this condition bears the scarlet name of a social malady to be cured not countenanced: that name is economic depression. In other words, what we have been numbed to accept as normal is considered elsewhere a dire emergency warranting trenchant remedial action.

News Review/World

The misdesign of African development, part II •When a greedy man offers you a tent it is because he has stolen your home.

•African Union leaders in a group photo with the guest of Honour Mr Hu Jintao


Last week, we stated government holds the key to extracting Africa from the pits of economic depression. Because of its inventory of resources and its unique position as sole issuer of national currencies, government stands as the only agent that can engage in the significant, sustained deficit spending required to activate the continent's idle human and material assets into productive factors that generate wealth. However, government can only perform this role if those controlling it are equipped with enlightened strategies and the requisite willpower to twist straight today's misshaped policies and processes. To arrive at the correct strategies, one must start with an appropriate economic philosophy. We must erase from our minds the foundational assumptions upon which hyper-capitalist (financialist) theories are based. Financialism says all private economic transactions are fine. All profit making is good; the more monetary profits, the better. One's role is not to create material wealth contributing to societal wellbeing; one's role is to acquire money so that one can buy things, including people. Since all private economic transactions are considered salubrious, government has little business meddling in business; it must be confined to a small role so private enterprise can reign. There is something drastically wrong with this philosophy. At best, it is amoral. At worst, it leads to hircine economic behavior that does not comport with the historic reality of the rise of the great economic powers. For example, America was never guided by this crass individualism until after it had obtained laudable economic success by following a significant different set of theories and attitudes. This bulbous capitalism has sired many injustices, imposing hardships that could have easily been avoided with but a touch of compassion.

Few economic transactions are "win-win" situations where both sides maximize their respective positions. Almost all economic interactions feature a combination of cooperation and competition, of apparent collaboration yet subtle conflict. No one ever has enough of the things he likes. Thus, each economic actor tries to maximize his position by decreasing his scarcity of items he values. I decrease my scarcity by entering into an exchange with another party for a valued item and the other party views the transaction with me in the same perspective. He is getting something he wants from me. This is the cooperative aspect of the equation. Yet, competition and conflict are injected because I also seek to decrease my scarcity by exchanging as little as possible for the item I desire. The person on the opposite end of the exchange is motivated by the same possessory objective. Put another way, I seek to transfer some of my scarcity or lack to the person with whom I am trading. Yet, that person does not want my poverty. He has enough of his own to the extent that he is simultaneously trying to shift his to me. While we commerce in mutually valued items, we also struggle to hoist this important intangible, this unwanted scarcity, on the back of the person with whom we commerce. Thus, we haggle over price in the market square. Rarely do you see transaction where both sides are equally satisfied upon its consummation. Depending on the respective bargaining positions of the parties, one side gets the better of the other. Consequently, when the average consumer visits the supermarket, rarely does he leave sensing victory. Although purchasing the wanted items, he departs the premises believing he has been had. To a large degree, the sense of relative affliction and loss is justified. This is the way of real world economics; it leads to a bleaker place than the

fairy tales of free market philosophy. Here, the hybrid cooperative/ conflictive nature of economic transactions teams with the frequent asymmetry in the bargaining positions of economic actors to create a situation where most economic activity is based on an unequal relationship. One side generally has the upper hand. As billions of these asymmetric transactions are consummated on a daily basis, the unequal relationships become institutionalized. In common parlance, the rich get richer, meaning the poor also grow poorer. The elite enjoy a persistently compounding advantage. Left unfettered, the dynamics of the purportedly free market results in a structural inequality that grows worse over time and with every transaction taken. The free market exacts a heavy price on those who habitually occupy the weaker side of any transaction. Because of this dynamic, once you fall on the weaker side, the more likely is our fate to remain there. Over time, an initial advantage transmutes into a gaping structural inequality that turns the political economy into a small oasis of affluence amidst the tundra of destitution. The very fibers of society sunder as the hybrid nature of economic transactions tips more toward conflict than toward cooperation. Economic injustice spawns anti-social adjustments by many of the people living on the margins of existence. Crime becomes tumescent. Civic morality goes on furlough. The hard streets become the home, school and cultural center of the poor. In this mean yeast, ferments the brew of possible riots, anomie and insurrection. In practical terms, the sole agent capable of redressing the imbalance is government. Only wise government can restrain the elite from bringing down the entire house through the elite's careless decimation of the poorer classes that form the base of the political economy. Without this base being strengthened and protected, the house implodes under the increasing weight of the economically omnivorous plutocrat. To right the inherent imbalance, government must provide quality social services as well as generate jobs and a sustained demand for labor through work programs and infrastructural development programs. As it is among the different classes of people within a nation, so it is among the different classes of nations as well. Patterns of trade created centuries


ago placed Africa in the subordinate positions compared to Western nations. With the sole exception of the cessation of the involuntary export of human cargo, the general nature of trade between Africa and the North Atlantic community has not changed in half a millennium. We export raw material and they export to Africa the finished products the continent's raw materials served to make. We have been slave to the confines of this noxious trade for over five hundred years! It has impoverished us. Still we continue at it as if things will change. We are like the drowning man who purposefully sinks to the bottom of the river in hope of escaping his fate by digging his way out. We continue to hark to conservative economic thinkers promoting the concepts of free trade and comparative advantage. One notion is a prison, the other a straitjacket. Better if the continent avoids the one and sheds the other. Comparative advantage perjures itself by claiming the world is better off and more wealth is created if every nation sticks to what it does most cheaply. If you grow peanuts and yams, continue to do so. Don't worry about the cars, the steel, the computers needed for a modern economy. The West will sell them to you in bulk but at retail prices. Wait a minute. That thing you smell is not a figment of your imagination. You smell the smell of a skunk in the pantry. The assumptions underlying the concepts of free market profit maximization and those of free trade/ comparative advantage are inconsistent. The free market says that each party's obligation is solely to his selfish pursuit of profit. Yet, comparative advantage asks that each nation behave in concerted fashion to maximize aggregate efficiency. One rule says the only rule is to fend for yourself. The other rule suggests the system's welfare is paramount. Simultaneous belief in both notions is illogical. Thus, we must search from a reason other than logic that leads conservative Western economic thinkers to promote both notions. The lone explanation is the self interests of their class with their nation and the self interests of their nation within context of the global economy. The moneyed elite within a nation benefits from the lewd workings of the free market. At the same time, rich, industrial nations draw greater benefit from established patterns of international trade that are based on the notion of comparative advantage than do the poor, raw material exporting nations. Poorer nations must realize the doctrine of comparative advantage implies they should never venture into new export activities since infant industries are rarely efficient at their inception. However, if the developed nations truly followed their own ideas, these same nations would not have industrialized as they did. Their economies would have largely remained static over the decades. Instead, these economies have been more industrially dynamic than Africa's while they have tutored Africa to keep much needed industrialization at arm's length. In the end, we must change for our own good. It is better to manufacture and export a decent, affordable car or electronic device than to solely cultivate a good yam or tomato. Manufacturing can provide urban employment as well as generate funds that will modernize agriculture so that we can still produce good tomatoes, but more of them. If Africa is to develop, it must industrialize. Africa must also realize its industrialization conflicts with core Western economic interests. The road to African development is thus marked by hurdles constructed by other nations. If the path looks clear and easy, it is best not taken. The first obstacle to overcome is to excise from our minds economic notions that promote the interests of others while undermining our own. No man lets a stranger name his child. In like fashion, Africa must not let its economic fate be named and determined by the unproven musings of anonymous men who lived in distant times on distant shores. 08060340825 (SMS only)



Clerics call for the unification of the CAC worldwide


OD, through several prophecies, revealed to me that I will not die yet until I intervened in the crisis which is threatening the existence of the Christ Apostolic Church worldwide, but really I am looking forward to death desperately, firstly because of my advanced age and secondly because of the determination of some certain elements in the church who are desperate to prevent the unification as a result of their inordinate compunction to hold on to power.” This was the submission of Pastor Obafemi, a former President of the Christ Apostolic Church and current member of the Church’s Board of Trustee (BOT). He disclosed this at the prayer meeting of the Divine Restoration Group of the Christ Apostolic Church, a group which has consistently prayed for peace to reign in the church fold and also totally committed to the total unification of all factions existing in the church hierarchy. At the gathering, held at the General Headquarters of the church in Ebute Elefun, Lagos, where Hundreds of peace-seeking faithful members including youths, women and pastors from all factions in Osun, Oyo, Ondo and Lagos gathered, Pastor Obafemi urged the group to pray fervently for the unification of the Church. He said the group should not be discouraged and must do whatever it takes to achieve total unification of the church; he disclosed that both Christopher Columbus and Mungo Park who discovered America and the Niger River were able to achieve their aim despite

all odds because both were determined. The former President of the Church added that most CAC pastors actually know the truth but that they have refused to let it set them free because of lack of courage and their patronising attitudes. He said God has heard the prayers of the faithful and very soon His mighty hands will separate the seeds from the chaff. The Coordinator of the movement, Pastor Moses Adedoyin, said the sole objective of the movement is to entrench peace in the Church. He said fractionalisation of the Church would hinder both the spiritual and physical growth of the Church, “God does not dwell in confusion; we all know the Church is in a state of confusion at the present moment. Propaganda, denials and halftruth have become pervasive, we have pledged our total commitment to ensuring total peace and unification of CAC in our lifetime, the crisis in the Church can be curtailed by prayer and continuous dissemination of undiluted truth, hence our resolve to come together and pray.” The general consensus at the end of the prayer meeting, according to the leadership of the Divine Restoration Group, is that many members of the various factions have seen the truth and are desperate for unification. “The gospel of unification is spreading across all churches at various levels; eventually the leaders will have no choice but to listen to the voice of the people and the will of God and join the effort of total unification of the church worldwide.”

From left: General Secretary/CEO of The Bible Society of Nigeria, Rev Dr Fred Odutola, his daughter, Sophia who just bagged M.Sc. International Management at the University of Bath, UK and his son Fred during Sophia’s convocation recently in London.

Pastor warns corrupt politicians


HE Spiritual Leader of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide, Pastor Samuel Ibidoye, has called church leaders to be wary of collecting ill-gotten wealth from politicians. Ibidoye made this known at the 72nd edition of the International Conference of the C and S Movement Worldwide held at the Cherubim and Seraphim Eternal Movement, Abule-Egba, Lagos. The programme brought together thousands of participants drawn from Nigeria, Italy, United States of America, Europe and parts of Africa, and featured Bible teaching, prophetic ministration and ordination of new ministers in the church. According to him, the need for the church to intensify its effort in preaching the gospel of salvation, truth, righteousness and not dancing to the tune of political moneybags is imperative in the restoration of moral rectitude in our world today. He lamented the increasing spate of corrupt practices permeating the church which

Nigeria’s problem is temporary—Abiara


HE General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide, Prophet Samuel Kayode Abiara, has assured that Nigeria will soon come out of the problem it is currently facing. He said this during an interaction with journalists in Lagos. He advised Nigerians not to see the current violence going on in the northern part of the country as the responsibility of the northerners. He assured that Nigeria would overcome these challenges if only people call upon God for solution. “God does not put us in darkness, when we see all these, we must pray because prayer works, we must pray very well.” Abiara said because of the situation in the country, “God

laid it upon the authorities of Christ Apostolic Church to organise a powerful prayer for the country.” The event is part of the church’s contribution to peace and development of the country. The all night programme is expected to be attended by everybody, irrespective of position and status. Abiara said the survival of the country depends on everybody. He insisted that irrespective of the present situation, the country will come out better. He opposed a situation whereby churches will be made to pay tax. He described it as double taxation since members of the church have been taxed in their respective places of work. He said it would be unfair to tax what members give to the church.

Contrary to the view being held that churches have money, Abiara insisted that it is the individuals that have money not the churches. “Government must not tax churches or mosque, if they do that God will not be happy, it is not good. The members have paid taxes, why should they be made to pay double tax? All the churches you are seeing don’t have money, it is individuals that have money.” He also advised that the south should not see what is happening in the north as the problem of the north rather the violence that engulfed the part of the north should be seen as the problem of all. That is why it is necessary for the south to pray. “What Nigeria needs now is prayer. The south must not sit down and relax.”

By Adeola Ogunlade

to him will further throw the world into darkness, underdevelopment, war, resentment and degeneration of morals. “Jesus Christ founded the Church and it is never the property of any individual. Thus, whatever money or gift that we receive must be such that glorifies God and not politicians who throw around ill-gotten money to score some political point.” Ibidoye asserted that the Church will be setting itself up for destruction when it

meddles with the world with their immoral and ungodly acts that have continued to undermine peace and stability in Nigeria. He went further to charge the federal and state governments to intensify their efforts in the provision of social safety schemes for the teeming unemployed youths in Nigeria. Ibidoye attributed the spate of kidnappings and terrorism in parts of the country to the disconnection between the elite and the rural poor.

“It is sad that Nigeria has enough resources to cater for the need of the common man but the resources lie only in the hands of the privileged few which poses a serious threat to the peace and development in our country” He implored the church to leave sentiment apart but join hands together and lift the nation to God in prayers at this time for the restoration of virtues in private and the public spheres and stopping of Boko Haram menace in part of the north.

Cleric launches NGO in honour of late wife


ESS than six months after the shocking death of his wife, Juliet, the General Overseer of Voice of His Word Ministry (Word Bank Church), Apostle Bolaji Akinyemi, has commissioned a foundation in her honour. Friends and well-wishers last week gathered to witness the inauguration of The Juliet Akinyemi’s Foundation For Cerebral Palsy (JAFCEP). The foundation will fund the Jehovah-Nathan Home For Cerebral Palsy (aka Mephiboseth Care Centre) in Lagos. Akinyemi said the centre, which is a ten-unit home, in Abule Egba suburbs of Lagos, was initially designed to be a residential building but was converted when his wife died on June 27. The first specialised cerebral palsy centre in Africa, the centre will cater for children with the disorder, a passion Mrs. Akinyemi, who died in her sleep, lived for. “Our last child is affected by cerebral palsy and she was passionate about her welfare. So, when she died, we decided to start the centre in honour of her passion,” Akinyemi stated. On how he recovered from her demise, he attributed it to the grace of God. He said: ‘It’s still like a dream. But God helped me to realise no amount of mourning or sorrow will bring her back.

By Sunday Oguntola

The best we can do now is to carry on with her good works.”

He said the centre will be a residential and educational facility that will seek to cater for children with the disorder.

Archbishop appeals to Fashola on infrastructure


RCHBISHOP Peter Okoduwa of the Dispensational Gospel Mission International, Ikota villa, Lekki, Lagos has sent a Save our Souls message to the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, over the deplorable access road to his church. Speaking with journalists at the church, Archbishop Okoduwa lamented that the state government demolished his church formerly located in Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi in 2008 because the government wanted to work on the canal in the area. ‘After much deliberations and consultation between the two parties, I was advised by the government to give up the place in the interest of development going on in the state because I have all the necessary documents to prove that it was legally acquired. I was later allocated another land in Ikota,’ he pointed out. The former police officer turned preacher, however, said rather than succour, the new land has been a pian in

By Adetutu Audu the neck. ‘We have spent over N 4.7m to make the road to the church passable. Yet we keep spending more. The last year flood affected the church badly to the extent that we had to construct two bridges to enter inside the church,’ he grieved. He further lamented that his congregation had dwindled because they come from far-flung places to worship. ‘How can someone come from the mainland to worship, and they have to walk through waters to enter the church? If you are the one will you still come, when there are other churches around? he queried. I have been in the ministry since 1976, this is what I have been doing, I also have families. Okoduwa, however, said he had written to the governor who responded that the contract for the road had been awarded, yet work has not commenced on the road. He therefore appealed to the governor to use his good office to facilitate work on the road.






We can still win the title, Benitez boasts

Aston Villa stun Liverpool at Anfield Chelsea's Nigerian midfielder Victor Moses (L) vies with Swansea City's English midfielder Wayne Routledge (R) during the English PremierLeague football match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium in Swansea yesterday. The game finished 1-1. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON

•Man Utd striker, Robin van Persie scores his team first goal against Sunderland yesterday

Vidic back as United beat Sunderland

Toure haunts Newcastle again in Man City victory Leverkusen beat Hamburg, move to second position

Taarabt inspires QPR's first win

Arsenal prepare ÂŁ15m bids for Sterling




Hoolahan celebrates new deal with superb winner


Mikel: Chelsea too hot for Corinthians


Tyson denies sex change claims



QUOTABLE "Goodluck Jonathan is surrounded by very greedy people who are only there to enrich themselves at the expense of the man himself. If we don't talk and we continue to brush it aside, tomorrow we will be blamed for being around when Jonathan was president and we did not talk. I will be an accomplice and accessory after the fact…"


—Leader, Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo, expressing disappointment over President Goodluck Jonathan's performance in office so far.


ITH denials heaped upon denials, some even amounting to classic refutation, we may never know whether ransom was truly paid to secure the release of Professor Kamene Okonjo, the abducted mother of the Finance minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. And if anything was paid, we may still never know for sure just how much, perhaps after protracted haggling, was eventually paid. Was it N10 million, as some sources say, or was it a little over that figure? Indeed, how many of us would be so stouthearted as not to yield to the blackmail of parting with money to secure the release of a loved one? If a man could resist blackmail when the ‘merchandise’ is an octogenarian, could he resist without panicking if the commodity were his young bride? So, whether anything was paid or not, the Finance minister’s family must be relieved that their mother is now free and safe. The trauma will undoubtedly live with them for a long time, and the Goodluck Jonathan government, if it is capable of any delicate feeling, will feel the humiliation of a distasteful strike hitting close to home. At least the victim is now free and safe; therefore to blazes with morality and principles. Few are, however, going to believe nothing was paid, especially judging from the manner Queen Okonjo strolled into freedom. As the police acknowledged, the elderly woman was released, not rescued. In spite of the avalanche of security agents that descended on the small town of Ogwashi-Uku in Delta State, Professor Okonjo was held by the kidnappers for about five days. The kidnappers evidently got in contact with the family, and some sort of discussions took place between the kidnappers and the Finance minister’s family. Those discussions, or as the police elegantly put it, pressures, led to the release of the 82-year-old queen. The police may not be equipped to fight the sophisticated crimes they frequently confront, but in the case of this high-profile kidnap, they at least honestly admitted some of the details surrounding the ugly incident. They were not too keen to entertain the fanciful theories some commentators were bandying about in which they suggest that what was essentially a simple kidnapping was in fact a classic political weapon to force the government to embrace wrong policies. It would be far-fetched indeed for any group to hope it could compel the Finance minister alone, no matter how influential she is, to redirect government policy on fuel subsidy payments, or modify any other policy for that matter, simply because a close family member had been abducted. The police believed Queen Okonjo was kidnapped for ransom, and they said so simply and plainly. They were also honest enough to admit she was released rather than rescued, though some dramatic shootouts a little removed from the actual kidnapping were reported to have taken place, leading to the death of an alleged kidnap kingpin. What humiliates every Nigerian is not just the helplessness he feels in the face of bold and innovative criminal gangs, for which the poorly equipped, distracted and disoriented police are sometimes unfairly blamed. Nor is the problem just one of a lacklustre presidency that appears increasingly incapable of responding structurally to the complex challenges of the times. I think that more than anything, the problem is that this government, like all the ones before it, is negligent in appreciating the gravity of the problems confronting it and in summoning the willpower and wisdom to respond to them. The federal government, which unadvisedly retains total control over law enforcement agencies (See Box), should naturally and agilely respond to security breaches like kidnapping with all the means at its disposal. Instead, it has right from the beginning treated kidnapping leisurely and with indiscernible air of resignation. It displays indignation only when children and top government officials and their families are victims, as if one Nigerian is less human than the other. The Okonjo-Iweala’s mum’s kidnapping deeply embarrassed the presidency; but surely even the government

Beyond Mrs Okonjo’s rescue


•Professor Kamene Okonjo

could not claim to be inured to the anomalousness of deploying, as it were, an armada to tackle a rather simple case. The security agencies not only overwhelmed the town in search of the kidnappers, by arresting 63 people in one fell swoop, they became almost irrational. Once again, for an admittedly good cause, and as they are wont, government agents exhibited the idiosyncratic excesses that tend to undermine the citizenship of Nigerians. It was lazy, reckless and counterproductive to herd so many Nigerians into detention in order to prise one doubtful tip from them. The net was disrespectfully cast too wide. But I fear that government officials will miss this nuanced point. More salient, however, is the Jonathan

government’s disconcerting lack of appreciation of the foundations upon which a government must anchor its policies and responses. No one will believe ransom was not paid for the release of Mrs Okonjo because the Jonathan government has not shown the will and wisdom to make it a cardinal policy not to negotiate with terrorists and kidnappers, and to make it unlawful for anyone to do so privately or otherwise. By announcing its readiness to negotiate with Boko Haram Islamic fundamentalist group, the government showed it lacked the spine to stand its ground for the things that ennoble humanity. It has, therefore, become convenient for the police to feign ignorance of negotiations with kidnappers, as they did in the Okonjo kidnap

saga. According to them, they have a policy of not negotiating with kidnappers, and were thus not part of whatever negotiations took place between the Finance minister’s family and the kidnappers. Kidnapping will continue to flourish in one form or another for as long as there is no government courageous enough to draw a red line against that crime. The lowly will be abducted, as the high and mighty will fall victim. Kidnapped women will be violated, with families keeping mum over the cruel fate that would befall their loved ones, and children will be brutalised and traumatised. Some will lose their lives, and some parts of the country will remain tense, insecure and volatile, despoiled by kidnappers, its populace dehumanised by government agents who can’t tell the difference between citizen and alien, freedom and servitude, and between democracy and autocracy. Above all, knowing how alone they are, victims’ families will strenuously ignore the impotent government and enter into amicable and productive negotiations with kidnappers. The only option left for victims of kidnapping, such as Brig Oluwole Rotimi’s family, is to appeal to the government to deploy as much resources as it cheerfully did in the Professor Okonjo case. Government officials said pressure on the kidnappers, not ransom, led to the release of the abducted queen. The people would like to see more of that pressure applied in subsequent kidnap cases, for kidnapping will not cease overnight, especially given the report that ransom was paid to secure the release of the powerful Finance minister’s mum. If the powerful could pay ransom, so reasoned the populace, who could withstand the kidnappers? If only the Jonathan presidency could see the futility of its attitude towards kidnapping (plausible deniability) and terrorism (constructive engagement), it would appreciate why it needs a backbone to fight those twin crimes with the enlightened and principled doggedness great governments are known for. If he finally decides to stand and fight, it will be bloody, it will even expose the weaknesses of his security machine and publicise the incompetence of some of his men, and it will test his nerves. But in the end, as history ineluctably underscores, sometimes in surreal imagery too powerful to put into words, he would succeed, and his government, which has failed so disastrously to regenerate the country economically and re-engineer it politically, would be defined by the courage with which he met the most important security challenges of his day.

A police officer’s indescribable anguish


HE police often cut a pitiable sight whenever they are spectacularly wrong-footed by criminal gangs. The kidnap last Sunday of Professor Kamene Okonjo, mother of the Finance minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was not the first time the police would have egg on their faces. It will certainly not be the last. Their public image, they know too well, is sullied, and the competence of their men, not to talk of their public relations, leaves a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, everyone, including policemen themselves, knows the problems the Force is battling with; and to some extent, everyone has a fair idea of what the solutions are. The problem with the police is that there is simply no president willing to tackle their problems. With every test the police fail, its personnel, serving and retired, get increasingly disenchanted and demotivated. Sometimes they take out their frustrations on the public, and at other times they simply turn their backs on the job. This mounting frustration perhaps explains why the just retired Plateau State Commissioner of Police, CP Emmanuel Oladipo Ayeni, on his last day in office, publicly vented his spleen on the system that continues to ridicule the Force and render it ineffective. His views on what has gone wrong with the police were uncharacteristically candid and trenchant. Hear him: “The state of the Nigeria Police Force is worrisome. The per-

sonnel of the police do not have necessary logistics to work with in all the states of the country. There are no sufficient vehicles to perform our statutory duties of protection of life and property, maintenance of law and order, apprehension of offenders and enforcement of all laws with which the force is directly charged. “Virtually all the state police commands rely on the assistance of state governments for the provision of vehicles, communications and necessary logistics. I came to Plateau State on July 11, 2011; a state that is facing serious security challenges. No single vehicle has been given to the command by the Federal Government. Apart from that, a single litre of fuel has not been given to the command as well. How does the Federal Government want the police to function and perform its statutory duties under this type of climate? If not for the assistance from the state government, everything would have collapsed. “Therefore, if we want the problem of security to become something of the past in Nigeria, the Federal Government must take the issue of internal security serious by giving the Nigeria Police the attention it deserves. If this is not done, there will be increased criminal activities in the country. Police cannot perform magic because you cannot build something on nothing. The Federal Government must wake up and play

its constitutional role of providing security for the people living in the country.” I have never been a fan of the police. But I am sensible enough to appreciate that that security organisation has been neglected for far too long. The federal government retains control of the police and pays their meagre salary, but it is the states, which exercise very minimal control over the agency, that sustains it operationally. I have said it here before that notwithstanding the suavity and determination of the Inspector-General of Police, MD Abubakar, he is fighting odds so daunting it is hard to see him making the kind of progress he envisions. If there is to be a change in the fortunes of the Force, it will have to come primarily from the presidency. That change, sadly, eluded both the excitable Olusegun Obasanjo presidency and the lethargic presidency of the late Umaru Yar’Adua. Yet, either man was a fairly gentler conservative than President Jonathan, a conservative dyed-in-the-wool. It will take a tectonic shift in Jonathan’s worldview for him to author the radical change that would be the saving of the Nigeria Police. His presidential credo is to pass on the country as it is, a lousy and unworkable nuisance, to his successor. The Force had better wait for that successor and hope he would be a progressive and a patriot par excellence.

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ISSN: 115-5302 E-mail: Editor: FESTUS ERIYE

The Nation December 16, 2012  

The Nation December 16, 2012