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PDP govs, businessmen, others raise billions for Jonathan’s re-election Shagaya 5bn, Gana & friends 5bn, Govs 1bn –Page 4
Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
Vol.09, No. 3071
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
DECEMBER 21, 2014
GUNMEN ABDUCT ASUU CHAIRMAN'S WIFE IN OSOGBO
The intercepted truck with INEC materials yesterday.
2015: Tension as police intercept 1,500 ballot boxes –Page 4 INEC says there's no cause for alarm Illegal immigrants from Niger held with PVCs in Jigawa
Man of the Year 2014
•Abducted Chibok girls
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
PAGE 2 IS executes 100 of its foreign fighters
HE Islamic State extremist group has executed 100 of its own foreign fighters who tried to flee their headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Financial Times newspaper reported yesterday. An activist opposed to both IS and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is well-known to the British business broadsheet, said he had "verified 100 executions" of foreign IS fighters trying to leave the jihadist group's de facto capital. IS fighters in Raqqa said the group has created a military police to clamp down on foreign fighters who do not report for duty. Dozens of homes have been raided and many jihadists have been arrested, the FT reported. Some jihadists have become disillusioned with the realities of fighting in Syria, reports have said. According to the British press in October, five Britons, three French, two Germans and two Belgians wanted to return home after complaining that they ended up fighting against other rebel groups rather than Assad's regime. They were being held prisoner by IS. In total, between 30 and 50 Britons want to return but fear they face jail, according to researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London, which had been contacted by one of the jihadists speaking on their behalf. Since a US-led coalition began a campaign of air strikes against IS in August, the extremist group has lost ground to local forces and seen the number of its fighters killed rise significantly.
T has been quite a while since Barometer joined issues with President Goodluck Jonathan on his often delectable philosophical outbursts. Last week, the president again indulged his talent for quaint logic and exotic philosophy, forcing the columnist to lose his forbearance. Speaking during the inauguration of the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme and the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria, which held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the president all but concluded that the nation he presides over had been shortchanged by old people. It is a strange doctrine to propagate, and had newspapers not quoted him directly, it would have been difficult to believe he made the statements attributed to him. Why the fallacy of his statements did not occur to him must be put down to his extreme inurement to logic and experience. Let us quote his bewildering remarks exhaustively. Says he: "For the Nigerian young men and women, those who we have seen today and the ones outside there, we appreciate and commend you because anything that you are involved, you bring glory to this country. Anything that the old people like us are involved in, it is always problems. Young people are involved in sports, soccer, athletics and so on, and within the period that I have been here as Vice President and President, they have always been bringing glory to us.” He dazzles further: "Young people are involved in the movie, popularly called Nollywood, and this continues to bring glory to us. Young people are involved in music, like D-Banj, and they always continue to bring glory to us. But see politics that old people like us are involved in, we continue to quarrel and abuse ourselves everyday and create prob-
Christmas in Lagos A scene reenacting the birth of Jesus Christ at Falomo Roundabout Ikoyi, Lagos at the weekend- All in the spirit of the Yuletide. Photo: Muyiwa Hassan.
Jonathan's pay-as-you-go philosophy lems for innocent Nigerians. So, we believe that the future of this country is in the hands of young people. The young Nigerians will surely take us to where we want to be.” Then, wonder of all wonders, he concludes: “One day, you will take us to the moon. I believe in the young, creative and talented people. Surely, we will create enabling environment for you because you stand for the future of this country and you will make this country great.” It is impossible to encounter any dualism so trite and so offensively wrong. To say that anything young people are engaged in brings glory and honour to the county is not just simplistic, it is annoyingly wrong. Noble deeds, as everyone knows, including schoolboys and schoolgirls, are not the exclusive preserve of any age group. Nor are ignoble deeds. The young are as susceptible to ignoble deeds as the old are vulnerable to it. In fact, it may even be difficult to weight the susceptibilities of the age groups in terms of their deeds, whether noble or ignoble. Perhaps the president meant to talk on and commend the energies of the nation's young people. But even here, he will fall into a definitional snafu of what constitute actions that bring honour and glory to the country. President Jonathan's observations fly in the face of the current and global realities of a world increasingly worried and undermined by the speciousness, violence, inattentiveness, and ethical fuzziness of the young, a world
apparently now delicately stabilised by the old people disparaged by the president, a world that every sensible person knows must profit from the synergies of the old and the young. More quizzically, the president has consistently failed to understand that democracy and progress cannot be guaranteed only by absence of quarrels and abuse, as he sneeringly put it. For the umpteenth time, the president must be educated that quarrels and abuse, especially in a democracy, serve both as catharsis to help the system ventilate tension and stress, and are also a manifestation of the health of the processes and procedures by
which a system designs the best options for the society and helps it to renew itself. Apparently, there is no way to educate the president on this very germane matter of how vibrant and healthy societies function and rejuvenate themselves. He has always been a monarchist, especially one with a tunnel vision, and extremely intolerant of opposition and dissent. Had democracy and the constitution Nigeria operates not specifically forbidden the tyranny he seems to effortlessly embrace, it is clear President Jonathan would have in turn forbidden the old from the country, consigned them to a sanatorium should the first option be difficult to enact, or decreed a scientific scheme to filter the society of non-conformists. However, what clearly needs management is the president's extemporaneousness, for when he lets himself go in the gusto of his boyish enthusiasm, he invariably does so in the most reactionary, if not anarchical, manner. Youth is good and daring; but who can deny the wisdom of the old?
Chadian mercenaries' justice system
N eyewitness in the Boko Haram war in Borno State recounted to this newspaper how Chadian mercenaries run some border towns in the state and dispense justice. Hear Ali Modu Kawu, the eyewitness: “The Chadian rebels from Mangal now preside over meetings in most of the villages. They sit in courts and hear disputes and pass judgement for the locals who are in dispute with one another. Just before they attacked Gajigana last week, the Manga tribesmen of Chad normally came around to judge the people. As a matter of fact, some
days before the attack on Gajigana, there was a problem between one of our friends and a Fulani man who took his herd of cattle into the farm of our friend. Because of our inability to resolve the dispute which had taken a dangerous dimension -- we had to report the matter to Boko Haram men, who came to resolve the matter. They found the Fulani man guilty and ruled that he must pay a fine equivalent of five bags of beans within 24 hours or face death penalty; and the Fulani man quickly complied.” For more than five
decades, Nigeria has been unable to design a justice system that would yield to our needs and meet the high expectations of the people. It is as if we fail to understand the meaning of justice. Is it any surprise then that Boko Haram men, nay mercenaries, are doing a much better and quicker job of dispensing justice in Nigerian villages? We may think justice in Boko Haram-held villages is arbitrary and crude, but does our own delayed, politicised, and compro-
mised justice system pass muster?
By ADEKUNLE ADE-ADELEYE
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
Magical realism in Yoruba politics
wind with magical portents is blowing across the Nigerian landscape. With the announcement of Yemi Osinbajo, a notable professor of Constitutional Law, as the running mate of General Mohammadu Buhari in the forthcoming presidential election, the battle to redeem or redefine Nigeria seems to be joined at the electoral level in a way it has not been in a long time. There is a great rousing of the Nigerian multitude. For close comparison, we may have to go all the way back to the federal elections of 1964. In that electoral slugfest, what was known as APGA, an unstable and fraught coalition between the old Action Group and the NCNC, battled it out with NNA, an alliance of convenience between Chief S.L Akintola's NNDP and the ruling NPC. The elections ended in a constitutional stalemate with the President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, initially refusing to call on the federal coalition to form a new government. It was the opinion of the revered Zik that the elections had been so badly compromised through rigging and other forms of electoral malpractices that it didn't make sense to declare anybody a winner. After some tense negotiations and parleying, Azikiwe relented and Balewa was persuaded to form a broad-based government of national unity. But the background crisis lingered on and eventually led to a truncation of democracy with grave consequences for Nigeria. But why go back to fifty years ago when there have been other federal elections, in 1979, 1983, 1993, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011? The point is that there is something very predictable about military-organized elections. In terms of high drama and sheer unpredictability, military-ordained elections cannot begin to compare with pre-military era elections. In 1979 and 1983, Chief Awolowo's party stood no chance against the pan-military cartel known as NPN. The 1993 presidential election did not elicit much passion among the populace until it was annulled. The two parties, famously dismissed as government parastatals by Chief Anthony Enahoro, were seen as products of "army arrangement" totally lacking in emotional and organic connection to the people. In 1999, few weeks back, a gathering of Yoruba political elders, grizzled royalties, politically displaced renegades and internally rank-shifted refugees , captains of industry and the odd gubernatorial hooligan, gathered in Ile-Ife, the iconic homestead of the Yoruba people, ostensibly to chart the way forward for the Yoruba nation in a turbulent and tumultuous colonial contraption called Nigeria. This is just as it should be. When elders and traditional savants desert the homestead, there is crisis everywhere. Tragically enough, the meeting had hardly progressed before its real intention began to manifest. It was the latest gambit of the mainstream mantra, an ill-disguised attempt to corral and browbeat the Yoruba people into supporting the fumbling and stumbling administration of Goodluck Jonathan. In Yoruba post-colonial history, mainstreaming, or the immoral and amoral collaboration with an equally amoral and immoral federal administration, has taken several guises, colourations and mutations. But this latest one takes the prize for perfidy and betrayal of the common weal. What must baffle incredulous onlookers is the illustrious pedigree of some of the attendees. As this column never tires of maintaining, when the hatred of a particular individual takes precedence over all other political considerations, it
nooping around With
â&#x20AC;˘The late Oba Aderemi, Ooni of Ife
AD, the restricted and narrowly based party of Awolowo's ideological heirs, even in alliance with APP stood no chance against the military inspired political monopoly known as PDP. The elections of 2003 and 2007, under General Obasanjo's watch, were in reality military exercises conducted under electoral camouflage. But nothing lasts forever, and change is the only thing constant in human evolution. Not even the most tightly controlled and artificially regulated military contraptions can withstand the vicissitudes of time. It was only after the election of 2011, as a result of a series of strategic errors and lapse of concentration, that the pan-Nigerian glue that binds the dominant party has come unstuck with its military knuckle unraveling. Events are prising apart the vice-grip of the ruling coalition on Nigeria. But even then the PDP would have shambled ahead but for the emergence of the APC. This is why whether we like them or not, or whether we are grateful to
them or not, we must give kudos to the brains behind the formation of the APC. The APC is a triumph of will and political engineering over national adversities. Like all ersatz coalitions, it may be lacking in ideological solidity, but what it lacks in political gravitas is more than made up for in the sheer grit and determination, the ferocious focus on the ball, of its principal partners. This is the first time in the postmilitary history of Nigeria that such a broad-based opposition coalition has been successfully cobbled together to challenge the status quo. Only those who have in themselves the spirit of pan-Nigerian possibilities and the ability to be at home in any corner of Nigeria's expansive but fractious space could have come up with such a coalition. It is in the nature of human societies to set up their most politically talented children for execution. Being at the frontiers of political consciousness, visionaries see what others cannot see. Like genius in other fields, it can be profoundly disruptive of the normal
order. This is why the next two months will be very interesting indeed. Already, panic and hysteria have invaded the hallowed and complacent sanctuary of power and debased status quo. We are beginning to hear some strange noise. A rogue presidential mastiff has even compared the reigning king to Jesus with the ancient Bethlehemite worsted in comparison. Stranger rituals are been enacted on a daily basis in the name of democracy. In Ekiti, the majority lawmakers have been banished by the minority lawmakers and the federal authorities do not appear unduly perturbed. There is a biblical denouement about all this which portends the end of these times. Just as they were fifty years ago in 1964, the Yoruba people are also central to the current crisis in a way no historical pundit could have foretold. The current platform for change is powered by a core alliance between the current dominant political tendency among the Yoruba and nascent forces of change in the old north. Sixty years ago such an alliance was not only unthinkable but would have been tantamount to political heresy. This is not to talk of 1983, 1993 and 1999. It is sheer magical realism in the political theatre. History moves in very strange ways and those who are fixated on old battle formations often remind one of Don Quixote charging at some imaginary windmill while the world has moved on. But just as it was the case fifty years ago in 1964, the Yoruba political elite are hopelessly split down the middle this time around too while the overwhelming majority of the Yoruba populace are clamouring for change. When this disjuncture between elite and popular aspirations prevails, the Yoruba political mob tries to wrest control precipitating a situation of revolutionary anarchy which quickly infects even the most backward and compliant sectors of the nation.
Like every other multitude and even more so in a federated hell of collapsing federal will, the predominantly urbanized Yoruba people feel the hurt more acutely. Food is in short supply. The roads are impassable. The native herbalists have fled and modern drugs are in dire shortage. The home has become an abode of hopelessness and a heightened awareness of insecurity drives everyone to fear , panic and mutual loathing. Since the political mob or the masses lack the clarity of thought needed for an emancipatory political project or the knowledge regimen critical to transformative politics violence and industrial bloodletting become the order of the day. For the entire society, political and social hallucination sets in. There are reported and repeated sightings of a putative messiah who will come and redeem the people. This vision of apocalyptic redemption is the outlandish fantasy of a famished people. Sometimes, the avenging messiah is sighted rumbling through the skies flashing the inevitable victory sign. Magical realism without which a distraught and disorientated people can perish takes the place of political reality. Voodoo healers and other assorted miracle workers take over the polity, bypassing regular and traditional structures of politics. Like all conquered people trapped between the alienating necessities of western political modernity and the hobbled templates of traditional governance, the Yoruba people as we have seen often resolve the contradictions in favour of political magic. It is the creative resolution of pressing contradictions at the level of ancient symbolism. Curiously enough, it was in Ile-Ife, the iconic founding metropolis of the unified Yoruba race, that this drama of political shamanism was enacted recently. It is to this that we must now turn.
Modernity and magic in Yoruba politics leads to an occlusion of emergent political realities which in turn leads to more lamentable political misjudgments. It beats the imagination hollow how some of the iconic Yoruba political grandees could ever belief that a politically sophisticated and eternally conscious people like the Yoruba would buy the hogwash that their salvation lies in open collaboration with inept federal governance. Right from independence and even before it, the Yoruba people have fought on the side of freedom and justice no matter the ethnic hue, the religious inclination or the professional accoutrement of those at the helm of affairs. Having been outsmarted and dumped on the political dunghill by Goodluck Jonathan in a quixotic bid for the radical restructuring of the federation which has now ended in dismal failure, it is inconceivable that they would ever imagine that the way forward for the Yoruba people is to go cap in hand before the same Jonathan to beg for juicy federal appointments, allocation of more resources and largesse from a dwindling federal purse. It doesn't get more politically bizarre. In the event, the meeting turned out to be a desecration of all values that the Yoruba people hold very dear in their over a thousand years of state-formation and state-
restructuring. The irony was lost on the confreres that this self abasement was taking place in the iconic Obafemi Awolowo University which was built with Yoruba sweat without a penny from the federal government. Within a decade of its founding, the same institution became a world-class citadel of learning and an architectural masterpiece which has attracted global admiration. When next they choose to defecate with their mainstream mendicancy, they must choose a less holy site. If they are unable to appreciate how central the old University of Ife is to the Yoruba psyche as a glittering symbol of their sturdy independence and devotion to excellence within the context of an under-achieving nation, they must at least appreciate the centrality of Ife in modern Yoruba history. It was in its rugged forests over a thousand years ago that a man named Oduduwa brought the inchoate sub-tribes in alignment with emergent feudal mode of centralized production by forcibly fusing them into an organic entity under the umbrella of a uni-polar authority. It was no surprise that the ink had hardly dried on the communiquĂŠ before the sparks started flying with factions of the student populace locked in vicious combat. It could have been worse. The Yoruba nation has a way of commu-
nicating its political and psychic displeasures. The magical symbolism of the event we are about to reveal ought not to have been lost on some of the participants at the Ife conference. About fifty years ago in 1964 after the Yoruba political mob had taken over the streets to communicate their displeasure with what they considered an usurper authority, a group of die-hard mainstreamers journeyed to Ile-Ife to find a final solution to the problem of the man who had made life impossible for them and who has made it impossible for the Yoruba nation to join the federal mainstream. They reportedly stormed the Ife palace and demanded the key to the sacred Yoruba groove from the incumbent royalty with the intent of banishing forever the spirit of the turbulent man. The reigning and supremely regal Ooni, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, reportedly warned them about the utter danger of their quest. But they were furiously adamant, whereupon the wily and sagely Oba released the sacred key to them. Upon entering the groove, the first person they met was the man whose unyielding spirit they had come to magically excommunicate from its corporeal holding smiling calmly at them. They fled in precipitate and disorderly retreat. But this was not the end of the
matter. As they journeyed back to the old capital, thunder struck and a multiple automobile crash ensued whose reverberations travelled for several miles. It was said that a leading Yoruba Oba (name deliberately withheld) never recovered from the wounds he sustained in the accident. He died a few months after. The stage was set for the complete combustion of the entire Yoruba nation which persisted until a military take over about eighteen months after. Whether this story was true or not, whether it correlates with proximate reality is completely irrelevant. It was said that the old Ooni himself was at his evasively gnomic best when pressed on the matter. Only the deeply mystical can call to the deeply mystical. The point to note was that the revered patriarch was never found out of alignment with the dominant consciousness of his volatile people. Politics has done its beat, and so has magic. Between political magic and magical politics, there is not much to choose for a nation in the throes of traumatic transition to some form of modernity. The tragedy of our mainstreamers is that they understand neither the contradictory impulses of modernity with its wild and improbable actualities nor the native magic of their own people in its regenerative and recuperative possibilities.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
ASUU chair's 2015: Tension as police intercept UniOsun wife abducted 1500 ballot boxes in Bauchi U • INEC says there is no cause for alarm T From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
ENSION swept through Bauchi State political space yesterday following the interception of a truck load of 1550 ballot boxes expected to be used in next year's elections. The transparent white empty ballot boxes were yesterday intercepted on the Darazo -Dukku road, 110 kilometres from the state capital, by state security operatives. Described as nonsensitive INEC electoral materials, the boxes were found in a 24 feet container trailer with registration number plate, Abuja XE784 ABJ driven by one Mohammed Shaidu. The consignment, according to Shaidu, was
From Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi
destined for Gombe State. Rumour soon spread that the boxes were stuffed with thumb printed ballot cards. To douse the tension, the police opened the boxes in the presence of police, state security and INEC officials, reporters and representatives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Police Area Command head office Bauchi. The state Police spokesman DSP Haruna Mohammed appealed to the public to always cross check their information to avoid being misinformed.
Contacted last night, Mr. Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, said there was no cause for alarm. He confirmed that the boxes indeed belong to the commission and were being moved by the contractor to the states ahead of next year's elections. Idowu said the contractors ought to have got security escorts for the consignment and has been directed to seek such escorts for the remaining consignment. The driver of the truck said "about 30 vehicles carrying the same materials
and quantity have gone to other states in the Northeast." He expressed shock for his 'detention' when all the security men should have done was to cross-check from INEC after "I presented my waybill." Aliyu Sa'idu Abubakar, Bauchi State Organiser, Buhari Campaign Organization said: "we in APC have not accused anybody but we want to be sure that things are properly done; no more business as usual. Our people, progressive Nigerians, have to be vigilant." Meanwhile, the truck has since been released.
NIDENTIFIED gunmen have abducted the wife of Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Osun State University (UNIOSUN) chapter, Dr. Oluseye Abiona. The gunmen were said to have double-crossed the victim, Funmilayo, on Friday evening as she was driving home from her shop close to the university junction at Oke-Baale area of Osogbo, the Osun State capital, in an unmarked Toyota Lexus ES 330 ash colour salon car. She was said to have been whisked away in her abductors' vehicle after reportedly struggling with them for a few minutes. Eye witness accounts revealed that the gunmen smashed the rear windscreen of the victim's vehicle in anger and dragged her into their red coloured vehicle and drove her away leaving her two children in the car. Detectives from the State Police Command were immediately contacted and on arrival at the scene, rescued the two children in her car, while another detachment were said to be on the trail of the suspects. Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Folasade Odoro, who confirmed the incident, said the state Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Marafa, had directed the detectives to ensure that they rescue the victim unhurt.
Naira rain as PDP raises funds for 2015
•From left: Human Resources Director, Mr. Victor Famuyibo, Lagos Brewery Manager, Mrs. Ethel Emma-Uche, Managing Director/CEO, Mr Nicholaas Vervelde and Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr Kufre Ekanem, all of Nigerian Breweries Plc, during the end of the year Christmas party held at the company's corporate headquarters in Lagos at the weekend. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN
Nigeriens caught with PVCs in Jigawa
HE Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has seized temporary and permanent Nigerian voter cards from Nigeriens staying illegally in Jigawa State. The Nigeriens are said to have entered the country illegally. Seven such Nigeriens and a Malian were paraded yesterday in Dutse, the state capital by the Comptroller of
the NIS in Jigawa State, Mr. Isa Jere. He said the service arrested and repatriated 430 illegal immigrants in Jigawa between January and November this year. Jere said 90 percent of the arrested immigrants were from Niger Republic while others were from Cameroun, Chad and Mali. According to him, the service has intensified its
mop-up operation to get rid of illegal immigrants in the state before the commencement of the 2015 general elections. "We are committed to repatriating illegal immigrants in our midst because they don't have right or have any business to participate in our elections" he said. The comptroller also said that the state's
command had seized 20 voters' cards from Nigerien immigrants. He said that 11 out of the 20 were permanent voters' cards while the remaining were temporary ones. The NIS chief said that his officers and men were vigilant to prevent foreigners from participating in the forthcoming general elections.
We will tackle insurgency through creation of eight million jobs, says APC
O check violent insurgency in the North East, the Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), North West, Alh. Inuwa Abdulkadir, says the party will create eight million jobs within four years if voted into power in 2015. The former Minister of Youth Development spoke at an Inter-Party Debate on Parties' Master Plan for Rising Insecurity in Nigeria organised by Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) at the weekend in Abuja. Decrying the poor
From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja
performance of the present administration to effectively manage insecurity challenges in the country, Abdulkadir said the increasing violence and attacks in the nation is attributed to the high rate of unemployment rate among the youth. He said: "One could say lack of jobs is one of the causes of insecurity in Nigeria. We have a quite substantial number of young people who have no jobs or means of livelihood. Literally, they have nothing
doing, yet they have to survive. So anybody can use them to fabricate all sort of violence. That's why job creation is the main crust of APC and that, you can witness in APC states. APC intends to provide the people with 2 million jobs annually when it gets into power." In his remarks, representative of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Catchy Onanoju, said the nation has been unable to win the battle against insurgency due to poor training of military personnel. He said: "You can make your
background checks; our boys have not been trained in the past 30 years. As I speak, if we have a real commando unit, 10 boys can go in and take out a battalion of Boko Haram. We are lucky, because Boko Haram is not well organised. I am here sharing the truth about what we have as a challenge in the country. We have to agree as a country to rebuild our army." Both Abdulkadir and Onanoju, however, agreed on the issue of state and community policing in order to address the lingering security crisis in the country.
HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last night flexed its financial muscle ahead of next year's polls as stakeholders poured in money for the prosecution of the elections. Donors at the fund raising ceremony held in Abuja included the various sectors of the economy, PDP governors, businessmen/women and organizations. A prominent business woman Bola Shagaya and her friends donated N5billion. An equal amount of N5billion came from friends of Professor Jerry Gana, chairman of the funds raising committee while the 21 PDP governors gave N1.05billion, while those who called themselves friends donated N3 billion. Other high profile donors were construction sector with N310m, transport N1 billion, real estate N4b, the energy sector-N500million, PDP Rivers State stakeholders-N50million. Others were food and agriculture N5b, Cifex N10m, power sector N500m , Shelter Development Limited N250m, Emzor N50m, the NDDC governing board N15m, auto sector N450m and PDP youth group N50m. Present at the event were President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, PDP governors, Ministers, PDP National Chairman Adamu Muazu and the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Antony Anenih. The ceremony was still in progress at press time. The huge donation according to the Electoral Act runs foul of the law. Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution prohibits a State Government from contributing to the election expenses of any candidate or aspirant. The Electoral Act Section 91 (90 of the Code of conduct for Political Parties and Elections limits individual donations and contributions to a maximum of N1m.Electoral Act, Section 91 of the Act criminalizes contravention of limitation on election expenses. A Presidential Candidate who knowingly contravenes it is liable to a maximum fine of N1, 000,000.00 or imprisonment for a period of12 months or both.
Woman recovers lost luggage after 20 years
TUCSON, USA, woman finally recovered her lost luggage…20 years after it went missing! On Tuesday, Maria Dellos got a call from the Transportation Security Administration at Tucson's International airport about her lost luggage. She assumed it was in reference to bags she lost four months ago (this woman has lousy luck with luggage!), but to her surprise, it was about a bag that disappeared nearly 20 years ago. "Well I actually almost ignored the call because of telemarketing. All day long I get calls," Dellos told KVOA news. When Dellos, who owns Maria's Art Creations in Tucson, Arizona, got her long lost bag, she discovered art supplies she had purchased from a trade show two decades ago. She also recovered a handwritten note that detailed her address at the time. "When I looked at this note, it was dated, it dated me as 20 years ago! And I was just absolutely blown away," said Dellos. "I'm absolutely thankful to the TSA for calling me today and giving me great faith back into the airline industry."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
â&#x20AC;˘National Leadrer of the All Progressives Congress,Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, giving gift items to Mrs Dupe Ogunsanya,during Christmas Outreach 2014 by Bola Tinubu Foundation ,at Freedom House,Victoria Island,Lagos.
Ebola death toll hits 7,373 in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea
HE death toll from Ebola in the three worstaffected countries in West Africa has risen to 7,373 among 19,031 cases known to date there, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday. The latest data, posted overnight on the WHO website, reflected nearly 500 new deaths from the worst ever outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since previous WHO figures were issued on Dec. 17. Sierra Leone accounts for the most cases, 8,759, against 7,819 for Liberia. But Sierra Leone's death toll of 2,477 is far less than 3,346 recorded in Liberia, leading some experts to question the credibility of the figures reported by Freetown. Sierra Leone's government last week launched a major operation to contain the epidemic in West Africa's worst-hit country. President Ernest Bai Koroma said on national television that travel between all parts of the country had been restricted as part of "Operation Western Area Surge", and public gatherings would be strictly controlled in the run-up to Christmas.
Ogun assures workers on salary payment HE Ogun State Government has called for the understanding of workers and the labour unions in the state over the delayed payment of November salary. The government noted that despite the dwindling revenue allocation from the federal government, which has adversely affected all the states in the federation, the state government has kept faith with its workers through prompt and regular payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities. "We are proud to say that since the last 42 months that this administration has been in office, we have not defaulted on the payment of workers' salaries. The delay in the payment of November 2014 salaries to certain categories of workers is definitely unusual and will soon be sorted out.
â&#x20AC;˘National Leader of APC ,Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presenting gift items to the physically challenged,during Christmas Outreach 2004, by Bola Tinubu Foundation,at Freedom House,Victoria Island,Lagos; PHOTO; Taiwo Okanlawon
Bola Tinubu Foundation reaches out to the poor
ORMER governor of Lagos State and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has, in the spirit of the season, put smiles on the faces of the poor and the needy, by distributing 2,000 bags of rice, vegetable oil, sugar and a little cash gift to people from various parts of Lagos State. Speaking yesterday when his Foundation, the Bola Tinubu Foundation, distributed the food items to the less-privileged members of the society, he said he was moved by the level of poverty in the country at a time like this, because "poverty is poverty; it knows no religion and it has no tribal mark; and it
By Raymond Mordi
affects everyone of us." Asiwaju Tinubu said we should be our brothers' keepers, particularly those who cannot afford to buy food at a time like this, when everyone is celebrating. Tinubu noted that the Foundation gives out food stuff to the needy three times a year, when Nigerians are celebrating Sallah, Ramadan and Christmas. His words: "I wish everybody a Merry Christmas, a joyful and peaceful Nigeria in the New Year. The country is for all of us; there is no religious poverty. Poverty knows no religion; it has no tribal mark; pov-
erty is poverty because it affects every one of us. "That is why I provide relief for those who ordinarily would be left with nothing during this period. I try to put something in the envelope, to provide succour for them on a day when everybody is rejoicing about the birth of the Saviour. That is the joy I derive from this." A mammoth crowd turned out at the Foundation's office in Lagos Island, mostly women, to receive the gifts. According to Mr. Femi Oyatolu, Special Assistant to Asiwaju Tinubu, yesterday's event, which is dubbed the Bola Tinubu Foundation Christmas Outreach 2014, was the fifth in the series of
such gestures during Christmas celebrations. He said the Foundation believes in reaching out to the poor and the needy, no matter how small, to give them something to celebrate with their families at this time of the year. He added, "Basically, the programme is for the poor and the needy, particularly those who cannot afford to put food on their tables during festivities like Christmas. What His Excellency is trying to do is to give back to the society. At least, he tries to give them something that can put smiles on their faces. The crowd out there goes to show the level of poverty in the country."
Bode George needs social rehabilitation, says Obanikoro I
MMEDIATE past Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, yesterday fired back at the former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, asking him to seek rehabilitation for post-traumatic stress arising from his stint in jail. The former minister was responding to George's broadside that he (Obanikoro) was a lunatic for accusing him (George) of manipulating the recent governorship primaries of the PDP in Lagos. Mr. Jimi Agbaje, favoured by George, was declared winner of the primaries. Obanikoro said, "Indeed, there is nothing unexpected about the recent tantrums by Chief Bode George targeted at me in spite of the ignoble role he played in the fraudulent outcome of the Lagos PDP gubernatorial primaries. For whatever it is
worth, it is to Chief Bode George's credit that his family name is tainted and now constitutes a generational blemish as Nigeria's leading metaphor for gross moral deficit, lack of integrity and public dishonour," This is in apparent reference to the imprisonment of George by a Lagos State High Court for corruption during his tenure as Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). However, the Supreme Court has since quashed the sentence and declared him blameless. Continuing his tirade Obanikoro said: "As Chief Bode George embarks on his feeble attempts at painting a picture of me that exists only in his perverted imagination, let someone remind him that the post-traumatic stress disorder that comes with a time in jail would take more than just an unholy alliance with a pharmacist to heal. " It is instructive to state
here that not only that I am properly raised in the best of Yoruba tradition, I owe a large part of my successful public service career to a childhood and education built on godly principles and sound moral values. "In all my life and public service career, I have never been accused, arrested or convicted for fraud whether at home in Nigeria or abroad and I have been happily and responsibly married for 34 years. George had, in his own statement, dismissed Obanikoro's allegation that he manipulated the PDP primaries as alarmist provocations and described the former minister as "a desperate and obsessed man who is apparently incapable of absorbing the reality of his defeat by a well-bred and better man." He added: "For Obanikoro to claim in sheer ludicrousness that I, even remotely, identify with any intimations of violence is utter
lunacy and blind, vindictive madness. Surely, Obanikoro is possessed and obsessed. He needs immediate psychiatric treatment. He is a desperate sinking man, grasping and thrashing in self inflicted chasm. "What is the pedigree of this young man who has abandoned the typical African deference to elders? We know who sprung from violence and banditry. We know whose antecedents reek in noisome, vagrant, untidy ruffianism. "Politics is not a do or die affair. No civilised person with impeccable pedigree will seek a tacky refuge in destruction and ruin simply because he has lost in a free and fair contest. Obanikoro should go quietly into that good night if he means well for Lagos. "Enough of his desperate tantrums and lunacy. Lagos has moved on, far beyond the primitive wretchedness of little, ill-bred hooligans."
I remain committed to APC, says Ondo lawmaker From Damisi Ojo, Akure
EMBER of the House of Representatives representing Akure North/South Federal Constituency, Ifedayo Abegunde, has said he would not defect from the party despite losing the ticket to contest the Ondo Central senatorial election. In the primary election, Abegunde lost to a former Commissioner for Finance, Chief Tayo Alasoadura, with 811 votes to 778 votes. During the counting, 105 votes were reportedly voided; a development which caused ripples between the two contestants and their supporters. In a statement by his campaign group, Abena Campaign Organisation (ACO), it said the leadership of the party resolved to recount the votes in Abuja where Abegunde was also said to have lost with seven votes to Alasoadura. It said, "Abegunde was invited to Abuja by APC leadership, but the votes were counted in his absence. He later learnt through the former Ekiti State governor, Engr. Segun Oni, who is the Deputy National Chairman of the party that he lost the election to Alasoadura. "Despite his loss, Abegunde has no plan to leave APC, but we believe the lawmaker was cheated, while his commitment and loyalty to APC was not appreciated especially with what he passed through with the declaration of his seat vacant by the Appeal Court for joining APC from the Labour Party (LP). "The question is: why was the recounting of a primary election that held in Ondo State taken to Abuja without representation of the contestants?" A close aide of Abegunde, Mr. Saka YusufOgunleye, affirmed that the lawmaker would not defect from APC or challenge the result in court, stressing that the Akure-born politician would remain a leader of the party.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Establish Iron Ore Commission, expert tells Govt
Boko Haram lining up elderly and shooting them
LDERLY people are now targets of summary execution by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the terrorists are turning their guns on such elderly people, killing more than 50 in the last one week in a new approach that has instilled more fear in areas the militants call an Islamic caliphate. Many of those who were too old to flee Gwoza local government area are said to have been rounded up and taken to two schools where the militants opened fire on them. The villages are about 130 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the state capital. "What they are doing now is to assemble the aged people - both men and women ... and then they just open fire on some of them," said Muhammed Gava, a spokesman for civil defense groups in the area. More than 50 people had been killed at Government Day Secondary School in Gwoza, he said. A villager who had fled said more elderly people are being gathered and shot at Uvaghe Central Primary School. The villager spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of endangering his trapped parents. Government officials did not immediately comment on the reports. The Defence Headquarters said on Friday that soldiers are patrolling "in search of terrorists" and "to verify abductions" around the village of Gumburi, where witnesses said extremists kidnapped at least 185 people a week ago. On the same Friday Boko Haram insurgents bombed government buildings, a police station and military barracks in Damagum and Mamudo both in Yobe State. The extremists, however, suffered a setback when they attacked soldiers guarding a power station in Borno State, according to an engineer who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. He said soldiers were warned in advance that the extremists were advancing and engaged the militants in fierce fighting that killed at least 70. Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Kenneth Minimah has said that terrorism is not peculiar to Nigeria. The COAS stated this at the graduation of 151 officers of junior Course 78 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, Kaduna State. Addressing the graduating students, General Minimah noted that much was expected from them in the effort to eliminate all forms of terrorism in the country. He tasked them to be prepared for any responsibilities that may be assigned to them especially now that the country is being confronted with the Boko Haram security challenges in the Northeast and other criminal activities across the country. He further charged them to be of good behaviour and work collectively with their colleagues in the field towards winning the war against terror.
â&#x20AC;˘Deputy Governor of Osun State, Otunba Titilayo Laoye-Tomori; Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya; Ogun State First Lady, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, with HRH, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, while reciting the national anthem during the premiere of Airtel Touching Lives TV series held in Lagos... recently.
35 Boko Haram terrorists killed in military ambush
BOUT 35 insurgents of Boko Haram have been killed in a military ambush close to Damboa, Borno State. The soldiers also recovered a Hilux vehicle, rocket propelled grenades and rifles from the terrorists as their fellow insurgents attacked Damagum in Yobe State. Military sources could not give any figure but a resident said he counted 35 bodies of terrorists The Nation gathered yesterday that the Boko Haram members had attempted to attack engineers who were working to restore power supply to some parts of Borno State. But unknown to the insurgents there was a heavy military security arrangement in place to protect the engineers. Sources said that the troops opted for pre-emptive strikes which provoked a fierce battle with the insurgents. "A very large number of terrorists met their final waterloo after falling into an ambush laid for them by Nigerians troops between Maiduguri and Damboa on Friday," a top military source said. "The clash followed the troops' move to stop the terrorists who were in the process of attacking the electricity engineers who were working to restore power to parts of Borno State. "A large number of the terrorists died in the process
*Three soldiers die, three wounded in two Borno encounters FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation/ agency reports
while their improvised explosive devise (IED) laden Hilux truck vehicle was destroyed. "Other weapons recovered by troops include rocket propelled grenades and rifles. Unfortunately, however, two soldiers died in the encounter. Responding to a question, the source added: "The ongoing mopping operation will determine the number of the terrorists who died in the encounter." Haruna Ibrahim, a member of a vigilante militia, which fights alongside the military, said by phone yesterday that the Boko Haram attacks on Damboa began before Friday prayers and most of them died from the gun battle. "We went to the scene this morning (yesterday) mopping up with soldiers and dead bodies were spread everywhere, I counted 35 of them," he said. Another military source said there was also an encounter between military engineers and Boko Haram in Husara leading to the death of a soldier and the wounding of three others. The military source said: "The military engineers, who had been clearing terrorists IEDs and effecting repairs on bridges, repelled an attack while working on a bridge around Husara. "Several terrorists also died
in the encounter. A total four General Purpose Machine Guns, three rifles and two Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers were captured from the terrorists during the encounter. "One soldier however died while three others were wounded in the encounter. "During the encounter, the troops also captured a Hilux vehicle earlier stolen by the terrorists from the Borno State Ministry of Education, which they have repainted and mounted with an anti-aircraft gun. "In Adamawa State, troops yesterday continued with the conduct of land patrol of towns of Mubi, Uba, Garkida, Muva and others towns and villages through coordinated air and land operations in furtherance of counterterrorism campaign. When contacted, the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade confirmed the incidents but insisted that the "exact casualty figures were still being ascertained." A Damagum resident, Musa Muhammad Damagun, speaking yesterday on the assault on the town by the sect said: "We locked ourselves in the house after we heard several explosions went off and gun firing. We did not notice any killings but they broke shops and chemists, looted medicine and food items." Troops had on Wednesday repelled a Boko Haram attack
near Gumsuri where 185 people were kidnapped last week, killing several insurgents. Roughly 150 militants stormed the town of Bulabulin on Wednesday, but the military had reportedly received advanced warning of the raid. Bulabulin lies in the Damboa local government area of Borno state and is near the village of Gumsuri where 185 people, mostly women and children, were kidnapped last Sunday. "Our men climbed high electricity poles for surveillance and sighted (the insurgents) from afar," said a senior officer who participated in the operation but requested anonymity. Two security sources estimated that a large number of insurgents were killed by the military but there was no official toll. Resident Samuel James confirmed that the military overpowered the militants. "We would have been dead by now but the army really gave the terrorists a good fight," he told AFP. Olukolade said reports of the mass kidnapping in Gumsuri needed to be verified but confirmed that Boko Haram had attacked the town, killing a number of civilians. Locals and officials said the hostages were carted away on trucks towards the Sambisa Forest, a notorious Islamist stronghold.
APC decries Gombe Governor's 'intolerance'
HE All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday condemned what it called intolerance by Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State, alleging that he has been "working hard to obliterate the APC presence and also victimize the party's members in the state." In a statement in Lagos, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the
Governor's actions when he visited Kashere, the hometown of his predecessor, Senator Danjuma Goje, on Thursday were despicable and barbaric, and should be condemned by all right thinking people. ''During his visit, Gov. Dankwambo personally ordered the removal of all APC billboards and posters in the town, ordered the police and the army to break into Senator Goje's family house, where they broke down
doors, tear-gassed and arrested his relations, including children," Alhaji Mohammed said. ''The Governor also ordered the same security forces to break into the family house of Senator Goje's wife, where they similarly destroyed doors and tear gassed the occupants, including the 90-yearold father of Senator Goje's wife and the Senator's wife's 70-yearold stepmother, while all her sisters and brothers were arrested.
''All those arrested, numbering over 50, are now being detained at the police headquarters in the state capital, Gombe, while the Governor has also ordered the arrest of anyone who tries to secure bail for those in detention. In Gombe town, the Governor has gone further to order the police to remove all APC billboards and posters in the town. In other words, as far as the Governor is concerned, it is a criminal offence for anyone to belong to the APC in his state.
metallurgy and materials engineering expert, Dr. Lawrence Osoba, has called on the federal government to establish a National Iron Ore Commission to aid national development. He made the call at the 2014 Lecture and National Convention of the Alumni Association of the Federal University of Technology, Akure. He described steel as one of the greatest infrastructures needed by every country and stressed that without steel, "there can't be meaningful growth. '' All the developed economies of the world are steel producing countries with China, Japan, America and India as leaders of the pack," he said, adding that steel ''is the cornerstone and key driver of the world's economy'' directly employing more than two million people worldwide, plus two million contractors and four million people in supporting industries. He said that for Nigeria to key into this vital sector, the federal government should establish a national iron ore commission to help remove the heavy and direct government presence in the sector and enable the creation of an attractive business environment for direct foreign investment and local participation. Speaking earlier, the President of the Alumni Association, Mr. Akin Aina urged Nigerians not to lose faith in the country while also condemning the terrible acts of terrorism being perpetrated by Boko Haram.
Community hails Oshiomhole,Tinubu
HE Ewohimi community in Esan South East Local Government area of Edo State has expressed gratitude to Governor Adams Oshiomhole for providing it with a General Hospital. The facility named after the governor's late wife, Clara, was inaugurated at the weekend by the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. The town's traditional ruler, Lord Peter Ojeifo, hailed Asiwaju Tinubu for being part of the historic occasion. The community said Oshiomhole's commitment to the development of the town is unparalleled, pointing out that but for the commitment of the Comrade Governor, Ewohimi would have remained confined to the backwaters of underdevelopment. "Today, we are hardly able to contain our joy over what Oshiomhole has done for us as a people. Today, we can talk about good roads in Ewohimi and here we are celebrating the commissioning of a hospital that has raised the status of our town in no small measure," Lord Peter said. He added that the people of Ewohimi were equally grateful to Asiwaju Tinubu for finding time to be in Ewohimi. "You know how rare it is to have people like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to be outside of Lagos if the issue is not national. But today, he came to Ewohimi to be part of this historic event. It is a rare privilege for me and my people. We want him to know that we are honoured by his presence."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
16-year-old wins PZ Cussons Chemistry Challenge
OR the second year in a row, a 16-year-old student has been crowned the champion of PZ Cussons Chemistry Challenge (PZCCC). Justin Ifeanyi Nwaoha of Isolog College, Ojodu in Lagos State, is the winner of the second edition of PZ Cussons Chemistry Challenge (PZCCC). At the inaugural edition last year, Emmanuel Ejiogu Onyekachi, then 16 and a final year student of Miketoy College, Ikotun, Lagos State, triumphed. Justin, the new winner who is in SS3, beat off competition from three others at the grand finale held in Lagos over the weekend. He garnered a cumulative score of 72 per cent in both the theory and practical sessions of the intensive final. For his feat, Justin was rewarded with N700,000 cash, a laptop, a trophy and gold medal, while his Chemistry teacher, Mr. Mayowa Adeoti, won N100,000 and a plaque. Chemistry books worth N100, 000 were also presented to his school. Jamiu Abayomi Animashaun of Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba, who scored a total of 62 per cent, emerged the first runner up. He was presented with a cheque of N500,000, a laptop and silver medal, while his Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Ann Ajisafe, went home with N80,000 cash and a plaque. His school also received Chemistry books worth N80,000. With a cumulative score of 51 per cent, Azeez Balogun of Kingston High School finished as second runner-up and got N400,000 cash prize, a laptop and bronze medal. His Chemistry teacher, Mr. Obiora Onyilagha won N70, 000, while his school received N70,000 worth of Chemistry books.
Ezinne Okewulonu passes on
ADAM Ezinne Agnes E g o d i m m a Okewulonu (nee Edom) has passed on. According to a statement by the family of the late Chief Godwin Uchewuba Okewulonu of Ameke, Avutu in Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State, Ezinne Okewulonu, aged 86, would be interred on Monday, December 22, 2014 after a vigil mass at late Chief Godwin Okewulonu’s compound on December 21 from 6pm. Lying-in-state holds on December 22, while a Requiem High Mass would take place at All Saints Catholic Church, Avutu, Obowo from 11am. Reception will follow immediately after the interment at the premises of Community School. The deceased is survived by many children, among who is Chief (Barrister) Chris Okewulonu, a former Secretary to Imo State Government and former Federal Commissioner, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FSC), Abuja.
ECOWAS countries join forces to fight oil theft, piracy T
HE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to adopt an Integrated Maritime Strategy and Multilateral Agreement on the establishment of Maritime Pilot Zone E to fight oil theft, sea robbery, piracy and other forms of criminality in the sub-region. The Zone E countries comprises Republic of Benin, Niger Republic, Nigeria and Togo. Speaking in Calabar, the Cross River state, capital during the 2014 Chiefs of the Naval Staff/Heads of
From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar
Gendarmerie of the ECOWAS Maritime Pilot Zone E Countries meeting, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, said the Multilateral Agreement on the establishment of Maritime Zone E was to eradicate illegal maritime activities in West Africa. Jibrin said that the meeting was organised to finalise important processes towards activation of Zone E Maritime Multinational Coordination Centre (MMCC). The Naval boss stated, “Today, we are expected to formally agree on the final
operational plan and resource commitment as fine-tuned by our team of operational experts.” In his address, Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd), said that the prospect for optimal exploitation of resources from the maritime environment for sub-regional benefit is hampered by piracy and other transnational criminalities. Represented by Mr. Aliyu Sumaila, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Gusau said that pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft has greatly affected the country’s revenue generation drive, hence the need for a tight maritime se-
curity. “Maritime security is a cause for concern, given the export of oil from the Gulf of Guinea of over 5 million barrels per day and also additional discoveries from other member state. I am delighted to witness this memorable occasion for the collaborative engagement mechanism in our drive to effectively secure the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain in order to harness the vast economic resources. “I wish to emphasise that collective action from member states is very crucial in confronting maritime threats such as attacks on shipping and resource theft,” he said.
•President Goodluck Jonathan (4th right) with members of the PDP Ward 2 Ward Initiative led by Super Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo (5th left) during their visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN
Dangote to invest $9 billion on food processing factory in Kebbi
ILLIONAIRE industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, is set to invest about $9 billion to establish a food processing factory in Kebbi State. Part of the plans, according to the state governor, Usman Saidu Dakingari, was to cultivate and develop farmlands across the state. The governor said it was the need to encourage investments in the agro-allied potential of the state that prompted his administration to build the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport in Birnin Kebbi for easy movement of businessmen who wish to invest in the state. He revealed that the state has been exporting onions to
By Kelvin Osa Okunbor
Morocco and other countries in Africa and the Middle East, but added that farmers and farm produce buyers face hardship while evacuating the produce from the state. He expressed confidence that air freighting of farm produce directly from the state would create bigger market for farmers who now have the opportunity to choose the market that is most profitable, thereby earning more for their efforts. Dakingari said, “Dangote’s company approached Kebbi State and expressed the desire to put an investment of about $9 billion in sugar cane, rice and
maybe ranching. I have seen such investment in Kenya and other places like Namibia. Meat produced from these countries are processed and exported overseas to Europe. “If people like Dangote come in and say this is possible, then it is good for the state. We have fruits, onions; we have one of the best markets for onion in Kebbi State. These days, we produce watermelon too, we produce mangoes and all these are things that can be exported overseas.” He also stated that the state has a favourable weather to produce flowers for export, adding that with the new airport in the state, warehoused
farm produce could be exported anytime to foreign countries. “At present, there is a farmer just around the airport that has started warehousing; he will build warehouses for both export and import. These are things that will not happen in one day but the airport is futuristic.” On how the state government sourced funds to build the airport, the governor said commitment and prudence are the major factors that made the project possible, adding that there is a plan to invite international carriers like Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates Cargo to use the airport for their cargo operations.
Terrorism, a global security threat, says Minimah From Abdulgafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
HIEF of Army Staff, Lt. General Kenneth Minimah, has described terrorism as a global security threat that is not peculiar to Nigeria. The scourge, he added, did not start in Nigeria, as many other countries of the world have had to contend with the same challenge in the past. The Army Chief stated this at the graduation ceremony for 151 junior armed forces officers of Junior Course 78/ 2014 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji in Kaduna State. Addressing the officers, Minimah stated, “You must have noticed that the global security environment of the 21st Century is becoming increasingly complex, with many national, regional and transnational threats that undermine national and international security across the regions, sub-regions and the entire landscape of the world. And of course Nigeria is not an exception. “Today, we have terrorism on our soil. Many nations, including ours, have had to contend with asymmetric threats that are mostly intrastate in nature. Gentlemen, terrorism did not develop here; it only came here and we pray it will also pass through here and go elsewhere,” Lt. Gen. Minimah said. He, however, told the graduating students who were drawn from the three services of the Nigerian Armed Forces that with their training, much is expected from them in the nation’s efforts to defeat terrorism. “You must brace up to these challenges with courage, conviction and in the most professional manner. Your ability to apply the skills learnt here is imperative now that our nation is confronting an array of internal security challenges. As future leaders of your services and organisations, I am happy to note that, this course has amply prepared you for the arduous task ahead,” he noted. Earlier in his welcome address, the Commandant of AFCSC, Air Vice Marshal John Chris Ifemeje said the 21-week intensive training and academic activities was designed to equip the officers with the appropriate skills to function as grade 3 Staff Officers and junior commanders in their various services and in tri-service establishments.
Mimiko can’t coordinate Jonathan’s campaign in S’ West-Group
pressure group, the Ondo State Solidarity Group, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan and the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to reverse the appointment of Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, as the Coordinator of President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign in the South-West. Warning the leadership of the party to be mindful of what it described as the “deceitful tendencies of Mimiko,” the group in a statement issued in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, by its Ondo
•Says governor’ll betray the president State coordinator, Mr. Bankole Betiku, said the political antecedents of the governor “portrays him as an inconsistent politician that does not mean any good for President Jonathan’s reelection.” Reacting to a publication made by an aide of the governor against a chieftain of the party, Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, the group alleged that “Mimiko defected to PDP in order to protect his job as governor and to actualise his selfish ambition and not to work for the victory of President Jonathan as canvassed by his aide.”
Bankole noted that Mimiko lacks the requisite quality and integrity to coordinate the president’s campaign in the South-West, while further alleging that the Ondo State government under Mimiko’s watch currently owes civil servants in the state three-month salary arrears without giving any reason for its action. “The civil servants in the state are angry with him for not paying their salary and they have vowed not to vote for PDP, a trend which Jimoh Ibrahim is trying to reverse,” the group
explained. Okunomo, the governor’s aide, had in the said publication accused Chief Jimoh Ibrahim of causing disaffection in the party in order to pave the way for General Muhammed Buhari’s victory at the poll. According to Betiku, Okunomo’s allegation was puerile and baseless; stressing that Mimiko has a secret agenda against the president’s aspiration judging from his desperation to take over the structures of the party at all cost. The group explained that Chief Ibrahim has no known political affiliation or business
relationship with APC or its presidential candidate as being alleged by Okunomo. “Everybody knows that Mimiko is an unrepentant betrayer. His political antecedents are proven evidence of this fact. He betrayed the late former Governor Adebayo Adefarati. He betrayed another late former governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu; he betrayed former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, who fought tirelessly to help him reclaim his mandate. He will surely betray President Goodluck Jonathan,” the statement said.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Synagogue: Akoko indigenes in prayer, fasting sessions
Crisis looms in Oyo over nonpayment of severance to ex-LG chiefs
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
OMMUNITY leaders in Akokoland of Ondo State have embarked on marathon prayer and fasting sessions for what they called God's intervention on the plight of their kinsman and founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Pastor T.B Joshua. They also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to order the Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, to investigate the suspected plane that hovered round the SCOAN guest house before it collapsed. The building killed scores of devotees, many of whom were South African nationals. A group, Arigidi Peace Forum (AFP), in a statement issued in Akure, the Ondo State capital, noted that the issue should not be politicised in the interest of justice. The statement signed by the Chairman, Olufemi Owadokun, and Secretary General, Ayaki Festus, said, "We have watched with concern the plight of our kinsman since the building collapse; he is being treated as if he deliberately caused the guest house to collapse. "It is unfortunate that the man of God suffered a double loss of his church members and valuable properties, while his detractors are still not resting in vilifying him. "The SCOAN pastor is a philanthropist and lover of the less privileged who extended his humanitarian service to all crisis-ridden regions of the world and has contributed to the economy of Nigeria." The Arigidi Akoko leaders said they were not against the prosecution of Joshua if he is found wanting, but, however, added that he should not be judged before he is found guilty.
'APC is change agent' By Oziegbe Okoeki
Commissioner in the Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission, (LAHASCOM) and former member of the state Assembly, Hon. Ajoke Adegeye, has called on Lagosians and Nigerians in general to vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections. Adegeye said that the country xxx needs a change in government at the federal level, while describing the APV, as the change agent the country needs at this critical moment in her history. The former lawmaker, who represented Amuwo Odofin 1 at the Lagos Assembly in the 6th Assembly, stated this in a chat with our correspondent at a meeting she held with members of her campaign organisation and constituents at the weekend. The meeting was called to register displeasure at the outcome of the APC House of Assembly primaries for the constituency where Adegeye lost. Members of the campaign organisation have sent a petition to the party leadership alleging that the process was manipulated in favour of the incumbent lawmaker, Hon. Sultan AdeniyiAdele, by the immediate past chairman of Amuwo Odofin local government, Comrade Ayodele Adewale.
RISIS is brewing between former members of local government caretaker committees, special assistants and the incumbents in Oyo State. Following persistent appeals after the dissolutions of caretaker committees in 22 out of the 33 local governments of the state, the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, sometime in October, directed the caretaker chairmen of the affected councils to commence payments of 40 percent of initial salaries of the sacked
From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo
members. The decision was said to have been taken at the House of Chiefs in Ibadan, the state capital, at a meeting held with the 33 council chairmen, including Chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Commissioner for Local Government, Special Adviser to the governor on Political Matters, Dr. Gbade Ojo, among others.
The governor, said sources, took the decision to avoid future friction and internal crisis within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. However, only a few local governments were said to have complied with the directive by paying a halfmonth salary to the exofficials, while others are yet to comply with the directive. Consequently, the forum of the former council officials met a few days ago in Saki where they alerted the governor on the impending crisis due to what they referred
to as "flagrant disregard" of the current local government chairmen of his directive. At a media briefing jointly addressed by Mr. Abduwaheed Salako (excaretaker member, Ibadan North LG, Mustapha Kazeem, former Special Assistant, Iwajowa LG, amongst others, the forum while lauding the various unprecedented policy initiatives of the Ajimobi administration across the state, threatened to take an unpleasant action if all their entitlements are not paid on or before the end of December.
â&#x20AC;˘Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi (right) and General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor E. A. Adeboye, when the latter visited him at his residence in Ibadan, preparatory to his ministration at the Carol Service organised by the state government on Saturday. PHOTO: Oyo Government House
Ondo to start rice production in 2015 HE Ondo State government at the weekend said it has put all necessary arrangements in place to commence production of rice in January 2015. Disclosing this at the end of year press briefing, the Chairman, Wealth Creation Agency (WECA), Mrs. Bolanle Olafunmiloye, said the agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture is partnering with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) on the production. She noted that the Marditech would commence
From Leke Akeredolu, Akure
the cultivation of 500 hectare of land for the rice production at Owena Dam area in IgbaOke, Ifedore local government area. She said this would also help in boosting the internal revenue of the state and create employment opportunity for the youths. Olafunmiloye further disclosed that the agency would be using part of the N2billion fund it got from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) commercial
agricultural credit to finance the project. While commending the federal government for encouraging the production of local rice, the WECA boss said the state government would do everything possible to support local producers in the state. Speaking on the agency's plans for next year, she disclosed that WECA would soon embark on the rapid rehabilitation of the Ore, Auga, Isuada and Epe Agro Business Cities in order to keep in line with the vision of transforming it to international standards.
She said: "We plan to intensify the promotion of goods and products made in the state to encourage the private sector and also organise the 2015 edition of the Made in Ondo Fair with more participation from enterprises and businesses in the state. "All through these activities, our profarmers and agroprenurs will be involved in extensive training and participation. Approval has already been given to engage an additional 300 young graduates in the first quarter of the year under the WECA/ SURE-P GIS collaboration."
'Don't drag Buhari's name into Ondo PDP crisis'
chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Charles Titiloye, has warned warring factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to find ways of resolving the internal crisis within the party rather than using the name of the presidential candidate of APC, Gen. Mohammed Buhari (rtd), to gain support from the Presidency for any of its factions. Titiloye was reacting to a statement credited to a
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
faction of PDP in the state that the faction opposing the Jimoh Ibrahim group was working for Buhari by getting a court order, which sacked the Clement Faboyede-led faction loyal to the state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. He warned that the APC would not fold its hands and allow the name of Gen Buhari dragged into the mud. He said: "The people of Ondo State have resolved to vote for APC and the
people's General next year not because of the continued political Ebola scourge in Ondo PDP, but because of the conviction of the people that the joint presidential ticket of Buhari/Osinbajo is the hope to a new and reformed country where citizens' welfare shall be the primary concern of government. "APC in the state see the struggle for power between the factional PDP lords in Ondo State as a product of disagreement of sharing of
power and illegal loots emanating from the centre." While stating that the party would not compromise its principles by supporting any of the PDP factions, the former Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Akure Chapter, hailed the leadership of APC for selecting a sound technocrat and thorough professional in the person of Prof. Osinbajo as the vice presidential candidate of the party.
Rep. to Jonathan: Your days are numbered in Aso Rock From Odunayo Ogunmola, Ado Ekiti HE House of Representatives member representing Ekiti Central Federal Constituency 2, Mr. Oyetunde Ojo, has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to be prepared for defeat at the 2015 presidential election. Saying the president's "days are numbered in Aso Rock," the lawmaker added that Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have disappointed Nigerians in the last four years. The All Progressives Congress (APC), Ojo added, remains the only viable alternative option for the electorate to enjoy dividends of democracy. Speaking while inaugurating Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects, giant generators, branded tables, chairs and other equipment to three secondary schools within his federal constituency, Ojo said the APC has demonstrated its readiness to provide good governance if voted into power in 2015. According to the Chairman, House Committee on Communications, Nigerians have suffered from the economic policies of the federal government, while challenges of insecurity, power and high rate of unemployment in the country remain intractable. Ojo therefore urged Nigerians to vote massively for the APC presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and the party's candidates for all the elective positions come February next year. He urged voters who are yet to get their voter cards to do so, saying such cards remain their only weapon to elect leaders of their choice.
Pre-Valentine concert holds February 2015
HE maiden edition of 'Students on the runway: A pre-Valentine concert' is billed to hold in February 2015. A brainchild of Wise Plus Concepts, an entertainment outfit, the highly anticipated event will take place at the University of Lagos The concert, according to the organisers, is aimed at using music and comedy to campaign against HIV and AIDs, spiced with a fashion show to promote decent dressing culture on the campus among students and celebrities. The music segment will feature top artistes, while the fashion show will showcase celebrity works of reputable fashion designers as well as budding fashion designers on campus. Other activities lined up for the event include road walk and a campaign tours to four higher institutions to enlighten students on HIV and AIDs health seminar; courtesy calls to some motherless babies' homes, to mention just a few,.
Man Of the Year
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
•Abducted Chibok girls
Man of the Year
F this year bubbled with a cascade of events, it explained why it was such a challenge to select the Person of the Year. The choices seemed evident, but they were too evident. Was it not the Chibok girls, or those who fought to set them free? Or, if we swivelled to another subject, was it not Ameyo Adadevoh, or the medics who dared to heal the Ebola patients? They all pointed to one thing: heroics. One editor's hero or heroine was as good as another's. It did not take one session of intense debate or two. It presented an existential conundrum. The Chibok Girls set everything in motion, but they were not heroes. Do we celebrate victims, or vulnerabilities? Why not the #Bringbackthegirls movement that ran a gamut from a now faceless individual who introduced the icon to the irreverent Ezekwesili-led group to Michele Obama? But who were these people if the girls were not kidnapped? The girls crafted the platform for the heroics of the Ezekwesilis. After all, the girls fought to be free, and about 57 of them cut their way to freedom. The argument swung to Ebola, and the angel of that struggle, Ameyo Adadevoh. Some editors acknowledged her doings, but said she was dead. The prize should go to the living, and that is the tradition. Are traditions sacrosanct? Is there not room for martyrdom? Why not give it to her, if we recognise that she made such a difference in the lives of the country. The counterweight followed: let us give it to those who are alive, the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, whose efforts stirred the medics in the state and set off an enlightenment
By Sam Omatseye campaign. Some said it was right, but not enough. We could give it to the medics alone. But who were those medics if not Adadevoh, the queen of them all. Two arguments, one choice. After many sessions of gruelling intellectual standoffs, the editors narrowed it to two. The Chibok girls and Adadevoh. The Chibok girls because they emblematised not only the piteous saga of the abduction, but of the narrative of the Boko Haram. All the bumbling of government to rescue the girls reflects the
ineptitude that the federal government has displayed at all levels. We cannot track the hoodlums and their base. We cannot stop kidnapping across the country. We cannot guarantee the safety of the citizens. Boko Haram has exposed the nation's underbelly. A failed intelligence. A failed military helped out by apparently weaker species from Chadian army to Nigerian female hunters. Failed and insensitive government whose head, President Jonathan, introduced an azonto dance to our national political vocabulary. He wiggled on a platform in a campaign stop at Kano while the girls were whisked out
of Chibok. It is, above all, a story of impunity. While we witnessed it at other levels, the Chibok disaster served as the acme of the sins. Not as terrible as the National Assembly assault on the right of the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, or the the Mbu tales as police commissioner in Rivers State, or the Tompolo acts in Ogidigben, if all were cruel and vicious. But the vulnerability of the girls, the invasion of innocence, the conspiracy of night and guns, the spectre of rape and forced marriages, the solitude of mourning families, the ambivalence of an army that could not decide whether they were free or not, put the Chibok 276 at the top of sympathies. It brought Malala here, rattled a president, scuttled the vanity of ambition as the president had to postpone his campaigns, exposed the eccentric syntax of the first lady, whipped up suspicions of corruption, reignited MuslimChristian divide. If Ebola lasted a few frenzied weeks, the Chibok saga lasted the whole year from April when the girls were swished away in a nocturnal raid. Only last week, a similar raid left a Chibok neighbour with 32 men dead, houses petrol-bombed and about 185 women and children abducted. Adadevoh would have been a clear choice otherwise. The editors gradually lined up behind the Chibok girls. Their kidnap wove a story of fear, impunity and courage, which represented the Nigerian experience in the past year. The editors therefore chose the Chibok girls as The Persons Of The year.
•SEE MORE ON PAGES 10 & 11
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
MAN OF THE YEAR 2014
HE Thermopylae 300 (September 480 BC) and the Chibok 276 (14 April 2014) strike their epochs -- but for diametrically different reasons. King Leonidas and the Sparta 300 resonated all through antiquity, with their no-retreat, nosurrender valour. At the pass of Thermopylae, King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan soldiers thumbed their nose at certain death. At their back was virtual wall. In their front were the mighty Persian hosts, numbering thousands; led by the fearsome King Xerxes. But Leonidas and braves chose glorious death to shameful life. They fought to the last man. That cemented the military fame of Sparta in the Greek motherland. But it also confirmed Sparta as a caring state that duly earned the patriotism and heroism of its citizens. It was the stuff of which myths were made! When the history of contemporary Nigeria, under President Goodluck Jonathan, is written, the Chibok 276, innocent school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists, would strike this epoch for a completely different reason. If regimented Sparta was a caring state, democratic Nigeria would appear a callous one. If for Sparta, citizens' security was serious business, for Nigeria, citizens' security would appear laughable -- if not so tragic -- laxity. If warrior-King Leonidas would sacrifice everything -- including himself -- to save mother Greece, President and Commander-in-Chief Jonathan appears comfy to sacrifice everyone to cement political hegemony. Indeed, unlike Sparta, Nigeria under Jonathan, vis-a-vis the Chibok kidnap, gives the impression of a royalist enclave, in a feudal redoubt, where subject's security is at the pleasure of the almighty monarch and his decadent court. Yet, Nigeria is a modern democracy, and Sparta, an ancient monarchy. The Chibok 276 (now down to 219 because 57 escaped by their courage and wiles; not by the might of the Nigerian state), therefore, appeared fated to vanish as mere tragic stats, while the presidential court moves on to something more worthwhile -- until the #BringBackOurGirls lobby, the most visible face of which is Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of Education, came up. They stamped the girls, and their parents' grief, in public and global consciousness. The Jonathan Presidency, from its handling of the kidnap, would wish everyone forgot about the girls, and the country "moved forward" to better things -- a euphemism for Jonathan's 2015 reelection project. Indeed, #BringBackGoodluck2015, an insensitive parody of the social media Chibok hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls, exposed the Jonathan Presidency's mindset on the unfortunate tragedy. Though Doyin Okupe, one of the presidential spokespersons was later found to have inspired that heartless pitch, which President Jonathan later repudiated in a pitiful afterthought, the harm, like a Freudian slip, was already done.
PERSONS OF THE YEAR
The Chibok 276 By Olakunle Abimbola Indeed, the Chibok kidnap symbolised many things: many negative, bordering on a nation's meltdown. But also, many positive, suggesting a nation's redemption: the brave insistence, by #BBOG, on Nigerian citizenship; and the citizens' right to know and question their government. Chibok 276 was not the first outrage -- nor was it the last. Earlier, on February 25, Boko Haram attacked and torched the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, and (horror of horrors!) left 59 school boys charred in their burnt dormitories. Later, on November 10, in Potiskum, same Yobe, a suicide bomber attacked Government Comprehensive School: 47 died; 79 were injured. The students were on the assembly queue, about to do their morning devotion. But Chibok was the horrific epiphany. After the girls' kidnap -- and government's tardiness before; and dilly-dally and utter insensitivity after -- the scale simply fell off Nigerians' eyes: the troubling spirit of O-Y-O -- on your own -- hovers on the horizon; and the government appears nowhere, despite a choking presence. From Chibok, therefore, it has been a relay of negatives, that gives the unfortunate impression of a Nigerian state in free fall: Boko Haram attacks at will, the once almighty Nigerian military, rod of Africa and pride of the nation, appears to vanish at the sight of the Islamist murderers, once-upona-time a rag-tag, doing hit-and-run sorties on Okada. The military command itself appears
tragically denuded and diminished. The intelligence service is a sad parody of itself and its duties. All of a sudden, the cocoon of statehood appears harshly lifted: and Nigerians thrust into the pre-state cave of Thomas Hobbes, where life was nasty, brutish and short; and where might was right. Above everything, the Jonathan Presidency -its insensitivity and obduracy; its monumental bad judgements: President Jonathan dancing Azonto on the campaign stump in Kano the very next day after the Chibok 276 kidnap; his apparent fixation with power, by his campaign for 2015, even as he was the very epitome of prostrate governance and captain of a collapsing state; the court tomfoolery of First Lady Patience Jonathan, in the tragicomic Dia ris god o TV episode: a sardonic and intrusive presidential spouse, projecting coldness as compassion, and putting her husband's office to further ridicule; a military high command that would trade battle momentum for phoney ceasefire; and got rewarded with eggs splattered on its face, and Boko Haram capturing more towns; the iconic hunters, whose heroic face is the female, Ladi, that booted from Mubi, Boko Haram that had earlier booted out Nigerian troops -- above everything, Jonathan and his eternal fumbling on Chibok, points at a crashing humpty-dumpty! But when everything seemed lost, redemption came from the #BBOG citizen vanguard -- again inspired by the tragedy of the Chibok 276.
â&#x20AC;˘ One of the escaped girls meets Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima
For starters, much to the chagrin of the Jonathan Presidency, it has kept Chibok in public discourse, in fact inspiring global #BBOG campaigns, attracting the participation of an Alist eminent persons, including US First Lady, Michele Obama. Then, despite constant intimidation by dense state officials, the #BBOG lobby has insisted on the inviolability, under the law, of the Nigerian citizenship. After raids on its Unity Park, Abuja, redoubt by sponsored roughnecks, an attempt at an illegal order to proscribe their activities by the controversial Police AIG, Mbu Joseph Mbu (although quickly countermanded by former IGP Mohammed Abubakar), and aborted march on Aso Villa, to mark the girls' six months in captivity, #BBOG stands firm, a Palladium for the defence of citizens' right to know; to question their elected leaders, and to compel President Jonathan to find and spring the Chibok 276 from Boko Haram captivity. After six months and still counting, the charter from #BBOG's Ezekwesili is sharp and clear: "Like James Garfield once said," Mrs. Ezekwesili said to mark the girls' six months in captivity, "'the truth will set you free, but it will first make you miserable'. So, we shall never stop asking for the truth from our government; the truth, nothing but the truth. We shall ask until our #ChibokGirls are brought back home and alive ... We shall ask until all of North East zone is reclaimed and peace is restored to our land ... We shall ask until the professional integrity of our globally-respected military is restored. We shall ask until every Nigerian feels safe and secure again in our land. For those who ask what we demand as we stand daily for our 219 daughters, the answer is simple: The Truth, nothing but the Truth!" If you say that is a charter for a reclaimed Nigeria, snatched from the jaws of perdition; a new Nigeria, of responsive leaders and responsible citizens, you won't be wrong! So, even if Nigeria survives its present troubles -- and there is nothing to suggest it wouldn't -- and the history of this epoch is written, the Jonathan Presidency would get its due flak. But somewhat, redemptive heroism would appear female-led: when all else appeared doomed, and the nation appeared headed for the rocks, Chibok 276 bred the spirit of resistance, against all odds, that inspired the escape of the Chibok 57 from the original pack that bred Ladi, the intrepid female hunter, in the victorious battle to clear Mubi; that bred #BBOG, the face of global and civilised resistance to Boko Haram savagery and the Jonathan Presidency's condemnable parsing. Indeed, Chibok 276 bred #BBOG that struck a powerful blow for citizens' right under the law; and insisted on the government's mandate to secure the state and protect the people. Enter Chibok 276, The Nation Person of the year, 2014!
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
MAN OF THE YEAR 2014
Ameyo Adadevoh: A meteor she was
HE Nigerian Nightingale departed as she gave her life to save others. Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh was, until the agent of death in the form of the Ebola Virus walked into the First Consultants Medical Centre where she was a Senior Consultant on July 20, was already established as a thorough professional. She was a Physician and Endocrinologist. Dedicated to her job, she would not allow any detail pass her by to snatch any of her patients. Whenever the situation called for it, she stood in the gap for her patients. So was the situation when Mr. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian diplomat was brought into First Consultants on July 20. The proper diagnosis could not be made immediately and the cool and collected and respected Adadevoh was off duty. But, as soon as duty called, suspecting that Sawyer who had been afflicted with the horror called Ebola Virus Disease was about to discharge himself and disappear into the Lagos Streets, Adadevoh was informed and she swiftly moved in. She forcibly restricted Sawyer to his bed while awaiting the results of the tests ordered and response of the health authorities. That was the saving grace for the Nigerian society. That the monstrous killer disease was finally restrained is due largely to the noble heart of the 58-year- old woman, her courage, dedication to duty and playing strictly by the rule. Eventually, she paid the supreme price. She died on July 25. She died that we may live. She died that Nigeria may have peace. For a country in dire need of heroes and heroines, Adadevoh met all the requirements. She was not a fake politician wrapped in iro and buba and gele, playing the support role on the soap box as lies were dished to the Nigerian people. She was not a businesswoman leveraging the public till to defraud the country through indefensible waivers granted by rapacious public officials. The woman lived; the woman worked; the woman died. It is not surprising that she grew out of an illustrious lineage. Born to the late Professor Kweku Adadevoh, a notable pathologist and
OR 26-year-old Blessing Okagbare, the finishing line is both literal and metaphorical. Her athletics career means she must always have her eyes on the finishing line, and she must be equally conscious that there is life beyond her track-and-field specialisation in short sprints and long jump. This dual consciousness could be a potent inspirational force in the pursuit of success and excellence, and may well be the combination that drives her. It was a phenomenal performance when she breasted the tape in the 100m final race at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, setting a new record of 10.85 seconds, particularly considering that she rubbished a 12year games record of 10.91 seconds set by Bahamian sprinter Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, UK. Justifiably ecstatic, she told BBC Sport: "A season's best, a win - I'm just happy I was able to pull it off. After 70m it just felt easy." Sensationally, she also triumphed in the 200m final race at the same games, with a time of 22.25 seconds, becoming the fourth woman to win the 100m and 200m double at the Commonwealth Games. The luster of her two gold medals was in no way dimmed by the silver medal she won as a major link in Nigeria's 4x100m female relay team at the games; indeed, it was a further confirmation of her capacity. Okagabre's superlative display had the effect of a tonic on a countless number of her compatriots across the world, but especially back home where the people needed cheering news in the face of disturbing realities. Specifically, the country was bleeding, and unfortunately this has not stopped, from an insurgency based on a religious premise, with the Islamist guerilla force Boko Haram tormenting the collective psyche. This was compounded by excruciating socioeconomic conditions, which regrettably continue till today. So, in a way, it was a blessing that Okagbare illuminated the landscape with her victories. Hers is an encouraging story of what can be accomplished with unwavering focus and determined effort. It may be described as an organic climb to the summit of achievement. Born in Sapele, Delta State, she took to sports because of her athletic physique, and played soccer in her teenage years before she was attracted to track and field. By 2004, she showed a flash of promise by winning the triple jump bronze medal at the country's National Sports Festival, and demonstrated that the achievement was not
FIRST RUNNER-UP former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos before his passage, Dr. Adadevoh was also a granddaughter of the doyen of Nigerian nationalism, the legendary Herbert Macaulay. All these contributed to building her persona. At work, she was highly respected having garnered three decades of work as a Physician in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. A Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College, she commanded the respect of her colleagues who were quick to recommend that she was immediately awarded the national honour. That would have brought some honour to the annual show. The government could not be persuaded to look in that direction. Dr. Adadevoh will always be remembered wherever doctors meet in the world to discuss the
miracle of the containment of the disease that has eaten up the souls of Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Guinea. Nigeria was almost added to the list. Today, Nigeria is free of the disease. Medical personnel from the country are wanted in the affected countries on account of Adadevoh's action. Where many other Nigerians, especially those in government would choose inaction over action, Dr. Adadevoh looked the stalking death in the face, smiled and wrestled it to the ground. But she's no lonely hero. There are other narratives of those who played stellar roles to keep the disease from spreading in the Lagos metropolis. At the head of this was the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) who led his state of medics to contain it. Both governor and
Golden Blessing SECOND RUNNER-UP By Femi Macaulay a flash in the pan by her performance in the qualifying rounds of the long and triple jump events at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics. Her glorious rise continued at the 2007 All-Africa Games trials in Lagos where she set a Nigerian record of 14.13 metres in the triple jump; and at the All-Africa Games that year she won the silver medal in the long jump. It is noteworthy that, in what may be regarded as a defining arrival on the world stage, Okagbare as a 19-year-old won the bronze medal in the women's long jump event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. It was an indication that she had raised her game when, at the 2013 International Association of Athletics Federation World Athletic Championships in Moscow, she won a silver in the long jump and a bronze in the 200 metres and was the country's sole medalist. Her Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals this year, without doubt, prove her consistent improvement. It is instructive to note that while understandably basking in Okagbare's reflected glory, the Delta State Commissioner for
Information, Chike Ogeah, further highlighted the significance of her dazzling feat. He said in a statement: "Once again, African sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare, proved that the confidence reposed in her by the state Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, was not misplaced as she became the only 11th person and the first African to win the sprint double in a single Commonwealth Games." The information about the commendable backing Okagbare enjoyed from the Delta State governor deserves to be noted, particularly because of its lesson for sport administration in the country. Ogeah said: "From her humble beginning, Dr. Uduaghan had single handedly taken up her sponsorship, which climaxed with the approval of a three-year training grant of $360,000 to the Delta-born Africa's fastest woman among other incentives to enable her succeed. The governor was part of the over 80,000 spectators that witnessed the 100 metres final where Okagbare dusted a star-studded cast of sprinters. The support for Okagbare comes under the administration's three-point agenda of which human capital development is a critical arm." Indeed, the publicised incentive of a yearly
medics worked with some federal government personnel to stanch the plague. Lagos with its mammoth and restless crowd could easily have made Nigeria a major scandal for Ebola. Governor Fashola, after declaring the state Ebolafree, stood with the survivors in a photo-op and strong symbolic evidence of official empathy. Some of the medics who helped subdue the disease are wanted abroad for help. They represent the best ambassadors of Nigeria in recent memory. Discussing the Ebola would not be complete unless we call attention to the decrepit health facilities in the country. The best tribute that could be paid to the Adadevoh is to arrest the free rein that diseases and death are having in Nigeria. Primary health care is hardly existent. Those in the rural areas are condemned to taking herbs not tested for toxicity and without an attempt at proper diagnosis. Hardly would a day pass without newspapers raising funds to send a patient to India or South Africa or even Egypt for a disease that could have been stopped before it took full possession of the patient. The result is that, by the time money is raised, if ever the patient makes it to his or her destination, it is too late, and returns as a corpse. The teaching hospitals on which billions were spent during the Obasanjo administration still lack very basic equipment. When simple operations are successfully conducted, they are celebrated. It is the shame of the country. What would it cost to put up ultra-modern diagnostic centres in all parts of the country? Why would our best be lost to diseases that could have been disempowered if the nation had risen to its duty to its citizens? To honour Adadevoh, a revamp of the health system should be undertaken. Training and retraining of medical personnel should be regularly undertaken and the authorities of the health sector should be sincere in putting out statistics on where we stand today. She indeed was stellar in performing her duties. She died, but she lives. She is immortal in the hearts of those who know her value. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh made a difference in the course of 2014. She is a runner up in The Nation choice of the Person of the Year. training grant of $120,000 for three years may bring out the best in Okagbare as she prepares for 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. It may be prophetic that Okagbare said at an event organised to honour her in Delta State: "My career has grown from good to better, but my best is yet to come." From her vantage position, she also gave a useful insight into what it takes for the country to excel in athletics. She said: "Proper and adequate funding, especially training grants to athletes, will make them prepare properly for competitions and improve their performance." Not surprisingly, the country has appreciatively rewarded Okagbare for her efforts, including her appointment as Youth Ambassador for Delta State, a parcel of land in the state capital, Asaba, and the naming of a stadium in the state after her. Possibly the icing on the cake was her decoration with the national honour, Member of the Order of Federal Republic (MFR), by President Goodluck Jonathan. Speaking of paying attention to the finishing line beyond her racing life, Blessing's colourful November wedding in Sapele, Delta State, was an arresting pointer. She reportedly said about her marriage, her husband, Igho Otegheri, who played for the country's senior national soccer team, the Super Eagles, and her future in athletics: "Getting married won't in any way stop me from doing the usual things on the track. I have been looking forward to this moment and by the Grace of God, we will celebrate it with everything. But one thing I want to assure my fans and all Nigerians is that I will continue to work hard to put smiles on their faces as long as my body allows me to run and jump on the track. There (is) lots of work to be done and I have started training well ahead. I will return to the track soon after my wedding and I pray God to continue to guide me and my husband as we commence the journey of our married life." It is predictable that the picture of a triumphant Okagbare in green and white sports kit, displaying the country's green-white-green flag and flashing a toothy smile, while celebrating her 100 metres victory on the race track at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, will be fresh in the minds of many of her compatriots for a long time. It was a truly golden image that projected positive possibilities and, even if probably momentarily, suggested the country's potential greatness, even beyond sports.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
Femi Orebe Page 16
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
Tinubu: Putting issues in perspective E RIC Arthur Blair (1903 - 1950), an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, is globally known under the pen name George Orwell. His works, usually laced with lucid prose is particularly geared towards creating awareness about social injustice, totalitarianism, and the need to promote democratic socialism. Pundits ranked him as one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century, and as one of the most important chroniclers of English culture of his generation. Sometime in his life time while on service at the Spanish war front, this author of the master piece: 'Animal Farm,' realised the speciousness of political propaganda when he declared: 'Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.' This statement truly applies to moves by some political deviants and their cronies to seize any opportunity to demonise Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos state. The just concluded presidential primaries of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the process leading to the nomination of deputy to General Mohammadu Buhari, presidential flag bearer of the party curiously offered envious pathological haters of the Tinubu political giant strides to go to town with propaganda which according to Orwell is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. It is ironic that adversaries of Tinubu will read meanings into each of his political moves even when propelled by altruistic motive. This is pardonable because we live in a world where finding fault in others seems to be the favorite sport which has long been the basis of political campaign strategy that has not done our clime any good. This development cannot be compared with a situation of valid competition which pushes individuals and the society to do better. The truth which has since been neglected but which cannot be denied is that competition through party primaries is not just the basis for protection election contenders, but is also an incentive for achieving progress. The issues in the nomination of deputy to General Buhari in the aftermath of last APC presidential primaries were: Was Tinubu voluntarily offered the vice-presidential slots through the South-West by Buhari? If yes, why then the hue and cries. Can anyone question Tinubu's constitutional eligibility for the position? Didn't he have the right to aspire to such position during the negotiation period especially when such is offered his geo-political area? What is selfish about aspiration for a political position where one's invaluable contributions are seriously craved? Despite the fact that Tinubu could have gone ahead and ensured, at any cost that he got the post, he allowed the statesman in him, as always, to overshadow personal aspiration by conceding the post to one of the most brilliant living legal minds from the SouthWest-Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He is used to identifying skills/talents with brains wherever they are and deploying them for public good as will be shown later in this piece. Tinubu puts it more succinctly while debunking speculations, especially from the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) that he has turned APC into his personal fiefdom and wanted the post badly; he said: "I am contented being the National Leader of the party…I am a Nigerian who loves my country. I am hopeful about what it can become.
Worshipping the false messiahs of Nigeria By Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
•Tinubu By Hakeem Adisa I have seen and conducted myself as a patriot long before I thought of myself as a politician. I shall always walk this line and no other…After all the political calculations are made and the dust of competition has settled, it must be this nation and its people who stand first and foremost. The question becomes whether we stand strong, able to shape ourselves into our best future or will we stand frail and trembling, burdened by the abject failure to surmount the multiple problems confronting us. The PDP and other interests have stoked fear of a Muslim/Muslim ticket." What other personal political sacrifice could have been more than this for a person so powerfully positioned like Tinubu to cede such a juicy post to a competent associate in Osinbajo which nobody but the PDP can deride on the altar of partisan politics, not progressive national interest. The man has really paid his political dues and should be accorded such recognition. Since 1992 when he was elected to the Nigerian Senate as representative of the Lagos West constituency in the short-lived Nigerian Third Republic, Tinubu has never looked back; making from, and ceaselessly giving back to the Nigerian society. Consequent upon the annulment of the 12 June 1993 presidential elections, he became a founding member of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which mobilized support for the restoration of democracy and recognition of the June 12 results. He went into exile in 1994 and returned to the country in 1998 after the death of military despot Sani Abacha, which ushered in the transition to civilian rule. In the run-up to the 1999 elections, he contested under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) for, and was elected as governor of Lagos state and served two terms of eight years. While serving as governor, his panoramic eye for discovering raw skills and talents came to the fore at a time when other leaders were inflicting political misfits on the people through public office. He, unlike some leaders, never gets intimidated when surrounded by egg heads from different fields of intellectual endeavours. Yet, he is at the same time at home with the hoi polloi as he never at any time while in power and outside it looked down on anybody. No
wonder, Tinubu built one of the most admired and respected cabinets in the country where robust debates and superior arguments prevailed in the day to day running of his administration. His cabinet had champions in different fields like Yemi Osinbajo, Wale Edu, Yemi Cardoso, Dele Alake, Tunji Bello, Leke Pitan and Babatunde Raji Fashola, now governor of Lagos State amongst others that are still reference points in the nation's public affairs. Tinubu identified and deployed these distinguished Nigerians to the service of humanity. At the same period, the best that the ruling PDP and its leaders including ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo could do for the country was to promote mediocrity by looking for malleable and challenged personalities like late Umaru YarÁdua and Goodluck Jonathan to govern the nation when we had brains scattered in the nooks and crannies of the country waiting to be harnessed. The result is the inept and clueless governance that we have staring us in the face today across the land. It was the bid to fill in this avoidable leadership gap at especially the national level that led Tinubu to inspire others from his clan and top shots from the remaining geo-political zones/party platforms to rally together and form a mega-party that has come to be known as APC. In his discerning eyes, he has also identified another distinguished professional and accomplished technocrat, Akinwunmi Ambode to take over from Fashola come 2015 after having won in the APC free and fair transparent governorship primaries early this month. What a man that is mischievously being derided for his sheer political sagacity and industry. The truth is that Tinubu remains yet unsung by political adversaries and envious folks despite his rare political sacrifice to the nation and humanity. He is being maligned in his pursuits of the long desired political change from PDP's tyranny come 2015. The wind of change has become inevitable with his deft management of APC from its enemies predicted implosion. The imminent change is just a matter of time. –Adisa is a public commentator based in Lagos
- TUNJI ADEGBOYEGA IS ON VACATION
oyin Okupe presented President Goodluck Jonathan as Jesus Christ in the mostopportune time. We were in Christmas mood and should have been most receptive to the revelation of god among us. Okupe's job description as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs is to appraise and praise his principal. And security on the job lies at the extreme end of hyperbole. He has to be (seen to be) sufficiently worshipful of the President or he gets the sack. This incentivizes Okupe to work overtime, talking Jonathan up. And sure enough, it predisposes him to sounding stupid. But this attempt to make up the profane with the sacred shows that Okupe's sycophancy has mutated into wanton license. It couldn't have been his answer to Wole Soyinka's portrayal of Jonathan as King Nebuchadnezzar. Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate, called a press conference just to vent and he kept his metaphor within the bounds of the secular. But Okupe, the self-acclaimed Attack Lion, went to a breakfast TV show for expediency and ran into profanities. Basically, the overreach testifies that Okupe has run out of material. After placing Jonathan in the peer group of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Lee Kaun Yew and Barack Obama and ranking him as the greatest Nigerian leader since independence, there are no more fitting mortals left for comparison. So Jonathan has to be equated with Jesus. Jonathan deserves some congratulations, though. He is one of the rare humans who have managed to inspire the veneration of their persons. His own evolution to divinity makes him measure up to his wife. Patience, according to Evans Bipi, the arrowhead of an anti-Amaechi gang, was ''Jesus Christ on earth". It's good that President Jonathan's catch-up worked out fine. This leaves Nigeria with a couple of Jesus Christ's in the State House. One Jesus and a spare. But the paradox is that the countries that are led by mere mortals fare better than theocratic Nigeria. They have higher standards of living. They have very low child mortality rates. They have public schools that are training their youths to participate in a future where knowledge will become the principal commodity. They have efficient transport systems that move people and goods with few instances of avoidable mishaps. They have portable water at the turn of the tap. They maintain healthcare systems that our Jesus doubles resort to when they fall ill. Actually, the Jonathans are not the only saviors. There is a glut of claimants to the title of messiah, from the lowest tier up to the presidency. They base their claims on some grudging tokens. The roads that begin to deteriorate with the onset of the first rains. The schools they can't suffer their children to attend. The hospitals their family members cannot patronize. Since May 1999, these false messiahs have been saving only their family and friends. They have been offering the populace more hype than governance deliverables. They have been investing in looking good than doing good. And they have always liked to hire fawning loudmouths. But it should be obvious that this kind of salesmanship - borrowing from the supernatural realm to improve their bottom line - is counterproductive. It betrays the brand as so flawed that its marketability can only be helped by a bogus label. President Jonathan should be worried. He should be concerned that his promoters are nauseating and alienating the multitude instead of converting them. He has continued to pretend to be too absorbed in some otherworldly business to notice the sacrileges his hirelings are perpetrating in his name. Jonathan winked at the tweaking of #BringBackOurGirls hashtag into his re-election campaign promo. He was content to let it persist until Washington Post shamed him into issuing a disclaimer. He pretended to be asleep while the police desecrated the premises of the National Assembly on the orders of Inspector General Suleiman Abba. And he has yet to wake up. Jonathan must rein in Okupe and other sycophants. Chinua Achebe reminds us that those whose palm kernels were cracked by the gods must remain humble. A shoeless school boy who rose to the presidency cannot afford to have an aide misrepresenting him as a contestant for the position of Jesus Christ. Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu @emmaugwutheman
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Buhari & Osibajo: the road to fixing Nigeria Each village meeting concluded that Buhari is not coming back to rule as a representative of the military, should he get elected, but as a member of All Progressives Congress. were too young to know what happened in Buhari's performances in 1984-85 against him,
INALLY, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has given the Nigerian electorate the other side of the electoral equation to consider in its search for the right presidential ticket to govern Nigeria in the next four years. Many APC members are already calling the Buhari-Osibajo ticket the 'Dream Team' to fix Nigeria. As expected in the marketing of candidates that electoral contest engenders, PDP spokespersons are quick in telling voters that this team is not formidable enough to unseat the incumbent. The interest of today's column is to share reservations and recommendations of folks in many Yoruba towns and villages (which I had visited in the last four weeks) with regards to the two teams; one old and the other new, asking for citizens' approval in the next presidential election. On questions about the incumbent team, citizens did not have specific comments. They told me that they know enough about the Jonathan-Sambo ticket already, having had the two leaders in power for close to six months. They rather threw their own questions to me: "Are you sure Buhari can fix the country better than he did in 1984?" I answered that I was there to find out what they thought as voters, not to express my thought as a commentator wanting to feel the political pulse or temperature of the masses with respect to leading contenders for the APC ticket. I insisted that I was in every town or village visited in my personal capacity to listen to indigenes and residents, not to persuade anyone with my own feeling on the important matter of fixing Nigeria. At a bar in Osogbo, one young man clad in a mechanic's blue overcoat kicked off the discussion: "Should Buhari win the primaries, does anyone think that he will be in a position at 72 to fix Nigeria any better than what he did at 42?" Many okada riders in the room said between sips of beer that Buhari was too obsessed with unity and discipline in 1984 for him to be able to fix today's more complex Nigeria. Others shouted them down that they
1984 and should not waste the time of the visiting newspaper columnist by re-casting the prejudice of old UPN members. I quickly interjected, urging everyone to respect the view of the other and called for ground rules for the bar seminar. We all agreed in Osogbo as we did in Ipetu-Ijesa, Ile-Oluji, Ondo, Okitipupa, Inisa, Oyan, Ilese, Sagamu, Ikorodu, Ilorin, Offa, Ajase-po, Oyo, Fiditi, Ote, and for Lagos area in Ipaja, Festac, Alagbado, Mushin, and Ibafo. We agreed that each person would be allowed to air his or her views on each candidate and we would cast a vote at the end of each evening's road-side political seminar on each issue discussed. If votes recorded in the informal seminars were anything to go by, Buhari's emergence in Lagos last week as the APC flag-bearer would not have surprised anyone in many of the bars visited. Most of the discussion in various towns was about his presidential candidacy. He was the candidate most favoured and also the most scrutinised. There was no session at which the issue of his need to explain why he made certain choices during the eighteen months he was military head of state. The negative questions were many: "Why did he stop the Lagos Metro Project; why did he keep UPN politicians in jail when nobody had accused them of stealing from public till; why did he ask citizens to wait in straight lines like soldiers at bus stations; why did he order that people who threw litters on the streets be flogged by WAI brigades?" One person in Okuku even asked why Buhari wanted to bring two leading southern UPN politicians; Dikko and Akinloye, back from London in crates to come and face trial for corrupt enrichment in Lagos. But there were older persons in the room who quickly put the last question to rest by saying that Dikko was Fulani like Buhari and that Akinloye was a leader of NPN, not UPN. One matter that came up in each session was the readiness of Buhari to do the needful: re-structure the polity and allow each region or state to develop at its own pace.
From one town or village to the other, the beer-parlour seminar was characterised at the beginning by boisterous discussions, but each ended on a sober note of philosophic reflection that many pundits would not associate with bar discussions. Many issues that could have been raised by PDP campaign managers were raised pointedly and not necessarily to damage Buhari's campaign but to let him have the benefit of the interaction between the Yoruba political memory and electoral behaviour. One of such revelations was the point that a man's deeds at 40 should not be used to disqualify him from any race that he joins at 70 and that thirty years should be long enough to change a man or woman that is not retarded. I was told by a clearly 'lumpen' group that doing something that made people uncomfortable thirty years ago is not as bad failing to grow with time to see things differently thirty years after, but that such leader must be ready to explain the reasons for his actions thirty years younger. A young woman, moving from serving beer to drinking Guinness stout, said: "It is the vision of the leader regarding the future that matters, not what he did not do to the satisfaction of everybody thirty years ago." I was told that Buhari in 1984 did not do anything with a mandate. Nigerians had no power over his choices of what to do, as he was responsible to his fellow military men who picked to replace Shehu Shagari, whom citizens voted for but who was apparently unable to govern the country properly while citizens who gave him their mandate to rule were also unable to call for his impeachment. Some blue-collar workers even said that Buhari was in 1984 a loyal member of a pack, the Nigerian military class, not a party with the overarching slogan of Change. The military-ruling class was described as one that from the beginning of military rule in 1966 to its end in 1999 made too many mistakes about how to fix Nigeria. Some persons even pontificated that if we are going to hold
we should have done the same to Obasanjo who later came to govern Nigeria as a civilian president for eight years through the proverb: "Bawoni obo se s'ori ti inaki ko se?" (What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander). I also heard that voters should hold Buhari and his running mate down to electoral promises they are able to make. One woman said several times at the top of her voice that Buhari has been saying since 2007 that he would restructure the country if elected, an indication that he was not going to be satisfied with addressing the symptoms at the expense of the causes of Nigeria's problems which have been festering for over half a century. Nobody knew at that point that Buhari was going to choose a running-mate, YemiOsibajo, who also spent so much of his legal mind defending and protecting the vestiges of federalism in place during his eight years of serving as Lagos State's chief legal officer. Soldiers in their one-dimensional thinking, one Danfo driver said, "misread the country's political signs. They thought federalism was the enemy of the country's unity and all of them in power worked hard to dismantle the country's federal system, only to realise that the unity for which they broke the country into mini-states designed to survive on life support from petro dollars has remained elusive, even sixteen years after the exit of military rule. If the groups in the discussions were big enough to justify any generalisation, one would have paid substantial attention in this piece to a school teacher's advice to Yoruba voters: "It is not enough to vote for Buhari and abandon him to his own devices; it is important to remind him at all times that he is the candidate of a party that in Yorubaland is seen as standing for Freedom for all, Life more abundant. Each village meeting concluded that Buhari is not coming back to rule as a representative of the military, should he get elected, but as a member of All Progressives Congress.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Divine Jonathan? Okupe's comparison of President Jonathan to Jesus Christ is sycophancy bordering on apostasy. It can only further diminish his embattled principal
GAIN and again, Dr. Doyin Okupe, the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, has proved that he is as much a misfit as the position he occupies is aberrant. We wish to state upfront that the position Okupe occupies in the Presidency is not only an ill-conceived new-day contraption, it is excess to requirement; while the nature and temperament of the office and its occupant may well be doing more harm to the institution of the Presidency than good. Last Monday's faux pas by Okupe, in comparing his principal to Jesus Christ, is just one more in the series of his ill-digested and lazy responses to public discourse since he assumed office. Speaking during a programme, Sunrise Daily, on Channels Television, Okupe said that President Jonathan is like Jesus Christ because "He is bearing the burden of everybody." Beyond the above, Okupe's response to questions and handling of issues of sensitive national import, raised all through the programme, are pointers to his utter lack of rigour and, indeed, seriousness. He showed no deep understanding of the key issues raised; and does not seem to appreciate the magnitude of the problems assailing the nation at this critical turning point of Nigeria's history. His answers were vacuous; just as he appeared lackadaisical all through the programme. For example, on the woeful power situation in the country, particularly in the last quarter of this year, Okupe in one breath said power equipment were expensive which made generation and distribution companies to borrow billions of dollars; and in another, he submitted that government's efforts to improve power was being sabotaged by politicians who sponsored vandals to attack gas pipelines just to make government appear incompetent. On the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria, Okupe flippantly argued that Boko Haram was a "multinational international insur-
was moody while writing this because the Area Business Manager of the electricity company that supplies the above areas and his subordinates have failed woefully in executing their primary and secondary assignments as electricity distributors assigned to these areas. These managers have failed to implement and honour Mr. President's directive twelve months ago on "OP-
gency arrangement in Nigeria." The group, according to him, has links with ISIS, Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups. And on the case of the abducted Chibok Girls that Okupe had boasted a few months ago would soon be released, all he could tell his listeners this time was that "the issue of the Chibok Girls was an emotional tragedy that we must bear with fortitude," suggesting that such atrocities as abduction, rape and murder were common in war. If we forgave these infantile outpourings as part of his dubious call of duty; if we take Okupe's mumbo-jumbo as part of the fair game and propaganda in a time of political 'warfare', to what do we blame his banal and off-hand reference to Christ? First, this shows clearly that Okupe is not a Christian and if he were, we now know the kind of Christian he is. No true Christian would contemplate such utter irreverence, if not blasphemy, as to compare any living mortal or deity at that, with Christ. It is also a clear pointer to the irresponsibility he brings to his so-called job. Had he paused a moment to reflect, he would have reckoned that such a statement would be highly insensitive to the Christian community and to true Christians anywhere. Crasser still, how could any serious Nigerian begin to compare President Goodluck Jonathan to Jesus Christ? This is obtuse propaganda taken too far.
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
•Editor Festus Eriye •Deputy Editor Olayinka Oyegbile •Associate Editors Taiwo Ogundipe Sam Egburonu
•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye
His postulation that Jonathan is a humble persona who bears the burden of Nigerians is a farce. President Jonathan voluntarily presented himself for the number one job in the land and, as he is doing currently, he went to great lengths seeking to be elected a president. Nigerians did not vote him because he is the most humble man in the country or so that he could bear the most burden - no. He was voted to lead. So, he has a duty to provide quality leadership, even at the pain of paying the supreme price. However, if in the estimation of Okupe, Jonathan is leading well, that fact is not quite apparent to most other Nigerians. And reasons abound: corruption has become more viral in his time; power supply situation is worse today than about six years ago when he assumed office; Nigeria, an oil-producing nation, still engages in that most wasteful act of petroleum products importation at huge costs to the treasury. So many other examples of mis-governance can be adduced. To therefore compare Jonathan to Christ is not only to insult the intelligence of his listeners, but it was an assault and an affront to the people of Nigeria. For the benefit of Okupe, Jesus Christ, according to the Holy Bible, represents purity, holiness and confounding love. He willingly surrendered his life that man may be redeemed from the shackles of sin and life. In better-ordered societies, Okupe would not be deemed fit for the Presidency, not to talk of serving as the face and voice of that most crucial national monument. We dare say that Okupe is not adding much value to the Presidency's public communication department. That job requires sobriety, rigour and a glistening form of candour. These are the qualities that would engender goodwill and endear the people to the Presidency. Okupe's statement amounts to a ridicule of Christianity. An apology would be in order.
No light in Sango-Owode and Ijako ERATION LIGHT UP NIGERIA" both in urban and rural areas. Long before this day, Owode has never enjoyed five hours of power supply for the past 36 months. This re-
cent one has worsened it; since May 5, 2014, this same management has failed to power Owode-Ijako and its environs with the population of about two hundred and fifty thousand.
The economic activities of these said communities have suffered huge set back; vocational activities, artisans cannot go about their normal jobs and get their daily bread as usual due to black-
out in the whole community. Moreover, long before now, a committee was set up by the communities to enquire what the problem was and the way out. But the business manager and his counter-
Provide security during Jumaat prayers
HE recent gun attacks duringtheJumaatprayer at the Kano Central Mosque calls for provision of security during prayers across the country. This would assure worshippers of adequate protection of their lives before, during and after the prayers. The heinous act that took place at Kano Central Mosque is barbaric, inhuman and ungodly. It is condemnable. The act shows how some miscreants would use worship centre to carry out this ignoble and stupid killing of innocent worshippers. The provision of security personnel during the Jumaat prayers should be seen in the context of what happened in
Kano, not allowing those who don't want the corporate existence of this country to use another opportunity to carry out another attack in the nearest future. The security of worshippers should not be left in the
hands of only a few individuals who don't have deep knowledge of securing the entire environment. Also perimeter fences should be provided around most mosques to stem the ugly situation that happened in
Kano, hence the mosque management committee should provide such facilities. It must be mandatory for all worshippers to be screened before they are allowed into the mosque; this would ensure no harmful device is taken into the
mosque to harm worshippers. The Muslim Umaah should cooperate with all the security personnel being put in place to protect them from ugly incidents. All hands must be on deck and we should be extra vigi-
parts accused the community of not doing the right thing. The communities have suffered a lot under the Power Holding management the communities are solely demanding for the managers' resignation from the office and face the law of NEMESIS. Thank you. Balogun, Omosanjo Ifekowajo CDA, Abule Road, Owode-Ijako. Ogun State.
lant in monitoring the personalities we notice around our vicinity. The security personnel would need every one's co-operationtoarrestthesecuritychallenges facing the country currently. Bala Nayashi Lokoja.
Outgoing governors should account for public money
n advanced democracies, it is commonplace to find that governors, in their political career, usually pass through the Senate before taking a shot at the governorship office for good governance, but the reverse is the case in our country, where governors shortly before the expiration of their constitutional two terms of eight years still jostle for space in the senate
which they see as safe havens and an escape route for likely misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds which might have taken place while in office as state governor. It would be recalled that the incumbent EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, in a not-toodistant past bemoaned the situation whereby the infrastructure on ground is not
commensurate with the monthly allocations being received by state governors from Abuja and now that some of them are already nursing senate ambition by participating in party primaries for the senate, when will they be made accountable for the people's money which was put in their care for a period of eight years? Why the
rush to the senate immediately after serving as a governor and not the other way round, a situation, which undoubtedly would pave way for good governance at state level? Smart governors, indeed! Come 2015, will the electorate outsmart the smart by rejecting them at the poll so that searchlight can be beamed on their stewardship by existing
anti-corruption bodies in the country, such as the EFCC or the ICPC or will they take the systematic trend as fait accompli where anything goes in our country under the guise of democratic impunity? Time will tell! Odunayo Joseph 12, Salawu Street Iju, LAGOS.
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
2015 Presidential election and the southwest vote Even though the Yoruba had never benefited, in a collective sense, from any PDP government, its current, undeniable strangulation under the Jonathan administration, has been as total as it is unprecedented
r Doyin Okupe, my dear brother and the gregarious spokesman of President Goodluck Jonathan, could not have done more harm to the president's cause than epoch ally dividing this campaign and making it one of old Vs new, good Vs evil, of a squeaky clean past Vs a filthy now, a past of pristine morality and national discipline Vs a now of serial scandals, of over 200 chibok girls stolen and the consequent crippling paralysis etc. Okupe had beautifully pidgeon-holed his boss as the 'now', and GMB, the APC Presidential candidate, as the past, in a curious effort to present the latter as being archaic; forgetting what the present represents for millions of Nigerians who do not know where the next meal would come from or had been turned to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their own country due to no fault of theirs except you want to hold them vicariously responsible by voting Jonathan in 2011. Before telling Doyin how much Nigerians have come to regret that vote, let me ask if he would, in all good conscience and with God as his witness, choose to have something like the present Nigerian circumstances instead of the past, in his personal affairs? However, I expect that nobody is surprised that he listlessly categorised the candidates into a glorious past of a GMB-inspired order, discipline and anti -corruption and a Jonathanian present of unmitigated corruption, insufferable insecurity and total lack in which life has become extremely short and brutish. The lacuna here, as in most of the administration's
flip flops, is the failure to think through policy actions, even something as simple as properly categorising a campaign. While these thoughts should now concentrate his mind, let us quickly go to today's subject matter - that is, the place of the Southwest vote in the forthcoming presidential election; an issue which, happily, President Jonathan's crying neglect of the geopolitical zone, and his unkind treatment of his Southwest party members to whom he doles out miserable preferments, have helped to shape in no small measure. Even though the Yoruba had never benefited, in a collective sense, from any PDP government, its current, undeniable strangulation under the Jonathan administration, has been as total as it is unprecedented. The president personally confirmed that much in Ekiti last June when he belatedly apologised to the people. Dr Olusegun Mimiko, the Ondo State governor, was quoted this past week, as saying that the Southwest will vote massively for President Jonathan. He was so sure he even suggested that it wouldn't matter at all if the APC chose it's Vice Presidential candidate from the zone. How he came to that conclusion, despite saying, in the same breath, that the Southwest has a long history of progressive political engagement, can only be attributable to a momentary loss of attention. Or how does President Jonathan or the PDP remotely represent anything progressive unless that word has lost its meaning?
Although the governor was quoted in The Nation of Wednesday, 17 December, 2014, I had, a whole 48 hours earlier, reacted as follows to discussions on the Ekitipanupo web portal on the same issue: 'are we by these predictions saying Yoruba do not know what is good for them - their collective interest? Haven't we seen enough of President Jonathan in close on six years to keep deceiving ourselves? Are we saying that because one Lagos boy will be made a Minister of State for Defence or even an Ekiti a full blown Minister of Police Affairs, we Yorubas will forget what is in our collective interest? Are we saying Ekiti or any other part of Yoruba land must have a PDP government before President Jonathan promises to develop that state as he said in Ekiti during the governorship campaigns? And since that 'victory what has changed? Because of the importance I attach to this matter, and, especially to remind my Yoruba compatriots that collective interest is ingrained on us and underpinned all of Awo's polices, it will be my topic for the week in The Nation on Sunday'. The above was my reaction to some speculative allocation of Southwest 2015 votes which would see Jonathan win in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and share the votes in Ekiti and Oyo. All these because of a rather uncritical reliance on Jonathan winning in those states in 2011, conveniently forgetting the massive happenings in these states and in Nigeria in general on top of which is the horrifying conditions pervading the entire Nigerian landscape, from the swamps in the NigerDelta to the grasslands, if not, the desert of the north. In my view, an unbiased evalua-
tion of the extant condition and circumstances of the average Nigerian today would never arrive at such projections but I must say I perfectly understand the pundit's reasons which I shall now proceed to discuss at some length. The first is his reliance on the 2011 presidential election. But it is now well known that the president won in the Southwest in 2011 for two reasons: The first was Yoruba's well-known empathy for equity and the underdog syndrome - candidate Jonathan was coming from a beleaguered Niger Delta whose oil sustains the economy, and two, that picture of a seemingly penitent president, kneeling before a highly regarded man of God who happens to be of Yoruba extraction when, in reality, it was a premeditated political scam to deceive the Yoruba. Today, all those pious shibboleths have been completely blown to smithereens by the president himself. Witness, for instance, the peoples' representatives having to scale the fence into the hallowed grounds of the National Assembly. I hope they know that Nigerians did not buy into that funny attempt to hang it on the Inspector General of Police. I am equally aware that the projections arose, in part, from the historic Yoruba Omoluabi respect for elders which led the author to completely exaggerate the electoral worth of some Yoruba leaders; leaders who, though have paid their dues, but have failed dismally at elections in which their parties participated. Even though in six years the president has done nothing for the region which gave them their acclaim, they have nonetheless become such fans of the president that they now eagerly endorse every of his policy and had, in fact, became the ar-
chitects of some thus further eroding their electoral worth in Yoruba land. More amazing is the fact that even when the military high command says election 2015 will hold all over Nigeria, some of them are preaching a deferment of the elections since it became obvious that the real reason for the convocation of the national conference was no longer achievable. For over a decade now, beginning from Pa Ganiyu Dawodu, these elders have formed political parties, many of them still existing as fringe political parties, they are yet to win a single House of Assembly election in any Yoruba state. Any electoral analysis, therefore, based on the aforementioned assumptions which inspired the projections, will only maximally hurt the president as it would encourage him to throw good money after bad as such effort will yield no dividends in a Southwest where the serving APC governors have demonstrated uncommon acumen in ensuring a gargantuan, multi-sectoral development. Concerning these developments, you need go no further than the ramifying infrastructural and other socio-economic developments going on, pari pasu, in all the APC-controlled states in the zone as well as the massive, all round development Ekiti witnessed under Governor Kayode Fayemi. The only way President Jonathan could attempt to make any impact in Yoruba land will be through rigging because, as my teacher recently put it, 'each Nigerian president believes it is his right to go and rig elections in any part of the country whatever the consequences'. I just hope they won't dare this time around, no matter the level of militarisation.
Is it true what they say that the black man's heart is black? In time, we will all understand the modern system and stop carting off our resources to the West for the greater comfort of the already comfortable t is customary that when the year is coming to an end, people of all senses and sensibilities sit down to take stock: what has been gained, and what has been lost in the year. So it is with this column. We must sit down now to count our blessings, then cut our losses. First, I want to say that here on this column, we have gained a lot of friends. Some of our friends have proved to be ardent ones, you know the kind that stay by you through thick and thin, through sick and sin. These ones have faithfully kept faith with us in rain and shine. They have constantly sent text messages of smiling, gentle encouragements, or nodding, fervent agreements as something or other that I had said agreed with their stomachs like their lunch. They have equally given me head-shaking, acute disagreements at something I had said which left their stomachs churning. I have truly enjoyed the friendship of Amos Ejimonye; Simon Oladapo; Charles Iyoha; Fola Aiyegbusi; Odumegwu Onwumere; and many more who have, week in, week out, let me know just how I am doing. I must also mention Mr. Sola who declared that he reads me last each Sunday after other columnists on the paper 'would've dealt his heart damaging blows' in order to laugh at our unserious selves with me. Thank you all for not laughing at me; and I hope our friendship continues yet. Many yet have frowned deeply at the unusual style I adopt of mixing serious issues with humour. I have begged these ones repeatedly not to be annoyed with
me. There are many things that cannot be hidden in this world: pregnancy, joy and laughter; they will out, do what you may. So, when I have the laughter bubbling up from somewhere in my nether regions, believe me, it would be easier to prevent Caeser from dying than to prevent it from coming up to the surface. Besides, many people have seriously thought themselves into early graves on the Nigerian contradictions. I have rather chosen to laugh and live. Now, where's the crime? I have also made some friendly enemies too. Some of my readers have violently shaken their heads at my views, mild as they are, or my style, urbane they all agree. These have rained down some kind vituperation on my innocent bushy head, thinking that the artist's impression of me looks like me. Some have even gone as far as doubting the originality of my prose. Hmmm! What can I say to these ones except yes, everything is original to me and when I have used someone else's prose, I have taken pains to demarcate it in quotation marks, indented it or plainly acknowledged that I stole it. Just take a good look at the drama that has been enacting in the national assembly with all the carpet-crossing and re-crossing and re-re-crossing! Tell me, what should ordinary folks like me do: cry or bellow? Just look at the state of Nigerian roads, the only viable way of moving people and goods across this country? Have the contracts for some of these roads not been awarded again and again and again? Can you imagine peo-
ple holding vigils (Christian and Muslim), shouting into the loudest speakers and microphones available at 11-12-1-2-3-4 in the morning, leaving their neighbours sleep-deprived and either shaking their helpless fists or hissing curses at them? Have you not been in this same land where the president has been compared to Jesus Christ? Well, have you not?! There are so many contradictions in this land of extreme wealth and extreme poverty where there is matching greed for lawlessness or filthy lucre. Yet, you do not want me to laugh! Actually, today's title is the result of a text message sent by a highly aggrieved reader sometime last year. Unfortunately, I could not tackle it then because I did not feel quite old enough to address the young man's despair, but today, one year older, I think I can try. As usual, I have translated the abbreviations to readable prose but the words remain the author's. Here goes. The fact is Nigerians are hypocrites, liars, deceivers, of selves: Nigeria has never worked, will never work... It has no future, (a) hopelessly, morally corrupt state. Why Nigeria continues to survive as it seems? It is because what other nations celebrate, Nigeria hates and what they hate, Nigeria celebrates - embezzlement of public funds, stealing, rituals, injustice and all forms of evil and get away with it. Surely, Nigeria has lost sense of good from bad. I wonder what will save her! I don't believe in Nigeria and will not stand up for (the) evils she represents.
Please Oyinkan, what is the meaning of Nigeria? Nigeria has disappointed herself, citizens and the whole of Africa. Death is the only future before her!! Emeka. Kano. 2348064762839. I think many of us can identify with Mr. Emeka's cry from the heart, even if we will not all chorus the same nihilistic conclusion. As we have said many times on this column, there are two major problems with this country: structural and leadership. The country began on a weak structure that was never addressed but was made worse by the policy of the over-centralisation of state affairs. Unfortunately, the successive leadership has been capitalising on the weakness to advance their selfish personal and sectional interests and are living in unearned opulence. Now, what we are witnessing is the followership (i.e. all Nigerians) taking its cues from the derailed leadership. Many people have made the same or a similar comment out of despair and bewilderment at the way Nigerians are turning tricks in different ways and turns. Nearly everywhere you go, your fellow men and women are stripping the flesh off you like barracudas in the name of surviving. Leadership positions have been made just too juicy to bear and non-leadership positions have been made just too bare and prohibitive. The difference is too clear. Naturally, everyone is ready to lie, kill, steal, commit injustice, perform rituals, and do anything to be one of the leaders. Can you blame them? I honestly don't know.
The result of all the jostling of course is chaos and confusion manifesting in high stakes corruption, which we are witnessing now. One theory that attempts to explain Mr. Emeka's cry is the oft heard question: does the fault lie in us because we are black or in our stars? This theory says that the black man is not capable of doing anything right because of his blackness but the theorists forget that black is only a skin colour, not a mind colour. Nay, they insist, even the heart and mind of the black man is black, that's why he is so wicked and sadistic. This is why the electricity man gleefully cuts you off for not settling outrageous bills without first giving you electricity; why leaders award themselves multi-billion Naira road contracts without executing them and leave ordinary people to continue to die on those roads, etc. I believe that the root of the problem lies in the fact that the entire modern state, with all its instruments of civilisation, is not an African construction but originates from the western world. These instruments include modern warfare, economics, industrialisation, trade, politics, espionage, subterfuge, etc. The western world understands them better, and in teaching and guiding us, they have come to be actually controlling us. I believe that in time though, we will all understand the modern system and stop carting off our resources to the West for the greater comfort of the already comfortable. Until then, take heart, Mr. Emeka; there is every hope we will. Merry Christmas.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
(95) A Talakawa Guide to the Jonathan/ PDP-Buhari/APC Roforofo Fight Two people dey yab/ Crowd dey Two people dey yab/ Crowd dey look/Roforofo dey! Fela Kuti, Chorus, "Roforofo Fight" 1. The class in power is about to kick out the party/government in power!
HE late Claude Ake, following Karl Marx, used to insist that we must always distinguish between the ruling class, the class in power, from the particular government or party that may be in power at any particular moment in history. The one is a part of the whole that is the other. In other words, the party or government in power represents only a part of the totality of the ruling class, the class in power. This is easier seen in the institutions and practices of the developed bourgeois democracies of the world. In the United Kingdom, sometimes the Conservative Party is the party in power and at other times the Labor Party supplies the government in power. In the United States, sometimes it is the Democratic Party; other times, it is the Republican Party. Though completely absent in the federal seat of power, this distinction between the class in power and the party/ government in power is not unknown in Nigeria. At state and local levels, opposition parties often wrest control from the PDP as the dominant, hegemonic party of our political elites, our ruling class and vice versa. What we are about to see in the 2015 general elections is unprecedented: the ruling class, the class in power, is about to kick out, perhaps forever, the party and government in power. The ostensible reason for this is the abysmal record of the PDP as the party and government in power at the center. The litany of PDP's and Jonathan's political misrule and mismanagement of the country's economic and human resources is all too familiar. The corruption and squandermania are so vast, so incorrigibly resistant to control that Jonathan's own Finance Minister, Mrs. OkonjoIweala, once said that she would be satisfied if she could reduce the waste by as much (or as little) as 4%. 70% of Nigerians live in dire poverty, even as a minority of the wealthy lives in fabled and lavish opulence. Our youths who constitute the largest demographic bloc in the population can expect nothing but a future of joblessness and uncertainty. Under the PDP and Jonathan, our educational system at all levels has become one of the most mediocre in Africa and the world; indeed, there is now no
"Nigerian science and technology" to talk about. With the exception of a small segment of elites that live in fortressed, ultramodern mansions, for most Nigerians insecurity of life, property and personal possessions has become the very texture of daily existence, month after month, year after year. Of the Nigerian "brand" in the world at large, infamy as one of the worst places on the planet in which to do business has become an almost unshakeable fixture in the minds of not only the world's transnational corporations but also of Nigerian businessmen and women. As important as these factors are, they do not constitute the real basis for why the Nigerian ruling class is about to kick out PDP/ Jonathan as the party/government in power. Simply put, the power brokers in the Nigerian ruling class are dumping the PDP and Jonathan simply and unambiguously in order to save themselves by expelling the leviathan before it brings the house down on all their heads. Not content to misrule, mismanage and lay everything to waste on a colossal scale, PDP/Jonathan wanted to wipe out all the other ruling class parties by transforming the political order into a fascist one-party state in which it will be the only party with a national spread, a countrywide plurality. This would have been unattainable even if PDP/ Jonathan were a model, highachieving party and government in an ethnically and culturally homogenous country. But in a linguistically and culturally diverse country with a deep chasm between the haves and the have-nots, PDP/ Jonathan overreached themselves. Obasanjo's relentless verbal assaults on Jonathan; the mass defections from the PDP; the revolt of many of its governors; the merger of parties with only very thin connections between them only on the basis of ousting Jonathan and the PDP from power: these are some
of the manifestations of the historic fact that, as some organisms shed their skins for new ones, the Nigerian ruling class is about to send the extant ruling party into political and historical oblivion and cobble together a new one. Where this will lead us, no one knows, but the consensus is that anything at all is better than the hole, the cesspit into which Jonathan/PDP are burying us. In what follows, I contend that that is not the end of the story. 2. APC as the new party/ government in power will not commit class suicide! It is of course not absolutely certain that Buhari/APC will oust Jonathan/PDP. Though Jonathan/ PDP cannot win on their terribly dismal record, they may well attempt to rig themselves into a perpetuation of their misrule, their 'failing-state' paralysis. In the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States, the level of militarization of the electoral process was unprecedented; and for the first time in our electoral history, we saw hooded men of the state security apparatus arrest opposition party leaders and activists en masse. PDP/Jonathan may well attempt a repeat performance of these intimidating and coercive quasi-rigging tactics at the national level. But PDP is a stricken, wounded formation; it is as much buffeted by cyclones of inner implosion as by the external headwinds of a realignment of regional, ethnic and religious forces in which the Northwest, Northeast and Southwest zones are the dominant brokers. To these can be added parts of the North-central and Southsouth zones. The PDP is all too aware of these shifts in the zonal realignment of forces. And this awareness will temper its desperate will to rig itself into a firm grip on power. At any rate, this in effect means that the APC is the product of zonal or horizontal forces within
the ruling class; it is nothing remotely close to a vertical class realignment of forces across the great dividing lines between the haves and the have-nots in our country. Let us be completely frank and unambiguous on this point. If Buhari/APC wins the 2015 elections and replaces Jonathan/PDP as the nascent party/government in power, its priorities will be governed by a drive to present the kinder, fairer and perhaps less corrupt side of our ruling class to Nigerians. An anti-corruption zealousness will probably be its most ardent legitimating program. In Nigeria and around the world, this will win it considerable credibility, goodwill and support. But it will not differ substantially from the ideological and broad policy orientation of the JonathanPDP party/government. The massive and unconscionable privatization of public enterprises and national assets will continue, with its unashamed excesses of the primitive accumulation through which rich and powerful Nigerians extract capital from the state to buy and privatize our national assets. The awesome powers of incumbency and patronage of the Presidency will be left intact under an APC/Buhari government/ party; indeed, it may be expanded and made more imperious. And we will continue to have one Head of State and 36 mini heads of states, with the monumental wastage in the cost of governance that this entails. Finally, massive expenditure to substantially reduce or abolish poverty and to work for full employment has never been a major ideological or policy hallmark of any of our political parties. It is a stretch to think that in power at the center, APC/Buhari will embark on this path to redressing the great gap between the haves and the have-nots when its constituent parts have never
done this in the state and local governments they have controlled. 3. A kinder and fairer face of the Buhari/APC govt. in power must be deepened by a social movement of the talakawa and those who struggle with and for them Because at the present moment we are in another electoral cycle, the idea, the myth is once again very current that people hold their destiny in their own hands by voting for those who will represent their interests, who will make government work for the governed. But this is a half-truth. The ultimate achievement of elections is that they ensure that rulers cannot and must not take the ruled for granted, that it is in the power of the ruled to throw out rulers who have not performed well, who indeed have performed atrociously. Other than that, when elections are over, when an election cycle has run its course, the electorate must remain vigilant and mobilized if it wants to get the same attention it got during the election cycle. Nigerian political parties and politicians are notorious in their post-electoral cycle tendency to abandon their election promises and pursue instead their individual and class interests. In this particular historic context, this tendency will be magnified a hundred times, a thousand times by the fact that the defeat of the Jonathan/PDP will mean that the APC/Buhari party/ government will have thousands of positions to fill and new patronclient relationships to forge as it positions itself to become the new ruling party. The thinking seems to be that the one and proper way to become the ruling party is to effectively distribute the spoils office among all the competing groups of elites in the country. One does not have to be a prophet to predict that ethnic, religious and geopolitical balancing in appointment to public offices and award of contracts will be the first order of the new ruling party and the government. The tragedy of Nigerian progressive mass politics is that the masses themselves too often get sucked into this maelstrom of ruling class manipulation of ethnic and religious differences in the sharing of the spoils of office and power. I contend that the euphoria of the defeat of Jonathan/PDP will make the independent self-mobilization of the Nigerian masses a particularly onerous task. But that said, we must prepare ourselves: as one ruling party goes into the oblivion of time and history and another one takes its place, this will mark something totally without precedent in our political history. In that case, how immensely fitting would it be for the Nigerian masses and those who fight with and for them to push relentlessly for real social justice and a dignified existence for the most disadvantaged in our country.
Biodun Jeyifo firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
sms only: 08116759748 N presidential politics picking a running mate is a fine balancing act. The needs of a candidate: how to play to his strengths, and compensate for his weaknesses, usually determine who he ends up selecting. Those laboring to convince themselves that the All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer, General Muhammadu Buhari, made a mistake by picking Professor Yemi Osinbajo, do so without considering these factors. To argue that the opposition should have gone for livewire political types like governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Babatunde Fashola or Adams Oshiomhole, forget that people don’t pick deputies who would outshine or be in competition with them. It has to be clear that there’s just one captain on the ship. That is why there is usually more emphasis on loyalty and competence than political gravitas in making this sort of decision. In 1999, the then Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, General Olusegun Obasanjo, was confronted with names like Atiku Abubakar, Abubakar Rimi, Bamanga Tukur, Abba Kyari, Jibril Aminu and Adamu Ciroma – all heavyweights as he sought to make his choice. As legend has it, Obasanjo sought the counsel of former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, who famously advised that if he chose Rimi he should ensure that there was a police orderly waiting outside the door at all times as they would quarrel often. However, if he wanted unalloyed loyalty he should go for Atiku. The rest is history. All that Buhari needed to do for his choice to be considered correct was name a Christian and Southerner. This balances the ticket nicely given that for months the flirtation with a possible Muslim-Muslim slate had stoked
VP: Why Osinbajo isn’t Bakare controversy. The candidate, perhaps miffed by the fact that he was being forced to overlook several excellent candidates because of the religion issue, seemed to equivocate in several public statements on the matter. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had been salivating at the prospect that Buhari would make the fatal mistake of picking a fellow Muslim in spite of being painted a fundamentalist by his foes, must have been sorely disappointed. The former head of state sidestepped the trap. His enemies have now moved to the option of deriding Osinbajo as APC leader, Bola Tinubu’s puppet. That is when they are not dismissing him as a political lightweight who adds nothing to the ticket. We have been reminded that this is the second time Buhari would be pairing with a clergyman. In 2011 he ran with popular pastor and activist, Tunde Bakare of The Latter Rain Church in the vain hope that it would give him the much-needed Southern breakthrough. It never happened. By settling for Osinbajo, a senior pastor with The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) – Nigeria’s largest Pentecostal congregation, Buhari has triggered inevitable comparisons with what happened four years ago. Those who compare the 2011 and 2015 picks and assume the result would be the same this time ignore the context. Although Bakare was a popular clergyman, he had no political structures to speak of. Before the general selected him he was not a member of any party and was not known to associate with politicians.
If anything, he was more likely to lampoon them in one of his fiery sermons. It was the height of naivete on the part of Buhari and those who advised him to think that Bakare’s celebrity alone would translate into votes. The pastor was a kind of Gani Fawehinmi type of personality who was incredibly well liked in media and activist circles, but whose popularity never translated into political muscle. That was why in spite of his immense popularity on the streets, the late radical lawyer’s National Conscience Party (NCP) was, and remains, largely a fringe player in the polity. Osinbajo, on the other hand, is a totally different case. For eight years
he served as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice under the then Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu. Back in 2011 when the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) were flirting with some latehour electoral collaboration, his name featured in the calculations for running mate. But the most important thing is that he’s not on the ticket because of his personal political weight but as the face and representative of a political tendency within APC. He is a member of the Tinubu political family and longstanding confidant of the former governor. His presence on the ticket keeps both Tinubu and the South-West caucus in the party engaged and committed to the Buhari challenge. I will just mention in passing the fact that he’s related by marriage to the family of the late acclaimed Yoruba leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. While his political influ-
2015: PDP runs to Jesus
FTER unsuccessful attempts by his backers to compare Goodluck Jonathan to the likes of Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew, Public Affairs Adviser to the President, Dr. Doyin Okupe, outdid himself by likening his boss to Jesus Christ last week. Apart from the delusions of grandeur implicit in that comparison, the suggestion is that the incumbent is the only Nigerian president who ever labored under this country’s burden. Not surprising given that this same crew had declared Jonathan the best president to ever govern the country. The recourse to a religious metaphor is part of the brazen efforts to make matters of faith decisive factors in the coming electoral contest. It started when the ruling party started
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trying to define the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) as Islamic and sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgency. Even before the emergence of General Muhammadu Buhari as presidential candidate it was no secret that the opposition was looking to the north for its flagbearer and hoping to reap from the widespread disaffection with this regime in that region. By trying to position APC as having Muslim bias, the ruling party was clearly aiming to establish a bridgehead in minority areas of the North which are mostly Christian, while hoping that it’s anti-Muslim rhetoric would play well down South. But this ignores the fact that in many areas of the South-West there are millions of Muslims. There is evidence that up to a point this gambit of painting Jonathan as a Christian victim being set upon by a baying mob from the other side had gathered traction – at least with the gullible and ignorant. I have read statements that the president’s ascent to power was divinely facilitated therefore his return for a second term could not be stopped because God had a hand in the matter. Nothing could be more fraudulent and unbiblical. The Bible is replete with examples of kings who God installed and later removed. A good example is Saul – the first king of Israel. God elevated him but when he messed up the throne was taken from him and given to David. (I Samuel 9 and 15). I have also heard suggestions that because Jonathan is a Christian run-
ning against a Muslim, he automatically has heaven’s seal of approval. This is, again, false and unbiblical. God is sovereign; He’s in heaven and does as He pleases. He can use anybody to establish His purpose on earth because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He used Cyrus the pagan king of Persia to deliver the Jews from 70 years of Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 45; 2 Chronicles 26: 22-23). God even used a donkey in the Scriptures to do his will. (Numbers 22-24). The argument of these Christians would have made scriptural sense if the president was the only one on the ticket or if his running mate was also Christian. If Buhari is excluded from being used of God because he’s a Muslim, how do these super ‘Christians’ explain Jonathan being joined at the hip to Vice President Namadi Sambo – another Muslim – in the light of the scripture that warns against being unequally yoked with unbelievers? (2 Corinthians 6:14). Now, APC has set the cat amongst the pigeons by picking Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor with The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and he can equally appeal to Christian sentiments and voters. As both sides volley supplications upwards who will the God of heaven favour: the PDP or APC Christian? This silly attempt to muddy the 2015 contest with religion is a con game we must refuse to partake in. We are a country of Muslims, Christians and animists. We are not choosing a sectarian leader: we’re voting for a Nigerian president.
ence has waned with his passing many years ago, sentimental attachment to that famous name can only help and not hurt the APC running mate. Aside his political and familial connections Osinbajo’s selection disrupts the PDP’s bid to make Jonathan the main beneficiary of the Christian vote. Buhari’s running mate is a pastor in RCCG whose General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has become one of the most influential religious leaders in the land. During the last election cycle all presidential candidates of key political parties beat a path to his door to seek his blessings. Many would remember the famous photograph of President Jonathan kneeling with eyes closed while Adeboye prayed over him. Knowing the RCCG leader’s reserved and statesmanlike style, don’t expect him to openly take sides – even when one of his spiritual children is involved. In such a huge assembly you’re likely to find people from diverse political persuasions. It would be inappropriate for a father to take sides. Though I would love to be a fly on wall when Adeboye casts his vote for president and VP! But even without overt official backing, it would be naïve to think a very senior pastor in this massive congregation contesting for such a high profile position would not influence a chunk of the millions who worship in this church. This, again, is another difference between Bakare and Osinbajo. Whereas the former, with all due respect, presides over a one-branch church in Lagos - by design maybe the latter can potentially tap into a support base with nationwide presence. Anyone who then tries to analyse Osinbajo’s impact without factoring in this backdrop is ignorant, mischievous or engaged in a fruitless exercise in self consolation.
Campaign Tactics: This is 2015 not 1984
LEMENTARY politics teaches that when a campaign is in trouble you go negative by launching attacks that would slow down, or eliminate the momentum of the frontrunner. When your campaign has wind in its back, you take the dignified high road and leave the mudslinging to those behind. Judging by the vicious attacks that have been launched against Buhari, Tinubu and even Osinbajo, you can hazard a guess as to which campaign is feeling the heat. You can also sense where there’s momentum and genuine sense of optimism. Ever since the APC candidate emerged the internet has been awash with all manner of negative material targeting Buhari and Tinubu. We have been reminded of every detail of what the former head of state and his ruling council did while the military held sway. Lost in these desperate efforts to demonise the APC leader is the case for Jonathan’s return to office. So we are left with something like this: ‘Vote for us because Buhari jailed politicians 30 years ago.’ Vote for Jonathan because Buhari seized Awo’s passport. He is a Tinubu’s friend, and was head of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), so vote
for us.’ How lame! What the pro-Jonathan groups don’t do is invite us to examine his patchy record in office. Whether it’s about the economy or insecurity, that record is the sort you run from, not the type you run on. What is the rationale for giving him another four years in office? Is it because Nigerians are better off today than they were in 2011? On the strength of what the president did with power in the last four years can we entrust him with four more? These are the critical questions that supporters of the current regime have refused to address. They believe that if they abuse Buhari and Tinubu sufficiently Nigerians would forget how the PDP shipwrecked the country. There is nothing being said now about Buhari’s past that was not known in 2011 and yet 12 million people voted for him. Reminding us of his ancient sins would not change anything at this point in the game. Eight weeks to polling day most people have already made us their minds who they would vote for – whether Jonathan or Buhari. For the bulk of those people what is informing their voting decisions are the realities of 2014, not history lessons about what happened in 1984.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
SUNDAY LIFE 25
Tanko Ayuba gets granddaughter
AJOR General Abubakar Tanko Ayuba (retd) has every reason to be happy. The retired soldier cum politician got a beautiful granddaughter from his daughter, Olori Zainab Osiyemi, who is married to London entertainment promoter and former Ijebu North local government chairman, Prince Wale Osiyemi Jnr, (PWOJ). The t i n y - t o t , n a m e d Her Royal Cuteness, Princess Adewonuola Zahra Oreofeoluwa Osiyemi, we gathered, was born in London.
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POLITICS EXTRA 39
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POLITICS EXTRA 41
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IN VOGUE By Kehinde Oluleye
Tel: 08023689894 (sms) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Raising a voice for the Nigerian girl With Temilolu Okeowo email@example.com 07086620576 (sms only) Please visit my blog www.temiloluokeowo.wordpress.com for more inspiring articles. Twitter@temiloluokeowo
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Why insurance is hard sell in Nigeria
‘By 2020 most Nigerians will own bank accounts’
Page 60, 61 •Ahrey
NITEL sale may be reviewed by presidency F RESH fact emerged at the weekend that the National Council on Privatisation which formally ratified the sales of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited and its subsidiary Mobile Telecommunications Limited to NATCOM Consortium last Thursday, may further review the sale altogether. The Nation was reliably informed that the need for the review became necessary following complaints by some other interested parties, who appear not to have been carried along in the scheme of things. A source in the presidency who would not be
Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
named, confided in The Nation that the new development is coming on the heels of criticisms in some quarters that the Bureau of Public Enterprises was stampeded into selling NITEL without carrying out due diligence. It would be recalled that the council ratified the sale of the telecoms behemoth at meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
A member of the council, Mr. Atedo Peterside; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada; and the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting. Peterside said with the ratification, documentation and payments now follow. He said, "At the end of the privatisation exercise, there was one bidder. Two were prequalified initially but only one attained the passmark. That was NATCOM Consortium
with $252million. "The NCP has confirmed the process. We now have a preferred bidder ratified by the NCP. "Usually, what follows now are documentation and payment." A Special Purpose Vehicle, NATCOM Consortium, had recently offered to pay $252.25m for NITEL and its mobile subsidiary, the Nigerian Mobile Telecommunications Limited. With no competitor and with the offer meeting the reserve price set for the telecommunications companies, NATCOM emerged the potential core investor for the beleaguered firms.
‘There are vast opportunities in data mining’ •Fraijat
Onalo becomes professor of credit management
UTHORITIES of the London Postgraduate Credit Management College, UK in collaboration with other affiliate universities have announced Dr. Chris Onalo, as professor of credit management. In a statement issued on behalf of the management by Danette Gayle, International Programmes Director, the LPCMC said Onalo's designation was informed by his immense contribution to the field of credit management in the last few decades. In the statement which reads in part, the school said: "Dr. Onalo has had a great influence and profound impact on the credit management profession in the world of credit industry workforce. He has been quite instrumental to the establishment of a number of credit management, development infrastructures such as his involvement with Nigerian Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), the Postgraduate School of Credit & Financial Management (PSCFM), Nigeria and an International Director of London Postgraduate Credit management College UK (LPCMC)." "The commerce and industry around the world today are overwhelmed by
• Onalo the tenacity of Dr. Chris Onalo's advocacy for sustainable access to credits by the highly disadvantaged small and medium enterprises through the establishment of credit guarantee corporation by national governments. These strides cannot go un-noticed. LPCMC IS honoured to have Dr Onalo on board to share his level of expertise and vast experience in the credit management field and as an affluent role model for our students to emulate. Though his footsteps will be hard to follow, it will be an exciting experience for our students as they aspire to his level." Onalo, who is the Chief Executive/Registrar, Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), holds a B.Sc, M.A, Ph.D in Credit Management.
Ita-Giwa, others task women on business risk •From left: Dr. Micheal Omolayole, Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) Prof. Pat Utomi and Chief Chris Ogunbanjo, during the 18th CVL Leadership Colloquium for Dr Omolayole in Lagos...recently. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN
NVESTORS from Turkey have disclosed their plans to invest massively in Nigerian textile, furniture, housing, construction, transport, telecoms, automotive, and agricultural sectors to boost the country's economy. Other areas of interest for the investors include health, jewelries, fruit juice and manufacturing, which they promised to establish before moving to construction business. Leader of the 17-man business delegation, Mr. Behlul Fatih Basaran stated this during their visit to the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, Mrs. Saratu Umar in Abuja. The Leader of the delegation, Basaran said, "We are calling on the Nigerian government to assist in the area of visas, land, licence among other incentives to facilitate our investment.
Turkish investors plan massive investments in Nigeria From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja "We are calling on both nations for stronger partnership to promote business interest that will be favourable to all. "Nigeria has potential for economic growth through foreign investment flow and also a large market for investors because of its large population. Speaking, the Executive
Secretary of NIPC, Mrs. Saratu Umar commended the Turkish investors to invest in Nigeria, saying the country is safe for investments contrary to negative reports. Mrs. Umar, who assured the investors of the commission's full support to facilitate their investments in the country, listed other major sectors that require attention of investors as oil and gas, power, road and railway, and
agriculture. She further stated that the government has continued to sustain the simplification and streamlining of business entry procedures as the One Stop Investment Centre, OSIC of NIPC by providing platform for coordinated service delivery and the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC is committed to 24 hours incorporation of businesses across the country.
Nigeria, Mexican alliance target economic development
HE founding President, Nigerian Mexican Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Bayo Adeyemo disclosed that the alliance between the two countries is yielding positive result. Adeyemo disclosed this at
the official launch of the chamber in Abuja stating that there is need for both countries to work on deepening the trade relationship for the benefit of both countries. He said, "Nigeria and Mexico have both been projected as the next economic
power house. The ingredients for that projection are the similarities between the two countries. "The similarities are young populations, useful geographical placement, and commodity producers.
O succeed in business, women have been enjoined to be ready to take business-related risk. Speaking at the Nigerian Leadership Summit 2014 under the theme: 'Entrepreneurship and the Nigerian Woman' in Lagos, recently, former senator representing Cross River South Senatorial district Chief Florence Ita-Giwa impressed the need for women to take risk in business ventures if they truly want to succeed. According to her, it was regrettable that women have not made good use of the opportunities available to them, stressing that women must strive to conquer the fear of failure in order to make impact in business. "Even when women have the opportunities to secure bank loans, they were held back whether they will succeed. The major problem is fear of failure. The men understand that women were afraid to take risk, so men use that fear to intimidate the women when it comes to competing for scarce resources and business opportunities." Expatiating, Ita-Giwa said it is high time women rise above parochial interests and be ready to invest in commerce, transportation, agriculture, telecommunication and politics, stressing that it was the only way the country will become better. "I have come to understand that you have to confront the obstacles that stand in your way. As for me, that been my attitude, I have been in politics for over 23 years, I know it's not easy but you must be determined to excel. That is the spirit the Nigerian women need to succeed in business." Also speaking, the CEO of Anabel Group and convener of the event, Nicholas Okoye urged women to be self confidence when they are undertaking a business venture. He said: "You must believe in yourself and those who work with you. You must believe in God. I believe nobody can succeed in life without the support of others, so cultivate others to buy into your dream.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
NSURANCE business remains a hard sell in Nigeria today. This unpalatable news, according to industry stakeholders, is definitely not music in the ears of insurance companies and allied stakeholders, given the fact that the industry has been in existence in the country close to a century. Although the desirability of insurance or otherwise has always been a hotly debated issue, a new study does appear to have driven the message home: more Nigerians won't and don't intend to take up any form of insurance cover if given the choice. Outcome of new study About 86.6 million Nigerians have no form of insurance cover, the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria has said. The President, CIIN, Mr. Bola Temowo, said this was the outcome of a recent research. He spoke at the institute's annual seminar in Benin, Edo State, according to a statement obtained recently. "Available records indicate that 86.6 million Nigerians have no form of insurance, while 1.3 million adults, representing 1.5 per cent of the entire Nigerian adult population, maintain some category of formal insurance cover," he said. More damning verdicts While the jury is still out contesting the veracity or otherwise of the survey which has shown that the nation is probably recording a recurring decimal in the insurance sub-sector as a result of diminishing patronage, a recent survey by NOIPolls has further indicated that nine out of 10 Nigerians don't have any form of insurance. According to the survey, among those that have 63 percent have vehicle/car insurance, 20 percent have life insurance, 17 percent have property insurance, 16 percent have health insurance and 16 percent have fire, burglary and travel insurance. Also, a 2012 survey by Enhancing Financial Inclusion & Access (EFInA) showed that Nigerians are not insured against the most vulnerable risks: life, health and agriculture. Death and ill-health, the top two risks with an economic impact, are also the most widely experienced according to the body. The EFInA survey revealed that most Nigerians don't know where the closest insurance company, broker or agent is located and that users of insurance have the highest level of dissatisfaction with providers of financial services. Why there is growing apathy for insurance It is anybody's guess why there is growing apathy for insurance by Nigerians. While giving plausible explanations as to why many Nigerians don't consider acquiring an insurance cover as a priority, Auwalu-Muktari, the Group Executive Director, Royal Exchange Plc, during an interactive session with some journalists in Lagos recently, said a number of factors were responsible for the growing apathy towards insurance. The major hiccup responsible for the growing apathy for insurance, Muktari said, is the low level of disposable income. "The only problem we see in the Nigerian market is that per capita income of the people is very low and people tend not to take insurance as a priority against other things related to them," he said. He, however, said it was heartening to note that the federal gov-
Why insurance is hard sell in Nigeria
Concerted efforts in different quarters to get Nigerians to appreciate the numerous benefits inherent in insurance policies seem not to have achieved much as a recent survey showed that over 86 million Nigerians don't have any form of insurance cover, reports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
ernment has made group life insurance compulsory for all employers of labour with a minimum of five employees and there has been a turnaround in the fortunes of that class of the insurance business. "I believe with the improvement in income regulation and other things, many people will come to take insurance and gradually we will get an increased participation by the insuring public in the country. "Again, with the awareness campaign being embarked upon by the regulator, the Nigerian Insurers Association and some industry players like Royal Exchange that are trying to improve the insurance awareness and visibility, showcasing the need for individuals to be protected and have life insurance cover for their own benefit and the benefits of members of their family in case of death, I believe in the next five years, there will be a turnaround in the way and manner people take up life insurance in Nigeria. "With the coming of retail businesses set up by the various underwriters and microinsurance, this awareness will get to the common man at the grassroots and they will embrace insurance as a
way of life. Despite the low per capital income, there should be an increase in the rate at which people patronise the insurance industry." What NAICOM is doing To revamp the insurance sector, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) had in time past come up with a number of measures, including raising the capital base of insurance companies in line with current economic realities. Commenting on the different initiatives by the NAICOM, which is the apex body regulating the sector, Mr. Yekeen Adullahi, a broker with Leadway Assurance Plc, said the commission under the headship of Fola Daniel has not done badly thus far. "NAICOM is currently doing very well. The commission has been coming up with good regulations that are moving the industry forward. All that is required is continuous cooperation among the members of the Nigerian Insurers Association so that we can be united and be able to turnaround the image and fortunes of the insurance industry in Nigeria," he said. Besides, NAICOM, The Nation learnt, also introduced the Market
Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI), retail insurance, microinsurance, compulsory insurance and others. Corroborating this, Muktari said: "There are lots of things being done to make the people aware of what they stand to gain by taking insurance. It is not something that will automatically impact on the industry immediately, but, over time, the impacts will be felt. "The MDRI revolution has been on ground for about three years now, and in the next few years, all these things would have come to pass as people will now have more knowledge about insurance. The industry is also trying to create more insurance awareness through advert placement and by sending people to the grassroots." In line with the Insurance Act 2003, NAICOM introduced the "no premium, no cover", all aimed at not just improvement in the industry but to achieve integrity and quality of income generated by the industry. Other institutional efforts to expand insurance reach A number of interventions have been put in place to help raise awareness about insurance in recent times, one of which are
the pet project of Miss. Funmilola Ogunsola, winner of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Beauty Pageant for 2014/2015. Speaking during the grand finale of her pet project tagged: 'Teens for insurance', the beauty queen highlighted the importance of insurance, lamenting that less than 1% of people in the country is being insured. Ogunsola explained that the project was geared towards sensitising secondary school students across the country on the need to be insured. She further explained that an online essay competition, titled: 'The Significant role of insurance to the development of an economy', was organised to create awareness for insurance. "We don't have up to 1% insurance penetration in Nigeria and this project was out of the desire to reach young people," she said. "I must say that I feel very glad with the results recorded. The entries for the essay competition were mind-blowing, so much that it was really difficult for my team to decide an eventual winner. "I really hope that parents embrace the benefits of insurance and secure these kids' future as soon as they can."
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BUSINESS 61 Firm redefines multi-level shopping with Maryland Mall
Seun Banwo, a member of the CIIN, who also spoke at the event, said the initiative was aimed at making youths realise the importance of insurance. He also commended the federal government for approving insurance as a subject at the secondary school level. "What Funmi has done with this initiative is to attract the younger generation to insurance, because insurance has a very low penetration in Nigeria," he said. "Thankfully, the federal government has just approved that insurance be a subject to be taken during the senior school exams and to be taught at senior secondary school level. "We hope that in the next few years, insurance would have moved up from the 1% awareness rate it has presently, to a much higher level." Light at the end of the tunnel Temowo is optimistic that judging by the current record of Nigeria's insuring population; such would receive a boost and improve the industry's profile in global ranking. According to him, the federal government also envisions a fast growing insurance industry that will contribute substantially to
making the nation's economy one of the 20 largest markets in the world by the year 2020. Temowo said there was a need to improve the industry's marketing machinery and develop an action plan for actualising the financial inclusion strategy in the delivery of insurance products and services to the critical mass, comprising the low income earners. He said the CIIN would focus on the maximisation of existing and emerging channels of distribution to deepen insurance penetration. "The significance of insurance in the life of our nation cannot be over emphasised. These trying times are fraught with several risk factors for both individuals and corporate bodies. As risk managers, it behooves us to increase the tempo of our campaigns for insurance awareness in order to get more Nigerians to embrace insurance with minimal compulsion," he said. He said the CIIN had continued to explore all platforms of propagating insurance education and promoting general financial literacy. "Our training and retraining programmes are being intensified, while creating new channels for capturing the younger generation and ensuring that they embrace insurance consciously as a course of study," he said. For this reason, Temowo said the institute sponsored the production of an insurance textbook for secondary schools and had commenced the donation of copies of the book to over 2,000 public secondary schools in the country through the state Ministries of Education. The institute, he added, also acknowledged the dearth of insurance teachers in schools and had embarked on a train-the-trainer project in order to equip the teachers with the minimal skills required for teaching the subject. He said this had reinforced the inclusion of insurance as a course of study in secondary schools by the federal government. Temowo said, "The campaign for insurance awareness has become the collective concern of the entire insurance industry. The Insurance Industry Consultative Council, the body comprising all arms of the industry, has also taken positive steps towards sensitising government agencies on the pivotal role of insurance in nationhood." The CIIN boss said the council of the institute had also adopted measures geared towards involving all stakeholders in the campaign. He said it had recently been appealing to insurance institutions to adopt a secondary or tertiary institution close to them and support such institutions with their employees as volunteer teachers who would take time off their official schedule to teach insurance courses in the schools.
URPLE Capital Partners Limited, a leading specialist investment firm, which also doubles as developers and financiers, in collaboration with Network Hotels Limited, is set to berth the Maryland Mall, a new shopping facility being developed in Lagos mainland area. The Mall is being redeveloped from the popular Maryland Business Plaza located on Ikorodu Road in the Maryland area of Lagos State. Maryland Mall is strategically located to serve residents in the Mende, Anthony, Ilupeju, Ojota, GRA Ikeja, Oshodi, Gbagada and all commuters along that axis. The Mall which sits on a buildable area exceeding 10,000sqm and has approximately 7,000sqm of gross lettable area, has a unique design conceptualised by CmDesign-Atelier (cmD+A), an indigenous and internationally-trained architectural team. The Architect, Tosin Oshinowo said it was easy to design the mall using the brief from the client, adding that it was all done to suit the environment.
By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Oshinowo, who is the Chief Executive Officer of cmD+A, a firm of architects, said the building is on the ground, first, second and third floors. On the ground floor are predominantly shops with Shoprite as the anchor tenant, saying "we tried to, in space planning and function, make sure that the space will be used efficiently. A lot of the tenants were particular about the fact that it is a mall of more than one floor, because traditionally, a mall gives the idea of street where you have shops on either sides of a walkway. When you have something with a vertical element, it is strange for shopping. There are very few places in the world where you can have a mall on many levels that really works. Traditionally, it is the department store that works well on floors and not necessarily the mall." The Mall is set to open in December 2015 and will play host to a mix of local and international brands anchored by Shoprite, Genesis Deluxe
Cinemas and Stanbic IBTC Bank. The Mall is currently over 65 per cent leased and has a diverse base of tenants. Shoprite will open its first Usave brand. This is expected to alter the face of retail experience in Nigeria. This is in partnership with Optimum Exposures Limited a member of the Troyka Group. For the first time, a retail mall in Nigeria will have a strong multiple revenue stream further enhancing the efficiency of the development. Purple's Chairman, Mr. Olutola Mobolurin, had this to say of the exciting development; "The Maryland Mall represents a distinct shopping mall for all retail activities which goes beyond where mall users seek pleasure or entertainment but stands as a sensation of luxury which is reflected by the external façade, a first of its kind in sub-Sahara Africa, and basement parking which all reflects the Purple way of thinking outside the box unequalled when it comes to real estate delivery. This development is clearly a landmark."
•From left: Area Sales Manager, Mr. Gbenga Adaramewa, Regional Sales Director, Mr. Afeez Ajibowu, His Royal Majesty, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Divisional Sales Manager, Mr. Aderemi Oduola and Retail Sales Manager, Mr. Lekan Awoyoolu during the blessing and official presenting of Orijin to Oba Lamidi Adeyemi in his palace in Oyo…recently
Huawei tasks firms on disaster recovery
UAWEI Technologies, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, has said that information technology centralises data but also inevitably centralises risks, hence the need for firms to adopt strong disaster recovery technologies. In a report, it said that if data Centres that store mission-critical data for companies and governments are damaged, the impact of data loss on
data owners and users will be catastrophic. "Gartner analysis report, in the event that all data is lost, 43 per cent of companies will immediately go bankrupt, 51 per cent of companies will disappear within the following two years, and only six per cent will survive. Data centre security can be affected by a wide range of calamities, including fires, floods, power failures, earthquakes, theft, and even terrorism. To be prepared for these
eventualities, a well-developed and reliable disaster recovery system is essential," it said. The firm explained that a disaster recovery system stores an identical copy of data or applications in another geographical location. Before or after a disaster, the disaster recovery system, it said, allows the customer to restart the applications at another data center within an acceptable period and with minimal data loss, minimising the impact of the disaster on services.
Sterling Bank registers complaint website for consumers
S part of its commitment to excellent customer service, Sterling Bank Plc has registered as a "Responsive Company" on Reportam.com.ng, a free-to-use, independent portal where Nigerian consumers can post reports about good and bad customer service experiences. As a Responsive Company on Reportam.com.ng, Sterling Bank has the opportunity to get automatic alerts about complaints or compliments, view customer details, respond to reports and reach out to
customers, among other benefits. Speaking with the Reportam Team, the Customer Experience Manager of Sterling Bank, Ms. Oluwabusola Awosile, said: "We are happy to register Sterling Bank Plc as a responsive company on reportam.com.ng. "Delivering excellent service experience is at the forefront of what we do and we appreciate any platform that allows us to do this well." Head of Communications for Reportam.com.ng, Mrs Ireto
Oladapo commended Sterling Bank for its true commitment to resolving its customers' issues by registering on our platform." "We hope other companies in Nigeria will emulate Sterling Bank and see the value this platform provides and register as responsive Companies," Oladapo said. Reportam.com.ng, which was created by a group of young Nigerian professionals, is an online customer service feedback and complaint portal, which recently launched in Nigeria.
FRSC, Honeywell caution motorists on safety
OTORISTS have been enjoined to apply all safety rules during this festive season to ensure accidentfree New Year and Christmas celebrations. This safety campaign was taken to notable motor parks in Lagos by the Federal Road Safety Corps, in partnership with Honeywell Flour Mills Plc where drivers were enlightened on safe
driving culture. Tagged "Child Safety Shared Responsibility", the initiative, according to Divisional Managing Director, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Dr. Nino Ozara, is to create awareness among motorists on the need to ensure safety of children, by observing all child safety rules while driving. According to him, it is
also essential to heighten safety campaign for all road users during this festive season. He said "we as a company also use the road extensively, our products travel far and wide in the country. Therefore, we feel committed to partner with the FRSC to educate Nigerians on this awareness. We just want to educate them on the need to be very careful at this time".
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
HAT can you say about the Rural Finance Institution Building (RUFIN) template as a vehicle to boost participation in agriculture in terms of empowering the rural poor? Do you think it is wellstructured as it were? It is probably the best success story I have heard so far that complements the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA), in terms of empowering smallholder farmers, particularly the women, the youths and the physically challenged groups, which are normally vulnerable just because of the kind of people they are in the community. So, they are not only poor, because RUFIN is addressing the very rural poor, in the rural areas as opposed to those in the urban areas and so on. It is a targeted thing. And from all our discussions with the groups and also microfinance banks, they are supposed to play a major role in making this happen. It has been a huge success. Whichever of the other financial institutions or the groups that they have mentored, have made a paradigm shift, in terms of how they do what they do and improving their businesses, it has also improved their viability, both to save among themselves as groups, but also to get credit from financial institutions. So, I think they have done a great job of capacity building, of teaching financial institutions, especially microfinance banks, to plan, to do something specific for rural areas, and they have been seen a huge opportunity in that space. And the fact that they are partnering with the microfinance banks, Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, means they are actually becoming a rallying point in helping Ministry of Agriculture to actually address issues of smallholder farmers, in terms of empowering them. The RUFIN project, as I understand is not yet widespread, do you think it is something worth replicating elsewhere? It should be everywhere in the country. As a matter of fact if it succeeds everywhere in Nigeria, there is no reason why it shouldn't outside of Nigeria. Actually because it is a project and more like a pilot, they had to limit themselves to a number of states, about 12 states and a few local governments within the state. What is happening is by itself some of the successes are replicating themselves in other areas. And what we're looking at is that very soon this would become a national phenomenon. There is no doubt about it. Replicating it both from the point of view of the vertical-the microfinance or the financial cooperatives or the NGOs, all of those successes need to be replicated in other areas in the country. And I'm sure they would have a huge level of success in other areas as well. From listening to people, especially beneficiaries of the RUFIN scheme share their experiences thus far, the stories actually resonate with what happened with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. In your view what lessons can government draw from this scheme in terms of planning intervention programmes targeted at the rural poor like the Poverty Alleviation scheme that didn't succeed as
'By 2020 most Nigerians will own bank accounts' Mr. Walter Ahrey, a former Director of Strategy and Performance at the Central Bank of Nigeria, currently consults for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the Rural Finance Institution Building project and also doubles as Chairman, Nigeria Agriculture Payment Initiative (NAPI). Both programmes are geared towards facilitating access to finance for the rural poor as well as encouraging inclusion of the nation's unbanked population in the banking space. In this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf, he speaks on the numerous opportunities inherent in the different initiatives. Excerpts: well as it should? One of the key things about RUFIN is again help promote the idea that it is not about subsidies or charity. It is about the fact that people should begin to look at agriculture for instance as a business and therefore be able to learn how to plan, to build capacity, to keep their records and to run businesses in the way they can make profit. When you get credit, you manage it properly so that you can pay back and grow your business as a result. So, it is a key area as you would have heard from the groups insisting about self-reliance. They kept talking about the fact that this is teaching them to be self-reliance, generate their own funds, and sometimes just give themselves within their own internal funds. Those who prepare themselves to work with financial institutions for the purpose of accessing credit and applying it properly and being collectively responsible for the payment. So, it's a great thing like you rightly said in the model of the typical microfinance thing that the Grameen Bank sort of demonstrated. But this is even going beyond that in terms of providing capacity for the individual groups to run a sort of a small simple governance structure that they have to begin to take benefits of some of the special intervention funds that are coming. For instance, the latest one is the Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) in a way that they can get a piece of that and use that to grow their business collectively. So, it just complements government efforts in different angles and makes a good way of working with them, in a way that you know they are there to sustain their businesses and to grow into the future. Still talking interventions, in the time past, government have announced humongous sums for one intervention or the other which didn't succeed at the end of the day so much so that people have since grown apathy to some of these so-called intervention funds, especially because of the sometimes stringent or complex criteria for accessing these funds. As somebody who has been in the system, may be you want to shed more light on that? More and more, particularly for those that the Central Bank has engineered, they are packaged with a lot of consultations. They are never cast in stones. The good thing about Central Bank is that as the Central Bank becomes
â&#x20AC;˘Ahrey more and more mature as a Central Bank, is the fact whatever it puts out there, it sends an exposure draft so that people can contribute. But even it is in the process of implementation and it sees areas of improvement or areas that people can contribute to make it more applicable, they do it. So, as we speak something like the intervention funds Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development Fund, for instance, they are still continuing the discussion and whenever they get inputs that require that they adjust it, to allow that they are more applicable, they want to do it. I think there is a good intention behind it. And even though initially because of issue of risk management, if you're a bit relaxed about some of these things, they get captured by the wrong party and applied in the wrong way and you will just see huge non performing credit out there. So, like I said, it's best to start with very tight environment but have a listening ear to be able to adjust to allow that some of the people who are disadvantaged by the policy requirements can begin to access it. If you take for instance, this particular fund, now that the state governments
want to be part of it, they are already allowing that they can come on board on behalf of their rural communities and other people. And so this is already beginning to happen. And so long as the right kind of vehicle is created, there is always a listening ear to do it. That's what special advantage Central Bank entails because they allow collaborative action. In other words, you're saying that some of these intervention funds by the CBN and other ones are not just pronounced in order to be politically correct or win political capitalâ&#x20AC;Ś Well, as you have heard for yourself the Agric Credit Guarantee Scheme, where the CBN guarantees a lot of the loans to the farmers and where they pay faithfully they even repay them some of their interests has been working. It's just that the discipline around doing that, providing repayment properly and so on, we don't have them in a lot of areas. A lot of that fund has gone out to farmers and they have repaid and they have been benefactors of the interest drawback that comes with that. The same thing with this particular intervention fund, the Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development
Fund, I believe that it's going to work if we keep the discussion going, adjusting the thing and involving the appropriate parties like the states and local governments, like the microfinance groups, like the financial NGOs, and the cooperatives as people that organise small groups and they have an apex body, the Association of Non- Bank Financial Institutions; those people are going help to make this thing happen because they are engaged and we already have success stories that has happened in places like Zamfara state, Bauchi state and so on. So, I believe that where there is shared vision around the fund and everybody is acting on absolute trust and transparency, these things will work. Talking about trust, there is this notion that women are more credit-worthy in terms of paying back loans without any default. Do you share this perception too? Yes, I do agree with that in general. There was one particular case we saw in Lagos, where actually defaulters were largely women in a mixed group. But generally, and it's been proved not just in Nigeria, but all over the world that the women are more reliable partners in terms of giving smallholder credit and recovering. They are more careful at doing it, they are more consistent about building trust. In fact, the empirical evidence shows that is the case. What is your role as the Chairman of the Nigeria Agriculture Payment Initiative (NAPI)? We did finalised an MoU with the Central Bank, National Identity Management Commission, and the Ministry of Agriculture that would allow people in the agric sector, especially those who are financially excluded now, a chance for instant financial inclusion. It means, first of all identifying the person and then giving them some basic financial services because the National ID itself as a payment solution on it, a prepaid card solution. They can instantly get a mobile money account solution and also get a basic transaction or no-fees account, savings account. So, both instantly, the smallholder farmer becomes, or at least enters the door of financial inclusion. And that would facilitate other things like basic credit, basic insurance, which are the three legs of financial inclusion: savings, credit and insurance, to start with. And that can begin to grow whether it's from the microfinance side of things or even from the
commercial banking. Like I told you we have a payment system strategy that there are some areas where you would get rapid adoption, some sectors of the economy, where if you promote it, you will get rapid adoption. Agriculture is one but we also have health, education, transport, or what we call smart cities, the likes of Eko Atlantic, hospitality and tourism. In these areas for rapid adoption, we decided to create committees that would allow that to happen. I head the one for agriculture. So that is one area. But if you're looking at it from agric side, Federal Ministry of Agriculture also has the enhancement scheme projects, where they use the ewallet for giving subsidy on fertilizer, seeds and machinery and using electronic money to redeem the subsidy itself. They also were doing that. And so, it was a merger of these initiatives that gave rise to the Nigeria Agriculture Payment Initiative (NAPI). And that's why we're working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to make it happen. And to enable it happen, we decided that for those people who have been excluded, we would need to find a very reliable way of identifying them and that's why the National Identity Management Commission came on board. It appears to be a wellthought out scheme no doubt. But from a survey conducted by Enhancing Financial Inclusion & Access (EFInA), a financial-base initiative, it did find out that Nigeria still has a humongous population of the unbanked. To what extent would the NAPI initiative help to fill this gap and what's the time frame you are looking at? If you take agric for instance, our projection is that by the end of next year we would have had about 10million farmers at least have these facilities for payments. Now, that would make it easy for them to actually continue to now begin to get access to finance, access to other financial services like insurance. For instance, just because we have started this thing as a pilot, already the Nigeria Agric Insurance Corporation (NAIC) is already giving a very simple insurance with every two bags of fertilisers that they give to farmers, they added N500. They gave them N20, 000 insurance for their cropping season, okay. So, you would see that large scale inclusion with new product just because of this. Because of mobile money, already telecommunication companies are beginning to introduce, number one, thinking about a shred agent network that would not only do their typical time top-up and so on, but would also provide agent banking services and so on. But more than that, even they themselves sell microinsurance with airtime top-up and so on. So, it is going to become a huge growth area in the next couple of years. I know that the financial inclusion objective is to reduce financial exclusion to 20 per cent by year 2020, but I'm optimistic that we can do a lot more than that. By 2020, I can see everybody in Nigeria who is bankable, who is an adult, having a bank account. It is not rocket science. At least the fact that you have access to save your money and get credit against that either as an individual or as a group, for me, is a big quantum leap to financial inclusion across the nation.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
HAT emerging technology do you think will most change Nigeria's enterprise landscape in 2015? I see a lot of emerging technologies. In the area of storage infrastructure I see flash, an emerging technology that will bring major changes in the coming year. I see Big Data changing business models, and I see software-defined storage and software-defined data centres facilitating change in Nigeria as well. One of the major trends in data storage today centres on cloud computing. There are various definitions of cloud computing. What is EMC's definition of this term? Cloud computing is basically the transformation of IT from a standard physical implementation tool, including data centres, software, hardware, networking and servers, into a service. The technology enables organisations to obtain their IT requirements as a service, based on consumption models towards improving service level agreements (SLAs), being more efficient, reducing costs and being much more agile. How can cloud computing be utilised in Nigeria with regard to business management? I think that businesses in Nigeria and around the world can leverage cloud computing in so many ways. For many organisations, IT is not a core business, but they have to deploy technology in order to take advantage of innovation and automation in delivering services to their customers. If businesses have a means of delivering services to their customers in a much more efficient way that reduces cost and also improves the quality of service delivery, they will definitely do this. Right now, Nigeria and indeed, the whole world is undergoing a transition. A lot of businesses today that utilise technological applications are thinking 'why do I need to invest in the full stack of IT infrastructure if I can get the service from one of the service providers at a much lower cost and with better SLAs, while being much more efficient?' The current adoption rate of IT as a service is good, but we believe that the potential is even bigger than what we have seen. Does Nigeria currently has the required technology foundation that is necessary to leverage the cloud model? I am not trying to be diplomatic, but my answer is yes. Against the backdrop of what we have seen so far, Nigeria and Africa, emerging Africa in particular, have a better advantage in comparison to the mature world when it comes to leveraging cloud computing and I will tell you why. The more developed markets have made huge investment in data centres, infrastructure and legacy systems and are now facing the challenge of moving to the cloud and changing their processes and standards while adapting to cloud computing. In Nigeria and other emerging African countries, in so many cases, you don't have these legacy systems to begin with, so organisations can immediately move to the cloud. In this scenario, the transition becomes a mission not to reduce cost or to improve SLAs. As a matter of fact, it becomes a process that enables businesses to have access to services that they were not able to have before. It's like adopting mobile and data technology compared to fixed lines. A lot of people now think, 'why should we invest in fixed lines; why don't I go with mobile and data?' This is not the first time we've seen this happen with technology. But yes, I believe that what we have in terms of infrastructure is good. It still needs a lot of improvement but there is a lot of progress in the sector. The whole country is really investing to develop this but I believe that what we have on ground is a good platform for leveraging cloud technology Third platform technologies, including Big Data, cloud computing and analytics are often perceived as technology for large enterprises. Can SMEs benefit from these services as well? And what advantages do storage virtualisation and cloud computing offer such businesses? I consider SMEs to be the biggest beneficiary of cloud computing. There is the challenge of having enough investment for SMEs to build their own IT infrastructure that will enable them to benefit from these services. If there is no cloud service provider offering these services, a lot of the SMEs will get stuck in the middle, unable to take advantage of this technology. Today, we see
'There are vast opportunities in data mining' Nazim Fraijat Managing Director, Levant and Emerging Africa Region, EMC, in this interview with Bukola Afolabi, speaks on the opportunities, challenges of cloud computing, among other IT platforms. Excerpts:
â&#x20AC;˘ Fraijat SMEs as the biggest adopters of cloud computing. On the side of the larger enterprises, cloud computing is a means of reducing cost and improving SLAs but for SMEs, it is a business enabler. Virtualisation and building storage infrastructure is the cornerstone of enabling cloud service providers to start building infrastructure that can provide IT as a service and cloud as a service. Without having the proper virtualisation and storage infrastructure, IT service providers will not be able to offer cloud services. This is the rationale behind the launch of our software-defined data centres in Nigeria. Building software-defined data centres is a key component in the build-up to software-defined storage, which allows for virtualisation and virtualised environments. Organisations can provision and allocate services as well as enable customers on the go and in a much quicker fashion than they ordinarily would when they deploy physical infrastructure in a physical world. Without virtualisation and without the resiliency of disaster recovery or business continuity, service providers will be unable to manage an organisation's data or offer them IT as a service. How can enterprises go about making the big switch to cloud services without decimating their IT staff? We are talking about an area of service that is growing exponentially. There is already a huge gap with regard to skills and resources that can meet today's demand for IT services. We are not talking about a demand that has already been met or one that has been oversubscribed such that if changes are made, we are going to lose these people. The demand is so huge and the supply is so low and the growth is exponential, so the decimation of IT staff is not a big concern at this stage. What is a concern is the level of skill that we have today in the enter-
prise market. Are these the job skills that we need for tomorrow? In the past, when we said tomorrow, we used to mean in the next 10 years. But now, when we say tomorrow, we really mean tomorrow or at most, within a year and a half. If you look at the results of the recent EMC survey, 71% of the respondents say that they have the skills to run their IT environment properly today. But 68% say they currently do not possess the skills to manage developments in IT in the next one to two years. This is amazing - it has never happened in history. What we need to do as suppliers, as a country, as enterprises and as customers is to work towards ensuring that our IT skills are ready for the mission that we have ahead of us tomorrow. What skills do storage administrators need to thrive in the coming era of data explosion? I think the skills required centre on how to be cloud-ready; how to provision and automate the provisioning of storage and networking, and how to immediately adopt software-defined storage, technology and skills to manage processes. We believe that software-defined storage and software-defined data centres are the enablement for tomorrow's technology as well as today's demand in cloud computing and big data. Organisations can transform and redefine themselves very quickly, and at EMC, we have developed several programmes to enable storage administrators access skills that will help them meet the current demand and also enable them make the transition to software-defined platforms. We have a lot of training programmes defined around virtualisation, softwaredefined data centres and software-defined storage. Our employees are going through these programmes as well, so we see that we need to transform ourselves too. There is a major transformation that's happening
in EMC to make sure that we are really enabled to provide IT as a service and to ensure that we continue to drive and lead this market. Do organisations still need to back up data that are stored in the cloud? The bottom-line is that data needs to be backed up, needs to be stored and needs to be safe. The need for backup is dependent on the strategy of data protection that has been adopted by each organisation. It is important for every organisation to have an end-to-end data protection and availability strategy. We see another demand in the market for backup as a service, and a lot of cloud service providers are embarking on providing this service because it is appealing and very easy to deploy. Many organisations are skeptical about storing data in a virtualised atmosphere due to threats to security and privacy. Would you describe these reservations as being unfounded? The skepticism is very legitimate. The moment you put your data in the cloud, you need to make sure that it is secure. Hackers and cyber-attacks are becoming smarter. Organisations carry a risk of attack on their data even if it was resident on their premises or in their own data centre. Technology and mediums that can allow hackers to break in through firewalls and other forms of protection exist. The question is not about whether an organisation will be attacked or not. The attack will happen. Now, what kind of attack and how to react to the attack is what we are working to help customers achieve. So no, the fears are not unfounded, but there have been major developments in the market and EMC is one of the leading service providers in this area that is already positioned to provide technology that will allow organisations make their data as secure as possible. What plans do you have to engender increased adoption of your services by organisations in Nigeria? Our first training centre on the African continent was launched in Nigeria. We are driving academic programmes in a number of universities with the aim of getting the new generation of Nigerians enabled regarding cloud and big data. We are doubling our investment in terms of sales and customer support to facilitate our skilling up on requirements from customers while maintaining a high level of quality in our service delivery. We are expanding beyond our Lagos office into other cities, with Abuja on the roadmap. Nigeria is a really big focus for EMC. Because we believe in the country's potential, we are investing heavily in local resources. In your opinion, how important is bridging the gap between business and IT, and how is EMC working to accomplish this for organisations today? Bridging the gap between business and IT is very important. In fact, gaps between business and IT should not exist anymore. In today's markets, the business models have changed dramatically. IT is now a big part of the business. If gaps exist between these departments, IT will become an obstacle to the progress of the organisation. EMC is helping to close these gaps by providing IT solutions that will enable organisations achieve their business objectives - increasing revenue, creating more customer intimacy and gaining first mover advantage in the market - by deploying IT solutions. This brings us back to the megatrends of Cloud Computing, Big Data and Security - all of which enable organisations get to the next level. What advice can you offer to businesses trying to juggle the increased speed, volume, and variety of information that third platform technologies bring to the table? The starting point for every business is to build agile, flexible, highly resilient and trusted infrastructure in terms of private cloud. At the same time, organisations should start looking at the best ways of optimizing their workloads and determine which workloads they will be hosting in the cloud. Big Data is a business enabler; organisations should look into adopting this technology as soon as possible. All of these need to be coupled with state-of-theart, advanced security analytics and data protection. Finally, businesses should invest in skills and capacity building for today and tomorrow
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
HE concept of Millennium Apartments began in England, when I found myself during my spare time not studying, spending time in clubs and such places. I later began having meetings architects at the age of 19. I was being fascinated by structures and how people congregate. I also loved music and used to collect records in those days. They are called LPs and CDs. When I found myself drawn to that industry and spent a lot of time going to bars where I got a few jobs managing such bars, where I was a DJ and began and began reorganising clubs for people and I followed my passion. Though, I studied Economics in England. At some point, I had to make a choice to either be a banker in England and do the nine to five jobs like my friends or follow my passion. I chose the latter and things built up and I owned my own bar and restaurant in England until I came back to Nigeria for a holiday. During the holiday in 1997, I saw a lot of Lebanese occupying the Island and owning restaurants and cafes. I knew it was not right so, I challenged that and thought to set something up that could compete with the foreigners and that was how we started. The beginning was very difficult. It wasn't easy breaking through in Nigeria with electricity problems. It wasn't easy but it's been worthwhile leaving England and its nine to five jobs. Now, I will look at spaces and create. I look at our customers and imagine what they will like to feel. I take the perspective, creative and draw up the perfect product, which is very difficult to do England. That goes to show that Nigeria is working if you follow your dreams and don't focus much on the negative aspects of the country. We run almost like normal hotels with a prestige studio apartment called self contains. The idea was gotten in England and their style of renting apartments. They are one-bed apartments and twobed apartments, but the difference between us and a regular hotel is that we run serviced apartments. Here, you can do from light cooking to
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has restated the commitment of his administration towards supporting youth development initiatives across the country. Jonathan made this known at the 9th edition of the Future Award Africa organised by Red Media in conjunction with United Bank of Africa (UBA), with Access Bank, Etisalat, Microsoft, the Lagos Internal Revenue Service and the Tony Elumelu Foundation held recently at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lagos.
are categorised. For xxxxpriced those who stay longer, they
'Real estate investment remains a goldmine'
Nigerian born Max Nonso Menkiti, a graduate of economics, based in the United Kingdom, had the option of taking a promising banking job in England but chose to follow his dream and passion, which is setting up shop as a real estate consultant. As an individual with the tenacity and perseverance to succeed, Menkiti's dream came true with the birth of the Millennium Apartments in faraway England. Expansion of his business empire saw him visiting Nigeria to commission the latest project in highbrow Lekki, Lagos, recently. Nneka Nwaneri met him. heavy cooking. Comfortably furnished with all the trappings of a regular house, which include couches, beds, cookers and you are set to go. Just come with your dress and start living; no use buying any equipment. Full DSTV Channels with 24 hours light and security. There is a guest lounge with Wi-Fi to service them while they wait. There is a pool and gym and is sure to be everything in one package. Passion Hospitality has been my passion and I have been in the business for more than twenty years. I have had and run successful clubs and restaurants in England. From the age of 21, I got a passion to serve. I also have an artistic flare for decoration and I create unique buildings. I look and get different ways of getting people to relax. The only difference is that I have learnt to build a business around my passion. I have simply monetised mine. Watching people relax is my passion; so I design chairs and empty spaces. When business and passion come together, you are sure to have a successful enterprise. Management style The concept of Millennium Apartments is designed not to be staff intensive. We take the best staff, train them and retrain them. So, we are light on staff, heavy on quality with chambermaids. Compared to other hotels, we run at about forty percent of their staff strength which gives us a cost advantage over others. Compared to a regular ho-
tel, we are more affordable because we bill according to short and long stay. The longer you stay, the lesser you pay. It thus, reduces the hassles of the strict rules of hotels. Here, you feel like you are in your house and still pay lesser than a normal hotel. Such apartments are set for the business minded people, those who don't want to think of the hassles of running a domestic staff; those who want to hop and go and
everything is still running and a clean environment. With my experience in hotel business for about fifteen years in Victoria Island, Lagos, this is our fifth property haven done properties for expatriates in V.I. In so doing, we noticed that there was this demand for people who stay longer than a week or two. They always asked for cooking facilities or more space that a standard hotel could not typically provide.
Millennium was set up to solve that challenge and was designed to take the best from the classy hotels and the best from serviced apartments and fuse them together. It's the real definition of home from home. All the apartments have home kitchenettes. Anyone staying in Lagos for a month can just stay in millennium with a separate living room, own decoder all encompassed. For those that do not want to cook, we outsource caterers. Millennium fills the gap for those who want more than a hotel experience. Just for an expatriate who instead of looking for a house, paying a yea's rent, having to buy furniture, bother himself with the hassles of running generating sets; Millennium fills that gap completely. So, we are neither a hotel nor a serviced apartment, we cross between both. That we chose a location in Lekki that is serene and six minutes away from Victoria Island is not by accident but a perfect location just a little away from the business district of V I. For those foreign partners who want the best of things that work. With all facilities embodied in a top decor, it is all at their fingertips. Top finishings with power showers don't come cheap. They are luxury. We don't follow the trend in Nigeria where people cut to provide cheap things. Providing standard luxury in Nigeria is very expensive so the niche we occupy does not point us at the bottom of the market. We are made for the middle and top class and that is why our
Jonathan restates commitment to youth development By Adeola Ogunlade According to him, the current administration is resolved toward youth development as there are various support systems put in place to help in nurturing their dreams and goals in life. He noted that many youths have benefited from the various programme which include Youwin project, small and medium grant for young farmers,
grant for the creative industry, Subsidy Reinvestment programme (SURE) which have taken many youths out of the poverty line and have become employers of labour. Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister For Youth Development, Boni Haruna, noted that the present insurgency in the north which has led to the displacement of many youth, women and children. He said "we are not de-
terred by this level of arms struggle by Boko Haram but remain resolute towards making Nigeria a haven for all, most especially the youth." Earlier in her keynote address, the former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, applauded the effort of the African youth who are defied the odds and have come out successful in their chosen careers. "I am motivated and encouraged by these young Afri-
cans who are showing the way for their peers in ICT, education, agriculture sector, entrepreneurship, entertainment industry, community action and advocacy", she said. She opined that with this new development, there lies a new lease of hope for Africa and despite our fears and challenges, we will overcome and walk tall among the comity of nations. Ezekwesili went further to remind the audience that in the
get more value but quite affordable than staying for thirty to sixty days in a hotel. Marketing edge With the level of security in the state, investors are coming in. Hotels should be of standard and be able to comfortable house foreigners. The need for Nigerian's accommodation has increased. So, it is a national response for entrepreneurs to rush into the hospitality field, but we in Millennium have been our passion since 1997 and this is our fifth property. We have properties and products. Hotels will come and people will copy. But it is essential to know your game and know your niche. I'm making a bet that in the next four to five years, some hotels around won't exist because it is not their passion and it is not their thing. They will only make short term cash, take the money and move on. Four to five years later, the properties will be dilapidated without good management and staff training. For Millennium Apartments, we are pioneers and we like to carve a niche in the business of luxury apartments where you can come in and stay day to night with everything provided for where you can choose your own bouquet of services. This is the first of many products to be rolled out under the Millennium Apartments platform and we hope to be in other parts of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and export brand to neighbouring countries of Ghana. Whatever is to be done in the hospitality business should be done properly. Everything is imported, even to the wallpapers, Italian tiles and glass fountains, invisible wiring and to run something of International standard, you have to get them abroad. It is expensive to get quality in Nigeria but that separates the real interested investors from the short term quacks. But that's the price that you need to pay if you want to play the whole length of the game.
midst of the celebration, said that we must not forget over 200 children from Chibok who are still held in captivity of the Boko Haram sect. Guests included Minister of Youth Development, Boni Haruna, representing President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Professor Pat Utomi, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, CEO Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, Senator Femi Gbajabiamila, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi and Daniel Amokachi.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
As the 2015 deadline for the digitisation of the broadcast industry draws near, Gboyega Alaka reviews the progress so far, asking if indeed the country is ready.
Digitisation 2015: How realistic?
S 2015 knocks and Nigeria gets set to embrace the digitisation year for television broadcasting, stakeholders have continued to exercise fears as to the readiness of the country to meet up with the global deadline. The international Telecommunications Union had set the stage for global transition from analogue to digital in 2006, when it set June 17, 2015 as deadline. For those who are still wondering, that is the date broadcast stations are expected to go digital and analogue television viewers would no longer be able to receive signals on their sets, unless they have been equipped with SetTop Boxes. As a signatory to the decision, Nigeria had earlier set a June 17, 2012 target for the country to comply with digitisation transition, but moved the date when it became obvious that the industry and the nation as a whole would not be able to meet it. It thus set January 2015 as the take off date, which all the state governments and the nation as a whole have been working towards. The Nigerian broadcasting industry has been working vigorously towards the silent revolution targeted at the transition. Plateau State flagged off its Jos Pilot City digital switch over on the first of July, 2014, literally breasting the tape ahead of other states. It will be recalled that the occasion of that launch brought together media professionals, politicians and technicians in the media industry who seized the opportunity to further cement the road to the transition. Former Information Minister, Labaran Maku, who was special guest on the occasion, pledged the government's commitment to the process and said that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) would provide necessary support in its actualisation. It was also decided that the government would have to embark on massive publicity and campaign to be targeted at the over 40 million analogue television users in the country, who are expected to make the switch, if the January date is to be realised. The question many have been asking, however, is how many people know about this transition? A quick public survey in Lagos shows that the common man on the streets knows practically nothing about the purported transition to digitisation, except that many are just falling in love with the digital television services being peddled by the different digital. John Oluwaseyi, a student, says he is not aware of any digitisation process. He also said that if
indeed there is any, the government is not doing enough in terms of enlightenment and it is not unlikely that the deadline of 2015 will catch many people unaware. Other states aside Plateau that have initiated bold move towards the process include Bauchi, Borno, Anambra and a host of bothers. Bauchi looked set to meet the deadline before 2015, when it set up a committee of experts in the broadcast industry in August, to ensure smooth migration of the stateowned television station, from analogue to digital broadcasting. The state Commissioner of Religious Affairs (and Information), Alhaji Salihu Barau, expressed the government's commitment to ensuring that Bauchi State Television (BATV) met the digitisation deadline of December 31st 2014. He announced that the state had already set up a seven-man committee towards this end. However, with about two weeks to the end of the year 2014, it seems unlikely that the state will achieve its target of digitisation before 2015. Nevertheless, it looks right on track. Borno State, which is now embroiled in the Boko Haram insurgency, is another state that instituted a big move, when it received a document on the roadmap and blueprint for the digitisation of its media outfits. As far back as November 2013, the state government announced its commitment towards digitsing its media organisations, the Borno Radio and Television Services (BRTV) before 2015. The state Commissioner of Information, Inuwa Bwala, also announced that the
administration of Governor Kashim Shettima is committed to meeting the 2015 deadline, adding that “the state believed the digitisation will open up the organisation for better services to the people.” Aside the switch which is fundamental, the transition holds a lot of benefits for the nation, as viewers would be availed of higher quality audio and video, efficient signal processing and flexibility in programme editing, as well as mass employment opportunities. While clarifying the implication of the digitisation transition, the director general of the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, Emeka Mba, had earlier in the year declared at a News Agency of Nigeria forum that digitisation will also usher in economy of spectrum on the UFH band. For emphasis, he explained that only one NTA channel on an analogue capacity uses an amount of spectrum expendable by 20 channels in a digital setting. “With digital compression, we can actually switch up to twenty channels into that space that NTA is occupying today. In other words, you can have up to 20 NTAs in the space NTA occupies today. “So it's not just a question of quantity but also quality because digital-based signal will have crisp (pictures), the picture will be sharper and you will have the opportunity to do digital sound and so many other applications,” Mba said. However, it already looks doubtful, with two weeks to December 31st, 2014, that Nigeria will beat that deadline. What remains to be seen is whether the nation will beat the global June 17, 2015 deadline.
International Press Centre holds Media Tweet-A-Thon
HE fifth edition of the International Press Centre's (IPC) tweet-a-thon (tweet conference) series on promoting active media engagement and active citizens' participation in the electoral process ahead of 2015 elections was held last week. The event which is a monthly activity supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) lll Project and its international partners, the European Union (EU), UK Aid, the Canadian Department for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFTAD) and the UNDP. The theme: “Report of baseline survey
of newspapers coverage of electoral issues ahead 2015 elections, Matters arising and lessons” according to the director of the centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade, “has been deliberately chosen to enable us deliberate on the findings of the one-month exercise, which involved six Nigerian national newspapers - The Punch, Thisday, The Guardian, Daily Trust, Daily Sun and The Nation. The survey was conducted between July 21, 2014 and August 20, 2014. The survey's report will also be presented at this event. “The survey revealed the major strengths and weaknesses of the reporting of electoral issues ahead of 2015 elections by the concerned newspapers.
It is expected that media organisations would welcome the recommendations arising from the survey. On our part, we will continue to integrate the outcomes into our media engagements including capacity building programmes on the professional, conflict sensitive, public interest and gender supportive reporting of 2015 elections. Mr. Ray Ekpu, a veteran journalist, cofounder of Newswatch magazine and former President of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), led the presentation while Mr. Tunde Akanni, a communication lecturer, Lagos State University (LASU) was the lead discussant.
Magazine honours Ahmed, Nda Isaiah, others By Innocent Duru
WARA State governor, Abdul Fatah Ahmed, has been bestowed with the HOG (Hall of Fame) magazine
award. The event which took place at the Memory Gathering Events centre, Ikeja, Lagos was attended by two-time minister of information, Chief (Dr.) Alex Akinyele, who is a grand patron of HOG magazine; former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, and APC presidential aspirant, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah. Former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, was also represented. In his keynote address titled: 'Growing Nigeria, A Collective Responsibility', NdahIsaiah gave knocks to the present government for mis-managing Nigeria's economy. He said: "In spite of all the negative news from Nigeria, in spite of all the gloomy stories of corruption, insecurity, loss of territory to criminals, Nigeria has been growing, at least in economic terms. When we rebased our economy, with a GDP of $510billion, our annual growth rate remained around 6per cent annually; which is good. But even at this, we can double if we are more serious. But what manner of growth is this? “In spite of this growth which makes Nigeria Africa's biggest economy, Nigeria has more than 100 million people who are desperately poor, according to some reports that place the poverty rate at 60 per cent. What that means is that only very few Nigerians reside in the sectors that are growing the economy. If one also looks at the incidence of poverty in the north, especially the far northern states are the ones that are extremely poor. This should easily explain the reason why it is easy to recruit youths into terrorism in most of those states. "Conservatively, more that 54 per cent of Nigerian youths are unemployed. But in some of those far northern states, they get as bad as 80 per cent. In education, 70 per cent of the students who sat for the WAEC examinations this year failed. And, according to UNICEF, 10.5million Nigerian children are out of school. This is the highest in the world, " he lamented. Speaking, Mr. Rupert Ojenuwa, the managing director and editor- in -chief of the magazine, explained the concept of the yearly awards and the induction ceremony. "The criterion for inducting anybody into HOG hall of fame is proven contributions to nation building that span up to three years. While HOG awards focuses on activities and impacts of potential awardees during a preceding year. The Hall of Fame looks at consistency in adding value and contribution to nation building through various agencies.
•The publisher Rupert Ojenuwa presenting the award to the governor's representative
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
OU have come a long way as a culture activist, in terms of the programmes you have handled on radio and TV. What exactly are you doing now as an artiste and art practitioner? Yes, I am an actor, a broadcaster. I had my training at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Osun State. I have been in the theatre world since I left school many years ago. I have been in this as far back as 1980. I am still there. In fact, I still do stuffs on radio and TV and of course, I have been involved in some movie productions. I am still involved. And right now, I am running a programme on television called Gbalada. It is a programme I started some years ago and it ran for quite some time. But I had to take a break when I was drafted into government in Ogun State. Right now, I have resuscitated it. It ran on Lagos State Television (LTV) Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. But outside all these, my life is in the art. I believe that a strong area where the country needs to pay attention and indeed concentrate maximum attention is the art. I keep saying it and others keep saying it as well. This is because oil will dry up one day and the best alternative will be the art, the whole gamut of the entertainment industry. So, there should be an option, art certainly is an option. And I can tell you that art will always remain an option. Art is an exportable material as well. Other developed nations of the world export movies and entertainment and we can do the same if we pay enough attention to the sector. Art can get the nation a lot of resources. This is time to teach the young ones, which is really my area of concern. Our young ones need to be engaged; they need to be fully integrated into the entertainment sector. Let them be made to be aware of the potentials inherent in the sector because it is their time; their own world. I normally pass through the old tollgate. You see hundreds of our young ones, mostly university graduates, looking for jobs. I learnt an attempt is being made to get them engaged, but a lot still can be done to fully make them perform to their greatest potentials. In fact, I took the trouble to visit the place twice now, wanting to meet the head of the place. This is so because I see so much energy, so much vitality in the youths. May be most of them do not lead to a particular direction, but all the same they need to be directed to be of use to themselves and to the society. These kinds of youths are actually those who can be taken and directed on how to use their talents in the art to be useful. Because there are other areas but let us first focus on this. In fact, I get worried when things get so bad like this. I try not to ignore some certain things that happen around me. Lots of things are going wrong and due to my orientation, I do not do art for art sake. Art has to have a purpose; it must contribute something to the development of the society. And so that is why I use my own art, my form of art to involve the art and to some extent correct some ills in the society. I also use art to direct attention to issues; to certain problems in our world. I do this in order to achieve a positive world where peace reigns. Once, you were doing music of yester year, why didn't you do music of today? I discovered this music early. Or let me put it this way: right from my early days, I had the privilege of being introduced to music of various forms by my late grandmother, Olori Adegoke Gbadebo who happened to be mother of former Alake of Egbaland. Now, I also grew up within that royal circle and so I could listen to all sorts of music. I listened and experienced drumming in the palace, coupled with first hand masquerades, total palace entertainment which was aplenty then. The music made sense to me; drove a lot of meaning into my being. I had also the privilege of being exposed to the theatre on stage; live theatre where you could feel and see and enjoy total theatre done by core and traditional professionals. They were the Ogundes, the Ogunmolas, name it. I was able to watch them all perform on stage and so one way or the other, without me being aware of it, this began to influence me. Much later in life, I also realized that a lot of efforts went into producing music of yester year as against what we have
'Let's join hands to save theatre' In this encounter with Olayinka Oyegbile (Deputy Editor) and Edozie Udeze, veteran artiste, actor, radio and television presenter, Yemi Shodimu talks extensively about the many problems militating against the progress and growth of the culture and arts sector and what needs to be done to save the situation and more. Excerpts.
today. To them, this was their life. It wasn't all about making money. No, they wanted to be comfortable, yes. It was for them to walk around the environment and picking their themes from what was happening to the people. That is the total beauty of music of yester year. They played to totally influence their society. Whichever way you want to look at it, they did a lot of work to enliven the society. And this was why a lot of people embraced what they did. But the commercial music, the new day thing, the sort we have today, are also a reflection of our values. Oh, unfortunately, it is a reflection of what we are today and who we represent as a people. I do not have quarrel with their art, no. I do not. But I do not want to sit back and allow what we have, what we cherish so much to die or frizzle into oblivion. In the first place, I have come to realize that a lot of people appreciate music of yester year and we need to keep the love fresh and aglow. Even the new day artistes, when they run into brick wall, that is where they go back to, for some level of inspiration or re-mixing of these works. Most of it, unfortunately, they do
bastardize it. They can never get it right because they do not have the patient or professional grounding to do so. But we now go along with the trend and the fashion and all that. Fine, but that is not to lose our roots. We should know where we are coming from and then make the proper use of the opportunities this offered. So, for me it is what I call nostalgia, that is memories of yester year. And I can tell you that from day one, it was a hit. It proved what I thought; it proved it right, that is in terms of its popularity, its acceptance by the people that matter in the society. From day one, it just went haywire. I couldn't handle it alone. You see, people who have money to back such didn't quite come along to do so. Okay, let me take it from this angle. I had a chat with marketing managers of one or two communication outfits. I realized that it was not easy. Their concern primarily is to have issues that target mostly the younger ones, which constitutes majority of our population. It is not necessarily to check their morals or conducts. No. it is for them to make money out of the youths. It is not even to encourage them to be who they want to be. It is
a consumer's drive sort of programmes, to get the consumers pay attention to what they have through the youths. That is the irony of what they do. Well, I can't blame them. I can't blame them up to the point that they want to make money to sustain their businesses. However, their social and corporate responsibility should also extend to the preservation of our culture whether old or new. This is our image, our heritage. But the present level of decadence in the society is because those who should care are not caring. Young ones see those who take responsibility hustling for money, so what do they do? They help them, of course. That is the level we are in today; all to the detriment of our image and culture. When you think you are working on something that has quality; something that can act on lives positively, something that can help in societal reengineering and all thatâ&#x20AC;Śoh, it could be discouraging when people who should care do not really bother. That is not to say that I am giving up. No, I can't and I am not giving up as yet. And this is the same society where my own children are going to grow up. It is all about this new trend of getting the money whichever way, I won't want my own children to be part of that. That is why one would continue to appeal for like minds, keep appealing to those who have the corporate responsibilities, those who are saddled with taking certain decisions at the top, to also think about the society. Whenever I open the lines on my programme and you hear people respond, you can feel their pains, you can feel how they see and feel about the level of deterioration in the society. So, we have to continue to push on to see how these old tunes and what they stand for can be preserved. What do you think is the problem of live theatre both in terms of presentation and production? I tell you the problems are similar. The stage started suffering long before those of us in the media could even realise the level of deterioration in the sector. And this is where you get the depth and beauty of theatre. Live theatre is where the theatre proves to be more authentic and real. I told you I grew up at the palace and there were many live productions of Ogunde that I saw then that cannot erase from my memory. This was over fifty years ago and I can still recall them. So, it takes a lot of work to be in live production. Do we have the materials and the comportment and wherewithal to do so? If you compare it to the popular Nollywood, but in live theatre you cannot afford to commit errors. No, you cannot. There is no editor as far as the stage is concerned and that is why it takes a lot of packaging to put it together. It takes a lot of research and efforts to put it together. The script or the book captures the life and it is permanent. It is on the stage that you give life to the content. Where are the sponsors? It is still the same issue because artistes have to be sustained, they have to live and survive. It is better abroad where you have a play that runs over a period of time. That helps the artiste to survive, to make money and then move on. We don't have such here in Nigeria and that is why the stage seems to be in disarray. Lack of patronage is also tied to the issue of security. When people are not secured, how do they go out at night to watch a play in a theatre? Someone who lives in Ikoyi to drive down to Iganmu to watch a play at the National theatreâ&#x20AC;Śwell it is unsafe, when he has to go home say by ten or eleven pm. Also the problem of power and some other social problems are there. So this is why the stage suffers and will continue to do so until the situation improves for the better. If not for Freedom Park here in Lagos where else would the artistes be meeting for such programmes as this. This place is not enough and we need more spaces and avenues to re-ignite the flame of live theatre. Let there also be grants for the arts like it is done in South Africa and elsewhere. This will help for research and more. What else are you doing now? Oh, I am into palm wine production. This is called Emu Shoba. Although it is done in Abeokuta, it is also available in Lagos. I stated this in order to walk my talk and that is why I am different and unique.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
O man who obeys God ends up regretting, do you agree to this and why did you come into the ministry? I actually agree with that statement that when you come to the side of the Lord you cannot regret it. Personally, I can say that, because any time I look back into my life, I can see the direction of God, even while I was an unbeliever. I can see it was God who directed my path. When did you go into full time ministry and where did you start? My salvation was not in Deeper Life, it was inside the Anglican Church. I have been attending Deeper Life all along, I think since 1976. They came to do a retreat at Efon-Alaye in Ekiti State in 1978 and at Okitipupa in1979 at Ibadan during Easter retreat. I used to attend their retreats but I came into the Deeper Life fully in 1983. 1984 when I went for my youth service, I served with the Deeper Christian Life Ministry and it was from that time I came into the church. Sir, how are you faring with the load of work in Ado Ekiti and the response of the people to the work of the Lord? It's just like when the General Superintendent was speaking the other time; everything is by the grace of God. Once you surrender your life to God, the work of God becomes easy. You see, the brethren there, they are a gift unto us and they are to support us and help us, just
'No one who obeys God regrets it' Pastor Jacob Abimbola Asubiojo, Ekiti State Overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Ado Ekiti, in this interview with journalists talks about the upcoming Deeper Life crusade in Ekiti State. like when God told Aaron, He has given the Levites as a gift unto him. So, by the grace of God we are to help them to develop their talents and utilise those talents in the work of the ministry and by the grace of God, God has been helping, they have been cooperating. Have people been responding to the gospel? By the grace of God, people have been responding to the gospel all over Ekiti State. Pastor W.F Kumuyi has been going from state to state, when is he coming to Ekiti? By the grace of God, he is coming from December 24 to 26, 2014. People stage-manage miracles. What is the place of miracles in Deeper Life? By the grace of God, in Deeper Life Bible Church, there are no stage-managed in miracles, because we ourselves want to see the reality. We believe in the reality of the supernatural and we don't stage manage miracles. We want God to do it himself and that's why before people come out for miracles to give testimonies, we do interview to authenticate that miracle is genuine and is from God.
•Asubiojo Of recent, the Nigerian economy was adjudged to be the biggest economy in Africa, do you see the reality of this in the lives of the poor masses as a man of God? Well, actually from my own point of view, I can see
Forum donates items to widows
•Rev Levi Adegbe, Initiator of Widows Forum, in the midst of some benefitting widows group known as providing food items, they Friends of Widows also empower widows by and Orphans Care teaching them how to make Initiative has donated bags of soap, izal, (a disinfectant), rice, packets of maggi cubes, among others. The man of God cartons of Indomie noodles, said the body also collaborates bags of salt and toiletries to with other widow organisations such Daughters of Zion. 100 widows for the yuletide. Rev Levi Adegbe, the "We have gone beyond givleader of the group, disclosed ing them food, we also emat the occasion that the dona- power them because there is tion had been an annual prac- no amount of food or money tice of the church in the past that will ever be enough to fourteen years, adding that it make them happy and stay was aimed at touching the healthier," said Alegbe. Rev Adegbe disclosed that lives of the less-privileged members of the Nigerian so- he convened the NGO because it has always been a burden ciety. Adegbe, who also pastors on him to take care of widLife Gate International Bible ows. "I decided to make enMinistry, noted that aside quiry of the number of wid-
ows in my community of which I had up to 49 names in my village through the help of my sister who is also a widow. As at the end of the year we had more than 60 widows and I told it was according to God's direction to go and fee widows." Admonishing well-meaning Nigerians and religious leaders to take care of the poor around them for a better Nigeria, the pastor said: "I'm appealing to the government to take these up, not only by caring for the citizens but widows as well as the less-privileged, so as to reduce the rate of crime in the country. "Church leaders shouldn't be selfish, they should care for the people they are leading, so as to emulate our master (Jesus)." Responding to the gesture, one of the widows, Comfort Peter, said she joined the Initiative in 2006 when every member of the family deserted her and her children. According to her, Rev Adegbe really did a lot to support her and her children, and she really thanks God for somebody like the pastor who not only put food on her table but also ensures that all the widows are fed spiritually as well.
that truly Nigeria's economy is growing because when you look at those who are working, either they are working with government, or with companies or they are artisans working for themselves, you will see that their stand-
ard of living has improved compared with the past. In the past, very few had access to the good things or the social things of life that make life comfortable. But now, many people, whether you are farmer, once you are able to do your work and you are diligent, you will be able to make it in the country. The market has been expanded for people, anything you are doing in Nigeria now, do it well and you will make it, the economy is actually developing. As the 2015 elections are approaching and the electioneering campaigns have started, there may be violence and rigging. What is your advice to the electorate, politicians and the electoral commission? My advice to the electorate is that they should vote for people they know will be able to deliver the benefits of democracy to them and they should adhere to the electoral rules as given by INEC. They should not allow politicians to use them as thugs and hoodlums to disturb the peace of the nation and, for the politicians, my own advice is that they should play according to the rules of the game, in-
stead of spending money to sponsor people to commit violence. They should concentrate on how they are going to develop the economy of the state, local governments, and of the nation in whatever position they are contesting for. That means, if we pray, something will happen? Yes, if we pray, something will happen. We have to pray until something happens. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Nigeria free of Ebola virus disease, what is your advice to the government and the masses in sustaining this declaration? Do you have any fear that this virus can resurface somewhere or we are completely free? There is no fear and we should not be living in fear. However, precaution, they say, is better than cure, so I will advise the citizens to follow all the rules of hygiene and other rules that have been recommended to keep away this disease. And then the government also should use this period to expand their health care delivery system so that they will be ready in case of any eventuality even though we are not praying for one.
The Wesley Cathedral Olowogbowo, Lagos recently celebrated its 2014 Annual Choir Festival.
•L-R Minister Wesley Cathedral Olowogbowo, Lagos, Rev Olatunde Oniyide, with Sister Ola Odutola, outgoing Minister, Rev Femi Adebanjo and Sister Ola Okelola at the event.
•L-R Wife of the President, Wesley C a t h e d r a l Olowogbowo Choir, Lady Bolaji AwoboPearce, with a choir leader, Sister Funmi Akin Williams, at the event.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo
Exploring The Secrets Of Success! (3)
•obi and Pope Francis
On Peter Obi's Papal knighthood
he concept of granting dignities and honouring people who have disting uished themselves in their chosen fields has always been part of man in all epochs and cultures. Its inception might remain unknown to anyone. It probably belongs to the mysteries of origin about which all might guess and propound theories, but none might ever know conclusively. In the years gone by, there were a lot of values that were applauded in Igbo land and beyond. Then, excellence was the norm; Igbos cherished and applauded it. Titles and dignities were conferred on, and granted to people based on merit and nothing else. As far back as a pry into Igbo history can reveal, it was not in vain that Igbos conferred names and titles such as Diji, Diochi, Dike, Dimgba, di this or di that on people. The bearers of such titles were experts in cultivation of yam, palm wine-tapping, wrestling, or would have performed some heroic acts in other endeavours. These people achieved excellence in their fields and were consequently honoured. Because of what Obi is to humanity, his salient contributions to the Church, innovation in governance and his community at large, his Bishop, Most Rev. PaulinusEzeokafor recommended that he be honoured with the Papal knighthood. Collaborating the reports through independent enquiry by the Holy See, the Supreme Pontiff, His Holiness, Pope Francis, through his Cardinal Secretary of State, signed a Bull by which the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi became a Papal knight of the Order of St Sylvester on the 31st of July, 2013. This made him one of the few to be so recognized by the Pope and one of the first sets to be so recognised by Pope Francis. Papal Orders are not easy to come by, and it is not for sale. The holder of the highest among the five Papal Equestrian Orders, granted by the Pope as a temporal sovereign, known as the Supreme Order of Chris, died in 1993. Only one living person is holding the second one, Order of the Golden Spur. The third one, Order of Pius IXmay be presented to even non-Christians. We also have the Order of Gregory the Great and Order of St Sylvester Pope and Martyr. There are other orders with religious connotation granted by the Pope such as the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Order of Malta. The Pontifical Equestrian Order of Sylvester Pope and Martyr granted to Mr. Peter Obi is awarded by the Pope directly, usually on the recommendation of the local ordinary, in this case, His Lordship, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor. A person can also be nominated by the representative of the Pope, the papal Nuncio. The Pope's Secretary of State can also recommend one for the award.
By Valentine Obienyem As the Governor, almost all group of Knighthood in the Church wanted Obi to join them, but he declined. The Papal award thus came to him by surprise, because he was completely unaware of that until his Bishop, Most Rev. Dr.PaulinusEzeokafor, a prelate who possesses spiritual comeliness, delivered the Papal Bull to him. Each time I visited Bishop Ezeokafor's residence, the modesty derives me to the conclusion that here is a man of God in fact and in name, just simply after the souls he will win for God as the major part of his apostolic triumph. Those who knew about the award naturally urged Mr. Obi to roll out drums immediately, but he refused, saying that he preferred the investiture after he would have left office. But why Obi should he be nominated for the Award among millions of Catholics in Awka Diocese? It is not because he was once a Governor. It is not because he is rich. It is not because his younger brother is a priest, while his elder Sister is a Rev Sister. Anybody who has been following the trajectory of Obi's life even before he became a Governor will know the reasons he was considered fit for that rare honour. Yes, his stewardship as the governor was the major contributory factor, especially his partnership with the Church that benefited the people of the State in the area of education, health, among others, but there are much more to that. Obi is one person who believes and lives out the biblical instruction that in charity-giving, one's right hand should not know what the left is giving. Obi has continued to be part of building of Churches in many communities. Those who attended the dedication of St. Patrick's Cathedral saw how the Bishop, in spite of Obi's resistance announced that he was the highest donor towards the building of that Church, the Bishop made it clear that those contributions were even before he became the Governor. Besides changing the psyche of the people of the state and the reconditioning it to onceagain think and act for the interest of the State, I consider his return of schools to their original owners as his most important achievement. Some may want to locate this at the number of infrastructure he built, but the fact remains that education, as he always said, is the most important legacy one can possible bequeath posterity. This assertion is not originally his, but has been universally ascertained. Thus, many years ago, when Aristotle was asked to differentiate between the educated and the uneducated, he said it was as the difference between the living and the death. Asked the same question, Aristophanes said it was as the difference between broken and unbroken horses. This informed Zeno's reference of an uneducated man sitting on a stone as a stone seated on another stone. For those circumscribing the award to what he did as the Governor, we note here that it transcends it. Obi's opportunity came
early in life even as an undergraduate. Between the time he left the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the time he became a governor, he had attended some of the world most renowned management schools. In his business, he put what he learnt into practice and rose so rapidly to become the youngest Chairman of a 25Billion Naira Bank. He has never mismanaged public property or funds entrusted to him; rather he has been consumed in the creation of wealth. He was not just on the board of companies that were successful, but was active chapter in the success stories. If you study successful economies of the world you will see behind them both long and short-term planning. You will hear of projections to the year 2020 and all that. A wise man prepares for winter in summer's time of plenty, but it is foolishness to encourage Epicurean indulgence, the lower animal's philosophy of: "Let us eat today for tomorrow we shall die." This was the reason Obi, even when others crippled their states and sold the investments of the State for peanuts to their cronies, left over N75 Billion Naira for his successor in cash and investments. Obi was neck-deep in the business world and has seen the world, but yet no story of gallantry or dealing dishonourably with anybody is told about him. No doubt, Nigeria's politics is that of intrigues, mudslinging, divide and rule (dividaetimpera), parochialism, prebendalism, impeachment-scheming, and so on. Such politics has led to our retrogression. Obi has chosen to play it differently and those too backward to understand him call it timidity. Today, as anytime in the future, any political history of Nigeria will be incomplete without Obi as it will be without the Ziks, the Awolowos, the AhmaduBellos and the Ojukwus. When I recommend him as a role model to the youth, it is always after weighing the totality of his life. He is married to Her Excellency, Mrs Margaret Peter-Obi, a woman every inch as noble as nobility dares be. Endowed with physical beauty, her manners and morals are so magnetic that one feels drawn to her in spite of oneself. She shows everybody around her a mother's surpassing love and care. Their two charming children, Amaka and Eloka will annoy other children of the rich by their simplicity, no airs attached. If we can tremble before the work of nature, why should we not tremble before a man that exemplifies virtue as far as Nigerian politics is concerned? Though some of his brothers out of envy resent him, the awards he has been receiving from across the length and breadth of the world is a clear statement that he represents the best among men. •Obienyem, wrote from Abuja
ELCOME toyour regular column. I started this teaching a fortnight ago. In the first week, I told you that the Bible is the most reliable Book on all-round success. I told you that engaging Biblical principles guarantee outstanding success. I showed you some examples buttressing this truth. Also, I said there are certain forces that are responsible for the success of the saints. These forces empower believers to command breakthroughs and excel in their various endeavours. I considered the first force which empowers us for success - The Power Of Love. Last week, I taught on the second force for success - The Power Of Divine Endowment. Recognize that everyone is gifted in some special ways -- endowment (Matthew 25:15). There is something in you that makes you unique (1 Corinthians 12:47). You must look inwards and identify your talent by the help of the Holy Spirit (Luke 15:7-8). This week, I shall consider yet another force that engenders success in our lives. It is The Power Of Discretion. Discretion is key to outstanding accomplishments (Jeremiah 10:12). From scriptures, we understand that discretion has its source in God. Isaiah 28:26 says:For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. What Is Discretion? Discretion can be defined as divine insight in the approach of any given task. No accomplishment can outgrow the level of discretion at work in one's life. Psalm 112:5 says:A good man sheweth
favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Discretion perpetuates your success into posterity. Without discretion in any given task, failure is inevitable. The Bible paints a graphic picture of Job, who succeeded by trading divine secrets - insight. The Bible says: But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding (Job 32:8). Job was trading divine secrets, which launched him into realms of exploits. Exploits connote unusual accomplishments. Why do we need discretion? We can make inquiries to access discretion. We need discretion in any given task. Discretion will terminate all frustrations, and show us the way forward. Discretion does not just flow; it flows through reasoning in the Holy Ghost (Acts 15:28; Acts 6:3,7). Don't be under pressure; so, allow discretion to be real. We can engage discretion to be free from pressure, frustration and stagnation. We need discretion to conserve energy, resources and time, and you will see how your life will be decorated. How Do We Connect With Discretion? •Inspiration is the gate way to a world of discretion (Job 32:7-8). •By engaging in the prayers of inquiries:There are times we get to points in life, when we don't know what next to do or which way to turn. These are the cross-roads of life. The Bible tells us what to do: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally…(James 1:5). We have often ignored the place of enquiries, which is what gives us access to God's ways. It is the access to the
secret and hidden things of life. You must make enquiries from God, if you really desire the way out of your predicament, for His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). In prayer of enquiry, God shows you what you need to do, in order to get what you are looking for. It then becomes your responsibility to put to work what has been revealed to you. For instance, David was a man of enquiries; so he never suffered any defeat or injuries as a warrior. He had access to divine instructions by prayers of enquiry, and it made a world of difference in his life (2 Samuel 5:17-25). One instruction from heaven can deliver one from a lifetime of struggles. You will no longer suffer injuries in your life. •By being joyful (Isaiah 29:3):When you sing and praise God, discretion is inevitable. •By Word addiction (Hosea 4:6l; Eccl. 10:15): When you become addicted to God's Word, discretion is available, to create the type of future you desire. •Through meditation: We can meditate our way into realms of discretion (Jeremiah 33:3; Daniel 2:16-19). Friend, the power for discretionis for those who are born again. You become born again, by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. If you are set for it, please say this prayer:"Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now, I know I am born again!" I will conclude this teaching next week. We shall be celebrating Christmas on December 25, 2014. Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season! I wish you and your family Happy Christmas! Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, please get my books: Success Button, Success Systemsand Exploring The Secrets Of Success. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
•From left: Rev. Yewande Akintoye Braimoh, Senior Special Adviser on Christian Religious Matters to Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State; Bishop (Mrs.) Chioma Grace Dauji, President and Founder of Great Life Widows' Empowerment programme; Pastor Ray Efe Yugbovwre; Sheik Farouk Umar Usman and His Royal Majesty, Igwe Leonard Ezebuiro. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Cross River 2015: Hatemongers and their desperate antics
Still on 'evidence'
HISDAY Front Page Lead Headline of November 29 welcomes us this week: "Out of control (Out-ofcontrol) Boko Haram kills dozens in Kano Mosque" "FRSC, plate numbers and drivers' licence" (The Guardian Editorial Headline, November 23) Get it right: number-plates "A well deserved (welldeserved) honour" "But we should never lose sight of the fact that like every voracious entrepreneur who has invested billions of dollars on (in) cement plants…." (THISDAY Back Page, November 10) "Credit Bureaux records (record) 26 million registered borrowers" (THISDAY Banner, November 20) "The health workers strike" (The Guardian Editorial Headline, November 27) Conscience, nurtured by truth: workers' strike "Monetary policy committee at crossroads" Get it right: at a/the crossroads "Having served under a military regime…he needs to bath in the Yoruba River for forgiveness." Noun: bath; verb: bathe. "Just before you ponder about this Owerri r e v e l a t i o n … . " (APC…CHANGE, 2015) 'Ponder' may take 'on' or 'over', not 'about'. It's even more economical and elegant to use it without embellishments. "When we hear of people talk about glory…." Get it right: hear of people talking…or hear people talk about glory "Lack of facilities threaten course accreditation at LACOED" The verb here should be singular. "What is good for the goose can equally be said to be good for the gander." What is sauce (not good)… "Expectedly, the debate had centred more around such key.…" 'Centre' takes 'on', 'upon'…never 'around'. "Out of 35 years of the nation's political independence, the military had been on (sic) the leadership saddle for 25years." Democracy In the saddle. FEEDBACK PLEASE note that "evidence" is both countable and uncountable, but, in a law case, we correctly say or write: a piece of evidence/ pieces of evidence, some evidence/ enough evidence/a mass of evidence, etc. We cannot afford to have the mediocre.
The mediocre cannot teach/ communicate is correct. "Reoccur", like "reoccurrence", is Americanism, "bus station" is Briticism while "motor park" is Nigerianism. "Hostguest" is Briticism while "invitor-invitee" is Americanism. Usage is king. Keep smiling! (BAYO O G U N T U A S E , 08056180046) WORDSWORTH is the editor's purgative. I agree with you that politicians run "neck and neck" (not neckto-neck), but may also run "head-to-head". (KOLA DANISA, 07068074257) The "Social Circuit" in THE NATION, December 14, described celebrity stylist Veronica Odeka as "most sort after.…" It should be "sought after" (Credit: as above) THERE is a challenge here. 'Evidence' is both countable and uncountable. (CHARLES IYOHA, 07033775454) "CPC to clampdown on illegal microfinance banks" Phrasal verb: clamp down (two words). "An acknowledged scholar, a distinguished statesman and a team leader per excellence" (Full Page Congratulatory Advert, THISDAY, March 25) Get it right: leader par excellence. "New trends in electioneering campaigns" (THISDAY Banner, November 25) Politics Today: just electioneering or political campaigns. 'Electioneering campaign' is sheer verbiage! 'Electioneering' encompasses campaign and other related electoral issues. "Jega asks SSS to crackdown on violent politicians" (Daily Champion Front Page Headline, November 25) Noun: crackdown; phrasal verb: crack down (which applies here). "Some countries have taken tobacco manufacturers to court for the damages their products cause." The will to die: 'damage' is uncountable, except in reparative applications for indemnity. "With the launching (launch) of the poverty alleviation (a hyphen) programme by the Federal Government, not a few Nigerians desire to see it effectively in place." (THE GUARDIAN, December 19) "…what happened was that somebody filed a writ of summon." (DAILY CHAMPION, November 24) This way (singular): a writ of summons; plural: summonses.
"It is the Federal Board that is always guilty of that, because it is them who take riff-raffs as welfare officers." (Nigerian Tribune, December 19) 'Riff-raff', just like 'stuff', is uncountable. "Modern technology has reduced the world into (to) a hamlet where the inhabitants are their brothers' keepers." This way: brother's keeper (fixed idiom), irrespective of the number of people involved. "The coincidence in the timing of all those sleazy gossips in soft-sell magazines and the beginning of his fashion parade…." 'Gossip', in this context, is uncountable. "More overaged players for youth soccer"(Sunday Tribune, December 14) Get it right: overage players. "Residents of some of the troubled spots in Libya in disarray" (SATURDAY CHAMPION, December 13) Witness to lexical mayhem: trouble spots. "…rummaging all the bags and ransacking every nook and corner." (Source: as above) Stock expression: nook and cranny. Leadership of December 18 disseminated seven improprieties: "The police requires (require) a redeemer who can uplift the Force from the battering it (they) suffered during the long years of militarization." "I inquired from those that appear to know and they said that the president is (was) roaming the country in the name of campaigns." "There is (are) no electricity, no security, no water, no roads, no health facilities in Nigeria." "Foreign companies will be falling over themselves (one another) to come and invest here if we get the 2015 elections right." "...given the lame-duck posture of the opposition parties, the PDP simply held sway from the onset (outset)." "Reactions on (to) the Pope's visit, however successful, were mixed in Egypt, a country inhabited by a predominantly Muslim population." "Prior to the Pope's visit, Egyptian Catholics have (had) opted out of the…." "The first part was published last week Friday." (THE GUARDIAN, November 30) Monday politics: either last Friday or Friday, last week. "Vigilante (vigilance) groups, committed to the enforcement of the by-law, are being set up." "Some of these areas include producing enough food to feed our teaming (teeming) population." Merry Xmas!
HE peace and serenity of Cross River State is being challenged today by those who think that things must either be done their way, go their way or nothing. These are politicians whose pastime has been no other than abuse, name calling and condemnation. They attempt to contrive perilous times for the state. In their contemplation, the debauchery of yesterday must be reinvented. To think that these are men and women of yesterday who saw themselves as demi-gods and goddesses and who broached no opposition while they held sway, are today prancing about attempting to serve to others the same dish they had so much revulsion for. How fast time flies in politics. And how quickly can politicians forget. Since the start of political activities for the next transition in Cross River, the airwaves have been cackling and the press awash with cants from those challenging for the spoils ahead of 2015. Men and women who ordinarily should be role models have condescended to such a base level of name calling, abuse and the deployment of uncouth language against anyone considered as a stumbling block. In the weekend Chronicle of Friday April 2, 2010, I published an article titled – “Between Liyel Imoke and his detractors”. Barely one year after Governor Imoke had assumed office, there were clear indications that some people who were not comfortable with his pedigree and who perceived that their influence on the state was expiring were up to a scheme. While some character contemplated a migration to other parties as speculations were then. Most of us did not like the idea as it would amount to pulling the rug under Imoke’s feet. This article was intended to remind some of these political harlots and jobbers then that such a move was only typical of ambitious people with narcissistic tendencies. I warned in that article that if that development was not halted, men and women of reason would conclude that it amounted to a situation where a man may say because I have drawn water from the well, it can now dry up. The decision of the leadership of the state PDP which was heavily backed by the leader of the party, Governor Liyel Imoke to zone the governorship to the Northern Senatorial District, seemingly threw up a new crop of king makers. Those who never saw anything good about the zone, suddenly realised that it was an orphanage from where they must go for an adoption. This was even
as they deliberately refused to recognize the existence of the zone as an orphanage. This is where the ‘sins’ and political ‘inequities’ of Governor Imoke can rightly be situated: for daring to make the North an exciting orphanage for adoption to take place. However, when that exercise was being pursued by Imoke, we are aware that some people who think that they must now come to limelight to shine were never in complete support of this shift of power. Imoke did it almost single handedly, in case someone is forgetting. While the ongoing series of attacks on the governor can be said to be a consequence or price of his wisdom to give a sense of belonging to the northern part of the state, it is more so for refusing to align with the choice of an adoptee. Our yesterday men and women who would never subscribe to this act of meddlesomeness and would exact appropriate pound of flesh for such audacity have all forged a common front against a sitting governor who has become their ‘Common Enemy Number 1’. Among these political degenerates are those whose political profile would never be complete without the mention of Governor Imoke as a benefactor. From the highest political office to the lowest, they all owe their ascendancy as senators, House of Reps members and as former commissioners to the governor they have suddenly found a common ground to hate. Some of these turncoats have variously at public functions admitting copiously to Governor Imoke having a large heart to accommodate their nuisance values and excesses. How indeed time flies! It is indeed, worrisome and sad, that the same people taking up spaces in the papers and televisions to attack Governor Imoke have so soon forgotten that the level they have reached is where tact and diplomacy is most needed on issues of
politics. When a man or woman has become governor, senator or holding such high national office, he has, as much as I know reached a state to be counted among the pantheons of our national leaders. And at a point, he could even be referred to as elder statesman. But how can you merit this if you do not allow forbearance, wisdom and sanity to prevail? I am worried that for all he has laboured upon over the years to institutionalize in our polity, a few disgruntled and disoriented people could be so unconscionable enough to want to rubbish all on the altar of political expediency and narcissism. Rather than get ready to clap the governor out of dais for having acquitted himself as a servant leader, some of our self-seeking sons and daughters are busy trying to deliver killer punches. I think the governor’s calm mien must have been misread as docility. How wrong can they be! As a leader, we still recall how Imoke, on assumption of office, tried very hard to remain focused on the task ahead of him rather than get distracted by the listlessness of the past which the state is still grappling with today. Whatever is on ground in the state since 2007, when Imoke took over is as a result of his ingenuity. How could anyone have succeeded with an empty treasury? This claim has been justified inadvertently by some of the governor’s haters in the past. They were quoted to have said that “some of our neighbouring states go home every month with about N20 billion from the Federation account while Cross River State goes home with a paltry N2 billion." In this relentless attack on Governor Imoke, while some have cashed in on the opportunity of a governorship aspirant to vent their personal vendetta, others have chosen outright, to make the fight more personal and have openly declared so. However, what is ahead of us is not a fight or warfare. We do not need to trade tackles to achieve our varied aims. We do not need to betray ourselves to the outside world. We do not need to promote hate, otherwise, we would be throwing the state into turmoil and darkness even if we win the election. What we have in front of us is a political struggle to put a worthy and deserving successor to Imoke. I know that Cross Riverians realise this fact and as smart people who cherish their peace, they would reject every attempt by hatemongers to foist themselves on the people. Anything that would dislocate and rupture the peace that Imoke has helped to engender in the state would be unacceptable.
POLITICS EXTRA 73
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Power shift in Plateau: Between Pwajok and Lalong Yusufu Aminu Idegu examines the implication of the emergence of PDP's Senator Gyang Pwajok from Plateau-North and APC's Hon. Simon Bako Lalong from Plateau-South in 2015 governorship election in Plateau State following the campaign for power shift either from the old generation to the younger generation or from the other two zones to Plateau-South which is yet to produce a governor
N the build up to the 2015 general election since the last two years in Plateau State, three fundamental issues were raised by the people to guide the direction of the people and determine their choice for political candidates during the election. The three issues are; rotation of power, based on zoning among the three zones of the state. The second factor was that of power shift to the younger generation. And the third factor was the choice for quality leadership. These three factors have actually served as the political agenda for the people of the state for the past two years. While political stakeholders in Plateau-South and Plateau-Central seem interested in power rotation among the three zones, the people of PlateauNorth are said to be more interested in power shift to younger generation as well as the quality leadership rather than the factor of power rotation among the zones. Plateau State governor, Jonah •Pwajok David Jang, who became governor at the age of 63 was leading the cru- ones serving in his government as sade for power shift to younger his successor. However, those who share the generation. The governor continued to preach the gospel of the same view with Jang joined him younger generation and has prom- and began to advance the course ised that at the end of his tenure, of a younger governor for the he would prefer to hand over to a state. They even set an age limit, younger successor. Jang even insisting that the next governor of promised to groom the younger the state should be those within the age bracket of 40 -49. Accord-
ing to them any governorship aspirants in the state that fall within the age of 50 and above will not have a chance in the state. Notwithstanding, the opposition to power shift to younger generation rose against the movement, they said the only shifting of power they will accept is that which will see power shift from Plateau-North to Plateau-South. The proponents of power shift to Plateau-South said they stand on equal justice, fairness and equity. It was left for the electorates in the state to choose between power shift to Plateau-South and power shift to younger generation. Those who stand for power shift to Plateau-South began to look forward to pick from aspirants from Plateau-South only. At the same time, those who support Jang on the crusade to produce a younger governor began to shop for a vibrant youth who can govern the state. Eventually, the quality of a young mind who is matured enough to govern the state was traced to Senator Gyang
Pwajok, one of the youngest senators currently serving at the upper chamber in the 7th National Assembly. Sources say Pwajok's acceptance as candidate of the youths cut across the three senatorial zones of the state. The youths of the state began to imagine one of their own as governor, a position assumed to be an exclusive right of the older generation. Hence, he seems to be enjoying the support of youths in the state. But this development did not however weaken most elderly people in the state and some other youths who insist that power shift should be a shift to Plateau-South. Notwithstanding their differences, the two opposing groups continued with their ideological struggle up to the time of the primary election. There were 16 governorship aspirants screened and cleared for the primaries of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State. Ten of them were from Plateau-South, four from PlateauCentral and two from PlateauNorth. They are the incumbent deputy governor, Ambassador Ignatius Longjan, Senator Victor Lar, Prof. Longmas Sambo Wapmuk, Engr. Jimmy Cheto, Dr. Joseph Golwa, Hon. Kemi Nshe, Sir Fidelis Tapgun, Dr. Haruna Dabin, Prof. Sunny Tyoden, Mr. Chris Bature, Senator Gyang
How Alhassan emerged Taraba APC flag bearer
Fanen Ihyongo in Jalingo reports on the factors that led to Aisha Jummai Alhassan’s emergence as APC flag bearer in Taraba State.
ANY believe a woman cannot be a state governor in Nigeria. But a female senator representing Northern Taraba, Aisha Jummai Alhassan, is on the verge of proving wrong this gender dogma. She has won an incredible poll, defeating four influential men, to clench the gubernatorial ticket of the most powerful and most consolidated opposition party in the country-the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was an easy cruise for 'powerful' Alhassan, who polled a landslide 2, 425 votes of the total 2, 471 valid
votes cast. The remaining 46 votes were shared among Mohammed Tumba Ibrahim, Yusufu Akirikwen and Julde Suleiman. Chairman of the electoral committee for the APC primaries in Taraba, Kola Shittu, described the election, which was held at the Jolly Nyame Sports Complex, as "free, fair and transparent." The outcome of poll was not totally ridiculous. It was her hard work and philanthropy that paid. Mrs. Alhassan, a lawyer, is arguably the finest politician in
Nyam Shom Pwajok, Rt. Hon, Clark Dabwan, Hon. Nandom Pyenap, Chief Godfrey Miri, Arch John Alkali, etc. Ironically, the large number of aspirants was an added advantage to Pwajok. This was because, while he had all the delegates of his zone to himself, aspirants from the other zones had to share their delegates. It was then understandably projected by political followers that Pwajok was already coasting to victory in the primaries even before the primary election commenced. The chance of Pwajok in the primary became even brighter when it was discovered that those advocating that the governorship candidate should emerge from Plateau-South failed in their plan to come to the primary with a consensus aspirant that will face Pwajok in the contest. All of them converged at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, venue of the PDP primary for the election. As would be expected, when the results were declared after the voting, Pwajok polled 434 votes to defeat his closest rival, Ambas Ignatius Longjan who got 168 votes. John Clark got seven (7) votes, Senator Vitor Lar scored 109 votes, Chris Bature got five (5) votes, Fidelis Tapgun scored one (1), Arch John Alkali, three (3) votes, Prof. Sonny Tyoden, seven (7) votes, Nabasu 10, Engr Jimmy Cheto got zero, Nandom Pyenap got one (1), Kemi Nshe 31, Godfrey Samson Miri, (four) 4, Dr Joseph Golwa two (2) while Prof Longmas Wapmut got zero vote. However, Senator Pwajok is going into the main election in 2015 with the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the former Speaker of Plateau-State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong. The APC flag bearer is from Plateau-South. So, it is left for those proposing power shift to Plateau-South to elect him in the main election. But with the resolve of youths of the state who have already adopted Senator Pwajok as their governor, it will be difficult to push for any other candidate using the zoning factor. It all appeared the people of Plateau state have decided.
Taraba State. She became senator on the platform of the PDP but she decamped to the opposition party to realise her ambition. Even in the PDP, then largely regarded as a political neophyte, Alhassan floored a serving senator, Anthony Manzo, to clinch the ruling party's senatorial ticket. At the general election, she crushed former Governor Jolly Nyame who was fielded by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Alhassan, who may had foreseen today's scenario, was prompt to join the league of senators who defected to the opposition when the PDP became polarised. Winning the APC ticket, she thanked delegates for the mandate given her. She extended the olive branch to her opponents who she described as gallant losers. The APC standard bearer called on her supporters and the entire people of the state to vote APC at the general elections in order to "erode PDP" from power. She accused the ruling party of failing the people and country. "PDP should not be allowed to continue in office in 2015," she crusaded. She told newsmen: "The primary purpose of government is to take care of the people and protect their lives and property. But under PDP rein, the people are dying in poverty; their children cannot go to school and there is no infrastructural development to show." Alhassan was the first female Commissioner of Justice and Attorney- General of the state, first female Registrar, Abuja FCT and first female senator in Taraba State before winning an incredible poll to become the first governorship candidate in the north-eastern geo-political zone. While she awaits the emergence of her opponent from the ruling party, Alhassan appears unstoppable. While the infighting in PDP continues, Alhassan has continued to nurture the broom party, which is effectively growing and consolidating its hold in Taraba State. She has often said she would be voted the first female governor in Nigeria.
O many political pundits who gauged Enugu's volatile political temperature in the run up to the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) congresses and primary elections, the state was one potential flashpoint, a disaster waiting to happen. Their permutations could not be faulted given the rising political tension occasioned by the fierce power contest between forces loyal to Governor Sullivan Chime and the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. However, the PDP congresses and primary elections have come and gone, and Enugu State, especially the PDP, remains one, peaceful, and waxes stronger. The greatest credit goes to the big masquerades who opted for dialogue and sacrifice to move both the state and party forward. I was moved seeing Chime surrender his senatorial ambition to allow Ekweremadu, who has higher prospects in the legislature to continue his good work as a tested hand. There are those who say that he had no choice having been outwitted in the struggle for structures for the primary election by the Ekweremadu group. But I totally disagree. He could have opted for another party as rumoured and that would have caused the PDP a lot of trouble. Again, I was even moved all the more watching Ekweremadu on TV dedicate his second term PDP ticket to Sullivan Chime. Virtually all the other gubernatorial candidates, like Chinedu Onu and Anayo Onwuegbu, withdrew from the race in support of the highly favoured candidature of Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; even the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Eugene who went the whole length, but lost to Ugwuanyi never complained about the process. All these are acts of political maturity uncommon in our clime. It is against this background that PDP supporters in Enugu were taken aback when Senator Ayogu Eze, a few minutes into governorship primary election at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, took to the media to declare himself Enugu PDP governorship candidate. Finding faults with the delegates list, which he claimed was not the same one “certified” by a Federal High Court in Abuja, Senator Ayogu Eze said: “I was heading to the venue of the primary election when these frustrated delegates called me to address them at Filbon Hotel, New Haven, Enugu, where they had already assembled to ponder their next move. “Once I arrived at the venue they insisted they must conduct the primary. They went ahead to elect me the PDP candidate. “The electoral panel commenced their work at the so-called primary election venue…They filled the stadium, venue of the supposed primary election, with non party members. It was an assemblage of passersby, touts, cheerleaders and office messengers who were hurriedly railroaded to the venue as a face saving measure”. With due respect to Senator Eze, his polemics and tales are rather condescending and unbefitting. At least, even if his incredible tales deceives a few, critical minds and party faithful who were at the primary election venue could not be deceived. One, he admitted that he was “heading to the venue of the primary election when…” Thus, he is in agreement that there was only one official venue recognised by the state and national PDP, the INEC, delegates and other key participants enunciated in the PDP constitution, the Electoral Act, and the 1999 constitution. This naturally explains why PDP National Electoral Panel, led by King Asara Asara, the INEC observation team, led by its Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu State, and bonafide dele-
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Enugu 2015: Why Ayogu Eze has no case
•Eze By Desmond Ekwe
present. The statutory delegates of the Enugu State Chapter of the PDP, includgates were all present at the Nnamdi ing Governor Sullivan Chime and Deputy Azikiwe Stadium rather than Filbon Hotel Governor Ifeanyi Nwoye, the Deputy Sento perform their respective roles climax- ate President, Ike Ekweremadu, all ing in the emergence of Hon. Ifeanyi National Assembly members of Enugu Ugwuanyi as the party's governorship State extraction (with the exception of Senelection candidate with 937 out of the 983 ator Ayogu) as well as the members of the votes cast. Enugu State House of Assembly, led by On the other hand, I am not aware that the Speaker who was a gubernatorial aspithe 1999 Constitution or the Electoral Act rant, Hon. Eugene. Other statutory deleor the PDP Constitution permits delegates gates who participated in the primary electo conduct primary elections, even if you tion include all the local government counclaim they are the “authentic delegates”. cil chairmen and local government party This validates the critical questions raised chairmen; Board of Trustee members, by the Enugu PDP denouncing Ayogu including the former National Chairman Eze. It questioned: “Since the bodies of the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, and authorised by the party, the 1999 Consti- other big wigs. I personally saw Chief tution, and the Electoral Act 2010 to Anayo Onwuegbu and Hon. Chinedu organise/supervise/observe primary Onu, who had earlier withdrawn from the elections were all absent, which ballot race and endorsed Ugwuanyi. This array papers, result sheets, and certificate of of respected men and women do not return did Senator Ayogu Eze use? “Who appear to me as touts or people who certified and accredited the delegates? Do would all congregate with touts. I chalour laws, party constitution and guide- lenge Ayogu Eze to name just one statulines for primary elections permit aspi- tory delegate or State exco present at his rants to just assemble a handful of rented 15-minute charade. passers-by to assume both the roles of deleOn the list of delegates, I believe the gates, election organisers, returning offi- PDP, being a law-abiding and responsible cers, INEC, etc. and declare themselves organisation, must have taken all legal winners?” and political imperatives into considerIt also beats my imagination how ation before sending the panel on the Ayogu Eze could describe a gathering of assignment with a list of delegates. It who-is-who in Enugu PDP as “an assem- could not have used any illegal list. blage of passersby, touts, cheerleaders Rather, the panel mitigated the confusion and office messengers who were hur- and anarchy that would have ensued. riedly railroaded to the venue as a face sav- Imagine a situation where the King Asaraing measure”. The State Chairman of the led panel had accepted and worked with party, who has the power to convene a con- lists from other candidates rather the gress of the party as well as his deputy and authentic one handed them by the party, all the state Executive Committees were
which, by the way, sent them on the assignment. The reason appeal panels are set up is t o a d d r e s s g r i e v a n c e s , m a king/recommending redresses where necessary. Thus, the responsible step Ayogu Eze should have taken was to participate in the primary election and thereafter petition PDP's Appeal Panel for the Enugu gubernatorial primary election, rather than run to the media to impugn a party that has brought him fortune and power since 1998. As it stands now, Ayogu Eze has no case and is certainly pushing his luck too far by dragging the party to the court. The position of the law is that to contest the outcome of a primary election, you must have participated in the said election. He has already admitted that he did not. A panel constituted by the NWC of the party must conduct the primary election at a designated venue presided over by the party. It must also be observed by the INEC. Ayogu Eze's hotel charade did not meet any of the conditions. So, there is nothing like parallel primary. It is either a primary election or a charade. Worse for him, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has already established in Senator Lado v. Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) that where there are two purported primaries, the court lacks the jurisdiction to choose for the party. It is entirely the party's business. Now, tell me, will the PDP jettison the primary conducted by its panel and state excos and attended by all its statutory and ad-hoc delegates and observed by the INEC for one purportedly conducted by mere passersby at an illegal venue? Already, the Enugu Chapter of the party has petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, alleging that Ayogu Eze forged the PDP result sheets he filed in the suit he instituted against the PDP and Ugwuanyi at a Federal High Court, Abuja. Providing graphic descriptions to support its case, the state party chairman, urged the police to “investigate the facts stated and therefore take necessary steps to arrest and prosecute Senator Ayogu Eze for altering and forgery of PDP result sheet in accordance with the dictates of the law”. Political sagacity entails knowing when to stop, whether in victory or in defeat. It entails magnanimity in victory and sportsmanship in defeat. My humble take is that the longer Ayogu drags this, the more he losses relevance and sympathetic considerations in the scheme of things as well as the chances to cut a good political deal. It is sad that he has already thrown away the opportunity of returning to the senate, flatly refusing a return ticket reportedly facilitated by Ekweremadu, Senator David Mark, and some national leaders of the party before the primaries. It was a good soft-landing, by my calculations, especially given that he is no match to Ugwuanyi in terms of goodwill and acceptance by masses and political bigwigs in Enugu. Can Ayogu stop pushing his luck too far? – Desmond Ekwe lives in Enugu
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
CHANGE CHANGE OF OF NAME NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
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CORRECTION OF NAME I AKANMU SELIMOT TITILAYO, that I sat for Neco June/July 2012 with Examination No.: 23815760BA and my name was registered as AKANMU SELIMOT, that AKANMU SELIMOT is the same person as AKANMU SELIMOT TITILAYO. AKANMU SELIMOT TITILAYO is my my rightful name. All the documents that bears the two names remain valid. Osun State Polytechnic Iree and general public should take note.
I LASISI JAMIU OLAOLUWA, that I sat for Neco June/July 2011 with Examination No.: 21627245BD and my name was erroneously spelt as LASISI JAMIU OLUWAFEMI, that LASISI JAMIU OLUWAFEMI is the same person as LASISI JAMIU OLAOLUWA and my rightful name is LASISI JAMIU OLAOLUWA. All the documents that bears the two names is the same person and remain valid. Osun State Polytechnic Iree and general public should please take note.
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CORRECTION OF NAME
CORRECTION OF NAME I ALAGBE CHRISTIANAH OMOWUMI, that I sat for jamb 2014 with registration no.: 47182842IC and my name was registered as ALAGBE OMOWUMI O. and my name was also registered in my NOTICE OF ADMISSION at OSOPLY, Iree as ALAGBE OMOWUMI O., that ALAGBE OMOWUMI O is the same person as ALAGBE CHRISTIANAH OMOWUMI, that ALAGBE CHRISTIANAH OMOWUMI is my rightful name all document bearing the two names still remain valid. Osun State Polytechnic Iree and general public should please take note.
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Uduaghan advocates removal of teachers’ salary from LGs
ELTA State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has advocated for increased revenue an local government councils or the removal of the burden of payment of teachers’ salaries. Uduaghan, who made this remarks while declaring open a two-day orientation workshop for newly inaugurated local government chairmen, vice-chairmen, secretaries, heads of personnel management and treasurers of the local government councils in Delta State, expressed faith in the local governments fulfilling their roles if enabling legal and institutional framework to operate are provided. According to him, a situation whereby salaries of primary school teachers gulp more than 60 per cent of revenues accruing to the local government leave the councils with little or nothing for development purposes after the payment of salaries of local government staff. U d u a g h a n emphasised that for local government councils to survive, the federal government should remove payment of teachers’ salaries from the burden of local government, or in the alternative, increase their revenue allocations from the Federation Account. He said: “I am a very strong advocate of removing the salaries of primary school teachers from local governments, because over 60 percent of revenue of local government is spent on the payment of teachers’ salaries. “You have to pay staff salaries, which gulp over 30 percent and you are left with less than five percent
From Aiwerie Okungbowa, Asaba
for other developmental projects and for us to hold local government councils accountable and to ensure that this system of government that is closest to the grassroots works, there has to be more money available to them through increased allocation from the Federation Account.” He also suggested that local government councils be engaged in revenue drive to shore up their funds, especially with the fall in the price of oil which has affected the revenue of the Federation Account, adding that the Delta Beyond Oil initiative of his administration should be imbibed by all the councils to enable them rely less on allocations from the federal government. Dr Uduaghan explained that the seminar was to prepare the council administrators to face the reality and challenges of governing the third tier of government and urged the participants to ensure harmonious relationship at the local government levels, stressing the need for harmony among elected officials on the one hand and harmony between them and civil servants at the councils. The state Commissioner for Local Government, Dr. Ben Iweze, and the Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Comrade Olumami Oyibo, represented by Mr. Paul Uwechue, in their separate remarks, expressed the hope that the seminar will give the participants the needed knowledge to discharge their duties and enhance service delivery to the people.
Book on infertility, ‘Just A Season’, launched
new book, ‘Just a Season,’ which focuses on the many challenges of infertility, has been launched in Lagos. The event held at the Anglican Church of the Ascension, Lagos. In her welcome address, the author, Mrs. Kemi Faloye, said her personal experiences of suffering 11 miscarriages served as her inspiration for writing the book. She said: “In the book, I share openly about the emotions that come with challenges when you are trying to have a child and you cannot and I also share how I was able to overcome my problems with my faith in God. I also talk about the expectations of the comments from the society. I got married in 2006. I had the miscarriages between 2007 and 2010. I was pregnant with my son in 2011. So it was a period of five years.”
By Chinasa Ekekwe
In the book, which is published by Grace House Publishing Limited, Faloye advised against the stigmatisation of couples with infertility challenges, saying that they should rather be encouraged. Faloye added, “The book is a source of encouragement to people in the society especially couples with the problem that at the end of the tunnel, there is a glimmer of light. As long as one does not give up, the problem will pass away.” Speaking on the challenges she encountered while writing the book, Faloye, who is a lawyer, said being a nursing mother, who was running her master’s degree programme and also working full-time, it was her determination that saw her through the period.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
By Olubanwo Fagbemi
email@example.com 08060343214 (SMS only)
A twenty-first century guide •For Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013)
CHEEK BY JOWL
In honour of Nelson Mandela, the writer cites qualities that describe the anti-apartheid icon and fellow greats in the hope that they inspire everyone else. NELSON Mandela may have been more famous in old age, following his release from 27 years in prison, but he started the anti-apartheid struggle while young. By his 20s, his fate was more or less sealed. Non-whites in South Africa needed release from suppression of their rights and someone had to lead the resistance. Cometh the hour, cometh Mandela. Now, in your quest for greatness or relevance at least, how many great books have you read; of memorable men and mighty means; of valour and integrity; of value and patriotism? There isn’t really much time left to make your mark. A life isn’t very long. Begin to accumulate knowledge and a wealth of ideas without submitting to greed or gluttony. As long as it doesn’t turn into habit or vice, there is nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence though. But if your habits prevent you from fulfilling your potential, you need to apply restraint or self-control. It’s your life, and you’ve got to fight for it. But fight, like American civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jnr, for what is right. Fight, like India legend Mahatma Ghandi, for a just cause. Fight, like Britain’s war era leader Sir Winston Churchill and France’s postwar president Charles DeGaulle, for the necessary. Fight, indeed, for your loved ones and let them know how much you care. Begin today whatever you need to do in life. You are ‘too old’ to start, you say? Unlike Alexander the Great to whom he compared himself at about 30, Julius Caesar was relatively unknown, but he soon managed the pantheon of greats with military feats that as well spanned old world frontiers. Like the greatest of men, you’ll find that the sacrifices you make today pay off tomorrow. If you crave higher qualification, a personal business or a nice, cozy bungalow, then be prepared to put in the requisite shift. The best things in life start with a dream and commitment to its actualisation. Be prepared to dedicate a few years of your life now so that you can spend the rest of your life living like you want to. Delay is dangerous. You can’t afford to be a slave to yesterday. Do something now that you will be thankful for in the future. But what if you fail? Well, what if you never try? Good things come to those who hope in the face of serial disappointment. Failure leaves a bitter taste but you must soldier on: walk even if you are hobbled, run even when held back and leap even where it’s hazardous. Leave no room for regret, for the past cannot be changed. Take it all on the chin and keep moving, as the darkest hour is just before the dawn. Remember that life is filled with temptations. The more you accomplish, the more you encounter ‘juicy’ but corrupt deals, quick gains and passing pleasures. Many succumb to these, and those who do find victory pyrrhic. Cheat not, therefore. Work hard and ensure that you bring honesty and integrity into your dealings. Promise no more than you can give. And if you can, give more than expected. To help withstand the challenges of life, however, tap into a reservoir of wellbeing. Feel good about yourself subject to the approval of none. For a healthy relationship with others, you need to first have a healthy relationship with yourself. Then do to others as you would be done by. You enhance personal and social capital thus. Friends, family and colleagues enrich your life in many ways, but at the point where you realise that your happiness depends completely on another, you must embark on critical self-examination. Compare yourself to no one. Focus on your goals. Shun jealousy, slander, pretence and covetousness. Be modest in possession of wealth and knowledge. It pays, always. Never forget that actions speak louder than words. You will meet people who say the right words at the right times but fail to carry through with the right actions at the right time. Since individuals differ in background and behaviour as well as intellect, your task is to anticipate actions so that you can adjust expectations and fulfill obligations regardless of stimuli and response. Now, is the weather too harsh for you? You can’t stand the heat or Harmattan? There is a time and place for all things, you know. To take your proper place in the universe, befriend the elements. Be a man for all seasons, literally and figuratively. It’s not easy to be happy with pain, psychological or physical, but listen – even if you’ve heard this before – there is no gain without pain. You fall, you rise, yet you fall again. So what? Mistakes occur in practice en route to perfection. You’ve been hurt and ‘can’t bear to let it happen again’? Oh yes, you can. You live and learn. If laughter is the best medicine and love the greatest elixir, time is the supreme healer. Trouble and pain dissipate with time to leave you wiser and stronger, as long as you continually reference the past to carve a better future.
QUOTE No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men. —Thomas Carlyle
Jokes Humour Toothless Dog A HOUND dog lays in the yard of a house and an old man in overalls sits on the verandah. “Excuse me, sir, but does your dog bite?” a jogger asks. The old man looks over his newspaper and says, “No.” As soon as the jogger enters the yard, the dog begins snarling and growling, and goes for the jogger’s legs. The jogger flails around in the yard and yells. “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite!” The old man mutters. “It’s not my dog.” Beer Brothers A MAN walks into a bar somewhere in Nigeria and orders three beers. The barman brings him the three beers, and the customer proceeds to alternately sip one beer, then the other, then the third, until they’re gone. He orders three more and the barman says, “Sir, I know you like them cold, so you can start with one, and I’ll bring you a fresh one as soon as you’re low.” The man says, “You don’t understand. I have two brothers, one in America and one
in China. We made a vow to each other that every Saturday night, we’d still drink together. So right now, my brothers have three beers, too, and we’re drinking together.” The barman thinks it’s a wonderful tradition, and every week he sets up the guy’s three beers. Then one week, the man comes in and orders only two. He drinks them and then orders two more. Rather sad, the barman says, “Knowing your tradition, I’d just like to just say that I’m sorry you’ve lost a brother.” The man says, “Oh, my brothers are fine. I just quit drinking.” Not Ready A GUY walks into a bar and asks for a beer. He downs it, looks into his pocket and asks for another beer. He drops that too, looks into his pocket and asks for another. The man does this a few more times until the barman asks, “How come you ask for a beer, gulp it, then look in your pocket?” The man says, “Because there is a picture of my wife in my pocket and I’m going to keep drinking until she looks good enough for me to go home.” •Adapted from the Internet
Writer ’s Fountain RITING BRIEFS: Writing 202— Useful tips: Do you want to paint by copying the masters. Introduce your main characters and themes not write a fantasy or science fiction or romance? Then later than the first third of your novel. If you are read. To improve, you must read widely and with writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all discrimination. Bad writing is contagious. Finding your major themes/plot elements are introduced a book or medium of information with concise in the first third, which you can call the introduction. grammar is as important as the resolve to read. Develop your themes and characters in your Stop reading everything in the particular genre second third, the development. Resolve your you are interested in and start reading everything themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the else in literature. Decide when in the day (or night) resolution. If possible, have something happening it best suits you to write, and organise your life in the story while your characters philosophise or accordingly. deliver some exposition. This helps retain dramatic Think with your senses as well as your brain. tension. See miracles in the ordinary. Write for tomorrow, Use the carrot and stick method – have not for today. Find an author you admire and characters pursued by an obsession or a villain copy his or her plots and characters in order to tell while they pursue an idea, object, person, or your own story, just as people learn to draw and mystery. In the end, don’t just plan to write – write. It is Uncommon notes: only by writing, not dreaming about it, that you •To invent dynamite, Alfred Nobel (after develop a unique style. Write what you need to whom the Nobel Prize is named) used a write, not what is popular or what you think will cellulose adhesive (nitrocellulose) as the sell. That way, you are unlikely to be someday chemical binder for nitroglycerin. referred to as a fluke or flash in the pan. •A diamond is the hardest natural substance, Open your mind to new experiences, hence the phrase ‘diamonds are forever’. particularly the study of other people. Remember, •An animal epidemic is called an epizootic. nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, •Autopsy on animals is called ‘necropsy’ . however tragic – is ever wasted.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014
Plateau stakeholders differ over governorship primary
Reject monetary inducement, Buhari’s supporters tell Nigerians By Tony Akowe, Abuja
UPPORTERS of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, want Nigerians to put aside the politics of monetary inducement and elect a new set of leaders that will bring the desired change to the nation in the forthcoming general election. The supporters, under the auspices of Buhari Friends Organisation Network said the former Head of State stands as the only man with the right quality and integrity to deliver the nation from its present challenges. In a statement signed by its National Co-ordinator, Saint Athanasius Okon, the group said that even though Buhari has no money to offer anybody, he has what is more than money to offer Nigerians. While commending the All progressives Congress (APC) for giving the retired Army General its presidential ticket, the group said “Buhari has no money to offer but by the grace of God, he has what is more than money to offer Nigeria, which we are all yearning for, including the unborn children in their mothers’ wombs. You can buy almost everything on the surface of the earth, but certainly not integrity, wisdom, courage, discipline and selfless features, etc. With peculiar circumstances and challenges, occasioned by the past and present selfish political rulers, we need leaders this time around, as we are tired of rulers that are selfish and heavily corrupt. We are tired of pseudo politicians and pretenders that masquerade themselves in the corridors of powers, who claim to be democrats.”
Ex-Ondo HOS joins APC From Damisi Ojo, Akure
ORMER Head of Service (HoS) in Ondo State, Mr. Ajose Ikudehinbu, has joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). According to the seasoned technocrat, who is from the riverine Ilaje local government area of the State, the party remains the best option for the people of the state and Nigeria. Kudehinbu, a lawyer, in a statement he personally signed, said, “In order that our tomorrow may yet be better than today, therefore, I have resolved to pitch my tent with the APC, so far the only major political party-in its different manifestations-that is yet to prove its mettle in the politics of Ondo State. The APC remains for now the political destination of choice in our state.”
From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos
•The Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Province, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma (2nd right), Bishop Amos Madu (right), Bishop Afam Ugwu, Bishop Aneke, Bishop Ibeagha and Bishop Olinya…….at the weekend. PHOTO: OBI CLETUS
Odi boils over compensation O sharing formula DI, the community in K o l o k u m a Opokumam Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, invaded by the military in 1999 under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has again suffered violent protest over issues bordering on the sharing formula of the N15billion compensation. It was gathered that out of the N35billion the court ordered the federal government to pay Odi as compensation for the invasion, the community had been paid N15billion. It was learnt that 40 per cent of the paid sum was deducted as legal fees by the consortium of lawyers hired by the community to prosecute the matter. But the sharing formula of the 60 per cent balance was said to have pitted the youths against the community leaders. Angry youths, it was learnt yesterday, attacked the deputy traditional head of the community, Chief Ebitimi Karuiru, and other chiefs in the community with machetes following alle-
•Angry youths attack traditional ruler, chiefs From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
gations of discrepancies in the sharing formula. The youths were said to have accused the Odi Invasion Case Committee headed by some prominent indigenes of being the brains behind the disappearance of over N600million of the money. The youths were said to be angry that the humongous sum was allegedly deducted from the money by members of the committee as payment for their efforts in securing the judgment. It was gathered that Karouiru was attacked at his home in Odi with machete and that his car was set ablaze. The youths, who were said to have marched the streets naked, demanded the heads of chiefs and notable government
officials who shared the N600million. Eyewitnesses said that the youths bared it all, moved to the burial site of the victims of the 1999 invasion and invoked curses on persons accused of diverting the money. A team of armed mobile policemen were said to have been deployed to the community to maintain law and order. The committee was said to be made up of signatories to the N15billion Federal Government Funds. It was gathered that out of the missing N600million, the sum of N300million had been recovered while the balance was expected to be refunded by the committee. It was further gathered that the state government through the office of the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah
(retd), had demanded for the list of persons who diverted the money. Jonah was said to have intervened in the matter at a meeting which had the community leaders and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Col. Bernard Kenebai (retd), and others in attendance. A source at the meeting, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak, said: “The issue of the sharing of the money has become a major issue in the community. If not for the intervention of the state, the Odi community would have burnt again. “At the meeting convened by the State Government, it was agreed that representatives of the women and the youths should be included for wider representation. “It was also agreed that the signatories should be changed and that N9billion should be domiciled in a special account pending the resolution of the issues.”
Why we restructured, by nahco aviance
HE Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (nahco aviance) has explained that the need to realign its human resource to enable it move to the next level necessitated the recent restructuring in the company. In a statement issued by its Manager, Corporate Communications and Branding, Mr. Tayo Ajakaye, in Lagos, the company explained that the exercise was carried out in order to reposition the company for a more dominant role in the Nigerian aviation industry. The recent layoff of some staff of the company, the statement said, was insignificant, even as the workers’ union were carried along during the process. About 11 managerial staff, Ajakaye dis-
By Remi Adelowo
closed, were affected in the process. The company’s spokesman recalled that between September 12 and 14 this year, a retreat was held by the senior management of the company with Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) on the board’s decision to reposition the company for emerging opportunities in the sector. At the retreat, it was agreed that the company was top heavy and that there was the need to trim down its managerial cadre to enable the company to respond positively to strategic in-
vestments by its shareholders. Ajakaye said it was on the basis of this that some of the managerial staff was disengaged after a befitting severance package had been agreed on with the unions. Ajakaye denied insinuations that 11 staff were sacked, pointing out that a few of them were redeployed to other units where their services would be more relevant to the company. The affected staff, the statement added, however, opted to resign. Debunking some recent uncomplimentary reports about the company in some national newspapers, Ajakaye said some staff that were allegedly disengaged are still in the service of the company. He maintained that before
the decision to let go was finally arrived, the files of the concerned staff were looked into, which revealed that a few of them were offered illegal employment while one or two others have disciplinary issues. Assuring that there is no threat to the prevailing peace in the company, Ajakaye said the current pre-occupation of the management and staff of the company is the clearance of the backlog of cargo in the tarmac and its warehouse, which was occasioned by the closure of the warehouse for two weeks by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The restructuring of the company, Ajakaye said, is ongoing, but added that no staff would be disengaged in the next phase of the exercise.
HE controversy arising over the outcome of the governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, which produced Senator Gyang Pwajok, is yet to abate. Twelve of the 16 aspirants that contested the governorship primaries are asking the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, and the election appeal panel to reject the result of the said primary election, alleging that the process was marred with irregularities. The aggrieved aspirants who addressed journalists in Jos, the state capital, further alleged that the election was not conducted according to the party guidelines in favour of Governor Jonah Jang’s favoured candidate. The petition to the appeal panel was signed by Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun, Dr Haruna Dabin, Senator Victor Lar, Arch. John Alkali, Engr. Jimmy Cheto, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, and Apostle Chris Bature on behalf of the 12 aspirants. However, a coalition of youths in Plateau State has described the emergence of Senator Gyang Pwajok as the PDP governorship candidate as the best development in the state’s political history. According to the Coalition of Young Redemption Advocate (CYRA), the PDP national leadership should ignore calls by the defeated aspirants for the cancellation of the primaries, while declaring their total support for Pwajok. The media relations officer of the group, Hon. Abubakar Kanam, who read the text of the briefing, said, “The youths had earlier adopted Senator Pwajok as our governor come 2015. And now that he has emerged as the PDP governorship flag bearer, we will mobilise other stakeholders in the state to support him in 2015. “We are calling on all those who competed with him in the primaries to join us in supporting him because Senator Pwajok, no doubt, possesses the best leadership qualities to govern the state. The group also commended Governor Jang for supporting power shift to the younger generation. Similarly, another group, Plateau Youths Patriotic Front has , expressed its readiness to resist any attempt by anyone to cancel the result of the PDP governorship primaries, which produced Pwajok.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
SPORTS THE NATION ON SUNDAY
Lobi striker dies in accident
DECEMBER 21, 2014
IGERIAN Glo Premier League side, Lobi Stars, have received devastating news in that striker Sarki Audu was killed in a car crash on Saturday. Audu was en-route to Bauchi from his home in Yobe with his wife and daughter when the accident occurred. Lobi Stars club official Ganiyu Adeleke confirmed the sad news to the SuperSport website. "We received the unfortunate news this morning of the death of Seriki Audu. He was driving from Yobe State, his base, with his family, wife and daughter.
Results Man City 3 - 0 C/ Palace Aston Villa 1 - 1 Man United Hull City 0 - 1 Swansea City QPR 3 - 2 West Brom Southampton 3 - 0 Everton Tottenham 2 - 1 Burnley West Ham 2 - 0 Leicester
Quadri, Balogun bag Oyo SWAN award
S the Oyo State Chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) celebrated its annual week which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the body, some eminent Nigerians that have contributed immensely to the growth of sport in the country were singled out for honour. The Chairman Technical Committee for Nigeria Police Games who doubles as the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, CP Kola Sodipo, was among the recipients of Gold Merit Award in an event held on Thursday 18th at D'Rovans Hotel, ring-road, Ibadan. Other awardees included Alhaji Muritala Odesola, CEO of Allah's Will Steel Construction who had been a grassroots football promoter for more than a decade. Prince Akeem Adeyemi, Caretaker Chairman of Atiba Local Government that established and sponsored Atiba United from the Nationwide to Nigeria National League division one, Rasheed Balogun the General Manager of the newly promoted 3SC who bagged Club Manager of the Year.
3000 athletes for Aba Half Marathon
ore than 3000 local, national and international athletes were expected to participate in the 2nd edition of the Aba half marathon scheduled to hold in Aba, the Abia State commercial nerve centre today. According to organisers of the event, Saturn Communications, owners of Magic fm radio station, accreditation and screening of participants began on Thursday and will last through Saturday, adding that arrangements for logistics have been concluded to ensure that the competition would be successful.
Manchester City's David Silva (C) shoots to score a goal against Crystal Palace
Arsenal targets top four at Anfield A
RSENAL will be looking to take advantage of a despondent Liverpool and climb into the Premier League's top four when they travel to Anfield on Sunday. The Reds were expected to launch another raid on the top-flight title this term after finishing last season as
runners-up, where they ended the campaign just two points behind champions Manchester City. However, Brendan Rodgers' men have failed to come even close to replicating that form, with last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Manchester United leaving the Merseysiders 11th in the
standings, already seven points off the pace of the top four. The Gunners, meanwhile, have also been far from consistent, although they sit just two points adrift of fourth after hammering high-flying Newcastle 4-1 last Saturday. That result marked the second successive game that
Surulere FC petitions Council Manager
crisis is again brewing in the Surulere Local Government following a petition against Council Manager, Mrs. Basirat Akinsanya, by officials and players of Surulere Football Club. A copy of the petition, made available to Sports Extra, indicted the Council Manager for stoppage of their salary and allowances, since October, when the erstwhile chairman, Hon. Tajudeen Ajide, vacated the office after finishing his term. Jointly signed by the club's Team Manager, Tajudeen Disu, Chief Coach, Peter Nieketen, and Captain of the club, Azeez Adamu, the petition letter read: “We are officials and players of Surulere (Sports City) Football Club engaged by the immediate past administration of Surulere Local Government under the leadership of Hon. Tajudeen Ajide from January 2013 and October, 2014 and we have been received monthly salaries. However, since the Council Manager took charge of the LG, we have continued to represent the council, yet as we speak, and in spite of our achievements, which has placed Surulere Local Government as truly Sport City, we are being owed six match allowances and two months' salary, which the current council manager has refused to pay. And to add to
....over unpaid salary, bonuses By Taiwo Alimi
our woes, we are being told in the second week of December, 2014 that our salaries have been stopped with effect from November 2014 by the council manager, Mrs. Basirat Akinsanya.” According to Disu, the LG owes them a staggering N1.7million in total. “We are talking here of about 25 players, and four officials, who have sacrificed their time and efforts to making Surulere LG the number one sports council in the state. Christmas is in a few days and we are being told that we cannot get our money. Most of our players are youths who have been meaningfully engaged and led away from crime, we are indeed calling on Council Manager to come to our aid now.” Chief Coach Nieketen informed that the team has in the past two years represented the LG in several football competitions and won trophies/prize monies. Among them are 2013 next titans invitational tournament cup with cash prize of N600,000, 2013 Ramadan Cup, 2013 Lagos Speaker cup with cash prize of N500,000, 2013/2014 Lagos Junior League Trophy with cash prize of N1 Million, 2014 Senator Adefuye Cup, 2014
Ramadan Cup, and 2014 Silver Medalists, Lagos State, Sport Festival (IBILE Games). “Right now, the team trains thrice a week at Coker Pitch and play friendly matches in preparation for the forthcoming 2014 Lagos Speaker Cup third place match and commencement of Lagos Junior League, we don't know why the Council Manager is interested in stopping this lofty achievements started by Hon Ajide,” he queried. Team captain Adamu also made special appeal to Mrs Akinsanya. When contacted, the Council Manager said she cannot pay workers she has not seen. “How do you want me to pay people I have not seen since I assumed leadership of the Council? I cannot pay people I don't see.” The petition was copied to the chairman, committee on local government, Hon. Moshood Osun; National Vice chairman of APC, Hon. Pius Akinyerule; Lagos State House of Assembly; House Committee on Sports; Lagos State Commissioner for Sports; former Chairman Surulere Local Government, Hon Taju Ajide; Senator Remi Tinubu; Lagos State Governor, Raji Fashola and APC National Leader Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Arsene Wenger's men found the back of the net four times, having dispatched Galatasaray by the same scoreline to end their Champions League group campaign on a high ahead of next year's last-16 clash against Monaco. On the team front, Liverpool will hand a late fitness test to Dejan Lovren (groin), but John Flanagan (knee), Glen Johnson (groin), Daniel Sturridge (thigh) and Suso (groin) are all out.
T h e G u n n e r s , meanwhile, continue suffering from a club-wide injury plague, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, (both groin) and Nacho Monreal (ankle) all doubtful, while Mikel Arteta (calf), David Ospina (thigh), Laurent Koscielny (calf), Mesut Ozil (knee), A a r o n R a m s e y (hamstring), Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) all longterm absentees.
Eaglets pick 100 from open screening
BOUT 100 budding youngsters have been identified as potential players for the Golden Eaglets after one week of intensive and rigorous exercise. With an average of 300 players screened daily, the coaching crew led by Emmanuel Amuneke was able to shift the grain from the chaff from what is just the first stage of a tedious process for a place in the squad. "We thank everyone that had come and the one-week open screening has reinforced our belief that there is abundance of talents in Nigeria," Amuneke said.
It was gathered that this is only the first stage of the exercise which is squarely based on the innate quality of the players as well as right disposition during the screening .Officials informed that the players so selected would be further scrutinised to authenticate their document before undergoing the mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Test. " The whole idea of this screening is to have a pool of players that can be good additional to the squad even after the African Championship in Niger," reasoned Amuneke.”
Falcons improve In FIFA ranking
IGERIA women's senior national side have moved three places to 32nd in the latest Coca Cola FIFA rankings released on Friday, 19th December, 2014. The Edwin Okon-tutored side won the 9th edition of the African Women's Championships in Namibia, that explains the improvement in their ranking. The Super Falcons
remained the best ranked nation in the African continent with 1639 points. Falcons' group opponents at the 2015 FIFA World Cup; United States, Sweden and Australia, are ranked 2nd, 5th and 10th respectively. Ghana (50th), Cameroon (51st), Equatorial Guinea (55th) and South Africa (56th) all made the top five spots on the African continent.
QUOTABLE “For me, time has come for Ndigbo to reason together. Ndigbo should no longer be regulated to the background, we should take our rightful position in Nigeria politics and say no to second fiddle.”
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 9, NO. 3071
—Imo State governor, owelle Rochas Okorocha on why he contested the All Progressive Congress (APC), presidential primaries.
LECTIONS have their metaphysical contents and attributes which enable pundits and analysts to smartly predict their outcomes as well as decipher their transcendental messages. When an election is about to enthrone a new leader, a sense of anticipation and euphoria is palpable; and when an election is about to dethrone a leader, a sense of gloom equally hangs portentously in the air, unmistakably, cruelly, relentlessly and imperiously. The 2015 elections are less than eight momentous weeks away, but even before then, in the past one week or more, they have begun to tell their stories, indicating just how ruthlessly they are capable of modulating political destinies and fortunes and rewriting the entire social, cultural and economic algorithms of Nigerian life to create a new society. It is anticipated the changes will be truly fundamental, even tectonic. They will guarantee wide-ranging deconstruction and reconstruction of political parties, individuals, religions and all aspects of freedoms, democracy and national institutions. In any case, the changes seem now inevitable, perhaps fortuitously, if not auspiciously, mediated by the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is impossible to predict that at its formation in February 2013, the APC was capable of triggering, not to say midwifing, the whole range of changes being witnessed today, changes that are affecting the structure and, more importantly, the values of Nigerian politics. Barely two years down the line, the country in fact seems on the verge of major shifts in the business of politics and governance. Before the APC national convention of December 10-11, few thought the process of electing the party’s standard-bearer could be concluded peacefully and almost flawlessly, in view of the calibre of the contestants and their unyielding ambitions; or that the party could emerge from its internal election with a huge momentum going into next year’s general elections and with the transformed image of a well-organised party and a government-in-waiting. By some incredible and unexpected mix of factors, the APC has emerged as a mature party, and its candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, a solid contender for the presidency capable of beating the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan. Suddenly, after he emerged as the candidate, Gen Buhari’s stature seemed to grow, expanding in refinement and carriage. His faults have not disappeared, certainly not his taciturnity, nor his policy weaknesses, nor his abrasiveness, nor his past policies and decisions, many of them quite reprehensible. But strangely his faults no longer seemed to matter. What seemed to matter, what seemed to loom ever larger, was that the internal processes of the party during its convention had ennobled the candidate and transformed him curiously into a statesman and able leader whose age had become an asset rather than a liability. Placed side by side the scientific campaign of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, the surprising energy of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku and the effervescence of Governor Rochas Okorocha, Gen Buhari’s languidness became an asset, evoking the quiet detachment of royalty and the superior air of monarchy. And placed side by side the suffocating paralysis of the Jonathan presidency, not to say his overarching impotence in the face of insurgency in the Northeast and the creeping economic crisis to which he seems to have no answer, Buhari’s hard visage and implacable discipline give refreshing indication of the can-do spirit needed by a wearied country. Nearly two weeks after his election, the positive transformation of candidate Buhari is yet to abate. Analysts had also feared that if the APC mismanaged the selection of Gen Buhari’s running mate, it could spell doom for a ticket they had tentatively designated as a winner. And for a crazy few days after the party’s convention, it seemed the APC was fated to choke on the selection of a running mate.
2015: APC’ll probably win, if...
That the party did not choke, and even surprised the people and itself by surviving the complex process of selecting a suitable running mate, gave the impression that fate had a hand both in the selection of Gen Buhari’s running mate and the continuing denudation of Dr Jonathan’s capacity to govern. It seemed that fate itself was tired of the sheer magnitude of indiscipline and incompetence under which Nigeria was decaying, and was determined to instigate a great and radical change. Nothing the Jonathan government said or did against the opposition mattered anymore; and no step taken by the opposition party, nor any election and selection it did, was misplaced. Indeed the two faces of fate began to manifest: its relentless ability to promote; and its cruel ability to demote — the former enjoyed by the APC, and the latter suffered by Dr Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It will take some time before the dynamics of the great changes being experienced today can be explained. Three times Gen Buhari offered himself to lead the country, and three times he was rejected. Throughout the contests, public perception of his character and competence ossified. Indeed, it seemed to get worse even as his electoral performance paradoxically improved. He wasn’t seen as less sectional, less bigoted, less vengeful and vindictive, nor less intellectually superficial — until his party’s convention in Lagos, when by a supernatural sleight of hand, the oft-rejected politician began to warm the cockles of people’s hearts, his spectacular Lagos victory even eliciting euphoric celebration in unexpected quarters. As if fate had not dealt the country its most puzzling hand yet, try explaining the emergence of Yemi Osinbajo, a professor of law and former Lagos State attorney general and commissioner, as Gen Buhari’s running mate, or the fact that he seemed to be an acquired taste, his attributes and suitability for the position of running mate beginning to glow immediately after he was selected. He was not top on the list of those penciled down for the position, and few thought he had the electoral weight required to catalyse the doughty general’s apparently controversial appeal. But soon after his selection, everyone began to recognise and praise the countervailing attributes of his credentials. His legal mind, democratic antecedents and solid international exposure complement Gen Buhari’s harsh antecedents and damaging insularity, analysts crooned. And his Southwest background, with the possibility of attracting block votes, say others excitedly, enhances the northern appeal of the general without deepening the exclusion many feared the SouthSouth and Southeast would feel if neither was included on the APC presidential ticket. After the APC convention, Nigerians be-
•Osinbajo gan to experience the strange feeling that Gen Buhari could win the poll this time around. This strange and puzzling feeling made the contest for the running mate position much keener than it should have been. Almost overnight, the planks upon which the ruling PDP had built Dr Jonathan’s re-election chances began to collapse. The Jonathan presidency had suggested that Gen Buhari was a northern irredentist, and his ambition a reflection of the North’s retrogressive and oligarchic tendencies. But his emergence at the Lagos convention from a party some felt was distinctly Yoruba or Southwest put paid to that snide aside. It became meaningless talking of ethnic divisions without explaining why the entire Northwest, Northeast and Southwest rejoiced at the general’s convention victory, or explaining why he was elected with a nationwide landslide. The PDP also built its campaign on labelling the APC Islamic and the general a bigot. But the selection of Prof Osinbajo, a scholar, top pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), and liberal south-westerner effectively destroyed that plank and silenced the PDP. The ruling party will not be able to deploy the ethnic card; now the religion card has also been taken from it. It must now run on its records; but the records are paltry and unusable. Just eight weeks or so to the general elections, the PDP has discovered it has no fearsome weapons to deploy and no records to clutch at. Its diatribe against Buhari, in the face of the enormous liability of Dr Jonathan’s own fallibility and puny records, will be completely ineffective. Neither the acerbic Pastor Bosun Emmanuel of the RCCG, who produced a scathingly inappropriate video against the APC, nor Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), who has left no one in doubt where his sympathies lie, will be able to rouse sectarian animosity against the APC ticket without offending the largest Pentecostal church in Nigeria. This indeed are troubling times for the Jonathan campaign. On the eve of a major battle, campaign aides have discovered they have deployed with the wrong weapons and are tactically outmanouevred. Perhaps the greatest strength of the APC, which will conduce to its victory in the February polls, is its ability to reach consensus after healthy but sometimes very boisterous debates. Nigerians and the PDP had expected the APC to fracture before and after its conventions, for as they said the party was an agglomeration of strange bedfellows. And for a while it looked like the party would factionalise, especially after its tense convention to elect its chairman in June. That convention led to the exit of Tom Ikimi, a former Foreign Affairs minister and
erstwhile party chairman in the short-lived Third Republic, and the angry defection of former Borno governor, Ali Modu Sherrif. The party is probably surprised itself that it is still going strong, and is even poised to win the great prize. The APC and its progenitors were described and ridiculed as lacking in internal democracy. But in its Lagos convention, it conducted perhaps the most democratic election for a standardbearer ever. More, in spite of the tense atmosphere and angry exchange, it selected a running mate in fairly contentious circumstances without destroying its unity. In fact in both cases, it managed to elect and select with great aplomb. It is quietly and engagingly discovering how to balance arguments and interests among its powerful constituent groups, how to manage the influence of its leaders who came to the party with different party cultures and huge stocks of authority, and how to create a level playing field and a sound and almost unbreakable internal democratic process. This ability will probably lead it to victory in the next polls. The governors are thought to be allpowerful, but as the election of the party chairman showed, they can be checkmated without destroying their ability to restrain future excesses by other interest groups within the party. The candidate himself, in spite of his idiosyncrasies and antecedents, is learning how to build a consensus, as was shown in the selection of his running mate. The party’s leaders are also imbibing the cultures of moderation and give-andtake, and appreciating the necessity of counterbalancing one another’s influence and power. For instance, the selection of the running mate pitted many of the party’s leaders against one another, with some Southwest leaders including Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Bisi Akande on one side, and the governors and some of the party leaders on the other side. In the end, the hard bargaining, negotiations, disappointments and triumphs led to the stock and measure of Prof Osinbajo rising as a compromise candidate for the coveted position. Rather than focus on the quarrels and problems encountered in electing and selecting its candidates, the party should start to learn that these disagreements strengthen the party, ennoble it, help its leaders to put their best foot forward, and prepare it for the give-and-take necessary to become a successful ruling party, unlike the PDP which has been moulded into an intolerant oaf by former president Olusegun Obasanjo. APC leaders must refuse to dwell on their disappointments, notwithstanding the colourful media reports of how they lost and chafed, if they are to derive the advantages of the salutary manner contests for positions and values are done within its own ranks. They must recognise that fortuitously they are discovering that their party is unlikely to ever be dominated by any group or person: not the president, should they win the poll, nor the lawmakers, nor the seemingly but temporarily influential governors, nor any of its powerful leaders. There will only be temporary dominance of one group or the other now and again. There will never be permanent dominance, for the party is now too large and too nationally important to be dominated by one group or the other for a long stretch. Party leaders may be starting to learn that every position, idea and policy must be contested using superior arguments and brilliant, democratic manoeuvring. This is their best chance discovery, a discovery that is bound to serve them very well now and in the future, a discovery they will do well to reconcile themselves to. For the old ways of their component parties are gone for good, and the new ways of doing things must be accommodated; for nature itself is fatefully seeming to prepare them for true leadership, and gifting them the internal processes they will require to govern the country successfully, intelligently and democratically from next year.
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