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From left: Ogbeni Aregbesola, Dr. Fayemi and wife of Oyo State Governor, Mrs Comfort Ajimobi, exchanging pleasantries with son of the late Justice Eso, Arc Olumide Eso, during the service ... yesterday.

From left: Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Mrs. Dorothy Udeme Ufot (SAN), Mr. L.O Fagbemi (SAN) and Bambo Adesanya (SAN).


MID praises, the re mains of the retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Samuel Obakayode Eso, yesterday were laid to rest at his hometown, Ilesa, Osun State. Many dignitaries, including the Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, attended the church service for the late jurist at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church Cathedral, Omofe in Ilesa.

From left: Brother of Justice Eso, Ven. Ladipo Eso; widow of the deceased, Helen; Special Adviser to Governor Aregbesola on Women Affairs and daughter of the late legal icon, Mrs Funmilayo Eso-Williams, and Olumide on the occasion.

From left: Mrs. Olugrace Tamuno, Prof. Emeritus Tekena Tamuno, Mr. Ayo Hastrup and PHOTOS: FEMI ILESANMI, IBADAN Otunba Moses Fasuyi.

Eso laid to rest amid praises Adesoji ADENIYI, Osogbo Other dignitaries that joined the Eso family at the church service were the Osun State deputy governor, Otunba Grace Titi LaoyeTomori, and former Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Ayoola.

Justice Eso, who died last month in a London hospital, was praised by eminent Nigerians who graced the funeral ceremony At the service before his body was laid to rest at his residence, the Primate of the Anglican Communion, Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, described the late Justice Eso as an epitome of justice and fair-

ness. In the sermon entitled “Life as an Investment,” Archbishop Okoh said there was no abiding city for any individual on earth, stressing that all mortals would one day taste death and return to their creator who would judge all their deeds on earth. The cleric said: “Let the congregation here know that there is no abiding city on

Kidnapped Nollywood actress Nkiru defies Police, pays N8m ransom to abductors


HE Imo State Commis sioner of Police, Baba Adisa Bolanta, yesterday disclosed that the abducted Nollywood actress and Special Assistant to the state governor on Public Affairs, Miss Nkiruka Sylvanus, paid N8 million as ransom to her kidnappers to regain her freedom. The commissioner, who addressed newsmen in the Command’s Headquarters in Owerri, the Imo state capital, said the family of the actress defied the repeated warning from the police not to negotiate or pay any ransom to the abductors, adding that they did so outside the knowledge of the police. The police boss added that “initially, the family paid N7million to the kidnappers and the police who laid ambush swooped on them at the point of collection and recovered the money that was locked in the trunk of their car as they escaped. We brought a lot of pressure on them and they were jittery and could no

Okodili NDIDI, Owerri longer contact the family members”. According to him, “after we returned the money to the family, they went behind us and paid N8milliom to the kidnappers. Surprisingly I saw Nkiru in my office after she was released, and I was told they paid N8million to secure her release”. Bolanta, however, said that the fleeing kidnappers would be brought to book. “Let me assure you that this will not go unresolved like previous cases. Anyone involved will be brought to book. We have made some arrests, and very soon the ones that are at large will be apprehended”. Meanwhile, Governor Rochas Okorocha has ordered the release of N500 million as a Christmas package for security operatives in the state. Okorocha, who gave the directive during an expanded Security Council meeting at

the Ahajioku Centre in the state capital, instructed that every security agent operating in the state should be given N10, 000 each from the largesse, saying that the gesture was to appreciate the security agencies for fighting crime in the state, especially the successful release of the kidnapped actress. Commending the state Police Command, Okorocha reiterated the commitment of his administration in partnering with security agencies to stamp out crime in the state, especially kidnapping and other heinous crimes, reaffirming the earlier ban on the unauthorized use of vehicles with tinted glasses and siren in the state. The Governor also chided legal practitioners in the state for aiding and abetting kidnappers by frustrating the efforts of the state to prosecute them. He said: “The lawyers are the worst enemies of Imo State. Every kidnapper has a

lawyer he pays to wriggle him out when he is caught up with the law”.

earth. It is appointed to all human beings to die once and after the death is judgment. “Those who live long and those who live short will all die one day. We are all on transition here on earth and only those who lived righteously before they are transited to the great beyond can have eternal abode with God.” He urged those who attended the service to renew their relationship with God before it would be too late for them, saying God does not want the death of a sinner. He said Jesus has the power of resurrection, stressing that death was a gateway into fullness of life for those who believe in Christ.

The cleric, who extolled the virtues of Justice Eso, said the legal icon invested his life in the service of God and man. He enjoined every leader in the country to learn from the humble life style of Eso who he described as a brave judge of his time. According to him, Eso, during his time, gave justice to the poor and the rich in the society. “He was an advocate of righteousness and a lover of truth. He defended the helpless and served his country till he breathed his last. Money is the bane of our progress. Our leaders have much love for money more than their countrymen.”

Candidates record 37.97 per cent pass as HERE has been a slight WASSCE results are released improvement in the No


vember/December 2012 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) with 150,615 candidates, representing the 37.97 per cent of 396,614 that wrote the examination, recording credit passes in five subjects, including English and Mathematics. Announcing the results of the first examination he superintended over as the Head of the Nigerian National Office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) yesterday, Mr Charles Eguridu said that last year, 36.07 per cent (139,827) of the candidates that wrote the examination as private candidates made the minimum benchmark for entry into the tertiary institu-

Kofoworola BELO-OSAGIE tion, while 24.16 per cent achieved it in 2010. Eguridu attributed the improved performance to the increased investments of state in the education sector. Considering the core subjects singly, Eguridu said 66.99 per cent (259,259) candidates made credits in English, while 59.06 (226,608) made credits in Mathematics. However, 47,289 (11.04 per cent) will have to wait until the Nigerian Examinations Council (NEC) completes investigations into their involvement in examination malpractices before knowing whether their results would be released or cancelled.

“All reports on cases of involvement in examination malpractice have been compiled for presentation to the Nigeria Examinations Committee of the council at its next meeting. The committee’s decisions on the various cases will be communicated to the affected candidates shortly,” he said. Another 7,158 candidates also have their results withheld because of errors of omission committed during registration or the actual examination. Meanwhile 161,706 candidates (40.77) made credits in six subjects; 268,688 (67.74) made in four subjects; while309,706 (78.10) made in three subjects.





Yakowa, Azazi: Why we want to be part of crash probe — Governors

Oando to acquire ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian assets for $1.79bn



HE state governors are pressing ahead with their position on being part of the probe of last Saturday’s helicopter crash at Okoroba,Bayelsa State. Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State,the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), General Patrick Azazi, and four others, including the pilot and co-pilot of the Nigerian Navy Augusta helicopter died in the crash. President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered a probe of the crash with the governors asking that they want to be part of the investigation. Their position, which was first made known moments after the crash, was interpreted in some quarters as an expression of the governors’ lack of faith in the Federal Government probe. But emerging from a meeting which President Jonathan had with the PDP leadership and PDP governors yesterday, Amaechi, who doubles as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said they were acting in good faith. He dismissed suggestions that the governors do not trust the Federal Government on the probe. He said: “We are being misunderstood all the time. What we said was that we wanted to be given an observer status, if we can’t participate so that we will bring a professional who will observe the process; how it is going on and brief the Governors’ Forum. Not that we passed a vote of no confidence on those who are investigating.” Asked whether their position was informed by the death of Gov. Yakowa in the crash, Amaechi said their only motive was the frequent air crashes in the country. “ We felt that too many crashes have occurred in Nigeria, and that it is proper that we have a professional advice so that we can know what contribution we can make to the Federal Government. Not that because our colleague was involved, after all, the general who died was not our colleague,” he said. The PDP meeting was said to have discussed issues of bonding within the party and charting a way forward. It was also learnt that the parley discussed the 2013 budget just passed by the National Assembly. Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, who briefed reporters at the end of the meeting, said it was meant to ensure a coordinated approach to issues. His words: “I think it is very important that the President should meet us because we can understand and appreciate the issues better so that this country will have better leadership. “And then we can have better ways of governing the country. So, he called us and solicited our support. “It is all about bonding together. We understand that sometimes there are statements that are not coordinated in the states and at the centre, and meanwhile,

•From left: Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide; Director ,Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board,Alhaji Sirajo Ado Faskari; and Deputy Director, Operations, Fatima Suleiman Gumi, during the submission of 2012 Hajj Report PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE to the minister in Abuja ... yesterday. Vincent IKUOMOLA, Abuja we are running the same government. “ Majority of us are in the same party. All that we discussed here among the president, the governors and the party is about how we can bound the party together. “If we have that bonding together, all the seeming misunderstandings, some of them are artificial anyway, will be resolved. And that will create a better room and enabling environment for all of us at all levels to provide better leadership for this country which is what I think is very important for this country at this point in time.” Also speaking on the meeting,Chief Olisa Metuh, PDP National Publicity Secretary said it addressed “ issues facing the nation; x-

raying the outgoing year and looking forward to the new year; the vision of the President in line with the agenda of the party and how we want to ensure that we provide for the people of Nigeria.That is the most important thing that we discussed. “We want to assure Nigerians that the PDP is ready and able to satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians. We are going to produce a lot of reforms and innovations in the new year to ensure that the people of Nigeria will be happy with the party in government.” On his reaction to the allegation that the PDP instigated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proscribe some political parties, Metuh dismissed the allegation as frivolous.

“It is normal in a football match. When there is a winning team, the losing team will always accuse the referee of bias.We are not the referees, we are not the arbiters, we are part of the team, we are all playing, we listen like them and we await the decision of the INEC and we will abide by the decision of the INEC. It is an independent body,” he said. Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Joy Emordi, said that the issue of budget came up for discussion amongst other issues. When asked if the budget was part of the discussions at the meeting, she answered in the affirmative ,saying: “Yes, it was discussed like every other thing, and I do not think that there is any problem with the budget passed.”

18,357 constables graduate from police colleges nationwide O fewer than 18,357


constables yesterday graduated simultaneously from the seven Nigeria Police Colleges nationwide, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. In the history of police training, the constables were trained for a period of 13 months, against six months in the past. The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by Deputy InspectorGeneral (Training), Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, noted that the training was to enshrine effectiveness and efficient service delivery. “All of you came into these colleges and training schools as fresh recruits without basic knowledge of police duties. “You are leaving as trained police constables and you will be deployed to the field to serve. “I implore you as trained policemen and women to be diligent, mentally and professionally prepared to surmount these challenges. “In doing this, our primary and sacred function of

protection of life and property must not be compromised. “You are to take cognisance of the fundamental human rights of every citizen which must not be infringed upon so as to gain the confidence of members of the public. “You must also eschew every form of corruption in the performance of your duties, “ Abubakar said. The Commandant, Police College, Ikeja, Commissioner of Police, Irimiya Yerima, said that two officers died during the training. “As training progressed, 69 recruits disengaged from the training, 61 were dismissed for gross disciplinary offences, six recruits left for Police Academy, Kano for Cadet Inspectorate training while two died. “A total number of 25 recruits caught cheating during examination; four others defaulted and tried for other offences. “Therefore, a total number of 2,566 recruits found worthy in character and learn-

ing are being passed out today,’’ Yerima said. Families, friends, including traditional rulers, witnessed the passing-out parade of the new officers.

IGERIAN indigenous energy group, Oando Plc, has stated that its affiliate, Oando Energy Re sources (OER), has entered into agreements with ConocoPhillips (COP) to acquire its entire business interests in Nigeria for a total cash consideration of $1.79billion plus customary adjustments. The proposed deal is the biggest acquisition by an indigenous company in the history of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. The onshore business to be acquired by Oando includes Phillips Oil Company Nigeria Limited (POCNL) which holds a 20 per cent non-operating interest in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 60, 61, 62 and 63 as well as related infrastructure and facilities in the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) Joint Venture (NAOC JV). Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) holds a 60 per cent interest in the joint venture, while NAOC which operates the assets holds 20 per cent. The second onshore business is Phillips Brass Limited (PBL) which holds a 17per cent shareholding interest in Brass LNG Limited which is developing the Brass LNG project. Brass LNG is a Greenfield project to develop a twotrain of 10 million tonnes per year Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in Bayelsa State. The other partners are NNPC, 49 per cent; Eni, 17 per cent and Total, 17 per cent. By the terms of the agreement, Oando will also acquire ConocoPhillips offshore business which includes Conoco Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (CEPNL). The company holds a 95 per cent operating interest in OML 131, with other partners as Medal Oil, 5 per cent; and Phillips Deepwater Exploration Nigeria Limited (PDENL) which holds a 20 per cent non-operating interest in OPL 214. The other partners include ExxonMobil which is the operator with 20 per cent interest; Chevron, 20per cent; Svenska, 20 per cent; and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, 15 per cent, as well as Sasol, 5 per cent. Pursuant to the proposed acquisition, Oando will indirectly purchase all of the issued share capital of POCNL, PBL, CEPNL and PDENL. Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu, said it was expected that the closing of this transaction would position OER as a leading, indigenous independent Exploration and Production (E&P) player in Nigeria. “Upon closing, we expect that this will be a transformational transaction for OER, as the company has only been listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange for about five months and now has an opportunity to execute its strategy and materially increase its production and reserves base. In our view, the combination of the right timing, right assets and the right company can lead to significant value creation in the Gulf of Guinea. We expect that the closing of this transaction will position OER as a leading, indigenous independent E&P player in Nigeria,” he said. Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer of Oando Energy Resources, Mr. Pade Durotoye, said. “This potential transaction represents a transformational step forward for our company and is in keeping with our overall strategy to grow our portfolio of Nigerian-based assets by focusing on those opportunities that deliver high quality growth in reserves and production. Our management team is familiar with the assets contained in this proposed transaction and, we believe, possess the regional experience and technical expertise necessary to capture and unlock their future value for our shareholders.” The total oil and gas production from the onshore assets for the period from January 1, 2012 to October 31, 2012 averaged approximately 43,000 Barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d gross) to OER.

INEC de-registers three more parties


HE Independent Na tional Electoral Com mission (INEC) yesterday de-registered additional three political parties. Scrapped are the African Renaissance Party (ARP); National Democratic Party (NDP) and National Transformation Party (NTP).” The commission had, three weeks ago, de-registered 28 political parties for allegedly falling short of the provisions of the laws. The Secretary to the commission, Abdullahi Kaugama, in a statement yesterday said the exercise was in “continuation of the exercise of the powers conferred on it by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the Independent National Elec-

Augustine EHIKIOYA, Abuja

toral Commission (INEC) has de-registered three more political parties.” He added:”The de-registration of these political parties is premised on the following grounds: For the African Renaissance Party (ARP): Composition of National Executive Committee (NEC) fails to meet the requirements of Section 223(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); no verifiable headquarters office contrary to Section 222(f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); has not won a seat in the National and State Assemblies. “For the National Demo-

cratic Party (NDP): Composition of National Executive Committee (NEC) fails to meet the requirements of Section 223(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); no verifiable headquarters office contrary to Section 222(f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); has not won a seat in the National and State Assemblies. “For the National Transformation Party (NTP): Composition of National Executive Committee (NEC) fails to meet the requirements of Section 223(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); has not won a seat in the National and State Assemblies.”


News 5

Paternity controversy: Let’ go for DNA test,Ojukwu’s lookalike son Debe insists C HIEF Sylvester Debe Ojukwu,the eldest son of the late Ikemba Nnewi,Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, has declared that a DNA test will remove whatever doubts that may exist about his relationship with the deceased. Debe who was not mentioned in the late Ojukwu’s Will that was read last month in Enugu dismissed it as a concoction that would not go unchallenged. “If they claim I am not his child, then the correct test to determine all that is a DNA. This is not something anybody can wish away,” he told The Nation on Saturday. In the interview published on pages 20,21 and 46 in this edition added: “The Will they read would have been sacrosanct if it mentioned my name but that nothing was given to me. So, for it (Will) not to mention my name, means it was fake and somebody has to prove to me that it was the original Will of my father. “That I was barred from performing ‘dust-to-dust’ was discriminatory and it is against Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution, which says that no child should be discriminated against on the basis of circumstance of birth. “They said there was a DNA test,but the lawyer who wrote his Will claimed that he did not see me. According to him, when he came back in 1982, I appeared and disappeared for 30 years. The lawyer who said he wrote the Will said that. “The so called DNA test was


Linus OBOGU, Gbenga ADERANTI and Segun AJIBOYE

said to have been done in secret. But how can a DNA test be done in secret? A DNA is usually done and made public. I doubt strongly if this was so. Everything is a grand conspiracy. “For anyone to go a mile extra to say my name is not in the Will is not something that will go unchallenged. “I am one person who believes in the truth. And for me, if you err and recognise the

fact that you erred and you are ready to show remorse, there is no reason why forgiveness should not come. But when you try to grandstand, there can be no settlement in sight. “ Will, Will, Will, that was not my father’s Will. He did not write that Will. All the things that have been written are within the realm of speculations. “The media have been writing without seeing the Will. I took pains to get the Will because it concerns me. I am giving you a copy of what they said is the Will so that the pub-

•From Left: Executive Director Lagos and West Unity Bank Plc, Mr Lanre Fagbohun; winner of the Bank Aim and win promo, Alhaji Baba Usman Lafiaji; Manager Abule Egba Branch of the bank, Mr Yinka Ode and Regional Manager, Ikeja Branch of the bank, Mrs Adenike Yemi, during the hand-over of car key to the winner of the draw in Lagos… yesterday

Nigeria, an indivisible nation, says Mark

RESIDENT of the Senate, David Mark, yesterday charged Nigerians from all walks of life to continue to believe in the unity of the country, and declared that the nation remains indivisible. Mark spoke when he visited the Agatu, Apa and Ohimini local government areas in the Benue South Senatorial District to thank his constituents. His Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, in a statement in Abuja, said the Senate President was represented by his wife, Helen. He was overwhelmed by the turnout of people from the three local councils visited on the first day of the three-day tour and urged them not to relent in their prayers for President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo and other leaders at every level of governance. He said through fervent

Onyedi OJIABOR, Assistant Editor and SANNI Onogu, Abuja prayers and supplications to God, the nation would overcome its problems. He said: “We are all partners in progress in our dear country. This country belongs to every one of us, so we should not let it fail. “We should stand firm and support our leaders in order to succeed. It is when they succeed that we can talk of development and peaceful co-existence among various ethnicities in the country. “Our prayers are paramount at this particular period in our land. We should pray for stability, peace and progress. We should pray for our leaders and Nigeria to continue to be an indivisible nation.” Senator Mark urged the people to believe in the present administration of President

Goodluck Jonathan, saying the Transformation Agenda is designed to bring Nigeria out of the woods. In separate remarks, the Chairmen, Agatu, Apa and Ohimini Local Government Areas, Stephen Dutse, Oyi Owoicho and Sunday Mark respectively thanked the President of the Senate for reaching out to the needy during the festive period. They assured him of their unalloyed support and prayed God to continue to guide him in the onerous task of building a prosperous Idoma nation. During the first day of the visit, 110 bags of rice and N200,000.00 were distributed to each of the three local government areas. Other councils to be visited are Ogbadibo, Okpokwu, Ado, Oju, Obi and Otukpo, all in the Benue South Senatorial District.

Alleged N1.3b subsidy fraud: Two oil marketers seek out of court settlement


WO oil marketers, Aro Bamidele and Abiodun Bankole, said yesterday they were in talks with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on the N1.3 billion fuel subsidy charge preferred against them. They made this known through their counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), at the resumption of their trial before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja. The oil marketers were arraigned alongside their company — A.B.S Investment

lic can get educated. It is not my father’s Will. It was forged. You can see the signatures are different. “ The signature on the Will is not that of my father. I am a trained police officer. You can take a look at the letters he had written to me and other documents I showed you.The signature on it is different from that which is on the Will. I know what I am talking about. His true signature is in the archives of the Federal High Court. And my father that you are talking about was a former Military Governor

Company Ltd., — on Oct. 5. The defendants are facing 18- count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery, uttering among others. The EFCC had alleged that the defendants had fraudulently obtained N1.3 billion from the Federal Government for the purported importation of 30 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). They had pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted a N100 million bail each, with three sureties in like sum.

However, at yesterday’s proceedings, Idigbe told the court that the defence, having studied the charge, was discussing with EFCC. He asked the court to give the defendants time to conclude their talks with EFCC with a view to resolving issues contained in the charge. EFCC counsel, Mrs Taiwo Ogunleye, confirmed the development and did not oppose the adjournment made by the defence. The court consequently adjourned the matter till Jan. 28 for mention.

of the Eastern Region. He signed edicts, laws. So, his signature is within the domain of public records. “And because I knew him, he was not the type of person that took rubbish. They went and forged the signature. If you check all the documents, you will find out that the signatures on them do not correspond with that on the will. My father was such a person that when he signed a document, it was like Ikemba. And Ikemba moved straight. Ikemba moved like lightening. If you see his signature, it is deliberate. It is never shaky. “ I am his clone. He did not do anything without me. “My uncles came to the police and entreated me to come and manage my grandfather’s assets. My grandfather had acquired certain things in terms of estate. And I was told that the things he gathered were perishing. “ They used that and entreated me. They asked me to leave the police to manage the assets. I felt it was right. I cannot keep on gathering when the ones my patriarch had gathered were wasting away. So, I had to go and manage them. At the time they asked me to manage them, there was no hope and my uncles were quarrelling with my father. In the interest of peace, because they told me that they needed everything to be together just as the old man had it when he was alive. I left to do just that without even knowing where

I was going. But God being on my side, what I went into blind-folded became a success story and became very substantial. It is on the basis of all these, that they are fighting me and you see my name allegedly missing in the Will. “My exclusion from my father’s Will does not smack of my rejection legally. As a lawyer, I know that you have the power to Will your property to anybody legally. But being a son or a daughter to someone is more sacrosanct, and so it is. It is not something you can wish away. It is so natural. “ So, a man’s exclusion from a Will is as far as property goes. And with regards to disinheritance, the law provides that if you want to disinherit your son or daughter, you must state in black and white that you are disinheriting your son. And since the Will did not state that I was being disinherited, there is nothing like disinheritance. What has happened is what could be regarded as an unmentioned child. That is the position of the law. So, that is the way it is. “If you go to people like Chief Sunny Odogwu, Chief S.N. Okeke and the rest of the elders who were his friends, who had been with my father and me, they know my relationship with him as a son. “Why are you (The Nation’s team) here today to interview me? You are here because you have seen a trace of him in me.”




Osun provides free Xmas train ride

S part of the efforts to facilitate easy and stress-free movement during festivals, Osun State government has announced this year’s Christmas Free Train Ride. In a statement signed by the Director of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the free train service will commence on Sunday, December 23, 2012. According to the statement, the service, tagged Omoluabi Train, would convey people from Lagos to Osogbo on Sunday and Monday, 23rd and 24th respectively by 9am daily. On the 26th, Boxing Day, the train will transport people from Osogbo to Lagos by 10am. Similarly, there would be return trips from Lagos to Osogbo between 30th and 1st January 2013 by 9am daily. A final trip from Osogbo to Lagos would follow on 2nd January, departing at 10am. “This arrangement by the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration to the people, who intend to visit home during the Christmas and the New Year, is to ensure that they do not experience hardship associated with public transportation during this season. “The free train scheme started in 2011 and has since then been a regular gesture from the government to the people during Christian and Muslim festival periods. The last was during the Eid -el Kabir Festival in October this year. “Osun Government has thus eased the usual transportation problem and hike in fare hitherto normally encountered by commuters during this rush period,” the statement said.

•L-R: Engr, Adeseyi Sijuwade, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation; Kayode Opeifa, Commissioner For Transport, Lagos State; Dayo Mobereola (LAM,ATA) and Hon Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, during the flag-off of Lagos -kano Intercity Passenger Train Service and Petroleum Product Haulage Train Service, held at the Ebutte-Metta Juntion, Railway Station, Lagos on Friday December 21, 2012. Photo: Solomon Adeola

Watch out for bombs wrapped as Christmas gifts, Police warn in Gombe A S Nigerians prepare for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Police in Gombe State on Thursday urged residents of the state to be on the lookout for explosive devices that could be packaged in Christmas hampers as gifts for people. The warning was contained in a statement issued in Gombe by DSP. Fwaje Atajiri, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state’s Police Command. He said that such bomb-laden parcels could then be dispatched to unsuspecting members of the public as goodwill gifts. “Members of the public should be wary of hamper gifts and parcels as they could contain Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” he said. Atajiri said that citizens should also take other precautionary measures to ensure hitch-free Christmas and New

Oyo Assembly passes N5.4b supplementary budget Tayo JOHNSON, Ibadan


YO State House Assembly yesterday passed a supplementary budget of N5,471,540,722.00 for the year ending 31, December 2012. The passage of the budget was based on the request made earlier to the Assembly by the governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, that the budget be approved for outstanding projects. It was pronounced by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Monsurat Sunmonu after a report delivered by the Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts, Finance and Appropriation, Hon Olusegun Olaleye. According to Speaker, the supplementary budget contains the sum of N5,089,100, 000.00 only for recurrent expenditure and N382,440,722.00. She affirmed that the House passed the budget to allow the executive to execute the projects that have been slated for the improvement of the state, socially, economically and politically in the outgoing year, adding that it will also enable them to complete the ongoing projects capable of achieving the laudable objectives of the present administration.

•Residents flee Borno •Tight security in Kano, Niger Joseph ABIODUN, Maiduguri, Kolade ADEYEMI, Kano and Jide ORINTUNSIN Minna Year celebrations. He also told religious and community leaders to assist the police with useful information to protect lives and property. The PPRO said that religious leaders should “educate their followers to avoid being poisoned. “Motorists are also advised to obey traffic lights and all regulations as unnecessary disobedience may be fatal. “Motorists should endeavour to put security gadgets in their vehicles to forestall theft,” he said, assuring that the command would ensure a peaceful Christmas and New Year celebrations. Meanwhile, the leadership of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State has reaffirmed its commitment to provide security for the people of the state. JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Saquir Musa, who gave the assurance during a phone interview, said the JTF is determined

to restore peace to Borno State, stressing that the JTF will not relent in its efforts until peace and order is restored to the state. Maiduguri, the state capital, is witnessing mass exodus of residents who are fleeing to the southern part of the country to celebrate the Christmas and New Year as a result of the security challenges confronting the state. In Kano State, security agencies are putting measures in place to ensure that water-tight security arrangements are in place in the ancient city. Heavy traffic was noticed along major streets like New Road Luxury Park in Sabon Gari, the Naibawa and Ungwar Uku Motor Park, while economic activities have increased around the city. Speaking on the preparations by his men, Kano State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim K. Idris, told The Nation that arrangements have put in place by security agencies to ensure a hitch-free Yuletide, and promised that there was no cause for alarm. He said: “There would be

water-tight security deployment at strategic locations, including places of worship, markets, motor parks, banks, schools, hospitals and other public utilities, infrastructures and offices during the Christmas period”, adding that the dusk to dawn ban on commercial motorcyclists remain in place as part of the preventive measures. Idris urged residents of Kano to be security conscious and give maximum cooperation to security agencies, including the police and the Joint Task Force (JTF), adding that the use of knock-outs and other fireworks are prohibited, “parents and guardians are strictly warned to stop their children from purchasing and using such items as anybody caught will be prosecuted in the Court of Law.” He urged the people to call the Command’s Control Room in case of emergency, adding that the Public Complain Bureau under the office of the Command’s Public Relations Department and National Human Right Desk are also accessible for complaints on human right

violation by the Police. He gave the phone numbers for the Control Room to include: 08032419754, 08123821575, 08099831808 and 064977005, while that of the Public Complain Bureau include 08066628450, 08031803555 and 08057959393. Also, the Niger State Police Command has promised residents of the state a hitch-free Yuletide celebration, as security surveillance and patrol have been increased in all the local government areas of the state. The state police command also declared that no officer or men of the command will be given any pass or leave during this period to avert any shortage of men. Confirming this development, the Command Public Relation Officer (PPRO), DSP Pius Edobor, promised that security will be provided around the state, especially in all churches during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. He said that the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Desire Diseye Nsirim has warned troublemakers to desist from their dastardly acts or be forced to face the consequence of their actions, adding that everybody should be free to move around without fear because the police are on top of the security situation in the state

Guinness launches special drink for women


UINNESS Nigeria Plc has officially launched SNAPP, a new naturally refreshing apple-flavoured alcoholic drink in Benin and Abuja. According to Guinness, the "fruit-flavoured drink is especially produced for the sophisticated, trendy lady of the 21st century." The launching held simultaneously across four venues between Friday November 30 - Saturday December 1, 2012,


Vivian OKORIE In Benin, Linx and Indigo Clubs were the places to be as SNAPP provided guests with a once in a life time opportunity of being a part of history. Consumers in Abuja got a feel of SNAPP hospitality as guests who thronged the Cubana and Play Clubs venue of the event at the capital city, attested to the uniqueness of the naturally apple flavoured

drink. As guests enjoy themselves, Bona Boy and delectable Chidinma were on hand to thrill them with their sweet lyrics. Mr. Austin Ufomba, Marketing and Innovation Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, who unveiled SNAPP to the audience, invited Nigerian women to celebrate their confidence with style. He said, "SNAPP has been introduced into the ready to drink cate-

gory in response to the increasing demand for an alcoholic drink that appeals to women who want to show their individuality and unique style when out socializing with friends. This is very much in line with Guinness Nigeria's vision of celebrating life, everyday, everywhere. "SNAPP is a drink that is made with the choicest ingredients giving it a crispy and naturally refreshing taste. It

90-year-old makes list of Ekiti honourees

INETY-year-old Madam Ayoola Ajayi was among the 20 indigenes of Ekiti State honoured on Thursday by the state government. The event was the year 2012 Merit Award Night, held at the Government House Grounds, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. They were recognised for having distinguished themselves in their various calling, ranging from the academia, business, philanthropy and

Sulaiman SALAWUDEEN Ado-Ekiti politics. Among the honourees were Prof Emeritus Adelola Adeloye; the winner of the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing; Mr. Rotimi Babatunde; a popular mat weaver in Ogotun-Ekiti, the 90-year old Madam Ayoola Ajayi; Chief Julius Ajayi, popularly called Little by Little Photo, and a popular pot maker in Isan Ekiti, Mrs

Aina Olajide. Posthumous awards were also given to late Professor Oluwakayode Osuntokun; Chief Olowe; Prof. Sam Aluko and a former deputy governor in the Old Ondo State and late Chief Akinwale Michael Omoboriowo. A veteran actor, Chief Jimoh Aliu, the first female pilot in Ekiti and fourth in Nigeria, Capt. Bolaji Agbelusi; popular Nollywood actor, Odunlade Adekola; and a leading

woman musician from IdoEkiti, Alhaja Adepeji Afolabi were also honoured at the occasion. Others are Mr. Joshua Ologunde, ; Prof Omotayo Olutoye; the wife of the first executive governor of Ekiti, Erelu Angela Adebayo; former military governor of the state, Col. Inuwa Bawa (rtd); Mr Joshua Ibidunmoye; Chief Olabode Olajide and Chief Bayo Awosemusi equally made the 20-member list.

EIGS 1980 set meets THIRTY-two years after they left school, the 1980 set of Esie/Iludun Grammar School (EIGS) will be meeting next Saturday. Founded by the Anglican Church in 1960, EIGS is one of the oldest secondary schools in Kwara State. According to the coordinator, Mr. Laye Agboola, the meeting will be holding at Foluso Hall and Royal Fame Garden, Old Cattle Market, Sango, Ilorin Kwara State capital. The meeting starts at 10:00am.

40th-day fidau and final burial for Lam holds today THE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo State has announced the 40th day fidau prayer for the final burial of its late leader and former governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina, which will hold today, Saturday, December 22, 2012, at Liberty stadium in Ibadan A statement by the party’s publicity secretary, Honourable Dauda Kolawole, also announced the itinerary for all the ACN members in the state. According to the statement, all the ACN members in Ibarapa North, Ibarapa East, Ibarapa central and Iddo local governments should converge on 110 roundabout end of ring road in front of Jitalex and ACN members in Ibadan South East, Ibadan North East, Egbeda, Lagelu, Ona Ara local governments should also converge at Mapo Hall at 8am from where they will all move to Liberty Stadium Also, ACN members in Ibadan South West and Oluyole local governments should converge on Challenge Texaco filling station while ACN members in Akinyele, Ibadan North West, Ibadan North, Oyo zone, Ogbomoso zone and Oyo North should converge at Dugbe - Allen - Cocoa house at 8am from where they will also move to the Liberty Stadium The statement enjoined other political parties’ members and well wishers who wish to grace the occasion to go directly to the Liberty stadium..



Security, governments and sovereign reputations The list of air crashes in Nigeria T ‘ is legendary and the fear of air HE breaking news on the internet last Thursday about Nigeria was that 30 gunmen had entered a fortified building in Katsina in Northern Nigeria and kidnapped a French engineer and according to the State Police Commissioner burnt the nearest Police station to prevent being chased by the Police. At home in Nigeria in the news media , the hot news was the details of the helicopter crash that killed the former governor of Kaduna State Patrick Yakowa and the former National Security Adviser retired General Owoeye Azazi over the last weekend on their way back from a funeral they had attended at the home state of the nation’s President Goodluck Jonathan. Unfortunately such bad news was not peculiar to Nigeria and that really is the focus of our discussions today . We shall look at the way security issues are shaping the sovereign reputations of nations globally . Especially in a world in which information available from the internet have reshaped the way and manner that nations and governments have had to come to terms with security lapses of all shapes and sizes in a bid to protect their citizenry from the assault of well armed killers with inhuman and bizarre motives . In the US, President Barak Obama wiped off a tear as he addressed Americans on the news of the killing of 20 school children aged between 5 and 10 by a man aged 20 in an elementary school. Later in the week the US president ordered his Vice President Joe Biden to look into ways to stop such senseless and random killings with guns which were becoming rampant in the US and make recommendations within weeks .Also in the same week the report of the Inquiry ordered by the US government on the killing of the American Ambassador in Benghazi this year came out blaming lax security for the disaster as security contractors were a poor match for the killers who were well armed and well trained. These events and incidents in both the USA and Nigeria have political implications locally and

globally for the image of the two nations in the comity of nations or the international community . We shall analyse them in that context. We shall also look at an event that happened during the week that will shape future perceptions of leaders with regard to how they have used their power and responsibility to make or mar the sovereign reputation of their nation or part of the world . The event happened in Russia where President Vladmir Putin announced that he supports Russian legislators making laws stopping the adoption of Russian children by Americans but also used the occasion to explain why he cannot be branded a dictator or be said to be running an authoritarianism in Russia . Starting with Nigeria again the two tragic and painful incidents are unfortunately in tune with Nigeria’s corporate or sovereign reputation in terms of terrorism , kidnapping and aviation disasters. The list of air crashes in Nigeria is legendary and the fear of air travel both for local and foreign destinations is not only mortal but is sickeningly morbid amongst Nigerians especially those whose businesses and jobs require travelling over the length and breadth of our nation. In the case of the kidnapping in Katsina the news report had it that Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility and that Katsina has relatively been spared the horror of such kidnappings till now . But Kaduna State , whose leader and governor died in the helicopter crash in Bayelsa has had a running battle with Boko Haram over weekly Church bombings one of which took place recently in a church in a military

barracks . Given the ease with which knowledge and information filter through virally on the internet , the Nigerian nation ‘s sovereign reputation is that of a nation where people cannot go to church for fear of being bombed . That however is not the situation on the ground as millions go to church without security fears in Lagos, the South West and the East without fear of being bombed or kidnapped. Indeed the horror of the death of Kaduna state governor is that the Christians of Kaduna state have lost their Christian Governor , a rarity that occurred when the Vice President Mohammed Sambo was chosen as President Jonathan Goodluck’s running mate in the 2011 elections and the former’s deputy governor was sworn in as Governor of Kaduna state . It was rumored that Boko Haram’s fierce church bomb attacks on Kaduna were because of an incumbent Christian governor in a state that Boko Haram feels should be having Sharia Law. Now the tragedy in Bayelsa has favored Boko Haram’s wish , as a Muslim governor in the person of Patrick Yakowa’s former deputy governor has been sworn in as Governor of Kaduna state . Now it remains to be seen whether the coming of a Muslim Governor in Kaduna state will stem the fury of church bombing by Boko Haram in Kaduna state , or exacerbate it for one to draw appropriate political conclusions , with the concomitant security and sovereign reputation implications for not only Kaduna , State but Nigeria as a whole . In the US where a CNN report on Wednesday noted that 34 Americans are being killed by guns daily the sovereign reputa-

travel both for local and foreign destinations is not only mortal but is sickeningly morbid amongst Nigerians especially those whose businesses and jobs require travelling over the length and breadth of our nation

tion of that nation is that of a dangerous place to live in and that could be difficult to admit or defend for any citizen or government of the US . But in Connecticut where children of tender age were killed just like that one , or any citizen of the world , should think twice before making the US a destination at least in an ideal matter of choice situation What moved me most on the tragedy was the statement credited to the state governor that –Evil visited this community today . I think that should sum up the correct civilized community reaction to the gruesome murders as the name of the terrorist should just be substituted with the word Evil and his real name obliterated from human memory forever thus denying him the ignominious and mad recognition that drive such devil incarnate to their heinous crimes . For now the US must amend its gun possession laws in way that does not make individual self protection rights infinitely mightier than the security of the larger society. That is what common sense dictates , given the wasteful and high human costs of sustaining the present legal dispensation . Joe Biden, already at the behest of the US president , should drive the US legislature in that direction urgently to let the world know that Americans have respect for human lives - the opposite of which is the US sovereign reputation at present, globally. In Russia’s case Vladmir Putin was getting even with the US on the adoption laws because the US

had not allowed the Russians to investigate allegations that Americans who adopted Russian kids had not treated them well .But that is typical diplomatic brick bats between old enemies and sometimes friend s. What interests me is that in the same report the Russian president objected to being called a dictator or that his regime is authoritarian and his excuse for this was that he did not tamper with the Russian constitution which he felt should have been easier . He even went on to say that he became Prime Minister after two presidential terms . Which is quite interesting for someone who claims to be a democrat . The essence of term or tenure presidency in a transparent democracy is to avert a monopoly of power by any individual and it is that principle that Vladmir Putin has sidetracked and manipulated to now hold on to power in seeming perpetuity in Russia. For him to say that he could have changed the constitution shows really that he is not at heart a true democrat but just another dictator bending the rules to remain in power as a monarch born to rule as it were or another dictator just like the ones just being ousted by the Arabs in the Middle East. Really it is a matter of time before the Russian masses, seeing the Arabs and their street demonstrations on satellite TV and the internet, get wise to Putin’s crude machinations to stay in power by all means , while making a mockery of democracy and transparency in Russia.



Pleasant wishes, wonky season Knucklehead With K Yomi WASHIORKOR Christmas? I almost picked that in view of the parlous economic situation of millions of Nigerians who can hardly scrape together a decent meal, even on Christmas or Sallah days. Yet the resilient spirit of Nigerians is robustly evident in their hopeful disposition even while their feckless leaders pillage the treasury. In moments such as this, you just can’t help joining the band of prayer warriors interceding on behalf of Nigeria. It is an understatement to say that our dear own native land is in turmoil. It has been hit by a bad patch of ill luck. Its breath of ‘fresh air’ is not only fouled, it is fading fast and appears to be in a mad race into oblivion. It is as if the elements have conspired against us, determined to put an end to the fake laughter etched on our faces. Dreams have been deferred, hope is under captivity. And we continue to ask the question: why? Why should the depraved minds in our midst be bent on setting the nation on fire? Why does one national calamity beget yet a bigger tragedy? Why is there so much distrust in the land? Why has governance become a joke? Why the choking corruption and vain hypocrisy? Whither our baskets of good luck? Or has the Good Lord forsaken us? God forbid! We mutter. As I stated in a recent piece titled “A prayer for all seasons”, when things turn this awry, faithful adherents of the universal religions continually admonish us to pray for our leaders so that they will resist the temptation to lead us astray. They tell us that rather than whine at every silly misstep they take on our behalf, we should beseech God to guide their path so that they can retrace their steps. They urge that we speak no ill of them as they are divinely chosen at that point in time. They weave all manner of religious sentiments to justify the bungling as if our collective prayer is all that is required to make a successful leader. Well, if citizens’ faith and goodwill is all that matters, this country should not be under an unending leadership crises that appear to be consistent only in the area of dismal productivity. Neither should Nigeria be embroiled in the kind of unending self-inflicted crises threatening its continuous existence as one, indivisible nation. To be candid, I do agree with those calling on Nigerians to pray for their leaders. Regardless of how bad we may feel about the frequency with which members of the ruling elite mis-apply and misuse power—which must necessarily include the ease with which they travel to distant shores, just to check the workings of their testosterone or brush their teeth—we owe it a duty to remind them that this silly esoteric fantasy has not stopped many of them from being crated back in golden caskets. We need to be-

seech God to imbue them with His wisdom so that they can put an end to the folly in spending billions of dollars on medical tourism at a time when the great icon, Nelson Mandela, successfully underwent gallstones surgery in his native South Africa. It is a big shame that they have abandoned that which should edify us as a nation while they continue to scurry for medical attention in far-flung places. If only they can pick a cue from the South African example, how wonderful would it have been? Some few days back, President Goodluck Jonathan entrusted the nation’s future into the hands of God during the 2012 Holy Ghost Congress of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. He spoke of his conviction that, with God on our side, the country would overcome its present challenges. He said with his leadership style of transparency in governance, his government would do everything within its power to regain the people’s trust and “foster unity and trust.” A humble Jonathan equally gave personal testimony on the role that prayer played in his emergence as President after which he surrendered himself before the congregation for a harvest of prayers. Well, God will always do His bit for mankind. What we do not know for sure is whether the President is prepared to fulfil his own end of the bargain. We may not know what was going through Jonathan’s mind in his sobering presence before God, as he knelt before the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye for special blessings. However, we do know the enormity of the challenges before him and the dire implication of the waning confidence in his ability to pilot the affairs of state. For, if the truth must be told, what started as a refreshing experience in governance has become a nightmare even if most of his henchmen will find the pill too bitter to swallow. We really do not need to go back in time for a recap of how we came into this mess. The details of our gradual descent into this dead end are too numerous to mention. And it would be unfair to place the blame solely on Jonathan’s shoulders even if he is yet to convince us that he could make any difference. Whatever the case, this is definitely not the time to play the blame game. In this festive season, we need to seek His face to heal the wounds in our land. As we inch closer to the end of the year, we can’t help but recall the thousands of lives that have been lost to bloody attacks being perpetrated by all manner of people. It is an unfortunate reality that in recent years, the last days of the last month bring sad news of gory deaths from road accidents, armed robbery and other factors. Sadly, the tail end of this year is not likely to be different. And as if that was not enough headaches for the government and citizens to deal with, several other

Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga SMS only: 07028006913

innocent lives are being lost to gun attacks in banks, worship places and even on our roads. In a year when over 150 persons perished in a plane crash, it is disheartening that some of the nation’s best brains were lost in the tragic chopper crash last Saturday in the creeks of Bayelsa State. Once again, the nation recoils into mourning mood in a season of joy. Question is: why should we count our losses in blood and tears especially when some of these tragedies could have been avoided? Some have said we are the collateral damage of the monster we fail to tame—systemic failure. It pervades all parts of our public and private lives. They say endemic corruption is at the root of our national malaise. They say all it takes is one deadly blow against corruption and every other thing will begin to take shape. They say a callous regime of graft has not only estranged and impoverished the people; it has emboldened many to turn against the state hence the growing league of insurgents and terrorists. They say we create the monsters that now trail us to our worship places, drinking joints and work places. They say the serial rapists in government are the architects of this clear and present danger even in this season of felicitations. If that is the case, then we all need a higher power to stem the rage. Good enough, President Jonathan has taken the bold step to entrust our safety and security in God’s hands. But while God is at it, I guess it is not out of place to remind the President that the buck stops at his table and that millions of Nigerians look up to him to protect them as they plan to celebrate the season in an atmosphere of peace and harmony. We equally call on the Good Lord to grant him divine wisdom in his efforts to detect and weed out the termites and bedbugs in our governance system—those who have practically made it impossible for this nation to aspire and develop to its full potential. Amen. Maybe the day would come when Nigerians would truly begin to celebrate a robust economy and hearty Christmas in place of the pervasive gloom and wobbly Christmas that our very inept leadership has brought upon us! Do have a merry Christmas as you watch your back.



IGERIANS from all walks of life yester day stormed the oil city of Warri, Delta State, to bid farewell to eminent industrialist and philanthropist, Chief Hope Harriman. The ebullient South/South leader, who died two months shy of his 80th Birthday on November 7, in Springfield, Maryland, USA, was laid to rest at about 2pm at his Mewe Omadeli Close resident in Warri Delta State. Friends and contemporaries of the late Chief Harriman, including Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Chief K.B. Omatseye and Chief Isaac Jemide of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, Chief Godwin Ogbetuo, amongst others, were on hand to bid farewell to the renowned estate surveyor and nationalist. His family members, including Justice Roli Harriman, Mrs. Irene Harriman, Hon. Temi Harriman, former member of the House of Representatives; Mr. Tuoyor Harriman and Mrs. Ete Ayida-Harriman were sombre in their traditional all black attire. Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, in his eulogy, described Chief Harriman’s death as a great loss to the Itsekiri nation and South/South in particular and Nigeria in general. He said his death has robbed the people of his wealth of knowledge and wide influence. The Very Rev Monsignor Boyo, in his sermon, charged children and family members of the late philanthropist not to be grieved by his death, but to be encouraged by the life he lived while on earth. Rev. Boyo, whose sermon was backed by copi-

Traditional rulers, political leaders bid Harriman farewell Shola O’NEIL, Warri ous quotes from the Holy Bible, noted that the late Chief Harriman lived a fulfilled Christian life, which he encouraged those present at the ceremony to imbibe in order to make heaven. Reading from Mathew Chapter 25:31-46, the man of God reminded those present that whatever they do on earth would count on the last day, noting that the good deeds of Chief Harriman, his love for his fellow beings and his kindness would bear him witness on the day of judgement. Traditional rulers from all over the country, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuade, the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II; the Adagba of Iyanfoworogi, lie-Ire, Oba Adebolu Fatunmise and Olowaa of Elefon, Oba Tajudeen Adebowale. Other guests included former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Senator Rowland Owie and his wife, Helen; Arc Femi Majekodumi, Dr. Cairo Ojugboh and Dr. Alex Ideh. Chief Olufemi Adesonya, Otunba Funso Lawal, Chief Willie Edema-Ofoni, Sandys OmadeliUvwoh, former PMAN President, Mr Tee Mac, Prince Ernest Okojie and former Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Bolatse Dudu, a lawyer and his counterpart, Dr. Veronica Ogbuagu. High point of the ceremony was colourful display by various Itsekiri cultural troupes and the famous Umoko dance band, which entertained guests during the ceremony.

•From Right: Chief Edwin K. Clark, Chief Olufemi Adesanya and Otunba Funso Lawal.

•From Right: Mrs. Irene Harriman (Widow), Hon. Temi Harriman, Mr. Tuoyor Harriman, Mrs. Ete Ayida-Harriman, Mr. Abi Ayida and other children.

•Justice Roli Harriman (Widow)in black being consoled by friends and relatives






THE NATION, Saturday, DECEMBER 22, 2012


Three years on, Indian has now become a different personality. She has changed from being a naïve and timid village girl to a sharp and outspoken one. Before entering school, she could not make a complete sentence in English. Today, not only does she speak the language fluently, she now reads novels and motivational books to help her

My father met my mother as a virgin; that is why I’m his exact replica –Debe Ojukwu


Pages 20,21&46


The metamorphosis of

Indian Ayuba, The Nation girl

•Indian...three years ago


THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012

‘I’m reading hard to be like Ben Carson, America’s famous neuro-surgeon’

•Indian (middle) & friends

When the first of the series on the 13-yearold Indian Ayuba was published on Saturday, August 22, 2009, it began like any other story. Three years on, the story of Indian has not stopped inspiring Nigerians. Now preparing for the Junior Secondary School examination, Indian is bent on living her dream. But will that dream become a reality? EVELYN OSAGIE asks.


IKE any other 13-year-old, fairskinned Indian Ayuba had a unique pastime. Locked in a remote and serene village of Chessu, Nasarawa State, she would often sit on a chair in front of her maternal grandfather’s red mudbungalow and dream on, perhaps, of a beautiful future. This was her preferred pastime, especially if she is not caring for her mother, Esther, or helping out in the farm. So huge were her dreams that she was somewhat afraid to share them. The most gargantuan of those dreams was her becoming a medical doctor which was merely a wishful thinking at the time. And another huge ambition was to have a future in which she would be able to give her mentally-challenged mother a better life. “With God's help, I would like to be a doctor because I want to make people okay. And I would one day take care of and heal my mother,” she had said when asked what she would like to be in future. And so began the unique enduring love story between a 13-year-old and her mother. Published in The Nation on Saturday, August 22, 2009, it literarily stole the hearts of thousands of Nigerians within and outside the country. Three years on, the story has run in over 10 series and has shown what can be

accomplished when people set to achieve great feats. Today, what was merely wishful thinking three years ago is gradually becoming a reality as Nigerians moved to sponsor her education. An account was opened for this purpose and a welfare board made up of notable Nigerians like the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi and the Otun Olubadan of Ibadan, Chief Omowale Kuye, among others, was established. The management of The Nation thanks Nigerians for their continuous show of concern towards Indian and her mother. Keen observers hope that the government in all strata of governance will take social security of the Nigerian child very seriously. On her part, from day one, Indian had shown great commitment to her dream of a better future. When many thought she would not be able to make the school’s entrance examination and the interview that followed, owing to her educational background, she scaled through both. To brush her up, she was put on extramural classes. But the lapse in educational foundation still showed up as she had to repeat in her first year. Undaunted, she kept alive her dream, going home every holiday to be with her mother and family. Three years on, Indian has now become a


THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012


I am inspired by Ben Carson’s story; from the dullest he became the best. When he was small, people did not believe he would make it because he failed several times when he was in primary school. When his mother saw that he was failing, she made him and his brother read books and believe in their ability. Today, he is a doctor. I read his story in his book, Think Big, which I bought for N500, after our Principal had told us about it. And from it, I learnt that it does not matter what one is today, but through hard work, one can become great tomorrow. And that means that I can make it too, if I read my books

•Indian with her artwork



•Indianʼs mother...three years ago different personality. She has changed from being a naïve and timid village girl to a sharp and outspoken one. Before entering school, she could not make a complete sentence in English. Today, not only does she speak the language fluently, she now reads novels and motivational books to help her. Her favourite’s is the story of the great motivator, America’s famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson to whom she seems to share

a lot with. It was a bubbling Indian that this reporter met in school before the Yuletide break. She had glint in her eyes as she talked about her mentor. Hear her: “I am inspired by Ben Carson’s story; from the dullest he became the best. When he was small, people did not believe he would make it because he failed several times when he was in primary school. When his mother saw that he was failing, she made him and his brother read books and believe in their ability. Today, he is a doctor. I read his story in his book, Think Big, which I bought for N500, after our Principal had told us about it. And from it, I learnt that it does not matter what one is today, but through hard work, one can become great tomorrow. And that means that I can make it too, if I read my books. Carson became a medical doctor because he became focused on his studies with his mother’s help. I also learnt that I should ‘think big’ and be smart. I will buy his other book, Gifted Hands, because his story is interesting.” She said she was gearing up for the first term examination, saying: “Aunty, we are all reading for our exams because we don’t want to fail.” She also seized the moment to show off some inspiring quotes she has learnt, adding: “I always remember the ‘P-5’ as I work.” “And what is this ‘P-5’,” she was asked. “P-5 is Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance,” she laughed feeling nice with herself for having something to teach others. Her form teacher, Mrs Anna Agushaka, impressed with Indian’s determination, spoke passionately about it. “Indian is trying. She is willing to learn. All she needs is encouragement and she picks up challenges. If you challenge her, she listens and puts more effort. The last term in my test, she came 21st position, but this term, she came 14th position. And I have told her she has to sit up. And I believe she can do better,” she said. Bursting with excitement, Indian took the reporter to her hostel with permission from the authority and showed off her corner and her friends. Her mates watched with kin interest as she escorted the reporter to her hostel, perhaps their interest was aroused because it was the first time the reporter would ever enter the hostel with Indian. Bubbly Indian seemed to savour the moment. She went on about school, her

work and filling the reporter in on all she has missed, especially during the school’s open day. “Aunty, do you know some people used to cry during our open day if their parents don’t come to visit them? I don’t cry o,” she said. “And why don’t you cry?” she was asked. “Because I know that where you stay is far and you are very busy. And even if I cry, it won’t bring you just like that and I know you would always come to see me later. So, I focus on my studies instead of crying. But I miss you sometimes o,” she replied. “I miss you too,” the reporter replied. “I am happy you understand that I cannot come often to see you because of the distance and work. And I cannot because I may not always have the money to come as much I would want to,” the reporter added while Indian nodded her head to indicate understanding. As they passed by a big tree in the middle of the hostel, she said: “We are afraid of that tree because of the shape.” On getting to her corner, it became obvious why she was willing to show off. It was neatly dressed with everything arranged in its place. Impressed by her show of neatness, the school’s matron, Mrs Bridget John, said of the trait: “She is not only respectful but also very neat. She does not like any stain on her. She would come to me if there is any stain she cannot deal with and I would tell her what to do.” As the visit came to an end, Indian promised she would not only put in her best in her forthcoming examination but read hard for the Junior Secondary School (JSS) examination while courting the reporter to get her a beautiful dress as Christmas gift for the reward of hard work. As the year comes to a close, it is not yet Uhuru for this 16-year-old dreamer; a lot still needs to be done to give her the future of her dreams. The money in her account may not be enough to see her through the education of her dream. The bank account is still open for donations. The account, First Bank Plc, Ilupeju, Lagos branch has the account name: Indian Ayuba Trust with account number: 2013716583. However, it is not yet bed time for the story. Follow the story soon as this reporter goes in search of her father again and presents an update on her mother.



•Umuokpalamilo site in Ozubulu

•Another dangerious site


NHABITANTS of Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Anambra State are in deep sorrow over the menace of erosion in the area. Besides claiming many buildings, two brothers in Urumabiam in Ozubulu, Ignatius Igwemadu and his younger sibling, were said to have died as a result of the menace. At press time, many other buildings were under the threat of being submerged by erosion, causing residents to cry out to the Anambra State governor, the Federal Government and donor agencies to come to their aid. The House of Assembly member representing the area, Hon. Paully Onyeka, who was in tears when he visited the communities, told The Nation that his people were in serious trouble. In a chat with our correspondent, 74-year-old Ichie Ezekwem Ezeana, said Ihembosi community alone had about 14 erosion sites. He said: “We’re appealing to the government to come to our aid. We don’t want to lose more lives before they come. They should come and help us. We are dying in Ekwusigo.” At Ibolo erosion site in Oraifite, a mansion erected by 76-year-old Pa Onyejiaka Anazodo is at the verge of being submerged. Already, the perimeter fence has been consumed by erosion while septuagenarian Anazodo was in tears. “If the menace finally takes my building, I do not have any place to run to with my family,” he lamented. According to him, the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Daniel Udoji, had made several representations to the state government, all to no avail. The erosion problem began in the area in 1996. But, according to Chukwulobe Ifeanyi, another indigene from the area, it was compounded by Consolidated Construction Company (CCC) when it was working on the Onitsha-Owerri Road. He said: “The construction giants failed to direct the erosion to Ekulo river. So, all the water from Ichi, Ifite, Oraifite is channelled to this place. If left unchecked, by the next rainy season, this area

•Pa Azodo (right), Hon Onyeka and other members of the community in one of the Erosion Sites

Nwanosike ONU, Awka will be swallowed and many lives will be lost. Numerous buildings will also collapse,” he said. The erosion menace in Ekwusigo has cut off some of the major roads linking different villages and communities, like Awo and Ifite. A student of Saint Paul University, Ufondu Emenike, said the Awo road linking Ifite was motorable until the rainy season began this year. Also, at Uruokpalamilo village in Ozubulu, the erosion has consumed the building of one Gabriel Asuzu. The site is believed to be the longest erosion site in the entire West African

sub-region. The building of Ikechukwu Asuzu is also at the verge of being swallowed by the erosion site, which measures about four kilometres. According to 56-yearold Madam Catherine Mbaonu, it began about 15 years ago, and since them, no help has come to the people from any quarters. Another indigene of Ozubulu, Anaeto Echezona, told The Nation that the people of the area are not safe anymore, adding that some members of the affected communities had started relocating to other communities. He said: “We are dying in this area. We need somebody to res-

This erosion has cut off brothers, ‘sisters and relatives from one an-

other. Urumabiam village is no more. We have suffered in this place. People can no longer communicate with their neighbours. This has become unbearable to us


Lawmaker, residents lament as erosion unleashes horror on Anambra communities

cue us from this problem. The people of the communities no longer feel comfortable in their own land.” Some of the erosion sites are man-made; like the sand excavation centre at Egbema Ozubulu, which is five feet deep. Others are natural disasters. The Vice President General of Ozubulu Development Union (ODU), Chief Goddy Ulasi, said the Urumabiam erosion site had been there for 20 years. He said most of the people in the area had fled for dear lives to other places. “This erosion has cut off brothers, sisters and relatives from one another. Urumabiam village is no more. We have suffered in this place. People can no longer communicate with their neighbours. This has become unbearable to us,’’ he said. Hon. Paully Onyeka, representing the constituency, told The Nation that it is unfortunate that communities that had been living in harmony have been separated from their neighbours by erosion. “Our Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, I believe, did not know that there

is problem here because I know that he is an environment-friendly governor. If he had been aware of this, he would have done something about it. “We cannot continue this way. Nobody knows what the future holds for these people. Every community in Ekwusigo has at least 10 erosion sites. “We have over 40 erosion sites in the entire Ekwusigo Local Government Area. Therefore, this place should receive priority attention. It has not been a palatable sight in Ekwusigo. “We want to bring it to the notice of the state and federal governments as well as international donor agencies. Before now, Anambra had been inundated with erosion stories at Oko, Nanka and Agulu. But today, it is Ekwusigo. “This zone should be declared erosion disaster area. All the erosions in other areas combined are not as bad as that of Ekwusigo. We seriously need help from every quarter,” Onyeka lamented.





How we found ourselves behind bars •Freed inmate, Isiaka Sule

•Omoniyi Sule •Freed inmate, Abdukarim Adamu




Inside the hell called

N the bleak, windswept landscape of the rapidly swelling Kirikiri Medium and Maximum Prisons and Ikoyi Prisons, they wither. Their looks tell tales of agony. The eyes' sockets are seemingly loosened. They are the metaphor of lack, the simile of dejection and the apt representation of want. Yet, they just came out of what should be a reformatory centre. No thanks to overcrowding, caused by the high population of Awaiting Trial Inmates, the Kirikiri Maximum and Medium Prisons and others across the country have become the chambers of horror. Every day, about 1000 Nigerians are dumped in prisons, remaining there without trial. There are those who have been there for about three years or more without being taken to court for once. Of the 42,000 inmates in the country's prisons, 34,000 are awaiting trial, according to Minister of Interior Abba Moro. Some believe that the figures may be inaccurate given the country's poor recordkeeping. Inmates lack enough bed spaces. So, not all enjoy the luxury of sleeping on the bed. Cells are unclean and without proper ventilation. Diseases are widespread. The government does not perform its role of meeting the daily needs of prisoners, leaving missionary bodies, charity groups and NonGovernmental Organisations (NGO) to fill the gaps. The prisons provide for inmates to engage in vocations such as carpentry, tailoring and so on. But not all can benefit from these. Inmates awaiting trial are excluded. They are made to pass time in prisons with nothing to show for it. Some of them have been in detention for much longer than the sentence they would have got on conviction. Luck ran the way of many of them on September 18 and December 11, when the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, visited the Kirikiri Maximum and Medium Prisons. On December 11, the inmates that welcomed the chief judge were in a somber mood and moving about almost in a zombielike way. Security in and around the two prisons were tensed and the atmosphere was charged. At the end of that visit, 233 awaiting trial inmates, most of them stern-looking, were granted freedom, with Justice Phillips admonishing them to go and sin no more. The visit made to Ikoyi Prison on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 was a total opposite to the situation at Kirikiri. But for the high walls, the prison community could pass for a fortified family compound, well kept and organised, with fresh air and very clean inmates. Among them, sporting a clean white T-shirt, adorning a well-combed afro hair style and clutching tightly to his Holy Bible, was Akolade Arowolo, a self-proclaimed Youth Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), facing a one-count charge of murder for allegedly killing his banker wife, Titilayo. The Chief Judge and her entourage of judges of the State High Courts and magistrates of the lower courts, were welcomed into the prison chapel with the sound of gospel and hip-pop music by the happy inmates. Unlike Kirikiri Prisons where prisons officials were overzealous and made deliberate attempt to impress the chief judge, the inmates and prison officials in Ikoyi were relaxed and wore a happy look, maybe a


reflection of their location in the highbrow Ikoyi. Conspicuously displayed at the entrance of the beautifully decorated chapel was a banner that read: “We the entire inmates welcome our dear mother, Honorable Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, and her entourage to Ikoyi correctional centre, the genuine home of reformation”. The Ikoyi Prisons musical group, dressed in a blue T-shirt over a pair of jeans trousers welcomed Justice Phillips into the auditorium of the prison with their brakedancing steps and were chorusing “Hallelluyah! Halleluyah!! Halleluyah!!! Freedom is what we need, Freedom is what we want”. The chief judge was so much attracted to their lyrics and brake dance that she told them much afterwards that she would have loved to join them but for being of old age and that she could not match their brake dance steps. "I like your music. It is only that I am too old now. I would have joined you on the dancing floor,” she said. No doubt, many of the inmates at the Ikoyi Prisons in Lagos had looked forward to spending the Christmas behind bars and were not prepared for the freedom that came with the visit of the Chief Judge, which gave them the opportunity of a second chance to live a free life. Many could not believe their ears when they were called out in batches and were told that they had been set free and to “go and sin no more”. A total of 46 inmates of different age groups prostrated in appreciation to the Lagos Chief Judge for granting them their freedom from the Ikoyi Prisons. To many of them, freedom had remained an illusion for many years, especially for the elderly ones, having spent an upward of three years and above behind bars for offences they claimed they never committed. Their joy new no bounds as their names were called and in realisation of the fact that they are no longer prisoners. One could feel the love that existed between the inmates and the prison officials as they congratulate each other over the development.

•President 3R Club Akintunde Ifenuga

No wonder the Deputy Comptroller of the prison, Mr. Emmanuel Bamidele, was quick to explain that in the prison yard, they do not refer to them as “inmates” but that they call themselves “team mates”, the awaiting trials, convicts and officials alike, adding that this had helped to build and entrench love. Justice Phillips told those who regained their freedom that the gesture was in fulfillment of the promise she made during her visit to Kirikiri to visit the prisons more frequently to set free those deserving it and have stayed beyond the time that was necessary without being arraigned. According to her, the release of the inmates is in line with her statutory duty to decongest the prisons. She subsequently released the inmates who were all on the awaiting trial list in pursuant of the powers conferred on her under Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2007. The release of the 46 inmates brought to 279, the number of awaiting trials so far set free by Justice Phillips as the Lagos Chief Judge. She admonished the freed inmates to be of good behaviour henceforth and to "sin no more. I have a magnetic and very retentive memory. So, I would remember any of you if I come across your name again. You have been given a second chance." The stories told by the freed inmates show that the prisons have become homes to the guilty and the innocent. One of the freed inmates, Isiaka Sule, was too happy to express himself coherently. He explained that he was arrested by the police in May 2009 while riding his okada on the allegation that he was an armed robber and was arraigned before the Ebutte Metta Magistrate’s Court 2 in the same month but was never taken to court for trial. Sule reiterated that he never committed the said offence but was just doing his job when he was arrested. The story was not much different for 53-year-old Calistus Ogala from Kogi State. He said he was arrested because a friend who borrowed his car used it to carry stolen goods. Ogala was arrested in 2009 and arraigned before the Yaba Magistrate’s Court but was never taken to court for trial after he was remanded. He explained that his friend who committed the offence was not arrested and had never been to visit him. He added that the only person that comes to see him is his wife who does not even know he will be released that day. Omoniyi Sule, 24, was arrested by the police since May 2009 in Ikotun on allegation of murder, an allegation he denied vehemently. “I feel very happy that I am leaving this place. I didn't expect that I am

ever going to leave this place. I thank God for this wonderful gift”, he said. Sule who learnt electronics while in prison, said he would put the skill so acquired into use and earn a living. Sixty-year-old Abdulrahman Adamu said he was selling tomatoes and pepper at Mile 12 before he was arrested in 2008 for alleged murder. He said he was never taken to any court for trial since his arrest. Speaking through an interpreter, Adamu said he has never killed in his life and cannot understand why the police arrested him for the offence. He thanked Allah for his release and for using the Chief Judge to grant him freedom. Another lucky inmate is 75-year-old Job Melebe who had thought he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. Melebe, an Ijaw man, said he was remanded in prison in the year 2008 over an Awori kingship tussle at a time two brothers were fighting for the position of the kingship at Awori area of Lagos. He claimed to be coming back from the farm when some policemen saw him and ran after him. Without an explanation of what he did, he found himself remanded in prison custody. He added that it was while he was in the prison that he was informed that he killed somebody. He said since 2008, that he was in the Prison custody, he was not taken to court for trial. He expressed his gratitude to God for perfecting his freedom, stating: "I am very happy to be released today." Another inmate, 34-yearold Yusuf Oyekunle also had a similar case of murder and has been in the prison since March 2008. According to him, he had a fight with his friend who fell down and people called the police who arrested him without allowing him to state his case. The incident, he said, happened at Sango-Ota, adding that since he was arrested and taken to the prison custody, he has not been arraigned before any court for trial. According to him, during his stay in prison, he had learnt how to make liquid soap and disinfectant, some of which were displayed during the CJ's visit. He said he has learnt his lesson and will never fight anyone again, adding that he will utilise his knowledge of the trade he learnt while in prison to make a better life for himself. Nsikak Solomon, 34, was arrested in September 2007 for alleged armed robbery. He denied the offence. He said he was first taken to Ikoyi Police Station from where he was moved to Panti , Yaba, before being returned to Ikoyi Prisons. Solomon, who claimed to be a builder, said he was not taken before any court since arrest. “But today, I feel very happy. My God who I served has vindicated me”, he said. A vulcanizer, Kazeem Oladosu, 29, also received the grace of a second chance. He explained that he was going home after


THE NATION, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2012 •Inmates of Ikoyi Prison entertaining the Lagos CJ and her entourage

Nigerian Prisons

L-R: Justice Funmilayo Atilade, the Chief judge, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons, Ikoyi Prisons, Mr. Emmanuel Bamidele and Justice Olabisi Akinlade

closing from work when he was apprehended by some boys, who claimed that he collected handsets from them and before he knew it, they started beating him and took him to the police station where they made a statement that he collected their handsets at gun point. He said all attempts to state his own story to the police failed. According to him, the next day, they called his aunty and took him straight to Panti, Yaba, and from there, he was taken to the court and was accused of stealing jewelries, handsets and cars. He stated that he has been in the prison custody since on the 20th of January 2009 and none of his family members ever came to see him throughout his stay in the prison and are not even aware of his release. He said he is very happy to have been released, adding that he was going to turn a new leave and also to be a good citizen in his community. The September 18 Group The experiences of the group freed on September 18 bear a lot of semblance to the December 11 Group. Betran Anwagu was in his shop around CMS Bus Stop, Lagos Island, in 2005 when he had a misunderstanding with another man and had the story of his life rewritten . Dennis Etim was arrested for robbery, instead of fighting in 2010. Sanni Musa, a trader at the Mile 12 Market, Ketu, on the outskirts of Lagos, was arrested in place of a suspected armed robber in June 2005. And Ifeanyi Nwaeze, an ex-commercial bus driver from Delta State, was accused of robbing someone in Egbeda, on the outskirts of Lagos. They were all kept in a prison cell alongside hardened criminals. Anambra State-born Anwagu, 54, was arrested on March 9, 2005. He said: “Life there was difficult. The food we were given here was not good. Though we were being fed thrice a day, the food was nothing, especially the soup. Those that had

money used it to cook. Someone like me, I didn't like the food I was served a night before I was released. So, I went to bed hungry. Before I came to prison, I was not married. The woman I was planning to marry, I haven't seen her since this thing happened to me. “ Anwagu found himself in prison for streetfighting. According to him, a man had come to him at CMS Bus Stop, Lagos Island, where he was selling provisions. He claimed to have fought him. Anwagu, who lost the opportunity of getting married to his heartthrob as a result of his arrest, said he was first taken to the Police Headquarters Annex (Lion Building) in Lagos. “Two hours later, the police came back with two more people and the following morning, the four of us were taken before the DPO as those found on the crime scene. That very morning, we were charged with armed robbery and remanded at Panti and later we were brought to Kirikiri.” The unfairness of the justice system was corroborated by an ex-inmate, Etim, 39. The father of four said he had a fight with somebody with whom he had a business transaction. He claimed that in the course of the fight, the other man's N15,000 got missing and he was arrested for robbery, instead of fighting. That was in 2010. Etim, who spent two years and nine months in prison, alleged that the police officer, who investigated the matter, asked his mother to bring N250,000 to set him free. He said: “ The IPO asked me to bring N250,000 so that he can set me free. He negotiated the price with my mum, then later on that day when he wanted to take me to court, he said my mother should bring N20,000 that he will change the robbery case to stealing. Then my mother said 'no, my son did not steal anything'. So, immediately my mother left that day, he said my mother should come the next morning; it was that

very morning he took me to court because my mother came late.” Like other prisons, Kirikiri is congested. Awaiting Trial Prisoners (ATPs) are more than convicts. For instance, as at September, the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons had 1,056 inmates. 763 were awaiting trials. The Medium Security Prison had 2,502 inmates; 2,378 were awaiting trial inmates. 124 were convicts. Most of the ATPs are in custody for petty offences. Musa, one of those freed by the Lagos chief judge, was a trader at the Mile 12 Market, Ketu, on the outskirts of Lagos. He told The Nation that policemen arrested him in place of a suspected armed robber. That was in June 2005. He said of his seven years in prison: “No enjoyment for life here o. Nothing dey here. If I commot here now, I go go back to my brother where he dey sell market.” Another beneficiary of Justice Phillips' gesture, Victor Kapan, was dumped in prison when he was 20. He is now 32. He said: “I was a motorcycle mechanic until I was brought in here in year 2000. Before then, some boys brought a document that I should help them change it to their own. That was all I know. I keep thanking God that I am still alive till this date because He has given me a second chance and I will never do anything that will bring me to prison again.” The story of his life has been rewritten. “While I was here, my aunt who used to visit me, died. I also lost my junior brother and senior sister while I was here and I wasn't allowed to attend their burials. As soon as I leave, I'll go back to my former job but I will first go and see my aged mother in the village. Then, when God blesses me, I'll come to worship at the chapel here and visit my brothers.” Nwaeze wasted five years in Kirikiri. The ex-commercial bus driver from Delta State was accused of robbery. He said: “I was born September 19 1982. They said that I went and robbed someone in Egbeda. So, they came and arrested me in my house but I didn't do anything. They took me to the station and I spent six months at the station. While I was there, no one came to make a statement that I actually robbed him. I was taken to a court in Ikeja once and then taken to the Kirikiri Medium Prisons for more than two years before I was brought to the Maximum Prisons.” His ordeal has made him appreciate God. “When I was in the free world, I never used to go to church, but I knew I was serving God. But since I came here, I am now serving the living God. Today, I feel a big relief. If my mother hears my voice, she will cry. My sister and I are the only children she has. When I leave, I will go to the East and meet my parents. I can manage some of my father's property. I don't want to go back to the life I used to live, living life like tomorrow did not exist. But since I had this problem, none of those ladies I used to waste money on or my so-called friends has come to visit me.” Henry Odus also benefitted from Justice Phillips's benevolence. Odus was convicted for murder. He admitted committing the offence, which saw him spending years in prison before the chief judge came to his rescue. Odus said: “ I was married before I came here with two children. My wife left me and my two children came to visit me once in a

while. All I can do now is to have a repentant mind.” In jail for statements written under duress But if the words of Williams Owodo, an inmate serving life at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, are anything to go by, many of those still at the prisons may not deserve to be there. He said: “Most of us who were sentenced to death are innocent. And Governor Babatunde Fashola should please look into our case. Our statements were written under duress.” Morro agrees that the criminal justice system needs overhauling to decongest the prisons and prevent innocent people from languishing in jail without trial. He said: “To solve this problem would mean a total overhaul and re-planning of the criminal justice administration system. I must state that the job of decongesting the prisons vested in the Justice Ministry has not been really effective. There should be a redesigning to involve the prisons and the supervising ministry and the police and civil society organisations.” Until then, the population of those awaiting trial will keep rising. It was 30,000 in 2010. Morro said it is now 34,000. What will it be next year? Making meaning of freedom Bamidele believes stigmatisation of former prisoners remains a major obstacle and allays the fear of members of the society that those set free would not pose any problem, as they had undergone genuine reformation and rehabilitation process. "Therefore to settle down and become useful in the society after their release would be easy if society allows them a second chance as they all have a craft that they have learned. Nevertheless, let me assure my lord and other people here that you will never regret the bold and laudable action to be taken today," he said. The Deputy Comptroller of Prisons also counselled the freed prison inmates to be of good behaviour henceforth and not to betray the confidence placed in them. In the same vein, he advised the remaining inmates, cautioning them that their good attitude is the only way to ensure a repeat of the Chief Judge’s visit to the prisons. "To my obedient, tolerant and understanding inmates particularly those that will get freedom today, as you can see and hear, I have vouched for your good behaviour. Therefore never you betray the confidence so that it will not be too long before we get this type of rare opportunity. “Expectedly, the fear being nursed to set long awaited trial inmates free is as a result of the disappointment and embarrassment they used to cause after being set free thereby increasing crime rate in their immediate environment. But I want to allay that fear and assure you that inmates of Ikoyi Prisons are undergoing genuine reformation and rehabilitation processes. “A club tagged 3R is actively operating. Therefore to settle down for something meaningful after release may not constitute worry provided society allowed them a second chance.” A prison psychologist, Mr. Alu Ogbonaya, who coordinates the activities of the 3R Club which focuses on Rehabilitation, Reformation and Recreation, said all Ikoyi inmates have learnt one craft or the other that can grant them a source of livelihood when freed. He added that the club consists of three groups including the music department and publishing. Alu explained further that the key word in the prison is “I can do it”, adding that none of the inmates that pass through Ikoyi Prisons gets sent back there for any offence when they are freed. According to him, one of the inmates that just gained his freedom just released an album entitled 'Be cool'; and some are billed to attend a music school from prison for performing well in a talent hunt show organised for inmates by the House on the Rock Church. The President of the 3R Club, who is also an inmate, Mr Akintunde Ifenuga, said the reformation process in Ikoyi Prisons, is effective. Ifenuga had been in Ikoyi Prisons since 2009 on an allegation of theft. The court found him guilty of the offence and sentenced him to four years’ imprisonment last year. His sentence will end in March, 2013.

THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012



The river that was a blessing to our forefathers has become a nightmare to us •800-yr-old community laments nature’s burden •Children, adults learn swimming to escape danger


S the children and adults of Itekun, a serene community of Ogun State that shares boundary with Lagos State set out early in the morning to go to their various schools and places of work, palpable fear and anxiety took strategic positions on their faces. Mothers who could take their children to school for various reasons mumbled some words of prayers as they bade their wards goodbye. The lips of the adults also recited a litany of prayers as they set out to go to work. Their fear simply stems from the risk of travelling on the river that separates their community from Lagos State to go to school and their various places of work. Some of such travels on the river, it was gathered, had ended in fatal accidents that claimed the lives and properties of some of the residents in the past. In spite of the risk, the people cannot but pass through the rivers every day, morning and evening. The river seems to be the only passable way to and from the community. The alternative route from Abeokuta through Igbesa is not only too far but also in terrible condition. Findings revealed that this humungous challenge confronting the people and the community at large is not a new development. According to Chief Simon Olabisi Aina, the Agbaakin of Itekun land, the problem is as old as the ancient community which was said to have existed for over 300 years. He told our correspondent that as a pupil, he travelled on the river to go to school in Lagos State between 1948-1951. Over 60 years after his harrowing experience on the water, he regretted that their children and grandchildren are still going through a similar breath-taking experience. Checks revealed that the mass movement of students both in primary and secondary school in the community to Lagos is as a result of absence of standard school in the community. St. Jude the only primary school in the community was said to have been built in 1940 by the Anglican Church. The dilapidated four-room school was without windows and doors as at the time our correspondent visited the area. The pit toilet in the school has caved in forcing the hapless students to visit reptile infested bush to urinate and defecate. The school has just three teachers that teach all the classes from kindergarten to primary six. Two teachers were said to have been in charge over the years before the third was recently employed to support the existing ones. Apart from the ageing primary school, the community does not have any secondary school within the area. The closest secondary school to the community was said to be in Igbesa which is about six kilometers away from the community. Bemoaning the despicable plight of the community, Chief Aina said: "The river was a sort of blessing to our forefathers but now it is a big problem to us. It was a blessing to them because it prevented enemies from coming to attack and take them away as slaves. But the story has changed today because the river is causing untold pains for us. We have lost quite a number of our people to accidents resulting from canoe capsize on the river." Recalling his experience travelling on the river during his infant school days, he said: "It was a harrowing experience because rain or shine I travelled on the river to go to school at Ishasi in Lagos State between 1948 and 1951. Unfortunately our children and grand children are still going through the same risky lifestyle almost 65 years after we did.I spent three years in infant classes before moving to Igbesa for my primary education. Igbesa is about six kilometers away from here. It takes about 30 minutes to ride on motorcycle from here

n Innocent DURU n to Igbesa. “Travelling on the water is risky. We always pray and commit ourselves to God before travelling on the water. When rain falls it is always a hell. There would be no going out and coming in for everybody. Most of the children don’t even go to school and many parents also do not go to work to avoid the danger of boat capsize. No matter how much you know how to swim, one would still be scared. A Yoruba adage says that a good swimmer ends up dying in water. “We do have canoes capsizing and it has claimed many lives in the past. It has stopped a little bit since we have engine boat plying the river now. One of such mishaps happened when some of our people were going to market in Lagos. Our people used to go to Ojo in Lagos to trade and come back later in the day. As they were going on that fateful day on the water, the canoe they were travelling in capsized, killing many of them in the process. The number of casualties would have been higher if not for the timely of rescuers that went into the river to save many of them.” Lamenting the absence of a standard school in the community, Chief Aina said: “We really feel very bad that the community does not have more than a primary school built in 1940 by the Anglican Church Communion. Most of the people here don’t want their children

The river was a sort of blessing to our forefathers but now it is a big problem to us. It was a blessing to them because it prevented enemies from coming to attack and take them away as slaves. But the story has changed today because the river is causing untold pains for us. We have lost quite a number of our people to accidents resulting from canoe capsize on the river •Chief Aina to attend the school because it is a rural school. Many people from Lagos that came here to build houses would never allow their children to go to school here. A good number of the people in the community prefer to send their children to Lagos than allow them to school here.


“The secondary school they gave us in 1980 is about ten kilometers away from here. The school naturally closed down because many of our people could not go there. The community is trying to do something about it but the fact is that it is too far for our children. The nearest

THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012


•A view of Itekun community

•Top & bottom: Students and other residents on the river secondary school that our children can attend is at Igbesa. Commercial motorcycle operators charge between N300 and N400 to take a passenger there because of the bad state of the road. If we have good primary and secondary schools, our children would not be risking their lives travelling on the water every day. “Our problem is compounded by the state of the roads that lead to the community. The roads linking us to Ota, Abeokuta and other places are in terrible conditions. Whenever our people go to market and it rains, they would be stranded because the commercial drivers would not want to come to this place. The few that would manage to come would hike their fares beyond what is affordable for our people. At the end, they would hardly have any profit from all the toils of the day. ‘’We want good roads because it is a prerequisite for development. We want the government of Lagos and Ogun

States to close ranks and build a bridge over the river so that the lives of our people can be saved from the dangers they pass through every day.” Aside from the above, he added the absence of a health clinic in the community makes life unbearable for the people. He said: “We also have challenges with medical facilities. We always travel on the bad road to Igbesa or on the river to Ishasi before we can get medical help. A building meant to serve as a clinic was started in the community some years ago by the Osoba administration. It was almost completed before the end of his tenure but his predecessor abandoned it. “Imagine what would happen if we have emergency at night? How will anybody drive through the bad roads at night? Where would we get anybody to paddle a canoe on the river at night? It is unfortunate that our lives in this area are not different from that of our forefathers. We are totally cut off from civilisation in

spite of the fact that we share boundary with Lagos which is the centre of modernisation. We rely on radio to get details of what is happening in the country but most often we don’t get to have details because the signal is very bad.” Mr Omoleke Adedotun, the assistant head teacher of the primary school, narrated the difficulty the teachers face in the community. He said: “I come to this place from Atan. It takes me about one hour on motorcycle to get here. The classrooms as you can see have no windows, no doors, and no office. We just demarcated a place for the head teacher. We have about 100 pupils in all the classes; kindergarten, nursery and primary. The number of pupils was fewer than this before now. The number increased after the state government started giving free books to the students. For accepting to work in rural areas, we are paid N50 as allowance every month.” A resident of the community, who gave

her name as Mama Ade, also narrated her ordeal on the river. She said: "I like this community because it is peaceful and quiet. The only problem we have here is the river. We are forced to enroll our children in various schools in Lagos because the standard of the school we have here is distasteful. If the only primary school is of standard, most of us will not take the risk of sending our children across rivers everyday to school in Lagos. It is quite dangerous for us especially our children to be travelling on the river to go to school. The situation is worse during the rainy season because strong wind affects the canoes. I am always tensed up whenever there is heavy downpour because it can lead to fatal accident on the water. If such happens you can be very certain that the number of casualties would be very high because an average canoe carries about 30 people. To avert accidents, the canoe paddler always wait for the rain or strong wind to subside before embarking on their journey. But where the rain or strong winds starts mid way into the journey, the only solution is to commit our lives into the hand of God because there is nothing anybody would be able to do in such situation." One of the students who simply identified herself as Bose told our correspondent that she has accepted the risk and the burden that nature has dropped on their laps. She said that every child in the community knows how to swim not just because of their proximity to the river but also because of the need to find a way out in case of an accident on the river. "It is really unsafe for us to be passing through the river to go to school every day but there is nothing we can do about it. Our parents are always apprehensive whenever it rains and we are not back from school because of the uncertainties of travelling on the river. There are times when canoes would capsize and people and all their goods would find themselves in the river. Because virtually everybody in the community can swim, the people would manage to swim out leaving their goods to perish. We are forced to learn how to swim not just because we are surrounded by water but also because of the need to find a way out whenever accident occurs on the river." Speaking, the traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Majesty Oba Timothy Dabiri Obanla (JP), the Onitekun of Itekun land, said: “ Itekun is an ancient community dated over 800 years. The whole of this ward is in an enclosure because this water is the boundary between Ogun and Lagos states. We know the impact and danger of travelling on water almost on a daily basis and that is why we are begging the government to come to our aid. “There was a time the government of Olabisi Onabanjo proposed to build a bridge across the river. That was in 1978 to be specific but nothing has been done since then. The whole plan ended at the level of proposal. It is God that has been keeping us safe from calamities. If not for divine protection on the community and its members we would have been recording calamity upon calamity going by the enormity of the dangers that our people face travelling on the water every day. If God has faithfully played his role, the government should also play its own role. We know that the government of Governor Amosun has a lot of projects that it is out to execute but we are pleading that he should not leave us out of his good plans.” A source close to the government said the problem facing the community preceded the Amosun administration, adding that it is one of the legacies inherited from the past. ’’However, the present government has plans to develop such areas in spite of enormous developmental issues competing with very scarce resources.’’

THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012


Chief Chukwudebe Sylvester Ojukwu is the late Biafran warlord, Ikemba Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu’s 56-year-old first son. Since his father’s death on November 26, 2011, the retired Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) has had running battles with other family members. His name was also conspicuously missing in the controversial Will read on November 30, 2012. In this interview with Assistant Editors, LINUS OBOGO, GBENGA ADERANTI and SEGUN AJIBOYE, Debe insists he is the true son of his father, throwing a challenge at those who doubt the veracity of his claim. He also dismisses the Will as a fraud. Excerpts:



OU graduated as the best cadet officer of the Nigerian Police Academy in 1985. One would want to ask, why not the army, navy or air force, why the police? I joined the Nigerian Police not as a cadet. I enlisted as a police constable. My life and that of my father have always intertwined. He joined the army as a private. So, everything about his life played out in my own life. I joined the police as a recruit constable in 1976. In 1977, I went for the cadet course 22 at the Police College, Ikeja. The former Inspector-General, Hafiz Ringim, was my course mate and he worked under me. People like Audu Abubakar, Yar’Adua, were all my course mates. Along the line, those of us that joined the police force with our school certificates figured that I would not measure up to be actually my father’s son, if I was not a graduate. All of you know about his elocution. So, there was no way I would want a situation where his son became an AIG and when you ask him for statistics, he could not deliver it fluently. So, I fought hard to gain admission into the university, University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1981, on study leave. I did the course for four years, graduated in 1985, went to the law school and was called to the bar in 1986. When I was called to the bar, the Nigerian Police started being jittery because by becoming a lawyer, I was far ahead of my mates of course 22. So, they felt that this Ojukwu was going to be very fast, and the force devised a way to slow me down. That was why they delayed me for two years before I went in for the cadet course. Actually, by the time I graduated in 1985, I was entitled to what was called in public service, Notional Promotion.


My mother was a primary school teacher and the most peaceful person you could find on earth... It will also interest you to know that my father met my mother as a virgin. That is why I am an exact replica of my father. I was born with purity. I was the child of his strength


My father met my m o ther as a virgin; that is why I’m his exact replica

–Debe Ojukwu

Since they were afraid, each time we went for interview, they would always think that my father sent me to police to finish up where he left off in the army. But I always told them that it was not true. But somehow, the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammadu Gambo, delayed me for two years. So I proceeded to the cadet course in Kaduna then. It was the first time police academy came to Nigeria. It was in Kano but we started with two campuses, Kano and Kaduna. So, we finished the course and I graduated as the best all round. I became the first police officer to get a Presidential Commission, not Gambo’s Commission. I got a Presidential Commission, the same commission that military officers get. It became also very turbulent, because if they had promoted me in 1985 when I graduated, they would have given me a notional promotion, I would not have been the first Nigerian Police officer to get Presidential Commission. So the problem became that how can an Ojukwu be the first name in Police Academy? It caused a little bit of trouble at the

academy in Kaduna. The person that sorted it out was Fidelis Oyahkilome, who was the DIG. He stepped in and put his feet down, challenging the person they wanted to give the award. The man they wanted was a Hausa man who was 18th on the basis of performance and how could 18th be the first? This was because they were insisting that somebody from the North should be the first over all in the academy register. But Oyakhilome’s insistence made it possible for me to have the award. If you go to the police academy now, I am the first name on the honours’ list.

And then you asked me why police? I am somebody that loves challenges. The root in the military was already built by my father. If I went into the military, some of the people he taught, some that hated him, some that liked and loved him, might be very sympathetic to me or might be very aggressive towards me. So, I didn’t want that to happen. So, I decided to go to a place where he did not have such root. And the police was it. It could have been the customs, the prisons, immigrations, but I chose the police because among the whole spectrums of army, navy, air force, police, customs, that is the place where you have true nationalism. When I was starting this interview, I did tell you that I had course mates as Ringim and others. And anywhere I go in Nigeria, I have my mates there. They are all over the place. If I go to the Yar’Adua family, I have friends there and everywhere. And the best place to make friends is in the war front. Outside the force, some people can camouflage when things are going well. Some people can see you in a very exotic car, well dressed and all that and get attracted. But in the war front, you are forced by the situation to be the human being you are. If things get so bad, you might even see that man you are very afraid of going stack naked. That is why the best friend you can make is in the trenches, in the war front. That was what triggered up the Nigerian independence from the colonialists. A lot of Africans had respected the whites but after the Second World War, where Africans also fought, they discovered that the same white man cried like blacks when injured. They discovered that they were also human. That was what led to the agitation for independence. Considering your successes in the police force, your father must have been proud of you? He was. I am his clone. He did not do anything without me. It seems you have so many things in common with your father. Do you speak Hausa like your father, too? There is one thing you should know about Hausa. Do


THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012 you know why the NDA is located in Kaduna? The NDA being in Kaduna, most times officers speak Hausa. There is no where you can have training three years training there without you understanding the language, even in passing. So, having trained in Kaduna, there is no way I would not have understood passable Hausa. You retired from the police not as DIG or AIG, would you say that you had a fulfilled career in the police, especially when you consider the fact that some of your colleagues either rose or have risen to the zenith of their career, would you say that you had an accomplished career in the police? I was accomplished. I was the best of the best. And then, my uncles came to the police and entreated me to come and manage my grandfather’s assets. My •Debe grandfather had acquired certain things in terms of estate. And I was told that the things he gathered were perishing. They used that and entreated me. They asked me to leave the police to manage the assets. I felt it was right. I cannot keep on gathering when the ones my patriarch had gathered were wasting away. So, I had to go and manage them. At the time they asked me to manage them, there was no hope and my uncles were quarrelling with my father. In the interest of peace, because they told me that they needed everything to be together just as the old man had it when he was alive. I left to do just that without even knowing where I was going. But God being on my side, what I went into blind-folded became a success story and became very substantial. It is on the basis of all these, that they are fighting me and you see my name allegedly missing in the Will. Why was your name missing in such an important document as the Will of your father? power, but eventually, as biblically Will, Will, Will, that was not my father’s promised, God will never leave His Will. He did not write that Will. All the children without a champion. And things that have been written are within champions emerge because of the realm of speculations. The media have circumstances. Champions emerge as a been writing without seeing the Will. I result of challenge. If there is a challenge took pains to get the Will because it of oratory, God will provide a leader for concerns me. I am giving you a copy of the Igbo leader who is given to oratory. If what they said is the Will so that the it is a challenge of marshal war, which was public can get educated. It is not my what produced my father, the Lord will father’s Will. It was forged. You can see provide such a champion. The situation the signatures are different. The signature that created my father was very marshal. on the Will is not that of my father. I am a So, it will require the same circumstances trained police officer. You can take a look to have somebody of my father’s stature. at the letters he had written to me and So, a leader will emerge. There will never other documents I showed you, the be a vacuum in Igbo leadership. signature on it is different from that which We don’t wish for that, but do you is on the Will. I know what I am talking foresee a similar circumstance in the about. His true signature is in the archives future to necessitate the emergence of of the Federal High Court. And my father such a person like the late Ikemba? that you are talking about was a former Yes I do. The circumstances that Military Governor of the Eastern Region. happened then were circumscribed by He signed edicts, laws. So, his signature is injustice. The only way to obliterate or within the domain of public records. prevent a repeat of history is to learn from And because I knew him, he was not the the past. You know, history is very simple. type of person that took rubbish. They So, those who fail to learn from history went and forged the signature. If you will repeat it. Once we have a situation of check all the documents, you will find out injustice again, we will have a repeat of that the signatures on them do not history. But if we make sure that there is correspond with that on the Will. My justice and equity, there would be no need father was such a person that when he for that. It is very simple. It is only the signed a document, it was like Ikemba. human nature that corrupts leadership. If And Ikemba moved straight. Ikemba for instance, there are 36,000 kilometres of moved like lightening. If you see his roads to be constructed across the country signature, it is deliberate. It is never shaky. and provisions have been made in the With the demise of your father, capital expenditure for that project, if you Ikemba Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu, an make it clear and transparent for everyone apparent leadership vacuum has been to see that each state of the federation gets created in the Igbo nation. What does 1,000 kilometre, nobody will question it. this portend for the Igbo as a people? There would be justice. And our leaders The Igbo are a unique people. And there would walk on the streets without can never be a vacuum in leadership. As security. Our leaders would sit down with long as there is exclusion in the polity, everybody without fear. It is only when where the Igbo perceive themselves to be we do not do the right thing that problems excluded from the national scheme of will arise because there is an injustice. things, there will be something like a If out of the 36,000 kilometres of roads, supernova. There may be jostling for somebody decides to take 5,000 to Ondo


The media have been writing without seeing the Will. I took pains to get the Will because it concerns me. I am giving you a copy of what they said is the Will so that the public can get educated. It is not my father’s Will. It was forged


State simply because he or she is from there, there is no amount of preaching you will do that people will listen to you or be convinced that you have not perpetrated injustice of the highest order. An instance is when you have a government official who earns N5 million a month and there is another Nigerian who is earning a miserly N5,000 per month, how do you expect peace to reign? There will certainly be no peace. That is why a leader must rationalise all these contradictions, which is what leadership is all about. Given your analysis of the Nigerian situation, would you say there is justice and equity in the land? Definitely no! We do not have justice and equity today and that is why you have pockets of dissent all over the place. There is the Boko Haram, the MEND, MASSOB, the OPC. If there is justice and equity, there will be peace and all the ethnic militia springing up will be in their houses sleeping. With regards to your exclusion from the Will by your father, what further claim can you still make to the late Ikemba as being your father, as the outcome of the testament has revealed your rejection as Ojukwu’s son? My exclusion from my father’s Will does not smack of my rejection legally. As a lawyer, I know that you have the power to Will your property to anybody legally. But being a son or a daughter to someone is more sacrosanct, and so it is. It is not something you can wish away. It is so natural. So, a man’s exclusion from a Will is as far as property goes. And with regards to disinheritance, the law provides that if you want to disinherit your son or daughter, you must state in black and white that you are disinheriting your son. And since the Will did not state that I was being disinherited, there is nothing like disinheritance. What has happened is

what could be regarded as an unmentioned child. That is the position of the law. So, that is the way it is. You have only tried to employ legalese to explain away the unfortunate development arising from the Will. But the true position, as we speak, is that your father disinherited you and which culturally could be interpreted as his outright rejection of you as his son. Are you still insisting this is not the case? No, it is not disinheritance. It is simply exclusion, and by law, it is allowed. If you go to people like Chief Sunny Odogwu, Chief S.N. Okeke and the rest of the elders who were his friends, who had been with my father and me, they know my relationship with him as a son. So, the picture you have painted is not the case. It is only those who are his enemies that are playing this up. Why are you (The Nation’s team) here today to interview me? You are here because you have seen a trace of him in me. So, does the current situation not smack of irony that those who claim to be his brothers want to throw away the best representation of Ojukwu? It is because from ab initio, they hated him. As the first son of the late Ikemba, why were you prevented from burying your father, which was against the Igbo tradition? I took them to court for not allowing me to do ‘dust-to-dust’. I am still in court and that is why the Will suddenly surfaced. The Will came to kill the case in court. There was a build-up to what is now unfolding. I was into the management of my father’s property. My grandfather had told my father not to go to court over his property. That was the injunction he left for everybody. I was mindful of this since I learnt of it from my father before he died. When my father was taken to England for treatment, those who claimed to be his brothers went to Abuja to swear to an affidavit that he had become a vegetable. According to them, my father should not count in the management of OTL (Ojukwu’s Transport Company). My father was not happy about this, even on his sick bed. I returned from England, where I was with my father to discover that I had been sued. So, you can see that they were the first to run to court over the property of my grandfather in complete disregard to his (my grandfather’s) instruction. They broke my grandfather’s covenant. In any case, I did not shy away from the suit they instituted. The court, however, dismissed their case while upholding my own case over the management of OTL. When they realised that the case over my management of the transport company was still subsisting, they had no defence and they had to threaten me to withdraw the case before I could be allowed to play the traditional roles allowed by the first son in the burial rites of my father. When they did the funerals of my father and I did not perform the rites because they prevented me from doing so, it was then people began to see through their antics. Again, they realised that I was not cowed. Their next trump card was the Will, which they forged purporting that it was done by my father. It is rather curious that if you had to debar someone from performing the ‘dust-to-dust’ ostensibly because he was not the son of the man, how did you know that he was not the son of the man when you have not seen his Will? Or did they see the Will before his

Continued on page 46




Princess Comfort Olufunke Ponnle, wife of Prince Tunde Ponnle, Chairman of MicCom Cables and Wires and MicCom Golf Hotel and Resort, has died at 68. The Nation Editor Gbenga Omotoso relives his encounters with the in confounding mystery that dwarfs hulate philanthropist

Let’s look back


The quotation above illustrates the inner logic that drives the outer sensibility of late Princess Comfort Olufunke Ponnle during her life. She was one woman who never flowed with the tide, but did her things out of strong personal conviction. Conviction apart, the late Princess Ponnle was an incurable optimist. She never believed anything was impossible. She was a woman of character, immense courage, strong determination and unhindered love for others. She had great passion for problem-solving, a lot of zeal, enthusi-

Whichever way one looks at death, it is a painful experience. It is the end. No. Not quite. Our deeds – good or bad – speak for us after we may have answered the call


citizens. There was never a mourning moment with mummy. She was always upbeat, telling stories, many of which were not merely anecdotal but loaded with hard facts and live characters. Many of them were to help

us strengthen our marriage; others were mere jokes to animate the environment. I recall when I had a personal challenge that was too hot for me to handle, mummy didn’t just advise me on how to tackle it, she also led the way, praying with me. And, to God be the glory, the mountain was flattened. If mummy wanted you to do something for her and it was taking time, she would threaten to abandon daddy and look for another husband. Would you let that happen? Of course, you won’t. You would then transfer the pressure to whoever was in charge. “Now, I won’t look for another husband,” mummy would say after the job must have been done. Such was her sense of humour – delightful and infectious. Why do the good ones leave early? There seems to be no explanation that can satisfy a grieving relation of the departed as the whole question of death is shrouded

The velocity of benevolence Yemi AJAYI

asm, energy and drive for helping people. No wonder, her children have imbibed this spirit of exceptional benevolence and are presently involved in one philanthropy or another. Born in Ibadan on November 22, 1944, Mrs. Ponnle died at the age of 68 years. She had her elementary education at Ibadan. She was trained in the modern school and the Teachers Training College also in Ibadan from 1962-1964. She earned her Associate Diploma in Education from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, a programme she completed in 1970. After obtaining the Diploma Certificate, she taught briefly before proceeding to the Polytechnic of North London where she obtained her Higher Certificate in Electrical/Electronics. She emerged as the Overall Best Graduating Student on this



ENEVOLENT people may be a gift to mankind, but they can be infuriating to others out of envy. I have on occasions suffered this fury myself, but rather than reduce the tempo of my commitment because of the pain, I increased the velocity of my benevolence because of the gain I derive from doing good. God never lets me down” Late Engr (Princess) Comfort Olufunke

•The late Mrs Ponnle


HE call came in the dead of the night. About 1.15 am. The city of Lagos was fast asleep. I was in my study. I grabbed the phone as soon as it started ringing, its music like a police siren piercing the thick, dark night. “Hello daddy!” “Gbenga, how’re you.” “I’m fine sir” “Your mummy is dying o. But take it easy. She has asked for a befitting funeral and that’s why I’m calling you.” “Ah, daddy! Are you saying it’s hopeless? But mummy told me the worst was over.” I dropped the phone to return to my work, but the muse had taken a flight and I started struggling with it all. I couldn’t sleep. I was waiting to be told that a miracle had happened; she would live and see us all again, her face wreathed in smiles – as usual. If wishes were horses… Later in the afternoon, daddy called to break the most tragic – personally - news I had heard for some time. Mrs Olufunke Comfort Ponnle, a princess, an engineer, a golf enthusiast, fashion buff, socialite, a great mother of many children – including the five that are hers biologically – a damn good wife and a true Christian, was dead. The loss is not Prince Tunde Ponnle’s alone. The MicCom Group chair will surely miss his wife, with whom he did everything that was done and left undone everything that is yet to be done. She was strong in character and blessed with wisdom – the virtues that pulled many of us to her. But many would swear that her philanthropy was the magic. They may be right. I recall how the late Mrs Ponnle told me of her plan to open the house she built for her former teacher, Mrs Oni, in Ibadan. She told of how she once went to see Mrs Oni, after many failed attempts. She found her old teacher in a not-too-pleasing environment and decided to change that. The late Mrs Ponnle asked Mrs Oni to find a piece of land in the neighborhood for a friend who lived overseas and would like to build a house for her mother. Mrs Oni found a derelict building. Mrs Ponnle bought it, flattened the structure and from the ruins rose a beautiful bungalow that was presented to Mrs Oni. She was shocked by the gift. Such was Mrs Ponnle’s generousity. There is a long list of beneficiaries of the MicCom Foundation scholarship. Many of them have grown up to become notable

Through my interaction with her over the last few years, I came to realise that life is not about what you get out of a marriage, but what you put into it


programme and returned to Nigeria in 1972, worked briefly in a few places before settling down with her husband to form a company now generally known as MicCom Cables & Wires, the first indigenous cable and wire company in Ni-

man intelligience. Science tries hard to answer the question . When a man checks into a hospital, they run tests that indicate what to treat. If he dies, the doctor issues a certificate, stating the cause of death. If the death is controversial, a post-mortem is ordered. A report is issued, but it is never enough to clear off the tears, especially when the death is so sudden – no prior complication. Besides, every death requires an explanation. Old age. Accident. Suicide. Robbery. Communal clash. As far as Africans are concerned, no death is natural; there must be some ethereal forces doing the bidding of some earthly bodies who insist that the dead has overstayed his visa here. To spiritualists, a man – or woman – dies when he or she has completed his assignment here. He simply moves on (up?) to take up higher responsibilities. Therefore, he needs a quiet but reflective sendoff, not weeping and wailing. Those who subscribe to this allegorical explanation, often load the coffin of a departed one with food, drinks and other items, which they feel he or she may need. But, the question is: shouldn’t his loved ones have a say in how he departs, where he goes and what awaits him? No byes; final byes? It is not for man to know, even though he keeps probing. Besides, why do babies die? The spiritualist finds an answer in reincarnation. Every baby is believed to be making just another appearance here after living an earlier life. Those who are not supposed to be here, probably because they are beyond this level, are quickly sent back home to be reassigned. Some are born with deformities. To this school of thought, it is a sign of the life they had lived earlier. Law of karma? There is also the logic angle. Man was made of dust and to dust he returns. Since there is birth, it then follows that death is inevitable. Everything with a beginning must have an end, it is said. The Holy Book backs this in Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 that “to everything there is a season”. “ A time to be born and a time to die… .” Whichever way one looks at death, it is a painful experience. It is the end. No. Not quite. Our deeds – good or bad – speak for us after we may have answered the call. It is in this light that I view the departure of Mummy Ponnle. We should look back and count our blessings. She lives on in the hearts of the legion of students who enjoyed her scholarship; those for whom she provided shelter; those who got jobs through her; the vulnerable who she protected and the hopeless to whom she gave hope. And those lovely women with whom she played golf. If laughter is allowed in heaven –I bet it is, being a place of eternal joy – mummy will surely have a legion of fans. Farewell super mummy of a “world class editor.” geria today. MicCom is an acronym formed from Michael and Comfort and they both ran this business successfully until recently when they retired and handed the company and others to their children to manage. Late Princess Ponnle was a great woman by every imagination as I found this out during the course of my research work on her joint biography with the husband, Dr Tunde Ponnle, entitled— “The magic of pulling together,” published in 2010. Everywhere I went, everyone I met, every home I touched had this impression of Princess Ponnle as a kindhearted woman, always eager to help people, particularly the youths, whether she knew them or not didn’t matter to her. I once asked her how she was able to separate people in genuine need from those with opportunistic demands and hear what she said: “I am not enough a professional psychologist to comprehend fully the human nature of pretence which makes people behave in certain ways •Continued on Page 45








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Real reason Stella Damasus and I moved to Abuja

—Daniel Ademinokan





VICTOR AKANDE E-mail: Tel: 07029013958 (SMS only)




nt part of An importa s of any the succes is its civilisation late the mu ability to e t led to the a factors th f other success o s.—Eric civilisation rt Reine

Nollywood till November:

A Charles Novia’s auto-biography


HERE is an old debate, one that I find necessary: should a man who has hardly finished the first half of his life let's put that at 40- be writing a biography. Isn't that rather presumptuous? My answer is mostly no, if that man's name is Charles Novia. But I only came to that conclusion after I had read every word of 'Nollywood till November', which is the first book on Nigeria's film industry written by an insider. I began reading what the author describes as “a detailed narrative of my road to fame and glory”, with the skepticism mentioned above. The fact that the author has a supreme sense of his self and destiny didn't help. “I was incensed,” he reports on the first page, reeling off his series of accomplishments as he shares the story of a director, Solomon Nwoko, who belittled his talent and his experience when he set about his first movie, Deep Secrets. “He had a mindset and it was left for me to either do away with his services or prove him wrong. I chose the latter.” By the time the author gets to that stage in his career where movie icon Richard Mofe-Damijo tells him, “Your name is the hottest topic right now. You have done well. I am proud to know you,” he had certainly proven every single detractor wrong. But this is not just a story of personal achievement; it is also a story of a collective glory. Novia, through this finely-narrated work, tells me a story I thought I knew. I didn't even know the half of it. It speaks to how Nollywood has risen and fallen every now and again like a wave, as Novia became the king of love stories from Bridesmaid to Cinderella, Lover's Day to For Your Love; how the industry began to conquer the rest of the world, and even delicious little gems like how he came to find out that Jim Iyke's accent, like we all had suspected, was faker than a beauty queen's eye-lashes. His venture with November Records is another branch of an impressive story. He might not have worked that magic with other artistes on the label - Yemi Esho, Zubby Enebeli and Danny Dolor - but what he did with Majek Fashek, a project he took on after he attended a concert and found that Majek would “suddenly stop and then go towards the right hand side of the stage and begin to rail against nobody in particular”, is the stuff of legends. But, like I said, the primary power of the book might come from the way he interweaves his

A review by Chude Jideonwo

It speaks to how Nollywood has risen and fallen every now and again like a wave, as Novia became the king of love stories from Bridesmaid to Cinderella, Lover's Day to For Your Love; how the industry began to conquer the rest of the world, and even delicious little gems like how he came to find out that Jim Iyke's accent, like we all had suspected, was faker than a beauty queen's eyelashes own personal stories; the fire that razed his office for one, to the larger narrative; for instance, the relationship between Surulere, Idumota, and Upper Iweka Road. And in telling that narrative, he answers so many questions many must have had, including the one he so eloquently captured on page 83: what went wrong with the lavish, flambuoyant delicious Nollywood of the Amatas and the Ejiros? As he tells stories of marketers as “demigods who created new monsters”, Novia surmises that “all in all,” the ridiculous ban on actors about in 2004 “was a no-win situation for all the parties involved.” It is a powerful chapter. But, of course, the book has its faults. For one, if I got a dollar for every exclamation mark that Novia used in this 140-page book, I would by now be able to park my private jet beside Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor's! There is also a frustrating


tendency to use the biggest words he could lay his hands on. Two examples: “I moved the plot from the romantic surrealism I toyed with… to deep spiritualism tinged with a poignant emotional drama”, and then, “… one senses agrowing despondency which may simmer into an explosive fracas”. Added to this, many parts of the story seem like the story teller fell unto the temptation of exaggeration. But, because that cannot be verified, at least not by this reviewer, and also because who amongst us can cast that first stone, one can only point to the fact that, suspected inflation aside, the heart of this story, its essence, is no lie. Novia has accomplished a story-book career. And he has a lot to be happy, fulfilled and grateful for. ...What he thinks of Stella Damasus and her rivalry with Genevieve Nnaji, he tells; what he went through in the hands of Sypder, the creative, uhm, business storyteller that was his first marketer, he says; just how he feels about the “notorious” actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and her legendary “wahala” he shares and oh, what a delicious story he tells. But there is no place where this honesty is more useful than when he shares the stories of two ambitious, but impressive, even historic projects that would have transformed the Nigerian film space the Film Market and Project Nollywood. You have to read the book to hear the stories. Sadly, the book tapers off towards the end, doing a great disservice to what was until then one helluva story. After the “epic” tale that was Project Nollywood, its as if the book suddenly lost interest in itself tired, wistful, almost sad. Don't get it twisted, as musician D'banj would say, that last chapter is engaging he tells of Benin City where his talent was first discovered, of what a profound effect programmes like Hotel De Jordan and Pot of Life had on him, his odyssey through stage and the NTA, his influences from Michael Jackson for whom he has a touching affection to Teddy Riley whom he calls his “creative mentor”. It is an interesting, humorous, engaging end to this 140-page work. However, for a man who migrated from Benin to Lagos when he was only 19, armed only with his luggage in hand and dreams in his heart, it wasn't good enough. I expected this to end on a high note with an eye towards the future, and more trails to blaze, more mountains to conquer; the world at his feet.

Do you watch Nollywood movies? What do you think of the Nigerian motion picture industry? Send your review of any movie or short essay on any topic of your choice about the film industry in not more than 200 words. Send entries by e-mail to: or SMS your short comments to 07029013958

Ngozi Nwosu needs N6million to survive


EEKS after denying rumours about contracting HIV/AIDS when close watchers began to fear for her health, a clarion call has been put through to well meaning Nigerians to save the life of Nollywood actress Ngozi Nwosu. The fiery actress who is reported to be suffering from kidney and heart related issues seems to have lost it all; weight, strength and vigour but not her talent and deep sense of humour which she displayed during the over one and a half hours she spent at the recently aired Who Wants To Be A Millionaire 'Celebrity Edition' staged for her. According to close sources, one of the signs that things were no longer


right with Ngozi was the fact that recording had to be delayed because while everybody else in the studio was virtually getting uncomfortable with the heat emanating from the studio lights, Ngozi was shivering with cold so much so that the producers had to get her a cardigan. Ex AGN President, Segun Arinze has also lent his voice to Ngozi's plight as plans are underway to rally Nollywood actors to save the ailing actress. “Ngozi Nwosu our fine Nollywood actress known to many is down with heart and kidney ailments. She needs about N6million for heart and kidney surgery. I am using this medium to appeal to Nollywood and music stars to rally round her. May we not lose another,” he said.





Saheed Balogun returns with new movie

Africa Magic confirms BBA for 2013



S the year 2013 beckons, the management of AfricaMagic has confirmed that it will screen a new season of reality series, Big Brother Africa. This is in addition to its first ever AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards which it is creating in association with MultiChoice, AfricaMagic. According to its producers, the show will return next year with more entertainment, drama and excitement. As has become customary, it comes with a secret twist that producers have worked on to ensure that the new season will capture audience attention once more! “The demand from audiences for Big Brother Africa continues undimmed. In some ways it really is astonishing to see the enthusiasm for this particular series, but in other ways it is to be expected,” says M-Net Africa Managing Director Biola Alabi. “Viewers want to see unscripted television, as it happens, with normal people that they can relate with completely familiar emotional concepts happiness, frustration, success, failure, hope, anxiety, friendship, opportunity and of course, love,” she adds. In line with Abiola's thoughts, producers, Endemol SA, say that they are confident of another successful edition. “We are delighted with the new concept that has been developed for the upcoming show,” confirms Endemol MD Sivan Pillay. “Every year as soon as we know that we are going ahead with a new season, we head into a creative brainstorming session and every year, ideas just go racing around the room. Our teams enjoy the show as much as audiences our audiences do and it shows on screen. And this year, I have a feeling that audiences are going to fall in love with the idea!”

•Biola Alabi


NFC, Lottery Commission in strategic partnership

N a move to boost movie production in Nigeria, the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) are putting heads together on the possibility of providing additional and alternative funding windows for the nation's motion picture industry. This became evident when Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Corporation Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, on Tuesday, December 11 paid a

visit to the Headquarters of the NLRC, Abuja. Received by Peter Igho, Director-General, of the lottery Commission, Adesanya said that the Nigerian motion picture industry was still in dire need for both direct and indirect funding to enable the sector sustains its growth. Funding of any vibrant business sector worldwide, he said, can never be said to be enough and therefore other sources of funding for the sector has become desirable. On his part, Igho said that the Commission will partner with

Obey gets N3.06 million from COSON

My Life My Damage to premiere



N Saturday, December 15, 2012, septuagenarian juju music star and Minister of the Gospel, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi was surprised with an unexpected Christmas windfall. He was presented with a cheque for more than N3.06 Million as copyright royalties by Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) at the Opebi Headquarters of the organization. The money is the first tranche of Evangelist Obey's share of the recent N100 Million Naira royalty distribution carried out by COSON. The elated and very emotional singer with the unique sonorous voice gave thanks to the Almighty for keeping him alive to witness the fruits of the long struggle for the respect of the rights of artistes in Nigeria. He said that for a long time, he was sad that Nigerian artistes could receive royalties for their music used in some other countries but not one kobo for their music used in their own country. He thanked the Board and Management of COSON for working assiduously to finally bring this anomaly to an end. He particularly praised the commitment of the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji whom he said never give up on the struggle. According to the gentleman fondly called 'Chief Commander' by his numerous fans, from what he had seen with the work

the NFC in its quest to sustainably provide the enabling environment for the development of the motion picture sector. The sector, according to Igho, deserves all the attention required to strengthen its contributions to national growth and development. Both parties acknowledged that there were indeed other funding windows available, including lottery, which could be legitimately explored to fund the sector.

CTOR cum producer, Saheed Balogun is back on the block with a new movie. The fair skinned producer was out of the country as he variously shot his latest flick in the United States of America, Spain and South Africa. Still basking in the euphoria of the success of his last movie, Eti Keta, that was endorsed by the Director-General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Chief Olusegun Runsewe and some top shots in the financial institutions, Saheed Balogun said he was not losing sleep over the success that greeted his last flick, claiming that it actually spurred him to come out with something bigger. A close source to the actor, who was also part of the crew that travelled with Saheed, said the movie might have cost the producer millions of naira. Speakin g on his latest movie, Saheed disclosed that the movie You or I preaches love, tolerance and perseverance. Saheed

•Ebenezer Obey

COSON is doing, there would be many more millions soon for Nigerian artistes from everwhere. While presenting the cheque to Evangelist Obey, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said that ordinarily, the cheque would have been sent to Evangelist Obey quietly as is done in the case of hundreds of others but that the evangelist chose to make it public so that Nigerians can appreciate the work that COSON is doing and young people in the country can be inspired by it. Chief Okoroji said that the royalty paid was from the logs already analysed by the distribution department and that the Evangelist could earn more royalty by the time all the logs are obtained and reviewed. Chief Okoroji also praised Evangelist Obey whom he said had never stopped caring about the future of every artiste in Nigeria despite his tremendous success.

HE much awaited blockbuster movie My Life My Damage, produced by Nollywood actress cum producer Uche Jombo Rodriguez will on February 1, 2013 premiere at the Ozone Cinemas, Lagos. My Life My Damage, a flick from the trilogy of Damage movies features Tonto Dike, Bukky Wright, Kalu Ikeagwu, biola Williams, James Tucker, Bobby Obobo and others. The Damage trilogy is a movie collection of three distinct but interwoven stories aimed at advocacy for social issues; each story addresses important problems affecting individuals, families and societies at large. The storyline revolves round a young lady whose reckless lifestyle got her caught up in the web of HIV/AIDS. The producer Uche Jumbo has been in the Nigerian movie industry for more than a decade and has written a quite a few blockbuster movies. She has also co-written several movies such as: The Celebrity, Games Men Play, Holding Hope, Girls in the Hood, A Time to Love, Be My Wife, Perfect Planner, Price of Fame and many more. The movie set to give Tonto Dike her first box office litmus test was shot both in Nigeria and the United States of America and is directed by Moses Inwang. My Life, My Damage deals with the consequences of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. A young lady who lives a reckless life abroad as a drug addict is given a rude shock when she discovers that she's HIV positive and now has to seek redemption for herself.

•Uche Jombo



CARNIRIV 2012 takes a bow with Peace Concert


ITH scintillating performances, Timaya, Timi Dakolo, Duncan Mighty and Omawumi led other artistes to close this year's edition of Rivers State carnival otherwise called CARNIRIV. The week-long activities reached an exciting climax on Saturday, December 15, with fun seekers, rocking the venue of the show tagged World Peace Concert. The festival had top government dignitaries and high profile visitors led by the State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi in the Garden City Freestyle Parade. Residents and tourists adorned different kinds of colourful costumes as they matched through designated streets within Port Harcourt metropolis. The procession which took the crowd through Aba, Ikwerre and Stadium roads, was lit up by eight live bands. th The cultural fiesta which held from 9 th December to 15 December in Port Harcourt, features a variety of indigenous and international displays. The Black African Music Festival (BAMFest) which th held on Wednesday, 12 December, featured Grammy Award-winning reggae star and rapper, Shaggy and fellow reggae singer, Patra, celebrated Nigerian music acts, Tuface Idibia and Duncan Mighty. The artistes thrilled the crowd with a memorable performance. Another main attraction was the "Ekere: Rhythm of the Tribes", a display of the rich cultural heritage and glamour of the Rivers people in the 23 Local Government Areas. Each Local Government Area put off a show of glamorous costumes and captivating dance steps.

y m d e c n i v n o c I How n o i t i b m a y m t u o b folks a e iv s lu c X J D — J D to be a


OULD you let us into your background?

My name is Rotimi Alakija but I'm better known as DJ Xclusive- a name I adopted when my career took a flight. I was born in the UK to Nigerian parents. At an early age, I left the UK for Nigeria to continue my high school education at King's College, Lagos. I later returned to the United Kingdom to complete my education at the Brunel University UK where I bagged a degree in Financial Computing. How did you decide that you actually wanted to become a DJ? The passion has always been in me to be a DJ but I decided to take it serious when people started taking me serious and I realised I was making good money from it. So I naturally stuck to it knowing I also had a passion for it. Was there really any motivating factor for you choosing to become a DJ? I would say 'passion'. My passion for the art has a lot to do with it. I love music and the creativity involved with being a DJ. What was your parent's reaction when they got wind about your decision to become a DJ? Every parent wants their child to either be a doctor, a lawyer of a banker and it was a bit strange to my folks when I intimated them of my intentions to become a DJ. My parents are very strict when it comes to education and so getting my degree was a priority for them. Once that was completed, I had their blessings and support. Were you in any way into music or singing before you became a DJ? No, not at all... I was a geek and I was always reading my books and playing video games. Though I listened to music a lot when I was much younger but I never developed my singing skills. Is the DJ profession lucrative enough? Well, God has been faithful (Laughs). It gets better every year and I'm really happy about that Are you married? I'm not married. Are you in a relationship? I'm single… What motivates you as a DJ? What motivates me as a DJ is the crowd, the beat of the tracks, the hunt

for fresh and exciting music, and the thought of inspiring people through my mixes on the dance floor and through my CD's. Do you by chance have a favorite artiste? Besides my EME Soldiers such as Banky, Wizkid, Skales, Niyola and Shaydee I have lots of favorites to be honest. The industry is filled with young talented individuals making good music. I can't start naming all… Should we expect a mixtape from you like your other colleagues? I have a couple of mixtapes out on the internet right now and I also have printed CD's that I give out to my fans every now and then. There will be more mixtapes will be coming from me as time goes on. What's your most challenging moment on the business? The most challenging aspect of the job is the fact that DJ's are not accorded any form of respect. Unfortunately, most people are still under the illusion that DJ's are street urchins and never-dowells. We get no love and respect from most people almost all the time. Some only remember the us when they need to put their song out there and once that is done and they become a household name, they forget their humble beginnings and the rest is history. It's something we have been trying to change and I believe things will get better sooner than later. What would you say are the challenges for aspiring DJ's? I wouldn't say there are loads of challenges for aspiring DJ's. The main

Every parent wants their child to either be a doctor, a lawyer of a banker and it was a bit strange to my folks when I intimated them of my intentions to become a DJ. My parents are very strict when it comes to education and so getting my degree was a priority for them

challenge is to be able to acquire equipment while also involving in a lot of practice as well as having a mentor who will serve as a guardian. What's your view of the Nigerian music scene compared to that of the UK where you were formally based? The Nigerian music scene in the UK is getting bigger and better by the day, these days Nigerian musicians are being played on prime time radio stations like BBC 1 radio and Choice FM. Over here in Nigeria, you can't go to any club and not hear 95% of Nigerian music, that shows you how big Nigerian music is here at home! What was growing up like in the UK? Growing up in the UK was good; I learnt and developed a lot of skills, not just in the entertainment but also as an individual. Did you learn the tricks of becoming a DJ while you were still in the UK? Yes I did… All I learnt has brought me to the stage I am today. The knowledge I gathered while in the UK has been really helpful I must say. How did you get in contact with the EME crew led by Banky W? EME and Banky has always been a family, it was a deal waiting to happen. We always talked about me signing onto the EME stable as an artiste, as well as signing on to be Wizkid's DJ. The time was just right to make it official this year. What should music fans expect from the 'Empire State of Mind' LP? The E.M.E album is out now and available on Spinet and on the streets so everyone can get a copy. So far, the reviews have been fantastic and we have the fans to thank for that. Fans should expect nothing short of good music. How are you getting along with your job as the official DJ of Cool FM? It has been fun and really amazing thus far. I love Cool FM 96.9 and I'm very happy to be associated with the station.

FreedomHall hunts for singers


LL is set for the maiden edition of FreedomHall's Unique Talent Show which organisers say will give aspiring and talented artistes an opportunity to fulfill their biggest fantasy and win great prizes. Calling on talented Nigerians irrespective of careers or age to come express their God given talent, Tope Sadiq of FreedomHall said that unlike other talent shows where participants are crammed into overcrowded venues with all the inconveniences that come with it, FredomHall's Unique Talent Show will make use of revolutionary mobile and online technology through its innovative Mobi-Studio IVR Application courtesy of e-Scape. “That means you can make your entry from the comfort of your home. All an aspiring artiste needs to do is dial a dedicated short code and follow the voice prompt to record their entries. Once recorded, the song will be saved on the mobile Interactive Voice Response (IVR) platform,” Tope explains. He further stated that the entry stage will last for a period of nine weeks within which 6 finalists will emerge. The six finalists who emerge shall emerge in the first six weeks of the event and in the last 3 weeks they will all have an opportunity to compete among themselves to become the FHP Unique Talent Ambassador. The top winner will Win total Prize worth N2 million Naira; consisting of a Recording Contract and cash prize worth N500, 000. FreedomHall holds every Thursdays and Saturdays at Terra Culture, Victoria Island Lagos and Roddizio, Isaac John, GRA, Ikeja Lagos.



Music rain as Remi Tinubu gathers Christian youths in concert

•The Youth Choir performing at the event


ERHAPS there is no better way to create that unique mood for the Yuletide than having children come together to share love, friendship and merriment through music. It was the second edition of a youth-based music concert tagged Musical Youth Fiesta and, like a seductive power of a clarion caller, youths from different churches and schools in Lagos state gathered last Wednesday, at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, taking turns, one after another to render creative performances in music, dance and choreography. The show, like its debut edition had no less than 5,000 youths and their chaperons at the event. It presented children in their creative elements for praise and worship and mastery of various musical instruments. A hope raising event, it was like having the elders take the back seat while the youths exemplify their future leadership role. Every bit of the concert had the children handling the core areas save for the eloquent Master of Ceremony who came in intermittently and the exhortation that was done by Pastor Akinlade. The convener and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Musical Youth Fiesta initiative, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, could not curtail her excitement at the event. It was obvious she would not sit back and watch her pet project go wrong. Senator Tinubu was among the first set of people to arrive the venue. Even as she clapped, danced and cheered the renditions from the kids, she had offered her help with artistic direction at the show. "This year's theme is focused on the story of Joseph, chronicled in Genesis chapters 37, 39-50", Tinubu said in her welcome address, urging those who are not familiar with the story to read it and learn from what she described as the extraordinary life of Joseph. She noted that this year's edition, with the theme, 'Dare to be like Joseph', is a product of the success recorded in last year's event. "I am glad to inform you that the winner of our theme song, One Church, Master

Board nvener and Chairmanising s Abimbola Fashola, Co gan Mr Or te n Sta ma os air Ch Lag of and y u Tinub •L-R First Lad N Fiesta. Senator Oluremi Photo by NIYI ADENIRA of Trustee Musical Youth wo-Olu. San e Committee. Hon Jid

Israel "when man did that which was right in his own eyes". He said this year's event is meant to Michael Oluseye Akingbala, went on encourage the youths "to shun to produce and release an album titled wickedness and embrace the fear of All to Jesus. It is indeed 'All to Jesus', God and say to the seducing she said with an obvious sense spirits of the end-time, 'how of fulfillment. This year's then can I do this great The former First Lady of theme is wickedness, and sin against Lagos state expressed focused on the God?'" optimism in this year's theme, story of Joseph, Among the personalities at 'Dare to be like Joseph', which chronicled in the show were First Lady of she said will impact on the Genesis Lagos State, Dame aspirations of the youths. chapters 37, 39- Emmanuella Abimbola Biblical Joseph, she noted was 50". Tinubu said Fashola and members of the a youth with dreams and talents like many of the young in her welcome Organising Committee address," urging comprising of Mrs Tinu men and women at the event. those who are Aina-Badejo, Dr (Mrs) Stella "I would therefore urge you Okoli, Pastor Kunle Ajayi not familiar all, to, just like Joseph, keep and Honourable Jide with the story to your trust in God, even in the read it and learn Sanwo-Olu, Chairman of the face of temptation, imbibe committee. hard work, moral values and from what The event kicked off in respect for authority to be able described as the to get to the top as Joseph did," extraordinary earnest at about 12:35pm Tinubu added. life of Joseph with an opening prayer by Moyinoluwa Oba, a teenage Patron of the initiative, girl who stunned all with Pastor J.A Bolarinwa said the her impressive lines to earn choruses fiesta has come to stay. He noted that of thunderous Amen! Little the theme of the programme is Moyinoluwa's prayers were significant, adding that corruption, immediately followed by the National beginning from homes to schools and Anthem, led by a group of young men places of work has dealt deadly blow on the personality of the youths of this called The Naturals. When Michael Akingbala, winner of nation like in the days of the lawless Victor AKANDE

last year's theme song, stormed the stage, the sing-along mood began. Majority of the people in the hall were familiar with the lyrics from the CDs that were shared last year. Obviously, this added verve to Michael's stage presence, as he skidded from one end of the stage to another. His voice, it was apparent had matured with time, bringing everyone to the dance floor. The Youth Choir of The Redeem Evangelical Mission (TREM) opened the praise and worship session, the spontaneity of the lead singer and her interactive performance set the show on a fast-paced start. The first ministration by Christian Pentecostal Mission Youth Choir brought the crowd into frenzy. The atmosphere in the hall was double charged with rendition by these talented youths. In quick succession, momentum began to build, ushering in the National Youth Choir of the Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG). Thereafter, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) National Headquarters Youth choir took their turn. The group was the largest in number, with all members, brandishing the guitar and varying their tune between High Life and pop, the employed dramatic styles, singing in the Niger Delta dialect, Yoruba and English language. You can't beat the saxophone session by Tobi and Enoch, who were later joined by Pastor Kunle Ajayi. Tobi especially displayed high level dexterity on the saxophone. Her showmanship was unequaled. Also speaking at the event, Dame Abimbola Fashola who gave her motherly advice and exhortation said the essence of the concert was to "win more souls for heaven". She said the event and its soul stirring performances will set the mood for the festivities this Yuletide season. Fashola thanked the convener for the opportunity given to the Nigerian youths to showcase their talents. Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Honourable Jide SanwoOlu in his vote of thanks expressed gratitude to God and the sponsors for believing in the purpose of the project.







Nollywood has experienced the influx of young and very energetic producers and directors in the last few years. Some came as a flash in the pan while a few have remained relevant and their works speak for themselves. Daniel Ademinokan, DaBishop, as he is fondly called by his friends, ranks among the few successful ones. Most recently, however, what has kept his name on the lips of people has not just been his work as a filmmaker but his recent divorce from his wife, actress and producer Doris Simeon. News of their marriage break up came as a rude shock to many because they seemed like the perfect couple and the envy of several imbalanced relationships in an industry like Nollywood where marriages seem to last only as long as you can hold your breath. MERCY MICHAEL caught up with Daniel at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja as he was on his way to New York with his son David for the Christmas holiday. In this interview, the director opened up on his failed marriage, relationship with Stella Damasus, his relocating to Abuja among other things. Excerpt:

‘My failed marriage...? I have more fans now than ever before’



ntertainment I owe nobody any detailed explanations of what transpires in the house that none of them gave me money to buy. The only people I owe are my God and my son. That's it. So if people chose to redefine my relationship with Stella beyond being my business partner, no problem. If I decide to date and get married to Kim Kardashian tomorrow, can the people talking stop me? No!!


O, what are you going to do in America? I can see that David is with you. Is this just a holiday or is business involved? Na wa for you o! This is a holiday for me. I just want to take a break away from the noise of Naija and give my son an amazing Christmas. Yes I am writing a couple of things for some major production companies in the US but I am not at liberty to discuss anything because of my contract. By the grace of God filming for one of the projects will begin in April 2013 in New York. I will be directing the feature. Ehn, ehn, is it true that they paid you $700,000 to write and direct this particular movie? I don't know how information comes out to you journalists but I have not in any way disclosed any figures about this project. Just think of what the budget of basic Hollywood films are and calculate what the director/writer's fee may be. (Laughs) oh, you don dey calculate? (Laughs) Abeg make you no let them come rob me or kidnap my mama o! Abeg o! I just want to live my quiet life jeje away from all una paparazzi people. The job was rewarding and that's all I can say. After you shot Dargin's movie, Ghetto Dreams, you seem to have slowed down on doing films. Is it deliberate in anyway? Yes indeed. I took time off to re-evaluate certain parts of my life that needed fixing, to concentrate on things that I considered of greater importance than movies i.e. my faith, my son, my relationship with my mother and siblings, etc. I have been working on other projects that are more personal to me as well. Ghetto Dreams wrapped up in 2011 and since then I have done two projects in Cameroon (a short film and a feature). I went ahead to train young writers, actors, producers and directors in Cameroon with Stella Damasus. I have done the short film When Is It Enough which is due for screenin g in the UK next Easte r, I have also taken my

short film No Jersey, No Match to a few festivals across the world. I have also been doing quite a number of documentaries for some state governments and international agencies. I have been working on my clothing line, my boutique, my own studio/plaza and a million other things that God has placed in my hands to do. My sister, you don't make the money by doing 50 random movies in one year. You make it by following God's voice and doing the job that will change and redefine you and events around you. So I have had my hands full my dear sister. It's not until I put up a billboard to announce what has been happening in my life. You have a screen face, good looking, why didn't you opt for acting? (Laughs) Na you talk say I get good looks. I have read a few comments by some people on the internet and they think otherwise. Well, I have always been fascinated by the fact that I could create a world or story in my movies and suck people right into it, take their breath away. The intrigues of the production process, the writing, editing, visual effects, casting, piecing everything together...that's where I get my high from! (Laughs). I don't think I will find that kind of fulfillment as an actor. Although I have featured in a few movies but it wasn't half as satisfying for me as what I do now. Another 'downer' for me is the fact that actors don't seem to have any form of privacy. I hate the attention that comes with it. I can easily jump on a train in London and just chill chewing on my burger. Tell Genevieve or Ramsey to try it. They can't! Sometimes you just wanna cut lose and do the things that regular people do. Be normal. But actors don't get that chance all the time. I respect them no be small. In most cases when a marriage crashes, the woman usually automatically takes custody of the child until at least the court grants whoever it deems fit custody of the child. In your own case with your ex-wife, Doris, how come you are the one who has custody of the child? Mercy, I am fully responsible for my son's well being, education and for his general upkeep. Doris talks to him whenever she wants to and she has been to Abuja to see him. This is a boy we are talking about here who has an unbelievable bond with his father. Only a man can teach a boy to become the man he should become. Many people have asked me this question countless times and sometimes I wonder what they expect me to say. In most cases, when there is a separation and the man moves away without the kids, they will say he has abandoned his family. Now that Daniel has taken his son with him, they are saying 'why didn't you leave him with the mother?' Honestly, it's nobody's damn business. Where

they there when we had the baby abi na them help me name am? This is an arrangement purely between me and Doris and people should respect our private decisions. There is this notion that it was easy for you to move on after your marriage failed. How true is it? Really? Wow! Since this whole incidents who have you been seeing at Awards, events, TV interviews, parties and movie locations? Me? I really don't waste my time with idle talk. If that's what people are saying, no wahala but they should think well before they talk. Did you feel you lost fans after news of your breakup with your ex was made public? I don't feel so at all. As a matter of fact, I have more people following me now than ever before. If people stop liking me because of my private and personal issues then that's a shame for them. People should know when to draw the line. I try my best to do the best I can as regards my work to keep people entertained and happy. They have no business in my personal and private space. So if they stray beyond my work and want to invade my privacy to decide if they will still like me or not, that one na heavy yawa now. What was the real reason you relocated to Abuja? There have been Insinuations that you relocated so that you can be close to Stella. I moved because I was tired of Lagos. I was born and raised in Lagos and I just wanted more. I wanted a place where I could think clearly away from all the noise and familiar faces. I am so glad I left when I did. I can boldly say that God orchestrated my movement by himself and my life has never been the same since I moved here. As regards moving to be with Stella, please find out who moved to Abuja first. We both always shared the same views about the hustle and bustle of Lagos so it was no wonder that she moved as well. I always said that Lagos stress shortens people's life spans regardless of your social status. Dealing with the traffic, chaos and stress can do a lot of damage to somebody abeg. Abuja for me is a virgin and fertile place for my kind of work and I am loving it. Yes, it appears life is treating you well right now with the way you look. I really give all the thanks and praise to God for his goodness and mercies. He has continued to show me his favour and I have every reason to be eternally grateful to God. He has proved to me that if you depend on him as your source, you have nothing to be afraid of. For a long time in my life I trusted man and my own abilities but now I know better. Daniel, I know you are an intelligent man and you


ntertainment know how to answer questions diplomatically. I need you to tell me fair and square...define for us your relationship with Stella Damasus? Do I look like a politician to you? You live amongst them now so you are starting to talk like them. I have always been known for talking this way. (Laughs) Stella and I are business partners. We think alike and have pretty much the same kind of back ground, experiences and share the same views on life and approach to entertainment business. Hence we set up Index Two Studios together. Under Index Two Studios we have done several training programs within and outside Nigeria for young actors and filmmakers. We have done short films and feature films. Together, we own CODE 55 boutique which will open officially in January 2013. We just opened the Index Two Studios Plaza in Abuja that houses a music rehearsal studio, a music recording studio, our boutique, a state of the art film post production studio and film recording studio for music video shoots, etc. She is an intelligent woman who has a voice of her own and is her own person regardless of what anybody says. Such qualities are important in business and I have made several enemies in the past because of my thorough approach to business. In a nation like Nigeria where people believe entertainment business should be done anyhow without contracts and discipline, I always felt like one in a million but seeing someone who shares the same views on this as I do, it was important for us to key into our strengths and abilities and convert it to serious cash. So far it has been working well for us. Now, if people chose to interpret it in whatever way works for them, no problem. They can go ahead. What I do with my private life is my business. If I decide to get married to the president of Usbekistan tomorrow and declare that I am gay, it is between me and my God and it is nobody's damn business. Let God judge me for my actions whether right or wrong. I owe nobody any detailed explanations of what transpires in the house that none of them gave me money to buy. The only people I owe are my God and my son. That's it. So if people chose to redefine my relationship with Stella beyond being my business partner, no problem. If I decide to date and get married to Kim Kardashian tomorrow, can the people talking stop me? No!! Is it safe doing so much business with a female partner? What if things go sour in your relationship in the future? E be like say you think say the first class certificate wey I get for school na steal I steal am. Stella and I are business partners. The key word there is business and every business person understands the power of black and white...contracts and paper work. I rest my case there. What is it that can easily make you lose your cool in public? Right now, nothing is worth losing my cool over. If I am not comfortable with something, I will only bare my mind and views about it. If matter strong, I will simply just walk away. You always come out public looking smashing. Are you that fashion conscious? I am not a fashion freak neither am I crazy about designers. I just like to look clean and sharp. If it fits, I'll buy it and wear it but I will not spend a fortune on any piece of clothing o! Not me. Instead of spending 100k on pair of shoes, I will think of how many meals that money will buy for some families. So, I just try my best not to hurt people's eyes when they see me in public at least. What's your favourite vacation spot? It has to be Ocean City in Maryland, USA. It's a great place to chill during summer. What's your favourite sport and why? I don't have a favourite sport. I don't know why people become fanatics when they get hooked on certain sports so to avoid that, I am not hooked on any sport. I just take time out to work out on my own at home. If you consider that a sport (laughs) then no wahala. Abi no be sport be that? What relaxes you when you are tensed? Spending time with my son and rolling around the living room floor with him. We play video games together, sing and dance. I love cartoons so we make out time to watch all the cartoons available to us. There is no way I can do that and still remain tensed. Reading the bible is another way to zone out of the problems of this world and hear directly from God.

As regards moving to be with Stella, please find out who moved to Abuja first. We both always shared the same views about the hustle and bustle of Lagos so it was no wonder that she moved as well.

Pg 30





Harry Iwuala

for discovered wrestlers

GLO-CAF, BBC Awards and some Media Sour Grapes


N a continent of convulsive sponsorship partnerships, Globacom Limited, a Nigerian company operating in two other West African countries deserves a high five for the consistency it has maintained in the sponsorship of the annual African Football Awards. Since 2005 when the historic agreement was penned in Paris, France with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for commercial rights to the Awards, Globacom has unarguably achieved a make-over of the once drab ceremonies of prize presentation into a global social gathering which now attracts international media clamour for coverage. As one who was an insider in the planning and staging of the event for the first six years, it is worrying and disheartening to note the growing trend of media cynicism that follows the announcement of nominees each year. Despite the fact that the organisers, CAF has patiently explained that nomination is not by popular mass voting but by a process that begins with its Media and Technical Committee and finally by National Team Coaches, the Media, especially in Nigeria seem to want to set its own rules for the selection. In 2004, hail was raised when Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha was allegedly robbed of the title in favour of Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’ Fils and there were those who claimed the result was skewed in favour of the Cameroonian because the CAF President is his compatriot. Such arguments have been deployed in the past when Nigeria lost in the Nations Cup final to Cameroon at Algiers in 1990. Even in the Ghana/Nigeria 2000 Nations Cup when Victor Ikpeba’s penalty kick was wrongly adjudged to have not crossed the line, we also saw a hidden hand of Issa Hayatou in the referee’s error. We don’t seem sometimes to be any different from the British press in trying to force our views and orientation on others. Surprisingly, we seem now to rate the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Awards for Africa’s Best Footballer above that of CAF which is the agency on ground with a clearly defined process of nomination and voting. The BBC Awards is a citizens’ award which is open to multiple voting manipulation and other forms

of abuses. Yes, even if an email address is entitled to one vote, there are persons with more than two to three email boxes and who says that potential nominees will not encourage relations and friends to set up mail boxes just to multi-vote? It also smacks of a lack of self-belief for the Media practitioner not to trust the judgment of colleagues who are appointed to nominate players that are eventually shortlisted for the final voting. Who should know Africa’s best players better than members of the Media and CAF Technical Committee? These are persons whose day to day living centers on watching and monitoring football development across the globe. Yet, we want to show preference to the selection by some lay fans above that of this educated committee. Further to this is the recurring challenges of sustaining partnerships for sports in Africa when some corporates who identify with a given asset watches such assets being salvaged in the media. It explains the difficulty of wooing investors in sports because the attendant negative vibe generated in the media makes nonsense of the financial spend that they commit to such projects. No person or group desires to fund negativity for itself and the media has consistently lost sight of this important matrix of sports marketing. This is by no way a suggestion in favour of sponsored write-ups for organisers and sponsors but again, we must choose to stay true to the ethics of the profession which requires telling it from all sides or forget the collateral goodies that come from sponsors which include funding trips to cover events It is my considered opinion that it hasn’t been fair on CAF and Globacom for some persons to be raking mud over the exclusion of Christopher Katongo, captain of the Zambia National Football Team, Chipolopolo from the top three nominees. That he captained a team to win the Nations Cup against all odds is not sufficient achievement to make the list. What else has he done for club and Africa that can match Drogba’s contribution to Chelsea’s European success and leading his club to the finals of AFCON in 2012? The value of Song’s presence in Barcelona and Yaya Toure in Manchester City is quantum public relations for African football.

•Christopher Katongo

— Daniel Igali

AS a technical person from the wrestling federation, from the competition event in wrestling event of the National Sports Festival, do you see Nigeria having potentials for future event? Yes I do. I have seen quite a few young athletes that I think we can groom to world level if we do it properly. In the female event, there were clearly about four to six athletes that have the attribute to be good athletes if we groom them properly and in the GrecoRoman event too, there are about six of them that we think can do us proud internationally if we groom them well. You said if these athletes are groomed properly, that means there are hiccups in grooming them, what are those factors? That is the biggest problem we’ve had in this country. Athletes need to, not just compete, but compete frequently especially at the young age. Most of the athletes we’ve seen now are between the ages of 16 and 18. An athlete that is 16 is considered Esquire. Esquire is just below the juniors. They should have about 40 to 50 matches a year. When you graduate to the juniors which is between 18 and 20 years, it should be about 50 matches a year. It is when you get older that it is about 30 to 35 matches a year. At best, our Nigerian athletes, the national team athletes have 15 matches or 18 matches on a lucky year. The junior athletes don’t even have any matches internationally because we don’t have any funds for them. Ideally, we should have junior coaches for Greek Roman, Freestyle and Female wrestling, we don’t have any Junior coaches. So those are the hiccups I’m talking about and that is why I’m saying if we groom them properly. You are the technical adviser to the federation, what do you think the federation should do to ensure these things are properly addressed? The federation can’t do anything, the federation has no funding. The federation cannot even hold a competition on its own because there is no money to run any programme. Now what we should be doing is to go to sponsors for sponsorship. Initially, before I came into the federation, I used to think that people at the helm of affairs at the federation were lazy. In fact, I have been on the bandwagon with the federation officials, we wanted to host the African

Championship about three years ago, we had meetings with about 80 companies and not one said yes to us. Those are the kind of problems that sports faces in this country. We are yet to know the values of sports. So it is all government, government has to do everything. Elsewhere in the world, the business of Amateur sports, 60 percent of it is from the government, 40 percent should be from the private sector. In Nigeria, it is probably 99.8 percent from government, maybe 000.2 percent is from the private sector, which is very sad. At the last Sports Festival held in Port Harcourt, the federation was able to discover some athletes, what happened to them? What will happen if they don’t have any competition? Nothing. They are there. We keep getting talents but what do we do with the talents? Nothing. So they come to this festival, the next festival the ones we discovered in Port Harcourt will be ineligible to compete and so their state will now convert them to go and do Judo. So what are we talking? We are not a serious country and we should remain one. We are lip service, we talk about what we want to do but we are not prepared to do anything. The sports minister is rooting for the introduction of elite athletes into the National Sports Festival, do you support that idea? Yes. The National Sports Festival should be an open event for everybody. If you want to discover talents, it is not at the National Sports Festival. Discovery of talents should be at the Junior Festival or at the Junior age category event. Those talents, when they are on the national team or elite level should be able to challenge for position at the national level. But this should not be a barometer to measure the level of athlete; we should not be using it as a yardstick to nurture talents. When you nurture the talents, what do you do with them, you discover an athlete who is 15 year old, yet there is no competition in the country. We have series of Junior Championships in Africa, in Europe that we want to take them to, but we can’t because we have no funding. So what are we discovering? We are discovering nothing. Obviously what you are saying is that there is no hope for athletes discovered here? There is no hope. As far as things remain the way they are, there is no hope for any athlete we discover here. As far as things remain the way they are as at today, there is no


ECHNICAL Adviser of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali has revealed that there is no hope for talented wrestlers discovered at the just concluded 18th National Sports Festival tagged ‘Eko 2012’. In a chat with INNOCENT AMOMOH AND AKEEM LAWAL during the festival in Lagos, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold medalist who is presently the Chairman, House Committee on Sports in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly also supported the participation of elite athletes at the festival. EXCERPTS: hope for anybody we discover here. You can quote me anywhere and I will be ready to debate anybody who has a contrary view. Talking about Nigeria’s performance at the London Olympics, Nigerian wrestlers were not able to make any mark in the competition, what do you think was responsible? At a personal level, I was a bit disappointed with our performance. Though we did not have the kind of preparation we should have, but we have never had anything that is ideal in this country. We’ve always been able to have makeshift preparation and still do well. As far as I’m concerned, the preparations we had towards this last Olympics is better than what we had in 2008 and I expected even if our athletes didn’t win, I expected our athletes to h a v e gotten to t h e quarter final, semi final or something like that, especially about two of them and the kind of draws t h e y have. But I was surpris ed and a b i t embarras sed by the way w e performe d. I’ve put that behind me now, w e have to work towards the future and see what we can d o w i t h f u n d i n g system.

Looking at Rio 2016 now, what are the programmes lined up by the federation? We have a loaded program, it is whether we are going to do anything about the programme. At the start of every year or at the end of e v e r y year or a t the

end of an Olympic, they will ask you to draw a programme for the next quadrennial, you draw it up. I don’t even think anybody reads it. To me I’m not even bordered about writing any programme anymore because it takes a lot of time and planning to write a proper programme and then nobody look at it. Right after the competition, there were three girls that supposed to go to the World Championship in Canada, a month after the Olympics, we didn’t go because we had no money. So from the start, we have already started on the wrong way for the next four years. It is very disappointing.





Eagles: Of Square pegs in round holes


N MONDAY, I could not get my usual combination of daily newspapers to buy at the news stand. I had gone out late in the morning and was not any way surprised that the vendor had sold out. I settled for the unusual to keep abreast of happenings in society. I was opportune to read Ben Alaiya on Sports Unlimited in Sports Day and he wrote on Battle Cry Nigeria Ahead AFCON 2013. Alaiya quoted Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)’s Marketing Consultant, Chief Mike Itemuagbor, as saying competition has now entered into the national team and advised gaffer Stephen Keshi to keep to it as “we negotiate the crucial bend to the Nations Cup.” I totally disagree with him. Competition has never departed from the national team and there is no way that something which has not left would find its way back. There has not been any time competition for shirts or places in the national team had no degree of presence since the modern age of our international football. The degree of competition for places has been different from one generation to the other and no other time has it been lower than this present age. Rebuilding means competition for places in the national team should be higher. Comprising foreign- based players and the home-based, competition ought to be more than 80 percent. There are not supposed to be automatic shirts and every wing is supposed to be thrown open for players to lay claim to. That would be total rebuilding where the old guards are thrown away with the water and the baby. The whole house would have been pulled down and the old stones discarded while new ones are acquire to build a new structure. The builder cannot use the old stones gotten from the structure that was pulled down and expect the project he embarked upon to be called rebuilding. Jesus Christ, the only Begotten of the Father, said in His words:” You do not put new wine in old skins” and expect normalcy. The new wine will burst the old bottle and the content will be spilled. New wine is stored in new skins and old wine is discarded for it has outlived its usefulness. That is what is called new beginning. You can dub that rebuilding. A house is pulled down when it is no longer safe for human habitation. The structure could be judged defective and which may make the house collapse if the situation is not addressed. The experts would at that point in time advise that the house be demolished to prevent the inevitable especially when the structure is in a densely populated area of the town. If the owner decides to rebuild, it would be unprofessional for the builder to pick old stones from the demolished house and add to the new blocks acquired for the project. The house was pulled down in the first place because the stones are weak and could give way in no distant future. The weak or corrupted stones will not add strength to the new house but dilute it. It would have been better to allow the old house stay, for it would be stronger than the house being built newly with a mixture of old and new stones. Samson Siasia’s house was demolished for failing to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup which held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The stones used in building the house were adjudged weak and unreliable and therefore could only give failure and the egg heads in the football house chose a new builder who decided to embark on a rebuilding process. He chose to acquire new and untested stones that lack experience and exposure and mix them with those adjudged weak and unreliable ones who have experience and exposure going for them in Europe. But, what would the builder get in return when he mixes weak, failed and unreliable stones with new, raw and untested gems other than a structure which will not only lack strength or power, but unconvincing? Honestly speaking, the house will not be beautiful to the eyes and will be a caricature of the demolished building. In an attempt to find solution to our failure to qualify for the last Nations Cup finals and bring our football out of the waterless pit, we began treatment without doing the diagnosis and it is impossible to arrive at the efficient treatment regime to solve a problem whose cause has not been identified. The problem with our football lies in the new democratic journey which we embarked upon in 1999 with the exit of the kaki men from governance. The problem which came from the change of guard brought weakness to the national team and the ripple effect was Super Eagles missing out on the last Nations Cup. The journey to the abyss for out football began after the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia-USA where the dream team, as they were fondly called, won the gold medal in the football event to make history as the first African team to reach such a milestone. Though unexpected, it was the highest point in football for the country and it marked the beginning of the decline. Uninformed decisions in technical matters took our football to the pit. After Atlanta, the soccer administrators were no longer appointed but voted into office. The military appointed those who were knowledgeable about the game that was able to take right decisions and make sound appointment in technical matters. Democracy came in with party faithful who got voted in but without the requisite knowledge of the game. Our football is now run by square pegs in round holes. Nothing good comes out of anything square. It bring decline and it eventually leads to nothing. Square pegs feed on anything successful and good. They can be likened to the locust which eats up everything green or prosperous on its path. Nigerian football has been under the care of the locusts for over eighteen years now and there is no hope on the horizon that deliverance will come in a long time.

Inside The



Saturday, December 22, 2012




Tony Akhigbe

McIlroy, Chapman add to haul of awards 08094863638

WILL ADEKANOLA join the GLO tour?



N OT H E R d a y , another award for Rory McIlroy and Roger Chapman. They yesterday landed Player of the Year awards from the Golf Writers Association of America along with women’s world number three Stacy Lewis. The announcement came hot on the heels of McIlroy

winning the European Tour Golfer of the Year title and 53-year-old Chapman, surprise winner of back-toback majors on the US senior tour, being given honorary life membership of the European circuit. McIlroy received 190 of the 194 votes in the GWAA poll, three going to FedEx Cup winner Brandt

No Euro tour card for Cheyenne Woods


IGER WOODS’ niece Cheyenne Woods failed to get a card despite a closing 2-under 70. She shared 36th place and missed by three shots. Woods will have conditional status on the Ladies European Tour and should get limited starts. Sweden’s Louise Larsson returned a 7-under 65, the low round of the day, to take the fourth card. “Today, I didn’t play very good and I missed some putts,” Jutanugarn said. “My irons were not very good today, but I’m still happy because the two weeks were very good.” Elder sister Moriya was a co-medalist at the LPGA’s Final Qualifying School two weeks ago, which means they will play on opposite sides of the Atlantic next season. “I’m going to miss her a lot because we have to separate,” Ariya said. “I have to go with my dad, and Moriya will go with my mom. I’m really happy I won because it will make me feel confident for my professional career.” Taylor ended this season as leader of the England amateur order of merit. She had to come through pre-qualifying to get a card. “I didn’t expect it, to be honest, Taylor said. “I did play well in the pre-qualifying but it’s just fantastic to finish tied second. I’m really happy. I was good with my irons this week, the putting wasn’t great but tee to green I hit a lot of greens and a lot of fairways so I gave myself a lot of chances. I can’t wait for my rookie year on tour. I’m going to turn pro as soon as possible.” Although 32, Campbell will be a rookie on the L a d i e s European Tour next year. She has spent the past 10 years on the LPGA of Japan. “I’ve always wanted to come and play h e r e , ” Campbell said.

Snedeker and one to Tiger Woods, while Chapman had 60% support in the senior ballot and American Lewis almost 79% in the women’s category. The trio will be formally honoured at the GWAA annual awards dinner in Augusta on the eve of next year’s Masters.

PGA Tour Latino America unveils 15-event schedule


FEEDER circuit for the Tour, the PGA Tour Latinoamerica will contest 15 events across nine countries in Latin America in 2013. The season will be split into two swings – MarchMay, then OctoberDecember, with each tournament featuring a $150,000 purse. “We are delighted by PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s inaugural season and are encouraged by its growth heading into next season” s a i d P G A T o u r commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. “We set out to develop a Tour to help identify and provide a pathway to the best players in the region and I feel that our inaugural season and upcoming calendar are indications of a bright future. The race for the top 5 on this year’s Order of Merit shaped up nicely, and we look forward to welcoming the Tour’s newest members next season. The growth of this tour is a testament to the appetite for golf in Latin America and its growing economy.” The season begins March 11 in Mexico City and runs through the Dominican Republic Open on June 2. The second part of the swing begins in Brazil on Oct. 7 and will conclude with the race for “Los Cinco,” concluding on Dec. 8 in Buenos Aires.

HE last time I talked with Otunba Olusola Adekanola, he was 51, young and and full of life. Three months ago I was in his office and I saw his look-alike. It was like he wasn't him. The Personal Assistant said he was indisposed. Well, it's always like this with men of power who move to 'common' India just to get well OH YES Adekanola has got money to keep him in the laps of luxury. Yet he is devoid of pretensions. He stands alone...away from his peers. Why? Well, this has nothing to do with polish or panache. Everything just bother on how BIG man spends the big bucks that roll out his cash register daily. Hear this from us first...He spends most of those dough on golf. But rightly, to, he will quickly tell you ...." But not only rich men play golf". Do we call the man BIG? Yes. But this has to do with his wallet. In physique, the man won't be your ideal mighty Igor. Like those men of power in years back.... Napoleon, Htler, Mussolini, Abacha.... He's almost frail. He must have swept past you before you know someone had just passed. At times, you'll wonder where the iron will come from if this man has crisis. But then a man like this can't have road blocks. Who is this man? Otunba Olusola Adekanmi Adekanola (JP),FCCA, FCA, NFCIT. He is a golf's own paradigm of strength. At best, he is Nigeria's pillar of Golf. Come next week at the IBB international Golf and Country Club in Abuja, this ebullient man of golf will be organising a massive pro-Am golf event to celebrate his birthday indeed calls for reflections and reminiscences. Two major things are very clear here. that is te man's contact with the game of golf and the tournaments he has organised. He talked about them.. in his own words. Enjoy it. MY CONTACT WITH GOLF: The whole thing started in the late 1996 when I was in Port Harcourt for an assignment. There, some of my friends mostly golfers wanted me to play the game. They piled so much pressure on me that some of them were even buying the golf bags. These friends of mine even registered me at the Port Harcourt golf club just to see me play the game. I can tell you that Chief Goddy Ajuka and Chief Edward Ajebo were in the front-line of those who wanted to see me on course. The funny things... I didn't know what the game was all about and I didn't take time to find out. However, all this changed when I came back to Lagos. My very good friend, Mr. Lekan Biobaku came to my Alausa office one day and told everybody waiting to see me; I'm taking this man away for in 30 minutes time, so if you want to do anything with him, do it now". And he did just that, he dragged me to Ikoyi Club and for the first time ever, I had a feel of what the game of golf was all about. I had my first lesson. My pro was Ben Smart. The first day was so frustrating. I mean you are looking at small, small balls and you can't get to hit them. The frustration of the first day set me out the next day. As a person, I love taking challenges. the truth is that I never considered golf to be a sport. I knew back then that it was played by the elites and well to do in the society. It's only I could not see the sport in having to chase a small ball all over the place. I looked at it the same way I look at polo. But golf is quite different. You get to know, through golf, the nature of human beings especially on the golf course. You know life itself is filled with ups and downs. This is golf for you. Sometimes you play well sometimes you don't. But you could cope when you don't play well say a lot about the man you are. then you can talk about integrity. Could you be trusted? The way you mark your card, for instance, will show how trustworthy you are. Yousee, golf is such a unique game...very natural.

TOURNAMENT I'VE ORGANIZED: I've done quite a lot in this regard. But I keep telling my self that I'm not the richest man in golf circles. I know a lot of people in influential positions, corporations, multinationals and I always maintain that they can do much more for golf. But unfortunately this people don't want to identify them self in organising tournament for golf. I don't think this is a right attitude. If you believe in a game and know the worth of that game to your well being then you should be able to put up a sacrifice. I don't think its asking too much of this people....captains of industries, bureaucrats in top governments circles to organise tournament. They can just throw their weight around and put more tournaments on the golf circuit. I don't think its too much to ask for. Even though some of them complains about attitude of professionals... I don't think this is enough to shut tourneys out of the calender. It's as if you have a bad son and you think the solution is to disown him. Well, that is not the solution. The more tournaments they have, the more opportunities they have to interact with them. And the system is golf purifying. the bad eggs are always weeded out in time. Most tournaments are about competition. There are no hiding places here. If you are not serious about your golf career, you won't make money. So if you know you want to live on golf, then you must put in hard work. sure, there are bad eggs in every profession. I'm a chartered accountant but it's not every chattered accountant you can vouch for as far as integrity goes. So every organisation will always have its own troubles. But you must solve all problems as an organizer. All fine. Adekanola put up the first Tour in Nigeria. The whole thing did not go well. Until Globacom came in to splash close to N100 million in a Tour. Glo, at its grand finale promised bigger Tour next year. This is reason this question is apt. Adekanola wanted a Tour at all cost and it didn't work. Today the man is sole owner of the Nigeria Golf Federation. If only this big man... Adekanola and NGF can align with Glo, then Nigeria could have a bigger Tour than South Africa's Sunshine Tour next year. We can do it. All depends on three men... Senate President David Mark. Prince Mike Adenuga and Otunba Olusola Adekanola. Here is the big question. Will Adekanola join Glo Adenuga to create the biggest Tour in Africa? Merry Xmas.



Kunle Afolayan

•Kunle with Yeye



on the trail of Yoruba deities

HE original religions of Africa Victor AKANDE have been declining over time Entertainment Editor owing to the influence of western travel to Rio, armed with still and video acculturation and proselytising by cameras. Christianity and Islam. Ifa, the original religion of the Yorubas is one of such Six hours by flight to South Africa, African religion caught in this erosion five hours of waiting to connect, and Kunle Afolayan thought it would another 10 hours by flight to Sao Paolo, make an interesting exposee if reasons eight hours of waiting to connect, yet leading to this is revisited and another 1 hour's flight to Rio, Afolayan presented through a film documentary. made for himself another family of Ifa The result is a series of lessons on worshippers, spending seven days as a Yoruba traditional religion that is billed sojourner. Yes, their language is to make debute on Mnet from January Portuguese, but like a Muslim who may 1, 2013. not speak Arab but recites the Holy Quran fluently, these family who do not A young and curious filmmaker; the speak Yoruba recite the Ifa verses in creative ingenuity of Kunle Afolayan is so rioutious to the degree that some feel Yoruba language. A stunned Afolayan could not believe this. that playing along the edge of the rule is precarious. But the young man has Needless to say that that experience got the creative license to which later took him to Cuba, Olodumare was the beginning of his provoke thoughts. Undaunted, Kunle can sometimes be in a (self-existing studentship of the Yoruba world of his own. This, to deity) and the traditional religion, honing his some schools of thought is a around Ifa divination, the Orisas; known skills plus in the creative art. Olodumare (self-existing deity) to be the Nothing compares to when an and the Orishas; known to be artiste enjoys the rhythm of his intermediaries the intermediaries between work, they would say. Indeed, Olodumare and humanity. between Afolayan thus enjoys what he Olodumare These smaller deities, like you does; reason his Golden Effects find in a Babalawo and humanity. would Pictures outfit has grown so scene in a Yoruba movie These smaller include: Esu, (a trickster deity fast, with the acquisition of deities, like who generates confusion but is state of the art equipment. you would also a protector); Ibeji (the deity From a co-produced movie of twins); Ogun (the god of entitled Irapada, young find in a iron, war, justice); Afolayan, one of the sons of Babalawo Orunmila (the oracle divinity); legendary filmmaker, the late scene in a Osanyin (the god of magic and Ade Afolayan (Ade Love) Yoruba movie medicine); Osun (the goddess grew his teeth faster than of the river Osun); Oya (the imagined to make debute of a goddess of the river Niger); Sango (the solo production entitled The Figurine god of thunder and lightning; Sopona (Araromire). The latter was soon followed by another award-winning; his (the divinity associated with smallpox); and Yemoja (the goddess of all rivers) very current flick called Phone Swap. among others. In preparation for 2013, this Back in Nigeria, the expedition took filmmaker's search mind for groundhim round the South Western states breaking story ideas rested on tradition. where for several weeks he was the Of course Nigeria has so much that we guest of Obas, High Chiefs and Ifa can call our own; so much that western Priests, and other custodians of culture, education is fast eroding, even from tradition and religion within the Igbonna, Kwara state where Kunle Oduduwa kingdom. The said 26Afolayan hails from. But his start-off episode documentary features these idea of becoming a filmmaker of Royal Fathers of Yoruba land, Ifa international stand quickly brought the Priests, shrines, cultural festivals, much talked about Yoruba connection traditional games and the general with Brazil to mind. He decided to

lifestyle of the descendants of Oduduwa. When next you find yourself in the company of the actor, dial his phone number, and just listen to his ring tone. You may find out that it is an Ifa chant through the voice of High Priest Ifayemi Elebuibon, a famous Babalawo in Yoruba film and title holder of 'Araba Awo' of Osogboland, Osun state. This is how personal Kunle Afolayan is getting with tradition. He is not only thrilled by his new discoveries, he is excited about its predictive audiences and perhaps the filmic style that will further assert him as a creative filmmaker. Beyond this documentary entitled Isedale Yoruba (Yoruba Heritage), the filmmaker is said to be working on his next feature film project, which may commence shoot in March 2013. The proposed film is a psychologicalthriller. It tells the story of September 1960 -- with Nigeria on the verge of independence from British colonial rule, a northern Nigerian Police Detective, Dan Waziri, is urgently despatched by the Colonial Government to the trading post town of Akote in the Western Region of Nigeria to solve a series of female murders that have struck horror in the hearts and minds of the local community. On getting to Akote, more murders are committed, and with local tension high and volatile, Waziri has a race on his hands to solve the case before even more local women are killed. Matters take a turn for the worse, however, when Waziri discovers that

•Kunle with Ifayemi Eleb uibon

•Kunle Afola yan with Ifa worshipper

his prime suspect is none other than the highly influential, university-educated son of the King of Akote, Prince Aderopo. Intelligent, good-looking, charismatic, witty and daring, the prince proves to be a most complicated adversary for Waziri. Set against the backdrop of the national celebratory mood of the impending independence, Waziri and Prince Aderopo indulge in a game of cat and mouse as they try to outwit each other... leading to the climatic end in which the life of a popular local female teacher and village belle, TAWA, is held in the balance. Waziri has to race against the clock to capture the prince, save Tawa and solve the crime before the British flag is lowered and the Nigerian flag raised on Independence Day... October 1st.



Society Profile


STYLE Gossip Interviews


I manage

three homes -Gold FM boss Wunmi Bello

See pages 44&45






Society Profile


Bukola Saraki goes

for low-key 50th birthday party

Where is Toyin Fagbayi?

High-Octane wedding in the offing for Rochas Okorocha's daughter

Amville School dazzles with 'hoity toity' xmas concert

‘Insomnia’ for Joseph Yobo

Biodun Yuguda

joins golden club

Gossip Interviews



Society Profile

Gossip Interviews




Mudi ups his game

Stefan Tommey's lavish shindig

Obaro Ibru bounces back

Abiola Adegoke, Myke Ikoku float new clubs Funke Ponnle goes home today



Perfect gifts for him Afor KENNETH



Tessy Jibodu on Zaris

Ideal gifts for her Ibironke ARIYO

Marcia Moran green Onyx Chandelier

Red shoes and clutch bag

Gucci Sunglasses

Topshop green dress

Diamante Jewellery


•Adaeze Igwe-Yobo •Slyvia Nduka

•Tessy Jibodu

•A N 20 g b a n i D a 01 & r Miss ego World


•Genevieve Nnaji



She never wanted to be a broadcaster, but her father's influence played a major role in her choice of profession and today, she is not regretting it. That is the story of the General Manager, Gold FM, Mrs Wunmi Adebola Bello. Gold FM, Ilesha, Osun State, is one of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria FM stations . Her voice and poise stand her out wherever she is and whatever she does. In this interview with GBENGA ADERANTI, she talks about her baptism into broadcasting; the good, the bad and the ugly sides of her job; and her family, among others. Excerpts:


ou had options before choosing journalism as profession. Why broadcasting? (Long laughter) Why journalism? Maybe because my dad worked with Radio Nigeria then. I really didn't give it a thought then that I had options. I just felt I finished my secondary school, searching for job and I said to myself why you are still searching for job, admission or whichever one comes first, why not come and start with Radio Nigeria. I was offered a job with Radio Nigeria, Akure. It was not as if I had a real option. I just wanted to do something. Would I be right to say that your father really influenced you? Yes, he did. He was working with Radio Nigeria, Ibadan. He was at the engineering department, a principal officer at the department. So, I was employed as a studio manager trainee way back then. Broadcasting is like a wind. You have to move from one department to the other. It is like Jack of all trades, masters of all. Most parents would not want their children to go into broadcasting because of the tag or the label on the job What label? That a female broadcaster is wayward… For your information, I'm married. I have two boys. My husband appreciates me so much. He is the pillar behind me; he keeps pushing me, saying, 'you can do it'. After hearing, 'you can do it; move a little forward; you can do it.' It got to a stage that I was no more interested. I wanted to go because I was not moving forward; my promotion was kind of stuck somewhere. He still encouraged me by saying, 'it is just a matter of time'. I entered broadcasting as a green horn. I went back to the university to read Linguistics. I went back again to read Peace and Conflicts. I don't think that the label is just about broadcasters. It is not just about journalists. If I tell you that I want to be a nurse, you will scream because the kind of label they give broadcasters is also given to nurses or any female career woman. I think it is between your career and your home, and I think there is a way out if you have an understanding husband. Was there any time you had a problem with

'Broadcasting doesn't put food on my table but...’ your husband because of the demands of the job? My husband is a lawyer. If I had a problem with him, I wouldn't be where I'm today because before you head a station, you must climb through the ranks, the ladder. You must have gathered experiences. You don't buy it. You walk your way up. Well, there are ups and downs because right now, I'm in Ilesha, while my husband is somewhere else. My kids are somewhere else in school, so I'm managing three homes. I'm managing them perfectly well. If you ask me how I do it, I will tell you I don't know. I just wake up a day at a time. Talking about being a lawyer and married to a journalist, I'm sure he had a stint with radio too before he went to school for his law programme. Maybe that really helped me too. Already, he had an insight into what I'm into. I was doing this job before I got married to him, so he cannot wake up one morning and say you have to quit this job. I'm happy that I came into broadcasting. I wonder what I would have been doing, if my daddy did not do this abracadabra to lure me into broadcasting. It seems you love your broadcasting job so much. If you were to make a choice between your job and your husband, which one would you choose? (Prolonged laughter) My job, my husband, I will choose both. You have to make a choice That is a difficult one. I can't lose my husband, and I don't want to lose my job. I don't know what to do, but I will find a way out. I will choose the comfort zone, but I won't lose the two. I will want the two. You work in a male-dominated environment; how do you cope? I'm a human being first. There is no difference. They have two eyes; I have two eyes .They have two legs; I have two legs. So what they can do, I can do three times over because the way I'm made as a woman I don't see anything out of ordinary that they do that I cannot do. I see it as do your best and leave the rest. In the course of doing this job, you are bound to see a lot of male admirers. How do you manage this? Definitely yes, it is part of the training you are given. When you set a goal for

yourself, you go for it. It depends on what you want. It either you remain at the bottom of the ladder or you move ahead. Yes, I have admirers, but that will not stop me from doing what I want to do. Business and pleasure are two different things. It is strictly job. So many people will admire you. Imagine a scenario whereby your husband decides to take another wife; how are you likely to react? Well, I bet he won't because that was not the agreement. But if he does, I'm sorry to say, my mind is prepared. I don't want anything to shake me unnecessarily. I'm an African woman. If he does, the world will not come to an end. I move on. What I'm likely to find in your wardrobe? Varieties! It is like music, you have juju, you have apala, you have hip-hop, you have asonto, so many. When I say varieties, another time you meet me, you could be wondering could this be this woman? I move with all facets of life. I put on whatever I feel comfortable in that morning because I might change three or four times before I feel comfortable. I think it is my schedule for the day that will dictate what I put on. What is that fashion item you can't do without? The fashion item I can't do without? Do I call it fashion items. I think I'm crazily in love with undies . I can rob a bank to buy a beautiful one. What is the highest amount of money you spent on one? I've never given it a thought. What was your growing-up like? I'm the second in the family of seven, five girls, two boys. Deep down my dad's heart, I'm sure he would have loved me

Yes, I have admirers, but that will not stop me from doing what I want to do. Business and pleasure are two different things. It is strictly job. So many people will admire you

to be a boy. I was like a Tom boy. I used to do what girls would not do. I climbed trees; I climbed tanks to wash the tank up on the stairs of the house. My growing-up? I saw myself as a boy, so I never saw anything as an insurmountable problem in my way. I just calmed down. There was this saying we used to follow; it is like this, what will be will be, though it may take a long time to materialise. Things don't come to me easily. They come the hard way; it may be late, but definitely it will come to pass. You were a Tom boy; did you get into trouble while in school? Many times. I went to Federal Government College, Bauchi. My parents were in Ibadan. Then, we used to travel to our school by night train. All federal government schools would resume the same time. Then, the train would leave Lagos station, stopping at different stations. At times we would spend three days because of derailment, and you would have finished your provision before you got to school because you would be hungry. I remember that we had some mango trees in our school. We were not supposed to go there because the mango trees were behind the fence. So one person had to climb the mango tree and be shaking the tree and others would be picking. One day, I was up. There was a snake on the three, but my colleague could not tell me that there was a snake there because if they did, I would have jumped and injured myself. They just said come down. My English name then was Millicent.They said, 'Millicent come down' . I said I had not finished with the mango. So as I was trying to come down, I saw one of our teachers. Instead of me coming down quietly, I jumped down and I was wounded seriously. I was punished. Would you allow your son to marry outside your tribe? Why not? I might but initially, I would have been married to an Urhobo man. I would have been married to just anybody, but my parents insisted, so to say, that it must be a Yoruba person. Later in life, I discovered that there was sense in what they were saying. His people would be my people, his food would be my food. I think I would have lost everything that is my person. That is what I'm thinking now, but then, I never gave it a thought. But I think love conquers all. I think I will allow them to marry anybody. What is your attitude to religion? Leave it for the prophets and r e v e r e n d fathers. That is



THE NATION SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2012 my attitude to religion. I know there is God. I know you can call upon Him in the dark, in the four corners of your room. You can pray in the Muslim way for Him to answer you, you can pray in the Christian way for Him to answer you. You can pray in any way you have chosen. If you believe there is God, there is no way he would not answer your prayer. Your regrets? Well, do I call it regrets? I didn't get married early enough. I got married when I was a little bit over 30. I would have loved to get married a little over 20, maybe 25 because I have colleagues and friends who are now grandmums. That would have been a regret or maybe I didn't not proceed to the university immediately I finished my secondary school. I had to work here and there and I had to do my university education like a part-time thing, but I went to the university. I wouldn't call that a regret. I know some career women that are not married. I would say you are lucky; how did you do it? I got married in September 1996 and I'm still married, and I will continue to be married till the end of my life. Why is it that some female journalists find it very difficult to stay at matrimonial homes? It is not that they refused to get married. It is because of the label the society or other professions have put on them. It is not that they can't do it. The society has a preset mind that because she is a journalist, she will not be able to do this; she will not be able to do that. Mind you, we multi-task--you keep your home, you keep your job, keep your family, when I say your home, I mean your husband, your children. You might be the breadwinner of your family, your mum, your dad, your siblings Things have to be intact there. God helps you, if you are the head of your station. So how do you do that if you don't have an understanding man? So it is the stigma. It is not as if they don't want to stay in a husband's house. They want to be loved. They want to be cared for; they want to be pampered too. It is the society we find ourselves. Why is that we have a few women editing newspapers or heading broadcasting houses? It is because from the very outset, female journalists were never employed the way male journalists were employed. Employers feel female journalists will not be able to cope. She would be pregnant, she would be nursing babies and she would be taking permissions. That is the society. If you employ 20 male journalists, I'm sure you will employ two female journalists and it will now be the survival of the fittest and for the female journalist to be recognised, to be given added responsibility, she will have to double or triple her efforts. It is the society. Why are they saying 35 per cent affirmative action, is it about journalism alone? No, it is about everything. You have forgotten that first, I'm a human being before you say she is a girl. If you give us equal opportunities, employ 10 males, employ 10 females, then let us perform and you will see what happens. What is that thing that keeps tingling you? You are probing too much. I don't want it on the pages of the newspaper. Tell me the good, the bad and the ugly you have encountered so far in this profession The bad, I remember one Mrs Anisulowo. She worked with Radio Nigeria. Then I was a studio manager. There was this guest she brought, a personality to record a personality programme. We had recorded before the programme started. We did test running, and everything went well. We recorded, then it was the era of analogue not digital stuff, reel to reel. After the recording, the woman left. Then we had to come back to the studio to do the editing. We started playing back. I just lost all the recordings. I didn't know what really went wrong. We could not call the woman back. The programme had to fail for that day, so it was like the world was coming to an end. I lost

The velocity of benevolence Continued from page 22

Bello everything. I received a query the following day. She flared up. It was a big blow to me because ordinarily, I was one of the best studio managers we had then. Wake me up 2am, I know what to do. We had to write an apology letter to the guest that she had to come back. It was a corporate embarrassment. That was the bad. The good, I met my husband in front of my station in Ibadan. He came to visit a friend and the friend said, 'you this Akoko girl, come and look at your kinsman', so he introduced us. We started like play and I never knew I could get married to him. I never had it at the back of my mind. Anytime we met on the road, I kept forgetting his name. He would call my name and I would say sorry I forget your name. I was always in a hurry because I was running my degree programme then and I was working. I would say I have forgotten your name, your name again. Then one day, during one of the Muslim festivals, I was on duty and he came by. He said, 'I've been inviting you to my house in the last 6 months or a year, you have been giving me one excuse or the other. Today, today, you must know my house.' I said , 'if only you will wait after my shift', and after my shift, I went to his house. From there, gradually we grew to appreciate each other; love each other, that is the good thing that happened to me on the job. The ugly, I will keep that to myself. Would you allow any of your children to go into this profession? If they can improve on it in Nigeria. How? It doesn't put food on the table. It is a good profession. If I sit quietly, if I don't talk, most people will not know me because radio is a blind medium. That is one aspect of radio that I love so much, but when I talk, people around can pick my voice easily because it is a voice you hear on radio all the time. There was a day I went to do something at the University of Ibadan. I was lamenting. Somebody just opened his window and said I heard you on radio this morning. I just started laughing. He collected my particulars. He helped me out of what I went to do at the university. The society will like you; you will move with the crowd, but don't get lost in the crowd. I might not advise or encourage my children because it doesn't put food on my table. I'm what I'm today because of the help of my husband. He doesn't ask me how much I earn; he gives me allowances and many of us are that lucky.

against popular expectation, but I have worked long enough with people in need that through simple introspection, I can instinctively spot an opportunist from amongst the needy whenever I see one.” Clever woman! Through my interaction with her over the last few years, I came to realise that life is not about what you get out of a marriage, but what you put into it; it is not about the benefits you derive from your association with others, but what you throw into the ring so you can make a difference in the relationship. Princess Ponnle's life has proved beyond any doubt that differences in age and social backgrounds are nothing if aims and vision are identical. “Similarity in objectives makes the hearts beat with the same conjugal tempo in a marriage,” she said. The late Princess did everything in her power to hold her marriage together and she succeeded to the end: She was a loving wife, a caring mother and a distinguished grandmother. When asked about the secret of her marital success recently, her response was fascinating: According to her, marriage is not one institution people should jump into or jump out of, without adequate self-examination and proper evaluation. “Unless a wife operates on the same frequency and wavelength with the husband, she will always be left behind. And when this occurs, many things are likely to follow: envy and jealousy, anger and provocation, objection and rejection take over while rivalry and vilification entrench themselves firmly on the front burner, thus helping to further heat up the marriage, until final disengagement becomes inevitable,” she said. According to Princess Ponnle, wives must be patient to understudy their husbands well enough so that there will be no mis-steps, particularly in the early days of a marriage. “While both partners must endure and make sacrifices to keep the marriage together, the woman must make extra and special effort to soften the ambience of the home front to minimise those things that could cause conflict and aggravate the husband's personal pains and anxieties. “This is because in Africa, the culture is lopsided in favour of men and so when a marriage succeeds, society tends to commend the husband for performing his duties well, even where his attitude is in deficit and the wife is the one patching things up daily to save his integrity. But when a marriage collapses, everyone blames the woman without asking questions. Therefore, women must be conscious of these assumptions and think deep before they act,” she affirmed. Even though Princess Ponnle was frank to a fault during her life, she was a woman of peace Never one to tangle in a quarrel or cause agitation that could stoke fires of anger and hatred anywhere she found herself. “I love peace,” she once told me during a discussion. “I have never gone out of my way to pull or push trouble and when it occurs sometimes as in people offending me, I am always the first to seek reconciliation, even when I am hurt. As I often told my children, anger is destructive and this is why they should not allow the next sun to set before settling their matrimonial differences with their spouses. In my own case, I resolved all issues amicably, same day, so as to keep my mind in focus and my husband's mind at rest. My husband, Tunde and I have tried in our own little way to raise the children along this sacred path and I believe we succeeded to a great extent.” she stated. No doubt, they succeeded. All their children are successful professionals who are holding their heads high in the society today. For Princess Ponnle, being close to her husband brought its own pains. Many people often thought she stood between them and

Ponle her husband, sometimes preventing him from helping them. How inaccurate! As someone close to the family, I witnessed situations where she was even the one to persuade the husband to consider series of requests from different quarters. She was always eager to please others just as she was eager to forgive those who offended her without any pre-condition. Over the years, she had used her God-given talent to help thousands of people either personally in her own right or in joint partnership with her husband, even when it was most inconvenient for her to do so, especially in the early days of their marriage. Relating with this wonderful woman has convinced me more than ever that as human beings, there is a joy to be derived in helping others within the limits of one's resources. Late Princess Ponnle was open in her dealings with people. She gave them the opportunity to prove that they could be trusted. She never made up her mind based on established prejudices. She will be sincerely missed by all who knew her. She left behind, a big gap that will be difficult for others to fill, particularly in the area of capacity building, youth empowerment and deep-seated philanthropy. The annual MicCom Scholarship from which more than 2000 Nigerians have benefited over the years will definitely continue to be awarded on the instructions she left behind. It is one big legacy that will continue to empower Nigerian youths the more and make them truly self-reliant into the future. Although her face would be missed at the yearly interview panel constituted for this annual scholarship Award, yet her feet remained firmly established in the sands of time, through this and other development schemes put in place during her life. On this score, late Princess Comfort Olufunke Ponnle scored high marks and proved even in death that like light, benevolence can have its own velocity too! Asiwaju Yemi Ajayi Author, The Magic of Pulling Together. The Joint Biography of Prince Tunde Ponnle and Princess Comfort Olufunke Ponnle


THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012

Continued from page 21

Remember that the entire estate was given back to my father by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. And if the estate were still in the hands of my father till today, it would have been one of the estates Bianca would be suing for in the last suit she instituted. And the case would have remained in court for 20 years. So, by extricating the estate and keeping it, they want to take it from me, but without at the same time giving me what is due to me. And that would be tantamount to enriching them. Why do you think they are aligning with your brother against you? That is because I am holding the ‘goat’. Chukwuemeka forgot that we were out with our father driving on the highway and suddenly, he (Chukwuemeka) found himself driving into the bush. He remains my younger brother. But he must come out from the bush so that I can show him the way. I cannot meet with him in the bush because I do not know if there are traps. He was also excluded from the funeral rites of our father. He was not part of the burial committee. According to Igbo tradition, when a man dies, his first son is expected to inherit his Obi. In the case of your father, who inherited his Obi, you or Chukwuemeka junior? It is Emeka because those using him against me encouraged him to inherit my father’s Obi, all in a bid to slight me. I recall that when Emeka’s mother died, my father told him to his face and right in my presence that ‘you are not my eldest son’. He had to beg me to attend his mother’s funeral with him. He cannot deny that he begged me to attend his mother’s funeral. He phoned pleading with me to attend his mother’s funeral. In what capacity was he begging you to attend his mother’s funeral? Of course, as his elder brother! When our father’s mother, that is our grandmother, was still alive, he took all of us to her homestead in Agbaru and she was asked who were these children she brought home with her? She said ‘they are my grandchildren from where I got married.’ And the elders said bring the first child let us bless him. And our grandmother pushed me forward to be and I knelt down and they blessed me before Emeka and others. Could the mother of our father be lying that I was the first son of her own son? All the text messages Emeka sent to me when our father was sick are still in my phone. And each time he inquired about our father, he would always ask ‘how is dad today’? why did he not say how is mom today? How is your relationship like with your step-mother, Bianca? She remains my late father’s widow. She is also trying to fight for her children. That was why she ensured that the all property my father acquired when they were married went to her. Of course, nobody begrudges her. But for anyone to go a mile extra to say my name is not in the Will is not something that will go unchallenged. Have you ever been bothered about what is happening in the family and tried to settle all these differences without fighting dirty in the media? I am one person who believes in the truth. And for me, if you err and recognise the fact that you erred and you are ready to show remorse, there is no reason why forgiveness should not come. But when you try to grandstand, there can be no settlement in sight. What role did your father play in the burial of your mother because there are insinuations that your mother allegedly led some federal soldiers in a failed bid to capture him in his bunker during the civil war, a development that reportedly made your father to turn against you and your mother? That is also another lie. My mother was a primary school teacher and the most peaceful person you could find on earth. She was teaching in a Roman Catholic convent. It will also interest you to know that my father met my mother as a virgin. That is why I am an exact replica of my father. I was born with purity. I was the child of his strength. As for the role my father played in the burial of my mother, I was with my in-law when I heard that my mother was dead. So, immediately I rushed to my father to tell him what happened. He wanted to go for her burial, but he was too frail. I prevailed on him not to stress himself. He drew me closer and hugged me and started shedding tears. So he sent Bianca and his Chief of Staff, Colonel Nwobosi, to represent him at my mother’s burial. He told him to go and make sure that Sylvester was doing the right thing. His Chief of Staff returned and told him that from what he saw, he was sure that I had taken care of everything. My father surprised me when he ensured that Bianca was at my mom’s burial. My mother made one statement about my father to the effect that he was a very principled man. My father, before he died, regretted not marrying my mother. She was a woman with pure love.

burial? Does it not sound strange to you? Chukwuemeka junior claimed in some media reports that the Will purported to have been read was not the original Will of the late Ikemba and you are claiming also that what you have given to us was the Will read. Which one are we to believe? The one your younger brother said was yet to be read or the one already read? When there are many Wills and there is a contention, it means there is no Will. The answer is that there is no Will. If my brother claims he has a copy of what he deems the original Will and which he is not supposed to be in possession of, that again is fake or warped in itself. He is also challenging the Will which was reportedly read, which I insist was a concoction. I have given you a documentary evidence to prove to you that what was read was a concoction. Part of it is that I was not mentioned. I must be mentioned because I am his child. And if they claim I am not his child, then the correct test to determine all that is a DNA. This is not something anybody can •Debe wish away. The Will they read would have been sacrosanct if it mentioned my name but that nothing was given to me. So, for it (Will) not to mention my name, means it was fake and somebody has to prove to me that it was the original Will of my father. That I was barred from performing ‘dust-to-dust’ was discriminatory and it is against Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution, which says that no child should be discriminated against on the basis of circumstance of birth. There was a report that a DNA test was done on all your father’s children before he died. How true is this and were you part of it? Well, they said there was a DNA test. But the lawyer who wrote his Will claimed that he did not see me. According to him, when he came back in 1982, I appeared and disappeared for 30 years. The lawyer who said he wrote the Will said that. This was somebody who said he did not include my name because I fought him over JAMB office. The lawyer who said that was supposed to be the lawyer who wrote the Will. What he said has been proven to be mendacious. So, for a lawyer who could fabricate all this, how is he supposed to be believed? The so called DNA test was said to have been done in secret. But how can a DNA test be done in secret? A DNA is usually done and made public. I doubt strongly if this was so. Everything is a grand conspiracy. What is it about you that your siblings and uncles seem to be so afraid to warrant what you have called a grand conspiracy against you? Let me give you one hypothesis to make you understand. I made an approach to you and told you I had bars of gold deposited under the seabed and I asked you to try and retrieve it for me. I also told you that if you retrieve them, you will be entitled to 50 per cent of the value of the gold. You are being given 50 per cent because of the inherent danger in going under the seabed. Of course, I am making you this offer because I did not expect that you will succeed. So, I decided to increase the percentage to 60 percent. But unknown to you and me, providence would smile on you as you get closer to the bank of the sea and suddenly a mermaid throws the bars of gold at you even before you dive into the sea. It means that you no longer need to go as far as the seabed to fetch them. After that, you tell the man who sent you, here are the bars of gold. Can I have my 60 percent of the value as you promised? He suddenly begins to dribble you because he thought you might not make it or that you would die in the process. The man begins to tell you that the 60 percent you charge was too much. The scenario I painted captures my experience and my current ordeal in the hands of those trying to tell the world that I am not the son of Ojukwu. When I was given the brief or contract to try and recover the property of OTL, nobody thought I would succeed. I could jolly well have left the police force to recover the property and ended up not recovering them. And that would have meant that I would not have anything to fall back on up till now. But because I succeeded, they suddenly remembered that the 30 per cent I was given was too much. The 30 per cent meant that I was richer than those who even had shares in the company. If you

‘My father regretted not marrying my mother’

give someone 30 percent, you will agree unarguably that that person is going to get something big out of the deal. They are fighting me because of what they thought I made. So, that was why my siblings and the rest of them felt that allowing me to stand before President Goodluck Jonathan to collect the N1 billion the Federal Government was to give would add up to my already filled sack of money I already had. But they forgot that a labourer deserves his wages and not inheritance. Even the Bible recognises the fact that a labourer is worthy of his wages. Does it not surprise you that the same people my father was in court with are the same people I am also in court with? It is clear that I am fighting his war. You were also reportedly quoted in the media to have said that you are richer than your father. Are you actually richer than your father and how much are worth? I did not say that. You know, you journalists have a way of colouring stories in a way that makes it appear different from what the true situation is. I remember saying that the assets I have are more than what they are fighting me for. It is not about property but about one’s lineage. And if I leave without challenging it in court, 40 years down the line, somebody will look at my son in the face and ask him, when this thing was done, what did your father do? So, one has to go court to prove that you are his son. You can have one million naira today and robbers can snatch it from you but nobody can snatch your lineage from you. It is what I made of my disengagement from the police that has paid off and turning others’ heads against me. The decision I took some years back has paid off for me as wages and some people are trying to take it away from me. Your father is believed to have brothers who are professors, engineers and what have you who are established in their chosen field of endeavours. Why are they not rallying round and supporting you as their brother’s first son who needs to be supported? Why does everyone, including your uncles, seem to be supporting your younger sibling against you? Their grouse against me, essentially, in their thinking, is that I am cornering everything. But the truth is that if I turn over the estate to them, they will in turn, turn round to sing alleluia to me. But they fail to realise that the estate would not have gotten to them in the first place, but for me.



My wife chooses what I wear from shoes to cap -ALGON Vice

Prince Kunle Ayantoye, the Chairman of the Ifedayo Local Government, is a busy man. Apart from being the Vice Chairman of the Association of Local Government Chairmen (ALGON), he is the Chairman of the Local Government Chairmen Association in Osun State called Mandate 31. In this interview with GBENGA ADERANTI, he talks about his journey through life, among other things.


ow would you react to the situation whereby the allocations to the local councils are controlled by the state? It is not that the local governments are clamouring for the direct control of the allocations. We are federating states, and where there are federating states, all institutions should know the limits of his powers. That is what we are talking about. The federal, state and local governments should know their limits. When it comes to monetary affairs, every government has its own allocation that is reviewed by the mobilization board. That is what we are talking about. What the constitution recognizes is three tiers of government. The federal, state and local governments. But what we have here is when allocations come, they go to the state, and the state government decides. There are 36 states in the federation. The state government decides what should go to the local governments, and this is unacceptable. In Osun, we don't have this. What we have is when allocations come, we do what we should do. It is shared properly and everybody gets down to work. Unfortunately, Osun State is not rich; we are about number 34 in the ladder of the financial status in the federation, so we have a problem. Not a problem in the sense that governor takes our money. But our problem is that the allocations that come are small. That is the situation in Osun. Are you comfortable with the arrangement whereby LG chairmen are controlled by the governors? Well in Osun, we do not have that kind of situation. What we have is that as a chairman you are autonomous, but you are responsible to the governor. So you can do whatever projects you want. All you just need is an approval. For us in Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has been magnanimous and has got it right. He has not taken our money. He has not done anything with it. We are the ones spending our money. And that is good for us. How best do you think a local government area could be developed? We need more than what we are having right now at the local government level. We are the last tier, the tier that touches the average man on the street. Therefore, it requires that along the line, we too should be able to do what is right. The common man wants basic things, but

President Ayantoye

you see, the average Nigerian only wants what he will eat, He does not want to learn how to fish. That is the problem we have at the local level. Once you're a politician, you are assumed as a money spender. They will not query how you spend so long you let the people have it, forgetting that a kilometre of road needs N30 million to be properly done. There is no reason why I should do road and in six months or another year, another raining season comes, and it is washed off again. So for a road that will last 10 years, you will need N30 million for one kilometre. Today in Osun, how many local governments can put N30 million down for a kilometre of road. But we thank God for the wisdom of our governor who was able to save our ecological funds. In the course of saving the ecological fund, he also made sure that streams and rivers were deflooded. We didn't need any ecological funds because we didn't have floodings. Now we can boast that in each of the local government areas ,we can boast that we expect 7 to 10 kilometres of roads. All these roads are roads that will be properly done. We have solved the flood problem. You have seen how good we have been able to control the flood. President Jonathan gave some states, including Osun, certain amounts of money to control floods. The people are happy because of the money, but it is being argued that the states deserved more than what they got. What is your take on that? A lot of people do not think deeply. For quite a number, they just think on the surface. The best to have come out of Nigeria is this, this is a state with a man called Ogbeni who could think it wise to do what is right at the right time. He should be given credit for it. In fact, he was supposed to be given much more money. He is supposed to be paid for what he did in the past and what will happen even in future. He was supposed to have been paid for good thinking, but you know we are not in the same party .with President Jonathan. The president is from another party, so they play politics instead of playing merit. People believe you are intelligent and

you could function better in other areas. Why did you decide to be the chairman of a local government? In 1972 I visited my hometown for the first time as a small boy. I came with my parents and the next time I was to visit home was in the 80s and from that time I started coming home on my own, but there was no visible change in the lives of my people. It was then I decided I must participate one way or the other to better the lives of my people. That was just what spurred me to become a chairman. What was your growing up like? I grew up with three sisters and two brothers.. My father was a teetotaler. We all grew up teetotallers. We went to school just like every other person. Our parents were strict, but when it came to discipline, my mother was an embodiment of discipline. My father was more liberal. Where were you before you visited your town in 1972? I was in Kaduna . I lived in the north, and I speak Hausa very well. How close were you to your mum? We were close .The normal thing is that boys get closer to their mothers, and girls get closer to their fathers. That was what happened in our own case. Instructions always came from our mum. You had a disciplined background. Does that mean you did not do what boys do when they are growing up? It was a terrible thing. All that boys do I didn't do. I did my own fair portion of it. Because I went to a boarding school, I had the opportunity of doing what other boarders did. I got suspended as a student. I didn't drink; I didn't smoke. I partied a lot. I did party badly. In fact, any major quarrel between me and my mum was on partying. Why were you suspended? Just the normal pranks in school. We went to watch a film at a cinema and we came late. Unfortunately it was the principal that caught us, jumping the fence. That was in Kaduna. What is your relationship with the Osun State governor? I work for him. I participated in the struggle. We started the entire struggle together. I was part of the first seven that started the struggle, and I was never detained. How did you escape that since majority of

the people that participated in the struggle went to detention? I was not always in the office. I was always for night meetings. The period of arrest was always in the morning or the afternoon. I was not always available. You are ladies man; how do you tackle the issue of women? Long pause. To God be the glory, I have one wife. You are a prince; what is your attitude to polygamy? I 'm not a polygamist, and I 'm not likely to be one. I have one or two friends who are polygamists. You stayed in cities while growing up. But you have now chosen to stay in a rural area; what could be the reason? I always lived in big cities. But I changed later as a result of an experience I had. I went to Oke Agbe with a friend, a lawyer, when we were looking for a place to rest. It was a good time that we had. It was a nice period.I can never forget it. It was not costly, and we enjoyed a lot. . How does the rebranding of the state affect the grassroots where you hold sway? You will realize that 31 of us came. We have had seven and a half years of tutelage. Seven good years of tutelage for 31 people who were 31 heads. Governor Aregbesola is also a lucky man. He had seven years to teach us to learn how he wanted to administer the state. The problem with Nigeria is that a lot of politicians do not have the opportunity to have people in tutelage or people to learn from them. Rauf had 31 people to teach what was on his mind and we were taught properly and we had the opportunity to be taught that this is not a government that is going to be usual. Therefore, we should prepare our minds. Would you like to share your memorable occasion with us? One thing about me is that I never regret anything. I assume that I learn from any situation I find myself. It is an opportunity to learn one thing or the other .So I never see the bad side of anything. I learn from every situation. I think the memorable ocassion was November 26, 2010 when we were in Ibadan and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola's mandate was given back to him. Your wardrobe? I cannot talk about my wardrobe. Why? I don't even know how the wardrobe is done. My wife takes absolute control of what I wear on a daily basis, from shoe to cap because she wakes up in the morning to select what I have to wear for the day. I later wake up to take my bath, wear my clothes and walk out. If she says she does not like what I'm wearing, she chooses another one for me.



‘Beyond poliltcs, Nigerians love to co-exist’

From one generation to another, members of Anyiam-Osigwe family have ensured that the legacy of their patriarch, late philosopher, Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, endures. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, the Coordinator-General of the Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, Michael Osigwe, speaks, among other issues, on the 13th session of the annual lecture of the foundation, billed to hold later in the month in Lagos. The lecture, which has former President of Sri Lankan, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, as key speaker will address the topic: ‘Ethnic policy and national integration’.

•Michael Osigwe


SUPPOSE this is the first time you’ll be having a female former president as guest speaker at the foundation lecture. What informed the choice? It wasn’t based on gender. It was purely based on her experiential knowledge. As a former president, she actually established a ministry of ethnic policy in Sir Lanka. We feel that she has the requisite knowledge to bring an important perspective on the subject of our interest in this year’s session. So that’s really what informed the choice. With the growing insecurity in the country, which stems from our ethnic divide, what do you think is the way forward for Nigeria? I’m glad you touched on this issue because the issue of federal character presupposes that we do have a country. Fundamentally, the need to address the cleavages that continue to come up in terms of our ethnic divide in the country is essential if Nigeria is going to go beyond where we are now to become, not a nation of different ethnic groups, but one country. So beyond the level of politics, if you come away from the theme of politics, Nigerians love each other and they want to stay together. If you go into a market in the North, say in Kaduna, you will find out that there are probably more Yoruba women and Igbo women there than there are Hausas. So, at the level of the people, I don’t think we have a problem of co-existing in one country like Nigeria. But when you elevate the argument and it is about who controls power and all of that, then you begin to see the danger signs. Because it’s more to do with a wrong premise in the power struggle that if it’s our turn, it’s like a winner takes all situation, which we must transcend. And when we begin to address our focus of this year lecture, you will begin to appreciate what we are trying to do. We are saying that Nigeria has to be a country and it doesn’t matter whether the president is from the South East or from the South West or from the South-South, or from the North Central, he should be first of all, a Nigerian president of Nigeria, who just happens to come from whatever ethnic group it is. So we should be able to look at the country from a perspective that this is Nigeria, and it doesn’t matter where you are from. That’s really the issue that I think we need to bear in mind. Nigeria is not under threat by the essence of lack of living together by its people, but there is more of a political dimension to the problem which we believe, if we confront the issue and embrace a policy that will address our fears and anxieties from the various ethnic groups, we probably will be able to successfully overcome that challenge. Do you honestly see us transcending our eth-

Beyond the level of politics, if you come away from the theme of politics, Nigerians love each other and they want to stay together. If you go into a market in the North, say in Kaduna, you will find out that there are probably more Yoruba and Igbo women there than there are Hausas


nic differences to become citizens of Nigeria and not indigenes of tribal groups? There is no problem that is insurmountable if you apply effective solutions to it. We’ve been through a civil war, we’ve been through a lot of strives, and we have come through that. Nigeria is not doing extremely badly. It’s just that we have to be conscious of what we need to do as a people. It’s for the civil societies, for the citizenry to buy into this idea, that it is better for us to be one cohesive and integrated country. If we keep talking about Nigeria from the stand point of our different ethnic groupings, why we should control the center and what that means for us, then we are not making progress.

If you become a president from the South West for instance, the person in the North West should not feel any different. Opportunities should be opened to him just like they are opened to the South West person. And then merit should be the underlining basis for progress,so that it is not about this is our turn. These are the things that we need to overcome. How would you rate the present administration vis-à-vis the subject matter at this year’s session of the lecture? The challenges of the present administration and their performance must be weighed against what was there before. It’s like during the time of the campaigns in America, some people pointed out that when Obama came in, the country was more or else on the brink of bankruptcy. The United States had a lot of problems and it was coming from below ground zero to pull back that country’s economy. So I think that if you are asking me whether the current administration is doing well, I believe that they are making efforts in the right direction. On the issue of national integration, I think the fact that we even have someone from the minority, the South-South, is a good sign for Nigeria, in terms

of our ability to integrate, to bring people who ordinarily, if we were playing our winner takes all thing, would not have come into power. I think it’s a good sign for Nigeria that we have a minority as president. And if you look at the government, at every given time in Nigeria, the cabinet is made up of all people from all the ethnic groups. So we are not doing badly in terms of integration. What I think is crucial is to improve on the sense of belonging, the sense of opportunity being open to every Nigerian, not just because it’s our people that are in power this. We need to improve on that, and it’s not about this administration. It is about every administration that has been in government in Nigeria. And this is not about the person that is president. It’s about the perception that we all have. Now we need to come to a point where a president from the North Central says I want to change the economic situation in the South East. For instance, a place like Imo State has a lot of gas reserve; you take a major petrochemical plant and site it there, create thousands of jobs. So if anyone from the South East should try to lure him, he will be like ‘what are you going to do that we are not getting now?’ That’s what leadership has to do. It is not for the ordinary man on the street. It’s for those people who have the grace to be in government and have ability to influence policies, shape policies and implement them. So that’s what I think is missing. We have not really had it good with policy implementation in Nigeria. How do you want to ensure that the outcome of this lecture will be implemented in the long run? Throughout the history of our lecture series, we’ve been trying to invite a good cross-section of the Nigerian population. From policy makers, people in government, the academia, civil societies, students and community as well. So the audience is pretty much a representation of Nigeria. And then, we also have our publications. Each of the sessions of the lecture series, after the event, we have proceedings that are published and made available. From year one till now, we’ve always published our proceedings. So the deliberations at these sessions and the keynote addresses of the key speaker that are always very insightful, and are available to be consulted. And like I said, we do invite government functionaries who are currently in office and are able to, not just influence policies, but to shape them and implement them. So we do that. Do you have a mechanism to monitor their success in doing that? Well, I would say that we do impress upon them the need to, and we equally make representations along those lines. Like in the year 2002, we developed a curriculum for model education which was adapted to the Nigerian educational system. Most of the Commissioners of Education of the various states were made aware of that curriculum. The Education Minister then was also aware of the curriculum. And it was launched in Lagos. We do things like that in terms of bringing these policies or these ideas to the attention of government. There are places that have been identified as hotbeds of religious and tribal crises. Do you have representatives of these set of people that are also going to participate in this lecture? Most of the times, when we have our lectures, we invite government functionaries, like all the governors, we invite them. They don’t always all attend. But to buttress your point, these areas that are, if you like flashpoints, we have written to them to try and send representation or attend in person if it’s possible. But the lecture itself, the topic is topical and I think it is generating a lot of interest, and like I said, the speaker we are bringing is quite experienced. It should attract these areas you have just pointed out are flashpoints in the country. We have made special efforts to invite them. Do you see us having a female president in Nigeria? Yes. Nigeria is really making progress in that respect. I think we have 35 percent of female representation in political and public offices now. The current administration, I think the First Lady has an initiative which was launched before the last election. It proved quite successful in involving women in public office. Today, we have some very interesting portfolios that are being handled by women. It’s not impossible. To use the word impossible I don’t think it’s even right. It’s quite possible that we have a female president in Nigeria in not too long a time. And you people have more population. You have the votes, it’s just that you need to bring the right candidate and Nigerians will vote. In the world today, people don’t care whether it’s a man or a woman, as long as you deliver. Very soon, the basis for leadership will be on merit. I’m convinced about that.



Being a beauty queen doesn't conflict with my serving in the church -Miss


Nigeria-Florida 2012

t was a moment of glory for the pretty, young Nigerian lady. The venue was the city of Miami in the United States. The occasion was the friendly match between the Nigerian Super Eagles and Venezuela. Miss Ayoyemi Ajimatanrareje was accorded the honour of walking on the field with the Nigerian football stars. This was in recognition of her status as the current Miss Nigeria - Florida for the year 2012. Shortly before that, Ayoyemi had featured in the Soi Women's Empowerment Gala as one of the many roles she is called upon to play as Florida- Nigeria's reigning beauty queen. But any opportunity to identify with Nigeria means so much to Ayoyemi who moved to Florida at the age of 11 on May 17, 2003 and mingling with the Super Eagles players still excites her. Stressing her patriotic fervour, Ayoyemi says: “I am extremely proud to be a Nigerian. I can't stress it enough. I love my country, my Yoruba culture, my language, my Iyan (pounded yam) and efo (vegetables), my iro and buba, my braids, whether in suku, patewo, all back or just plaits. I'm proud to be a Nigerian because it distinguishes me from all others around me. I think Nigeria is a very fruitful country that can do better with a better government with sacrificial leaders that are ready to serve selflessly.” But why did she decide to participate in the Miss Nigeria Florida 2012 contest and what was the experience like? “I decided to contest because a school mate and friend of mine persuaded me to. I also felt well, why not? What do I have to lose and I love my culture so sure. The contest was quite keen, considering I was running against six other pretty and talented Nigerian/American young ladies. It was also important because this specific pageant was the most publicised in Florida. About 1000 people showed up for it. To qualify, you had to be 18 years but not older than 30 years of age, not currently married and never been married and no children as well. You also had to be a permanent resident or citizen of the United States residing in Florida. You had to be in a clear standing with the United States concerning immigration as well as having no criminal record. My predecessor was a 23-year old Nigerian lady named Adekemi Akinwole. She is currently a college student at the University of Miami.” Ayoyemi has a passion for caring for those who hurt and helping those in need of physical or emotional healing. This is

I dislike the racism aspect of America, sometimes the darker coloured people like us Africans might be treated differently due to our skin colour. I like the fact that everyone has equal opportunity though and if you set out to be great in the US, the country makes it a little easier for you to accomplishing that greatness Segun AYOBOLU

why she is very serious and passionate in her current pursuit of nursing as a career. “I actually just got accepted into a nursing college university called Azure College of Nursing here in Miami, Florida, which I started attending on the 15th of October”, she says. “I am currently working on receiving my second degree, Associates in Sciences and Nursing as a Registered Nurse. I will be graduating next year November. I plan on moving to California to start working as a registered nurse, as well as furthering my studies in nursing like getting a Bachelor's degree”. But then, Ayoyemi has bigger dreams beyond nursing. Her hobbies include singing, performing, acting, dancing and cooking. Thus, she says “My purpose in life is to be great and touch lives with my greatness. To perform and sing music that will change people's lives, touch their souls and move their feet. I also believe that I was made to serve God and let everyone know of his greatness. I intend on pursuing my music and acting career especially with Nollywood.” Who are Ayoyemi's motivators and role models? “I admire my stepfather, Otunba Funsho Ajayi, a former Major in the Nigerian Army. He's a very hard working man. I also admire my mum, Olori Yinka Ajayi, she's the life of the party. She has proved that you're never too old to enjoy life and have fun.

Genevieve Nnaji I will also say I admire. She worked her way up to where she is now doing what she loves, acting, despite all odds.” Ayoyemi's attitude to America is mixed: “I dislike the racism aspect of America, sometimes the darker coloured people like us Africans might be treated differently due to our skin colour. I like the fact that everyone has equal opportunity though and if you set out to be great in the US, the country makes it a little easier for you to accomplishing that greatness”. And what about the Nigerians in Florida? “Nigerians are actually welcomed and accepted well by the non-Nigerian Floridians here. Unfortunately, the Nigerians that live in Florida are not too supportive of each other; it almost seems like a competition sometimes. Some stick to themselves, some don't come out much while others are simply kind.” The beauty queen attends Jesus the Christ Church where her father, Reverend Dr. Yemi Ajimatanrareje, is the pastor. She is

indeed the Praise team leader and music director of the church. But how does Ayoyemi reconcile her spiritual values with the rather glamorous and worldly lifestyle associated with being a beauty queen? She calmly but forcefully affirms her values: “Being a beauty queen doesn't at all conflict with my serving in the church. This is because I know who I am as a child of God and that is what I use to gauge my activities and attires as a beauty queen. If it doesn't please God, I'm neither wearing it nor doing it. That's just my motto. I mean as a young adult, there will be temptations and things that glitter and catch my attention but I also know the daughter of whom I am so certain things don't deserve second thoughts. I want to be seen in a specific light and that doesn't include drinking, partying or being in relationships with different men. I'm not trying to say I'm perfect but yes, I'm trying very hard to live a life that fulfils me and neither brings shame to God nor my parents”.



Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas


used to have a colleague and friend named Benny. I have been searching for her since about six years now and I pray I find her in peace. I remember Benny today because it’s a few days to Christmas and seven days after that, it would be New Year. Benny used to feel downcast back then around this time of the year because that was when she took stock of her life. She used to ponder more on the things that were not working for her, and she was always in trepidation of the coming year, wondering if it would usher

in her dreams. To make it worse, the dryness of the Harmattan breeze, the hot sun and the general mood of the season used to annoy her, making her feel lost. I remember Benny today because like her, I’m taking stock. This year alone, I lost a sister, a dear cousin-in-law, a very dear friend and an acquaintance. But this same year, I have only visited the hospital for routine checks – nothing serious. I have food to eat and maybe something extra to share. This year alone, I have experienced the death

of loved ones the same way I have celebrated the arrival of new dreams and new lives. And at this time of the year, I can type with joy knowing that somebody somewhere is going to be happy just reading this. I have many reasons to be merry and thankful to the One who knows my tomorrow. Even if you do not have enough to buy a new cloth for the season and maybe not enough to buy the chicken you would have loved to share, we can look around at all those faces that stare back at us with

love. We can then put our hopes in God and happily wish each other a very Merry Christmas. Below is a Christmas joke for you to enjoy. The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman by Emily Dickinson The Savior must have been A docile Gentleman— To come so far so cold a Day For little Fellowmen— The Road to Bethlehem Since He and I were Boys Was leveled, but for that ’twould be A rugged Billion Miles—

How to make a man feel like a king Men, like women, have certain emotional and physical needs. Women tend to believe the primary thing on a man’s mind is sex. Sex is very important to men, but it is not the most important thing. Men crave worship and want to be seen as the center of their mate’s life. Follow these tips to make your man feel like a king every day of the year. Support him. Always back your man in front of family and friends and never allow anyone to say anything negative about him. Also, don’t challenge him in front of other people. Guard personal information. Keep your secrets to yourself and don’t run to your friends or family every time something happens. Men feel very insecure when woman share intimate details about their relationship. Encourage him. Men need to feel that they

are successful in life. Support him when he has a new idea and lift him up when he feels like a failure. Tell him how proud you are of him on a regular basis. Tell him how sexy he is. Just like women, men like to hear that they are attractive. Let him know that he is a good lover and that he is the only man for you. Tell him how much you love his eyes, biceps, legs… whatever you find irresistible about him. Keep your appearance up. It’s a known fact that men are attracted by sight. Wear sexy clothes for him on your date night. Surprise him with a new hairstyle that you know he would like. Be spontaneous and don’t be afraid to try new looks. Make love regularly. Men crave sex and intimacy for several reasons, namely physical pleasure and affirmation. The act of sex makes a man feel like the king of his castle. Try to have some

I’m 37 and my lady is 21, is it societally Hi Aunty, please help me okay for us to marry? I’m 37 and my lady is 21, is it societally okay for us to marry? Please help me. I don’t have access to your paper these days in our place. - Joe, Plateau. You’re both adults and she’s of consent age, so what’s stopping you? Except her parents are against the union, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be married. Love, maturity, endurance and other ingredients have to be in every relationship and marriage; do you think you both have those? Then go ahead. Below, I have some opinions of your subject matter for you:

P. Ahmed: So long as you are both legal and grown up enough to know about love, relationships and marriage. Creative Guy: One of the strongest & happiest couples I know are a genius blind woman then aged 31 and a super fit ex-commando then aged 75. Over 2 years later, they are still the most fabulous lovebirds and everywhere they go, folks love them. They are both quite exceptional folk. Jemil: Well, I’m 64 and my girlfriend is 38. We get on famously even though she does call me father from time to

time. Goody: My wife is 10 years younger than me and we have been together for 9 years and not many problems at all.

ousy cannot lead to a breakup. Put yourself in your guy’s shoes and let’s see if you would be happy to see him receiving regular calls from other girls. The future of this relationship depends on you. If your man is unhappy about your constant frolicking with other men, stop it.

From the court

With Adeola Agoro E-mail: Tel: 08023162609

Females for Love •Kemisola, 26, fair in complexion, 5.4ft tall, busty, romantic, intelligent, seeking a romantic working class man for a relationship. 08025423398. •Adesewa, 26, chocolate in complexion, a graduate, extrovert, loves sex, busty, wants a man for a serious and sexual relationship. 08121520147. •Omolola, 26, fair complexioned, busty, 5.3ft tall, intelligent, sexy and romantic in search of a romantic man for a serious love affair. 07081176181.

Good day ma, I’m a reader of your column. Please advise me. I’m in love with a man I really love but my mum told me to quit the relationship. She gave two reasons – He already a child of out of wedlock and we are not from the same state. All these do not bother me but

Have friends he knows about. These should be friends who ask after him when they call and who may even want to say hello to him. If you allow flippant calls to be the bane this good relationship, you would be shocked that none of these other guys would give you the kind of love you just lost. Be wise.

she insisted. I wonder what your mum would say if you were the one who had a child out of wedlock and a man wanted to marry you. Sure she would bless the man and jump at the idea of him marrying you without delay. If she had a son who had a child out of wedlock, she would cajole a good girl to marry him and take him as he is. Well, I don’t know how much

•A working class lady 33 years who is HIV positive needs a man of any age over 35 to 40years Christian and single not divorce who is also HIV for marriage. 08065095450. •Dami, 26, loving, caring, decent and responsible, seeking a caring & loving man that will make her happy for d rest of her life aged 30 to 46. Call: 08098403326. •She’s 30 and needs a Godfearing, lovely man, to settle down with. 08032720394.

Males for Love •Dan 32 years chocolat complexion, caring, romantic and extremely handsome guy needs a confortable gal of age btw 20 and 30 for a relationship and marriage. 08065007543. •Abisona, 42, who resides in Ketu, Lagos State needs a woman between 25 and 38 for relationship. 08072155871. •Daniel, 50, a Lagosian and businessman needs a divorcee or a widow who is pretty, slim and busty and with a good profession for a lasting relationship. 08080262165. •Samson, 37, lonely, Christian needs God fearing lady btw 27 and 35 of age for a serious relationship that will lead to marriage. 08020603142. •Charles, 40, Igbo, Ibadan-based needs a divorcee or widow who is honest and sincere for a relationship. 08153502810.

My mother is against the relationship because he has a child out of wedlock

He’s 7 years older but his jealousy is affecting our relationship Hi Adeola, I’m 19 and an undergraduate. I’m dating a guy who truly loves me although 7 years older than me but he happens to be to jealous whenever he sees guys’ calls on my phone although he does not receive lady’s call the way I do. I hope his jeal-

sort of physical contact with your man at least once each day. I’m female and my female friend wants us to do sexual things together Good morning ma. My name is Sophia, I’m SS2. I have a friend we have been friends for three months now she’s okay but when we are talking she treats me like her girlfriend and we are both girls and she tries to have sex with me but she talks about education she’s always calling me to read. Is she a good friend? My dear, your friend is either a lesbian or a bi-sexual. You don’t need sexual relationships at this stage in your life and certainly not with a person of same sex. You have to put your feet down and let your friend know that if she wants you to continue to study together; she has to stop all these talks about sex and lesbianism. It is ungodly and you don’t need it.


power your mum wields in your family, so I wouldn’t know how you can make her see reason and go for the one you love. So far it doesn’t bother you, I see no reason why it should bother her. In these times and days when people inter-marry everyday, I see nothing wrong in you marrying a man from another state. I’m a true Nigerian and I see us all as one.

•Mr. Segun, 38, based in Ekiti needs a God- fearing Muslim woman for relationship that can lead to marriage. 08126744074. •He’s 37 years old from Kwara State and searching for a serious pretty Muslim lady but not materialistic lady between ages 20 and 27. 08095092895. •Temmy, 30 from Ondo state, lives in Lagos needs a Godfearing girl between 22 & 26yrs for serious relationship that will lead to marriage. 08100101297. •Samuel O., 42, based in Lagos, an electrical and refrigerator technician needs a God-fearing, hardworking lady of 25 &30 for a relationship that can lead to marriage. 08034262598. •Wale, 38, resides in Ifo L.G in Ogun state, a businessman would like to meet an educated female for friendship. 08164178084. •Rex, a graduate engineer from Edo State but working in Ibadan, 35, dark in complexion and handsome needs a serious lady for a relationship that would lead to marriage. 08179989832. •Sola, 43, resides in Ifo, Ogun State needs a woman between 35 and 50 for friendship. 08034206054. •Daniel, 38, fair, single, a house builder, godly, caring and based in Lagos needs a very beautiful, responsible and neat lady for marriage. 08102515566.

Re: My Day on 12-12-12 12-12-12 is just a day and date like any other. We’ve had such since 2001 and the sun/moon didn’t fall down nor refuse to appear in the past! You were right in the write-up. 08099300525. There is no real special day as all persons anywhere do not live in the same day at the same time. At 1 minute passed mid night on Jan 1st 2013 in Newzeland Nigeria will be 12 noon and on 31st Dec 2012.

Court dissolves 10-yr-old marriage


HE Isolo Customary Court, Lagos has dissolved the marriage between a Lagos–based businessman, Anughere Kingsley Elochukwu, and his wife, Adaeze Tina. Anughere had dragged his wife before the court on the grounds that she had abandoned her matrimonial home to engage in adultery. The petitioner, who resides at No 13, Ofokarie Street, Okota, Lagos State, claimed that his 10-year-old marriage to the respondent had broken down irretrievably, hence it should be dissolved. The respondent, however,

Vivian OKORIE denied all the allegations. In his ruling, the president of the court, Mr. A. Haastrup, said that it was not love that brought the feuding couple together as husband and wife but mere infatuation. The judge gave the custody of the two children produced by the marriage, Onyekachi and Ogechukwu, to the respondent. He, however , ruled that the petitioner should be allowed access to his two children and that he should place them on a monthly allowance for their upkeep.

•Mr and Mrs Edmond Eze at the reception after their wedding at Living Faith •Mr and Mrs Olunifesi Suraj during their wedding in Lagos. Church Rock Heaven, Jos.




N a few months time, I will be 64 years old. At this stage in my life, one would expect that I would be free of such relationship issues like heartache, betrayal, lack of trust and other matters of the heart that lots of people face in life. But it’s not so. A few months ago, I was stabbed in the back, betrayed by someone I loved with all my heart and soul and invested so much in. The traitorous person, the snake who has caused me so much pain is none other than my wife, Timi. Timi was my life, my sunshine, the one who made me wake up with a smile on my face each morning. I believed she loved me too and would be by my side for the rest of my days. How wrong and naive I was! Looking back now, perhaps I should have known this would happen considering the differences between us especially the age gap. You see, I met Timi when I was already in my mid-50s; that was eight years ago. She was very young then, about 23, just fresh from school and as pretty as one of those models one sees in those glossy magazines. How did a young girl like that with so much going for her, end up with a man like me, that was old enough to be her father? It’s a long story and I think I should start from the beginning... We met when I was still working, before my retirement. It was in a government parastatal and I had been posted to our office in PortHarcourt a few years before. I was a very senior staff then, the second in command at the office. There was a day I had gone out of the office to see someone and on my return, I had met the receptionist having an argument with a young lady. She was dressed in the white and khaki uniform of the NYSC. “Madam, I’ve told you several times but you’ve refused to listen. My boss said we don’t have any vacancies here. We have enough youth corpers serving here and we don’t need more. So, please go!” she ordered. “Please, aunty, try to help me. All the other places I’ve been to rejected me. Where do I...” the young lady was saying when I intervened. “What’s going on here?” I queried. They both turned in my direction, the receptionist quickly standing up on recognizing me. “Welcome, sir!” she greeted cheerfully.

I looked at the young lady, then turned to the receptionist, who was called Vero. “Is there any problem?” I asked again. Vero explained the situation to me, all the while glaring at the young woman. “She keeps pleading to be taken to serve here, even after I’ve told her we don’t have any space left.” I studied the young lady, noting how distressed she looked. I asked her name and after she had told me, I said to the receptionist: “It’s ok, Vero. We can take one more person. Take her to admin and tell the manager that she can serve here,” I said, turning to go to my office. “Oh! Thank you sir! God bless you, sir!” she stated effusively, genuflecting. “It’s alright, Timi,” I said, leaving the reception. That was how Timi came to do her youth service programme in my office. Some days later, I travelled to Lagos to see my family over the long public holiday. After my transfer to Port-Harcourt some years earlier, my wife had refused to relocate with me to the Garden City. “You were transferred to Lagos from Calabar just three years ago and now you are moving again. I’m not going anywhere!” she had declared. I didn’t blame her. Any woman would be tired of moving from one city to another like a nomad because of the peripatetic nature of her husband’s job. In the past, she had always been supportive and understanding and had gone with me wherever my job demanded. But as she noted, this was one transfer too many. “Omos has just settled in her new school and it won’t be fair to uproot her now and move again,” she had explained. Omos was our last child and was in senior secondary school. I had four children. Two of them, both boys, had left the university and were already working while the other one, another daughter was in her final year in the university. So, based on that, my wife and the family had remained in Lagos and I had gone to PH alone, living like a bachelor again. I visited them some weekends or during public holidays. On my return from this last visit, Timi, the youth corps member I had accepted to serve in our establishment, came to see me. She arrived with a ‘thank

Beyond pardon (1)

you’ card. “There was no need for this,” I said, as I admired the hand made card. “I had to sir. I was really desperate that day and you came to my rescue,” she explained, smiling broadly at me. “I couldn’t bear to see a pretty lady like you looking so miserable,” I said as I studied her closely. She was dressed in a nice blouse and black skirt and she looked more relaxed and calmer than she did on the first day I saw her. The following day, I had closed from work and my driver was taking me to my club to unwind after the day’s work. I saw Timi standing by the bus stop near our office and I told the driver to stop. “Where are you going, Timi?” I asked from the car window. She said she was going to see a friend at Rumuola before heading home. “I’m going in that direction. We can drop you,” I offered. She got in and we drove off. Along the way, the friend she was going to visit called to inform her that she had to leave home for an emergency somewhere and she should

wait for her at home. On explaining the situation to me, I told her to come with me to the club and she could see her friend later. We spent some pleasant hours at the club. I chatted and drank with a couple of my friends who had just finished playing a game of tennis. I also played regularly but mostly at weekends. I loved to play golf too at the nice golf course on the posh estate belonging to a top oil company where the club was located. After that, Timi, who loved to swim, expressed the desire to visit the club regularly to use the pool. I arranged membership for her and some evenings, after work, we would head for the club together. That was how we began to spend time together but as just friends. Another level At this stage, I just saw Timi as a young, pretty girl with a friendly, cheerful disposition. As a man, I found her very attractive but I never had any intention of getting entangled with her. But things changed about five months after we met. I had a very good friend, who was a top government

official in the state. There was a day he held a party to mark his wife’s birthday and I was invited. My wife could not come to PH that weekend and since I didn’t have any date, I asked Timi if she could accompany me as my date. She agreed and we attended the party together. She was dressed in a blue evening gown and she looked very lovely. “She’s beautiful. Is she your new catch?” another friend of mine, Calvin asked, as he watched her chatting animatedly with another guest. I shook my head. “She’s doing her NYSC programme in my office. She’s just a young friend,” I explained. “Young friend indeed! Francis, you are talking as if I don’t know you,” he stated in a sarcastic tone. “You think everyone is like you, that can’t resist anything in skirts!” I fired back, moving away to chat with my host who I saw approaching... After the party, it was quite late. I had given my driver the day off and since Timi lived in one of the suburbs, which was a bit far from the venue of the party, it was agreed she would

stay in my house located in one of the GRAs that night. My houseboy, Johnson who did the cooking, cleaning and other duties around the house, had slept when we arrived at my place. I showed her to one of the guest rooms and gave her some things she would need to make her stay comfortable. I was in my room getting ready for bed when there was a knock on my door. Timi was standing there when I opened the door. I noticed she was wearing one of the old T-shirts I had given her to sleep in that night. The top was short and it left her smooth, sexy thighs on display. I quickly looked away from the tempting sight. “Is there anything you need?” I asked her. “Actually,” she began, then seemed to change her mind. Then she asked if she could come in. I let her in, looking at her curiously. I went to switch off the TV set and when I turned back, I could not believe the sight that met my eyes. There was Timi standing there stark naked as the day she was born. By her feet was the Tshirt she had been wearing. “What the...? Timi, what are you doing?” I queried, my eyes fixed on her tantalising body. She placed a finger on her lips, walked towards me and wound her arms round my neck... •To be continued What happened between Timi and the narrator that night? Read the exciting details next Saturday! •Send comments/suggestions to 08023201831 or

For the rich to enjoy their wealth in peace (1)


URPLUS wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community. Andrew Carnegie: 1835-1919, American Industrialist, Billionaire and Philanthropist I travelled out of town recently to Port-Harcourt and Delta State on a private visit to see family members and some others I had not seen for quite some time. In Warri, I ran into an old school mate of mine. We attended the same primary school in Warri back in the day and we had kept in touch intermittently over the years. The guy, whom I will call Rukevwe (for security reasons, he doesn’t want his name mentioned in this write-up), is now a big player in the oil and gas industry. And it shows in his lifestyle. He has a very nice collection of some of the most exotic cars in town, lives in a big mansion and wears only designer outfits. But when I saw him last week, there was a noticeable change about him. Instead of driving the latest ‘machine’ as car freaks love to say, he was going around town in an old-looking car that had seen better days. Also gone were the designer clothes, Rolex watches and crocodile skin Italian shoes. I stood gaping, open-mouthed at the old car, the old T- shirt with a few holes in it that looked as if a rat had had part of it for its dinner and the faded jeans he was wearing. Thinking that a

great disaster had befallen him and he had lost all his wealth, I asked with some trepidation in pidgin: “Rukevwe, wetin do you?” “Nothing o, my sister. Na condition make me be like this!” He explained that it was the fear of kidnappers that had made him and some other well-to-do people in the oil city to tone down their lifestyle. “It’s suicidal to flaunt your wealth these days,” he noted. “Doing so will invite the evil eye of the kidnappers. You can’t even trust anybody now. It could be your staff, friend or even relative that can give info about you to those people. So, to stay safe, we live an average lifestyle, pretending that we don’t have any money. It’s a sad situation we’ve found ourselves in.” His words echo those of an interesting personality I interviewed recently. He spoke of how some rich friends of his now live in fear and are afraid to drive their expensive, multi-million naira cars on the streets for fear, ‘they can be killed by armed robbers or even by their own drivers!” In other words, the fear of kidnappers is the beginning of wisdom for the rich and powerful in the country. No one is safe anymore as the recent kidnap of the octogenarian mother of the Finance Minister, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, shows. Also, earlier in the week, Nollywood actress and Special Assistant to Governor Rochas Okorocha, Nkiru Sylvanus was kidnapped in Owerri, the Imo State capital. No one knows who is next. And this begs the question: what’s the point of accumulating great wealth that one can’t enjoy in peace? Has being rich be-

come a curse and a disadvantage in Nigeria? Events in recent times prove so. The spate of kidnappings is on the increase especially in the Southern part of the country. The rich are their main targets as they have the wherewithal to pay the high ransom often demanded. That things like this are happening in our society today, is not surprising to many. In the past decade or so, the gap between the super-rich and the poor has been steadily increasing. Today, it’s so wide that though, we live in one country, it’s like we are in separate worlds, far apart from each other. The few rich live in one world, cocooned from the harsh realities of life in a Third World country; while the teeming poor, numbering in their millions, live by the special grace of God, struggling for a meager existence, unsure of where the next meal will come from. Such a situation of social inequalities is a breeding ground for envy, resentment of the poor against the rich and crimes of all types and magnitude. Like kidnapping for instance. Its perpetuators, (many of whom are unemployed), in their warped way of thinking, see it as the only means of getting their hands on some of the riches the wealthy have accumulated, so they too can live ‘big’ and belong to the upper class in the society. It’s a way of thinking that is fueled by our materialistic society of today, which worships money more than the Almighty God, and many employ ‘any means possible’ to acquire wealth... •To be continued




Poisons that affect different parts of the body

•Continued from last week The nervous system is made up of the brain and nerves and it transmits messages throughout the body. Malfunctioning of the nervous system produces loss of muscle strength and coordination, immobility, loss of feeling, sight or memory, speech defect, and confusion. Arsenic, cadmium, carbon monoxide, and cyanide are some of the toxic substances that can cause such problems. Many gases can displace oxygen in the brain and are lethal because a lack of oxygen to the brain for more than 5 minutes can irreversibly damage the brain. Nitrogen and helium are undetectable gases. Biological warfare employs nerve poisons. Some of them include organophosphate nerve agents (similar to insecticides but toxic to humans). They are classified as weapons of mass destruction by the United Nations. They are absorbed by inhalation and through the skin. An exposed person will manifest running nose, tightness in the chest, constricted pupils, profuse salivation, convulsions, involuntary urination and defecation, and eventual death because of loss of control over the respiratory muscles. If a person survives, he or she may retain some nerve damage or some psychiatric problem. Some chemicals are toxic to sensory organs. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been widely used to manufacture sugar-free diet drinks and foods. It produces a reversible toxicity manifested as hearing loss, vision loss, memory loss, joint pain, and seizures, and has been associated with brain cancer, some brain dementias and other conditions. By 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had recognized that there was an epidemic of two diseases: multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus. Investigators determined that many such cases were reversed when the victims stopped consuming diet drinks. You should always read labels on manufactured products and seek information about things you are bound to consume regularly to make sure they are safe. The drug ViagraTM and similar drugs that some men take for erectile dysfunction have been associated with hearing impairment. Unfortunately, because of excitement with its usefulness in improving sexual function, it has been made available without prescription through online (over the Internet) pharmacy. Online pharmacy may have advantages in making various drugs more available but traditional clinical consultation and doctor’s prescriptions are important for safety. A patient being able to report back to a doctor is an important aspect of pharmacovigilance. Through pharmacovigilance, we gather information about drugs that are being used and if they cause adversities, we are able to better control the adversities by appropriate regulation of the drug use. The immune system defends the body from disease causing substances, malfunctioning cells, and microorganisms. It is made up of the lymph, the spleen, the bone marrow, and white blood cells. Ricin, mercury, lead, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are amongst the substances that are toxic to the immune system leading to allergic reactions, autoimmune disease (self-destruc-

Basic medical science

Bronchial or cardiac asthma in crisis 11 Role of caciumion (ca2+)

Continued from last week

Some of these proteins are not the same in every individual since being proteins, they came into existence through the processes of transcription and translation of genes, they include Actin, Myosin, and Troponin, arranged in the form of parallel filaments so they can slide past one another, Actin being the most abundant, is thin in nature and wraps the other protein Troponin. The second protein Myosin is less abundant but has a head (Globular head) which apart from having a binding site for Actin , also contains the enzymatic sites from which energy for contraction is obtained when ATPase cleaves ATP. The myosin molecule also has a head to which two sets of light chains are available for the regulation of muscle contraction How does calcium ion regulate the proteins of contraction? MYOSIN At a threshold between 0.5 and 1µm, free calcium ion binds to a low molecular weight protein, called Calmodulin, this action opens up many active sites in that protein complex, enabling the calmodulin to induce, activate or potentiate activities of other proteins and enzymes whose activities result in contraction . one of these enzymes the muyosin light chain kinase(MLK) lies dormant in smooth muscle cells and only becomes active when it combines with the calcium-calmodulin complex. It then goes on to induce contraction by phosphorylating( a kinase adds phosphate groups to reaction chains) a myosin light chain serine residue. Unfortunately the reverse reasction by a dephosphorylating enzyme does not depend on calcium ion, another problem in finding solution to this problem ACTIN In terms of regulation of contraction, the protein Leiotonin in smooth muscle replaces the ca2+ binding protein Troponin. Leiotonin in conjunction with Tropomyos influences the regulation of Actin . Obstructive airway disease can be acute, chronic, acute on chronic. Where to draw the line of demarcation has now become blurred because of the increasing number of people presenting in advanced age with asthma related clinical and laboratory features for the first time and dying shortly after . In some of these conditions ,administration of oxygen if available is life saving prolonged oxygen administration can become even more dangerous than the attack when the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. So physicians become frustrated when a patient is brought in what seems a not too bad condition and within few hours of giving the best of medical professional thoroughness, the patient gasps and stops breathing

Coping with diseases with Prof. Dayo Oyekole

Prostate enlargement

P tion), and ease of infection. The skin is a protective organ. It prevents harmful substances and microorganism from entering our bodies. It also controls loss of water and temperature from our bodies. Toxic substances can cause skin irritation, rashes, redness, discoloration, and various skin diseases (dermatitis). Nickel, arsenic, mercury, chromium, PCBs and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are amongst substances that are toxic to the skin. Many health problems are avoidable if we are vigilant. For example, where we lack constant electricity, we use many lighting products that function with lead-acid batteries, the oldest type of rechargeable batteries. Always look at the labels on everything you buy and dispose of products safely when they are no longer needed. If they no longer work, do not leave them around as toys for children to play with. Here are some tips to prevent accidental poisoning. Make sure you wash fruits and vegetables well to get rid of pesticides. Don’t eat fish from contaminated waters such as areas where there is dumping of industrial waste. Upgrade plumbing systems to replace lead containing pipes. Keep any thermometer or thermostat you have in a safe place as it contains mercury which can spill if it breaks. Avoid cigarette smoke. Ask those who smoke to step out of the house to smoke. Volatile organic compounds are found in fumes from gasoline, paint, adhesives, and building supplies therefore when you want to work with such materials, make sure you have cross ventilation and adequate space for air to dilute the fumes. Use a fan to direct the fumes away from you. Cement contains nickel therefore wear gloves to do cement work or wash your hands repeatedly during the work so that you limit the absorption of nickel through your skin. Chromium can be absorbed into the body from paint if one does not wear gloves to work with paint. Limit drug use and as much as possible ask your doctor or health care giver about medicines or search the web of information freely available on the Internet. Manage well the storage and use of house-hold products. With such precautions we can avoid getting poisoned by substances in our environment. •Dr. ’Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA. For any comments or questions on this column, please Email or call 07028338910

Health Matters With DR MIKE OYAKHIRE 08170268670 email: There are instances in normal activities of daily living, in the medical ward , on the surgical operating table and elsewhere when the heart either suddenly stops pumping or is observed to beat very much faster than what is considered normal for age sex and situation. Gradual reduction not a crashing rock approach is often the most frequently recommended option to avoid death Doctors working in rural hospitals face diagnostic and treatment dilemma. Pulmonary tuberculosis is common in the villages , chronic bronchitis from smoking tobacco and cigarettes is also a common , differential . In addition, health education is low, and poverty is everywhere, Oxygen is luxury in rural hospitals except those set up by oil companies. Essential medicines are only available in the city centers. Anesthetists may use appropriate drugs in correct dosage formulation to bring down and regularize dangerously accelerating heart rate, with gratifying results. In rich and caring societies people experiencing irregular heartbeats irrespective of age or smoking history simply call medical emergency ambulance services and are rushed to hospital for admission where detailed clinical investigations are done alongside the management including treatment of the underlying condition. A heart beating too fast ,other things being equal eventually kills itself and so something has to be done to save the heart from self destruction. A special injection form of One drug often used to achieve such a feat propanolol, is handled only by experts, so as not to equally kill the heart by making the heart so weak it is unable to supply blood to its muscles. This drug is not selective , and acts on tissues other than those desired by it’s manufacturers, it is however able to solve the major problem occasioned by the presence of other diseases in the body as may arise when an individual surfers thyroid problems, disorders of anxiety, inoperable phaechromocytoma Two types of calcium channels have been proposed, the voltage dependent calcium channels and the receptor operated calcium channels. There is also an activator of calcium ion at the cellular level, which involves pharmacological agonists and cell surface receptors . this involves signaling molecules, signal transduction mechanisms and second messengers and the result has provided sufficiuent evidence for the existence of a calcium ion induced calcium release mechanism. Perhaps via second and third messenger principles to cause tonic contractile state of the trachea bronchial apparatus. Most of the studies done in this area employed, dogs, guinea pigs, and rats with very few on humans ,making it difficult to generalize findings . A muscle at the back of the u –shaped tracheal rings , the trachealis has been mostly characterized.

ROSTATE enlargement is generally a disease of elderly men; and it is characterized by urine retention, leading to severe pains, anxiety, discomfort, and sometimes, loss of consciousness. The full function of the prostate is not yet fully understood by scientists all over the world. However, it is known that as a gland, it produces fluid called ‘semen’ which is released by men, at the climax of sexual activity. The prostate gland will only grow and function under the influence of male hormones, the most important of which is called TESTOSTERONE, produced from the testicles. The prostate gland surrounds the neck of the bladder and the first part of the urethra goes through it. An enlarged prostate, presses on the urethra and decreases the size of the opening through it, or it forms a dam which holds back part of the urine. The causes of prostate enlargement are not very precise, but they are associated with hormonal imbalance; and available information indicates that most men who use drugs to improve their sexual performance tend to activate the level of their Testosterone hormone beyond the threshold, and consequently, they often end up developing prostate enlargement and related complications. The enlargement can be a simple type called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or it may be cancerous, that is, Malignant Prostatic Hyperplasia. Both the benign and malignant types usually present similar symptoms of frequency in urination, hesitancy, urgency, trickling flow of urine and in advanced stages, there is acute urine retention as a result of blockage of the urinary tract. A man suffering from enlarged prostate will first notice that he has to get up oftener than usual, to pass urine at night. The stream will be small and slow to start. A long time may be required to empty the bladder. Many men with enlarged prostate may have no further disturbance than the “nuisance” symptoms stated earlier. Other cases will get worse until the patient cannot empty the bladder, and must resort to a catheter for relief. Unfortunately, after the urine has once begun to be drawn by catheter, the danger of bladder infection is great. Also, the symptoms and problems of cystitis are likely to occur. Treatment and Control In Holistic Lifecare, it is strongly advocated that the best prospects of controlling Prostate Enlargement, is by going back to Nature. When symptoms of an enlarged prostate are noticed, it is advisable to avoid spices, condiments and alcoholic beverages; to lessen bladder irritation, which may promote infection. It is also important to avoid cold conditions or getting the feet wet, or holding the urine for too long. Prostate Enlargement is not new in African context. In fact, ethno-medicinal research has shown that herbal remedies are very effective, without complications or side effects. The holistic natural remedy being suggested for Prostate Enlargement is a combination of natural extracts of herbs such as Saw Palmetto, Cocos nucifera, Khaya ivorensis and Lycopersicum esculentum. For further information and consultation on Holistic Lifecare research and services, especially on Blood Infections, Infertility, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Chronic Debilitating Conditions as well as mental and social problems, please call on: 0803330-3897 or visit: Mosebolatan Holistic Lifecare Centre, Adeyalo Layout, Ogbere-Tioya, Off Olorunsogo Express Bridge,Ibadan. Website: Distance is no barrier, we can send remedies by courier if need be. We also have facilities for accommodation, admission and hospitalization in a serene and homely environment For further information and consultation on Holistic Lifecare research and services, especially on Blood Infections, Infertility, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Chronic Debilitating Conditions as well as mental and social problems, please call on: 0803-330-3897 or visit: Mosebolatan Holistic Lifecare Centre, Adeyalo Layout, OgbereTioya, Off Olorunsogo Express Bridge, Ibadan. Website: Distance is no barrier, we can send remedies by courier if need be. We also have facilities for accommodation, admission and hospitalization in a serene and homely environment.









•St. Theresa Church one year after. inset: Rev. Achi

St. Theresa Church bombing:

Fear grips Madalla reesidents as another Christmas Day approaches •Worshippers are fleeing the area –Parish priest •Victims relive day of horror one year after

HE St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, was in the news about this period last year as the church worshippers and the residents in the area were thrown into mourning on the 25th of December 2011. Tuesday (Christmas Day) will be exactly one year that the bomb blast by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, occurred at the entrance of the church. The tragedy sent about 44 Nigerians to their early graves. After visiting some of the victims at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, National Hospital, Abuja and the State House Clinic, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, had last year confirmed that a total of 96 persons were either injured or dead from the blast. The blast not only dampened the spirit of worshippers but also adversely affected the church building, the fence and many vehicles of some worshippers who lost their lives as they were caught up in the blast while driving out of the church premises at the end of the Christmas mass. While some families were completely wiped out in the blast, some mothers in some families were only spared because they did not go for the mass with their families as they were at home preparing food for the Christmas celebration that was not celebrated. Many worshippers also lost one relation or the other in the blast. Surrounding buildings and vehicles parked close to the church buildings were also badly affected by the blast. Electricity poles and wiring in front of

the church was also not spared as they were uprooted by the blast last year. Apart from the bomb blast drastically reducing the number of worshippers who attended church services in the church in the past 12 months, the normal Christmas festive mood experienced in the past in the area is almost absent now with a few days to Christmas. Even with the low turnout of worshippers, the church has however remained hopeful as it has carried out repairs to the church building, the damaged fence, painted part of the church building and also decorated both within and outside the church for the next Christmas celebration. Some houses in the vicinity have also not recovered from the blast as their damaged roofs still remain the way they were since last year’s bomb blast in the church. In readiness to secure the church, some armed security men are also on guard round the clock within the premises and frontage of the church, especially as the Christmas Day is fast approaching. Speaking with The Nation yesterday, the Parish Priest, Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Achi, said: “Generally, it will not be as easy as that when you are being confronted with a difficult thing in your life. With what happened to us here a year ago now, it has brought setback especially in the lives of the people when we have to look at our strength.” “Things are no longer like it used to be. So many of our people have relocated to other places and only very few, who probably have not found it easy to move out are still remaining here. The entire


The ever peaceful Madalla town of Niger State bordering Zuba town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was thrown into confusion, weeping and crying as a result of bomb blast by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, at the St. Theresa Catholic Church last Christmas Day. Apart from many dead, injuries and damaged properties recorded, the incident almost pitched Christians and Muslims in the area against each other. AUGUSTINE EHIKIOYA captures the mood of the residents, the church as next Christmas Day rolls in.

THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012

Things are no longer like it used to be. So many of our people have relocated to other places and only very few, who probably have not found it easy to move out are still remaining here. The entire parishioners have been demoralised


parishioners have been demoralised. “Thank God, we have kept on doing a lot of spiritual activities that can bring them back. We have been organising seminars, retreats, workshops and calling them for counselling. When they come, we speak to them, giving them heart-toheart discussions so that they will be able to overcome the shock.” On absenteeism since the blast, he said: “If I tell you that so many of our people have not come to the church since that day, you will not believe. Some are still

around Madalla and instead of coming here, they prefer to go to Zuba. I remember before then, majority of people from Kwankwashe come down here to worship, but today they don’t come. “If you had come to this place around this time last year, the crowd of the worshippers will fill the ground floor and the gallery and you will even see people standing outside. But today, if you come to the church, the worshippers are always scanty. Instead of having three masses before, it has reduced to about one and half. That is what we have been experiencing since that time. “It is not something that only affected us in the church, but the entire Madalla. We have so many people who moved out and so many businesses that were flourishing here have also disappeared. There are so many houses that are no longer occupied since that blast. “Landlords will tell you that things are not going well. They have houses that nobody is ready to occupy. This is the same with those who sell provisions and other businesses in the area. By 8.00pm, everybody is rushing back home. Things are just no longer like before. So life in Madalla is no longer what it used to be.” On how the next Christmas celebration will look like, he said: “I am not a prophet and I am not predicting anything, but we have been asked to make this year a year of faith and that is what we have been preaching. We are carrying out renovations, repairs and decorations to the building and we expect people to come. We are also letting them to know that Jesus Christ is in control of everything. I know that the


THE NATION, Saturday, December 22, 2012

•Some of the victims

•St. Theresa Church bombing scene on Christmas Day last year


government is doing a lot in the area of security.” He disclosed that only the Niger State Government and very few bodies and individuals that made pledges to support the victims of the bomb blast have redeemed their pledges so far. According to him, the reconciliatory committee set up to ensure continued peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians in the area did not sit beyond the first inaugural meeting and nothing has been done in that area in the past one year. “So far so good, the Church is picking up. We cannot give up. We have to do everything to live our faith as Christians and we use this opportunity to appreciate all those who stood with us during this period. We call on all Nigerians to accept this in good faith and we call on those evil men and women to please change and Nigerians should be ready to forgive them,” he concluded One of the victims of the blast who lost four children in the blast and whose wife sustained injuries, Sir Obiukwu Emmanuel, said: “We thank God that we are still alive. God is keeping us together. I got assistance from Niger State and Akwa Ibom State governments. We did not receive anything from the Federal Government.” “My surviving daughter, Chiamaka Obiukwu, has gone from the National Hospital to Madonna University. After scholarship from the church, I still have paid about N200,000.” Mrs. Chioma Dike, who lost her husband and three children to the blast, is solely taking care of the surviving two injured children. She said: “It has not been easy for me since that day. When you lose one person, it is painful let alone losing four people, including my husband that has

When you lose one person, it is painful let alone losing four people, including my husband that has been taking care of me. He was everything to me. Even up to this morning, I still go for check up. Govt took care of my son with nail in the head


been taking care of me. He was everything to me. Even up to this morning, I still go for check up. Govt took care of my son with nail in the head. After he was discharged, I have been the one paying the bills. “Since the incident, I have not regained myself. I am taking BP medication. I feel so bad with myself even with the coming Christmas. I don’t know whether to come for mass with the remaining Children. I can’t even sleep at nights,” she added Another victim of the blast, Mr, Vitalis

Ugokwe, whose son, Pascal, was also injured, said: “It has been very terrible for me , but I thank God. When it happened, if you touch me it would be like a shock. But I thank God I survived. I am from Anambra State, and I was told that there was some money from the government, but I have never gotten anything from them. I am only receiving support from the church.” “I need medical and financial support, I can no longer work. I was the Director of Vital Industrial Electrical Company, but now, I cannot do the work again. I am a Catholic, no matter all odds, I will still come to mass on Christmas Day. What has happened is part of the test of life. I am still on drugs,” he stated. Another victim, Prince Remi Ofoha, said: “I am a victim that can really tell you what happened on that very day. We thank God. The problem is that I can’t sit or lie on anything that has foam. I can only sit on wood and plastic chair because I have fracture in the cervical vertebrae. I can’t stay in any noisy place because I have problem with cerebrum or brain tissue. “It is only Akwa Ibom government who promised me. When we went, we were told that the support was for the dead. It is the Niger State government and the church that have been helping me. This is where I worship and nothing will stop me from worshipping here,” he stated. Some residents, who worship in the church also expressed mixed feelings on whether to or not to attend the next Christmas mass in the church on Tuesday. While some of them believed that God will never allow what happened in the church last year to happen again, some of them see the church as a danger zone and would rather prefer to go for the

Christmas mass in another church. A worshipper at the church, Miss Blessing Obeka, said: “The last Christmas Day bomb blast in the church was so painful to everybody, including me. A lot of members died that day, who were close friends and a lot of properties were also destroyed. “So it is going to be difficult to forget that day. Pregnant women, children, parents died that day. I don’t think I can forget 25th December, 2011. Next week will make it one year for us to remember our brothers and sisters who died in the bomb blast. “For me I will attend the next Christmas Day mass in the same church because I know God has never failed and He will not fail us this time around. I really pray that what happened last year will not repeat itself either in St. Theresa Catholic Church or anywhere else Christians gather to worship God. “This year will be a joyful Christmas for everyone and no one will be sorrowful in this season, in Jesus name. We will celebrate this Christmas with happiness and joy. We thank the government for sending the soldiers to stop and search vehicles coming in and going out of Madalla,” she added. Another worshipper, Mrs. Nneka AmachiNnadi, said: “December 25 of 2011 was a very black Christmas Day. It is not something that can easily leave the memory of any human being that witnessed it. I was there and I witnessed it and I don’t think it can leave my memory for the next 10 years. “Even as this Christmas is coming and once I think of December 25, it instantly reminds me of that particular day. It is still in the psyche of everybody around here.” On whether she will attend next Christmas Day mass in the church with her family, she said: “As it is, I will surely attend mass that day, but I don’t think I will attend mass in St. Theresa Church because that particular area is seen as a danger zone.” Speaking further on the soldiers carrying out ‘stop and search’ on vehicles coming in and out of Madalla, she said: “Their presence on the roads leading to the church is okay because they will help in warding off such evil people that may want to repeat what happened in the area last year. “I am not saying that their presence there is 100 percent assurance of safety, but it can help in securing the area.” On complaints that the soldiers were causing traffic hold-up in the area, she said: “Is it not better to get home late than to be late forever? It is better for the soldiers to cause hold-up as long as that will help in securing the area. “I believe if the soldiers had been doing the stop and search before the bomb blast last year, what happened in St. Theresa Church would not have happened. Apart from beefing up security in the area, it is also important that there is awareness among the residents of the area. “If there is peace and harmony between the Christians and Muslims in the area, I don’t think what happened last year would have happened. The Muslims in the area would have divulged any information they had about such attacks to their Christian neighbours.”



SPDC spends N10.5 billion for Bayelsa community T

Oshiomhole signs 2013 budget into law …vows to pursue aggressive tax policy


DO State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole yesterday signed the 2013 Appropriation Act of N149,447,798,805 billion into law. The lawmakers had pruned the budget proposal to the approved sum from a budget estimate of N150,045,377,060 billion presented by Oshiomhole. Governor Oshiomhole, in a speech shortly after signing the budget said the lawmakers added value to the budget. Oshiomhole noted that the signing of the budget before Christmas would enable his administration begin its implementation in January next year. He said the challenge was for him to work hard and be more aggressive to ensure that the revenue target in the budget was realised. He said his administration would improve on the level of performance as well as work at a faster pace to take the state to the next level. According to him, “Whereas we have no control of the federal revenue, but with some additional effort, we can improve on our locally generated revenue. I believe with the passage of the Land Use Charge, we should be able to improve on our locally generated rev-

•Oshiomhole Osagie OTABOR, Benin enue so that the integrity of the budget is sustained. “We will block all wastages. We need to make some difficult decisions if we are to sustain things expected by us. We will carry out various institutional reforms in the educational sector, Ministry of Works, in the environment. We will revisit the entire question of land administration and several other areas so that Edo State Government will work more efficiently. “We will revisit the health sector and ensure that every kobo we put in the health sector gives value to the people. Medical workers must take their jobs more seriously and that every one of us in the civil service will truly earn every kobo we are paid. We will ensure prudent service in the tax we collect.”

HE Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) says it has along with its joint venture partner spent N10.5 billion for both project and steady state Group Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) in Bayelsa State since 2006. The SPDC, through its Manager, Sustainable Development and Community relations, Mr. Evans Krukubo, at the commissioning ceremony of 22 completed projects in Okodia/Zarama, also said the sum of N1.41 billion is being spent annually to deliver community development projects via the GMoU in the state. It is valued at N160 million under

•Commissions 22 projects Isaac OMBE-Yenagoa

the GMoU programme. Represented by Mr. Philip Mshebila, Krukubo noted that the 22 projects being commissioned cut across economic empowerment and empowerment and infrastructure (roads, town halls, classroom blocks, potable water). “I believe this will not only improve the economic wellbeing in these communities, but will also create job oppor-

tunities within and outside the communities,” added the Community Relations Manager. He explained that the projects were a combination of Project Advisory Committee (PAC), projects from the Gbarain Ubie integrated oil and Gas project and those pioneered by the Okordia/ Zarama Cluster development board in partnership with SPDC. “It is being implemented under the Global Memoran-

dum of Understanding platform, with support from the Bayelsa State government,” said Krukubo. In his remarks, Dr. Anthony Chowen, Managing Director, Living Earth Foundation, who congratulated the board of the Cluster Communities on the successful execution and commissioning of the landmark projects, noted that “with dedication from the Cluster board of the area, Okordia/ Zarama will go places.” Chowen who was represented by Mr. Kingsly Eze, Director of Finance of the Foundation, also commended the Cluster board for rising up to the last flood that devastated the area.

2013 budget: Ebonyi presents N104.3bn, Enugu N82.9b


OVERNOR Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State yesterday presented to the State House of Assembly a budget proposal of one hundred and four billion, three hundred and seventy-four million, three hundred and sixty-four thousand, four hundred naira (N104.374, 364, 400.00) for the 2013 fiscal year. The proposal tagged: “Budget of Partnership”, according to Chief Elechi, was 18.96% higher than the 2012 revised budget of N86.9 billion. Presenting the budget to the State House of Assembly, Governor Elechi noted that the 2013 budget of the state, though one of the least in the country, is the highest ever in the history of Ebonyi State. A breakdown of the budget proposal shows that thirty Five billion and Seventy-Six million naira (N35.76 billion) is projected for Recurrent Expenditure while the sum of Sixty-three billion and Sixty-one million is also appropriated for capital expenditure in the budget. The recurrent expenditure of N35.76 billion represents 34% of the total expenditure proposal while the capital expenditure which stands at N63.61 billion represents 61% of the proposed budget. According to the proposal, road construction and maintenance got the highest provision of N11.70 billion and accounts for 18% of the capital budget. Education is allocated N9.80 billion representing 15% of the budget while water supply has N9.10billion representing 14% of the budget. Similarly, Enugu State government has presented a budget of N82.9billion for the 2013 to the state House of Assembly. Presenting the budget tagged “Budget of Sustainability”, the acting governor of the state, Sunday Onyebuchi said there shall be strict budget discipline to ensure efficient implementation and a consolidation on the gains

Ogbonnaya OBINNA, Abakaliki and Chris OJI, Enugu of 2012. This year’s estimate is eight percent increase from the 2012 budget.

•The wife of Abia State governor, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji, joined by Abia children to cut the Christmas cake during the 2012 Christmas party she organised for them yesterday PHOTO: NAN

Cross River fights pneumonia with charity concert


N a concerted effort to increase awareness among stakeholders on pneumonia which is responsible for over one million deaths among children annually in Nigeria, the Cross River State Government has organised a charity concert, tagged: “Governor’s Masked Fete” to raise fund in support of the course. Speaking at the concert, which is one of the programmes of the on-going 32-Day Calabar Festival and a pet project of Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, the Acting Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham, said the prevalence of the disease was unacceptable especially in a state that is giving free medicare to children under five years and pregnant women. Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Mike Aniah, the acting governor lauded the initiator of the charity concert, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, for conceptualizing the idea, stating that the effort will go a long way in eradicating the disease and free children, who are the future hope of the state from untimely death. The acting governor stressed that a preventable disease like pneumonia cannot be allowed to blight the future of children and that government will not rest on its oars until it is totally eradicated in the state. He thanked donor partners for their support and solicited for more assistance to sur-

pass the current effort at all levels. Initiator of the Non-Government Organization (NGO), and wife of the Governor of Cross River State, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, disclosed that she took up the campaign three years ago when one of her children got ill and was diagnosed of pneumonia and that while in the hospital, she saw another child die of the same sickness. She maintained that the burden of that child’s death prompted her to initiate a platform that will scout for support from all and sundry to save lives. Represented by Executive Director, Partnership Oppor-

tunity for Women Economic Realization (POWER) an umbrella body of Breath of Life, Mrs. Tami Kamonke, she stated that the concert, which had as its theme, “Old School”, was organized to create more awareness and raise fund to support the cause. Mrs. Imoke said POWER has articulated a policy thrust that will ensure that every child, no matter where they are has access to free drugs and vaccines all the time. Director Breath of Life, Dr. Regina Ejemot-Nwadiro, said the theme of this year’s concert, “Old School” was not only to allow guest display their old school dresses but to reminisce on the old value of

being a brother’s keeper. She maintained that the fight against pneumonia can only be successful through a joint effort of all the stakeholders and urged all to rise to their responsibility of ensuring that Cross River is indeed safe for every child irrespective of socio, cultural, economic and religious background. One of the major sponsors of the event, First Bank (Nig) PLC, represented by Executive Director, Mr. U. K. Eke, reiterated the willingness to support the cause, noting that their support was a demonstration of their commitment to ensuring a healthy society.

Anambra budget: No Christmas for state lawmakers


MEMBERS of Finance and Appropriation Committee of the Anambra State Home of Assembly, will not partake in the Christmas break to enable it work on Governor Peter Obi’s appropriation bill for 2013, says the chairman of the committee, Princess Nikky Ugochukwu. She said the decision was taken to enable them tidy up the 2013 appropriation bill for passage before the second week of January. The lawmaker represents Orumba South constituency. Ugochukwu spoke with The Nation yesterday in Awka, two days after Obi presented a budget of over N110 billion to the House, tagged: “2013 budget of integrated development strategy VI” to the House. She said that the budget content represents

Nwanosike ONU, Awka the interest and welfare of the people of Anambra and should not be toyed with. According to the Chairman, “the sacrifice by the House of Assembly is as a result of Governor Obi’s commitment to the overall development of the state.’ “The cordial relationship existing between the state legislature and the executive has greatly enhanced peace and progress of the state.” Furthermore, Ugochukwu commended Obi for effective implementation of the previous budgets and promised that the lawmakers would personally monitor and ensure proper implementation of the 2013 budget in their various constituencies.

Gospel singers thrill at Akwa Ibom 9999 Christmas Carol THE fifth edition of Akwa Ibom Government Christmas Carol Night featuring 9,999 choristers, the biggest assembly of carol singers on earth for this year was marked with pomp last night in Uyo. Great artistes such as Alvin Slaughter and Donnie McClurkin from United States of America; Aity Dennis-Inyang, Pat Akpabio, Anne Inyang and Linda Etukudoh as well as International Choir Performance from Congo Brazzaville and Ibom Unity Brass Band performed at the occasion. Governor Godswill Akpabio remarked that Christmas celebration by Christians all over the world must be a period of togetherness and peace amongst Nigerians, for the country to move forward. Chief Godswill Akpabio stated this at the state Government Christmas Carol night featuring 9,999 carol singers held at the Uyo Sports Stadium, Uyo, after the first Bible reading taken from Luke 2:1-20. He noted: “As we celebrate Christmas, this should be the time for the country to rise up and come together as one. We must put a stop to envy and jealousy for the country to have peace. As we sing to the Lord today, let us all sing to break away ethnic barriers, tribal feelings, kidnapping and also break all barriers to prosperity.



RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has stepped into the row sparked by the N9billion variation on the contract sum for the new official residence of Vice President Namadi Sambo. The project was originally planned to cost N7billion. A request for the approval of the National Assembly for an additional N9billion for the purpose of providing furniture, fence, two protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and security gadgets has provoked outrage across the country. President Jonathan is said to be dismayed by the controversy trailing the request and asked to be briefed by Vice President Sambo on the issue. The Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory has already written to Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, which is constructing the mansion, to justify the increase in contract sum. During an inspection visit to the site by the Senate Committee, the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Adamu Ismail had said the project was awarded in 2009 at the cost of N7billion. He said the additional N9 billion was required to provide furniture, fencing, two additional protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and other security gadgets. Ismail said the new proposal was not included in the original scope of work being handled by Julius Berger. The Senate Committee is insisting on investigating the reasons advanced for the variation of the contract sum. A reliable source familiar with the matter said the Executive arm was studying the observations of the Senate Committee. He said the President had received brief from the VicePresident and relevant officials in the Ministry of Fed-


Jonathan steps into Sambo’s N16billion residence contract row

Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

eral Capital Territory and the FCDA on the contract. It was gathered that the Vice-President felt personally touched that his hardearned image was dragged into the project which is to house him and his successors. Another source added: “The VP was uncomfortable with the position of the Senate Committee on the residential building and the backlash. He has made his opinion known to the President. “The President is however getting brief from all sides connected with the project on the increase in the contract sum. “As a matter of fact, a top government official met informally with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi, to verify facts and figures on the project. The meeting with Adeyemi took about one and a half hours. “The Executive has not taken any decision on whether to review the contract upward or retain the original cost. The ongoing briefing by all parties involved in the contract would determine the position of the Executive.” But the Senate Committee is going ahead with the verification of the contract sum. Another source said: “The Senate Committee has written the construction giant to submit its Bill of Quantity, design and any other document that could support its demand for the variation of the contract sum. “Once we have got a response from the construction company, we will ask other experts to analyze its sub-

•Receives brief from VP on N9b variation •Senate committee writes firm •Adeyemi says query over contract not anti-government posture mission. “We want to be as transparent as possible to ensure that we are acting only in the public interest.” Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, who spoke with our correspondent last night, said: “The issues we raised about the contract do not amount to undermining the government in any form. We are also not out to embarrass public

officers or any party whatsoever. “As part of the transformation agenda of the government, we did our bit as Senators to expose why a project conceived at N7billion would attract additional N9billion. We acted in good faith and in the interest of the public. “It is left to the Executive to look at the issues in question and take necessary steps on the future of the contract. This

committee is not a trial court but we owe this nation a duty to ensure that it has value for money on any project.” Concerning allegations that the committee has compromised due to pressure, Adeyemi added: “We have not compromised, we have not chickened out. We have made our position known and we are going further to collate facts and figures for the public to judge. “After we have completed

our assignment, it is left to Nigerians to judge.” The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Adamu Ismail had Ismail told the lawmakers that the proposed additional N9 billion has been slashed to about N6 billion by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP). He said: “We have worked out the details and passed to BPP for consideration. “They (BPP) have sent it back to us with their observation. “We requested for N9 billion but now it came to about N6 billion.” Adeyemi said either N13billion or N14 billion or N16billion for the project is indefensible in view of present realities.

Alleged N3.4b deal with Ibori: Court orders Babalakin to face trial A

Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday re jected the application of the embattled Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Mr. Wale Babalakin(SAN) to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from prosecuting him for alleged money laundering. Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos dismissed his application. The judge asked Babalakin, who is still on admission in LUTH, to go and face trial. Babalakin and four others have been charged to court over N3.4billion allegedly laundered through Mauritius for ex-Governor James Ibori to buy a Challenger Jet Aircraft. The others are Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, BiCourtney Limited and Remix Nigeria Limited They are also to face 27count charge in the High

Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

Court of Lagos State , Ikeja Division bordering on the siphoning $11.3million abroad for Ibori through Erin Aviation Account in Mauritius . But when the suspects were to be arraigned last week, Babalakin was said to be ill and on admission in LUTH. From his sick bed, the businessman returned to the Federal High Court to seek an order of the court to stop the EFCC, the Police, the State

Security Service and other security outfits from effecting his arrest or detention. Babalakin asked the court to protect his fundamental human rights “pursuant to orders I, II, III, IV of the Fundamental Rights (enforcement procedure) Rules 2009. He also asked the court to invoke Articles 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act No.2 of 1983 and Sections 34, 35(1) and 41 of the 1999 Constitution. He sought an order to en-

force his fundamental human rights by way of preventing the EFCC, agents or security agencies of government from harassing, arresting or detaining him, further to the charge filed by the EFCC at the Lagos High Court. In a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of the

•Continued on Page 60



Alleged N3.4b deal with Ibori: Court orders Babalakin to face trial •Continued fromPage 59 EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said Justice Buba rejected Babalakin’s application. He reported Justice Buba as saying the applicant was wrong to approach the court to enforce his fundamental human right when there was a pending criminal charge against him at the state high court. “He said the personal liberty of an individual was not absolute. He said it will not augur well for the peace and progress of the society if any person with a criminal charge in a court approaches another to enforce his fundamental human right; nothing that “nobody is above the law, no matter the person’s position or status”. “He said Babalakin as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria should not be afraid to face the court and, therefore, dismissed his application as lacking in merit. The EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs(SAN) had told the court that the EFCC is vested with the power to investigate, arrest and prosecute persons for financial crimes. “He also told the court that Babalakin did not abide by the terms of the administrative bail granted him by the Commission. The statement quoted Jacobs as saying: “On the issue of Babalakin’s ill-health which his counsel, Wale Akoni, SAN, made copious reference to, there was nothing before the court on the current state of the suspect’s health. “It is not a case of denial of fundamental human rights but a case of non-compliance to enjoy that right. The suit is intended to gag the EFCC so that they will not take him to court”. “Before his ruling Justice Buba had on Monday December 17, 2012 refused to grant

an ex-parte order restraining the EFCC from arresting or detaining Babalakin without hearing from the respondents. “Rather, the judge ordered Babalakin to serve the respondents to enable them respond to the motion on notice. “Justice Idris had on December 15, 2012 dismissed a similar application by Babalakin for an order of prohibition against the EFCC and the Attorney General of Federation from arraigning him before the Lagos High Court on the grounds that the application was defective as it failed to comply with Order 35 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, which require the applicant to depose to an affidavit after serving the court papers on the parties in the suit. “The judge held that failure to depose to such affidavit and file same before the court had robbed the court of its jurisdiction to entertain the matter. “The court vacated the order it earlier granted the applicant permitting him to institute the prohibition suit against the EFCC and subsequently awarded N5, 000 cost against the applicant. “Babalakin, alongside Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and

Renix Nigeria Limited are scheduled to appear before an Ikeja High Court on January 17, 2013 to take his plea on a 27-count charge of offences bordering on money laundering preferred against them by the EFCC. “They allegedly transferred various sums of money on behalf of the former governor of Delta State , Chief James Ibori, through third parties to some foreign accounts under the guise of purchasing a Challenger Jet Aircraft. “They were to be arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court Ikeja on November 29, 2012. “The arraignment was stalled as Babalakin failed to show up, claiming sudden illness that necessitated his hospitalization at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. “While his lawyers were pleading with Justice Onigbanjo to adjourn the arraignment to enable Babalakin to recover from his illness, he was attempting to stop his trial before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court. “Meanwhile, the suspect is still holed up in LUTH, while shopping for restraining order of court to prevent his trial.”

55 people drowned or missing off Somali coast


HE U.N. refugee agency said yesterday 55 people were drowned or were missing after an overcrowded boat capsized off the Somali coast. UNHCR said the incident late Tuesday represented the biggest loss of life in the Gulf of Aden since February 2011, when 57 Somali refugees and migrants drowned while attempting to reach Yemen. The U.N. says five people survived Tuesday's accident.

The survivors said the boat was overcrowded and capsized 15 minutes into its journey. Twenty-three bodies were recovered; the rest are presumed to have drowned. Bruno Geddo, the UNCHR representative for Somalia, said the deaths are a reminder of the risks Somalis take to flee their country. Geddo said the Gulf of Aden is the deadliest route for people fleeing conflict and rights abuses in the Horn of Africa.

Frenchman's abductors have Al-Qaida or Mali links —French President


RESIDENT Francois Hollande says a French engineer kidnapped in Rimi, Katsina State, was “without a doubt” seized by a group linked to alQaida’s north African wing, or its jihadist affiliates. The French leader told Europe-1 radio yesterday that “powerfully armed” assailants captured the engineer on Wednesday. The police said about 30 attackers stormed the French man’s home in Rimi,25 kilometers from Katsina. They also killed two Nigerians — a neighbour and a security guard of the engineer with French energy firm Vergnet SA. The kidnapping occurred in a quiet area close to Niger. France has been among the Western countries pressing for international action to rid northern Mali, to the north, of al-Qaida-linked jihadists who have controlled the vast, arid zone for months.

The assailants also attacked a nearby police station as they drove off with the hostage, but no one there was hurt. There has been no request for ransom or any other communication from the kidnappers yet. French President Francois Hollande, speaking to reporters during a state visit in Algeria, said French authorities would do all they could to free the hostage. Vergnet issued a statement that said the company “immediately took extra security measures for all its employees abroad” and that it is in touch with French authorities. Four South Koreans and a Nigerian working for Korea-based Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. were abducted Monday from a construction site in Bayelsa state, in the delta region. The 83-year-old mother of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was kidnapped earlier this month and held for

five days in close-by Delta state. Al-Qaida has been linked to other kidnappings of foreigners in the area, especially ones targeting French nationals, who have become a high value target in Africa’s Sahel region. France has led efforts to launch a military intervention in northern Mali, where a mix of al-Qaida linked rebels now control an area the size of France or Texas, an enormous triangle of land that includes borders with Mauritania, Algeria and Niger. Militants there have indicated that they plan to use the French hostages they are currently holding as human shields. They include a 61-yearold French tourist who was taken in Mali a month ago, as well as several employees and contractors of French nuclear giant Areva SA, seized over two years ago in Niger, and currently being held in northern Mali.






NSE previews market indices


HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has undertaken a preview of the sectorial indices in line with efforts to make them more representative. Besides reviewing the numbers, the committee is also releasing the names of the additional stocks and those exiting the group. However, it recommended that the number of stocks comprising the NSE Consumer Goods Index be increased from 10 to 15; NSE Insurance Index be increased from 10 to 15 while the NSE Oil/Gas Index will have 7 stocks as against the current 5. The NSE 30 Index and the NSE Banking Index retain their 30 stocks and 10 stocks respectively. According to the Committee, this is to allow for adequate portfolio diversification. Shedding more light, the breakdown of the likely composition of the indices shows that the NSE 30 Index may have Glaxo Smithkline Consumer Plc; Union Bank of Nigeria Plc;

Tonia Osundolire

International Breweries Plc; Julius Berger Nigeria Plc; 7-UP Bottling Co. Plc and Sterling Bank Plc as likely incoming stocks while Law Union & Rock Ins. Plc; Transnational Corporation of Nig. Plc; National Salt Co. of Nig. Plc; Oando Plc; Dangote Flour Mills Plc and Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc are listed as likely exiting stocks. The pseudo review of NSE 30 and Sectorial indices which is done twice yearly in June and December is a run-up to the actual review to be undertaken at respective month ends. Under the NSE Consumer Goods Index, the following stocks are listed as likely incoming: International Breweries Plc; National salt; Honeywell Flour Mills Plc; Vitafoam Plc; UTC Plc; Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc and Northern Nig. Flour Mills Plc while 7-Up Bottling Plc; Cadbury Nigeria Plc; Dangote Flour Mills; Unilever Nigeria; PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc;

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc are listed as likely exiting. The NSE Banking Index has Union Bank; Diamond Bank; Sterling Bank Plc; Unity Bank Plc and Wema Bank Plc as likely incoming while FBNH; Stanbic Holdco; Fidelity Bank Plc; First City Monument Bank Plc and Skye Bank Plc are listed as likely exiting. Niger Insurance Plc; Cornerstone Insurance Plc; Standard Alliance Ins. Plc; Lasaco Assurance Plc; Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc; Linkage Assurance Plc and Prestige Assurance Plc are in the stocks listed as likely incoming stocks for The Insurance Index while Unity Kapital Assurance Plc; Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc.; Goldlink Insurance Plc; Aiico Insurance Plc; Wapic Insurance Plc; Continental Reinsurance Plc and Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc are listed as likely exiting stocks. The NSE Oil/Gas Index has MRS Oil Nigeria Plc; Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc; Eterna Plc; Beco Petroleum Products Plc listed as likely incoming stocks while Forte Oil Plc; Conoil Plc; Mobil Nigeria and Oando Plc are listed as likely exiting stocks.




Aregbesola reiterates commitment to give Osogbo befitting look


SUN State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has promised to give Osogbo, Osun State capital, a befitting look and assured the people of the state that all his ongoing capital projects will be completed before the end of his first term in office. Aregbesola said this at the annual Osogbo Oroki

Day celebration held at the Technical College, Osogbo. The event, which was attended by dignitaries from all parts of the country, was organised by the Osogbo Progressive Union (OPU). The governor, who was represented on the occasion by his deputy, Mrs. Grace Titilayo LaoyeTomori, who also hails

from Osogbo, commended the people of Osogbo for supporting his government. Governor Aregbesola noted that unity among the indigenes of the various communities in the country is very paramount for their development and growth. Aregbesola also called on the people to support their

governments in order to bring even development to the various communities. He declared the present administration in the state has been working round the clock to reposition the state for better future. He added that OsogboOroki day celebration has been serving as avenue to promote oneness among the indigenes of the town,

Fixing the Eagles in South Africa •Continued from Back Page

Eagles have been. Those who are not ready to report in camp by midnight of January 4 should be dropped. Keshi should paraded boys who will be focused on lifting Nigeria’s image in global football competitions, not nursing fathers or journeymen transiting with the Eagles, but with finalised plans for cruises to choice areas, such as the Bahamas. Our players see camping periods as an imprisonment. The job must be done quickly for them to proceed on holidays. The nation may mourn their unceremonious exit from big competitions, yet their deals in Europe are secured. Our players should be prepared to sacrifice their holidays to make Nigerians happy. After all, 90 per cent of them earned their stardom by playing for this country. Rather than de-

stroy this platform, they should leave it where they found it. Keshi must drop all the big-headed players for determined ones who are hungry for glory. We are tired of watching immobile boys who lack the zest to perform. We have changed several coaches, the NFF men and other backroom coaching staff, yet we are still rebuilding. Maybe, this competition would provide the mirror to critically look at those we field in matches and ask if it isn’t about time we dropped them, no matter what they do with their European clubs. Our players’ classy European shows that we appreciate to call for their inclusion in the Eagles should be given a rethink. They appear to have reached their apogee and cannot give better than what we have seen in the past. The striking difference

now, unlike in 2010, is that there is no Presidential Task Force (PTF) struggling to perform Nigeria Football Federation (NFF’s) duties. This needless struggle for supremacy was chiefly responsible for the country’s shambolic outing at the South Africa 2010 World Cup tournament. One only hopes that President Goodluck Jonathan can stop the government delegation from accompanying the Eagles to South Africa, like he did with the Olympians and Paralympians. These men and women add to the problems rather than resolve them. They invade the dressing rooms and disturb the coaches from telling the boys the mistakes made and how to correct them. They become emergency coaches. They are the ones who fan embers of bitterness among the players and coaches in a bid to get at their perceived

enemies in NFF. The perpetual rebuilding of the squad since 1998 must be concluded; otherwise, people would be forced to ask: how long will it take to complete this structure called Super Eagles. However, it is soul-lifting to hear Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi admit that the Eagles are not under any pressure to win the Africa Cup of Nations. Abduallahi doesn’t expect the Eagles to lie down and be the group’s whipping team. He expects them to compete favourably to make Nigerians see the future in the squad that is being rejuvenated. Abdullahi’s proclamation is the biggest fillip the Eagles need to surprise the continent. It has never been so good. With ministerial interference out of the team’s workings, the players and, indeed, the coaches would have themselves to blame if we don’t play to our potentials.

adding that it also gives them sense of belonging in the community development. Aregbesola, who rolled out the achievements of his administration ranging from employment opportunity, provision of social amenities, educational development, road construction, among others, adding that since inception of the administration, no fewer than 253,000 pupils of Primary 1-4 in the state public primary schools have been enjoying

the school feeding programme of the government. Among those who graced the occasion were former deputy governor of Lagos State, Mrs Sarah Sosan, Sir Ademola Aladekomo, the Chairman Charms, Nigeria limited, Justice Gloria Oladoke, Acting Chief Judge of Osun State, among others. The wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, who also hails from Osogbo, was among the dignitaries on the occasion.

General Rotimi’s wife released by abductors


HE abducted wife of a former governor of Western State, Gen. Oluwole Rotimi, Mrs Titilayo Rotimi, has been released by kidnappers. The businesswoman, who was kidnapped by gunmen while driving out of her Ibadan office on Monday, last week, was released by her captors in a village along Ijebu-Ode-Ikorodu Road yesterday evening. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Ayodele Lanade, who confirmed her release on the telephone last night, said that she came back unhurt. According to him, the businesswoman was dropped off by the gunmen along the road. She later ran to a woman passing by and narrated her situation to her.

Lanade added that Mrs Rotimi used the good Samaritan’s mobile phone to call her family members who alerted the police. She was eventually taken to a police station. The police spokesman said that more details would later be made available. A total of 10 suspects were arrested in connection with the abduction. While the only femele among the suspects was released on bail to enable her nurse her baby, nine others have been cooling their heels in police custody. The suspects are mainly staff of AOP Logistics Limited, the logistics company owned and managed by the businesswoman.




TOMORROWPUNCHLINE IN THE NATION That faux pas, of Jonathan being pressured into contesting the last presidential election, is the very reason corruption has ballooned in the country. Candidate Jonathan had to outspend a very rich Abubakar Atiku, the 'candidate' of the North and a high net worth individual with an equally massive network.


T remains a vivid image in many minds. I refer to the graphic picture of President Goodluck Ebele ‘Azikiwe’ Jonathan kneeling ever so humbly before the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, to receive divine blessings at the 2010 edition of, the church’s Holy Ghost Congress. It was shortly before the 2011 general elections. Before then, a clearly desperate President Jonathan had appealed to our emotions by regaling us with tales of his shoeless childhood. Little did we know that our votes for him would only foist a clueless leadership on us. At the last edition of the Holy Ghost Congress, President Jonathan once again was on hand to play the kneeling game. He went on his knees before Pastor Adeboye ostensibly seeking prayers to lead the country successfully. I have read some material online from gullible Nigerians commending the President’s carefully choreographed humility, modesty and simplicity. I am sure not many Nigerians are deceived. Surely, we cannot be taken for a ride twice or we would be utter fools. The revered man of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, a spiritual leader of impeccable integrity and undeniable credibility, has absolutely no excuse for allowing this desecration of his sacred altar by this theatrical exhibition of fake presidential holiness - especially at this sensitive time in the evolution of our country. The Holy Ghost Convention has clearly made its mark as one of the most important events in the spiritual calendar of our contemporary world. It has turned the Redemption Camp along the exceedingly disgraceful and disgusting death trap called the Lagos -Ibadan Express Way into a centre of universal attraction. The unprecedented expansion of the church under Pastor Adeboye’s leadership and the astounding success of the Holy Ghost convention provide evidence that he is genuinely called of God. Yet, you can trust the Nigerian elite. Everything bright and beautiful, they taint and distort. The Holy Ghost convention has become difficult to distinguish from what Pastor Tony Rapu once wittily described as the ‘Holy Ghost Supermarket’. At this vast spiritual shopping mall, all kinds of characters including charlatans, perverts, brutes and political opportunists come shopping trusting in the eternal grace of an indulgent Holy Ghost Father Christmas to meet their every want (not necessarily need). President Jonathan was easily the most prominent shopper at the last Holy Ghost convention. He came shopping for the support and sympathy of Christians ahead of the 2015 elections but he went about it in his usual cleverly deceptive manner. Now, Daddy G.O. is not an ignorant man. He holds a first class degree in Mathematics and a doctorate in the same discipline. Why he would allow his highly venerated altar to be so brazenly and cynically manipulated for political ends

A president’s holy hypocrisy

•Pastor Adeboye praying for President Jonathan at the Redeemed Camp

simply beats me. On what grounds was President Goodluck Jonathan given the opportunity to make political remarks at the last Holy Ghost convention, which is supposed to be a purely spiritual event? It would appear that at the Redemption Camp, all worshippers are equal but some are more equal than others. For the past two years, the Boko Haram insurgents have effectively banished President Jonathan from the Eagle Square in Abuja, reducing him to the sorry and ridiculous spectacle of marking the country’s national day within the precincts of the Presidential Villa. The Boko Haram is making the insane demand that Nigeria become an Islamic theocratic state. Is this not the time for the Nigerian President to demonstrate a higher rationality and morality by affirming at all times through his words and actions the secu-

larity of the Nigerian state? Is this the time for him to engage in the hypocritical posturing of kneeling before the leader of a spiritual sect in a multi-religious state under fundamentalist religious siege? Will President Jonathan find a convenient Friday to join worshippers. at the Central mosque in Abuja, Kano, Maiduguri or Sokoto to demonstrate that he is the President of all Nigerians and not just Christians? While addressing the congregation at the Redemption Camp, President Jonathan thanked them for their prayers, which he claimed aided his ascension to power in 2011. Well, having experienced his pathological cluelessness thus far, I hope that Nigerian Christians will begin to pray fervently for urgent deliverance from the country’s current lackluster leadership. In his characteristically crafty manner, the President said it was still too early for him to start thinking of the 2015 election but hinted that the power situation in the country has improved. But the question is if this is the level of power supply we should be enjoying today with over $16 billion gone down the drain over the last 13 years? He equally seized the opportunity to promise Nigerians free and fair elections in future asserting that the last election in Ondo State was free and fair. Now, I have commented extensively on the Ondo governorship elections and have moved on. However, President Jonathan and his spin doctors should stop creating the impression that they are doing Nigerians a favour by allowing credible and transparent elections. The current level of electoral credibility we have achieved has been through the sweat and struggle of Nigerians and we still have a long way to go to strengthen the country’s electoral reforms. President Jonathan has no choice in the matter. If he seeks to manipulate the electoral process against the will of the people, they will resist him and the people will win. The forces of truth and justice are irresistible. But still talking about the Ondo elections, is President Jonathan aware that some of the aggrieved aspirants are in court as they are perfectly entitled to pursue their grievances

—Orebe Femi

legally? Is he not pre -emptying the courts by unilaterally declaring the elections free and fair? Of course, one of the heinous acts of injustice, which this pretentiously holy President has perpetuated, is the continued suspension from office of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, despite the advice of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to the contrary. The President seeks every opportunity to exhibit his religiosity. Even while unjustly preventing a man against whom no wrong has been proven to resume his position; Jonathan has the temerity to wear the sanctimonious garb of self righteousness. at the Holy Ghost convention. Is he aware that in Christian theology, the Holy Ghost is the third arm of, the spiritual trinity that superintends the affairs of the universe? If he can deceive man, can he deceive the Holy Ghost? Does he realise that Martin Luther once famously said that the world is erected on moral foundations and that, in the words of Wole Soyinka, justice is the first condition of humanity? I am convinced that the Holy Ghost will be most embarrassed at the brazen injustice perpetrated by President Jonathan in the Justice Salami case at the behest of his party hawks. Yet, he hypocritically throws his holiness in our faces with insulting insolence. Is his treatment of Salami the action of a God fearing man? In any case, with the President’s victimization of Justice Salami for partisan reasons, will any judge ever again summon the courage to annul elections rigged in favour of Jonathan’s interests? Is our democracy not in grave danger? Kneeling so innocently before Pastor Adeboye that night was a President who on the very first day of this year announced the sudden removal of the purported fuel subsidy immediately resulting in the skyrocketing of, the product’s price. Vehement nationwide protests brought the country virtually to a stand still for almost two weeks. The President and his economic team insisted that the economy would collapse without the removal of the subsidy. Of course, the government was forced to reduce the price of fuel and the economy has not collapsed. Rather, various probes have demonstrated that a substantial chunk of the purported subsidy is a huge fraud and that the NNPC is a cesspit of corruption. Yet, the Minister in charge of the petroleum sector sits pretty pretending to be carrying out reforms to sanitize the sector. She is her worshipful majesty who cannot be touched. The Holy Ghost must find all this terribly embarrassing. Indeed, if the Holy Ghost had a whip, I am pretty sure somebody would have received a heavy thrashing on Pa Adeboye’s altar that night and you can guess who. Just like Jesus did to the traders desecrating his father’s house, the Holy Ghost would have thundered “turn not my redemption camp into a den of charlatans, hypocrites and opportunists”

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday

Fixing the Eagles in South Africa


E are on the march again for football glory. Pundits are tipping the Super Eagles to upset the chart even though they were absent at the 2010 edition - no thanks to the humbling pie handed the Nigerians by a more adventurous Guinean side. There is the strong feeling that Nigerians perform better when the odds are against them. The purists hinge their permutations on our players’ exploits in their European clubs. They can’t be far from the truth since these are the indices that fans rely on in predicting the eventual winners of big competitions, such as the Africa Cup of Nations. But have the Eagles changed from their old ways of not giving their best during the country’s matches? It is hard to place a bet that these Eagles could be different. We need to expose those things that we all cannot see that haunt the players during competitions. Whereas the fans worry about our chances before big games, the players cannot be disturbed. It is just a game and it is this indiffer-

ence they carry onto the pitch to record all the poor results we have seen. The mentality of the players has not changed. They love the good life of wine and woman. They love the bottle, partying all the time like movie stars. If they don’t do it, it affects their performance. Since France 1998, the Eagles have been bad testimonial to professional football. They behave as if they are demi-gods who must party to ease tension. They constitute themselves into cabals and dictate what they want. Things got so bad that the players picked their jerseys and those who should coach them. Of course, they decide what they should earn and insist on staying in the best hotels. Their wishes were always fulfilled, yet they circumvented all processes meant to ensure that they were not distracted. These boys are too rich. They flaunt their wealth by paying for rooms in the hotels where they stay. Their friends, most of who are pimps, litter the team’s camps. They pretend to be discussing serious matters with the players, but all they do is set the clandestine moves that distract them during competitions.

Things hit to the crescendo in 2004 when three players were expelled from the camp for frolicking and breaking camp rules. In 2008, some players had the temerity to ask Berti Vogts for permission to party in Ghana. The German, we are told, granted them. The Eagles fell apart and earned the sobriquet Super Chicken. Need I repeat what happened at the South Africa 2010 World Cup? What many consider as the difference are the new faces but they can’t be better than those dropped. Perhaps these new faces will create the competitive edge to get the coaches to actualise their dreams. It is fair to say that they appear disciplined in the camp but that has always been the trend with every new manager. The Super Eagles are an intriguing group to superintend in big competitions. They bond needlessly in fighting for their entitlements, irrespective of how they fare in matches. They break into groups when the games begin. This has been the biggest problem with the Eagles in competitions. Sadly, some of the coaches align with the dropped players to rock the camp. Indeed, some disgruntled sports administra-

tors take side with the players to worsen the situation, all in a bid to ensure that the NFF board fails. Personal vendetta rules the camp with National Sports Commission (NSC) chieftains fuelling bitterness among NFF men. It is clear that the Eagles’ biggest opponents during tournament are not the participating countries but themselves. Their conduct, commitment, determination and concentration during competitions leave much to be desired. We need to ask them if they truly want to represent us. This idea of reporting to camp to cause pain by not putting in their best during matches must stop. Nigeria will not cease to be a sovereign nation if we parade young boys who will fight for glory than the reluctant bunch that the Eagles have been. Those who are not ready to report in camp by midnight of January 4 should be dropped. Keshi should paraded boys who will be focused on lifting Nigeria’s image in global football competitions, not nursing fathers or journeymen transiting with the Eagles, but with finalised plans for cruises to choice areas, such as the Bahamas. Our players see camping periods as an imprisonment. The job must be done quickly for them to proceed on holidays. The nation may

•Continued on Page 63

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