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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

I’ll do better in 2013, says Jonathan

Osaze lashes Keshi, NFF over Eagles list


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•Presidency: no rift with Obasanjo

•Coach: I won’t miss him in the team

VOL. 7, NO. 2350 MONDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2012



Senator accuses governors of opposing Constitution review G

OVERNORS are opposed to some of the proposed amendments to the Constitution, a Senator alleged yesterday. Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Smart Adeyemi decried the governors’ posture to the ongoing Constitution amendment. To him, governors are out

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

to scuttle the exercise. Adeyemi told reporters in Abuja, at the weekend, that the governors are opposed to creation of states because it would reduce their influence. He said they don’t also want the removal of the immunity

clause. Adeyemi said: “They (Governors) are opposed to state creation because they believe it will reduce their empires. “They are against the removal of immunity clause because they don’t want their atrocities exposed while in of-

fice and they are against the autonomy of the state assemblies because they want to enslave them.” He said governors must be progressive-minded for the Constitution amendment to sail through. “ If we have governors who are progressives, the constitution amendment would be Continued on page 6

•Children playing the violin during the Apostolic Faith Christmas concert in Lagos...yesterday.


Sambo’s taste hikes cost of VP’s home to N16b ‘

Because you now have a vice president whose culture, tradition and religion are different, you are re-designing, adding some other features costing you as much as N9 billion when the original contract sum is N7 billion


ACTS have emerged on why additional N9 billion is required to fix the N7 billion residence of Vice President Namadi Sambo. The extra cash is needed to make the quarters suit Sambo’s culture and religion, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Fed-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja

eral Capital Territory (FCT) Senator Domingo Obende told reporters in Abuja, quoting Julius Berger, which is handling the project. According to Obende, a Julius Berger engineer told the committee that the design of the

house was intended for then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan but Sambo whose culture and religion are different suddenly emerged as vice president. Obende, who represents Edo North Senatorial District, was asked what the extra N9 billion

being sought by Julius Berger was meant for. He said: “I like being factual and I like addressing issues the way I understand them and in the perspective that I believe will throw light at a situation. “I recall one of Julius Berger Continued on page 6









NITEL p After all five attempts made by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to privatise the Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) failed, facilities at telephone exchanges across the country have gone derelict, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.


•Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo (left) watching as the Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kwami Local Government Area, Gombe State received defectors from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) the weekend.

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (left), Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu (second left), Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Yusuf Ageni and the Managing Director, Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), Mr. George Noah (right), during the media briefing to flag off the countdown to the Lagos Crossover Festival held at the Eko Atlantic City, Lagos.

•First Lady, Dame Patience GoodluckJonathan (middle), Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide (left) and Cardinal John Onaiyekan during the lighting of the First Nigerian National Christmas PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE Tree at Unity Fountain in Abuja ... yesterday.

•Group Managing Director/Cheif Executive Officer, First Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya (left), Chairman, Benshore Maritime Services, Otunba Benson Akingboye and MD, Automatic Fit and Energy, Omoba Olusegun Aderemi, at induction ceremony of Society for Corporate Governance, Nigeria in Lagos.

HE first attempt to sell the Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) to Investors International London Limited (IILL) for $1.14 billion in 2002 failed following the company’s inability to honour the terms of the contract. In 2003, Pentascope, a Dutch firm, took over NITEL and the company generated N51.43 billion as revenue in one year from 555,055 connected lines. However, after 23 months, the connected lines dropped to 440,000 and the firm incurred a debt of over N40 billion, which eventually led to the revocation of deal with Pentascope. In 2005, Orascom, an Egyptian telecoms giant, also failed to buy the company because its $257 million bid was below the reserved price. In 2006, the takeover of NITEL by Transcorp was celebrated with fanfare but the excitement was shortlived after the $500 milliondeal failed to turn around the fortunes of the company. Also, the last attempt to sell the company to New Generation Telecommunication Consortium of China at the price of $2.5 billion for 75 per cent stake in NITEL/MTEL was terminated due to failure of the Chinese consortium to pay the bid price. A visit by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents to some of the NITEL facilities nationwide showed that while some of the exchanges have been vandalised, others have been taken over by weeds. Mr. Awoala Atuboinoma, NITEL Territorial Manager in Port Harcourt, told NAN that more than N1 billion would be needed to rehabilitate the 10 moribund exchanges in the territory due to years of disuse. Atuboinoma said the exchanges, with installed capacity of 24,000 telephone lines, could still be viable if adequately reactivated. He said the reactivation would entail the replacement of some damaged cables; purchase of 500KVA generator as well as replacement of the air conditioning system. Atuboinoma accused some road construction companies operating in the state of destroying the NITEL armoured cables worth over N1 billion. He listed the NITEL exchanges on Aba Road and the one in Rumuibekwe community as among the vandalised exchanges. He said the vandalised exchanges had installed capacity of 10,000 and 4,000 lines, respectively. The manager said the multi-billion naira government-owned facilities had not been properly secured. He said he had requested the Rivers commissioner of police to post 12 policemen to protect the Port Harcourt exchange from vandals. NAN reports that the situation is not significantly different In Delta, where the 18 exchanges with installed capacity of 32, 500 telephone lines had remained comatose since 2006. They include those in Asaba, Agbor, Ogwashi-Ukwu, Warri, Sapele and Ughelli. A visit by NAN to some of the exchanges in the state showed that few security personnel guarded the

facilities. A former manager in one of NITEL’s exchanges in the state, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recalled that the facilities broke down shortly after the company was acquired by TRANSCORP. According to him, the NITEL facilities in the state are still being managed by TRANSCORP since the Federal Government has not appointed a competent investor. In Bayelsa, Mr. Sokari Wameso, NITEL Territorial Manager in the state, said the exchange in Yanagoa, with an installed capacity of 1,000 lines, was shut in 2009. “We are still managing to secure the exchange, the NITEL premises in the state capital with the little sum of N10,000 management is providing to us for the up-keep of the premises,’’ he said. In Benin, the exchange has been taken over by weeds and reptiles while the one in Akpakpava is being occupied by the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST). In Nsukka, Enugu State, Mr Patrick Ugwuoke, the Chief Security Officer of NITEL, told NAN that the exchange was abandoned since 2006 when government retrenched many of the workers. Ugwuoke claimed that the security guards had not been paid in the last two years. “The facilities here would be completely vandalised if we leave,’’ he said. In Onitsha, Anambra, a security man on duty in one of the abandoned exchanges, prevented a NAN correspondent from taking photographs of the complex already overgrown by weeds. In Awka, unserviceable NITEL vehicles littered the premises of the hitherto business busy complex. Mr Sunday Eyo, Area Head, NITEL Exchange in Uyo, said the company had engaged the services of a private firm to protect NITEL facilities in the state. ‘’NITEL has about nine exchanges with installed capacity of 5,000 lines in Uyo,’’ he said. In Calabar, both the Digital Telephone Exchange in Calabar, the AbaCalabar Optical Fibre Transmission Link inaugurated by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, have been abandoned. Some residents of the city, who spoke with NAN, appealed to the Federal Government to suspend the ongoing privatisation process and retake full control of NITEL. They said reviving the company would provide alternative communication options for Nigerians against the background of frequent complaints of poor quality services by GSM operators. In Kano, a disengaged employee of NITEL, Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani, appealed to the Federal Government to reactivate the 19 exchanges in the state. “There are 19 NITEL exchanges in Kano State, two in the municipal, while the remaining 17 are in the local government areas of the state,’’ he said. Tijjani, who worked for over 11 years in NITEL, however, expressed regret that most of the facilities in the state had been vandalised. It is the same story in Yobe as most of the cables and poles in the exchanges have been vandalised.




L phone exchanges rot away ‘

The equipment are functional but people are vandalising them as even the ones installed within the metropolis are being tampered with because they are good but still not being utilised

•A NITEL exchange in Ikoyi, Lagos: wasting away

A security guard in one of the exchanges, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that due to the security challenges in Damaturu, few of the workers who hitherto reported for duty had disappeared. Katsina State has a similar story to tell as Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim, the Katsina NITEL Exchange Area Manager, said that all the six NITEL exchanges in the state had been grounded. “The facilities were either vandalised or destroyed by wind or rain,’’ he said. However, some of the NITEL exchanges in the state are still functioning as confirmed by Alhaji Mohammed Sokoto, NITEL’s North West Zonal Manager. ‘’One of the exchanges in Kaduna is functional while the other nine exchanges were switched off due to power supply as the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Plc. has disconnected supply to the stations due to outstanding debts,’’ he said. In Yola, all the six exchanges have remained moribund with some already vandalised. A similar scenario prevails in Benue as confirmed by NITEL’s Territorial

Failed attempts to privatise NITEL •IILL for 1.14b dollars bid in 2002 •Pentascope’s attempt in 2003 •In 2005, Orascom’s $257 million dollars fell below the reserved price •In 2006, Transcorp’s $500 milliondeal failed to turn around the firm •New Generation’s $2.5 billion bid was terminated Manager in the state, Dr John Obeya. He, however, said that there were no recorded cases of vandalism in the territory and that some of the workers still reported for duty regularly. In Bauchi State, the Assistant Manager, Department of Management and Information System, Malam Ibrahim Juwara, told NAN

that the exchanges in the state had been switched off. “Bauchi Exchange has two machines of 5,000 capacity each that connect the various NITEL lines in the state before they were switched off. “The equipment are functional but people are vandalising them as even the ones installed within the metropolis are being tampered with because they are good but still not

being utilised,” Juwara said. The 12 NITEL exchanges in Jigawa have been abandoned with some of them overgrown with weeds, the survey showed. Although officials of NITEL were not on ground to comment on the development, an economist, Malam Ahmad Adamu, expressed dismay over the deplorable condition of the facilities. In Kwara, the Territorial Manager of NITEL, Mr Ben Uwuilekhue, declined comments on the situation in the area. “I don’t have the authority to tell you anything here, all what you are requesting for are in our headquarters in Abuja,” he said. In Gombe State, Mr. Nitte HabuAdamu, a technician with the NITEL exchange office in Gombe, told NAN that the cables supporting the operation of the exchanges in the state were damaged after many years of disuse. He, however, said that the machines were well protected by security guards. He said the telephone exchanges in Gombe, Billiri, Kaltungo,

Kumo,Ashaka,Bajoga, Nafada, were functional but not in use. In Nasarawa State, NAN learnt that one of the exchanges is fully operational but the environment has been overgrown by weeds. In Kebbi, the NITEL main exchange complex in Birnin Kebbi has been overgrown by weeds since it was locked up two years ago. In Oyo State, NAN learnt that most of the exchanges have been disconnected from electricity supply by PHCN, while most of the premises remained desolate and dotted by unserviceable vehicles. In Lagos State, the situation seemed different as a duty officer at the NITEL Broadway Office told NAN that the exchange was only shut to pave the way for a smooth privatisation of the company. Meanwhile, the NITEL Lagos Submarine International Cable Gateway is operational as it sells bandwidth locally and internationally, NAN reports. Ironically, the hitherto bubbling NITEL Exchange complex on Broad Street, Marina,Lagos, has been converted into a car park. The Iponri NITEL exchange has also been abandoned while the exchange office at Race Course, Lagos Island, which hitherto accommodated the NITEL headquarters annex, has been taken over by squatters. A security guard, Mr. Okon Effiong, told NAN that the illegal occupants claimed to have paid rent to some NITEL officials. Similarly, the PWD Bus Stop NITEL Exchange in Ikeja has been taken over by hawkers, while the Badagry exchange has been under lock and key since 2000. In Ekiti State, the NITEL Area Manager, Mr Olumide Shittu, said that all the five telephone exchanges and three booster stations in the state had remained shut. In Osun, Mr Makanjuola Kolapo, the Territorial Manager, also confirmed that all nine exchanges had been shut down. “These exchanges under the supervision of NITEL were very effective until a few years back when the whole system packed up for reasons best known to government,” Kolapo told NAN. He said the government was now losing huge revenue due to the nonutilisation of the exchanges. “Nigerians now spend more money on mobile telephony as against the cheaper rate offered by NITEL which was also cheaper and devoid of service malfunctioning,” Kolapo said.

Govt needs N500b to settle PHCN workers



HE National Union of Electricity Employees (NUAE) has said about N500 billion would be required to pay the entitlement of workers in the power sector. The union’s General Secretary, Mr Joe Ajaero, spoke at the weekend at an interactive session with reporters in Lagos. Ajaero said that of the amount, N400 billion would be required for workers’ gratuity, while N100 billion would be use to pay pension arrears. He said that it was not the Ministry of Power that should announce what the Federal Government would disburse as severance package to PHCN workers. According to the general secretary, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) was in a better position to announce the cost of settlement. He said it was regrettable that in industrial relation practise,

implementing an agreement was always a major problem, after all issues had been resolved. He expressed the hope that in 2013, the entitlement of the workers would be paid to enable Nigerians enjoy the expected 5000 mega watts of electricity. “We are expecting about 5000 mega watts of electricity from the Nigeria Integrated Power Project (NIPP) by next year. We believe this will boost electricity supply to consumers,’’ he said. The union’s scribe noted that the NIPP project, which had gulped about N37 billion, should have been inaugurated before the end of last year. If the project had been naugurated this year, it would have coincided with the effort of the private investors to improve electricity supply, Ajaero said. He, however, warned those giving various interpretations to the agreement signed between the

government and the union, to desist from doing so, to enable the workers get their severance benefits. Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) at the weekend said electricity generation in the country had reached 4,500 megawatts. A statement signed by Mr Dave Ifabiyi, the TCN Assistant General Manager on Public Affairs, attributed the achievement to the commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan to fulfilling his promise of improved electricity supply. “A new power generation peak of 4,502.2 megawatts was achieved on December 21, 2012, and was efficiently wheeled by TCN,’’ the statement said. It said that the generation was attained on Friday and described it as an improvement on the 4,454.1mw of December 19. It said that as more National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP)

became functional, transmission and distribution companies would continue to harness “every available generation to ensure delivery of stable electricity supply.” The statement quoted the Chief Executive Officer of TCN, Mr Olusola Akinniranye, as giving an assurance that the company would not relent on efforts toward the transmission grid for greater efficiency. Akinniranye said that efforts were on to restore the Benin-Egbin 330kV line and complete the new transmission/distribution interface projects to further enhance the company’s power evacuation capacity. He appealed to energy consumers to continue to partner with TCN in protecting electricity installations and forestall vandalism, which constituted a major setback to efforts to improved supplies.




Xmas: IG orders tight security nationwide •60,000 Civil Defence corp deployed


OLICE have ordered a 24-hour Watertight security nationwide at government installations and strategic facilities ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar gave the order yesterday in his Christmas message. He directed Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police in charge of the 12 Zonal, 36 state Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to personally take charge of security. The Nigeria Security and

•President Goodluck Jonathan laying the foundation of the Living Faith Foundation church International Bible Institute in Kaduna…yesterday. With him (from left) are: Kadua State Governor Mukhtar Yero, Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe; Executive Secretary, Christian Pilgimage Commission, Mr. John Kennedy Opara and Pastor PJA Olaiya, founder of the church


I’ll do better in 2013, says Jonathan

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday promised a better performance next year. He charged Nigerians to take their eyes off the challenges confronting the country. He said his administration would be able to generate enough power so that small scale businesses could thrive. “Small scale businesses such as barbing salons cannot continue to buy generators to operate and break even. My wish is for Nigerians not to have generating sets,” he said. On security challenges in the north, he said security operatives were working hard to end the tide. He said having sanitised the electoral process, his administration was intervening in road construction, upgrading of airports and railway development The President urged Nigerians not to lose hope because he and members of his cabinet have resolved to make significant changes in the country during his tenure. The President spoke at the

•Presidency: no rift with Obasanjo From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

foundation laying of the Living Faith Foundation’s Bible College in Kaduna. “Let me assure all of you and indeed all Nigerians that 2013 will be better for us than 2012 in all aspects of the nation’s history. The new year shall be better for us in terms of job creation, wealth creation and improved security among others,” he said. President Jonathan said although the changes might seem to be slow in coming because of the tedious processes involved, they would soon be manifesting in forms of better wellbeing for the people. He said he was aware of the doubts Nigerians were expressing about his government because of the challenges they were facing. “Sometimes, challenges make people doubt the sincerity of government, but I am confident that God knows everything,” he said. Making reference to Job in

the Bible who lost everything he had, he added that God wants Nigerians to learn some lessons from the challenges they are facing, adding that God means well for the country. From the Presidency yesterday came a strong denial of a rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Issues of leadership position in key organs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and governance are reported to have stained their relationship. But yesterday, Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said Jonathan and Obasano enjoy excellent relationship. “President Jonathan has no problems at all with former President Obasanjo. He is a man for whom he has the utmost respect and they have an excellent relationship from what I can see. But of late we have seen in the media a situation whereby people are just bringing things up to set up the two leaders and I believe that

both leaders are experienced enough to know that sometimes people use the media just to create drama and you know drama is a very important element of politics and governance”, Abati said. The presidency yesterday also told leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), Alhaji Mujaheed Asari- Dokubo that his summation of the presidency is totally wrong. The presidency said Dokubo is suffering from the “crab mentality” because his summation is from a wrong premise without any bearing with the present realities. Abati said: “I read that interview granted by Asari-Dokubo and I was quite surprised that he would talk like that because as he himself admitted in that interview, he is close to government. And his interview was full of proverbs. So, I don’t know whether it is a wise thing for you to be a member of the house and then for you to stand outside and urinate into that same house. Doing so may serve the purpose Continued on page 63

From Shola O’Neil, Warri, Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said it had deployed more than 60,000 regular and non regular personnel across the country to maintain law and order during the yuledtide. A statement by the Corps spokesman, Emma Okeh, quoted Commandant General of the Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin, as saying that the move would ensure a hitchfree celebration devoid of any attack or threat to lives of individuals or group. Continued on page 61

Senator accuses governors of opposing Constitution review Continued from page 1

successful,” the lawmaker said. “They will not allow the constitution amendment to be successful. They are going to derail it. The fundamental aspect of the constitution amendment is the autonomy of the State Houses of Assembly. “If we cannot get the state assemblies to be autonomous, there will be no development and the standard of living of the people will be static. “The governors are already saying they don’t want it. How can one individual be determining the freedom of a whole state? “It is for the media and the civil society to rise up against the governors and allow people to have their freedom. On whether the Senate is helpless, he said: “With the provision of the Constitution handed over to us by the military, we have to obey and respect the content and spirit of the constitution. “We cannot amend the Constitution without getting twothirds of the state assemblies concurring with us. And the governors are also saying that they don’t want the autonomy of local governments.”

He noted that the local government reform of 1976 was meant to bring governance closer to the people. He added: “The governors are demanding more powers for the states from the Federal Government, while they are against freedom for another tier of government.” He lamented that states were not created to ensure a true federal structure or the country. “In creating a state, factors such as norms, cultures, values and linguistics are taken into consideration,” Adeyemi said, adding, “That is why states are not equal in the United States (US). People agree to live together.” He said commandeering resources meant for local government by governors is unconstitutional. He added: “Governors siphon these funds to a point that some local governments cannot even pay salaries or construct a culvert. “If the President can ask the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the governors, twothirds of them will go to jail because what they are doing is a breach of the Constitution.”

Sambo’s taste hikes cost of VP’s home to N16b Continued from page 1

engineers saying, ‘well the design of this building was made to accommodate a vice president but now we have another vice president whose culture and religion are different from the intended user or end user of the building. “I remember asking him what are you talking about? When you are designing a vice president’s residence there must be a standard. “You don’t know who is going to be there. “It could even be a handicapped person that will occupy the building. “So you have to make provision for that. “In other words, the design must be functional such that even a disabled person will be able to live there comfortably and without any amendment. “Because you now have a vice president whose culture, tradition and religion are different you are re-designing, adding some other features costing you as much as N9 billion when the original contract sum is N7 billion.

“The size of the land has not changed. I really don’t understand what kind of private structure on a land that is less than 20,000 square metres will take about N16.5 billion to complete.” Noting that Nigeria ’s money must be used judiciously, Obende said the committee’s Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, was bitter about the astronomical increase in the project’s cost. He said: “My chairman was very bitter about this issue. “I made my observations. We are discussing with them. “Yes we know because of the long period of the job there could be need for variation and if there are additions but this must be commensurate with the original contract sum. “Not a variation being more than the original contract sum, it is unacceptable. “We understand that he is the vice president of this country, his security is paramount. “Nobody wants the security of his vice president com-

promised but that money for security is too much”. The committee, Obende said, had requested for specifics such as the additional work, the drawing, bill of quantity, how much they collected, how much they have committed to the building so far, the bill of payment and then the original job. “These are the things we have asked for and until that is done substantial work cannot continue on that structure”. Obende added: “So I can assure Nigerians that with the kind of chairman, we have in FCT Committee and me also as vice chairman who understands the indices of such structure, I think that we will be able to look at the situation and we will not lose our money to contractors who may be doing the right thing at the wrong time. “We want contractors that will do the right thing at the right time so that Nigeria’s money will be used judiciously.” Two weeks ago, the Senate Committee on FCT during its oversight visit opposed the

proposed extra cash for the building renovation. Adeyemi, who spoke at the site of the project, said such a huge sum was uncalled for especially at a time when most Nigerians cannot afford three square meals. Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) Adamu Ismail told the lawmakers that the job was awarded to Julius Berger in 2009 for N7billion. Ismail said the cash was needed for furniture, fencing, two additional protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and other security gadgets. He said these were not captured in the original scope of work. But Adeyemi said: “The National Assembly is not going to appropriate additional N9billion for the project especially at a period in this country where people cannot get three square meals. “The N9billion is far more than the original cost of the project.” Ismail replied by the that the amount had been slashed to about N6billion 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 N9billion but now it came to about N6billion.” The vice president’s residence is a sprawling one-storey building sitting on a wide expanse of land beside the Millennium Park and behind the Yellow House Headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS). The building has a wide outer and inner parlours with rooms. There is a chapel and mosque on the left and right hand side of the house. The building has been plastered and work is going on the central cooling system. The inner parlour has marble tiles. The sewage and water system has been completed. There are no furniture items or any furnishing yet. The doors and windows are


yet to be fixed. The landscaping of the compound has commenced but the roads are not tarred nor the floor tiled.

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678



NEWS Xmas: Atiku greets Nigerians


ORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has urged Nigerians to keep faith with the promises of God “who has endowed our country so richly to renew it and restore good life as we celebrate Christmas.” The statement reads: “I congratulate my dear compatriots at Christmas and pray for peace in our hearts, homes and country. “As I wish you all a Merry Christmas, I enjoin you to keep the faith in the unfailing hope that God will renew our richly endowed country and restore the good life to us, His people.” The former Vice-President encouraged Nigerians to use “this season to reflect on the need to rededicate ourselves to God and His ways.” He urged Nigerians to have confidence in the nation as it charts a route out of the difficulties it is facing, including security challenges and frequent loss of lives. Atiku enjoined leaders to be compassionate and imbibe the lessons of brotherly love “in this season of joy with the hope that God will support all efforts at nation building.”

Pray for Nigeria’s unity, Ahmed, Baraje urge Xtians From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal (fourth left) ; Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (left); Senator Ganiyu Solomon (second right); Dayo Bush-Alebiosu (right); and newly-wedded couple, Ibrahim and Aminat Alebiosu, at their reception at 10 Degrees Event Centre, Lagos...yesterday.

Falana urges govt to implement Reps’ report on Dana plane crash


AWYER and human rights activist Mr. Femi Falana has urged the Federal Government to implement the report of the House of Representatives on the Dana plane crash. Speaking yesterday, he said: “When the Dana plane crash occurred in Lagos on June 3, the Federal Government set up a panel of enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the disaster. “The panel carried out a shoddy inquiry and hurriedly turned in a report, which covered up the causes of the crash of the plane that killed 153 passengers and crew on board and 10 people. “Dissatisfied with the shameful cover up of the

tragic incident, our law office initiated an inquest into the plane crash. The inquest, which was in progress, was suddenly suspended on the order of a Federal High Court via a suit filed by a former pilot but supported by the Dana Airlines management and the Ministry of Aviation. “Thereafter, the Aviation Minister Princess Stella Oduah, who had cried like a baby when the tragedy occurred, was too happy to lift the ban placed on Dana flights. “However, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, which probed the incident, has exposed the official fraud that has characterised the insensitive handling of the Dana affair by the Ministry of Aviation.

“In a detailed report on the unfortunate incident submitted by the Committee to the House last week, it was revealed that an NCAA Inspector, Suleiman Akwuh, who purportedly did the pre-arrival inspection of the ill-fated airline, was found to be without requisite professional qualifications. “The committee also found that for the period under review, Dana operated 14 air returns caused by system failure, which is a sufficient indication of imminent danger. “More revealing was the disclosure that up to the time of this report, NCAA is still without any licensed engineer typerated on MD83, yet it is going ahead with the tech-

nical audit on Dana operations with a view to restoring its licence. “On the basis of such findings, Dr. Harold Demurin, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), was indicted for professional negligence and incompetence. Since his tenure has expired, he was recommended for immediate removal. The historic report was unanimously approved by the entire House last week. “From the report of the House of Representatives, it is indisputable that the Dana plane disaster would have been avoided if the Dana planes had been grounded when they operated 14 air returns caused by system failure, which is a sufficient indication of imminent danger.”

Public Complaints Commission flays pension fraudsters


HE Public Complaints Commission (PCM) yesterday berated those behind the pension scam in the country, assuring that they would not escape the wrath of the law. The commission noted the complaints of the pensioners who have for-

By Aminat Popoola

warded petitions to its Lagos office, assuring that their grievances would be made known to the appropriate investigative authority for action. The Public Complaints Commissioner in charge of Lagos State, Mr. Funso

Olukoga, said: “The commission will refer cases of contributory pensions that are not remitted in breach of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act of 2004 to the appropriate authorities.” He said the commission viewed the non-remittance as a criminal practice, add-

ing that directors of companies involved may face serious penalty, if found guilty. Olukoga, who addressed reporters in Lagos on the activities of the commission in the state, disclosed that 349 petitions were received by the Lagos office this year, stressing that 255 of the registered cases were fully resolved.

Abacha, Abdulsalami fixed monetary, credit policies, says Ogwuma


ECADES after they left office, it has been revealed that the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha and his successor, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar determined Nigeria’s monetary and credit policies and emasculated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),

By Nduka Chiejina ( Assistant Editor)

which was supposed to do that. In a memorandum presented to the National Assembly to dissuade the legislators from whittling down the powers of the CBN, and circulated to media establish-

ments yesterday in Abuja, Dr. Paul Ogwuma former CBN governor from 1993 to 1999, said the Board of the CBN when he was the governor “could not change the rate of interest without the approval of the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.”

According to him, “the process of obtaining the requisite prior approval most often gave rise to inordinate delays in bureaucratic red tapes and policy lag with consequent implementation of time inconsistent and thus ineffective monetary and credit policy.”

Insecurity: NANS urges Boko Haram to cease fire


HE National Association of Nigerian

Students (NANS) yesterday pleaded with the Boko Haram sect to lay down its weapons and embrace the proposed dialogue by the Federal Government. It frowned at the way the

From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

sect is killing people almost on a daily basis, adding that urgent steps need to be taken to ensure peace. In a communiqué issued at the end of the 27th national convention of

NANS held at the Uyo Township Stadium, Akwa Ibom State and signed by the Chairman of the 2012 convention committee Comrade Khlifa Adamu Bello, NANS urged the government to stop the killings. Its new National

President is Comrade Yinka Gbadebo of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State. NANS enjoined the Federal Government to expedite action on the road projects awarded.


WARA State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has urged Christians to use the periods of the celebra tion of the birth of Jesus Christ and the New Year to preach national rebirth and transformation. He also enjoined Christians to pray for the peace and unity of the country. Ahmed, in his Christmas and New Year message, said the period should be seen as a season of showing love, especially to the needy. In a statement, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, said Nigerians must always project the virtues of humility, self denial and brotherliness, which are the hallmarks of the teachings of Christianity and Islam. He said: “I do believe that at this period, more than any other time in our national history, Nigeria needs God’s favour, which we can get through fervent prayers, show of compassion for others and unity. These are the lessons we should imbibe at this festive season.”

Oyo women ‘ll not suffer, says Ajimobi’s wife From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


IFE of the Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, has reaffirmed the commitment of the present administration towards ensuring that women are well catered for. Food items were distributed to 500 women in Ibadan North East Local Government yesterday. Mrs. Ajimobi, who spoke at Oje Market, Ibadan said the programme is in continuation of the ‘Ajumose Food Bank Initiative’, which is being supported on a monthly basis by Governor Abiola Ajimobi. She said the Ajimobi administration has a human face and is determined to reposition and transform the lives of the citizenry through regular food supply, empowerment, welfare packages and poverty alleviation programmes.

NEMA activates search and rescue teams for Xmas


HE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has activated its emergency search and rescue teams to be on full alert in the event of any emergency situation during the Yuletide. The Director-General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, spoke in his office at the weekend when he received the communiqué of the 2012 Annual Media Retreat of Journalists and Information Officers on Disaster and Emergency Management in Nigeria, a statement by the agency’s spokesman, Yushau Shuaibu, said yesterday. He said: “All search and rescue officers of the NEMA and those of other response agencies as well as trained emergency volunteers throughout the federation have been put on the alert in case of any untoward development between the Christmas period and the New Year. The activation of search and rescue officers to be on full alert has been the tradition of the agency in its collaborative efforts with other agencies and volunteers in responding to distress situation.”

‘Nigerians must imbibe Xmas lessons’ By Damilola Owoyele


HE Lord Bishop of Lagos Diocese (Anglican Commun ion), Most Rev. Adebola Ademowo, has urged Nige rians to imbibe the lessons of Christmas to develop the country. In his Christmas and New Year message, Rev. Ademowo said the birth of Christ 2,000 years ago coincided with a dark time in human history when there were religious and sociopolitical conflicts. He said: “It was in the midst of hopelessness and uncertainties when people were expecting a sudden end and judgment, but God visited man to give hope and redemption. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. The government shall be on his shoulders, he will be called the Prince of Peace and wonderful counsellor.” Rev Ademowo lamented the problems that have bedevilled Nigeria such as kidnapping, militancy, political fracas, insurgency and poverty.



NEWS ‘Corrupt Nigerians have brought our country into disrepute’


HE Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Okon Nta, has vowed to continue the anticorruption war, no matter the consequence. He urged Nigerians not to be part of those he described as corrupt elements who have brought the country into disrepute. Nta spoke at the weekend in Abuja at the 2012 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carol organised by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Nigeria, he said, can develop if all hands are on deck to fight corruption, adding that Nigerians must pray for a change as they make their New Year resolutions.

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

He said it was unfortunate that corruption had penetrated all sectors of the economy. Said he: “Nigerians should expect an understanding that their wellbeing, happiness and death are affected by corruption. When we are planning for our New Year resolutions, I’m sure we all have New Year resolutions, the first on top of our agenda should be, ‘Lord, do not let me be part of the corrupt elements that have brought my country, myself and family into disrepute.”’ The Commandant General (CG) of the NSCDC, Dr. Ade Abolurin, appealed to Nigerians to support the President Goodluck Jonathan administration in fighting corruption.

NEMA raises the alarm over people’s return to flooded areas


HE National Emer gency Management Authority (NEMA) has raised the alarm over the return of people to areas recently flooded in Bayelsa, Rivers, Anambra, Delta and other states. The Director-General of the agency, Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi, urged the people to move out of the place to the highlands to save life and property. Sani-Sidi spoke in Abuja at the weekend during an interactive session with reporters at the end of a two-day annual media retreat and workshop on Emergency Management organised by

By Adebisi Onanuga

NEMA in collaboration with the Journalists Against Disaster Initiative (JADI) and Media and Information Committee on Emergency Management (MICEM). The NEMA DirectorGeneral said the advice became necessary because there was need for the people to realise that the affected areas were natural waterways and that they would be flooded again if the water level should rise. “If we can’t reverse it because it is a natural phenomenon, then we have to learn to live with it.”

•Wike greeting Dokpesi jnr... at the weekend. With them is Dr. Dokpesi

‘Govt alone can’t solve crisis in education’


INISTER of State for Education Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has said the problems in the education sector should not be left for the government alone. He spoke at the weekend in Abuja during the signing of a a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education and Daar Communications Plc to broadcast educational signals to institutions. Wike said the Federal

•Education Ministry, firm collaborate to transmit signals Government is ready to partner stakeholders in the private and public sectors to deliver quality basic education. “We are determined to improve the quality of education in Nigeria and our resolve is to involve everyone, since government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of creating educational access for Nigerian children.” Wike noted that though the President Goodluck Jonathan administration has invested in the basic education sub-sector, collaborations are required to increase access across the country.

He said of the N29billion needed for the project, the Federal Government would not make any financial commitments besides facilitating the participation of local and state governments. The Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said the communications outfit would commit 22 channels to air education programmes patterned in line with the approved Federal Ministry of Education curriculum. He said the required infrastructure would be developed

in localities in the 774 local governments and rural communities of the Federal Capital Territory to transmit signals to schools. Dokpesi added that trained and qualified teachers have been recruited to deliver lessons to Nigerian children. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, described the project as a landmark initiative to extend the benefits of the Federal Government’s educational programmes to the nooks and crannies of the country.

Govt urged to develop indigenous investment


OVERNMENTS and private initiatives in Africa are required to develop indigenous investment and entrepreneurial groups, rather than depend on foreign aid. This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 2012 Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa, held at the Brown University, Providence, U.S.A. The two-day event was attended by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation for the Promotion of Good Governance, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, Commander, United States Africa Command, Gen. Carter Ham, United States Ambassador to Niger Republic, Bisa Williams and South African anti-

By Precious Igbonwelundu apartheid activist, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele. It was agreed that what is needed on the African continent is a dedicated and thorough operation to remove poverty that robs the people of their dignity and make them vulnerable to the manipulation of corrupt, selfserving and divisive leaders and warlords. Calling on Africans at home and in the Diaspora as well as the international community to promote good governance on the continent by acknowledging outstanding examples of remarkable African leaders, the colloquium urged ruling parties on the continent in particular, to respect an independent and credible election sys-

tem, viable and vibrant political opposition, as well as free and rigorous civil society engagement in politics. It enjoined African governments to develop a Diaspora Engagement Plan to promote robust ways of harvesting and leveraging the rich and diverse experience of Africans in the Diaspora. While acknowledging the idea of partnership between African states and the international community to maintain peace and democratic governance, it said the international community should be wary of the unintended consequences of military support such as training and arming ambitious elements and war mongers who disrupt democratic regimes and the rule of law in parts of the continent.

Army ‘ll offer first-class training for personnel, says Ihejirika


HE Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika, said yesterday that the Nigerian Army would provide first-class training for its personnel to meet contemporary challenges. Ihejirika spoke during the graduation of the eighth Basic Counter Terrorism Training conducted by the Nigerian Army Training Centre, Kontagora, for junior officers. He said the training would enhance the capacity of the

personnel to discharge their duties. He said it was organised for junior officers because of the deficiency in professional conduct bordering on indiscipline, negligence in performance of duties and illegal duties. “It is also to bridge the gap and appreciate the importance of intelligence as a key driver in irregular operations,” Lt-Gen Ihejirika said.

He also said that a special package on intelligence had been included and conducted by counter terrorism experts from the Directorate of Military Intelligence and Department of State Security. “The training you have received within the past five weeks has moulded you with the requisite professional competence to tackle the challenges you are likely to meet in the field,” he said.





NEWS Obasanjo hails Amosun on roads From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta


ORMER PresidentOlusegun Obasanjo has said he is impressed with the performance of Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun within his short period in office. He said he is particularly happy with the ongoing expansion of roads. Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Saturday during the Ogun Christmas Carol and Service of Nine Lessons. He said Amosun is fulfilling his campaign promises to the people and urged the governor to remain focused on completing his “re-building mission”. Obasanjo said the birth of Jesus Christ was a fulfillment of God’s promise to mankind and urged elected office holders to always fulfil their campaign promises. He said: “I am impressed and say that you (Amosun) have started well. You must continue in that spirit, so as to end well. As politicians it is very important to fulfil the vows we made to the People. What the developing society needs mainly is infrastructure, such as good roads, and the basic things of life. “As a President, Governor or Council Chairman, once you build good roads, provide potable water and other infrastructure, you would have solved 80 per cent of the peoples problem. “As a developing country, infrastructure matters. It is the basis on which other developments stand. When building roads, do not forget water, and we can not talk of development if there is no electricity. All of them are important factors of development.” Amosun restated his determination to rebuild the state by providing infrastructure, quality and affordable education and creating jobs. He said: “One of my campaign promises was to transform Ogun and I remain committed to making it one of the best in the country.”

Adeboye prays for Ekiti


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday received the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, who was in the state for the church’s programme, tagged “Let’s go a-Fishing”. Receiving Adeboye at the Iworoko Road venue of the programme, Fayemi said the state is witnessing peace and development as Adeboye prophesied during his visit to Ekiti in 2011. He was optimistic that yesterday’s visit and prayers would also translate into greater blessings for the state and its people. In his sermon, entitled: “God’s Favour”, Adeboye, whose grandmother hailed from Ado-Ekiti, prayed for continued peace and development in Ekiti and the progress of residents.

•Pastor Adeboye greeting Fayemi...yesterday.

At the event were Deputy Governor Mrs. Funmi Olayinka; her husband,

Arc. Lanre Olayinka; House of Assembly Speaker Adewale Omirin; members


Province 1, Pastor Ola Adejubee, among others.

Saraki played leading role in Ekiti State’s creation, Fayemi


OVERNORS Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) yesterday visited former Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki in Ilorin, the state capital, to commiserate with him on the death of his father, Dr. Olusola Saraki. They said the late politician lived his life serving the people. Fayemi said the late strongman of Kwara politics played a major role in the creation of Ekiti State. He said: “I can attest to the fact of that service as the Governor of Ekiti State today. I probably would not have had the opportunity in that capacity, if there had not been an Ekiti State. Many of you may not know the quiet but effective role

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

the late Dr. Saraki played in the creation of Ekiti State. He was one with us in that struggle and he used all his God-given talents and influence with those in authority. “We were not the largest or the most influential among the states agitating at the time, but had a lot of ph.ds and a lot of book people. By hard work and the assistance of the late politician and other leaders, fortune smiled on us and we became a state. “We have brought development closer to our people as a result of that and he never waivered in his commitment to us. We are very happy, even though it is a mournful season,

to be here to commiserate with our brother, friend and mentor on the passage of his father. “This is an opportunity for all of us to thank God. It is a celebration of a life well lived; a life of service, decency and candour. The highest form of duty any human being can render is a life of service to the people. “Our leader could have remained a successful medical doctor, treating patients in the narrowest sense of that time, but he remained a medical doctor all his life, treating patients far beyond the confines of medicine. “His was a life of clinical surgery of human beings and forensic commitment to improving the lives of our people. It

Oyo workers get free transportation IVIL servants in Oyo State will enjoy free transportation services to and from their offices with effect from January, next year. Governor Abiola Ajimobi announced this during an interactive session with workers at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Ibadan.

of the State Executive Council and the Provincial Pastor of the Church in Ekiti

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

He said the government has bought some buses for the purpose, adding that they would take workers from designated locations to the state secretariat in the morning and return them to the locations after work. Ajimobi said it was part of

his administration’s welfare package for the state workforce in the New Year. He also announced the payment of 13th month salary to civil servants. The governor said workers would close today by 12 noon to enable them prepare for the Christmas celebration.

He approved 100 per cent increment in car loans for workers and reduced the tax deducted from their salaries by 48 per cent. Ajimobi urged workers to come up with ideas that can help his administration’s revenue drive.

•Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi inaugurating the Elebu Road in Iddo Local Government the weekend. With him are the Council Chairman, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela (second right) and Mr. Gbenga Adeyefa of Abog Nigeria Limited.

will be a disservice to reduce that service to that of Ilorin people, Kwara State or even the north. We know Senator Bukola Saraki will not shirk his responsibility of leading our people dutifully with commitment, compassion, competence, candour and the support of our lord. We commiserate with you and are sad that our father has departed.” Aregbesola said: “We share in the grief of Senator Saraki and the people of Kwara State on the demise of our leader. He was a leader to all those who believe in absolute service to the people. He lived his life helping the people. “He showed that public life essentially is service to the people and their interest. We

see him as a leader and share your loss. We join you in ceaseless spiritual requests to God to grant him eternal rest.” Thanking them for the visit, Saraki said: “Your presence has made us know in Kwara State that we are good neighbours. It also shows that we are all in the service for our people. This is politics without bitterness, where we come together to support each other. “This is a lesson to those coming behind us to work together across all divides for the interest of the country. The challenges of our country are beyond one person, one party or a group of people. All of us, with our experiences and different back grounds, must coming together to address these challenges.”

Stop whipping up sentiments, governor’s aide tells Fayose From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi’s aide on Internal Security, Mr. Deji Adesokan, has accused former Governor Ayodele Fayose of peddling falsehood to whip up “petty popularity among the people”. He said Fayose was deluding himself in respect of the 2014 governorship election. Adesokan said Fayose’s “plot” to gain recognition from the people “by lying” would not get him anywhere. He spoke at the weekend in Iyin Ekiti during the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Day celebration. Empowerment items worth over N3 million were distributed to residents. The items included two vehicles and six motorcycles. Adesokan urged residents to go about their businesses without fear of molestation by “politicians, who once turned Ekiti into a killing field”. The governor’s aide, who used to work for the State Security Service (SSS), said: “Fayose is a master of coercion and brutality. He did it before and he has been seeking ways to try it again. This will be resisted and made impossible by the people, who have learnt their lessons. “Fayose has accused me of disturbing some supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in some Ekiti towns recently. May I tell you that his enemies within the PDP are enough to battle him and are actually battling him. ACN is not ready to join forces with his home enemies. “Which party does he really belong and where are his supporters? I often wonder if Fayose is actually facing the reality of his loss of relevance within the party he claims to belong to.” Reacting to allegations that the government was trying to silence the opposition, Adesokan said: “The best preparation for 2014 against the opposition is performance, on which Fayemi has scored all the points and is not tired. “Fayose is a theatre practitioner and was acting, so that the police could give him more security aides. But he does not need to do that by crying wolf where there is none. “Fayemi is the most peace loving individual I have ever known. Instances abound where the PDP made moves to cause a breach of the peace, but Fayemi would not support retaliation. “We are familiar with Fayose’s decoy. He applied same in 2001 when he came to Ekiti to contest. He is fond of raising false alarms. He made those allegations so that he could have the kind of privileges he enjoyed then, which made him win the election in 2003.




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Council unveils signage for CDC SURULERE Local Government Area of Lagos State has unveiled the logo and signage for the Community Development Committee (CDC) in the area. The event, which was witnessed by the council's prominent leaders, also served as an avenue for the member representing Surulere Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to render account of his stewardship. Gbajabiamila said: "To serve has its own challenges, especially when you have a burden to uplift the living standards of your constituency. So, despite these difficulties, leadership must impact the lives of citizens. Sponsoring this logo and signage for the CDC is a landmark venture because it provides the platform to launch the identity of our CDC in a unique way as would distinguish us from the hundreds of communities in Lagos State in a similar manner the coat of arms of our great state Lagos stands out from others." The signage was placed at the entrance of the community hall, where CDC meetings hold. Chairman of the CDC Mr. Adeyemi thanked Gbajabiamila for believing in the committee. He re-assured the community of a better time and a progressive year ahead.

Forgery: ACN exonerates self By Dada Aladelokun

THE Agbado Oke-Odo, Lagos State Chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), yesterday dissociated itself from the ongoing trial of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2011 local government election in the state, Busari Ayinde Kola, over alleged certificate forgery. The PDP’s candiddate is facing a four-count charge of certificate forgery, among others, before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court in Lagos. One of the charges read during Kola's arraignment on December 14 in Lagos, read: "That you, Busari Ayinde Kola 'm', on September 17, 2011 in the Lagos Magisterial District fraudulently used false West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level, December, 1987 by presenting it to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission as genuine. You hereby committed an offence punishable under Section 364 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011." Since the inception of Kola's travails, the rumour have been making the round that the councils' chairman and ACN candidate in the area, Dr Augustine Arogun, is behind his problem because of an impending case between the duo at the Appeal Court. Reacting to the development yesterday, Mr. Segun Shodiya, who chairs Agbado Oke-Odo ACN described such rumour as totally unfounded. "Our party, the ACN is a lawabiding and disciplined party. We have no hand in the case against the PDP candidate. His problem is with the police and the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC). We are not a party to both authorities and ours is to allow

Free bus ride on Christmas, New Year

•President, New Era Foundation, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (middle), Chairman Council of One-Day Governors, Mr Ebuka Anisiobi (sitting left), his deputy Mr Emmanuel Aiyenitaju (right), with other members at the 4th reunion luncheon in Lagos... weekend

EFCC accuses firm of alleged N61.5m theft T HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused the Managing Director of Annygral Consultants, Mr Alex Ikpeme of allegedly stealing a sum of N61.5 million being payment for the supply of 15 Land Rover Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) to the Ministry of Defence. The commission told a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Lateefa Okunnu that N61.5 million was paid into the account of Mr Ikpeme as payment for the 15 vehicles. An EFCC operative, Ofenimu Atiba Sunday, made the disclosure while testifying in the on-going trial of the defendant before Justice Okunnu. The defendant was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing of N61.5 million belonging to Cochedes Agro Industries Limited, a subsidiary of Coscharis Group. Sunday, a detective and Deputy Superintendent (SP)

By Adebisi Onanuga

in his testimony, said Ikpemi in his statement admitted collecting money in value of the contract awarded for the supply of the Land Rover SUVs. The EFCC operative stated that he led the team that investigated the petition against Ikpeme and his company. According to him, the defendant evaded arrest for more than a year and that it took the assistance of other security agencies to arrest him. He added that the funds for the SUVs to be supplied was paid into Ikpeme's account in 2010. He claimed that the defendant withdrew the money until N300 was left in the account. He said the investigating team wrote several agencies to confirm some details, adding that of all the companies and parastatals written, only the Ministry of Defence failed to reply.

Ikpeme, through his counsel, Olalekan Ojo denied the allegation during cross examination. The EFCC alleged that the defendant had in November, 2008, entered a business arrangement with Coscharis Group to help him with the supply of 15 Land Rover SUVs to the Ministry of Defence. The commission alleged that Coscharis granted the defendant the loan to facilitate the deal based on the agreement that the money would be paid into their account. The commission claimed that after being paid for the supply of the vehicles, the defendant refused to make any payment to Coscharis Group for the supply of the vehicles. However, Ojo told the court that the EFCC had failed to establish a charge of stealing against his client, adding that investigations made by Ofen-

imu, an EFCC investigative officer, did not incriminate the defendant in anyway. He said the defendant refused to pay Coscharis Group because of a breach in the contract agreement. "There is no evidence to show that the vehicles were supplied by Coscharis Group. There was no allegation of stealing in the statements made by officials of the company to the EFCC," he said. The execution of the contract, Ojo argued, preceded the date on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which were allegedly signed by both parties. He said the cheques issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were in favour of the defendant. "It was not stated anywhere that the money belonged to Coscharis Group," Ojo added. The issue before the court, he argued, was a contractual dispute and not a criminal charge as being alleged by the commission. Justice Okunnu adjourned the matter till March 1, 2013 for continuation of trial.

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (third left), his wife, Dame Abimbola (second left), representative of the Deputy Governor and Director, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Folashade Ogunnaike (first left), Prophet Samson Ayorinde (right) and others at the 2012 Christmas Carol with the theme, “Prince of Peace” at the State House, Marina, Lagos

TO ease movement on Christmas and New Year days, the Lagos State Government has promised to provide free bus ride to Lagosians on December 25, and January 1, 2013. The free bus ride, according to a statement by the Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Dr. Dayo Mobereola, will enable Lagosians move around the city. The free bus service provided by the First BRT Cooperative on the Mile 12 to CMS Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system corridor and the Ikotun-Igando-IyanaIpaja-Maryland Bus Franchise Scheme corridor, which began in 2008, had helped in reducing congestion and accidents on roads during festive periods. It will run between 7.00am and 10.00pm. Mobereola said the first BRT Cooperative operator will offer free services on Mile 12 - CMS, Mile 12 Obalende; Ajah to National Stadium; Ajah - Obalende; Mile 12 - National Stadium; Mile 2 - National Stadium; Oshodi -Obalende and Oshodi - National Stadium routes. On the Bus Franchise Scheme (BFS) corridor, free services will be offered on the Ikotun - Ikeja - Maryland; Iyana Ipaja - Maryland; Ikotun - Iyana Ipaja; Igando Iyana Ipaja; Igando - Ikeja and Igando - Maryland routes. Dr. Mobereola appealed to motorists to drive with care and observe all traffic rules. He reminded them of the existence of the Lagos Traffic Law and warned against flouting them under the guise of the public holiday.

Group declares ‘war’ on Traffic Law By Segun Balogun

THE Joint Action Forum (JAF), a civil advocacy group, has said it will not back down from its planned protests against Lagos State government's Traffic Law until the law is repealed. This was disclosed in a telephone interview yesterday with the group's secretary-general, Abiodun Aremu. Aremu said the group, which has led hundreds of commercial motorcycle drivers on two protests, had a meeting with the police commissioner last Thursday which ended in a deadlock. He said police crack down on the group will not deter them from pursuing their goal. "We are on until that law is stopped," he said, "it is a long drawn battle and we are prepared for it through series of protests." On the outcome of the group's meeting with the police, he said: "The police said they have a duty to protect lives and properties and we told them we also have a duty to fight injustice. That law is a bad law and every just man in the society should fight it." The group had organised protest against the contentious law, which is still a subject of litigation, on December 10 and 19. Both protests were truncated by the police. The group's last effort left a sour taste as five leaders of the group were arrested after the protest. They were detained for five hours and released without any formal charges.



















Hamas’ hard line

Again, the subsidy conundrum •Time to change to a sustainable energy policy based on local refining


IGURES as scarecrow – that is the new passion for petroleum subsidy power players, bent on pushing their luck too far on a moribund energy policy. For erecting petroleum downstream liberalisation on fuel importation, that policy was designed to fail because it made little economic sense for an oil producer. It is therefore time to push for a new policy: erecting downstream liberalisation on local refining. That way, all these slapping of scary figures would evaporate – scary figures by opportunistic fuel importers to sucker the government into paying suspect subsidy; and a roguish government’s own war cry to weary, weaken and finally force on the people the ‘total removal’ of the so-called subsidy. To change this present policy, however, the government must make strategic investments in building local refineries to jump-start a liberalised petroleum downstream firmly rooted in the local economy, with all its petro-chemical spinoffs. But from experience, the government need not – indeed, should not – run these refineries. In the spirit of public-private sector-participation (PPP), it should build and transfer to private players who can efficiently run them; and sit back to recoup its investment over an agreed number of years. With time, other players would join because, though downstream margin can be thin, Nigeria’s huge market has the volume to make the business profitable. With the journey to nowhere that the Obasanjo-era flawed downstream liberalisation policy has proved, the imperative for change should have been ob-

vious. But not so, apparently, to a government insincere with itself; and an economically greedy and murderous lobby determined to take its chances, no matter the toll on the common wealth and common weal. That would explain this sterile fixation on scary figures. The latest bout has been kicked off by President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to the National Assembly for an additional N161.6 billion to the N888.1 billion already appropriated as petroleum subsidy for 2012, taking the new figure to N1.23 trillion. Of the original N888.1 billion, N451 billion (slightly more than half) had been paid as subsidy arrears for 2011 – that election year soaked so irredeemably in subsidy payment infamy. To bridge the short-fall, the government needed the additional N161.6 billion – a shortfall that might dry up the fuel importation nozzle and lay the economy completely prostrate. Meanwhile, with N1.5 trillion already reportedly paid out for 2011, the N451 billion arrears make the 2011 figure near a staggering N2 trillion mark, perilously close to the N2.58 trillion a Reuters report claimed the government paid out in 2011, quoting the House of Representatives as source. When you factor the fact that a good number of those docked for alleged phony subsidy receipts for that inglorious year are either people close to the government or politicians or their children, it is difficult not to legitimately conclude that the 2011 payout had more to do with winning or losing election than settling fuel importers for legitimate business. Yet, this is the so-called subsidy the Jonathan government whines is “unsustainable” – which of course it is, for no

sane economy can sustain that level of drain without collapsing. But the generality cannot pay for what a few brazenly stole. That explains the explosive resistance to the January attempt to “completely remove subsidy”. This conundrum on oil subsidy that is not has gone too far. It is time to change tack. It is time to change this asinine policy of liberalising fuel importation, which is nothing but liberalising corruption; and allowing a few greedy cabal and their government colluders to fleece innocent Nigerians and further retard the economy. As for Breton Woods ideologues in government who, for mental slavery still push this willful shutting out of local refining, and with the petro-chemical spin-offs that could deepen the economy, their action is nothing but economic perfidy, treachery and sabotage.

‘The latest bout has been kicked off by President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to the National Assembly for an additional N161.6 billion to the N888.1 billion already appropriated as petroleum subsidy for 2012, taking the new figure to N1.23 trillion. Of the original N888.1 billion, N451 billion (slightly more than half) had been paid as subsidy arrears for 2011 – that election year soaked so irredeemably in subsidy payment infamy’

Mysterious as ever •How could NNPC have spent N48bn more than it earned?


HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is easily the most critical player in the country’s economy. The organisation produces most of the output of 2.4 million barrels of oil per day, which contributes over 80 percent of government revenue and 95 percent of the country’s foreign exchange. Given its significant and sensitive role in the generation and management of government revenues, it is shocking and unacceptable that the NNPC’s finances continue to be shrouded in mystery. This fact was once again underscored when the corporation’s management last Tuesday appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), to make its budget presentation. Complaining about the vagueness of the records presented by the NNPC management, the National As-

‘The National Assembly was rightly alarmed by an excess expenditure of N48 billion incurred by the corporation in its 2012 operations. According to its chief strategist, Dr. Tim Okon, the NNPC generated total revenue of N2.3 trillion between January and September, 2012, while expending N2.4 trillion during the period. The committee was rightly curious to know from which undisclosed reserves the NNPC drew funds to augment its expenditure during the year’

sembly was rightly alarmed by an excess expenditure of N48 billion incurred by the corporation in its 2012 operations. According to its chief strategist, Dr. Tim Okon, the NNPC generated total revenue of N2.3 trillion between January and September, 2012, while expending N2.4 trillion during the period. The committee was rightly curious to know from which undisclosed reserves the NNPC drew funds to augment its expenditure during the year. It is obvious that any organisation run as opaquely as the NNPC is will be a fertile ground for massive corruption, which is clearly the bane of the behemoth. The outrage of members of the National Assembly at what they described as the NNPC’s unserious and contradictory budget presentation is understandable. Dr. Okon’s rationalisation that “The NNPC is a running business and it has reserves and we got money from the reserves” is shallow, unsatisfactory and unacceptable. The committee was right in demanding to know where these reserves are located, how much money they contain, the relevant account numbers, signatories to the accounts and other details. The NNPC is a public corporation. It must not continue to be run like a secret cult. We recall that a former Minister of Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola, had disclosed in April 2010 that the corporation was broke, following its alleged inability to pay the N450 billion it owed the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) “until the reimbursement of N1.156 trillion on fuel subsidies being owed by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

At about the same time, the former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Austen Oniwon, told a gathering of top oil and gas executives at an Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja that “we have to suspend remuneration. The account of the organisation is in the negative; failure is imminent unless urgent transformation is carried out”. A 2010 joint report by Transparency International and the Revenue Watch Institute revealed that the NNPC had the poorest transparency record out of 44 national and international companies examined. Indeed, it scored zero in the category of “organisational information disclosure”. The NNPC is of course central to the $6.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud uncovered early this year by the National Assembly. The corporation is said to owe the government $4.34 billion for subsidy violations while also owing oil traders $3.5 billion in unpaid bills. This is in sharp contrast to the Angolan state oil firm, SONANGOL, which has performed excellently, posting $3.32billion net profit for 2011, a 32 percent improvement on its performance of $2.52 billion in 2010. We cannot continue with a situation in which the NNPC is accountable to no one. Petroleum minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s recent assertion that “The NNPC should not be subjected to the National Assembly’s usual legislative processes and appropriation because it operates like a private corporation” is irresponsible and must be roundly rejected.


OMMENTS by leader Khaled Meshaal that ruled out a two-state solution with Israel are outrageous, irresponsible and depressing. Israeli officials often complain that their country’s policies are lambasted around the world while Palestinians are allowed to behave undemocratically or even violently without comment or moral judgment. So here is a slightly belated but heartfelt criticism of Khaled Meshaal, the top leader of Hamas. Meshaal made his first trip to the Gaza Strip this month. While there he told a rally of tens of thousands that “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on any inch of the land.” He also said: “Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa.” In other words, if you were hoping that Hamas might be persuaded to support a two-state solution, taking its lead from liberation movements in Africa, northern Ireland and elsewhere that have given up guns and bombs for negotiations, Meshaal’s message was: Forget it. He, at least, will apparently not be satisfied with a West Bank and Gaza state, and continues to insist that all of Israel, including cities such as Haifa and Jaffa that have large Arab populations but are not part of post-1967 occupation, belongs to the Palestinians. That’s outrageous, irresponsible and deeply depressing, even from the leader of a well-known terrorist organization. It’s depressing because Hamas is not just a militant fringe group but actually runs Gaza and has significant support among Palestinians. For years, Hamas has been coy about whether it would support a two-state solution; Meshaal was anything but. Now contrast what Meshaal had to say with the comments of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday. Abbas said flatly that he did not agree with Meshaal’s refusal to recognize Israel, and reiterated his longstanding support for a two-state solution. Just last month, asked on Israeli television whether he would like to go to Safed, the city in Israel where he was born in 1935, Abbas replied that he would like to visit it but not to live there — because Safed is now part of Israel: “Palestine now for me is the ’67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is now and forever.” Abbas’ statements are so much more rational than Meshaal’s. That’s why he is supported by the United States and most of the world. But the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has too often lumped Abbas together with Hamas (as it did again after Meshaal’s recent comments). Instead of drawing Abbas close, offering concessions and helping him to distinguish himself from the rejectionists, Israel has often made it more difficult for him to deliver for his people. This, among other things, has left him with little political support. Current prospects for peace are dim. Negotiations are stalled and the two-state solution has taken a beating. Yet it’s hard to imagine that a resolution to the conflict lies in anything other than honest efforts to improve Palestinian life and good-faith negotiations to create an independent Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel. That requiresrealleadership and courage on all sides. – Los Angeles Times

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IR: The public hearings which attended the constitutional amendment process has revealed the anxieties amongst citizens many of whom have been thinking aloud on whether the National Assembly would live up to expectation. This is in the background of the entrenched notion that the Assembly is not so much in tune with the yearnings and aspirations of the people of Nigeria. This sad but painful perception must be corrected in a deliberate manner. I am yet to see any Nigerian who wishes for the country to continue on this path except those who are making a fortune from this skewed arrangement. In the past, many have advanced logical and highly convincing arguments for the re-structuring of Nigeria in such a manner that will make it work to the delight and reward of all and sundry but regretfully that is yet to receive government attention. The challenge is how to build Nigeria without fear and without grievances? It might appear simplistic but with every blast from indiscriminate killings and maiming of innocent Nigerians, rancour and flare of ethnic acrimony which has remained a recurring decimal of our history, it is evident that the national fabric is under strain. We must all rise up before this house caves in. The failure to live true to our claim to principles of federalism has made a mockery of us. The pains and frustrations are ever mounting and if all men and women of good conscience do not act and do so in a deft manner, then we all might be consumed in the


How to make Nigeria work looming anarchy. Nothing is more fundamental for us at this moment than for us to answer without any deceit if what is obtainable is the best for Nigeria. I nurse no doubt that we are not at our best given the enormous mineral and human deposit which abound within our national frontiers. Given that we have travelled this road before without much success, it will do no hurt but rather a lot of good if we can be courageous enough to candidly answer the question of how to organize Nigeria that the best can be gotten from the composite nationalities under a stable and virile government. It is not a presumption that the vast majority of Nigerians want a functional and

stable polity. Given that fact, the National Assembly should not foreclose any option in its task to fashion a living constitution for the benefit of all our country men and women. The agitation to address the nationality question is not, and should never be misconstrued as calling for the balkanization of the country. The fire of the nationality question which was lit shortly after independence in 1960 has continued to grow in intensity simply because the relationship between the nationalities has remained one defined by fears of domination, some real, others imaginary. In such a foul atmosphere, it is only rational for us to seek a truce in a potentially charged arrangement. The best way

in my candid opinion is for all nationalities that make up Nigeria to step forward with a road map that will assuage their fears. We must be bold to make a necessary change. The reason why every nationality within Nigeria makes desperate push to control political power at the centre at all cost is the absence of considerable autonomy for all to flourish at own pace. Many Nigerians have been killed or maimed and many more face a grim future in our country for no fault of theirs, perhaps simply because of their mode of worship, place of birth or economic status and place of birth. Whatever motivation that propels this rabid intolerance should be addressed rather than

IR: It’s only a man whose’s consciousness has been riddled with bullet’s of blind mentality and incurable irrationality that can confute the axiomatic submission of Claude Mekay’s magnum opus titled“if we must die”. Claude was right when he told us in his poem that “if we must die, let it not be like dogs, hunted and penned in inglorious spot. If we must die, let us nobly die”. Merchants of sudden death and

death-defying ogres invaded Saint Theresa Catholic Church last Christmas and killed their fellow men like dogs during Christmas mass. Men and women, boys and girls who left home for the Church to celebrate the birth of Church, never returned to home, as they were sent to Golgotha in unimaginable pieces by despicable death hawkers. I understood John F. Kennedy when he said “forgive your enemies

but never forget their names”. Others may choose to forgive and forget those monstrous gallowbirds’sflying like vultures in search for harmless prey, but I will never forget. As I urge Nigerians to stay on alert this Christmas, please let’s make it a solemn duty to give useful information about those irredeemable agents of unthinkable criminality to security agents nearest to you. I think the best way to celebrate this season is to assist our



• Rotimi Opeyeoluwa,

Remembering Madallah blast victims

Oyo SUBEB should get its priorities right IR: The continuous building of classrooms for our primary schools in Oyo State despite the dwindling population of pupils in these schools and the fact that the classrooms built by past administrations, local governments, constituency project of members of Oyo state House of Assembly, ETF and PTA are underutilized has continued to be a source of concern for me. Does Oyo SUBEB have any agenda for our primary schools aside provision of classrooms? As at the time of writing this piece, construction

fold our hands until the entire country slips into a bloodbath. Clearly, the fissures generated by such a potentially destructive path continue to grow with each passing day simply because of the erroneous believe that a section of the country holds the master key or is actually the master in a lopsided arrangement. It has not worked in the past and will never work if we are sincere enough to face the truth. We must re-examine our perceived “settled issues” with a view to making our country truly functional. It is an ethical issue which if well handled will usher us to a more purposeful living. There is ample example to point to the fact that we have breached universally known face of federalism and compounded problems of harmonious ethnic coexistence for so long. The greatest gift we can give to our country men and women is to be guided by this historic mission to alter for good our reality of today.

works are on-going in various primary schools in the state. While there is nothing bad in providing classrooms for our pupils, what I frown at is the policy which gives priority to building of classrooms for building sake. In other words, building of more classrooms when the available ones are underutilized is a misplaced priority. As such, most of the playing grounds in many schools have given in to new classrooms, thereby crippling sporting activities in various schools. In relation to the above, there are many der-

elict classrooms buildings in many schools that are craving in and need urgent maintenance I believe it is more reasonable to maintain the old classrooms than building new ones in view of economic problems staring the nation in the face. My position is that it is high time that Oyo SUBEB review its policies as concerned our primary schools. Aside classrooms, there are many innovations that could be introduced to make our primary schools conducive for learning. As an example, the schools can be fenced,

well drained with modern toiletries and boreholes. Aside, solar powered street lights could be created at strategic places in the schools to illuminate the school compound at nights. This will stop hoodlums from using these schools as hideouts to perpetrate evils. Lastly, library facilities could be provided for our primary schools as this would promote reading habits among our pupils early in life. • Adewuyi Adegbite Apake Ogbomoso

security agency with credible and timely information so that we can have a peaceful celebration this year. Remember security is the duty of all. We should never submit to fear and together we can defeat our fear. Therefore, I urge you to resist the temptation of forsaking the house of God this Christmas. We should be in church if we wish and do not forsake the church because of those monstrous characters, who come like the biblical thief in the night to kill, steal and destroy. Let’s remember the victims of Saints Theresa Catholic Church tragedy in our silent prayers. May God grant them eternal rest and comfort their families left behind. Certainly, the time to end the groundless and senseless violence is now. Since they say “it is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war”, because after war-war, we will still go to the table of ‘talktalk’ to discuss, why not discuss and avoid war-war? To Christians I say keep faith, for the abyss of darkness awaits those despicable ‘ganakos’ who invade places of worship. • Godfrey Ehi O. Benin City




Journey that leads to nowhere


EFORE the January 15, 1966 military coup, there were five constitutions operating in this country. There was the Constitution of the Federal Republic of 1963. Then we had the Constitution of Northern Nigerian Law of 1963, the Constitution of the Eastern Nigerian Law of 1963, the Constitution of Western Nigerian Law of 1963 and the Constitution of Mid-Western Nigerian Act of 1964. The four Regions were administered in a way, as if they were sovereign states. Sub-section 2D of Section 63 of the Constitution of the Western Nigerian Law of 1963, subsection 1 of section 64 of the constitution of the Mid-Western Nigerian Act of 1964, sub-section 1 of section 66 of Eastern Nigeria constitution Law and sub-section 1 of section 68 of the constitution of Northern Nigeria Law of 1963, all made provisions for the appointments of Agent Generals for the four regions in the United Kingdom. The Agent Generals were like modern days ambassadors. For example, the Western Region appointed Chief Emmanuel Akintoye AkinbowaleOlasunmbo Coker (19242000), as Agent General to the United Kingdom and he served in that office between 1960-1963. His schedule was not in conflict with that of the Nigerian ambassador to the United Kingdom at that time, Alhaji Abdul-Maliki (1914-1969), the son of the late Attah of Igbirra land- a true diplomat and bureaucrat. And the age-long dream among students of the then Western Region at that time was to clinch Western Region scholarship instead of the Federal Government scholarship. Those were the booming cocoa era days. Each of the regions had their own Chief Justices, Police Commissioners, Legislative Houses and many other bodies. We remember in particular Sir Louis Odumegwu-Ojukwu (1909-1966), father of the late, Ikemba of Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who held the powerful posts of chairman of Eastern Region Development Corporation and Eastern Nigeria Marketing Board. Each of the regions differed on some key issues. Section 23 of the Constitution Northern Nigeria Law of 1963 ruled that”

‘He then went ahead to establish a unitary system of government. He renamed the Federal Military Government as National Military Government, re-designated the regions as group of regions and incorporated all Civil Servants, federal and regional into single National Public Service’

By Eric Teniola the business of the Legislative Houses shall be conducted in English and in Hausa”. Other Regions upheld only English in their legislative houses. The Western Region even had a Court of Appeal which served as an intermediate court between its High Court and the Supreme Court. The only uniformity was in the procedure for the establishment of key office holders. They all had premiers and governors. The governors, according to the four Regional Constitutions, shall be appointed “by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier”. The post of governors was more ceremonial for the executive power resided in the hands of Premiers, who had a majority in the legislative houses. Interestingly, except the Mid-Western Nigeria Constitution, Act of 1964, the three other regional constitutions, named all the governors. As for the Premiers, we had Sir Ahmadu Bello (1909-1966) in the North, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola (1910-1966), who succeeded Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909-1987), in the Western Region, Dr. Micahel Iheonukara Okpara (1920-1984), who succeded Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (1909-1996) as Premier in the Eastern Region and Chief Dennis Chukadebe Osadebe (19111994) as premier of the Mid- Western Region. Chief Osadebe had earlier resigned as President of the Senate to be elected as Premier of the newly created Mid- Western Region following a plebiscite by the people of Edo and the Delta provinces to carve Mid-Western Region out of the Western Region. In the Western Region, Sir Gabriel Odeleye Fadahunsi (1901-1986), an educationist and former chairman of Nigerian Airways Corporation succeeded Sir Adesoji Aderemi (1889-1980), the former executive of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and a wealthy Cocoa magnate, who was on the Ile-Ife throne as Ooni for more than 50 years, as governor, while Chief Samuel Jereton Mariere (1907-1971), the Olorogun of Evwreni, a former executive of John Holts Company, was appointed the first Governor of Mid- West Region. In the Eastern Region, a Physician, Dr. Akanu Ibiam (19061995) married to a Yoruba, Eudora Olayinka Sasegbon was appointed governor while in Northern Nigeria, an educationist and former Waziri of Kanuri Kingdom, Sir Kashim Shettima Ibrahim (1910-1990) was governor. All these were in place until the army struck on the night of January 14, 1966. In taking over power, General Thomas Johnson Umanakwe Aguiyi Ironsi(1924-1966) told the nation later on January 28, 1966 “all Nigerians want an end to regionalism. Tribal loyalties and activities which promote tribal consciousness and sectional interest must give way to urgent task of national reconstruction”.

Also in a broadcast on February 21,1966, the same Ironsi said “it has become apparent to all Nigerians that rigid adherence to regionalism was the bane of the last regime and one of the main factors which contributed to its downfall”. He was referring to the regime of then Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1912-1966). He then went ahead to establish a unitary system of government. He renamed the Federal Military Government as National Military Government, re-designated the regions as group of regions and incorporated all Civil Servants, federal and regional into single National Public Service. General Ironsi’s critics charged that the unitary system was a tribal agenda. In spite of opposition by two of his appointed Military Governors, Lt. Col. David Akpode Ejoor of Mid-West and Lt. Col. Hassan Usman Katsina (1933-1995) son of Alhaji Usman Nagogo, the Emir of Katsina (1905-1981)of North, General Ironsi went ahead to sign the Unification decree 34 on May 24, 1966. At Ibadan, shortly after the Kaduna meeting,where he tried to explain the beauty in his Unitary Government to the traditional rulers, Ironsi was toppled and General Yakubu Cinwa Gowon took over power on July 29, 1966. In the midst of confusion following the downfall of his regime, Ironsi was killed along with his host, Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi (1926-1966), the then Military Governor of the Western Region. On August 31, 1966, Gowon abolished Decree 34 and restored the federal system. On May 27, 1967, Gowon created the 12 states, killed the four regions and handed supreme authority to the central Government. It has been so since. In creating the 12 states, Gowon said “the main obstacle to future stability is the present structural imbalance in the Nigerian federation. Even Decree 8 or confederation or loose association will never survive if any section of the country is in a position to hold others into ransom”. In a nationwide broadcast on October 1,1970, marking the country’s tenth independence anniversary, Gowon announced that the Armed Forces had decided to hand over power to civilians in January 1976. Four years later on October 1,1974, the same Gowon announced in a broadcast that the armed forces had considered the 1976 deadline for return to civilian rule as “unrealistic”. The Armed Forces he said, would not honour that pledge without plunging the nation into chaos. “It would indeed amount to betrayal of trust to adhere rigidly to that target date”, he said. Gowon also failed to keep his promise on the setting up of the Constituent Assembly which he promised the nation on January 30, 1966. He paid for it. While in Kampala, Uganda for the summit of Organisation of African Unity (OAU),on July 29,1975, he was also toppled from power and General Murtala Ramat Muhammed (19381976), former aide-de-camp of the 1962 administrator of Old Western Region, Dr. Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi (1916-

A nation in turmoil


IGERIA, my beloved country, is obviously in turmoil, as every patriot now suffers from unceasing headache inflicted by daily brain-spanking news from official quarters. In fact, that I started this piece without the slightest idea of a title to christen it, an indication of trouble. Trouble within ! Trouble without! Please, let someone bail me out. How can any sane person, particularly a full-blooded Nigerian, without any other home than this stupendously rich but stupidly poor entity, possibly calm his ever-riotous brain that can’t but reflect on so many things at the same time, 24 hours daily? Which of these‘peculiar mess’ should I take first. The wit-twisting Lamido Sanusi’s mass sack economic advocacy? Or the Bamanga Tukur’s latest comedy on PDP’s status in relation to national security? Yet, the wind of fear and trepidation that recently shook the National Assembly to its foundation caught my fancy, as I struggled to contextualize Pastor Oritsajefor’s latest ironic concern over the Boko Haram phenomenon. Next is this mouth-gaping N2.2 billion approved by the Federal Executive Council for the construction of yet another event hall in the Presidential Villa. I doubt that the fate of Olubiyi Odunaro, the ex-employee of Hallmark Bank Plc, who has just bowed to pressure to suspend his indefinite hunger strike over the failure of the authorities to facilitate the payment of his terminal benefits as well as that of over 14,000 other ex-staff of unconsolidated banks ever got a mention during this federal cabinet meeting. Insanity begets insanity. For quite a while, I have been at pain to rationalize perceived widespread insanity amongst my fellow citizens. For instance, regular visits to different newspaper stands every morning have gradually filled me with some passionate hatred for fellow citizens who congregate daily to, relive their excitements and passion for the beauty of European football. I have

By Rasheed Olokode got no hassles with the popularity of the round leather game, particularly the commonplace Nigerian admiration of its near perfect reality cum seemingly irresistible beauty in that saner clime. Where I have a problem is a situation whereby daily captions of mass killings, bombings, kidnappings and other occurrences of Nigerians’inhumanity to fellow Nigerians have come to mean nothing. Rather than feel the slightest pity for victimized compatriots or show little tinge of concern over a raging fire speedily racing towards even their own abodes, they get moved to morbid anger only by news of match losses by their darling clubs or even partisan ridicule from ‘fans’ of opposing clubs. However, I think I now know better. A people beleaguered by insane leadership for too long can’t but be mad. Nigerians have hardly had genuine causes to smile since independence. One happy piece of news is usually overwhelmed and relegated into insignificance by countless sad headlines trailing it in quick succession. Most are now incurable pessimists, no longer expecting anything good from the Nigerian landscape. They are so accustomed to bad news that bombing of millions now means nothing but just another event. Perhaps, the people’s obsession for European soccer is merely an escapist tool of living outside their sick society. At a time concerned citizens are shedding internal tears of fear over the grave security implications of the new traffic laws in Lagos State on the long-existing sky-rocketing unemployment situation, the recent call by Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Central Bank Governor, for the sack of 50% of the civil service, to boost the availability of fund for true economic development, is nothing but depressing.

Really, Sanusi is blameless. Sincere blames should aim at a system that destroys itself through perpetually cyclical elevation of people far removed from the grassroots into leadership positions. People who are not Nigerians in the true sense. People who never come into contact with the masses as they struggle to survive on less than a dollar daily, cramping themselves, in fours and fives, on bikes, competing with dogs for bones. And, just like Sanusi, Bamanga Tukur’s effrontery in absolving the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) of any blame over the general insecurity in the land is incensing to patriots, who have long lost sleep in selfimposed assignment of drumming the beats of reason into the ears of our erring leaders. For the chairman of a party that has been wielding power at the centre since 1999 to claim that since his party is not a security agency, Nigerians should not blame it for the current reign of terror in the land, is, to say the least, an official certification of sick leadership. Meanwhile, the National Assembly would have curatively filled the gap of hope for Nigerians, if its members had previously been half as agitated as they were on probable bombing of their congregation, instead of their usual lip-service reactions to attacks on the masses. I feel our lawmakers should beam their searchlight on Pastor Oritsajefor and his ilk, if they ever want to avert what they passionately dread. Let’s all address the cleric with the bitter truth: “Our Dear Pastor, please forget about your junketing round the risky areas to calm frayed nerves, to realize that you and your ilk are indeed the problem. Sir, you can’t possibly deny that Boko Haram is terror unleashed by the frustrated lots against the Nigerian State and its leaders who, in their opinion, have been flourishing in wealth and ostentation while they stand neglected in yawn-

ing poverty. Sir, you recently unmasked thy ‘holy’ self as one of those who possess and flaunt questionable wealth, through your newly-acquired jet, discretely helping to groom potential suicide bombers within your pauperized flock and the generally impoverished citizenry, further frustrated by your recent entry into the Nigerian Association of Private Jet Owners”. “The approving presence of our President during the celebration of your saddening feat only revealed that the man that once had no shoes has been infected by the maddening lucre of office and the typically dominant unthinking companions in the power corridor. Wishing you and all others up there a speedy recovery from the acquisition malady, sir”. Perhaps, the terse response of a younger brother to my recent poser on why we seem so doomed aptly diagnosed our national ailment as residing in the kind of people that we are. Thus, since I have every reason to subscribe to the truism that the quality of leadership in any society is a mirror of the led. At least, our leaders did not emerge from a vacuum or a foreign land. It’s indeed time for holistic citizenry cure. • Olokode, a Communication Strategist, wrote from Lagos.

‘They are so accustomed to bad news that bombing of millions now means nothing but just another event. Perhaps, the people’s obsession for European soccer is merely an escapist tool of living outside their sick society’





BVIOUSLY, this country is in very perilous times. Events since the death of former Kaduna State governor, Patrick Yakowa and former National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi and others, in the Navy helicopter crash, have again strongly reinforced this ominous tendency. In these and subsequent reactions can be gleaned all the trappings of a nation in dire stress. It is not hard to observe the perceptible discomfort in peoples’ reactions more so given the way the plane crashed, killing all the occupants barely three minutes after take-off. Both the presidency and the military echelon have shown visible signs of surprise at the incident. The Navy, while setting up an investigative panel to unravel the circumstances behind the crash, betrayed the same uncomfortable emotions. In a press conference, they not only gave a clean bill of health to the plane but strongly vouched for the competence of their pilots. Even as they would not want to pre-empt the investigations of the panel, it was discernable from their responses that there must be more to the crash than ordinarily meets the eyes. The same mood was also palpable in the quick deployment of soldiers to the streets of Kaduna, possibly to stave off any breakdown of law and order. The anticipation of a possibility of lawlessness following the crash meant that the people of the state may not see the crash purely as an accident. This may not be entirely surprising given the security challenges this country has had to contend with for quite sometime now. Kaduna has been a veritable theatre for premeditated violence. Much has happened to give room for suspicion and distrust in that state especially given the way the Boko Haram insurgents have carried out their

‘There are lessons to learn from the mood and thinking of the people irrespective of the way the investigations go. If any thing, they have aroused our consciousness to the mortal danger Boko Haram has become in our march to nationhood’


Emeka OMEIHE 08121971199 email:

Suswam: Yakowa and Suntai activities. Their devious escapades have been such that deaths in some unclear circumstances are often screened for any links with the group. Matters have not been helped by the recurring orgy of sectarian crises following bomb attacks on churches by the same Boko Haram religious insurgents. The state has in the last one year or so, witnessed reprisal attacks between Christians and Muslims each time a place of worship came under attack. The situation has since remained tense but Yakowa managed to maintain some peace albeit; graveyard peace. Yakowa, the first Christian to occupy the number one seat in that former capital of northern Nigeria did not find it easy maintaining the balance. There were also feelings that his emergence as governor following the appointment of Namadi Sambo as Vice President may not have gone down well with some vested interests in that part of the country. And this will not surprise anyone. It was therefore to be expected that his sudden death could arouse sufficient suspicion and possible violence. Before now, we have been told by no less a person than President Jonathan that some of his cabinet members are also members of the Boko Haram sect. If they could infiltrate his cabinet, there is no gamut of our national engagement that should be possibly considered safe. If any ulterior motive is being ascribed to the crash, it is not out of place. That could explain the deployment of soldiers to the streets as the news of his death filtered. If that action was not enough to rope in the religious angle to the various possibilities regarding the cause of the accident, the

N the delicate business of governance, some things are given. Others are simply strange or, if you like, novel. Now take the foregoing: construction of roads is a given; building of schools is a normal everyday matter; ditto for maintaining medical infrastructure. But a governor in an endurance trek with his people? A bit extraordinary, huh? This is a monthly affair in Osun state where Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has embarked on health awareness initiative. In our type of environment where top government officials announce their presence with blaring siren, it is a comfortable relief to have a governor walk through your door as he waves enthusiastically to you. For many, the experience would endure for a long time. The programme tagged “Walk to Live” has been hosted by a number of communities in Osun State including Iwo, Ikire, Ife, Oshogbo and Ilesha. I have partaken in two, the last of which was the Ilesha edition of Saturday November 24. Earlier, I had joined the train in August at Ile-Ife. In each of these cases, Ogbeni led his people, in thousands, to walk a distance of no fewer than 25 kilometres, spartanly-clad, reminiscence of the Great Trek of some 14000 Boers from Cape Colony in South Africa in 1835. In Ilesha, as the crowd glided from Aladiye location of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Ilesha West Secretariat, through Osogbo garage, Oke Omiru, Isokun, Orikiran to Oke-Isa where the trip terminated at Ilesha Grammar School. I could not help but long for the heady days of the seventies when we rancorously held sway as out-of-control college teenagers in the lovely serenity of Ijeshaland. Boy, we were thoroughly unhinged to the eternal trepidation of our poor parents. What with nightly foray to Ipetu-Ijesha Grammar School, Iloko Grammar School, St. Margret, St Lawrence and Hope Grammar School, among others in search of Godknows-what? I digress. With an unbroken line of crowd stretching far beyond five kilometres, this project is a product of sound creative thinking. The governor was a spectacle to behold as he endlessly halted to acknowledge cheers from enthusiastic locals peeping through windows, scurrying across balconies and hanging on rooftops to make a mental documentation of an uncommon scene. Others- male and female- convinced they could muster the strength, tore through the thin security cordon around the governor to scream their messages of innumerable goodwill. I heard one who screamed, “Aregbe, I have seen you this year. May God count me among those that would see you next year”. Another, a female bearing her wares chorused, ‘’you will be there for 12 years”. In terms of the fun and excitement, the August Ife edition of the political road show, as I would like to call it for reason

lamentations of Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam has brought the matter to a level where it can no longer be ignored. Suswam, citing security reports, was said to have told journalists that his life and that of his family were under threat by Boko Haram. He had lamented the fate of the four Christian governors in the north with the death of Yakowa and the fatal air crash involving the Taraba State governor Danbaba Suntai. Though an aspect of that report has been refuted by his media aide, the issue raised may not get out of public scrutiny in a hurry. Not with the zeal with which Boko Haram has been pursuing its agenda of driving Christians out of the north. Not with the constant targeting of Christian places of worship, killing and maiming of innocent souls. So what is there really to deny by Suswam on the possibility of his family being attacked by the group? It is a trite possibility that if the group has a way of attacking Suswam or his family or any other key government functionary, they will definitely do so. And they have never hidden their intention for mischief. For a group that successfully bombed a Church right inside Jaji and followed it up by subduing the SARS headquarters in Abuja, a governor or his family is definitely a very high impact target. After all, part of the original target of Boko Haram was public institutions and persons before that goal was displaced and they resorted to attacking defenseless and innocent people. But for this goal displacement, public institutions, public personages and their families symbolize that evil which western education represents and constitute the real enemy of the Boko Haram sect. So it will be

in line with the propelling motivation of the sect if people in very high places are attacked and possibly decimated. Perhaps, the aspect of the report Suswam may have found uncomfortable was what was credited to him regarding the fate of Christian governors in the north following the air crashes involving Yakowa and Suntai. Coming from such a high profile person, there is no doubt that it will attract considerable public attention. For a nation that has been fighting hard to avert a religious war on account of the excesses of Boko Haram, his statement could in a way, be considered provocative even as many would prefer that lead to be fully explored. It is a coincidence so curious that it cannot be ignored. Even at that, the reaction of the governors’ forum by insisting on appointing their independent consultant to observe the investigations has with it every element of suspicion and mistrust in the manner these accidents have occurred. No less a person than Gen. Yakubu Gowon had to cautioned the people of the state to take the matter purely as an accident and not to attach motives to it. Relieving at Kafanchan how he escaped boarding the helicopter that fateful day, he had said “it was an accident. Don’t attach meaning to it. Don’t say it was planned to get rid of some people”. His choice of Kafanchan for these explanations and exhortations is quite instructive. What these go to underscore is that the crash is not just seen as a mere happenstance. That is why so many groups have shown keen interest in the investigations. And that also accounts for why efforts are being made to calm the people. The Minister of Information Labaran Maku equally spoke along the same line when he recounted just like Gowon that he would have boarded the flight but for destiny. These may as well be. But there are lessons to learn from the mood and thinking of the people irrespective of the way the investigations go. If any thing, they have aroused our consciousness to the mortal danger Boko Haram has become in our march to nationhood. If people now begin to impute sectional, ethnic or religious meanings to any and every event in this country, it is indicative of the level of drawback the Boko Haram menace has thrown this country into. It is time to stem this mortal danger else the prediction that Nigeria may turn out a failed state by 2015 may become a selffulfilling prophesy. May God save us the possibility of such a foreboding cataclysm!

Reflections on Osun’s Walk to Live By Sola Lawal that would reveal itself soon, was no less engaging. Ogbeni ignored the inclement weather that was spewing rain in torrents to lead the crowd from Oduduwa College through Sabo, Odo-Ogbe, Lagere, Mayfair, Ede road, Campus gate to Obafemi Awolowo University Sports Centre where, once again, yours truly was ravaged by the firm arm of nostalgia about some long spent good old days of undergraduate years of unlimited ‘aluta’. If you are a keen observer of happenings in Osun state, particularly since the advent of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration, it is unlikely you would find the governor’s popularity curious. You may, of course, find his style of administration strange. First, Aregbe frowns at being addressed as “Your Excellency”preferring a lowly “Ogbeni”. Also not for him the flamboyance of the office of governor. He would appear in public attired like any worker in the state. In all certainty, what he could not display in sartorial flamboyance he generously hawks in infrastructural and lifechanging transformation in the State of Osun. In less than a hundred days in office, 20,000 youths were absorbed into the civil service through O’Yes programme. Young Omoluabisas Osun indigenes are now called- still in school are either enjoying free meals or they have had their tuitions slashed to affordable level. If the young enjoys Aregbe touch in schools and elsewhere, the elderly too have had their palpable state ameliorated. No fewer than 1,602 vulnerable senior citizens are now on a monthly N10,000 allowance each apart from provision of food stuff. More so, another 136 elderly persons have benefited from free medical attention for serious ailments. This programme is tagged “Agba Osun Welfare Scheme”. Massive rehabilitation of roads is also taking place across the state. The comrade governor ceaselessly made it clear that the exercise is an initiative of his administration to promote good living among the people. According to him, it is also designed to bring back the good old days of active living. Good intent. However, some think the project has a more pungent political message. In fact, one that profoundly touches on the suitability of Ogbeni for the position he currently occupies in the State of Osun. Not long after he mounted the saddle, the ever-robust rumour mill operated by the opposition went to town bear-

ing a most heinous tale that the governor was seriously ailing. They said he was so feeble in health that he could not be at his desk for four unbroken hours without collapsing. How wicked! It is said that a worried Aregbesola had sought medical help everywhere including Iraq (can you beat that?) to no avail. Therefore, the walk could not have come at a more auspicious time than when Osun people needed assurance that, indeed and in action, their enigmatic helms man is fine and kicking. As one flips the page, it would also be discovered that the huge crowd that accompanies Ogbeni on these trips is a testimony, if ever one is needed, to the popularity of the governor and his party in the state. If leaders of the opposition in Osun ever witness any of these Isrealite-like journeys and the passion with which the masses welcome Aregbesola at every point, they would need no further proof that, indeed, their ideologies have been consigned to the dustbin of history. • Lawal is Publicity Secretary, ACN Ogun State.

The governor was a spectacle to behold as he endlessly halted to acknowledge cheers from enthusiastic locals peeping through windows, scurrying across balconies and hanging on rooftops to make a mental documentation of an uncommon scene. Others- male and female- convinced they could muster the strength, tore through the thin security cordon around the governor to scream their messages of innumerable goodwill. I heard one who screamed, “Aregbe, I have seen you this year’



Eagles depart Thursday


Osaze blasts Keshi, NFF

Pg. 24

•Says Eagles have leadership problem

for Portugal

Pg. 41

Sport Monday, December 24, 2012

• Osaze


• Martins

• Keshi

I won’t miss

Osaze, Taiwo, others,

Kesh Declares

• Taiwo


UPER EAGLES’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, says he will not miss any player who did not make the teams provisional list for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Keshi disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, in reaction to the barrage of criticisms which trailed his list of 32 invited players. The list was for the final phase of camping in Faro, Portugal for the competition, scheduled to kick off on Jan. 19 in South Africa. According to Keshi, the omission of the likes of Osaze Odemwingie, Taye Taiwo and Obafemi Martins was not intentional, but for the good of the country. ``We don’t need Osaze right now; that is all. He is not a bad player and there is nothing personal about it. It is just that at this point in time, there are some players that were not called and we don’t have anything against them.

``We also did not invite Obafemi Martins, why are Nigerians not talking about him? ``These players are not the only Nigerians playing; this is what we want for now. All we want for now from Nigerians is to support the players that are there in prayers,” Keshi said. The former Togo and Mali coach added that Martins was not in the list because he did not live up to expectation when he was given the opportunity to prove his worth in the new Eagles’ squad. Keshi pointed out that he was more comfortable dealing with the players he was familiar with. ``Martins is a good player and has done so well for this country. However, I have some other players I have used before and I think I have confidence in them, not that I don’t have confidence in Martins, but his time will come. He is still a young man and is still playing,” Keshi said.

Aminu Maigari, the Chairman, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) told NAN that Keshi’s decision on the list was final. Maigari said that the present board of the association had vowed not to meddle with Super Eagles affairs. ``Actually the duty of the NFF board is to regulate, we don’t impose players on the coaches.But I was able to attend part of the last segment of the technical committee meeting with the coaches themselves. At the meeting, I asked why Osaze was not invited and the committee said it had also asked similar question, but the coach gave his reasons and they were convinced. ``I was satisfied too, because I feel it is not my right to come and say the coach must bring back a particular player,” Maigari said. NAN reports that the Super Eagles’ would depart Nigeria for Faro, Portugal on Dec. 27 for the final phase of camping for the competition.





Ethiopia lines up Niger, Togo, Qatar for Eagles


THIOPIA kick off their AFCON build-up next week Sunday at home against Niger and have also confirmed warm-ups against Togo and Qatar. According to Ethiopian media sources, Bishaw Sewnet's team will host fellow 2013 Africa Cup finalists Niger in Addis Ababa next Sunday. The Walia Antelopes will follow this up on January 3 when they host Togo at the same venue and four days later, they fly out to the Persian Gulf to face Tunisia in

Qatar on January 7. The 1962 champions also have two yet to be confirmed January dates away to Tanzania and Morocco. Ethiopia will at next month's tournament in South Africa be marking their first Africa Cup of Nations appearance since 1982. They are drawn in Group C along with Nigeria, Zambia and Burkina Faso. Their opening group game in Nelspruit is on January 21 against Zambia.

Danny Shittu unsure of AFCON spot


ILLWALL centre-half, Danny Shittu, could turn down the call from Nigeria to play in the 2013 Afcon in South Africa. According to Millwall manager, Kenny Jackett, the big defender looks set to reject the chance to play for Nigeria after he got a recall on Friday. Jackett is so sure that the 32-yearold centre-back will not honour the Nigerian call.

• Shittu

"I don't think he's going to go and I don't think he's been in touch with them. At the moment that's the decision. "It was a surprise but it shows how well Danny has done. He's only in the preliminary squad so that's going to be cut down. "But congratulations to him because he's in there based on his performances," Jackett was quoted as saying. The former Bolton Wanderers' man was recalled to the Nigerian squad in a 32-man provisional list by head coach, Stephen Keshi ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations next month. Shittu made his international debut for Nigeria against Paraguay on March 26, 2002 and was a squad member of the Super Eagles to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Okey Isima calls for early preparation


KEY ISIMA, a former Green Eagles defender, on Sunday observed that the only way the Super Eagles could win the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa was through cohesive play. Isima, however, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that Eagles can only achieve cohesive play through early preparation; saying early camping enhances a team's understanding. The former defender who was part of the victorious 1980 Green Eagles squad that won the competition when Nigeria hosted it, also urged the team

to work hard. ``The number one factor that worked for the 1980 squad was that we played as a team, and had a lengthy camping time; we were camped in Brazil for over six months. ``We were in camp for almost a year in order to get that result; unfortunately this time around most of the players are playing abroad. ``I believed that the home-based players should have been in camp before now to attain match fitness because the league has been on break,`` he said. Isima, who stressed the need for early camping, noted that Nigerian players abroad have been playing in their various clubs; unlike the domestic


league players that are yet to commence action. ``Early camping is very important, the earlier the better for them that is the only issue that may affect team play and understanding,'' he said. On the Eagle's porous defense line, Isima said that Chief Coach Stephen Keshi knows what to do before the commencement of the competition on Jan. 19. ``Everything is in his hands, I believe he knows what to do to get the best result, let's give him the liberty to take his own decisions,'' he said. Isima, a former player with Rangers International FC of Enugu, and the defunct Standard FC of Jos, said that Keshi would have to bring his rich experience to bear on the team


HE Super Eagles will on Thursday be traveling to Portugal for the final preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations slated for South Africa January 19 February 10 next year. Norway based Fegor Ogude is the only foreign based player in the Abuja camp with 13 other Nigeria based Eagles stars, 18 foreign based professionals expected to join up the others at the Faro camp of the team. Coach Stephen Keshi had released a list of 32 players to fight for 23 spots in the Super Eagles team to the 29th Africa Cup of Nations. The team will likely be captained by Joseph Yobo, who previously represented Nigeria at the 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 editions, and is Nigeria's highest record holder with 89 international appearances.


SAZE ODEMWINGIE has stoked the fire on the debate over his 2013 AFCON exclusion by saying Nigeria has lacked “a good captain for many years”. On Friday, Osaze, Taye Taiwo and Obafemi Martins were left out of a preliminary 32-man squad for the AFCON. Coach Stephen Keshi has since defended his decision while also revealing that Osaze asked to be made team captain. "This might sound disrespectful but Eagles had no good captain for many years. Everyone looking only after himself," Osaze said on his Twitter handle He also said he was not notified about his omission from the squad. "On my non-inclusion to the Eagles list I am not surprised. Not surprised Keshi and NFF couldn't tell me themselves. No personality! "We talk through press hahaha how come I am the o n l y stubborn o n e but no


Taye Taiwo wants Ukraine stay

• Taye Taiwo

It will be recalled that Africa's footballgoverning body, CAF has given all 16 teams playing in the final tournament of thecompetition. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation has lined up friendlies against Barcelona and Cape Verde, with the first taking place on January 2 while the clash with surprise Cup of Nations finalists Cape Verde will come up on January 9 the same day Keshi will announce his final list. List of some of the players in camp:

Goalkeepers: Chigozie Agbim (Enugu Rangers, Nigeria); Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland FC, Nigeria) Defenders: Benjamin Francis (Heartland FC, Nigeria),Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars, Nigeria); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves, Nigeria), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars, Nigeria) Midfielders Fegor Ogude (Valerenga FC, Norway); Reuben Gabriel (Kano Pillars, Nigeria Forwards: Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers, Nigeria); Sunday Mba (Enugu Rangers, Nigeria)

•Says Eagles have leadership problem O ex-Eagles player was sent off from the team with respect?" The striker maintained that his being left out had nothing to do with football. "Keshi has no footballing reasons not to invite me but is not saying the truth. He is still in my plans he said haha coach u no dey my plans." He dared anyone who wishes to join issues with him on this matter. He said: "To some who wanna put mouth here please act like men. When two men talk 3rd has nothing to do. So Ikpebas and the rest talk to me face2face" He again revisited his feud with former Eagles coach Samson Siasia, alleging that the coach

dropped him because he did not endorse him for the Eagles top job after he led them to win a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. "Cos after we got Olympic silver I didn't say Siasia is ready for Eagles he waited till he gets the job to axe me?" Osaze tweeted. "Me and Apam begged him to take (Sani) Kaita in the Olympic team.He told us he wants to play Efe Ambrose there who is a centre back? Good plan. “The only reason me and Siasia fell out was over kits that were not enough 'cos they were on sale as the Olympics were on going. Shame! "WBA needed me back for an important game and Siasia refused to let me miss a midweek friendly

because of that were very upset, but thanks to victories in the last match the morale of the team is up. '' The ex Gabros star has played in three of the top leagues in Europe - England, Italy and France. He has picked the English Premier League as the toughest. ''The English Premier League is the best! Every match in this tournament is unpredictable, any team, regardless of where in the standings, can beat the leader. I would not say that the Ukrainian championship is weak. In Ukraine, a lot of small teams that have tried to take away points from Dynamo Kiev,'' says Taiwo. The experienced Super Eagle was not named by Nigeria gaffer Stephen Keshi in his preliminary African Cup of Nations roster which was released on Friday.

AGLES coach Stephen Keshi has dropped a bombshell by revealing Osaze Odemwingie has proposed himself as team skipper. Keshi told a stunned Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) technical committee that the West Bromwich Albion striker has put himself forward to be the Eagles skipper. “He told them that he wants to be captain as he considers himself one of the most senior players in the current squad,” an official revealed. “But how he has behaved in the national team over the years has really run counter to his ambition to be the leader of this team. You can only lead by example.”

The 31-year-old Osaze made his Eagles debut in 2002, but it was not until the 2004 Nations Cup that he established himself in the national team. Goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide as well as defender and present skipper Joseph Yobo are more senior players than Osaze in the Eagles. However, he has rowed with national team bosses, from Austin Eguavoen to Lars Lagerback, and his clash with Samson Siasia was widely regarded as one of the problems that caused Nigeria to sensationally fail to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup.

West Ham wants Nsofor loan deal

Fenerbahce plans bid for Ideye

N •Ideye

I G E R I A international Brown Ideye, according to matching press reports in Ukraine and Turkey, is on the wishlist of Turkey giants Fenerbahce in the summer transfer market. The Yellow Canaries have started making plans for next season's UEFA Champions League, and want to bolster their squad with reinforcements in midfield and attack. says one of the names being considered is

game? It was the same social media tool he used at the height of his row with the former Eagles handler. His tweets did not spare the Nigeria Football Federation. "NFF spokesman told MTN he is arrogant? I am arrogant? Why did country's president threaten to close down our federation for two years?" "Why didn't Lagerback continue with Super Eagles after World Cup? Chop and run was his plan and they knew it.”

...He wants to be captain—Keshi E



By Innocent Amomoh

Osaze blasts Keshi, NFF

bench every week and watching the lads out there doing their best to try to win," said the 31-year-old. "As a player, you want to be involved and help in any way you can. At the moment, that's me coming off the bench and I just have to do what I can. "Hopefully, I can make an impact like I did on Saturday. I'm just really delighted that we sent everyone home happy for Christmas." Ameobi has been at Newcastle since 2000, scoring 75 goals in 350 appearances for the club.

YNAMO KIEV wing back Taye Taiwo, who is on loan at the Ukrainian vice-champions from Italy powerhouse AC Milan, has commented on his adaption to the championship and the team. citing the official website of Dynamo quoted Taiwo as saying: '' My stay in Kiev and my performances for Dynamo give me great pleasure. This is a good club, the team has a few of my countrymen, and it helps me to feel comfortable in Ukraine.'' Taiwo added: ''I personally do not feel any problems. The decision to change the coach was taken by the president, and we have to respect it. Personally for me it was more important to adapt to the team, to try as much as possible to carry out the tasks given to me in every single match. Unfortunately, we lost a few games and

• Ogude leads 13 others to Faro camp


Shola Ameobi: I want to be more involved

EWCASTLE UNITED striker Shola Ameobi has admitted that his lack of starts for the club is frustrating him, adding that as he gear up for the Africa Cup of Nation for Nigeria he will have more playing times to put him in shape. Ameobi came off the bench to score the winner in Newcastle's 1-0 triumph over Queens Park Rangers yesterday, but has had to play second fiddle to Senegalese duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse for much of the season. However, with Ba's future at the club in doubt, Ameobi was keen to stress his desire to be involved from the start of matches. "It's been frustrating, sitting on the

Eagles depart Thursday for Portugal

Dynamo Kiev attacker Brown Ideye, who has been named in Nigeria's preliminary African Cup of Nations roster. Other candidates include Diego (Wolfsburg), Younes Belhanda (Lille), Dieumerci Mbokani (Anderlecht), Eder (Sporting Braga) and Rafik Djebbour (Olympiacos). With 13 strikes in 17 matches, Brown Ideye is the second highest goalscorer in the Ukrainian Premier League. Transfer market experts value him at around 11 million euros.



UT of favor Nigeria international Victor Obinna could return to play in the English Premier League, according to authoritative Russian portal West Ham, the club Obinna played for before signing a multi - year contract with Lokomotiv Moscow in the summer of 2011, are interested in having him on loan in the winter transfer market. Obinna played 32 games for West Ham in the 2010 - 2011 season scoring 8 goals. The 25 - year - old striker has netted twice in 17 appearances in the Russian Premier League this campaign.


It is such poor attitude that has now denied him a fifth Nations Cup appearance. In the meantime, the Eagles coach has said he wishes to run the rule over shock invitee Rabiu Ibrahim who•Martins has failed to establish himself at Celtic. Ibrahim has only managed a handful of games in his second season at Celtic Park and has yet to be capped by Nigeria at full international.

Copa Lagos MVP, Abu thanks organisers, FCMB


BU Azeez,Nigeria's rising star and MVP of Copa Lagos 2012 has thanked tournament organisers and main sponsor FCMB for hosting the tournament for a 2nd year. The striker who has been pivotal in the Sand Eagles two triumphs at Copa Lagos voiced his happiness at the success of Copa Lagos. Abu and his team mates lifted the Copa Lagos trophy for a 2nd successive year on the 16th December, overcoming 6 times European Champions Portugal in an epic finale. Abu was awarded the MVP award for Copa Lagos 2012, he scored 3 goals over the tournament to finish

as the 2nd highest top scorer, this included 2 goals in the final game against Portugal which set Nigeria on their way to an 8-7 victory after extra time. The Sand Eagles star revealed what Copa Lagos has provided him, saying, “It has really helped me with my career. People look up to me now, and it makes me feel that I am on the right path. I believe that my performances at Copa Lagos have played a part in Kwara United signing me so I am happy about this”. Speaking on the organisation of the tournament, the Sand Eagles star went on to state, “I really want

to thank the organisers for this competition, because it is not easy. I also want to thank FCMB, they really did a great job, and I want to thank them for supporting Beach Soccer, the Sand Eagles and Copa Lagos”.







Will 2013 favour the jobless? - P. 37 News Briefing Contractors to Fed Govt: Pay us SOME contractors handling some Millennium Goals Development (MDGs) for the Federal Government, particularly, the Federal Ministry of Housing, have appealed to the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Ms Ama Pepple, to assist in the payment for contracts executed for the ministry since 2011.

- Page 26

SEC Budget: Operators seek dialogue WHAT appears to be a battle line may have been drawn between the National Assembly and the Executive over the status of the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arumna Oteh, with the Houses’ refusal to appropriate funds for SEC.

- Page 35

Ministry workers protest salaries’delay WORKERS of the Ministry of Science and Technology have protested poor welfare and non-payment of salaries to the newly employed junior workers in Abuja.

- Page 39 DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound


HE Accountant-Gen eral of the Federation (AGF) Mr Jona Otunla has accused Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of loss of revenue. This is contained in a circular to administrative and accounting heads in government in November 2012. In the circular, the AGF stated that “MDAs engage in acts that result into loss of government revenue.” Otunla has read the riot act to the MDAs. He said: “Spending of government revenue without appropriation is a violation of the Appropriation Act in line with Treasury Circulars TRY/ AI&BI/2009 of January 19, 2009 and no deductions should be made from any revenue collected.” On the gross amount received, he warned that MDAs “must on all occasions be accounted for in full in line with FR 223. Therefore, all revenue collected including interest earned on bank account should be receipted properly and brought into the account on or before the close of work on December 31, 2012.” Otunla directed revenue collectors to ensure that their collections are promptly paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and accounted for by showing evidence of payment duly supported by Treasury Form 15A, and submitted to the Federal Sub-Treasury in Abuja or the appropriate Federal Pay Office before close of works on December 31, 2012.

• ‘Expenditure to end December 31’ From Nduka Chiejina (Asst. Editor)

For the MDA on Treasury Single Accounts (TSA), the Accountant-General of the Federation insisted that “their revenue should be accounted for based on the requirements of Treasury Circular TRY A6 & B6/2012 OAGF/CAD/026/VI/I of July 4, 2012 which provided for the procedures for the collection and accounting for independent revenue under TSA.” In the case of Nigerian Foreign Missions, the AGF directed that “the independent revenue generated should be paid into the Independent Revenue Account No. 400939134 at J.P Morgan Chase Bank, New York, Code: CHASUS 33 and the evidence of the payment should be e-mailed to the T r e a s u r y ( latest by 7:00 p.m. Nigerian time on Monday, January 7, 2013.” In addition, the AGF expects outstanding advances to be retired on or before December 31, 2012 as failure to do so would lead to sanctions. While MDAs are expected to comply with the requirements of the previous circulars on the need to promptly retire all outstanding advances, the AGF, specifically, cautioned accounting officers to note “that it is their responsibility to en-

Naira set for best week

-N7.560 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion

RATES Inflation 11.9% Treasury Bills 7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending - 15.87% Savings rate 2% 91-day NTB 15% Time Deposit 5.49% MPR 12% Foreign Reserve $35.8b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 242.1 $ 156 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 238 RIYAL 40.472

‘There’s no accurate record of vessels at the ports’- P. 32

AGF blames MDAs for loss of revenue


We want a SONCAP programme that would serve its purpose; a programme that would be dynamic, where all the identified loopholes would be effectively plugged thereby making it difficult for the plague of substandard products to continue to dominate the Nigerian business space. - Dr Joseph Odumodu, DG, SON

• CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi


HE naira is set for its best week in three weeks after the last Nigerian bond and Central Bank foreign- exchange auctions for the year held tlast week. The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer was unchanged at N157.2 a dollar. The naira has risen by 0.3 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nigeria’s 10-year borrowing costs declined to the lowest ever at the last auction four days ago. The N30 bil-

lion ($190 million) of bonds due January 2022 were sold at a marginal yield of 11.9001 per cent, a record low. The Central Bank of Nigeria ( C B N ) s o l d $ 3 0 0 million the same day at its last foreign- currency a u c t i on of the year, the most at a single sale since August 8, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yields on 10-year naira debt were unchanged at 11.89 per cent in the secondary market, according to prices compiled on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Borrowing costs on the nation’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 declined one basis point to 4.09 per cent at the close of business last week., retreating four basis points this week.

sure that advances granted to officers are recovered.” Also, AGF said government’s spending would closed on December 31, 2012. In a circular to administrative and accounting heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Presidency, he said: “All the cash books should be balanced latest by the close of work on Friday, December 28, 2012.” Thereafter treasury officers, “shall be deployed to ministries, extra-ministerial offices, agencies and other arms of government on Monday,December 31, 2012 by noon to rule-off all Cash Books and extract the Cash Book balances.” This is the first time in many years that the AGF will rule-

off cash books and extract the cash book balances from MDAs on December 31. In the past, this action was carried out between December 20 and 24. A development that had seen many civil servants spending money after the books had been closed. The circular was issued to the chief of staff to the president, the deputy chief of staff, office of the vice president, all ministers, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Head of civil service of the federation, special advisers,service chiefs/ Inspector-General of Police, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the chairman, federal civil service commission, federal permanent secretaries, the clerk of the National Assembly, the secretary, National Judicial Commission, the chief registrar, Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Auditor-

General for the Federation, directors-General/chief executives of extra-ministerial departments and agencies, directors of finance and accounts, heads of accounts divisions, zonal coordinators (OAGF), the sub-treasury of the federation and heads of internal audit units and federal pay officers. The AGF directed the MDAs that entries into the Departmental Vote Expenditure Allocation (DVEA) books, ledgers, mandate summary registers and imprest accounts should be concluded on Friday, December 28, while all MDAs on GIFMIS/TSA would have their accounts closed online real time by the Treasury. Thus, unspent balances in the Recurrent Expenditure Cash Books at the financial year“must be paid back to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account.



BUSINESS NEWS Flight Schedule MONDAY - FRIDAY LAGOS – ABUJA Departure Arrival 1. Aero 06.50 08.10 2. Associated 07.00 09.30 3. Air Nigeria 07.00 08.20 4. IRS 07.00 08.20 7. Arik 07.15 08.15 7. Chanchangi 07.15 9. Air Nigeria 08.15 09.35 10. Aero 08.45 10.05 11. Arik 09.15 10.15 12. Chanchangi 10.00 11.00 13. IRS 11.15 12.35 14. Aero 12.20 13.30 15. Air Nigeria 13.25 14.45 16. Chanchangi 13.30 14.30 17. Arik 13.45 14.45 18. IRS 14.00 15.20 19. Aero 14.10 15.30 20. Air Nigeria 14.50 16.10 21. Chanchangi 15.30 16.30 22. Arik 15.50 16.50 23. Aero 16.00 17.20 24. IRS 16.30 17.50 25. Arik 16.50 17.50 26. Chanchangi 17.30 18.30 27. Air Nigeria 17.35 18.55 29. Air Nigeria (T/TH) 18.30 19.50 20. Arik 18.45 19.45 31. Aero 19.20 20.40

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

LAGOS – BENIN Arik 07.30 Associated 08.30 Aero 10.50 Arik 11.45 Associated 13.00 Aero 14.25 Arik 15.30 Associated 16.00

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

1. Arik 2. Aero 1. 2. 3. 4.

LAGOS – CALABAR 07.30 11.20 12.50 16.00 LAGOS – JOS 10.55 11.15

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40

Most banks are selling off their share registration businesses while the consolidation in the banking industry has reduced the size of share registration business. Banks were, and still, the largest customers for most registrars. Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Scope of Banking Activities and Ancillary Matters No 3, 2010 requires banks to concentrate on core banking functions. The new model requires banks to either sell non-core banking businesses or form a holding company to hold such non-core banking businesses including activities such as insurance, asset management and capital market operations. Five banks including First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc have opted to form holding companies and keep their subsidiaries while other banks including Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Plc,

Skye Bank Plc, Sterling Bank, Zenith Bank and Wema Bank, among others, are pursuing divestments from non-banking subsidiaries. Besides being the largest registers, banks own the largest and most active registrars. More than half of the industry operators, which account for more than twothird of the industry activities, are owned directly or indirectly by banks. A reliable source said banks that had acquired share registration businesses have started exploring possibilities of merging the businesses. First City Monument Bank, which has interest in CSL Securities (Registrars), recently acquired Fin Registrars through acquisition of Finbank Plc.Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), which has interest in EDC Securities, also acquired Oceanic Registrars through its acquisition of Oceanic Bank International. Access Bank also recently acquired Intercontinental Registrars through its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank Plc.

12.15 12.45 09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

LAGOS – OWERRI Aero 07.30 Arik 07.30 Air Nigeria 13.40 Arik 14.00 Arik 16.30

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

LAGOS – KANO Air Nigeria 07.10 IRS 08.00 Arik 12.20 IRS 14.00 IRS 18.15

08.50 09.45 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

HE train of consolidation in the financial services indus try may move next to the share registration business as registrars adjust to the divestment and consolidation in banking, stringent supervisory framework, capital requirement and intensive information and communication technology. Industry sources estimated that the number of share registration firms which is about 30, may reduce by almost half following ongoing mergers and acquisitions from banking consolidation induced business combinations and competition-induced restructurings. When asked about the possibility of consolidation in the share registration industry, both Managing Director, First Registrars Nigeria Limited, Mr Bayo Olugbemi and Chief Executive, Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR), Dr David Ogogo, answered in the affirmative. Olugbemi said the consolidation might start from 2013 and it could be due to competition or regulations. Ogogo said well-run registrars would stand good chance to in consolidation period.

08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20

LAGOS – PORT HARCOURT (CIVIL) 1. Aero 07.15 08.35 2. Arik 07.15 08.35 3. Arik 09.00 10.20 4. Aero 10.50 12.30 5. Arik 11.40 13.00 6. Air Nigeria 12.00 13.10 7. IRS 13.30 15.00 8. Arik 14.00 15.20 9. Air Nigeria 16.00 17.10 10 Arik 16.10 17.30 11. Aero 16.15 17.30 12. Arik 17.10 18.30

1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik


Massive consolidation looms in share registration

08.00 18.00

LAGOS – ABUJA SAT/SUN Arik 7.15; 10.20; 2.20; 5.20pm – 7.30; 9.15; 10.20; 2.20; 4.50; 6.45 Aero 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 – 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 Air Nigeria 08.15; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30 – 08.15; 13.30; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30

•Mrs. Gbeminiyi Laolu-Adewale (left) of Procter & Gamble and her colleague Mrs. Bina Idonije (right) donating cash to Child Developmental Centre (CDC) in Lagos. With them is Mrs. Ebele of CDC.

MDGs’ contractors to Fed Govt: Pay us


OME contractors handling some Millennium Goals De velopment (MDGs) projects for the Federal Government, particularly, the Federal Ministry of Housing, have appealed to the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Ms Ama Pepple, to assist in the payment for contracts executed for the ministry since 2011. Their spokesperson Mr James Olutola, told reporters in Lagos,that though his colleagues had completed their projects since last year and early this year, they had not been paid. According to him, while few people had been paid, the hope of payment for the majority is hanging in the balance, for what he de-

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

scribed as empty promises. “We are appealing to the Presidency, especially, the Minister, Ms Ama Pepple, whom we all considered as a mother, a sister, to please, effect our payment, since many of us are indebted to the banks”. The contractors also alleged that the minister said that she would only pay for the contracts awarded by her and not those by her predecessor. Olutola, who along Mohammed Tijani, said they executed school projects, which were certified okay, said: “But till date, we are yet to receive our payment, as we are still lamenting the unfortunate death of one of the co-contractor, who died recently as a result of pressure from

his creditor”, he said. But the ministry’s Director Press, Mr Peter Ogbonnaya, refuted the contractors’ claims. He insisted that all executed projects were paid for. However, he said efforts were being made to pay contractors who handled the MDGs projects for the ministry in 2010, assuring that all the projects executed would be paid for. “There is no way you can execute a project for the Federal Government and the minister will tell you that you won’t be paid because the project was not awarded by him or her. The Minister wasn’t there in 2010, but she is making efforts to ensure that the projects executed in 2010 which have not been paid for, are paid for,” he said.

PENGASSAN chief seeks immigration HE Federal Government has policy review country. been advised to review the “I think the review of the immigra-


country’s immigration policy to check influx of illegal immigrants into the country. President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Comrade Babatunde Ogun, said the review would help to reduce crime. Ogun further said many people from Nigeria’s neighbouring countries migrate to Nigeria without proper documents.

This, he attributed, to the porosity of the nation’s borders and lack of commitment on the part of the officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). “There have been several reports of cases of attacks on the Nigerians in the Northern part of the country by herdsmen from some neighbouring countries. More worrisome is the Al Quada dimension to the insecurity in the

tion policy needs to involve re-orientation, training and retraining of the officers and men of the Nigerian Immigration on protecting our borders”. He argued that the laxity of the policy also allowed foreigners to take jobs that are meant for Nigerians, all in the name of expatriates, stating that whereas “some of the foreigners who parade as expatriates have no specialisation that can qualify them for being in the country.”

Airline boss urges govt to reduce taxes By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor


HIEF Executive Officer of Skyjet Aviation, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has called on the Federal Government to reduce the multiple taxes charged charter operators by aviation agencies. He said it is one way to eliminate obstacles militating against the growth and development of the sector. Shettima, who spoke in an interview, explained that until such charges are reduced, operators will continue to grapple with high costs, which according to him has been disincentive to many investors in the sub sector. He also lamented the slow process of issuing operators licence, urging thatis should be fasttracked as it is done in other parts of the world. He said his experience with while processing the airline’s Air Operators Certificate (AOC) with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), could be improved upon to facilitate business for charter operators. He said: “ You know aviation industry is not an easy industry where you can easily make money. It is an industry with a lot of challenges. There are aircraft issues and a lot of other challenges, including some government policies. “However, I think the minister of aviation is on the right track and she will take us to the place where we need to be. “But there is a serious challenge in this industry. Every time the government talks about attracting foreign investors, but there are lots of people in-house who are willing to invest in the country. “All they need is the support and enabling environment to do it and I believe that before foreign investors can come and invest here, you need to show them that your own people are doing it, then they would come and would want to partner with the indigenous investors.” Shettima added : “ The aviation industry in Nigeria still has a lot of challenges because I have seen it. However, I believe that at some point, the airline operators and the authorities need to sit down to look at issues critically.”

2012 is challenging, says Samsung By Lucas Ajanaku


LECTRONICS giant, Samsung Electronics, has said the out going is challenging for its business because of the economic problems confroting major economies of the world. He hower assured that consumers in the country should look forward to an exciting 2013. Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West Africa (SEWA), Mr Brovo Kim, who spoke in Lagos, said the economic downturn across the world also impacted the business of the firm. He argued that in spite of this, the electronics manufacturer retained its leadership position in the market. “The economic situation around the world has not been too good. But we are growing as our mobile phone industry grew up to 60 per cent. And in consumer electronics, there is no difference. We did better than 2011 so every year, it keeps growing our buiness. We will continue to provide our customers in Nigeria with the latest technology to ease life,” he said. He said the firm would consolidate its leadership of the electronics market in the new year with the introduction of a rich bouquet of innovative and competitively priced products.



ISSUES The crash of an Agusta Helicopter, belonging to the Nigerian Navy in Bayelsa State, has again raised concerns about the state of air safety in Nigeria. The recurrence of air disasters has provoked many questions but provided little answers in the aviation sector. Amid anxiety by the public, experts and stakeholders in the sector are divided on whether efforts by the government are enough to improve the nation's bad safety record in global aviation, reports KELVIN OSA-OKUNBOR

•Aircraft maintenance hangar


HESE are not the best of times for players in the aviation sector. This is because of the recent crash of an Agusta helicopter belonging to the Nigerian Navy in Bayelsa State, where the Governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoeye Azazi, and four others died. The crash brings to three the number of ghastly helicopter crashes in Nigeria in recent times. These the ones involving a Nigeria Police helicopter carrying Mr John Haruna, a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Operations, which crashed near Jos, the Plateau State capital; and another flying the Chief Executive Officer of a shipping firm. These and the DanaAir disaster on June 3, 2012 in Iju-Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos with all 153 passengers on board, brings to the fore, again, the question of air safety in Nigeria. The recurrence of air crashes in Nigeria has brought to the front burner efforts by the government to close gaps in air safety, which experts have over the years, attributed to obsolete infrastructure. Since the Naval helicopter's crash, which

Is the airspace safe? many have said is one too many, experts in the sector have argued that there is need to harmonise civil and military aviation to promote air safety. But the former spokesman Nigeria Airways Mr Chris Aligbe has cautioned Nigerians on speculations making the rounds that the nation's air space is not safe. Aligbe explained that because military aviation is self-regulatory, it is outside the purview of the the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to determine the nature of military aircraft operations. He said some people suggested that the helicopter crash may have cast doubt on the integrity of air safety in the country. He explained that military aircraft do not fall within the purview of the NCAA even the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is not empowered to investigate military air acci-

dents. He said: "There is institutional difference in oversight of military and civil aviation operations. All the aviation agencies have no responsibility over military operations. Even the AIB cannot investigate military air accidents. They do not come under the inventory of the NCAA. The military is self-regulating. They train their staff to the highest level. The military has full complements over the regulation of their aircraft.” He urged the military to build internal capacity for their aircraft, adding that the culture of self-regulation by the military requires tremendous institutional will- power. On the call that military aircraft should be brought under the supervision of the Aviation Ministry, Aligbe said such proposal would not work, because NCAA has no competence to oversee military transport aircraft and other

fighter jets in their fleet. "It is unfortunate that the crash occurred and some illustrious Nigerians died. Sadly, some people now want to frighten the public because of the questions over air safety in Nigeria, as they affect the quality of civil aviation regulation. “There is difference between military and civil aviation. Any professional who talks about it is not worth his salt. We all have to wait for the report of the investigation because it would amount to being presumptive to hold such position. To say the least, it is against global standards,” he added. He explained that since 2005, when the aviation industry was bedevilled by series of air crashes, the government has risen to the situation by facilitating infrastructure upgrade and other amenities needed to improve air safety. Aligbe noted that though the International Federation of Airline Pilots raised some issues a few years ago over poor communication in the airspace, the government has invested enough overtime to improve the system. •Continued on page 28




Is the air space safe? •Continued from page 27

He said the government's intervention in the industry is working in the area of air navigation facilities and airport infrastructure.He canvassed the implementation of communication navigation satellite surveillance and air traffic management, which he said is key to air safety. Aligbe, however, urged the relevant government agencies to do more in providing the needed air navigation facilities, affirming that for a sustained infrastructure upgrade, the government should allocate more funds for critical safety projects. He said: "A maintenance facility in Nigeria is long overdue. The government should facilitate the establishment of such a project, and ensure that the airlines have enough aircraft to ensure it is profitable. “If there are not enough aircraft to sustain the maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, it could be a failure. Above all, there must be competence in fleet and aircraft type to make it work. “One sure way of achieving this is the entrenchment of standardisation of fleet and line management to boost the competence of such a facility." He further said without standardisation of aircraft type, the industry could have problems with growth and development, as major aircraft repairs’facilities are driven by the development of competence in aircraft types. "Most of the airlines in Nigeria do not have commonality of aircraft type to drive maintenance and repair overhaul facilities," Aligbe added. A non-governmental coalition that focuses on aviation safety last week called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to introduce a legal framework, which would compel aircraft and helicopters to come under the supervisory of the Ministry of Aviation. The aircraft and helicopter type, the group said, should include those in the fleet of the military. The group explained that the implementation of this proposal would facilitate a national aviation safety standards in compliance with best practices, adding it could save Nigeria from incessant plane crashes. Senior members of the group Emmanuel Onwubuiko and Maimuna Al-Hassan exonerated the Ministry of Aviation of any blame in the Bayelsa crash, reiterating that since military planes and helicopters do not fall under the schedules of officials of the civil aviation ministry, it would improper to blame them. Chief Executive of Mish Aviation, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, explained that the crash might not have any effect on civil aviation because military and civil aviation are different. He said civil and military aviation differ in terms of structure as military aviation is not subject to civil registration and, therefore, not under any civil oversight from NCAA. Mshelia said the Minister of Aviation should not be blamed for the tragedy, saying she is only in charge of civil aircraft. “The Minister should not be blamed at all. She supervises the civil aviation operations involving civil registered aircraft only, even if

•Aviation Minister Princess Oduah


the aircraft is operating under Military Aviation. But in this case, the aircraft was reported to be a Naval helicopter, which is under military aviation. "Since it doesn't bear civil registration, the Minister has no jurisdiction of safety oversight prior to the accident on that aircraft, nor has any right of inquiry into that unfortunate accident,” he said. Also, the General Secretary, Aviation Round Table, Mr Sam Akerele, dismissed insinuations that the spate of air crashes could affect the nation's rating in global aviation. He said: "I don't think this crash will affect Nigeria's aviation rating in the international community. It is, however, a signal that Nigeria should not relent in its efforts to sanitise the sector. We sympathise with the country." Another industry expert, who pleaded anonymity, said since it was a military helicopter that was involved in the crash, it would not affect the country's rating. According to him, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority does not have safety oversight over military planes. Industry analyst and Head, Research and Statistics, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, also said this might not affect the country's rating in any way. Nigeria is among the five African countries (from the 64 African countries) that have passed United States of America's Category One Certification. The other African countries are Cape Verde, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa. From 1967 to 2012, Nigeria recorded 131 accidents. The crashes, which involved both fixed wing and helicopters, led to the death of 1,166 people. Meanwhile, an aviation expert, Group Captain John Obakpolor, a retired Air Force officer, has called for collaboration between military and civil aviation on ways to improve air safety in Nigeria. He said there was the need to set up a military aviation department, like it exists in civil aviation to raise the bar in air safety. President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Isaac Balami, said pilots have continued to adhere to regulations to boost air safety. His position was predicated on insinuations in some quarters that some pilots some times bend the rules to keep their jobs. Balami, however, said no pilots would do this, saying it would amount to suicide for any pilot to

fly an aircraft he knows is not airworthy. Only last month, experts in the industry tasked airline operators on the need to upgrade their avionics in compliance with Performance Based Navigation (PBN) to Global Navigation Satellite Systems, the latest technology in airspace management. AON Chairman, Dr. Steve Mahonwu; Secretary-General, Mohammed Joji; its Assistant Secretary General, Mohammed Tukur and the Managing Director of Afrijet, Mr Vitalis Ibe, said the problem with the navigational communications was not beyond redemption, noting that the Federal Government should assist the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to secure the airspace. Mahonwu said given the commitment of NAMA, he noted, was poised to remedy the situation. Experts, including pilots and air traffic controllers, said the situation "is so bad that often times airplanes enter the Nigerian airspace without the knowledge of air traffic controllers. At other times, they only get to know of such flights through telephone calls from their counterparts in Nigeria's friendly nations." In the past one year, the Federal Government has embarked on airport infrastructure, including those of remodelling and air navigation, aimed at improving air safety on the ground and in sky. As a follow up to the remodelling, NAMA has completed the first phase of the installation of N280 million solar powered facilities at six major airports to check power failures on its navigational aids (NAVAIDS). The solar power is for navigation/ landing aids in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Bida and Enugu airports where the agency has the problem of power failure. Chairman, Stormberg Power Limited, Tunde Morakinyo, the contractor of the solar power project, described the hybrid power system in the country as first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. He promised that the second phase of the project would start early in the new year. NAMA spokesman, Supo Atobatele, said each of the sites has 24 solar panels with a 15 KVA hybrid inverter. The system has 18 batteries for the NAVAIDS except the very high frequency omni-directional radio range (VOR), adding that this could last for 12 hours. For the VOR, the back up batteries are 36 and it has capacity to run the system for between 15 and 18 hours.


Managing Director, NAMA, Mr Nnamdi Udoh, described this as " another milestone in saving money and diversifying our power source to solar. "It is a project that has been on-going and is fully completed and we are now using it. It is saving us the huge amount we used to spend on diesel to power generators and the down-time we used to experience due to power failure. "So, it is a thing of joy. We will continue to explore how we are going to deploy it in other areas apart from its current usage for navigational aids, which is the pilot scheme in six airports/locations". Udoh said the nation's airspace records over 500 flights daily, and that this is an evidence of improved air safety. He said the figure does not include overflying flights, which do not land at the airports. According to him, air traffic has increased astronomically in recent years, adding that the situation has forced the agency to embark on critical projects to boost the capacity of its navigational facilities. He said the development informed the agency’s decison to decongest the Lagos Area Control Centre of the airspace. He said: "With growing traffic, especially at peak period, the main Lagos Aerial Control Centre frequency, 127.3MHz, had become congested with attendant challenges posed to pilots. The agency in her typical manner commenced the process of categorising the Lagos ACC. And based on the project timeline of December 17, 2012, the Lagos ACC would have been categorising." He added: "I want to use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that our airspace is safe. To address some of the challenges we had in the past, embarked on many critical projects to reposition and strengthen the navigational facilities in the airspace." Udoh explained that a team of air traffic controllers and engineers was working on the technical and operational implementation of the categorisation. In addition, NAMA’s Director of Operations, Mr Mukaila Solola, said the agency has taken some major steps to address radio communication challenges in the airspace, adding that at the moment, only Nigeria could boast of having the Performance Based Navigation (PBN) system in Africa. PBN is a shift from ground based-navigation to satellite-

‘I don't think this crash will affect Nigeria's aviation rating in the international community. It is, however, a signal that Nigeria should not relent in its efforts to sanitise the sector’


based. NAMA reassured the public of the safety of the airspace, noting however, that there were still challenges in radio communication in the airspace. Udoh added that the agency was working towards solving the problems, adding that there was a medium-term plan for the implementation of the Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) that would further boost the safety of the airspace. He, however, said it was wrong to allege that pilots were flying blindly in the airspace. He stressed that no pilot could ever take-off from the ground without receiving instructions from the air traffic controllers. "To address some of the challenges we have had in the past, the agency embarked on several safety critical projects, one of which includes the Total VHF Radio Coverage of the airspace. Experts say the project has been completed and the project provides VHF radio services for Lagos and Kano. "Currently, a team of air traffic controllers and engineers are working on the technical and operational implementation of the sectorisation which includes but not limited to drawing of procedures, gap analysis and safety audits of the process," Udoh said. NAMA completed the World Geodetic Survey (WGS-84) of Bebi airstrip, which joins other major airports prepared for satellitebased navigation system. NAMA said it developed this capacity through competence transfer achieved by the WGS-84/ Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) project of 24 airports. "With this development, NAMA prides itself as having in-house experts in WGS-84 Survey, PBN Procedure Design and Cartography. NAMA has also acquired through same project, state-of-art digital survey equipment and GIS LAB. "The agency is ready to collaborate with any organisation that requires this service within and outside Nigeria, with assurance of delivery in accordance with international standards to ensure Safety of Air Navigation", Udoh, said. Meanwhile, plans have reached an advanced an stage to upgrade the airports facilities in the 22 locations. According to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the remodelling of the airports is expected to be completed in two years. At the end, the 22 airports would have been renovated to meet international standards. Speaking on the development, FAAN General Manager, Corporate Communications, Yakubu Dati, said the authorities have been working hard to ensure that after the remodelling, meets international standard.




Canada’s banks expand business planning teams F OR many Canadian business owners, it can take the sudden death of a colleague or a debilitating illness before they realise they don’t have succession plans and they are badly needed. Baby boomers own the bulk of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, and many have neglected to make formal plans for passing on their businesses to relatives or through a sale. It’s left a void that the country’s banks are vying to fill. Pinterest wants its users to do three things: consume, create and share content. The more users consume, create and share, the faster Pinterest reaches its business objectives and dominates its market. To accomplish this, Pinterest has mastered the art of minimising cognitive load – in

other words, reducing the mental effort required to do what the site wants users to do. “Our business owner clients are quickly turning 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65,” says Tony Maiorino, head of wealth management services at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). “They see a colleague who dies, who gets cancer, who has a stroke, and their business is disrupted and their family is at a loss.” These are“groundhog moments,” he adds, and a startled business owner might think: “‘Holy crap, I don’t want that to happen to me.’” The need for contingency planning is helping RBC’s business succession unit swim against the tide, Maiorino says. It is expanding rapidly at a time when many global banks have cut back on

staffing in the wake of the financial crisis. Maiorino’s team is nearly 200 strong, an increase from 56 people in 2007, and Canada’s major banks are not shy about stealing talent from one another to build the strongest team. RBC recently raided Bank of Montreal and hired James Wong, who coauthored The Transition Experience: What every Canadian family business owner should know beyond succession planning while at BMO. Succession planning is not a revenue-generating business – RBC and its rivals don’t charge for most of the service – but the payoff comes when clients start implementing their plans, which typically includes investing money, setting up trusts, tax planning and dealing with estate de-

tails. “Within 18 months the share of wallet goes up ... they tend to give us more of their money to manage,” Mr. Maiorino explains. RBC’s competitors are jockeying to expand their business planning teams and link the service to existing commercial and private clients, many of whom are high-networth individuals. “ About 70 percent of our private company clients are going to turn over in terms of management over the next 10 years,” says Ian Niven, vice-president of succession planning at BMO Harris Private Banking. “That’s going to create a large amount of wealth, in terms of

Discussions on tax increase to continue, says US Speaker


OUSE Speaker John Boehner, weakened by a failure to unite his party around raising taxes on millionaires, said he would continue discussions with the White House on resolving the “fiscal cliff,” although he insisted that it is Democrats who now must make the next move. Boehner appeared in front of reporters in Washington at the weekend about 14 hours after suffering one of the most embarrassing defeats of his long political career. Seeking leverage in talks to avert some $600-billion (U.S.) in fiscal austerity scheduled to take effect in the New Year, Boehner planned to hold a vote on his “Plan B,” which would have shielded every American who makes less than $1-million from broad tax increases in 2013. President Barack Obama wants tax rates to rise on incomes above $400,000. However, the gambit failed because dozens of anti-tax Republicans refused to endorse a tax increase even on the country’s wealthiest people. Mr. Boehner, who predicted earlier in the week that his initiative would pass, withdrew the bill before a vote

RGENTINE energy company YPF has signed a deal with United States oil major Chevron Corp. for major investment in the South American country’s vast shale oil resources. YPF’s Chief Executive, Miguel Galuccio, said earlier this month he expected his company to finalise a joint-venture agreement with Chevron – Argentina’s fourth-largest oil producer – before the end of the year. Pro-government supporters cheer during a debate in the Argentine Congress over the nationalisation of Argentina’s biggest oil company YPF in Buenos Aires May 3, 2012.

Chevron Brazil’s Chief Executive Officer George Buck gives a presentation to the media after a news conference in Rio de Janeiro November 21, 2011. Brazil’s government slapped Chevron with a $28 million fine on Monday for causing an oil spill off Brazil’s coast, a penalty that could rise to $44 million as the U.S. company faces a mounting political backlash over the accident. Mr Galuccio and Ali Moshiri, Chevron’s head of operations for Latin America and Africa, said

Wednesday’s letter of intent established a pilot program to drill 100 non-conventional oil wells at a cost of about $1-billion (US). Details of a deal for YPF to transfer a 50 per cent interest in the Loma de la Lata Norte and Loma Campana fields, which cover an area of nearly 300 square kilometres, will be negotiated over the next four months. “The question is going to be how big the investment will be beyond the pilot,” Mr Moshiri told reporters in Buenos Aires via video conference. “Our goal is to start as soon as possible. What we need is to push our teams to put a definitive agreement together as soon as possible.”

China set to acquire Exxon in Iraq


HINA National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) has emerged as the front runner to take over Iraq’s West Qurna-1 oilfield from Exxon Mobil Corp., a move that would diminish Western oil influence in Iraq a decade after the United States-led invasion. US oil major Exxon is giving up its stake in the giant southern oil field after clashing with the central government in Baghdad over exploration contracts it had signed with the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north. Iraqi and Chinese sources said

CNPC unit Petrochina is negotiating for Exxon’s 60 per cent in the $50-billion West Qurna-1 project and that there are rival bidders. Royal Dutch Shell PLC is a minority partner. “CNPC has shown interest; they are there. And from our side, there is no problem with them taking on a bigger position. We are not sensitive about this,” a senior Iraqi official said. “These are service contracts, not production-sharing contracts (which give companies an ownership stake), so it doesn’t matter if

they have 10 fields or one.” For energy-hungry China, a major buyer of Iraqi crude, access to reserves is a strategic imperative, and Beijing is prepared to accept tougher terms and lower profits than Western oil majors and even Russian firms such as Lukoil, which have to answer to shareholders. Iraq has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and wants to at least double its production in the next few years and ultimately challenge Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil nation.

and shuttered the House until after Christmas. Boehner, whose hold on the speakership is now in question, rejected the suggestion that he was giving up on avoiding the “cliff,” saying his members are on notice that they could be recalled to Washington at any moment. He said his legislative manoeuvre fell flat because too many of his members were “dealing with the perception that someone might accuse them of raising taxes.” Still, the collapse of Boehner’s “Plan B” has left Washington in a state confusion, an acute sense of uncertainty among international investors that caused stock markets to slump Friday. Boehner offered no path to a solution, saying at one point in his press conference that “God only knows” how Democrats and Republicans will close the gap in their negotiations. Obama earlier this week quantified the divide as only a “few hundred billion dollars,” small change against projected spending of some $3.6-trillion.

Debt crisis uncorks EU champagne sales

•The YPF in Argentina.

Chevron, Argentina’s firm agree on joint venture A

those who sell, that needs to be managed. As well, some of these businesses will be turned over to the next generation, and we want to make sure that we have demonstrated to the next generation that we are great service providers. It’s really key to BMO’s future growth.” While Niven says 80 per cent to 90 per cent of succession planning is done for existing clients, BMO is reaching out to lawyers and accountants, trying to attract new entrepreneurs. It’s a big untapped market. Maiorino ands Niven both estimate that more than 60 per cent of small or medium-sized business owners have no succession plan and they reach out for help only when something big happens.


EPRESSED by weak economies and the lingering shadow of a sovereign debt crisis, Europeans are struggling to find good reasons to crack open the bubbly. The European gloom means that after two years of increases, producers will dispatch about nine million fewer bottles of champagne worldwide in 2012, a three per cent drop to around 314 million, industry estimates gathered by Reuters showed. But more expensive tastes in export markets such as Japan, the United States and China mean champagne revenue as a whole will likely match or even pip the 4.1-billion euro ($5.4-billion United States) achieved last year. “Despite the drop in volumes, champagne will still have one of the three or four best performances in history,” said Bruno Paillard, chief executive of Lanson BCC, the world’s second-biggest champagne group. The market is dominated by luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, which owns the Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart and Krug brands. Specialist champagne-makers also include Laurent Perrier, Vranken and drinks group Pernod Ricard’s Mumm and Perrier-Jouet brands. Sales of champagne – which by definition can only be produced in the northern French region of the same name – peaked at 339 million bottles in 2007 for record industry

revenue of 4.5-billion euro. In France, the top sales market for champagne accounting for 52 per cent of volumes, demand was down five per cent by October with no sign of the trend improving. “This year has been tough, with a fraught economic situation in France and Europe,” said Thibaut Le Mailloux, spokesman for the Comite Interprofessionel des Vins de Champagne (CIVC) trade association, of the stagnant economy across most of the zone. The British market, the world’s biggest importer of champagne with 10 per cent of total exports, remains very difficult and competitive after seeing a drop of three per cent in 2011, industry executives said. Despite the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth and the Olympic Games in London, champagne sales volumes were down seven per cent at the end of October in Britain. The overall drop in Europe 10 months into the year was six per cent. The CIVC is due to publish detailed statistics for 2012 in February. “Consumption remains bad in Europe, with a significant slowdown in demand, particularly in France,” said Etienne Auriau, finance head at Laurent Perrier. In contrast, champagne exports to countries outside the European Union were up five per cent as of October, boosted by demand in the United States, which in 2011 took 35 million bottles, and Japan, which took 7.9 million.



MONEY LINK Echo MfB targets N100m capital base

Mobile money operators get deadline on interconnectivity


OBILE money op erators (MMOs) have been mandated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fully connect to the National Central Switch (NCS) on or before February 28, 2013 to ensure interoperability and interconnectivity of the schemes. A circular to the MMOs signed by CBN Director, Banking & Payment System Department, ‘Dipo Fatokun, stated that the directive is in furtherance of the apex bank’s efforts at ensuring effective and robust mobile payment system. He explained that the decision was reached at the Mobile Money Forum held on November 29, 2012, warning that the regulator

Stories by Collins Nweze

would not hesitate sanction MMOs that fail to comply with the directive. The CBN had said that over the next few years, the focus of the regulator would be to strengthen the institutional and regulatory frameworks to achieve improved financial inclusion through mobile money. It said the application of mobile technology for financial services especially in rural areas will ensure that a large percentage of the population outside the formal banking system would have access to financial services using one of the three models of card-based, accountbased and virtual account

banking options. CBN statistics showed that only 22 million adult Nigerians own a bank account out of a population of 167 million people. With telecoms subscriber base put at 105 million by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there are indeed limitless opportunities for the country to achieve financial inclusion by bringing the large numbers of the unbanked to the banking sector through mobile money. World Bank said the global remittance market has grown rapidly over the past decade. In 2010, remittances through official channels amounted to $440 billion, of which, developing countries received an estimated $325 billion. The

E •CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

majority of these transactions are still cash-to-cash transactions, but the share of digital transactions is steadily increasing. Driven by the development of mobile money systems in emerging markets, experts estimate that $16 billion worth of international money transfers will be received with mobile phones in 2015. Despite the inherent challenges, banks have been launching mobile money products to support their operations.

UBA reduces transaction charges


NITED Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has re moved access fees for all electronic channels and lowered transaction fees for its range of electronic products (eproducts) and services. In a statement, the bank said the move was meant to drive the cashless initiative and provide value added services to customers during the festive season. This has, according to the statement, allowed customers of the bank to access banking transactions at significantly lower rates, across the lender’s

electronic platforms such as the UBA Debit and Prepaid Cards, U-Mobile (Your Bank on your Mobile ) and U-Direct (Your Bank on the Web). “We have significantly simplified the enrollment process and removed the monthly access charge on mobile banking (U-Mobile) and internet banking (U-Direct) channels and lowered the transaction fees on transactions done on U-Mobile, U-Direct and ATM channels,” it said. Head e-Banking, UBA Plc, Adeyinka Adedeji, said the exercise is well-timed. “We want

our customers to be able to send money to their loved ones during this season at minimal cost and from the convenience of their mobile and internet facilities. Our debit and prepaid cards would also address the safety concerns prevalent during this period as our customers don’t have to carry cash around,” he said. According to him, the lender has also cancelled the N100 monthly access charge to UMobile and U-Direct for retail customers and removed N150,000 enrollment fee for web payment gateway instal-

lation on merchant’s website. He said the bank is passionate about customer service and committed to driving the cashless initiative including pioneering the use of e-banking products, point of sales (PoS), web payment and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the banking industry as a way of improving banking services to its customers. “UBA is also launching a reward programme for customers that use card for payment on PoS and internet in this festive period,” he said.


Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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


Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012




.50 5.68 1.83 3.63 15.23 0.91 0.70 0.72 0.99 22.49


7.14 5.96 1.92 3.79 15.90 0.95 0.73 0.75 1.03 23.35




1.67 154.03 1.00 126.91 13.10 1.63 3.75 21.52 44.00 0.91

C/PRICE 1.55 144.30 0.95 120.57 12.45 1.55 3.57 20.50 42.00 0.87

ments. The lender was also applauded for supporting corporate borrowers, particularly Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria where the sum of N11 billion was raised in the local debt markets. According to Chris Moore, Publisher and CEO of EMEAFinance Magazine, FBN Capital has been at the forefront of bringing Nigerian sovereign, sub-sovereign and corporate debt to the attention of international investors and the larger global financial community.


9.85 4.93 4.92 4.41 4.40 4.40 4.29 4.17 4.04 3.82

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12






Current Before

Current After

CUV Start %


147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57

NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N) Bureau de Change (S/N) Parallel Market


















July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

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

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


CHANGE -7.19 -6.32 -5.00 -5.00 -4.96 -4.91 -4.80 -4.74 -4.55 -4.40

Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m


LOSERS AS AT 21-12-12



BN Capital Limited has been awarded the “Best Debt House in Nigeria 2012” for the third year at the EMEAFinance Africa Banking Awards. In a statement, the firm explained that the African Banking Awards is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence. FBN Capital won the 2010 and 2011 editions of the “Best Debt House”, and was again recognised as “a leader of local currency issuance in Nigeria”, having raised a combined N58 billion for Ondo, Ekiti and Benue state govern-

Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m

Currency OBB Rate Call Rate

FBN Capital wins ‘Best Debt House’ award


MANAGED FUNDS Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

with the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) for the benefit of veering into agricultural lending to reach the teeming farmers in Ikorodu and its environs. He said as a way of promoting electronic based payment/money transfer in the economy and the CBN’s cashless policy drive, it is now an agent of Pagatech Mobile Money. According to him, gifts were distributed to the leaders and secretaries of the over 60 women groups currently patronising the bank’s group lending products. “There were draws to determine prizes for the Echo Winners’ promo. Various prizes were won and given out, including the star prize of a motor bike.



Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00

CHO Microfinance Bank (MfB) Limited is working on increasing its capital base from N66 million to N100 million, in the first quarter of 2013, the bank’s Managing Director, Idowu Oshokoya, has said. Speaking at the bank’s customers’ forum in Lagos, he said the lender will also be seeking for a license to convert from Unit Microfinance Bank to State Microfinance Bank from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He said the forum was meant to appreciate its customers who have been committed to the bank for the past years. Oshokoya also said the bank recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 132.37 125.53 0.80 1.13 0.92 1,763.58 11.31 1.39 1.87 9,335.15 193.00 1.67

9.08 1.00 132.05 124.60 0.77 1.13 0.91 1,754.53 10.75 1.33 1.80 9,091.15 191.08 1.62




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833







Approved oil benchmark to strengthen exchange rate T HE exchange rate for the naira will be strengthened by the approved oil benchmark, analysts have said. The FBN Capital, an investment and research firm explained in a report that if the oil price remains stable, which is expected, a lower threshold strengthens the defences and underpins the naira exchange rate. The naira at the weekend, advanced after investor inflows into a Nigerian bond auction pushed yields to a record low. The naira rose 0.2 per cent to 157.5 a dollar and has gained 3.1 per cent this year, the second best performance of African currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Managing Director, Blue Wall Bureau De Change (BDC), Lucky Aiyedatiwa said the naira hans been relatively stable since the beginning of the year and is expected to maintain that status in 2013. However, higher budget threshold would reduce the transfers to the excess crude account (ECA) and the sovereign wealth fund (SWF), which are expected to provide sufficient buffers for the economy. The National Assembly on Thursday approved an oil price threshold of $79 per barrel for the term of the 2013 to 15 medium term expenditure framework. The legislators approved a N4.98 trillion budget for next year, raising the Executive’s N4.92 trillion proposal by N63 billion. President Goodluck Jonathan had sent a N4.92 trillion Appropriation Bill to the lawmakers. “The House of Representatives had previously argued for $80 per barrel and the Senate for $78 per barrel. The FGN had assumed a threshold of $75 per barrel in its proposals for 2013. This was an increase from the level of $72 per barrel in the 2012 budget, an unusual step by the executive which we attributed at the time to its determination to secure a relatively swift passage into law of the finance bill,” FBN Capital said.

Interbank Ezun Olukunle, Fixed Income & Currency Analyst, Ecobank Nigeria, said inter-bank rate fell 20 basis points to 10.5 per cent on December 19, despite provisions made for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS), treasury bills and the monthly government bonds auction. According to him, recent rise in interbank rate was due to ongoing CBN’s liquidity management adding that Open Market Operations (OMO) bills of N273.1 billion were sold between 10 and 13 December. He said the CBN’s liquidity management remains active and supported by the circular issued on 1 August tightened currency and the MPC’s decision to leave the MPR unchanged at 12 per cent on 20 November. However, call/overnight and 7-day money market rates fell 10.5 per cent and 10.95 per cent respectively while the 3-month Nigeria Interbank Offered Rate (NIBOR) also fell 12.87 per cent, though less activities were done on the tenor.

SWF Nigeria’s $1 billion sovereign wealth fund will start making investments in March after receiving board approval. “We’ll start all the securities investing by March” for the Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the Future Generations Fund, Uche Orji, chief executive officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment

By Collins Nweze

Authority, told Bloomberg. For the Infrastructure Fund, “we’ll start investing in the second half of 2013.” Nigeria set up a wealth fund in May last year to invest savings made from the difference between budgeted oil prices and actual market prices. Africa’s most populous country of more than 160 million people relies on crude exports for more than 90 per cent of foreign income and about 80 per cent of government revenue, making it vulnerable to swings in prices. The wealth fund will help meet budget shortfalls in the future, provide dedicated funding for development of infrastructure and keep some savings for the future generation, according to the law establishing it.

Fraud control Come next year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) will be introducing industry-wide software that will assist banks control frauds. Speaking at the NeFF Annual General Meeting held in Lagos, CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said taming frauds in the banking system is critical to development of the sector adding that the Forum was set up for that purpose. Sanusi, who was represented by CBN Director, Banking and Payment Systems, ‘Dipo Fatokun said the software will be domiciled at Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) adding that the software is the regulator’s way of achieving a proactive tactics in addressing frauds. “The Neff is a collaborative effort. The purpose of this forum is to reduce frauds in the banking system. The CBN is working with NIBSS and other operators to ensure that come next year, we will have a software that is domiciled at NIBSS that will proactively, address the issue of fraud in the entire industry. It will not only be preventive but proactive. We want industry-wide software to address frauds,” he said.

ATM charges Deposit Money Banks last week, stopped all interbank charges for Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The CBN had last month, agreed to put a stop to all charges associated with the use of ATMs. The agreement was the highpoint of a meeting between the Bankers Committee made up of Chief Executive Officers of commercial banks, directors and top officials of the CBN and NDIC. Before now, account holders had been made to pay a flat rate of N100 per withAdrawal any time they used other banks’ ATMs. Some of the banks visited by The Nation last week had complied with the directive. At Ecobank Nigeria, FirstBank, Diamond Bank, Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank,

branches in Lagos there were full compliance.

Unified currency

The central banks of West and Central Africa are considering combining their currencies, Lucas Abaga Nchama, governor of the Bank of Central African States, has said. According to the West African and Central African CFA francs are currently separate currencies that are both pegged to the euro. Merging them would boost trade and help fight money laundering, Nchama said. The franc zone covers 14 African countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. Six other West African nations namely Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Guinea and Liberia — plan to enact a common currency, known as the Eco, by January 2015, 12 years behind an initial target, Temitope Oshikoya, chief executive officer of the West African Monetary Institute, said.

Tenure for audit committee The tenure for audit committee should be increased from one year to three years of two terms to achieve better result and promote continuity, National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu has said. He spoke at the 2012 Annual Audit Committee Roundtable held in Lagos. According to him, those elected into the audit committee should report to the shareholders adding that some companies discourage people that can interpret account statements from joining the committee where there are sinister motives. He also said that the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) needs to be amended to address pressing issues that hinder auditors from carrying out their responsibilities effectively Chairman, Audit Committee Institute of Nigeria, Christian Ekeigwe also said that CAMA has to be reviewed to check management excesses and protect the interest of all shareholders and other stakeholders. He advised investors to be careful in choosing companies to invest in, saying they should choose those companies that have developed the right governance environment. “Good governance is a control against fraudulent financial reporting. Firms with good governance would have enterprise risk management framework that helps deter and detect fraudulent financial reporting,” he said.

Agric funding The Nigerian agricultural sector has attracted $8 billion foreign direct investment

However, higher budget threshold would reduce the transfers to the excess crude account (ECA) and the sovereign wealth fund (SWF), which are expected to provide sufficient buffers for the economy

(FDI) in the last one year, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Adesina Akinwunmi has said. Speaking at a workshop on Financing Nigeria’s Agricultural Revolution organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), he said that agricultural lending is promising and has moved from one per cent to over three per cent in the last one year. He said there is need to unlock the potentials in the agricultural sector adding that banks should see agricultural financing as a serious business that can impact positively on their balance sheets. He said that public equity funds also need to increase their stake in agricultural financing. He said that Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) which allows bank to share the risk associated with lending to the sector as provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The apex bank is equally considering an intensive performance rating for all commercial banks to determine their effectiveness of lending to agriculture. To achieve this, the apex bank has set aside, N75 billion allocated for the full implementation of the NIRSAL project. The CBN has also recently set new rules for lending to the agricultural sector of the economy. The apex bank took the decision after reports from banks and discount houses indicated that lending to the subsector remains a high-risk, which should be followed with caution.

Cashless policy With an estimate of N3.5 trillion circulating yearly within the unbanked and underbanked (constituting over 10 million traders), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria(ICAN) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to extend the cashless policy outside Lagos to bring more cash into the system. In addition, the institute said spreading the policy outside of Lagos will help the government in its anticorruption and antimoney laundering campaign. Addressing the institute’s 17th Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) annual conference, ICAN President, Mr Adedoyin Owolabi said when cash remains outside the banking system ,the ability of banks to create credit and supply productive capital to the economy will diminish. His words: “Bringing cash into the banking system produces an equal increase in bank reserves, enabling banks to facilitate more consumer and commercial loans, thereby stimulating consumption and business growth.”He stressed that the institute supports the cashless policy not only because it can promote transparency of transactions through the provisions of audit trails but also because it can increase the size of the informal economy and access by government to loanable funds.

Bank to bank report First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) assured its customers of enhanced services across its networks nationwide. In a customers’ forum held in Lagos, the bank had highlighted its new products and services, including e-business services, alternative channels, and the various transformational initiatives of the Bank over the past one year.



THE CEO As national president of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu knows the inside out of port operations. In this interview with Maritime Correspondent, OLUWAKEMI DAUDA, Shittu, who is also a member Presidential Committee on Ports Reforms, examines Maritime’s role in growing the economy. Excerpts.

‘There’s no accurate record of vessels at the ports’ W

HAT is your take on the review of Customs Act? The review is necessary because some aspects of the law have become obsolete. For instance, when you arrest a smuggler and you ask him to pay 10 shillings which translates to about N10,000. What is N10,000 to a smuggler in Nigeria? That is one of the areas we need to look at in modern time. There is no way you can set up a government organisation without an Act. The Customs Act is CEMA. Customs all over the world have an organisation that controls how they operate from country to country. There is nothing fantastic that makes Nigerian Customs different from Cotonou Customs or Belgium Customs. What the National Assembly is doing about the CEMA now, is to look at those areas that don’t have modern tools for Customs to operate, to discourage smuggling, enhance enforcement and welfare of officers. What are the major challenges facing the ports? Lack of port facilities, such as roads, water, rail and interference by non-licensed agents. Everyday, even in my office as the national president of ANLCA, I am confronted with various mind-bungling activities of both our members and some non-members in the clearing of goods at the ports. People are not compliant at all. A situation where we encourage the importers to under declare and undervalue imports shows that we are not professional enough. What do you think is responsible for this? I would rather say it is the Nigerian factor, because it is only in Nigeria that people know what to do and they are not ready to do it. People don’t want to pay tax or for the services rendered to them by the government. It is the duty of the citizens to pay their taxes and levies, then demand accountability from their government, not the other way round. So, I think we need the re-orientation of our people and thinking in this country. How was the ports under NPA before concession? The operations at the ports were bureaucratically tied to the ministry and that was why the managing directors of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) were incapable of doing what the terminal operators are doing at the ports. Because, for everything they have to do, they have regulations, processes they must pass through; some approval must come from the minister or from the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Based on that, you cannot expect what is happening at the port now to have happened. The truth is that we must follow changes. Do you think there should have been wholesale concessioning of the ports? There was nothing wrong with the concessioning of the ports. What the people were against was the concessioning of all the ports. If we had a model where some of the ports were allowed to be run by NPA on commercial basis, that would have given rise to competition to the concessionaires. There would have been a base line. When you concession all the ports, what you meet in port A is what you meet in ports B and C. Concessioning is not bad in itself, but what is wrong is the process of concessioning. For example, if you concession and give longer period of gestation for the concessionaire to recoup their money, there is no concessionaire that would wait for 20 years to realise his money. They will start recouping now, automatically; it would affect how

• Shittu

much you pay for services rendered by them. A concessionaire in Nigeria can say we have concession in Cotonou and other places, let use foreign base to determine the amount we charge in Nigeria, but they have forgotten that the efficiency level in those countries may not be the same in Nigeria. Is government performing its resposibility after concession? As at the time of concessioning, there were clauses that the government themselves must be responsible for the provision of certain facilities to these concessionaires. The concessionaires paid you and the facilities are not there. It is a similitude of a man who wanted to rent his house and the gate is blocked through drainage and you as the landlord doesn’t want to spend money to remove the garbage and you want the caretaker to do it. Definitely it will affect the rent that would come back to you for the man to recoup his money. That is the sorry


situation we are having in the port. For instance, common users facilities like light, water, roads, rails and others are not being maintained by the government. They are part of government’s responsibility and you want these people to operate. Most of the challenges are those facilities that government is supposed to provide. What is responsible for the laxity? There is laxity because the government was in a hurry to concession because concessioning was based on political consideration. I can tell you that from the 26 concessioned ports all over the country today, they are not supposed to be more than four or five terminals. The reason is that if the APMT was to handle from here in Apapa to Port and Cargo Terminal at Tin Can, making it one terminal, they would be able to plan how that terminal would be operated. Holding bays for empty containers would have been cut out, holding bay for trailers

‘There is laxity because the government was in a hurry to concession because concessioning was based on political consideration. I can tell you that from the 26 concessioned ports all over the country today, they are not supposed to be more than four or five terminals’

that are coming to load, then you will now see a modern port in operation. But what they did was to balkanise the ports into various small concessions which has turned common users of road to where the trailers would park and cause congestion. Until the government is ready to take the bull by the horn, either they take money from the World Bank or find other means and acquire all those areas around the Lagos Ports in order for us to have a modern port, the situation will remain the it is. Why is it so? It so because the Federal Government is biting more than it can chew in this so called federation. Everything is Federal Government and the amount of revenue the centre is getting is not enough to solve these problems. That is why we are creating crisis. If the government is not doing enough, what of the concessionaires? They are slow in fulfilling the agreement they signed with the government, maybe, because the government has reneged on its side of the contract. The concessionaires have to make use of what they have to get what they want. Part of of the reason for concessioning was to get Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). For example, what MTN and others did in telecommunications was to start building masts. They didn’t ask us to pay before they built masts. It was when the masts came and you can access services that •Continued on page 38




‘There’s no accurate record of vessels at the ports’ •Continued from page 37

you start ed paying. Remember how much a SIM card cost at that time too and how much we pay for air time before it finally got to where we are now. This happened because there was competition. But in the ports, there is no record of FDI mainly because they have paid all the money and they are now collecting from us. Unlike the telecommunication sector, there was still regular flow of cargo that must be cleared. I need to tell you we need to understand the challenges of the concessionaires themselves before you know who to blame. For instance, NPA handed over equipment to one terminal, saying they are about 37 equipment, only to discover that only two were serviceable. This means that the concessionaire has to go and bring plant from outside. In the mean time, they went to hire plants to complement what was on ground until they started bringing new equipment to the port. So, a government-run port would have given competition to the concessionaires. If I know NPA is running Port Harcourt port, for example, and I know it is cheaper to clear goods from there, why would I not go there? That is competition. But some of the terminals are run by Nigerians? What is the difference between a Nigerian and a white man when it comes to issue of how to make money in business? There is no difference because it is the same thing that is affecting all of them. There must be an incentive to patronise Port Harcourt port run by NPA on commercial basis, maybe on half the cost in Lagos. When I know as soon as I clear my goods from Port Harcourt Port and bring it to Lagos, it is still cheaper than clearing in Apapa, then my bill of laden will read Port Harcourt. But since we have given all out, we must experience what we are experiencing now until we have enough equipment. This will lead to port charges going down. By the time we start doing export and less of import, charges will drop. So, if the energy level increases and production starts, our level of importation will reduce which will affect cargo throughput in the port. How do we stop congestion? To discourage congestion, you must stop people from using the terminals as storage facilities. I happen to be a member of the Presidential Committee on Port Reform, and when issues were be-

• Shittu

ing debated, the issue was: Is it true that people leave their cargo in the port? But we later discovered that there are so many reasons people leave their cargo in the port. What are the reasons? There are those that brought in prohibited items and are looking for an appropriate time to see how they can fly it out of the port. Flying of cargo out of the port to evade duty is still happening. So, they are ready to pay demurrage to terminal operators for the cargo to remain there until the coast is clear for them to do their illegal business. Others that leave their cargo at the ports are bulk importers. These are the people that import about 50 containers on the average and they give agents money to clear 10 and ask him to bring the 10 out so that when he sells them, he will bring out another 10. So, the port becomes storage facility of a sort. This is because it is cheap, if it is not, nobody will use it a storage facility. In the US, there is nothing called storage charges because within 72 hours, your cargo must leave the port. They don’t have room for storage. If you need a storage facility, you go outside the port and hire a place to store your cargo. What has Customs and government done in this regard? Customs has reduced the time for overtime cargo from 90 days to 28 days, yet people still leave their cargo in the port. If the Federal Government musters the political will and confiscates cargoes left at the ports, nobody will leave his cargo in the port. But what is your take on 100 per cent cargo examination by Customs? Customs is doing 100 per cent cargo examination because our people are not doing the right thing. I have always told my colleagues that yes, we can go and complain about Customs, we can get up now to say these are reasons Customs is not doing their job. What if we go with just one folder and Customs comes with a trailer load of documents on non-compliance by the people? What do you mean by non-compliance? I mean under-declaration, undervaluation and that is why Customs raises eyebrow almost everyday. Look at the American system, Customs brokers take responsibility for their importers. They do so by paying the duty and carry the load out. How you deal with your importer is between you and the importer. But the importer, must, as part of the contract, sign for you,

pay your bill within 72 hours after delivery. That is a country that has enforcement. What is your take on Ogogoro village at the back of Tin Can port? That land has been paid for and the government should just take over the place to create more space at the port by converting it to a terminal. It will surely give room for expansion. If NPA can do away with their residential houses, during the time of concession to enlarge the port, any space we can get now should be used to expand the port. At least, Japan built an airport on top of water. We should, therefore, be thinking of expansion using our water. What do you have to say about deep seaport? You don’t build a port without first thinking of the cargo that will come there. There is need for people to know that without the importer who is called the shipper, there would be no cargo; without cargo, there would be no port. If you go and build a deep sea port to take large vessels, where is the cargo that is going to go there? Have we thought about it? But the idea is that they want the port to be the hub in the sub-region? We need to start with the efficiency of the ones we have before thinking of a deep seaport because, as we are building a deep seaport, our neighbours are expanding their own. And it is left for the individual importer to decide where his cargo goes. Assuming 20 per cent of Nigerian importers want their bill of laden to be destined to Cotonou, is the government going to waylay them? No. if you build Ibaka deep seaport and the others ones, but no bill of laden is destined to go there, what happens? Why are the ports outside Lagos not attractive? Importers don’t find them attractive to send their cargoes. Even there is more traffic in the land borders than some of the ports in the east. It is not only Seme and Idi-Iroko we are looking at. There are still other ones in the north with huge cargo passing through them. They are all Customs ports, and at the end of the day, people pay their duty and carry their cargo. It is the importer that determines where cargo should go. If you think the Ibaka deep seaport, for example, is going to assist in a particular sector such as oil and gas, you already have port servicing them like Calabar port which is under-utilised. But if the issue of the road is addressed by the government, it would be cheaper to carry cargoes from Calabar to Aba. The Federal Government has given Customs N1 trillion revenue target. Is this realisable? It is good the government is putting Customs on their toes. The N1trillion target given to Customs is like a budget. A budget is like the plan for the year. And on any amount of target given to Customs, the determining factor is still the Nigerian importers. If there is no cargo, Customs will not manufacture money. Setting revenue target for Customs is not limited to Nigeria, it is a standard practice everywhere. Most countries that don’t even have oil rely on Customs as their major revenue source and also set target. The SecretaryGeneral of World Customs Organisation (WCO) said at one of the meetings we had with him that the port of any county is dependent on what the government of that country wants to make of it. Some are for revenue generation, while others are just border and security control points. In some countries, what Customs does is to ensure that there is no importation of prohibited goods and you obey the law. But look at the situation in Nigeria where the Federal Government regards Customs revenue as a component of what is required for the survival of the nation. Why would

• Shittu

they not gave target? It they give you the target of N600 billion, they have done it before, and they realise N800 billion. Why should they give N600 billion the following year? They must give you something above that. But that does not mean that your not meeting the target is failure on their part. Do you think there is improvement in revenue generation? Yes. There is an improvement based on the efforts of the new management of the Customs in collaboration with customs brokers. Even the compliance level has gone up. By what percentage? Up to 70 per cent. The remaining 30 per cent is negligible because, even abroad, people still violate the law. But I am telling you that we should not get ourselves worried that if you don’t meet the N1.2 trillion, heaven will fall. No, heaven will not fall. ...Despite the increase in cargo throughput? Yes. The government itself knows that there is increase in the level of cargo coming into the country and there must be increase in revenue. Therefore, we cannot blame the government for setting that revenue target. The idea is that you made this amount last year based on the vol-

• Shittu

ume of the cargo, we are expecting XYZ amount from you this year. So, you must have to work at it. Security on the nation’s waterways has become worrisome. What are your perspectives on this? The security situation on our waterways is very worrisome because it has been politicised. This is because people are not looking at the security implications of what is happening on our waterways now. Right from the time of the Niger Delta uprising, our government has not explored solutions to the challenge outside the political realm. It should be considered a national security mater. It is only in Nigeria we have various security measures, security apparatus, security agencies dealing with the same thing and at the end of the day, the number of vessels that call in Nigeria as recorded by the various security agencies such as Customs, NDLEA, NIMASA, NPA and others are not the same. Is it good? A vessel is not like a car that you drive and it is gone. There are international convention guiding how vessels approach port and leave. How come these government agencies are giving us different numbers? It means something is wrong.





NSE delists three firms


•First Aluminium outlines recovery plan


HE Nigerian Stock Ex change (NSE) has delisted Abplast Products Plc, Udeofson Garment Factory Nigeria Plc and Hallmark Paper Products Plc, shutting the door against trading on the shares of the three ailing companies. The NSE said it decided on the compulsory delisting because the companies have failed to comply with postlisting requirements. Such post-listing requirements chiefly revolve around timely submission of periodic accounts and full and transparent disclosures. Abplast Products was listed on the NSE in 1990 In another related development, the management of First Aluminium Nigeria (FAN) Plc has outlined a broad recovery plan aimed at lifting the ailing company from consecutive losses. In a notice to investors made available to The Nation, management of the company said it has signed an exclusive supply agreement with a world-class producer of aluminium coil for the supply of unpainted coil to FAN. FAN has been under intense pressure from the negative spillovers from flood of cheap, often substandard, imported coils, which undermined the margins of local manufacturers. But with this supply agreement, the company said it would now focus on the painting and coating of coils, using its current facility in Port Harcourt. It noted that

Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundoloye

the painting process that it has been using has always ensured that the roofing sheet stays colour-fast for many years, without fading. According to the company, this agreement ensures that all materials supplied to FAN will be produced to the same strict tolerances and quality specifications of existing FAN supplied coils and people purchasing roofing sheets with the FAN logo also in the future can do so with the full confidence that they own a product of the highest quality, with the correct gauge and with the best paint quality available in the market. Consequently, the company indicated it would streamline its manufacturing operations in Port Harcourt and utilize an outsourcing strategy to reduce operating cost in order to return to profitability as rapidly as possible. The company noted that although the streamlining would initially lead to a reduction in workforce in the Port Harcourt site, it is needed to jumpstart future growth. According to the plan, with large FAN’s market share which has grown rapidly over the years, the company can grow faster by reducing its cost of operations and beating suppliers of lower quality products to the game. The company stated that it

fully supports and encourages the ongoing efforts of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to stop supply of under-gauged and poor quality materials for use in the production of roofing sheets but it would only resume local rolling of aluminum sheets when market conditions allow this to take place. Besides supply of aluminum sheets, FAN also manufactures aluminum and plastic tubing for use in the packaging of healthcare, beauty and industrial products. The supply agreement does not affect the operations of the packaging division. Meanwhile, turnover at the NSE stood at 1.29 billion shares worth N13.73 billion in 20,499 deals last week. Financial services sector accounted for 952.75 million shares valued at N7.86 billion in 11,975 deals. Consumer goods sector followed with a turnover of 81.62 million shares valued at N4.38 billion in 4,295 deals. The industrial goods sector placed third with a turnover of 72.87 million shares valued at N265.812 million in 1,057 deals. Altogether, the top three sectors accounted for 1.11 billion shares valued at N12.5 billion through 17,327 deals, representing about 86 per cent of aggregate turnover. The banking subsector remained the most active subgroup with 695.41 million shares worth N6.53 billion in 8,731 deals. With the market largely dominated by bearish transactions, benchmark value at the NSE declined by 1.02 per cent last week. Aggregate market capitalisation of equities dropped to N8.76 trillion while the All Share Index (ASI) slipped to 27,402.06 points.




MARKET NEWS Stakeholders have reacted variously to the refusal of the House of Representatives to appropriate funds to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), saying it may be injurious to the capital market, reports, TONIA OSUNDOLIRE.

• Nigerian Stock Exchange trading floor Building

• Senate President David Mark

• President Goodluck Jonathan

• Minister of Finance, OkonjoIweala

• Ms Oteh

SEC Budget: Operators call for Executive, Legislative dialogue


HAT appears to be a battle line may have been drawn between the National Assembly and the Executive over the status of the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arumna Oteh, with the Houses’ refusal to appropriate funds for SEC. The development which is a fallout of Ms. Oteh’s brush, earlier with the House Committee on the Capital Market and its former leader, Hon. Herman Hembe, had remained a festering sore with the House of Representatives and its leadership, who have over the period insisted that Ms. Oteh must be relieved of her position, as in their judgment, she was not qualified to head the Commission, in the first place. The National Assembly’s refusal to approve SEC’s budget for the coming year, is the strongest way yet, by the legislature to send a signal to the Presidency, that the battle line determining Oteh’s fate has been drawn. It is now left for the public to ascertain who will blink first, between the Executive and the Legislature. The politics of the power-game apart, the larger issue to this unfolding scenario, is what becomes of SEC, while the drama, lasts. It is not uncommon in a democracy to have issues of this nature. But with status of the Nigerian capital market, which is just about to stabilise, is this the kind of battle, or turbulence that the sector deserves? Already, stakeholders have started to voice their concern, saying this is an ill wind that blows no man no good. They have therefore called for dialogue, saying this is necessary to resolve the rift between the SEC and the National

Assembly. The operators said the decision of the National Assembly to pass the 2013 appropriation bill without allocating funds to the SEC is a big threat to the capital market recovery and the development of the economy in general. They therefore called on the government to seek ways of resolving the issues amicably. In passing the N4.987 trillion 2013 national budget last week , the National Assembly ordered the withholding of funding for the Commission over its earlier decision not to have anything to do with the capital market apex regulator until its Director-General, Ms. Arunma Oteh is removed. Speaking on the withholding of the funds to SEC, market operators at separate interviews, said the issue should be resolved so as to avoid jeopardising the entire economy. The Chairman of the Association of the Stock broking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Mr. Emeka Madubuike, said starving SEC of funds means incapacitating the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market. He therefore, called for a dialogue between the National Assembly and the Executive to amicably resolve the issue. He said: “The issues the National Assembly is talking about should be resolved with the Executive. We believe they are issues that could be resolved in the interest of the capital market in particular and the economy in general.” . He explained that institutions should be built and not individuals, noting that SEC is one of such critical institutions that must be built. His words: “If this issue is not

‘Some people might say the threat is empty but with the above stated I don’t think it’s as empty as they might think it is. Whether empty or not, this kind of situation is not good for the market’

‘Starving SEC of funds means incapacitating the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market. He therefore, called for a dialogue between the National Assembly and the Executive to amicably resolve the issue’ resolved as soon as possible, we will have a situation where the capital market does not have a regulator. The clause in that Bill is very strong and it means SEC cannot even move and nothing can happen. And this will not be in the interest of the market. For us as market operators, we believe that this issue should be resolved very quickly, one way or the other. “ The National Assembly and the Executive need to sit down, and the overriding interest of the economy must be uppermost in their minds so that this market can continue on the path of recovery. We have done a lot in the recent years and we are at a point where it looks as if the market is on the right track. Therefore, anything that will jeopardise that recovery is something that will not augur well for us. That is the position we have as a body and trade group in the capital market,” he said. Also, the President of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) Mr Ariyo Olushekun, said the decision of the National Assembly can only have a negative effect on the

market, stressing that those concerned should find a lasting solution to the existing rift.. On the possibility of the Commission surviving outside of official funding, Olushekun said SEC makes its money from the capital market in so many ways, arguing that it has never been funded by the Federal Government, though it was set up by the government to supervise the operations of the capital market. His words: “The money comes from sales (buying and selling) of shares, public issues on equity/ bonds. Even operators registration is a source of income for SEC. Also fines are not left out. T he resolution states that ‘all revenues, howsoever made, internally or externally.” “Some people might say the threat is empty but with the above stated I don’t think it’s as empty as they might think it is. Whether empty or not, this kind of situation is not good for the market. The important issue for the market is not winners, losers or how powerful, but the interest of

the market should be paramount, he said. He stated that the concern of everybody is how this can be resolved If the market is in disarray the recovery gathered so far will fade away. We want the market to remain, so let’s try as much as possible to save the market, he said. Another council member of the NSE, who sought for anonymity, said the action of the House was done in bad fate because SEC does not get sovereign fund from government. SEC gets all its money from the operations and operators in the capital market. He disclosed that SEC has over N20 billion in savings from the windfall of recapitalisation exercise by the banks and insurance companies quoted in the capital market. If they so wish to spend their reserve it can still operate well for more than two years without any itch. On the legal implication, The Nationit learnt that it is sustainable under law for SEC to operate without the budget since, they have commission based income from its operations in the capital market.




Eterna: Sustained recovery E

TERNA Plc firmed up its recovery in the immediate audited year as the petroleum-marketing company harnessed benefits of improved financing structure, larger market share and expansion in business operations and visibility. For the second consecutive year in a decade, Eterna recorded real operational profit and substantially built up its net asset base with retained earnings. Audited report and accounts of Eterna for the year ended December 31, 2012 showed that sales nearly tripled while net profit jumped by about 68 per cent. With significant reduction in interest expense and improved internal cost management, the company mitigated a triple in largely uncontrollable cost of sales with large top-line and higher employee productivity. This substantially increased outward earnings, although margins were significantly below the previous performance. While the financial base lagged behind the jumpy expansion and the creeping gearing ratio raised concerns, improved liquidity, higher employee productivity, increased actual returns to shareholders, and stable overall cost-to-sales ratio underpinned substantial outward growths in profit and loss items to support overall outlook of sustained recovery. Latest operational report indicated the petroleum-marketing company would sustain its profitability for the third consecutive year, although there could be notable declines in margins and actual figures. Third quarter report ended September 30, 2012 showed profit after tax of N1.17 billion on sales of N67.81 billion, indicating a margin of 1.73 per cent. While third quarter sales represented increase of 146 per cent on comparable period of 2011, actual profit and loss items and margins were notably down from the previous figures.

Financing structure Eterna's total assets rose by 58.6 per cent rose from N9.28 billion in 2010 to N14.71 billion in 2011. The balance sheet size was driven largely by significant growth in current assets, which tripled by 210 per cent from N2.71 billion to N8.40 trillion. Fixed assets had grown by 14 per cent to N1.26 billion as against N1.11 billion in previous year. However, total liabilities jumped by 91 per cent from N4.66 billion to N8.88 billion. CurFiscal Year Ended December 31 Nmillion Profit and Loss Statement Main Business Segment Total turnover Cost of sales Gross profit Operating expenses Interest and other incomes Finance expenses Pre-tax profit(loss) Post-tax profit (loss) Basic earnings per share(kobo) Gross dividend (Nm) Cash dividend per share (kobo) Net Assets per share (kobo) Balance Sheet Assets: Fixed assets Total long term assets Trade debtors Current assets Total assets Liabilities: Trade creditors Bank loans Current liabilities Long-term liabilities Total liabilities Equity Funds Share capital Total Equity Funds

• MD, Eterna Plc, Mr Mahmud Tukur



By Taofik Salako

rent liabilities had grown by 165 per cent from N3.2 billion to N8.4 billion while long-term liabilities dropped by 69 per cent from N1.48 billion to N459 million. The paid up share capital remained unchanged at N652 million, consisting of 1.304 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Shareholders' funds grew by 26 per cent from N4.62 billion to N5.84 billion. The underlying financing structure remained stable, although equity funds and financial leverage suggested a lapse. The proportion of equity funds to total assets slipped from about 50 per cent in 2010 to 40 per cent in 2011. The debt-to-equity ratio emerged at 11.5 per cent in 2011 while current-liabilities/total assets ratio dropped from 34 per cent to 57 per cent.

Efficiency Average number of employees in Eterna Group dropped slightly from 52 persons to 50 persons. However, total staff costs jumped by 60.7 per cent from N255.07 million to N409.93 million. This represented average cost per head of N8.20 million in 2011 as against N4.91 million in 2010. The improved remuneration meanwhile appeared to impact on productivity. Average contribution of each employee to the bottom-line improved from N22.31 million to N35.80 million. This moderated the huge increase in costs on topline range. Total cost of business, excluding finance charges, stood at 97.2 per cent in 2011 compared with 96.2



per cent in 2010.



consists of retail sales of white products and lubricants, contributed N19.98 billion to total sales while the specialties segment, which deals with manufacturing and distribution of oils and bulk sale of petroleum products and special lubricants, contributed N21.08 billion to group sales. Margins across the business segments were almost similar. Retail and industrial business indicated higher profitability with pre-tax profit margin of 4.40 percent as against 4.32 per cent by the specialties business. Further earnings analysis indicated earnings per share of 93 kobo for 2011 compared with 55 kobo in 2010. However with the potential for double-digit dividend yield; the board did not declare any dividend, citing the need to conserve earnings to stabilize and enhance growth. The improved bottomline meanwhile reflected on the net assets value of the company as net assets per share increased from N3.55 to N4.47. Underlying profitability ratios showed mixed performance. Gross profit margin halved from 11 per cent in 2010 to 5.9 per cent in 2011. Pre-tax profit margin slumped from 8.2 per cent to 4.4 per cent. However, return on equity improved from 15.6 per cent to 20.8 per cent while return on total assets stabilized at 12.2 per cent in 2011 as against 12.5 per cent in 2010.

Eterna witnessed impressive growths in sales and profitability in 2011, with substantial net earnings and increase in net assets base underlining significant undervaluation and high potential gain for the stock. Group sales grew by 190.5 per cent from N14.14 billion in 2010 to N41.07 billion. However, cost of sales jumped by 207 per cent from N12.59 billion to N38.63 billion. This moderated gross profit growth to 57 per cent at N2.44 billion in 2011 compared with N1.55 billion in 2010. Total operating expenses increased from N1.01 billion to N1.29 billion. Non-core business incomes dropped from N1.23 billion to N1.01 billion. With 40 per cent reduction in interest expense from N617 million to N370 million, profit before tax rose from N1.16 billion in 2010 to N1.79 billion in 2011. Segmental analysis showed that the group recorded appreciable improvements across its business segments. Turnover in the fuel business, the largLiquidity est business segment, doubled from N8.51 billion to N17.72 billion. LuThe group financial liquidity imbricants' sales also doubled from proved considerably during the period. N1.12 billion to N2.2 billion. Gas sales Current ratio, which measures the abilrecorded modest increase from N4.02 ity of the company to meet emerging billion to N4.93 billion. Turnover in financing obligations, improved from the marine business nearly doubled 0.85 times to 1.00 times. Working capifrom N485.2 million to N855.3 miltal/turnover ratio improved from -3.3 lion. The group opened a new busiper cent to 0.0 per cent. Debtors/crediness line with a whooping income of tors ratio stood at 437 per cent in 2011 N15.38 billion from crude oil sales in as against 184 per cent in 2010. 2011. Operationally, Eterna grouped Governance and structures its businesses into two broad segEterna is owned by more than 27,000 ments-retail and industrial segment shareholders with 15 shareholders and specialties. holding the majority equity stake of 2010 Turnover in about 64 per cent. Incorporated as a 12 months the retail and limited liability company in 1989, industrial segEterna became a public limited liabil8,508 ment, which ity company in 1997 and had its shares 14,139 12,585 Fiscal Year Ended December 31 2011 1,553 % 1,010 Financing structure 1,233 617 Equity funds/Total assets 39.7 1,160 Long-term liabilities/Total assets 60.3 723 Current liabilities/Total assets 57.2 55 Debt/Equity ratio 11.5 0 0 Profitability 355

2011 12 months

% change

17,715 41,069 38,628 2,440 1,291 1,011 370 1,790 1,211 93 0 0 447

108.2 190.5 206.9 57.1 27.8 -18.0 -40.0 54.3 67.5 69.1 0.0 0.0 25.9

1,262 6,312 2,165 8,400 14,712

13.9 -4.0 49.4 210.4 58.6

1,108 6,572 1,449 2,706 9,278

495 670 8,418 459 8,877

-37.1 0.0 165.4 -69.1 90.7

787 0 3,172 1,483 4,655

652 5,835

0.0 26.2

652 4,624

listed in August 1998. The Eterna Group mainly engaged in petroleummarketing. Eterna Group consists of Eterna, the parent company and two subsidiaries-Eterna Industries Limited and Eterna Marine Services Limited. Eterna Industries engages in blending of lubricants while Eterna Marine Services sells marine lubricants. The board and management of the company remain stable. Mr. Fola Adeola chairs a compact five-man board of directors while Mr Mahmud Tukur leads executive management team as managing director. Both chairman and managing director have interests in a holding company, which owns largest equity stake in Eterna. The company complied broadly with code of corporate governance and best practices. However, the size of the board also reflected on the size of the board committees, which left discussions to two persons. This was also compounded by the frequency of board meetings, which fell short of acceptable benchmarks.

Analyst's opinion The performance of Eterna in the immediate audited period is commendable. It reflected the benefits of recent restructuring and investments. The impact of loan repayment and restructuring was profound just as increase in retail outlets through acquisition of new filling station and leasing of other outlets, increased the company's retail presence and provided opportunity for advertising and brand visibility. Eterna has also recently acquired three new product licences from Castro BP, including aviation and automotive product licences. Its expanded operational base and strategic facilities provided support for market expansion and growth. However, the company was recently fingered in the petroleum subsidy claims. It has vehemently denied the allegation and already commenced legal process to absolve itself. This still casts a shadow on the operations and standing of the company. Many other top oil companies were fingered by government probes, which the oil firms had criticized as lacking in substantial principles of justice. The subsidy crisis and the stalemated deregulation of the industry have impacted negatively generally on performance of the oil sector. This also reflected on the performance of Eterna. While total sales rose to N67.81 billion in third quarter 2012 compared with N27.57 billion in corresponding period of 2011, profit dropped from N1.59 billion in 2011 to N1.17 billion. But relating the earnings to market valuation, Eterna remains an attractive stock with good prospects for better returns. Latest earnings per share and net assets per share were 90 kobo and N5.44 respectively, substantially above current market consideration. Beyond the subsidy crisis, there is reasonable basis to assume that Eterna will sustain its recovery, although this may be as topsy-turvy as the industry outlook.

2010 % 49.8 50.2 34.2 0.0

Gross profit margin Pre-tax profit margin Return on total assets Return on equity Dividend cover (times)

5.9 4.4 12.2 20.8 0.00

11.0 8.2 12.5 15.6 0.00

Efficiency Pre-tax profit per employee (Nm) Staff cost per employee (Nm) Cost of sales, operating exp/Turnover

35.80 8.20 97.2

22.31 4.91 96.2

Liquidity Current ratio Working capital/Turnover Debtors/Creditors

1.00 0.0 437.0

0.85 -3.3 184.1






• Workers at a seminar.

What does 2013 have in store? Nobody knows, but the prayer is that it will be a good year. The unemployed, especially, are looking forward to a prosperous 2013. To analysts only a review of ‘anti-people’policies by the government will bring succour to the people.DUPE OLAOYEOSINKOLU reports.

Will 2013 favour the jobless? A

RE you a Nigerian, born in a state other than your parents’state of origin? You were educated and even secured a job in the state of your birth. You have risen through the ranks and appreciating God for his blessings. Suddenly, a circular addressed to you by the government shattered your self-confidence and threw you into the labour market. You have been sacked because your parents hailed from a state other than where you were born and raised. This scenario is not an assumption. It is happening in many states at a time jobs are hard to come by, and this has generated a lot of concern among workers and government. Besides, Nigerians are appealing to governors to find a means of creating more jobs in the New Year, since gain-

ful employment of the youth will lure them away from committing crimes. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is also appealing to households to cooperate with its enumerators to collect information that will guide the government in creating jobs in the country. Supervisor of an Enumeration Team, Mr Muhammed Muritala, said the call became imperative because the level of statistical awareness in the country was low. State Officer, NBS, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Oladokun Akinola, said its field workers have started collecting data on job creation. He said: “The purpose of the survey, which covers households, private establishments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) across the country, is to assist the Federal Government to track jobs created

and provide information on the kind of jobs people want. “It would also help the government to monitor and evaluate its programmes and policies toward job creation.” According to him, three modules would be used to collect the data. “The first is to know the households in each Enumeration Area (EA) and select 17 households to administer questionnaires on. “The second is to administer questionnaires on some selected private establishments and institutions. The third is to collect data from the MDAs.” Akinola said the field workers were to identify 60 EAs in each of the 36 states and the FCT and interview 17 selected households in each EA. Many Nigerians, however, condemn discrimination by some state governments,

against their fellow countrymen, relieving them of their jobs on the excuse of being non-indigenes of their states. Some also mentioned the case of Abia, where non-indigenes were sacked last year, during the agitation for new minimum wage.The fear is that more state governments might want to emulate Abia. But the Delta State government has said it will make job creation a priority next year to lure youths of the state away from crime, especially kidnapping. The Abia crisis started with the agitation for the payment of N18,000 minimum wage. The government decided to send non-indigenes back to their states to enable them to afford the new wage. An Abian, Douglas Adiele,who is the General Secretary, National Union of •Continued on page 38



JOBS Will 2013 favour the jobless? •Continued from page 37 Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), condemned sacking. “The rationalisation of workers, who hailed from other states apart fromAbia, is unacceptable. No amount of rationalisation can justify that action. It does not promote national unity. The law must be reversed. It is condemnable. Other states must not do it.” The state, however, said that was the only way it could go, to enable it to pay the new wage. In a statement, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), enjoined Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji, to reinstate non-indigenes in the state public service, sacked by his government. In a letter with reference number ASCSN/Abia/Vol.IV/672, signed by its Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, and sent to the Abia State government, the Union regretted that the state government refused to re-absorb the sacked employees, including Abian women indigenes married to “outsiders” despite pleas by religious leaders, royal fathers, human rights organisations and other eminent Nigerians. “Can we really say in all honesty that if all the other 35 governors were to follow the footsteps of the Abia State Government on this policy, it would promote the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerian citizens?” the union asked. The argument being presented by the aides of the governor, was that the Southeastern states do not receive much from the Federation Account compared to other states, but if mismanagement, misappropriation, corruption, irrelevant trips, over-bloated aides are checked, there will be enough to pay the minimum wage and still develop infrastructure in the states.

Lawal recalled that Abia State indigenes abound in other state public services, and cited the example of Lagos State where a Southeasterner was serving second term as the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget. He appealed to the state government to change the policy. ASCSN noted that most metropolitan cities were built by people from diverse backgrounds and cultures who converged on such places to create great civilisations. It, therefore, urged the Abia State government to allow Nigerians, including foreigners, who wish to contribute to the development of the state to do so without hindrance. President, National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Comrade Lateef Oyelekan, urged the Federal Government to ensure regular power supply in the new year to save jobs because many firms are contemplating relocating from Nigeria due to power outages, which has caused them to spend much money on diesel. He enjoined the government to help wage war against the infiltration of smuggled goods, which has been preventing the sales of locally manufactured products, to save jobs. Oyelekan condemned the discrimination against workers by some states, claiming they were not indigenes of the state. He urged other state government to borrow a leaf from Lagos, where most of the workers are from

• Minister of Labour Wogu

neighbouring states. He also wants re-investment of subsidy fund to cover job creation. Similarly, the Kebbi Government said it would use the Petroleum Subsidy Re-investment Fund to create 3,000 jobs. Alhaji Samaila Halliru, the Fund Committee Chairman quoted the state government as saying degree and diploma holders would be trained to set up their busi-

• NLC President Omar

nesses. Halliru said the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) would hold training and that each participant would be paid N10,000 as training allowance. Creation of jobs is believed to be the way out of the country’s rising insecurity problem. National Chairman, Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Mr Maxi Okwu, called on the Federal Govern-

‘Creation of jobs is believed to be the way out of the country’s rising insecurity problem ... With the government’s intervention to energise the private sector, more funds will be available for the business community to embark on economic activities that will create jobs, especially for youths’

ment to create more enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs. He advised the government to invest more on construction, among others, to create room for many youths to be employed. Okwu said apart from reducing unemployment drastically, such investments would also boost the nation’s economy. “With the government’s intervention to energise the private sector, more funds will be available for the business community to embark on economic activities that will create jobs, especially for the youths,” he said. On security, the CPP boss urged the government to rise up to the challenge by embarking applying on a comprehensive modern security measures.



HE sparkling new year is upon us. In the previous two weeks, we’ve been telling each other some home truths about job search. The objective of this exercise is to energise us for the new year. And remember, never give up or go on holiday from job search. Let us conclude this presentation.

Home truth No. 8 You need to get organised for job search. The starting point is skill analysis. Skills are the fundamental basis of job search.Employers are looking for certain skills, and the best jobs are those ones where your skills match the needs of the employer. There are three types of skills job specific, self-management and transferable skills. You also need to put together an arsenal of accomplishments. This is for those with fairly long working history, highlighting their career achievements. You need to understand your strength(s), weakness(es), interests, aptitude and potential. What would you like to do with your life, all your life? Using the inputs from the above, you will determine and write your career/job objective statement. It is a statement that describes or states what career or job (or a range of closely related occupations) you desire. A job/career objective statement must highlight what skills you have to offer the employer as well.

10 home truths (III) By Olu Oyeniran

sition, the lower the success rate.

You will now generate a list of potential employers in respect of your chosen job objective. Necessary information may be obtained from friends, relations, consultants, vendors, newspapers, trade journals etc. Once you’ve made your choice, go after them- using conventional and unconventional means. How do you intend to pursue these job opportunities? What is your job hunting strategy? Let me tell you what is working. Or let us start with what have the least chance of working. The five most ineffective job search strategies are these. • Internet: posting your CV/ Resume on the Internet, and expect potential employer to visit the board/site and make a choice, depending on the match between your skills and their requirements. It has four to 10 per cent success rate; • Mailing out Resume CV to employers at random (Resume blasting). Seven per cent success rate; • Answering ads in professional/trade journals. Seven per cent success rate; • Responding to newspaper ads. Five to 24 per cent success rate. The higher the salary/position, the lower the success rate; • Using employment agencies, five to 28 per cent success rate. Again, the higher the salary/po-

Now, the best five ways to search for a job; • Ask for job leads from family, friends, people you know, etc – “Do you know of any job at the place where you work, or elsewhere?” Thirty-three per cent success rate; • Knocking on the door of any employer, factory, office etc, whether they are known to have vacancy or not. Forty-seven per cent success rate; • Identifying subject/field of interest, identifying employers on that field and calling on them to ask if you they are hiring for the position you desire and that you know you can do well. Sixty-nine per cent success rate; • Do the above in a group with other job hunters. 76 per cent success rate; and • Doing a life-changing job search (identifying your skills, proffered places, interest and acceptable working environment and going after the job you desire) 86 per cent success rate. You got me there. There is still a better method: combining the strategies (experts suggest it should not more than four !).

Home truth No. 9 As you can see, most job seekers don’t have the right strat-

egy, If any at all. A fact never to be forgotten: The major difference between successful and unsuccessful job seekers is not some factors out there, or the ‘barrier’ listed earlier. It is the way they go about their job hunt. A successful job search requires organisation and effort. Don’t think of yourself as unemployed. You have a job, full time job. If you are employed think of your job search as a part-time job. If you are unemployed, the working hours of eight are available for your job search. If you are employed but seeking new opportunities, you need to make time for your job search, and be consistent. Job search requires that you develop a new set of priorities and schedules. Be aware that there will be distractions. Just about anything will sound better than looking for work. Don’t be fooled, your number one priority is finding that new job. Don’t let anything get in your way. Here are some tips: • Establish measurable goals, daily and weekly. If you set 10 a.m-3 p.m Tuesday for research, your goal could be to identify 10 new employer you can pursue. Wednesday’s goal could be to contact the employer you identified on Tuesday. Be realist, but challenge yourself. • Make yourself accountable. Create an area in your home where your entire job search is

centered. If you keep all your job search supplies and information there, you will stay organised and ready to work. Check your progress at the end of each day and each week. Set new goals. It is a good strategy to involve someone else in your search. Give them permission to hold you accountable for your plans. Or join a job club.

Home truth No. 10 You need to give your job search all takes in terms of effort, organisation, focus,energy, creativity, strategy, etc. • Keep accurate records if you are conducting a serious job campaign. You make hundreds of contacts and generate new opportunities regularly. Don’t rely on your memory, develop and maintain a filling and/or a recording system – binders, pocket calendars and notebooks. You need all the help you can get when you are on the march for job seach. The veritable source of help and assistance is the book by Olu Oyeniran, JobHunting Manual-comprehensive strategies and tactive for extensive job hunting. Your destiny is in your hands. Now you know. •Oyeniran is the Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Assoiciates & Author. Author Jobsearchguru’s Job-Hunting Manual. Website:,ng Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).




• Mrs Odutola

-Adebola Orolugbagbe

Ogun trains new staff

Ministry workers protest salaries’delay


ORKERS of the Ministry of Science and Technology have protested poor welfare and non-payment of salaries to the newly employed junior workers in Abuja. Making their demand, Mr Shehu Yahaya, the chapter’s Chairman of the Nigeria Civil Service Union, said the way the management handled staff welfare was not encouraging. Yahaya said one of the grievances of the workers was that the ministry failed to carry the workers along while taking decisions about their welfare. “We are not saying the welfare must be sharing of money all the time, but there are many ways to tackle the welfare issues. “We have been agitating that whenever the issue of welfare will be discussed, we should be carried along, but such thing is not happening here. “The ministry must carry us along when deciding on our welfare,” Yahaya said. The union also protested the nonpayment of about 105 junior workers, recruited and trained by the ministry. One of the junior staff members in


Stories by Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

Technical Department, who pleaded anonymity, told reporters that the ministry had stopped paying his salary since January. “I wrote an application letter and the ministry offered me an appointment. “I was paid for six months last year, but when the ministry employed another batch of junior workers, the payment was stopped in January. “The excuse was that no waiver was given for the appointment. I don’t know anything about waiver; my own is that I sought for job and I was given an appointment letter. The officer also complained that on October 10, the Human Resources Department introduced a verification exercise, where the new employees’ original appointment letters were collected from them. “We were pleading that they should return our appointment letters, but they refused and we heard that the waiver they were talking about is already out for 120 people,” he added. Some of the workers complained that they had been living on borrowing while two of their colleagues

• Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ewa

• Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu

had died due to the lack of fund to take care of themselves. The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa, who addressed the protesters, linked the poor welfare to low budgetary allocation to the ministry. “When you look at the budget frame you discover that the ministry has a limit in its operation and because of that you will bear with us as we drive the system,’’ Ewa said. He promised that whatever was given to the ministry would be released to run the ministry. Also speaking, Mrs Rabi Jimeta, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said the workers were aware

that the junior ones were employed without waiver. Jimeta said the ministry had taken necessary steps to correct the wrongs and assist the people involved. “My clear directive on that is that anybody that had been previously employed with the coming of this waiver should be retained. “But it is on the condition that he has got the pre-requisite qualifications for that post he is occupying. “The qualifications are clearly stated in the scheme of service. If you have those qualifications you don’t have problem, but if you don’t have those qualifications, there is no way we can assist,” Jimeta said.

Ekiti orders ‘operation show your documents’ to workers


HE Ekiti Government has directed 2,783 local government workers to produce

documents to authenticate their appointments into the service. In a circular the Permanent Secretary, Local Government Service Commission, Mr David Jejelowo, said 1, 511 of the affected workers were found to have been illegally appointed while 593 and 357 were listed as redundant and promoted beyond their statutory levels. The state government had already deployed council workers who had the National Certificates of Education (NCE) and Bachelors of Education to the State Universal Basic Education and Teaching Service Commission. It was gathered that some workers in the health departments of councils were re-deployed to the new Ekiti State Primary Health Development Agency.


HE National Executive Council (NEC) of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) has dissolved the executive committee of its National Assembly (NASS) chapter. It also froze the bank accounts of the chapter and urged the Registrar of Trade Unions (RTU) to audit them. In a communique at the end of the association’s emergency NEC meeting in Abuja, the national

The circular also stated that 320 of the workers had been marked to have overstayed in service. It stated that such workers had been directed to produce their letters of first appointments, birth certificates, original copies of certificates and their personal files. But reacting to the development, the Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Workers, Mr Victor Adebayo, described the government’s action as surprising. He, however, said the union would not watch and allow the government to sack workers unjustly. “Declaring some people as illegal employees in the local government sector without carrying NULGE along is surprising because we don’t know the documents the government is relying upon to do all these restructuring.

“We agreed that we should be carried along in the restructuring, but the government decided to do it all alone and this, to us, does not conform to due process,” he said. Adebayo appealed to the government to stay action on the matter to douse tension, promising that the union would reach out to its national headquarters on the next line of action. Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information, Funminiyi Afuye, clarified that the government was not planning to sack council workers. He urged local government workers and members of the public to ignore the sack rumour being peddled in some quarters. Afuye said the state government would continue to respect the agreement reached with the council workers which led to the suspension of the strike declared by the workers last month.

‘Fear of retirement bane of age fasification’

F • Ekiti State Governor, Dr.Kayode Fayemi

He explained that what the government did after the strike was to right-size by posting some workers to areas where they would function optimally.

NASS workers union EXCO dissolved body asked the RTU to call to order one of its members. A NEC member and Chairman, Kogi chapter, Alhaji Mohammed Bello, who read the communique, said the hammer fell on the chapter “following acts inimical to PASAN’s well-being.” “This NEC decision was based on the dictates of Rules 19 (10), 20 (6), 13 (4) and F/1 20 (6) of

PASAN’s Constitution. Thus, the NASS exco stands dissolved. “All the accruable dues in the chapter will now be paid to the national body, while its accounts have been frozen. “We also call on RTU to go on to audit the chapter’s accounts and take all actions it deems necessary to restore sanity in line with what we have in PASAN’s Constitu-

tion,” he said. Bello said NEC felt it had to take action as the NASS chapter was already over-stepping its bounds. “The NASS chapter is one out of many chapters in PASAN and it is duty bound to abide by all the laws of the association, which we all subscribe to through our constitution and which is the only legal instrument we have,” he said.

Prisons service assures staff of better conditions of service


HE Ebonyi command of the Nigerian Prisons Service has promised its staff better conditions of service. The state Controller of Prisons, Mr Columbus Omenuko, said at a ceremony in honour of retirees that the service was committed to improved staff welfare. He said the ongoing prisons reform were aimed at repositioning the service to conform to international standards. Omenuko said the reform emphasised more on rehabilitation of the prisoner and reintegrating him back to the society. He said the retraining of officers and men of the service was to ex-

pose them to the modern techniques in prisons administration and the provision of adequate security to inmates. He described prisons as a ‘correctional institution’ where inmates were taught better values and trained to lead better and more useful lives. He commended the contributions of the retired officers which led to instilling of discipline, order and peace and security in the Abakaliki Prisons. “Today, your excellent contributions to the prisons are being celebrated. There is no doubt that your exit from the service will create some vacuum.

“We will always remember your contributions to the Abakaliki Prisons, which has made it one of the most peaceful and secured prisons in the country. “As you officially disengage from the service, we wish you peaceful retirement,” Omenuko said. He extolled the achievements of the former chief warder of the Abakaliki Prisons and one of the retired personnel, Mr Kenneth Alo, adding that his administrative style brought a lot of innovations that boosted peace and security in the yard. He urged workers to emulate the virtues of the retired staff member

HE Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Civil Service Commission, Mr Sola Adeyemi, has praised Governor Ibikunle Amosun for placing premium on the cognitive development of workers in the state. Chairman of the Commission, Mrs Aderonke Folarin, spoke at an induction for officers recruited under the Rapid Employment Generation Programme. She said the mass recruitment embarked upon by the government had helped to address the challenges of shortage of personnel in the state’s Civil Service. She, therefore, called on the new officers to update their knowledge to enhance their productivity. Folarin said an efficient and productive civil service plays a role in the execution of government policies and programmes. She said this underscored the reason participants must improve their productivity and make meaningful contributions to rebuilding the state. “The induction is one of the several steps being undertaken to ensure capacity building. “We pledged that the commission will not relent in taking steps needed to help workers attain the highest height possible in their career in the state’s Civil Service,” she said. The state Head of Service, Mrs Modupe Adekunle, explained that it was the tradition to employ qualified staff and ensure they were trained before resumption.

by being diligent and patriotic in their duties. The Deputy Controller of Prisons, Abakaliki Prisons, Mr Malachi Ohakosim, said the contributions of the former officers would always be remembered. He said he had tapped from the wealth of experience of the retired officers to effectively run the prison. “It has been fun working with you and I must say that I benefited a lot from your wealth of experience in the day-to-day running of the Abakaliki Prisons. “I wish all of you success in your future endeavours,” Ohakosim said. Seven officers were disengaged at the ceremony.

EAR of retirement has been described as the reason for age falsification in the civil service, mmember, Local Government Service Commission, Rivers State, Mr Kingston Jaja, has said. He spoke at a pre-retirement workshop for staff of local government councils in the state in Port Harcourt. Jaja, who condemned the practice, said age falsification enables the worker to stay longer in service and escape retirement when he is due. He said the commission planned to stop it, adding that retirement should be received with joy. “The fear of the unknown and what the future holds for a worker after retirement is the major factor affecting workers who are about to retire,” he said. The Commission’s Chairman, Mr Azubuike Nmerukini, said there were two important days in the career of the civil servant, naming them as the day of recruitment and retirement. “There is time for everything. There must be time for retirement. So, every staff member should prepare his mind for the day he would retire,” he said. Nmerukini urged the retirees to be grateful to God for not retiring with falsified documents. “Some of your mates were forcefully retired, others retired due to their health condition and some died while in service. “But you should be grateful to get to this age in service and you should, therefore, not despair or be afraid,” he said.





LMOST $9 billion was illicitly siphoned out of Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer over the last decade, according to a report by a United States anti-graft watchdog, which highlights how resource wealth is often squandered in the developing world. The amount is almost half the size of Zambia’s gross domestic product and much of the money would have been channeled to offshore banks and tax havens, draining one of the world’s poorest countries of badly needed capital. The Zambian government said the report was in line with its own findings and vowed to crack down on culprits. The report by U.S.-based antigraft watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) said the southern African nation lost $8.8 billion to capital flight between 2001 and 2010.

Zambia loses $9b in capital flights “Of that, $4.9 billion can be attributed to trade misinvoicing, which is a type of trade fraud used by commercial importers and exporters around the world,” GFI economist Sarah Freitas said. The way this typically works is that an importer pretends to pay more to foreigners than they actually spend, with the difference put discreetly into banks or other assets abroad. Major commodity producers seem especially susceptible to these trends because of the often opaque nature of resources industries. Last year, calculations provided to Reuters by GFI estimated that Zambia’s

neighbour Angola, Africa’s secondlargest oil producer, had lost almost $6 billion to capital flight in 2009. Aside from trade misinvoicing, money can also be spirited illegally offshore via official corruption or criminal activities, which can be traced through balance of payments data. GFI uses the International Monetary Fund’s Direction of Trade statistics for its calculations. Zambian government officials have long maintained copper producers in the country have not been paying their share of taxes. “These revelations are in line with what we have always been saying with regard to tax avoidance and income leakages in general,” Finance Deputy Minister Miles Sampa

• Director-General Institute of Administrators and Researchers of Nigeria Prof Jacob Etinagbedia flanked by Dr. Dom Opara (left) and Mufutau Adebowale, during the institute’s annual national conference and induction in Lagos.

Saudis to launch Islamic banking in Cameroon


AMEROON will soon launch banking services tailored to Muslims who make up 21 per cent of the country’s population, a senior official with Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB) has said. “We mean business and we’re looking for business,” said Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer of IDB’s Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). Mr Al-Aboodi spoke at a conference in Yaoundé. He explained to local businesspeople how they could benefit from the opportunities that the multilateral development financing institution offered. ICD signed a partnership with a local bank, Afriland First Bank. The agreement will see the launch of an “Islamic Window”, which will harness a customised service the bank began providing its Muslim clients 10 years ago and also introduce a range of other products and services for them. Mr Al-Aboodi said more of such


believed it was owed up to $1 billion in back taxes from mining houses in the country. Transparency questions have also been raised in the past about the accuracy of Zambia’s copper export data. GFI announced its findings on Zambia ahead of the release on Tuesday of its full report measuring illicit financial flows out of 150 developing countries and emerging economies in the last decade.

Sierra Leone miners suspend strike


TRIKING mine workers in Sierra Leone’s diamondrich Kono district has announced the suspension of their sit-in strike. The decision came after the intervention of the country’s vicepresident, Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana, who is a native of the area. Sumana spent two days negotiating between the miners and the management of the Octea Diamond Group, the Israeli-owned diamond mining company operating the biggest diamond mine in the country. The miners accused the mainly white South African management of racism, among other complaints. Last ,the five-day long industrial action took a violent turn when police fired live rounds at rampaging protesters leaving two dead in the melee. After a meeting with Vice-President Sam Sumana, the miners agreed to resume work at an undisclosed date, Freetown based Politico newspaper reported. The paper also said the mining company had agreed to pay them a one month bonus, instead of three months as the workers had claim they were promised. The miners also want to be allowed to form a union, something which company officials had allegedly refused. They accused the leadership of the National Mineworkers Union of conniving with the management of the company. A spokesman for Octea was, however, quoted saying the company would not meet the demands “under duress”. Kamara claimed that Tuesday’s violence caused the burning of the company’s generator and a build-

ing. On Wednesday over 100 expatriate workers and their families were held up inside the company’s residential facility amid threats by the angry striking workers. Hundreds of the strikers blocked the entrance of the facility as they shouted the threats. Some of the expatriate workers had been joined by their families for the Christmas celebrations, reports say. The military was deployed to help calm the situation. The government reportedly gave two million leones (about $500) to each of the families of the victims of Tuesday’s violent eruption. On Thursday okada (commercial motor bike) riders paralysed transportation in the town in protest of the killing of their member, one of the deceased. The government has promised to investigate the matter. However, some of the leaders of the strikers are reported to have gone into hiding after the alleged detention of some of their members, including their chairman. This is the second such disturbance involving workers of Octea. The first was in 2007, when the same company operated under the name of Koidu Holdings. Two people were also killed in that incident when police opened fire on protesters. The government then suspended the activities of the company, leading to the laying off of about two-thirds of the workers. Civil society activists have now called for the government to give the striking miners more say in the operation of the companies.

Gambia launches Africa Coast to Europe submarine cable system • A Moslem woman signs up to an Islamic banking product. This specialised banking is becoming popular in African countries with many Moslems.

partnerships that sought to stimulate Cameroon’s fledgling private sector and create more jobs would follow. “Once this window is set up, the advisory services we offer will end. But we will look into providing lines of financing to the banks so they can support the private sector here, which is

mostly made up of small and medium size enterprises.” The IDB has been partnering with Cameroon since 1976 and today it was funding 22 projects mainly in the transport and agricultural sectors to the tune of $260 million. About 27 other projects, costing $350 million, had so far been completed.

African group pushes for better relations with Europe HE Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states has called for more development- friendly relations with their European partners. The call at the end of a two-day summit of heads of state and governments in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, saw member countries commit to intensifying the southsouth and other similar cooperation. In attendance, besides host President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, included Gabon President Ali Bongo,

said of the GFI report. “The onus is on us ... to put and implement proper monitoring measures. Where the law is being broken our law enforcement agencies will move in and arrest the culprits so that they can be punished.” Former Zambian mines minister Wylbur Simuusa said earlier this year that the government of populist President Michael Sata

Benin’s Boni Yayi, Ghana’s John Mahama and President Paul Biya of Cameroon. The delegates pursued several themes inclusive of climate change, food security and rural development, along with responses to the challenges to peace security and governance in the ACP states and regions. President Mahama urged member states to work together in resolving the crisis in Mali and warned that youth unemployment and increased in-

equalities between the rich and the poor were a fertile ground for conflicts. The meeting welcomed appointing a panel of eminent persons to look at new ways of cooperation between the European Union and ACP, and from its recommendations, it would be decided whether the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000 would be upheld or terminated. South Sudan is expected to join the regional body to boost membership of ACP that includes 79 states and represents 930 million people.


HE Gambia has launched the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable system, a significant milestone in the development of telecoms in the West African region. While officiating at the launch at the ACE landing station in Brusubi in the West Coast, Gambia’s Vice-President Isatou NjieSaidy termed it unfortunate that Africans have been dependent for decades on alternative routes for international communications through other operators in the developed world. “This has resulted in traffic imbalances, significant transit changes and high call rates,” she stated. She observed that ACE will crucially facilitate communication within the sub-region and, by extension, contribute to the realisation of the goals of the African Union (AU) on infrastructure development. She said he introduction of ACE would help liberate African countries from such dependency by linking them to the global telecommunication infrastructure. France telecoms and a consor-

tium of the 16 operators from the 23 countries are behind the mammoth project connecting regions that span across France to South Africa. The Gambian vice-president said the ACE project created the opportunity to modernise the telecommunication infrastructure in the African continent and its inclusion n the global information society and knowledge economy. The submarine cable system will provide direct submarine cable connectivity to seven African nations: Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, according to the p e r m a n e n t s e c r e t a r y i n ministry of Communication Infrastructure, Ms Nancy Niang She said the system will be connecting from France to South Africa through four segments. The first segment is France to Senegal; the second links Senegal to Coté d’Ivoire, while the third connects Coté d’Ivoire to Sao Tome and Principe and from there to South Africa.

“He knows that we need this competition, we know that we need this competition, . The problem in January always is, ‘Which one?’. Which player is available, which player is good enough to be here in a top side? So, it’s not easy, but I think it will be positive for everyone. And Fernando is ready to fight for his position. He has no problem because he has a lot of confidence and he is enjoying now his football.” Chelsea interim manager, Rafa Benitez, insisting Fernando Torres supports plan to get a new striker for the Blues


Monday, December 24, 2012

Take me home, Ronaldo craves United return R

EAL MADRID superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has told friends and former Manchester United team-mates that he would love to move back to his former side. A day after Sir Alex Ferguson said he would love to have the attacker back at Old Trafford the 27-year-old has admitted he wants to 'come home', according to The Sun on Sunday. His return to Manchester next year is guaranteed - Madrid have drawn United in the last 16 of the Champions League - but a more permanent switch would prove tricky. Using statistics from the Premier League, La Liga and the Champions League we can see Ronaldo has come into his own in a Real shirt. His contract get out clause is an eye-watering one billion euros and his contract has two-and-a-half years left to run at the Bernabeu. Since moving to Spain in 2009 Ronaldo has bagged a superb 170 goals in 169 games in all competitions and his performances have seen him rewarded by being shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or. The striker was - and still is - adored by Red Devils fans but not all Madrid supporters have taken to him with the same enthusiasm. He would also like to work with Sir Alex Ferguson again - but if a deal was somehow struck between the two clubs it is possible

Suarez: Criticism doesn't hurt me


IVERPOOL striker Luis Suarez insists he does not care about his public image, saying: "I still sleep soundly every night." The Uruguay international has never been far from controversy since joining the Reds last year, whether it be for his perceived habit of diving or the incident with Manchester United's Patrice Evra which earned him an eight-game ban. But he insists the boos and the criticism mean little to him. "I still sleep soundly every night," the 25-year-old told the Mail on Sunday. "I'm not worried about everything people say. I don't care what people outside Liverpool think." Suarez is one of two high-profile top-flight players to have been banned for racial abuse of late. But where as Suarez was out of action for eight games, Chelsea and former England captain John Terry received just a four-match ban for his abuse of Anton Ferdinand. Suarez said: "They're different situations. Terry is Terry and Suarez is Suarez - they're different issues, and I never cared about the Terry case." Suarez insists he is not a diver, but conceded he had work to do in that area to improve his image. "Sometimes you're standing there and someone comes flying in, so you move your leg out of the way or you go to ground because you're scared of getting hit," he said. "If I leave my leg there so the referee can see it's a foul, I risk suffering a big injury.

he could still be working with Jose Mourinho. Real Madrid's manager is under pressure and could leave t h e Spanish giants .


He i s a contender to succeed Ferguson at Old Trafford and would love to link up again with the Portugal captain.

Benitez: Torres wants new striker at Chelsea

PSG is team to beat, says Ibra C


LATAN IBRAHIMOVIC has said Paris Saint-Germain receive "extraordinary treatment" from opposition sides, adding that he believes teams target


them due to their high-profile reputation. Les Rouge-et-Bleu sits top of Ligue 1 with 38 points from their 19 fixtures so far, leading second-placed Olympique Lyonnais due to a superior goal difference. And Ibrahimovic claims that French football is tougher than it is often perceived, but that it is especially difficult for him and his side. "I feel that I'm under a lot of scrutiny," the Swedish forward revealed in an interview with the club's official website. "Everywhere I go, people pounce on the least little thing I do. I just need to get used to it, because Paris is really in the limelight right now. Bit its fine, that's how things go. When you want to be at the top, you have to accept extraordinary treatment. "Everyone

wants to throw a spanner in our works to stop us from fulfilling our ambitions. In the team, we all have the same objectives and we're not going to let anything get in our way." Ibrahimovic, who has scored 18 times in the league so far this season, also hailed the quality of his teammates, reserving special praise for Marco Verratti. "In general, the team is a cut above the rest," he added. "But the lad who has surprised me the most since the beginning of the season is still Marco [Verratti]. Even though I was playing in Italy last season, I wasn't aware of him at all because he was playing in the second division [for Pescara]. "He has a huge talent and he just needs to be allowed the necessary time to progress at his own pace. People shouldn't forget that he has just turned 20.”

AC Milan splashes £20m on Balotelli •As younger sibling Enoch is arrested


TALIAN GIANTS AC Milan claim they are lining up a £20million bid to sign striker Mario Balotelli in next month’s transfer window against the wishes of Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. Interim president Adriano Galliani has been ordered by Milan owner and Balotelli fan, Silvio Berlusconi, to take the former Inter Milan star back to San Siro and he plans to negotiate directly with City’s Abu Dhabi owners and the player’s agent, Mino Raiola. That leaves Mancini out in the cold after he has repeatedly stated that he wants the troubled striker to stay in England. Balotelli missed City’s 1-0 win over

Reading and Mancini said: ‘Mario is ill. I don’t know where he is now. For one week he’s been ill. He came to the training ground on Saturday because he wants to train but he can’t. But I can’t [shut] him in his house. It’s impossible.’ The final decision on Balotelli’s future could prove crucial to the long-term relationship between Mancini and his bosses, City owner Sheik Mansour and chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak. The Italian manager wants to give Balotelli another chance to succeed at City after the player accepted a two-week fine worth £330,000 for his poor disciplinary record on the pitch last season. Tempestuous relationship: Balotelli

storms off after being substituted by Roberto Mancini against Manchester United. Meanwhile, Balotelli’s younger brother Enoch was reportedly arrestedSaturday night in Brescia for attacking two police officers during a street brawl. Il Giornale di Brescia claims 20-year-old Enoch Barwuah, who shares birth parents with the Manchester City striker, ran into trouble at 2am Saturday night in Bagnolo Mella. There was a brawl and police were called, then Enoch was charged with violence and resisting arrest. It is suggested he was bare-chested and not wearing any shoes when the fight broke out in the middle of the street.

HELSEA interim manager Rafa Benitez insists that striker Fernando Torres is fully behind the club’s bid to bring a new striker to the club in the January transfer window. The £50million striker has shown small signs of recapturing his best form under the new Chelsea supremo but Benitez believes he will benefit from increased competition up front. “He knows that we need this competition, we know that we need this competition,” he said. “The problem in January always is, ‘Which one?’. Which player is available, which player is good enough to be here in a top side? “So, it’s not easy, but I think it will be positive for everyone. “And Fernando is ready to fight for his position. He has no problem because he has a lot of confidence and he is enjoying now his football.” Torres spent the first 18 months at the London club in the shadow of Didier Drogba and has admitted he wouldn’t want to be a nonregular starter ever again.






Afenifere Deputy Leader Chief Bola Ige was killed 11 years ago. Efforts to apprehend the killers have been in vain. Deputy Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU writes on the life and time of the slain Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

Where are Ige’s killers? H

E was the most colourful Yoruba politician in postAwolowo era. He was a nationalist who had a solid root at home. What he learned from his leader, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was what he practiced to the end. For James Ajibola Idowu Ige, it was not a bad idea to be a good indigene of Yoruba and citizen of Nigeria at the same time. Therefore, when he hinted that he was leaving President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to strengthen his Southwest-home base, ahead of 2003 general elections, he probably fully understood the danger inherent in that decision. Three days to Christmas in 2001, he was murdered by assassins. That tragic incident effectively marked the end of an era in the region and country. Eleven years after, the nation has not resolved the puzzle and burden. Before Ige’s death, many had been murdered. After his demise, more have been killed by suspected assassins. In the country he left behind, life is now cheaper than it was a decade ago. Restless citizens who cannot constructively articulate their self-determination agenda are now venting their anger with guns and bombs. The growing insecurity is alarming. Not even the highly placed government officials are insulated. The fear of terrorists is now the beginning of wisdom in Nigeria. Had the country listened to Ige and his compatriots pushing for a national conference, the situation, perhaps, would have been averted. Before he was killed, he had canvassed true federalism, restructuring of the country, devolution of power and state police. In his view, a “national family meeting” was essential. He said that representatives of ethnic nationalities would decide “whether” and “how” to live together in peace at the meeting. The suggestion was ignored. Even, when he joined the federal cabinet, reality dawned on him that only a determined government could properly organise a national dialogue for the resolution of the national question that is germane to peaceful co-existence. When the Abuja Conference was set up and government spelt out “the no go areas” in post-Ige era, it was clear that Nigeria was chasing shadows and postponing the evil day. Ige, lawyer, prolific writer, eloquent social critic and debater, and astute politician rose to prominence in the sixties as the indefatigable Publicity Secretary of the proscribed Action Group (AG) led by Awolowo. With a caustic tongue, he was a thorn in the flesh of the defunct Balewa and Akintola administrations. Throughout the AG’s trying period, he was a dependable ally of his indomitable leader, Awo. In Kano, he managed to escape an ambush by suspected NPC strongmen after a tough campaign in the Northern Region. He was detained by the federal government in Kwale during the Western regional crisis. Ige never deserted the hot battle ground. Instead, he waxed stronger in political tribulation. It was not surprising that the high priest in the vineyard of progressive politics was enveloped in controversy when he joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government. His colleagues in the pan-Yoruba socio-political group berated him for collaborating with strange bed fellows at the twilight of his career. Although he rationalised that he was in Obasanjo’s administration, and not in PDP government, analysts believed that the great Cicero had mocked his progressive antecedents by dining with conservative rivals. His political foes, analysts believe, got rid of him. The Afenifere Deputy Leader did not return alive from the federal cabinet. His home town, Esa-Oke, Osun State, Yorubaland and the progressive family were thrown into mourning. His demise also opened the road for reactionary elements in the Southwest. His ailing party, Alliance for Democracy (AD) caved in. The once vibrant party became a ghost of it elf, with its members scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. While some found themselves the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA)and Action Congress (AC) others embraced the Social Mega Democratic Party (SMDP). Southwest, its stronghold was forcefully taken over by the PDP through massive rigging. Many believe that,although Ige had no premonition of the tragedy that befell him, his associates believed that his ordeal may have started at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, where he was a guest of the former First Lady, the late Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, who was taking a honorary title in the ancient town.

• The Late Ige

Suddenly, some charlatans seized his cap and hung it on a nearby tree. It was an irony of sorts. In the same palace in 1980, he had presented the Staff of Office to Oba Olubuse 11. Many Yoruba elders at the scene shook their heads. It was the forerunner to the sad event of December 22. His death provoked rage, emotional outburst and lamentation. Eminent Nigerians described the killing as too callous. At his lying-in-state, Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka decried the hypocrisy of his foes crying more than the bereaved. He said: “Ige’s killers are here with us”. Police vowed to track down the killers. It has remained an empty boast. Successive administrations have also been helpless. But the great politician has continued to fill the consciousness of his people. He is to them a living hero. His magnetism has endured, even in death. His oratory prowess, incisive wit, boldness and commitment to ideals and principle were endearing. A first class Awoists, Ige was nicknamed “Arole Awolowo” by people who perceived him as a likely successor to the late sage. He was not a jobless politician. In Law, he rose to the apex, crowing it all with his elevation into the rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). In politics, he made great impact. Before he joined AG, he had fired salvos at the party, saying that it lacked a firm ideological depth. He wrote articles to attack some of the positions taken by the party in pre-independent Nigeria. When he met Awo face to face and and the former Premier of Western Region confronted him with the articles, Ige stood by his writings. Awo admired that candour, for only a few could call a spade a spade. Ige later became a member of

‘Before he was killed, he had canvassed true federalism, restructuring of the country, devolution of power and state police. In his view, a “national family meeting” was essential, adding that representatives of ethnic nationalities would decide “whether” and “how” to live together in peace’

the AG Committee for Review of Foreign Policy. He was also an active member of the AG Youth Association. As a lawyer, he defended the AG’s ally in the North - the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC)-in court when NPC threatened to cut it to size. The former Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was once furious at Ige. On the eve of the Commonwealth of Nations’ Heads of Government meeting in Lagos, Prime Minister Balewa had to stop a live television programme in which Ige was a discussant. After dissecting the agenda of the meeting, Ige described the Commonwealth as an organisation where the wealth was not common. The programme was stopped immediately. The firebrand AG Publicity Secretary also took on the former Premier of Western Region, the late Chief Ladoke Akintola, who was assisted by Balewa Government to regain his premiership, following a fierce battle with Alhaji Dauda Soroye Adegbenro. The Premier had boasted that the ring of power had been fixed on his finger and nobody could remove it. Ige went on air, saying that, if the ring could not be removed, the finger could be cut off. The crisis in the Western Region heralded the fall of the First Republic. In 1967, Ige bounced back. He was appointed as Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources by the Western State governor, Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd). Later, he was removed from the cabinet for criticising other agencies of government. In 1975, he became a member of Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) set up by the Muritala/ Obasanjo administration to prepare a new constitution, preparatory to the handing over of government in 1979. He was a member of the “Committee of Friends”, which transformed into the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). He contested the Oyo State governorship shadow election with his former vice principal in secondary school, Ven. Emmanuel Alayande, and won. He also defeated the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) candidate, Chief Richard Akinjide. The old “NCNCer” was said to have, in Ige’s view, politically disparaged Awo’s Free Education Policy during the hot governorship debate. Ige’s reply was harsh. He asked: “How many of your relatives who benefitted from the programme are armed robbers, charlatans and social miscreants?”. Tempers rose. Some scolded Ige for extreme polemics. Others laughed it off. Ige implemented the four cardinal programmes of the UPN as governor. But relations between him and his deputy, the late Chief Sundfay Afolabi, were strained for partisan reasons. When their mutual friend,Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, waded into the crisis, it became Ige’s undoing. His rivals in the UPN came up with charges of disloyalty against him at the Yola Conference of the party. The penalty would have been expulsion from UPN. It was a“night of long knives”. But Awo saved Ige from being ostracised. In 1983, the former governor was tried and jail by the military tribunal. Many believed that Ige was controversial for other reasons. At a public lecture, he had delved into history, contending that the Olubadan of Ibadan and Soun of Ogbomoso were Baales upgraded into first class obaship by former Governor David Jemibewon. His Ibadan in-laws were enraged. He was removed as “Aare Alasa” of Ibadanland. Following Awo’s advice to the progressives, Ige adopted “siddon look” style during the Abacha regime. He had dismissed the five political parties of the era as the five fingers of a leprous hand. When he later teamed up with pro-democracy fighters and “June 12” agitators coordinated by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), he was on the collision course with the military. Ige had his eyes on the Presidency. He was a member of “G34”. He also had root in the three main parties; PDP, All Peoples Party (APP) and AD, on which platform he contested for the highest slot with the former Secretary to Federal Military Government, Chief Oluyemisi Falae. His Awoistcolleagues voted for Falae. Supporters of Ige said the move was meant to spite him. Predictably, Ige fought back. Against Afenifere’s wish, he joined Obasanjo’s cabinet. There, he was mocked by his erstwhile deputy, Afolabi, Minister of Internal Affairs, who described his former boss as a visitor, who was invited to eat, only to hold the hand of his host. Ige replied that he had not come to eat, but to serve his fatherland. Although barriers were erected against performance in the Power and Steel ministry, it was a different ball game at the Ministry of Justice where he motivated the celebrated suit on resource control and laid the template for the antigraft war. Before his death, he was said to have commenced a process of disengagement. His son, Muyiwa, who is now Physical Planning Commissioner in Osun State, said he had written to Obasanjo, intimating him of his desire to leave the Federal Executive Council. Ige wanted to prevent PDP’s incursion into the Southwest. What he was prevented from doing was however, achieved by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leaders under Senator Bola Tinubu. Today, none of the states in the region is being ruled by the PDP.




‘Confirming Yakowa’s death was big challenge to reporters’ I

HAD just got home at exactly 5.30 pm on that fateful Saturday, December 15, 2012. As I tried to undress and take a rest, my phone rang. It was John Shiklam, my colleague with ThisDay newspaper. We exchanged pleasantries. He said: “I just heard a rumour and I don’t know whether to believe it or not”. I became curious and asked: “what is it all about?”. He replied: “I heard that Yakowa was involved in a plane crash and that he is dead”. I told him that I have not heard anything about that. We spoke briefly and we agreed to make calls to find out what the true situation was. Immediately he hung up, Shagari Sambo of TV Continental called to ask about the crash and I told him that I had no information. He hung up and as I tried to put a call to the Senior Special Adviser to Yakowa on Media, Reuben Buhari, Isaiah Benjamin of Leadership called. He asked: “Do you know if the governor was in town or not?” I told him I had no idea and he said: “My office asked me to confirm”. I tried Reuben’s line, but he would not pick (apparently because he was also trying to get the true picture). I called the Information Commissioner, Saidu Adamu, and he would not pick any call at that time. I called Rev. Joseph Hayab, Yakowa’s Special Adviser on Religious Affairs, Christian Matters. At first, his line was busy and I kept trying to get through to him. Eventually, I got him and listening to him, I knew that something was actually wrong. I asked him point blank : “We learnt the governor was involved in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa and I am trying to confirm the story”. He said: “My brother, a friend of mine called me from Bayelsa to say that he saw my name on the list of those that were supposed to come to Bayelsa with the governor, but that he didn’t see me there. I told him that I could not make the trip because of other engagements. He told me that they heard the helicopter carrying our governor and Azazi crashed, but that they were still trying to ascertain the true position. I saw on Sahara Reporters that he is dead, but I don’t have any information to give you on that right now. We pray it is not true”. With that, he cut the line. Not satisfied with the information, I called Reuben and the Information Commissioner again, but they would not pick their calls. Ismail Omipidan, the Bureau Chief of The Sun called to also get information. I told him I had none. Then, I called Emmanuel Ado, the governor’s External Media Adviser . He said: “We don’t have any information yet; yes, he went to Bayelsa”. At this stage, I log into the facebook, trying to get whatever information available there. Reuben was online and I posed the question to him. His reply: “No information yet. We are trying to get whatever information we can from the federal government”. The time was 7.00pm and the News Coordinator for the Weekend titles, Dapo Olufade, called me. “Have you heard the news?”, he asked. Not wanting to increase the pressure, I told him no and he relayed the information and directed me to work on the lead and see what I could get. A few moments later, the MD sent a text message asking me to call him urgently. I tried to call him, but for several minutes, the call failed to go through. When I eventually got him, he asked:“Tony, what is happening in Kaduna?” I told him what we heard and that I was trying to confirm, but none of the government officials was willing to talk. He said: “Forget about trying to confirm, the governor is dead. We have confirmed that. I want you to write for us immediately ‘The man Yakowa; write everything you can and send it to us immediately. We are using it for tomorrow. I am waiting for it”. With that, I went to work immediately. He followed up with another directive saying: “Do that of Yero too”. I did as directed . Confirming late Governor Yakowa’s death was a big challenge. At about 9.45, Reuben sent a text signed by the Secretary to the State Government, LawalAbdullahi, announcing Yakowa’s death. On Sunday morning, it was not clear what the programme of the day would looked like. Should I go to church or to the Government House? My colleague with The Punch suggested we go to town to gauge the mood of the people. I also decided to make a few calls and sent SMS to a few other Southern Kaduna people. I called the state Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mohammed Musa Soba, a former member of the House of Representative, Jonathan Asake, Secretary of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Adamu Marshal, among others, for their reaction. I also called the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) chairman, Yusuf Idris, who informed me that the new governor will be

• The Late Yakowa From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

sworn in at 10.00am. That put an end to the idea of trying to go church and we headed for the Government House. On arrival, we were told that the ceremony, which was to take place at the council chamber of the Government House, had been shifted to 1.00pm on the request of the would-be governor. The Government House was like a market place or political rally ground. Everybody wore gloomy face. We went to the deputy governor who will soon become governor. He was receiving people on condolence visit. With him were the former governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Col. Paul Zakka Wyom, the Kpop Gwong and traditional ruler of Yakowa’s own village, and other traditional and religious leaders. A few minutes after 1.00pm, the Chief Judge, Justice Rahila Cudjoe, who had sworn in many governors in the state, drove into the Government House. Before her arrival, we tried to gain access into the chamber, but could not because of the large crowd of people trying to gain access. As we stood outside wondering how to get a glimpse of what was happening inside, the engineer on the outside broadcast van of Nagarta Radio came to our rescue and provided for us a loud speaker with which we monitored events inside the chambers. After taking his oath of office and delivering his acceptance speech, I saw the national President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Dr. Ephraim Goje. As I walk towards him, my News Editor called to inquire about the event and followed up with other instructions. I wanted to be polite and not cut him, but it was evident that I was going to lose Goje. Fortunately for me, he was walking very slowly and I was walking behind him while talking on phone. Before he got to his car, my conversation ended and I had the opportunity of speaking with him. I used my phone to record him, but I almost lost the interview along the line. By the time I got out of Government House, time for production was at hand. Tired

and stressed out from the events of the day, I left for home at about 8.30 pm. I ran into a police road block near the Television Garage. A policeman tried to add to the tiredness of the day. That is a story for another day. Monday, being a public holiday in the state, was not as busy as Sunday, except that people that came to the Government House were there on condolence. Vice President Namadi Sambo was there receiving guest and apparently waiting for the wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan. Yakowa’s corpse was supposed to have arrived on that day, but when we got to Government House, we gathered that the arrival had been shifted to Tuesday. Mrs. Jonathan later arrived. Former Heads of State, Yakubu Gowon and Gen. Mohammadu Buhari also visited the new governor. Many governors and other eminent persons also thronged the Government House.. On Tuesday, the corpse finally arrived Kaduna aboard a Nigeria Airforce cargo plane. It was then conveyed in a Haice bus ambulance belonging to the St. Gerard Catholic Hospital along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Western bye pass to the mortuary. Apart from the ceremonies at the airport and along the road to the mortuary, it was a less busy day. But that cannot be said of Wednesday. In Kaduna, the state Executive Council meets on Wednesdays. The meeting on that day was purely meant to honour the departed. It was a day of speeches. Commissioners took their turn to say something about their late boss. Yakowa’s corpse was brought to the chamber during the session. While that was going on, the state House of Assembly was also holding a valedictory session in his honour. Then, the wake-keep service also took place at Government House. Again, reports had to be written about the valedictory session and it coincided with the wake-keep service. The conflicts therefore, necessitated some form of networking, especially for those of us with the burden of covering Kaduna state alone. There was also the need to gauge the mood in Yakowa’s village, Fadan Kagoma. So, I had to travel about two hundred kilometers to see what the mood was like. The networking among reporters in the state within the period was superb. Gbenga Forulunsho, the Government House photographer of the New Nigeria newspapers was particularly very helpful with photographs. Thursday was the burial proper and as expected, the crowd was unprecedented. People came from far and near and the security was heavy. President Goodluck Jonathan witnessed the ceremony. While some of my colleagues left for Kagoma a day earlier, I had to leave very early in the morning for Kagoma, while the corpse was expected to leave at about 7.00am. The funeral service started early enough, but the entire process did not finish until about 5.00pm when the corpse was lowered into the grave. The town was thrown into mourning. It was, no doubt, a week full of activities, though most of the activities were neglected because of Yakowa’s burial. Unfortunately, not much was heard about Dauda Tsoho who died alongside Yakowa in the ill-fated crash.

My plan for next year, by Oshiomhole


DO State Government will, in 2013, hold a town hall meeting on how to get the local governments in the state to deliver more dividends of democracy to the people. Also, a security summit to look into how to tackle the security challenges in the state will hold early next year. Besides, the construction of the Central Hospital Benin, which suffered a little setback in the outgoing year, will be completed and equipped with modern facilities. Governor Adams Oshiomhole unfolded his agenda for 2013 at a meeting with traditional rulers across the three senatorial districts at the weekend. He said: “We need your support to revisit the local governments to make them work for the people. We have to bring a change to the local government administration to bring government closer to the people. In a democracy, the only thing that is constant is change, we cannot continue like this at the local government; we cannot have local governments that are there to pay salaries alone”. The governor, who expressed dismay over the activities of local councils, said expenditure would be streamlined to save money for capital projects, including the building of markets in the respective local government areas He added: “I will seek your support to restore sanity in our public life. We have to carry out major reforms across the state and we will need to be more firm”. On the proposed security summit, which will involve all stakeholders in the state, Governor Oshiomhole said, with the contributions made by the state government, security challenges in the state should have been reduced to the minimal level. He said: “In Edo State we have given out over one hundred and ten vehicles for patrol but when I go out I don’t see them. I have asked the Acting Commissioner of Police to make the vehicles available for a physical audit. We cannot accept a situation where the vehicles provided for security in the state are diverted for private use or even taken outside the state for other purposes. We have to revisit the issue of the vigilante groups carrying weapons to complement the security agencies in our communities. We will need to go beyond throwing money at the security agencies and find out how they have managed the ones we have given to them.” The governor urged the royal fathers to appeal to the Federal Government to adequately fund the security agencies which is a matter in the exclusive legislative list. He said there will also be reforms in the education sector to enforce disci• Oshiomhole pline.

• Traditional Rulers in Ngor Okpala/Aboh Mbaise Federal Constituency, Imo State, praying for the House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, during the deputy speaker’s 2012 constituency briefing held at his home town, Aboh Mbaise, at the weekend.





A REJOINDER BY PROFESSOR IS-HAQ OLOYEDE TO “THREAT TO RELIGIOUS PEACE IN KWARA…” BY CHARACTER ASSASINS IN THE GUISE OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS INTRODUCTION I want to asseverate that the publication in The Nation of December 21, 2012 p.47 is part of what I lately got to know to be a grand design and conspiracy of a handful of individuals in and outside Kwara, under the otherwise respected platform of the Kwara State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to blackmail me and damage my hard-earned reputation. I understand that this is just a first phase of their grand design but “they plotted and planned, and Allah too planned and the best of planners is Allah” (Q3:54). It is therefore with pains that I have to respond to the promised advertorial and other forms of propaganda which the character assassins under the cloak of religion have viciously mounted against my person. REFUTAL I unequivocally refute the allegations contained in the publication under reference that I (a) said I would “call the State Governor and explore all the State machinery to stop further construction” (b) went “to the premises of the church” with “a group of irate men” (c) said I would “engage thousands of Muslim Youths to remove the Church” (d) trespassed or led any act of provocation, and (e) did anything to make me “not fit to be the Executive Secretary of NIREC”. The allegations are concocted stories in a well-planned scheme to tarnish my reputation and secure the National Coordinatorship of the Nigeria InterReligious Council (NIREC) which probably could not be legitimately secured. Unfortunately, national interest dictates that I speak less for now of what I got to know of the masterminds and their designs. It is revealing that NIREC Coordinatorship, which is not a remunerated job, was the first target of the malicious campaign. There is more to be said. Though in my telephone conversation with him five clear days before the publication under reference, the Kwara State Chairman of CAN said that an advertorial had been ordered on the subject. I advised him that the advertorial, if necessary, could be done after the meeting of all parties. He promised to get back to me. Despite repeated calls to him and other CAN leaders, he didn’t allow the meeting to take place until after the publication. It is now obvious that he was resolute on doing a hatchet job. As instructive as the episodes narrated in the foregoing paragraphs are, it was only in the early hours of today (last Friday, December 21) through a propitious phone call that I realized fully that there was a grand design to malign my name and rubbish my reputation through malicious propaganda and undiluted falsehood. Though I am aware of the evils that men do and have lived long enough to understand the dynamics of scheming, I did not appreciate that even within religious establishments with highly “reputable” public figures, ethical and religious principles can be unabashedly discountenanced to achieve diabolical ends. Let me state without equivocation that I am the National Coordinator of NIREC because I am a member of the Council in the first instance. The President of Nigeria subsequently appointed me National Coordinator to liaise between the Government and the Council. I derive neither my membership nor my Coordinatorship from some elements under the guise of CAN. Little did I know that the position is so coveted to even make religious leaders go to this level of conspiracy. FACTS ARE SACRED Contrary to the falsehood being propagated that I was appointed National Coordinator by a late Muslim President, I was actually appointed by a Christian President when my predecessor, Rev. Prof. Obaje (1999 – 2007) went into partisan politics to contest the governorship of his State, Kogi, in 2007. I want to state that since my 33-year sojourn in Kwara State, the current incident would be the third shock of my life in inter-religious affairs. The first shock came from a highly lettered Christian personality whose family and mine used to exchange Christmas cake and ’Idul kabeer/ Sallah meat for several years until about a decade ago when I received a letter from him that he would opt out of the friendly exchanges. His reason was that some Muslims and Christians clashed in one distant part of the core Northern Nigeria. Though we later reconciled at my instance, the past still belonged to the past as far as annual Christmas cake and sallah meat exchanges are concerned. Probably the current campaign of calumny against my person should serve as a lesson to those of us who believe in, and advocate taking proactive measures security-wise. For instance, I casually advised a Christian friend that I saw with a parcel of a Christmas gift in his house to be careful with packed gifts especially during this period because of parcel bombs. The Gombe State Police Command subsequently made its own independent release on the same advice. I then wondered that if per chance anyone received a parcel bomb somewhere, I would be arrested for knowing about it. It therefore occurred to me that there is always a need to apply native intelligence in our investigations of criminal matters so that we won’t always be caught in the cause-effect fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc argument, or asserting without proof a cause-effect relationship just because one follows another, which is the bane of our criminal investigation system where we often leave the substance and pursue the shadow. THE ILORIN CHURCH EPISODE Except for what I still believe should not be disclosed for (a) my highest regards for a revered evangelist, (b) desire not to compromise ongoing investigations into the identification of the perpetrators of the burning of the Church and the motif (be it religious, political or material), and (c) the preservation of my right to legally defend my assaulted integrity, I provide hereunder the whole truth about the premeditated and sustained falsehood against me. As part of my peace efforts on this matter, I agreed with the Police to keep secret the fact that I was interrogated and released on bail. The agreement of keeping this unpleasant experience away from public knowledge, (at my instance) was because I was afraid that such a disclosure could provoke anger among those who were aware of my role as a peace broker in the land matter between two parties which unfortunately is now being used to malign me. I present the facts as follows: • On the 24th of November, 2012 while on a journey, a national official of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN/MSS) informed me that a Church was being built on the Society’s 32-plot land acquired since 1976. A storey building (under construction), which is the national headquarters of the MSS, had been erected on the land as far back as early 1980’s. • I advised the official, who introduced himself as the National President of the Society, not to raise a false alarm since the Church might be on an adjacent parcel of land. I emphatically requested the person to return to his base (which he said was outside Kwara) and that even if it is true that the said land is being encroached upon, I, in conjunction with other former members of MSS in Kwara State, would find a peaceful solution to it. I advised him not to inform the State or Local officials / members of the Society in order not to cause unnecessary agitation. Given the unfortunate level of current religious suspicion and mistrust, it is an insincere person in this country that would regard our fears of a possible clash as unfounded, moreso that one of the parties is a student group. Indeed it was in the course of this current peace effort that I got to know for the first time that actually there was a serious disputation between a Christian and a Muslim group in Sango Area of Ilorin recently over a church building. • I returned from my trip on the 3rd of December and stopped at the site, which is on the Main Road from Lagos. I noticed that a building was being constructed on the land, which confirmed what I was told on the day of my travel. My enquiries from the mechanics,

block makers and traders, who had always been within the premises of the MSS uncompleted building, made me know that those behind the new building were around. I went to the building (which was also under construction), approached the two gentlemen therein and asked them if they knew that the land and the other uncompleted building on it belonged to the MSS. One of them said three plots (out of the 32 plots of land which I, like any other adult Muslim of my age in Ilorin, know belong to the MSS) was sold to them by a Doctor at the University of Ilorin while the other said it was not a Doctor but the Chief of the area (Are of Ogele) that sold the land to them. I introduced myself fully, including the fact that I am the National Coordinator of NIREC who would not want a disagreement between the two religious groups, and said I know the ownership of the land and that I, along with others, would find an amicable solution to the development in order to guard against any possible clash between the owners of the new building under construction and those I know to be the owners. I asked for the names and contacts of the two gentlemen and advised them to direct the builders whenever they came to stop further development until the matter was resolved. • I immediately called the Security Adviser to the Governor of Kwara State to intimate him of the need to step in as it appeared that the land owners had sold a portion of the 32 plots of land to a Christian body. The Security Adviser told me he knew the land because of the long-standing imposing MSS bill boards that had stood on the land for at least a decade. I also informed another former member of MSS and School proprietor and we all agreed to keep the current MSS officials out of the peace efforts until a peaceful resolution was reached. • On 4th December, I informed Justices Mustapha Akanbi and S. O. Muhammad whom I was told had a relationship with the Are Ogele family. I urged them to approach the land owners with a view to playing a role in resolving the conflict of ownership which the latter had created on three out of the 32 plots of land through what I thought was a double sale. • On 5th December, some Muslim students came to my house to express their anger about the unfolding trespass on their land. I told them that I, along with other elders, were handling the matter and that it would soon be resolved amicably. They left apparently satisfied. I then convened a meeting of some former MSS members and we resolved to (a) meet the Emir and advise him to call the land owners not to cause confusion (b) ensure that the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of the two parties c) meet the land owners and advise them to move the last buyer to an adjoining parcel of land, if it is true they sold the land to the two parties. We considered the excision of the three plots of the land if the Church is at the edge of the 32-plot land. It was decided that we should visit the place. I, in company of former MSS members comprising two other Professors, a former University Registrar, a reputable School Proprietor and a senior Government official subsequently went to the site on the day. Those who had not recently been to the site inspected the location of the new building within the entire 32-plot land. I was by the roadside, where someone I later got to know was a pastor in the Church, came to meet me and I told him all steps that had already been taken and those that would be taken including contact with CAN leadership in the state with a view to finding a peaceful resolution to the matter. He thanked me, obtained my contact details and left to meet the others who were on the parcel of land. It was the brief that I gave the man that was apparently twisted to create a cobweb of lies around me in this campaign of calumny. • Justice S. O. Muhammad subsequently brought the land owners to my house. They also expressed their commitment to solve the problem as they would not have sold part of a piece of land belonging to a religious group to another religious group. Both Justice Muhammad and I resolved to meet the leaderships of the MSS and CAN in Kwara State to ensure the amicable resolution of the matter. • Upon a text message from the MSS which I received a day before, a meeting of current and former MSS members held in my house on 6th December where the current MSS members expressed their anger that their land was being encroached upon and they would want to stage a protest to the Emir. I blamed them for abandoning their building project, which had remained for many years on the land, told them the Christians also bought the land and the new building was not to spite the MSS. I advised them against any public protest because it could be hijacked. I told them I would intimate the Emir of their concerns and that already, community leaders like Justice Akanbi, Justice Muhammad, Shaykh Kuranga and some former MSS leaders were already working on a peaceful resolution of the matter. A delegation met the Emir the following day, 7th December, and while he was making efforts to reach the Chief of the area, I offered that I was told the Are Ogele family are related to Justice S. O. Muhammad. It was then he sent for Justice Muhammad and asked him to, on his behalf meet the parties, including the owners, and ensure the peaceful resolution of the matter. He further charged that I should work with Justice Muhammad and ensure that a peaceful resolution was found to the matter. Justice Muhammad and I identified the need to have the land documents of the two parties to guide us. • We decided to contact the CAN leadership in the State to brief them of the efforts being made. Both of us had the phone number of only the Secretary, Rev. COS Fawenu. Justice Muhammad was eventually able to reach him and visited him at the CAN Secretariat in the morning of Saturday 8th December. Justice Muhammad reported to me that though Rev. Fawenu said the Church was not a registered Church in CAN Secretariat, he requested him (Rev. Fawenu) to contact the Pastors to join us in the peace process. Rev. Fawenu also promised to reach the Pastors, collect their land documents and reach us immediately so that we could jointly study the documents of the two parties and advise the land owners appropriately. To the best of my knowledge, he never did. • There was a report that some Muslim students who were not patient with the peace process wanted to go and occupy the land on Saturday, 8th December. Justice Muhammad told me and he volunteered to be at the site in case the Muslim students visited the site. He went and when the students arrived, he piloted them to where the MSS building was, joined them in the Magrib prayers and preached to them on the need to maintain peace. He also reported to the policemen in Adewole Police Station just as he calmed the nerves of the Muslim students. He also stressed to me the need for one of us to be at the place on Sunday while the Christians worshipped so as to guard against a possible disruption of their Church service. • Despite my scheduled journey to Bida on Sunday, 9th December, 2012, I volunteered to be at the site to prevent any possible confrontation (since the two buildings are now standing on the same piece of land) in case the Muslim students came that day. I was watching over the activities as the service was on while standing by the side of my car by the road side. When two gentlemen (apparently officials of the Church) challenged me on why I was there, I told them my mission and they thanked me. I was there for almost three hours and when I was convinced that there was no security breach, I reported to Justice Muhammad who also drove to the site and relieved me of the watch duty while I left for Bida as part of another peace mission in my capacity as NIREC National Coordinator. • I had to return to Ilorin on Monday evening (10th December) by going to Abuja to catch an Abuja-Ilorin flight just because I wanted to attend a peace meeting on the land scheduled for 2:00p.m. on Tuesday. On arrival, I called Rev. Fawenu but he did not pick

my calls. I later got to know that a damaging letter had been written against my person to the Police that I wanted to intimidate the Church owners. I felt highly disappointed and I told Justice Muhammad that I was withdrawing my participation in the matter. He persuaded me that though he was able read a copy of the said petition, I should not be discouraged. I noticed a strange but suspicious development in the early hours of Friday December 7 th and I promptly brought it to the attention of the Security agents for investigation though I could not, as at that time, link the development with the land matter. • When Justice Muhammad said he would visit me on Tuesday morning, i.e. 11th December, on the subject of the meeting scheduled for the day, I told him I would come and meet him. I drove to his house and I was able to convince him that having been accused of partisanship, I could no longer participate in the meeting and that if I eventually got a copy of the allegation, I would sue the writer for libel. Though I did not attend the meeting of Tuesday, I was pleased with the outcome which was similar to what I had proposed at the previous meetings we held. • One can then imagine how sad I would be when I heard on Wednesday 12th December that the Church had been razed down. I reached Justice Muhammad, some other former members of the MSS and CAN Secretary immediately before I left for my lecture. I was at a lecture on Wednesday, 12th December, when I got information through the pressmen that the Kwara State Secretary of CAN accused me of being behind the burning since according to him, I had suggested that the Christians should vacate the site for the MSS. I vehemently refuted the allegation, doubted the report credited to the CAN Secretary and promised to sue the CAN leadership in Kwara State if such scandalous allegations were truly made against me. I later discovered it was Rev. Fawenu who made the libelous claims at a press conference while a lawyer-son of a respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Channels Television broadcast the false allegation via television and internet to the whole world same day. • That was the first signal to me of a deliberate effort to malign me to achieve a sinister design. I went to the “A” Division of the Police to report that I learnt that a letter was written against me. I was shown the letter written by the church owners on 10th December and my name was not mentioned. I then decided to wait for the hard facts which I eventually got through the media. • On Thursday morning (13th December), I was able to reach Rev. Fawenu on phone and I challenged him on the allegations against me despite having a full brief on the efforts being made by myself and Justice Muhammad. He told me that the decision was made at a formal setting and that he is just a paid Secretary that has to carry out the decision of the general house. I requested for the phone number of the CAN Chairman, he told me he was driving and that he would text it to me later. He never did. It was then I stopped calling him. I received a text message from the MSS that they were not responsible for the burning as they were aware of the peace process being made. Meanwhile, I decided to sue Rev. Fawenu for the damaging allegations he made to the press about me. • Being the National Coordinator of NIREC, I felt I should inform my two co-Chairmen (the Sultan and the CAN President). Both advised me against my desire to sue the CAN Secretary. The CAN President told me that the Church belongs to Bishop Oyedepo with whom he is aware I am very familiar and who had earlier spoken to him and that I should contact the Bishop. I contacted Bishop Oyedepo and was pleased that he had also wanted to contact me. He also gave me the contact number of Bishop Afolabi who is the resident Bishop of the Winners Church in Ilorin. I spoke with Bishop Afolabi, visited the Winners Office Complex in Ilorin where it was said that the CAN leadership would be brought in for amicable resolution and that the press conference was based on the information at the disposal of the church leaders. He promised to reach the CAN leadership and brief me afterwards. • I also brought the development to the attention of many people, both high and low, Muslims and Christians, with most of them expressing their great admiration and respect for Bishop Oyedepo, and urging me to continue with my peace efforts while the security personnel would unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act of church burning. I was also advised against suing CAN as litigation might heighten the tension that was being created in the State. • I eventually reached the CAN Chairman who surprisingly told me that the CAN Secretary told him he gave me his (Chairman’s) number and that he was expecting my call. I told him to arrange a joint meeting of all parties the next day, Wednesday 19th December. He called me to postpone the meeting saying that CAN wanted to publish an advertorial on the matter. I advised him against it until he had all the facts and that I had restrained myself, despite the libel and pressure from well-meaning individuals within and outside Nigeria, from making a public statement on the matter. This was to ensure that the tension was not heightened. CONCLUSION On the backdrop of the foregoing, which I solemnly vouch to be the truth and nothing but the truth, it was therefore a surprise to me that despite all that had transpired, the threat of an advertorial was carried out. Without disclosing the details, I am convinced that all these plots are aimed at, among other goals, assassinating my character, rubbishing my reputation and achievements before the public and taking over the office of the National Coordinator of NIREC, which with all respect, is a position of sacrifice which I am prepared to gladly relinquish without any hesitation whatsoever. The authors of the advertorial and whoever they work for could simply have hinted me of their interest and I would have gladly welcomed their nominee instead of wasting their resources to ask for the “Executive Secretary” position of NIREC through the advertorial. Be that as it may, I thank God that I have been involved in peace making and peace building both academically and professionally in the last three decades and I am indeed a Fellow of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP). God used me to also play a role in the establishment of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS) at the University of Ilorin. While remaining committed to my religious convictions as a Muslim, I have always tried to maintain justice, goodness and honesty as Islam teaches. What do I stand to gain, at this age and stage of my life, to foment religious crisis or mastermind burning a church? I stand to gain nothing and I am liable to lose all. The imputations against me as caused to be published by CAN Kwara State are figments of the sponsors’ imagination and part of the diabolical conspiracy to achieve a sinister objective. The sponsors of that publication certainly needed not to go to that length and I refute the allegations in their entirety. Despite the hazard and mudslinging of this episode to me and my family, I am still resolute that a peaceful resolution of the problem will be reached soonest. I am committed to ensuring that religion is not used to disguise evil. I shall continue to work to ensure that there is little or no religious suspicion and mistrust, if not in the whole country but at least in my immediate community, and this has nothing to do with any office or position in NIREC. I am making this statement while being aware of the maxim that you do not bother to explain yourself as those who do not like you would not believe it and those who like you do not need it. Yet, I believe that I owe myself and the discerning public a duty not to allow these lies against me to assume a prodigious vitality of their own with the impartial observer denied the facts of the whole story since facts are sacred and comments are free. Signed: PROFESSOR IS-HAQ O. OLOYEDE 21st December, 2012

THE NATION MONDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2012 my calls. I later got to know that a damaging letter had been written against my person to the Police that I wanted to intimidate the Church owners. I felt highly disappointed and I told Justice Muhammad that I was withdrawing my participation in the matter. He persuaded me that though he was able read a copy of the said petition, I should not be discouraged. I noticed a strange but suspicious development in the early hours of Friday December 7 th and I promptly brought it to the attention of the Security agents for investigation though I could not, as at that time, link the development with the land matter. • When Justice Muhammad said he would visit me on Tuesday morning, i.e. 11th December, on the subject of the meeting scheduled for the day, I told him I would come and meet him. I drove to his house and I was able to convince him that having been accused of partisanship, I could no longer participate in the meeting and that if I eventually got a copy of the allegation, I would sue the writer for libel. Though I did not attend the meeting of Tuesday, I was pleased with the outcome which was similar to what I had proposed at the previous meetings we held. • One can then imagine how sad I would be when I heard on Wednesday 12th December that the Church had been razed down. I reached Justice Muhammad, some other former members of the MSS and CAN Secretary immediately before I left for my lecture. I was at a lecture on Wednesday, 12th December, when I got information through the pressmen that the Kwara State Secretary of CAN accused me of being behind the burning since according to him, I had suggested that the Christians should vacate the site for the MSS. I vehemently refuted the allegation, doubted the report credited to the CAN Secretary and promised to sue the CAN leadership in Kwara State if such scandalous allegations were truly made against me. I later discovered it was Rev. Fawenu who made the libelous claims at a press conference while a lawyer-son of a respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Channels Television broadcast the false allegation via television and internet to the whole world same day. • That was the first signal to me of a deliberate effort to malign me to achieve a sinister design. I went to the “A” Division of the Police to report that I learnt that a letter was written against me. I was shown the letter written by the church owners on 10th December and my name was not mentioned. I then decided to wait for the hard facts which I eventually got through the media. • On Thursday morning (13th December), I was able to reach Rev. Fawenu on phone and I challenged him on the allegations against me despite having a full brief on the efforts being made by myself and Justice Muhammad. He told me that the decision was made at a formal setting and that he is just a paid Secretary that has to carry out the decision of the general house. I requested for the phone number of the CAN Chairman, he told me he was driving and that he would text it to me later. He never did. It was then I stopped calling him. I received a text message from the MSS that they were not responsible for the burning as they were aware of the peace process being made. Meanwhile, I decided to sue Rev. Fawenu for the damaging allegations he made to the press about me. • Being the National Coordinator of NIREC, I felt I should inform my two co-Chairmen (the Sultan and the CAN President). Both advised me against my desire to sue the CAN Secretary. The CAN President told me that the Church belongs to Bishop Oyedepo with whom he is aware I am very familiar and who had earlier spoken to him and that I should contact the Bishop. I contacted Bishop Oyedepo and was pleased that he had also wanted to contact me. He also gave me the contact number of Bishop Afolabi who is the resident Bishop of the Winners Church in Ilorin. I spoke with Bishop Afolabi, visited the Winners Office Complex in Ilorin where it was said that the CAN leadership would be brought in for amicable resolution and that the press conference was based on the information at the disposal of the church leaders. He promised to reach the CAN leadership and brief me afterwards. • I also brought the development to the attention of many people, both high and low, Muslims and Christians, with most of them expressing their great admiration and respect for Bishop Oyedepo, and urging me to continue with my peace efforts while the security personnel would unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act of church burning. I was also advised against suing CAN as litigation might heighten the tension that was being created in the State. • I eventually reached the CAN Chairman who surprisingly told me that the CAN Secretary told him he gave me his (Chairman’s) number and that he was expecting my call. I told him to arrange a joint meeting of all parties the next day, Wednesday 19th December. He called me to postpone the meeting saying that CAN wanted to publish an advertorial on the matter. I advised him against it until he had all the facts and that I had restrained myself, despite the libel and pressure from well-meaning individuals within and outside Nigeria, from making a public statement on the matter. This was to ensure that the tension was not heightened. CONCLUSION On the backdrop of the foregoing, which I solemnly vouch to be the truth and nothing but the truth, it was therefore a surprise to me that despite all that had transpired, the threat of an advertorial was carried out. Without disclosing the details, I am convinced that all these plots are aimed at, among other goals, assassinating my character, rubbishing my reputation and achievements before the public and taking over the office of the National Coordinator of NIREC, which with all respect, is a position of sacrifice which I am prepared to gladly relinquish without any hesitation whatsoever. The authors of the advertorial and whoever they work for could simply have hinted me of their interest and I would have gladly welcomed their nominee instead of wasting their resources to ask for the “Executive Secretary” position of NIREC through the advertorial. Be that as it may, I thank God that I have been involved in peace making and peace building both academically and professionally in the last three decades and I am indeed a Fellow of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP). God used me to also play a role in the establishment of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS) at the University of Ilorin. While remaining committed to my religious convictions as a Muslim, I have always tried to maintain justice, goodness and honesty as Islam teaches. What do I stand to gain, at this age and stage of my life, to foment religious crisis or mastermind burning a church? I stand to gain nothing and I am liable to lose all. The imputations against me as caused to be published by CAN Kwara State are figments of the sponsors’ imagination and part of the diabolical conspiracy to achieve a sinister objective. The sponsors of that publication certainly needed not to go to that length and I refute the allegations in their entirety. Despite the hazard and mudslinging of this episode to me and my family, I am still resolute that a peaceful resolution of the problem will be reached soonest. I am committed to ensuring that religion is not used to disguise evil. I shall continue to work to ensure that there is little or no religious suspicion and mistrust, if not in the whole country but at least in my immediate community, and this has nothing to do with any office or position in NIREC. I am making this statement while being aware of the maxim that you do not bother to explain yourself as those who do not like you would not believe it and those who like you do not need it. Yet, I believe that I owe myself and the discerning public a duty not to allow these lies against me to assume a prodigious vitality of their own with the impartial observer denied the facts of the whole story since facts are sacred and comments are free. Signed: PROFESSOR IS-HAQ O. OLOYEDE 21st December, 2012





Remembering the politics and times of Kolawole Balogun 1922 – 2002 (2) Continued from yesterday


N the fifties, WASU was a veritable nightmare for officialdom. The contribution of this body formed by a Nigerian from Abeokuta, Chief Oladipo Solanke, MA, BCL, to the socio-cultural and political awareness of African Nationalism-cum Pan Africanism is unquantifiably enormous. Kwame Nkrumah, Udo Udoma, Rotimi Williams, Bankole Akpata, Ayotunde Rosiji, Adenekan Ademola, Joe Appiah, Sobo Sowemimo, Willie Bosma Ademola Thomas, Femi Okunnu, Alao Bashorun, Jomo Kenyatta, Kojo Bostio, the writer, to mention a few randomly, once held courts in the organization at different times. Kola Balogun was also a valued member of the Nigerian Union of Great Britain and Ireland, an organization which embraced all Nigerian nationals in the UK particularly students. It was non partisan but unabashedly partial and partisan to the territorial oneness and the unity of Nigeria. On account of the broad and nationalistic outlook imbibed in both the Nigerian Union and WASU, of which the writer is a past president and vice-president respectively, Balogun was at first diffident and reluctant when he was prodded by Luke Emejulu to form the London branch of the NCNC. In the end he succumbed to the middling. It would be recalled that Luke Emejulu was sponsored by the Nigerian Railway Workers Union to study law in the U.K., but he later abandoned trade unionism on his return to Nigeria for legal practice. Not long after the formation of the London Branch of the NCNC, the Police fatally shot twenty-one miners and injured some fifty others at Udi colliery, Enugu, as a result of a labour dispute. Hardly any event, even the Ivor Cummings Bristol Hotel incident was comparable in the bitter and widespread reaction of Nigerians to the cold-blooded murder of their fellow nationals. According to Nduka Eze, a broad spectrum of Nigerians “The radicals and the moderates, the revolutionaries and the stooges, the bourgeoisie and the workers closed ranks to form the National Emergency Committee, NEC which rallied financial and legal support for the workers. The bitterness amongst the nationalists disappeared as they jointly adopted selfgovernment now, SGN, as their battle cry. Historians may conclude that the slaying of the coal miners by police at Enugu was the first subjective reality of a Nigerian nation. Whilst these ferments of emotive nationalist sentiments and activities prevailed Zik was away in London and had also visited Caux, Switzerland. Akinola Maja, Mbonu Ojike, Rotimi Williams, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Akanni Doherty, Bode Thomas, Hezekiah Oladipo Davies, (H.O.D.) Mokwugo Okoye, were in the thick of events. In the U.K, Kola Balogun as Secretary of the NCNC was busy in collaboration with WASU and Nigeria Union of Great Britain and Ireland, members of the British Parliament, galvanizing public opinion in support of nationalist efforts at home, for the miners. A protest manifestation was planned to the Colonial office. It took a stiff letter from Kola Balogun to Zik to bestir the latter from the seeming coolness to the Enugu protests at home and in the U.K. Zik had first distanced himself from the planned protest to the Colonial office. Indeed in spite of the dynamic turn of political alignment and activities in Nigeria, while reaction to the Enugu shooting incident was still on the boil Zik, President of the NCNC and Zaad Zungur, NCNC Federal Secretary, were planning a wil-o-wisp visit to Prague. Thanks to the pressure of Kola Balogun and his colleagues in the U.K. the visit was abandoned. In parenthesis this was the period when Zik was more or less abandoning the speedboat of radical nationalism. However, Kola Balogun’s formation of the Lon-

By Tayo Akpata

don branch of the NCNC, his role in the Iva Valley shooting agitation in London and the letter of complaint to Zik in London was vintage, Kola Balogun, a committed and thorough bred nationalist through and through, an activist, principled and outspoken, (although with reverence) no matter whose ox was gored. On Kola Balogun’s return to Nigeria as a full-fledged barrister in 1951, Kola threw his body and soul into active politics again. The NCNC as he remarked, was “in the doldrums”. Ill health and disillusionment had more or less forced Zaad Zungur, a highly political mallam and “effulgent poet” to relinquish the Secretaryship of the NCNC. Zik appointed Kola into the NCNC cabinet and at the Kano Convention of the party, in 1952, he was elected Secretary. At this time the National Emergency Committee had receded yielding place to the National rebirth Committee of which H.U. Kaine, the educationist and Lawyer turned politician and Kola Balogun became the Chairman and Secretary respectively of the organizing Committee. The Trade Union Movement that had collaborated closely with the nationalists after the lightening and highly successful United African Company Workers strike led by Nduka Eze, founder of the left wing Nigeria Labour Congress went their own way. The NYC wing of the NEC particularly the provincial members became unenthusiastic about the formation of the National Rebirth Committee. Not long after in 1950, the Area Councils as a distinct political interest group opposed to the Nigeria National Democratic Party,( NNDP) and the Labour Market Women, Alliance came into being as another cluster of interest groups, emerged to contest the Lagos Town Council elections which the latter group won hands down. This was the first election in Nigeria to be conducted on the basis of universal adult suffrage. With the introduction of the MacPherson Constitution and the ensuing elections into Regional and Central Houses, the national front was again factionalized. Thus, confirming the hypothesis that constitutional developments in colonial countries tend to weaken nationalism. Kola Balogun remained undaunted in his nationalist zeal. After the debacle of the National Rebirth committee that had advocated self Government for Nigeria in 1956 with the objective of a “socialist commonwealth’, Kola Balogun almost became a task deliverer of the NCNC. The writer was a frequent visitor to Kola Balogun at the

‘Under the newly promulgated Macpherson Constitution, Kola Balogun contested election through the Electoral College to the Western House of Assembly’ NCNC Secretariat, Yaba at that time. Kola Balogun was genial, charming, unassuming, absolutely loyal and committed to the cause of Nigerian emancipation, Pan Africanism and of course the NCNC. He seemed to have enjoyed the confidence of the great Zik, whom he referred to as his political father, on whose laps he learnt journalism and politics, and the rank and file of the NCNC. One can still recall the resonance of his shrill voice at campaigns proclaiming, “The NCNC is the party of the common man”. He had an abiding faith in the pivotal role of the youth in the emancipation project. As Secretary of the NCNC, he spearheaded an attempt to reincarnate the Zikist Movement as an NCNC Youth Association, in Lagos in 1952. The Trade Unionist cum politician, Mbazulike Amaechi and Nduka Eze were very much in evidence. Although the organization was formed amid dissention it was but a ghost of the Zikist Movement of old. Kola Balogun’s commitment to Pan Africanism was evident when on the break out of the Mau Mau nationalist struggle in Kenya leading to the trial of Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi in 1952, Kola Balogun donned on his wig and gown and made for Kenya to join in the defence of Jomo Kenyatta. The British turned back the ‘obstreperous’ young African Lawyer barely 30 years of age at the time. However, H.O.D. was personally invited by Jomo Kenyatta as his defence attorney at the show trial and H.O.D. gladly obliged Jomo. H.O.D. and Jomo were contemporaries in the U.K. in the late thirties of the last century. Under the newly promulgated Macpherson Constitution, Kola Balogun contested election through the

Electoral College to the Western House of Assembly. According to Kola Balogun, the procedure was fraught with corruption. The ‘god of money’ was already looming dangerously in Nigerian politics. If ever there was corruption at elections at that time, by contemporary standards, it must have been by angels! Needless to say that Kola Balogun was dis-favoured at the election in Osun. His unhappy electoral experience was soon to be over. In 1953, he successfully won elections to the Lagos Town Council, Western House of Assembly (as a Lagos member) and finally to the House of Representatives, resulting in his appointment initially as Minister without portfolio and subsequently as Federal Minister of Information and Research in 1955 at the tender age of 33 years thus also making him the first person to hold a substantive portfolio from Osun. Even more, perhaps, the youngest Minister ever elected at that time under a democratic dispensation. Thus it would appear that Kolawole Balogun was the first Minister of Information in this country, a position, the inimitable Late Chief T.O.S. Benson (alias Seditious Benson of the forties) was to adorn some five years later). Before Kola Balogun’s ministerial stint, in 1953, the Macpherson Constitution had irretrievably broken down following the 1956 self-government motion moved by Anthony Enahoro on behalf of the banned Action Group, A.G. This epochal event threw the NCNC and the (A.G)into each other’s arms. An alliance and re-alignment of political programmes resulted in their joint front at the London constitutional conference to review, the ill-fated Macpherson Constitution. Even though Zik was to exclaim after the conference that “Federalism was imperative” as opposed to his long held centrist views hitherto, the NCNC and A.G. only fell out on the question of the separation of Lagos from the Western Region. Under the Macpherson Constitution Lagos was merged with the West against the majority recommendation of the Ibadan constitutional conference of 1950. At this remarkable London Conference, which enthroned the Lyttleton Constitution, Kola Balogun was present as the General Secretary of the NCNC. He was one of the articulate and insistently fanatical inquiry was published. (c) High handedness and undemocratic methods in the running of the NCNC making for incessant dissention, sectarianism and possible Relapse into the ‘doldrums’ once more, als 195051 era in the party (d) Attempt by Zik to renege on NCNC policy decision to provide for

the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister in the pre independence Constitution. There were other miscellaneous matters like the inadvisability of Zik to travel abroad in late 1958 when the 1958 election was round the corner, the inadvisability of starting the University of Nigeria UNN, at a time of alleged tottering of the Universal Primary Education in the East. Uncompromisingly and determinedly, bitter letters of discontents/complaints and somewhat arrogant in tone were written to Zik by the “rebels” without positive response. At last in June 1958 an NCNC Executive meeting took place at the Lagos City College, Lagos to discuss the “discontents of our time”. Openly the meeting could not agree. It broke into two factions. The ‘rebels’ formed the Reform Committee led by K. O. Mbadiwe as Chairman, H.O.D. who Zik once described as “one of the brightest jewels on the brow of Mother Africa” as Vice Chairman with the ubiquitous and indomitable Kola Balogun as Secretary. It is noteworthy that every attempt to ethnicize the disagreement was rebuffed. Both Kola Balogun and K. O. Mbadiwe, the latter an Aro Igbo, poohed poohed the idea of Mbadiwe and other Ibo “rebels” swearing on ngbandu to ensure their loyalty to Zik and thereby earn a reprieve subsequently. However promptly, the NCNC recommended to the Prime Minister, the resignations of K. O. Mbadiwe, Kola Balogun and their Parliamentary Secretaries from the Federal Cabinet. Having been cut down to size, they were to learn the bitter lesson of how not to take Zik on! Zik’s supporters called them names and emotively denounced them. It was a God-sent opportunity for Zik’s loyalists and sycophants alike to advertise their wares. Eventually like the prodigal son, Kola Balogun, although unbowed found his way back into Zik’s fold. Mohammadu Ribadu the NPC, Minister of Defence at the time was very crucial in Kola Balogun’s reproachment with Zik. Zik was gallant and quick to forgive whatever were Kola Balogun’s faults. This was celebrated by Zik as usual, a man without vendetta, ill feelings or life-long enemies. Zik thought that given Kola Balogun’s closeness to him, Kola Balogun’s reservations ought to have been conveyed to him, Zik , for his own “eyes only” Kola was himself very humbled and impressed by Zik’s Continued on page 60

•Col. Rabe Abubakar (left), Lagos State Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Jide Ologun, a lawyer and Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade at the Annual National Conference/AGM, of NIPR Akure 2012, at Ruby Court Event Centre, Oke-Ijebu, Akure, Ondo State.








•Former Heads of State, Gen Ibrahim Babangida (right); Abdulsalami Abubakar; Senator Nuhu Aliyu, Niger State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu at the weeding of Gen Abdulsalami’s daughter at his hilltop home in the weekend.

Chairman, Rivers Traditional Rulers Council, King Godwin Gininwa (left) and former member, Rivers House of Assembly, Justice Peter Akere (rtd), at the handing over of relief materials to flood victims at Ahoada East Local Government in Rivers.

•Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Publicity Secreary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed commiserating with the first daughter of the late Chief Hope Harriman, Hon. Temi Harriman in Lagos.

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (third right) cutting the tape to present a book: Blessing: A history of Eko written by Lateef Bada, (founder of the club). With him are Alhaji Murtala Ashorobi (left); former Ogun State Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; first president of the club and chairman, Board of Trustees, Chief Rasheed Alaba Williams; President of the Club, Labi Lawal (second right), an engineer and a white cap chief. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES.

•From left: Jigawa State Commissioner for Information, Youth, Sports and Culture, Alhaji Babangida Ibrahim; Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Hannafi Yakubu; another official and Head of Service, Alhaji Mustapha Aminu, after a meeting at the Government House in Duste.

•The Special Guest of Honour at the second graduation/valedictory/end of the year party of Omotayo College and Omotayo Montessori School, Ogijo, Ogun State, Prince Tunde Okunuga, a geologist with Shell Petroleum Development Company, (standing); Chairman of the school, Sir Tayo Opanubi (left), a mechanical engineer; and Vice Chairman, Mrs. Sarah Opanubi, at the event held recently.

•General Manager, Fidson Products Limited, Mr. Emmanuel Egerton-Shyngle (left); Group Human Resources, Manager, Mr. Ernest Onyejekwe; Finance Director, Mr. Olatunde Olanipekun and Sales and Marketing Director, Mr. Olugbenga Olaleye at the Christmas Carol/End-of-the year party in Lagos

•Mr. Mike Eko, a worker with the Glory Christian Ministries displaying the plaque as the most outstanding winner of the year at the church’s awards night, at Glory Dome, Odo-Olowu, Surulere, Lagos. With him are General Overseer Dr. Iroufagha James (second left); Pastor Feyi Ojugo (left) and members of his family.






Peace vital to national development, says Aregbesola


SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has said peaceful coexistence among Nigerians, irrespective of religious and ethnic differences, is vital for national development. Aregbesola spoke on Saturday at the grand finale of the 2012 Iwude festival in Ilesha. He urged Nigerians to coexist in peace to facilitate rapid development. The governor decried the violence in some parts of the country and urged leaders to preach peace. He praised the Yoruba for allowing peace to reign in the region, urging them to continue to tolerate and love one another. Aregbesola, who hails from Ilesa, urged indigenes to embrace farming, which he described as “the occupation of the kingdom”.

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

He said agriculture is a “highly profitable business” and “the only viable means of banishing hunger, unemployment and poverty”. Aregbesola said his administration would assist farmers through land allocations, loans and input. The Monarch of Ijeshaland, Oba Gabriel Aromolaran, urged the people to sustain the peace in the area. He urged the government to ensure stable water supply and dualise major roads in Ilesa. Dignitaries at the event include Deputy Governor Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori; Senators Omoworare Babatunde (Osun East), Mudashiru Hussein (Osun West) and Speaker Najeem Salaam.

Ondo Accord suspends chairman From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE Accord in Ondo State has suspended its state Chairman, Dr. Ajibola Falaye, for anti-party activities. Falaye was accused of collecting money from the Labour Party (LP) to compromise the Accord’s petition at the Governorship Election Tribunal. Faleye was listed at the tribunal as one of the LP’s witnesses. He was said to have made statements, under oath, in favour of the LP and to the detriment of the Accord’s petition. Accord’s Vice-Chairman Mr. Olanrewaju Olaniyan has taken over the management of the party’s affairs. Speaking with reporters at the weekend, Olaniyan; the party’s Chairman in Northern Senatorial District, Prince Adeola Bello; the State Woman Leader, Mrs. Omowaye Yemi; Mrs. Tinuke Ilesanmi and Mr. Emmanuel Olusola urged the public to disregard Faleye’s comments on the Accord’s candidate in the election, Mr. Olawale Ojo. They said Faleye has defected to LP and can no longer speak on behalf of the Accord. Showing a photograph of the party’s primary, where Faleye raised up Ojo’s hands after his emergence as the party’s standard bearer, Olaniyan said they were shocked by Faleye’s claims at the tribunal that Ojo did not emerge through a credible process. Olaniyan added that the primary was overseen by representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The party said it would continue to pursue its case at the tribunal and urged members to pray for its success.

Church holds retreat


HE Last Plane of Salvation Assembly (LPSA) will begin its annual retreat today at the church’s headquarters in Ijoko, Gasline bus-stop, Ogun State. The theme of the three-day retreat is: “The Way of Redemption”. It will feature a musical concert, film show, drama, seminars and teaching sessions by Rev. Adetunji Adebiyi and others.

N300m flood relief fund intact, says Ogun From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta


HE Ogun State Government has said the N300 million flood relief fund it received from the Federal Government is still intact. Finance Commissioner Mrs. Kemi Adesoun spoke at the weekend while defending her ministry’s budget on the floor of the House of Assembly. She said the Governor Ibikunle Amosun administration would not shy away from its responsibility in flood-prone areas of Ogun. Mrs. Adesoun said: “We had embarked on the anti-flooding exercise before the Federal Government gave us the money. Those affected had been compensated and we had spent a lot of money on flood control.” She said the state’s debt profile was more than the N49.2 billion declared by the Otunba Gbenga Daniel administration in its handover note. The commissioner said after an audit of the account, the debt profile was discovered to be N51.452 billion as at May 31, 2011. She said there was a contingent liability of about N2 billion at the Gateway Holdings Limited, which was not included in the handover note. Mrs. Adesoun said the Amosun administration inherited unpaid pension arrears and interest of N89 billion, adding that as at last month, the debt repayment policy of the present administration has reduced it to N63.6 billion.

•From right: Aregbesola; Oba Aromolaran and Mrs. the weekend.

PDP condemns sack of Ondo Varsity workers


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State yesterday condemned the sack of over 60 workers at the state-owned Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU), Akungba-Akoko. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Wale Ozogoro, PDP said: “Most of these workers, who are accused of being involved in partisan politics, openly supported Governor Olusegun Mimiko against Dr. Olusegun Agagu in the 2007 election and never experienced what they are going through now. “These workers, under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union


• ‘They were paid entitlements’ From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Congress (TUC) and other affiliated unions organised rallies at the Democracy Park and wore vests and other materials with the insignia of the Labour Party (LP). “At that time, Mimiko paraded himself as a dependable friend of workers. It is sad that AAU’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Femi Mimiko, acting under the instruction of his brother (the governor) has become vindictive. “About six families were adversely affected, as the husbands and wives were sacked for trumped up charges. They

were not queried or invited to face any disciplinary committee to determine whether they were culpable or otherwise. “They were summarily dismissed without recourse to rules guiding the public service. This brings to mind the draconian rule of the military era, when decrees and fiats were the order of the day. “We condemn this act of wickedness and remind the Mimiko administration that several eminent individuals had governed this state without making life unbearable for the people. “Residents are groaning un-

der the present administration and the university community has had its share of the government’s Christmas gift. “In a state where the government is paying lip service to youth employment and infrastructural development, many more are being thrown into the saturated labour market. “We urge the people to take solace in the fact that we will soon recover our stolen mandate at the election petition tribunal.” The university's spokesman, Mr. Sola Imoru, said there was no mass sack. He said the management reorganised, as a result of which 60 employees were disengaged with full entitlements.

CPC warns Mimiko against loan

HE Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) at the weekend warned the Ondo State Government against taking any loan. It urged the Governor Olusegun Mimiko administration to account for the state’s allocation from the Federation Account since it assumed office. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olu Falarungbon, CPC said: “It is unfortunate that a state endowed with natural and human resources is begging for loans that would end up in private pockets. If the government cannot generate internal revenue, courtesy demands the judicious use of

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Federal Allocations. So far, over N600 billion has accrued to the state as revenue in almost four years, without commensurate projects to show for it. “Schools are in shambles, hospitals are dilapidated, roads are bad and there are no jobs, yet, the government is spending millions of dollars on water fountains and mega schools. “The people deserve to know how state funds are being spent. Accountability and transparency are the hallmarks of democracy and good governance all over the world. “The Labour Party (LP) gov-

ernment needs to learn from performing states, especially Ekiti, which has enacted the Freedom of Information (FoI) Law to fight corruption. “It is retrogressive for a state known for excellence in public policy, vibrant legislature and pious judiciary in the past to be enmeshed in generational debt and poverty. Our Legislature has no voice and the Judiciary takes orders from the Executive. Governance has become a party-family affair. “The Ondo State Oil-Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), an intervention agency for the welfare of the oil-producing com-

munities, is swimming in corruption. “The government is not courageous enough to suspend or sack the commission’s chairman, who is standing trial at the Federal High Court, Akure, for the alleged embezzlement of billions of naira. “Those that are supposed to advise the governor seem to have been compromised. We urge religious and traditional leaders, senior citizens, professional bodies and well meaning people to be alive to their civil obligation and rescue the state from financial recklessness.”

Tokyo kicks as NURTW swears in Oyo exco


HE National President of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Nojeem Yasin, at the weekend inaugurated the Oyo State Administrative Council (SAC). The 14-man council will manage the Oyo branch’s affairs in the next four years. They members are Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, a.k.a. Fele (Chairman); Alhaji Kamorudeen Beyioku (Deputy Chairman); Alhaji Abideen Olajide (Vice-Chairman); Mr. Akin James (Secretary); Elder Lekan Aleshinloye (Assistant Secretary); Alhaji Ademola Adeoye (Treasurer); Elder Joseph Odeyemi (Assistant Treasurer); Alhaji Musa Adeleke (Financial Secretary); Alhaji

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Abass Adigun (Auditor) and Alhaji Kasali Lawal (Assistant Auditor). Yasin advised them to be good ambassadors of the union and urged the government to provide more commercial vehicles for NURTW members. He praised Governor Abiola Ajimobi for his “uncommon maturity” in restoring peace to the state, pledging that the union would partner the administration in improving the state. Oyerinde assured the national leadership that the council would rid the state union of thuggery and other vices. He also pledged to cooperate with the present government in the state in its devel-

opmental programmes and appealed to the administration to reciprocate the good gesture of the members through assistance in the provision of mass transit buses as well as general rehabilitation and maintenance of all public roads across the state. The embattled chairman of the union, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (a.k.a. Tokyo), described the inauguration as an “illegality”, insisting that there are court orders restraining the union from doing so. A group, Frontline for Justice, also condemned the inauguration. In a statement by its Coordinator, Hammid Yusuf, the group said the case on Oyo NURTW’s leadership is pend-

•Yasin ing in court, adding that Akinsola was yet to complete his tenure, in spite of the judgment by the National Industrial Court (NIC), which ordered his return to complete his fouryear tenure, which started in 2008. It also cited other judgments at the Federal High Court, Ibadan, in favour of Akinsola’s reinstatement.



NEWS FCT minister to improve ecurity, sanitation for Xmas

Kwara ACN alleges plot to comT promise Offa poll panel T

HE Kwara State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has alleged possible compromise of the judicial panel hearing its appeal challenging the ruling of the tribunal which ordered a rerun in the ACNcontrolled Offa Local Government. The party said its suspicion followed a meeting Senator Bukola Saraki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Leader, reportedly held with five chieftains of the party from Offa. Saraki allegedly told them to prepare for a rerun in the

council. ACN and PDP closed their arguments on the case last week. The court is yet to fix a date for the ruling. In a statement in Ilorin, the state capital, ACN Chairman Kayode Olawepo said Saraki reportedly assured PDP members of the outcome of the judicial process. ACN said the former governor allegedly advised them to prepare for a rerun. The statement reads: “We wish to alert the world of desperate bids to ensure the PDP rules Offa Local Government by all means. It is against this

backdrop that we condemn Senator Saraki’s meeting, on Saturday night in Ilorin, with Offa PDP ward chairmen where he told them with suspicious ‘certainty’ that there is going to be a rerun in Offa council, even when the court is yet to rule on our appeal against the tribunal judgment. “We view such certainty and his reported boast that PDP must control Offa at all costs as clear evidence of concluded plot to undermine the course of justice in the case. We urge their Lordships of the High Court to

resist whatever pressure being mounted on them to pervert justice. We remind everybody that our society does not need anything capable of truncating public peace. “Also, we reject PDP’s attempts to blackmail the Olofa of Offa because of his neutral role in the politics of Offa. The PDP’s desperadoes should respect the traditional role of our Oba as the father of all and refrain from their indecorous abuse of the Olofa because he would not compromise his position.”

HE Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Muhammed, at the weekend began tighter security and environmental operations to flush out criminals, urchins, motorcyclists, hawkers and other illegal operators from Abuja and its environs. The exercise will be extended to the FCT area councils and satellite towns. The minister said the exercise was deliberately shifted to the Yuletide period to strengthen security of life and property in the FCT. Over 200 motorcycles were impounded at the beginning of the exercise. Those who joined Mu-

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

hammed during the operation included the FCT Police Commissioner Adenrele Shinaba, members of his security squad, the Road Traffic Services, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), the Development Control Department as well as men and officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). The operation, which lasted several hours, took the squad to several flashpoints in the city. These include Area One Roundabout, Apo Junction, Mechanics’ Village in Apo and the Lokogoma–Galadimawa Road.

Nyako’s son is Adamawa Emirate’s HE Lamido of AdYouth Leader amawa, Alhaji Barkin-


do Mustapha, has given Abdul’Aziz Nyako, the eldest son of Adamawa State Governor Murala Nyako the traditional title of Sarkin Matasa (Youth Leader) of the emirtae. The monarch spoke in Yola, the state capital, at the weekend at a ceremony in his palace. Barkindo said the title was given to Nyako because of his contribution to youth mobilisation and development of the state. The monarch said Nyako would continue to mobilise youths to realise their potential for the socio-economic development of the emirate.

He added that the youth leader would also serve as security adviser to the emirate. Barkindo also made his son, Alhaji Mohammed Barkindo, the Kauran Adamawa. He urged the new title holders to see their recognition as a challenge to live up to the expectation of the emirate. Nyako thanked the monarch and the traditional council for giving him and the others the opportunity to serve the emirate. Nyako sought the support and prayers of the public to succeed in mobilising youths for the peace, unity and development of the emirate.

‘We won’t reopen Kano drug market’ ANO State Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has said his administration would not rescind its decision on the closure of Sabon Gari drugs market. The governor said the December 31 deadline is irreversible. He said the action was for the collective good of the residents, who have been victims of fake and adulterated drugs. Kwankwaso explained that the closure was in collaboration with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to stop unauthorised persons from selling drugs and medicaments as well as the sale of such items in unauthorised places. The governor spoke yesterday in Kano during an interactive session with patent


•Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima (middle) inaugurating the renovated Kwaya Kusar General Hospital in Kwaya…yesterday.


Kano to sell houses to civil servants on owner-occupier basis

HE Kano State Government will sell houses occupied by civil servants to them on owneroccupier basis, its Head of Service (HOS), Alhaji Umar Shehu Minjibir, has said. The government will generate N10billion from the sales. Minjibir said the gesture is part of government’s commitment to ensure better life for civil servants. The HOS noted that previous agitation by civil servants to own the houses were fruitless. According to him, the Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso ad-

From Kolade Adeyemi Kano

ministration recognises the need to appoint a consultant, which recommended that the property be sold to civil servants on owner-occupier-basis. Minjibir said the value of the houses was based on three options: replacement value, open market value and current economic value. The Head of Service explained that the current economic value option was considered more justifiable by

the government. He said this was the reason the government adopted the measure to realise N10billion from the sales. Minjibir said the N10billion to be realised from the sales would be invested in building more houses which would be sold to interested indigenes. In the course of the purchase, the HOS said, an initial deposit of 10 per cent would be required within a month of the offer, while 20

per cent would be made in 60 days. He added: “This means the purchaser is expected to pay 30 per cent within three months while the balance of 70 per cent shall be paid in seven months, thus bringing full payment of 100 per cent within one year.” Minjibir said the government was discussing with Jaiz Islamic Bank for the disbursement of loans to potential buyers at nine per cent processing fee.

Onoja: I’m still in Action Congress of Nigeria


CTION Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for Benue South in the 2011 senatorial election, has said he is still in the party/ The clarification followed rumours that he had defected to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Gen. Onoja was the major challenger to Senate President David Mark in the 2011 election. He contested on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for the Benue South seat.

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

There were reports that the former Katsina State Military Administrator had defection to the PDP. A report, however, said some PDP members in his Idekpa Ward, Ohimini Local Government, opposed Gen. Onoja’s alleged plan to return. They have reportedly petitioned the National Chairman of the PDP on the matter. But in a telephone inter-

view with The Nation, Gen. Onoja confirmed that the National Chairman of the PDP and the Presidency had urged him to return to the ruling party because he is a founding member. Besides the National Chairman and the Presidency, which made overtures to him, the retired General said his people in Ohimnini Local Government also appealed to him to return to the PDP. Gen. Onoja said PDP members who wrote the party’s national secretariat opposing his

return are political jobbers doing the bidding of their Abuja masters ahead of 2015. He said: “I’m still a member of the ACN. You may have heard rumours that there is pressure on Gen. Onoja. This was discussed with the Presidency and the PDP national secretariat. Someone became jittery and wrote a petition. Those doing so are political jobbers doing the bidding of their Abuja masters who had held the people of Benue South into political and economic slavery.”

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

medicine dealers, top security officials and other stakeholders in the medicine sector at the Government House. He stressed that NAFDAC had set up a committee to tackle the illicit sale of drugs in the state. According to him, the committee has confiscated and destroyed fake and adulterated drugs worth over N600million and sealed warehouses stocked with similar medicines in Kano. Kwankwaso said: “No government can stop the sale of drugs. We are not fighting anybody. But what we are saying is that anyone who wants to sell drugs must abide by the rules. You can open a chemist or a mall to sell drugs. But let it be duly approved by the law in accordance with professional standards.”

Ajaokuta Steel will improve Nigeria’s economy, says Wada


OGI State Governor Idris Wada has said the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company in the state would boost the nation’s economy. The governor expressed confidence that the Ukrainian firm handling the steel company would actualise Federal Government’s vision for the ailing steel company and the Itakpe Iron Ore Mining Company in the state. Wada spoke in Lokoja, the state capital, when he received the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Valeril Vasyliev. He hailed the Federal Government for reviving the company and Ukraine for estab-

From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

lishing it. The governor noted that the reactivation of the steel company would not only boost industrialisation but also create jobs for the youths. He said Kogi State would collaborate with the Ukrainian government to develop agriculture and solid minerals. The ambassador said his visit was to seek economic relation with Kogi State because of the abundant mineral resources in the state. He stressed that Ukraine would assist the state in mechanised agriculture.



NEWS Enugu council leader impeached


•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi (left) handing over the keys of 10 patrol vehicles donated to the the Army to the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Gen. Oluwaseun Oshinowo (middle) at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia...yesterday. On the right is Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe.

Kalu to Jonathan: travellers suffer on Niger Bridge


ORMER Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu has invited President Goodluck Jonathan to have a firsthand experience of the pains travellers suffer crossing the Niger Bridge in Onitsha. Kalu, however, hailed Jonathan for his resolve to construct the Second Niger Bridge. He noted that only a presidential visit and the setting up of a task force would stem the inhumanity that had followed the conception of the project. In a statement by his media aide, Prince Emeka Obasi, the former governor said: “When Jonathan told the world in Onitsha that the first bridge was constructed under an Azikiwe (Dr. Nnamdi

Azikiwe) and that another Azikiwe (himself) would build the second, I believed him. But I just want him to come over after work, between December 24, 2012 and January 15, 2013, to see for himself what his countrymen are going through, despite the money allocated in the past and promises by former leaders. “His visit would make things happen next year, even if it means setting up a task force.” The former governor reminded the Federal Government that it took two years to construct the Eko Bridge in La-

gos, after Carter Bridge suffered serious structural problem in 1957. Kalu said: “Major repairs were carried out on Carter Bridge in 1957, but it was obvious another bridge was needed to ease traffic in Lagos. The government moved fast. On December 1, 1965, work officially began on a new bridge, the Eko Bridge. By December 17, 1967, it was ready. And the contract was awarded to Messrs Julius Berger Aktiengesellschaft. Since 1980, it has been hectic crossing the Niger. I just hope Mr. President will handle this. “House of Representatives

Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha knows about the pains of the failed attempts.” The former governor also expressed optimism that those who would lose their land to the construction would be compensated, as was the case during the Eko Bridge era. He said: “It took Nigeria about 10 million pounds to complete Eko Bridge in 1967.Although Government got a loan of six million pounds from German Bank Kreditanstalt Fur Wiederaufban, more money was spent to build 58 high-rise homes to accommodate those who lost their houses on the Lagos Island, about 12,000 persons. I am sure we are going to see the same treatment across the Niger.”

I’ll complete ongoing projects, says Obi


NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi yesterday assured that his administration would complete ongoing projects and the new ones he began. The governor said his administration has the finances for the projects. Obi spoke during the inspection of palliative work on some portions of the Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway. He dispelled the rumour that he would not complete most of the projects he was building. The governor said as a financial expert, he would have

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

ascertained the availability of funds for a project with the Accountant-General before starting it. Giving the example of the Onitsha Hotel and Convention Centre, Obi said the project, though started about six months ago, has reached an advanced stage. He said: “We did our calculations based on our finances and we know we have the capacity to complete it. The same goes for many other projects which we have started.”

Enugu community battles intra-communal segregation


EMBERS of Akpugo community, an Nkanu clan of Enugu State, at the weekend held a meeting to resolve segregation among the residents. The meeting tagged: Akpugo in the 21st Century and the Way Forward.

From Chris Oji, Enugu

It was the initiative of Akpugo General Assembly, Lagos chapter. The meeting was held at Nike Lake Resort in Enugu. It was in collaboration with Akpugo Christ Ambassadors,

Lagos chapter, and dealt with Obia (settlers) and Amadu (aborigines). The Coordinator of the meeting, Pastor John Nwatu, explained that Obia and Amadu were evil seeds “our ancestors sowed, which grew into a mighty tree that metamor-

Elechi lifts suspension of three commissioners


BONYI State Governor Martin Elechi at the weekend lifted the three-month suspension of three commissioners for alleged improper dressing to a state banquet. The Commissioners are: Chief Hycinth Ikpo, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism; Mr Chukwuma Nwandugo, the Commissioner for Works and Transport and

From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki

Dr Ben Igwenyi, the AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner for Justice. The three commissioners were suspended on November 24 and barred from attending any state function during the suspension period. Several dignitaries, including traditional rulers and leadership of the Peoples Demo-

cratic Party (PDP) had to intervene before the Governor announced the lifting of the suspension. In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Dr Onyekachi Eni, the governor said the lifting of the suspension began at the weekend. “The suspension was lifted in the spirit of Christmas and New Year and the goodwill that traditionally accompany the periods.

Obi inaugurates task force on immunisation


From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi has inaugurated a task force on immunisa- tion would be free. tion. Obi spoke in Awka, the state capital, during It is headed by Deputy Governor Emeka Si- his meeting with major stakeholders on polio eradication and strengthening of routine beudu. The governor urged each community to ap- immunisation. The governor said the measures became impoint immunisation agents to ensure the success perative because he wanted Anambra to mainof the programme. He said every vaccine used in the immunisa- tain its status as a polio-free state.

phosed into segregation and separation among us”. Nwatu regretted that generations were building upon the evil foundation, thereby hindering unity, peace and progress and “promoting hatred, revenge and perpetual cold war”. He said: “Those who understand the times and what they ought to do say it is time to move forward.” Describing Akpugo as miniNigeria, Nwatu said the residents need to pull down what he called the evil foundation and uproot the evil tree. He urged members of the community to forget the past and forgive one another. According to him, the residents need to right the wrongs of “our ancestors and break the cycle of generational curse in Akpugo”. Nwatu told his kinsmen that posterity would hold them responsible if they failed to “use our new age knowledge to find a solution to our age-long problems”. Prominent members of the community, who had assisted the residents, were honoured. They include Chief Samson Nneji, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo and Rev Emmanuel Edeh.

HE Legislative Council of the Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State has impeached their leader, Anthony Odo. Two-thirds of the council members endorsed the resolution which impeached him at a sitting on December 20 at the council headquarters in Umulokpa. In a statement by 13 of the 15 members of the council, the councillors said a new leader, Chijioke Ezugwu, was elected to replace the impeached leader. Obiajulu Udegbunam, representing Ogurugu Ward, reportedly presented the impeachment notice and moved the motion for the removal of Odo.

From Chris Oji, Enugu

This followed the minutes of the previous sitting, which was read and adopted. The motion was seconded by Patrick Ezugwu, representing Abbi Ward. But Odo described the impeachment as a kangaroo arrangement. He alleged that it did not follow due process of the law “and, therefore, cannot stand”. He added: “They (councilors) cooked it up. I cannot accept what is illegal. How can I accept it; how can an impeachment be carried out in a crooked way? There are processes. In fact, those people are supposed to be arrested.”

Ekweremadu’s brother dead


RINCE Chukwuemeka Ekweremadu, the brother of Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu, is dead. A statement in Abuja by Ekweremadu’s Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwun said Chukwuemeka died in an road accident on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway on December 21. He was 52. The senator described the death as a grievous loss for him and the Ekweremadu family. The statement said: “Emeka was a special kind of brother: he was a kind, protective and loving elder brother who was always there for everyone all the time.

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

“He will be highly missed by the family. I pray the good Lord to grant his soul eternal repose.” Ekweremadu has cancelled scheduled personal engagements and postponed the civic reception in honour of Senate President David Mark and himself by Enugu West Senatorial District. The reception was scheduled for December 28. PUBLIC NOTICE INYANG I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Inyang Komommoh, now wish to be known and addressed as Ephraim Komommoh. All former documents remain valid. The Nigeria Police Force and general public should please take note.





NEWS Firm donates shops From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt


FIRM, Nestoil Plc, has donated 14 blocks of shops to women in Abuloma community of Rivers State. Speaking in Abuloma, Port Harcourt, during the opening of the shops, which cost about N16million, the firm’s Executive Director, Kingsley Akuma, expressed joy that the soured relationship between his company and the community has been mended. Akuma said while the strained relationship lasted, Nestoil had looked forward to a day when the two parties would come together in unity and mutual respect for one another. He said: “Today is that day in which both parties have come with one understanding to share love together.” The Nestoil boss hailed the community for consenting to the acquisition of land which made it possible for a durable relationship to be created. Akuma also informed the women that “a tenancy agreement will be executed to guide the relationship.” The Chairman of Abuloma Council of Chiefs/Joint Council, Promise Gein, lauded Nestoil for coming to stay in the community. •Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (left), Senator Bukola Saraki and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi when the governors visited the senator on the death of his father, Dr Olusola Saraki, in Ilorin... yesterday.

Free health service in Rivers


O reduce child and maternal mortality and achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6, the Rivers State Government is treating patients free, immunising expectant mothers and children, de-worming and offering health education. Commissioner for Health Sampson Parker said this yesterday during the medical outreach programme in Akuku-Toru, Khana and Omuma local governments. To ensure wider reach, the government is collaborating with the Presidency and the local governments. The programme, anchored by the State Primary

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

Healthcare Management Board (PHCMB), is aimed at reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria and other diseases. The commissioner said the state was committed to reducing child and maternal mortality, as well as preventable diseases. Parker, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of Rivers PHCMB, Dr. Claribel Abam, said one of the indices to know if a society is developing, is by the health condition of its people.

Monarch sues PHCN From Shola O’Neil, Warri

•Enugu State Governor’s wife Mrs. Clara Chime flanked by wife of the Acting Governor, Mrs. Nneka Onyebuchi (left) and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo (right), cutting a Christmas cake during the 2012 Children’s party at the Governor’s Lodge.

NUC team to visit Rivers varsity A NOTHER investigating panel of the National Universities Commission (NUC) is to visit the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt. This followed the deepening crisis over the re-appointment of Prof. Barineme Fakae, as the ViceChancellor. The setting up of another panel by the NUC followed the rejection of the report of the earlier panel, whose members were accused of taking sides.

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have been on strike since August 13 to protest Fakae’s reappointment. The discredited NUC team was in the university for two days, about a month ago. It was also learnt that the NUC team did not meet with the leadership of ASUU to ensure fairness and justice. The ASUU Chairman, Dr. Felix Igwe, said over 75 per cent of the lecturers were on strike.

He insisted that due process must be followed in the appointment of a vice-chancellor. Igwe said RSUST was facing collapse in academic etiquette. The ASUU chair said instead of addressing the issues that led to the strike, the management was chasing shadows. He said the lecturers taught for five weeks before the strike commenced, but the students were forced to write second semester examinations with old question papers from September 17.

Igwe noted that the NUC recommended that before examinations, the students must have been taught for 12 or 13 weeks. He said there had been no discussion whatsoever with the union on how to correct the anomaly, criminal abuse of due process and established procedure that led to the strike. The ASUU Chairman of RSUST added that Governor Rotimi Amaechi contravened the university’s law in the reappointment of Fakae and that the governor was inappropriately advised.

New Kaduna deputy governor may emerge this week


HERE were indications yesterday that the Kaduna State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nuhu Bajoga, may be picked as the deputy governor. The ‘choice’ is heating up the political landscape and may put the new government in bad light before the people of Southern Kaduna, where the PDP has its strongest base. It was gathered that Governor Mukthar Yero may have settled for the choice of the 63 year-old Bajoga but youths from southern Kaduna and other concerned interest groups are said to have met him and advised him against accepting the position.

•Youth reject possible nominee From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

Even though Yero asked party stakeholders at a meeting on Saturday to assist him in the selection, sources at the meeting told The Nation that the issue never came up. A source said: “We were actually expecting the matter to come up, but it never did. “Later, we heard that the party chairman has been selected and may be announced any moment from now. “But youths from southern Kaduna are kicking against that and I know a lot of people have met him and advised him against accepting the offer. “But it seems that he is bent

on taking the position. That is the true situation at the moment. So, he may be announced any moment from now.” Another source said: “We don’t want him to take that position not because we don’t like him, but because it will deny us the opportunity of having the position of party chairman. “If he leaves the office, his deputy who is from Birnin Gwari will be elevated and we would have lost out again just like we lost out in the governorship, following Governor Patrick Yakowa’s death.” In a statement by its Con-

vener, John Danfulani, the Coalition Concerned Southern Kaduna Professionals said Bajoga’s nomination is a calculated attempt to deny southern Kaduna the chairmanship position of the party. The coalition said: “We are against the selection of Nuhu Audu Bajoga as deputy governor nominee from Southern Kaduna , because it is a calculated plot to deprive the area from holding the PDP chairman that is of political value and significance. “We are reiterating our stand against Vice President Namadi Sambo’s choice of Bajoga, despite his co-called assurance of non-interferences.”


TRADITIONAL ruler in Burutu area of Delta State has slammed a N50 million law suit on the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) over the company's alleged refusal to install a 300KVA transformer he paid N2.2 million "installation fee" fort. In the court document, Charles Ayemi-Botu said the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) donated the transformer for installation in his palace annexe in Edjeba, Warri. The monarch said he thereafter approached PHCN’s Warri Business District to facilitate the installation and connection of the transformer to a priority line owned by the NNPC, which also gave him approval. He said PHCN demanded various sums of money totalling N2.2million, for which he made payments in bank drafts and cash. He said the payments were duly acknowledged by the company. Pere Botu lamented that nearly one year after making the various payments, the company had failed to fulfill its part of the bargain. He said several entreaties, including a 14-day ultimatum, failed to sway the company’s management to install the equipment. Besides demanding N50million for damages, inconveniences and anguish among others, the monarch’s counsel,F.E Seimode, is asking for the refund of the N2.2million earlier collected by the company. The monarch is also praying the Warri High Court for “an order directing the defendant to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract agreement by installing, connecting and commission the said 300KVA.33/0.415KV transformer.” Attempts to get the reaction of the PHCN in Warri were unsuccessful as our reporter was referred to the Benin District of the power company.

Carnival Calabar Queen emerges


ISS Dijeh Sophia Chidinma, a final year student of the Department of Theatre/ Media Studies, University of Calabar, has emerged as the winner of Carnival Calabar Queen (CCQ) pageant. The 20 year old, who hails from Anambra State and contested as Miss Hope Waddell, defeated 29 other contestants to win the keenly contested crown. She took home a brand new Chevrolet Spark Car and N2million naira. The car key was presented to her by Acting Gover-

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

nor Efiok Cobham immediately she was crowned winner. She becomes the sixth CCQ. All the 30 contestants were named after famous tourist sites and monuments in Cross River State, a conscious effort by the organisers to showcase the state’s many tourist attractions. Miss Amarachi Uwakwe who contested as Miss Marina Resort emerged the first runner up while Miss Eyo Honesty, Queen Ekpo clinched the second runner up position.





Dozens killed in Syrian bakery attacks

OZENS of people have been killed or wounded in a government air strike on a bakery in the central Syrian province of Hama, opposition activists say. The incident took place in the town of Halfaya, the activists said. There are fears the casualties may be even higher, making this one of the deadliest air strikes of the civil war. Rebels have been fighting President Bashar al-Assad for 21 months, with activist groups saying more than 44,000 people have been killed. The latest violence comes as the United Nations and Arab League special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, arrived in Damascus to discuss ways to end the unrest. One activist in Halfaya, Samer al-Hamawi, told Reuters news agency: “There is no way to really know yet how many people were killed. When I got there, I

could see piles of bodies all over the ground. “We hadn’t received flour in around three days so everyone was going to the bakery today, and lots of them were women and children. I still don’t know yet if my relatives are among the dead.” There are fears the toll of casualties could be considerably higher, as hundreds were said to be in the queues. Unverified video footage purportedly of the incident’s aftermath showed graphic images of bloody bodies strewn on a road outside a partially destroyed building. Rescuers were trying to remove some of the victims buried beneath piles of bricks and rubble. Several badly damaged motorbikes could be seen scattered near the site of the attack which had drawn a number of armed men to the area.

Rebels of the Free Syrian Army have been making a concerted push recently to take areas of Hama province. Five days ago they declared Halfaya a “liberated area” after taking over army positions there. The BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut says the rebels want to take control of the whole of Hama and link up the territory they control. As has happened many times before, he says, the government has hit back with massive firepower at the areas it has lost. The UK-based opposition activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said there had been other air strikes on Sunday, including one on the town of Safira in northern Aleppo province, which killed 13 people. The Observatory also reported that jets had struck the town of Saqba, just north of Damascus.

NRA calls for armed guards at US schools T

HE National Rifle Association made clear yesterday it will not budge on its opposition to any new gun laws, despite heated criticism of the organization’s response to the Connecticut school massacre. “I know this town wants to argue about gun control,” the group’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in Washington. “I don’t think it will work.” LaPierre stood by remarks he made at an event Friday billed as a news conference — though he took no questions — in which he argued for armed guards in schools. “If it’s crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy,” he said on Sunday.

Bush Snr still in hospital


RESIDENT George H.W. Bush, who has been in a Houston hospital with a lingering cough since November, needs to “build up his energy” before he can be released, doctors said yesterday. Methodist Hospital spokesman George Kovacik said in an emailed statement that doctors are still optimistic the 88-year-old Bush will make a full recovery, but are being “extra cautious” with his care. Bush is in stable condition, he said. Bush was hospitalised November 23 for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough. Hospital officials have said Bush has been receiving physical therapy to increase his strength. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said on Thursday Bush could be released in time for Christmas. However, Kovacik said yesterday a discharge date has not been set, and it remains unclear whether the 41st president will be able to spend the holiday at home. Kovacik said that could be decided today, Christmas Eve.

He added that in Friday’s news conference, “I said what I honestly thought and what millions, and hundreds of millions, of people all over this country believe will actually make a difference.” “We’re going to support an immediate appropriation before Congress to put police officers in every school,” he vowed. Legislation being pushed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, to restore an assault weapons ban is not going to make kids any safer, LaPierre insisted. Pressed on whether high-capacity magazines should be banned, limiting the number

of bullets that can be fired from a single weapon without reloading, LaPierre said no. “There are so many different ways” that a “monster” could carry out a massacre, as Adam Lanza did in Newtown, Connecticut, LaPierre argued. He would not express support for any new gun restrictions, saying most gun laws on the books are currently rarely enforced. “I know there’s a media machine in this country that wants to blame guns every time something happens,” he said, adding, “I know there’s an anti-Second Amendment industry in this town.” The NRA supports efforts to improve mental health care in the country in hopes of avoiding such nightmare scenarios, LaPierre said.

Mandela’s hospital stay extended


FORMER South African leader Nelson Mandela will probably spend Christmas Day in a hospital because his doctors want to be satisfied his health has improved satisfactorily before sending him home, a South African media outlet reported yesterday. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the physicians caring for Mandela had given no indication of an “imminent discharge” from a hospital in Pretoria, the capital, according to IOL, a South African news website. “At this stage there is no update on his condition and his doctors have given no indication” about when Mandela could be discharged, IOL quoted Maharaj as saying Saturday. IOL is owned by Independent Newspapers, a national group that publishes 15 newspapers. Mandela was hospitalised on December 8. He was diagnosed with a lung infection and also had gallstone surgery; officials have said his condition has improved and that he was responding to treatment. President Jacob Zuma acknowledged several days ago that Mandela’s condition had been serious. “They (the doctors) say there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet until they are satisfied that he has made sufficient progress,” Maharaj said, according to IOL. “We urge the public to continue supporting Madiba,” he said, using Mandela’s clan name, an affectionate term. Maharaj appealed for people to “understand that he is 94 years old and needs extraordinary care.” The Sunday Times, a South African newspaper that is not part of the media group that owns IOL, also said Mandela was likely to spend Christmas in hospital care. It did not cite a source. The newspaper quoted Maharaj as saying that rumors of a rapid deterioration in Mandela’s health were “completely false and baseless.”


1968: First astronauts orbit Moon The Apollo 8 spacecraft and its crew of three astronauts become the first manned space mission to orbit the Moon.





Mandela may spend Christmas in hospital

ORMER South African leader Nelson Mandela will probably spend Christmas Day in a hospital because his doctors want to be satisfied his health has improved enough before sending him home, a South African media outlet reported yesterday. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the physicians caring for Mandela had given no indication of an “imminent discharge” from a hospital in Pretoria, the capital, according to IOL, a South African news website. “At this stage there is no update on his condition and his doctors have given no indication” about when Mande-

la could be discharged, IOL quoted Maharaj as saying Saturday. IOL is owned by Independent Newspapers, a national group that publishes 15 newspapers. Mandela was hospitalized on Dec. 8. He was disgnosed with a lung infection and also had gailstone surgery; officials have said his condition has improved and that he was responding to treatment. President Jacob Zuma acknowledged several days ago that Mandela’s condition had been serious. “They (the doctors) say there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet until they are satisfied that he has made

sufficient progress,” Maharaj said, according to IOL. “We urge the public to continue supporting Madiba,” he said, using Mandela’s clan name, an affectionate term. Maharaj appealed for people to “understand that he is 94 years old and needs extraordinary care.” The Sunday Times, a South African newspaper that is not part of the media group that owns IOL, also said Mandela was likely to spend Christmas in hospital care. It did not cite a source. The newspaper quoted Maharaj as saying that rumours of a rapid deterioration

in Mandela’s health were “completely false and baseless.” South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he is praying for a prompt recovery for Mandela. Radio 702, a South African station, on Sunday broadcast an interview with Tutu in which he said he exchanged telephone text messages about Mandela with the anti-apartheid icon’s wife, Graca Machel. Tutu and Mandela are Nobel laureates because of their role in the struggle against white minority rule. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and served one five-year term as president after he was elected in South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.

Egyptian opposition alleges fraud


GYPT’s main opposition has demanded an inquiry into the referendum on the draft constitution, citing fraud. The National Salvation Front urged the election commission to investigate the “irregularities”. Initial unofficial results indicate a “Yes” vote for a document which President Mohammed Morsi says will safeguard democracy. The opposition says the constitution favours Islamists, and the referendum has highlighted bitter divisions. The result is expected to be officially announced today. If the constitution passes, elections must take place within three months. In the meantime,

•Poll: constitution approved legislative powers would remain with Morsi. State media reports of the results following Saturday’s second and final round of the referendum suggest that some 63% of voters had backed the charter. Turnout was estimated at 30%. But the National Salvation Front said yesterday the vote had been marred by “fraud and violations”. These included polling stations opening late and Islamists seeking to influence voters, the opposition said. Spokesman Amr Hamzawy told a news conference in Cairo: “We are asking the commission

to investigate the irregularities before announcing official results.” Another spokesman, Khaled Daoud, told the BBC the Front would not contest the result, which it believed would be a “Yes”, but he said there was “serious fraud”. The Front has complained that there was not enough legal supervision of the referendum many judges had announced a boycott. The opposition said before the referendum that its campaign would continue in the wake of a “Yes” vote. Front member Abdel Ghaffer Shokr told Agence France-Presse

yesterday: “The referendum is not the end of the road. It is only one battle. We will continue the fight for the Egyptian people.” But the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, said it hoped the “Yes” vote would begin to heal divisions and bring stability. Opponents have said the draft constitution fails to protect the freedoms and human rights that they sought in the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule last year. They accuse the president of pushing through a text that favours Islamists and does not sufficiently protect the rights of women or Christians, who make up about 10% of the population.

Many injured as fresh blast hits Kano


NOTHER bomb explosion has hit Agangra beer market in Badawa area of Kano metropolis killing unconfirmed number of people, injuring many. The explosion came barely 24 hours after two coordinated bomb attacks which targeted the offices of two major telecoms providers Airtel and MTN at the Malam Kato Square area of the ancient city, leaving

three people dead, a security officer and the two suicide bombers. Residents say the bomb which was kept inside a carton went off at about 7:45 last night evening. So far, there was no verified report on the number of casualties, but Agangara is a densely populated area of Badawa comprising of residential buildings and a number of drinking bars.

‘North Korea has 10,000km rocket’


ORTH Korea’s recent rocket launch shows it has the ability to fire a rocket more than 10,000km (6,200 miles), South Korean officials say. The estimate, which would potentially put the Western US in range, was based on an analysis of rocket debris. However, there was no confirmation that the North had the re-entry technology needed to deliver a missile. Experts believe North Korea is also years away from gaining the ability to mount a nuclear bomb on a missile. North Korea launched the Unha-3 rocket on December 12, in defiance of sanctions and international warnings. It was the first time the North had made successful use of a three-stage rocket to put a satellite into orbit, and observers said it appeared to mark a step towards fielding an intercontinental range ballistic missile. “As a result of analysing the

material of Unha-3 (North Korea’s rocket), we judged North Korea had secured a range of more than 10,000km in case the warhead is 500-600kg,” a South Korean defence ministry official told journalists. The official said the type of oxidiser container that was found from the first stage of the rocket launch would rarely be used by countries with advanced space technology. “Welding was crude, done manually,” the official said. South Korea would not be able to tell whether the North had the technology to achieve re-entry until debris from the second and third stages of the rocket launch was analysed, the defence ministry said. “As the additional pieces are salvaged, we will be able to look deeper into the function and structure of North Korea’s long-range rocket,” an official was quoted as saying by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.



NEWS Remembering the politics and times of Kolawole Balogun 1922 – 2002 (2) Continued from page 48

re-acceptance of him and re-absorption into the NCNC’s fold. Soon Kola Balogun was riding high again in his political career. By 1957the Gold Coast had assumed the name Ghana, a once thriving historic West African Negroid country bestriding the former Gold Coast and other precolonial polities: Kwame Nkrumah, an unrepentant Marxian socialist and veteran Pan Africanist who had become the President of the new Republic was making waves both in Africa and internationally. Ghana became the ‘Mecca’ of freedom fighters, socialist radicals and all hues of progressives. Ghana was non-aligned in international power politics. Comrade Kwame had proclaimed that he considered the independence of Ghana incomplete until colonialism was totally humiliated and expelled from Africa. It was in this historical context in 1958, that Kola Balogun was appointed Commissioner and later at our independence High Commissioner to Ghana. It was thought by the Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa, that given Kola Balogun’s impeccable radical Pan African credentials, he more than fitted the bill to represent Nigeria in Ghana. At that time except for the NCNC, the three ethno-geographically based establishment parties, in their foreign policy advocated “indissoluble alliance with the west” and displayed rile cynicism on radical Pan African ideals. With Kola Balogun’s background, he was therefore very much at home in progressive Ghana. He did much to project the less objectionable face of Nigerian conservative politics and acted in a way as the conscience of the subdued progressivism back home in Nigeria. In his personal letters to Zik, he was upbeat about breath-taking and unfolding Ghana socio-political scene. Still he had his reservations about what he called Comrade Kwame’s ‘faulty methods’ and the divergence in his theory and practice. This Kola Balogun illustrated with the failure of Kwame to attend Nigeria’s Independence celebration in 1960, whereas the Nigerian Prime Minister in 1957, was in Accra at the birth of Ghana. Although Zik was receptive to Kola Balogun’s favourable accounts of his “Mission to Ghana” he Zik, foresaw the emerging dictatorial tendencies amongst African leaders and advised that civil liberties and due processes should be allowed to thrive in African Countries if the fruits of independent nationhood were to be garnered. Kola Balogun being essentially a political activist, after some years in Accra, became uneasy in his ambassadorial “Coventry”. At home, the NCNC was loosing support in the Western Region. They were mauled by the A.G. under S.L.A.’s leadership in the Regional election of 1960. Their supporters and leaders alleged victimization through excessive taxation, the activities of sanitary inspectors etc. By 1962, Kola Balogun politely threw in the towel. He resigned his appointment to Ghana and jumped into the rough and tumble of Western Nigerian politics. The NCNC seemed to have regretted its choice of leadership of the party in Remi Fani-Kayode before then. Hence almost immediately after Kola Balogun’s return he became the Chairman of the NCNC Western Working Committee and leader of the party. He lost no time in rallying other NCNC leaders in the West in the fight for NCNC’s body and soul. Kola Balogun was his own political self again. Under his leadership, the NCNC in spite of its numerical inferiority in the Western Legislature began giving a good account of itself region wide. Schism within the A.G. in 1962 resulted in an A.G. breakaway group the S.L.A. group led the United Peoples Party allying with the Western NCNC parliamentary party led by Fani-Kayode, a.k.a. Fani-Power a confessed blackist. The two groups allied to form the government of Western Nigeria. Thus confirming the trite political quip that in polities,

there are neither permanent friends nor enemies but permanent interests. Albeit, the alliance soon broke down and recrimination ensued. NCNC formed the United Progressive Grand Alliance, (UPGA) with the A.G. wing loyal to Awo while UPP transformed into Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) that allied with the NPC. Thus the ideological profile of Nigerian Politics was now somewhat defined, nevertheless a delicate potpuree. UPGA, that is the faction of A.G. and NCNC were in opposition in the West whilst at the Federal level, NPC, NCNC and NNDP formed a coalition Government with A.G. in opposition. Still, both sides of the political divide contained radicals, socialists, centrists, conservatives and non-ideological fire breathing patriots! Whilst the excitement and anxieties of the disturbing events in Western Nigeria evolved with an unstoppable momentum stretching to the time of the military take-over of the Nigerian Government in January 1966, a new feather was added to Kola Balogun’s cap. He was appointed successively as Director, Deputy Chairman and finally Chairman of the defunct Nigerian Shipping Line, in July 1962 in succession to Sir Louis Ojukwu. Kola Balogun believed that he owed this appointment to Zana Bukar Dipcharima, the NPC Minister of Transport at the time. Dipcharima was on the NCNC delegation to London in 1947. It is perhaps inferable that the build bridging between the ministers fielded by the NPC and NCNC into the Federal Cabinet in 1955 to 1964 before the Federal election boycott fiasco yielded some dividends of mutual confidence and trust amongst those ministers who served together in the period at one time or the other. With the military’s forcible intervention in government in 1966, Kola Balogun, a consummate politician who had seen days in and out of public office was again a political orphan. He returned to his picturesque and calm native home of Otan Aiyegbaju in Osun wondering what next to expect from the “men in khaki” Will they or will they not put their predecessors in office “the men in Agbada” in permanent coolers! Not long after, by July 1966, Nigeria was on the boil again. There was another military putsch. The euphoria amongst Nigerians of the first coup was over. The pattern of killings in the January coup was put into question. A bout of further killings amongst the military ensued which appeared revengist. The whole future and stability of corporate Nigeria hanged on a thread. The former Eastern Nigeria that is, the present day Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross-River, AkwaIbom, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, and Imo States, led by its Military Governor Lt. Colonel Emeka Ojukwu declared the secession of its territory from Nigeria. This provoked a thirty months civil war, which was heroically and successfully led by General Gowon. As one of the several measures to ‘keep Nigeria one’ the twelve States structure emerged in 1967 and were headed by military Governors with predominantly civilian cabinet, an arrangement that characterized each military administration till 1999. It was in this scenario that Kola Balogun bounced back into public reckoning again. He was appointed into the Western Nigerian Cabinet under the governorship of Colonel Adeyinka Adebayo, as he then was. Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti constituted Western Nigeria at that time. Kola Balogun was first, appointed Commissioner for Economic Planning. He moved on successively to adorn Health and Education portfolios. The cabinets at the federal and state levels at that time, were mixed bags of old and tested politicians, accomplished professionals and first time comers to public life. They were individuals of contrasting political persuasions and backgrounds. In this ambiance, it would appear that irrec-

‘Kola Balogun’s political life was one of dedication to practical goals for the public good rather than their goods. No immediate returns, if any, were expected’ oncilable differences between Kola Balogun and the equally hard lining and charismatic politician, Bola Ige, led to both of them quitting the Western States cabinet at the same time. What an irony of fate! Both distinguished and well-regarded gentlemen were to share the same date 23rd December in receiving their immortal home calls! Even more, both their sons, Stephen Kola- Balogun and Muyiwa Ige were appointed as Commissioners in the Aregbesola led administration of the State of Osun on the same day. However, after Kola Balogun’s stint in the Western State Government, he turned his attention to his other compelling ‘loves’. As federal Minister, he promoted the formation of the Nigerian Council of Arts and Culture and ultimately became its president. He had developed a passion for cultural matters since his days at the Government College, Ibadan. In the years out of office Kola Balogun’s cultural activities particularly in present day Southwestern Nigeria were well known. Here was a young and impatient Kola Balogun who abandoned the prestige, aura and material advantages attached to Government Colleges of the days past, to study and pass successfully from a Lagos dingy the London matriculation and intermediate Bachelor of Laws, examinations. Instead of his scheming and groveling after leaving office, as some lesser mortals would do he proceeded full blast in the pursuit of academic laurels by obtaining a Ph.D. degree in Political Science from the University of Ibadan 1971-1974. Earlier on he had obtained a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree at the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University while serving as a Commissioner between 1968-1970. Not done, he became a part time lecturer at the University of Ife. On the return to Civilian rule in 1979 Kola Balogun despite the huge political respect he enjoyed from his former colleagues and the admiration and debt of gratitude he owed to Zik, he did not join the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) of which Zik was the leader. This was because the party split and Kola Balogun found himself in the faction of the party that later became known as the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP). Kola Balogun was of the view that Zik was father of the nation and could no longer be seen to participate in politics. He became the National Vice Chairman of the GNPP. By the early 1980s he became disillusioned with the GNPP and went on to quietly throw his lot with the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which was coalition of various political interest groups aimed at the unity and stability of the country. Quite appropriately the vibrant patriotic slogan of “One Nation” of

the NPN seemed an abbreviated form of the old NCNC slogan “One Country”, One Constitution, One God”! In the NPN, Kola Balogun did not occupy a high profile office, although a member of the National Executive Committee. The writer was very chastened by his modesty or unpretentiousness when he served on an NPN committee of which the writer was the chairman. Here was a man with such obvious intimidating revolutionary, political and academic credentials gladly and candidly serving on the committee as a member. Even the plea that the meeting be held in his Lagos residence met with a stonewall resistance. I was to remind Kola Balogun just in case he had forgotten that the writer was one of the teenagers who used to mill around him at the NCNC Secretariat in 1952. The Honourable (Chief) Dr. Kolawole Balogun remained adamant. Was it because he had seen it all? At different times he was a Journalist, law student, founder of a revolutionary nationalist movement, lawyer, minister, all at a very young age What therefore was new? Needless to say that one learnt an unforgettable lesson from that particular incident and added phenomenally to the political esteem, I held for Kola Balogun over a period of close to six decades that I knew him and followed his career. Here was a Nationalist fighter of the deepest dye. Where are such men and women in contemporary public life of this country? If there are, what are their ideals, credos, ethos, goals, beliefs etc? What do they stand for? It should be noted that in Kola Balogun’s life-long preoccupation with nationalist pursuits, he never forgot his beloved Osun nay OtanAiyegbaju. This was not in the fashion of the present day divisive ethnonationalist irredentists, but as a patriot and a good citizen who cared for his neighborhood. He was without jingoistic or hegemonic complexes. Thus he was in the forefront of the creation of Osun State and his immediate Local Government Area, Boluwaduro Local Government excised from then domain of the Yoruba ancestrally revered Orangun of Ila. It must be emphasized that the Osun State movement was established and launched in 1975. The first meeting of pioneers was held at his residence Maye Lodge, Osogbo and he was appointed Chairman. He piloted the organization for 16 years and Osun State was eventually created in 1991. Kola Balogun was immensely proud of this achievement and grateful for God’s guidance and support in making it possible. He regarded the creation of Osun State as his greatest political contribution to his people. Over the years, a cluster of chieftaincy, professional and church titles were deservedly bestowed on him particularly in present day Oyo and Osun States. What made this nationalist, statesman and academic to tick? What lessons does the life and times of this prodigy hold for the rest of the country? Kola Balogun’s political life was one of dedication to practical goals for the public good rather than their goods. No immediate returns, if any, were expected. In the pursuit of the goals he was diligent, selfless, hardworking and achievement oriented. He trained for his vocation. He was not catapulted from ‘no where’ to high offices. He served apprenticeship all the way. He was loyal to leadership without being a stooge or a sycophant. Thus, he was outspoken and firm in his views without being dogmatic. After the ghost of the agitation of the “Zik must go” episode of 1958 was laid to rest, the warmth between him and Zik was infectious. The reproachment was a roaring tribute to Zik whose forgiving and democratic spirit was legendary. Kola Balogun never forgot to acknowledge the political personalities who were critically helpful to him in his political career. In spite of his marvelous achievements in all his endeavours,

he remained humble and valiantly committed to Pan Nigerian ideals. At no time did he expediently play the ethno-political card at the merest provocation, as is common with most Nigerian elites. Sadly, the Nigerian terrain today is replete with professional, political, academic, business elites and other turn coats who now worship on various sectional shrines to the detriment of viable and stable corporate Nigerian being. The life and times of Kola Balogun contrast with the neo-military politics of our time whose landscape is clustered by recidivists, fixers, jackboots and all sorts of power and influence peddlers committed to no sterling ideals of integrative nation building. Parties expected to be the powerhouses of participatory democracy are cesspools of intrigues and homicidal rivalries. Never in the history of this country have parties and public figures been atrophied of so much viable, structurally functional and populace oriented ideas aimed at the rapid socio-economic integration of the motherland. We continue to present dross and jaded metals as gold, all in the unhallowed name of our brand of “ceremonial democracy”. It is in these abnormal times that serving public office holders award themselves high national honours. Some of the beneficiaries are even decorated or promoted annually. Civil servants with less than five years stint are not left out as recipients of these surprising awards. These neo military public servants now compete with corporate parasites in advertising their ‘well earned’ laurels in the media. What has become of the selfeffacement or anonymity code of conduct of civil servants? Is there no pecking order in the award of national honours to serving and retired public servants? Yet a towering veteran nationalist, statesman, journalist, diplomat, academic, cultural guru, author and teacher like Kola Balogun was derisively awarded the National Honour of OON in 2001. There was no greater insult to the person of Kola Balogun, and vicariously to others who like Kola Balogun heroically contributed to the struggle for independent Nigerian Nationhood. Perhaps, all this partly indicate a defect in our study of political history in Nigeria. How many of those strutting the corridors of power today know about Herbert Macaulay, Dr. J. C. Vaughan, Earnest Okoli, Mbonu Ojike, Mallam Aminu Kano, R. B. Diko, Zaad Zungur, Osita Agwuna, Mokwugo Okoye, Smart Kirby, F. O. Coker, alias Secret Document Coker, Rajih Abdulah, Gogo Chu Nzeribe Nduka Eze etc. and their significance in our history? These were some of the patriots who rendered selfless and dedicated service to Nigeria. Some of them who are now dead like Aminu Kano have been honoured. Yet some of those alive remain unsung. Let us hope that memorials would be devised in different parts of the country in their honour. Furthermore, since we are a nation of public holiday addicts, a Hero’s day should be set aside in honour of all the gallant fighters for independent and united Nigeria. Uncontestably, given Kola Balogun’s contributions, he would merit being included in the National Pantheon of Heros, if one is established. Outside the contemporary vulgarism of our time such heroes, if painfully and carefully selected on merit, would provide historical role models for the present generation and those ‘yet unborn’. Skilful use of symbols as argued by Nwabueze and Carl Fredrick are potent “psychological instruments of fostering identity and allegiance to the Nation-State”; hence a Heroes Day and dedicated memorials are appropriately called for in the forward looking and virile Nigeria of our solicitude. We shall forever remember you Comrade Kola Balogun Chief Tayo Akpata (The Ogiesoba of Benin)




Eagles List: Dropped players beaming with hope W


Evicted Ikyagh gets royal welcome in Wurukum community


LL the invited players to the Super Eagles camp are still enjoying the conviviality of the camp atmosphere, despite most of them knowing that they will not be part of the final preparatory team in Faro, Portugal, for the Nations Cup. Team Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, described the atmosphere in camp as simply

•Improved pitch excites Keshi amazing with players putting in as much force during training sessions as if camp just opened the day before. “It shows the level of confidence that the players have in the technical crew and in the entire team, especially as Head Coach Stephen Keshi has

assured the players that they have a future with the team after the Nations Cup”. From Kano Pillars defence Trojan Papa Idris, Heartland of Owerri main man in the defence, Chibuzor Okonkwo and injured duo of Zango Umar and Gambo Mohammed, Tony Okputu, Philip Asuquo of Shooting Stars the atmosphere in camp has become one to treasure and the players seem to be enjoying it. Keshi on his part has this to say: “I wish I could take all the players here to the Faro camp of the team but that

is not possible, however I know that most of you here have a future with the team”. Meanwhile, Keshi has heaped praises on Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdulahi, over the improved playing turf of the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium. “When we came it was not too good, but once we complained the Minister took action and we are seeing the effect of his action. We must thank him for hearkening to our cry for a better training facility and like he said it will still get better”, Keshi declared.

‘No rift in Kwara United Board’


HE story making the rounds that the board members of Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin went haywire on sharing formula of allocation is unfounded and a purported act by the enemies of Kwara darling team to derail the management, create confusion and pitch the board against the teeming supporters of the club. A statement by the Media Officer of Kwara United FC, Olayioye Ajide said the release posted on a web was frivolous, unfounded and a deliberate act to cause disaffection among the management and supporters. Olayioye said nothing of such occurred as the board on the said Tuesdaydiscussedissuesastohow to move the club forward even as urgent provision was made to pay the players their December salaries on Friday despite the fact


Anichebe raves about comeback strike


IGERIA forward Victor Anichebe has hailed his goal for Everton on Saturday after a long injury layoff. Anichebe, who equalised for ‘The Toffees’ in the 64th minute to earn a 2-1 away victory over West Ham United, told Everton TV that he was delighted the team came out victorious after they fell

behind. ”It was a great game and good goal after a long layoff. It was a deserved victory away from home,” said the striker, who has been overlooked by Nigeria for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations. ”We started the game well; we know West Ham is a difficult place to come

because they come forward with ball often. We fought hard after we were down to get the victory. ”Some guys are out injured and I hope they return quickly. We have a tight group and anyone who comes in must do well for the team as I did. We want to stay up.”

NPL’s interim board for inauguration on MINU MAIGARI, the developing new standards to Thursday Chairman of the Nigeria improve the welfare of players. Football Federation They will also develop new


(NFF) on Sunday said the interim board of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) would be inaugurated on Dec. 27. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a 13-man interim committee was set-up last week to oversee the management of the NPL pending fresh elections into the board. Maigari, however, told NAN that the committee’s other mandate would be to study thoroughly the present situation of the league and come out with a suitable date for the kickoff. “No matter the circumstances, the kickoff must definitely be after the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). “There were suggestions that the kickoff be fixed for Jan. 16. “Some have said it was too far while some also observed that it was too close but I set up the committee to thoroughly study the situation and come back with good advice,” he added. The committee will also review all contractual obligations of the NPL including sponsorships and TV rights,

strategies to drive the league toward profitability. The committee, which was approved at the NFF congress on Dec. 13 in Port Harcourt to fill the gap left by the expelled board led by Victor Baribote will be headed by Nduka Irabor.

Other members of the committee include, former Super Eagles’ captain, Nwankwo Kanu, NPL Sec-Gen., Tunji Babalola, Mike Enahoro, Shehu Dikko, Mrs Modele Sarafa-Yusuf, Abubakar Nuhu Dan Buran and Kunle Elebute.

2012/2013 NPL SEASON

Rangers, Lobi, others complete NLY ENUGU Rangers, registration Lobi Stars of Makurdi,


Kwara United and 3SC of Ibadan have thus far completed registration formalities ahead of the 2012/ 2013 Nigeria Premier League(NPL) season a top official of the league body has disclosed. The executive secretary of the NPL, Tunji Babalola in brief interview said that both Rangers and Lobi who are representatives of the country in the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup respectively and traditional clubs like 3SC and Kwara United have managed to submit a

From Tunde Liadi,Owerri completed registration form ahead of the next league season. “As at the last count according to the record available to me, only four clubs have completed their registration forms and submitted it to the NPL out of 20 as at the close of work on Friday. “More are expected to turn in their forms on Monday and subsequent days,” Babalola informed. Kano Pillars are the defending champions having pipped Rangers, Lobi and others to the league crown last season.

that the government’s subvention has not been cleared. The Media Officer, Olayioye Ajide added that the Technical Manager , Coach Samson Unuanel did not abscond neither did he threatened to abandon the team. ‘As I am talking now, Coach Unuanel is fully on ground and intact with Kwara United and nothing went wrong with his residence, whoever cares can call him for clarification. And let me quickly add that whosoever is in doubt on any development should contact me, I am always available for any information and clarification on Kwara United’.

U R U K U M community of Makurdi, Benue State, rolled out the drums to welcome home their son, Monday Ikyagh, who was evicted from the Glo Soccer Academy on Tuesday. Led by Chief Abdulahi Asenya, the Agbo of Agmogor and Kindred Head of Wurukum, the community said they were proud that Monday was numbered among the 33 boys that qualified for the academy out of over 7,000 youths who participated in the screening exercise in Nigeria, Ghana and Republic of Benin. Chief Asenya who spoke through an interpreter, noted that though “Monday did not come home with the ultimate prize from the Glo Soccer Academy, we as a community are proud that he got to this stage and that he represented us well while he was at the academy as we did not receive any bad report of him from the organisers”. The Kindred Head who was accompanied to the reception by Chief Godom, said that “Globacom must be praised for giving this opportunity to our son and we have the confidence

that with the experience Monday had at the academy, he will do better in future competitions of similar nature as experience is very important in life”. Also speaking while receiving her son from the representative of Globacom, Monday’s mother, Mrs. Stella Ikyagh, expressed appreciation to the leading telecommunications company for “allowing my son to experience what would have been a long dream for him.” “I thank Globacom for the way it took care of my son while he was away, and I am happy that Monday did his best and had good report. Globacom has shown that it is a network that can be trusted and I will never forget this experience in my life,” she added. In his brief remarks before handing over Monday to the community head, Globacom Business Director for Benue State, Mr. Abduwahid Popoola, said that the company organised the Glo Soccer Academy to discover budding talents across West Africa and help them to achieve their dreams.

• Ikyagh (m) flanked by guests after his eviction




Chelsea puts Aston Villa to the sword


HELSEA will sit third in the Barclays Premier League at Christmas after smashing sorry Aston Villa for eight unanswered goals in a farcically one-sided encounter at Stamford Bridge. Fernando Torres’ power header got the ball rolling for Rafael Benitez’s men inside three minutes before a stunning freekick by David Luiz and a Branislav Ivanovic header had the points in the bag by the break. Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan did his best to limit the damage with a string of fine saves in the second half, but he could not keep out Frank Lampard’s stinging long-range effort and then suffered the ignominy of Ramires slotting a fifth between

• Pumps in eight goals his legs. Oscar made it six from the spot in the 79th minute and there was still time for Eden Hazard to become the seventh different goalscorer when he lashed home, while Ramires made it eight at the death as Paul Lambert’s men were brought back to earth with a bump following last week’s

AFCON 2013: Dispute stalls printing of tickets


ISPUTE over the naming right of the FNB stadium, the venue for the opening and final matches of the 2013

Ogun to splash more cash on Eko 2012 athletes


HE Ogun State government says the N1.2 million given to its athletes that won medals during the 18th National Sport Festival “Eko 2012” were “instant cash reward” handed-out to them while competing in Lagos and not the state’s largesse to its medal winners and the entire contigent which will come-up later at a state banquet. In a statement signed by the Press-Officer of the State Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Rotimi Oduniyi the clarification became necessary as the N30,000 given to gold medalists, N20,000 for silvermedal winners and N10,000 for bronze medalists were erroneously believed to be the state government largesse to the medallists for doing well

impressive win at Liverpool. After Benitez’s reign began in low-key fashion with goalless stalemates against Manchester City and Fulham, the European champions have since averaged more than three goals a game after netting 26 times in seven matches in all competitions. Chelsea’s performance also

marked the first time seven different players had scored for the same team in a single Premier League match. The Blues shrugged off the disappointment of losing the Club World Cup final to Corinthians a week ago with a 5-1 drubbing of Leeds in the Capital One Cup in midweek, and they started with their tails up today and soon took the lead through Torres.

at the festival. Mr Oduniyi who said the “instant cash reward” was announced during the festival and the money handed-out to medal-winners daily in Lagos as a way of thanking them and spur others to action cannot in any way replace an award ceremony for the entire contigent which will be organized by the Ogun State government. Mr Oduniyi therefore urged sports loving Nigerians, to discountenance the erroneous belief created by the mix-up and wait for the state government’s award ceremony for its entire contigent that came 7th with its grassroot athletes at the just-concluded 18th National Sports Festival ‘Eko 2012’.

Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is stalling the printing of the tickets for the two matches. The orgainsers are still unable print the tickets because of the disagreement between the Department of Public Works and the First National Bank (FNB). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that although the stadium is governmentowned and was previously known as Soccer City during the World Cup, FNB purchased the naming right from 2007 to 2014. But one of the requirements of CAF was that the venues for the matches of the continental tournament should be brand-free. During the World Cup, the bank waived its naming rights owing to a similar requirement by FIFA. Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Public Works said FNB wants a further two years added to the rights agreement to waive the rights. “The department owns the stadium and has leased it to

the City of Johannesburg for 99 years, and it in turn has a deal with FNB. “The difficulty is with what should be the compensation in lieu of what rights FNB will lose for two months. “The issue has always been there. People had an understanding that it would not be a problem because of the World Cup experience,’’ Nxesi said. He said the request by FNB to extend their rights to 2016 was a sticking point because of the “financial implications’’. “The one problem with big companies is that when there are issues of the continent, they do not take them seriously. “The national interest might be compromised and we might be regarded as unreliable hosts,” he said. Nxesi said if it was possible to resolve the rights waiver issue ahead of the 2010 World Cup, but not of the AFCON. “It might be deepening the perception that we are serious about European issues and not continental issues,” Nxesi said.

IGP to honour Ajunwa, Bada • As Police Games kicks off Feb. 24 in PH


NSPECTOR GENERAL of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar, has concluded plans to honour officers that have done the nation proud in the field of sports and has picked Atlanta 96 Olympic Games gold medalist Chioma Ajunwa and 4X400 gold medalist late Sunday Bada to start with. Police Force Police Force Public Relation Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police, Frank Mba disclosed this to NationSport at the weekend. “There are plans by the IGP and his management team to begin to immortalise Police officers who have done the country proud in the field of sports. So we will be looking at names such as late Sunday Bada of blessed memory and names such as Chioma Ajunwa. Bada was an Olympic gold medallist in 4x400m relay at the Sydney Olympics while Ajunwa remains the only Nigerian living or dead that has won an individual gold medal in the Olympics. “Already we (the Police) have put up a Hall of Fame and a section of the Hall of Fame will be dedicated to our sports men and women who have done honour and glory to this country”, Mba disclosed. He also emphasised that “It is in line with the concept of respecting, remembering, honouring

From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja and immortalising our great sports men and women that the IGP has graciously approved the sponsorship of the Okun race which traditionally before now was being organised by late Sunday Bada every 29 th of December in his home State, Kogi. The Okun race also has the blessings of Athletics Federation of Nigeria. “Bada has done this to the development of sports not only in his state but in Nigeria. The Police in order not to let this laudable idea of Bada died with him have assumed responsibility of organizing that annual athletics event. This is to continue to encourage Police officers to continue to give their best not just in crime fighting but also in other key endeavours of our national life”. The Police spokesman also revealed that the biennial Police Games would hold next year in Port Harcourt. “The Nigeria Police 10 th Biennial Police Games is scheduled to hold between February 24 and March 2, will be taking place in the Garden City of Port Harcourt. We will also appeal to prospective sponsors and corporate bodies to key into the opportunity that will be provided by this games to actually support and showcase their love not just for the Nigeria Police Force but for the development of sports in Nigeria.



NEWS I’ll do better in 2013, says Jonathan Continued from page 6

of sensationalism and it may please some mischief makers, but the truth of the matter is that wise people may think that that is not really the right way to go. “In spite of the content of his interview, in which he was saying the president has a rift with former president Obasanjo, I keep saying it; there is no rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo. The president has the utmost respect for the former president whom he regards as his father. He even calls him Baba. And I don’t think anybody can say he has any evidence anywhere where the president has been disrespectful to the elderly man. “So, those things that you see in the newspapers about people saying President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo are quarreling are exaggerated. They do not reflect the truth. He (Asari-Dokubo) claims that there is a rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo; so, you can see that the whole of that commentary is based on a wrong premise”. Responding to Asari-Dokubo’s allegation that Jonathan chose to surround himself with greedy people who have refused other Nigerians access to the president, Abati said: “There is also a comment from him (Dokubo) about people who surround the president whom he says are greedy and who have cut him off from his roots and all that. What you just take from all that is this crab mentality theory of hu-

man relationship and I think that there is a lot of this crab theory at play in Nigeria both in terms of interpersonal relationship and in terms of how people respond to public issues. What is that crab theory all about? If you put a number of crabs in a bucket and one of them tries to go to the top, the other crabs will be struggling to pull that one that is trying to go to the top down. They will keep reminding that top crab that you are one of us; this is where you belong and you cannot leave us; we are together. “When you translate that crab theory into the governance arena, you find that it puts people who are in leadership position under enormous pressure because there are too many other persons saying they don’t want progress because they all want to be at the same level. But I want to believe that the interview granted by Asari- Dokubo is merely consistent with the principle of freedom of speech, these days, it is fashionable to make some noise and gain attention, and that it doesn’t quite reflect his innermost feelings about the Jonathan administration and about President Jonathan in particular. “I believe that he, having been a very strong supporter of the administration and who has been on record as having saying a lot of positive things about the administration, having made whatever point he has now made, will also see the need to be consistent, honest and truthful, and to see the big picture and to worry less

SEC board to determine Oteh’s fate

S •Dr. Jonathan

about greedy people who are preventing other Ijaws, as he seems to be making out, from reaching the president because at the end of the day, President Jonathan is not running an Ijaw project. He is running a Nigerian project and I keep saying he is a man who is very conscious of his place in history. “At the end of the day, whether the people say they are being blocked from having access to him or even those of us who work for him and even everybody, whoever it may be, it is important to remember that the only person that will be called to come and give account is President Jonathan. That is the man Nigerians voted for and all of us, whether we are his kinsmen or we are his staff or we are his friends, I think we should focus more on the Nigerian project, the Nigerian assignment that President Jonathan has been given and worry less about insinuations like all these people are blocking me from having access, he has forgotten his brothers, he is arguing with a particular person.

TRONG indications emerged yesterday that the new Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will determine whether Director-General of the commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh will retain her job. Also, the House of Representatives yesterday said there is provision for SEC in the 2013 budget but it only advised the Executive not to release the votes as long as Oteh is in charge of the commission. The House is standing by its position that the presidency should relieve Oteh of her appointment. The DG of SEC was suspended on June 12, 2012 and recalled by the Federal Government via a letter from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim. Her recall has created a wedge between the Executive and the House of Representatives apart from protest by SEC employees. But for last-minute political manoeuvres, the House threatened not to pass the 2013 budget without the removal of Ms. Oteh by President Goodluck Jonathan. It was however learnt that the assurance by the Executive to look into the management of SEC by the DG made the House to soft-pedal on its position on the budget. The President was said to have told the National Assembly leadership that he would follow due process on any issue, including the fate of Oteh Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the presidency has decided to leave the new board of SEC to determine Oteh’s fate. A highly-placed source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The new board, headed by Suleiman

•House: there’s budget for SEC From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

Ndanusa, may hold its inaugural sitting on December 26 and 27. After this, the government will forward the report of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Capital Market to the board. “There is also an independent report from an international audit firm on SEC which the Board will also consider. “The presidency will leave the new board to determine the fate of Oteh in the light of the recommendations of the House in the report. The board can decide to retain or remove her. “The attitude of the presidency is that it would not act on the spur of the moment but it would follow due process. President Goodluck Jonathan is conscious of the Act of SEC and he has decided to stick strictly to the law. “If he exercises a presidential fiat to remove Oteh without following the law, it is the same Nigerians who will condemn him.” The House of Representatives yesterday said contrary to reports, it approved a budget for SEC in the 2013 Appropriation Bill which had been passed into law by the National Assembly. The House said it only advised the Executive not to release the approved votes under the present management of SEC being led by Oteh. The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Alhaji Zakary Mohammed, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “Contrary to insinuations, we actually approved a budget for SEC with an advisory to the Executive not to release the votes as long as Oteh is in charge. “We based our advice purely on the outcome of our findings and

not because of vendetta. First of all, you must take into consideration that we have an oversight role on SEC. We are elected to serve the nation and since we saw that things were wrong in SEC, we drew the attention of the Executive to it. “Go and check the budget, you will see that there is appropriation for SEC. But the House is saying that the commission needs management reform. “The House and Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and other principal officers do not believe in vendetta at all.” The crisis between the House and Oteh followed a public hearing into the activities of the capital market. During the hearing, the Chairman of the House Committee on Capital market and Other Institutions, Mr. Herman Hembe, alleged that Oteh was not qualified to be DG of SEC. He said the committee also discovered that Oteh allegedly spent N850, 000 on hotel accommodation in one day with N85, 000 on a meal. But Oteh took exception to allegations by Hembe that she is not qualified to be the DG of SEC; seconding of two Access Bank employee to SEC; and how she allegedly spent N850, 000 on hotel accommodation in a day with N85, 000 to wit on a meal. She said: “This has been a Kangaroo court. Not even in Idi Amin’s Uganda did we have this type of public hearing. You had implied that as a regulator, that by having people on secondment from the private sector, it could undermine the capacity of the regulatory functions of the commission. “In asking the SEC to contribute N39m for this public hearing, don’t you think that you are undermining your capacity to carry out your duties?”





‘There are lessons to learn from the mood and thinking of the people irrespective of the way the investigations go. If any thing, they have aroused our consciousness to the mortal danger Boko Haram has become in our march to nationhood’ VOL 7 NO 2,350



T this time last year, the spectre of a strike loomed over us. The new year had begun to yawn with woes even before it was born. When it dawned, fuel price soared at the same proportion with the rage in the land. What was not debated with much frenzy at the early stage of the fulminations was the band of racketeers who turned our patrimony into platforms for cheap riches to fuel their showy lifestyles. Owned and rented jets, cars without number, palaces, front row seats in churches, superfine wristwatches, glamour mistresses, cameos with governors and the president, court jesters in high and low places, swarms of congratulation adverts in newspapers, birthday parties in Dubai, weddings in Spain. Society parties are coy without them. These were men who thrived on cheap imports of oil. But in the bowel of our earth, we had crude aplenty. Our NNPC, increasingly playing the role of a glorified carcass, is unable to meet its quota to tap them with the other carcasses called refineries. So it swaps with so-called marketers who import oil to meet that quota. The story of oil in Nigeria is the story of our impotence as a people. It is the story of ineptitude in high places. It is the tale of a state stale of ideas about indigenising an economy. Because all we do is import oil, we make import the queen of entrepreneurship. Now, Nigeria is an economic dumpster. China is our chief dumper. Whether it is oil, or building materials, or pharmaceuticals, or textiles or electronics, we have our supplier in that Asian warrior. I have worried over this in the past few years. The recent worry came when I learned that Dangote shut down his Gboko plant over cement importation. The first thing that came to mind was the textile industry. The once thriving giant, especially in the North with Kaduna as the beachfront, is now captive to foreign invasion. In Dangote’s case, it is reported that it affects about 2,500 workers. And this spells a bleak holiday for the workers and their families. There has been a back-and-forth of attacks and recriminations about this between Dangote and the Ibeto Company that imports cement. The debate is healthy for the economy if anything will come out of it. No argument can beat the concept of developing a local economy, not even when the importing company is also a monopolistic importer. What is strange is that this was a country that debated in the years of IBB the IMF loan. By overwhelming majority, we voted with




IN TOUCH 08054501081(sms only) •NMMA Columnist of the Year

A slave economy


our voices against it because we wanted to protect the local economy from the ravages of the foreign behemoths. The then President Babangida yielded openly but craftily implemented the ideas of the Breton Woods Institution, allowing us to become receptacles of a wide variety of goods. Bad as it was, today’s scale of imports is monumental. Look at building materials, for instance. We have the case of Dangote’s

Gboko lament. But we also have all sorts of building materials from tiles to paints to pipes to chandeliers. Most of them come into the country without checks for standards. That is why when a person builds a house, the owner is assured to put money aside to replace much of the materials. They do not last. In the imported cement, for instance, do we check the product for standards? I understand that some of the cement making it into our market lack gypsum, an important ingredient. We are witnesses to the Chinese product called Gold milk, a teething powder that predated My Pikin and killed about 20 children. We are also witnesses to a step by NAFDAC sometime ago to crack down on fake Colgate toothpaste that contained the deleterious antifreezing agent diethlyne-glycol that subjected its victims to bouts of abdominal pains, vomiting and liver damage. If taken in large doses, it could cause death. Those undetected are many in the market. That is why it is important we emphasise local industries. No economy grows on an appetite for foreign products. We call ourselves an oil producing country. If we take the inventory, we will find out that we import so much oil that it makes nonsense of our crude oil exports. Now, the infrastructure is in a mess. Secu-



ARDBALL is certainly not done with Mali. Today is the fourth time he will be commenting on the subject of the divided country, a division foolishly aggravated by that country’s military under the coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo. The long-awaited approval by the United Nations (UN) Security Council authorising military action against separatist Tuareg rebels in northern Mali has finally been given. It follows the resolve of both the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to forcibly reunite Mali and prevent Al-Qaeda from developing deep roots in the region. Nigeria was at the forefront of the effort to put together a regional intervention force to retake the northern part of Mali already declared independent by Tuareg rebels under the aegis of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). The UN-approved intervention force, African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), has a oneyear mandate.But in giving the approval last week, the Security Council was more cautious than the AU and ECOWAS have been in the past nine months. Even though the caution appear obfuscated, it is still remarkable. Said the world body: “(The Security Council) urges the transitional authorities of Mali, consistent with the Framework agreement of 6 April 2012 signed under the auspices of ECOWAS, to finalize a transitional roadmap through broad-based and inclusive political dialogue, to fully restore constitutional order and national unity, including through the holding of peaceful, credible and inclusive presidential and legislative elections, in accordance with the agreement mentioned


rity is also in shambles. Every condition to help the local producer, including the farmer, is in a bad state. Loans are not readily available to the creative investor. It is harmattan haze without much spring, apology to Wole Soyinka. The American economy complains of the Chinese rise, but virtually all of its imports are checked for standards before accepting them into the United States. We do little in that regard. We even flood the roads with cars and okadas that inflict diseases and environmental damages with their liberal fumes of carbon monoxide. Our inability to protect local industry calls back the feisty years of American battle for independence when Britain imposed a variety of taxes, including the stamp tax. The Americans called for boycott of British imports. But the wife of one of the frontline nationalists, Benjamin Franklin could not live down choice jewelry from overseas. A disappointed Franklin quipped: “Alas, it is by the luxury and vanity of women that empires decay.” We had such nationalistic fervour once. We saw importation as economic servitude and worked consciously as a nation against it. We had PAN that supplied governments with locally made cars. Odutola factory was a household name. Kanti Kwori in Kano was a behemoth now shrunken. Even vehicle spare parts were generally genuine. When you want to buy new phone chargers, you have to distinguish between Chinese and genuine one. If we do not want standards, we cannot improve. The standards are not imposed. We brew them here on policy tables and on factory floors. The policy tables are sterile, so the factory floors are shrinking and dying. Dangote’s Gboko plant is the latest of such tales of woe. No modern economy thrives without imports. But regulation is key to ensure that imports do not strangulate local production. When we do that, we create the racketeers like we have had in the oil sector. Import dependence spawns racketeers like we are dealing with in the so-called subsidy imbroglio. We can love others, but let us love ourselves first. That principle will elevate our economic policy.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

UN, AU, ECOWAS and Mali above which calls for elections by April 2013 or as soon as technically possible, requests the Secretary-General, in close coordination with ECOWAS and the African Union, to continue to assist the transitional authorities of Mali in the preparation of such a roadmap, including the conduct of an electoral process based on consensually established ground rules and further urges the transitional authorities of Mali to ensure its timely implementation.” In other words, the UN recognises the nexus between political development in Mali and the success of AFISMA. The AU and ECOWAS have, however, over the months appeared eager to gloss over the pernicious influence the coup leaders still wield over the transitional government in Mali. Only recently, the coup leaders forced the resignation of the prime minister, the eminent astrophysicist, Cheick Modibo Diarra, and installed Django Sissoko as replacement. The UN deplored this meddlesomeness, but ECOWAS has made only feeble statements on the peremptory dismissal. This prompted Hardball on December 13 to warn that diarchy was creeping in on Mali. He wrote: “It seems all but clear that Mali is quietly but agonisingly slipping into diarchy. This is a traumatic transformation for a country that in 1992 transited into full and stable democracy with the election of Alpha Oumar Konare. His re-election in 1997 and the peaceful transition to another elected president, Amadou Toumani Toure, in 2002 convinced the world that Mali had become a democratic

trailblazer for the region. Unfortunately in March this year, a few months before Toure passed the baton to a successor, the army under Captain Amadou Sanogo staged a coup d’etat. Even though international pressure and ECOWAS muscle-flexing compelled Sanogo to transfer interim presidential power to the Speaker of the Mali National Assembly, Dioncounda Traore, and head of government business to Cheick Modibo Diarra, a former Foreign minister, effective power has remained with the coup leader who continues to enjoy the perks of leadership without the corresponding responsibility.” It must be reiterated once again, even though the UN was surprisingly not firm enough on the matter, that the Malian conundrum could never be solved as long as the coup leaders retain effective control. Democratic Nigeria must make Captain Sanogo and his cohorts relinquish power as a precondition for our participation in AFISMA. It is naïve and short-sighted to expect that Sanogo and his men would not complicate the campaign for unity if allowed so much elbow room as they currently enjoy. It is even difficult to see northern rebels entering into negotiation with the transitional government, as the UN has directed, when the coup leaders still wield enormous influence in Bamako. More crucially, it is hard to see AFISMA succeeding in the face of an indulgent UN, an absentminded AU, and an unreflective ECOWAS.

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The Nation December 24, 2012  

The Nation December 24, 2012

The Nation December 24, 2012  

The Nation December 24, 2012