Page 1


Something’s wrong r. somewhere –Emeka Jn told me’ –Page 4


‘Published document contradicts what my father

Tolling begins December 16 on Lekki Expressway Phase II –Page 6

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.07, No. 2327



DECEMBER 2, 2012



Presidency in fresh plot against Obasanjo Moves to reopen $180m Halliburton scandal inquiry –PAGE 2 Groups to petition ICC over Odi, Zaki-Biam military actions Presidency not witch-hunting anyone –Okupe

SOMETHING TO DANCE ABOUT: Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (middle); his Deputy, Chief (Mrs) Titi Laoye-Tomori and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salam, lose their inhibitions during a live programme, tagged-Ogbeni Till Day Break marking the 2nd Anniversary of Ogbeni in Office, held at the Center for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, State of Osun yesterday.


R-L: Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker House of Representatives; Mr. Tony Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation; Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, Governor of Sokoto State; Dr. Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers State Governor; and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives during the award of honourary doctorate degrees and investiture of Elumelu Legacy Prize by The Tony Elumelu Foundation , to the outstanding post-graduate students of Othman Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto yesterday.

Terror: SSS probes Kogi Varsity over convict’s degree –PAGE 4


NEWS Arik Air adds Kinshasa, DRC to route network By Kelvin Osa Okunbor


RIK Air is expanding its regional African network with the addition of new flight services from Lagos, Nigeria to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The first commercial flight on the route takes off on Wednesday December 5, 2012 and will subsequently operate twice weekly on Wednesday and Sunday. The announcement means Kinshasa has now become Arik Air’s third destination in Central Africa, following the inclusion of flights to Luanda, Angola in 2011 and Douala, Cameroon in August this year. The new Lagos-Kinshasa service will operate via Douala, Cameroon with outbound flights departing from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to arrive at Douala International Airport . Flights will then continue onto Kinshasa, departing from and arriving at N'djili International Airport, Kinshasa . The return flights will leave Kinshasa and arrive in Douala, and will thereafter leave Douala for Lagos. Kinshasa route will be served with a Boeing 737700Next Generation aircraft. The 737-700 is a two class compartment and the configuration is 12 Business Class seats and 112 Economy Class. Business Class passengers will enjoy a 44” seat pitch with cradle style seats, while Economy Class passengers will have plenty of room on the flight with a generous seat pitch of 34”. Arik Air’s Managing Di-


OYALISTS of former President Olusegun Obasanjo have raised alarm over alleged plans by the Presidency to discreetly ‘deal’ with him for allegedly launching a ‘cold war’ to discredit the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. According to sources, the Presidency is under pressure to revisit investigations into the $180m Halliburton scandal. They claim that some groups are being covertly sponsored to file petitions at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the former president over the killing of innocent people in Odi and ZakiBiam communities in Bayelsa and Benue States respectively. The former president had during his tenure ordered troops to invade Odi over the killing of military men by militants. A similar infraction that provoked the same measure happened in Zaki-Biam. The alleged counter-attack by the Presidency is coming against the backdrop of recent public criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan’s handling of the Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges by Obasanjo. Barely a week after the


2015 face-off: President in fresh plot against Obasanjo From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

airing of the critical comments, Jonathan hit back during his presidential media chat saying that rather than stamp out militancy, the Odi invasion only killed innocent old people and children. The spat between the president and his erstwhile godfather is seen in political circles as the latest evidence of increasingly tense 2015 power struggle within the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Obasanjo is said not to be favourably disposed towards backing a Jonathan second term. He is suspected to be one of the boosters of a potential presidential bid by the Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido with the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, as the undercard. Investigations by our correspondent confirmed that the camp of the former President had been gripped with

fear in the last one week over the alleged plot by certain forces in the presidency to launch a campaign of calumny against him. It was learnt that the exPresident after receiving intelligence alert last weekend tried to stop some negative advertisements against him in some newspapers, but he only succeeded in convincing a South-West-based newspaper to grant him concession. Apart from media attacks, loyalists of the exPresident are disturbed about moves to revisit investigations into the Halliburton scam, as well as plans by some influential groups to go to the ICC. A highly reliable source in Obasanjo’s camp, who spoke in confidence yesterday, said: “They are planning to deal with Baba because they think he will not support the 2015 project. Already, they have started this plot with media attacks, including placement of in-

dicting advertisements against Obasanjo. “We have got intelligence report that some people are trying to prevail on the Presidency to revisit the $180m Halliburton scandal since Mr. Adeyanju Bodunde, a former Personal Assistant to Obasanjo, was implicated in the alleged scam. “They are plotting to frame up the ex-President in the Halliburton scandal. It is sad that they are desperate; they want to hang something on Obasanjo’s neck in order to intimidate him to shelve any involvement in 2015 project. Yet, we are in a democracy. Obasanjo should be entitled to his opinion no matter how bitter it is.” Bodunde was arraigned in 2010 alongside George Mark, Jeffrey Tesler (now at large), Hans George Christ, Heinrich J. Stockhausen, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, and Bilfinger Berger GMBH. George Mark, Jeffrey

•L-R: Minister, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Director, Marketing Segments and Strategy, Etisalat Nigeria, Oluwole Rawa, Director, Enterprise for Development Centre, Pan-African University, Peter Bankole and Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans, at the Etisalat-sponsored Market Access Nigeria, Lagos which took placea at the weekend

My people want me as senator in 2015, says Akpabio


O V E R N O R Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State yesterday said his people from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District have asked him to represent them at the Senate in 2015. The governor, while speaking during an interview with The Nation on Sunday at the newly constructed Government Office in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said his people asked him not to retire politically but go ahead to represent them

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

in Abuja. The Nation on Sunday had a few months back exclusively reported that the governor was eyeing the Senate. When asked what he would be doing after the expiration of his tenure in 2015, Akpabio said: “By the grace of God, I will see myself as a Senator in 2015. My people have approached me and told me not to retire po-


litically. They said I should go and become a Senator and I have accepted their request.” While commenting on the state of development in the state, the governor said his government has changed the face of infrastructural development in the state, stressing that he would want anybody that would take over from him to do more for the people. The governor traced the source of the country’s prob-

lem not to lack of natural resources but how to utilise the resources for the betterment of the citizenry. According to the governor, without true federalism, there won’t be real progress. He said there was a need to decentralise the policing system in the country. He said: “Without true federalism, there will never be real progress in Nigeria. We must begin to look at how to decentralise the policing system because the current one is not working.

“We shouldn’t be afraid that a governor will use state police wrongly. Also we should also remove some things on the exclusive and allow state to legislate.” Akpabio, who will turn 50 on December 9, said the journey so far has been a mixture of sadness and joy. He said: “I owe a lot to my wife. I didn’t see myself as a successful man at 50 because I am still working. My children have also given me support. I thank them for their sacrifice.”

Tesler, Hans George Christ, Heinrich J. Stockhausen; Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Bilfinger Berger GMBH were alleged to have sometime between 2002 and 2003 conspired to make several cash payments of $1million (five times) totalling in equivalent the sum of $5million to Bodunde. They were alleged to have committed the offence contrary to Section 16 of the Money Laundering Act 1995(as saved by Section 23(2) of the Money Laundering Act 2004) and punishable under Section 15(2) and (3) of the Money Laundering Act 1995(as saved by Section 23(2) of the Money Laundering Act, 2004). Julius Berger had engaged in plea bargain. The source also admitted that if there is any worry at all in Obasanjo’s camp, it is the ICC dimension to the plot against the former President. “They want to use some groups to write petitions to ICC on Odi military campaign in 1999 and the ZakiBiam issue. Their plan is to put an obstacle before Obasanjo to distract him from serving as a rallying point for politicians of like minds seeking a fundamental change in 2015,” he said. “At least a group from Bayelsa State has indicated interest in filing petition before the ICC. So, you can see what we are saying and why we have every cause to be concerned. Even at that, Obasanjo has not told any of his associates the direction he wants to go in 2015. I do not know what is behind this witch-hunt.” When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said: “What I can say is that this government is not witchhunting anybody, it does not do so. “Let me put it on record that it is not the style of President Goodluck Jonathan to witch-hunt or intimidate anybody. The President is an extremely liberal person, he does not believe in vengeance or oppressing anyone.” Okupe also denied any crisis of confidence between the President and Obasanjo. He added: “The media may present the situation as if there is a problem between the President and ex-President Obasanjo, but there is no truth in such insinuation. From inside, I do not see any issue or disagreement between the President and our former leader. “Ex-President Obasanjo is an elder statesman and somebody that enjoys the love and respect of the Presidency.”



The Doyen’s December E

XACTLY five years ago this weekend this column paid a dutiful and devoted tribute to one of the all time greats of Nigerian journalism. It was on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. Five years down life’s rolling and roiling avenue, snooper is happy to report that the great one is still very much around. Witty, urbane and ever debonair in carriage, Alhaji Alade Idowu Odunewu exudes the supreme forbearance and Olympian calm of a timeless sage. But if five years ago was the dean’s November, now it is the December of the doyen. It is the autumn of the


golden patriarch. Even in normal societies, it is impossible for ripe old age not to be accompanied by its peculiar adversities. But when you live in a post-colonial hellhole, it is a different proposition altogether. The Yoruba have a saying that there is a choice between long life and its inevitable adversities or the abridged existence. In the past five years, Allah De has ridden the ugly bumps of life’s adversities with calm fortitude. A very private man, these personal adversities should not be for public consumption, lest it is mistaken for something else. Nevertheless, Snooper must con-

dole with the grand old man on the passing of his beloved wife and the gruesome death of his doting and devoted son-in-law at a Lekki police checkpoint a few years back. We must not wait for our few heroes to depart before heaping fulsome praises on them; or before scrambling for the condolence register to pen effusive panegyrics. That is the way of cynical and diseased societies. This morning, we republish the tribute to the old man on the occasion of his scaling the octogenarian bar. Once again, let us all rise in honour of a great man and the fathers that sired him. Many happy returns to the dean.



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu

The Dean’s November

T has been a glorious week for journalism in Nigeria and for a scandal-fatigued nation by extension. There can be nothing more morally satisfying than watching good people finish first. In the ethical free trade zone that is Nigeria, this is immensely gratifying and a cause to be grateful to almighty. Allah de indeed. Watching the great man soak up all the accolades and encomiums , all the ringing ovations and rousing oratory at the Yoruba Tennis club last Monday, was like watching a king in autumnal splendour. It is the dean’s November. And all the men of timber and calibre came to pay their respects to the doyen. It was like an occult gathering of bi-centennial egunguns. The entire hall reeked of camphor cubes, organdi lace and other ancestral textiles. There were one or two double partings reminiscent of Edwardian dandies. Victorian Lagos came alive again. It was a Veterans’ Day, and as the reviewer of the collection, Dan Agbese, noted, it was perhaps the greatest collection of aging journalists that the nation has witnessed. Perhaps not since they founded Yaba Old People’s Home, Snooper must caution. It was 17 years since snooper himself had a memorable breakfast of steaming Oturkpo yam porridge with Dan in company of the impossible Colonel Dickson Ovie-Itete. In the intervening years, the great Newswatch trailblazer himself has taken on a sage otherworldly hue. The man of the moment took it all in his stride. Not for once did the calm, impassive and Roman noble exterior betray any emotion. Like an all-seeing, all-knowing traditional deity, Allah De wore his usual mask of Olympian reticence. Only my master knew what my master was thinking about. Alhaji Alade Idowu Odunewu took in all the hype and hoopla with a regal forbearance that suggested good breeding and cultivated restraint. There is a stoic equanimity about the man that communicated deep wisdom and even deeper faith. When shall we see his like again? When Winston Churchill was told that Clement Atlee, his great rival and ultimate electoral conqueror, was a modest man, Churchill noted with caustic severity that Atlee had everything to be modest about. In our own Alade Odunewu we have a man who has everything not to be modest about but who has chosen the path of modesty and rectitude. There is something ultimately forbidding about Allah De’s simplicity and lack of airs. There is something about his casual, self-effacing mien that is a subtle indictment of the pompous self-importance of many of our contemporary rulers. Allah De is a different proposition altogether. There are great writers who are squalid human beings. There are great people who are squalid writers. There are people who are squalid human beings and squalid writers to

the bargain. To be a great writer and a great person is a rare combination indeed. Alade Odunewu, by right and reputation, belongs to this special breed. Nigeria has produced greater writers and perhaps greater people in the realm of politics and entrepreneurial daring. But Allah De is in a class of his own as a great person and a great columnist. In their epic duel which was to earn Allah De the sobriquet of the dean of satirical journalism in Nigeria, Zik of Africa cautioned Odunewu about deploying major artillery to fight minor skirmishes. How about some preliminary skirmishes before the main tournament, Zik famously asked of his antagonist, trying to lure the wily journalist into a fatal clinch. Allah De did not decline. The result is a classic slugfest that has since become a benchmark for civilised discourse in post-colonial Nigeria. Zik, the apostle of Fabian socialism, the ardent disciple of Fabius Cunctator, the great Roman strategist of attrition, was drawing Allah De’s attention to one of the fabled tenets of delayed engagement and graduated violence as learnt from the master himself. Preliminary skirmishes must not be fought with major artillery. But the great Zik could have saved his breath. Allah De was never one to rush into political hostilities. In the end, it boils down to a question of style for great man and great columnist. The great riddle of Allah De’s life as a man and a prose stylist has to do with the complexity of simplicity. More often than not, it is not simple to be simple. Although Allah De’s style evinces a powerful simplicity, it is a simplicity that has been worked over several times by a profound and complex mind. It is not the simplicity of the Fleet Street journeyman, or the simplicity of the zealot of the American night school of journalism and ersatz fast food communication. It is a simplicity under-girded by a potent imagination. This is the point Dan Agbese seems to miss in his otherwise refreshing review. While praising Allah De for the simplicity and elegance of his writing, Agbese also betrays the mindset of the fundamentalist of the old school of journalism with its war cry of clarity and lucidity. By so doing, Agbese manages to skirt round the issue thus resurrecting an old stylistic ghost which dogged Newswatch at its inception and which provoked a memorable defence of stylistic complexity by one of its star columnists. It is true that the classical canons of modern mass communication are anchored on lucidity and simplicity of style. But such lucidity and simplicity of expression are often in collusion and complicity with ruling class agenda. They are tools of mass deception. The simplistic mind often hides under the mantra of simplicity to obscure and obfuscate complex issues.

In the tortured and tormented labyrinth of the post-colonial state, with its state assisted crimes and ruling class delinquency, this kind of simplicity is going to be a tall order indeed. In a post-modernist world where writing about adventure is also the adventure of writing itself, this is like a relapse into stone- age verbal exchanges among hunter-gatherers of primitive information. At any rate, less is just less. Anybody who has something memorable to say must find a memorable way to say it, if they are to register with posterity. Poor Dan Agbese, journalism is too serious a business to be left to professional journalists. It is not by coincidence that the most remarkable journalists that Nigeria has produced are people who bring the fertile resources of other professions to bear on the trade. We are talking about the great Zik with his polyvalent potency, Awo with his classical erudition, Anthony Enahoro with his powerful intellect, Aiyekoto with his urbane and cosmopolitan swashbuckling, Allah De with his world-weary wisdom and superlative imagination, Sad Sam with his cynical perspicacity, Gbolabo Ogunsanwo with his polysyllabic virtuosity, Dele Giwa with his elaborate literary conceits, Stanley Macebuh with his mandarin ruminations and our own Olatunji Dare with the clinical clarity of an absconding scientist. While most of these men often return to their primary trade, while some of them would take a French leave from journalism, Allah De remains the quintessential journalist. Again, it is a question of style and taste. Allah De does not mix journalism with partisan politics. But this is not say that he was ever indifferent to the political fortunes of his beloved country. When affronted, Allah De roiled with quiet tempest. But he was wise and worldly enough to leave political rascality to the professional rascals. In such moments of sublime impotence, the great man would probably sigh: Allah De. The result is a body of writing that is at once penetratingly critical but also ruler-friendly. This is the man the entire nation celebrated last week. Since everybody seems to have an Allah De story, Snooper might as well end with his own. Once upon a long time ago, Allah De missed his way in the jungle of primeval beauty that was one of the nation’s finest universities. Snooper snooping around as usual in the dense jungle recognised the great man and helped him on his way. The doyen was full of urbane gratitude. It turned out that in characteristic humility and fatherly affection the great man had come all the way from Lagos to thank one of his daughter’s teachers for his diligence and devotion. Last week the nation returned the full compliment to one of its most illustrious and noble sons. It was a moveable feast. Here is wishing the great dean many happy returns of the day, sir.


Mama Igosun haunts Okon


OT even good old Okon could believe his eyes. The world is full of strange turns and twists. There are times when day dreaming turns into nightmares and when actual reality becomes a dream-like reverie. Is dreaming a slice of life or is life itself part of a huge collective dream? Whatever it is, when a child gets to the place of fear, fear must overpower it. Okon rubbed his eyes to make sure it was not a nasty dream. But there was Mama Igosun, now hunched and hobbled by age, leaning on a carved walking stick and blocking Okon’s exit from the kitchen. She was carrying her trademark apothecary’s pouch containing dangerous charms and fireworks. Her capacity for domestic confrontation remained undiminished by advancing years. Okon took a look and froze with fright. “God of Israeli, which one be dis one again? I think dem say say dis witch don die”, Okon mumbled to himself. “Iyanla iya baba ee”, the old woman began cursing in vernacular and then switched to her unique pidgin English, “na your grandma be witch.” “Mama , I hear say Ogunpa River don carry you go, abi na dem Tokyo boy?” Okon taunted. “Na your papa him grandma Ogunpa dey carry go like dat. No think say I no sabi say na you come set fire for house for Igosun. I dey take my time because pounded yam still they hot after twenty years. Now I come da sheria for you. Wey your oga sef?” the feisty old woman demanded. “Ha mama, dat one dey hide somewhere becos I don declare labour unrest for house”, Okon noted with a satanic smile. “Wetin be labour unrest? Your mama pregnant?” the old woman demanded.

“Mama ..” Okon began and was cut off by the no-nonsense matriarch. “Shut up!!! If to say your mama pregnant, I fit deliver am. I train for midwife for Eku Baptist when my husband be PWD for Sapele, But we no dey allow oloriburuku boy like you to come out. Na for inside womb we dey finis dem, make dem no come cause trouble for ilu”, the old woman fumed. “Mama, you be illustrate woman. Labour unrest mean say I wan more money”, Okon jeered. “Who go pay yeye cook like you more money? I don tell Akanbi to fire you. I go bring am four Agatu for Mokola make dem come dey cook for am. Agatu pople no dey eat snail, but you Cameroon Kukuruku you dey steal sotey your belly go burst one day. Omo ale!” the old woman screamed. “Mama dis one you dey do na child abuse,” Okon protested. “I never abuse you. When I comot my knife you go see,” the old woman screamed. By now, Okon was considering the possibility of ejecting through the open window. “Okolobo, abi wetin you dey call dat your funny name? Set the kitchen, I wan cook olu and tata for Akanbi” the old woman raved and moved forward in a threatening manner. “Kai, mama, I know say Tata be one useless boy and Dan iska who dey write nonsense for dem internet but Olu be my girlfriend, make you no whack person just like dat.” Okon pleaded. “Wereeeeee!!! Olu na mushroom and tata na cricket,” the old woman fumed and lurched forward to hit Okon with her walking stick. Okon dived but hit his head against the sharp edge of the wall. It was at this point he woke up. It was a nasty dream.




•L-R: Communications Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company, Mrs. Yomi Onakoya; prize winner, Mr. Gerald Nwokwocha; Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Mr. Peter Muriuki; Managing Director, Synthesis, Mr. Agbo Agbo and The Editor, The Nation Newspaper, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, during the 2012 Awards presentation to CampusLIfe Writers jointly sponsored by Coca-Cola Nigeria and Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) in Lagos at the weekend.

• Gov Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State (right) and Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Shehu Hadi during the governor's inspection tour of Kaltungo road project at the weekend.

Terror: SSS probes Kogi Varsity over convict’s degree B ARELY two weeks after he was convicted of terrorism charges, a former Special Assistant to Kogi State Governor on Youth Empowerment, Ogwu Achemu, is under probe by the State Security Service (SSS), for allegedly intimidating Kogi State University management to award him a second class upper degree. He was jailed a fortnight ago for four years by Justice Donatus Okorowa of the Federal High Court, Abuja. With the judgment, Achemu became the first political office holder to be jailed for terrorism. He had served under ex-Governor Ibrahim Idris and was briefly retained by Governor Idris Wada before he was dropped. Although the convict has filed an application at the Court of Appeal against the judgment of the High Court, the SSS is investigating him on how he reportedly forced Kogi State University management to earn a second class upper degree. According to findings, Achemu, who had a terror base in Anyigba where the university is located, had secured admission into the university. He was said to seldom attend classes and threatened lecturers to pass him either during tests or examinations. Investigation confirmed that having held the university town hostage and with a retinue of armed thugs, it was difficult for the management to take disciplinary measure against him. It was learnt that the university had the choice to tolerate the convict or throw the campus into turmoil. After a four-year course, the university awarded him a second class (upper) degree under duress. As at press time, it was learnt that the SSS is investigating the alleged “award of degree under coercion to Achemu.” A reliable source said: “The investigation of how Achemu earned his degree had been on for months. In fact, some SSS officials visited the university and interacted with the Academic Unit.

From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

“What we did was to make the facts at our disposal available to the investigation team from the State Security Service (SSS). All I know is that since the arrest of Achemu in January 2011, the university and its host community have been enjoying peace.” Another source, who confided in our correspondent, said: “I think the SSS has gone far in screening Achemu’s stay in the university and academic records. “Once infractions have been established, he might face a separate trial on this issue. The university’s statute might be handy in prosecuting the suspect in this

regard. “What the SSS under the leadership of the DirectorGeneral, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, has done is to expose the extent to which terror suspects have permeated every segment of the society. It is to the credit of the DG to have secured conviction of a politically exposed person for terrorism.” Besides the academic challenge, the convict had also been implicated in the attack on the residence of Hajiya Aisha Audu, the wife of a former Governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu. Another source added: “We have two bases for terrorism in Kogi State: these are Anyigba and Okene. The SSS led by Ekpenyong has succeeded in smashing the

group in Anyigba axis; it is collaborating with other security agencies and the military to deal with the Okene base. “In fact, before Anyigba was freed from terrorism, it got to a stage that the Achemu group allegedly abducted a former Caretaker Chairman of Dekina Local Government Area, Hussein Oji. To have peace, the terrorists were collecting N1million monthly ransom from the local government allocation till the tenure of the man ended.” As at press time, however, Achemu has appealed against the judgment of Justice Okorowa. He said he was innocent of all the allegations against him and urged the Court of Appeal to reverse the deci-

sion of the Federal High Court. A source at the Federal Ministry of Justice, said: “Well, we are ready for his appeal. We had a good prosecution team from the Federal Ministry of Justice, led by M.S. Hassan (Assistant Director) and supported by Ahmed I.O. The case officer, Mr. Alhassan Iliasu, from the SSS, also gave testimony in court on the allegations against Achemu.” The convict was arraigned for allegedly violating Section 15, sub-sections 1 and 3 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2004. The Section reads: “A person who wilfully provides or collects by any means directly or indirectly any money by any other

person with intent that the money shall be used for any act of terrorism commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life. “Any person, who commits or attempts to commit a terrorist Act or participates in or facilitates the commission of a terrorist Act, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life. “Any person who makes funds, financial assets or economic resources or financial or other related services available for use of any other person to commit or attempt to commit, facilitate or participate in the commission of a terrorist act is liable on conviction to life imprisonment.”

Ojukwu’s Will: Something’s wrong somewhere


TRONG indication that members of the family of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu may have commenced preparations to contest his Will, which was announced on Friday, emerged yesterday, as his first son, Emeka Ojukwu Jnr., expressed disappointment over the published contents of the Will. In a telephone chat, Emeka Jnr. told The Nation that from what he has heard so far, there is something wrong somewhere, as the alleged contents of the Will contradict what his father told him when he was alive. He said: "Up till now, I have not seen the said Will. As you must have heard, none of us, his children, were present at the presentation. We were not invited, we were not contacted. I only read about the Will in the newspapers, the same way you did." Asked if he is satisfied with the published contents of the Will, he said, "Until I see a copy of the Will and read it, it may not be right to say whether I am satisfied or not. But all I can tell you now is that what I read in the newspapers, which they said is in the Will, contradicts

‘Published document contradicts what my father told me’ By Sam Egburonu Associate Editor

what my father told me when he was alive." Other members of Ojukwu's immediate family have, since Friday, when the Will was made public, expressed shock or disappointment. Even Ojukwu's widow and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Bianca Ojukwu, who got the lion share of Ojukwu's fortune, expressed surprise over the inclusion of the name of Tenny Herman, Ojukwu's daughter, who she said her late husband never mentioned to her when he was alive. Tenny Herman, who was successfully hidden from the Nigerian public and Ojukwu's family until now, was said to have been fathered by the late Biafran leader through a SierraLeonean woman he met when he was the Commander of the 5th Battalion in Kano in the 1960s. Her surprise over Tenny notwithstanding, Bianca, in her general assessment of the Will, expressed satisfaction. “It was a fair Will. This time round, he did not disappoint

us,’’ she reportedly said. The Will was presented to a select members of the family by the Chief Registrar of the Enugu High Court, Mr Dennis Ekoh. Reports said those present at the presentation included the widow, Bianca, Mr Mike Ejemba and Ojukwu’s first cousin, Mr. Val Nwosu. None of Ojukwu’s children was present at the presentation of the Will. This, according to his elder children, who had commented so far, is curious. Another controversial is-

sue emanating from the announced Will is the alleged sharing pattern and the fact that Ojukwu's eldest son, Debechukwu OdumegwuOjukwu, was neither mentioned nor given anything in the Will. Reacting, Debe had said soon after the contents of the Will were made public, that he was yet to see a copy of it. He, however, added that his exclusion from the Will would not in any way alter his DNA, which confirms him as Ojukwu's son. He also said he was not hungry.

He said: “I have not seen or read the Will. I heard about it the same way you heard about it, and I cannot uphold or dismiss the Will since I have not seen or read it. “However, as a lawyer, I must add that a Will is not sacrosanct as it could be manipulated or forged. And it can be challenged in court.” Ojukwu children listed in the Will include Chukwuemeka Jnr, Mmegha, Okigbo, Ebele, Chineme, Afam and Nwachukwu.

Lagos Assembly frowns at scarcity, hawking of fuel


AGOS state House of Assembly has frowned at the lingering fuel scarcity and condemned the rate at which the products is now being hawked in kegs along roadsides in the state. To this end, the House has called on the state Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in conjunction with the Ministry of Information and Strategy to embark on a public awareness programme on the inherent dan-

By Oziegbe Okoeki

gers of buying and hawking of fuel. Moving a motion at plenary titled “Indiscriminate Increase in Petroleum Prices by Independent Petroleum Marketers and Hawking of Petroleum Products,” the member representing Ojo Constituency 2, Lanre Ogunyemi, noted that the country’s total petroleum

output is 2.48 million per day. While explaining that the amount makes the nation one of the major producers of crude oil in the world and by extension one of the most affluent in Africa, Ogunyemi observed that Nigerians have continued to experience untold hardship and humiliation due to the frequent scarcity of petroleum products in the country.


ECOWAS states to begin peace studies


HE ECOWAS Council of Ministers has adopted a report that will ensure the teaching of education for peace in the sub region. This followed a decision of the council at its 69th session in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire as a result of a report submitted to it by the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i as part of the six recommendations at the Education Ministers 4th meeting in Abuja in October. The minister told the Foreign Affairs Ministers in council that the objective of the initiative was to use education in the promotion of peace, human rights, citizenship, democracy and regional integration. She called for the reinforcement of the process of revitalisation of ECOWAS Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) towards the promotion of entrepreneurial education and skills acquisition in West Africa for the desired development. The report also provided for the strengthening of the ongoing work on ECOWAS Regional Qualifications Framework and the National Qualifications Framework. Prof. Rufa’i added that the education ministers called for the ratification of the ECOWAS Protocol on education and training towards the realisation of the common objectives of the sub region on educational development. After the presentation, the President, ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo lauded Prof. Rufa’i for the report, and it was unanimously adopted as part of the documents of the meeting. The 69th session of ECOWAS Council of Ministers was declared open by the Cote D’Ivoire Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan who was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of Council in the past nine months before his new appointment. The ECOWAS Commissioner Human Development and Gender, Dr. Andre Diop, said the adoption will go a long way in changing the delivery of education for development. Also, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, said the promotion of peace through teaching will assist in the realisation of one of the most important focus of ECOWAS. She lauded Prof Rufa’i for making the report rich and assured her of support for its final passage by the commission.



Anambra women berate Jonathan over Boko Haram T

Involve traditional rulers in tackling insecurity, monarchs urge FG


OMEN of AdaziNnukwu in Anaocha local government area of Anambra State, yesterday criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for allegedly abandoning the community, after 12 of their kins were recently killed by the Islamist sect, Boko Haram in the North. Speaking with reporters yesterday on the premises of Saint Andrews Catholic Church, AdaziNnukwu, during its cente-

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

nary celebration, the women leader, Virgy Ezimorah said the silence of the president on the killings of their people was unacceptable. She said those people who were killed in the North were the pillars of development for the community. Ezimorah said if those people were still alive that the church building would have been completed, adding that the president had not even written a single letter to commiserate with them.

According to her, “Is it because we did not incite our children for reprisal when our 12 sons and daughters were killed in the North by the Boko-Haram sect? “His silence (President Jonathan) in this matter does not make us happy, no person or group had monopoly of violence, if we had allowed our children to carry out what they had in mind, the story would have been different,” Ezimorah said. However, delivering his address during the centenary,

the parish priest, Rev. Dr. Peter Onyeso, said that the greatest challenge of the church was insufficient fund. He said the building, which was constructed in 1912, was going through a serious renovation and expansion to accommodate more people and also to be in tune with modern architecture. He lauded Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi, and Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, for their support to the church.

WO prominent traditional rulers from Benue and Abia States, Alfred Akawe Torkula, the Tor Tiv and Eze Bernard Enweremadu respectively, have called on the federal, state and local governments to involve traditional rulers in the management of security challenges. Speaking in his palace at Isiala Ngwa North council area of Abia State while receiving the Tor Tiv, Eze Enweremadu said that time has come for the traditional institution to be coopted in the issue of managing security breaches in the country. Eze Enweremadu noted that most of the people causing security breaches in the country are subjects of traditional rulers in the country, stressing that most of them could be called to order by their different traditional rulers. He emphasised that traditional rulers wield a lot of influence in their domains, adding, “as such, their subjects would hardly find it difficult to disobey the traditional rulers when they are being called to order.”

Senator Lado flags off rehabilitation of Tamburawa Bridge From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

I •Minister of Education Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i and Minister of State Foreign Affairs Dr. Nuru Muhammed during the ECOWAS meeting at the weekend.

House of Reps member in certificate scandal


ONCERNED citizens of Ningi/Warji constituency of Bauchi State have called on the Speaker of the House of Representatives to investigate allegation of certificate forgery against a member, Abdulrazak Nuhu Bature, by the University of Jos. In a petition dated November 12th, and addressed to the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal,124 constituents of Bature said; “we are particularly worried by the seeming insensitivity of the House of Representatives leadership to constitute a committee to investigate the damaging allegations which to our mind


From Akin Orimolade, Abuja

cast aspersion on the ethical reorientation and/ or transformation agenda of the federal government and the consequential effect of not having men and women of honour and proven integrity in positions of responsibility.” The petition was submitted at the office of the Speaker on Wednesday. The University of Jos through its Registrar, JilliDandam, Danjuma had in a letter dated September 7, 2012 urged the National Assembly to disregard Bature’s claim of attending the institution. “While we draw your attention to this dishonourable act of one of your members, we wish to put you on notice that we have also lodged complaint to relevant government agencies for necessary action,” the university stressed. Danjuma made good his threat by writing the Director-

General, State Security Service, Inspector-General of Police Chairman, EFCC Chairman, ICPC Chairman, INEC and the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. According to Danjuma, the embattled member presented as part of his credentials, a testimonial and a certificate for Advance Diploma in Public Administration purported to have been issued by the Senate of the University of Jos at an election tribunal before it was referred to the university for verification. According to the Registrar, the University’s Senate set up a committee which investigated the case and reported that the Bature did not attend the university and could therefore not lay claim to its certificates. The university immediately placed a disclaimer on him in a national newspaper. He has also been invited by the State Commissioner of

Police over alleged forgery but he is yet to honour the invitation. One of the leaders of the constituency who spoke to The Nation from Bauchi yesterday said, Mr. Yunana Katanga said they are determined to make the member explain the forgery and if culpable, face the law. Contacted for comments Bature said;”Let them forge ahead. They took me to court several times and failed. Let them go ahead with the recall process. I wish them well.” The National Assembly has had a history of members with questionable credentials. The first Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, was forced to step down when it was discovered that his Toronto University degree was forged. Another member of the National Assembly, Senator Evans Enwerem was also disgraced out of the nation’s highest legislative house.

T was tears of joy among commuters and residents at the weekend in Kano, when Senator Bashir Garba Lado representing Kano Central flagged off the rehabilitation of Tamburawa Bridge in Kano. Tamburawa Bridge located at Km 22 Kano–Kaduna dual carriageway, gained notoriety following heavy loss of lives recorded among motorists that ply the strategic highway due to its dilapidated nature occasioned by lack of maintenance. The ceremony that attracted politicians, officials of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and large crowd of residents from the adjourning neigh bourhood, was awarded to an indigenous construction firm and it is to be executed on a pro-rata basis. Speaking during the ceremony, Senator Lado sought the cooperation of motorists during the rehabilitation exercise, adding that his office is doing everything humanly possible to make sure that rehabilitation works on the project is completed in good time. Senator Garba Bashir Lado noted that his office recognises the importance of the project to Kano people and its commerce, adding that he will continue to work with relevant agencies to ensure that a quality work is carried out.

Lamentations, as fire razes shops in Awka


T was another black day in Awka, capital of Anambra State yesterday, as a mystery fire gutted a business premises housing over fifty shops with properties worth billions of naira burnt. According to some residents who spoke with The Nation yesterday in Awka, the fire began exactly 9.54 pm on Friday and continued till Saturday

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

morning. A source added that when the fire started, officials of the state fire service were quickly contacted. The fire service officials, she said, responded by coming to the scene that night, but could not do much, as they complained of having no water.

Shops razed by fire were mainly big business centres with computers and copiers numbering over five hundred. Also burnt were eatery centres, beer parlours and boutiques among others. One of the affected traders, Nnamdi Udoh, whose shoes and bags shop was completely razed down, lamented how he would survive the huge loss

suffered in the incident. Another victim told The Nation that he borrowed about five million naira from the bank to establish his business. “My brother, only God can give answer to what has happened to some of us, if somebody did it intentionally to deal with some people, God will never forgive the person, but we are still in shock,” he said.




Community protests invasion by land speculators By Dare Odufowokan


ESIDENTS of Ogunnaike-Erunwen community in Ikorodu area of Lagos State took to the streets in a peaceful protest at the weekend. The protest, it was learnt, was aimed at drawing the attention of members of the public to what they called the invasion of their once peaceful community by gun-wielding hoodlums allegedly acting on the orders of one Deacon G.T Hassan, a popular estate developer based in Ebute-Metta area of the state. Led by members of the executive committee of the Ogunnaike Community Development Association (CDA), the protesters visited the Igbogbo Divisional Police headquarters, the palace of the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Salaudeen Oyefusi, as well as the secretariat of the Ikorodu Local Government Area. Lamenting what he called a plot by some members of the Ogunnaike descendants family to unleash mayhem on the residents of the area in order to reclaim some undeveloped plots of lands, the chairman of the C.D.A, Mr. Paul Ojo, said miscreants brought into the community a few months ago by Hassan have been allegedly harassing and intimidating the people since July 2012. “We bought our lands from the Ogunnaike descendant family since 1999 and we have enjoyed peaceful possession of the said lands until July 2012 when Hassan, claiming that he has been given power of Attorney by some members of the Ogunnaike family to repossess our lands, stormed the community with thugs. “The hoodlums went about beating and maiming artisans and landlords working on their sites.” Reacting to the plight of the community, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who spoke with the leaders at the council secretariat, promised to wade into the matter with a view to ensuring justice. She requested that a detailed petition, explaining their plight be submitted at her constituency office same day to enable her take urgent action. Speaking with The Nation on the allegation levelled against him, Hassan confirmed deploying ‘some boys’ to the community but said they did not destroy anybody’s property. He said, “Yes, I took some boys to the place after I got a power of Attorney from the Ogunnaike family to repossess the land from the people there. I went there with my boys to do my work and we have the right to stop those who may want to stop us from doing our work. “Those boys will remain there until those living in the community comply with the terms of the new executive of the family. My duty is to ensure that they comply and that is why my boys are there,” he said. Asked if he got a court order or injunction to back his activities in the place, Hassan said he does not need the directive of any court to do his job. Pleading with the authorities to save them from the hoodlums, the C.D.A leaders said Hassan and his boys are allegedly threatening to kill leaders of the community for daring to bring the police into the matter.


ATE arrival of electoral materials and officials of the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission as well as poor logistic arrangement yesterday marred the conduct of the local government election in the state. Accreditation did not start in most of the polling units within Kaduna metropolis until around 11 am, about four hours behind schedule as most of the places visited by The Nation were empty with only party agents, security officials and a handful of voters present. As at 11.30am, electoral materials were yet to arrive the polling unit close to the private residence of Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo which is located about 10 minutes drive from the headquarters of SIECOM, while the closest polling units to the SIECOM office were also without voting materials. The first sign of what looked like a semblance of voting was at the Queen Amina College polling unit in the Kakuri area of the metropolis

Poor logistics mar Kaduna council poll From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

where The Nation discovered that voting had already commenced at about 11.45 am, while the process was also going on peacefully in Makera, Kakuri Hausa and Kakuri Gwari. One of those spoken to in Kakuri Hausa said that the electoral materials arrived there at about 11.00am. However, at the Barnawa Shopping comply and the Government Girls Secondary School, Barnawa both in Kaduna south local government which houses about five polling units each, materials were yet to arrive at about 2.30pm. As to what caused the delay in the arrival of electoral mate-

rials at the Barnawa Shopping Complex, the Chairperson of SIECOM, Mrs. Hanatu Biniyat, said on phone that she would send officials of the State Security Service (SSS) to verify the claims and promptly switched off her phone. In Narayi area of the metropolis, voting did not start at the estimated time due to the late arrival of officials who were said to have arrived at 12.00 noon, while in some of the units, officials were just beginning to set up the polling unit as at 12.32pm for the commencement of the exercise. Despite the delay, there were willing voters who had to wait for hours for the officials and voting materials to arrive, while those who could

not endure the long wait left. A 75-year-old man who identified himself as Samaila Dankande told The Nation at the Barnawa Shopping complex at about 10.30 that he got to the polling unit as early as 8.00am to exercise his franchise, but lamented that as at that time, the electoral officials were yet to arrive the venue. “I have been here since morning. They told us that the election would start as early as 8.00am, but right now, you can see that there is nobody here. Many people have come and gone because they are discouraged.” He advised people to be patient and see if there will be an improvement in the system, especially the administration of

•Wife of Osun State governor, Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola (middle); Commissioner for Health, Dr (Mrs) Temitope Ilori (right); Wife of Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mrs Kafayat Oyetola (2nd left); Commissioner for Women affairs, Mrs Adetoun Adegboyega (left) and State Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV, Mr. Oladejo Ajibola (2nd right), during the 2012 World Aids Day Celebration in Osogbo, the state capital, yesterday

Akande condoles with Buhari


Lekki-Epe Expressway: Tolling begins at TP2 December 16 B ARING any last minute hitch, tolling at the second toll plaza on the Lekki-Epe Expressway corridor will commence on December 16, as motorists are expected to pay their toll at the Conservation Plaza, situated along the Eti-Osa LekkiEpe Expressway between Chevron HQ and Oluwa Nisola House, Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has said. The Conservation Plaza, which corresponds to the completed 9 km road section from Marwa Bus Stop to Ikota Bridge, has been in operation since January this year. Road users, however, have so far not been charged any toll for using that road section. This, it was gathered, was to allow the Lagos State Government more time to complete the construction of the 3.6 km alternative route that provides a bypass around the Conservation Plaza, so that road users not wishing to pay the tolls can exercise the option not to do so. The Lagos State Government has now completed the new alternative route, which can be accessed from the expressway

local government. The Ward Head of Barnawa Lowcost North, Alhaji Jibril Ibrahim also told The Nation that several people had called his residence wanting to know when the accreditation and voting would start. He said, “many people have been to my house this morning demanding to know when the accreditation would start. So, I drove out of my house to go and see what was happening so that I could report back to my people. But I have gone round and I cannot see anything. I don’t know what is happening.” A highly placed government official who would not want his name in print told The Nation that there could be sabotage by those who would want the SIECOM Chairperson to fail in conducting a smooth, free and fair election. Echoing similar sentiments, Independent Election Monitoring Group led by Barrister Festus Okoye told The Nation that poor logistic arrangement by the State Independent Electoral Commission was responsible for the hitches being witnessed during the election. Okoye said: “one of the hallmarks of a good election is proper organisation. If you don’t organise and plan well, you will definitely fail. For me, the Chairperson of SIECOM was in Kwara State during their local government election. She monitored the election and saw the way the elections went.” However, despite the late commencement of the exercise, The Nation saw some officials of the SIECOM being escorted by the police carrying electoral materials to the collation centre in Kaduna north local government at about 1.30pm, an indication that the exercise was over in such polling units.

by turning into Chevron Drive from Chevron Roundabout, then turning right after the Chevron HQ Complex, following the road running behind the Chevron HQ Complex, past the Conservation Plaza, the Scintilla Events Centre, and through Poroku Village, and eventually emerging back onto the expressway just before Oluwa Nisola House. Toll tariffs at the Conservation Plaza will be the same as that of the Admiralty Circle Plaza located near the Oniru Estate - N50 for motorcycles; N80 for authorised commercial danfo buses; N120 for saloon cars and tricycles; N150 for SUVs, minibuses, and pickup trucks; N250 for light trucks and 2-axle buses; and N350 for heavy trucks and buses with 2 or more heavy axles. Road users will be able to immediately reduce the standard toll tariffs that they pay by 5% and 10% if they opt to pay using the SwiftPass Anonymous card and the eTag (including the accompanying SwiftPass Plus card) respectively. Users of the eTag also exclu-

sively benefit from the Frequent User Discount, which offers further discounts off the tariffs (up to 70%) based on the number of times that the road user passes through the toll plazas each month. The eTag and the SwiftPass can be obtained by registering for them at any of the LCC Customer Service Centres located at the Admiralty Circle Plaza and the Conservation Plaza, or through other outlets such as banks. Approximately 16.5 km of the rehabilitated and upgraded expressway has been completed to date, including the construction of the new Falomo On-

Ramp; expansion of ExxonMobil Bridge from 4 to 8 lanes; new roundabouts; new pedestrian overhead bridges; new drainage systems; new underground service ducts; and new street lights and traffic lights. In addition to the routine operation and maintenance of the new road infrastructure, LCC has promised to offer complementary 24/7 convenience services, including breakdown recovery services, customer service helpline, armed police security patrols, ambulance call-out, traffic management support, and environmental management support.

HE National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande, has commiserated with General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) on the death of his daughter, Zulaihat Buhari. In a statement made available to The Nation, the ACN chieftain said he received the news of the death with pain. “It is indeed painful to me as I join millions of Nigerians to pay condolence to one of a rare breed of Nigerians, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. The fact that Zulaihat Buhari was not in the most expensive hospital in Europe or America says so much about the pristine disposition of the Buharis. If Zulaihat had lived till 5th December, she would have turned 40,” Akande said. He, however, regretted that “it is a shame to the PDPled Federal Government who has left our health system in a deplorable condition when compared to how the UK and other nations including India manage sickle cell anaemia. I call on Nigerians to use their votes wisely in 2015 to bring in a government that can lay a solid foundation for our health care delivery system where many of these ailments would no longer be death sentences.”

African Diaspora conference starts December


HE Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan African University and other Diaspora organisations will be organising an African Diaspora Conference between December 9, 11 and 12 in Lagos. The conference has as its theme:”Effective Mobilisation of the Diaspora for Socio-Political, Economic

By Taiwo Abiodun

and Technology Development.” The chief convener, Akinwale Ojomo, said the event, which would have as chief host, Governor Babatunde Fashola, will also be attended by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora,

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Special Adviser to the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Hafsat Abiola-Costello and Professor Pat Utomi. Ojomo added that the conference is a follow-up to the Global Diaspora Forum hosted by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and USAID in Washington DC.


Physicallychallenged demand 15 percent elective positions From Leke Akeredolu, Akure


OINT National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has urged the National Assembly to consider their memorandum on laws on disability already submitted to the constitutional review committee. In the proposed law, the disability group is demanding at least 15 percent of all elective and appointive positions at all levels of government be reserved for qualified and suitable persons with disabilities. The National Chairman of JONAPWD, Mr. Romiti Olubodede, spoke in Akure, the Ondo State capital on the preparations for the association’s 20th anniversary of International Day of Disabled Persons. He noted that such reserved positions should take into account the different types of disabilities. Besides, he said the disability bill if passed into law, would also guarantee employment opportunities for the physically-challenged in both the government and private sectors. Olubodede lamented the failure of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the bill into law. The Chairman stressed that the association aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity.


Why we oppose sale of refineries -PENGASSAN


RESH facts emerged at the weekend as to why the oil workers’ unions are not favourably disposed towards the sale of the nation’s four refineries. Speaking exclusively with The Nation, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), said the union opposed the outright sale of the refineries, because such a move will not augur well for its members. Noting that the oil and gas workers are not completely averse to

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

privatisation, he, however, insisted that the government cannot sell its stake in the oil and gas sector for strategic and security reasons. He said: “An immediate sale without first carrying out a Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) is unacceptable. The privatisation cannot be done in less than three years time, considering all the labour-related issues, pension, severance, and so on. The sale of PHCN and NITEL is an example. So if you sell after three years, the new buyer uses an-

other two years to make business decision and looks for funds and another two years for the TAM.” The Dr. Kalu Idika Kaluled National Refineries Special Task Force had, a few months ago, advocated for the sale of the refineries within the next 18months thus saving the Federal Government the hurdle of fixing the refineries. But the Federal Government seems disposed to carrying out a Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) at the cost of $1.6billion. The TAM, which is expected to begin in early Janu-

ary, is scheduled for completion in October 2014. While reiterating the union’s commitment to the progress and development of the sector, Comrade Ogun said the sale of the refineries as proposed by the Kalu committee was not in the interest of the country. “Invariably, the committee didn’t want the country to refine crude in Nigeria for the next eight years. This is unacceptable. The TAM must start now without any further delay. Government only gives the contract to a reputable firm and a bank guarantee,” he


stressed. On why most multinational oil companies operating in the country are yet to site their refineries as they have done elsewhere, the PENGASSAN boss laid the blame on the laws of the land. “Our law gave the companies that chance. The companies are owned by businessmen, but government can address this anomaly in the PIB. Any company producing 200k oil and above must have a stake in refinery in Nigeria.” Speaking further, he said, “The inefficiency is as a result of policies and tedious approval process. A new wellstructured PIB will address that,” adding: “All these positions have been canvassed by both unions in the oil and gas sectors to the government. But government has been running from one committee to the other.”

Local governments deserve autonomy, says Ikuforiji By Oziegbe Okoeki


Aregbesola’s wife canvasses recognition of HIV infected persons

HE wife of the Osun State Governor, Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola, has made a case for the recognition of the rights of people living with HIV by ensuring that they are not stigmatised. She spoke in Osogbo, the state capital on Saturday after leading a road show to mark the 2012 World AIDS Day, with the theme, “Getting to Zero”, which was organised by the Osun State Agency for the Control of AIDS. According to her, proper measures should be taken to ensure that no new infection takes place by constantly adopting safe attitude. Mrs Aregbesola stressed: “Let me underscore the point that this target is achievable if all of us work to take positive action individually and encourage ourselves together to stop undesirable attitude that makes the virus spread. “Having HIV today does not have to be a death certificate if we go for early counselling and treatment. This is one of the positive attitudes I urge all of us to adopt from now on in order to reach our zero marks,” she noted. To achieve the zero mark of HIV infection, Mrs Aregbesola called on the people to check their HIV status always with a view to tackling the prevalence of the disease. She then gave the assurance that Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led administration is solidly in support of the “Getting to Zero” campaigns, saying that he has not only expressed this verbally, he has directed state policies towards it.


•Gov. Peter Obi (second right); Arc. Callistus Ilozumba, Commissioner for Works (first right); Oseloka Obaze, the SSG (first left), and the representative of Tamad Construction, Anthony, during the flag-off of three bridges along Atani-Ozubulu road.

Jonathan’s inability to tackle terror shameful, says Archbishop


RESIDENT, Gospel Baptist Conference of Nigeria and Overseas, Archbishop Magnus Atilade, has described the unabated terror being unleashed on defenseless citizens by the Boko Haram sect as a crying shame on the part of the Federal Government. While adding that the failure of the security agencies to tackle the insecurity situation as an indication that President Goodluck Jonathan is timid and unassertive, Atialde urged the President to re-invent his governance with human development and equality as its core objectives. Addressing newsmen in Oyo town on the state of the nation, the Archbishop said the nation is at a crossroads where the sitting government has shown lack of capacity to confront terrorism and cor-


From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

ruption.” Describing the President’s recent statement that Boko Haram is faceless and could not be dialogued with as “disgusting and offensive,” Atilade added further, “The sanctity of human lives and maintenance of peace is sacrosanct and must be given topmost attention by

a serious-minded President. “Nothing is so important than the protection of lives and properties and nothing is too much in seeking that peace and pursuing it. If in having the peace, we need to dialogue with the devil, we must do it quickly. To say otherwise, in view of the gravity of damaged done to innocent lives and properties by the Boko Haram sect, is to say the least

Industrialist tasks FG on insecurity


HE Federal Government and state governments have been urged to tackle the rising insecurity in the country. Speaking on the state of the nation in Lagos, Managing Director of Suru Group, Chief Edward Akinlade, urged government to take necessary actions to address

By Kunle Akinrinade

the spate of violent attacks by the Boko Haram sect, armed robbery and kidnapping. He said, “I want to admonish President Goodluck Jonathan and state governments to consider urgent action to address the killing of

Petrol sells for N250 in Calabar

OR most residents of Calabar, the Cross River State capital, these are hard times following the petrol scarcity that has hit the city. Few stations that have the product sell it for as high as N220 to N250 per litre, yet consumers

an act of timidity.” The Minister of God who is also the South-West Chairman, Organisation of African Churches, wondered why the Federal Government has refused to declare war on Boko Haram, and the inability of security agencies to identify the group’s sources of funding, their sponsors, and even prosecute those arrested so far.

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

scramble for it. Brawls among buyers are common incidences at the filling stations that have the products available, as black market operators sell for as high as N300 per litre. Chairman, Cross River

State Petrol Tankers’ Association, Mr. Abdullahi Akomaye, said the situation was created by the strike embarked on by his association. He, however, said following the calling off of the strike yesterday, the city will be flooded with the product in the shortest possible time.

innocent people by Boko Haram members because of its consequence on the image of the country. The rising cases of robbery and kidnapping should also be tackled with proactive measures.” Akinlade also spoke on the need for proper rehabilitation of victims of the recent floods in parts of Nigeria. “While effort made so far by the president at addressing the ugly incident is commendable, it is not enough to solve the problems of the displaced persons who have been complaining of unhygienic situation around the camps provided for the victims of the disaster,” Akinlade added.

PEAKER of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, has said that local government councils in the country are “supposed to enjoy some levels of autonomy”. Ikuforiji, who spoke when a delegation of Lagos State Chapter of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) led by its President Comrade Lasisi Akinsanya visited him in his Office at Alausa, Ikeja on Friday, however, decried the performance of the councils in Lagos State. Akinsanya had earlier solicited the support of the House of Assembly towards granting autonomy to local governments when amending the constitution. He urged the Speaker to consider the campaign for local government autonomy in the constitution as an effort geared towards national development. According to him, “it (autonomy) is a struggle and campaign to strengthen the local government system for optimal performance which, however, cannot erode the power of the House of Assembly to guide and monitor it through its constitutional functions. “What we have across the federation is a caricature of local government…. it is a serious issue that we have to pay attention to with all sense of patriotism if we are really committed to get this country out of the woods,” he concluded. The NULGE President commended the Assembly for making the local government councls work in the state but lamented the crisis in various council areas in Ogun, Ekiti, Plateau, Kano, Oyo, Imo and Edo states. The Speaker, while assuring NULGE of the solidarity of the Assembly in ensuring the success of the local government system, challenged authorities of local councils in the federation to live up to the expectations of the people. He said, “The local government is under the control of the House of Assembly. The term ‘freedom of the local government’ is a mental issue. Truly nothing is totally free, rather autonomous performance of the leadership of the councils is the most important issue. Notwithstanding, we must work together to ensure our people enjoy good living, while we push for some level of autonomy for these councils.”




Tastees emerges gold winner

Calabar Festival: Masakela, others extol cross river



HE 2012 Calabar Festival got off to an impressive start in the early hours of Saturday with a colourful lighting of the Christmas tree at the Millennium Park, Calabar. Led by the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Efiok Cobham, the crowd at the venue, which included legendry South African composer and trumpeter, Hugh Masekela, was treated to a full bouquet of fun. Masekela, who has performed in the festival four times now, described Cross River State as one of the safest places with peace loving people. The musician said he was proud to be part of the celebration which grows talents and allows every community to enjoy life in a free environment. The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values, Mrs. Sarah Jibril, described the occasion as a sense of joy and beauty. Jibril described the occasion as a wonderful experience which other states should emulate, adding that the cleanliness and orderliness of the state should be sustained because it makes it unique. While lighting the Christmas tree, Cobham, who was assisted by his wife, Glory, Speaker of the state house of assembly, Hon. Larry Odey, Makesela, Jibril and representatives of sponsors and development agencies, said the 12- year- old event has grown bigger in scope and volume. Cobham maintained that the state government will continue with the festival because it is a celebration of love, hospitality, courage and resilience of the people in the face of challenges. The Deputy Governor commended the sponsors for identifying with the festival in different ways and described the lighting ceremony as a tip of the iceberg as the best would come during the other days of the festival. Special Adviser Governor’s Office, Mr. Nzan Ogbe described the festival as a great gift which the state has for the nation as one the best ways in its rebranding process. Ogbe appealed to the Federal Government to partner the state in the 32- day event which is delightful to the soul. The Group Managing Director/ CEO First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Bisi Onasanya in his address, said as a partner, the mutually beneficial partnership has enabled the bank to return value to a key stakeholder community by improving the social and cultural calendar of the state of the state. According to Onasanya, who was represented by Mrs. Nkiru Harry Eze, the bank prides itself on its corporate social responsibility and sponsorship initiative which reflect its commitment to being a major contributor to the socio-economic and cultural development of the country. Later in the morning, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham also led a four kilometer Paradise City Walk against HIV/AIDS as the state marks the 2012 World AIDS DAY as well as the opening of the Calabar festival village at the Cultural Centre ground. Cobham disclosed that over the years the state has made tremendous efforts to combat HIV/AIDS scourge and the reduction which has been noticed is due to the effort in partnership with State Action Against AIDS (SACA) and the development partners.

•Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Seated), and Secretary to the State Government, Barr Taiwo Adeoluwa, exchanging banter with Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle (Left), during the OronnaIlaro Festival 2012 at Ilaro, Ogun State...yesterday

How Gowon blocked arms, food from entering Biafra-Ofonagoro F ORMER Minister of Information, Dr Walter Ofonagoro, has said that the former Head of State, Gen.Yakubu Gowon, ceded Bakassi Peninsula, which truly belonged to the present day cross River State of Nigeria, during the civil war, so as to block arms and food from entering Biafra. Making this revelation in a key note address delivered at the Igbo Day Celebration which held in Lagos on Saturday, he said, “General Yakubu Gowon ceded the oil-rich region to Cameroon to stop food

By Emmanuel Udodinma

from coming into the defunct Republic of Biafra.” The former minister said when Nigeria Army discovered that it would not be possible to defeat Biafran soldiers with arms, they opted for economic blockade of the old Eastern Nigeria. He said when they discovered that food and arms were still coming into Biafra through Bakassi, Gowon decided to cede the region to Cameroon so that the blockade would be effective. His words: “I want to say that Bakassi Peninsula belonged

to the people of the old eastern region. But during the war, the Nigerian soldiers discovered that Biafran soldiers were their match so they opted for economic blockade of the region .It was in the process that Gowon went into negotiation with the president of Cameroon and ceded the oil rich region to them so that the blockade would be effective. We all know what happened, though some people are now feigning ignorance.” On the Major Chukwuma Nzogwu Coup of January 15,1966, he said that the pur-

pose of the coup was to revolutionise Nigeria. He said that calling the coup an Igbo coup was wrong since Igbos were controlling over 75 percent of the government in the First Republic. According to him, the purpose of the coup was to bring dynamism into the government of Nigeria in line with Ghana and other African nations that were already attracting international respect. Ofonagoro also lamented what he described imbalance in the Nigerian political system.

Abducted four-year-old pupil found, 24 days after


OUR-YEAR old Master Onyedikachukwu Ede, a nursery 1 pupil of Precious Child Foundation School, Agu Uwani, Akwuke, Enugu, who was abducted from the school premises on November 5, 2012, has been found. He was said to have been found at a bus stop at Garriki, Awkunanaw Enugu on Thursday evening. A good Nigerian found the abandoned child crying while roaming the street and took him to the nearest police station at Awkunanaw. Little Onyedikachi went to school on the fateful day and a lady called Sister Faith, who lived in the neighbourhood with a boy friend, came to the Precious Foundation School on the pretense that she was taking him away to buy him something to eat when the school dismissed. Unknown to the school proprietor, Mr. Chidi Okonkwo, the said ‘Sister Faith’ had ulterior motive, and so they released the child only to learn later that the lady made away with the child. It was learnt that what prompted the school head to release the child to the lady in question was because she had come to the school the previous Friday, November 2, prior to the fateful Monday, and convinced the pro-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

prietor that the boy was known to her. It was also gathered that Onyekachi’s mother died immediately he was born four years ago on March 14, 2009 and that was what made it possible for everybody in the neighbourhood to smother him with love because he is living with a single parent with his other siblings who are older than him. As a result of the disappearance of the lady with the child, the school proprietor; Sister Faith’s boy friend, keke

driver and his landlord were arrested by the police and kept in detention ever since, while investigation into the matter continued. Sources said that while the child was missing, his father, Mr. Michael Ede, went to a prayer house where he learnt that his child was not dead but alive and that the lady did not know how to return him. According to the story, the deity where they took him for ritual purposes did not accept his blood for sacrifices. It was jubilation galore on

Thursday night throughout Agu Uwani, Akwuke when the news broke out that the missing child had been found 24 days after he disappeared, hale and hearty. People trooped the Awkunanaw Police Station, Thursday night, to catch a glimpse of the missing child. The Enugu police spokesman, Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the incident but did not say whether the child has been released to the parent or whether the police will still continue to detain the school proprietor and others in SARS custody.

Organisation offers tips on entrepreneurship


OISED to aid economic development and support the improvement of business environment across the country, the Growth and Employment in States 3 (GEMS3), an initiative of the United Kingdom’s arm of the Department For International Development, DFID, has launched its inaugural Public Private Engagement Mechanism meeting. The event, which took place in Lagos, saw the coming together of key stakeholders from the government and private sector in a round-table session to discuss challenges faced by the private sector and proffer solutions for

By Rita Ohai

progress. While addressing the participants, the country project director of GEMS3, Dr. Layth Bunni said, “The aim of the meeting is to try and identify as well as create a deep understanding of why Nigerians in the business sector face the issues they encounter and find a way to come up with proper well-thought through solutions so that they can achieve long-lasting results.” Highlighting some of the successes they have recorded, Bunni said, “Most of the projects we have been able to pull through have been

around the themes of taxation, land use and general investments by working with the State governments in harmonizing the laws and the implementation of these laws in a fair manner for everyone.” Also speaking at the event was the Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Mudu Yusuf, who gave insight on some of governments excesses as well as the impact of the recession on the Nigerian economy; “The problems faced by the average Nigerian trying to do business are cumbersome and are often caused by irregularities or non-implementation of government policies,” he said.

ASTEE Fried Chicken (TASTEE), the leading Quick Service Restaurant in Nigeria known for good customer service, qualitative products and exquisite ambience, has emerged as Gold winner in the just concluded West African Tourism and Hospitality Award (WATHA) making it three straight wins in three years. According to a release signed by the Executive Director, Mr. Olubunmi Adedayo, “this is the third time we are winning the award in the category of best Quick Service Restaurant in West Africa and this has been attributed to our consistency, dedication and brand loyalty. “Tastee promises to be the best in quality fast food service with varieties of sumptuous meals, ice creams and snacks at the most reasonable price in the industry.” Adedayo adds that Tastee will continue to do its customers right, adding, “this is exactly what to expect in the coming days as we churn out varieties of customer reward scheme starting with our BOGOF (Buy One get one Free) and our Combo meals promo with Pepsi. “Customers can also enjoy our fast delivery service bringing food to their doorsteps, place orders in advance for pick up, while all our outlets are open to outdoor and industrial catering services for events.” Adedayo said TFC appreciates its esteemed customers who have immensely contributed to the winning of these awards through their votes.

Dons proffer solution to Boko Haram


AJOR-GENERAL MD Isah has said that the security challenges the country is facing could be a thing of the past if universities inculcate discipline in their students to be able to make them good citizens of the country. Speaking in his keynote speech during the first International Conference organised by the Department of English, Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus, General Isah, represented by the Commander 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, Col. T. Gagariga, said that violent crimes across the country could be stopped through reintroduction of literature and other languages in our schools to keep the students busy. In his submission, the Head of Department of English language, Anambra State University, Igbariam campus, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Chuma Udeh, said the essence of organising the international conference was to seek solution to Boko Haram insurgency through literature. Udeh further called on other intellectuals across the country to come together to brain storm on the plausible solution to end violent crimes, including Boko Haram insurgency in the North and rampant kidnappings in the Southern parts of the country, adding that it was in the backdrop of these that the theme of the international Conference, Language, Literature and National Consciousness were chosen.







FTER completing his youth service in Calabar, Cross River State three years ago, Taiwo Martins Adesina, a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Ilorin, was optimistic of getting a well paying job in the private sector. He had a good reason. With a Second Class (Upper Class) certificate, not even the crippling unemployment situation in the country could dampen his enthusiasm of landing employment after six months of serving his fatherland. On his return from Calabar, Adesina set out in his quest to land a job as quickly as possible. His first task was to prepare a well packaged Curriculum Vitae (CV), which he subsequently gave out to friends and relatives, who could assist in realising his dream. In April last year, a family friend called 25-years-old Adesina on phone asking him to apply for a job advertised by a recruiting firm, Job Fair Consulting Limited (JFC) based in Lagos. The advertised position is that of a Business Development Officer in a juice manufacturing company located in Ejigbo area of Lagos. This is a lifeline, Adesina thought to himself. Pronto, he dropped his well prepared CV at the recruiting firm's office. The response to his application came sooner than he expected. Within two weeks, he was invited over and asked to write an aptitude test to determine his suitability for the position he applied for. However, his confidence of being considered for the job was shaken when, on the day he went for the test, he met almost 1,000 people who were applying for the same job. But he still wrote the test. He was told to await response within five days. To his 'joy', he got a response via a short message service (SMS) within two days. The terse message read thus: "we

How fake recruitment companies fleece unemployed Nigerians Cashing in on the adverse unemployment situation in the country, fake recruiting agencies are sprouting up in major cities promising non-existing jobs to applicants, and raking in millions of naira in the process. Remi Adelowo reports are pleased to inform you that you passed the aptitude test with a score of 75 per cent. Please, report to our office on Monday, May 9, 2011, to collect a letter of reference, which you will present to our client for your employment letter. Please note that you will pay a sum of N3,500 only for the reference letter. Congratulations." Pay before you collect While he could not fathom out why an applicant like him with no job at hand should be asked to pay such an amount for a 'reference letter', Adesina was told by a few friends to give it a try. He did. After he collected the letter, he proceeded to the juice manufacturing company. On getting there, he received the shock of his life when he was 'rudely' told by the barely literate General Manager of the company that his services were not needed at that point in time. Shocked beyond words, Adesina rushed back to the recruiting agency and informed the Managing Director of his experience. To his further shock, the MD, rather than show any empathy, asked Adesina to pay another N1,000 for 'another reference letter to another client'. Looking at

himself with pity, Adesina wondered if all the stress, sweat and money he had expended to get the job had not gone down the drain just like that. Thinking the MD of the firm would have a change of mind and secure another job for him, Adesina kept bombarding the man with telephone calls. But on this particular day, the man sternly told Adesina to "stop disturbing him because of just N3,500." Ifeanyi Madubuike, a graduate of Sociology from the Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) had a similar experience. In his own case, he also wrote an exam, and was told he passed and requested to cough out N2,000 for a processing fee to the recruiting agency. But he was wiser. He never bothered to respond. Nwaduito Osuji was a bit luckier. The Federal Polytechnic, Idah graduate of Marketing had stumbled on a small newspaper advertisement requesting for the services of a marketing executive in an insurance brokerage firm. After scaling the rigorous process of writing an exam, in addition to an oral interview which she was told she did quite well, she

eventually got employed by the insurance firm. But there was a caveat: 15 per cent of her first three months salary would be deducted upfront for the agency that facilitated her employment. The unpalatable experiences of these three young unemployed has brought to the fore the activities of 'fake' recruiting firms that are exploiting the crippling unemployment situation in the country to fleece desperate young and old Nigerians of monies running into several millions of Nigeria. Like Adesina told The Nation, "on the day I went to JFC's office and signed the register after paying N3,500, I noticed that about 350 people had registered and paid the sum before me, while some others were on queue after me. So, you can imagine how much this 'fake' company would make on a single exercise." Several questions are begging for answers. One, is it right for an employment agency to demand for a fee from an applicant before he is offered employment in an

organization? Two, what is the rationale for the payment of a certain percentage of an employee's salary to an agency that facilitated the employment? Three, what should a prospective applicant look out for in a recruitment agency before putting his or her hope on such? Speaking to The Nation, a human resource consultant, Dr. Bolanle Adeseun, said the huge number of employed provides a ready market for the emergence of fake recruitment companies which take advantage of the situation to defraud people. Adeseun, who runs Edgewood Consulting, a human resource consultancy firm posited, "It is absolutely wrong for an agency to demand for a fee before providing job for an applicant. The usual practice is for recruiting firms to get consultancy fees from its client that is employing. Recruiting people into an organisation is a professional job that should be handled by people trained in that area. And that is why reputable companies contract such services to professionals." Adeseun also frowned at the collection of a percentage from the salary of an employee. She said, "If that is done due to a mutual consent between the agency and the applicant, then it (deduction of a percentage) may be deemed acceptable. But even at that, I believe any human resource firm worth its name would not engage in such practice." Dr, Jonathan Aremu, the Chief Executive Officer, Market Link, a human capital development company, described the activities of quack human resource consultants as "terrible". Aremu, who is a consultant to several multilateral organisations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO) to mention but a few added, "It is absurd for anyone to collect money from someone looking for a job. In almost all sectors in Nigeria, there are quacks. For me, the solution is for the government to put policies in place that would expand the capacity of the private sector to provide jobs. If there are jobs available, the activities of fake recruiting agencies would be reduced to the barest minimum." On a final note, Adeseun and Aremu advised young Nigerians seeking for employment to ask questions about the profile of a recruitment agency before doing business with such companies. Adeseun advised, "As an applicant, you are free to ask questions from the officials of an agency about their activities and record. If you are not convinced at the end, you are free to take a walk". Speaking in the same vein, a former Chairman and Chairman of Council, Nigeria Institute of Management, Chief Lugard Aimiuwu, said the challenge of unemployment in Nigeria, which he described as a 'human tragedy', has made the demand for recruitment services a booming business. In his words, "As a result, fake outfits are cashing in on the gaps existing to take a slice of the boom and sadly, they are aided by a porous justice system and the pervading scourge of corruption prevalent in our society." Speaking on whether there are laws guiding the practice of human resources consultancy in Nigeria, Aimiuwu, who is also the President and Chairman of Council, Nigeria Institute of Marketing of Nigeria responded, "The laws are in place, including the ones setting up relevant regulatory professional bodies.



News Review/World

Congo rebels complete Goma pullout military official says that the M23 rebels have left Congo's eastern provincial capital less than two weeks after they took the city of Goma. Ugandan Brig. Jeffrey Muheesi, who is part of a mission sent by regional leaders to oversee the rebel retreat, said Saturday the pullout from Goma was complete. He spoke from the outskirts of the city. Muheesi said government police were now controlling the bank, governor's office and the border post. M23 rebels, believed to be backed by Rwanda, took the capital of North Kivu on Nov. 20, after battling the Congolese army for nearly a day. They had defied two earlier ultimatums to leave the city, set by a group of nations bordering Congo. Trucks full of M23 soldiers started driving out of the city yesterday.


Islamists rally to support Egypt's president


ENS of thousands of Islamists waved Egyptian flags and hoisted portraits of President Mohammed Morsi in rallies nationwide yesterday to support his efforts to rush through a new draft constitution despite widespread opposition by secular activists and some in the judiciary. The demonstrations - the largest turnout of Morsi supporters since he came to office in June- were seen as a test of strength for Islamists seeking to counteract mass

opposition protests denouncing the president's decision to seize near absolute power and the fast-tracking of the draft charter by an Islamistled assembly ahead of a Constitutional Court decision on Sunday on whether to dissolve the panel. Morsi says he acted to prevent courts led by holdovers from Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime from delaying a transition to democracy. But his decision last week to put himself above judicial oversight has

plunged the country into turmoil and mobilized an increasingly cohesive opposition leadership of prominent liberal and secular politicians - a contrast to the leaderless youth uprising last year that toppled Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood organized yesterday's protests a day after the opposition in a bid to avoid conflict and violence after days of street skirmishes between protesters from both sides. "The people support the president's decision!" chanted crowds

Iran fires cyber police chief over blogger death


RAN'S police have fired the head of their cybercrimes unit over the case of a blogger who died while in police custody. The semi-official Fars news agency says yesterday that Gen. Kamal Hadianfar was fired due to "failure and lack of sufficient supervision over the performance of personnel under his command." Iran's judiciary confirmed last month that Sattar Beheshti died in police custody and that wounds were found on his body. According to Iranian officials, Beheshti was detained Oct. 30 for alleged "cybercrimes" and taken to Evin prison in north Tehran the next day. He was handed over to cyber police for interrogation the same day. Beheshti died Nov. 3.

Boycott-hit voting begins in Kuwait


ECURITY forces watched over polling stations yesterday as Kuwait held parliamentary elections that underscored the deepening divide between the ruling establishment and opposition groups staging a widespread boycott of the voting. The election is certain to bring a pro-government parliament after months of political upheavals in the strategic Gulf nation, a major oil producer and hub for U.S. ground forces as part of the Pentagon's military counterweight to Iran. But the election snub now leaves a broad range of opposition factions - ranging from hardline Islamists to Western-leaning liberals - outside the political process and raises the risks they could increasingly take their grievances to the streets. "I'm certain that the boycott will have an effect on the turnout," said Information Minister Mohammad al-Abdullah Al Sabah, a member of the ruling family. He appealed, however, for the opposition to confine their objections within the country's "legal framework." The anti-government groups have bitterly denounced a decree in October by Kuwait's emir to end an unusual balloting system that allowed four choices per voter.Critics claim the new onevote-per-person rule will make it easier for state authorities to potentially influence the outcome.

•Egyptian Islamists march from the province of Giza towards Cairo University on December 1, 2012, to take part in a rally in support of President Mohamed Morsi's new expanded powers and the drafting of a contested charter, in a clear show of Egypt's widening polarisation. AFP PHOTO

NKorea to launch long-range rocket


ORTH Korea announced yesterday that it would attempt to launch a longrange rocket in mid-December, a defiant move just eight months after a failed April bid was widely condemned as a violation of a U.N. ban against developing its nuclear and missile programs. The launch, set for Dec. 10 to 22, is likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul as the United States prepares for Barack Obama's second term as U.S. president and South Korea holds its own presidential election on Dec. 19. This would be North Korea's second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong Il's death nearly a year ago. The announcement by North Korea's space agency followed speculation overseas about stepped-up activity at North Korea's west coast launch pad captured in satellite imagery. A spokesman for North Korea's Korean Committee for Space Technology said scientists have "analyzed the mistakes" made in the failed April launch and improved the precision of its Unha rocket and Kwangmyongsong satellite, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. KCNA said the launch was a request of late leader Kim Jong Il, whose Dec. 17, 2011, death North Koreans are expected to mark with some fanfare. The space agency said the rocket would be mounted with a polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite, and maintained its right to develop a peaceful space program. Washington considers North Korea's rocket launches to be veiled covers for tests of technology for long-range missiles designed to strike the United States, and such tests are banned by the United Nations.

North Korea has capable shortand medium-range missiles, but long-range launches in 1998, 2006, 2009 and in April of this year ended in failure. North Korea is not known to have succeeded in mounting an atomic bomb on a missile but is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen bombs, according to U.S. experts, and in 2010 revealed a uranium enrichment program that could provide a second source of material for nuclear weapons. Six-nation negotiations on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for aid fell apart in early 2009. In Seoul, South Korean officials have accused North Korea of trying to influence its presidential election with what they consider provocations meant to put pressure on voters and on the United States as the North

seeks concessions. Conservative Park Geun-hye, the daughter of late President Park Chung-hee, is facing liberal Moon Jae-in in the South Korean presidential vote. Polls show the candidates in a close race. Some analysts, however, question whether North Korean scientists have corrected whatever caused the misfire of its last rocket. "Preparing for a launch less than a year after a failure calls into question whether the North could have analyzed and fixed whatever went wrong," David Wright, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organization's website this week. The United States has criticized North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as a threat to Asian and world security. In 2009, North Korea conducted rocket and nuclear tests within months of Obama taking office.

Hamas leader to visit Gaza


HE leader of Gaza's ruling Hamas group will visit the Palestinian territory for the first time, an official said yesterday, a sign of increasing boldness of the Islamic militant movement after it held its own against an Israeli military offensive. Khaled Mashaal is set to arrive in the Gaza Strip next week by crossing the border from Egypt to mark Hamas' 25th anniversary and congratulate its leaders and fighters for battling Israel during the recent eight-day offensive, according to a senior Hamas official in Gaza. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns. Mashaal previously had been prevented from crossing into Gaza by longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. But Mubarak was ousted in February 2011, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which has close ties to Hamas, has risen to power. Mashaal has led Hamas since 1996,

helping to build the Iranian-backed movement into a potent force. Under his leadership, Hamas carried out numerous suicide bombings and other attacks on buses, cafe's and other public places that killed hundreds of Israelis during a Palestinian uprising a decade ago. The group has been branded a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union. He also survived an Israeli assassination attack in Jordan 1997. Until recently, he was based in Syria but after civil war broke out there relocated to Qatar. Hamas overtook Gaza from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party in 2007. It has yet to reconcile with Fatah, which rules the West Bank. The announcement of Mashaal's Gaza visit comes after the United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem as a non-member observer state.

outside Cairo University, where tens of thousands had gathered by midday. They held posters that read "Yes to stability" and "Yes to Islamic law."Protests in other parts of Egypt were expected to also attract large crowds in the evening. The rallies were dubbed "Shariyya and Shariah," Arabic for "legitimacy and Islamic law." Members of the assembly, who wrote the charter and approved it in a 16-hour long voting session it just after dawn Friday, were expected to hand to Morsi the final draft later Saturday. The president is then expected to set a date for a nationwide referendum on the document, possibly in midDecember. The speeding of the constitutional draft through the assembly, despite a boycott by secular and Christians, was seen as an attempt to circumvent a legal challenge that threatened to dissolve the panel and delay the charter. The assembly, which worked on the draft for months, has been marred by dispute, with liberal, secular and Christian members quitting in protest of what they call the Islamists' hijacking of the process. The constitutional court ruled in June to dissolve parliament's Islamist-dominated lower chamber on grounds that the law governing the elections didn't provide equal opportunities for candidates, and it was ruling on the constitutional assembly on Sunday. It's not clear, though, what the standing of the court's ruling would be since Morsi granted himself near absolute powers last week that deemed his decisions above judicial oversight.

At least 32 killed in Congo plane crash cargo plane crashed into houses near Brazzaville Maya-Maya airport while attempting to land in a thunderstorm on Friday, killing at least 32 people, a Congolese Red Cross official said yesterday. "We have already pulled 32 bodies from the crash site, but there could be more victims," the official said, asking not to be named. The official said the dead included six crew members. The Soviet-made Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, operated by local carrier Trans Air Congo was travelling from Pointe-Noire, the commercial capital of the Central African state. It crashed into more than a dozen houses near the airport. Congo Republic, like its neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo and many countries in the region, has one of the world's poorest aviation safety records due to poor maintenance and the use of old planes banned from other skies.


Yemen arrests Al-Qaida leader


EMEN'S Interior Ministry says police have arrested an al-Qaida leader who is one of the country's most wanted fugitives. The ministry, in a statement late Friday, said Suleiman Hassan Mohammed Murshed Awad was arrested in Zinjibar, the capital of southern Abyan province, once an al-Qaida hotbed. It did not say when he was arrested. Awad, also known as Abu Osama al-Abi, was "one of the most dangerous criminal elements in alQaida who is involved in killing security men and joining others in terrorist attacks on foreign targets in Sanaa." Washington, which considers Yemen's al-Qaida branch the group's most dangerous offshoot, helped Yemeni troops with airpower and advisers last summer. The offensive drove al-Qaida militants out of southern cities, including Zinjibar.

News Review/World


Tragedy in the Congo, again! W

ESTERN governments and the business interests that influence them are again at their deceptive best. They massage Africa's ego by making grandiose proclamations like "this is the time of Africa." They claim Africa is experiencing such momentous improvement that it will soon become "one of the main fulcrums of global economic growth." Sadly, Black people are still reticent to define things, including their own economic conditions and goals, for themselves. In one of history's most sardonic quirks, Black people generally yearn to be legitimized by the very nations whose oppressive acts placed us in the closing vise. Upon hearing the fulsome statements the West tosses us, we have taken leave of our senses and dropped our guard. It is as if we have forgotten every bit of the wretched past. Not to learn from such a brusque history constitutes a tragedy beyond measure. Talk is cheap but reality is dearer and the kindest words can be spoken by the meanest tongue. Made giddy by the compliments of the flimflam man, the victim is unaware his pocket has been picked. Such is the plight of the hapless pedestrian. Such is the fate of the hapless nation. At the advent of each decade and almost every year for the past thirty years, western nations and the world organizations they dominate tell us this is the decade or year of Africa. They said it in 1990, in 2000, and 2010. They said it in 2012. They are preparing to echo the theme on the eve of the new year. Each time they said this, we danced the fool's dance. Each time they said it, we believed them. Each time, they have been wrong. Or have they? From their perspective, their prognosis has been salubrious. It has served their interests. Africa continued to act as the western powers wanted of her. If a few inflated words are the costs to pay for maintaining unfair leverage over the continent and for Africa's complicity in her own underdevelopment, it is a meager price indeed. Massively benefitting from this exchange, the West looks to perpetuate this form of uneven barter: they get your valuables, you get their words. In telling Africa that she is doing fine and having her believe the fiction, the West seeks to keep Africa doing what most advances western interests. As such, the attention the West gives Africa is the attention the farmer gives the turkey on the recently concluded American holiday, Thanksgiving. The bird mistakes the attention bestowed on him as a sign of affection. Instead, the farmer is merely preparing the creature for a plucking. For example, take how the multilateral organizations miraculously expanded the African middle class overnight. Several months ago, hundreds of millions of people went to bed poor and woke up middle class. This economic miracle was accomplished with the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen. The world simply decided to redefine the continent's middle class as those Africans living on two or more dollars a day. Presto, change-o! The real crisis of a dwindling African middle class was resolved. The magical creation of this huge middle class is now touted as evidence that conservative economics has done wonders for Africa and in mitigating her poverty. This move so cheapens the truth that it should be considered a lie. Ask the entrants into the newly defined middle class if they feel as such. Not one in ten thousand would nod affirmatively. Most would toss a rotting tomato at you if only they could afford to depart with the item. That the bulk of African people are beneficiaries of a widening prosperity is a fiction of rigged statistics. International Financial Institutions can teach INEC a thing or two about cooking the books. The facts may speak for themselves; figures speak for those who write them. So it is best to look at the facts then ask if they herald a continental renaissance. Egypt and Libya, two of the largest economies of the Maghreb, remain depressed. Egypt is roiled in political confusion. Libya is a free-for-all of armed gangs and militias. The Horn of Africa

•A wise man becomes uneasy when his enemies proclaim he is besting them

•Jeeps full of M23 rebels drive towards the town of Sake having withdrawn from the hills around Mushaki and Karuba in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 30, 2012. AFP PHOTO


plays a cacophony of strife and poverty. Somalia remains Somalia, a dungeon of a nation. Eritrea and Ethiopia wait to lunge at each other's throats. Sudan stands as the last stop on the road to utter deprivation. South Sudan is experiencing the growth pangs of a child left orphaned in a deadly neighborhood. West Africa's gift for supporting Western-sponsored regime change and aerial bombardment in Libya is the potential fracture of Mali, a nation twice the size of the state of Texas. Already, Malian real estate under separatist control is bigger than France. Under pressure from Western powers, ECOWAS will dispatch a meager deployment of 3200 soldiers to this large patch of Sahelian desolation. To think such a small force can snuff out bands of an undetermined number of Tauregs on their home turf is a leap a faith defying the normal parameters of national security/foreign policy calculations. Cote d'Ivoire, once West Africa's second largest economy, remains an inert shell of its once vibrant self. Meanwhile, every day South Africa does not reform a grossly unbalanced economy, is a day closer to an encounter that may turn that rainbow nation into a panorama of poverty-fueled racial conflagration. Yet Africa's greatest tragedy lies at the continent's geographic heart: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DROC). The nation spans an area larger than Western Europe. If properly harnessed, the hydroelectric power of the Congo River could light a large portion of subSaharan Africa. Its population exceeds 70 million, making it the fourth most populous African nation. It may be the most mineral rich nation on the planet. If Nigeria is the Giant of Africa, DROC, at minimum, is a very tall man. Yet, its people exist as if encamped adjacent to the Gates of Hell. If figures are to be taken at face value, the per capita GDP is one of the world's ten lowest. This is no surprise. The people of this land have suffered some of the most in-

humane rule in man's long history of abuse of his brother. From when the African Congo Free State was the personal property of arch-racist Leopold II of Belgium until now, the people have suffered every form of ignominy. They have experiences but one brief ray of hope. The nationalist Patrice Lumumba was elected prime minister at independence. This was the Congo's best hope. If things continue as they are, it will be known as its last as well. However, Lumumba was too naĂŻve and optimistic for his own good. He never guessed the western democracies would stoop to such depths to smash his nationalist dreams. Despite what they had done, he held no malice. He just wanted the freedom to choose his own way in the world. But that is not the way of the world. The West had other plans that he did not foresee. By the time he realized it, he was being carted off for his date with the executioner. Congo's independence had been poisoned by a lethal cocktail of international intrigue and the skullduggery of rival domestic politicians eager to arrogate to themselves the power Lumumba was given by the people. With the complicit of the UN and western intelligence operatives, the duly elected leader of the people was secreted into the bush by ruffian soldiers and killed in that angry, slapdash manner exhibited by juvenile delinquents torturing a purloined fowl. If the land had a guardian angel, he departed at the sight of this butchery. The country has been in the hands of evil ever since. Against this backdrop, the recent incursion of the Tutsi rebel group M23 into the strategic city of Goma in the northeastern part of the country is of little surprise. The rebels threatened to march to Kinshasa and depose the President Kabila. The DROC army was powerless to stop the well-armed rebels. The UN peacekeeping force proved to be not much better in defending their Goma headquarters from the rebel advance.

While the rebels' publicized grouse with Kabila centered on prosaic issues of pay and integration into the Congolese army, something larger, more sinister was at play. DROC's northeastern part is replete with rare earth minerals. It holds the majority of the worlds' cobalt and coltan, the latter essential to the manufacture of electrical equipment from cell phones, computers to aircraft. Without coltan, the modern economy could not exist. If DROC actually controlled its land, it would be as influential an actor in the world economy as the most important petroleum producers. However, significant mining occurs beyond the regulation of Kinshasa. The government with greater influence in the contested area is Kigali (Rwanda). However, the Kigali regime does not help Kinshasa maintain control of its keep. Aided and abetted by Kigali and, to a lesser extent, Kampala (Uganda), foreign companies work the mines, exploit the rural populations, and snub their noses at distant Kinshasa. The mining companies handsomely pay the governments in Kigali and Kampala for encroaching against their neighbor. Whether out of national purpose or selfish design, DROC President Kabila wanted end the peculation and foraging in his backyard. He took tentative steps toward renegotiating several mining contracts and reasserting government control of the valuable land space. This is where the real trouble began. This is the reason driving the irruption of M23. Logic dictates M23 could not be so well equipped and motivated without a dollop of money and materiel from foreign sources. It makes little sense to believe renegade deserters from an illequipped national army could become a strong force solely by their own device. The M23 may be pursuing their own aims. But they can only do so by first pursuing the objectives of those who finance them. M23 is hired help. Befitting its checkered history in the Congo, the UN has been on the wrong, but more powerful side of things. A group of objective UN mid-level officers drafted a report concluding the Rwandan government was suborning M23. At the behest of the US's UN Permanent Representative, the UN hierarchy suppressed the report. Proposed Security Council motions to censure Rwanda and Uganda for abetting the M23 rebellion have likewise been filibustered by the US Perm Rep. While the young Kabila may not be the sparkling figure in the spirit of Lumumba, he and his country are again the victims of an


international and regional gang-up astonishing in its lawless disregard for human suffering. In the Congo, the bad chapters of history frequently repeat themselves. The good ones cannot reappear because they have yet to be written. The recent DROC crisis represents a confluence of inimical regional and western interests. As in colonial times, an African elite joined league with prurient western economic interests to pin down Africans of other ethnic groups. M23 is Tutsi-led. Rwanda's leader is Tutsi. Uganda's leader is Banyankole, a pastoral tribe allied to the similarly pastoral Tutsi. To further seal the informal confederation, Ugandan President Musuveni has a Tutsi grandparent; his government relies heavily on Rwandan Tutsi immigrants settled in Uganda. During the long history of this region, Tutsi have cruelly punished other tribes. Other tribes have punished them. The Rwandan genocide was ghastly by any standard, the worst since the WW II holocaust. Such an event redefines the worldview of a people. They become hyper-sensitive to danger. Their leaders grow offensive minded, believing the best way to avoid another slaughter is to attack first. Sadly, there also is a strain among the Tutsi elite that sees itself superior to other ethnic groups around them. This segment of Tutsi leadership wants to dominate the landscape especially the rich parts of it. To achieve this end, they have no qualms teaming with foreign powers. They believe they have more in common with the distant powers than with nearby Africans of a different ethnic affiliation. Western powers are more than willing to buttress this squalid game. A subset of Western leadership feels guilt and shame for having watched as Rwandan Tutsi were slaughtered in the streets and in their homes. These Westerners now put the Tutsis in the geopolitical role of the Jews of Africa. Rwanda is the African Israel. Consequently, whatever the Rwandan regime does is seen as proper or, at least, excusable. Because of their prior idle complicity in genocide, they feel prohibited from condemning Rwanda's actions. Moreover, there is a material silver lining to this nearly blind support of Rwanda and Uganda. Both nations are friendly to Western business interests. They will help Western business fight China in the 21st century scramble for Africa's resources. In the end, too many Africans suffer. Since 1996, DROC has lost roughly five million people to war and the squalor attendant to war. Despite the reports that Uganda has brokered an agreement whereby M23 agreed to depart Goma, nothing enduring has been taken place. Still backed by Rwanda and Uganda, M23 still controls the territory around the mines. The writ of the flawed, but legitimate government remains nonexistent in strategic areas. Mining companies will still enjoy a virtual free license to exploit the mineral wealth and the local labor in ways that decency would find abhorrent. Yet, people say Africa is flourishing. Africa cannot flourish when the nation at its heart is the victim of chronic seizures. The history of continents is determined by their larger states. Switzerland is an affluent state but rarely has it been the engine of European history. Germany, France and England hold that distinction. The big three of sub-Saharan Africa are Nigeria, South Africa and DROC. Nigeria is holding serve but has momentous internal security challenges. South Africa slowly unravels. DROC has tripped into the abyss. Without these nations running full throttle, we cannot talk of an African economic revival. To speak of such a thing would be an act of deception intended to make Africa believe the sensation it feels is one of forward progress. Believing that sufficient progress is being made, we will not push for a resolution of DROC's perpetual crisis and other troubles on the continent. This is the aim of those who want Africa to remain a mere warehouse of natural resources for the outside world. They hope that we busy ourselves singing and dancing to their tune as they empty the continent's inventory. Thus far, they are getting what they want. The music plays on. 08060340825 (SMS only)





Fear and paralysis in high places Festus Eriye

Government’s paralysis in the face of relentless terrorist attacks and the ease with which gunmen violate the nation’s capital are no longer laughing matters


SMELL fear in high places. In the aftermath of the deadly attack on a church at the Command and Staff College, Jaji last Sunday, and an invasion by gunmen next day of the Abuja headquarters of the Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS), legislators at the National Assembly have been debating Nigeria’s security crisis. In the course of the animated discussions, a member, Raphael Nnanna, fretting about the ability of relevant agencies to solve the problem, warned that if gunmen could operate on the premises of security agents and stroll away leisurely, they could also invade the National Assembly. “I see these people coming to the National Assembly very soon,” he prophesied. Nnanna’s comment, and the tangible sense of trepidation that pervaded the debate last week is evidence that in today’s Nigeria there’s no safe place. Neither high walls nor the length of your convoy is guarantee of safety for the high and mighty. The recent attacks equally focus our minds on the fact that very little can be done to stop a mad man or woman bent on mass murder. Assassins and terrorists may not have the ability to hold territory, but they possess the means to make nonsense of our conventional security arrangements. The element of surprise is often always in their favour. They can even insinuate themselves into the security apparatus that leaders surround themselves with. The late Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was killed by the Sikh bodyguards in her entourage. Former Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat, met a bloody end on a parade ground in Cairo when a soldier broke away and turned his firearm on his leader. We may not be able to catch every killer on a mission to wreak havoc, but nations have managed to put in place systems that reduce these incidents of terror and other strains of violent crime to manageable levels. Nigeria cannot be an exception. The worry for us is that we’re no longer talking about isolated cases in deserted outposts. We are dealing with a situation where terrorists are perpetrating their evil in places we would ordinarily consider to be safe havens or fortresses. Imagine this shortlist of high profile locations attacked over the last 18 months. The Command and Staff College, Jaji, Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS) headquarters, Abuja, Louis Edet House – headquarters of the Nigeria Police and seat of the Inspector-General of Police, Eagle Square, Abuja, ‘Mammy Market’ at the Nigerian Army’s Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja to mention a few. What is significant about this list is that it contains locations that can be classified as high security facilities. If those to secure them cannot defend these establishments from being violated, how do we put our faith in the promises of our president that they will defend us in our locations with lower security prioritisation? Earlier this year, Boko Haram in one of their statements warned that they would be attack-

• Scene of bomb blast at Jaji Barracks in Kaduna

ing public buildings. Of course, invading police stations all over the North East is their favourite pastime. It is therefore amazing that despite these repeated invasions security agencies did not sense that any of their facilities could be attacked at any moment and fortified them. The Police statement after the SARS Abuja attack spoke proudly of how they responded to the assault. But then, security must have been considerably lax for the gunmen to have operated for as long as they did in the very heart of the facility – so much so that they had enough time to free 30 high profile suspects. The mirth-inducing statement then informs us with fanfare that the Inspector-General of Police, M.D. Abubakar, has ordered security to be beefed up across the country. Really! Does it require a special edict for protection to be provided at police stations and other facilities holding high profile criminal suspects? I am not an expert: but if the so-called security gurus are falling down on the job, laymen like us can sneak into the cracks and venture an opinion. If we are to make any significant progress in addressing the current problem of insecurity, there has to be an urgent mindset reset in government circles. Dialogue could be a cheap and reasonable way out if there is evidence that a serious interlocutor exists across the divide. So far no such evidence has been provided. The so-called offer of dialogue supposedly made by the sect has since turned out to be a hoax. The signal which people who want to talk send out is reduction of attacks not ratcheting them up. Even worse, the supposed peacemakers have refused to name those who will be doing the talking on their side. The whole thing looks like a red herring floated to give the beleaguered group time to regroup and gain second wind. Typically, a government that’s in a hurry to please swallowed it hook, line and sinker. We have to admit that we’re in a war. It is a shooting, bombing war in which people are being killed and property destroyed. It may

“Attacks such as the one on the SARS headquarters are beyond embarrassing: they project a picture of chaos and incompetence. Even if government cannot protect any other place, Abuja ought to be our fortress. A government that cannot secure its seat cannot claim to be in control”

not be conventional warfare but it produces the same deadly result. To prevail in any war against a dangerous and unpredictable foe, you must fight to win no pussyfooting, no half-measures. Ever since the Gulf War the US has been executing a military doctrine emphasising use of overwhelming force in all theatres of war it has ventured into. For too long government strategy appears to have been driven by the wooly thinking that we shouldn’t wage war against our own citizens. Well, reality check! All that such naïve thinking has produced in the last few years are thousands of dead bodies murdered by fellow ‘citizens’. It was this sort of wishy-washy approach that led President Goodluck Jonathan to impose a so-called ‘state of emergency’ on 16 local government areas in January. After six months of ineffectiveness he quietly let the measure lapse. But the failure of emergency rule in the areas concerned was entirely the fault of the government. For the measure to have worked it should have been more comprehensive. There should have been more boots on the ground. The declaration should also have covered entire states – not piecemeal local councils. The upshot would have been the creation of a security quarantine that isolates the terrorists in one corner of the country and allows the military to pressure and hunt them down with minimum restraint. As it turned out, Jonathan’s half-hearted emergency simply allowed the killers to evade capture by moving from the designated councils to unaffected ones in the same state. Emergency rule done properly is inconvenient, impinges on liberties and will draw howls of protest. But we have to decide whether we want to save lives or play nice. The government is nowhere near winning the shooting war, and it’s slowly losing the psychological war. It must quickly regain the initiative. Boko Haram have shown that not only have they the capability to strike at will, they can do so at the heart of the nation’s military cum political establishment. This they have conveyed to a watching nation through brutal action, not spin. To combat this impression, government has to show that it can create safe areas that are free from terrorist infestation. Of particular importance is the nation’s capital. Attacks such as the one on the SARS headquarters are beyond embarrassing: they project a picture of chaos and incompetence. Even if government cannot protect any other place, Abuja ought to be our fortress. A government that cannot secure its seat cannot claim to be in control.

Haba Sanusi By Joshua Abu


ESPAIR, despondency and utter bewilderment is the lot of many Nigerians over Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CBN Governor’s statement on the layoff of 50-70% of civil/public servants. It is very embarrassing and intimidating that such a statement should come from the governor of the apex bank. He went further to castigate Mr. President and called for the drastic reduction of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives and further called for the abolition of local government councils in Nigeria. Without mincing words, I think it is crystal clear that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has failed this country as CBN governor. He established Islamic banking without approval of the relevant authorities. I suggest that he should be quickly called to order and if necessary relieved of his post because it is not for the interest of the nation. Sanusi should go and face his traditional stool in Kano State. The federal government should put him in check without delay. The civil service is the engine room of any democratic structure. What the presidency should do for the civil/public servants to enable them continue to play their roles administratively as advisers with experienced hands is to increase service years for all staffers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from 35years to 40-years. This is so because when retirement age was increased in 1979 from 55years to 60 years, service years was increased from 30 years to 35 years. It is therefore not appropriate to increase only age in some sectors of the economy to 65years, Sanusi’s personal view notwithstanding, retirement age and service years should be 40 years of service or 65 years of age whichever comes first. This will enable the public service to retain experienced public officials. Mr. Sanusi should take it easy. His people have benefitted immensely through the federal character principle as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The federal character principle is being abused in Nigeria, whereas in the United States of America it is for the best brains. Mr. Sanusi, enough is more than enough according to Professor Tam David-West. As a matter of urgency you should return to your traditional stool in Kano and exhibit intelligence and professionalism at that level. Abu is a freelance journalist based in Benin, Edo State.




Comment & Analysis

HE on-going constitutional review process across the country has once again offered the Lagos State Government the platform to reiterate its quest for a special status for the state. At a recent South-west public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Senate President, David Mark, supported Governor Babatunde Fashola’s call for a special status for Lagos metropolis being a former capital city. Amongst the 36 items listed for deliberation, demand that Lagos be accorded a special status got a senatorial endorsement at the public session, which almost all the South-west federal and state lawmakers attended. The endorsement was contained in Mark’s opening remark, who contended that former capitals “are normally accorded special status the world over”. Mark’s public acknowledgement justified a course that the Lagos Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and several prominent Lagosians had aggressively pursued even before the first review of the constitution. Lagos is presently experiencing such phenomenal population explosion that it is being projected to be the 3rd largest megacity in the world by 2015. Many are of the view that despite the 10 million figure declared by the National Population Commission in the last census exercise, the city’s best possible population is 40 million. Whereas the annual population growth in the developing world is 3% and Nigeria’s is 2.7% that of Lagos stands at a stunning 8% and is likely to accelerate. The state’s landmass is rather small by Nigerian standard (Kano State which officially has about the same population is about four times in landmass). As if to aggravate the situation, a considerable part of the metropolis is covered by water, a situation that complicates its infrastructural needs. The Lagos transformation project requires an enormous financial requirement, far beyond the capacity of the state government. Governor Fashola recently revealed that a sum of N6.14 trillion naira is needed to build and upgrade infrastructural facilities in the state in the next 15 years! This, then, is the significance of the call for the state to be accorded a special status by the federal government. Lagos, with over 128,000 workers (representing various ethnic groups) in its employment, apart from the Federal Government, re-

Still on special status for Lagos By Tayo Ogunbiyi

mains the greatest employer of labour in the country. Ironically, many of the states in the country with lesser population and infrastructural needs receive same monthly federal allocation as Lagos. The special position of Lagos as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, and indeed West Africa, has its peculiar infrastructural challenges. Its sheer human density driven by an increasing population due to endless survival and economic driven immigration, its ports and waterways, its border with Benin Republic, its high concentration of banks, industries, companies, and other commercial enterprises makes it a very complex state to govern. Being the pane through which the whole world views the country, granting a special status to Lagos remains the best possible way to drive Nigeria’s development as Lagos is the country’s most industrialized city with needs that align with its growth. No nation grows by treating the needs of its golden geese with discomfiture since the future growth of the country’s economy is tied to the development of Lagos which hosts over 85 per cent of Nigeria’s industrial hub, over 65 per cent of its financial nucleus and over 75 per cent of its active workforce. With each day, the population and needs of Lagos continue to increase to reflect this important role. As the economic capital of Nigeria, Lagos has been the first port of call for eager millions of youths from all parts of the country who long for means of survival from the uncertainties of a struggling economy like ours. Presently, it is obvious that the monthly allocation it receives from the Federation Account as well as its internally generated revenue is not enough to meet the developmental needs of the state. Regrettably, the federal government’s inability to discharge its infrastructural responsibilities to Lagos, over the years, has further worsened the situation. The National Assembly Complex at Tafawa Balewa Square, the National Stadium, Surulere, the Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi and the Apapa- Oshodi Expressway, to mention just

a few, laid credence to this. When the FCT was moved from Lagos to Abuja, there was a subsisting agreement that the city would not be abandoned. Indeed, the Late General Murtala Mohammed acknowledged the onerous nature of the responsibility of leaving Lagos alone to deal with the burden of infrastructure the FG were leaving behind then, bearing in mind that if Lagos hadn’t been the federal capital, it probably would not have been having these problems. In fact, five cities; Enugu, Port-Harcourt, Ibadan, Kaduna and Lagos were later designated as ‘Centres of Excellence’ by the Murtala Administration as part of a plan to make them cities of pride by the federal government. However, successive federal governments have refused to take a cue from countries which relocated their national capitals without abandoning infrastructural development of the former capitals. It is now time for Nigeria to imitate Germany, Brazil, Malaysia, Australia and Tanzania, which, after relocating their capitals, did not hold back developmental programmes targeted at the former capitals. From 1954 to 1994, the capital of Germany was Bonn. It was moved to Berlin, following the endorsement of the ‘agreement of movement’ which spelt out the responsibilities of German government for the maintenance of the old capital and which it has been meeting conscientiously. Also, Brazil moved its capital from Rio-de janeiro to Brasilia. Till date, all federal roads, buildings and other infrastructure in both cities are maintained simultaneously by the central government. Malaysia has also maintained two capitals. Its old capital, Kaura-Lampur, has been retained as the legislative capital, where the National Assembly operates. Its new capital, Putrajaya, which is the most computerized city in the world, is the administrative capital. In Australia, the old capital, Sidney, still enjoys special recognition. Although Campera is the new capital, most activities of government, international conferences, party conventions and meetings still hold in the former capital city.

The former capital of Tanzania is Dar-es-Salam. When Dodoma became the new capital, the old capital did not suffer neglect. The federal government should take cue from these examples by according Lagos a deserving special status. Lagos State government, in the last twelve years, has invested a huge amount of money on infrastructural development, especially construction of drainages, durable roads, beautification and restoration of parks to forestall the negative impact of flooding, erosion and other environmental hazards. However, these efforts are not enough for obvious reasons. Today, Lagos does about 9,000 metric tons of refuse daily, more than what the whole of Ghana is generating. The branch networks that some banks have in Lagos outstrip what they have in the whole country. A recent study reveals that over twenty five thousand people from across the world move into Lagos for various reasons on a daily basis. The number of heavy duty trucks and other vehicles that ply Lagos roads on a daily basis is quite alarming. Same goes for the number of pupils in its public schools as well as those that daily visit its hospitals. Consequently, the state spends more on infrastructural upgrading and provision of other basic life necessities than any state in the country. The need to accord a special status for Lagos is a non-political project. There is hardly any Nigerian that doesn’t have a stake in Lagos. An investment in Lagos is, therefore, a necessary blueprint for the development of the country since Lagos remains the window through which the world sees Nigeria. Any investment in Lagos is an investment in the future of Corporate Nigeria. It is an investment that protects and supports Nigeria’s capacity to earn more resources, support more businesses, expand businesses and address several other developmental challenges bedeviling the country. It is a right course. It is the right thing to do! Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja


Comment & Analysis


Declaration of assets We need judicial intervention to know what the law says


HE Code of Conduct Bureau’s (CCB) recalcitrance to requests for public release of the assets declaration form filed and submitted to it by President Goodluck Jonathan is curious. The bureau is superfluously claiming protection under the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Sam Saba, CCB chairman, during his recent ministerial press briefing disclosed that despite demands for the President’s document by several civil society organisations, relying on provisions of the Freedom of Information, FOI Act, the bureau “… cannot do that.” In Saba’s opinion, the FOI Act conflicts with the nation’s grundnorm regarding the issue of public disclosure/release of submitted assets declaration forms of politically exposed persons, the president inclusive. He wants the National Assembly to enact an Act prescribing the terms and conditions under which the bureau could make assets declared by public officers available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria as provided for in Section 3(c) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The provision of section 3(c) relied upon by the bureau empowers it to;”retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.” The same Constitution under the Fifth Schedule, Part 1, makes it mandatory for specified categories of elected and appointed public officers to declare their assets to the CCB. Obviously, the CCB leadership, in its bid to avoid stepping on powerful toes grossly displayed naivety of constitutionalism and its operation. Rather than aid its position of not wanting to release to the public, the president’s assets declaration form, its quoted section exposed the lack of rigour in the legal reasoning process that is at the bureau’s disposal.


CONCEDE to the laconic axiom of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, which holds that “Our life begins to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Ipso facto, it matters to me on this day to publicly condemn in strong terms the lugubrious transmogrification of places of worship into a theatre of ‘war without end’ in some part of the country. As at today, despicable people behaving like monstrous ogres have invaded places of worship like the biblical thief in the night to kill, steal and destroy with apparatus of war transmuting birth certificates into death certificates. These ‘evilitarian’ icons of doom with unquenchable appetite for innocent blood kill in the name of God. Oh what a pity! The God I know cannot send any man to kill his brothers and sisters in His name, because He told us in His Word that “we should be our brother’s keepers.” Then why kill those He asked you to keep? Those who kill in the name of God are victims of ‘theomania’ and a place called ‘Hell’ awaits them all. I hold that religion can be a bridge of unity if hu-

The section stipulates that the CCB can release assets declaration forms to the public on such ‘terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe’. As far as we are concerned, such terms and conditions need not be incorporated in the constitution. It suffices if they are enshrined in other Acts duly passed by the national law-making body. In practice, provisions of the constitution are given legal impetus through various statutes and Acts that have passed through the rigours of the law-making process. The FoI Act is one of such Acts of the National Assembly that give effect to constitutional efficacy in the system. The questions to ask are: Did the group asking for release of the president’s assets declaration form meet the conditions and requirements spelt out by provisions of the FoI Act? If yes, which other imaginary demand does the bureau want the national legislature to come up with before the president’s assets could be released for public consumption? Unfortunately, the bureau believes the greatest challenges facing it include unwillingness of the public to provide it with critical information by way


•Editor Festus Eriye •Deputy Editor Olayinka Oyegbile •Associate Editors Taiwo Ogundipe Sam Egburonu

•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi


of petitions, whistle-blowing, as well as the problems of inadequate funding and manpower. Again, even if the public avails it of desirable information, especially on the president or his deputy, it is obvious that the bureau would still not act dutifully as expected. In view of its current stance on the issue of the president’s assets declaration form, public’s confidence in it is fast eroding. During a session on Governance, Transparency and Integrity at a recent Nigeria-US Bi-national Commission (BNC) meeting in Washington, the thrust was on how to help restore accountability and probity among Nigeria’s public officers. Maria Otero, US under Secretary, who represented Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, at the forum enjoined the Nigerian delegation, including Abdullahi Yola, the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Ibrahim Lamorde, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to tell its government to handle with seriousness, public declaration of assets by elected and senior public officers. But the contrary is what the CCB is promoting. The nation must strive to develop a culture of respect for its laws and not for the powerful or government agencies to give scandalous interpretations to those laws as the CCB is doing. The current trend whereby elected and senior public officers with CCB’s connivance treat assets declaration as top secret, even with the passage of the FoI Act is bad. With the obstinate stand of the CCB on the matter, we call on the groups demanding for release of the president’s assets declaration form to approach the court for judicial interpretation of the combined effects of the relevant provisions of both the Constitution and the FOI Act. We do not see the sense in assets declaration shrouded in secrecy.

Worship places as theatres of war manity realise that there is none but one God even though we worship him in different ways. Therefore, we must allow our fellow man to practice his religion so long as it does not breach public peace and security. The ongoing ‘luciferian’ act of killing in places of worship has made children orphans, women widows, men widowers, brother and


UE to the challenges Nigeria is passing through in terms of unrighteousness among its rank and file, widespread corruption from the leaders to the followers, insecurity, immorality, organised mass killings motivated by religious, economic, political and ethnic hatred, bombing, mass poverty, electoral fraud, violent crimes, kidnapping, financial fraud, human and drug trafficking, cultism, and greed . I want to state prophetically that Nigeria needs revival courtesy of the religious leaders in the

sisters incapacitated with irredeemable disability, while others die in pieces like victims of canes-venatici (i.e hunting dogs). Oh, what a painful way to die! I wish to urge those who kill in the name of God to lay down their weapons and adopt the creed of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which states that “non-violence is a powerful weapon.

It is a weapon unique in history which cut without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heal” in their strategy to express their grievances. I call on Nigerians to key into the fight against terror by giving security agencies timely and impeccable information about criminal element in our

community. I appeal to the federal government to bury the recent Amnesty International report in the dust bin. Oh yes! That is the best place for such a report because it fails to align itself with the words of Abraham Lincoln which state that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves and

under a just God can’t retain it.” Consequently, we must intensify effort to flush out perpetrators and sponsors of violence in any way we consider fit. So that peace can return to our land. God bless Nigeria, may Allah protect us. By Ehis G. O. Ubiaja, Edo State.

Nigeria needs a revival now country especially in a time like this when everything seemed to be fighting against the peace and progress of the nation. The revival in Nigeria will put to shame the devil and his agents that have united more than ever to wage war against Nigerians and break-up the country (God forbid). The revival will liberate and revive Nigerians from the shackles of the wicked and make Nigerians submit to God (Isaiah 66 : 3 ). God has heard the cry of His people in Nigeria

and the revival will make the enemies of the country to submit by freeing them from all sins and unrighteousness. As this is also a time for Nigerians to seek the face of God, so that God can restore back peace and bless the country. Through the revival and by the greatness of God’s power, all the enemies will submit, according to the book of Isaiah 59 : 19. Nigerians need to toe the path to genuine repentance, trust and fear of God. So that with our prayers to-

gether, Nigeria shall overcome her problems and rise again, as God will deal with the ‘Pharaohs’ and ‘Egyptians’ of our nation. Most Nigerians tend to limit the power of God because they do not know or understand the efficacy of God’s power, such that there is lack of knowledge, as recorded in Hosea 4 : 6 – “My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge” For of all – sorts – of, most people go on to exalt the power of Satan and his

agents more than God, because they are ignorant of God’s power. They cherish human beings and worship lesser gods and disobey God. If we know that, what God cannot do, then, no man or woman can do, hence, we should all submit to the will of God and trust Him. By Prophet OIadipupo Funmilade-Joel The Way of Reconciliation Evangelistic Ministries (TWOREM) Int’l, Lagos.



Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni


FEW months ago, the current Inspector-General of Police did what most Nigerians had considered impossible. He put an end to police roadblocks across the country. At the beginning, most Nigerians did not believe he would have the courage to keep toll-collecting police officers off the highways and intra-city roads. But as soon as it became clear that the no-nonsense IG was ready to fire road-blocking police officers, Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief and praised the IG for his braveness. A few months after this micro revolution, citizens are back to harassment by new groups of uniformed men on highways and city roads. Members of the Federal Road Safety Commission appear to have succeeded members of the Nigerian Police Force on road-side duties. FRSC red-capped men and women are now as ubiquitous on all roads between towns as the federal police withdrawn from the road a few months ago. Just like the police before them, FRSC officers stop moving vehicles on the highway and on streets within towns that are clearly not federal roads. Like the NPF men and women, FRSC officers dutifully ask for driver’s li-

Femi Orebe femi.orebe 08056504626 (sms only)



Comment & Analysis

LTHOUGH corruption has since become analogous to a directive principle of state policy in Nigeria, it is a self-evident truth that President Goodluck Jonathan did not introduce it to the country. It is also untrue, whatever he might have done in that wise, that IBB socialized corruption in the country. It is my view that the honour belongs to the late Major-General Yar’ Adua who, from his Katsina redoubt, but operating principally from Lagos, corrupted the political process by sending huge sums of money as political expenses towards his presidential ambition in the early ‘90’s whereas the practice before then was for party members, of all classes, to make monthly contributions for party funding. In the Awo days, nothing made an Action Group party member, more proud than showing his party monthly contribution card. At that point in Nigerian history, members truly owned their political parties. I am not making this allegation lightly as I was personally present, in ‘91/92, when a former Secretary to the government of Nigeria handed a Ghana Must Go bag to the late university Professor who took us there for purposes of going to register members into the late General’s party in Ondo state. And that, I reliably learnt, was by no means a lone event. The other person present, a Lawyer, can confirm that, because that party was different from Papa Ajasin’s PSP group to which I belonged, I did not even as much as permit myself to be present wherever it was, that bag was opened. I excused myself. What is true, however, is that under the current presidency, corruption has multiplied a hundred fold largely because of President Jonathan’s audacity in defying PDP’s zoning policy in

New road-side policing? Citizens need to be properly educated about the role of FRSC and VIO censes, vehicle registration, insurance papers, fire extinguishers, etc. They even stop and delay drivers whose tail lights are out. I rode with a brother recently. He was flagged down on the Lagos-Ibadan highway around noon. After producing every document requested of him by the FRSC men, he was told that the passenger-side rear light “was not working.” My brother responded that this must have just happened and that he would fix it in Ibadan. I expected the FRSC men to give him a warning, but they quickly handed my brother a N2000 ticket, asking him to turn in his driver’s license. Of course, several mini-buses that were stopped did not experience much delay. They were quick to stretch their hands to the men in red caps. My brother blamed me for refusing to sit at the back. He was right; all the cars with one or two persons at the back were ignored by the officers. I quickly learnt my lesson and chose to sit at the back (at the so-called owner’s corner) on our way back. On our way back from Ibadan the same day, we saw a new set of road policemen. These were Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO). Like the FRSC officers we saw in the morning, they too were there to ensure safety on the road. Five or

so buses were stopped in front of us. Even though we were not flagged down, I got down out of curiosity to ask one of the bus drivers what the problem was. The VIOs were asking commercial bus drivers the same set of questions that we were asked in the morning by FRSC officers. One of the officers came to ask me for my identity and why I had stopped without being asked to do so. I told him I just wanted to know what they were doing on the highway. He told me with a stern look, “doing our job and please do not block the traffic sir.” Even on Ikeja roads, FRSC and VIO are competing for attention or business. It is not uncommon to come across these men and women within half a mile on the same road on the same day in Ikeja, particularly on Olowopopo Avenue and Agidingbi Road. As if the FRSC and VIO are not enough menace on the roads, men of the Nigerian Customs are also stopping moving vehicles on Funsho Williams Avenue, Ibadan-Ife and Sagamu-Ore roads, to name a few. In their own case, Customs men claim to be searching for smuggled goods. They ask drivers to produce their customs papers, even when the vehicles carry proper registration docu-

ments. One Customs officer even accused me between Araromi-Obu and J-4 of driving a car that must have been undervalued, saying “the amount paid on the car was rather small.” I assured the officer that I bought the car in Nigeria from someone who had used it in the country for more than two years before I bought it. I was luckier than other road users. The chubby customs officer released my papers. One point arising from the replacement of NPF with FRSC, VIO, and NC men on the roads is the increasing harassment of citizens, particularly commercial drivers. It does not make sense to save road users from the menace of one armed force and put them in the jaws of men and women of three other forces. There must be better ways for Customs men to prevent smuggled goods from entering the country. This is why there are ports of entry into the country. Customs officers checking for smuggled goods outside the airport or in places that have no borders with other countries must have ulterior motives. Citizens need to be properly educated about the role of FRSC and VIO. Are they competing agencies? At the beginning, FRSC officers were to enforce speed limit

The story of Georgia Today, Georgia ranks alongside Finland as having the least corrupt police force in the world 2011 and the concomitant necessity of having to then outspend the Atiku campaign which, in itself, was not cheap. That humongous funding would come mostly from sources known and unknown and the misguided, attempted removal of oil subsidy in January this year was a direct consequence of that. The need to recoup has contributed, in no small measure, to what a recent PUNCH newspaper investigation showed as a total of N5 Trillion in stolen funds under this barely 18 month-old government. That publication is yet to be controverted by the government. The above notwithstanding, I am positive that President Goodluck Jonathan can still translate to a statesman, even, Father of the Nation. But he must be ready to damn the consequences of a rather simple process which is guaranteed to enjoy mass support. He must first relinquish every intent to contest the v2015 election and then, GO AFTER THE ROGUES, big and small. The President is not here being invited to reinvent the wheel. Rather, he is being called upon to emulate his one-time GEORGIAN counterpart, Mikhail Saakashvili as much as possible, in what has become known worldwide as: THE HISTORY OF GEORGIA. The fact that Saakashvili was defeated in last month’s general election by Ivanishvili of the Georgian Dream Coalition, after nine years, does not vitiate this miracle that holds so much for Nigeria. Happy reading. This is a story of possibility from Georgia that should strengthen our hope in changing Nigeria in spite of its circumstances. It was told by Plamen Monovski, the CIO of Renaissance Asset Managers:

“When the Prime Minister comes to sell you an IPO, you, the investor, take the meeting. When that Prime Minister turns up with no bodyguards and shows remarkable knowledge of the company he is promoting, you, the investor, take notice. When Nika Gilauri, the Premier of Georgia, tells you that the prosperity of his country has been achieved because it has become one of the “least corrupt” countries in the world, you, the investor must take note. But it was not always like that. After the demise of the USSR, Georgia was not only one of the most corrupt of the former-Soviet republics, it was one of the most corrupt countries in the entire world. Bribe-to-drive was the norm; police stopped cars at least twice an hour to extort some good money. The then Interior Minister infamously quipped: “Give me petrol only; my people will take care of their own salaries.” Being a traffic cop was so lucrative that you had to pay a bribe of between $2,000 and $20,000 to get the job in the first place. Graft was endemic. Georgians passed more envelopes to bent officials than the post office does letters. Meanwhile the economy crumbled and the state was left bankrupt and powerless. The election of Mikhail Saakashvili changed everything. A bold reformer, he was swept to power in the “Rose Revolution” at the end of 2003 by the overwhelming desire for radical change. His closely-knit team is unified by a common vision and supported by both the parliament and judiciary. The new government was not just radical - it shocked and awed. Ministers, oligarchs and officials were sacked or arrested. Those who resisted were dealt with decisively, sometimes

brutally. The state confiscated $1bn worth of property. Custom officials bore collective responsibility; an entire shift would be punished if one officer was caught accepting bribes. Corrupt university professors were kicked out with a lifetime ban from academia. But the piece de la resistance was Saakashvili’s order to sack the entire 16,000-strong police force on a single day, to replace them with some of the best and brightest university graduates. Today, Georgia ranks alongside Finland as having the least corrupt police force in the world and their standout uniforms are rumoured to have been designed by Armani. The campaign expanded irresistibly. Tax offices were equipped with CCTV; university examination papers were printed in the UK and held in bank vaults until needed; and officials were constantly tested in sting operations. The proactive assault on graft was accompanied by a PR campaign to undermine respect for criminal groups and introduce respect for the law. The campaign then turned to the sectors. First up was the power sector that was widely used as a cash cow, as it is here in Nigeria, for well-connected oligarchs. In less than a year, Georgia went from net importer to exporter of electricity and the sector became the target of long-term foreign investment. Tax collection followed. Georgia’s tax base consisted of just 80,000 companies in 2003 and tax collection was a mere 12% of GDP. Saakashvili slashed red tape and introduced flat personal and corporate taxes. Eight years later over 250,000 companies are on the register, and pay the equivalent of 25% of GDP. Georgia now boasts one of the most liberal tax regimes in the world, at par with the Gulf States and Hong Kong.

on highways. VIO was principally responsible for ensuring that those who obtain driver’s license are certified to do so. These two agencies now behave like customs men. They wait outside their offices to ascertain that drivers have proper documents. FRSC men no longer enforce speed limit. They are not even properly equipped to do so. There are no radars to ascertain that drivers are driving within speed limit. There are no signs to indicate speed limit from zone to zone. Unlike what obtains in other countries, there is no agency that certifies periodically that vehicles are safe to be put on the road. In other places, vehicles are checked for mechanical fitness and emission control and certificates are issued for passing such inspection. Para-military men and women are not given beats on the highways to do this. People calling for death penalty for corruption have to be careful. There may be a need for Sharia sensibility, given the enormity of corruption in the land. But too many (if not all) of our MDAs are designed to encourage corruption. For example, there is no good reason to centralize license and vehicle registration. Any surprise that FRSC is becoming another central police? Lastly came deregulation, with many rules and agencies simply abolished, removing channels of corruption in the process. Among other things, car registration became so easy that used cars became the largest export item in 2011. Georgia moved swiftly from the bottom of the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking (112) into the top 20 (16) by 2012. Foreign investment followed and fuelled a multi-year surge. But perhaps, the most lucrative Georgian export would be the fight against corruption itself – from which many states mired in graft could benefit. The Georgians patented a process whose steps are replicable: establish early reform credibility by radical action, launch a frontal assault excluding no sacred cows, attract new blood, limit the role of the state via privatization and deregulation, use technology and communication to maximum effect, and above all, be bold and purposeful. Georgia’s close and distant neighbours should take heed. Their prime ministers and presidents have got their job cut out for them.” Without a doubt, time has come for Nigeria to embrace the spirit and letter of such radical reformation to avoid the needless, prevalent and sickening bloodshed that now characterizes our national life. I am not that naïve not to know that corruption, which is now the name of every Nigerian sector will fight back ferociously. So did it in Singapore when Lee Kuan Yew and a group of Singaporean leaders bonded together, frontally confronted corruption in its most virulent form and transformed a poor, multi-racial city state into an astonishingly successful and corruptionfree nation. Interested readers should go grab a copy of : FROM THIRD WORLD TO FIRST: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000 by L.K Yew. What is essential here is for Jonathan to know that he occupies, as yet unknown to him, the hottest part of the Nigerian kitchen. He must wake up and be counted as he could also kill off the dreaded Boko Haram with a successful crackdown on corruption. He needs to do this if he would like to see his name on the good side of history. Those currently misleading him will not even appear on the footnotes of that history.

Comment & Analysis



Adegboyega 08054503906 (sms only)


ITHOUT trying to act a seer, I can see President Goodluck Jonathan struggling to do something about power supply in the country, at least to have something to showcase in the 2015 elections. He has no choice; he must do something so he does not lose his deposit even with the elections still months away. Losing his deposit would be tantamount to committing political suicide. A saying common in the south west of the country says that after one has prayed that God should not make one fall into disgrace, the next thing one begins to pray against is for God not to allow one die the moment disgrace becomes imminent. No doubt, power supply would play a crucial role in deciding the president’s fate come 2015. And it appears this is one of the few things he can do without much sweat. He is not winning the war on the economic front; he is not winning the security aspect of it either. Education is in a shambles; health care in tatters and there is a massive infrastructural deficit that fixing is beyond the government’s ken. But most of the ‘ingredients’ needed for changing the face of the power sector are already here; all the president has to do is mix them in the appropriate proportions and food (power) is ready. His estranged political godfather, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had done much of the spade work; only that he (Obasanjo) was not destined to wear the crown of glory as the president who gave Nigerians light. Some would say an ‘ebora’ can

Corruption as opium Unless President Jonathan acts fast, this ‘forbidden fruit’ that is eaten freely now might define and destroy his govt never give light. Nonetheless, Obasanjo had imported most of the equipment needed for the power sector; forget the many mistakes associated with the decisions, i.e. their failure to reckon with the transportation needs for the equipment, given that most of them were too large to be transported by road, and the nondredging of the rivers to transport them by sea, etc. Before the former president takes me on concerning the ‘crown of glory’ that I said he was not destined to wear, let me say that being a twotime head of state is good; but it is not necessarily synonymous with wearing the ‘crown of glory’. Even in the scriptures that I know the former president must be familiar with as a Baptist Church senior citizen, the crown is not for the person who began something but for someone who accomplished it. Chief Obasanjo had all the time to lighten Nigerians’ darkness; unfortunately, he chose to squander the chance by pursuing irrelevancies, including an impracticable third term agenda that he dissipated much of his energy on. But this piece is not about Obasanjo; it is about his godson, Jonathan that has now come of age and has severed the umbilical cord

that tied him to his godfather. But Nigerians have nothing to worry about that; the war between the godfather and godson is spiritual and it has just started. God has a way of smashing any scheming that is not of Him, the same way He knows how to put asunder what he has not joined together. Be that as it may, I wonder how President Jonathan manages to sleep with the mindboggling corruption ravaging the country. I have not seen this type of corruption in my life; not even in the Alhaji Shehu Shagari years. As a matter of fact, if I were President Jonathan, the only agenda at the Federal Executive Council meetings would not be award of contracts, but ‘corruption, corruption and corruption’, because, unless and until we fight corruption, we are deceiving ourselves; all the contracts awarded would only serve as avenues through which some emergency billionaires would emerge. I can see some people chuckle that that is the raison detre of the contract awards in the first place! Even in the Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha years, corruption was rife but it was not for all but for a select few in power and their cronies in the corridors of it.

“When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He told them they could eat of all the fruits there but one. It would appear that ‘forbidden fruit’ is the corruption that is the toast of the big people in the Jonathan era”

If the Jonathan presidency cares to be told; it is the laughing stock in all the high-wire intrigues that led to the Lawan Farouk/Femi Otedola ‘sting’ operation and its present stalemate. It is also the butt of all the jokes in the Ribadu/Oronsaye matter. As far as Nigerians are concerned, the Jonathan government has a case to answer in the scam that the fuel subsidy has become; indeed, its culpability is the reason why we are not making any headway in our attempts to punish the culprits. How it kept paying trillions for subsidy that we never spent N400billion in any given year on in 2011 (an election year) alone without asking questions could not have been a mistake. This could not have been anything but a premeditated swindle. And when one would have expected the president to be remorseful of his government’s action, he came out as usual with a most shocking statement that the fuel subsidy protests of January were sponsored. This is the height of his contempt for Nigerians. It is visible to the blind and audible even to the deaf that Nigerians have been milked dry by some fat cows most of who hobnob with the president himself, through fuel subsidy payments. And this much Nigerians have always known even if the Jonathan government pretends not to. So, in spite of all they know on the subject-matter, Nigerians still need some sponsors to give them bottled water and food to protest the insensitivity of the government that lacks the will to fight corruption?


How can a president who understands the issues still have the guts to say this kind of thing at a time his government should be tendering unreserved apologies to Nigerians for the untold hardship that had been caused them by the conmen (and women) involved in the subsidy racket? Verily, verily I say unto the president, no matter what he does, his government cannot make any headway because he himself lacks the will to deal with those who stole subsidy money among numerous other frauds, for obvious reasons. Whatever anti- corruption war this country wants to fight can only make sense if it begins with the subsidy trillions. What the country has lost in the Jonathan years alone is mind-boggling. Even clerks now steal in billions. Let President Jonathan attain 20,000MW of electricity before 2015, it would end up amounting to nothing if corruption still rules the country. Why? The reason is simple: a child that one did not train will end up selling whatever inheritance one left for him, and for peanuts (to boot) because he cannot appreciate their worth. So, for President Jonathan to think he can leave any positive legacy in the power sector (or any other sector for that matter) is wishful thinking. He can only try; it won’t work for the simple reason that corruption will be at every juncture to wipe off the gains. What I am saying in effect is that the government can only succeed if it is possible to build on nothing. When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He told them they could eat of all the fruits there but one. It would appear that ‘forbidden fruit’ is the corruption that is the only exotic fruit that is freely eaten by the big people in the Jonathan era. •I could not feature last week but the printer’s devil burnt off the portion of my column where the notice to this effect was put. Sorry about that.

When life deals you a lemon ... quick, reject it Postscript, If we implement the fifty per cent cut, we would, in the Unlimited! spirit of fairness, have to start the reduction from Aso Rock by cutting the President’s or the Vice-President’s job By

Oyinkan Medubi

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N those days, when I still had fond dreams of being able to see my weight move in the direction of ‘slim’ or ‘will hopefully be slim in the nearest future’ (actual points on my scales), I planted a lemon tree. I had heard that its fruit, the revered lemon, was capable of causing weight reduction by some magic. Soon though, I found that its very sour taste was quickly giving me a dour look on life: rose bushes were full of thorns, no one could do anything right around me, and even the dog walking on its hind legs was very annoying. After much research, I also found that there was no magic in lemon that could help me lose weight. Rather, all that the blessed fruit could do was give me lemonade, fill me with vitamin C and, hopefully, cure me of scurvy should I be marooned on a ship for months on end, far from friends, relatives and sanity. Clearly, the lemon tree had to go. I am sure we all know the adage that says when life deals you a lemon, make lemonade. I am equally sure you know the antidote to even that, the lemonade that is, not the lemon. My religious compatriots do. At the mere mention of any undesired curse

such as ‘May your days be filled with lemon’, up and around the head would go the middle finger and thumb, concluding in a snap, and then followed by a furious, hearty and immediate rejection verbalised in an religiously appropriate language, ‘I reject it in ...’. Someone feeling feverish may refuse to take anti-malarial drugs but would heartily reject it. (Of course, who knows, he/she may eventually find him/herself lying down with malaria). There is no devil on earth that can withstand such a furious rebuttal, unless he has been naturalised as a Nigerian. My fear is that most devils appear to be carrying Nigerian passports and are strutting around now parading themselves as Nigerians. Because of that, the blighter devils don’t respect our rejections, sometimes even riding on them to one’s front door. Sacrilege! Just this last week, our Central Bank governor was said to have suggested that the national expenditure on the civil, legislative and executive services be reduced by cutting those jobs in half. His reason is that the country is carrying around on its head a very bloated expenditure that it is having difficulties sustaining. So, it cannot move forward. I say blame it on the devils pretending to be Nigerians. I know they are the ones causing all the heavy expenditures. They are the brains behind all the corruption we have heard so much about, embezzling funds, fixing large amounts for themselves as emoluments, swell-

ing the work force with ghost workers, cornering all the contracts to themselves even though they are part of the awarding bodies ... just what have they not done? Real devils, the lot! I am sure, however, that even the governor himself knows that it is not very realistic to reduce the country’s expenditure simply by reducing the work force because it is not easy to get rid of devils; believe me, I’ve tried. There is a devil that enters my pot of soup and simply makes it disappear whenever all kinds of condiments and tantalising enhancements like beef, chicken, fish, etc., enter into it. Against that saucy devil, I am helpless, as I find myself making more. There is another one that persists in increasing my workload so that no matter how fast or hard I work, I just don’t seem to see the bottom of the barrel. Real busy devil, that one. Then, there is one that just causes things to disappear when I need them most, particularly the ones I have hidden away to guard against their being lost. Right now, I just can’t seem to find my only piece of jewellery. I tell you, these mischievous devils are getting on my nerves, and obviously, on the CBN governor’s too. He can’t find the country’s money; but at least he knows the direction it seems to have gone to and a fair idea of how to recall it. If we are to do what he asks us to do, however, we would be in a bit of a fix. What, for instance, will we do with our investments in Aso Rock? I mean, if we implement the fifty per

cent cut in jobs, we would, in the spirit of fairness, have to start the reduction from Aso Rock by cutting the President’s or the Vice-President’s job. Now, that will cause real wahala. It’s one thing for a president to lose an election and not be returned, but it’s a different kettle of fish for a president to be laid off. ‘Owing to cuts in public service expenditure, we regret to inform you that your job has been ...’ I am sure the occupant of Aso Rock rejects it in ... Anyway, should we succeed in Aso Rock, then we can move on to the legislative houses with confidence and take the census of a normal day’s session. Whoever is present retains his/her job; the absent ones will be deemed to have resigned. That should give us less than a third of them to pay any salary to. It is only then we can turn to the civil service. Now, everyone knows that the civil service is bloated, and for good reasons too, the principal of which is that the Federal Government boxed itself into that corner. This column has long and oft maintained that industries are being strangulated by the government. The perpetual habit of enacting national policies which favour only the cronies of the government in the name of close to one hundred and fifty million people can only lead to trouble. Countries are better when the wealth created is private sector-driven rather than government-given. Truth is, too many

times, the government has made an ass of the law, and it is now getting close to pay-back time. The devil of vengeance is always just around the corner. Once, I was told, someone wanted to establish an industry in a city in Nigeria, so he procured a large acreage, got everything he needed ready including the machines and approached the federal government for a licence, explaining how it would provide labour, tax and other incentives to the country. Some government functionary then tipped his friend on the development who also got up and applied for a licence for the same product. His licence was not to produce however, but to import the product in order to get a better, faster and higher yield. The sad thing is that the importer soon tired of importing but not before a very original dream had been killed by the devilish dream killers. The result is that the Nigerian economy is not driven by the private sector but by public service; not even public utilities, just the service commission. So, the federal government is the only worthy employer of labour. This is why everyone wants in; and it also means that close to fifty people may be pushing a single file where a single computer button would do the job better. But, the country needs to keep the illusion of keeping us all engaged because it has not allowed private industries to grow. Everywhere else in the world, it is the private sector that employs more. So, rather than cut jobs, the eggheads in charge of our finances must find ways of making the little we earn do much by getting rid of the devils in the system. We must make something better than lemonade from our lemons.



Comment & Analysis

What is Senator Ayade up to? O

NE ritual in governance especially at the federal

level that never ceases to fascinate me is the yearly defense of budget by ministries, departments and agencies. A lot of efforts go into the process as the relevant agencies storm the National Assembly with loads of documents, determined to impress the relevant committees of Parliament to approve their budgets. Recall what happened to former Education Minister, Professor Fabian Osuji and you will realize that there is a lot that go into budget defense than meets the eye. Some agencies approach it with a desperation that is unhealthy while some of the law makers could also be unnecessarily hawkish; holding the agencies to unreasonable standards. If those standards are always in the nation’s interest, this piece would have been unnecessary. One scenario in the on-going defense of budgets by the agencies clearly indicates that the exercise sometimes degenerates into an ambush, where ‘recalcitrant’ MDAs are subjected to public ridicule by law makers. That was my honest conclusion after reading the report of what transpired on Thursday, November 22, when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission defended its Budget before the Senate Committee on Drugs , Narcotics and Anti-Corruption. Needless issue was made out of the agency’s vote for transportation in its 2013 estimate. A member of the committee, Senator Benedict Ayade made headline news for reportedly questioning the over N357m earmarked by the agency for local travels and transportation; another N100m for international travels; N73m for lo-


N Election Day, The Boston Globe reported, Logan International Airport in Boston was running short of parking spaces. Not for cars — for private jets. Big donors were flooding into the city to attend Mitt Romney’s victory party. They were, it turned out, misinformed about political reality. But the disappointed plutocrats weren’t wrong about who was on their side. This was very much an election pitting the interests of the very rich against those of the middle class and the poor. And the Obama campaign won largely by disregarding the warnings of squeamish “centrists” and embracing that reality, stressing the class-war aspect of the confrontation. This ensured not only that President Obama won by huge margins among lower-income voters, but that those voters turned out in large numbers, sealing his victory. The important thing to understand now is that while the election is over, the class war isn’t. The same people who bet big on Mr. Romney, and lost, are


By Hassan Abubakar

cal training and another N130m for international training. The same member also frowned at the provision of N135m for satellite and broadband charges by the anti- graft agency. Ordinarily, there is nothing wrong with a law maker holding an agency to account for its expenditure if the motive is to improve accountability and transparency. But in this instance the motive is suspect. I am told that as soon as Ayade asked his questions, he got up to leave. He was only prevailed upon by the Committee Chairman, Senate Victor Lar to listen to the response by the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde. Such contemptuous demeanor didn’t show a lawmaker who was prepared to add value to the budget making process. On the contrary, he comes across as a legislator who had taken a stand and was not prepared to listen to superior argument. But returning to the issues raised by Ayade, I can’t see what is outrageous in N357m for local travel in a year by an agency that is saddled with th e h u g e r es p o n s ib ilit y o f fighting corruption and financial crimes. My guess is, it is either Ayade is completely out of tune with the work of the EFCC in which case he has no business being on that Committee or his aim is to grand stand for populist end. Otherwise, any member of the Committee should be conversant with the standard operating procedures of the agency. And from the explanation offered by Lamorde, investigation is conducted in teams in which case, a single case may be investigated by no less than a team of five officers, compris-

ing two operatives, two back up security staff and a driver. The team will need fuel for travel and allowances for accommodation and feeding. He also explained that it is not possible to determine how long it will take a team to crack a case. The number of days spent is determined by what the operatives find on the field. And a single matter may require repeated travels, crisscrossing the length and breadth of Nigeria in the course of investigation. What is clear here is that fighting corruption and economic crime is not cheap and Nigeria must be prepared to fund the EFCC if we are truly serious about the anti-graft campaign. Not only must we ensure that the agency is mobile; its officers should be well motivated to resist the temptation of being compromised. They also must be trained and retrained as financial crimes in this age are technologydriven. The investigators must be ahead of the fraudsters in the use of technology if we are to keep pace with the rest of the world in tackling organized crime. All over the world, nations who truly believe in getting result in law enforcement fund their agencies. For instance it cost the British tax payers a hefty N3.6billion to investigate and prosecute James Ibori. That is just a single case, which has no relevance to the British people beyond the fact that the money was laundered using their institutions. So what is Ayade talking about? What does Ayade himself collect as allowance from the National Assembly in a year? If his N17million yearly allowance plus N140million quarterly allocation are not outrageous, I wonder what is. Has the sena-

tor justified such huge earnings? How many bills have Ayade to his name? What is even his contribution at plenary, where he often jumps up to repeat the contributions made by other senators. The height of his mischief was comparing the EFCC IT infrastructure and expenses with that of his unidentified hotel. Even if it were Transcorp Hilton, it still cannot compare with the demands of a law enforcement agency. Given the specialized nature of the offences which it investigates, it is open secret that EFCC operations are largely IT based. The IT infrastructure that such an agency will require and the concomitant expenses cannot be comparable to Ayade’s Hotel. Apart from its headquarters and other offices in Wuse, EFCC, I am told, maintains several offices in Maitama, Garki and a training institute in Karu. The IT infrastructure at the EFCC Academy in Karu, I understand, dwarfs those of leading universities in Nigeria. And all these offices are linked to the zonal offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Gombe, and Kano. From the foregoing, it is evident Ayade’s motive was to mislead the National Assembly and Nigerians about EFCC expenditure pattern. His motivation is certainly not in the national interest. This is more so as it is alleged that he has a pending case before the commission, in which case the attack might have been a convenient defence strategy. Whatever moral baggage that propels Ayade, he must be told that what set the EFCC part from other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria is its response rate and the fact that they carry out their investiga-

Class Wars of 2012 By Paul Krugman

now trying to win by stealth — in the name of fiscal responsibility — the ground they failed to gain in an open election. Before I get there, a word about the actual vote. Obviously, narrow economic self-interest doesn’t explain everything about how individuals, or even broad demographic groups, cast their ballots. Asian-Americans are a relatively affluent group, yet they went for President Obama by 3 to 1. Whites in Mississippi, on the other hand, aren’t especially well off, yet Mr. Obama received only 10 percent of their votes. These anomalies, however, weren’t enough to change the overall pattern. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to have neutralized the traditional G.O.P. advantage on social issues, so that the election really was a referendum on economic policy. And what voters said, clearly, was no to tax cuts for the rich, no to benefit cuts for the middle class and the poor. So what’s a topdown class warrior to do?

The answer, as I have already suggested, is to rely on stealth — to smuggle in plutocrat-friendly policies under the pretense that they’re just sensible responses to the budget deficit. Consider, as a prime example, the push to raise the retirement age, the age of eligibility for Medicare, or both. This is only reasonable, we’re told — after all, life expectancy has risen, so shouldn’t we all retire later? In reality, however, it would be a hugely regressive policy change, imposing severe burdens on lower- and middle-income Americans while barely affecting the wealthy. Why? First of all, the increase in life expectancy is concentrated among the affluent; why should janitors have to retire later because lawyers are living longer? Second, both Social Security and Medicare are much more important, relative to income, to less-affluent Americans, so delaying their availability would be a far more severe hit to ordinary families than to the top 1 percent.

Or take a subtler example, the insistence that any revenue increases should come from limiting deductions rather than from higher tax rates. The key thing to realize here is that the math just doesn’t work; there is, in fact, no way limits on deductions can raise as much revenue from the wealthy as you can get simply by letting the relevant parts of the Bush-era tax cuts expire. So any proposal to avoid a rate increase is, whatever its proponents may say, a proposal that we let the 1 percent off the hook and shift the burden, one way or another, to the middle class or the poor. The point is that the class war is still on, this time with an added dose of deception. And this, in turn, means that you need to look very closely at any proposals coming from the usual suspects, even — or rather especially — if the proposal is being represented as a bipartisan, common-sense solution. In particular, whenever some deficit-scold group talks

tion at no cost to the complainant. Apparently Ayade will be glad to see the EFCC degenerate to the level of asking for mobilization from complainants before doing a case. But that is not the vision of the founding fathers and the generality of Nigerians who are enamoured of the activities of the agency. Ayade has not shown competence or full grasp of the responsibility of the Committee. His overriding objective was a cheap play to the gallery. He betrayed his motive when he prefaced his questions with a comment that the Commission will not be portrayed positively by the media if he were to publish its budgetary provisions. That was the agenda! Unfortunately, a less discerning section of the media fell for it by amplifying warped notions and misinforming their readers. I expect the media to be very circumspect in the reportage of issues at budget defense. Any farsighted reporter would have been curious about why Ayade was making issues out of EFCC transportation vote but was silent on the miserly N100m vote for prosecution. Prosecution is at the heart of the anti-graft campaign yet Ayade by his silence was comfortable that the EFCC may not even afford the legal fees to prosecute its cases in 2013. What a shame! Legislative rascality as demonstrated by Ayade must be condemned by all public spirited Nigerians. Oversight responsibilities are very serious business of the National Assembly and no law maker should be allowed to abuse it to tarnish the image of the institution. •Abubakar, a journalist, lives in Abuja. about “shared sacrifice,” you need to ask, sacrifice relative to what? As regular readers may know, I’m not a fan of the Bowles-Simpson report on deficit reduction that laid out a poorly designed plan that for some reason has achieved nearsacred status among the Beltway elite. Still, at least you can say this for Bowles-Simpson: When it talked about shared sacrifice, it started from a “baseline” that already assumed the end of the high-end Bush tax cuts. At this point, however, just about all the deficit scolds seem to want us to count the expiration of those cuts — which were sold on false pretenses, and were never affordable — as some kind of big giveback by the rich. It isn’t. So keep your eyes open as the fiscal game of chicken continues. It’s an uncomfortable but real truth that we are not all in this together; America’s top-down class warriors lost big in the election, but now they’re trying to use the pretense of concern about the deficit to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Let’s not let them pull it off. •Culled from New York Times





N the surface, President Goodluck Jonathan appears not too keen about having another term in office come 2015. But among his key aides, nothing short of another four years, post-2015 for their principal would be good enough. In the last few months, members of the president’s kitchen cabinet have been quietly working on several options aimed at securing a consensus for the president’s candidacy, findings by The Nation have revealed. And determined not to take anything for granted, sources disclosed that trusted Presidency aides are working strenuously behind-the-scene to enlist the support of influential religious, traditional and political leaders for the Jonathan-for-2015 project. “No effort will be spared in this regard,” said a source privy to the unfolding plot. The source added that the Presidency has identified major power blocs that could scuttle the second term project and has consequently mapped out strategies to win, divide or in the worse case scenario outwit these groups in the ensuing power play.

Plot to divide northern governors The Nation reliably gathered that while security reports before the president indicate that almost all the northern governors serving their second term in office are interested in contesting for the presidency in 2015, a plot has been hatched to encourage more governors in the north to contest for the position, thereby dividing



Jonathan’s new plans for 2015 From all indications, President Goodluck Jonathan will soon declare his intention to run for a second term in 2015. The big poser, however, is: will the president pick his deputy, Namadi Mohammed Sambo, to run with him again on the PDP ticket? Remi Adelowo reports that the matter is generating ripples in the North and across the nation. their rank and whittling down their collective bargaining power.

VP Sambo’s candidacy Another option allegedly being considered by the president is picking an influential northern governor as his running mate in 2015, in place of the incumbent vice-president, Architect Namadi Sambo, who as a first term Governor of Kaduna State, was surprisingly chosen by the president in 2010 ahead of more experienced politicians in the north.

The case against him For the hawks in the president’s kitchen cabinet, the vice-

president has outlived the purpose for which he was picked two years ago. According to sources, the president allegedly settled for Sambo, as he was seen as not too entrenched in northern politics, and so lacks the muscle and influence that could make him too ambitious to ‘rock the boat’. The choice of Sambo came as a surprise to the man himself, as he was reportedly campaigning for his then predecessor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, to be made the VP. While it is incontestable that Sambo, so far, has enjoyed a cordial working relationship with his boss, there is the feeling

among some aides of the president that the VP has allegedly not done enough to rally the ‘core north’ behind the president, a development which has created a serious opposition by key northern stakeholders against the present administration. The VP’s case is not helped by the fact that some northern leaders sometime last week met at a secret location in Kaduna and resolved to impress it on the president that one of the conditions he must fulfill before they could back his (Jonathan ) second term ambition is to dump Sambo for a more ‘acceptable candidate’.

The Lamido card: Not a few Nigerians were surprised when, about three weeks ago, the President paid a two-day official visit to Jigawa State. The reason may not be unconnected with rumours of an alleged crisis of confidence between the president and the governor over the latter’s alleged presidential ambition for 2015. Weeks before the president’s visit to the North West state, a report was credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo allegedly promoting the pairing of Governors Sule Lamido and Rotimi Amaechi for the PDP presidential ticket in 2015. That report, though denied by the former president, allegedly ruffled the Presidency top shots, who decided to keep the two governors under close watch. Lamido too, according to another report, had allegedly started to distance himself from the seat of power, following strong suspicions that he is being closely monitored. One report had further claimed that the governor had a few months ago, allegedly declined to travel with the president on a state visit to Mozambique on the alleged excuse that he was to travel as part of the advance party, while another governor, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, travelled with the president in the same presidential aircraft. But right now, the two men may have found a common ground to work together. “The governor (Lamido) seems disposed to being the next vice-president and could use his extensive political links in the president’s favour,” said a source in the PDP.




Wada’s troubled reign in Kogi

Kogi State governor, Captain Idris Wada, is currently fighting many battles to save his administration and political career, reports Dare Odufowokan



LTHOUGH he would be quick to tell all who care to listen that he does not expect his adversaries to see anything good in what he is doing in the state, there is no doubt that the governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, and his handlers are worried over the seemingly unending controversies that have dogged his steps since his assumption of office. In fact, sources close to Kogi Government House have confirmed to The Nation that there is an ongoing move, championed by a former senator in the state, to repackage the governor’s image. The ultimate aim, according to the sources, is to eliminate the controversy toga hanging around the governor’s neck like a political identity of some sort. This move may have become necessary following the recent hornet’s nest stirred by the Kogi helmsman when he allegedly urged politicians in the North Central zone to commence preparation aimed at producing the President of the country in 2015. Expectdly, the statement, which was perceived to be in defiance to President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), attracted nationwide reaction, dragging Wada’s name into yet another controversy at a time when his alleged involvement in the impeachment of the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, was still topical. According to reports, the governor had called on the North Central zone of the party to start planning for the 2015 general election. His statement was interpreted to mean a call on the region to put forward a candidate for the presidency.

For this, he appeared to have attracted the wrath of the very top echelon of the party. In a swift reaction, the PDP national leadership countered Wada’s alleged directive, urging the governor to concentrate on how to deliver dividends of democracy to his people while asking its members to stay away from the politics of 2015 for now. “The national executive committee has taken a decisive direction on this matter. Our decision is that we will focus on achieving results, on performing our duties, on delivering on the mandate, on the promises we made to the electorates and this is the directive that the national chairman has given to all elected and appointed representatives of the party. “Kogi is one state that we directed to ensure that the performance of the governor should win us election again. The governor should focus his energy, his attention on ensuring that his people are satisfied with his performance in office. That should be his priority at this point and not 2015. “We don’t want any distraction at this point and nobody should deviate from what we are doing. This is not time for politics, this is time for performance,” PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said. Sources within the party said Wada, who had to hurriedly visit both the national secretariat of the party and the Presidency twice during the week, is currently battling to prove that his statement was misunderstood by reporters. “He was in Abuja twice this week all in a bid to explain himself to the party and our leaders. The statement really added to his many troubles and our fear now is that it may prove the elders who

were in Abuja last week to report him to the party right. “If this happens, the governor may lose the confidence and support of the leadership of the party in his struggle to remain in office. This is one thing we cannot allow to happen,” an aide of the governor said on Thursday. It would be recalled that some elders and political leaders from the state recently appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, to arrest what they called “serious drift in the state or risk the sudden death of the party in the state.” The stakeholders in a statement, said Governor Wada lacked the ability to lead the state. The elders canvassed an urgent intervention in the many crises within the PDP in the state by both the Presidency and the PDP NEC. The statement was signed by Senator Alex Kadiri, Senator Mohammed Ohiare, former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, and former acting governor, Clarence Olafemi, former state PDP Chairman, John Odawun, Air Vice-Marshal Salihu Atawodi (retd.) and Dr. Adinoyi Ojo-Onukaba. Reacting, an embattled Wada had said apart from contesting the PDP primaries with him, many of these people were those he referred to as “Abuja politicians”, who he said might not be in the know of what was happening in the state. “The people that made the comments were the people who contested the governorship primaries with me, which I won and later became the governor. Some of them still harbour that animosity against me and because of that, they will not find anything good in what I’m doing in the state.

“It is unfortunate that they have refused to allow the reconciliation we did in the state to work and are still carrying on as if we are in election year. I won’t join issues with them, but instead I shall allow my work to speak for me and at the end of my tenure, the people will be the judge and not a few opponents who could not win primaries,” he said. But reliable sources at the national secretariat of the party said the PDP leadership is taking the elders’ allegation against the governor very seriously. A panel of enquiry, it was learnt, has been instituted to investig a t e t h e claims of the petitioners with a view to arresting the ugly situations in Kogi State ahead of the 2015 general election. “The truth of the matter is that the issues raised by the elders are being examined on their merit. The party is not about to take side with the governor’s alleged adversaries but it is also not ready to sweep the observation of eminent citizens and party leaders under the carpet. “And given the place of Kogi State in the news in recent times, it is our view that the allegations by the elders is worth examining. For all we care, it may just be the compass that will point the direction we need to move so as to resolve the crisis in Kogi PDP,” a national official of the party said during the week. Way back in October, Wada’s name was on every lip when the Kogi State House of Assembly had sensationally impeached its Speaker, Abdullahi Bello. The deputy speaker, and 10 other principal officers were also removed from office. The impeachment was carried out by the group of ‘progressive’ legislators headed by Comrade Friday Sani (member representing Igalamela/Odolu). It was alleged that the ‘progressives’ were doing the bidding of the incumbent governor who had never hidden his disdain for the embattled leadership of the legislature in the state. The number of lawmakers who sat on that day is still not clear. While the lawmakers claimed they had the constitutionally required majority- 17 lawmakers- the speaker has rejected the claim, describing it as “illegal and unacceptable;” saying he has the support of 13 of the 25 members of the Kogi parliament. Barely 24 hours after the im-

peachment, the speaker’s camp published a statement signed by 13 lawmakers denouncing the impeachment and describing it as illegal. They dared the pro-impeachment lawmakers to publish the names of those who attended the impeachment sitting, saying they were a minority and could not be more than 12. Putting the entire blame for the trouble in Kogi at the feet of the governor, former Kogi Federal lawmaker, Dino Melaiye, said Wada is the mastermind of the Kogi assembly crisis. Melaiye alleged that the governor paid the 12 members, who sat for the impeachment, in order to divide the House and stop the lawmakers from carrying out oversight functions meant to investigate the performance of the government. “He (the governor) called them and gave them money not to undertake the oversight, but 13 of them refused to accept the money. The 12 that accepted decided to use a ‘Made in Taiwan’ mace to remove the 13 members,” Melaiye said. And while he is battling to stave off the allegations of the elders and the G-13 lawmakers, the governor is constantly reminded of the uncertain nature of his reign by the regular court appearances he has to make in defence of his mandate. Wada’s emergence as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the primaries last year is being contested in court by two chieftains of the party, Jibrin Isah (also known as Echocho) and Oyebode Makinde. The bone of contention has to do with determining which of the two primaries, won by Echocho and Wada respectively, enjoys the status of legitimacy. Worried by the development, Wada had recently visited the PDP national secretariat to seek the intervention of the party in the dispute between him and Echocho. But the latter would have nothing of the planned political solution. In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Phrank Shuaibu, Echocho appealed to the PDP to allow natural justice and rule of law to prevail. He said that reconciliation shall not be “at the expense of justice, fairness and the rule of law.” Echocho’s argument is that the primaries that gave him the ticket was in line with Section 178(2) of the 1999 Constitution and 25(8) of Electoral Act 2010 as amended and should have been respected by the party and INEC during the last gubernatorial election in Kogi State. Echocho is therefore asking for an order setting aside Wada’s swearing in and for an order directing INEC to conduct a fresh election pursuant to the January 27 judgment of the Supreme Court. He also wants a declaration that INEC, which is an institution established by the Constitution, is under a duty to obey and comply with decision of the Supreme Court delivered on January 27, 2012. He also wants the court to declare that the purported election to the office of Governor of Kogi State held by the defendant during the pendency of its appeal at the Supreme Court in Appeal SC/357/ 2011 and which purportedly produced the 2nd defendant as Governor-elect of Kogi State was unconceivable, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever. With the current scenario within the ruling PDP in Kogi state, coupled with Governor Wada’s alleged gaffe on the 2015 presidential contest, there is no doubt that his has indeed become a troubled reign.



‘How to tackle Boko Haram insurgency’ Chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN), Barrister Allen Onyema, has been in charge of training and transforming exmilitants in the Niger Delta. He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on how Nigeria can tackle the worsening insecurity challenge


OU have trained thousands of exmilitants over the years, how did you pull this off? In the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King did the same thing. He used that to fight segregation. In Poland, Lech Walesa with his solidarity group did the same thing. They were able to bring down communism without any gunshot. I looked at history; it is replete with so many cases where non-violence showed its power. Non-violence is the only weapon that knows no defeat because it works with its own laws. If you slap me and I keep on loving you, you will be confused. It is all about love and utilising the power of love to conquer. I decided I will do the same thing; I started looking for credible institutions and partners to work with and that led me to Bernard Lafayette Jnr. He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King on the civil rights movement. I decided to get him to partner with me in doing this programme. What I wanted to do in the first place was to train people, who will be able to train other Nigerians. I got a number of my staff to go to the United States for training but they wouldn’t give us visas because they thought we wanted to elope. I assured them that it wasn’t about going to the United States,


so I invited Dr. Lafayette to come to Nigeria and train us. We got trained in nonviolence level one, went to South Africa and did a level two programme before the American Embassy started taking us serious. Before they took us serious, I had already started moving militants out of the creeks from Delta to Lagos, doing level one non-violence training. Shell gave us 10 to train and I took them to South Africa to train. It was the training of those ten, given to us by Shell that opened the eyes of the world. In the second part, we trained and transformed 23 and I employed them. They sent another 60, I trained and transformed them and we started taking these youths to America and we trained a whole lot of them. Security agencies didn’t know about this? There were messages all over the place that this was succeeding. The

government, through the security agencies, was monitoring. I give kudos to the Obasanjo’s administration because they knew what I was doing but did not use the opportunity to arrest some people. Then, when the boys were coming to Lagos, they used to hide because they thought they would be arrested. They were never arrested; when I was taking them to South Africa, the government turned the other eye. On some occasions, they stopped us at the airport, trying to arrest us and calls will come in from Abuja to allow us but the South Africans would be alerted. I knew all that but it turned out to be a success story. Chevron now decided to come in when they saw what was happening on the Shell side. In Afam, for seven years, Shell couldn’t operate; I went into the place and reconciled the Afam community and the oil company, and till date, they are no more problems. How did the government get involved? It was along the line that late President Yar’Adua saw what we did and he decided to call on Timi Alaibe and said he had gotten security reports that an organisation, the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN), was training the ex-militants. And he said ‘why don’t we do it on a larger scale?’ And he asked if there was a way to get the militants to down their tools of war and take to the programme. The militant leaders refused at first; they said they would send their boys first to test the waters. They thought it was a set up; we took some 600 (militants) and the Federal Government financed their training through the NDDC and we trained and transformed them. That was why Yar’Adua insisted that something bigger should happen and the issue of amnesty came up. Can this approach work with the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency? Why not? The people in the North can get whatever they want if they decide to use the non-violence approach. We all know they have some grouses; they have a reason for Continued on Page 22


ripples I

The return of Mr. Fix it?

F scoops oozing out of the inner circle of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is anything to go by, then the country should prepare very well for the return of the one known to many as the Mr. Fix It of Nigerian politics. Yes, Ripples gathered that the powers that be within President Goodluck Jonathna’s party are working round the clock to resurrect the political career of Chief Tony Anenih, former works minister, former Board of Trustee (BOT) Chairman and former godfather of Edo politics. The man with many former titles was recently silenced when the PDP again lost the Edo State governorship election to Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria in spite of Mr. Fix It’s vow to retire Oshiomhole and the ACN in Edo State last July. Should the plan of the PDP bigwigs work, Anini may replace former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the Chairman of the party’s BOT. Of course it will be a second term in that position for the Ishan high chief.

Daniel, Kashamu back in the trenches


HE recently celebrated truce reached by two warring factions in the Ogun State chapter of the PDP has gone up in smoke. Some weeks ago, the factions headed by a former governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel, and businessman, Prince Buruji Kashamu, reconciled after months of bickering. But to the surprise of most party members in the state, newspaper reports a few days ago had it that the factions have fallen apart again in what may not be unconnected to the control of the party’s structure in the state and individual interests relating to the 2015 general elections. It remains to be seen how this latest setback will play out in the coming weeks and months.


Political Politics turf

with Bolade Omonijo

The readers’ world


HIS week I am dedicating this column to reactions to my column on former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Some praised and prayed for me. Others attacked me for daring to judge the former President. Here are the reactions, with minimal editing: “Well written, congrats to the journalist who wrote this write up. I remember in 2003 how thugs together with soldiers in my village voted on behalf of us. We could not even locate where polling box and pooling units were, neither did the fear of the thugs and soldiers loaded on hilux and buses could allow voters to come out. It was terrible. Again in 2007, after Obasanjo realised he could not succeed his third term ambition, the next thing he did to Nigerians was to impose the late Yar’ Adua as the PDP candidate. In that nomination, he ordered all the aspirants to step down four Yar’ Adua. All the aspirants were forced to obey even when the stubborn Governor Victor Attah initially refused on the ground that he has spent so much money, the next thing Obj said was ‘ Victor, you said you’ ve spent so much money, ok let me call EFCC for you’. And he invited his then boy,Ribadu, who came with his laptop hence making Attah to be the last aspirant to step down. So Obj caused confusion from Anambra to Bayelsa State and from Ibadan to Plateau State. Now he is about to export his confusion to Ghana. Only time will tell.” - James “I don’t know why people will decide to judge. Why are we making noise about his appointment when those who appointed him have a good background knowledge of the man? They have his experiences and ability. Since he left office in 2007, Nigerian politics is run by his style of politics down to the local level. Even the journalists who have got the opportunity to be in the government have also played to his kind of politics. I bet you that if you have the opportunity to be in government, you have no option like those there than to play along too. Let’s stop criticising people, allow him to be. Let God be the judge.” -Ibo boy “Obj is by far the most respected Nigerian in the international community. He was also the head of the UN elections monitoring team to Venezuela. Criticising on the pages of The Nation will not affect that. Obj is the ONLY military leader in Africa to voluntarily hand over power. He is also the first and for now the only president to hand over power voluntarily. Those are democratic credentials. Is he perfect? No. Is he the best example? No. However, no one, not even Tinubu, has a better record of democratic achievements. It is time to give him some respect and some respite. Politically motivated criticisms will not change the international community; they have better defined criteria for their choices. Concern yourself with what will be profitable to you.” - Olabode “Here we go again, well not until when all Nigerians come to the awareness that our Generals are not politicians,but the political class invited them on board in order to cover up their ungodly tracks, so who is to be blame? The general’s or the politicians? The previous president claimed election that brought him was flawed; so why not call for re-run of another election? He deceived the governor’s of Southwest because they were greedy. Why was Lagos State governor not got caught up? Well, that is what we call principle in politics. Will Baba OBJ be doing all these in isolation? I’m not a politician nor affiliated to any political parties,but just a concern for Nigeria. Our past and present president must be respected irrespective of where they come from.” - Romiaro “The evil that men do leave after them! Let the ebora go to Ghana. Getting to Ghana and seeing how things are done decently, he may come back a refined person.” - Oladipo “Na u sabi. Live baba and face your business; if people rate you, you will know that you are up to nothing...birds of the same feather” - Adex “Prophets are not known in there locality. Baba you will live long.” - Mustapha “All these you said is what you think was bad of Obj. What about the good of Obj. Does it mean that all his days in Nigeria politics he never did any good?” - Ken “Wonder what we Nigerians are after…everyday. We only accuse our past and present leaders; why? If one of us here is given the opportunity to be in such position, I know the worse will happen. The only thing expect is al of us should pray and change our habits and the Almighty will solve our problems most urgently.” - Muhammed “Sometimes a thief can turn out to be a good watch man and it take a thief to catch a thief so d people that appointed Obj have a hidden secret for that.” - Angel Gabriel





HAT will be the fate of several ongoing projects embarked upon by Gov Emmanuel Uduaghan at the expiration of his tenure, given the chronic lack of continuity in governance in Nigeria , specifically Warri Industrial Park, Koko Free Trade zone, IPP project, and Asaba Airport? The fate of these projects is such that I expect and the governor has made the point that he will take these projects to an irreversible level that the next administration will see the need to continue to final delivery of these projects. These projects are of such magnitude and importance that even if nobody said anything, a new administration will definitely see the wisdom with its full implementation, so I honestly do not entertain any of the doubts you have expressed. I also think that Deltans themselves would continue to monitor the progress of work in these projects, after all the vision behind it is for the economic growth and development of the state and to that extent it is important that they keep a close eye in what is happening. In fact, I also think Deltans already see these projects as part of their landscape and for good reason are looking forward to its completion. Some have criticised the pace of infrastructure development in the state despite massive infusion of funds by government; the Ughelli/Asaba dualisation project being a case in point. How do you justify this state of affairs? It is not my intention to join issues with anyone over the infrastructure development of the state, we are in a democracy and diverse opinions are bound to occur. That is one. But I do not also think it is fair to query government over the pace of work as such. Some projects have moved quickly in so short a time, despite massive budgetary cost that would have weighed it down. I give you a specific example, which is the Asaba international airport, which by design and implementation is a huge project and which I doubt the ability of many state governments to undertake and complete in so short a time of about four years in these harsh economic times. But we did it. Now, these your critics will not view the Asaba airport and its completion as heartwarming, no, rather they will point at the one that did not catch up with the timeframe. I want to also say that any serious project manager will tell you that project delays are not strange in project management. Some issues not previously anticipated might arise and until you sort that out, you cannot move forward. And usually in planning a project, you

‘We want state police’ Paul Odili is a top aide to Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, serving as the Manager Communication, Government House, Asaba. In this interview with Okungbowa Aiwerie, he speaks on the development efforts of the present administration, the contentious issue of state police and other issues. plan for possible lag time in your output and schedule and hope that the best circumstances prevail. These are typical steps that are taken. The other point is that Governor Uduaghan has said repeatedly that he is committed to these projects and will do the best he can to complete them and the ones that cannot be completed in his time will be at a stage the next administration will have no difficulty finishing. Some people forget that his administration in line with continuity of government inherited projects, which has been completed. I believe Delta is perhaps one of the few places in Nigeria where you do not see abandoned projects littered all over the place. What would you consider the greatest challenge to execution of government progammes? Government programmes have a couple reasons that hinder it ranging from capacity issues, to implementation challenges and then the funding bit. I think by and large the biggest challenge is funds. Shortfall in funding projection has not helped. It has forced government to sometimes slow down on the pace of work. I talked about output and schedule earlier; funding is one big factor that interferes with delivery schedule. Uduaghan has served on international bodies aimed at addressing climate change, but very little is being done in the state to ameliorate the deleterious effect of climate change; for example, there is no deliberate government policy to promote the culture of tree planting? Why is this so? Governor Uduaghan’s profile as a vibrant environmental activist is not in doubt. Long before the issue of climate change became a subject of popular discussion in Nigeria, he had been campaigning about it and has made it a strong policy objective of his administration to combat climate change, which is why he has linkages and contacts all over the place, so he has full understanding of climate change and climate related issues. Can you justify the partial banning of commercial motorcyclists,


considering the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the state? What policies have government put in place to cushion the ill effects of the ban? I think across the state, Governor Uduaghan is praised the most for a couple of things but one in particular is the transportation system in the state. Long before the

‘How to tackle Boko Haram insurgency’ •Continued from Page 21 whatever they are doing but the way they are doing it is tainting them. Nobody is thinking of the reasons now, all we are seeing are the violent acts, the shedding of blood. That is what everybody is seeing and that is pushing away people that would have participated in pushing their cause. It is not good; if they decide to down their weapons of war today and explore the non-violence approach, I am telling you, a lot of support will go to the North. Do you believe powerful bodies such as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) will support this as

2015 approaches? There are politicians in the ACF, MASSOB, OPC, IYC and all other organisations. These people do not actually represent the majority of Nigerians but they are the privileged few who could talk and be heard. That is the problem; those who do not want Nigeria to stay are in the minority but that minority is a very powerful minority. Those are the politicians, those are business men; there are people who get patronage because of these kinds of acts and they continue using abusive language and language capable of inflaming this country. Then, when they call them and oil their palm, they go. If you go to

the North, most northerners don’t even support the Boko Haram insurgency. You might sit here in the South and think everybody in the North wants this country to go to blazes; it is a lie. The people there are getting killed; most people in the North do not want this. I can tell you that. Those doing it are in the minority and it is a powerful minority. So when they do things, you think it is representative of every other person. What we need in the North is reorientation; we have to do massive reorientation projects there. I am telling you, if you build a critical mass of people, who believe that others must exist, the problems will be solved.

ban of commercial motorcyclists came into effect, the administration had introduced public air-conditioned buses in every nook and corner to resounding effect. Market women and everyone not privileged had the opportunity to move around in comfort. These buses, known as yori yori in my area for instance, are the most preferred means of movement. You can’t blame the people, everyone likes a good thing. In addition, it is cheap and has greatly impacted in cushioning poverty. In truth, apart from food; the other major daily cost outflow in every home is transportation. So, when it is provided cheaply, then you are empowering the people and easing their burden.On the commercial motorcycle, it became extremely necessary to ban it. One, public safety issue is a major factor, security is another one. From what we know, they were used by criminals to gather intelligence on their targets and as getaway means. Now this government cannot be accused on this ban of commercial motorcycle as being insensitive to the plight of the people. It took several steps, which is paying off. The administration approved the purchase of thousands of tri-cycles, which was sold at completely knocked down prices. The market prices of the tricycle are between N 350,000N400, 000.00 but Governor Uduaghan directed that it be sold

at N 150,000.00. And these tricycles were sold through commercial motorcycle unions. They were expected to organise themselves and procured these things for their members. We also intervened by releasing hundreds of big Marcopolo buses and small buses that are now used to cover the gap and to ensure that our people move in safety and in comfort. Actually, I have received so many calls and text messages commending the administration for the courage and for its humanness in ensuring that there are palliatives. Not many states have similar model and the story is different. Despite approvals by federal government for KFTZ, work is yet to commence on the project. What is stalling the project? KFTZ is not being stalled. Projects of that magnitude have phases and these phases have several dependencies that have to be properly harmonised before actual physical work begins. Unless that bit is sorted out, you might begin tomorrow only to stop and then having to reverse course and cost. The reality of project management is in planning you do your studies properly to avoid surprises that may cause unpleasant delays. Despite the illegality of transition committee to run local government council, the governor has gone ahead to constitute one, what informed government’s decision? Governor Uduaghan has not violated any law and can therefore not be queried for failing on his part to adhere to rule of law. In constituting the transition committees, the House of Assembly, which under the Constitution regulates the running of the local government, passed enabling act, empowering the governor to act and he has done so within the ambit of the law. Any opinion to the contrary should be ignored. The governor is a strident advocate of state police despite the weight of public opinion against it. How do you react? Governor Uduaghan’s posture on state policy represents the progressive wing that wants to reduce crime and introduce a more efficient approach to combate crime and bring under control the challenge of insecurity that has plagued the country. Governor Uduaghan’s posture is in line with what is obtained in federal systems, the type we have copied. You cannot describe governors as chief security officers of their states and they cannot hire and fire police officers. Within the Nigeria Governors Forum where this issue was vigorously debated and decided, it is obvious that a division happened along the way. However, from what I know, Governor Uduaghan’s posture is widely embraced here and is fully endorsed by our people. It is not an unpopular position. We want state police.




We’ve managed to turn around an insolvent state — Aregbesola By Olakunle Abimbola



AUF Aregbesola, who takes the rather simple, unconventional prefix of Ogbeni (Mr), in the midst of fellow Gubernatorial Excellencies, insists his main preoccupation, two years into his four-year tenure, is to develop his Osun people, after a rather long and parched period of virtual nongovernance. “If you had followed my inauguration speech and read our Green Book with our six-point agenda,” he told a quad of senior journalists in a rather informal chat, “that would be very clear.” The chat was informal not because it held in Governor Aregbesola’s private home, but because of the governor’s rather informal, almost offhand style. It indeed held at the Governor’s Office, the whitecoated one-storey twin-building named Bola Ige House, after the late Chief Bola Ige, former governor of old Oyo State (now Oyo and Osun states), in whom obviously the current Osun governor is well pleased. Indeed, a giant mural on the outside walls of the building, which proclaims them as “Our Heroes”, features the four-some of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ige, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Adebisi Akande, Aregbesola’s predecessor in office (1999-2003), and architect of the brown-and-redbrick set of bungalows that make up the futuristic State of Osun Secretariat, Abere, which has received wide acclaim, as a lasting contribution to the development of Osun, by the Adebisi Akande Government. Bola Ige House nestles on a hill, overlooking a landscaped valley, which harbours the dainty, set of bungalows with green roofs. “There is no doubt,” the governor resumed, as he settled down to the session with his guests, that Friday late afternoon after the jumat prayers, “Our mission is to run a people-focused government. Our activities are targeted at improving the lot of the majority.” He was wearing an off-white, three-piece traditional Yoruba wear with a cap to match, complete with a pair of sandals, which he slipped on and off on the Persian rug with red patterns, as the interview, which often turned into animated debates, continued. The halfsphere room is sparsely but tastefully furnished. If improving the lot of the majority were its target,

why did the Aregbesola administration begin with a rebranding process, which must have cost so much money, when it could have launched into projects that had direct link with the people’s welfare? “It is not totally true that the rebranding process was our first programme – O’YES [Osun Youth Employment Scheme] was. But I will tell you why the rebranding programme was imperative.” He explained that O’YES was to fulfil a campaign promise to employ 20, 000 youths in the first 100 days of his government, stressing that that pledge was driven by Osun’s mass youth unemployment, and its attendant helplessness and near-hopelessness. “We got 256, 000 applications. That confirmed that the job situation was dire. But at the end, we engaged the 20, 000 we promised. I don’t think any government had ever done that before us. But you must appreciate that O’YES is not conventional work. It is rather volunteer work, which is not common here. That was why the rebranding process was necessary – indeed, imperative.” Delving into what he termed t h e “infrastructure of the mind”, Governor Aregbesola said as things stood on 26 November 2010, when he took office, governance was paralysed and the people were demoralised, near hopeless, sceptical and even cynical. A massive reorientation programme, he reasoned, was therefore necessary. That reorientation need gave birth to the rebranding process – forging an Osun identity the people could identify with, be proud of, and that would fire their imagination. That, he added, came with the State of Osun official crest, a slight modification of the crest of the old Western Region, a glorious era under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, which feat his government intended to repeat. Core to this era, he continued, was what he called the Omoluabi [decent and well-bred] spirit of honesty, honour and hard work, which he regretted had all but vanished with the reign of “political mainstreamers” who had rigged elections and fraudulently taken power. “Osun was in an ethical mess. We badly needed rebranding to re-develop the human consciousness of our people, so that they could appreciate the infrastructure transformation to come. We needed to re-orient them, so that they would ‘own’ the roads and other public infrastructure to come, and take full charge of them, so that they don’t decay. The rebranding,” he declared, “was an ethical revolution, after so many years of serious doubt that government was still there. I am happy to inform you that we are getting results.” Having rebranded, the governor launched his agricultural programme which goal, he said, was aimed at massive food production but structured to create jobs for young and modern farmers as well as help traditional farmers to increase their crop yield and income. “O’REAP – Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme,” the governor enthused, “is the fountain head of our agricultural policy.” The cardinal parts of O’REAP are O’Beef (the part that tackles livestock and animal husbandry) and O’BOPS (Osun Broiler Outgrower Scheme) to boost poultry. Ticking them off his fingers, Governor Aregbesola said his government had committed more than N1 billion to support farmer cooperatives in input loans, cleared over 1,765 hectares of land for farm cultivation, built what he called the

“largest commercial apiary in sub-Sahara Africa” to boost honey production, supported two farmer cooperatives group to cultivate a 17 kilometre stretch of maize, supported 2, 000 farmers to plant 1.3 million plantain suckers to produce plantain flour, a local staple known as elubo-ogede, supported another 220 farmer cooperatives to run O’BOP to give egg, chicken and other poultry products, a systematic jab in the arm, aside from supporting another farmer cooperative a 400-acre cluster yam farm, to produce elubo, the popular yam flour. Governor Aregbesola said an integral part of his agricultural policy was to avail the Osun people with balanced diet, pointing out that his government is currently supporting a farmer cooperative at Kuta-Ikoyi, in the Ola Oluwa Local Government of the state, to cultivate a 500-acre vegetable farm cluster that would feed the state and export its excess to neighbouring states, partnering the private sector to build a 78.8 capacity cattle ranch at Oloba, Iwo, with two additional ranches at Ede and Ejigbo to follow, aside from modern, hygienic but commercial abattoirs planned for Osogbo, Iwo and Ilesa. The governor’s eyes glinted with new excitement as he launched into his education policy, insisting that his claim that the people were the cornerstone of his policy these past two years could not have been better validated. “What we have spent on primary school grant in one year is more than what [former governor] Oyinlola spent in four years. From N7.4 million in four years, we now spend N424 million as grant yearly. The secondary school equivalent is N427 million, up from N117 million, in Oyinlola’s four years. Even tertiary bursary awards: from N32 million, we now pay N270 million as bursary,” he said. Apart from school running grants and bursaries, the governor further explained, the O’Meal break-time daily feeding programme serves primary 1-3 pupils “nutritious” mid-day meal, with a captured population of 155, 000 kids. Also, plans are at completion stage to hand the 750, 000-strong primary and secondary school pupil population free school uniforms. Since the State of Osun-sponsored Omoluabi Garment Factory would produce the uniforms locally, the education policy dovetails into the policy to create youth employment. “We have reduced school fees into our university and other higher institutions by 30 percent – and do you know,” he asked, “Among the 98 UNIOSUN [Osun State University] medical students we sent on training to Ukraine is even a Cameroonian?” Why? His guests wanted to know. “Well,” returned the governor, “he was admitted to read medicine in our university. We couldn’t in all good conscience drop him while sending out the others, could we? Besides,” he added, “the most important thing here is that our government does not discriminate against anyone – not foreigners, not fellow Nigerians. Wherever they might come from, as long as they live in our state, it is our duty to take care of them.” Announcing that UNIOSUN medical school had been phased out for now for lack of facilities (adding that the Ukraine clinical training was as a result of that), the governor thought its establishment was superfluous in the first instance, since the Ladoke Akintola University of Science and Technology, jointly owned by Osun and Oyo states, had a medical school. He said his government had been working on new school building blocks: 50 for elementary school, 31 for middle school and 31 for high schools, the three categories schools in the State of Osun had been divided. So, he was asked, what his government had done on roads – to which the governor responded with a beam, wrinkles forming around the outer edges of his two eyes, as his face dissolved into a wide smile, as if to announce that roads and physical infrastructure were his forte. “As I speak, we are rehabilitating 21 Osogbo township roads, 15 roads in Ilesa, 14 others in Ede and 20 inter-city roads with a cumulative distance of 319 kilometres,” he disclosed. Key to the government’s road programme is a oneContinued on Page 26




‘National Assembly not competent to amend constitution’ Chief Albert K. Horsfall is an administrator, author and politician. He was a Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) and ex-Chairman of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC). In this interview with Assistant Editor, LINUS OBOGO, he criticises the involvement of the National Assembly in the ongoing constitution review, arguing that it exposes the lawmakers to the temptation of tampering with the organic law of the land to suit their own purposes. He also speaks on Boko Haram and sundry issues. Excerpts:


seem to like the notion that the office he holds and the responsibility thereof is held in trust, and that he must be guided by the supreme law of the land, or any law for that matter. The average ruler actually sees the constitution and – the rule of law – as a hindrance to his authority and does his best to avoid using it as guide to perform his function. The clear expression of my point is symbolised by the practical expression of our corrupt political situation starting from the local government level and even at the political party level. At the highest political level, for instance, the leader of the party - and there are only very few exception in this regard - controls and actually ensures the selection of candidate of his own choice, to go to the legislature at any level. He would in most cases if he were already in government, pay for their election expenses from

There is an evidently emerging trend where the family members of leading politicians are progressively emerging as judicial officers. This cannot be accidental or coincidental and this trend needs to be watched carefully.

HE National Assembly Committee on Constitution Review is conducting zonal hearings with a view to coming out with what could be described as a “people’s constitution”. What, in your view, should form the plank of the review? The much talked about constitution review is a good idea. When the polity becomes unduly heated as it is at present, it becomes necessary to carefully examine the framework on which our relationship as a nation is founded in order to ensure that the organic law which governs these relationships is strengthened or modified to ensure that the system functions better. The First Republic constitution lasted for just six years when the Grundnorm was rudely removed by the 1966 coup. We did not sufficiently practice or experiment on that constitution which I still think was the best for Nigeria. When the 1966 coup happened I was a young ASP in the Police Special Branch. The Personal Assistant to the then Commissioner of the Special Branch, was Chief T.A. Fagbola of blessed memory, an outstanding statesman and leader. I recall what he said to me when I congratulated him following that coup believing as I did at that time that it was a good thing that the coup had happened and removed the ‘corrupt’ politicians from office. He said to me “Albert, we will be lucky to recover in 25 years from the tragedy and damage which has happened to this country by this military coup.” I did not really understand and I quietly felt within me a shock and surprise that my boss appeared to support the corrupt political dispensation at that time. Now I realise the truth of Chief Fagbola’s prediction, and it has sadly dawned on me that the damage caused has not lasted for 25 years but continues perhaps up to this date. The military managed as best they could to pilot the affairs of this country, howbeit inappropriately and inadequately, and in the process of trying to sort things out and give us a fresh constitutional framework, introduced the presidential system of government based on the American model. The problem is, we have not been able to fully understand, follow through and effectively implement the American system of presidential constitution. We have actually followed it somewhat half way and allowed our background and orientation to drive our attitudes towards the presidential system in a confused way. For instance, at the local government level we have completely muddled up the practice as it works in America. Above all, our orientation based on our local background of chieftaincy, Obaship or Emirship, where the chief or traditional rulers as we call them own everything in the land, giving them the right to give to whom they wish and deny from whom they equally wish. That mentality seems to have taken hold on our political leadership at almost all levels. The average office holder in any arm of government – executive, legislative, and judiciary – sees his office as his personal fiefdom where he holds and wields absolute power and authority - including complete authority over public funds, the law enforcement authorities, and so on and so forth. He doesn’t

funds usually available to him through the public purse. As legislators they are sometimes, aside from the regular emolument, paid special honourarium weekly or monthly and accorded other favours and inducements. Worse still, in some states before selection prospective candidates are ‘persuaded’ to sign up to some secret association or ‘cult’,

and then finally when ‘elected’ such persons are placed under mentors who are usually senior party or cult members and they monitor their activities, behaviour, etc. to ensure that such ‘legislators’ toe the line prescribed by the leader. In effect, in many cases the emergent legislator’s words and activities are pre-circumscribed to ensure that he keeps in ‘line’. Those who dare not to do so are denied the various facilities stated earlier and marked out for premature retirement from party and perhaps politics altogether. At the end of the day, the average legislator has completely lost his freedom to perform based on his conviction or even on the declared party manifesto or credo. The other restrictive control measures that the top echelon of the political system appears to have embarked upon include the infusion into the judiciary of politicians’ cronies and family members. There is an evidently emerging trend where the family members of leading politicians are progressively emerging as judicial officers. This cannot be accidental or coincidental and this trend needs to be watched carefully. In making a fresh constitution for Nigeria or amending the existing one, there is need for caution, especially against the prospect of ensuring that an emergent or amended constitution does not serve the select interest of a few over the ordinary Nigerian. For instance, we are still hearing a lot of talk by those who will play the principal roles in amending the constitution about the issue of immunity for certain office holders. There are indications in a number of states of huge and unjustifiable pension schemes for retired public office holders which will draw deep into the resources of the state which in many cases will serve the interest of young politicians who after retirement will perhaps be on this side of the planet for quite a few more decades. The country is at present undergoing huge burden of corruption in public places. To land ourselves in a situation where a public officer may have abused his authority while in office and still chip in to the public resources even when he has left office, is to say the least, a major challenge to the public psyche.



•Continued from Page 24 Especially when efforts are being made to ensure through immunity clauses and such other arrangements that errant public office holders will not be held to account for their excesses whilst in office. I did say earlier in this interview that the First Republic constitution which was rudely truncated in 1966 remains our best constitution. Even though a republican constitution it provided a parliamentary and cabinet system of government. The beauty of it is that at the appropriate levels the members of the executive arm are also in the legislature where they function as legislators and become used to the democratic system of operating their offices and particularly of accountability. This is a system where in parliament they would be confronted with facts in open debate and give public answers which the ordinary citizen has access to and be informed of the manner in which he is being governed. It is my belief that the national interest and the interest of the ordinary citizen will best be served under the parliamentary and cabinet system of government where the public officer will openly account for his activities. Should the legislature make, review or amend the Nigerian Constitution? My sincere views are that the legislators by themselves cannot be the competent organ to make or amend the Nigerian Constitution. We have all been crying wolf about the military made constitution. Bad as that may be, one can regard the military in the circumstance, as a disinterested party. Can the legislators be seen or regarded as such a disinterested party? For them therefore to be the ones to make, review or amend the constitution which is to be regarded as their guide for making ordinary laws and other regulations to my mind is clearly inappropriate. As such I will like to thank the legislators for their present initiatives on this matter but I would advise them to handover the matter of constitution making to the appropriate authority – the people. I wish to emphasise that neither the executive, that is the presidency, the legislature nor the judiciary who will be the ultimate instrument to implement, practice and interpret the constitution should be the body to make, review or amend it. Such attempt by any of these bodies will expose them to the temptation of tampering with the organic law of the land to suit their own purposes - which makes them masters and not the servants of the people! They should expose the process to a national referendum or a national conference of ordinary Nigerians who will produce the organic laws under which they choose to be governed. One issue that has dominated national discourse in recent times is the clamour for state police. Is Nigeria ripe for the establishment of state police? The Governors Forum made a statement through their chairman that it is their wish, and placed it on the table for constitutional amendment. The South West is known to be very strong proponents for state police, and to some extent the South East governors have taken a similar position as the South West. In the South-South the vocal minority seem to be advocating the same. I would like to sound a word of caution on the issue of state police. Many of those at the helm of political leadership may be doing so to serve some selfish interest. The truth is that the ordinary policeman is there to protect the average Nigerian citizen. You do not need to go far in order to confirm that even at present there is a tendency of the strong to use the police to oppress or suppress the weak. Such excesses are so far generally checked by the fact that the police is monolithic; with its hierarchy stretching up from the community level to the InspectorGeneral who is in the Abuja headquarters. Therefore the average aggrieved Nigerian citizen can start with the constable in his community to deal with his grievances at his community or local village, and without much cost can refer his matter from the constable to the DPO, from the DPO to the area command, from the area command to the state commissioner of police, from the state commissioner of police to the zonal AIG and eventually to the IGP. He can do all of these without much cost except the piece of paper in which he writes his complaints or the transport cost which will take him to all of these places to verbally lodge his complaints. The Nigeria Police may be accused of being plagued by a nest of corruption but its hierarchical arrangement offers some of the best opportunities to the under privileged Nigerian to make his case and be heard and indeed to ultimately receive justice. But when you remove this protection from the ordinary citizen you are further widening or stretching the thin layer of protection which the ordinary Nigerian

It seems clear that what is happening with Boko Haram and other political forces today to confound, confuse and diminish the authority of the Jonathan administration is the concerted work of a vocal minority which had threatened to truncate Jonathan’s administration.

citizen has so far enjoyed. Judging from what the new breed of politicians have so far enacted from 1999 to date, it will be interesting to note that the tendency has been to consolidate power in their own hands and thereby give less and less room to the ordinary citizen to express himself and exercise his God-given rights of citizenship. During the period when in the SouthSouth zone, for instance, cult and youth militancy activities evolved, the ugly gunfights, killings and operation of cult members and youth militancy which were taking place under the full glare of the governments of this zone; the police and other security agencies were there but could not take any meaningful action. This is because the heads of these formations had been intimidated or brought under the subjection of the local political leadership, and all these crimes were openly taking place with no one to counter them. The enforcement and monitoring authorities were intimidated by the real or implied threats of one form of sanction or another and so connived, turned the blind eye or totally ignored their duty to the state and citizenry. Even the media which during the Abacha era rose up stoutly to defend the interest of the ordinary citizenry were for whatever reasons, for almost three years, unable to effectively expose these ugly incidents of killing and maiming which were taking place extensively in some of these states. So the country and the outside world were kept in the dark throughout the embryonic stages of these ugly developments. Many of our citizens of the present generation are not familiar with what went on in the First Republic when we had local government police, native authority (NA) police, native court, etc. In those days the political leader or some


powerful Emir or Oba will direct the police - especially the NA police - to subjectively arrest a political opponent or anyone who insulted them or dared to question their excesses. For any flimsy excuse imaginable persons were locked up contrary to the law. In the North as in the West the powerful politicians and traditional heads held sway! The NA, local government police and the native courts exercised cruel and crude forms of ‘justice’. There was the report, in those days, from one of these areas where the president of a customary court was in his bathroom, and having been informed that a prominent member of his party had been arrested and sentenced to three months in prison in another region, for which a revenge arrest had been made in his (the customary court’s jurisdiction), shouted back from his bathroom “I sentence the man you arrested to six months imprisonment.” He thus passed sentence on an alleged suspect he had not even seen! Let Nigerians and our present day politicians not forget that all these excesses and more brought about the crises which truncated the life of the First Republic and the series of unpleasant events which followed thereafter! Even in the then Eastern Region where they did not have the local government police, the Nigeria police were under pressure to toe the line of the political leadership. But the situation in Eastern Nigeria compared to the rest of the other regions was generally different because there, the Nigeria Police headed by the CP based in Enugu received his operational orders from the Lagos-based IG. And depending on the stature of who was commissioner of police, the police force in the then Eastern Nigeria generally performed well and operated to protect the interest of all and sundry. One will readily recall the tussle for control of the police force in the then Eastern Nigeria between the CP’s office and the Premier of the then Eastern Nigeria. There were such tough officers like Ikeazor, otherwise called Keazor. Or the likes of the ‘No nonsense’ Commissioner Ibekwe of the Onitsha province usually referred to as ‘MA Natural.’ By the strength of such distinguished officers the interest of the ordinary citizen was generally protected and the law was applied somewhat properly in the interest of the common man in the then Eastern Region. But come to think of it, the series of crises and violent eruptions since 2007 resulting in youth militancy and deaths sometimes based on tribal and religious lines; were these issues being handled by a state or regional police per se the resultant effect would obviously have been different and the breakup of the federation of Nigeria might have come sooner than 2015 allegedly predicted by the Americans. Nor would the country have adequately dealt with the emergent Boko Haram and the earlier situation of Maitatsine had we tackled them under the rubric of state police or regional police. I would like all and sundry to carefully consider this matter, especially the governors, some of whom are at present at the forefront of the advocacy of state police. Let me remind them that some of them may become the victims of the state police in the hands of the very individuals whom they may have installed as their replacement as governors, but who may thereafter become their political opponents and bitter enemies, and may like to have them in jail. The House of Representatives recently threatened to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan over the poor implementation of the 2012 Appropriation Act. What is your take on this? The impeachment threat by the National Assembly appears to have become a political weapon in recent times to shake-up the executive arm of government whenever it is felt that that arm is either not performing up to expectation or is not taking the legislative arm of government seriously. It was threatened several times during the Obasanjo administration. But as always, the legislators who all belong to one political party or another know how to find accommodation to resolve their differences. I am sure that even this time around they will come back together to resolve whatever differences they have with one another. How do you deal with the political controversy between the North and the South-South? The North and South-South had in the past formed close alliance on various national issues whether at election time, constitution making time, or collaborating in the Nigerian Civil War. In politics, Northern candidates for president or other national offices will normally always expect to get the backing of the South-South. Similarly, the South-South would usually expect to receive the backing of the North in political and other national issues that affect the SouthSouth. For instance during the Civil War, Northern soldiers and politicians were the backbone of South-South support and creation of states. The North was our main ally that executed the Civil War in collaboration with the South-South and, of course, our close friends from the South-West. So the Obasanjo-convened National Confab was the first time when the South-south began to realise that the North was actually unwilling and unable to give political support to the South-South on the twin issues of getting a president from the South-South and on the issue of resource control which were the two main planks the zone agitated for at that conference. Delegates from the South-South were rather puzzled at the vehemence of the opposition of the North to their cause. Somehow, by providence and divine intervention, the South-South now has the president and the presidency in the person of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. The political election that led to his victory at the polls was free and fair and the candidate won the election roundly. There was no question about that. And thankfully the North actually voted enmasse for Goodluck Jonathan. •Continued on Page 65





OVERNOR Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, of Kaduna State graduated from the famous Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1972 with a degree in Public Administration. In 1973 , he went back to the then University of Ife , for a post graduate diploma in Public Administration, and not in business administration ,which would have helped place him in a better stead, if he was to take up employment in the private sector. He was to bag a Masters Degree in Public Administration, as he continued to prepare himself for service to mankind. Unlike now, when graduates, including doctorate degree holders, are reportedly applying to be drivers, Yakowa, had several employment opportunities. If his motivation in life was money, the United African Company (UAC), John Holt, Kingsway, etc, would have been his first choice , where the salary cannot be compared to “living wage “ civil servants earn. But the choice of the civil service was not difficult, because right from the outset, his life has been about service to humanity. Those who know him from childhood attest to this fact. So quite early in life, he made conscious decision to be a servant of the people. Thus begun the journey of a life that is epitomised by service which climaxs, is not the governorship of Kaduna state, but as a permanent secretary in the federal civil service and as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As a federal civil servant, you make policies for the 36 states and the federal capital. Though in Nigeria, most people prefer to be governors, so they can be “emperors”. This may be the reason, some senators prefer to be governors instead of legislating for the whole country. It is all about control. Considering that he lost his mother at the tender age of six and later his father at a very young age of 19, Yakowa would have ended up at best, a village champion, considering that he had lost his parents, who would have paid his fees. Through doing all sorts of jobs, the goodwill of people and the missionaries, he was able to go to school. It was obvious to him that the only way to make a success of his life was hard work, determination and being focused. A habit that to date is still part of him. Yakowa is known to stay awake into early hours, seeing people, treating files and by 5am, he would already be up. And as a devoted Catholic (a Papal Knight), he will go for mass and the ritual of seeing people, treating files etc begins all over again. But when the day is really choked up, he would apologise, and if it is something that can be solved by a phone call, he will ask that the person calls or sends a text message. Treating people with respect and decorum is second nature to him. When he became governor, he had no hesitation moving with Hajia, who has been in charge of his guest house from his days as deputy governor, Kabir who was director in charge of security when he was the Secretary to State Government (SSG) , as well as Atama, who he has now made a permanent secretary. For Yakowa, they deserve “divine elevation” , the same way God Almighty divinely elevated him, when the President picked the then Governor of Kaduna State, Arc. Namadi Sambo, to become the Vice President. This and the appointment of a Muslim as his ADC, went along way in reassuring people that he has not changed and would not change; that he would be fair and just to all.



A life of service By Emmanuel Ado

He still likes to laugh and crack jokes, but can be very serious when the circumstance demands. For instance, when he drives around in the night to see things for himself, God bless the commissioner in charge of whatever he sees that is wrong- streetlight that is not working, potholes on the roads; refuse heaps that have not been evacuated, etc. People have also spoken about his loyalty to friends and bosses and the fact that his long years in the civil service is responsible for his “obedient and loyal servant “ nature. I vehemently disagree. Loyalty is his second nature. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi and Namadi Sambo, are by age junior to him. But once he accepted to work with them, they became his boss and his respect for them had to be total and still remains so. If Yakowa was a bad man, he would have shown his true colour, especially now that he is governor. But to the anger of so many people who want him in the typical Nige-

rian style to become disrespectful to them , he has refused, because it is just not in his nature. And he has made some enemies over this. What is unknown to many people is that his skilful management of very difficult relationships, has gone a long way in ensuring that Kaduna State is not plunged into the type of crisis some states experienced whenever they produce either the President, Vice President, President of the Senate or Secretary to Government of the Federation. We have seen raging “war” in some states, between Abuja based group and the home front. But rather than indulge in such unhealthy rivalry, he has taken insults and has refused to reply to such insults, even when they come from people who have no pedigree. For all that God has done for him , his song has remained – I can only repay it by being gracious and dedicated to the service of humanity . A life of ostentation is not in his dictionary. So he still rides the same cars he inherited from his predecessor. He is also

not in a hurry to move into the new multibillion naira office complex, the present office is functional and good enough for him. That is Yakowa , a gentleman in the real sense of the word! Having been around for long, one will also think, he would also have made so many enemies ,comfortably that is not the case. Rather it is that knack for managing relationships that is the essential Yakowa. This is how he became a minister under General Abubakar Abdulsalam (rtd) . As the Chief of Defence, Yakowa worked with him and it is in recognition of his capacity for hard work and loyalty that made him appoint him minister of solid minerals. Virtually everybody that had worked with Yakowa, speaks well of him and they still maintain a good relationship with him. It is part of the “I owe you” that he has been cashing on for Kaduna State. No doubt the expectations are high for him to deliver, despite the terrible financial base of the state. Kaduna is the third most populous state in Nigeria with a population of about 7 million people. It receives between N4.5 billion to N5 billion monthly from the Federation Account. Its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is about N700 million. The wage bill of about N4.3 billion naira, which takes a large chunk of the funds and the expenditure on security, there is virtually nothing for capital projects. The question some people have asked is, where is he getting the money to convert the state hospital into a teaching hospital, so that medical students of the state university will have a place for their clinical, the more than 1,000 kilometres of road costing more than 50 billion naira, the various water schemes and the biggest of them all, the Zaria Regional Water project, that has now been expanded to supply water to five more local government areas? The simple answers are prudent management of resources and continued efforts to block leakages. But as one who never complains, after all he asked to be elected, Yakowa has identified untapped revenue sources and workable strategies towards collecting them. The immediate objective of his strategic revenue objective is the funding of the overhead expenditure of government in the short term and in the long run, the more than N4.3 billion monthly wage bills. And the state has started seeing the benefits of the improved revenue. Just last week he flagged off the construction of 31 new roads, at a whooping cost of N28 billion naira. Flagging off the road projects at Karatudu, in Chikun Local Government Area, Yakowa almost shed tears, when he saw the rickety bridge that the people of the area call “the killer bridge” because of the many lives of school children it had claimed. With the new road, there will be no more such avoidable deaths. By next year, the governor will further surprise cynics, with some critical projects that will change the fortune of many citizens. Yakowa has stressed his readiness not to rest and as he gets into the new year, there is clamour to drop those not adding value to governance . As he celebrates his birthday, one can only ask for continued good health and protection for him and his family, especially his beautiful wife, Amina, that covers the home front while he steers the ship of the state. Sir, happy birthday and God bless. Ado is media consultant to Governor Yakowa of Kaduna State

‘We’ve managed to turn around an insolvent state’ •Continued from Page 23 kilometre radius urban renewal programme for each of the nine major towns in Osun – Osogbo, Ilesa, Ikirun, Iwo, Ede, Ejigbo, Ila, Ife and Ikire. Also in the works, the governor added, are select roads in six zones in the state totalling 74.1 kilometres, dualisation of Osogbo-Kwara boundary road, a 185-kilometre beautification of Osun-Oyo boundary at Asejire and OsunOndo boundary at Owena. Another road project is the dualisation of the GbonganOrile Owu-Ijebu Igbo Road, a 74-kilometre highway stretch that would bypass Ibadan and connect Osun to Lagos. “By June 2013, we expect most, if not all

of the roads, to be delivered,” the governor disclosed. Governor Aregbesola said though much attention was being given to the youth and working population in terms of government programmes, elderly citizens were not neglected, as 1, 600 Osun elders of 65 years and above, without support from kith and kin, receive a monthly stipend of N10, 000. How were the lucky 1, 600 picked? “O, we gave them a form to fill. We structured the form such that it is easy to know, from the responses, those who are most vulnerable. It is these people that the programme covers,” he explains, adding that more classes could be covered in the future, funds permitting. He also said this class of elders

also received home medical treatment, with Osun paramedical volunteers linking up with them. How has the government raised money for these projects, since Osun is 34 out of 36 states in revenue allocation? “What we did was reengineer our financing so much so that we now have a credit rating of Bb (Agusto and Co) and BBB (Global Credit Rating, GCR) from credit agencies. Indeed, we have managed to turn around an insolvent state, to one which can frugally manage its lean resources.” And how did the government do that? The governor responded, again ticking off each deed on his fingers: “We recovered N800 million worth hidden investments for

the state, we saved N900 million by negotiating a concessionary debt waiver for the state, and we have increased our Internally Generated Revenue from N300 milliion to N700 million.” The governor said as part of the financial infrastructure to develop the state, Osun has set up the Omoluabi Conservation Fund with a N4.2 billion reserve, aside from setting up the Osun Debt Management Office. Two years on, is the governor satisfied with his team’s performance? “Satisfied? No, I’m not. But I think we are on course. We certainly can and we will do better.”



Halle Berry’s violent love triangle –Page 32




Top Christmas hairstyles •Uzo Okoyee





Favourite shoe designer Kurt Geiger


Ex-model and one of Nigeria's top bloggers, Linda Ikeji, reveals her favourite things to Kehinde Falode

Favourite bag designer Louis Vuitton


Favourite wristwatch Omega


Favourite perfume Angel by Thiery Murglar


Favourite Nigerian designer Frank Osodi, Karen Millen

Favourite holiday destination




Favourite jewellery White gold necklace



Favourite jeans


Brazilian jeans



Favourite pet Dogs


Favourite car Infiniti FX



The Academy awardwinning actress's custody fight got physical over the American Thanksgiving holiday when Berry's fiancé, actor Olivier Martinez, and the father of her daughter, former model, Gabriel Aubry, got into a fight. Then the restraining orders started flying. Allison Samuels reports.


Inside Halle Berry’s violent love


•Aubry after the fight

•Olivier Martinez

Courtesy: Daily Beast





Bhaira s rebrand



Chocolate City signs Kenyan artiste




Tel: 07029013958

EME announces ‘Baddest’ concert

...steps out with fashion line

Nicki Minaj signs Nigerian talent

•Nicki Minaj with Parker

DJ Zeez Body Language video banned! By Mercy Michael

•DJ Zeez





Entertainment 39 Crown Interactive brings digital broadcasting

Reality Praise Crew berths with album

I can never play a gay role

—OC Ukeje

Truth is, I've seen gay roles where they didn't have to do anything serious. But they just lead you towards it; you realise they are supposed to be partners. I can consider that, but detailed‌I can't.




UNCENSORED Speaks on family, retirement, business


Lampard splashes £23m on property empire

•Okocha dazzles at Guinness event PIX: Shengol pix


ESTATE MOGUL Lampard splashes £23m on property empire

ENNIS BOMBSHELL 'Girls dislike athletes because of being too muscular’

LEADING ALL THE WAY Footballer's wife, Louise Redknapp tops fashion pack at Red's Hot Women awards






Irina Shayk shines in plunging blazer suit on night out with Cristiano Ronaldo


OOKING gorgeous is Irina Shayk's business so it was no surprise the Russian model was at the top of her game at the Vogue & Mario Testino party. It was date night for the model who attended the party with footballer boyfriend Cristiano Ronaldo, 27. Izabel Goulart, and Laetitia Casta also attended the fashionable party at Fernan Nunez Palace in Madrid, Spain. Stunning Irina Shayk wore a black blazer minus a blouse, black skinny pants, and incredible stilettos. With her hair slicked back Irina resembled a classic Vogue model at the party but vamped up her look with some stiletto heels and plunging blazer. Izabel Goulart posed playfully in a knee-length black semi-sheer dress with pointy black heels. Also celebrating the launch was Laetitia Casta, who went for the vixen look in a sleeveless black and redruffled gown and deep red lipstick. In the upcoming Spanish Vogue issue, photographer Mario Testino has taken some nearly nude shots of the best in the business, perhaps that's why many of the gorgeous models opted for a barely there look at the bash. Kate Moss graces the cover and inside with both Irina and Izabel Goulart posing up a storm inside, as well as Isabeli Fontana, Doutzen Kroes, Karlie Kloss, Miranda Kerr, Toni Garrn, Constance Jablonski, Edita Vilkeviciute and Alessandra Ambrosio. Earlier this year, Ronaldo sparked speculation about his future with the Spanish football champions after he told reporters in January: 'I'm sad - when I don't celebrate goals it's because I'm not happy. It's a professional thing. Real Madrid know why I'm not happy.' Despite his apparent unhappiness, Ronaldo has still been banging in the goals, and Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger has suggested his recent comments have been made because he's not in the limelight as much. He wrote in his Eurosport column: 'When you talk about Ronaldo, no matter where he goes, he wins things and at the end of the season scores 50 goals. Cristiano is a super player and these type of players often have great aspirations and strong egos, because they are not satisfied with being just average. 'They want to be the best in the world and there is a price to pay for that. They have a certain aura which surrounds them and at times this distracts from the rest of the team. 'All the great players love being in the spotlight, and when the spotlight is on just one player, the other players can't be happy. The media chooses who to focus on and the others suffer.’


UNVEILED Professor who discovered Seyi Olofinjana! From BEN OGBEMUDIA, Benin


Beckham: Jordan gives me restaurant tips



•Okocha dazzles at Guinness event PIX: Shengol pix

•Okocha with wife, Nkechi



Speaks on family, retirement, business By Taiwo Alimi


•Okocha and wife




I don’t want to be identified as a hook master —Brymo Unknown to many, Chocolate City lyricist, Ashimi Olawale Ibrahim, aka Brymo, has been on the music scene for a while having come on stage in 2007 with the debut album, Brymstone, which scored him a major hit. Brymo became a household name when he did the hook for Ice Prince's Oleku. He further proved to critics that he is not a one-off artiste when his single, Ara, rocked the airwaves. He speaks with OVWE MEDEME on sundry issues, including his latest album, career as well as his vices.




Esther Adeola launches album Olayaki Samuel


• Elizabeth Amkpa, General Manager, GOtv presenting a GOtv decoder to HRH Igwe Anthony Ojukwu, Chinenyeze of Ogui Nike of Enugu State.

Koko Master set for debut album compilation

Excitement as GOtv launches in Enugu

Anny Ibrahim gets NMVA, NGMA nominations


Ebubedike returns with Nara Ekene Mercy Michael


Bukky Wright lends voice to youth symposium


•Bukky Wright








A heart thumping chase causes Premium Rush PORT HARCOURT

Argo brings the Canadian Carper alive



‘Why I’m keen about men’s look’

After spending 10 years at the National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, now Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, Toun Awofeso decided to follow her passion, fashion. The CEO of The Wardrobe shared with ADETUTU AUDU why there is mad rush to Dubai for shopping and why she is keen about men's wardrobe.







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

Nasir Ado Ibrahim hibernates

Velma Madubuko smiles again

Simeon Oduoye gets grandchild

Bola Atobatele resurrects

Yinka Taiga gets busy



Rosemary Okeke still rules


Makinde gives marriage another shot

Peter Obafemi re-strategises

Chima Anyaso delves into hospitality business Quincy Ayodele rolls out drums for daughter





Glamour as Joko Oni's daughter weds

OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821)

•Mr and Mrs Oni

•Grooms Parent, Mr and Mrs Olaide Ajayi

•Otunba Adekunle Ojora and wife, Ojuolape

•L-R: Mrs Omolara Fashola, Mrs Bintu Tinubu, and Mrs Felicia Kisera

By Olusegun Rapheal.

•L-R: Mrs Kemi Nelson and Mrs Funso Amosun

•L-R: Deputy Governor Ekiti State, Mrs Funmi Olayinka and Mrs Abimbola Fashola

•L-R: Princes Sarah Sosan and Mrs Lola •L-R: Mrs Dupe Jemibewon and Mrs Ayo- Shobowale Remi Adikwu-Bakare

•L-R: Major, Gen. David Jemibewon and Chief Bukola Okunowo

•Princes Cyntia Andrew, Christy Andrew and Jumoke Oyeneyin

Nigeria French Language Village celebrates 20 years of excellence

L-R: Dr. Sikiru Shehu and Representative of Akran of Badagry, Prof. Oladipo Hunponu-Wusu

L-R: Representative of Minister of Education, Olapeju Oladele and Dr. Peter Ojedele.

By Olusegun Rapheal

L-R: Hon. Rafeequat Onabamiro and Chairman of the Occasion, Dr. Rose Oko, Chairman Education Committee, House of Rep.

L-R: Hon. Peter Orji and HRM. Oba Oyekan A. Possi III Alapa of Apa, Bada

L-R: Representative of Vice President. Dr. Baba Adamu, Adviser in ICT to V.P and Director General CEO. The Nigeria Frence L-R: Dr. Alawode Mathew Ibiyes and Remi Language Village,. Prof. Samuel Olabanji Aje Fatunwase



VOL 1 NO. 037


Media effectiveness check

ASS Communication 101 threw up so many “mustknow” at the new undergraduate students in Mass Communication department to the extent of amazement. On the one hand, the new learning was compulsory for purpose of passing examination and on the other hand, it registered as though one was reliving Mongo Park’s experience when he “discovered” River Niger. One of such exciting new learning was the peculiar nature of those characteristics that distinguished radio from other media of mass communication: ubiquitous, most penetrating, rural, largest listenership engagement, cheapest for advertisers (both in terms of cost per reach and opportunity to hear/reach…the peculiarities continue. A good number of my course and class mates opted for radio under broadcasting, as against television, not to mention print journalism. I was tempted to try out radio broadcasting, but there was John Momoh always on TV screen at 9pm with the national network news, and coming to class the next day with all the trappings of a super star, and then the confinement (or entrapment?) of the audio studio...I was not thrilled. For me and some others in my class then, print journalism enables the most freedom of the three major options available to us then. Print threw up the opportunity of individualism in the demonstration of talents and abilities, the opportunity of photography, the creativity of prose writing, the by-lines expressive of individuality, etc. With print journalism, I do not have to be trapped in a cubicle inside a studio, confined for the definite measure of heat from the lightings, and I did not have to further labor to learn how to manipulate the audio console. It became clearer to us all as we grew in training, that whatever the choice we made of the options available in of specialization, journalism or mass communication is same in purpose, functions, roles and duties. Whether taken from the angle of electronic or print, journalism is about (1) information (2) enlightenment (3) orientation (4) awareness (5) entertainment. A particular course was designed to sum the role of journalism, no matter from what angle we practice, to be MASS COMMUNICATION FOR AWARENESS. AWARENESS is the platform for change. During the period of apartheid in South-Africa, people sacrificed all to generate and broadcast the critically important information needed to build the army against apartheid. In India, fighting poverty became a national challenge and mass communication became one of the tools used to whip up the needed emotional engagement for attitude change. So, people say information is power; journalism is about information – gathering, processing and dissemination, for positive change. So much has happened in sphere of information gathering and dissemination over the years, to constrain or reference to the journalism environment of even the last 5years. Apart from the most obvious technological advancement, media habits have changed dramatically, new and hitherto unimaginable media vehicles spring up every day. The equation has far changed in terms of sources, method of processing and avenues for dissemination of news and information. As a matter of fact, information has been more finely subjected to detailed definition and description; financial news, for instance, is now more differently gathered, processed and disseminated from political news. So many other categories and compartmentalization have followed in the definition of news recent times. In spite of all of these changes, however, the basic fundamentals have not changed. Obviously consequent upon technological advancement, there seem to be a resultant consequence of change in the effectiveness of journalism as change agent and a driver of societal growth and development. That poses a challenge we intend to put in focus for all, starting with the RADIO medium. With all its strength, Radio stands at the vanguard in the measure of efficiency in the discharge of its duties, versus other media vehicles. As noted above, radio is most penetrative, most user-friendly, frontal in audience engagement, most adaptive to rural usage, not discriminatory of literacy level, appealing and most persuasive. More on effectiveness check the following extraction from a study says so much about radio medium: – a tool for democratization – a platform for the expression of ideas and opinions – an alternative media to the imperfections of public and commercial media – a conflict management tool – an agent of social change – a channel for the diffusion of information on rural issues – a tool that can be used for training and the transfer and exchange of knowledge and technologies – a channel for interactive communication, dialogue and debate on the major issues of rural development – a medium to collect local information on social issues,

•Radio in focus

which is essential for defining, planning and implementing local development efforts – a tool for cultural expression and entertainment, and a means of collecting, preserving and promoting the oral and

musical heritage of rural communities – a tool for social investigation FAO’s Extension, Education and Communication Service summarize the most important functions of rural radio as above. In Nigeria media environment, however, the prevalent practice among radio stations (brands) amount to compromise on the efficiency of the radio medium, abuse of a system and a disservice to the people/listeners. Radio medium in our environment has essentially been reduced to commercial or business venture. Programming has been divided into two – 75% entertainment (for business gains), 20% news and 5% religious programs. In a purpose-driven environment, the primary role of radio is public information and enlightenment for positive change. Broadly put, 97% of the active radio stations among the 120-154 recorded stations in Nigeria sell revenue-attracting entertainment programs. News time belt is quickly taken as compulsory distractions. But for international agencies such a Society for Family Health, the HIV/AIDS campaign would have been ignored. Programming requires the right sense of responsibility, commitment and the right investment approach. Worse of all is the present system which even puts the cost of the radio stations’ discharging their duty on the listener in form of audience-participatory PHONE-IN PROGRAM. The broadcast commission and consumer protection council must check this trend. I pity callers who are made to load their GSM phones to call presenters to keep their programs on air. Because most of these presenters are not adequately equipped, they are quiet without callers. It is bad enough that radio stations cannot design programs beneficial to the society, it is even worse that the same compromised listeners are made to pay for these stations to be in business. Our suggestion is for the broadcast commission to review broadcast licenses of all the radio stations with a view to entrenching professionalism, responsibility and efficiency in line with global professional ethical standard. Our radio stations must add value.

Many in sub-Saharan Africa rely on radio to stay up on the news By Cynthia English



Helping kids with difficulties Data Jaja is one woman who loves creativity and she does this in different ways. One is her love for writing and she believes that female writers have not yet explored the potentials that they have. Yetunde Oladeinde had a chat with her recently.




Nobody escapes the love world untouched

Make your hair an asset

•Culled from

Passion, hobby, or purpose?






By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE 08060343214 (SMS only)

A day in the life of …



THE GReggs

YIGA MAROLLA, 37: teacher, husband, father, uncle, brother, son, and a man forever at odds with contemporary Nigerian life. Considered diligent by neighbours and clients, the part-time artist cum sculptor yearned to carve an even more responsible image, but never seemed capable of nailing any of his targets for reasonably long periods. Food was never as expensive – what with staggering inflation and all –, rent always due (how fast the months evaporated between payment and expiry), the children’s tuition and lesson fees on a perpetual queue for attention, and, worse, his late evening pastime of a mug of chilled beer while listening to the 7 ‘o’ clock news on TV often soured by power failure. The last factor all but ended faith in his country’s development prospects on a wet November Monday. There he was in his favourite armchair – the one directly facing the TV –, full mug in hand, shirtless and soaking the bland reports of yet another flood. He wished natural forces for once bred a positive wind to dissipate the government’s penchant for fashionable man-made disasters as pension fraud and fuel subsidy scam. He wished the country were a better place to live in. And he wished his neighbour hadn’t just walked in on his evening ritual. Maybe his situation was about to worsen, Yiga thought with a sip, his finely-set features soon creasing into a quizzical frown as he fixed beady eyes on the visitor whose right hand squeezed a rather familiar piece of paper. Mr Kologba was the not-so-friendly artisan from upstairs who liked to imagine otherwise. “The landlord stopped in just before your return from work,” said the diminutive visitor in signature singlet and three-quarter shorts. “He asked us to arrange a meeting for Saturday morning and discuss some matters at stake. And the NEPA people brought electricity bill yesterday. The amount is very interested,” he added with flourish. Yiga managed a wry smile. His neighbour’s hacking of fixed collocations and tense forms in the eagerness to impress with his ‘command’ of English faintly amused. Once the man left, Yiga inspected the ‘NEPA people’s bill’. What, N12, 000 for haphazard electricity supply? Decided that he would pursue the matter the next morning, Yiga turned to the landlord matter. He conjured the setting: the landlord would talk at length, beginning with a pledge to see to the tenants’ wellbeing, and end with the critical topic, however disguised by itemisation: rent increase. It was always coming, with landlords on the street rumoured to have agreed similar rates for their crumbling, archaic structures. But which ‘landlord’ would be at the meeting? Since moving into the block of flats three years earlier, he’d had three landlords come to collect the rent. He always insisted on dealing with the first one he knew to avoid complications even when he realised the others had some right to the property following the decade-long demise of the original owner and polygamous patriarch of the ‘landlords’, and the ensuing bickering. None of the landlords turned up on Saturday. Instead, the ageing, frazzled form of the caretaker everyone called ‘Baba Shiru’ materialised at the gate first thing in the morning. And his outdated pouch yielded a letter for each tenant from some estate agent on Broad Street. The matter was out of his hands, Baba Shiru said. As the 80, 000 naira increment was non-negotiable, disgruntled tenants were at liberty to quit at the expiration of their tenancy. Jolted by the impact of the new rate upon receiving his letter at the door, Yiga overlooked his customary invitation of the caretaker to refreshments in his flat. A tightening in his throat that morphed into a rumbling in his stomach turned his system into jelly. Three trips to the toilet afterwards, Yiga sufficiently regained composure to determine the ultimate course of action: exit.

QUOTE Humour is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility. — James Thurber

Jokes Humour Learning to Talk HENRY walks into Dr. Kamu’s office and puts a note on the table in front of the doctor. The note reads, “I can’t talk. Please help me!” The doctor thinks for a while and says to Henry, “Put your hand on the table here.” Henry thinks this is a bit weird, but Kamu is a specialist, so he does as the doctor says. The doctor takes a rubber hammer and hits Henry’s hand as hard as he can. Henry cries in great agony, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” The doctor says, “Good. Come again tomorrow, and we’ll learn B!” Beep Beep AN EIGHTY year-old millionaire who survived a heart scare rushed to buy a newly developed medical equipment that could effectively regulate heartbeat for at least a decade. He wanted to be sure he didn’t misuse it, however, so he had his chauffeur drive him to a high-priced specialist who studied the gadget.

“Now look,” said the doctor, “you start it by saying ‘beep’ and stop it with a ‘beep, beep’.” “How marvelous,” the old man said. “Yes, but I must warn you,” the doctor said, “it will continue working if it is not stopped more than three times!” On his way home, the man decided to test the wonder machine without attaching it yet. “Beep!” he said. The machine started immediately. Satisfied, he said, “beep, beep,” and it stopped. He chuckled with delight and anticipation. At that moment, a car drove past his luxury car and went “beep,” and the car in the opposite lane responded with “beep beep.” Alert to his jeopardy, the old man instructed his chauffeur to “speed it up.” He raced into the house as fast as he could to set up the machine. “Honey,” he said to his wife, “don’t ask questions. Just help me fit this gadget to my chest.” Caught up in the excitement, she did. Relieved, the man said “beep”, but before he could give his wife the details, she said, “What’s all this ‘beep, beep’?” •Culled from the Internet


N writing Writer ’s Fountain errors still: See how the following common at her with anyone else’s eyes? And would the mistakes get repeated over and over again. throat in question belong to anyone except the 1. Phrases best avoided: Imagine the following woman he was looking at? wordage from a romance novel: “Those gray The phrases would be better this way: “His eyes of his stared right at her” and “How he pale gray eyes held her in an inscrutable gaze” wanted to pin that necklace around that throat and “How he wanted to pin that necklace of hers.” around the lovely throat of the gorgeous They are awkward. Would he be looking woman in front of him.” Note that both statements can be improved Some fathers have them: upon as you wish. •A father Emperor penguin withstands the 2. Words better left out: Another common Antarctic cold for 60 days or more to protect mistake is attaching unnecessary words at the his eggs, which he keeps on his feet, covered end of a phrase or sentence. “Fred walked out, taking the file with him.” You don’t need “with with a feathered flap. During this entire time he doesn’t eat a him”. If he took the file, then it’s with him. An thing. Most father penguins lose about 25 even better rewrite: “Fred grabbed the file and pounds while they wait for their babies to walked out.” How about “Sisi shrugged her shoulders”? hatch. Afterward, they feed the chicks a What else would she shrug? “John nodded his special liquid from their throats. When the mother penguins return to care head.” As opposed to what: his arm? “Sam for the young, the fathers go to sea to eat found himself standing in the middle of the room.” Was Sam lost? The rewrite: “Sam stood and rest. •A father sea catfish keeps the eggs of his in the middle of the room.” “It was a picture of Foluke Thomas, young in his mouth until they are ready to hatch. He will not eat until his young are herself.” Better: “It was a picture of Foluke Thomas.” born, which may take several weeks.




Goethe Institut celebrates golden jubilee As plans are underway to celebrate the 50 years of the German Cultural Centre, Edozie Udeze writes on the activities of the centre, and why it is time for artistes to make the celebration worthwhile


HE art community in Lagos will on the 6th of December begin a four day celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of Goethe Institut, the German Cultural Centre. Goethe is the cultural arm of the German Foreign offices all over the world. It was established in 1962 to promote culture and use it to permeate the society and encourage local artistes to do their best in their professions. Goethe, after whom the institute was named, was an artiste, one of the best the German society has ever produced. The total aim of the cultural centre is to enter into working cultural relationship between the German foreign offices and the host nations. So far, the centre which is now located at the City Hall, Lagos, has trained, encouraged and promoted a lot of artistes in Nigeria. The centre began at Igbosere Street, Lagos Island in August 1962. Since then it has experienced gradual but steady growth, touching lives

•Masquerades on display, getting set for the celebration

and involving Nigerian artistes in both local and international cultural exchange programmes and art exhibitions. In fact, it has so far emerged as the most notable art and culture promoter in Nigeria. Goethe has also stimulated and organised workshops, conferences and seminars to create public awareness about the cultures of the two nations. A lot of Nigerian artistes have

equally been made more popular and globally accepted by the Goethe Institut. This is why Nigerian and some German artistes have made comprehensive preparations for the 50th anniversary, which will be kickstarted on the 6th and end on the 9th of December. The venue of the events is the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos. Stage artistes will be on hand to en-

tertain visitors. Also to be involved are dancers, singers and visual artists who will mount their works for public viewing and patronage. Everybody will have enough space to showcase his or her own brand of the art. Over 30 artistes from Germany, Nigeria and other African countries will be performing at the shows. It is aimed primarily at giving the celebration global clout and to show the

world how relevant the centre has been in the areas of art and culture world-wide. Some Nigerian artistes who spoke on the issue thanked Goethe for being of help all these years, but also reminded the management about doing more in the area of international cultural friendship. “That area has been neglected in recent times,” they said.

‘Why we pay royalties to young authors’



HAT is the nature of your publishing outfit? The name of the establishment is Parresia Publishers, located at Okota, Lagos. It is co-owned by Richard Ali and I. And so it is basically made up of two imprints. We have the traditional arm, where we look out for fictional works or accept submissions from writers and novelists. In this way we pay them royalty advance and take up the cost of printing. This is the normal traditional way of publishing, once a manuscript is good and it is accepted for such purpose. After publishing, we engage in the distribution, pay royalties and all that. Then we have the other arm for self-publishers. Here we have writers who will bring in their money for us to do the whole publishing process for them. Thereafter, we hand over to them to sell or we reach an agreement to do so for them. If the agreement is right, we do the distribution for them. What kind of prose fiction do you normally accept? One, we are looking for really good writing. We have not boxed ourselves into one particular genre yet. What we do is that once we get the submission, we first read it and then we consider what we call the top prize. From top prize, we whittle down again. So, after that we look at the quality of the writing. For now, it is the quality of a manuscript that occupies our time most. Just as it is now, it is fiction, very good prose fiction that will get the attention of the public when it is out in the market. We also go for short stories. In fact, our first book was a collection of short stories by Abubakar Ibrahim. How many books can you accept in a year based on what you have on ground? Well, really… Right now, we have just started full operation this year. We have two books under Parresia, and we have two more books coming up before the end of the year. So,

When Parresia publishers was founded by the duo of Richard Ali and Azafi Omoluabi Ogosi at the beginning of the year, not too many people gave them the chance to make it in the precarious book industry in Nigeria. Today, Parresia has taken up the issue of royalties and advance payment to young authors. In this interview with Edozie Udeze, Ogosi explains the business sense behind Parresia and more at least for the first year of our operation, that will be four books, coming under the traditional form of publishing. The model for Parresia basically is to look out for new authors. We then pay advance once it is good for publication. For us, it is to encourage young and new authors to keep working and writing more in the future. It is to make them write well, enjoy part of what they’ve been able to do as writers. It is to encourage them, yes, you have tried and you deserve to have something in your pocket. How do you get sponsorship to do all this? Yes, so far, our finances have come in-house. We fund what we do. We have not got external funding yet. This is because we want to do this project and we pulled resources together to do it. So far, we have been doing the best we can. So, how do you make up for the royalties you pay to writers? How will we make up for it? Ah, we know that eventually we will make up for it. Yes, we will. We know we cannot make money immediately, but we will do so from marketing, sales and all that. Yes, we will certainly get there with time. Distribution has always been the bane of book industry in Nigeria. How do you wish to overcome it? Okay, what we have been doing is to discover our own grounds in Nigeria first. We have been looking for key reliable people in different regions to be involved in the distribution of our works. Not only bookshops, though. Like in Kaduna, the book is given to one person. That

person will then use his own people to distribute and market the products. That way, it is not only effective, we have only one person to deal with who is answerable only to us. It is one person we can trust. It is not when you have too many people to deal with, people who will take your book and it is difficult to get your money back. No, we do not want that sort of situation. So the people we have were recommended based on trust. Is there any way you can accept all writers? Well, we are still growing. But one of the books we have for the later part of the year belongs to Helon Habila. Now we are publishing Helon because we already have a partnership with him. The book is Oil on Water. We want to come up with crime series which is where Helon comes in. So, we publish him not as a writer, but as a partner. For now, we do not want to take on too many people. We have to come on carefully and slowly, you know. We also intend to start the reading the book campaign next year. This is to ensure that Nigerians purchase and read books. It is going to be part of what we do to promote the book industry in Nigeria. By next year, how many books do you intend to publish? Oh, we are not pegging it. For now, we have many on grounds and we intend to do as many as we can. But it is for us to see how things will be by next year. All we do is that we have a window period. It is still an unfolding thing and we hope to follow it so.






VER the years, women and activists have helped to refocus the vision of women through political , social and economic empowerment campaigns. In their quest for survival and charting a better future they have found issues revolving around discrimination, suppression, oppression and harmful traditional practices as some of the challenges to contend with. To address some of the difficulties women are faced with in their families and communities, Barrister Nneamaka Moudline Mojekwe Chikozie put her findings on the way forward for women in a book which was launched recently in Lagos. “All this years we have been making progress in some areas. Don’t forget that less than 60 years ago education was a big deal. Things have changed, there is still a long way to go especially when it comes to science education,” she said. In the book you would, therefore, find a number of case studies and these issues are no longer in the realm of the abstract. She backs her stories with facts and statistics. “What I discovered is that tradition has done a lot of harm to African Women and that is why I titled the book


VER time, you’ve been pioneering conferences and colloquia on the culture scene about Africa, both home and in the Diaspora. After seven years or thereabout, do you think you have been able to create reasonable impact commensurate to the efforts you have put into it? I think to a large extent, we have made very appreciable and remarkable impact, not just in Africa but in the African Diaspora as well. Why I’ve said that is that we have received a lot of commendations from reputable institutions and scholars within and outside the African continent and leading to situations where we have developed partnerships and signed memoranda of understanding with institutions of repute. I cite examples in many parts of Africa. We worked with CEEDETORA as you know in Cameroun. We we worked with Centre for the Advanced Studies of African Society in South Africa as well as the African institute of South Africa. We organised a programmed with the African Institute of South Africa. We’ve just concluded the first phase of our language project in partnership with the Centre for Advanced Studies of the African Society. We’ve signed an MOU with the University of Missouri, and we’ve just concluded the education of an aspect of the programme contained on that MOU through the international conference of Africans and Africans in the Diaspora in the new millennium, which we just held there between October 30 and November 2, this year. And I can tell you with all sense of responsibility that CBAAC is awash with requests from Africans and Africans in the Diaspora, offering hands of

‘You have to make yourself relevant’ African women sentenced by tradition.” Now you ask if Chikozie was ever a victim. “Not really. I came into this through the information I got about property rights as a woman in Igbo land. When I did some comparative studies, I made a number of discoveries that were unpleasant. Women were going through this in different forms and I found that some traditions were more severe in dealing with women than others.” Discrimination and the many frustrations that women passed through made her take a keen interest. The fact that discrimination was inherent in other communities and clime also made her ask some pertinent questions as well as seek for solutions to the myriad of problems affecting these women.” What also spurred me was the passion of the former First Lady, Maryam Babangida, during the better life days. That was when I got the inspiration to write the book and I liked her ideas and the zeal to carry every woman along in the development process.” You also want to know the role Chikozie played at this time and she replied this way: “I was a student read-

Barrister Mojekwe Chikozie recently launched her book titled African Women sentenced to tradition in Lagos. She opens up to Yetunde Oladeinde on her findings and how to help women

• Chikozie

ing law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). At the moment, I am a lawyer with Damak Chambers in Lagos. When I am not practicing, then you can be sure that I am working on my research, and it has taken me about two decades to churn out this particular book.”

Did it have to take so long to write the book or was she slowed down by marriage and other family pressures, you asked? “I don’t think that marriage would disturb anyone who has a strong dream or vision. If you are focused and you know what you want, then you would plan to achieve it,” Chikozie tells you matter of factly. She adds that: “The volume of the book explains it all, it was something I was passionate about and I took my time to get all the information I wanted. I had the voice of the different people I targeted in it and they provided answers to some of the problems women experience.” Happily Chikozie goes down memory lane to recall some of the issues raised in the 90’s and how they gave flesh to the issues portrayed. “One of such is the case of

child marriage in the north, where you had the Hauwa must die case. Also the issue of property rights and women is x-rayed and likely solutions are proffered.” Now, you tell her women are working and they should have their own assets and not rely on inheriting from men, and Chikozie replies this way: “Are men not working too. Why must they be the only beneficiary when it comes to inheritance law in some parts of the country? If your father has property and he dies, he is your father and your brother’s father.” The issue of inheritance had been discussed in the past and you almost thought it had been trashed out in these communities but she says this is not the case everywhere. “Well, it actually depends on the families involved. A lot of communities are still not as liberal as they should be. Personally, I would say that my family was normal, not the liberal setting everyone is imagining.” Asked challenges, she re-

Using culture to unite Africa By Kunle Ajibade on the relationship between African Diaspora and Africans A conference at home organised by the University of Missouri, USA, and the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) just ended in Missouri recently. Prof. Tunde Babawale of CBAAC spoke to Edozie Udeze and Joe Agbro Jr., on the imperativeness of that outing and more

•R-L: Duke, Minister of Culture, Babawale and others at the Missouri Conference

fellowships and partnerships because of the quality of work that they think we have done. At the last conference, we had another organisation which is preparing to send a proposal to us from Brazil based on what they think we have been doing very well. I had an invitation from the University of Georgia in Athens in the US. In fact, they proposed an MOU and I was a bit reluctant, though, excited about it. But I knew the implication of having to stretch myself when I was just

concluding one with Missouri. So, I’ve asked them to take some time that I want to do it one step after the other. And there are numerous other requests from institutions, agencies, and organisations from many parts of Africa. We’re in partnership with the Observatory of cultural policies in Africa. And just recently, we just made a breakthrough at the recently concluded meeting of African ministers of culture in the Republic of Togo. Firstly, CBAAC was unanimously

conferred with an observer status at the AU by the AU itself – by the council of ministers. Secondly, a promise was made to our honourable minster who is the outgoing chairman of the council of ministers of culture that they were going to favourably consider CBAAC’s application for endorsement and adoption as a Pan-African cultural institution. And by every indication, that will be accorded us in the coming year. And even though, I was unable to attend the AU min-

isters of culture meeting because I was in Missouri, I had one of my directors in attendance, who said that CBAAC was given due recognition at that particular conference. And thankfully, even the honourable minister made it clear to their fellow ministers that CBAAC has done tremendous job. If you see a copy of the speech read by our minister, he made it clear that everything he said that Nigeria achieved in the area of culture, not everything, but a large quantum of what he presented before the ministers of culture were actually accomplished at CBAAC. What is the lesson from the Missouri outing? The major lesson from the Missouri outing is that first, we have done quite a lot and we have had some extensions in our network, but we still need to reach out more to more scholars and to more regions, just like areas like Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, like Columbia which you have mentioned. There are close to 30 million black people, people of African descent in Columbia and we have not been able to reach them. We need to get to such people. So, that means there’s still a lot of work to be done. Secondly, I’ve also discovered from the Missouri experience that we need to still pull in more scholars of repute into our

plied: “It was mainly finance and research. The person who helped to edit the book, Adikankwu was with the Newswatch. I started with women generally and she asked me to narrow the scope down to Igbo women to have a better focus. We also looked out for how they deal with women in ten different Igbo tribe.” Chikozie informed. Should there really be a problem now that we are in the jet age? She was asked: “I strongly believe that no matter the age, if you are not empowered, you would not get anywhere. You have to make yourself relevant in whatever you are doing.” What next? “I am writing another book but it is not on women. It’s an x-ray of certain things about the Igbo people. My role model is the late Maryam Babangida’. You would have thought that she would have an Igbo role model but she answers this way: “It is the understanding and not the tribe that matters. I am not actively involved in politics.” network. This is a challenge that I’m facing now, which that Missouri thing has shown. And that is one lesson that we have learnt from it. And lastly, that there is always an advantage in long-term planning and starting early. Many things fell in place in Missouri. It’s a miracle that we had elections in America at the same time and we had an unexpected natural disaster. And that particular conference, ironically, was one of the best attended conferences we have held in spite of cancellations by few of our participants. Thankfully, the areas that were affected largely were just Washington and New York but many of them came through Miami, through Atlanta, through Houston, Texas, some from Brazil, and the rest of the Diaspora, and Africa. And those who came from Africa who didn’t have to go through New York came. Ironically, some even came later, maybe a day or two days to the (end of the) conference to tell you the impact that we have made. The immediate past director of the African Institute of South Africa, (Matlou) came in, I think, a day before the conference ended. He was stranded in Johannesburg. The airline had to put them in hotel until after the hurricane had subsided before they came. And many of them still came. We had our colleague, Professor Bewaji, from Jamaica. Although, he was stranded in Nigeria but he came. We want to thank God for thee few achievements we have recorded. And I want to specifically mention that the press have contributed to this feeling of enthusiasm, this go-getter spirit we have developed.



A governor's hometown under siege


Precious Dikewoha recently visited troubled Ubima community and reports about the state of insecurity there

The late Sabinus, a victim

The late Orlu-Orlu, another victim

Contd on page 54




Writer and social critic, Prof. Festus Iyayi , key note speaker, Hon. Uche Onyeagucha, former House of Reps member and Nnimmo Bassey, ED, ERA at the group's national conference in Lagos, recently

Environment: Holding corporations to account

A two-day seminar to take a look at the environment was held last week. Olayinka Oyegbile who was there reports.

A governor's hometown under siege Contd from page 53



A fight to finish on the sea —PAGE 57


No baby must cry in this community Ota, in Ado Odo-Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, forbids new babies from crying. It is a queer community which despite its closeness to Lagos holds firmly to its unusual beliefs . Taiwo Abiodun, who recently visited the community, reports

•The dreaded Ogbodogi shrine


ETTING to Ota, Ogun State from Lagos is a trip meant for the lion-hearted. The roads are decrepit and full of gullies. It is like an abandoned warravaged settlement. It does not matter from where you tend to enter the ancient town; the fact is that it is like a forgotten community. Yet it houses one of Nigeria’s vibrant industrial layouts after Lagos, at least in the South West. After the Herculean task of entering the town from the Sango end, are the new layouts where what could be described as modern houses have sprung up in the equally unplanned streets. Leaving this modern surrounding, one is thrown into the narrow, dirty and chaotic surrounding of what could be called the ‘real Ota’. This is sandwiched between the new settlements and the industrial layout which spreads out toward the border town of Owode. Some of the streets in Ota are pervaded with the silence of the graveyard. Children and the young ones roam about the nar-


row streets, idling, while the old ones sit at the dilapidated doors of their homes doing one thing or the other. Most of the buildings are archaic, dilapidated and looking as precarious as if they are going to collapse at any minute. Most of the houses built with mud bricks have caved-in walls, while some of the roofs with corrugated iron sheets have been blown off by the wind. Every household in Ota community has courtyard or big compound (called Agbo Ile), which houses a deity they worship and offer sacrifices to. At the roundabout of the Osi community is the sculpture of a woman draped in white paint. It is called Iya Ijamido (Ijamido River in the town is named after her), holding a clay pot and pouring the content of her pot - water - out. The sculpture is conspicuously mounted, adding a touch of beauty to the environment of the old rustic town. The Iya Ijamido sculpture is not far from the popular historical second storey building in Nigeria,

and also harbours one of the oldest churches, St. James Anglican Cathedral Church built in 1843.This area is called Ipate Oyinbo (European quarters), it is where European missionaries first settled in while on their way to Abeokuta. Next to Osi is the dreaded Isolosi community that harbours the dreaded deity, Ogbodogi, which holds the whole Ota community to ransom when the time comes for its celebration. The festival is usually celebrated every five years. However, this is subjected to change as dictated by the oracle; its celebration usually lasts for a period of three months. For the three months the celebration lasts no cry of a new-born child should be heard in the community. Welcome to Ota town where Ogbodogi holds the ace for three months. Any nursing mother who breaks this rule risks instant death for such a baby. Fleeing the area According to Madam Monsurat Anibiire, who is an indigene, “When

it was about eight days f o r m e


to deliver my baby, and the Ogbodogi festival was around the corner, I quickly packed all my baby’s materials and left for the General Hospital (situated on the outskirts) where I spent many days before delivery. I was more comfortable to stay in the hospital than to let any ‘spirit’ kill my baby.” To her joy the baby in question is now four years old and has started schooling. She added, “After I gave birth to my baby in the hospital,

the festival started, instead of me to return home, I quickly went to my in-law’s place at Iyana Iyesi where I spent three months to avoid any disaster, in obedience to the custom. A new baby must be at least three months old before it is brought back to the area.” However, Monsurat is not the only one that experienced it, another woman who does not want her name •Continue on Page 56




Shrines, shrines everyw h •Continued from Page 55

in print said when her two sisters wanted to deliver, they were relocated to Abule Iroko and Badagry, and after three months they returned to Ota. For Aishat Shamshudeen, she was lucky that it was after the celebration of Ogbodogi festival that she delivered. She told the reporter while breastfeeding her baby, “Look at me, look at my baby sucking my breast. I have no problem with their tradition and I cannot break what had been laid down for ages. It is not that we don’t deliver babies here but during the Ogbodogi festival one has to move away as the deity does not want to hear any baby’s cries, or else the baby will die.” Genesis of Ogbodogi High Chief Sikiru Anibiire, the Olori of Osi Quarters in Ota, is the third in rank to the Olota, the town’s monarch. He declared with confidence that one of their deities called Erumosonyin was brought from IleIfe. According to him, “Any king that wears a crown must not see any living (baby) twins, so, he, the king, was asked to move far away from the town to avoid sighting living twins and he was sent away and told that anywhere he stayed should be called Olofin, and wherever the calabash sinks is where he should settle. If there is any twins delivered, the twins must not see the king or the king must not sight the twins, that is why they are called Akinsewa of Odogbolu. “They said wherever they get to and where the bowl sinks should be called Awori (the bowl sinks). They came with their deity, Ogbodogi, which should not sight a living twins and the monarch should also avoid seeing newly born babies. We were warned to keep off or keep away from here to avoid trouble, until when the baby clocks three months! Again, it is the voice of the baby that the deity must not hear. It has affected many that is why people are advised to keep off from the place (that is Ota). Our women give birth to new babies but they must take away the baby and return to the town after the festival of Ogbodogi. We cannot remove the deity, it does not affect pregnant women but newly born babies are the ones we are talking about.” Asked if a pregnant woman’s time is due unexpectedly and caught in the town during the festival, what happens? The High Chief replied: “Well, she could deliver in Ota here but has to be taken away immediately. It has been on for a long time. What we know is that we should not toy with it. The festival is an annual thing but it depends on what the oracle says, whatever the time it wants it to be done the oracle determines and we tell them.” The Shrine The shrine of Ogbodogi is painted white. Inside it some women discuss in hushed tones. It is apparent the community does not joke with the shrine. Boldly written on its wall in capital letters is ILE OGBODOGI. What if a Muslim or Christian does not obey the rules as a result of their faith? According to the community head of Osi Quarters, “Whoever criticises it and does not obey its rule will face the wrath or consequences of the god, and it will no longer be anybody’s fault. In fact, if a pregnant woman dies it is the duty of the worshippers of this shrine to bury such a woman.” Alfa Rasaki Dosunmu, who is the Asiwaju of Ogbodogi, said he has been participating in worshipping the idol since he was young. He


•Chief Anibire

•Rev. Atere

•Chief Imam Buhari

boasted: “I am now in my 70s, and I have been performing and active in the rituals. In fact, I am the Asiwaju of Ogbodogi.” He continued, “When it is time to celebrate Ogbodogi we would first of all offer sacrifices to some other idols like Ore and we use rams for its own sacrifice, but for Ogbodogi we use sheep, for Osanyin we use a he-goat. For another idol, Idiegun, we use goat too. A cock is used as sacrifice for Eigbakuyo. We do all these before we start the proper festival for the Ogbodogi. The Ogbodogi festival is celebrated for three months. Therefore, if a baby is not up to three months it is taken away from Ota. In fact, some of these children are taken away to nearby villages like Ijoko, Iyesi and so on to avoid their untimely deaths.” Asked why babies had to be taken away. The old man smiled and said, “There are songs we sing in the dead of night that are heart rending, which babies must not hear. There is no how we would sing these songs that babies would not wake up in the night. I repeat, there is no way we would sing the songs and babies would not wake up to hear or listen to them, and there is

this dreaded Oro, if it shouts and if the baby hears it it would die!” He added, “Nobody will go into their houses to kill the babies, but the babies will die in the end if the parents are stubborn. I remember some people in Oke Suna area that defied it and their children eventually died. Nobody will force them to comply, but when they see that they will lose their children then they will comply. We have seen some stubborn ones who claim to be Christians but when their children were dying they realised their folly. We did not go into their households to kill them.” Awareness campaigns Dosunmu said religion should not be used as a yardstick for denigrating one’s culture, adding that series of announcements and awareness campaigns are embarked upon before the festival is held. “We would have gone to the monarch to inform him, we go to the electronic media and also print as well as do jingles over the radio, while town criers would go round to do public announcements,”he said. He denied that non-indigenes

are leaving the community because of the festival. “We have non-indigenes; mind you the natives cannot live in their home town alone. We have many compounds and each has its own idol, and offer sacrifices to them .The purpose of the festival is for prayers to ward off pestilence and disaster and for peace to reign in the town.” Ota is a town suffused in culture and tradition, according to Dosunmu. “There is another area where if a baby is not up to three months it should not be carried through such an area. In fact, the sound of saucers or clanging of iron or metals must not be heard , I mean no saucers must drop on the ground during the period of the festival. We are rich in culture here. For the Ogbodogi, it is held every five years, and it was observed three years ago, in two years time we will observe it again. But if the oracle says the sacrifice should be observed in the day, fine then there will be an announcement and a curfew will be announced over the electronic media. Whoever flouts it does so at his or her own risk.”

The mysterious Ijamido River Shedding light on the importance of Ijamido River, Chief Anibiite said apart from the idols and deities “we have a river here that we use its water for prayer and also to curse anybody that does not love us. Not only this, whoever is installed as a chief must drink from it and swear to be loyal and obedient to the Olota, and it works, many have been blessed and also many have also been cursed with the water.” The 77-year-old man added that he once met the spirit woman while harvesting on his farm years ago. “One day as I was harvesting in my farm at the back of the Ijamido River, I suddenly sighted the woman in white. I started begging her that I am an indigene and meant no harm. I later staggered home, and a keg of palm wine was poured on my head to regain my consciousness.” Sacred places everywhere Asked whether the worshipping of idols or deities is not getting too much on the residents as it could frighten non indigenes, the old man said, “It is part of our culture and




A fight to finish on the sea

w here M we cannot abandon it. Never, and those who live here have been used to it. We are not worshipping idol but observing what our culture says.” The Chief Imam of Ota, Sadiq Buhari , 77, confirmed the story and did not deny knowing the implication of the festival. According to him, “It is true that it happens here and it is an annual thing .This is not new and all the people living in the community are used to the tradition. The monarch here is the first to be crowned and it is in the household of Isolosi. All the quarters here are used to the festival. There is a period the god is worshipped. That was the first king of Awori land. It is true that a baby should be taken away and until three months before they are allowed to come to the area. And it is for their own benefit, and that is the period when the god is being worshipped.” He acknowledged that if a child is born unexpectedly, “The family is in charge, if it happens the woman has to provide some kola nuts and offer schnapps too to the elders who know what to do. This is given as compensation.” However, the Imam added that it is not only in this area that babies’ cries are not allowed. “In my mother’s quarters called Ilugba, Ijana Quarters and Abobabule, such thing happens there too, as no baby’s cry must be heard at all,” he said. Defending the culture that has spread in the vicinity, he boasted, “We have many traditions here. There is a household here in Isolosi that a woman must not touch or carry newly born babies. If a woman from the household touches a new born baby, the baby will just dry off instantly, just like a dried leaf. These women are into mats business.” Asked why these traditions still persist, he said “That is our tradition, we can’t help it, and we must obey it.” Christian differs Reverend Dr. J Akin Atere of the Diocese of Awori Anglican Community confirmed the report and said, “When I came in 2008, we heard about the festival, and we made a protest to the head of this place that we would not succumb to such festival. This time one of the wives of my priests was pregnant, but it was not eventually fully enforced, there was even the Ramadan festival, they could not take longer days as they used to, we equally knew that due to my protest to the Olota, the activities should be limited to an area. Ota has fallen into a cosmopolitan area and eventually nobody was harassed, nobody was forced out.” However, the clergyman said this culture is not Biblical, “What I heard is that the oracle or the idol does not hear the cries of babies, that is only the reason. It is not only targeted at pregnant women. If God says go and multiply, it could come at anytime, so nobody has the right to stop the work of God.” Does the culture in anyway affect his prayer and church activities? “The community members are neither here nor there. It affects their worship, it affects the commitment of people to Christianity. When the festival is going on people would go and worship with them. When it is the time for Egungun (masquerade) they are even bold to say they are going to participate, but we thank God that a few are changing. The community should appreciate this place where the missionaries first touched and called Ipate Oyinbo while on their way to Abeokuta, preaching the gospel. That was when Christianity touched this ground in 1843.” However, whichever way it goes, the tradition goes on and there has never been any clash between them.

V NAOMI CORLET suddenly came to a halt some miles away from Apapa Port. The crew, consisting of 15 men, was fear-stricken. Apprehension enveloped the entire space, yet the men feigned some confidence in an air of self assurance that the emergency was under control. Unfortunately, none of them had the expertise to propel the vessel back on motion to continue their trip to Cotonou, Benin Republic. After they had exhausted their tryand-error efforts, one of them quietly picked his mobile phone and put a hurried call to an Apapa-based engineer he thought could bail them out of the danger. The arrival of the engineer and his shocking discovery of some ‘dangerous’ items on board became a catalyst that remarkably altered the fortune of the men and consequently gave them out to the security Task Force attached to Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). The men, upon interrogation, are a sea pirate syndicate, which also ekes out a living in trafficking arms and ammunition. The Task Force operatives, who have in the last three months recorded an unprecedented breakthrough in their assignment on Nigerian waters, commended the engineer who cleverly alerted them. The Nation gathered that the engineer, having confirmed the status of the men in the vessel, cleverly pulled a fast one which caught the crew unaware. “He told them that he would need a power generating set to aid him in fixing the mechanical problem. The suspects did not know that he had seen some incriminating items inside the vessel. If they had known that he saw those things perhaps they would have prevented him from leaving the vessel alive. Those guys are callous. It was after he returned to the port that he informed another person who eventually leaked the information to our men,” a source disclosed. The engineer, who frantically prayed for anonymity, said he first smelt a rat when the same person who invited him unusually expressed some reluctance to his request to check some of the apartments in the vessel. The fact that they were left with no option, however, made them to concede to his request which eventually became their albatross. According to him, he sighted some particles of a white substance allegedly suspected to be cocaine alongside some boxes containing arms. “I first became cold and was confused of what to do not to put myself in trouble. “They left me to continue with the checking until I thought of what to do to escape from that spot. I made sure they did not see the fear in my face. So, when I told them that I would need a power generator and also assured them that I would fix the problem as soon as I return with the generator, they allowed me to go.” The Task Force operatives, which stormed the spot in patrol boats, gave a good account of themselves with a successful arrest of the men in an encounter expected to have recorded many casualties but recorded none in the end. The crew also showed some brilliance when, having seen the advancing security team with the use of a security device in their possession, they sensed the danger in attempting to engage this apparently impregnable team. They, thus, threw all the arm boxes on board into the sea and waited for the decisive moment, hence their journey into the detention. Those in detention currently undergoing comprehensive interrogation include: Samuel Michael, George Brandy, Obomedaire Efe, Ebi

It was yet another harvest of arrest for the Security Task Force attached to Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) when they foiled a syndicate on the high sea. Tunde Busari reports

•Recovered arms




Jordan, Roland Tunde, Godspower Osiga, Jibola Rojovi, Emmanuel Johnson, Allaputa Fubara, Abudu Sulle, Godwin Edoghotu, Efefaroro Godday, Idowu Michael, Saviour Agbu and Obida Joseph. Michael, respected by his colleagues for his outspokenness, put the security agents in no doubt of his unenviable profile in crime on the high sea. His friendly disposition to questions, perhaps, was borne out of his realisation that the game was up for him and his colleagues and, most particularly, the need to seek a soft landing. Under an atmosphere devoid of intimidation or humiliation, Michael went into details of how his gang would hire a vessel at Cameroon for a period of six months and use the vessel to perpetrate criminal acts on the waters. He lamented that the misfortune of his gang was aided by the mechanical fault which demobilised the vessel while on a voyage to another operation. The gang, Michael revealed, was billed to hijack a vessel carrying what he called AGO to Nigeria, having got the full details of the schedule and content of the target vessel from their contact in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and unnamed security agency. This, he revealed, was usually facilitated by one Charles, who he alleged had played the role of a middle man between the gang and the sponsors. The sponsors, Michael further said, are made up of influential politicians resident in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). “Charles is in the best position to give the full information on the identity of the people. I don’t know them.

He is the only person who knows them and relates with us on any assignment they have for us. There are also other guys involved with Charles. They are Ademola, Ebere,Abed and IK. They are also buyers of products we stole from hijacked vessels. “ I participated in about four operations and made some good money until I was arrested on October 13,2012. The vessel we use for operation normally anchors at Calabar. We take off from there to Badagry to deposit arms and return to the high sea to hijack vessel,” the 25-year-old said. Michael further revealed that though Badagry served as a depot of sorts to the gang, only 20 percent of those arms deposited at the historical town are in Lagos metropolis, contrary to the belief in some quarters owing to the crime rate in the “Centre of Excellence”. He said others were distributed to different parts of the country, including NigerDelta. Despite the seemingly impressive confession of Michael, his cotravellers would not toe his path apparently to appear less culpable of the crime. Brandy, a native of Otuoke, the hometown of President Goodluck Jonathan, denied his involvement in the crime. He said he was a victim of what he called a set up by one Sammy. He stressed that he knew nothing about the arms and the mission of the gang on the fateful day. “I was told that they had product they wanted to go and meet with the vessel (NAOMI CORLET) in the sea in Sierra Leone,” the 25-year-old said.

Omi claimed that he was in the vessel at the time of arrest to cook for the crew. He said he joined the crew in Lagos where he was waiting for October 16,2012, the date he was billed to collect his UK visa. He added that he had processed the visa to enable him continue his education abroad. He said, ”As I was waiting for the collection date given me by the UK embassy, I realised that there was no cook in the boat and I was approved by the captain to cook for them till the date I was to collect my visa.” Kodjovi, in his defence, claimed that he owned a boat with which he smuggled rice and wine from Benin Republic to Nigeria. He insisted he was not a member of the gang but admitted that the arms found in the vessel was brought by one he called Mr Delta. Efe also said that he was called in Calabar by Charles to follow the vessel to Lagos. He said he was oblivious of the operation of the gang. Other suspects also sang similar song in a desperate effort to save their heads. The security Task Force has, however, assured that justice will prevail. “This struggle against pirate is so sensitive and important to President Goodluck Jonathan. That is why we are leaving no stone unturned in our commitment. We shall not disappoint, as any disappointment is a disappointment to the nation. Since the loyalty of every security agency should first go to the nation, treating this matter with utmost sincerity is not negotiable here,” a source assured.



Osteoporosis: A cough or sneeze may fracture the bone How smoking affects your health

By Yetunde Oladeinde

•Bone disease




•From left: Mr. Brett Goschen, Chief Executive, MTN, selling a SIM card to Mr. Rotimi Ibiyode, a customer, at MTN Service Centre, in Ikoyi, recently

FG to blame for CPC’s underperformance—CPC boss


N what appears to be an obvious blame game, the Director General of Consumer Protection Commission, CPC, Mrs Ify Umenyi, has attributed the lacklustre performance of the commission to the failure of the federal government to empower the commission through sustainable policy. She added that lack of funding from the government has rendered the commission incapacitated in the last 13years and has made it difficult for Nigerians to feel the impact of the agency.

By Bukola Afolabi

She said notwithstanding that, the current administration of the agency was resolved to uplifting CPC from an obscure position to a prominent one, using its limited resources, through the innovative execution of its policies and programmes. Umenyi said the agency so far has been able to establish offices in the country’s six geopolitical zones, in Lagos, as well as in the Federal Capital Territory. She said CPC under her

dispensation had also executed surveillance and enforcement operations in different markets as well as the successful prosecution of offenders in Kano, Lagos, Zaria and Kaduna. Umenyi also listed the successful resolution of hundreds of thousands of consumer complaints; conducting of quality tests and analysis, introduction of products and services listing and monitoring programmes, as well as collaboration with sector regulators and national standard bodies as part of the agency’s accomplishments.

Contract workers not sacked, says Chevron


HEVRON Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, has denied reports making the rounds that it asked any of its labour contractors to lay off workers. The General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs (PGPA), Mr. Deji Haastrup, in a statement over the weekend gave this rebuttal. “This clarification has become necessary in view of reports by some media suggesting that a number of workers have been sacked, “ Haastrup said, adding, “six existing labour contracts will be expir-

ing on December 31, 2012 and new contracts will commence immediately after. The transition will not lead to redundancy.” Haastrup further explained that the tender process has gone through all the appropriate phases and NAPIMS has approved and directed the award of contracts to the successful bidders, commencing on January 1, 2013. The CNL Director, Human Resources and Medical, Mrs. Ihuoma Onyearugha, confirmed that “all workers will have the opportunity to work for the new contract companies, unless they choose to re-

tire with accrued benefits.” CNL is engaging with all stakeholders, including the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), NNPC and the Ministry of Labour to find a lasting solution to the on-going industrial action. The Nation gathered that the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited is discussing with the contract workers and has offered good disengagement benefits for those willing to go. It was learnt that some of the workers can get as much as N60 million as benefit if they voluntarily opt to go.

NUC partners SMEDAN on entrepreneurship


N its quest to link the universities and the organised private sector, the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, has initiated

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

moves to partner with the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency (SMEDAN), especially in the training of university lecturers on entrepreneurship.

Sambo, Buhari others for CEOs awards


ICE President Namadi Sambo is billed to attend the annual edition of the CEOs Dinner/ Awards Nite being organised by the management of AES Excellence Club. The event which holds in Lagos this Friday, according to the Asst. Registrar of the Club, Tony Ajiboro, will feature two eminent speakers including former Head of state, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who will deliver a lecture on the theme, “Good Govern-

ance-Art of Nation Building” while the Honourable Minister of Works, Arch Mike Onolememen, will speak on the topic: “Ministry of Works: The Transformational Agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.” The highpoint of the event will be the conferment of the prestigious AES Life-time Excellent Leadership Awards on Chief Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Dr. Christopher Kolade, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Chief Sunny Odogwu and others.

Okojie disclosed this at a one-week training of trainers’ workshop for instructors of Entrepreneurship Development Centre for Nigerian Universities in Abuja, stating that lack of employment has eaten deep into the economic fabric of the nation. He said, “To address this problem, NUC is partnering with SMEDAN and the University of Ibadan to train university lecturers in entrepreneurship development. There is no gainsaying that entrepreneurship education would enable the youths to take advantage of the emerging economic transformation taking place in Nigeria thereby strengthening their individual financial capacity and collective national economic growth.”

•From left: Omokehinde Ojomuyide, Country Manager, West Africa, MasterCard Worldwide and Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, Managing Director, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBBS), during at the Africa Investor-Investment Climate Summit held in Tokyo, Japan, recently

Group to oil firms in Lagos: Relocate or risk litigation


IL firms with headquarters outside their operational base have been given marching orders to relocate their offices or risk legal action. Giving this charge recently was Mineral Resources Awareness Initiative of Akwa Ibom, a non-governmental organisation. The group said if the companies failed to comply with the request within three months, it would not hesitate to employ all legal measures to compel them. Chairman of the group, Mr. Victor Akpan, who spoke at a press conference in Lagos,

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

said the development whereby oil companies operate in the state and leave their head offices in Lagos State was unfair. Akpan said, “We wish to emphasise here that our feelings are the true reflections of the minds of the people of Akwa Ibom State. We are not happy with the ugly situation where oil firms continue to remain adamant to several calls for relocation of their administrative headquarters to Akwa Ibom. “It will be recalled that

the late Sani Abacha administration had directed all the oil companies operating in the country to relocate their administrative head offices to their areas of operations. “The directive was adhered to by Shell Petroleum Development Company. SPDC has since relocated to Rivers State many years ago. One wonders why other oil companies have not taken a cue from the SPDC.” Akpan therefore urged the affected companies to be good corporate citizens and relocate their headquarters to the state.

Blackberry customers get carrier billing


ORE than 50 carriers have implemented integrated carrier billing on the BlackBerry App World storefront for their customers. The announcement marks a great milestone for RIM and a big benefit for carriers, developers, content providers and customers. Integrated carrier billing enables a customer to purchase apps or digital goods on their BlackBerry smartphone, and simply and conveniently have the purchases put directly on their regular monthly bill from their carrier. Integrated carrier billing is also integrated with the BlackBerry Payment Service, which enables developers and content providers to offer in-app purchases (such as additional levels in a game), as well as supporting one-off and recurring (subscription-based) purchases, without interrupting the customer’s app experience. Ronjon Nag, Vice President for the BlackBerry App World storefront at RIM, said, “We’re delighted to announce that over 50 of our carrier partners are now offering integrated carrier billing to customers on

By Bukola Afolabi

BlackBerry App World. We remain committed to developing innovative ways to support our carrier partners, while providing a platform that benefits the whole mobile ecosystem.” Dario Talmesio, Principal Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media, said, “Mobile operators recognise that RIM works

closely and constructively with them and with more than 50 operators now offering integrated carrier billing, it’s a great milestone that shows these relationships are productive. Mobile operators recognise the business benefits this service provides and the opportunities for repeated customer engagement on BlackBerry App World.”

Monarch initiates economic empowerment programmes


HE Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, has restated his resolve to initiate policies and programmes aimed at economically empowering the people in his kingdom. The monarch made this resolve known during an interactive session with reporters recently, where he unfolded plans to pursue youth empowerment programmes as well as initiate others which would help to economically empower the people. One of such initiatives is the Ijakadi festival, a cultural festival of the people underscoring their uniqueness, and for which the Olofa has enumerated plans to showcase in

December. He said the festival will create a platform for the people to showcase their rich traditional heritages while also creating an avenue for commerce. Expatiating, he said the Ijakadi is almost synonymous with the Offa people, and which full meaning is Ijakadi Loro Offa, a Yoruba phrase meaning ‘wrestling is Offa’s game’. “What we are looking at is doing something that would sustain the culture, not only lifestyles of our people, but would also boost tourism and increase earnings accruing to both the state and the people,” he emphasised.




•Long queue at the filling station

Petrol: So scarce, so costly L

IKE most essential commodities, petroleum products, especially petrol (Premium Motor Spirit) and kerosene, have become priced out of the reach of the common man, a development, analysts argue, is a foretaste of what to expect in the coming months. The looming oil crisis may have been caused in part by the scarcity of petroleum products, which according to economic pundits, was sadly inspired by the subsidy probe. Antics of petrol attendants Checks by The Nation revealed that most fuel stations across the country have been selling petroleum products at exorbitantly high cost outside the regulated pump price of N97 per litre, just as they adjust their metres at will. From Lagos, Ibadan, to Lokoja, Abuja, Minna, Kano, Sokoto to Port Harcourt to Enugu, Owerri, petroleum pricing is now as inconsistent as they come. Worst still, many fuel station attendants have since gained notoriety for seeking gratifications before they sell to vehicle owners or those buying in jerry-cans. At most filling stations in Lagos metropolis and its environs, majority open for business, a litre of petrol sold for as much as N120 to N140 even as customers are made to pay as much as N200 to N300 as toll fare before they are served petrol. Our correspondent was forced to part with N200 to obtain fuel at a filling station in Abule Egba axis of Lagos even as she observed that many other gas stations along the Lagos-Abeokuta corridor sell petroleum products at outrageous cost due to scarcity of the product. Economics of petrol pricing The major reason most of them adduced for the high cost is the non-

The perennial scarcity of petroleum products and the attendant exorbitant cost remains a source of concern to most Nigerians, reports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf availability of the products even as they argued that the landing cost of the product has risen astronomically. Confirming this development, Mr. Babatunde Ogun, President, PENGASSAN, in an exclusive interview with The Nation over the weekend said the landing cost of petrol may have led to increase in the pump price. “Using the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) template analysis, if subsidy is withdrawn the landing cost for November is N139.96. At official pump price of N97 the subsidy is N42.96 per litre of PMS,” Ogun said. He further noted that, “The vagaries of crude oil market may jack the price up or down within to put the subsidy at between N40 and

N45 per litre. That will invariably affect other economic indices like inflation, consumer price index and purchasing power parity.” As to why the nation is witnessing a decrease in the importation of petrol, he said, “The marketers don’t have the fund or capital of their own to import.” According to him, “The bulk of the capital fund in petroleum product marketing and distribution say 80 percent has gone into those basic infrastructures and equipment like building facilities for landing, storage, trucks, retails station and recurrent overheads, initial formation and licences and safety/training costs expenses are all key requisites that will even determine whether the business will be allowed to remain a going concern or not. “Thus, banks short-term loans,

The marketers don’t have the fund or capital of their own to import... The bulk of the capital fund in petroleum product marketing and distribution say 80 percent has gone into those basic infrastructures and equipment like building facilities for landing, storage, trucks, retails station and recurrent overheads, initial formation and licences and safety/training costs expenses are all key requisites that will even determine whether the business will be allowed to remain a going concern or not

even as high as it can be, is the last resort. Worst still, no hope on capital market again as it is no longer attractive even for PLCs. “Due to the non-payment of subsidy and all the negative reports, loan to petroleum import is considered high risk and toxic and most banks would not take such risk that is further compounded by the stringent conditions to loans by the CBN and NDIC as oversight regulatory and enforcement functions.” Given the difficulties in accessing subsidy funds, the PENGASSAN boss said, “It is no longer possible to guarantee supply which is contingent on fund availability with the terms and conditions attached to it.” Still speaking on the vexing issue of subsidy, Ogun said, “So far, subsidy is ridden with so much corruption, mismanagement, scandals of fictitious importation and claims some of which are difficult to verify the truth or otherwise. “The national question today is to find out clearly to whom subsidy should be directed. Is it being directed to the targeted beneficiaries who are now buying far above the pump price yet the importer still goes back to get subsidy difference at N97 per litre. “I consider that subsidy is now a rip-off and we should re appraise the whole gamut and intent of subsidy.” New pump price a fait accompli Even as Nigerians groan under the weight of volatile pricing, there are indications the Federal Government may jack up the pump price from N97 to about N120 per litre, if fuel subsidy is withdrawn. The hint on the new pump price emanated from a fact-sheet presented to select leaders of four political parties at the Presidential Villa, Abuja recently. The document, obtained exclusively by The Nation states that subsidy must go, in the interest of the nation’s future and the masses.

According to Finance Minister, Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the removal of subsidy has become inevitable because of the drain on the economy. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala hinted on what the pump price might look like next year, if the subsidy is removed. She said: “The landing cost of a litre of PMS is about N123 per litre, based on an average crude oil price of US$113.98pb. To this, add the cost of distributing, bridging and profit margins of N15.72 per litre. This results in effective cost of N139/litre.” Specifically, Okonjo-Iweala noted that “In 2012, the landing cost of a litre of PMS is estimated at N104/ litre, based on a crude oil price of US$90pb. To this add the cost of distributing, bridging and profit margins of N15.72/litre. This results in effective cost of N120 per litre. “The amount of subsidy equals to the difference between the consumer pump price of fuel versus the total cost of producing or importing. The price of petrol is N65 per litre, but actual cost of supply is N139 per litre. And projected at N120 per litre in 2012. “This means that currently for every one litre of petrol purchased at the official price of N65, government contributes N73. Presently, only petrol and kerosene enjoy government subsidy. Diesel has already successfully been deregulated.” John Iyobhebhe, a public affairs commentator based in London spoke on the pros and cons of subsidy removal. According to him, “There is a prevailing view in Nigeria that the new Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy is advocating the IMF and World Bank Nigeria agenda. The theory is that deregulation and removing the subsidy may Continued on page 61



Petrol: So scarce, so costly Continued from page 60 initially lead to inflationary pressures but as the market is opened up to investors billions of dollars will flow into the down steam sector and more private refineries’ will open for business in Nigeria.” He, however, stressed that, “If the government is indirectly pursuing the IMF agenda for Nigeria then the removal of the subsidy is just one puzzle in the massive jigsaw. Inflation will erode the purchasing power of the Naira in people’s pockets. If you add official or market devaluation of the naira in the foreign exchange markets, it means that businesses and individuals holding their wealth in Naira will see it fall even further.” The government, he further warned, must be careful because according to him, “Inflation, high unemployment, devaluation and massive retrenchment in the public and civil service are a dangerous cocktail.” As the search for a lasting solution to the perennial fuel crisis lingers, many it has been hotly debated that deregulation of the sector would help to turn the tide in the sector. This curiously is the stand of many of the marketers, who have been pushing for total deregulation. The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Obafemi Olawore, and the Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, Dapo Abiodun, had in separate interviews recently, called for total deregulation of the sector. Speaking with our correspondent, the marketers told our correspondents that Nigerians should be ready to buy fuel at higher prices in 2013. Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Port Harcourt Unit, Mr. Sunny Nkpe, said since the President said fuel subsidy was not sustainable, Nigerians should get ready to pay more for fuel. Currently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is solely responsible for the importation of fuel. But the NNPC spokesman, Mr. Fidelis Pepple, have blamed marketers for the current fuel scarcity. He said the marketers had not been selling products, which were supplied to them. But the marketers faulted him, saying the fuel imported by the

INSIDE BUSINESS NNPC was inadequate. In spite of the NNPC’s insistence that it had imported adequate fuel, there is a shortfall in supply. Besides, the NNPC, which had abandoned oil pipelines, is relying on depot owners and marketers for distribution of fuel. It is, however, instructive to note that pipeline vandalism is also at the centre of the fuel crisis as the Federal Government is said to loss about N105bn to activities of pipeline vandals annually. This figure represents the cost of crude oil either stolen or wasted during such vandalism on the 5,120km of pipelines across the

country. While commenting on the menace of vandals, Ogun observed that, “Pipeline vandalisation comes from defective problems from foundation. Poor Installation, irregular maintenance and repairs worsened it. Community policing and surveillance is poorly managed. Compensation is misdirected no clear obligations or sanctions to community. All these factors need to be reassessed for effectiveness.” In search of vibrant refineries The Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu committee had recommended that all the four refineries in the country be put for sale within the next 18 months, so as to get new ones on board. But not many people share this view. Speaking on the outcome of Kalu committee report, Ogun observed that there was nothing wrong with the committee’s recommendation but noted that certain things have to be clear. “We as oil and gas workers are not averse to privatisation. But the government cannot sell their stake for strategic and security reasons. Two, immediate sale without TAM is unacceptable, the privatisation cannot be done in less than three years time considering all labour related issues, pension, severance etc, the sale of PHCN and NITEL is an example. So if you sell after three years, the new buyer uses another two years to make business decision and look for fund and another two years for the TAM. “Invariably the committee didn’t want the country to refine crude in Nigeria for the next eight years. This is unacceptable. The TAM must start now without any further delay. Government only give the contract to a reputable firm and a bank guarantee.” On why most oil companies operating in the country don’t have their refineries unlike other countries, the PENGASSAN boss laid the blame on the legal framework obtainable in the country. “Our law gave the companies that chance. The companies are businessmen, but government can address this anomaly in our PIP. Any company producing 200k oil and above must have a stake in refinery in Nigeria.” Speaking further, he said, “The inefficiency is as a result of policy and government tedious approval process. A new well-structured PIB will address that. “All this position has been canvassed by both unions in the oil gas to government since. But government has been running from one committee to the other.” As the year rollover, the buzz word in different discussion groups shows that many Nigerians out there are indeed in a quandary, with many asking the obvious, “Where do we go from here?” Time, will tell.


Lubricant manufacturers, counterfeiters on warpath •Nigeria loses over N200bn to substandard lubricants


OST businesses either get ruin by what they choose to do or fail to do at any point in time. And for members of the Lubricant Association of Nigeria (LUPAN), most of whom have had a run of misfortune owing largely to the activities of counterfeiters masquerading as genuine businessmen, perhaps now is probably the time to go on a warpath with the latter. Reason: a huge industry has been built around substandard lubricants by these conmen and their ilk, a development which analysts argue, has taken a heavy toll on the local market. Independent investigation carried out by stakeholders in the sector has revealed that the economy is being short-changed one way or the other by the nefarious activities of merchants of fake lubricants and other allied products. From available statistics, the country is said to lose over N200billion yearly to a syndicate group involved in the faking of existing brands in the market. One individual who should know better is Mr. Ayobami Odetola, Lube Operations Manager, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc. According to him, “Nigeria’s economy loses over N200 billion annually, due to influx of adulterated lubricants and the fact that most people patronise road side engine oil dealers.” Odetola, a member of lubricants sector stakeholders, disclosed this recently while briefing newsmen on the initiative by stakeholders in the downstream sector to begin a nationwide public enlightenment campaign on lubricants market sanitisation. He said: “The economy also records a huge cost of over $250 million as outflow that is not necessary to import base oil yearly. Nigeria is the largest importer of used cars and about N100 billion is incurred as unnecessary spending on adulterated lubricants, while over N30 billion goes into treatment of respiratory infections caused by environmental hazards of fake engine oil across the country.” Also speaking, the Gas Manager, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Olasupo Agbaje, explained that the campaign became necessary following a ministerial directive to the Agency by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, to coordinate the regulation of base oil and sale of lubricants in the country. He said, “We are working with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to stamp out the scourge of lubricants adulteration and illegal trading of base oil in Nigeria. “The mechanism to sustain the campaign has been put in place and severe sanctions will be given to offenders in the sector. “The campaign is aimed at educating Nigerians on the dangers of adulterated base oil being used as lubricants and the need to procure lubricants through authourised sources.” He added, “Procurement, distribution and retailing of base oil and adulteration or improperly packaged lubricants by unlicensed vendors over the years resulted in such hazards like, malfunctioning and damage to engines and machinery, adulteration of edible oil with hazardous health implications, environmental pollution and destruc-

•Adulterated lubricants sold on the roadside By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

tion of the source of livelihood of genuine practitioners in the industry.” Expectedly, concerned stakeholders like LUPAN, many of which have been at the receiving end of product fakers are not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to rid the sector of unscrupulous individuals bent on jeopardising their business interest. In a statement made available recently to journalists by the Executive Secretary of LUPAN, Mr. Emeka Obidike, he said the association is also appealing to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, review downwards to 5 percent the import duty tariff on base oil which is the chief raw material that is used in producing their lubricants. The LUPAN executive secretary said lubricants produced in the country are produced with strict compliance with regulatory standards locally by SON and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, alongside other international standards, adding, however that most lubricants imported into the country do not comply with these regulatory standards. He said some of the lubricants brought into the country sell at cheaper price than genuine products, adding that more worrisome is the import duty tariff of 10 per cent which is the same for imported lubricants and for base oil which is the major raw material used by lubricant producers in Nigeria. He added that the association is seeking a higher tariff regime for imported lubricants in order to protect local producers as well as remain competitive in the market. Not leaving anything to chance, LUPAN led by the Vice-Chairman, Alhaji Ado Mustapha Muhammed, who doubles as the Chairman/CEO AMMASCO Oil, has also reached out to regulatory authorities like the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) with a view to stemming the incidence of adulterated lubricants in the local market. Accompanied by the other members of the executive council, Muhammed paid the DG of SON, Mr Joseph Odumodu a courtesy call. The LUPAN boss while canvassing the association’s position, had argued that, “Apart from investing heavily in state-of-the-art factories as well as in research and development, our members are high employers of labour and as such are ready to partner with SON in all fronts to ensure sanitisation of the market, to ensure that

it is devoid of substandard, fake and adulterated products.” According to them, this negative trend in the wake of President Goodluck Jonathan’s much-touted local content agenda, signals danger to users, the nation’s economy and could cripple the local industry if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the disturbing trend. Expressing confidence in the SON’s leadership to bring sanity to the oil lubricant market, Muhammed called on the Federal Government to review downward the high import duty on base oil, which is the chief raw material for the production of lubricants. In response, Odumodu, allayed the visiting team’s fears, adding that SON was embarking on registration of all products including oil lubricants in the market within the next few months. He said this is part of deliberate measures to sanitise the market, to ensure standards are adhered to by manufacturers and that consumers have value for their money. According to him, the nation’s economy was being threatened by the twin problems of fake/substandard and adulterated products, whether they are imported or produced locally. “There are standards and we are ready to enforce it, I can assure you. We have launched the zero –tolerance campaign, and for us it is a new beginning,” Odumodu said. Stakeholders are, however, curious that many months after the regulatory authorities gave what appeared to be blessed assurances, no concrete steps have been taken thus far as lubricant fakers have become too daring in recent times. Echoing similar sentiments, Chief Nnamdi Williams, an erstwhile staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said the authenticity of most lubricants sold in the local market is questionable. “A well-refined lubricant helps to reduce the knocking or breakdown of the engine,” Williams declared matter-of-factly. Expatiating, he said, “If you use a gasoline with a very low octane number, you invariably shortened the lifespan of that engine,” adding: “It is regrettable that most of the lubricants you find in the market are not just cheap but of low quality, thereby endangering the lifespan of most machineries, including industrial equipment. The regulatory agencies, I daresay, have a lot of work to do beyond paying mere lip-service to the fight against adulterated lubricants.”




‘Why Etisalat remains F youth-focused’ OUR years after Etisalat made its debut in Nigeria, how has the company fared so far? It is no secret that Etisalat is Nigeria’s fastest growing network and the most innovative network in the country and this is evident in the numerous awards we have received. Awards such as Most Innovative Mobile Operator by ICT Alliance in 2011 and Telecoms Innovative Company of the Year at the 7th Nigerian Telecoms Awards in 2011. When we first started in 2008, we had one goal in mind, that goal was to turn the telecoms industry in Nigeria around. I believe we have achieved this and have gone ahead to become a reference point. We are clearly leaders in innovation, pricing, customer service and most importantly, quality of service. Even the NCC has recognised our achievement in the area of quality of service in the GSM category. At the corporate level, our success story has been phenomenal. Etisalat Nigeria has network coverage in all the states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This great feat was achieved under a year and half of commercial operations and proof that our customers are at the heart of all we do. Beyond the business of telephony, Etisalat is a leader on sustainability and an active citizen in the local communities where we operate. Our commitment to impacting the society positively is demonstrated through our CSR activities which we started implementing even before making profit – an unprecedented achievement in the history of CSR in Nigeria. Etisalat appears to focus on the youth segments, has this strategy worked out as planned in terms of the bottom line? We have no apologies for being perceived as a youthful brand. We will continue to be ambitious, youthful, daring and a lot more in future. However, what is more important is that Etisalat is a brand that welcomes all unto its network. Our products are carefully segmented to ensure that we meet the communication needs of all Nigerians irrespective of demography, age or location. easycliq is our youth product, easy starter targets the larger mass of the market, easybusiness is for SMEs, Classic postpaid is for corporate customers, and easyblaze is for both corporate and individuals who need high speed internet connection for their business or social networking needs. What is your assessment of the operating environment? The business environment in Nigeria continues to improve given the many business opportunities that are emerging as more

Four years after setting up shop in the country as one of the telecoms networks, Etisalat Nigeria has recorded giant strides in the sector. Steven Evans, the company’s Chief Executive in an interview with select journalists recently spoke on Etisalat’s successes and achievements so far. Bukola Afolabi was there


INTERVIEW and more international companies continue to come into Nigeria to do business. Opinions are divided over the role of the regulatory authority in the monitoring of telecoms companies, how would you rate the performance of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) so far? We commend the NCC for their efforts in regulating the telecommunications industry in the country and we will continue to work with them to ensure that Nigerians receive the best quality of service. Has the insecurity in some part of the North affected your operations in anyway? Most telecoms companies have complained of the vandalisation of their base stations which has often affected their operations, what is Etisalat’s experience in this regards and measures you have put in place to check this? The insecurity in some part of the north and especially the recent attacks of telecoms equipment was a challenge experienced across all the major GSM telecom operators in the country. Government securities and all relevant government agencies have been very supportive in preventing attacks and also ensure further protective

measures of critical sites and installations. Has Etisalat been active in its Corporate Social Responsibility within its operating environment? The growth of our business is dependent on responsible business practices, as well as the wellbeing and prosperity of the communities where it operates. As such, we embrace sound corporate governance and compliance with a robust code of ethics. We support and promote the wellbeing of our internal stakeholders, and strive to sufficiently engage other key stakeholder groups. We also have a very active CSR strategy which is focused around – education, health and the environment. Through our Adopt-ASchool initiative, Etisalat has been very active in supporting the government to tackle the deplorable state of some public schools in Lagos State. We adopted three schools ‘for life’: Akande Dahunsi Memorial High School, Edward Blyden Primary School, Okesuna Lagos Island, and Rabiatu Thompson Primary School Surulere, all in Lagos State; where we are constantly refurbishing and upgrading the facilities. We established the Etisalat CSR Centre in partnership with Lagos Business School of the Pan-Af-

rican University, to create CSR knowledge, dissemination and application through research, seminars and conferences. MBA students and mid-top level executives from different organisations have had enriching experiences from the Centre’s activities. Our Merit Awards scheme launched in 2009 grants meritorious scholarships to students of Electrical Electronic Engineering, Computer Science and Business Management courses in their second and third years of study. To date over 800 students have benefitted from this scheme. We also have the Teacher Training Programme, implemented in collaboration with the British Council. The objective of the programme is to train primary and secondary school teachers on their core areas of discipline to adequately equip them in performing their duties, and importantly facilitate a major improvement in the performance of their students in local and international examinations. In addition there is the Career Counselling Programme - part of our Employee Volunteering Scheme. This is a platform for our staff to make a motivational impact effect on students in our host communities, by delivering career counselling talks to the students, based on the employees’ field of expertise. Our implementation partner for this programme is Lagos Empowerment and Resource Centre (LEARN). On the health platform of our CSR interventions, we are active in the fight against malaria using our ‘Fight Malaria Initiative’. This initiative has a twopronged approach – education and active action. The educative approach of fighting malaria is implemented by way of an innovative entertaining and informative drama series on malaria prevention and control, while the other approach is distribution of insecticide treated nets to local government areas and secondary schools in the northern region of Nigeria, and establishment of Students Leaders Against Malaria (SLAM) clubs to further drive healthy practices that will keep the malaria scourge controlled. We adopt sustainable and environmentallyfriendly practices, including the introduction of ecoSIMS, SIM packs with reduced environmental impact that protect our climate more.

Beyond Talent

By Adetayo Okusanya Email:

An early start to your Christmas wish list – part two 5. Business Acumen One major challenge with professionals today is their inability to see “the big picture”. They are all about getting their “own” work done and fail to see the interrelationship between what they do and what happens in the rest of the business. Such individuals cannot make the connection between their actions and the financial performance of their organization. In essence, they lack business acumen. Business acumen is a required skill for career advancement and long term success. When you possess strong business acumen, you have a keen understanding of how your actions impact your organization’s bottom line. You see the business you support as a whole made up of interconnected parts, and understand how changes in one area affect the performance of the whole system. People with strong business acumen are great at making optimal business decisions because they are mindful of its impact on the entire organization and not just their own direct area of accountability. 6. Leadership According to Insights Discovery®, leadership is about results, vision, relationships and centeredness. You have great leadership qualities when you are able to (i) get the job done through others in a prioritized, efficient and timely manner, (ii) balance analysis, wisdom and experience when making decisions, (iii) create a compelling vision that inspires the support of others, and (iv) empower others to grow and succeed. People with strong leadership skills ensure that project goals and success drivers are clearly defined, monitor progress against established performance standards, and take actions to course correct when necessary. They know how to connect the mission, values, goals, and strategies of their organization to everyday work, and are adept at creating a work environment where members are motivated to do their best work. They take time to understand the expectations, needs and ambitions of team members and use this information to provide constructive feedback, instruction and encouragement, as well as coaching and mentoring. 7. Influence defines influence as the capacity or power of a person to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others. You will have strong influencing skills when you take the time to know and support others, make a point to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements, share information or expertise, and invest in removing barriers to success that stand in the way of your team. People with strong influencing skills are able to promote cooperation and commitment within their teams in furtherance of established goals. They earn trust and respect from others by keeping their promises and commitments, and consistently doing “the right things”. They observe, understand and know how to manage politics that are internal and external to their environment and invest in building alliances and partnerships with key players in order to get the right things done. 8. Self-Management Lao Tsu said, “He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier.” Another valuable professional competence is the ability to manage your own time, priorities, and resources to achieve business and personal goals. When you possess the ability to prioritize tasks and easily adapt and respond effectively to changes in your environment, you will become highly capable in managing “YOU”. People who are good at managing themselves stay focused on important tasks by ensuring that their efforts are aligned with their overarching goals and purpose. They are mindful of the resources required to achieve set objectives, create realistic schedules for projects and follow through on their commitments 9. Development and Continuous Learning You possess a strong commitment to continuous learning when you solicit ongoing performance feedback from stakeholders, apply your talents to work assignments, strive for mastery in the competencies you need to be successful in your current job, and can adapt easily and quickly to changes in your environment. Successful people demonstrate a strong commitment to learning for the purpose of self-improvement. They continually seek ways to improve their work outputs and capabilities, and strive to achieve higher standards in both their behavior and results. You will find them seeking and acquiring new competencies, work methods, and information that will improve their efficiency and effectiveness on the job. They are not afraid to fail because they see failure as an opportunity to learn from past results, and a necessary ingredient for transformation. 10. Computer Skills Wikipedia defines computer literacy as the knowledge and ability to use computers and related technology efficiently. Today, organizations rely significantly on computing devices to increase the speed efficiency and effectiveness of their business operations. Consequently, you must possess the ability to use such technology to enhance your work performance if you want to remain relevant in business. People who are computer literate get their work done faster, better, more efficiently and more effectively than those who do not. They are more flexible and can easily adapt to changes in plans, commitments, deliverables and work assignments.

• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge



JILL OKEKE, 07069429757


Compensation coming for victims of Alaba market traders



•Alaba market


S customers cry out over the scamming and extortion at Alaba market, the Amalgamated Chairman of the Alaba Traders Association has called on victims with the proof of being duped to come for compensation while the offenders are to be punished according to the constitution governing the market. Decrying the attitude of some of the traders, Mr. Uchenna Igwe, the chairman of the traders association, said that he will give full support to anyone who comes with any complaints of being cheated by any of the traders as the constitution clearly stipulates the punishment to be meted out to the offender while the victim will be fully compensated. In an interview with the Consumer Watch, he regretted that many people who have been duped at the market do not know that they can report those traders, adding that no matter how minute the cheating may be “once the case has been established against the trader, he must pay a fine of N25,000.” He disclosed that despite the fact that he is the Chairman of the Traders Association he was recently a victim. According to him, he bought an LG television set which he gave to his friend at Asaba, Delta State as a wedding present. Much later, he said his friend called to inquire what kind of LG television was that, as each time his friend switches on the television set, 'Akira' logo and name would appear on the screen, meaning that the trader that sold the television set,

removed the LG engine from the LG television and fitted it with an 'Akira' engine which he then sold it to the unsuspecting chairman as LG television. Though the market is fast becoming notorious for the nefarious activities of its traders, shoppers still throng there. In terms of availability, you cannot but defer to the market. From the least inconsequential to the important item, you find it at Alaba market. Just like the Dalston Market on Chrisland High Road Hackney, London or the notorious Peckam market at East London where you can find the least expected items like ogiri or iru, udara or agbalugba, akam or ogi, ncha nkuta or black soap, even our local guguru and epa. To cap it all, you can even find agbo in these two markets in London. In the same way you will also see the least expected items from the hinterlands of others countries at Dalton and Peckam Markets. At Alaba Market, which started as an electronics market and currently being adjudged to be the biggest electronic market in West Africa, there is virtually nothing that cannot be found. Situated at Ojo Local Government, Lagos State, Alaba market boasts of over 20 thousand lock up shops, with more than five thousand open shops. There are other traders without shops called ‘Oso Ahia’ or hustlers and others who have their warehouses outside the market but move around advertising the samples of their wares. A lock up shop in a vantage position of about 70 to 100 squares meters can cost as much as 30 million naira for outright purchase. But the problem is, one cannot shop in

Agony of soaring food prices Page 67

that market without your five senses being fully at alert. In most cases, no matter how smart you are, you still end up being cheated in one way or the other. So is it the norm to be duped by traders at the market. Lying and cheating is all part of business in virtually all open markets across the world but experiences of shoppers at Alaba Market leave one gaping in horror. I have been severally duped at the market but my last experience left me numb with shock. My elder sister was wedding and I went to Alaba Market with another sister of mine to shop for wedding presents. After checking out so many shops to get the best bargain, I ended up at Ebeano Electronic Shop. I settled for a brand new Daewoo fridge and freezer. As the price was settled I paid and a receipt was issued to me. The fridge was packed and loaded into a taxi with other items I bought. I travelled to Enugu with the wedding presents. A day after the wedding I came back to Lagos and got a call from my sister telling me that there was virtually no accessories inside the fridge like the basins for holding vegetables, other accessories where you can place your drinks, etc. were all missing, and this was a brand new freezer. And the point is that before I paid the Ebeano traders, I saw those accessories but before parking the fridge for me they removed them or maybe they switched the fridge with another one and parked the wrong one for me. Continued on Page 67

What to eat to improve your mood Page 67

20 diet tips that can change your life • Make charts and graphs of your weight loss and eating behaviour. Fill them out every day. • Don't let anyone 'love' you with food. • Select your weight goal. Write it down. Now paste the note where you will see it every day. • Always set a new goal before you reach the old one. Goals move you forward. Having no goals moves you backward. • Drink eight glasses of water a day. Water is essential to body function. It is also inexpensive and calorie-free making it the perfect drink for dieting, • Weigh yourself every morning for the rest of your life. • When you are under stress you may want to eat. Break the stress cycle with exercise and a hot bath, • Always be aware. of calories, sugar. Read labels carefully for any sugar ending in ‘ose’ e.g lactose, sucrose, destrose, maltose and fructose. • Decrease red meats high in fat, increase fish. • It takes time to gain weight. It takes time to lose weight. Be patient, • When dieting, never use the word 'try'. Try amplifies failure. Use 'will' instead. I will stay on my diet. I will be thin. • Eat on the same schedule each day and eat on time. Most dieters starve all day to indulge at night. If no food has been eaten, the blood sugar level drops, you crave for food, and you may lose control. •Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine - filled beverages. They may be bad for your blood pressure, they may also make you nervous, and many people eat more when they get the jitters. • Learn to relax and rest before a big party. It will fortify your self-control when the munchies are passed. • Never take less than 20 minutes to finish a meal. • Go easy on salt. The more salted food you eat, the more you want. • Eat a balanced diet that consists of lean meat, raw fruit and vegetables. • Avoid foods that are served with sauces, such sauces are often rich in butter, sugar, salt and flour, adding to your calories count. • Never food-shop when you are hungry. • Remember you are learning a 'way to live' not just a way to diet. —Culled from the Readers Digest.






WORDSWORTH 08055001948

Eniola Bello’s point N

ATIONAL Mirror of November 29 welcomes us this week with a bouquet of infractions: “…in their various constituencies to synthesize grass root (sic) opinions on this all important (all-important) project.” Not my view: grassroots opinions…. “In many respect (respects) it is out of tune with modern reality….” “Nigeria has never degenerated to (into) this level, security wise.” “That is why the state governments need to be given the impetus to pool their wisdom and resources together….” Delete the last word in the extract. “…the states and local governments sufficiently financially empowered to take care of its (their) responsibilities.” There should be a conjunction between ‘sufficiently’ and ‘financially’. The next two lexical frauds are from the Editorial: “The minister exposed the shock find during an official visit to PHCN’s facilities in (on) the premises of the….” “…contributed to PHCN’s woeful (abysmal) failure to provide regular electricity supply to the nation.” National Mirror Back Page of the above edition also contributed to the pool of grammatical disasters: “Sanusi had, on Tuesday, drew (drawn) the ire of workers by arguing that….” “…the federal government must embark on some cost saving (costsaving measures….” “His arguments on the introduction of N5,000 notes was (were)….” Still on National Mirror: “FG to sanction DISCOs over over-billing of customers” A rewrite: “FG to sanction DISCOs for overbilling customers” “Teachers employed by the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) to complement….”Education Today: Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)…. “CANNU donates to flood relief (flood-relief) fund” Finally from National Mirror under review: “Eduwatch gathers students, scholars together” Yank off the last word in the excerpt. “Geepee proudly introduces world class (world-class) multilayer (multi-layer) composite panels…no painting, no maintainence” (Advertise-

ment in THE GUARDIAN of November 27) Bloated pride: maintenance! THE GUARDIAN Opinion of November 27 circulated two improprieties: “With preparations in top gear, and barring any last minute (last-minute) hitches….” “The final death nail (sic) came with the present political dispensation that began in 2000 that paid lipservice to governance.” Get it right: death knell or just knell. There is nothing like ‘final death nail’! DAILY Sun of November 29 contained copious indiscretions: “If the Abia PDP stalwarts have forgotten, we will gladly remind them that candidates who stand for elections under (on) the platform (platforms) of political parties….” “Kaduna gears up for LG polls amids (amid) fears of violence” “Records show that their actions and inactions, in the past, have (had) contributed in….” “Non-partisan intelligence driven mechanism panacea to Boko Haram” A rewrite: “Non-partisan, intelligence-driven mechanism, panacea to Boko Haram THE PUNCH of November 29 blundered: “Police deploys (deploy) 19,000 officers for games” Next on the itinerary is Rutam House. THE Guardian of November 27 from its window to the inside pages misprinted both editorial and advertorial entries to the point that this columnist lost count: “Let it be a time to re-examine our consciences and tell ourselves (one another) the truth.” “Between 180,000 to 200,000 barrels of crude oil….” The worsening crude oil theft: Between…and…not ‘to.’ “How skill acquisition, entrepreneurship impacts (impact on/upon) national development” “Poor budget implementation: A drawback on (of/to) national development” “Notice of court ordered meeting of FCMB PLC. (This full stop is useless here)” And this: court-ordered meeting…. Still on THE GUARDIAN: “Non DStv (NonDStv) subscribers get 3 months (months’) free subscription with every devices (device) purchased.” Which agency wrote this poor copy? I hereby surcharge it! “In our pursuit of better ways to make our renown (renowned) products avail-

able to more Nigerians….” (Half-page advertisement by CWAY Food and Beverages Limited) ‘Renown’ is a noun—it is its adjectival form that is required here. “The family of…announces with deep sorrow but gratitude to Almighty God the death of our son…following a ghastly road accident….” My sympathies quite all right, but the English language cannot die: a fatal (not ghastly) vehicular accident. And for the second time round, ‘sorrow but gratitude to Almighty God’ cannot—and will never as long as there are seed time and harvest time—co-function in any circumstance. What is amiss with our spirituality? Our God does not inhabit in sorrowful environments. So, as His children, let us give thanks to Him in all situations. He knows best why tragedies befall us. Even in the face of fatalities, write obituaries or related issues with cheerfulness/joy/happiness/satisfaction/angelic punctuation/heavenly intervention…and (not but) gratitude to God, w e … . S o u n d s eschatological? Reactions are welcome to this lexicospiritual intellectualisation of Christianity. I insist that this is a contradictory and blasphemous obituary! Latest reaction to the above encore from a man of erudition, Mr. Eniola Bello, the Managing Director of ThisDay Newspapers: “Deep sorrow and gratitude…may appear contradictory but I see no reason why they cannot cofunction. You cannot take language use from its cultural and religious environment. The contentious phrase has nothing to do with where God inhabits. It is more about the impact of a tragedy and the acceptance of the unchangeable. Where on earth will anybody announce the death of a loved one with joy? The sorrow is for the loss; the gratitude for the life lived and in keeping with God’s commandment to give thanks in good or bad times. There is no reason why both cannot go together. Ever seen a woman cry in pain during intercourse yet clings to her partner, moans and pleads that he shouldn’t stop in order not to terminate the immeasurable pleasure? You say it is contradictory? I say it’s paradoxical.

‘National Assembly cannot amend constitution’ •Continued from Page 25 But a small vocal group within the northern polity threatened that if Jonathan won the election they will make the country ungovernable. It seems clear that what is happening with Boko Haram and other political forces today to confound, confuse and diminish the authority of the Jonathan administration is the concerted work of a vocal minority which had threatened to truncate Jonathan’s administration. Nigerians from all parts of the country voted massively for him. But it appears that this vocal minority had lived up to their threat and are doing everything including, should we say, the introduction of Boko Haram to make the country ungovernable? What is going on is a national tragedy, not a South-South or a southern Nigerian problem alone. The country now has a duty to call this vocal minority and prevail upon them to rethink and call Boko Haram to order and remove themselves from the political fray. Boko Haram is an acclaimed Islamic fanatical sect. They have always been there in this country but have never been so brazenly used to disturb the security of the country. If the country does not come together and support this government and force the vocal minority who are alleged to have instigated Boko Haram, then this threat of religious political blackmail will continue over various other issues affecting the Nigerian polity - not only the Jonathan administration. It is therefore my appeal to all concerned to sheath their sword, political and military, and allow peace to return to the country in the interest of all of us. The Unites States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during her meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, sometime this year, said the US was ready to assist Nigeria tackle terrorism. As a former security chief, what do you make of the US government’s offer? The United States obviously has wide experience in counter insurgency and counter terrorism and of course Nigeria can make good use of her experience and her assistance. What we need from the Americans will be more of technical gadgetry and sophisticated devices and international liaison type of collaboration and intelligence. We do not need United States intelligence presence locally. Such involvement will very easily internationalise the Boko Haram issue and invite other United States adversaries on terrorism from all over the world, Al-qaeda,


Taliban, etc. to also come to this country to combat the Americans here. That will make Nigeria a fresh theatre for international terrorist and insurgent inter-play and promote international religious conflict here and will very readily escalate our present situation. I have said it in some earlier interviews with the media that the threat of Boko Haram is not new. We have had to deal with similar fanatical religious violent bodies in the past such as Maitatsine and so on. We did so, successfully, by carefully coordinated intelligence, law enforcement and defence effort. We were - i.e. the Nigerian security, intelligence, law enforcement and defence services - able to defeat such earlier threats and win their members over to normal lifestyle and to become good Nigerian citizens. Boko Haram is, to my mind, a resurrection of some of the earlier fanatical Islamic religious organisations that the State Security Services have dealt with, pacified and won over to become good and proper Nigerian citizens. Many leaders of such previous sects that the security services have dealt with have now resumed normal lives in their various communities in various parts of the country. Many believe that the Federal Government has not shown enough commitment in tackling the problem of Boko Haram insurgency in the North. Do you agree? I don’t agree. The Federal Government is in fact showing a high level commitment in dealing with the issue of Boko Haram. For instance, the last security budget was phenomenal compared to earlier ones, and more than any past government has ever provided in this country. The problem as I see it is not that of commitment, rather it is that of political methodology and effective co-ordination of operations among the various arms of the security and defence forces who are dealing with the problem. There is no question whatsoever that the SSS, for instance, is doing an extremely good job in

combating the threat of Boko Haram, same will go for NIA. But effective co-ordination and collaboration among the various services engaged in these assignments seems to be lacking at some point or somewhat confused. Take for instance the Commissioner of Police, (Zakari) Biu incident resulting in the escape of a primary Boko Haram suspect. What is the way out of the Boko Haram insurgency which is threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria? The truth of the situation is that the collaborating services - the SSS, the NIA, the Nigeria Police, the Defence services - will have to work closely together and be properly co-ordinated within a joint command arrangement. They should be able not only to co-operate closely in field operations but share the same level of commitment and understanding in a manner that will ensure that operational intelligence in particular and shared intelligence will not be compromised in order to ensure the success of operations. At the same time at the political level, the necessary authorisations and political directives need to be promptly given to assure the services that they have political backing to deal with every person identified from good and correct intelligence as being the political sponsors and financiers of the terrorists. Therefore, when you have the prompt and correct political directives, you have proper co-ordination at the appropriate level of the operating services, you have the right equipment for intelligence, you have the judiciary and the judicial arms of government fully cooperating and doing so promptly with suspects, what remains to be done will be a proper psychological reorientation exercise that will re-assure the Boko Haramists that they are welcome and acceptable by the country as good and useful citizens. This will encourage them to deviate from a harmful course that will destroy the cohesion and corporate existence of the country which is equally theirs - for whether Muslims, Christians or pagans, we all belong to this country called Nigeria in our various and respective ways. In effect I would wish to emphasise that side by side with whatever security or political operation to quell the insurgency, a proper reorientation of those involved, and the assurance and application of fair treatment to all concerned, would be some of the best ways to deal with this matter, rather than inviting foreign powers to get involved.



Consumer Watch


What to watch out for in labels


OW closely do you read the labels on the foods you buy? What do you look for…Brand name? Price? Many people stop right there or even sooner, but you are advised to read more. Labels help you get what you are shopping for, tell you how to use it and in some cases, can save you money. BASIC INFORMATION: Not all food labels are alike but certain information must be in all food labels, such as: Name of the product. Net contents or net weight. This includes the packaging medium such as water in canned vegetables. Name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor. Description of the product, such as 'condensed' on soup, 'cream style' on corn or 'waffled' on potatoes chips. . Ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance by weight. This includes any functional additives placed in the product. Colours and flavours do not have to be listed by name but can be listed simply as 'colour or flavour'. If the colours or flavours are artificial, they must be so designated. Butter, cheese, and ice cream are not required to state the presence of colour. Some labels do not list ingredients. For instance, you will not always see ingredients listed on Ketchup or Mayonaise. These labels do not have to list all ingredients because government has set up a standard for these products. That is, the mandatory ingredients in all products that are called by certain standard names are the same and are not required to be listed on the labels. GRADE: Some fruit and vegetable products carry a grade on the label, such as 'grade A'. These are grades set by the various countries where the products were manufactured. These grades are not based on nutritional values NUTRITION INFORMATION: Something new is being added to food labels -nutrition information. Now labels of many foods will tell you how many calories are in a place and also how much protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Nutrition information can help you plan better meals for you and your family and also help you get better value for your money. GETTING MORE FOR YOUR MONEY: There is a difference in quality among different brands of the same food but often the price is the main difference. When you are shopping, compare 'net contents' and 'price' on products and see which product or size offers you the best value. Some stores have unit pricing. This means the store tells you, on cards placed near the food, how much the products cost per ounce or pound or other unit of measurement. This gives you a way to compare brands and costs. If a product says you will get money off the regular price, read the label carefully to make sure you are actually getting the savings. Compare the sale price with the regular price. Has the price been marked up, so it can now be marked down? If so, there is no real saving. IMITATION: Some foods are labelled as imitation of other goods. The word imitation is used on the labels when the product is not as nutritious as the product which it resembles and for which it is a substitute. If a product is similar to an existing one and is as nutritious, then a new name will be made up for it. For example, when a product similar to butter was marketed years ago, it was not called imitation butter, instead a new name, margarine, was used.


Agony of soaring food prices T

HE harsh economy has forced prices of food stuff up to an alarming rate resulting in most people going for days without food or begging to survive or forced to become societal miscreants. The sad situation has popularised the name' one-zero-one' or zero-one-one' or still 'zero-onezero' which otherwise was only heard of or used in the higher institutions but is fast becoming a general practice in most homes. One-zero-one is a situation where a person eats in the morning, misses lunch because of inability to afford it and eats dinner. The second system 'zero-one-one' is when a person goes without breakfast and eats lunch and dinner while the third one zero-one- zero means going without breakfast, eating lunch and forgoing dinner because he or she not able to afford it. Wives and cooks feel they are the ones that suffer the inflation most because whether there is money or not, other members of the family will demand their food from them. Mrs. Ugochi Orji, a civil servant at the Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, said that her husband gives her feeding allowance that is definitely not enough and he still expects to eat quality food. ”Whether he wants

me to do a miracle or steal food stuffs at the market I do not know” she said exasperatedly. Talking of the feeding of her five children, she said, "it is only by the grace of God that we are still alive because most times now we just eat garri and groundnut. My husband and I earn well but the money is just useless when you go to the market and you still have to consider school fees." The situation in the country now calls for prudent wives and cooks, said Dr. Toyin Durojaiye. No matter how much money you go to the market with, you will end up buying nothing. Everything is so very expensive, so I advise every wife to buy food stuffs from bush markets. Besides, if you can afford it, buy in bulk and purchase those things you really need. Consumer watch went to Ilapo Market on the LagosAbeokuta Road. The market is one of the places you can get yams at the cheapest rate in Lagos, and not just that, the market boasts of yams from all parts of the country, for example, Benue, Aba, Onitsha, Abakaliki, Abuja and Kwara States. The point is that Consumer Watch saw a lot of buyers with grim faces and arms folded across their chests. Cautiously we approached them with questions and the response was the same all over. Yams that

were bought for N200 each in January is now sold for N300 at the market. Buyers wondered what the yams will be sold for outside that particular market noted for its low prices for yams. The yam sellers were not looking any happier. Obviously, they have wasted the better part of the day haggling with buyers and absolving themselves from any blame concerning the high prices. One of the yam sellers, Muhammed Musa, described the situation as very bad and unfortunate. "Previously, we used to buy a lorryload of good yams for N100,000 but that same lorry load of yam now sells for N 150,000," he said. Prices of rice, beans and other food-stuffs are not left out. At Mile 12 and Iddo Markets, the situation is the same, with buyers cursing and hissing and traders trying to extricate themselves from the blame of high prices of food-stuffs. At Mile 12 and Iddo Markets, a 50 kg of aroso rice previously sold for N8,000.00 now attracts N12,500 and in some cases unlucky buyers are tricked into buying it at a higher price. A big derica cup of long grain rice is sold for N150 as against N100, while the same quantity of brown beans attracts between N200 and

N300 as against N150. The same quantity of white beans is N230. Meanwhile, a normal paint bucket of white amala flour now costs N350 with the brown amala flour of the same quantity going for N450. The same quantity of garri cannot be bought with less than N350 at the major markets in Lagos now. A gallon of red oil is sold for between N1,200 and N1,400 while vegetable oil is threatening to disappear from the kitchens of many homes because of the high price. As at last year, a five-litre can of vegetable oil was about N800 but now it is sold for N1,400. The list is inexhaustible. Prices of all food-stuffs, including provisions, are escalating at an alarming rate. The price you get for a product today is definitely not what will obtain by the next time you go to the market. By then the price would have increased by 50 percent. Reports coming from other parts of the country indicate that the same applies. Prices of food-stuffs increase everyday with people not sure of where their next meal will

Compensation coming for victims of Alaba market traders Continued from Page 64

What to eat to improve your mood


EELING blue? Many people seek comfort from favorite foods like chocolate kisses, salty chips, and pillow pastries when they're feeling down. But if you really want to boost your mood, make different choices, nutritionists say. Although clinical depression is a serious illness that requires treatment beyond •Fruits changing what you eat nutrition, can help beat garden-variety blues caused by stress, and will boost low energy, too. "We reach for what we think will make us feel better, but we too often wind up making ourselves feel worse in the long run," says Beth Reardon, director of nutrition at Duke University's Duke Integrative Medicine. The wrong foods can cause physiological reactions that intensify symptoms such as lethargy, irritability, and cravings. Meanwhile, the right foods -- like the following five -- can stabilise blood sugar, eliminate mood s w i n g s , a n d b o o s t neurotransmitters in the brain, all factors that influence your emotions. Try these smart choices when your mood needs a little boost: •AN OMELET: Just don't skip the yolk Eat it for: The B vitamins and protein. Egg yolks are the vitamin rich part of the egg. Other examples: Lean beef, wheat germ, fish, poultry. Why they help: A diet rich in B

vitamins can help lessen the severity of depression symptoms. B vitamins, especially B-6 and B-12, can help improve neural function -the way the neurotransmitters of the brain send signals, which helps govern mood. There's also a growing link between vitamin B deficiency and depression. A 2010 study of 3,000 older adults followed over 12 years found that those with lower intake of these vitamins had a higher risk of depression, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The protein in eggs (as with lean meats) helps you feel satisfied longer, stabilising blood sugar. And eggs can be consumed in a variety of ways, from scrambled to use as a French toast batter to boiled and chopped up as a salad topper -- so long as you go easy on the accompanying animal products that are high in saturated fats, like bacon or butter. •NUTS AND SEEDS Eat it for: The magnesium Examples: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds: cashews, almonds, peanuts. (Green leafy vegetables and whole grains are also high in magnesium.) Why they help: Magnesium, a mineral found naturally in nuts and seeds, influences production of serotonin, a "feel-good" brain chemical. Magnesium also affects overall energy production. Bonus; Nuts are also a good source of protein and healthy fats. And as a

whole food, they make a healthy alternative to processed snacks, provided you choose unsalted and unsweetened varieties. Salt and sugared coatings don't add any health benefits and may make you overeat because they set up cravings in the brain for more and more salt or sugar. •COLD-WATER FISH Eat it for: The omega-3 fatty acids Examples: Wild salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, tuna (not more than. once per week), rainbow trout, mackerel. Fish-oil supplements are a practical alternative for those who don't eat these cold water fish at least three times a week. Why they help: There's a reason fish is known as "brain food." Fatty fish such as wild salmon contain the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which has been shown to increase the membrane quality and nerve function of gray matter in the brain. Twenty percent of the gray matter in the brain is composed of DHA. Some studies have found that DHA consumption especially increases gray matter in the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the cingulate, three areas of the brain associated with mood. People with severe depression have less gray matter in these areas. Fish is also a great source of lean protein, which stabilises blood sugar. Eating small amounts of protein with meals can help keep your mood on a more even keel.

Another victim, Foluso Bakare, regretted ever going to Alaba market to shop. His own case too, was about television. He said he bought a 42-inch Teleline television set. “The set was switched on in the shop before I paid for it and everything was working fine,” he said. “Eagerly, I loaded it into my car and drove home to watch my favourite programme, but as there was no electricity I had to wait till the next evening,” he explained. Narrating his experience he said: “by the time I switched on the set, the colour production was very poor unlike the colour it produced in Alaba Market.” He said he then called the seller on phone and he was advised to change his antenna, but after that the colour was still very bad. He called the seller again and he was asked to change the position of the television, which he did. But when there was no positive change, he stormed the market and the person he bought the television from denied ever seeing him and even denied ever issuing the receipt to him. Foluso said that at this stage, he not being a violent man went back home and got a technician to check out the television he just bought less than a week. To his horror, the Teleline technician revealed that while the outward body or casing was television that the engine was an unknown name. So many people interviewed had similar experiences. Mr Yemi Balogun said he bought electric cable from Alaba Market, “not only was it of inferior quality, when my builders measured it, they found out the length was not even up to what I paid for.” “After my experience at Alaba Market,” declared Mr Anthony Chukwujindu, “I will rather go to Cash and Carry or any other electronics shop because even if it is more expensive, the quality is guaranteed, you know you are getting exactly what you paid for.” However, the good news is that if you are already a victim of these unscrupulous traders, you can ask for the office of the Amalgamated Chairman of the Alaba Traders Association situated within the market or get in touch with Consumer Watch or goggle the Consumer Protection CSouncil (CPC) on the internet and you will be advised on what to do.






Adeboye seeks support for police


HE General Overseer of the Redeemed Christain Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has pledge the continous support of the church to the Nigeria Police Force with prayers in assisting them in the discharge of their duty toward protection of lives and properties in Nigeria. Adeboye said this at the Special Monthly Prayer and Thanksgiving Service organised for the Nigeria Police Force, held recently at the church headquaters in EbutteMetta, Lagos.The programme brought together hundreds of policemen from Lagos including the National Coordinator of Christain Police Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and Commissioner of Police in Charge of Airport, CP James

•L-R: Pastor Femi Akintemi, RCCG Lagos Province 2, Acme (former CP, Osun State); ASP Rev Moses Adekola, Protestant Chaplain, representing Lagos State Police Commissioner, Umar Manko; CP James Olatunji Caulcrick, Commissioner of Police, Airport Police Command and National Coordinator, Christian Police Fellowship of Nigeria, representing Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar and some Police Officers at the prayer programme organised for Nigeria Police Force by Pastor Adeboye on Sunday at the RCCG National Headquarters, EbuteMetta, Lagos


HE Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr Sunday Ola Makinde, has called for a national conference as an antidote against incessant security

Makinde sues for peace By Segun Akanbi

threat confronting the nation and the society.

Stop buying jets


HE World Christian Council Association has called on religious leaders not to put the growth of Christianity on the acquiring of worldly treasures.

The leader of the association, Ayoola Omonigbehin, said rather than buying jets religious leaders should think of how to provide employment for many citizens who are roaming the streets.

Speaking at the third edition of the annual festival of the Diocese of Lagos West at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Opebi Circuit, Ikeja, he called on “Boko Haram and other ethnic agitators to sheathe their swords and embrace peace” He reiterated the need for all, especially, the religious faithful, to embrace the tenets of their religion to the letter.


T was a display of wits, skills and in-depth knowledge of the scriptures last week when the final of the annual Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) quiz competition for secondary schools held. The event which took place at the District Headquarters of the Apostolic Church in Palmgrove, Lagos attracted a host of dignitaries and schools from within and outside the state. Addressing participants and guests at the event, Revd. Dare Ajiboye, Assistant General Secretary of BSN, said the bible quiz competition was organised in order to help youths develop godly values by taking them back to the bible. He added that because youths of today have so many gadgets at their disposal,

By Adeola Ogunlade

Olatunji, representative of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police. ASP, Rev Moses Adekola, the Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, and Pastor Femi Akintemi among others. According to Akintemi, the church has moral and social responsibility in supporting the Nigeria Police in their attempt to fight crime, theft and terrorism in parts of the country. He said “security is everybody’s business, which imply that individuals, families and groups including the church must work with security agents to aid their performance.” Adeboye charged members of the Nigeria Police to hold tight to Jesus as they go

about their statutory responsibility of protecting lives and properties.”He said: God is the only one who can protect the guards and unless God protects one there is no sure protection for anyone. He alone is the sure protector.” He assured them of his prayers to God to continue to guard and protect them as they face the daunting task of fighting crime and terrorist attacks presently ravaging the world over. The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Diko Abubakar, who lauded the effort of the church in organising the prayer session for the police said “we appreciate the gesture of the General Overseer and the church for their prayers and support which we hold in hight esteem.”

Osun wins BSN Bible quiz contest By Vincent Nzemeke

they seldom have time to study the bible. “What we are doing here today is not about winning and losing. It is about taking young people back to the scriptures. It is a fulfilment of BSN’s objective to ensure that everyone has access to the bible. There are so many gadgets competing for the attention of young people today which makes it difficult for them to study the Bible.” For this edition, which was the tenth in the series, there were representatives from schools in the North-East, North-West, North-Central, South-West and the South-East geo-political zones. The five schools qualified for the final by winning the pre-

liminary stage of the competition in their geo-political zones. At the final, the students proved that coming that far was no fluke. They awed the audience as they answered questions from various parts of the scriptures. At the end of three keenly contested rounds, Daniel Tobiloba and Segun Olatunde of Feso International High School Ilesa, Osun State, emerged winners with 308 points. They were followed by ECWA Baba Ahmadu Secondary School, Kano with 302 points and Mary Sumna Junnorates Secondary School Okpofe, Imo State with 293 points as first and second runners-up respectively.

Nigerian church in danger: A pointer to Second Advent


HE season of advent, four Sundays to Christmas is the window and prophecy to the church future. The window runs through the biblical ancient roots (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost). Advent which indicates a coming, arrival and a presence, comes from the Latin word adventus, which in turn is a translation of the Greek word, parousia (Jn.1:14). Advent is a time of reawakening and preparation for the coming of Christ. The vision received by prophet Isaiah concerning Israel in relation to the coming of Jesus is appropriate to the present state of the church in Nigeria (Is.40:1-8). The vision in Isaiah exposed the failure of the spiritual, political, and civil leaders in Israel, those responsible for Israel’s sinful lifestyle, hence the need for a deliverer. (Is.10). Nigeria has been described as a ‘republic of churches,’ but without common understanding of ethical and public morality in relation to Advent. A good observer of church history, mission, and authentic discipleship will understand that the Nigerian church is like the seven churches in Asia (Rev. 1-3), in danger. The danger goes beyond that of Boko Haram, but the danger of ‘idols’ which held sway over human lives remains. The Nigerian church is now living in the world in which the seven churches of Asia lived (Rev.2-3). The letter

to the seven churches in Asia reflects a picture of an individualistic church in Nigeria, isolated from the real living standard of ordinary vulnerable people and hence, ‘a particular danger which may have befallen one church is a potential danger for any church.’ The church to which John writes could be likened to the Nigerian Church ‘set in this huge and prosperous city… very proud of its history.’ The humble evolution of modern Christianity in Nigeria 170 years ago continues to receive commendations for the untiring and sacrificial labour of the early missionaries and other indigenous native pioneers. In the face of suffering and opposition, they outshine the present generation of corporatist ‘pastorprenureship’ who have hijacked the church leadership in Nigeria, creating a designer religion that suits consumers, a generation of ‘Christianese.’ Stephen Travis, a leading world theologian called these modern designers ‘not simply charlatans aiming to deceive the church, but people who at some time had received authority to teach and had now become unbalanced in their message.’ Travis explained that, these modern designers through distorting the gospel have succumbed to the spirit of the age ‘in an attempt to come to terms with the society in which they lived.’ Ni-

By Deji Okegbile

geria is going through spiritual and political tyranny. Where are the likes of Archbishop Janani Luwum who stood against Idi Amin’s tyranny in Uganda? The Archbishop who later became one of Idi Amin’s tyranny victims did not deny his calling and faith in the face of Idi Amin’s luxurious gestures, perhaps, for the promise of aeroplane, as a potential international preacher. Archbishop Luwum did not compromised by accepting without question the values, which dominated Uganda including an elitist ever-increasing standard of living. A leadership lifestyle (religious or politicals) that is removed from those of its members/the electorate is dangerous and points to mediocrity, and a loss of public morality in ‘a paradise of maggots.’ Leadership becomes dealership when it focuses more on personal gain and comfort at the expense of the people, the church/nation, and the kingdom of God. The Nigerian church is in danger because we have more dealership ‘handmaidens of political powers’ rather than model of Jesus’ leadership as exemplified by Archbishop Luwum. The church in Nigeria is in danger just like the church at Pergamum which tolerated compromise with its surrounding society. Does the church

refuse to accept any donations and gifts without questioning the luxurious and corruptive values dominating the society today, including the yoke of doing something simply because ‘everybody does it’? Pastor Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, while describing the state of the Pentecostal movement in Nigeria recently, reflectively summarised the dangerous and painful state of the church in Nigeria. According to him, ‘We are almost an uncontrollable group of people and the way it is, is because we have had an experience which is called the Holy Spirit experience; which is good. The problem that has come out of that is that when people cough, they say it is the Holy Spirit. They talk nonsense; they say it’s the Holy Spirit.’ The danger from this challenge is that our Christianity is becoming a global password for spiritual, discipleship, and leadership mediocrity. The greatest and unpardonable sin is the sin against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:22-30) hence, the Church in Nigeria needs serious repentance, especially in this advent season. We need to remove the dirt in our eyes. The healing of our land will not come with a richer economy, bigger cathedrals, and larger camps, but only with a repentant church. There is a

war going on in Nigeria. The ‘war mongers’ are members of the theocratic class using the Holy Spirit and in close personal contact with the political class against the 99% of the vulnerable masses of Nigeria who have been condemned to a life of undeserved abjection, disillusionment, homelessness, youth unemployment, and hunger. According to the Nigerian Medical Association, about 5000 Nigerians leave the country annually for medical care in other countries due to the callousness and indifference of the ruling class. Like the church at Sardis, the church in Nigeria is becoming harmless and ineffective because, we are becoming ‘outstandingly successful at the art of camouflage.’ An example of such camouflage was described recently in one of the Guardian newspaper editorials as ‘the preponderance of private aircraft in the Nigerian flying space … a manifestation of the endemic ostentation in the land, coupled with the flourishing of easy money, which unfortunately has defied the taxman … an advertisement of the preferred travelling habits of the Nigeria’s elite.’ The Nigerian church is in danger from many directions (within and without), but the picture of Advent, expresses the awesome majesty of Jesus Christ which fits the present situation. Advent suggests a possibility of re-

pentance and revival. Remembering what Advent is about is a powerful aid for a fresh start. One of the problems of the Nigeria church like that of Laodicea is about ‘taking on the character of the city in which it was placed.’ Jesus never did this. The theocratic and political ruling class of Jesus’ days had no comfortable or luxurious place for his birth. Jesus first came as a humble babe, hidden in a manger, surrounded by family and the shepherds who responded to the glorious news given by angels. Advent calls us to repent from ‘a comfortable acceptance of mediocrity.’ Advent is a call to Jesus’ simplicity of ministry and lifestyle, a picture of self-giving against feelings of comfort and extravagant emotion. In the spirit of Advent, Nigerian Christians/leaders find it increasingly necessary to be countercultural if we are to live faithfully to the Gospel. The preparation for the second coming of Jesus is an assurance that Jesus has not finished with the Nigerian church. He is with us in good as well as bad times, always with the expectation of our becoming a true Church ready for his second coming (1Jn.1: 8-9). Happy missionshaped discipleship Advent. Very Rev Okegbile, lectures at Methodist Theological Institute, Sagamu, Ogun State.




Defoe fires Spurs to Fulham win


ERMAIN Defoe scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur beat a poor Fulham side 3-0 at Craven Cottage in the Premier League. An ordinary game came to life 10 minutes into the second half when Brazilian midfielder Sandro was allowed to net from distance thanks to poor goalkeeping by Mark Schwarzer. With Fulham pushing for an equaliser, their defensive line pushed up high, exposing the poor Philippe Senderos as Defoe added two more at his expense. The result means Fulham are now seven games without a win, sliding from the top six to the bottom half of the table. Spurs go fourth, ahead of West Brom on goals scored after a third win on the trot, the North London club unbeaten in their last eight league matches against Fulham. Fulham missed the defensive leadership of Brede Hangeland, serving the third and final match of his suspension, with replacement Senderos well below what is expected of an international centre-back. They were decent going forward, thanks mostly to Dimitar Berbatov, but lacked a cutting edge and crucially composure at the back in the second half as Spurs picked them off on the break.

Liverpool edge out Southampton


solitary goal from Daniel Agger was enough to give Liverpool a valuable, if unconvincing, 1-0 victory over struggling Southampton in their Premier League encounter at Anfield. Southampton, who have now kept just one clean sheet in 15 Premier League games this season, fell behind in the 43rd minute as Agger headed powerfully into the top corner of the net. Nigel Adkins, who along with striker Rickie Lambert had youth trials with Liverpool, came into the match with his side on a four-match unbeaten run, but that was ended abruptly as the hosts preserved their slender advantage to claim all three points - a result which lifts the Reds into 11th place in the table. Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva made his first appearance for three months after being immediately recalled, along with Jonjo Shelvey, as Brendan Rodgers made two changes from the defeat at Tottenham; meanwhile, Southampton boss Adkins, a boyhood Liverpool fan, went with the same team that drew with Norwich in midweek. Luis Suarez, who is not only the league's top scorer with 10 goals, but has created the most scoring chances for team-mates from open play, roared down the right in the ninth minute and whipped over a devilish cross into the box, only for Glen Johnson to glance his shot wide from inside the six-yard box.

RESULTS ENGLAND West Ham 3 - 1 Chelsea Arsenal 0 - 2 Swansea Fulham 0 - 3 Tottenham Liverpool 1 - 0 Southampton Man City 1 - 1 Everton QPR 1 - 1 Aston Villa West Brom 0 - 1 Stoke Reading 3 - 4 Man Utd GERMANY Augsburg 1 1 Freiburg Greuther 0 - 1 Stuttgart Mainz 2 - 1 Hannover Schalke 1 - 1 Borussia FIXTURES ENGLAND Norwich v Sunderland GERMANY Hoffenheim V Werder Wolfsburg v Hamburger SV

West Ham compound Chelsea woes M OHAMED Diame ratified a rousing secondhalf performance by West Ham as he came off the bench to score his side's second goal in a breathless 3-1 win over troubled London foes Chelsea at Upton Park. Chelsea were the dominant side in the first period after Juan Mata struck the opening goal on 11 minutes, but astonishingly fell apart in the second period as goals from Carlton Cole (63), Diame (86) and Modibo Maíga (90+1) condemned Rafael Benitez's side to another horrid day at the office. Benitez has failed to win any of his opening three games with this loss accompanying two draws since replacing the sacked Roberto Di Matteo as manager of Chelsea while his new side have not won in the Premier League for seven matches - the club's worst run in 18 seasons. The three points handed West Ham fans a much-needed boost after the news emerged before kick-off that striker Andy Carroll had been ruled out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Benitez saw banners appear from the unhappy visiting fans calling for his head at full-time, but must be wondering how this afternoon went so wrong. He appeared to be heading for his first win as manager when Mata finished off a superb pass from Fernando Torres on 11 minutes after Victor Moses had managed to pick out the muchmaligned striker on the run. His pass to Mata - back from a hamstring injury - was a thing of real beauty with the former Valencia player doing the rest to convert his fifth goal of the season in the Premier League. Chelsea continued to have few problems finding gaps in the home defence with Jussi Jaaskelainen diving to claw out a Mata shot on 39 minutes after some more fine play by Moses to play provider. Joey O'Brien was also alert to make another fine tackle on Mata from the rebound. The half finished with Petr Cech booked for handling outside of his area before making amends to swipe a Nolan header over the bar. West Ham were utterly transformed in the second half. Diame was a workhorse of

Chelsea's Nigerian midfielder Victor Moses (L) vies with Swansea City's English midfielder Wayne Routledge (R) during the English PremierLeague football match between Swansea •Robin van PersieCity netsand fourth and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium in Swansea yesterday. The game finished winning 1-1. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON goal for Manchester United

against Reading yesterday. The match ended 4-3 in favour of Man Utd.


Crisis rocks squash event


ELEBRATION of crisis could best describe activities at the squash venue of the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival. Trouble started when a cross section of the players protested the ranking and seeding of players insisting that the method being used is garnished with fraud. Technical Director and second Vice President of Nigeria Squash Racket Federation, Edem Selong, who regretted the situation, blamed it on the dearth of national championship which makes it difficult to effectively rank players using current form and standard of performance. He, however, said the technical department decided to use the Governor's Cup played last August and the classics draw the chart. "Dearth of championship has made it difficult to have current and dynamic ranking, so for the purpose of this festival we are

Arsenal slump to Swansea at Emirates


WANSEA condemned Arsenal to a 2-0 home Barclays Premier League defeat as Michu fired in two late goals at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners had been second best for long spells, and despite an improved performance after the break, the Swans earned reward for their persistence when Spain forward Michu grabbed a late brace. Jeers greeted the final whistle at Emirates Stadium, as manager Arsene Wenger's side dropped more points and fell further behind in the battle to break back into the top four. Gunners fans backing the 'Black Scarf Movement' had demonstrated around the ground before kick-off, complaining at the perceived commercialisation of the club following their move to the Emirates Stadium.

On the pitch, Wenger opted to deploy Ivory Coast forward Gervinho in the central striker role ahead of Theo Walcott, who had netted an early goal in the midweek 1-1 draw at Everton. However, it was Swansea who were the first to press, with a freekick into the Arsenal penalty area eventually being hacked away by Per Mertesacker. In the 14th minute Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made a fine double save after Angel Rangel had been played in on the overlap down the right and fired in a low, angled drive with his followup effort also blocked by the agile Pole. Arsenal failed to get any sort of rhythm together in the first 20 minutes, far too careless in possession and lacking ideas in the final third.

By Julius Okorie using the last Governor's Cup and the classics, but we are hoping that after the festival we use information gathered to do a good job," he said He challenged corporate bodies in the country to come to the aid of the game by sponsoring championships. A former international and member of the technical bench, Takili Tarry, described the crisis situation as unfortunate. Tarry who recalled that she competed up to the world circuit during her

playing days noted that squash did not feature at the last festival in Rivers State, adding "We should be using the Lagos festival to re-launch the game because lagos is interested in squash, but look at what is happening over rankings and seedings, even if the rankings are not there, can't people be truthful for once in their lives?, it is a shame," she submitted. Singles event originally billed to start Saturday may likely take off today following crisis generated delays. Meanwhile Delta, Abia, Ondo

'Team Anambra not beggars’


N official of Team Anambra and spokesperson of the sports ministry, Bernadette said there is no truth in the report that the state female hockey team prosecuted the match against Kaduna on borrowed kits. The encounter which ended 1-0 in favour of the Kaduna side at the Legacy Pitch, National Stadium, Lagos saw Anambra team struggled for the large part of the thrilling tie. Nwakile said the report was baseless and unfounded as the entire team were well dressed with kits supplied by the state. "That report is 100% blatant lie and must have originated from selfserving individuals with clear ulterior motives. "Except the goalkeeper whose gear was hired due to complaint that the one supplied to her was substandard every other player, 18 in number, were properly kitted. "In fact, they were the best dressed of the two teams, so it's

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia shocking to hear report alleging that the team were practically begging for kits to prosecute the game. Its lie through and through. "We've complete kits for our athletes in all the sports we came with. I think it's proper for practitioners to ascertain report and in the interest of the game and fair play avoid sensationalism," she said. Nwakile, however, admitted superiority of the Kaduna side over his charges but remains upbeat of their qualification to the next round of the competition. "The Kaduna girls were technically superior but hopes are not lost I see our team bouncing back in the second game and making it to the next stage," she said.

Agbaje eyes gold Lagos in kickboxing


IVERS 2011 gold medalist, Taiwo Agbaje believes he can also lead Team Lagos quest for medal in the kickboxing event. A confident Agbaje said he was in good shape to actualize his boast in the ring. He however, admitted that there was only a slight difference in the rules of boxing and kick boxing, saying that he has been tutored well by his coach.

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia “I understand the rules of kick boxing, I won gold at the state's sports festival tagged ``Ibile Games'' this gave me the confident that I can win gold medal. “ I have been a boxing champion, I won gold for Lagos in Port Harcourt last year and I am confident to win gold in kick •Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan (M) with Team Delta boxing too at Eko 2012,” he said. at the ongoing National Sports Festival, Lagos




Glo Golf: Korblah, Torgah, Odoh set for showdown


S excitement builds up towards the grand finale of the Glo Golf Tour, West Africa in Oturkpo Benue State, sole sponsor of the tournament and leading telecoms company, Globacom, has again, raised the stakes in the record-breaking golfing event. Globacom has announced a bonus of N1m cash for a lucky veteran golfer at the grand finale which holds from 6-9 December, 2012 at the Oturkpo Golf and Country Club. This is in addition to the brand new Toyota Corolla car which will also be given to the hole-in-one player, won by Mohammed Yahaya Liman of IBB Golf & Country Club. The statement explained that there will be a raffle draw at the Oturkpo event where the lucky veteran will emerge. Bookmakers predict that the competition in Oturkpo will be fiercely contested between the Ghanaian numero uno, Emos Korblah who won in Abuja, Vincent Torgah, also from Ghana, who won in Asaba, and Andrew Odoh, the Nigerian top professional who picked the top prize in Sagamu. The three of them placed first, second and third in Abuja respectively, and would want to prove their ratings at the final while competing for the lion share of the N20m at stake in Oturkpo. Korblah's advantage is further enhanced by his membership of the Oturkpo Golf Club. He will be playing at a familiar home turf.


Manu: Eaglets would shine against Mali


ITH a two goal advantage and two weeks of intensive preparations in Calabar, Abuja and Bamako, coach Manu Garba (MFR) has said here that the Golden Eaglets will make hay and sun under the sunny Bamako weather against Mali on Sunday to qualify for the 2013 African Under17 Championship. Sunday's game between the Junior Eagles and Golden Eaglets at the Stade Mamadou Konate will kick off at 3:30pm local time(4:30pm Nigerian time) with Guinean officials led by 34-year-old Ahmed Toure to take charge as the centre referee. Coach Manu has said that his wards will take over the reins of the match from the blast of the whistle as no quarter will be given to the Malians. The Malians attributed their 2-0 loss a fortnight ago to fatigue occasioned by poor travel arrangement as well as peppered sauce in their food in Calabar but Garba has enthused that the Nigerian young guys are desirous of rubbing pepper to the Malian injury! Garba Will most likely field an identical starting line-up with the main stay of the team being goalkeeper Adeyinka Adewale, Friday Njengo, Mustapha Abdullahi, Izu Omego, Musa Mohammed, Wilfred Ndidi, Jide Idowu, Ifeanyi Matthew, Ibrahim Alhassan, Kelechi Iheanacho and Success Isaac. These lads have secured five victories in as many qualifying matches and Garba is hopeful that a six record victory is within the reach of the Golden Eaglets. A capacity crowd is expected to watch the match following clarion call by the Malian Football Federation to the locals to get behind the team during its 41st General Assembly which incidentally took place in the conference room of the Hotel Columbus on Saturday.

•Golden Eaglets players in light work out at the Stade Mamadou Konate, Bamako, Mali yesterday

Pepsi Academy U-14 excite Nelson


OLLOWING the Pepsi Football Academy National U-14 competition among youngsters drawn from all the 14 training centres of the academy which took place in Abeokuta, Consultant to Pepsi Football Academy Mr. Iain Nelson has lauded the lads which he described as future of Nigerian football. Speaking, Nelson said he is excited by this development while informing that the collaboration is in tandem with Pepsi Football Academy's motto:

“committed to the development of today's youth and tomorrow's future stars,” noting that about 12 lads from the Academy have benefited from such international exchange from two UK schools. The Pepsi Academy lads from Kano and Kaduna who lost the final match to The Football College Orile-Imo, Ogun State showed that the security challenges in that part of the country has not affected their games. They lost 0 2 but won the hearts of many with their sleek passes and dribbling skills.

QUOTABLE "At a time when this country has enacted the Freedom of Information Act, the ruling on the suit seeking accountability for the missing $12.4 billion oil windfall is a major setback for victims of large scale corruption."


—Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, SERAP, on the ruling delivered by an Abuja Federal High Court, over the weekend


HERE is little anyone can do to change Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s mannerisms and worldview. He is 51, and set in his ways. He does not shy away from battle, sometimes seeming to be even foolhardy, and cannot help but speak forthrightly on any subject that draws his attention, especially one that annoys him. This was why in Warri, Delta State, last Tuesday he again indulged his habit of not caring whose ox was gored and speaking candidly about economic issues. Speaking at the Second Annual Capital Market Committee Retreat, Sanusi had declared: “At the moment 70 per cent of Federal Government’s revenue goes for payment of salaries and entitlement of civil servants, leaving 30 per cent for development of 167 million Nigerians. That means that for every naira government earns, 70 kobo is consumed by civil servants.” Inflamed, as he always is when he addresses a large audience, Sanusi then turned on the heat: “You have to fire half of the civil service because the revenue of the government is supposed to be for 167 million Nigerians. Any society where government spends 70 per cent of its revenue on its civil service has a problem. It is unsustainable. The various tiers of government should cut down their recurrent expenditure and use the fund to provide basic infrastructure like schools, hospital, etc. How can we be using the proceeds from our major source of revenue to service recurrent expenditure, by paying salaries, allowances, etc. The country should be thinking of enhancing its productivity base rather than spending on things that cannot create wealth.” This was very hot stuff, a red rag to a bull. Predictably, the civil service bull, under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), picked up the gauntlet and has been calling for the sack of Sanusi. Candour, it appears, has its limits. Perhaps affrighted by the sheer volume of the calls for his sack and the near unanimity of opinion against him, Sanusi has begun to prevaricate, if a news report from London is believable. Speaking to Channels Television in London at the end of the 13th Session of the Honorary International Investors Council Meeting, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor explained that he was misunderstood. After saying those calling for his sack were “shying away from the reality of the time,” he added, according to Channels, that he was only asking for downsizing of political appointees, not civil servants, who take 70 percent of government revenue leaving a mere 30 percent for the 160 million Nigerians. He’ll still probably modify what he told Channels, if that also becomes controversial, for it is not conceivable that he believed political appointees took 70 percent of government revenue. Coming to his help, however, was the General Secretary, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, who wondered whether the CBN governor could not tell the difference between civil servants and public servants. Lawal suggested that the strength of the entire civil service was below 100,000, while the public service, comprising the Army, Navy, Customs, EFCC, NAFDAC, etc. had 970,000 workers. “The civil service is just a subset,” he continued. “If Sanusi now says we are the ones taking 70 per cent of the budget, we have to doubt his CV. The IMF said for every N100 spent on services in Nigeria, 80 per cent goes to private pocket; it goes to corruption. Only 20 per cent is spent on projects.” The NLC was not as patient or charitable as the ASCSN. In a statement by Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, the NLC president said: “We see in Sanusi an agent of death that must be defeated and crushed before he further destroys the Nigerian economy. While President Jonathan is promising to create more jobs, Sanusi is calling for mass sack of civil servants in a country with one of the highest number of unemployed, which has indeed led to gross deprivation and the current state of insecurity in Nigeria. While we believe the Federal Government will ignore the ranting of this hollow economist, Sanusi has never demonstrated patriotism in all his ad-

Sanusi: The limit of candour



vice on economic and financial management in Nigeria. Sanusi’s only understanding of governance is simply about saving money and not saving lives, as his proposals are repeatedly devoid of human content and without consideration for the implications on the larger society. The burden that will come with mass sack as high as 50 per cent of civil servants, in addition to the already saturated unemployment market, can better be imagined. Governance is about improving the quality of lives of the people and not destruction of productive lives.” It’s unlikely anyone would heed the NLC’s call, or that the campaign against Sanusi would go far. As this paper’s Hardball column observed on Friday, the president, who is a politician and whose priorities are often carefully circumscribed by electoral exigencies, will simply ignore the CBN governor’s recommendations. Said Hardball last Friday: “Nigeria can use the candour and common sense of someone like Sanusi. But whether that candour befits a CBN governor is a different thing altogether. Nor is it likely that President Goodluck Jonathan will find Sanusi’s brave talk amusing. Jonathan is a politician, and he has an election to win in 2015, if he decides to contest. Sanusi on the

other hand has no election to contest or even care about. Instead he has repeatedly announced he has a death wish – to be sacked. For someone who derives fulfillment in speaking candidly and making people squirm, which characteristics he deeply covets, the last thing on his mind is to please anyone or suffer fools gladly. Sanusi may have spoken idealistically, but Jonathan can be relied upon to act realistically.” The integrity of Sanusi’s views appears sound, even if slightly misplaced. The number of states is truly unbearable, unwise and burdensome. It is in fact shocking that Nigerians can be so far removed from reality that they are campaigning for additional states. Consolidation is needed to reduce recurrent expenditure in states and to increase efficiency. Even though the solution to civil service bloatedness is not the drastic downsizing Sanusi recommends, there is little doubt that something still has to be done, whether in direct relation to the civil service or, as the Association of Senior Civil Servants argued, in relation to the public service as a whole. And if we do not need a 36-state structure, why would we need a 774-local government structure? We have been financially too reckless for far too long. In addi-

tion, the national and state legislature simply must be restructured to reduce expenditure on them. Like the structure of the federation itself, the structure of the legislature is inoperable, downright inane and unrealistic. The problem with Sanusi is not so much his views – many of those views are in fact heartfelt and sensible – but the way he delivers them, and the fact that they come from him, the governor of the Central Bank. It is indeed unfortunate that his controversiality is beginning to overshadow his responsibility as the governor of a financial institution that regulates the financial health of the country through very sensitive monetary policies. The CBN governor should seldom be seen, and heard from sparingly. But Sanusi is voluble and gives the impression he is averse to working in the background where he would be more effective. He gives the impression he is more at home with incendiary statements, politics, religion and traditionalism. His position requires somebody who should hardly stir. But Sanusi is restless, verbally aggressive, sometimes showy, and even obtruding. If he eventually gets the boot, it will not be because he had ceased to be intelligent, as the NLC inferred last week, but because he lacked the requisite restraint Nigeria’s apex banker should possess. Surely, there must be a limit to controversy, even for a politician, let alone a top banker. Consider, for instance, that Sanusi pursued banking reforms, not with the studious patience and empathetic firmness required of the apex bank, but with the messianic and inquisitorial zeal of an extreme and opinionated campaigner. Consider also whether it was appropriate for him to appear in office in full traditional regalia following his installation as a chief in his native Kano State. Did he know the implication for his image? And what of his stubborn resolve to introduce the N5,000 note, in spite of the thunderous opposition against the project? Were he to be governor or president, he would be a dictator, probably even of the malevolent variety. It is certainly not enough to say controversy dogs him; given his predilections and his idiosyncratic leadership of the apex bank, it must also be said that he actively courts controversy. And it doesn’t matter whether the victims of his fiery denunciation is the influential National Assembly, which he says exasperates him, secular bankers, whom he says criticise nonsecular banking because they do not know banking regulations, and those who denounce his partiality for directing the apex bank’s corporate responsibility in favour of Kano, his home state, and never for once in favour of other major northern states hit more lethally by Boko Haram and other terrorist attacks.

It’s surprising Ojukwu’s will is described as shocking


HE last will and testament of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu has finally been read. It provides for his widow, the former beauty queen, Bianca, much more than it offers something to any other member of the family. Perhaps we will have more insight into the will later on. But for now, the leader of the defunct Republic of Biafra has not seemed to give reasons for the drama embedded in his will. Most newspapers that reported the reading of the will described it as shocking, unexpected, or surprising. Ojukwu’s life was all about drama, shock, irreverence, boldness and surprise. He would be untrue to himself if he went into the celestial realm without the drama and shock he was reputed for in his lifetime. One of the items in the will that surprised many is Ojukwu’s acknowledgment of a daughter, Tenny Hamman, unknown to family members. I do not know what is surprising about it. Was such a man that gave public indication he had an eye for beautiful women, and was not dissuaded by religion or any other consideration from giving free rein to his passion, not expected to

engage in mysterious dalliances, made more adventurous by the longtime secrecy that accompanied them? I doubt whether he was afraid to acknowledge Tenny while he lived, or that he had to make provision in his will to secure the property (or the cash value) for her, or that he felt it was harmful for her to be known. Knowing him for who he was, Ojukwu acknowledged her because there simply must be something dramatic and newsworthy in the will. The press will try their best to discover the face of the mysterious daughter, who was born of a SierraLeonean woman, and I am not sure she will try her least to hide her identity. The media disguised their shock by saying the hefty provisions for Bianca was expected, though not by the margin with which she thrashed other members of the family. If anyone is shocked, it is because the person is unrealistic in his appreciation of the power of women over men. When a man is smitten, as indeed Ojukwu experienced thunderbolt when he met Bianca, he becomes a child again and is held in permanent thralldom by her charms. There was no way Ojukwu could have freed himself

from Bianca’s charms, nor did he try, nor did he want. He was enraptured by her when he was alive, and he took scintillating memories of her to the grave, memories that are probably not attenuated by any supposition of her later marriage. When a man is in love with a beautiful woman, and that love waxes stronger as the man becomes enfeebled and the woman grows more resplendent, any other heir would be lucky to receive more than a gesture. Above all, I think Ojukwu’s will reveals more about men’s overrated power than about women’s underestimated power. How many men do not have one Tenny Hamman or the other somewhere? Perhaps, someday, a bright photographer will be able to match her face and her mother’s with the faces of two ladies who were at his burial, and who, unknown to the family, somehow managed to secure prime positions at the graveside. And very soon, too, we will know why the name of Debechukwu Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who continues to insist he is first son, is missing in the will. Ojukwu, it turns out, is having the last laugh.

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

The Nation December 02, 2012  

The Nation December 02, 2012