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MINISTERS SCORE CARD Attitude, not corruption, is Nigeria’s problem –Jonathan





Rain of honours as Azazi is laid to rest


Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.07, No. 2356




DECEMBER 30, 2012

Kogi Crash: No foreign treatment for me –Wada SUV tyres burst twice in six days; overdue for replacement –PAGE 2 Probe blames accident on overspeeding


Person of the Year: The Nigerian “Refugee”

–PAGES 19-26, 47-48


SPORTSMAN •Paralympian Adesokan




Obasanjo, Shonekan settle Egba monarchs’ supremacy tussle –PAGE 5

NEWS Three suspected kidnappers nabbed From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi HREE armed robbery and kidnap suspects have been arrested in Uli, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State in a joint operation carried out by the police and the local vigilante in the community. Items recovered from them were one pump action gun, one loaded cartridge, two GSM handsets, and one high capacity motorcycle allegedly used for their operations as they concealed their arms in sacks. Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ralp Uzoigwe confirmed the incident but said details would be made available to newsmen shortly even as they are already making more arrests and investigations. The alleged suspects, Ralph Ibe 24, from Umuoma Uli, Onyeka Onwukwalu, 20, from Amichi in Nnewi South Council Area and Chinedu Hez, 21, from Umuebuke Umuaku Uli were arrested during a robbery operation on a day after Christmas at Ndiakaba-Umuaku Junction in Eziama Uli. The Nation gathered that the suspects were arrested on a tip off about 5:00pm on Boxing Day. They opened fire on the team but were later over powered. The hoodlums were said to be terrorising Uli Community for a long time and before their arrest, the gang was notorious for kidnapping infants for rituals and adults for ransom apart from armed robbery and other heinous crimes. A victim who pleaded anonymity told newsmen that the arrested gang members robbed his home twice in August this year as the entire family took refuge in a nearby bush.




OVERNOR Idris Ichalla Wada of Kogi State is not going abroad to treat the injuries he received in last Friday’s auto-crash near Lokoja involving his convoy. The governor, whose aide de camp (ADC),Idris Mohammed,an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) died in the crash, wants to complete his treatment in Nigeria. He is currently at Cedar Crest Hospital,Garki,Abuja where he had a surgery on Friday night,a few hours after the accident. The governor’s physician, Dr.Felix Ogedengbe, said yesterday that he was “fine and in high spirits” after succesfully undergoing a thigh bone operation. He confirmed that Wada had opted for medical treatment locally. Three governorsDanbaba Suntai (Taraba), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Sullivan Chime (Enugu) - are currently abroad for medical treatment. Suntai was seriously injured after his light aircraft went down in Yola, Adamawa State in October and was flown to Germany after initial treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja. Ogedengbe who is the Chief Medical Director, Cedar Crest Hospitals said: “Let me just add that following the treatment he received, he is back on his feet this morning. “This is just to confirm that his spirit is quite high. He is back on his feet and everything is well with him. “We received the governor into our care yesterday (Friday) and explained his injury to him. “We explained the fact that we have the capacity to treat him here as can be done anywhere in the world. “He immediately agreed to have full treatment here. He isn’t that kind of person that will say I don’t care what you can do; I want to be flown to anywhere else in the world.”

Oba of Benin honours GiwaOsagie, Sam Loco, others


HE Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa yesterday honoured some Benin indigenes for their outstanding performance in their various fields. Prof. Osato GiwaOsagie of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos was commended for his outstanding performance in the health sector especially in the area of obstetric and gynaecology. Prof. Osayuki Oshodin, Vice- Chancellor, University of Benin was honoured for his academic excellence. Chief Osayuki Obaseki, the Ohe of Benin kingdom


From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

honoured as sports administrator of the year, Sam Loco Efe was given posthumous award for his outstanding performance in the entertainment sector. Soni Irabor was also honoured as a media icon, while Chief Joseph Alufa Igbinovia was honoured for his great master piece sculptor works the IDIA MASK- FESTAC 77. The Oba of Benin said the reason for the award is to encourage son and daughters of Benin origin to do well in their various fields.

Kogi Crash: No foreign treatment for me –Wada • SUV tyres burst twice in six days; overdue for replacement • Probe blames accident on overspeeding

•The wreckage of Governor Idris Wada’s SUV after Friday’s ghastly accident

FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

He said Wada gave his consent for treatment which was “immediately done” by a team of doctors. He said the injuries Wada sustained did not warrant his being taken outside the country. “We have the capacity to handle the situation here,” Ogedengbe said,adding: “It was done as fast as it was needed to be done. There is no immediate need for him to be flown anywhere. He is stable. He is fine. “His injuries have been looked after to a standard that is up to what is available in any part of the world. He quite understands that and he was happy to accept the treatment. And he is quite happy with the outcome of the treatment.” On when the governor would be discharged, Ogedengbe said: “The treatment is ongoing. You know he has been involved in a major accident. “He needs some days in hospital. We need to monitor his progress and see how he is doing. “I can’t give a date of discharge as at now. I will tell you that he will be out of hospital as soon as possible. “We received him here in a condition that was very stable. “We were told he had been involved in a car crash. He had already been

to another hospital before he was brought here. “However, when he got here, we assessed him. As I said, there were no immediate life threatening injuries. “He was found to have fracture in his thigh bone. That was assessed. “A whole team did a comprehensive assessment on him and we decided to take him to theatre. “He has had the bone that was broken fixed and he had a very good night sleep and he is quite fine now. “He had woken up this morning (yesterday). He has had his meal and is doing very well. “So as much as I can tell you, he is stable. He is not in a condition where his life is threatened at all. He is doing very well at the moment.” The governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Strategy , Mr Jacob Edi said: “ I spoke to him. I shook hands with him. He waved to a lot of people.” On the condition of the driver, Edi said: “The driver, Jibril Isa, is also stable and alive. The driver is stable and alive. He is at Kogi Specialist Hospital,Lokoja.” Armed policemen and plain clothes securitymen were guarding the hospital located in Garki Area 11,Abuja. Leading politicians including Vice President Namadi Sambo have been trooping to Governor Wada’s private ward in the

hospital to congratulate him for escaping death and to wish him a quick recovery. Other callers include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim , Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, former National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali,the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, Senators, over 50 House of Representatives members and some notable politicians from Kogi state. However ,the preliminary investigation of the accident suggests that the Friday auto crash may have been caused by over-speeding. The crash occurred at Emi Woro village,about 12 kilometres from Lokoja when one of the tyres of the governor’s official car,a Lexus SUV,burst in motion and somersaulted. It was the second time in six days the car had a burst tyre,The Nation learnt yesterday. It was also gathered that the governor ‘s thriftiness with public funds has often slowed down the release of money for government expenditure including replacing tyres for the governor’s official car. The SUV’s tyres, a highly placed source said yesterday, were worn out and overdue for replacement before the accident.

The source said: “The Federal Road Safety Commission has started looking into the immediate and remote causes of the accident. Preliminary investigation is pointing to over-speeding going by the extent of impact. “The governor spent much time at the Igala Education Summit at the state university in Anyigba. He also had an appointment in Lokoja with some traditional rulers who wanted to honour his benefactor, exGovernor Ibrahim Idris. He wanted to be part of the gathering. “The theory of overspeeding is being fuelled by the allegation that it was the second time in six days that the governor’s SUV would have a burst tyre. “A few days ago when the governor’s convoy was coming from Abuja, it had burst tyre but because the team was not on top speed, they had no accident. “The FRSC will give a more accurate report to the presidency, the state government and after security clearance, it may make it available to the public.” It was gathered that the governor had turned down a proposal for the State government to buy three brand new SUVs at N100miliion each. He reportedly considered the amount too high. The source added: “The governor said he could not spend N100million on a SUV much more N300million on three SUVs. “In fact, he said it was better to spend the N300million to provide potable water for some villages than spending same on SUV. Wada runs an austere policy to the detriment of his personal comfort. “He wants state officials to justify every kobo. This might have had a backlash on him with this accident.” A source familiar with the matter said: “The transport pool had warned about the tyres of the SUV ; that the tyres were due for change after six months because they were bought in May 2012. The pool said ideally the tyres of a busy SUV like this ought to be changed every six months. “In the last two weeks, there had been moves to change the tyres but the official process was a bit slow. In fact, the late ADC, Idris Mohammed, wanted to use his personal money to change the tyres and get refund later.”



For Justus S and Justina


nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu


S this brutish year finally takes its brutal blow before the court of history, most Nigerians would be wondering what had hit them. Like a heavyweight boxer poleaxed with savage precision, Nigerians are distraught and disoriented. Even by the standards of their cruel bondage to an unhappy fate, never in their history has a year been more punitive of the soul and destructive of the body. Even at the very tail end, the year has lost neither its poison nor its potency, sending a gubernatorial convoy into a fatal clinch and snatching away our own Chief Wumi Adegbonmire, a master political combatant and journalistic warrior of distinction from the land of tigers. This was shortly after celebrating his beloved wife’s seventieth birthday. A childhood romance cannot terminate in more awry circumstances. Akure, Yorubaland and Nigeria mourn their illustrious son. At the very last count, at least three governors are all swapped up in hospital beds. Sullivan Chime has not been seen anywhere in over a hundred days. Suntai Danbaba of Taraba State is reported to be comatose in a German hospital. As this is been written, Idris Wada of Kogi is reported to be battling for his life after sustaining serious injuries in a convoy crash which left his ADC dead. And the First Lady is making expeditious recovery from a strange ailment whose provenance is as mysterious as the arcane rituals

of governance in modern Nigeria. To God be the glory. But one must be careful about which divine praises to utter. Even the celebrated author of that phrase is said to be in hospital somewhere on the planet. With spiritual, economic and political escape routes seemingly blocked , tragedy cannot be more comprehensive. Yet somehow and somewhat, a way has to be found out of this national logjam or we are all goners in the short run. In such circumstances, Nigerians should not wish themselves a happy New Year. Even divine graces and favours are earned and merited. God is no longer a Father Christmas. You cannot plant unhappiness and expect to harvest happiness. It doesn’t work like that anymore. Rather than wishing themselves a happy New Year, Nigerians should be happy that it is a new year. A new year is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. We must roll up our sleeves. The Chinese are coming, and may be some Africans. This outgoing year is remarkable in at least one respect. It is the year Nigerians probably lost the last shred of illusion about the ability of the Nigerian post-colonial state to provide solace and succour to its citizens. It was the year when the falconer finally lost the falcon. If Nigerians were expecting a messiah and a quick fix to their political and economic woes, they finally got the message. It was the year of yearning in hope

•Fuel subsidy protest at Ojota in January 2012

and expectation and of yawning in impotence and terminal frustration. True enough, the year began on a turbulent and tempestuous note with the provocative removal by government of a yet to be established petroleum subsidy. It drew the implacable ire of Nigerians. For a week, it was a tense and fraught affair, with tottering democracy on a lifeline. The great pan-Nigerian political mass which had not been seen in 20 years since the annulment of the June 12 presidential election made a dramatic return. Something was about to give, or so it seemed. It turned out to be a damp squib, as they say. It turned out that there was no real synergy between Labour and the massmovement. It was a revolutionary moment without real revolutionists. There was no real linkage between refulgent radical forces waiting in the wings and the masters of the masses. Given the limits and limitations of their political consciousness, the leaders of the movement were waiting for a Deus ex machina to be thrown up by the commotion and combustion. It was a foolish and forlorn hope, but an accurate reflection of the balance of forces at play. A revolution is not a congressional mass of fevered devotees, but a congregation of hard and hardened men and women of intellectual faith. No wonder, Labour slunk away leaving labourers in the lurch and only to reappear in even more perfidious circumstances. A country throws

up the Labour Movement it deserves. With their reformist, work-aday consciousness steeped in opaque under the counter negotiation with officialdom, the new Nigerian Labour aristocracy are not Gdansk Port workers. The Poles are a tough race whose history is steeped in heroic martyrdom against local and external oppressors. For centuries, the Russians took them for lunch while the Germans often had them for supper. But they never give up. In fairness to Nigerian Labour, they did make a telling point which ought to absolve them of historic responsibility. They were not fighting for regime change but for the reversal of harsh pricing of petroleum products. In that, they achieved a limited and partial success. You cannot ask the children of squirrels why they are not tigers. In the animal kingdom, no genetic miracle can achieve that feat. But it will be the height of intellectual folly for anybody to assume that the sacrifices of affronted Nigerians and those who summoned them to the barricades have been in vain. Throughout history, men and women fight for something or some ideal only to discover that what they have fought for is not what they have achieved. It is then left for others to carry on in the perpetual struggle against oppression and injustice. Probably unknown to both sides, the January protests achieved a dramatic and telling effect which might have altered the Nigerian political psyche

forever. In panic response to the protests, the government began hurriedly probing itself. In the process, it exposed the rotten innards of world-historic corruption and official malfeasance for all to see. It simply means that we cannot continue like this and that something will have to give, sooner than later. We may all have Goodluck Jonathan to thank for this epic feat of elite collective suicide. Jonathan has helped to demystify the Nigerian postcolonial state in a way that has never been done before, and in a way that has never been thought possible, to the ire of his sponsors. They have given the shoeless boy from Otueke platform shoes to wear and he had laced them with explosives. It will be Mount Krakatoa later. No onomatopoeia of impending volcanic eruption can be more appropriate. The government has its back to the wall and no one believes it anymore. You cannot transform a stone country. This house has not fallen, but it cannot stand the way it is. Let us expect more unintended miracles from the explosive laden shoes. Meanwhile, please step forward as the Person of the Year, the eponymous protester on the streets of Abuja and the Gani Fawehinmi Square in Lagos. After the protest, Snooper stumbled on a pair of abandoned uni-sex shoes at the Ojota end of the park. They must belong to either Justus or Justina. May their tribe multiply.




Attitude, not corruption, is Nigeria’s problem –Jonathan • Believes Nigeria will be better if 50% emulate Azazi T • Rain of honours for former NSA at burial HE virtues of the late former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew Owoye Azazi re-echoed yesterday as he was laid to rest in Yenagoa with speaker after speaker lauding his patriotism,hard work, leadership qualities, fairness and friendly disposition to all and sundry. President Goodluck Jonathan, who made Azazi his NSA, said Nigeria would be far better than it is now if only 50 per cent of the citizens can emulate his fairness at all times. Going down memory lane,the President said when he had to appoint his first set of service chiefs after the death of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, it was Azazi he turned to for advice in view of his military background and that his assessment of each of the nominees for the different offices played a big role in the emergence of the appointees. He said all through that period,Azazi’s primary consideration was merit. The President, who was reacting to an earlier remark by one of the officiating cleargies at the funeral about corruption in Nigeria, said he does not agree that corruption is the cause of all of Nigeria’s problems and that if more Nigerians can emulate Azazi’s virtues of fairness,honesty and competence the country would be better than it is. "Corruption is not the cause of our problem, Nigeria has more institutions that fight corruption.Most of the issues we talk about are not corruption.If we do things properly, if we change our attitudes of doing things most of the thing we thinks are caused by corruption are not," he said. ``If Nigerians would change their attitude, you will realise that most of these issues being attributed to corruption are not caused by corruption. ``Recently, I met with officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps who told me that they had discovered that majority of the road accidents are recorded on good roads. ``So you can see it is not a matter of corruption, it is an issue of the people’s attitude. "If we change our attitude to life , if all Nigerians do what is right, Nigeria will change", he stressed,adding that if Azazi, from a minority group in the country could reach the height of his career on merit,others can also do the same. Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State described Azazi as one of Nigeria’s finest military officers and a great ambassador not only of the state but of the entire country. The governor who spent almost half of his time talking about his own achievements in office announced the intention of the state government to endow an award in a reputable institution in the country in honour of the de-

From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa ceased. An annual lecture is also to be sponsored by his government while a committee on Ijaw history has been mandated to document his life and times. He also said a befitting edifice would be named after him. Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, taking a cue from his Bayelsa State counterpart, said a major road now under construction in Port Harcourt will be renamed tomorrow in honour of Azazi. Azazi,he said “is a good man in the true sense of the word and a good Nigerian in the true sense of the word. “I had a private relationship with him.He called me his brother.I was the last to speak with him on phone before he boarded that day,” he said. The Chief of Army State,Lt General Azubuike Ihejirika called him a brillian officer who “ was outstanding in all the courses he attended and the overall best student at the War College. “He was very fair and transparent. He lived what he preached. He was detribulised, ever-forgiving and like water ‘he no get enemy.” Petroleum Resources Minister,Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke said of him: “He was our most thor-

ough intelligence analyst.He had a great sense of humility and strength of character.” One of his predecessors in office as Chief of Army Staff,General Alexander Ogomudia said: “he was a great general. His performance spoke for him. I appointed him Director of Military Intelligence and we related well.” Gen Ogomudia said the helicopter crash that claimed Azazi’s life should not dampen Nigerians’ faith in the aviation sector and cited the example of Pakistan where one of the gener-

als there perished in an air crash with his entire family. During the service, Mrs. Akpolade Okora-Azazi read the first lesson, and Owoye Azazi read the second lesson. The casket bearing his body was conveyed to its final resting place by an ambulance belonging to the Nigerian Navy at about 3.30 pm at the Ijaw Heroes Park in Yenagoa before it was lowered into the grave amidst military gun salute. The widow, Alero, the children and other family members performed the dust

to dust rites. General Azubike spoke of Azazi' s past and how he contributes to the army. Arch-Bishop Ogbebo said the prayers at the grave side. Present at the funeral were President Jonathan and his wife, Patience, governors Dickson (Bayelsa), Amaechi (Rivers) and Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Ministers, National and State legislators, former Bayelsa governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Military governor of the old Rivers State, King Al-

Widow of Gen. Andrew Azazi, Alero (R) with the children at the funeral mass for Gen. Andrew Azazi at the Peace Park Yenagoa, yesterday.

fred Diette-Spiff, Service Chiefs, National security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired) President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritshejafor, former Niger Delta militant, Asari Dokubo, serving and retired military officers and traditional rulers. Also there were the wife of the Bayelsa State governor, Mrs Rachael Dickson; the wife of Rivers governor, Mrs Judith Amaechi; Rear Admiral John Kpokpogiri (rtd); , former NDDC Managing Director and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Timi Alaibe, former JTF commander in the Niger Delta, Major General Sarkin Yakin Bello (rtd); Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni (rtd), former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; Speaker of the Bayesa State House of Assembly, Benson Kombowei, Finance Minister, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Aviation Minister, Ms Stella Oduah;and Minister of Niger Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe. President later left for his home town of Otueke. Azazi,the then governor of Kaduna State,Mr.Patrick Yakowa and four others died on December 15 at Okoroba, Bayelsa State when a Nigerian Navy, Augusta helicopter carrying them exploded shortly after take off. Azazi's wife and children fought back tears as they performed the dust to dust rites for him after the funeral oration by the Bishop of Bomadi Vicariate, His Lordship, Most Revd Hyacinth Egbeboh.

PDP BOT Chair: Ahmadu Ali, Iwuanyanwu, others refuse to step down for Anenih


HE leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing a serious challenge from members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) over the planned use of consensus in filling the vacant position of the board chairman. The Presidency is one with the party leadership on the issue. However,the BoT members are pushing for voting to elect their chairman which some chieftains see as an unacceptable departure from the consensus tradition of the party. Party sources told The Nation in Abuja that no less challenging is deciding which of the geo-political zones will provide the BoT Chairman in a manner that will not distort the zoning formula of the PDP in 2015. About 20 top ranking members of the party are understood to have already obtained forms to occupy the seat which was vacated in June by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. In the race are a former Chairman of the BOT, Chief Tony Anenih; a former National Chairman of the

Members push for election, party opts for consensus FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

PDP, Senator Ahmadu Ali; a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun; exPresident of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani; and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Also to contest are a former National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP),Chief Don Etiebet, who is a returnee to the party; a former Chairman of the BOT of ANPP, Chief Harry Akande and 13 others. Some who did not apply but are being pressurized to join the contest are Second Republic VicePresident Alex Ekwueme and a former acting National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje. It was learnt that none of the applicants is willing to step down for another including Anenih whose BOT chairmanship was hijacked in 2007. A highly-placed source said: “Members and some

of the aspirants are pushing for outright election of the next BOT chairman of the PDP in line with Article 12.77 of the constitution of the party. “They said the election will prove to the party leaders the level of acceptability of such a candidate to the leaders of PDP. “The fear of the presidency and the leadership of the PDP is that election could create bad blood within the trustees and lead to crisis. “The Presidency and party leadership believe that consensus, which had guided past choices of BOT chairman, could strengthen the unity of the party. The party thinks that it is ridiculous to ask leaders within the age bracket of between 70 and 80 years to face election. “That is why the BOT has not been able to fix a date for the election. The party leadership is weighing consensus option. But where it fails, the aspirants may have to go for the ballot.

Another source said: “Ordinarily, some party leaders prefer Anenih to compensate him for the loss of the BOT office in 2007 but some aspirants do not want to step down for him. “They also said that since Anenih has just been made the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, he should forget the NPA. “Also, Article 12.77 ( c ) of the PDP Constitution says the BOT chairman and Secretary shall serve a single term of five years. Some of the aspirants are of the opinion that Anenih had served his term.” According to findings, if the party succeeds in adopting consensus, it may look within and beyond the 20 aspirants. The third source said: “This is why some party leaders are pushing for Ekwueme, Baraje and Oyedokun who are rated as highly-experienced in party and conflict management. “But the main challenge is the zone which should produce the BOT chairman.

While the South-East is strongly pushing for it, the North wants it in line with zoning tradition in BOT.” Article 12.77 of the PDP reads in part: “The BOT shall elect a chairman and secretary from members of the Board. The chairman and secretary shall also be members of the National Executive Committee. “Without prejudice to the provision of this Constitution, ensure that the person to be elected chairman and secretary respectively are of proven integrity and have contributed immensely to the growth of the party.” THOSE IN THE RACE Chief Tony Anenih Senator Ahmadu Ali Chief Harry Akande Chief Ken Nnamani Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu Chief Don Etiebet Chief Shuaib Oyedokun UNDER PRESSURE TO ENTER Chief Alex Ekwueme Alhaji Kawu Baraje


Akume clocks 59, urges ACN members to stay focused From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi


ENATE Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, yesterday clocked 59 years and celebrated the day in a low key at his Judges quarters residence in Makurdi with family, friends and political associates. The former governor started the day with a thanksgiving service in his house chapel, which was conducted by Rev. Fr. Utov of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi. Thereafter, there was a reception at his residence where he addressed his admirers who turned out in their numbers singing Ishoir chenji (ACN songs) songs. Senator Akume later went down memory lane as he told the story of his life from growing up to civil service where he was made the Gboko Local Government caretaker chairman twice. Senator Akume narrated how he rose from the rank to become a permanent secretary in the civil service, thereafter won election and served the state for eight years. He said after serving the state as a governor, he is now a senator twice and gave God the glory for what he has done is his life and called on Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) supporters not to loose focus. He said: “Let me advised ACN supporters to remained steadfast in their support for party as very soon the ACN, CPC and ANPP are going to come together and take over power and install a government which will have the yearnings and aspirations of the people at heart.” The Senate Minority leader stated that very soon APGA will also join the merger train and appealed to the people to double their support for ACN ahead of 2015 elections. He said Benue State belongs to everyone and the ACN as political party aspired for leadership position to provide credible leadership for the good of all and urged the people not be disappointed .

Foundation donates to motherless babies


RESIDENT of Charity Ezeemo Trust for the less privileged, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo yesterday visited all the motherless babies homes and destitute homes in the three senatorial zone of the Anambra State. Ezeemo visited the homes with bags of rice, detergents, cartons of Indomie noodles, toilet tissues and soaps, bags of golden penny semolina with a cash of N30, 000 each. The items are an annual ritual worth millions of naira. Addressing the caregivers at each of the homes visited, Ezeemo stressed that his visit was a way to get close to those who are not physically strong to weather the storms of life so as to become solution to some of their challenges.

Obasanjo, Shonekan settle Egba monarchs’ supremacy tussle T

HE supremacy tussle in Egbaland among the quartet of the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu; the Osile of OkeOna, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho and Agura of Gbagura, Oba Halidu Olaloko, was laid to rest yesterday with the acceptance of the Alake as the paramount ruler of the Egba. The peace meeting was at the instance of Governor Ibikunle Amosun and was attended by former President Olusegun Obasanjo , who is of Owu extraction , ex-Head of State,Chief Ernest Sonekan who is from Itoko,a township under Egba Ake and an industrialist,Chief Tunde Abudu from Egba Oke-Ona.

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

For many years, the Oshile,the Agura and the Olowu had refused to recognise the Alake as their superior,claiming that they were all equal. All that, however, became history yesterday after a lengthy meeting at the Government House, Abeokuta, when the obas resolved to bury their differences and forge a common front for the unity, peace and stability of Obasanjo lauded Governor Amosun for the bold initiative, adding that he equally remains the person to ensure that the peace endures. The former president said, “Governor Amosun is the

guarantor of the peace being achieved today; we can’t thank him enough. Wherever human beings are, there will be frictions. It’s been a tortuous road to today, we can see a divine hand in this.” Amosun, who like Obasanjo is from Owu,said a new vista of peace for development is now opened in Egbaland, adding that the peace move started on November 3. According to him, this was sequel to his approaching Obasanjo to mediate over the supremacy tussle. Amosun said he only created a platform for the affected monarchs to ventilate their feelings and positions in order to achieve unity among them. He said, “We need unity

in order to prosper more. Our forebears were very united, and they did very well. This is the right time to unite in order to nurture the development of the race and the entire state.” The Alake, who read the communiqué after the end of the meeting, said the monarchs have resolved to put aside their differences in the interest of unity and progress of Egbaland. “We have all resolved to bury our individual differences in the interest of Egba unity and progress,” Alake said. Also present at the meeting are the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Tunde Lemo and industrialist, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi.

•From left: Obasanjo, Amosun, Oba Gbadebo, Shonekan and Abudu during the Unity Parley of the Egbas at the Government House, Abeokuta, yesterday

News 5 Makurdi stands still for Benue youths carnival From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi


ESIDENTS of Makurdi, the Benue State capital were yesterday treated to a colourful cultural procession in what has become the annual Benue Youth Carnival organised by the office of the Special Assistant to the governor on students and youths affairs. There was a traffic gridlock for several hours in most of the major streets, especially Wurukum and Highlevel Roundabout up to old Otukpo and IBB Square, the designated routes for the carnival procession. As the carnival train with youth dressed in their various traditional regalia match past the major roads in Makurdi, residents trooped out and lined up the streets in their numbers to catch a glimpse of the best cultural display by Benue youths. Over 100,000 youths from the 23 local governments and some African countries like Cameroun, Niger and Ghana participated in yesterday’s Benue State youth carnival. Miss Benue Carnival-led the procession which started from the Benue State University, Makurdi and terminated at gigantic IBB Square in Makurdi. Children from the ages of 5 - 10 were not left out the carnival train as they competed favorably with adult in the procession, as they danced and sang in the scorching sun, during the five hour rigours of the procession.

Man’s inhumanity to man: Murdered by friends, corpse hidden by Police H E woke up that fateful day on November 6, oblivious of the fate awaiting him in just a matter of hours. Done with his toilet routine, Goodnews Udo set out for work, hoping to return the following day. He never did. He was killed by two brothers over a meager transaction that went awry. Unlike his beautiful nameGoodnews-he was rendered a bad-news to his aged parents who had struggled to raise him. Ironically, the two brothers trained under him as plumbers according to a source who pleaded anonymity. Udo’s neighbours are still in shock that a dispute over ownership of a mattress could be the reason for his death. They are also suspicions that there might be more to it. Goodnews had the plan to move to a better accommodation after the

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

Christmas-a plan- he has told his assailants. The two brothers wanted to buy the mattress from him. They settled for N3,000. The brothers paid N2,000 with a promise to pay N1,000 after the Christmas break when they would take custody of the mattress. Trouble however began when the brothers came for the mattress on November 6, asking for the mattress contrary to their earlier agreement. Udo who promised to keep his own side of the deal reminded them that the delivery date was after the Christmas break when they would have all returned from their villages. Our Correspondent gathered that the adamant brothers insisted on taking custody. Sensing that they had made up their mind to change the agreement,

Missing car


wine coloured 2004 model Toyota Camry saloon car JJJ 400 AT belonging to veteran journalist, Alhaji Kola Animasaun, has been stolen. It was stolen at LTV 8, Agidingbi Road, Ikeja on Sat-

urday, 22 December 2012. C h a s s i s No:4T1BE32K62U086786;engine no:2AZ7222199.Anyone with information about the vehicle should please call 08033447088 or 08023023525 or the nearest police station.

Udo, it was learnt, told the brothers to come for their money the following day to stave off trouble. But there was no consensus between the parties which eventually led to a squabble. Neighbors who heard their raised voices rushed to the scene to separate them. The brothers went away. Unknown to Udo, they had laid an ambush for him. As he was going out to buy food, they attacked him. He decided to fight for his freedom. In the ensuing melee, one of the brothers ran away only to return with a knife which he used to stab the deceased in the stomach. Realizing that his life was in danger, Udo fled the scene with blood gushing from his stomach. But he could not run for too long before he collapsed close to a nearby church. A woman who was going for bible study sighted him and covered his stomach with her wrapper before raising the alarm for rescue. The pastor of the church (name withheld) and a few congregations rushed to the scene where they evacuated to the Apo Police Station where the pastor made a formal complaint before taking him to the hospital in the company of the Police where he was confirmed dead. Since the unfortunate incident residents of the Apo reset-

tlement area have been in perpetual fear of possible raid by the Police. Some who witnessed the ugly scene have also kept sealed lips for fear of police case. When our Correspondent visited the uncompleted shopping mall in the area, the place was quiet. The house once occupied by the deceased was also in disarray. His parents who live in Ibadan, Oyo state, were still in shock. Only the father tried to speak; and when he did, he caved in to emotion. With tears rolling down his cheek, he began to recant the event. Mr. Tom Udo said “We are sad by this tragic loss. He was our hope; we did the little within our means to send him to secondary school. We could not send to high institution due to our economic situation. But he worked hard and struggle to learn plumbing from where he was fending for himself and the family. Each time he called, he always gave us hope. He promised to bring us out of poverty when he relocated to Abuja. I remember the exact words. He said:” daddy and mummy don’t worry, if I make it in life suffering will be a thing of the past in this family.” I did not know he would meet his death in Abuja. His mother also did not know. If we knew, we would have dis-

couraged him from coming to Abuja. But we are not God-we don’t know tomorrow.” If Udo’s death was tragic, it is more tragic that his parents are still battling to know the whereabouts of his corpse since it was taken away by the Police. They said the whereabouts of the remains of their late son has been guarded in secrecy by the Police authority. Besides, they alleged that the Police had not done much to bring the criminal to justice. “Up till today, the Police are yet to tell me the whereabouts of his remains. I have been frustrated by every step I have taken”, the bereaved man said. Calls to the FCT Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Doris England, were not answered. She did also not reply to a text message from Our Correspondent, on the allegation. But the family’s Lawyer, Austin Uzendu, said he had written two petitions to the Police on the case with no response. He said the parents of the deceased had faced humiliation in the hands of the Police in their efforts to seek Justice on the matter. He could also not tell if the Police had any plan to charge the two brothers. Uzendu who is handling the case free said confirmed that the Police had not disclosed the whereabouts of remains to the family.

News Parents of slain 32-year old cry for justice



From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


EAR, anger, bitterness and pity now pervade the air at Ire Akari community in Olunde area, an outskirt of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The anger and pain were inflicted on residents of the community by the gruesome killing of a 32-year old tenant, Mr Tosin Adejinmi, penultimate Sunday. Adejinmi, an aluminium technician, was allegedly gunned down by a landlord, simply identified as Mr. Oguntade, at 8:57 pm on that fateful day. The distraught parents of the deceased, Mr Sola Adejinmi and mother, Victoria, are in anguish. They have been nursing pains in their heart since their son was gruesomely killed, and were surrounded by sympathizsers when The Nation visited them at their home at Olorunsogo area of the city. They cried to the government to ensure that their son’s killer is brought to justice without delay. Eye witnesses explained that the young man was returning from the main road where he went to drop off a client at 8:30 pm when he was stopped by Oguntade who is one of the leaders of the security group in the community. He rode on his personal motorcycle.He stopped and explained his whereabouts to them (having been joined by night guards). It was learnt that the gun man rejected all his explanations which lasted for about 30 minutes. He insisted that movements of okada as from 8:00 pm had been outlawed in the community. Tosin was said to have been terribly beaten within the period before he was eventually shot by Oguntade. “His friend’s mother, who facilitated his movement to the area, went there when Tosin cried out for help. She explained to them that he was a tenant in the house beside hers, adding that he was a gentle, hard working young man that was well known to her. She even explained how she facilitated his relocation to the area after finding out how pleasant he was and the level of closeness he enjoyed with her own children. But all her pleas were ignored. The man even showed them the N55,000 he just collected from the client he went to drop off at the bus stop for his next job but Oguntade did not listen. He insisted that the community had banned Okada (commercial motorcycles) from entering the community after 7:00 pm,” a resident whose house is near the scene of the murder told The Nation. It was learnt the commercial motorcycle riders stopped taking passengers to the area and informed their colleagues to shun the area. In the process, policemen on patrol learnt about the incident and visited the scene. But Oguntade had escaped. Several policemen were later mobilised to guard the area till daybreak.


HE Okrika National Youth Movement, a pro-President Goodluck Jonathan group, yesterday accused a former militant leader, Alhaji Asari Dokubo of launching a media attack on the President because his pipeline security contract was terminated. The group also claimed that Dokubo is not happy that Jonathan refused to make his friend Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and is acting the script of some “over-ambitious persons within the presidency.” The President of the group, Mr. Anthony Amieyefori, and the Secretary, Comrade Ibiyoma Lloyd,in a joint statement in Abuja said Dokubo should be ignored by all. The former militant leader recently asked the President to jettison his desire for a second term in 2015. He also said it was wrong of the President to have engaged in a cold war with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. But the Okrika National Youth Movement said there was more to Dokubo’s attacks against Jonathan. It said: “We are not averse to the right of the young man to express his feelings, particularly under a democratic setting where the freedom of expression of the citizens is expressly guaranteed under the law. “But what we find astonishing is the manner in which the ex-freedom fighter tried vainly to muddle up personal interests with issues of national interest and importance, particularly at a time that the nation is desirous of peace and security. “Ordinarily, we ought not to have reacted since the Presidency has come out openly to put Asari where he rightly belongs. But a proverb says in our place that the head of the child can only bend in the market place if there are no elders.

2015: Pro-Jonathan group hits back at Asari Dokubo •Accuses ex-militant leader of bitterness over termination of pipeline contract •How Asari-Dokubo became angry with Jonathan over pipeline contract-Group From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation “For this reason, we wish to state that the unfortunate outburst of Asari was not only misguided; it was self serving and mischievous in all intents and purposes for the following reasons which we have confirmed to be true. “Asari owns a pipeline

security outfit to stem the rising wave of piracy on the Niger Delta waters but failed to work for the objectives for which the contract was given after millions of dollars have been paid to him. “In spite of the shameful failure above, he and those in his category have mounted series of pressures on the presidency, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs as well as the petroleum min-

theft in Bayelsa and Rivers States.” The movement also alleged that Dokubo disagreed with the President over Jonathan’s refusal to appoint his friend, a former presidential aide, as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. “In a nutshell, Asari’s comments do not reflect the opinion of the Niger Delta people as he speaks for himself and he is acting the orchestrated script of some unseen over-ambitious persons within the presidency.”

Pope hails Cardinal Arinze at 80 From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


•From left: Constituency Manager, Ashafa Campaign Organisation, Mr Abiodun Lawal, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, and Hon Bamidele Ajayi, Councillor, from Ikosi Local Government, Ikosi, during the end of year party of Senator Ashafa in Lagos at the weekend. Photo: MUYIWA HASSAN

Lagos Assembly passes cremation bill L AGOS State House of Assembly has passed into law the bill for law to provide for voluntary cremation of corpses and unclaimed corpses in the state mortuaries, and same has been sent to the state Governor, Babatunde Fashola, for his assent. The bill was passed into law over the weekend, after it was read for the third time by the Clerk of the House, Segun Abiru. Henceforth, any unclaimed corpses in any of the state mortuaries will be cremated and families who are interested in cremating their corpses will have them cremated by the state crematorium. The Cremation Bill, which is a private member bill, was initiated by the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Suuru Avoseh, a member representing Badagry Constituency 2 at the Assembly. Section (2) of the bill, stipulates that no cremation may take place except in a

ister for the renewal of such contracts. “This is most unfortunate and goes to show that unlike High Government Ekpomupolo (Tompolo) whose Oil Facility Surveillance Company is working in the Delta axis to rid the state of oil thieves, Asari’s supposed struggle is about self and self alone. “Still, Asari attempted to arm-twist the Federal Ministry of Transport to award to him another multi-million naira project. Upon failure in this regards he turned to the some presidency officials for assistance, which he never got on the basis that he had an outstanding job (PIPELINE SECURITY) which he never executed effectively, a situation that has given rise to the renewed wave of oil

By Oziegbe Okoeki

crematorium established by the Ministry of Health or by any other body upon the recommendation of the authority and approval by the Commissioner for Health. According to Section 6 of the bill, which talks about getting permission to cremate, the following persons may apply for a permission to cremate, a child or children of the deceased; a close relative of the de-

ceased; an undertaker and an agent/legal representative. Section 8 of the bill, which talks about cremation of unclaimed bodies at the state hospitals, states that the Medical Director of the state hospitals shall order for the cremation of unclaimed bodies in their respective mortuaries after six weeks of which such bodies are not claimed, which shall be with the consent and approval of the Commissioner for Health. Under Section 10 of the bill, which talks about dealing with ashes, the crema-

tor in charge of a crematorium must not dispose of the ashes remaining after a cremation except in accordance with any reasonable written instructions of the applicant. “However, the cremator in charge may bury the ashes in a burial ground if, within one year after the cremation, the applicant does not give reasonable written instructions for the disposal of the ashes. “Before burying the ashes, the cremator in charge must give the applicant at least 28 days written notice of intention to bury the ashes. The notice must be sent to the applicant’s address for service on the permission to cremate.”

Lawmaker tasks Nigerians on realistic budget


lawmaker at the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Eti-Osa II Constituency, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, has advocated for a realistic budget to grow the Nigerian economy rather than borrowing indiscriminately. The lawmaker, who made this observation during a chat with newsmen at the Assembly, noted that a

By Oziegbe Okoeki

balanced budget that meets expected projection should be the norm to address the current challenges in the nation’s economy. He reiterated that instead of finding a way out to meet satisfactory budget performance annually, the country should make a realistic budget in line with expected revenue, saying instead of

struggling “why don’t you have 60 percent projection ab initio.” Yishawu reasoned that instead of borrowing from outside the country, the policy should be tilted in favour of borrowing within the system. He said: “we can borrow for instance from the pension fund. With this, we can easily manage the system within ourselves.”

HOUSANDS of catholic faithful yesterday thronged the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Cathedral, Onitsha, Anambra State to celebrate the thanksgiving mass in honour of Francis Cardinal Arinze on his 80th birthday celebration. In his homily during the service, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, described Arinze’s 80th years on earth as dedicated to the service of humanity and God at different levels, locally and internationally. Describing the Catholic Church as “clear voice of authentic Christian tradition”, he described Arinze as the “indefatigable bearer of that voice” The highpoint of the celebration was the reading by the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, Hilary Okeke, of the goodwill message of Pope Benedict Xiv, who thanked Cardinal Arinze for his dedicated service to God and the church and prayed for the outpouring of God’s grace upon him as well as impacted his Apostolic Blessings on him.” Governor Peter Obi, in his remarks said that Anambra State Government would seek, further areas of cooperation with the church in a partnership intended to make Anambra State a better place in terms of all indices of human development. Obi, who described Cardinal Arinze as a gift of God to humanity and who also called on younger priests to emulate his apostolic zeal, said that the state was happy over her collaboration with the church in the area of education and healthcare delivery, said that buoyed by the success, that the collaboration would be deepened and expanded. Explaining, he said that since schools were returned to the church, education system has continued to improve both in the look of the schools and their products. The same thing, he said, was applicable to the missionary health institutions the state is supporting.


News 7 Lawmaker ??????? empowers widows,

Ogun PDP ??????? leaders, Obasanjo meet over crisis


•Ex-President’s frowns at illegalities

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


By Kunle Akinrinade


N a renewed bid towards restoring peace to the crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some leaders of the party have secretly met with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, the state capital. The meeting, which was held at Obasanjo’s hilltop residence on Thursday, had in attendance former Minister of Commerce, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Lekan Mustapha, party leaders from Ogun Central Senatorial District, Chief Dayo Abatan and Chief Niyi Adegbenro, among others. According to a source privy to the meeting, the former President reiterated his commitment to resolving the crisis bedeviling the state chapter of the party, albeit his decision to stay clear of local politics. He conceded that the reports of the Congress Monitoring Committee and various court judgments have dealt a fatal blow on the Dipo Odujinrin group, just as he frowned at those who drop his name to perpetrate illegalities within the party. Speaking on the implications of the meeting, the state Secretary of the party, Alhaji Semiu Sodipo, described it as “a welcome development”, adding “we are glad our father is truly living up to his fatherly role”. His words: “The truth is that Baba is the father of all, irrespective of leanings or cleavages. For instance, Governor Ibikunle Amosun is of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Yet, he is his kinsman and son. He loves him as much as he loves the PDP. It is understandable that he would not want to do anything that will hurt either of them.” The party scribe noted that it was good that wise counsel was beginning to prevail because, according to him, the party had been through this path before in 2011 when “an ordinary court injunction altered the whole political calculations in the state”.

•From left: Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia state, his wife, Mercy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister for Finance, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor and Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe during the traditional wedding of Uzoamaka Ugochukwu, daughter of Chief Onyema Ugochukwu in his home town, Umule Ohuhu, Umuahia, at the weekend. Photo: IBEABUCHI ABARIKWU

Aliyu, a stabilising factor in Nigerian politics, says Okorocha I MO State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, yesterday said that the Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Niger State governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, is a stablising factor in the politics of Nigeria. X-raying the leadership qualities of Aliyu at the reception of the wedding ceremony of his two daughtersDr. Jamila and Dr. Farida in Minna, Okorocha concluded that ‘’he (Aliyu) is a man that can stabilise Nigeria.” ‘’We are all here because of one man, Governor Aliyu. He is a man who can stabilise Nigeria and who is always working for the unity and progress of this country,’’ Okorocha told the large gathering at the reception chaired by the Vice- President, Architect Namadi Sambo. The Imo State helmsman added that the large presence of governors and members of the National Assembly and their families is a testimony to the type of person the governor is. Okorocha challenged all Nigerians to work and ensure the unity of the coun-

Rights group seeks Ajimobi’s help to revive state hospital


OME group of human rights activists under the aegis of Oyo Development Agenda have appealed to the Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, to provide adequate manpower to the State Hospital, Oyo town. This they said would guarantee prompt and effective healthcare delivery to the people. While painting a graphic situation in the hospital at a news conference in Oyo town, Adewunmi, said the hospital which serves six local governments (Afijio, Atiba, Oyo-East, Oyo –West, Iseyin and Itesiwaju) could only boast of four medical

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

doctors instead of eighteen, and seventy-two nurses instead of one hundred and fifty. Adewunmi stated: “Recently, the hospital had three sets of ghastly motor accidents the same day. The first set came around 3am involving long journey trailer vehicle with about 53 victims. The chief Medical Consultant, Dr. Opabode, was called by the doctor on duty for assistance, whom he obliged. They were yet to finish this one when another set of accident victims were brought involving about 12 people.”

From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

try so that ‘’we can build a country that we will all be proud of.” Speaking in the same vein, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, in a brief remark also described Aliyu as ‘’a man of the people.” ‘’Like Governor Okorocha said, the large attendance of people at this ceremony is a clear testimony of the kind of person Governor

Aliyu is. He is a pillar in the society. This explains why so many people from different walks of life are under this roof for the reception of his daughters’ wedding,’’ Tambuwal cstated. Vice-President Sambo, who was the father of the day, also joined others in praying to God to reward the families with good children. Earlier, the Chief Imam of Minna, Alhaji Abu Fari, joined by other Islamic clerics conducted the fathia after receiving the N100,000 naira

dowry for each of the two brides from the grooms’ families. Prominent Nigerians from all walks of life, among them the Senate President, David Mark, former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, state governors, legislators from national and states assemblies, politicians and captains of industry graced the wedding ceremony.

Stop celebrating vanity during Christmas, bishop charges Christians


HE Anglican Bishop of Amichi Diocese, Nnewi South Local Government Area, Right Reverend Ephraim O. Ikeakor, has advised Christians to stop using the period of Christmas to celebrate vanity but Jesus Christ. Ikeakor tasked Christians to always use the period for genuine spiritual revival, share gifts with loved ones and reconcile with people around them in the manner Jesus admonished in the scriptures. He asked, “The question is, are we still celebrating Christmas? It is now seen as a social event for fund raising and various other engagements by Christians who are supposed to know better. “Christmas should be celebrated with Christ at the center, because if you remove Jesus Christ, there is no Christmas and what you are celebrating is vanity, nothingness, emptiness. There is no value in Christmas without Christ. It is a time of special genuine spiritual reflections. Christmas is a time of sharing gifts and reconciliation with people and visiting people for them to have a sense of belonging. “I implore our people not to see Christmas as a period of engaging in vainglory , wasteful celebration , engaging in crimes and criminality and not a time to hike prices, but a time

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

to celebrate Christmas in righteousness , Godliness , simplicity of life and time for making peace , reconciling with people and making amends with our enemy. Meanwhile, Bishop Ikeakor has ordained six priests with a charge for them to cultivate in the vine ard of God at all situations. Performing the 4th advent ordination of two priests and four deacons at the Cathedral Church of St Andrews, Amichi

on Saturday, Bishop Ikeakor insisted that the tribulations against Christians, including the attacks from Moslem fundamentalists will not diminish Christianity but improve and strengthen it. Those ordained as priests were Reverend Godson Chinedu Ugochukwu and Reverend Nelson Chukwunonso Chijindu, while those ordained as Deacons were Promise Mbanefo Alor, Chuka Nnaemeka Emenike Nwosu, Kennedy Ifeanyi Chukwuka and James Mbonu.

ANPP to Jonathan: You are not genuine


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan came under fire yesterday over comment that his administration is slow because it does not want to make mistakes. The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) said Jonathan lacks creativity, adding that slow motion will destroy Nigeria’s democracy. In a statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Emma Eneukwu said: “Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan, while addressing a Christian congregation during the Christmas

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

celebration, said that his government is actually slow because it does not want to make mistakes.” According to him, ‘‘by human thinking, our administration is slow; I won’t say we are slow, but we need to think through things properly if we are to make lasting impact. “ While decrying the parlous state of the economy occasioned by corruption at the highest level of government, the ANPP chieftain said the nation is in dire need of “a leadership that inspires, directs and gives hope at all times.”

EMBER representing Awka North and South Federal Constituency, Hon. Chukwuemeke Nwogbo, yesterday distributed various items worth several millions of naira to widows, youth and women in the area. The various items Nwogbo distributed at a constituency/ town hall meeting held at the Capital City Primary School, Awka yesterday included 34 pieces of tricycles known as Keke Napep, six wheel chairs and several walking sticks, 20 sewing machines, 30 pieces of Corona grinding machines, 160 bags of rice, 1000 pieces of unbranded wrappers and undisclosed amount of cash. Nwogbo, who is also chairman, Justice Committee in the House of representatives explained that the occasion serves as a gathering point to meet and interact with the electorates from his constituency. “This meeting is a feedback to my constituency, to tell them what I have done and what I intend to do in the future,” he said, even as he promised to extend further assistance to indigents citizens of the community. He informed that he has executed some projects including completion and donation of class room blocks for Capital City Secondary School , Awka, provision of 14 hand pump boreholes to various communities, rural electrification of Urum, Amanuke and Awba-Ofemili, etc, in addition to rehabilitation of Nkwo Amenyi market.

Fashola renders account of gains from traffic law


AGOS State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), on Tuesday attended the annual Christmas Eve Dance of the Yoruba Tennis Club, rendering a progress report to the effect that few months after the introduction of the State Traffic Law, the impact and the intention of the law has been substantially achieved. The governor, who addressed the members at the Greetings Hall, Onikan, Lagos, said the foremost priority of the government in enacting the traffic law was to keep the people alive and safe. Fashola, who backed his report with statistics, said before July, when the law came into force, very few people were attending the Drivers Institutes for certification but by September, attendance had risen to 13,322. “Out of the number, 11,986 had very good vision while about 1,346 of them which represented about 10 percent were driving with impaired vision and constituted dangers to themselves and other road users but have had their eye defects corrected.” “Also in September, there was a 20 percent increase in the number of vehicles that had voluntarily come in for road worthiness certification which was not the case before the enactment.



Police rescue kidnap victim in Ebonyi Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki


HE Ebonyi State Police Command yesterday rescued one Mr. Franklin Ajah suspected to have been kidnapped by a group of armed men at Ugwuachara area in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Ajah was said to have been abducted while inspecting his building project in the area. Ajah, according to sources close to the family, was later found yesterday, in a house at Mgbukobe area of the town after an alleged undisclosed ransom was paid by the family. When contacted, Mr Sylvester Igbo, the State Police Public Relations Officer, explained that when the command got wind of the case, its men swung into action and effected several arrests. “We employed the ‘Judges Rule’ system where several suspects are arrested in connection with a case and screened to ascertain the real culprits. “We arrested most people living inside the building and neigbourhood but after screening, we released those not connected with the kidnapping case. We, however, detected two persons who were connected directly to the case. So, after full investigations are concluded, they will be charged to court,” he said. The police spokesman could not, however, confirm whether ransom was paid for the victim’s release, though sources said it was paid. Igbo assured citizens of the state of the command’s readiness to provide them with adequate security, especially during the yuletide. “We will depend on information from the public to succeed in this task, as such information would be made confidential,” he said.

Wada: A lamentable accident - Amosun


GUN State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has lamented the ghastly auto crash involving the governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, which resulted in the death of his aide-de-camp, ASP Idris Mohammed, and serious injuries to others, including the governor. Amosun condoled with the government and people of Kogi State on the sad incident. In a press release by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Funmi Wakama, Amosun described the accident as unfortunate, especially coming on the heels of the regrettable death of Governor Patrick Yakowa and ex-National Security Adviser, Rtd Gen. Owoye Azazi, in a helicopter crash. The governor wished Captain Idris Wada and others involved in the accident a speedy recovery and prayed for the repose of the soul of the late ADC.


Osun State to spend N1bn on rehabilitation of hospitals in 2013


OVERNMENT of Osun State will invest a sum of N1billion on the rehabilitation of the nine state hospitals in 2013. The governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this in Osogbo, the state capital, on Friday while flaggingoff the free medical eye treatment, organised by the state government in collaboration with Al-Basar International

Foundation, based in Saudi Arabia. The free medical mission includes free eye screening, free eye surgeries and distribution of free eye glasses to the patients, among others. The governor also said that within the last one year, his administration had spent a sum of N120 million for the procurement of drugs for the free health programme of the

government. This, according to him, is in addition to several other steps, including the procurement of new medical equipment being embarked upon by the government. He said: “This medical mission is part of our administration’s efforts to provide standard healthcare for our people. Our approach to healthcare is aimed at ensur-

ing good health in all aspects of the lives of our people.” The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Temitope Ilori, commended the governor for his efforts at providing good healthcare for the people. She said the mission was aimed at nothing other than to save the people from eye diseases, especially cataract and glaucoma that could eventually result into blindness.

•Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (left) exchanging greetings with the Vice President, Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo (right), while the Senate President, David Mark (middle) looks on, at the wedding reception of daughters of Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu yesterday in Minna

Four MASSOB members missing in Ebonyi


OUR members of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were on the Christmas eve declared missing while six others are currently receiving treatment at a hospital after they were attacked by over 70 youths of Okpera community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on the alleged instigation of some community leaders, who were against hoisting of Biafran flag within the community. However, there are reports that MASSOB had threatened to declare war against the community if they fail to produce the missing MASSOB members within 48 hours. The youths, who were alleged to have been armed with dangerous weapons, such as dane guns, machetes, spears, daggers and sticks,

From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki

attacked unsuspecting members of MASSOB, numbering about 10, while they were hoisting the Biafran flag, an exercise, which, according to the MASSOB Director of Information, Comrade Uchenna Madu, was going on simultaneously throughout Biafran land. Among those critically injured as a result of the attack and who are still receiving treatment at MASSOB hospital at Okwe, Imo State, were Joseph Akiriko, Otuosorochi Nwoba, Sunday Nworie, Abel Mgbogo, Friday Nkwagu, Duke Oke and Maduabuchi Oke. Others, whose whereabouts is still unknown since the attack include Emeka Nwangwu, Peter Nwewo, Sylvester Nwugbala and Dan Usee. “We have not seen them

since December 24, 2012, the villagers might have killed them, and we demand for the release of the bodies within 48 hours or Okpera will prepare for MASSOB music. Nobody has monopoly of violence. Our members had been attacked severally in Ikwo. We can no

Community petition IGP, Elechi over Police brutality


OMMUNITY leaders of Izzikworo Clan in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed and the Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Martin Elechi, over alleged police harassment, intimidation and indiscriminate arrest of youths of the community. Briefing journalists in

Executive has implemented 2012 budget- Rep


HE member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Prince Arua Arunsi, has said that the National Assembly passed the 2013 Appropriation Bill because the executive had implemented a large portion of this year’s budget. Speaking at his country home during his accountability and outreach programme, Arunsi said that the pressure the honourable members exacted on President Goodluck Jonathan on the need to implement substantial part of the 2012 budget made him to release some funds for capital

Ugochukwu Ugoji-eke, Umuahia

projects. Arunsi said that the implementation of the 2012 budget to a satisfying level was the measuring instrument that the members used to pass the 2013 Appropriation Bill into law, adding that they appropriated what they felt would help to develop the country faster. According to him, the House of Representatives members never wanted to impeach the President. “What we really wanted was for the President to sit up and work

longer continue to complain to traditional rulers; our members shall not die in vain in Ikwo,” Uchenna warned. When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP. Sylvester Igbo, said he had not been briefed on the incident.

for the people of Nigeria. We never wanted business as usual and the evidences of what we did are there for all to see.” On the issue of President of Igbo extraction in 2015, Arunsi said it will not be possible this time around and advised his Igbo brothers and sisters to wait for another eight years for it to be possible. He said the current President has every right to contest for another term after his first term, stressing that there is nothing stopping him from re-contesting by 2015, “so long as he does his job well to the satisfaction of all and sundry.”

From Ogbonnaya Obinna

Abakaliki, the community leaders alleged that police officers from the Force Headquarters and the Ebonyi State Police Command, working on the orders of one Mr. Sampson Ugbo, a loyalist of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Igwe Nwagu, invaded the community and arrested over 40 youths of the community. The spokesperson of the community, Chief Cajetan Nweke, said that on the 25th of October 2012, Mr. Ugbo petitioned the police command, alleging that some of our youths are kidnappers and armed robbers, which led to the undue arrest of 40 youths of the community who were detained for eight days at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. The community noted that on interrogation by men of the Police Force both in Abakaliki and Abuja, nothing was found on the youths arrested, adding that the petition was aimed at creating confusion and causing crisis in the area.

‘Make moral education compulsory for peaceful society’ From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt


YOUTH group under the auspices Young Youths Network for Good Leadership in Nigeria (YYNGLN) has called on the Federal Government and the states to make the society a peaceful place by making moral education compulsory in our school system. The group gave this hint recently in Port Harcourt while kicking off its campaign on moral education advocacy in the state with all serving youths corps members in front banner of the awareness. The theme of the campaign for moral education awareness this year was “Engaging Students, youths, women and traditional rulers in the peace of our society through moral education.” The National President of YYNGLN, Comrade Agumagu Okwudiri, said the group decided to create awareness on moral education and to make it compulsory in our schools because of the importance of peace in our society. “We are calling on the federal government and states to see moral education not only as important but compulsory to all schools in this country if we want a good society.” The group also ended the campaign with peace award to those who have carried out moral education in their various environments. Beneficiaries include Rev. Fr. Febian Obungwah, Chief B.W. Asomeji, Chief John Mgbomo, Chief Eric Wosu, Chief Peter Obuah and Eze C, W. Owhondah. Others are Barrister Princewill Dike and Ambassador Millicent Jack.

Abia PDP scores Orji high Ugochukwu Ugoji-eke, Umuahia


HE Abia State chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] has said that Governor Theodore Orji has not disappointed the party and the people of the state in view of the quantum of projects currently going on in the state Speaking with The Nation in Umuahia, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Uchechi Ogbuka, said that Orji had not reneged in his pledge to transform the state particularly on the area of road rehabilitation and other infrastructure. Ogbuka commended Orji for making real his promise to embark on massive renovation of roads in Aba this dry season, saying that the recent flagging off of the renovation of 16 roads in the commercial city is a clear indication that Aba is indeed a focal point of his developmental strides. He recalled that the governor had earlier promised the people of the commercial city that after the rainy season work will commence on some roads in that town, “he has not failed the people on that promise as can be witnessed by the people living in Aba.” The PDP image maker said that the avalanche of Orji’s legacy projects have put Abia on a new pedestal.




•Queue at Petrol station


T the beginning of the outgoing year, people talked about available fuel, rule of law and salary increase. But 2012 saw most Nigerians move down the hierarchy of needs, with most now concerned about security, fighting corruption and the welfare of the poor majority. The Nation on Sunday sought to know what is atop the wish list of Nigerians as 2013 beckons only to discover that free and fair elections, good roads and workers welfare now come later. Nigerians, young and old, want the most pressing needs, especially security of lives and properties covered first. No doubt, the twin menace of Boko Haram insurgence and kidnapping has taken its toll on the psyche of the nation and nothing now matters to both leaders and followers more than the restoration of sanity via the elimination of both the violent sect and incessant abductions. A sizeable chunk of the people, it was discovered now see security, anticorruption war and responsive governance as basic necessities of life. And they want these things in the New Year without having to struggle to get them. "If you look around churches across the country now, you will see so many security men on duty. It is not everybody that can bear with this kind of situation; since the emergence of terrorists, many people no longer go to church and many select the day they go. So, it is our duty and prayer that in the coming year, Nigeria will know perfect security and that men and women will return to normal life." The above were the words of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Archbishop Nicholas Oko, while urging the government to find a permanent solution to terrorism and kidnapping. "If we find a solution to the menace, nobody will stop anybody from visiting anywhere; if you want to go to Maiduguri or Kaura Namoda, you should be free to go. We need to embrace peace in this country. We have of late been praying to have peace between man and man in our country. The Primate also added improved welfare of the masses to his wish list.

2013: Security, infrastructure top Nigerians wish list According to him, the real essence of leadership is to see to the well being of the followers at all time. "For all in leadership, traditional, religious, political, the emphasis of leadership is the poor, the down trodden. At all times, their welfare and relief must occupy the priority of the leaders. Lagos-based activist lawyer and social commentator, Bamidele Aturu while reeling out his wish list, admonished President Goodluck Jonathan, governors and other leaders to do everything within their powers in the New Year to urgently alleviate the suffering of the masses. "The life of an average Nigerian today is utterly devastating; this our leaders at all levels and arms of government must address. Take a honest look at the living conditions of an average Nigerian today; it is a sordid story of devastation, especially economically and infrastructural. People's purchasing power has plummeted to zero. Our roads and other infrastructural facilities are decrepit. Where is that family that can conveniently feed and educate its members today?," he said. The legal luminary also challenged the government to be more sincere in its fight against corruption which, according to him, had defied every solution. He also spoke on the need for more security of lives and properties across the country. "Looting of public treasury has become a norm. It has defied every solution. It must be addressed. Kidnappers have found Nigeria a goldmine and insecurity of lives and

By Dare Odufowokan property has grown monstrous. Why are armed robbers turning into kings before the very eyes of our so-called leaders? Who is on the side of the helpless amidst us today? Look at the Christmas celebration; virtually everyone has turned beggars under the pretence of demanding Christmas gifts from the privileged few. I think this should be a food for thought for those in positions of authorities in the coming year," Aturu charged. Alhaji Abubakar Tsav is of the opinion that security, job creation and the welfare of the masses should take the front burner in 2013. According to the former Police Commissioner, there can be no economic growth where insecurity and hunger call the shots. "Asari Dokubo has told President Goodluck Jonathan the truth. Now I believe Asari was fighting a just cause as a militant. He told Jonathan the truth when he said his government has failed. It is left for the President to listen to and accept the truth from his kinsman. Like I have always said, security, job creation and the peoples' welfare should be the cardinal points. Corruption is increasing by the day while the people are unsafe in their own houses. We must stop encouraging the looting of the treasury, we must fight corruption. We must provide for the people in the new year," he said. For Chief Mrs. Remi Adiukwu Bakare, the need to restore security across the country is urgent. According to her, it is only when the people feel safe that they will contribute meaningfully to national development. "I have no doubt in my mind that

security will be of major concern to the government in 2013. It should be the main issue because without security, it will be difficult for people to contribute meaningfully to national development. “The situation as it is now is such that both Nigerians and expatriates are wary. This is not good and must be addressed. The government is working round the clock to solve the problem and I am sure they will continue in 2013." She also want the government to speed up its plan to fix bad roads across the country. The Lagos-born politician said without roads, it will be difficult to witness real national integration among Nigeirans. "By fixing the roads, we are encouraging Nigerians to integrate. Good roads encourage movement and movement encourages unity and friendship among the people. So, you can see that building roads is not just of economic importance but also of sociopolitical importance," she said. Dr. Fredrick Faseun, founder of the Odua People's Congress (OPC) urged the President to pick a few areas of the socio economic needs of the people and tackle such. He wonders why the administration wants to confront all the ills in the system at the same time. "I don't expect Jonathan to become a magician and solve all the problems of the country at once but he must tackle some pressing ones. That was why I advised him to pick a few areas and deal with them. But he choose to hold all the reins at the same time. For me, in the New Year, the President should work on power, agriculture and health. Of course he

must do something urgent about the security situation in the country. The situation is so bad now that people are wondering if there is nobody in charge. People are frustrated and worried about the situation," he lamented. Beyond politics and the economy, Nigerians have been talking about what needs to be done in the other sectors too. Denja Abdullahi, Vice-President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), said government at all levels should in the coming year, stop hedging and take the arts and culture sector more seriously. He expects government to place more emphasis on foreign exchange that can be generated from the culture sector in order to place artistes in a better position to win more laurels in their profession. "The real deal," he said, "is for government to invest in, support and endow the sector in such a way that it will become the platform on which our various societies would be regenerated and transformed for the better. In fact, let culture be allowed to assume a place of prominence in the society." Worried over the parlous state of the economy in the last 12 months, stakeholders in the organised private sector are upbeat that if the Federal Government takes some far-reaching measures things will look up for the country in the coming year. Among other things, they want the government to address the problem of infrastructural gaps and policy ineffectiveness, to mention just a few. Mr. Seye Adetunmbi, Chief Responsibility Officer, Value Investing Limited, a stock broking firm, said: "What we expect from government in 2013 includes political decisions and government policies that will reduce the despair of the majority on the downward trend in the fortune of the masses. "How basic infrastructures, good education and healthcare would be affordable for the working class and masses generally. Most importantly, address geometrical growth on unemployment should be put in the front burner,"he said. Echoing similar sentiments, Alhaji Muda Yusuf, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, said a complete overhaul of the economy is required in 2013. Specifically, he said: "Government needs to ensure that SMEs and manufactures get loan at single digit and eliminate delays associated with loan processing. There is urgent need to responsibly check the influx of fake, imitation and substandard goods into the Nigerian market." Expatiating, the LCCI boss also urged the government to gird up its loins and tackle the hydra-headed problem of insecurity in the land. "We must reform the curriculum of tertiary institutions in the country to bridge the wide gap between industrial skill requirement and the output coming from Nigerian institutions. "Government should do more about providing reliable infrastructure services. Commercial banks should do more to give credit/ loan to smaller medium enterprises." Another area requiring attention by government, Yusuf admits, is the ICT sector. "Government should invest more in broadband provision. There is an urgent need for e-learning facilities to promote IT-driven education. There should be a deliberate government policy and implementation that support patronage of local software development just as there should be in place a special security task force to protect IT/telecom insulations across the country." For the government to realise its aspiration of economic transformation, the concerns and challenges highlighted by the private sector players, the analysts argued, should be addressed.



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Egypt president warns against new unrest


GYPT's Islamist president has warned against any unrest that could harm the drive to repair the country's economy in a sharply worded speech pushing the opposition to work with his government. Mohammed Morsi has made the comments in his first speech to the newly convened upper house of parliament, saying it was time for the nation to turn to "production, work, seriousness" after two years of turmoil. The past month saw a surge in unrest when the opposition launched a wave of protests against a new constitution, and Islamist supporters of the president held counter-rallies. He said all sides must "realize the needs of the moment" and work only through "mature democracy while avoiding violence." He said violence from any faction was "totally rejected."

Attackers in India rape case to face murder charge I NDIAN police charged six men with murder yesterday, adding to accusations that they beat and gang-raped a woman on a New Delhi bus nearly two weeks ago in a case that shocked the country. The murder charges were laid after the woman died earlier yesterday in a Singapore hospital where she has been flown for treatment. New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the six face the death penalty if convicted, in case that has triggered protests across India for greater protection for women from sexual violence, and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes. The tragedy has forced India to confront the reality that sexually assaulted women are often blamed for the crime, forcing them to keep quiet and discouraging them from reporting it to authorities for fear of exposing their families to

ridicule. Police often refuse to accept complaints from those who are courageous enough to report the rapes, and the rare prosecutions that reach courts drag on for years. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was aware of the emotions the attack has stirred, adding it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman's death will not have been in vain. The victim "passed away peacefully" early Saturday at Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore with her family and officials of the Indian Embassy by her side, Dr. Kevin Loh, the chief executive of the hospital, said in a statement. After 10 days at a hospital in New Delhi, the Indian capital, the woman was brought Thursday to

Mount Elizabeth, which specializes in multi-organ transplants. Loh said the woman had been in extremely critical condition since Thursday, and by late Friday her condition had taken a turn for the worse, with her vital signs deteriorating. "Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists in Mount Elizabeth hospital to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate over these two days," Loh said. The woman and a male friend, who have not been identified, were on a bus in New Delhi after watching a film on the evening of Dec. 16 when they were attacked by six men who raped her. The men beat the couple and inserted an iron rod into the woman's body, resulting in severe organ damage.

Gunmen in Yemen kill intelligence officer


WO gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed an intelligence officer in southeastern Yemen yesterday, security officials said. The officials said that the officer, Mutea Baqutian, was on his way to work in Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province, when the gunmen stopped his car and gunned him down, then fled. The government has blamed al-Qaida militants for similar assassinations of several senior military and intelligence officials this year. The bulletriddled body of Major alNumeiry Abdo al-Oudi, deputy director of the security department of al-Qitten in Hadramawt, was found in the town's suburbs last week. He had been kidnapped earlier in the month. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations.

Central African Republic rebels take another city


government official says that rebels have seized Sibut, 185 kilometers (114 miles) from Bangui, the capital. Minister of Territorial Administration Josie Binoua said the rebels took Sibut yesterday morning. Chadian army forces were based alongside the CAR army in Sibut but the city was taken without a fight because all the defense forces pulled back to Damara, 75 kilometers (46 miles) from Bangui on Friday. The telephone lines to Sibut have been cut, making it difficult to check the situation with local residents. The news of the rebels taking Sibut comes as regional African countries have agreed to send more forces to support the government of President Francois Bozize. Talks between the rebels and the Bozize government are planned to start next week in Gabon.

•Indian protestors hold candles during a rally in New Delhi yesterday, after the death of a gang rape student from the Indian capital. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN

Cough syrup suspected in 33 deaths any of the deaths, said Shaheen. AKISTANI authorities are The blast that ripped through allegations in Pakistan the bus in Karachi yesterday set Pinvestigating that cough syrup has killed 33 people over the past three days; a government official said yesterday, the second time in recent months medicine is suspected of causing multiple deaths. Also yesterday, an explosion ripped through a passenger bus while it was at a terminal in the southern city of Karachi, killing six people and wounding 52 others, police and hospital officials said. It's unclear if the blast was caused by a bomb or a gas canister exploding. The deaths from the cough syrup occurred in the eastern city of Gujranwala and nearby villages, said local official Abdul Jabbar Shaheen. Another 54 people thought to have consumed the syrup are also being treated at city hospitals. Officials believe the victims drank the syrup to get high, he added. Tests show the victims' stomachs contained dextromethorphan, a synthetic morphine derivative used in

cough syrup that can have mindaltering effects if consumed in large quantities, said Shaheen. Investigators are trying to determine if the victims drank too much syrup, or whether there was a problem with the medicine itself, he said. Twenty-three people died in the nearby city of Lahore in November after drinking bad cough syrup sold under the brand name Tyno. They were also described at the time as people who consumed the drug to get high. Shaheen said the cough syrup involved in the incidents in and around Gujranwala was not sold under a single brand. He said some people in the city make cough syrup to sell specifically to drug addicts, and officials are trying to arrest them. Officials temporarily closed one Lahore-based pharmaceutical company whose cough syrup was found in the possession of some affected in Gujranwala. They are investigating whether it caused

the vehicle on fire and reduced it to little more than a charred skeleton. Police were trying to determine whether the explosion was caused by a bomb or a gas canister, said police spokesman Imran Shaukat. Many buses in Pakistan run on natural gas. The explosion killed six people and wounded 52 others, some of whom were in critical condition, said Seemi Jamali, a doctor at the hospital in Karachi where they were being treated. Karachi has a long history of political, ethnic and sectarian violence. It is also believed to be home to many Taliban militants who have fled U.S. drone attacks and Pakistani army operations in the country's northwest.. Also yesterday, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying police officers in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing three of them, senior police officer Hamid Shakil said. No one claimed responsibility but authorities have blamed local insurgents for such previous attacks.

Both were then stripped and thrown off the bus, according to police. As news of the victim's death reached New Delhi, hundreds of policemen sealed off the highsecurity India Gate area, where the seat of India's government is located, in anticipation of more protests. The area is home to the president's palace, the prime minister's office and key defense, external affairs and home ministries, and has been the scene of battles between protesters and police for days after the attack. Police were allowing people to assemble at the Jantar Mantar and Ramlila grounds, the main areas allotted for protests in New Delhi, Bhagat said. Mourners gathered at Jantar Mantar to express their grief and demand stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape, which is now punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment. Women face daily harassment across India, ranging from catcalls on the streets, groping and touching in public transport to rape. They put a wreath studded with white flowers on the road, lit a candle and sat around it in a silent tribute to the young woman. Members of a theatre group nearby played small tambourine and sang songs urging the society to wake up and end discrimination against women. Dipali, a working woman who uses one name, said the rape victim deserved justice. "I hope it never happens again to any girl," she said. Dozens of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi marched silently to the bus stop from where the rape victim and her friend had boarded the bus on Dec. 16. They carried placards reading "She is not with us but her story must awaken us." Sonia Gandhi, the governing Congress party chief, assured the protesters in a statement that the rape victim's death "deepens our determination to battle the pervasive, the shameful social attitudes and mindset that allow men to rape and molest women and girls with such an impunity." The protesters heckled Sheila Dikshit, the top elected leader of New Delhi state, when she came to express her sympathy with them and forced her to leave the protest venue. They blamed her for the deteriorating law and order situation in the Indian capital. Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said the woman's death was a sobering reminder of the widespread sexual violence in India. "The outrage now should lead to law reform that criminalizes all forms of sexual assault, strengthens mechanisms for implementation and accountability, so that the victims are not blamed and humiliated," Ganguly said. Prime Minister Singh said he understood the angry reaction to the attack and that he hoped all Indians would work together to make appropriate changes. "These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change," Singh said in a statement Saturday. "It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action." Mamta Sharma, head of the state-run National Commission for Women, said the "time has come for strict laws" to stop violence against women. "The society has to change its mindset to end crimes against women," she said. Indian attitudes toward rape are so entrenched that even politicians and opinion makers have often suggested that women should not go out at night or wear clothes that might be seen provocative.

•Contd. on page 11

News Review/World


Russian FM says Assad won't go

Venezuela VP in Cuba to visit ailing Chavez


USSIA's foreign minister said yesterday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has no intention of stepping down and it would be impossible to try to persuade him otherwise. After a meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.'s envoy for the Syrian crisis, Lavrov also said that the Syrian opposition risks sacrificing many more lives if it continues to insist on Assad leaving office as a precondition for holding talks on Syria's future. Assad "has repeatedly said publicly and privately, including in his meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus not long ago, that he does not intend to leave for anywhere, that he will stay to the end in his post, that he will, as he expressed it, defend the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and so forth," Lavrov said. "There's no possibility to change this position." Brahimi warned that the country's civil war could plunge the entire region into chaos by sending hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring nations, but his talks in Moscow produced no sign of progress toward settling the crisis. Brahimi and Lavrov both said after their meeting that the 21-month-old Syrian conflict can only be settled through talks, while admitting that the parties in the conflict have shown no desire for compromise. Neither official hinted at a possible solution that would persuade the Syrian government and the opposition to agree to a ceasefire and sit down for talks about a political transition.

Woman in custody in NYC subway shoving death


woman is in custody in the death of a man who was shoved in front of a speeding subway train, and she "made statements implicating herself," New York City police said Saturday. Detectives questioned her but aren't releasing the 31-yearold suspect's name until she is formally charged, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said in a brief statement. Among other things, investigators were arranging for witnesses to positively identify the woman in custody as the attacker, police said. Sunando Sen, a 46-year-old Queens resident who was born in India and ran a printing shop, died Thursday night when a woman who had been muttering to herself on a train platform in Queens suddenly knocked him on the tracks as a train entered the station. The woman fled after the attack. Police released security camera video showing her running from the station. The attack was the second time this month that someone was pushed to their death in a New York City subway station. A homeless man was arrested in early December and accused of shoving a man in front of a train in Times Square. He is awaiting trial, and claimed he acted in selfdefense.


ENEZUELA's vice president arrived in Havana to visit President Hugo Chavez as he recovers from cancer surgery, Cuban official media said early yesterday. Communist Party newspaper Granma published online a photo of Vice President Nicolas Maduro being greeted at the airport in the Cuban capital by the island's foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez. "From there, (Maduro) went directly to the hospital where President Hugo Chavez Frias is receiving treatment to greet his family members and Venezuelan Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza Monserrat, and to discuss with doctors the adequate moment to visit the President the same day," the paper said. Granma added that Maduro was accompanied by Venezuelan Attorney General Cilia Flores. The previous night in Caracas, Venezuela, Maduro did not specify how long he would be away but said Energy Minister Hector Navarro would be in charge of government affairs in the meantime. Maduro's trip comes amid growing uncertainty about Chavez's health. The Venezuelan leader has not been seen or heard from since undergoing his fourth cancer-related surgery Dec. 11, and government officials have said he might not return in time for his scheduled Jan. 10 inauguration for a new six-year term. There have been no updates on Chavez's condition since Maduro announced Monday night that he had received a phone call from the president who was up and walking.


•French soldiers arrive at the Bangui airport on Friday, as the foreign Ministers of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) decided that more troops of the Central African Multinational Force (FOMAC) should be sent to the Central African Republic. 150 French soldiers were sent to Bangui from a base in Libreville, Gabon. AFP PHOTO

Syrian airline cancels flight to Aleppo


YRIA's national airline canceled a flight to Aleppo yesterday because of fighting near its international airport, while the United Nations top envoy to the country said it faced "hell or a political process" but gave no sign a truce was in sight. The two developments underscored just how far international efforts to end the violence in Syria have fallen behind developments on the ground, more than 21 months into the conflict. Speaking in Moscow, Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the U.N. and the Arab League, warned that the civil war could spread chaos in the region by sending streams of refugees into neighboring countries. Since starting his job in September, Brahimi has sought to advance an international plan that calls for an open-ended cease-fire between rebels and government troops and the formation of a transitional government to run the country until elections can be held. After a trip to Damascus last week and talks with Russian officials, Brahimi said a truce is the country's only way out. "If the only alternative is really hell or a political process, then we have got all of us to work ceaselessly for a political process," he said. But neither side appears interested in the plan. The rebels reject any efforts that do not call for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, and Assad's government is unlikely to give up power voluntarily. It has not commented on Brahimi's plan. Speaking alongside Brahimi, Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his government would continue to refuse any plan that calls for Assad's ouster, calling such a precondition "counterproductive." "The price for that precondition will be the loss of more Syrian lives," he said. Russia has long been Assad's biggest international backer, selling arms to his forces and, along with China, protecting Syria from sanction by the U.N. Security Council.

Russia has called for a negotiated solution to the conflict, while top officials appear increasingly resigned to Assad's possible ouster by rebel forces. Violence continued around Syria yesterday. Cairo airport officials said a flight that was supposed to stop in Aleppo before continuing to Damascus flew straight to Damascus "because of the deteriorated security situation" near the Aleppo airport. It was the first time a flight to Syria's largest city had been canceled because of fighting near the airport, they said. The Syrian government and its airline did not comment.

Rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad have launched a campaign to seize government airports as a way to cut the regime's supply lines and strike a blow against its air power, the biggest threat faced by rebel forces. While the rebels have yet to seize a major airport, they have disrupted traffic at some with heavy machine-gun fire, and flights to Damascus have been canceled due to fighting near its airport. Syrian airlines is the only carrier still flying to Damascus, running one flight per day, though some officials still consider the trip too risky.

Russian plane crash leaves four crew members dead Russian airliner broke into pieces after it slid off a runway and crashed on to a highway outside Moscow, killing four of the 12 crew on board and leaving chunks of fuselage on the icy road. The crash during peak holiday travel before Russia’s new year’s vacation, which runs from Sunday until 9 January, cast a spotlight on Russia’s poor air-safety record despite President Vladimir Putin’s calls to improve controls. Television footage showed the Tupolev Tu-204 jet in pieces, with smoke billowing from the tail end and the cockpit broken off the front. One witness told state channel Rossiya-24 he saw a man thrown from the plane as it rammed into the barrier of the highway outside Vnukovo airport, south-west of the capital, and another described pulling other people from the wreckage. “The plane split into three pieces,” Yelena Krylova, chief spokeswoman for the airport, said in televised comments. An emergency services spokesman said four people died of injuries after the crash and four others were in hospital. Police said 12 crew members were on board, but no passengers. “The plane went off the runway, broke through the barrier and caught fire,” police spokesman Gennady Bogachyov said. The mid-range Tu-204 was operated by the Russian airline Red Wings and travelling from the Czech Republic, Krylova said.


Debris from the crash was scattered across the highway and the plane’s wings were torn from the fuselage, witnesses said. “We saw how the plane skidded off the runway ... The nose, where business class is, broke off and a man fell out,” a witness, who gave his name as Alexei, said. “We helped him get into a minibus to take him to the hospital.” Another witness described pulling four people from the wreckage when he arrived at the scene before emergency service

•The Plane wreckage

workers. “We could not get the pilot out of the cockpit but we saw a lot of blood,” he told Rossiya24. Russian investigators said preliminary findings pointed to pilot error as the cause of the crash.The Russian-built Tu-204, which is comparable in size to a Boeing 757 or Airbus A321, is a Soviet-era design that was produced in the mid-1990s but is no longer being made. No major accidents had been previously reported with Tu-204s.


News Review/World


RITING this piece means I failed to resist the temptation to engage in the ritualistic, end-of-year soul searching. However, I will not indulge in the usual deceptive practice of redefining defeat or of portraying miniscule achievements as historic breakthroughs. I refuse to see what is not there or to sprinkle glitter on a toad then pretend it to be beauty incarnate. 2012 was not a fine year for most Africans and the African Diaspora. The year showed what a vexatious people we can be. In cultural arts, entertainment and sports, Blacks excel. Our contributions continue to redefine how music is made and how sports are played. We cart away gold medals and achievement awards by the bushel. Yet, when it comes to politics and economics, we are more prone to run backwards or sideways than to move forward. A mystery remains unsolved. Amid the greatness in other fields, how come Black political and economic leadership is middling? From Brazil, to the United States to most of Africa, our leadership does not approximate Black achievement in other fields. This has not always been the case. The fight against colonialism and legal racism produced black leaders more able than today's vintage. When times were leaner, education rarer and hatred more open, Black leadership was more profound. The more unfairness the system tossed at us, the better was our leadership. In times past, our leaders rose to the occasion. Today, they sink below it. Then, our leaders had the vision to fight for something. They struggled for the political and economic equality of their people. Although they failed as much as they succeeded, at least they tried. The stark injustice of the system made them seek an alternate reality. The servitude system demanded of them was too coarse a shackle to pretend it was a bracelet. They spoke of African and Black liberation not only out of love but of necessity. Being Black was more than a casual affiliation. It was a political and social indictment cast against us. Being part of an inescapable caste, past leaders worked for that caste. Among the elite of today, discussion of the political economics of Blackness is the stuff of bad manners. Being black is no longer an inescapable caste. Blackness is now an optional socio-economic perspective. In effect, being Black is akin to membership in a lower-class social club. If possessed of enough money, you can buy your way out by buying your way into the elitist club. That one's new membership in the elite is that of an inferior associate and not that of a full-fledged patron is fine. What counts is entry into the mansion. If one has to enter as a sidekick or kitchen staff, so be it. This is the way of Black leadership today. Because leaders are no longer forced to be Black, they are under no compulsion to help the bulk of the people. Today, they can select between the dueling options of being Black visionaries or membership in the country club. Most leaders opt for the country club where the glimmer and gold are. Consequently, figures like Malcolm X and Patrice Lumumba, or even Martin Luther King Jr. are impossible today. Not that they would be violently killed. Their present fate would be worse that their former ones. Today, they would be ridiculed to death. They would be called uncompromising radicals ignorant of the value of a dollar, a fine car or choice wine. They would be looked at as impractical fools dreaming on stars that don't exist. While a modern King would still proclaim he "has a dream," the rest of today's leaders would retort "they have large bank accounts and thus have no need to dream." If they cared to dream, they could hire someone to do it for them. We have reached the juncture where Black leaders are no longer Black like their people. They are of a diluted Blackness that would rather align with the global elite than lead the masses to a better place. Instead of being our heroes, they have become pack dogs following the meat wagon to the rich house. We have seen this behavior throughout the year. In South Africa, the Zuma government killed over thirty striking miners. To call the min-


2013: Will the slide of the Black race continue? •It is an odd man who foregoes supping with his family that he may serve the table of others. It is an even odder thing that his people applaud this insult against them.




ers' work hazardous is an understatement. To say they are scantily paid for their daily grapple with death is unassailable. Yet, Zuma's praetorians acted lethally, in a way the fathers of apartheid would have cheered. The predominately white domestic and international business community rushed to pat Zuma on his back for killing his brothers. Without the struggle and efforts of these miners and people like them, Zuma never would know high office. Yet, he killed those who lifted him and accepted the dark accolades of those who worked to keep him lowly. By this single act, Zuma showed that South Africa is too big for him. The nation needs fundamental reform. The current economic imbalance cannot endure without a resulting in convulsion. The small group of Black elitists cannot succor the great want of the poor. Sadly, this man can do nothing about it because he hasn't the proper equipment. Arrogant and ignorant to a fault, he thought all he had to do was keep the folks happy by laughing, singing and dancing like a regular guy. However, when the party ended, the people saw that he left for the big house and the bank, while they trooped back to the dreary township. The people were not to be perpetually fooled by his false populism. They want bread, jobs, and justice not cheap merriment. The latter he was willing to give because it costs nothing and he could deliver for he was good at the fluff of politics. The former trio he was unwilling to give because it would cost him the support of the moneyed elite and because he was terrible at the substance of governance. In the end, Zuma revealed himself to be a bifurcated man. Culturally he is a Zulu of the Zulus. Politically and economically, he is closer in

mindset to Pik Botha than to Nelson Mandela. Soon, the beloved Mandela will leave the scene as all men, even the great ones, must. When he goes, so will go our race's last extant political hero. This man who endured over twenty years in prison has been placed in prison once again. The present confinement is not his health. It is something worse. Mandela handed off the baton as well as humanly possible. Sadly, the man who now should carry it had traded in the correct baton for a more mercenary instrument. Zuma carries not the light of a just political economy but of an unequal one where the large swath of the black populace forever occupies the place made for it under the old ways. For Zuma and those like him, the fight against apartheid was simply to produce a small, Black elite to sit beside the established white one. This dismal vision constitutes Mandela's new prison. Unlike physical trap that was Robben Island, he no longer has the lifespan or energy to escape this entrapment. Unless a miracle falls upon the nation, Mandela will leave us ruing the quality of those who now steer the ship he once captained. Another yet dissimilar visionary leader of this era was Gaddafi. The chief Pan Africanist of his time, Gaddafi's vision was blurred by his megalomania and ruthlessness. His was a distorted vision of a twisted soul and thus could not be taken seriously in its entirety. Notwithstanding his mental turbidity, Gaddafi managed to see the light of an overarching reality. He did not begin his career as a Pan Africanist. He became a Pan Africanist only after he had become a global outcast. As such, he realized Africa had been made an outcast. The only way to buffer the conti-

nent from the dismal consequence of this designation was for African nations to work more closely together. One would be foolish to rest his fate on a labyrinthine mind such as Gaddafi's. He was not fit to lead his nation to its optimal place let alone an entire continent. Yet, we must acknowledge his departure extinguished a leading voice of African unity. Worse, most African leaders cheered the Western powers as they pushed Gaddafi into the tumbrel. For their unsophisticated support of Gaddafi's demise, African leaders got two national upheavals for the price of one. Libya no longer figures in media reports. The place is a tempest. Armed militias rule the streets. Black Libyans suffer danger and indignity unknown under Gaddafi. Yet, Black Africa makes not a peep. The West claimed intervention was needed to protect human life. But when the human lives in danger were Black, the West turned its head. Africa mimicked the travesty. Arguably, the nation is in no better shape now than under Gaddafi. The despotism may be different but hardly is it much better. The social service network is gone and order has not been restored. Yet, the West does not rush to make postGaddafi Libya a success; protection and improvement of the people was never the objective. The real objective was to silence an independent, if halfcrazed, voice. The West realized that interspersed with the lunacy was a compelling theme that would discomfit its long-term designs on Africa. For supporting the West against Gaddafi, conservative African leaders got a crisis in Mali as their immediate dividend. The Malian crisis is "Gaddafi's Revenge." Comprised mainly of Tauregs who supported Gaddafi and radical Islamists who fought him, a loose, ever changing constellation of armed groups allied to declare independence for a slice of northern Mali as large as France. In response to this, African leaders responded by calling for the deployment of 3200 peacekeepers to secure the territorial integrity of the nation. One would have to be supremely credulous to believe such a small deployment of ill-equipped soldiers can defeat the Tauregs and others on their desolate home turf. The Tauregs can

fade into the desert at will. They are like spirits during the day and ghosts at night. They know the ways of the desert, its wind, heat and sands. The conventional equipment of the peacekeepers will be ruined by the desert conditions in short order. In essence, the deployment is an exercise in futility. Yet, when offered a chance to help, all the western powers could do was verbally support the effort with an oleaginous UN resolution. None put forth material support. No material support was forthcoming because the Western powers do not want Mali solved. They would rather see a smoldering crisis. The longevity of this and other crises will be exploited to buttress their military budgets for sophisticated surveillance equipment in order to contain terrorism where it is and not let it get to America or Europe. Moreover, such crises turn African nations into beggars. Western governments, especially their militaries, will gain greater leverage in African capitals, thus pressuring African armies to do the dirty work in the dank places western armies refuse to go. Already more than 90 percent of African nations receive American or other Western military support. Yet, this aid has not promoted continental peace and stability. Africa remains the most instable and warscarred continent. There is an ugly correlation between the presence of foreign military assistance and the presence of strife on the continent. Across the ocean in America, the Black president remains obsessed with forging a budget deal that will further impoverish Black people. Such a deal is unnecessary and unwise from the humane standpoint. It is even unwise from the perspective of ensuring an economy that honors the place of the middle class as the fulcrum of durable economic growth. The deal he seeks will honor and enrich the Scrooges and moneybags of our day. President Obama is being treated as a folk hero despite the objective fact that the deal he seeks will undo ordinary folk. Now that the election is over, he has shunned the populist veneer and assumed the position of factotum of great financial power. The people gave him the victory, now he will give them the blues by handing their fate over to those who already have too much. In exchange for selling the common man down the river, he will be hailed in the mainstream press and by the hired chroniclers of the elite. His legacy will be secured in history. But the truth of the matter will be no Black man has committed such a dramatic betrayal of his people since the man who ratted on Nat Turner's slave rebellion. In the end, the progress we have made over the years has ironically resulted in a situation that makes further progress improbable. Because Blackness is no longer a harshly and universally imposed restriction, the Black leadership elite has the option of being Black in their political and economic orientation or flowing into the mainstream. Greater personal reward lies in going along with the rich and powerful. Thus, most leaders have joined the global circus. In Africa, this means our leaders do not spend much time worrying that both the America and China jostle to control Africa, her resources and her future. China attempts this through its financial reserves and America does it with its military might. Sadly, already much of Africa's resources and fertile lands have been conceded to foreign interests. Major parts of the continent have become arenas of conflict in the hyperventilating war on terrorism or in an American attempt to insert its military boot before China inserts its checkbook. In America, the master practitioner of anti-Black Black leadership actively pursues a budget reduction deal that needlessly will injure Black and poor people for decades to come. I wish things were different but they are not. I foresee nothing that will change this forlorn state except if the people become energized and cognizant of the game being played upon them. Yet, how will the people be stirred when those who lead them are content to lead them astray. The New Year shall come. I can only pray that it will be a happier one than the trend lines predict.



Remembering ‘Desert Storm’ Commander Norman Schwarzkopf


RUTH is, retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf didn’t care much for his popular “Stormin’ Norman” nickname. The seemingly no-nonsense Desert Storm commander’s reputed temper with aides and subordinates supposedly earned him that rough-and-ready moniker. But others around the general, who died Thursday in Tampa, Fla., at age 78 from complications from pneumonia, knew him as a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who preferred the somewhat milder sobriquet given by his troops: “The Bear.” That one perhaps suited him better later in his life, when he supported various national causes and children’s charities while eschewing the spotlight and resisting efforts to draft him to run for political office. He lived out a quiet retirement in Tampa, where he’d served his last military assignment and where an elementary school bearing his name is testament to his standing in the community. Schwarzkopf capped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991 — but he’d managed to keep a low profile in the public debate over the second Gulf War against Iraq, saying at one point that he doubted victory would be as easy as the White House and the Pentagon predicted. Schwarzkopf was named commander in chief of U.S. Central Command at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base in 1988, overseeing the headquarters for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly two dozen countries stretching across the Middle East to Afghanistan and the rest of central Asia, plus Pakistan. When Saddam invaded Kuwait two years later to punish it for allegedly stealing Iraqi oil reserves, Schwarzkopf commanded Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of some 30 countries organized by President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out. At the peak of his postwar national celebrity, Schwarzkopf — a self-proclaimed political independent — rejected suggestions that he run for office, and remained far more private than other generals, although he did serve briefly as a military commentator for NBC. While focused primarily on charitable enterprises in his later years, he campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000, but was ambivalent about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In early 2003 he told The Washington Post that the outcome was an unknown: “What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That’s a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan.” Initially Schwarzkopf had endorsed the invasion, saying he was convinced that Secretary of State Colin Powell had given the United Nations powerful evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. After that proved false, he said decisions to go to war should depend on what U.N. weapons inspectors found. He seldom spoke up during the conflict, but in late 2004 he sharply criticized Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the Pentagon for mistakes that included erroneous judgments about Iraq and inadequate training for Army reservists sent there. “In the final analysis I think we are behind schedule. … I don’t think we counted on it turning into jihad (holy war),” he said in an NBC interview. Schwarzkopf was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Trenton, N.J., where his father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., founder and

Lekan Otufodunrin 08023000621 (SMS only)

Awotunsin on my mind


• Schwarzkopf

commander of the New Jersey State Police, was then leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnap case. That investigation ended with the arrest and 1936 execution of German-born carpenter Richard Hauptmann for murdering famed aviator Charles Lindbergh’s infant son. The elder Schwarzkopf was named Herbert, but when the son was asked what his “H” stood for, he would reply, “H.” As a teenager Norman accompanied his father to Iran, where the elder Schwarzkopf trained the Iran’s national police force and was an adviser to Reza Pahlavi, the young Shah of Iran. Young Norman studied there and in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, then followed in his father’s footsteps to West Point, graduating in 1956 with an engineering degree. After stints in the U.S. and abroad, he earned a master’s degree in engineering at the University of Southern California and later taught missile engineering at West Point. In 1966 he volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours, first as a U.S. adviser to South Vietnamese paratroops and later as a battalion commander in the U.S. Army’s Americal Division. He earned three Silver Stars for valor — including one for saving troops from a minefield — plus a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. While many career officers left military service embittered by Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was among those who opted to stay and help rebuild the tattered Army into a potent, modernized allvolunteer force. After Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Schwarzkopf played a key diplomatic role by helping persuade Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd to allow U.S. and other foreign troops to deploy on Saudi territory as a staging area for the war to come. On Jan. 17, 1991, a five-month buildup called Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm as allied aircraft attacked Iraqi bases and Baghdad government facilities. The six-week aerial campaign

climaxed with a massive ground offensive on Feb. 24-28, routing the Iraqis from Kuwait in 100 hours before U.S. officials called a halt. Schwarzkopf said afterward he agreed with Bush’s decision to stop the war rather than drive to Baghdad to capture Saddam, as his mission had been only to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait. But in a desert tent meeting with vanquished Iraqi generals, he allowed a key concession on Iraq’s use of helicopters, which later backfired by enabling Saddam to crack down more easily on rebellious Shiites and Kurds. While he later avoided the public second-guessing by academics and think tank experts over the ambiguous outcome of the first Gulf War and its impact on the second Gulf War, he told The Washington Post in 2003, “You can’t help but … with 20/20 hindsight, go back and say, ‘Look, had we done something different, we probably wouldn’t be facing what we are facing today.’” After retiring from the Army in 1992, Schwarzkopf wrote a best-selling autobiography, “It Doesn’t Take A Hero.” Of his Gulf War role, he said: “I like to say I’m not a hero. I was lucky enough to lead a very successful war.” He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and honored with decorations from France, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. Schwarzkopf was a national spokesman for prostate cancer awareness and for Recovery of the Grizzly Bear, served on the Nature Conservancy board of governors and was active in various charities for chronically ill children. “I may have made my reputation as a general in the Army and I’m very proud of that,” he once told The Associated Press. “But I’ve always felt that I was more than one-dimensional. I’d like to think I’m a caring human being. … It’s nice to feel that you have a purpose.” Schwarzkopf and his wife, Brenda, had three children: Cynthia, Jessica and Christian. Source: AP

NE of the many programmes through which the MTN has shown that it is a socially responsible company is the ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ television show. It is a very educative and good family programme. The ‘Who Deserves to be a Millionaire’ segment is particularly thoughtful of the producers, as it affords needy individuals and organisations the opportunity to get some funds. The guests on this segment are people, who by their contributions or that of their relatives to the society, deserve to have enough to take care of themselves but due to some circumstances beyond their control are at the mercy of the economic situation of the country. The last guest on this segment was the widow of late Tayo Awotunsin, a journalist with Champion Newspapers who was killed along with Kris Imodibe of The Guardian while covering the Liberian war in 1992. I was very sad to hear of how hard life has been for the widow, Agnes and the children of the distinguished journalist I reverently called Mr Awotunsin when he was Ogun State correspondent for The Guardian Newspapers in Abeokuta, Ogun State and I was then with The Punch in 1987-90. The present state of the widow who is battling with stroke on her left side is very pathetic and I really appreciate the producers of the programme giving her the chance to earn a million naira that night through comedian, MC Abbey and actress, Toyin Aimakhu, who answered the questions for her. The widow and the children deserve all the support they can get considering that their breadwinner paid the professional sacrifice of being killed on duty while covering the Liberian crisis. Like the widow rightly noted, her husband would have taken care of the family if he was alive. I testify that the late Awotunsin was a hard working journalist who was very passionate about his job and his family. But for joining the print media industry late, he shouldn’t have been a State Correspondent when we were colleagues in Abeokuta. Some of his colleagues were already then on the Editorial Boards of national newspapers, but the humble Awotunsin went about his job with a high professional sense of duty. I was not surprised that he got the well deserved senior Editorial Board membership job at Champion Newspapers at inception. Despite the communication limitation then when unreliable analogue phones and telex machines were the only means of sending stories to the headquarters, Awotunsin did everything possible to get his stories across, including travelling to Lagos to ensure that The Guardian does not miss an important story. I remember a female telex machine operator Awotunsin recruited from the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited who could not send a story he gave to her and was very surprised how agitated Awotunsin was about the issue. “Sir I will send the story today (day after). Please take it easy; slow and steady wins the race,” the female former civil servant said trying to plead with Awotunsin. With his eye glasses hanging on his nose, I could feel the anger boiling in the late journalist. “Lekan, can you imagine what this woman is saying,” Awotunsin responded, trying hard to contain his anger. “Slow and steady looses the race in journalism,” Awotunsin hollered as he banged the table with the frightened telex operator looking in my direction for rescue. That was Awosunsin for you, who though gentle and slow talking, would not hesitate to give you a piece of his mind to anyone who messes up his job. That was the consummate journalist Samuel Doe and his cohorts wasted in Liberia along with his colleague, Imodibie. Their families deserve all the support they can get.




Comment & Analysis

PERSONALLY struggled very much before putting pen to paper in writing this piece. Silence sometimes is golden, so goes the saying. But oftentimes, our silence in Nigeria ends up killing us. The recent Arab Spring regrouping in Cairo’s Tahrir Square when Egypt’s President Morsi acquired sweeping powers some weeks back is a simple pointer to the need to speak up. It is sometimes dangerous to keep quiet. Silence can feed the ego of the oppressor and provide a false sense of ‘all is well,’ when in fact it is not. Similarly, the current debate on owning private Jets cannot be ignored in the larger interest of the nation and not just the church. Is this really the time to buy private jets in Nigeria? Is Nigeria suffering from private jets syndrome? The November 2012 issue of African Business Magazine stated that Mo Ibrahim’s governance index 2012 indicates the top 10 countries showing improvement in governance to be: 1. Mauritius 2. Cape Verde 3. Botswana 4. Seychelles 5. South Africa 6. Namibia 7. Ghana 8. Tunisia 9. Lesotho, and 10. Tanzania – who made it to the top for the first time. Guinea Bissau, the small Portuguese speaking country in West Africa, and Nigeria were classified as the worst performers. Nigeria was also listed among the three worst countries where there is decline in safety, rule of law, and human rights abuses. With respect to air transportation, not tied to Mo Ibrahim’s governance rating, African Business also indicated that Ethiopia Airline has introduced aircraft fleets cargo upgrades with new 777 Freighter – the world’s longest range twin-engine freighter. Tanzania and later Kenya, both in East Africa, will establish new bases for FastJet’s Airbus passenger jets. Business aircraft buying enjoys booms in South Africa, which also seeks a regional hub in Ghana. In Ghana the Africa World Airline (AWA), a new Ghana Airline, takes off designed to service domestic and regional air travel. But what do we see happening on the Nigerian economic front? The same business magazine reported that: ‘Nigerians splurge on private jets’: It went on to report that in the last five years, Nigeria’s wealthy spent $6.5bn (USD) on private jets, making it Africa’s biggest market for private planes. Between March 2010 and March 2011, Nigerian’s spent $225m on private jets. The number of privately-owned aircraft rose by

Politicians, bank executives, church leaders and private jets By Revd. Gideon Para-Mallam

650 percent between 2007 and 2012 from 20 to 150, at an average cost of $50m. Is this trend worth celebrating as a sign of national prosperity or to be lamented as an epitome of greed, corruption and misplaced priorities? The question as to whether certain categories of church leaders should own private jets or not does not arise, the real questions should be: Do they really need to have private jets at their personal disposal to do the Lord’s work? Is this justified as a testament to what Christ stands for in our present country context in which almost 70 percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line in the midst of public squander mania? I am reminded of a sad commentary which characterises most of Africa: individuals who live in private splendour while the majority wallows in public squalour. Coming directly to CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor’s recent acquisition of a private jet, is deeply troubling. With the sustained frontal attacks on the church in Nigeria, is this the right time to acquire a private jet whether or not it was a “gift”? Or is one to second guess that the jet is for quick access to visit the needy victims of persecution in northern Nigeria? The hidden question, which no one seems to be asking, is who is (are) the giver (s) and where is the source of the money? History has it that the church in North Africa was literally wiped away when the Bishops were busy arguing about church titles and very non-essential things, ignoring the real task of propagating the gospel. The current spate of acquiring new jets by church leaders and seeking its justification should never be equated with what the early missionaries used in reaching the most remote parts of Africa and the world at the time with the primary aim of sharing Christ with people largely in unreached terrains. By the way, what

‘Lord’s work’ are we referring to as a justification for the acquisition of private jets? Some argue that if Jesus used a donkey in the 1st Century, then jets can be used in the 21st Century, being a jet-age, for ministry work. This line of argument denies the context within which Jesus used a donkey in Mark 11:1-11. Jesus’ focus was on using resources for a targeted specific ministry focus rather than private ownership. This is not to deny any one from owning property but people should be honest enough to state their real intentions instead of finding justification for extravagant lifestyles in the name of ministry exigencies. Some Nigerian church pastors’ penchant for owning private jets represents another minus to Christianity in a country riddled with much corruption. What we have today is comfort-seeking prosperity preaching premised on self aggrandisement with ‘the Lord’s work’ as a veneer to justify the unjustifiable material appetite of those who as followers of Jesus Christ ought to know better and set a nobler example. What role modeling is there to pass on by those scrambling to acquire private jets in Nigeria? First, it was bank executives with very questionable source of wealth and later politicians, now it is church leaders. Take it or leave it, we are simply displaying the rottenness of what has become of Nigeria and it is so sad. Certain elements of the church have joined in the melee of shameless display of questionable wealth. How can the political leaders transform the nation with such a notion? How can church leaders model genuine societal transformation with such craze for wealth display? How does the new trend of acquiring private jets demonstrate simplicity and Christ-likeness? Can we be more Christian than Christ himself our chief shepherd? To be transformational in Nigeria, the Church needs to be counter-cultural. The most singled traveled gospel itiner-

ant preacher in the 20th Century is American Rev. Billy Graham. It is on record that he has led the largest number of people to Christ in this century. Has anybody ever cared to find out why he never acquired a private Jet? Pastor Rick Warren, a leading American Pastor, who gave the inaugural prayers at President Barrack Obama’s swearing-in as President in January 2009, and author of the Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church, is one of the richest pastors in the world today – 90 percent of his income is given out to the less-privileged in society. Yet he does not own a private jet! Is he communicating something that speaks to modeling simplicity which some Nigerian pastors have chosen to ignore? At the onset of the present global financial meltdown when several company chief executives in the US were looking for bailout funding from the American Federal government, it was reported that they flew or were planning to fly in their private jets to meet with then President George Bush, and this was heavily criticized as being insensitive due to the prevailing economic mood of the nation. They apologised. Does this say anything to the present debate about church leaders acquiring private jets? The bank chief executives in Nigeria tried to acquire private jets in some ways. The link of such with the collapse of some banks is anybody’s guess. Can we truly say the church is immune to economic realities in the name of faith and preaching of the prosperity gospel? Christianity should never be seen or used as means of personal accumulation of wealth for personal gain. Legitimate wealth generation for the purposes of the gospel, YES! Illegitimate wealth generation under the guise of church work but a design for personal gain or the comfort of the Pastor, NO! Revd Gideon Para-Mallam wrote from Jos


Comment & Analysis


Go-Slow government President Jonathan ought to realise that, with our big challenges, this is not time to be a slouch


OW long does it take a president to make his impact felt? This question becomes pertinent in view of President Goodluck Jonathan’s feeble defence of his dreary approach to governance in over 19 months of being in the saddle as a duly elected president. This fairly lengthy period is aside from his having to conclude the remaining term of office of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, upon his death. The President stirred the hornet’s nest at the Christmas Day service of the Cathedral Church of the Advent Life Camp, Anglican Communion, Gwarinpa, Abuja, where he worshipped, when he craved the indulgence of Nigerians over his government’s seemingly slow approach to governance. Perhaps in response to the publicly held notion that the slow pace of his administration is unacceptable, he enthused: “By human thinking, our administration is slow, I won’t say we are slow, but we need to think through things properly if we are to make lasting impact. If we rush, we will make mistakes and sometimes it is more difficult to correct those mistakes.” The president’s alibi is ridiculous because many of his policies cannot be said to have undergone the crucible of rigorous thinking. Perhaps mentioning just two of them will suffice. First, the president would not be honest with Nigerians if he says that the government’s decision to remove fuel subsidy was well thought out, in view of the unprecedented corruption that is being uncovered in the sector. This would have occurred to the president if he had thoroughly weighed the options before making his decision public. Secondly, what deep thinking went into the establishment of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) which has not


HE brouhaha that the contract cost for building the residence of the vice-president has thrown up is a clear indication of the insensitivity and the cluelessness that characterise the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. In a nation where the majority of the citizens are living below poverty line, homeless and with no indication that the situation will improve any time soon, the people at the helm of affairs are starkly projecting that they are there to feather their nest rather than serve those who put them in the saddle. Spending a whopping N14 billion to build such an edifice is unarguably a case of misplaced prority. It is even most befuddling that the contract had to be revised to

made any appreciable impact on the citizenry? Moreover, the president has been caught several times making several statements that he had later come back to recant, by claiming to have been misquoted. At a point, his administration has made a policy statement about Nigeria’s global rating by Transparency International (TI), during the last Independence Day broadcast that it claimed it got from a newspaper. Was that too evidence of rigorous thinking? What is opportune here is to tell the president to be more cautious in his pronouncements. He should stop making comments that give him off as a bemused leader. After all, he is not a newcomer to the presidency. We recall the number of years he has spent so far in office, counting from when he became substantive president after Yar’Adua’s death; this is relatively close to a whole term of four years if added to the 19 months that he started his own mandate. How longer does he expect Nigerians to wait again before reaping the dividends of democracy?


•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


Stop this profligacy, Mr. President! suit some peculiar tastes and outlook of the incumbent vice-president. At a time when the government should be worried about putting food on the table of the average Nigerian, providing opportunities for the generality of Nigerians to be properly accommodated and facilitating the movements of the people, a forward-looking and sensitive administration would as of priority budgeted adequately for welfare schemes that will improve the lot of the people. The step being taken by the government has left many wondering why it would have taken the measure of removing the oil subsidy with a claim to

putting the savings on efforts to improve the welfare of the people, only to end up spending it on frivolous projects such as the vice-president’s residence and the president’s banquet hall. The president, to me, has totally derailed. His selling point when he was campaigning for office was that he grew up as a young person without shoes and could, therefore, empathise with the common folks. His current gestures totally belie this! I am calling on him, if he desires to be on the good side of history, to retrace his steps immediately and stop frittering away the commonwealth

Two week holiday in Imo


HE recent declaration of two week public holiday in Imo State by the Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha is a great dis-service to the enterprising Imo state people in particular, and Ndigbo in general. This stunt, in our view, carries theatrics in governance to

The fact that President Jonathan has spent thus far a period in power and is still talking about the need to be ‘slow and steady’ portends a serious threat to the country’s development and growth. It is an agreeable age-long aphorism that slow and steady wins the race. But, there is nothing steady in the sluggish approach of the Jonathan administration. It is an incontrovertible fact that the government has not successfully resolved any of the country’s challenges that it met on ground. We ask: What has happened to power generation? What about infrastructure that have been in a shambles as typified by the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other major federal roads across the country? What is the current state of education? The state of insecurity is more deplorable than what President Jonathan met on ground. There are several other sectors that are in fiasco and need quick and not unsteadily slow responses from the government. So, President Jonathan’s impression that his administration has so far laid solid foundations in critical sectors like agriculture, power, transportation and roads and infrastructure is misplaced. The president must realise that Nigerians are craving for good governance and not unsolicited presidential sermon. Despite the obvious nonperformance and erratic policies of this government, we are concerned that President Jonathan has adamantly said that any step he takes, ‘whether little or giant, he won’t go back’. Let him know that his policies, as pointed out in this editorial, are not perfect. The danger ahead is that if President Jonathan continues at this pace, it will take eternity for Nigeria to witness positive change.

an absurd level. The havoc its spiral effect would have on the economic life of Imo people is better imagined than described. We OdinmmaIgbo condemn this unsolicited holiday and call on the governor to rescind it IMMIDIATELY.

Ndigbo are known for their enterprise and not indulgence or indolence. The times call for hard work after a brief holiday and not endless ‘egwu onwa’ •Maxi Okwu Ikenecheoha II Secretary General OdinmaIgbo.

of the people. He has to pay more serious attention to improving the electricity generation and supply in the country. The seeming gains that were made during the tenure of the former Minister in the sector, Barth Nnaji, have declined. The government seems to have

now totally lost his bearing in the energy sector. Nigerians are daily going through hell trying to get fuel for their vehicles. The queues are endless and fuel is constantly in short supply. The Boko Haram terrorists are ever wreaking their deadly

havocks, decimating human lives and destroying properties. With these myriad of problems, it is unimaginable for any government to ever think of misapplying the resources of the country for frivolous projects such as the proposed opulent vice-president’s residence and the president’s banquet hall. •Effiong Udoh wrote from Calabar.

Fayemi, reclaiming the trust


HE Ekiti State government under the leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi recently marked its second year in office. When he came into the saddle, his proclaimed overriding vision was to reclaim the trust of the Ekiti people, which he felt had been eroded by the misrule of the previous administration in the state. Towards this end, he came up with an 8-point agenda, which he tagged Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery. The points in the Agenda include: 1. Governance 2. Infrastructural Development

3. Modernising Agriculture 4. Education and Human Develoment 5. Health Care Services 6. Industrial Development 7. Tourism 8. Gender Equality and Empowerment. Promptly after this being sworn in, he made efforts to change peoples’ perceptions of governance in the state. He came up with a slogan: Ekiti State, Land of Honour. He introduced participatory governance and accountability. He then embarked on misassive infrastructural development that has seemed to turn Ekiti into a

huge construction site. He is also significantly changing the face of education in the state by renovating a good number of educational institutions . His investment in tourism has been second to none in the country, transforming the famous but moribund Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort to a tourist destination of note. He is also making waves with the remaining items on the Agenda. There is indeed a c ause for celebration in Ekiti State with the two-year adminsitration of Fayemi performing well. •Olu Adeoti, wrote from Ado-Ekiti



Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni


AWMAKERS who are in the process of tinkering with a constitution that citizens prefer to replace are already warning citizens that there may be no significant amendment of the 1999 constitution at the end of the ongoing effort by the National Assembly to forestall a constitutional conference. The recent warnings expressed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory foreshadow serious difficulties on the part of the national assembly to get whatever amendments they suggest through the state assemblies. Senator Smart Adeyemi’s observation: “We cannot amend the Constitution without getting two-thirds of the state assemblies concurring with us. And the governors are also saying that they don’t want the autonomy of local governments,” suggests that there may be more problems to stall the amendment exercise than just the preference of governors. It is true that governors’ opposition to removal of immunity clause, creation of states, and autonomy to state legislatures and local governments should be worrisome, not only to legislators in charge of the amendment process but also to citizens at large. But it is necessary to avoid what may amount to bashing of governors. It is necessary to know if removal of immunity is to apply to governors

Femi Orebe femi.orebe 08056504626 (sms only)



Comment & Analysis

PEAKING the other day at the year- end Christmas Carol Service in Ado-Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Ekiti State governor, gave it all to God. It couldn't have been otherwise. Looking back at what difference the good Lord has used his hands to make in the life of his people, as a function of the lean funds at his disposal, whether from federal allocations, IGR or even the bond, he could only have given it to the Almighty God. Our job in this concluding part is pretty simple. It is to take a cursory look at the South-West where there obviously has been demonstrable leadership in governance culminating in a quantum of verifiable, measurable and sustainable multi-sectoral development. But I must quickly enter a caveat. I am from that part of the country and for the reasons I stated in part 2 of this trilogy, I am one of the many Nigerians who have given up on travelling, especially, for pleasure. I now neither fly locally - the young, brilliant co-pilot we lost to impunity in that crashed naval helicopter will always be in my memory. I knew Yemi as a toddler and my very distraught family is very close to both his parents and the wife's. So much for travels within Nigeria, even though my decision predates that unfortunate incident. It arose out of the stinking failure of those who ruled us for 8 straight years to improve on our road infrastructure even after burning N300 billion voted for that purpose. As a result of our decrepit road infrastructure, coupled with the other well

Constitutional amendment and its ominous signs alone. If the president is allowed to enjoy immunity while in office, it stands to reason for governors that are equally elected by citizens to enjoy the same privilege. Creation of states is not an intrinsic part of constitution amendment. If there is anything that should be done in respect of state creation, it should be just to amend the process of creating states. If anything, state creation appears to be a distraction. There is no reason for lawmakers to be in a hurry to create states. It is also important for federal lawmakers to listen to governors’ and state legislators’ views on autonomy for local government. It is wrong to assume that the issue of autonomy for local governments is an easy one to settle, simply because military dictators had identified local government as the third tier of government. The relationship between state and local government is a core element of the principle of federalism that is supposed to be settled by a people’s constitution, a move that the national assembly has resisted on the ground that the country’s sovereignty has been vested in the federal legislature. The 1999 Constitution captures the vision of military dictators and not necessarily those of the federating units on the issue of autonomy of local government. And lawmakers should recognize this, instead of taking the autonomy of local government as a given. It was the

The way out is to accept the inevitability of constitutional conference three regions that were later broken into 36 states that agreed to become independent of Great Britain in 1960. Similarly, the issue of local government as third tier was not part of the republican constitution of 1963. It is therefore wrong to give any sacrosanct status to the principle of local government as third tier. This aspect of the constitution needs to be taken as part of the constitutional change that legislators hope to achieve. In other words, there is no good reason for lawmakers to view the autonomy of local government as a No-Go area for governors and citizens to challenge. The only no-go area in the 1999 Constitution should be the territorial unity of Nigeria. A more troubling aspect of Senator Adeyemi’s fears is that the ongoing amendment may be deadlocked by opposition from more than one-third of the country’s state assemblies. Evidence already abounds that this may happen. Governors of 18 northern states, apart from the governor of Plateau State, have stated clearly their opposition to creation of state or community police. If the 18 northern governors are able to influence their state assemblies on this matter, any amendment in respect of

creating multiple police systems will be killed by 50% of the country’s governors. Just as it is already evident in the open opposition of northern governors to the Petroleum Industry Bill, no recommended amendment can pass without the support of at least 24 states. And there can be no 24 states to support amendments unless at least seven of the states from the north so agree, even if all the states in the south endorse such amendments. The preference of organisations and citizens for sovereign national conference or constitutional conference grew out of the foresight that some members of the national assembly are just recognizing, after the fact. The 1999 Constitution, particularly its provisions for changing any aspect of the constitution are filled with obstacle courses that cannot be overcome unless more than half of the northern states are ready to play ball. Northern leaders and northern sociocultural organizations have not failed to let the rest of the nation know their views on restoring true federalism. On several occasions, Arewa Consultative Forum had warned that there is nothing wrong with the current constitution and that the Forum is opposed to creation of

The horrible year 2012 (3) known demons: accidents, armed robbers, kidnappers and evil police men, I also no longer venture by road beyond the South West. Forgive me then if, as we read in newspapers, some things are happening in places like Akwa Ibom, Rivers or Cross River where, besides the A C N states, there is some modicum of good governance. I am, therefore, unable to talk categorically on happenings in these states because I testify only to that which I see. On the contrary, however,, I have travelled widely in the South-West since the current governors took over the Augean stable left everywhere by the then departing PDP governors. . The A C N governors, without exception, are inheritors of a tradition of good governance having been weaned on the Awo heritage of transparency and accountability, effectiveness, efficiency, responsiveness, consensus, empathy and equity. Of course, being Yoruba, those PDP governors were also inheritors of these Awo traits but their place on the political spectrum was such that they meant nothing. Otherwise, show me one single example of their social welfare programmes comparable to Fayemi's twin programmes for the elderly and the new one on orphans or to that of Aregbesola on the elderly not to mention the multi-pronged Erelu Fayemi EDF's initiatives on women, the girl child and the youth of Ekiti in general. You obviously cannot give what you do not have. The starting point for the governors had been the recognition that the West, being an economic block, has to develop on the basis of regional integration which was certain to be both viable and cost-effective in infrastructure procurement, industrialisation, commerce and agriculture in

I am one of the many Nigerians who have given up on travelling, especially, for pleasure particular. This is an economic development paradigm that was never once mentioned, even in passing, during the PDP's six-year stranglehold on the region. The synergy thus created has helped tremendously in bonding within political leadership in the geopolitical zone to the advantage of the citizenry. Today, you see many development efforts being replicated all over with minor local variations as a precursor to major partnerships in the areas of power, transportation systems, especially roads and railways, education, industrialisation and agriculture, areas on which comprehensive studies are presently ongoing. Concerning education which was completely in the doldrums at the inception of their administration, both Fayemi and Aregbesola took about the same route in trying to re-invent this critical sector. Where Ogbeni preferred to have a direct stakeholders conference, Dr Fayemi empanelled a technical committee of experts whose recommendations formed the basis of the resolutions at the subsequent stakeholders conference which have, in turn, underpinned his government's education policy. Arising from these efforts, both governments have invested huge amounts of money on e-education and had spared no effort in empowering both students and teachers in programmes which are destined to facilitate the emergence of a strong knowledge-based economy in the region in the very near future. Where Fayemi had given students and teachers solar powered laptops, Aregbesola had equipped students

and teachers with computer tablets with appropriate subjects already imputed. The misunderstood TDNA in Ekiti was one of the key recommendations of the stakeholders conference at which the highly regarded Professor Sam Aluko, of blessed memory, presided. The body had resolved that teachers must be tested to ascertain their areas of weakness in order to enable the state develop appropriate remedial training programmes. But no thanks to the political opposition and deliberate misunderstanding by some unionists, what had become routine in many other states of the federation was completely demonised. Of all the states in the federation, Lagos State, whose governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, his A C N colleagues affectionately call their class captain, stands out. It is an exemplar and could only have been an A C N state. It is not by any means the richest state in the country as what it receives as federal allocation pails into insignificance compared to what some oil bearing states get. It's IGR, about which many are inordinately jealous, is the product of ingenuity; dispute that, and go double or triple your state's IGR. The Tinubu government, precursor of all A C N governments in the South-West, laid solid examples. It was, for instance, the first to initiate, even ahead of the federal government, an Independent Power Project. The state has towered over and above other states in infrastructure, and procurement of transportation facilities

states. It should not surprise anyone if, at the end of the current amendment process, less than twothirds of state assemblies ratify any or all of the amendments, thus throwing the country back to provisions of a constitution imposed by military dictators in 1999. Fingering governors as forces that can scuttle the amendment process may not provide the total picture of problems that can militate against the ongoing constitutional amendment. Governors are protecting the advantages given to them in the current constitution in the same way in which Northern governors in particular and the ACF are protecting the advantages they perceive the 1999 Constitution bestows on their part of the country. To ignore this fact is to knowingly play the Ostrich. The way out of a stalemate is not to demonise governors or blackmail them into accepting specific provisions that affect their interest; it is to accept the inevitability of a constitutional conference that will be able to establish new ground rules that are different from the obstacle courses erected in the 1999 Constitution against any effort to amend it in favour of returning the country to the path of true or functional and sustainable federalism. This may be the only way to avoid repeating what happened to the amendments suggested to the current constitution during the presidency of General Olusegun Obasanjo. -roads, waterways, and now, rail. Governor Fashola has demonstrated so much all-round competence he has become a source of embarrassment to the Jonathan administration which now strenuously stands in its way of sourcing additional development funds even when it has the capacity to borrow much more. At a time the country's entire road infrastructure has more than collapsed, each South-West state is aggressively improving its road infrastructure. For instance in Ekiti, many of the road contracts awarded by the Fayemi administration were commissioned during his second year anniversary. Township roads in Ado-Ekiti together with the massive on-going works on the Ado-Ifaki road, have turned the entire state capital to a huge construction site. Writing recently on what he saw in Ekiti, Tunde Fagbenle, the highly regarded Punch columnist, wrote as follows: 'For hours and hours, we drove with our mouths drooping in amazement at what we saw. The renewal of the urbanity of Ado-Ekiti as the state capital was clearly evident, arterial roads that have been half-hardheartedly begun in preceding governments have been widened and dualised with street lights installed all along the median. As old roads are being reconstructed and re-tarred to high stands, new ones are surfacing everywhere...' One can only conclude by saying that operating under a highly focussed, people- loving political party, the ACN, with leaders -Bisi Akande, Bola Tinubu, Segun Osoba and Niyi Adebayo, who had themselves served the region to the best of their abilities, - South-West governors have demonstrated, beyond doubt, that with single-minded commitment and determination, horrors can be wiped off the faces of Nigerians. And without a doubt, their best is yet to come. Here is wishing my worthy readers Merry Xmas and a blessed New Year. CONCLUDED

Comment & Analysis



I insist, Sambo must have his N13bn palace! Tunji

Adegboyega 08054503906 (sms only)


ANY people were angry with me when, on December 16, I made a passionate appeal in support of the N14billion palace that our vice president is about to be denied (God forbid) and which has been a subject of all kinds of debates by all kinds of people, including the ordinary Nigerian on the street. As at that time, we had not even been told the full details of why the cost of the structure must go up. Today, however, we know better. We have to pray that God should open the understanding of those criticising the idea so that they can give their unconditional blessing to it. The story: In 2009, a contract was awarded at a cost of N7billion for the building of a residence for our Number Two Citizen. Suddenly, we were told that we would need an additional N9billion to provide infrastructure at the place. Mercifully, the Bureau for Public Procurement advised that we would not need more than N6billion more. This plus the initial N7billion would have brought the cost to about N13billion. But the Senate committee in charge would not take any of that. Then, the brouhaha started. When an important decision is about to be taken on an equally important personality like the country’s Number Two Citizen, one expects those taking the decision to advance

Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 07057012862 (SMS only)


DO not consider myself to be very adventurous. No sir/ma; most days, I just love to pack myself in my favourite chair, have some nice pillows to support my poor ol’ back, a footstool to support my tired legs, some fresh air accompanied by chirpings of birds to flutter in through the window, and then proceed to listen to silence. Reader, it is from these deep reveries into silence that some rhapsodies of postscript issue forth. So, most days, I say ‘no, thanks’ to invitations to visit Governor XYZ (yet to get one though); ‘no, thanks’ to invitations to paint the town red (got that one); and definitely ‘no, thanks’ to an invite to visit the moon. Someday, I will be compelled to visit the moon, but not just yet. There is a journey we are all compelled to make sometimes. Noooo, you!; I rebuke your morbid mind!; I’m not talking about death. Hopefully, that will still be a long way off for you and me. I am talking about the journey we are all compelled to make each year, and that is to move from one year to another, even if you do not leave your armchair. Now it even has a name – The Crossover, which makes it sound more like ‘The Red Bridge of Courage’! Without that element of compulsion, I’m sure many of us would rather go, ‘Do I have to?’ Of course the Almighty will go, ‘Yes, you have to; otherwise time will

To reflect his religion and culture

impeccable reasons why they want to do something, or why they would not. So, what is the reason advanced by the Senate committee? Hear Senator Smart Adeyemi who led members of the committee to the project site: “The National Assembly is not going to appropriate additional N9bn for the project, especially at a period in this country when people cannot get a square meal. The N9bn is far more than the original cost of the project”. Smart is talking as if he does not know that contract variations have become part and parcel of us and we hardly review contract cost down here. Imagine a ‘learned’ legislator like Smart talking about people not able to ‘get a square meal’ and the abject poverty in the land. He should tell us when last a government provided Nigerians that square meal a day. I left the university in the mid‘80s and I know that people had been going on all kinds of formulae to reduce their food bills, even since then. We had things like ‘0-1-1’ (minus breakfast, plus lunch and dinner) and ‘1-0-1’ (plus breakfast minus lunch plus dinner). This is the way it has been for years such that these days, most parents merely ask whether

their children have eaten. They would have taken off before the children start complaining that the food is not enough! And what does Smart know about ‘abject poverty’? Is he now pretending not to know that is what governments have been spreading in the country for decades? Pray, how do we deny our respectable vice president a palace simply on account of these flimsy excuses! Is it his fault that things are the way they are? I guess that people like Smart are advancing all these reasons because President Goodluck Jonathan and his team are largely democrats with human kindness flowing in their veins. Imagine if it had been in the Second Republic, Smart and his colleagues would have been put where they belong by some outspoken public officials of the time, who would have asked them whether they have seen any Nigerian eat from the dustbin yet. It was the then President Shehu Shagari who was quiet; but he had ministers and other subordinates that were garrulous. As a matter of fact, one of them was so loathed that they organised for him to be ‘crated’ home from Britain, but for the eagle-eyed British police who

“But Vice President Sambo should forgive the senators and others who think he does not deserve such a palace. What they fail to realise is that many of our leaders are not like the president who did not have shoes when he was young. Most of our other leaders had been drinking Irish Cream since the time they were in the womb. So, we are the ones who should be grateful to them for offering to lead the nation”

aborted the plan. What is particularly annoying is the fact that the senators ignored all the explanations of the executive secretary of the FCDA, Adamu Ismail, who tried all he could to make them see sense in the idea. The man said the place needed furniture, fencing, two protocol guest louses, a banquet hall and security gadgets. According to Ismail, these were omitted by those who conceived the project. Now, tell me, which of these is our vice president not entitled to? Is it the furniture that you want to disagree with? Or you want to say the man should not be protected with a fence as thick and strong as the wall of Jericho in these days of high profile kidnappings and bombings? Are two protocol guest houses too many for the vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Are the senators also saying the banquet hall is unnecessary? We should realise that those who prepared the initial estimate are human beings likely to forget that these items were not included in the original project. Or, they must be some other Smarts who believe in Spartan lifestyle for our vice president. In view of all these points, we should show understanding for why the supplementary budget for the project is higher than the original estimate. All these could not have been provided for in the original estimate of just N7billion! Moreover, what if technology has changed between when the contract was awarded and now; would we want our vice president’s palace to be fitted with yesterday’s technology today? What is more? We have been given fresh insight that the project must gulp the billions more because our vice president is a Muslim, a de-

vout one at that; so, the structure should reflect that fact. This is important too because prayers are not likely to ascend to Allah if the vice president is living in a structure that does not reflect his religion. Those who are not close to God may not know what we are talking about here. The same way those who are asking what would happen should a Christian take over the office tomorrow;. Can’t they let that tomorrow come first? Would contract awards have ended by then? We award fresh billion contracts to also reflect the change. I wonder why Nigerians love to worry over little things when there are bigger issues to worry about. We should understand too that all the items to be bought have to be transported to site, so, we should expect the estimate for that and miscellaneous expenses should also be expected. So far, we have not been told these had been taken care of. Now, the critics have made our vice president to be unhappy with the issues becoming a beer parlour one. But Vice President Sambo should forgive the senators and others who think he does not deserve such a palace. What they fail to realise is that many of our leaders are not like the president who did not have shoes when he was young. Most of our other leaders had been drinking Irish Cream since the time they were in the womb. So, we are the ones who should be grateful to them for offering to lead the nation. And the way we can do that is to spoil them, not a little, but big time. •You asked for it, you got it! You are the reason the piece was updated. And this is the ‘Gospel of Transformation’, according to the Jonathan administration . Happy New Year in advance!

What a year it has been! I can hear the bells tolling for the old year, as it limps towards its close like an exhausted Olympic athlete, and ringing in the New Year as it jaunts in; I hope the year meets us well stand still, swallowing itself with a yawn’. So, just to save father time from swallowing itself, we are compelled to move from one old year to a new one. Sir Lancelot could not do better. I think the truth is that if we don’t move, time will move us. Have you taken a good look at your neck lately? I bet you did not know that the crows there have somewhat increased over the past year. That, sir/ ma, is time moving you relentlessly, and who knows where it will end. After the neck goes up in crows, you raise your arms and people cannot tell whether or not you are waving the national flag, and then your legs begin to do the shuffle. So now, I don’t argue about moving from the old year to a new one. The only thing I do is look back a bit to see how the year fared. To start with, 2012 was the Year of the Big Bang. Oh no, that has nothing to do with the evolutionary theory; rather, the big bang signifies the year the people of Nigeria gave the government a very big heart attack that actually exploded in a bang. It was when the people reacted violently against the government’s attempt to remove fuel subsidy. Of course, following the bang, the government has since been nursing its wounds and the people have since been contending with dry pumps or alternately giving the pumps some frustrated banging to register their hopelessness. For me, my Year of the Big Bang

came in the form of a discovery. I finally accepted that just as you cannot separate a tree from its bark, so also you cannot separate a man and the money he does not want to part with. Whenever we women have tried to get an increase in the housekeeping money, there have been unbelievable arguments which go like ‘my salary has not been increased; why should I increase the housekeeping money just because things are more expensive in the market?’ Or ‘You want to buy beans? Go sell one or two of your trinkets’, or ‘You want me to steal?’ Worse, when we remind our husbands that there are women who go to the market in jets, they go bananas. ‘Perhaps, if you sell one of my thighs ...’; yea, as if that could fetch anything. Yep, 2012 was also the Year of the Jets. No, we are not talking about that football club, for sincerely, I don’t know how they fared this year. But I know how the sellers of private jets fared in Nigeria: extremely proudly. No one quite knew what was going on beneath the surface ripples until a state governor decided to play both governor and pilot and promptly fell from the sky. In quick succession, a church leader was given a jet as a birthday present. (Since then I have been trying to understand what kind of birthday it was). But for now, I understand that the jets within the country are in their hundreds (including those in the presidency) and many

more have been ordered by individuals, most of who are living on government money. So yes, it was the year of the jets: hopefully, every Nigerian will soon get to own one and we can all abandon the bad roads to the goats, chickens and birds. Well yes, when we all take to the sky, the birds will now have to walk. Sadly, it is also the year of the fear of heights. Those who know me know how much height I can endure: the height of the steps that lead into my house. Anything beyond that incites a great deal of horror, sweats and falls comparable to air crashes. So, when the year began to record all those crashes, I just thought, oh my, what did they go all the way up for? I had come to the truth of the matter earlier, that the fear of height indeed is the beginning of wisdom! And the year’s floods have almost been worse than Noah’s day. Even though the floods made their entries very quietly enough, their effects have been so devastating many people have been tempted to purchase canoes alongside their cars. Some did. Naturally, material and human tolls have been beyond the pale but many of us have taken consolation in God and the hope that the government would have learnt a thing or two from the experience. But since you and I know that they never do, our only consolation is God. Now let’s see if and what we as a nation have learnt from our various

experiences during this year. I think the fuel subsidy experience has taught us that if we are ever going to move forward as a nation, we must put aside petty grievances and petty divisions such as the colour of our skin, turban or hat. The nation spoke successfully with one voice on the issue of fuel subsidy then because of the pain we felt. Other issues require such a unity of purpose: a modern mass transportation system, potable water, reliable energy sources, etc. I also don’t think we have learnt much from the lesson nature tried to teach us about private jets. There have been no reports telling us for instance that those who had ordered their private jets have cancelled their orders. We have also not been told that the state governors who own private jets have been asked politely to explain how they came about such possessions considering that they did not go into their respective government houses with one. On the matter, mum has been the word from the various Houses of Assembly, the National Assembly or the national government. I can hear the bells tolling for the old year, as it limps towards its close like an exhausted Olympic athlete coming in long after the officials have packed their gears and gone home. I can also hear, albeit faintly, the bells ringing in the New Year, as it jaunts in with a hat balanced on its head in a rakish angle and with high hopes. I hope it meets us well.




2013 and the opposition’s mega party plans



NE of the major political events observers of the power game in Nigeria are looking forward to in 2013 is the result of the ongoing merger talks among opposition political parties in the country. It is believed that if it succeeds, the proposed mega party will give the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) serious run for its money and size. The merger of the parties is one of the strategies being canvassed by some politicians to defeat the ruling PDP which has dominated power since the advent of the present democracy in 1999. While more opposition parties are said to be interested in joining the move to form a mega party, the three leading opposition political parties in the country namely, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) may have decided to drop their identities by April 2013, when talks on their proposed merger are expected to be completed. Few days back, the Chairman of the ANPP National Rebuilding and Interparty




Contact Committee, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, told journalists in Abuja that the merger talks between ACN, CPC and ANPP had reached the last stage. Shekarau, a former governor of Kano State, allayed fears that the talk may collapse again when he announced that the chieftains of the three parties had decided to forget their individual ambitions to make the fusion a success. “Certainly, we are going to submit our party certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission after our merger. That is what a merger means. The Electoral Law is so clear on the procedure for a merger. “If we decide to merge, the next thing is that we go back to our parties, call National Executive Committee meeting, and discuss with the members, in the presence of INEC officials. Then, you can call congress and that is all. “The difference now is to pass a resolution and all this will be simultaneously done (by the three parties)

and we will inform INEC about it. When that is done, INEC has no choice than to register your new identity.” The National Publicity Secretaries of CPC and ACN, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in separate interviews recently confirmed Shekarau’s claim that a merger of the three leading opposition parties is in the offing. “Yes, we are ready to lose our identity for the sake of the bigger party that is capable of sacking the PDP. My National Chairman, Prince Tony Momoh, has said it several times that he is ready to lose his position as well. “I’m also ready for that, if that will enable us form a party that will be big enough to confront and remove the PDP from the central government,” Fashakin said. “ACN is committed to getting a single platform of all opposition political parties that will drive the PDP out of power. “All I can tell you is that the modalities are being worked out. And we are committed to it,” Mohammed said. Few weeks back, another leading

opposition party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) also announced its readiness to be part of the merger move. The party said though it is poised to displace the PDP in 2015, it will not mind working with other oppositin parties to achieve that. The party’s national chairman, Victor Umeh, made the announcement when asked if his party is part of the merger talk currently going on. He said the APGA is not opposed to the move and will surely be part of it. There are also talks that the paties may have already put forward some names including but not limited to Action Congress for Progressive Change, (ACPC) and Action Congress Alliance, (ACA) as possible names that would be used to consummate the alliance. The parties are also said to be expediting plans to hold their national conventions where the alliance will be endorsed by their members. Sources said all things being equal, the conventions will hold very early in the new year. If this happens, then a new political party will surely be born in 2013.

By Dare Odufowokan

...Leading political parties: How they stand P

EOPLE’S Democratic Party (PDP) PDP is the ruling political party in Nigeria. It has won all the presidential elections held in the country since the return to civil rule in 1999. Formed by a coalition several political organisation in 1998, the party has to its credit a national spread. It has membership virtually in all the nooks and crannies of the country. The party which rightfully prides itself as the biggest party in sub-Saharan Africa produced Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as President in 1999 till 2007. It also won majority of the state governorship positions in the first election leaving the Alliance for Democracy (AD) with six and the All Peoples Party (APP) with nine. In 2007, the party fielded the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as its presidential candidate and won. Upon his death, President Goodluck Jonathan emerged to complete his term. He went ahead to win the 2011 election on the platform of the PDP. Though it has won all the presidential elections, analysts are of the opinion that the popularity of the party is waning by the day. Its loss in all the six states of the southwest, its hitherto North-central stronghold of Nassarawa and the twin states of Anambra and Imo in the southeast is a pointer to this argument. According to pundits, the party in line with its identity as a conservative party, has a market-driven approach for the economy. With internal crises rocking


many of its state chapters, the PDP is going into the New Year with a lot on its plate to battle ahead of the 2015 general election. Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) This party has continued to prove its critics wrong since its emergence on the political scene in 2007. Formed with the merger of several parties, including Advance Congress of Democrats, Justice Party and Alliance for Democracy, not many people gave the alliance a chance to survive. The party has a strong presence in Nigeria’s south-west, mid-west and north central regions. From these areas, the party has a total of six governors and about 19 senators, making it the second largest party in the country, following the inability of the ANPP to retain most of the seats it won in the early elections. and 2 representatives to the state houses. In the 2007 assembly elections, the party won 32 of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives but today, it boasts of more than 60 honourable members in the lower house. Given its progressive leaning, the party is seen by many as the masses’ party and it is going into the New Year with this appellation. All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) This is another major political party in Nigeria. In the 2007 elections, the party had won about 27 per cent of the popular votes and also won 92 of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, ANPP won 27 of the total 109 seats.


But today, left with only three governors and seven senators in its care, the party seems to have lost its winning streak. Unable to retain most of the governorship and senatorial seats in its kitty during the last general election, the ANPP performed very badly in the presidential race. With a right-wing conservative

ideology and a mass appeal, particularly in northern Nigeria, the party at inception was touted as the alternative to the ruling PDP. But its many battle with internal skirmishes didn’t help its quest to take over the leadership of the country. Many see its involvement in the ongoing merger talk as an attempt to relaunch itself back on the track of national politics in the country. The commitment of its leaders to the talk will determine where it will be placed in the politics of the coming years. Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) This is another major political party in Nigeria. Formed hurriedly in time for the 2011 general election, it put up what many called a surprise performance, coming second in the presidential race. Its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, was even touted as the man to beat in many opinion polls prior to the election. The party also got six senators elected on its platform and crowned its surprise victory run by winning the governorship seat in Nassarawa State. Currently, apart from being deeply involved in the opposition merger talks, the CPC is undergoing serious restructuring with its leaders saying the exercise is meant to position the party to take over the government of the country at the national level. Its popularity is also spreading wide, especially in the northern part of the country where it is seen as a veritable alternative to the ailing ANPP. It is expected to play a vital role in the politics of 2013.


Person of the Year: I

The Nigerian “Refugee”

T was a year of trinity, even from the beginning. It began with three evils: a subsidy removal, a fuel hike and, in consequence, a paralysis. As the nation shut down, strikes rumbled in Lagos and some other fragile areas and people stayed at home and President Jonathan swaggered with intransigence, we thought the year would be redefined only by another trinity: a fuel crisis, an angry people and a stubborn president. But in-between came another trio: water, wind and fire. But the last became the first. Boko Haram struck not once, not twice but many times even though they fell ominously silent during the strikes in January. It was as though they bowed to the first trinity. In a foul and macabre feast, the strikes swept from Borno to Abuja to Kaduna to Kogi like a display of blood and death. Its register was fire: bombs, guns and knives. Another trinity. It happened all year long. Soldiers died, police fled, worshippers fainted, defied and died, a security chief first complained in public and later lost his job, a president retreated inside Aso Rock. But mostly people were displaced. Southern governors sought the return of their

By Sam Omatseye

“people.” Ethnic rhetoric inflamed more ethnic rhetoric. But mostly people fled. Markets became skeletal, churches wary and pastors invoking deity before a shrinking followership. Those born in the north, and those who had relocated there for business and those who had no other ways of life than the ones they knew either in Kano or Maiduguri or Sokoto, were stunned between stark choices: fight, wait to die or flee. Another awful trinity. It was a time that tested the unity of the country. Northern governors sought answers, held meetings, appealed and cajoled, but could not do what was necessary: stop the menace. The silence of southern leaders was as ominous as those who banged the doors for a national conference. It raised questions about state police, integrity of security budget and above all, the competence of a president who reacted to the news of carnage with another trinity: surrender, nonchalance – he left for Brazil after one of them – and bluster. In the midst of this was the combination of water and wind. Nigeria, just like the malice of Hurricane Sandy in the United States, saw flood. It

came not only in the south, not only in east, not only in the west, not only in the north. It was fury without borders. In a bizarre replay of Boko Haram, houses fell, only not by fire. People fled their homes. Villages and homesteads vanished in watery tombs. It had no respect for the high and mighty, for the jalopy or cocky limousines. They were huddled in camps. In the camps, women delivered babies, men and women made love, old and young played and fought, scrambled for food rations, slept in makeshift beds. Fishes swam where families sat for dinner, hippopotamuses became threats before they inspired feasts. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan risked life paddling a canoe in a symbolic gesture to the displaced. While water, wind and fire raged, the other trinity inflicted their own damages: jobs were lost, subsidy thieves exposed and companies closed, another shrill trinity. At bottom, many Nigerians were out of joint, and had to find refuge in places other than where they had comfort. “Something startles where I thought I was safest,” wrote Caribbean writer George Lamming. They became, in a strange irony, refugees at home. Those who fled the north have never found comfort at home in the south. Home was where trouble was. Flood sacked people who never returned to the home as they knew it. It was a case of alienation in body and in spirit. Subsidy-related jobs became as fragile as the homes swept off by flood. The refugee, often a term for those who flee their home countries for another, has come to define our year, except that these persons did not find refuge at home. The technical term is internally displaced persons, a wordy and inelegant term. They suffered all the indignities of the year: hunger, joblessness, homelessness, insecurity, bigotry, elemental fury, disenfranchisement and death. In a year of suffering, they embodied the worst. For these reasons, The Nation editors have picked the Nigerian “refugee” is our person of the year.





EFUGEES, refugees everywhere – that is the story of Nigeria in 2012; and you would be amazed at the ‘democratisation’ of the victims, the spread of the suffering and the multiple direction of their panic fleeing. For starters, the commander-in-chief, chief symbol of state security, got banished from showboating the power and the glory of the Nigerian state, at Abuja’s Eagles Square, at important national occasions. Though President Jonathan loves to project power in military ceremonial garbs with the Field Marshal’s epaulette sitting on his big shoulders and a blaze of medals bedecking his broad chest, the wise president, in 2012, was content to limit his heroics to the closet at Aso Villa. Besides, as Boko Haram blasted Maiduguri, Nigeria’s terrorism capital, and sent murderous ripples through most of the North East states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi and Adamawa, the president stayed away from this vortex of trouble. This self-imposed ban and the dash from Eagle Square into Aso Rock closet on ceremonial days, are the making of His Excellency as a presidential refugee! But that was only the high end of the refugee crisis. At the low end, when the masses, sore, confused and angry at the abject failure of the state to protect them, the fleeing has been more abject, more confusing and more desperate – with many even fleeing to neighbouring countries. Between November 30 and December 5, according to a report in The Punch, which quoted a NAN report which itself quoted a UN newsletter,

By Olakunle Abimbola

the Nigerian Red Cross said some 1, 042 refugees, made up of 520 children and 306 women, had arrived at the Diffa region of Niger Republic, fleeing from Boko Haram violence in Nigeria. The refugees reportedly settled in the villages Guessere and Massa, 25 kilometres away from the Nigerian town of Diffa. Year 2012 ended as it started. In January, Boko Haram launched heavy bombs and gun attacks on Kano, with the police headquarters at its target. That attack claimed 150 lives. On Christmas Eve 2012, gunmen suspected to be Islamists attacked two churches during Christmas Eve services: First Baptist Church, Maiduguri, Borno State and another unnamed church in Firi village, near Potiskum, Yobe State, claiming 12 lives, including that of a pastor and a deacon, according to a report in The Nation of December 26. This attack echoed the one that presaged the horrible harvesting of death and limbs that 2012 would be; and the humongous refugee crises to result from those attacks: the horrendous Christmas Day 2011 bombings at Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madala, Niger State, which instantly transformed happy celebrants of Christmas mass into horrific body bags, that would make many Christmases to come anniversaries of grief, instead of the universal gaiety that Yuletide symbolises. No less than 29 worshippers perished in that attack. Boko Haram attacks on Christian shrines and worshippers came to a mad climax in June. Here is the tragic report, in the words of Human Rights Watch in its 96-page document, Spiralling Violence: Boko Haram Attacks and Security Force Abuses in Nigeria: “On three successive Sundays in June 2012, for example, suicide

bombers detonated explosives at church services in Bauchi, Bauchi State; Jos, Plateau State; and Zaira and Kaduna, Kaduna State – all locations of past episodes of intercommunal violence. The June 17 attacks on two churches in Zaria and two churches in Kaduna killed at least 21 people and set off several days of reprisal and counter-reprisal killings between Christians and Muslims, resulting in some 80 more deaths.” Aside from churches, university campuses were not left out of the orgy of violence. The Mubi, Adamawa State tragedy, in which gunmen massacred no less than 26 students of The Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, the Adamawa State University and the Adamawa School of Health Technology, all in the Wuro Fatuje off-campus hostels. The massacre reportedly started at around 10 pm on October 3, with Nigeria still celebrating its 52 nd




CHINUA ACHEBE The one who asked painful questions


independence anniversary. At the end, the casualty figures rose to no less that 40, according to unofficial sources. Neither were high-profile military and police targets: the church facility at the Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State (November 25), and gunmen storming the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Headquarters in Abuja (November 26); perhaps to underscore the impotence of the Nigerian state in the face of freewheeling terrorism. These church and campus attacks left refugees streaming south-ward, with many of the youth swearing to abandon their studies rather than go back to risk their lives. The Mubi attacks were

however not conclusively linked to Boko Haram. Indeed, in the first nine months of 2012, no less than 815 people had been killed from 275 attacks, according to the Human Rights Watch document already quoted. This number is more than half of the no less than 1, 500 casualty figure for three years: 2010, 2011 and 2012. At a period during this grim year, worst-hit governments in the South East of Nigeria often arranged transport to evacuate their indigenes from the troubled spots and also burials for victims of the attacks. The year 2012 has been Boko Haram’s bloodiest year, leading to the worst cases of internally displaced people in the country – a grim irony of Nigerians becoming refugees in their own country, w h i c h should be a natural refuge. The sad tale is, with the Federal Government’s t e p i d handling of the problem, t h e prospect does not appear better f o r 2013.

ROFESSOR Chinua Achebe’s life and career reflect the growth and development of Nigeria itself. Son of first-generation Christian converts, he grew up at the very crossroads of cultural change, when the novelty of western culture crystallised into a desirable way of life. As one of the brightest minds of his generation, he was at the core of that critical mass of intelligent and enlightened Nigerians who made observers so confident in the country’s prospects as an African superpower. And he certainly lived up to those lofty expectations. His Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, is widely accepted as the most influential African novel ever written: its delineation of the complex interactions between indigenous and foreign cultures has rarely been bettered. His reputation was cemented with the subsequent publication of novels like No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah, as well as several thoughtful essays which sought to explain his understanding of Africa and its culture. Given Achebe’s primary identity as an author, it is perhaps fitting that it is a book which has made him one of The Nation’s Men of the Year. There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, his memoir of the Nigerian Civil War, has stirred controversy, inflamed passions and whipped up sentiment to a degree unheard of in Nigerian writing. Like the book itself, Achebe’s choice of title is provocative. “There Was a Country” raises obvious questions.Was there a country? What animated it, gave it life and form? If “There Was a Country” in the past, “Is There a Country” now? What kind of country is it, particularly compared to the country that “was”? Achebe’s book revisits a crucial aspect of Nigerian history in an attempt to understand what happened, why it happened, and what its consequences are. What distinguishes his effort from others is the depth of feeling and the courage he brings to the topic. Ever since the last shot was fired, there has been a conspiracy of silence on all sides, a determined attempt to forget that the conflict ever happened. It was first seen in the pious mantra of “No Victor, No Vanquished” peddled by the Gowon administration and was entrenched in the complacent attitudes that quickly developed in reaction to it. In a country where it is far more profitable to ignore the past, There Was a Countryhas dragged Nigeria, kicking and screaming, back to a history it would prefer to forget. The ensuing debate, raucous and unmannerly though it has been, has compelled Nigerians to look more intensively at themselves than before. In a country where questions of justice and equity are often sub-

By Harry Olufunwa ordinated to the “turn-by-turn” ethos of Nigeria’s cake-sharing political process, Achebe’s book has compelled a new focus on fundamentals. The questions Nigerians now ask themselves are as terrible as they are necessary: To what extent did ethnic animosity and private ambition turn an avoidable conflict into an inevitable war? What does genocide mean? What is a war crime? How did the conflict affect the country and its people? While much of the discussion has degenerated into a heated argument over the actions of specific personalities and ethnicities, the book’s main thesis is incontrovertible: the fallout of Nigeria’s Civil War cannot be glossed over, or forgotten, or ignored, or wished away, or put aside. It is simply too significant to a coherent und e r standing of h o w N i geria is, who Nigeria n s a r e , a n d what they can be. The war speaks to the country’s skewed structure and the tensions that characterize relationships between its constituent ethnic groups. The manner in which it was prosecuted carries harsh lessons about the dire consequences of political and military overreach. Its lingering after-effects carry grim portents for Nigeria’s future stability. The simple truth is that no nation can overlook a conflict that resulted in between one and three million deaths, most of whom were non-combatants. The very enormity of the tragedy cries out for attention: far too many innocents on all sides died for their deaths to be in vain. If the Americans and the Spanish are looking into the causes and courses of older civil conflicts, there can be no reason why Nigeria should not do it. Hard truths will be told; guilt and innocence, culpability and exculpation, victory and defeat could become so intertwined as to be indistinguishable from one another. But the country will have made progress in the vital task of understanding itself, and will thus be the better for it. For asking hitherto-unanswered questions, for uttering the supposedly unmentionable, for demanding that Nigeria live up to its own noble ideals, Chinua Achebe is The Nation’s Third Runner-Up for Man of the Year, 2012





ANUARY 2012 spoke loud. It warned. In fact, it screamed about what the year portended. On January 1, the federal government announced more than a 100 per cent increase in the price of premium motor spirit (gasoline) and the nation went up in flames as protested took to the streets and the ship of state tottered on high seas. That was an early warning signal that the year would be turbulent and the newly elected government might have frittered away its popularity. It was also an indication that oil politics could threaten national stability. Although the protests that rocked almost all the major cities and towns petered out in weeks following the reduction of price from 140 to 97 Naira, confidence in the government remained shaken and the politics of oil production, the level of subsidy and its management as well as arresting graft and corruption in the sector remained in the public domain throughout the year. Government agencies and functionaries moved swiftly to avert danger to the tenure of the incumbent administration. Promises were made and bodies set up to calm frayed nerves. As the executive arm tried to get the people behind it, the federal legislature, too, attempted to seize on the momentum. The House of Representatives that held a special Sunday session to call on the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan-led government to capitulate on the increase on price of gasoline was seen as an ally of the people. It sought to build on that by setting up an ad hoc committee to probe the alleged shady deals in the industry. Who else could be trusted with the assignment but a four-term member of the House, an influential lawmaker who had managed to present himself as a messiah and patriot? Hon. Farouk Muhammad Lawan who led the battle for removal and replacement of Patricia Etteh as Speaker in 2007 was found the suitable candidate to handle the special and delicate assignment. His shrill voice had become familiar. During the division that pushed away Etteh from the




OF THE YEAR The OtedolaLawan storm

By Bolade Omonijo, Group Political editor exalted seat, Lawan, as leader of the Integrity Group, spoke for those canvassing restoration of probity. He is also known to be very adept at playing the politics of the House. No Speaker, it was believed, could survive without the Kano legislator’s support. So, he swung into action, holding sittings when it was convenient and inconvenient.

So confident was he about the task that he invited the television cameras and print journalists to cover proceedings, as is common with public hearings, the public and interested civil society groups were also invited. The revelations appeared to have justified the rationale behind setting up the committee. It was, for instance, brought to the fore that subsidy was being paid on 59 million litres of gasoline while the daily consumption was put at 35 million litres. Then, the question, what happened to the excess 24

million litres daily? How much did that amount to? Who approved payment and to whom? Who were those who genuinely brought refined PMS into the country? What should be done? Lawan and other members of the committee became instant heroes as they sat, deliberated, took decisions and made to write and present their report. Then, the controversy arose. A Lagos-based businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, arranged a quick one to nail Lawan. By his admission, on getting a wind that the committee would include his Zennon Oil as one of those to be sanctioned, he and Lawan had a rendezvous where it was decided that he only required $3 million dollars to pervert the cause of justice. Otedola insists that he only agreed because he needed hard evidence that the committee did not set out to do a thorough job but persecute honest fuel importers. He told a bewildered nation how he gave Lawan $500,000 and passed another $120,000 through the Clerk of the committee, Boniface Emenalo. Lawan admitted collecting the money, but said it was not a bribe. He described it as a sting operation involving the Department of State Security and said he was merely playing along. He, however, found it difficult to explain why it took him so long to report formally and make the evidence of the operation available until Otedola exposed the deal. He also could not explain why, first, Zennon was on the list of indicted companies, but then a spirited attempt was made on the floor of the House at presentation of the report to get it expunged. If Otedola actually paid him to get off the hook, and the deed was done on the floor of the House, was that part of the sting operation? Was it in line with the decision to play along? Besides, when asked why he did not report to the leadership of the House that gave him the assignment, Lawan said he wrote to the chairman of the Drugs/Narcotics and Financial Crimes Committee, Adams Jagaba. When grilled by relevant agencies, Jagaba denied receiving money, letter or report from Lawan. Continued on Page 25

Nuhu Ribadu – Hope Alive By Segun Ayobolu


UESDAY, the 7th of February, 2012, was no doubt a significant date in the still evolving public service career of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the Adamawa state born police officer, lawyer and administrator, who had come into national public consciousness as the no-nonsense Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) during the tempestuous Olusegun Obasanjo presidency. That day Ribadu was announced by the Goodluck Jonathan presidency as the Chairman of a 21-man Petroleum Revenue Special

Task Force to help investigate, expose and propose reforms to sanitize the corruption-ridden petroleum sector. The appointment and Ribadu’s apparent acceptance evoked diverse, mostly negative, reactions. The country was in a foul mood. The Jonathan administration’s abrupt removal of a purported fuel subsidy on New Year day had evoked vehement nationwide protests that virtually grounded the economy for a week. A humbled administration, that had insisted that the elimination of the controversial subsidy was imperative to avoid a collapse of the economy, was forced to reduce the pump price of fuel from N120 to N97 per litre. Massive fraud running into billions of Naira was subsequently revealed by a public probe by the House of Representatives of the fuel subsidy regime. The setting up of the Ribadu and two other panels by the presidency was widely seen as a face saving measure. Were Ribadu’s formidable anti-corruption credentials and credibility available to be exploited by an administration perceived as being pathetically weak on transparency and integrity? That was the dominant impression. As Chairman of the EFCC, the fear of Ribadu was the beginning of wisdom for public office holders. He brought uncommon passion to the challenge of ridding the country of crippling graft. Yes, he had his vehement critics: the EFCC under him was allegedly protective of the incumbent administration’s friends while fiercely pursuing its perceived opponents; its administration was seen as unduly built around his personality and it routinely violated the rule of law while

seeking corrupt officials to book at all costs. Even then, the EFCC was generally perceived as making significant strides forward in the anti-corruption war under Ribadu. With the advent of the late Umaru YarÁdua administration, Ribadu was demoted from his subsistent rank as a police officer, harassed, victimized and ultimately removed as EFCC Chairman. Corruption, he said, was fighting back. He eventually fled the country for his safety but re-emerged in the public sphere to contest the presidency on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 election. Why would he then agree to serve on a committee set up by a now vastly unpopular President Jonathan to whom he had lost in the presidential contest? Had Ribadu decided to compromise and join the system? At the inauguration of the committee on February 28, 2012, Nuhu Ribadu was vehement in asserting his determination to ensure its terms of reference, which included determining and verifying all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues payable to the Federal Government as well as taking all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owed the government, were scrupulously pursued to clean up the sector in the national interest. He apparently characteristically led the committee in vigorously and selflessly pursuing this objective. The result was the confirmation by the committee of the massive fiscal haemorrhaging of the petroleum sector into private pockets to the detriment of the Nigerian people. But so damning were the exposures of the Ribadu committee report and so far reaching its redemptive recommendations that vested interests were desperate to keep it out of circulation. It took the publication of its contents in the International News Agency, Reuters, for the government to give an urgent date for its public submission to President Jonathan. In his usual blunt

manner, Ribadu did not deny to the press that the report earlier published by Reuters was authentic. Talk of courage. However, not every member of the committee was on the same page with Ribadu in pursuit of its mission; certainly not its Deputy Chairman, Mr. Steve Oransanye, a former Head of Service. Right in the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Oransanye created an embarrassing scene during the formal submission of the report querying the procedures and conclusions of the committee. Yet, he produced no minority report. It further turned out that both Mr. Oransanye and another dissenting member, Bernard Oti, had been appointed to the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the course of the committee’s work and hardly attended its meetings. Furthermore, the integrity of the committee’s work was strengthened by its honestly providing a margin of error and urging the government to further verify and confirm the accuracy of its data. The presidency confirmed its negative disposition to the report when the Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, descended into the arena and dismissed it as shoddy without any compelling facts or logic. This shows that the Ribadu Committee worked under tremendous pressure and exhibited considerable courage in exposing the truth. For providing integrity, credibility, patriotism and commitment in leadership in undertaking this national assignment and refusing to be used by venal interests, Nuhu Ribadu is this newspaper’s runner up as ‘Man of the Year’ for 2012. With his example, hope remains alive for Nigeria despite the current despondency.




Aliko Dangote: Nigeria’s Business Generalissimo

At 55, Aliko Dangote, the President of the Dangote Group bestrides the business environment like a colossus. Just mention the sector, sugar, cement, household consumables, name it, he is there. He’s grown beyond the nation’s shores. Africa, even the continent, is gradually coming under his heels, writes SIMEON EBULU, Deputy Business Editor


N 1996, or thereabout, Nigeria was said to have re-

alised $12 billion from oil as revenue. That same year, Dell Computers, a US firm, was equally reported to have sold computers worth the same amount. Just one firm’s yearly sales, almost matching the nation’s total revenue. In 2012, just about 16 years down the lane, one man, a Nigerian, is adjudged to have a net worth in excess of $12 billion, an equivalent of what a whole nation, the so-called giant of Africa, feasted on less than two decades ago. He is Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man. No wonder President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan aptly conferred on him the second highest honour in the land, the enviable Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), normally reserved for the Vice President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria and The Senate President.

How Dangote became the richest men in Africa, (ask Forbes Magazine if in doubt) and Nigeria’s industrial generalissimo, is a shady in itself. It brings to the fore the argument that Nigeria’s worth and greatness is not in its crude oil, but in its human resources - the people of which Dangote is an example per excellence. You may not agree, but he is to Nigeria what Henry Ford and the Bill Gates are to the United States of America. What Bill and Ford are two America in Computers and automobiles, is what Dangote is to Nigeria in Cement. And its not just that alone, What about sugar and several other household consumables in which he has etched his name in gold.! The Beginning Let us begin from the beginning, because many would think he stumbled on his wealth. No he didn’t, he built it, and that right early in life. The 76th richest man in the

world, and Africa’s first, took interest in business at an early age. Hear him: “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.” After his graduation from AL Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he read business, he worked for his uncle, Sanusi Abdulkadir Dantata. It was probably from Dantata that Aliko got his break, having obtained a loan of N500,000 from him when he turned 21 years in 1978. The Dangote Group What is today known as the Dangote Group started as a trading outfit about 35 years ago. Like the proverbial mustard seed, it has blossomed and is now the biggest of all the trees in the fray. The conglomerate is a multi-trillion naira empire today. It’s into food processing, cement manufacturing, freight, telecoms and a wide range of other ancillary businesses.

The group dominates the sugar market in Nigeria. It is the major sugar supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries and confectioners. It has moved from being a trading company, to Nigeria’s largest industrial entity. Dangote’s 360 degrees turnaround from being an importer to a full scale manufacturer, is in itself a wonder. He could only have been driven, or propelled by an innate force. Only Dangote can tell what is driving him- patriotism, nationalistic fervor, or profit motive. Whatever it is, the man has made a huge success of it all. Let’s examine it, precept by precept. Dangote Cement Dangote has been a mixplayer in the sector. He was a major importer of cement until he settled wholly to full scale production. He is not just a national player, he is a continental, nay, global manufacturer. The Company operates the Obajana Cement Plant, the larg-

est cement plant in sub-Saharan Africa. Obajana represents the single largest cement plant in Africa, with a capacity of 5.2 million metric tonnes per annum. It has an additional installed capacity of over 5 million metric tonnes per annum. It is fitted with Vertical roller mills for energy, efficient grinding of raw material and clinker. The plant comes complete with a gas pipeline of approximately. 90 km length for the supply of natural gas from Ajaokuta to the cement plant and to power its plan. There is also a power plant of 135 MW capacity that can be powered by gas or automotive gas oil (AGO). Aggressive growth plans target a strong pan-African presence, as Dangote Cement evolves to become a truly multi-national corporation. Besides Obajana, the Group has two other thriving cement plants at Ibese, Ogun State and Gboko, in Benue State. It is to Nigeria’s pride that we have Dangote cement in about 14 nations across Africa. Among them are Senegal, Zambia, South Africa, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Cameroun, Tanzania, with operating plants, and four others, including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia where he established terminals. Partnership with Bank of Industry In the course of the year, Aliko Dangote made available N2.5 billion to the Bank of Industry in a partnership arrangement designed to create about one million jobs. To be executed under the DANGOTE Foundation and Bank of Industry, the partnership involved the setting up of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), with N5 billion initial fund to create not less than one million direct jobs. This is in addition to the several thousand direct and indirect employment that his factories have offered Nigerians across the length and breath of the nation. Philanthropist Dangote’s appointment as the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and his apt donation of $15.8 million (N2.5billion) to the relief effort, is a clear testimony and demonstration of his commitment to relieving the pains of others. As he rightly declared, “We should give while we are alive and also when we are young and capable.. Sometimes, we need to have the genuine experience of deprivation and poverty in order to appreciate the need to be our brother’s keeper.” He is also actively engaged in the fight against polio in Kano State in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation For Dangote, the beat goes on. Wouldn’t you join the dance! He is the businessman of the year.





OW best can the just ended year 2012 be described if not that of the nation’s annus horribilis, the year of horrors when the tempest and torrents descended? The revulsion of waters could not have been a consequence of the wrath of God, being a global phenomenon, but the fury of nature that led to flooding and submerging of most parts of the country. Perhaps, it would not be litotes to say that the country was drowning in the year that could easily pass for an epoch of displacements. The consequences: Hundreds of thousands were displaced in all the geographical zones of the country. Victims became refugees in their habitats, sometimes ancestral lands; billions of naira lost to destruction of farmlands, properties and the disruptions of economic activities; more unimaginable was the loss of several lives of people to the raging floods that unexpectedly ravaged the nation. The chronology of the lethal flood of meanness across the states says it all about the level of witnessed ruination. To start wit: Benue State was intensely devastated by flood in 2012. The River Benue overflowed its banks while residences and other structures and farmlands within close radius of the River and beyond were destroyed. In areas such as KatsinaAla, Makurdi, Otukpo, Agatu, Kucha Otebe, Gyado Villa, brick factories in Wadata, over 10,000 houses, business places, huts and farmlands were reportedly destroyed or submerged by the raging flood. Thousands of people were displaced and were given temporary succour

2012: Year of flood

By Mobolaji Sanusi

in camps set up by government. The Benue State University and the newly constructed Benue University Teaching Hospital and the corporate headquarters of state-owned transportation company, Benue Links Nigeria, were not spared. Cross River state was one of the most affected flood-ridden states in 2012. Not less than 79, 000 people were displaced by natural disasters in the course of the year. Out of the 79,000, more than 49, 918 were displaced as a result of the release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. The flood in Cross River state reportedly affected 178 communities, killed 11 persons and destroyed 15 churches, 13 schools and 18

markets. The worst hit was Biase Local Government Area where 18 communities were made desolate; while 11 persons drowned, eight churches, six schools and nine markets destroyed. At Umon Island in Biase, a seven-year-old girl was killed, three declared missing while two were taken to hospital where they were receiving treatments following an overflow of the Cross River that swept away the community. In Edo state, not less than 500,000 persons are now refugees in their home land due to flooding arising from the overflow of the River Niger. The ravaging flood took over 20 communities just as it destroyed farmlands, buildings and other valuable properties in the process. Indeed, what a year

of flood horror? The flood that occurred in Niger state in 2012 led to the loss of 49 lives with 117 communities displaced and not less than 663,000 remotely or directly affected. The effect was devastating because of the heavy rainfall that was complemented by excess water released from the three hydro-electricity Dams of Shiroro, Jebba and Kainji during the course of the year. The root cause of flood displacement in Kwara state was the water from Rivers Niger and Kaduna and was further compounded by heavy rainfall and the overflow of Jebba dam. More devastating was the report during the year that residents of more than 86 communities were displaced while, in 16 communities, one million

hectares of rice and maize farmlands were completely submerged by the ravaging floods from both rivers. Among the affected communities were KpataGbaradogi, Gunji-Saaci, Gbafun, Gakpan, Vuma, Esungi and Mawogi among others. The worth of the damage caused by the flood in Kwara was estimated to be not less than N300 million. Delta state was not spared the wrath of nature as flood wrecked serious havoc on some areas and inhabitants, including their properties. Not less than three persons, including a royal father who drowned during evacuation, were reported to have died. Also, over 300,000 persons were rendered homeless in 220 communities in the state in

The other displaced Nigerians I T took the angry burst of flood waters and havoc it wreaked to draw attention to the plight of fellow citizens in distress. However, it seems unlikely that the story of one Olubiyi Odunaro would draw attention to the fate of the other tribe of displaced citizens –the victims of the financial services sector restructuring that has endured for more than half of the past decade. The Odunaro story, obviously typifies the tales of the thousands left in the lurch in the aftermath of the banking reforms. His story started when his bank, Hallmark Bank failed to scale the recapitalisation hurdle. By December 2005 when the regulators drew curtains on the banking consolidation exercise, the likes of Odunaro would discover that a career carefully built over the years had gone up like a smoke. First was the shock from the loss of a job; then followed the realisation that the bank which promised him security at the end of his tenure was in no position to settle his entitlements. Like an orphan, he found himself abandoned by the regulator that had no contingency plans in place to offer him succour. At the time of his disengagement, he was already a senior manager. Of course, this is 2012. Six years after, the mess seems far from cleared. That perhaps explains why on October 24, Odunaro

By Sanya Oni

would fire a memo to President Jonathan to intimate him of his plight. His memo was to convey his decision to embark on hunger strike should the concerned agencies of government fail to settle his claims – as indeed those of the hordes of disengaged staff of the banks. He gave the number of the banks and the individuals involved as 14 and 14,000 respectively with a deadline of October 31 for the President to act. As it turned out, nothing happened. On November 12, he made good his threat. He secured a place along the busy Mobolaji Bank Anthony highway in Lagos, and with a camp bed in tow, he converted the place to a temporary residence – until the Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, stepped in with a promise to take the matter up with the authorities. It was after then that he agreed to shelve the hunger strike to return home. By this time, he had spent two weeks. The case of ex-staffer of Afribank would seem far less dramatic although the substance of their claim is in every respect, similar. In the latter case, at issue was the instrument of transfer which ceded all deposit liabilities, certain other liabilities and all assets of their bank, Afribank, to a new entity, renamed Mainstreet Bank. The workers claimed that the managers of the new entity dealt them a bad card when they excluded the pension liabilities and gratuities

of their former entity in the instrument of transfer. The workers, many of whom had spent decades with the defunct bank, found themselves in a limbo. First, they were they told that their employment had ended – since their bank was now defunct. Worse however is that their expectation of a just severance package would be similarly dashed; the new employers offered them a paltry one month salary in lieu of notice! The same fate will also befell the 140 sacked workers of Enterprise Bank formerly Spring Bank. On August 17, it was the turn of the latter to embark on strike to protest what they considered as their unlawful sack. But then, the bank workers are hardly the only endangered Nigerian specie. Among the throng are the victims of failed economic policies, the by-products of the unrelenting wave of de-industrialisation that has been ravaging the economy – an economy that has failed to lift despite claims of outlandish growth. Orphaned by the endless structural adjustments and reforms that have produced more misery than meaningful growth, they wait in vain for social security safety net to ease their pains. For being stoic in the face of tribulations, they certainly earned their place among those in contention for our Man of the Year 2012.

the most recent sea surge in 2012. That year’s flood is unprecedented as it was also largely caused by the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. Bayelsa state witnessed flood that was reportedly unprecedented in the last 50 years. The flood led to destruction of inhabitants’ means of livelihood of fishing and farmland. Also, schools were temporarily shut down in the flood communities were due to the enormous volume of water that nearly submerged the entire state, leaving thousands of Bayelsans displaced in its wake. Kogi state, especially Lokoja, its capital, witnessed severe consequences of flood that led to the destruction of lives and property. Thousands of people were equally displaced as most affected inhabitants still live in refugee camps set up by government and donor agencies. As at the turn of the year, the recorded total number of deaths in the relief camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had risen to 20. Two of the victims from the worst hit area of Ibaji Local Government Area reportedly committed suicide having been frustrated by the heavy losses they incurred. Not less than 30,000 victims are in the camps by the end of the year. In Lagos state, the heavy rainfall of mid2012 caused flooding that led to gridlock on major roads. But the government of the state was quite responsive in tackling the flood before it went off the track. In Ibadan, Oyo state capital, flooding in mid-2012 caused some residents at Challenge, Oke-Ayo, and Eleyele to flee from their residences. The flooding caused the caving-in of some bridges too. In Plateau state, not less than 39 people were killed; over 3,000 became homeless while 35 were declared missing due to flooding in Jos, its capital. Heavy rainfall caused the Lamingo dam to overflow near Jos, sweeping across a number of neighbourhoods. It was reported that over 200 homes were submerged. Without equivocation, the above have shown that flood stood out in 2012, albeit for the wrong reason. The menace disobeyed geographical delineation and made serious mockery of planning by reminding us all that its fury could be perilous not only to Nigeria but the entire world.




ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR Dapo Oyebanjo aka D’banj R

ISING from a controversial situation late last year when he was being accused by Nigerian youths for supporting the campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan, animosity grew in some quarters for self-styled Nigerian music super star, Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo (popularly known as D’banj ), when in January, 2012 he was not at the Ojota protest ground, during the agitation against the increase in fuel pump price in which most Nigerian artistes actively participated. It was not long that the much-rumoured discord between the artiste and his partner on the Mo’hits Record label was confirmed – on March 17, 2012, Michael Collins (Don Jazzy) broke the silence when he announced on social media that it was truly over between him and his partner of several years. But D’banj had already signed a deal with American superstar’s Kanye West’s G.O.O.D music, thus he found ‘shelter’ between South Africa, UK and the US where he was cooling off from nagging phone calls and disturbing thoughts of separation back home, when suddenly, ‘Oliver Twist’ single began blaring from international radio channels. That was the beginning of renewed hope for a man who was struggling to break new grounds alone. Soon, he found his voice and was able to tell his side of the story on the splitting of the biggest and most successful music label in Nigeria - Mo’hits - and the rumour of his alleged involvement with the illuminati cult. After his former partner, Don Jazzy, floated a music label which he called Mavin Records, D’banj was among the first set of people to send a congratulatory

message. Not long after, he too unveiled his music label which he called DB Records. Soon, his fanbase as a solo artiste began to rebuild. Along the success line, the former Mo’hit’s co honcho also signed young pop singer Davido unto a Def Jam Africa label where

he is said to be president. If Shazam’s aggregated results based on iTunes pre-release sales in May this year is anything to go by, the UK remix of the ‘Oliver Twist’ climbed to the top of the UK Pre Release Urban and Dance Chart, beating out Usher, Cheryl

Cole, Jennifer Lopez and The Wanted to number 1. This feat followed the premiere of this hit single in the UK on Sunday, May 13, 2012 and within a week, the song, an up-tempo dance fusion of Afro-Beats and electronic dance music, also made it to number nine in the UK Top 10 National Charts. Wikipedia describes the artiste as one that is “currently best known internationally for his 2012 summer hit “Oliver Twist”, which topped the African charts 2011 and was a top 10 hit in the UK singles chart in 2012 reaching number 2 on the UK R&B chart.” To this end, ‘Oliver Twist’ has been nominated in four categories at the 2012 World Music Awards, the highest nomination by any Nigerian artiste. The song is in the Best African Act, Best Music Video, Best Song of the Year and Best World Artiste categories at the ceremonies which held in Miami, Florida. It would be recalled that on November 17, 2012, the 9th annual Channel O Music Video Awards in Soweto, South Africa, also celebrated D’banj in outstanding categories when he clinched the Most Gifted Video of the Year award and Most Gifted Male Video through ‘Oliver Twist’. The Koko master as he is fondly called also won this year’s Music of Black Origin MOBO award. He overcame stiff competition from pop heavy weights P-Square and other top African acts including SpoekMathambo, FallyIpupa, Sarkodie and Cabo Snoop. Flashback to June 23, 2012, D’banj had a unique moment, performing at the Hackney weekend to celebrate the London Olympics which was headlined by JayZ and Rihanna. He also did a show alongside his friend and fellow Universal Music Group label mate Rita Ora on 30th August, 2012 at the SCALA London Live Music, Clubs and Arts Venue to celebrate the re-

lease of Ora’s debut album. The 32-year-old entertainer started off playing the harmonica. He has won several music awards, including the awards for Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2007. He was also the Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2009 and BET Awards of 2011 for Best International Act to have come from Africa. In summary, D’banj in 2012 has defined what it takes to be a total artiste, beating off competition from rivals and friends to achieve the following: 1. Signing with three different record labels (G.O.O.D Music/Def Jam in the US, Mercury/ Def Jam in the UK and RCA/ SONY in Africa) 2. Working with and featuring on Kanye West’s Cruel Summer compilation album which has already been nominated for a Grammy. 3. Winning the MOBO Award for ‘Best African Act’. 4. Receiving four huge nominations at the World Music Awards where he will also perform in front of thousands and millions at home via telecast 5. Launching his label DB Records and signing two producers - J Sleek and Deevee, and two acts KaySwitch and J Sol 6. Staging a concert put together by his production team DKM Media. The fact that D’banj’s music has enjoyed far-reaching exposure is an indication of extensive reckoning by the world music industry, with not just an African act, but also one of Nigerian descent. For widening the borderline of Nigeria on the international map through his scorecard as an entertainer in 2012, the artiste is picked as The Nation’s Entertainer of the year.

CONTROVERSY OF THE YEAR: The Otedola-Lawan storm Continued from Page 22 For as long as it raged, the controversy seized the airwaves and dominated the front pages of the newspapers. It also generated heated debates in informed circles. Questions were asked about possible involvement of the House leadership, especially how Lawan easily got the members to acquiesce to clearing Zennon Oil and Gas. It was even found ridiculous that, following the Otedola expose, the House reversed its early stand and included the company as an indicted firm. About six months after the report was submitted and the scandal broke out, no concrete action has been taken by law enforcement agencies to fish out the culprit and get him punished according to the laws of the land. Beyond the invitation by the Police that got the lawmaker detained for three days and his suspension from office as chairman of the education and the ad hoc com-

mittees. Concerned about insinuations about complicity by its leaders, the House referred the issue to its ethics and privileges committee. That only generated furore again as, contrary to the promise to hold its sitting in the open, the committee reneged and slammed the door shut against the prying attention of the media. And, at its first sitting to which Otedola was invited, the businessman’s refusal to testify in private only infuriated the chairman, Hon. Gambo Musa, who described Otedola as stupid. He praised Lawan for cooperating with the committee. That, again, was enough to raise posers on the integrity of the committee members who were allegedly acting out as script handed it. The committee consequently cleared Lawan of any wrongdoing. So, who is guilty? What happened to national wealth allegedly frittered away by oil scammers? What became of the money voted for the committee’s sittings and investigations? Why are the Police, SSS and EFCC silent on the issues

involved? The Lawan-Otedola scandal controversy was not the only one that rocked the country in 2012. There was another involving a presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe. The Benue State government alleged that he was involved in a contract scam in the state. During the George Akume administration, Dr. Okupe who was then a media aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo was said to have, through his company, Value Trust Investment Limited, obtained a N2.3 billion roads construction contract. Awarded in April 2004, the contract, according to the state government, was to construct and rehabilitate 230 kilometres of rural roads within 18 months. However, after obtaining N886.8 million, he was said to have abandoned the project and fled the state. The government had dragged the presidential spokesman to the EFCC and the matter had been reportedly referred to the commission’s legal department for legal advice before the second coming of the ebullient doctorpolitician to the presidency was an-

nounced. Politicians quickly joined the fray. The Action Congress of Nigeria said Okupe ought to have been relieved of his appointment immediately the allegations surfaced. The party also suggested that the ruling party at the centre, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was shielding the publicist. But, the PDP fired back, saying it had invited Okupe and realised that he was not guilty as charged. On his part, Okupe said the state government breached agreement as it failed to approve a proposal for variation that was necessitated by the cost of inputs. He however was unable to explain why a contract awarded in April 2004 for 18 months dragged on to April 2007 when he asked for a variation. Besides, there was another allegation that he similarly obtained a N1.5 billion contract from the Imo State government which he was equally said to have abandoned. Questions have been asked whether his companies had road construction experience before he was awarded the contracts. It is

another controversy that has refused to die. There were others. The shouting match between Ms Arumah Otteh, director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Hon. Herman Hembe in the House of Representatives caused a stir. The Director General whose activities were being probed fired back at the lawmakers, especially Hembe alleging that she was being which-hunted for a refusal to part with bribe. Like the others, the matter merely remains a controversy. The absolute truth is unknown. The controversy over the will left by the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu raged in the last quarter of the year when it was made public. The discovery of a love child and his decision to leave out his look-alike son, Debe, has only kicked off a dust that has refused to settle. His wife, Bianca Onoh, was bequeathed a large chunk of the inheritance and it provoked a




TIME 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama T

WENTY-SEVEN years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn’t amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor of the Fairmont Millennium Park hotel as flat screens announced his re-election as President of the United States. The networks called Ohio earlier than predicted, so his aides had to hightail it down the hall to join his family and friends. They encountered a room of high fives and fist pumps, hugs and relief. The final days of any campaign can alter the psyches of even the most experienced political pros. At some point, there is nothing to do but wait. Members of Obama’s team responded in the only rational way available to them — by acting irrationally. They turned neckties into magic charms and facial hair into a talisman and compulsively repeated past behaviors so as not to jinx what seemed to be working. In Boca Raton, Fla., before the last debate, they dispatched advance staff to find a greasy-spoon diner because they had eaten at a similar joint before the second debate, on New York’s Long Island. They sent senior strategist David Axelrod a photograph of the tie he had to find to wear on election night: the same one he wore in 2008. Several staffers on Air Force One stopped shaving, like big-league hitters in the playoffs. Even the President succumbed, playing basketball on Election Day at the same court he played on before winning in 2008. But now it was done, and reason had returned. Ever since the campaign computers started raising the odds of victory from near even to something like surefire, Obama had been thinking a lot about what it meant to win without the lightning-in-a-bottle quality of that first national campaign. The Obama effect was not ephemeral anymore, no longer reducible to what had once been mocked as “that hopeychangey stuff.” It could be meas-

By Michael Scherer ured — in wars stopped and started; industries saved, restructured or reregulated; tax cuts extended; debt levels inflated; terrorists killed; the health-insurance system reimagined; and gay service members who could walk in uniform with their partners. It could be seen in the new faces who waited hours to vote and in the new ways campaigns are run. America debated and decided this year: history would not record Obama’s presidency as a fluke. So after his staff arrived, he left his family in the main room of the suite and stepped out to talk with his three top advisers, Axelrod, political strategist David Plouffe and Jim Messina, his campaign manager. He wanted to tell them what this victory meant, because it was very different the second time. “This one’s more satisfying than ’08,” he said. “It wasn’t just about what I was going to do as President. It’s what I’ve done.” In the end, the outcome would not even be very close, and this realization was sinking in, unleashing something, dropping a shield he had been carrying for a long time. Over three days in November, the man known for his preternatural cool won re-election and cried twice in public. And then, trying to find meaning in a tragedy in Connecticut, he did it again, all but breaking down in the White House Briefing Room. In mid-December, as Obama settles into one of the Oval Office’s reupholstered chairs — brown leather instead of Bush’s blue and gold candy stripes — the validation of Election Day still hovers around him, suggesting that his second four years in office may turn out to be quite different from his first. Beyond the Oval Office, overwhelming challenges remain: deadlocked fiscal-cliff talks; a Federal Reserve that predicts years of high unemployment; and more unrest in places like Athens, Cairo and Damascus. But the President seems unbound and gives inklings of an ambition he has kept in check ever since he arrived at the White House to find a nation in crisis. He leans back, tea at his side, legs crossed, to explain what he thinks just happened. “It was easy to think that maybe 2008 was the anomaly,” he says. “And I think 2012 was an indication that, no, this is not an anomaly. We’ve

gone through a very difficult time. The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this President we elected is imperfect. And yet despite all that, this is who we want to be.” He smiles. “That’s a good thing.” Two years ago, Republicans liked to say that the only hard thing Obama ever did right was beating Hillary Clinton in the primary, and in electoral terms, there was some truth to that. In 2012 the GOP hoped to cast him as an inspiring guy who was not up to the job. But now we know the difference between the wish and the thing, the hype and the man in the office. He stands somewhat shorter, having won 4 million fewer votes and two fewer states than in 2008. But his 5 million-vote margin of victory out of 129 million ballots cast shocked experts in both parties, and it probably would have been higher had so much of New York and New Jersey not stayed home after Hurricane Sandy. He won many of the toughest battlegrounds walking away: Virginia by 4 points, Colorado by 5 and the lily white states of Iowa and New Hampshire by 6. He untied Ohio’s knotty heartland politics, picked the Republican lock on Florida Cubans and won Paul

Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. (Those last two data points especially caught the President’s interest.) He will take the oath on Jan. 20 as the first Democrat in more than 75 years to get a majority of the popular vote twice. Only five other Presidents have done that in all of U.S. history. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest by far are the nation’s changing demographics and Obama’s unique ability to capitalize on them. When his name is on the ballot, the next America — a younger, more diverse America — turns out at the polls. In 2008, blacks voted at the same rate as whites for the first time in history, and Latinos broke turnout records. The early numbers suggest that both groups did it again in 2012, even in nonbattleground states, where the Obama forces were far less organized. When minorities vote, that means young people do too, because the next America is far more diverse than the last. And when all that happens, Obama wins. He got 71% of Latinos, 93% of blacks, 73% of Asians and 60% of those under 30. That last number is the one Obama revels in most. When he talks about the campaign, he likes to think about the generational shift

the country is going through on topics like gay marriage — an issue on which he lagged, only to reverse himself last spring. He connects it to the optimism he felt as a young man, the same thing he always talks about with staff in the limo or on the plane after visits with campaign volunteers. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” reads one of the quotes stitched into his new Oval Office rug — an old abolitionist cry that Martin Luther King Jr. repurposed while marching on Selma, Ala. Obama believes in that, and he believes he is more than just a bit player in the transition. “I do think that my eight years as President, reflecting those values and giving voice to those values, help to validate or solidify that transformation,” he says, “and I think that’s a good thing for the country.” Few experts predicted two years ago that Obama would be busy writing his second Inaugural Address. Pre-election polling showed depressed enthusiasm among young people and Latinos, for example, amid soaring interest among white evangelicals and the elderly. But the poll questions did not account for Obama’s secret weapon: the people who don’t much care for politics. A sizable


Fashion is not a career for d r a w d E n a o J s e t illitera

–Page 43


What trends do you see becoming big in 2013? For Tessy Jibodu of Zaris Fashion Academy 2013 is going to be an exciting year for the fashion industry. ‘We will be seeing a lot of glitters in fabrics and accessories, Peplums too are out with 90s pointy with metallic details, to mention a few’ she said Ifeyinwa Shekinah Odo of house of MISIANO said local fabrics like Ankara, Tie and Dye (adire), and french lace to mention but a few are the fabric s to watch out for in 2013. She said “watch out for more lace, Ankara prints with blings, floaty fabrics like chiffon& silk, soft organza& jersey, vintage velvet, floral& duchess satin, dry and floral cotton” According to her all these fabrics are going to be use for designing red carpet and casual wears in 2013. “What people wear in the last quarter of 2012 will determine the fashion trend for January. There will be some changes in the first quarter of the year, new styles would emerge. Ankara sun dresses, damask jackets/blazers on jeans, Ankara gypsy dresses with sun hat, roomy tunics on pants and lots of Ankara jump shorts and jumpsuits with wide brim sun hats; and a bit of vintage inspired designs, little lace dresses...these are styles that you should watch out for and they will rock 2013 like fire” It is certain that fashion designers will experiment

Glamour with new designs judging by what happened last year, where lots of fabrics of different hues and pattern were experimented. Fashion is never stagnant! In the area of men’s fashion, it is going to be more of striped linen fabrics, guinea brocade, Ankara, kente, lots of lace without holes and customized jackets. The female fashion is certainly going to be dominated by little dresses (baby doll dresses), smartly sown skirts and tops, Victorian gowns, tank tops, smart handbags and fashion accessories sown with Ankara Fabrics. Ankara will still be the king even though it would continue to be mixed with other fabrics. The projection of the FADAN president Prince Akanni Oyetusi of Noble Afrik for the year is similar to that of Trend. According to him 2013 will be an interesting year for the fashion industry. The weather and the environment would be a major determinant of what the 2013 fashion trend would look like. “Indigenous fabrics have come to stay. Today, we find out that at events, social and parties and international runways, local fabrics are the order of the day. And the acceptance is spreading daily when compared to some years back when they were seen as the fabric for the downtrodden,” he said. In textiles watch as lace and mesh make a comeback!

*Mesh and lace fabric dresses gained more popularity both on the runway and off the stage. So, they are going to be more visible in 2013. *Floral, animal and pastel prints will surely come back with a bang. *Handbags will certainly get bigger and clutch purses will get trendier and longer in width. *Craze for embellished accessories: Like it was the case last year, 2013 is going to be year where almost all fashion stuff and home decor items will be embellished with colourful beads, stones, sequins, metals and beads. *Like it was last year, 2013 is going to be another year of tiny waist cincher (belts) *LBD, one-shoulder, strapless dress will surely be visible *Heelless wedge, pumps, embellished sandals/slippers, ballets, clog, ankle boots. While trainers, canvass and fewer loafers are also something to look out for *Suit will get more stylish *Ankara bags and shoes will be on the rampage! *For women’s evening wear, puzzle-style dresses as well as those with darker and bigger floral patterns will also emerge. Also, dresses with lower backs may be more pronounced for that sexier look. *Men’s outfit will veer towards the conservative side

•Ankara bag

•Beverly Naya

•Millen •Plus size trendy hip peplum skirt •Biodun Okeowo •Kate Henshaw





The hot lipsticks tint for 2013 * Sweet Fantasy - sweet candy coated colours *Autumn leaves - sensuous romantic Burgundy’s, purples and lavenders *Metallica - lustrous gilded colours in baroque, amber and whiskey * New basics - denim and grey

•MAC strength collection spring 2013 lipsticks

•Susan Peter •Chika Ike

•Ify Ejikeme

•Bisi Ibidapo Obe

Hot colour trend for 2013 T

HE colour forecast for 2013 reveals new colours that soothe, renew and even surprise. They are glorious vibrant jewel colours ; we will see them all, emerald, ruby, teal blue, coral, peacock blue, shiny silver, buttery golden yellows, deep oranges, navy and turquoise, all supported by the use of gold, luscious thick creamy creams, ivory and warm white. Warmth, texture, layers, opulence and luxury is key for 2013 and beyond with an Egyptian theme of blues, green and gold’s emerging. Enchantingly glossy cream, peach, chocolate, ox-blood, wine and energetic black are the other colours to look out for. The year will see a wonderful mix of •Color trends spring

•Nike Oshinowo Soleye •Crepe satin

gaiety and colour in what we wear and in our homes. In all, fashion has become more of an individual thing. 2013 should be all about working on what is in your wardrobe, buying new ones, mixing and matching different style pieces to achieve a unique style; and while you do this, remember, fashion is always moving and evolving in an unpredictable way. Metallic colours like gold and silver are expected to dominate the fashion industry this year. Dark and military colours like cream and brown will also be the in thing. Black, white and neutral combinations are most welcome to give that warm feeling.




2012...what a year!

H O would h a v e thought 2012 would be the roller-coaster ride that it turned out to be? From the rise in cases of rape and domestic violence which led to the death of Titilayo Arowolo and O g o c h u k w u Onuchukwu, to the reckless subsidy move made by the President and his female ministers on the 1st of January causing naked women to protest on streets across the nation. For the average Nigerian woman, this year has been a defining period. A period that has given the word 'hope' a new meaning and steeled our resolve to survive and succeed against all odds in a country struggling to hold its peace. A wise woman once told me, “To be a female journalist, you must know how to eat raw meat at the table of sharks.” Time has proven this true, just as it has proven that it is possible to excel as a career woman, daughter and wife. In many professions often classified as the exclusive preserve of men, it is a constant swim against the tide for the female gender. Many times, most women are forced to throw in the towel too soon and bow to societal pressure. Others, a select few, have dug in their heels, rolled up their sleeves and made commitments to strive for victory in the face of mountainous challenges. And girl, did they win! Thankfully, some of these women have shared their secrets with us. As we pull the curtain on 2012, we will be reviewing some of the people and events which inspired us to think differently as well as strive towards being better. I am sharing, from a special place in my heart, my experiences speaking with these women of valour. It is my sincere hope that, through these words, you might see the qualities that make them unique, feel their courage and carry the lessons beyond the confines of the paper margins. Princess Olufemi Kayode Dressed in a white tee-shirt and blue jean trousers, she sat behind her desk typing away at her computer and punching some keys on her phone simultaneously. She was getting set to leave for a trip to Abeokuta in Ogun State and was running behind schedule. But she was patient enough to grant the interview. “You are Rita from The Nation right?” Those were her first words to me. In the minutes that followed, I learnt about the trauma victims of rape face. “It is the people that victims trust enough to be comfortable with that end up being raped,” she said. Being a victim of rape herself, Princess showed me firsthand, how like a phoenix, a woman can choose to rise from the ashes of shame and stigmatisation to unshakable confidence. Isis Nyong'o Forbes named her one of the Top 20 youngest Power Women in Africa. The

World Economic F o r u m awarded her the Young Global Leader of the year. She is the VicePresident of InMobi International, the world's largest independent advertising network and yet she is one of the most humble women I have ever met. As I walked through the lobby of Protea Hotel, Victoria Island, at 11am on the 26th of April, I had no idea that the lady with such an intimidating profile was a 34-year-old Kenyan beauty with a funny American accent. Her hair was pulled back and she wore no makeup at all, but her aura of calm spoke volumes. An obvious hard worker, she said this while explaining a typical day in her life as Vice-President; “It is a day that feels like it would never end because you are always on the job. The industry I work in is not time-zone bound so I could get a call from India or California at 2am and I have to constantly be in that flexible frame of mind.” That lesson has stayed with me since even though I am still an exciting work-inprogress. Dr. Ola Orekunrin There aren't that many visionary young women around especially in a society that celebrates mediocrity. So I w a s thrilled to meet the 26year-old female doctor who sat as the Chief Executive Officer of West Africa's first air ambulance service. However, I was utterly surprised when boss-lady turned out to be a sixinch heel wearing lady with a pretty slender frame and big shuck of hair. I was floored not because she did not look the part but because I began

By Rita Ohai asking myself life-changing questions such as 'What have you been waiting for?' Dr. Ola began to speak and it was evident that she had a knack for business; strategy, process re-engineering...the whole nine yards. In her words, “I started my business with no capital whatsoever. I had worked in England for a few years after which I sold my car and my house and came to Nigeria. I started in a quite painful way because I realised that sick people cannot be moved around Nigeria in a timely fashion.” The death of her 12-year-old sister served as her wake up call, this interview served as mine. Engineer Sandra Agbebor-Ekepruoh She had a no-nonsense mien about her even as she talked screws and bolts with some expatriates who had come to her workshop on business. Clad in cover-alls, young ladies with spanners milled about. I merely sat in my corner waiting for Nigeria's first lady mechanic to round up her discussion and meet with me. After thirty emotional minutes, I finally got my chance. The mechanic was ready to talk. Curious, I asked her how she is able to handle being a female mechanic, and she said, “The ability to withstand the heat is in-built. Because I was called to be a mechanic, God had already blessed me with the shock absorber. The challenges became my stepping stone for opportunities. “A girl is not different from a guy, if a guy can handle laptop, a woman should know how to use it!”she said. The interview was barely over when she pulled out her flask of rice to eat from. I took that as my cue but left impressed by her doggedness.

O f women and the spouses that killed them The gruesome murder of Titilayo Arowolo by her husband generated widespread anger, and barely a few weeks after Titi's death, another victim of domestic violence, Ogochukwu Onuchukwu, was declared dead. In a society where the voice of the average woman is stifled by male chauvinists and drowned in the echoes of customs and traditions, it was w o r r i s o m e l y becoming common place to find women falling at the fists of men they ought to trust with their safety. The news of their demise spurred women like Tess Wigwe to speak up about their ordeal and seek help before their bodies became next to lie in a coffin. Isoken Ogiemwonyi When Le'petite Marche hit the Lagos social scene three years ago little did many know that it would turn out to be the business that it is today. The monthly mobile market was a concept created by this 25-year-old and her equally young business partner. Growing at a steady pace, they have been able to set up their own company. I just found it rather intriguing yet amusing that a lady in her early twenties already understood the intricacies of employing labour and paying salaries while others were focused on getting their nails done. “Most of the people that I come across when I want to hire people are more focused on theoretical reasoning but I am more interested in practical knowledge. “When we were trying to fill positions at the store, we had a lot of very horrible interviews and it was simply because people did not even make the effort to think or try to use their imaginations,” she said. You cannot defeat this kind of least not for long. W e a r e thankful for the journey so far. If you have been inspired by any of the women or article featured this year and would like to share, please send us an e-mail to Have an amazing new year!





Tel: 07029013958


T was a night of frenzied excitement penultimate Friday when some of Nigeria's biggest superstars thrilled fans at the firstever EME live-in-concert in Lagos tagged “The Baddest” which held at Oceanview Restaurant in Victoria Island, Lagos. The much anticipated concert saw Wizkid, EME's First Lady, Niyola, and EME crooner, Shaydee sing the Nigerian national anthem, kicking off jaw dropping performances from EME all-stars. Led by EME Boss and R&B wonder, Banky W, the EME crew drove the crowd wild as they performed hit tracks from the “Empire State of Mind” album as well as individual hits. The crew went on to perform alongside other artistes such as Cobhams, Iceprince, Wande Coal, D'Prince, Olu Maintain, Samklef, Waje and Iceberg Slim. One of the many highlights of the epic concert was Wizkid and Davido's performance. Both artistes came on stage and performed Davido's monster track, “All of you”, to a pulsating crowd who could not get enough of seeing the two artistes on the same stage. Produced by R28, the event had some of the biggest names in the marketing, advertising and entertainment industries who came out to support the EME all-stars. Notable faces at the concert included Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Viacom International, Alex Okosi, Hennessy Cognac Production Manager Lere Awokoya, General Manager, Beat FM, Deji Awokoya, CEO Beat FM, Chris Ubosi, Brand Manager, MTN Nigeria, Kelvin Orifa, Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Sound Sultan and others. Empire Mates Entertainment has recorded numerous achievements this year and has made history yet again with another smashing concert to round off the year.





Waje •Banky W and


…As Wizkid, Davido rendered special performance

Bez, Omotola, Lynxx, others make the ‘ ‘Y! Magazine Best Dressed List’



Fans wowed at Baddest Concert

d Skales , Banky W an •DJ Xclusive

•EME stars

Double joy for Ibiyemi


FTER what may have seemed a long wait, Ibiyemi finally releases the video to her 80s style up-tempo track, 'Play', alongside news of the arrival of her little bundle of joy. NSPIRED by the iconic Vanity Fair list of The soul singer, who has earned a same name, the first ever Y! Magazine devoted fan base courtesy singles Annual Best Dressed List has hit the stands. such as 'Can You Love Me?', 'It Could Courtesy of the Y! style editors, the Be', and smash hits 'Don't Leave Me' magazine selected the top 10 hottest men and and 'Ore', delivered a baby boy, on Sunday 23rd of December, 2012 in women to rock the trends scene throughout America. 2012. Ibiyemi who took some time off “Certainly, some of these names work to concentrate on the arrival of will be controversial but great her baby is glad to finally release the fashion is all about breaking the rules! This is our Best Dressed List 'Play' video to her fans. According to her, “I am very excited about the after three months of spirited next chapter of my life, both conversation and we'd like to personally and professionally. think we chose people who have Thanks to all the devoted fans represented Nigerian fashion to who kept tweeting and the nth degree over the past sending messages asking year,” said Doyin Jaiyesimi, about the video. I appreciate one of the team members. your patience. It's here!” The 10 gentlemen who 'Play' was directed by the made the list are Lynxx, talented Tosin Igho for D'banj, Mai Atafo, Ebuka Obi- IGH Films. Ibiyemi (Ibiyemi Ajakaiye) is a Uchendu, Nateo C, Adebayo talented singerOke-Lawal, Bez Idakula, Uti songwriter with a Nwachukwu, Wizkid and Dare Art-Alade. Yvonne 'Vixen' distinctive, rich, and soulful Ekwere, Genevieve Nnaji, Eku Edewor, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, voice loved by Ugonna Omeruo, Tiwa Savage, connois Elohor Isiohor, Toke Makinwa, seurs of Linda Ikeji and Dolapo Oni are the urban •Ibiyemi 10 ladies who rocked the fashion soul. world. •Bez



•Banky W with


O'jez in Xmas Blast


ELEBRITY hangout, O'jez restaurant, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, has finalised plans to organise a yuletide concert, today, December 30. Scheduled to kick off at 7pm, the Xmas concert tagged O'jez Xmas Blast is being organised by the O'jez Entertainment Forum, organisers of the monthly O'jez Entertainment Awards. Joseph Odobeatu, Chief Executive Officer, said that the show is part of plans lined up to reward its loyal clientele that have provided patronage all through the year. “This is our way of saying thank you to these wonderful and loyal people who without them, we won't be in business today,” he said. The show will feature the O'jez Music label All Stars, energetic O'jez band, veteran highlife musician Fatai Rolling Dollars and Francis Sky (M.O.N). Others on the bill are African Michael Jackson, Awilo The Dancer and 'Fela'.




D'Banj: Eyes an encore

d n a o Wh t n e v e what to

out for in 2013

The year 2012 is one that would not be forgotten in a hurry by close watchers and players alike on the entertainment scene. We take a peek into the New Year, chronicling those who may likely make the headlines in 2013. Making up the rollcall in no particular order are a list of promising acts and the 'usual suspects' set to take the scene by storm. AHMED BOULOR writes…

Vector: A force to reckon with


ANY say he sounds like American rapper Jay Z, but Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, popularly known by scores of fans as Vector, has gone on to carve an enviable niche for himself on the Nigerian music scene. His adventure into music dates back to 1997 during his secondary school days and according to him because of his effort and skill in music he was celebrated as one of the best underground rap artistes in Lagos before he officially made a debut on the music scene. Vec tor remains one of the most sought-after and featured acts on the scene, collaborating with the likes of 2face, Jamaica's Mavado, 9ice, Artquake, T.I.V, Provabs and Maye Hunta.


ARELY two years into his professional music career, Olamide Adedeji, known for his creative lyrics, has become a household name in the Nigerian music circles. His single titled 'Eni Duro' literarily catapulted into national prominence while he also seemingly filled the void left by DaGrin with his endearing lyrics delivered in Yoruba. Olamide's road to fame is one for the history books, this time two years ago he was a regular kid growing up in the heart of Lagos Mainland, Bariga. Even though Olamide insists he is still that Bariga boy, a lot has changed in his life. A recording artiste signed onto ID Cabasa's Coded Tunez Record label and managed by industry heavy weight Toni Payne, his rise to fame was not handed to him on a silver platter. Olamide's hard work and pure unbridled talent are responsible for the artiste that we see today. In an industry filled with artistes delivering their lines in American accents, whether real or imagined, it is a relief to have at least one artiste we can call 100% Nigerian.

Yemi Alade: Licensed to thrill


Tiwa Savage:

Tightens her grip on the scene


ONTO Dike stunned many with her acting prowess as one of the housemates of the maiden edition of The Next Movie Star reality TV show in which she emerged as the first runner-up in 2005. After contesting in the show, the daring and fair skinned actress plunged headlong into the murky waters of the movie industry and today she is one of the most sought-after actresses in Nollywood. And after months of speculations and expectations which saw her finally release her debut singles 'Itz Ova' and 'Hi' in November 2012, the controversial actress was in the news again. Tonto got signed onto TGP Entertainment run by Terry G, days after dropping her latest single 'Crazically Fit' featuring the equally controversial Terry. With her recently released singles, Tonto is now walking the path already trodden by her senior colleagues in Nollywood such as Jim Iyke, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Nkem Owoh, Kenneth Okonkwo, Desmond Elliot, Segun Arinze and Stella Damasus.

•Tonto Dikeh

King Sunny Ade: Set to usher good tidings with ‘My Year’

B •Tiwa Savage

URGEONING songstress, Yemi Alade, has sent tongues wagging about her prospects on the music scene with her current single 'Ghen Ghen Love'. Being born to do music is a cliché that can be associated with most singers and Yemi is not an exception. She moved from just humming melodies with her daily chores to actually sitting to write songs from deep within her soul. Singing in the choir from the age of 12 helped her develop a method and structure to her singing as well as song writing. According to her, music is something that comes as naturally to her as breathing. She says: "I've been doing music since I was old enough to string a melody together.”


The godfather of club hits

Burna Boy: Blazing the trail



N a manner that looks more of a prophecy, newly crowned 'music emperor' King Sunny Ade is launching into the year 2013 with a new work which predicts a bountiful and rewarding year for Nigerians. According to KSA; “the work, titled '’My Year', is packaged to bless my fans particularly and Nigerians in general, encouraging them to hold on to the belief that 2013 is their year of blessings and rewards in their individual endeavours.” A sneak preview into the collection indicates another major music piece from King Sunny Ade as he goes back into musical archives for arresting lyrics, technically crafted into moving proverbs of songs and danceable beats that had been his trademarks for years. Distributor of King Sunny Ade's works, Mr. Ademola Joshua, said, “’My Year’ is an essential musical work to stimulate those who are looking forward to 2013 as a rewarding year.”

Don Jazzy

E recently was rated as the 36th "Most powerful celebrity in Africa" according to Forbes. Such is the stock of Michael Collins Ajereh (born November 26, 1982), better known as Don Jazzy. Jazzy is a multi award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter, musician, former CEO of Mo' Hits Records founded in 2004 and current CEO of the Mavin Records label which he founded in May 2012 after his split up with childhood friend D'Banj. Don Jazzy's first full credit production work was in 2004 on Tongolo for Nigerian singer D'Banj. He went on to produce D'Banj's first studio album titled No Long Thing released in 2005. Jazzy's appetite for a full-time career in music IS songs are said to be a break from the norm as could no longer be satiated when, in 2004, he partnered with D'Banj to set up the Mo' Hits label. he succeeded in changing the sound gear of Within two years, the prolific producer had present day Nigerian lovers of music who mostly love songs with heavy beat and low message. wrapped up two albums (No Long Thing and Burna boy showed why he indeed is the King of Rundown/Funk You Up) with his former Mo' Hits partner and was working on a third, Curriculum the Afro Fusion genre as he perfectly blends Vitae. By this time, he had already started becoming English with a bit of Igbo and Yoruba over the a household name with the trademark intro It's smooth sound of the house influenced beat Don Jazzy Again! produced by LeriQ. In 2008 there were further production credits for The Aristokrat Records signee officially dropped the best selling album of that year; Jazzy repeated four singles off his forthcoming debut album L.I.F.E. the trick with Wande Coal's Mushin 2 Mo' Hits, an (Leaving an Impact For Eternity) which will include album that was described as one of the best albums successful singles such as 'Like To to ever come out of Nigeria. Party' and 'Tonight'. 2013 will definitely be a busy year for Jazzy as he Expect more singles is set to make more hits for his signees on the Mavin Record stable such as Tiwa Savage, D'Prince, from the six pack artiste who has got Wande Coal and Dr Sid. female fans excited about his music in 2013, leading to the launch of his debut HE quest and search to reward more young and album.

The Future Awards: Set to inspire more future leaders


innovative leaders who will positively lead the way for the continent of Africa in the nearth future will begin again in 2013 with the forthcoming 8 Season of the Future Awards. Referred to by the World Bank as 'Nobel Prize for Young Africans”, The Future Awards is turning out to be one of the most influential and popular youth platforms on the continent. It identifies young people who have excelled at their work, celebrates their achievements, and showcases them as role models to inspire a generation of Africans to believe in themselves and the future of their countries.

Headies: The prize to die for



INCE making a debut in 2006, the Headies has overtime emerged as one of Nigeria's biggest music honours event. The maiden edition was hosted by Darey Art-Alade and his performance as well as mature composure made the event the talk of the town in 2006. The following year, D' Banj and the delectable Tana were picked for hosting duties and they did not disappoint teeming music lovers on the night. In 2008, the duo of Basket Mouth and Dakore Egbuson left the audience glued to their seats and reeling with laughter with their humorous jabs and quips. 2009 saw radio presenter and music video director Kemi Adetiba and R&B crooner Banky W as co-hosts of the Hip Hop World Awards and they did not fail to deliver on that historic night. ELDee and Rita Dominic were the hosts for the Headies in 2011, while Omawumi and M.I took charge of the 2012 edition. The annual urban music awards formerly known as the Hip Hop World Awards was re-christened the Headies some years back, and speaking on the choice of the name “The Headies”, Animashaun said, "It was just a matter of time. I think the name is more hip and trendy, and it helps us place proper focus on the prize, which is the plaque: the Headies; the prize to die for".

Tuface Idibia: Away and beyond


VER since she dropped her endearing single, titled 'Love Me Love Me Love Me', sexy artiste Tiwa Savage has won for herself a glut of fans and admirers alike. She is a singer cum songwriter signed onto Mavin Records who seems poised to tighten her grip on the music scene which is equally littered with quality female vocalists. Currently working on her debut upcoming album, Tiwa's career received a big boost when she was named Pepsi Ambassador- a role she shares with EME's cash cow, Wizkid. She has collaborated with Chuck Harmony (Rihanna, Mary J. Blige), Warren 'Oak' Felder (Chris Brown and Jennifer Lopez) and producer So Sick, just to mention a few, on her debut collection. Weaving an eclectic collision of influences on her forthcoming piece, Tiwa says her album will be a blend of “songs in my native language and some straight up Soul and R&B cuts.”

HE year 2012 is certainly a good year for Koko Master D'Banj; though it started with discordant notes when he parted ways with his friend and business partner, Don Jazzy, but his song titled 'Oliver Twist' received so much acclaim in the outgoing year placing on him the tag of an international artiste. In a year he won two Channel O awards, D'Banj was also nominated in four (4) categories at the recently postponed 2012 World Music Awards which was to hold in Miami, Florida - an event he was also billed to perform alongside other global superstars. 2013 promises to be more eventful for the Koko Master with many anticipating his next album which is likely to drop in the New Year. Expect more high profile collaborations and breathtaking videos from D'Banj as he prepares to make a statement with his new label dubbed DB Records.


Tonto Dikeh: Walking familiar grounds


c wat h

Olamide: Filling the void



HILE faceless people were spreading rumours about his death, 2face Idibia was far away in a Los Angeles studio waxing a song. The rumour which came days after proposing to his girlfriend, Annie Macaulay, didn't deter the musician as he went on to launch his celebrity hangout Rumours in G.R.A, Ikeja while also acquiring choice properties in Victoria Island. 2Face Idibia is scheduled to return to the school circuits come 2013 after a six-year hiatus. Idibia will embark on a scheduled campus tour that would see him visiting various tertiary institutions in Nigeria for the first time in over six years. The tour was engineered to provide the artiste with a platform on which he could show gratitude and appreciation to everyone who played a part in making the 2face brand successful in the year 2012. In the year 2013, the 'African Queen' crooner seeks to foster a lasting relationship that will ensure continued association and cooperation in the future.

AMAA: Rewarding excellence in motion picture

T •2Face Idibia

HE season of rewarding African filmmakers beckons in 2013, as talented, trained and tested film professionals of the movie industry will battle to catch the fancy of Africa's apex film connoisseur, reviewer and awarder, the Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA. Now approaching its ninth year of rewarding outstanding film productions all over Africa, the central ideal of AMAA, the Africa Film Academy, AFA, has been to promote African film and cinema, locally as well as internationally. Towards this end, AMAA has provided a solid platform for filmmakers, industry professionals and all creative industry stakeholders to engage themselves and seek other ways of moving the industry forward.


DECEMBER 30, 2012



Mosquito nearly stopped

My Target At

my marriage


Victor Moses


• Balotelli with mother of his daughter



Victor Moses My Target At

2013 AFCON

MARIO T BLASTS Real reasons Balotelli may sue mother of his daughter

•Utibe with daughter


URIOUS Mario Balotelli has called in lawyers to sue his former girlfriend after she accused him of being 'irresponsible' and 'not interested' in his newborn baby daughter. The Manchester City ace's relationship with Raffaella Fico, 24, has become a real life soap opera with the two having furious slanging matches since they split up in the spring following a year long relationship. Earlier this month, former underwear model Raffaella gave birth to a baby girl called Pia, who was conceived just before the couple broke up. Initially, the player had demanded a DNA test to prove he was the father but then backtracked and said he was going to give their romance another try. But now Balotelli, 22, has lashed out at Raffaella following an interview with Chi magazine earlier this month in which she said: 'Mario for me is irresponsible. It came to a certain point where he was just not interested in anything, not in me, or our daughter. 'Up until certain things happened he was supposed to marry me. That was our project, our desire. Then all of a sudden everything collapsed and I don't know why.' In a statement published in Gazzetta Dello Sport, Balotelli said: 'In relation to what was said by Raffaella Fico in her last interview with Chi, I have sadly decided to respond. 'There is a limit for everything and I can no longer tolerate that my honour as a man is offended and I am falsely accused of serious misbehaviour, and which has no element of truth. 'I have asked my lawyer to take the necessary legal action to defend my honour which has been damaged by the declarations of Raffaella Fico to Chi. 'I caution Raffaella Fico that she will be asked to pay damages for any further irresponsible comments that she makes that harm my reputation and honour.' Balotelli's adoptive parents Franco and Silvo also joined in the attack on Raffaella, using an open letter to accuse her of cashing in on her relationship with him. They wrote: "We believe that our son is not the irresponsible and undignified person that you have described.' They went on: 'You seem to have had no hesitation of expressing publicly every sentiment you have felt in order to appear on front pages.' Franco and Silvia also dismissed her previous claims that she and Balotelli were still a couple when she flew to Manchester earlier this year to see him and said: 'You know full well the relationship was over at the beginning of April. Why do you keep saying otherwise?

HE year 2012 was an outstanding year for Nigerian midfielder, Victor Moses following his big money move from Wigan to Chelsea. It was the same year he made a debut for the Super Eagles and was in the goals as the national team romped to the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). In 2012, Moses was blessed with a baby boy, Brentely, and was named a 'Dream the Blues' ambassador by electronics giants, Samsung. Heading to his maiden AFCON appearance where he has already been pencilled as Nigeria's biggest star to watch by pundits, Moses has sensationally revealed his target in the New Year to The Nation Sport & Style. “My target in 2013 is obviously to do well for both club and country,” Moses was quoted as saying by his closest confidant. “I'm very excited to represent my country at the Nations Cup for the first time and my target will be to win the trophy.” Moses noted that his career has been on the rise since he made a debut for the Super Eagles under coach Stephen Keshi and the 2013 AFCON will be an opportunity to repay the confidence the gaffer reposed on him. “ I want to repay the confidence Coach Keshi has in me , by playing well at the tournament and winning the trophy will be my target as well as my teammates,” he said even as he already plan to • Moses celebrating with Super Eagles celebrate team mates should Nigeria meet and beat Ghana's Black Stars along the way. “I am looking forward to the prospect of meeting Ghana at a certain stage in the competition and it will be a wild celebration if we win because I always derive joy when any Nigerian team beat their G h a n a i a n counterparts,” revealed the tattoocrazy Chelsea's star. Incidentally, in the outgoing year 2012, Moses had sensationally opened his heart to The Nation Sport & Style, revealing that tattoo is tasteful but not tacky. “It's is just me, I just love (tattoo),” said Moses, the former England Under-21 star who has transferred his allegiance to his country of birth by playing for the

By Morakinyo Abodunrin Nigerian national team." I can't choose which of the tattoo that is really special. “I really can't choose because I like a selection of different things. Tattoo is stylish and I like the way it fits my body." Moses, who describes himself as an introvert, said he likes to look good since this could actually rob off on his playing prowess. “I love looking good because when I feel good, I can play good too,” added the player who has obsession of watching the DVDs of that elegant former French gazelle, Zinedine Zidane. “I'm always sticking on Zidane DVDs he's a legend,” Moses once said on why he idolises the former European and World Football of the Year. “I must have his whole catalogue of videos and I am always studying them. “I try to master some of his skills and bring them into my game. He wasn't as quick as me, but his technique, movement and control were a different class. “I grew up watching him, and, even now, I study his videos, then go to the training ground, try a few things out, mix it up and take it into matches.” Though he is yet to dazzle for the Super Eagles as did his adorable Zidane who led the Les Blues to win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 Championship, Moses enthused that he has made the right decision by playing for Nigeria and he is optimistic that the national team's chances of w i n n i n g something very soon is bright. “England has a number of quality players coming through while there aren't as many in Nigeria,” Moses said. “So I thought it would be good to help the country of my birth and now I'm so happy to have made that decision. “Playing for Nigeria is different. I must learn to adapt to the style of African football. It's always been my ambition to win trophies and everyone dreams of lifting the World Cup. I hope I can help Nigeria become the first African nation to win that.”




Seun Kuti has continued to promote the struggle of awakening the revolution in thecommon man on the continent through his consistent ability to churn out politically and socially charged songs. Under him, the Egypt 80 band which he inherited from his late father has also developed into an entity saddled with the responsibility of midwifing the Afrobeat evolution. The youngest son of the Afrobeat pioneer, Fela, who has succeeded in re-energizing the Afrobeat genre, spoke with AHMED BOULOR about a range of issues bordering on his career, his family and the state of the nation in this interview. Excerpts:


HAT'S your take about the federal government's intention to have your grandmother's face on the proposed new Nigerian currency? I think my stand on that issue is very clear; for me it is a forgone issue but I don't think the federal government has any right to do that without consulting with the Kuti family, especially when her case is so peculiar knowing very well that she was murdered by agents of the federal government of Nigeria. They tend to want to forget that aspect and up till now the Kuti family has not received any apology, compensation and most especially justice for her death. The family has not been given any clue and no one has been held responsible for her death. She was such a great woman not just because she was Fela's mother; she was the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria. My grandmother was the first African woman to visit China; she was a close confidant of Chairman Mao of China and she also fought for the right of females to vote in Nigeria. She was an icon for a lot of women and she also started the women advocacy rights here in Nigeria and for them to murder such a woman and not give any explanation or serve any justice and in turn want to paste her face on any currency is really rude. It shows that our present day government has no feeling for humanity or for people; they are power drunk. Just like your father, you have also failed to acknowledge the existence of God. What then do you believe in? My father believes in God oh! He is a traditionalist; Fela believed in African gods. I don't believe in anyone at all; be it African or European. Basically I don't believe in religion; I believe religion has caused more harm than good to humanity and it doesn't really say anything. Religion is sometimes ambiguous and to me it is a divisive tool to humanity though I practiced religion when I was younger, but ever since I clocked 20 religion didn't

yourself because Fela believed in true individuality. He might not necessarily accept your idea, but he respected the fact that you are human and you have the right to have your say. Fela lives in the minds of scores of many because he dedicated his life to the freedom of the African continent. Is your sister still part of your band? Not anymore! She quit when it was hard for her to balance music and her, but now she apparently is going to be the MD of the Kalakuta Museum. What was going through your mind at age 9 when you walked up to your father telling him you wanted to sing for him? I was actually 8 years old then; I was naïve then anyway. I grew up loving music at the Kalakuta Republic. I walked up to my dad then telling him about my desire to sing for him because I thought it was an easy job. I was always going on tour with my father and after he played at the Apollo, I thought to myself that music was all about having fun and getting paid for it. So I thought to myself that I wanted to sing; so I walked up to my dad and told him I wanted to sing. He asked me if I could sing and I answered in the affirmative; he asked me to sing a song and I did the 'Sorrow, Tears and Blood'. He told me I could sing a bit and I had to just do a little bit of homework. He later told me to start rehearsing with the band and that was how it all started. Later, he requested that I opened the shows for him and the rest like they say is history. How hard is it being an Afrobeat artiste? It's not so hard being an Afrobeat artiste in Nigeria because some people do not understand what Afrobeat is all about. They know Fela but they have forgotten your back which is an image of your late the concept behind the genre. For most people, especially some Nigerian artistes, father… when they wear tight-fitting trousers and I've had it for 10 years and when I had tap their feet on the floor everybody will it, not too many people had tattoos in say that person is an Afrobeat musician. Nigeria. I had my tattoo when it was a Even present day pop artistes in Nigeria taboo to have tattoos in this part of the refer to themselves as Afrobeat musicians. world. But to an extent, being an Afrobeat artiste Does Fela still live in you? can be hard because it is antiestablishment and everything you do has Fela lives in the minds of Africans; and to be established. There is no private this is why I actually don't believe in sector participation in promoting religion, because what it Afrobeat music because people promises is not enough. It promises people that they will I cannot feel it is too critical of and they don't want go to heaven and people in turn determine government to have anything to do with it. fight to get there; I wonder what the success They'd rather spend money kind of happiness one will have sponsoring hip hop events and locally when he struggles to go to concerts. It is time when artistes heaven only to find out that because Africa began to speak the truth other people they love like their marketers in about our people and it will be a mother, father, brother or any have been dark day in Africa if we become close relative does not make it to heaven? Everybody in Nigeria is stealing my free and music does not play a role in that freedom. It will be a struggling to go to heaven and if money. shame on our profession because they read their Bibles very well it They steal music has been in the forefront of is stated that only 144,000 people money too revolutionary changes. That is will make it to heaven. It is even stated that it is only the Jews that much in this what we lack in Nigeria because elite are not on the side of the will make it to heaven; so I don't country and the people. know what the fuss is all about I am tired of What's the toughest part of when it comes to religion. following your father's political doing Fela's existence is in the memory he left behind; it is in business and social ethos? I feel everyone should know his achievements and he here in and understand the advantages impacted so much in the lives of Nigeria and disadvantages in whatever many. That is what people you venture into. Afrobeat is not should live their lives for but Nigerian anymore, when I say people rather live their lives that sometimes people try to criticise me fighting for God. It is written that God is as well. Afrobeat is now global; there are all powerful and I wonder why people more Afrobeat bands in New York than should pick up the battle axe and start the whole of Nigeria put together. People fighting God's battle. People need to live see the beauty and the relevance of my their lives in real goodness and ensure songs and they appreciate it just like the that they positively impact on the lives of way they appreciated Fela's music. other people. It should be about inspiring Sometimes it is just prejudice because people to live better and that is the only way you can achieve immortality and that everyone has a preconception of who they think you are. is what Fela has done. When you are Continue on page 41 around Fela, you are allowed to express

Egypt 80 band is more successful now than when it was under my father —Seun Kuti appeal to me any longer. It also largely has to do with the fact that I grew up with an uncle who is an atheist as well. There are books you can read even by Christians that reveal the other side of the coin; most people don't understand the history of what they practice. But you do believe in nature? Nature is that thing that controls humanity and the environment; it is important to believe in nature and its sciences. I mean with things we can prove and things we can understand. I feel the world is complicated, beautiful and complex enough in its own right to bamboozle and awe us as long as we live. But the supernatural aspect of nature is what I don't understand. Has your position on marriage changed? It hasn't changed at all… What was your last tour of the UK like? It was fantastic! My first album did pretty well in the UK and the second one got me a whole lot of followers in the UK because of Brian Eno's input. We have been booked to perform in the UK three times and the usual Afrobeat gig in the UK is a multi-ethnic gathering. I like it when I play in London because it is an integrated society; it is a place where you perform and get a variety of people from different backgrounds. I have my largest Nigerian fan base in the UK and when I have my shows in the Europe the tickets are usually sold out because people over there are very efficient with buying tickets. You'll be a year older soon; January 11 to be precise. What plans do you have in the pipeline to celebrate? I don't know yet but my godfather is going to throw me a party; I am going to be 30 and I have told him he is going to take care of stuff on my birthday. I don't know the plans he has for the party but I am sure it is going to be something nice. Let's talk about the tattoo you have on




‘I have not received any royalty for my songs here in Nigeria’ How tasking is it to churn out politically and socially charged How well is your sophomore songs? album 'Rise' faring locally and Like I said earlier, Afrobeat is internationally? global and my lyrics are no I cannot determine the success longer about Africa because the locally because marketers have whole world is connected. The been stealing my money. They austerity measures we had to go steal money too much in this through in the past have now country and I am tired of doing reared its head in countries in business here in Nigeria. I don't Europe like Greece and Italy. like it when I feel cheated; as People cannot stand it and what soon as we sold the initial batch we are going through in Africa is we stopped production of the not peculiar to Africa alone. It CD's because the songs are going might be a bigger degree as to be downloaded anyway and compared to the West but they CD's are becoming redundant. are also feeling the pinch. In the My music is on iTunes just in West, they tax rich case anyone wants to for the amount buy it; internationally Fela was people of wealth they have and it's getting the needed more social back here in Africa we boost in terms of than I am try to give rich people patronage and followership as much as and he used more freedom with their finances. The drive for expected. to take Africa should empower Do you think Brian money from the people. Eno‘s and John the band to How's work Reynolds’ input on the progressing with your album is creating the feed album? right impact? thousands of third It's in the making and Of course it is; like I people. But there's not much I can said, their impact more whatever the say about it because it is than doubled my market in the UK. I band gets not finished yet. We are tuning things now didn't work with Brian now is spent fine and recording will begin Eno expecting an on the band in February. outcome of any sort itself. So because I know the Having waxed two quality that he brings to everyone albums, have you any royalties the table. I worked with has a better received for your works locally him because I respect salary... and internationally? him as a producer and not because of the I have not received commercial and critical any royalty here in impact his input may have on the Nigeria; but I am registered to album. The album is SASEM in France and I have revolutionary and it is a classic gotten huge royalties for my album; internationally 'Rise' is works. huge and we've toured the world You once went Bungee twice already and my record Jumping and you also gave a company is now on my neck for hint sometime ago that you a second album. They also want were thinking about Sky me to sign a new deal… Diving. Have you attempted it yet? How would you describe the evolution of the Egypt 80 band I have not had time for a in the over 12 years that you holiday yet but as have been in charge? soon as I get some I have been in charge for more time off I will than 12 years and time is the attempt it. I love greatest enemy for anyone and extreme for musicians especially. I believe sports… the first evolution is first with the personnel; the Egypt 80 band is more successful now than when it was under my father. How do you mean? I am not saying that I am a better band leader than my father; Fela was more social than I am and he used to take money from the band to feed thousands of people. But whatever the band gets now is spent on the band itself. So everyone has a better salary and allowance than it was under my father because my father believed in being social. He spent his money on people and also spent to run the Kalakuta Republic. But I do not have any republic to run. If your father were still alive, what kind of man would you have evolved into? I would have evolved into an old man who thinks he is younger than everybody. Continue from page 40

•Seun Kuti

•Joke Silva flanked by Elvis Chucks and former Mr Nigeria, Bryan Okwara

•John Ogbe, MD Multichoice Nigeria with Biola Alabi, Managing Director, Mnet Africa

The easiest event, or so it seems, to organise, is an award scheme. How? Develop an idea, get a sponsor, get awardees to pay for their laurels and make profit from the scheme - so many like this exist in different sectors of the economy, lacking credibility, fairness and genuineness. But here are some initiatives that we thought may have reasons to excel in the coming years.

Home Video Integrity Awards


ITH growing concern over the Nigerian entertainment landscape, perceived to be littered with films of negative values, Home Video Integrity Awards (HOMEVIDA) may soon take the centre stage. Creator of the reward initiative, Chibuzo Ekwekwuo, believes that the future of the youths becomes scary, when films make solely for commercial purposes rule the screen. The award entered its third edition this year, dishing out prize money of N1 million each to winners in different categories. But the films to earn nominations are made to follow certain thematic pattern. This edutainment patterns include films on the subject of anti-corruption, public conduct, patriotism, due process, antitrafficking in person, etc. HOMEVIDA renders rewards in two categories, namely the short film and feature film categories. The first category is based on script writing. Scripts selected for this year's exercise included a Public Conduct short script entitled To Serve With All Our Strenght written by Alexandra Kure'ave Hul and endowed by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). The second script, Not Do Or Die, based on Due Process was written by Mendhie Emmanuel Imeh and endowed by Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), while the third script, titled The Poem, is on a Child Friendly theme. It was written by Frances Okeke and endowed by National Film & Video Censor Board (NFVCB). In the feature film category, the Due Process prize had two shortlisted films; 'Who Will Tell the President' by Vitus Nnebue and 'A Date with Corruption' by Igosi Favour. The former won the 1 million naira cash prize. In


Award schemes to watch out for in 2013


the Public Conduct category, 'True Citizen' by Elvis Chucks defeated 'The Hero in Me' produced by Uwakwe Egbo to clinch the 1 million naira prize. In the same vein, the AntiCorruption category saw 'Yahoo Plus' by Blessing Johnson, defeating 'True Citizens' by Elvis Chucks which competed in two categories. With Nollywood filmmakers shying away from making films in the last few years due to the incursion of pirates, there is no doubt that HOMEVIDA will not only spur filmmakers into producing films with educative contents, it will also serve as a means for filmmakers to get back part of their production cost by putting in, and winning the award.

AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards


IMULTANEOUSLY in Lagos and Nairobi in the month of September, AfricaMagic and MultiChoice Africa unveiled their latest joint initiative -THE AFRICAMAGIC VIEWERS' CHOICE AWARDS. The initiative is said to be created to celebrate African film and television talent, both in front of and behind the cameras. The Awards, which is billed to kick off towards the end of the first quarter in 2013, are expected to feature several special categories in which viewers will decide the winners directly, alongside several categories. In order to ensure that the awards are transparent, fair and credible, AfricaMagic has recruited industry veteran Femi Odugbemi to take on the role of executive judge and has confirmed that all the awards will be verified by an independent auditing company. With the pedigree of Multichoice and DStv, judging by initiative like the Big Brother Africa reality show, there is no doubt that the real African awards is about to be born. Apart from the fact that entries will come from all the countries in Africa where DStv is in operation, the idea of viewers participating in the scheme will not only make it credible, but quite interactive. There is no doubt that one of the banes of award schemes is in organising the final ceremonies. The ability to hire creative stage and sound engineers, not only calls for the seriousness attached to a scheme, but also the financial capability of the organiser. Multichoice and DStv are seen to be capable of handling these sensitive areas. Thus, indications are high that the AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards may push those it will be meeting on the scene to the rear. If it cannot do that, it means that Africa is in for a competitive movie awards that will raise the bar, comparable to perhaps the GRAMMY.

S&J launches studio

ITH the growing rate of production outfits around the country, Alapere, in Lagos is having its share of the business opportunity, with a recent sitting of a state of the art production studio in that area. Established by banker turned entertainer, Joy Okpebri, the outfit is being run by her S&J Media Plus Ltd company where she is Chief Executive Officer.

Okpebri described the location of the audio/visual studio, as serene and conducive. She said it is targeted at easing the stress most artistes usually encounter using studios in Ikeja. “Establishing a multimedia studio is a dream come true, as this is the realisation of a missing part of my life'', she added further that she would maximize this medium with effort geared towards reaching

out to talents especially in Ogudu/Ketu axis of Lagos State, with scope of delivering on a world class music production. She said the investment is borne out of her desire to replicate her expertise in the banking sector into the entertainment industry in the area of customer satisfaction. Artistes who have since visited the studio include Born Bizzy, LKT and Soso Beat.








Street Of Calabar Genre Action/Adventure Life of PI 3D Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 127min Rise Of The Guidian Featured Actors Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Isla Fisher Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 97min Inside Story Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 100min Arinzo Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 124min Pitch Perfect Featured Actors Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson Genre Comedy Running Time 112 min The Hobbit : Unexpected Journey 3D Featured Actors Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 169min The Hobbit : Unexpected Journey Featured Actors Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen,


Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 169min Here comes the Boom Featured Actors Kevin James, Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 105min Wreck It Ralph Featured Actors John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch Genre Comedy and Sequel Running Time 101min



Life of PI 3D Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 127min Street Of Calabar Genre Action/Adventure Rise Of The Guidian Featured Actors Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Isla Fisher Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 97min Arinzo Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 124min Pitch Perfect Featured Actors Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson Genre Comedy Running Time 112 min A Thousand Words Featured Actors Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis and Kerry Washington Genre Comedy Running Time 91min Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Comedy ARGO Featured Actors Ben Affleck,

Avengers N133,557,873

Top-Grossing cinema movies There may have been so much noise around some films which were screened at the Nigerian cinemas in 2012, but not all of them were commercially successful. Unlike in 2011 in which Mahmood AliBalogun's Tango with Me, the bestselling Skyfall Nigerian film made an 2. N85,364,000 overall impression by coming second to Hollywood flick, Tourist in sales figure, no Nigerian film made it to the top five in 2012 as recorded by cinema film distributors in Nigerian. It must be noted that as at December 27 when this report is being collated, Skyfall and Twilight were still showing. The greater sales figures in this Knight Rises report also come from 3. Dark Nigeria and Ghana. N66,397,382

Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Drama Running Time 120 min Twilight Saga 2 Featured Actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115min Skyfall Featured Actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris

ABUJA Amazing Spider 4. Man-N58,306,980

5. TwilightN42,500,000

Street Of Calabar Genre Action/Adventure Arinzo Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 124min Inside Story Featured Actors Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji Genre Action/Adventure A Wish Featured Actors Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Bingbing Fan Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 131min

Here comes a boom Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91min Premium Rush Featured Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 min Argo Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 120 min Sparkle Featured Actors Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Whitney Houston Genre Drama Running Time 116 min Skyfall Genre Action/Adventure The Meeting Genre Drama Taken 2 Featured Actors Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 min


She owns Joan Ede fashion house which runs a clothing line, fashion school, modeling outfits and more. She has costumed so many beauty queens, and recently she dressed the MBGN Universe. A winner of Niger Delta Fashion Designer of the Year, Joan Edward Oghoyemwen in this interview with ESTHER MOHAMMED expresses her love and passion for designing, and why fashion is regarded as a career for illiterates



‘Fashion is not a career for illiterates’ Y

OU started designing at an early age, what inspired you? God and my mom. From an early age, I love using my hands to create beautiful things. And since I am able to catch people's attention with the works of my hands, it made me want to do more. My mum inspired me a lot as she kept teaching me all I needed to know because she was a designer herself. From a very early age, I was

taught that God is with me in all I do. This also built my confidence and gave me the boldness to be as creative as I could get. When it comes to fashion I would say it is natural because I grew up knowing how to design as a normal thing. From the age when I could talk I was already asking questions about fabrics and design. As a little child I loved beautiful clothes and I enjoyed watching stylish women come to the house to visit. I started cutting and making dresses for my dolls and then purses for my friends in the junior secondary school. You are well known for the “Rainbow Tie”, what makes it unique? T h e rainbow tie is a unique multipurpose tie that comes in differe n t colours . It is used on the neck a n d waist. It w a s inspired from the need to beautify style and colour any usual, plain or regular look. Joan Ede rainbow tie has won the hearts of fashion lovers, celebrities, and the corporate world. The rainbow tie invented by Joan Ede is not just a design but it is a trend that will out live its designer. You won the Niger Delta Fashion Designer of the Year. How did you achieve this feat? My outs t a n ding

outfit for celebrities, music videos and great fashion event is what has gotten me the award of the Niger Delta Fashion Designer of the year. My outfits have gone very far. The rainbow tie has gone beyond the African shores. I also dressed the most beautiful girl in UNIBEN 2006, Miss Edo 2011, queen of the southsouth 2011, Miss Asaba 2011, current MBGN Universe 2012 and a whole lot of other beauty queens across the country. What would you say were the challenges when you started? Unavailability of good tailoring equipment made it very difficult to bring some of my designs alive. Also fashion practice in this part of the world is regarded as a career for illiterates, hence the disappointment from different certain family members and friends made it difficult for me at a point in time. But I find joy in it and decided to push through irrespective of the discouragement from people and the unavailability of machines. When you are happy at what you do, it is difficult to be stopped because you will always see more opportunity in what you do than the limitations. What is fashion to Joan? To me, fashion is part of our lives that we cannot do without. It is sometimes a reflection of who we are and how people see us. Fashion is art, fashion is life. My own kind of fashion is an expression of true art and the beautiful life that God has created. This beauty of life also includes us as individuals. My kind of fashion is the type that inspires, beautifies and develops confidence. My kind of fashion adds to the joy and hope of life. If you were not a fashion designer what will you have loved to be? I would have loved to be a military lawyer who is a super-model and a dancer. But I would have been a mask dancer so that I won't jeopardise my military office. What would you say to an upcoming designer? My advice for upcoming designers is for them to aim at excellence. In your fashion career your own peace of mind must come first. You must not be in a hurry; be calm and patient. Most importantly, trust God for increase and inspiration because your talent comes from him, he knows you more than you know yourself.





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

Pastor Okotie’s amazing Christmas dance


HE 2012 Xmas day will not be forgotten in a hurry among the congregation of Household of God led by flamboyant Pastor Chris Okotie. The FRESH Democratic Party presidential candidate displayed rare dancing skills on the altar to the amazement and enjoyment of his teeming followers.

Ibidun Ighodalo dazzles again


ORMER beauty queen and wife of popular pastor, Ituah Ighodalo of the wave-making church, Trinity House, is sure good in what she does. The beautiful lady behind Elizabeth R has been able to sustain the annual Christmas street lighting and decoration, with each year an improvement on the previous. This year, the Alausa Open Garden and the Falomo Roundabout, both in Lagos, have remained two centres of attraction and family fun for revellers, tourists and fun-seekers. In one piece, the entire roundabout is an artistic replica of the ancient biblical manger in which the Virgin Mary was delivered of Baby Jesus. Donkeys, reindeers, cows and bundles of cakebrown hays are a few of the awesome decorative props. Baby Jesus occupies a “cot” at the centre of the whole setting, admired and attended to by both his parents the Virgin Mary and Joseph the son of the carpenter - as well as the wise men who brought him the gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. All of them are mounted on a raised platform at the centre of the garden. An outstanding feature of the Falomo Christmas Garden is a gold-polished, mock-up carving of “EKO-O-NIBAJE” which poses as a sort of reminder, showing that the Lagos State Government led by His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) has once again added values to the state. Over the years, the street décor has been consistently adjudged as Nigeria's most exceptional Christmas street décor, garnering rave reviews in leading news media, and inspiring reputable corporate bodies who have been emulating the BRF's initiative of boosting the Lagos Christmas mood for all through street decoration.

Ernest and Margaret Shonekan: Soul mates for life


N the world where marriage is falling like a pack of cards, Chief Ernest Shonekan, industrialist and one-time interim head of state and his wife, Margaret, have continued to wax stronger in love and at every opportunity proved that they are soul mates for life. The Egba, Ogun State-born Chief and his delectable wife at every opportunity always find time to grace occasions together and they are always cynosure of all eyes. Unlike other glamorous first ladies, Margaret also graceful with panache did not really exhibit her glamorous side while in office, which many attribute to her husband's short lived tenure.

Ramon Adedoyin rocks @55 @56


OME January 1 2013, Dr Ramon Adedoyin, the proprietor of Oduduwa University and the popular Universal College of Technology, will be 56. The Maye of the source (Ile-Ife) is leaving no stone unturned to make the day grand. At 56, Dr Adedoyin is fulfilled as President of three great institutions. While he was an undergraduate, he established a remedial school called Universal Tutorial College which later metamorphosed to Universal College of Technology, now The Polytechnic, Ile-Ife. Recently, Adedoyin got a license to run a university. His Oduduwa University has started making waves in Nigeria. Also to Adedoyin's credit is Our Saviours University in the State of Delaware in USA. Adedoyin was recently offered a professorial seat at the popular Littoral University, Port Novo in the Republic of Benin. His Imperial Majesty Oba Okunade Sijuwade also honoured him with the Chieftaincy title of Maye of Ife. The Ife central local government also honoured him by naming a street in Ile-Ife after him. The Ife Development Board also bestowed the BEST IFE SON award on him.



Bolaji Basia celebrates 19th wedding anniversary


OCIALITE and music promoter, Bolaji Saheed, fondly called Bolaji Basia, is in his best moments. The Osun State-born Canadath based socialite celebrated his 19 wedding anniversary with his wife, Agbeke. His rolling out the drums is not unconnected with the fact that the couple had weathered lots of storms together. Many people will not forget his love tango with popular Nollywood actress, Bukky Wright. Bukky, those in the know squealed, intentionally got married to Bolaji Basia because she wanted to use him as a means of securing a permanent ticket to Canada, so a secret Nikkah was quickly conducted between both parties. But no sooner had the affair started than it crumbled. Before one could say jack! Basia scampered abroad to re-unite with his family.

Ex-gov Fayose's sister battles with cancer


POSTLE Bimpe Sorinolu, o n e t i m e socialite and younger sister of former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, is battling cancer. But the socialite turned apostle of God is shaken by the dreaded disease. Earlier the Ekiti-born apostle who now resides in the United Kingdom had on her birthday, November 12 last year, informed her family of the doctors' reports that she had only six months to live after she was diagnosed. She equally told them that she wanted to use the opportunity of her birthday to celebrate her wake-keep. This year, she has decided to shoot a movie titled The Diagnosis to tell her story. Already the movie had been premiered in the UK, but the movie is billed for premiere in Nigeria in January 2013.

Shirley Aghotse starts new year on a fresh note


ORMER Miss Toursim, Shirley Alero Aghotse, is starting the New Year on a fresh note. Come January 10, the Deltaborn beauty queen will be graduating from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, where she just finished an M.Sc degree in Finance and Accounting. Not only this, wedding bells will toll for her in the coming year.

Iyiola Omisore’s large heart


ENATOR Iyiola Omisore, the Apeesin of the source (Ile-Ife), offered a lifeline of N2.5m to two cancer patients last Thursday. We gathered that the one-time Osun State Deputy Governor read about the plight of the nine-year-old and 22-year-old cancer patients and responded to their appeal. The 55-year-old politician, through Eko Lions Club, decided to put a smile on their faces. Sources close to him say doing charity has enriched his life. The senator was supported by his 19 year-old daughter,Areomi. Who runs a foundation, Areomi Foundation which is dedicated to the cause of the handicapped and less privileged in the society.


Otunba Kayode Oke back in style


BUJA big boy Otunba Kayode Oke needs little or no introduction. Over the years, Oke, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Softess Group of Companies, has loomed large in the capital city's social and entertainment circuits with his reputation as one of the big boys who make things happen here. After ducking out of the social scene in recent times, the handsome, tall and light-skinned Softess boss is back in style. Still basking in the euphoria of the recent opening of Softess Hotel and Suites in Dubai and Accra respectively, he is now “pregnant” with a new project. The new project, Otunba Kayode Oke Foundation (OKOF), “is a humanitarian endeavour, which we gathered is his own way of giving back to society. Indeed, the proactive, suave business mogul, who is a familiar face in the FCT hospitality and entertainment arena, is back with a bang.

Torungbuwa royal family celebrates the late Oba Oyebajo


ORUNGBUWA royal family today holds a church service to commemorate the reign of the late Oba Oyebajo at the St Paul's Cathedral, Sagamu. According to head of the family, Professor G.B ogunmola, the Akarigbo who reigned about a century ago left his footprints in Sagamu and environs. “The occasion is to remember our late oba and the event would be a church service at St Paul Cathedral church, Sagamu. The first missionary school in Remo is right in front of his house. 'He adds that: During his reign there was so much acrimony. He was powerful, uncompromising and difficult for the British to handle. He was not a stooge and he was sent on exile to Calabar at a point. Luckily he did not die in exile; he came back just before he died”. Other illustrious sons of the family include Professor John Adekoya and Otunba Adeboye Ogunlaja.





OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821)

Folake Majin, daughters showcase new collections


olake Majin, the beautiful designer behind Schon Afrique, needs no introduction in the fashion industry. Last Thursday at the Expo Hall of the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Majin rolled out another collection tagged ”The Diamond Collection.” Also at the event attended by the cream of Lagos society women, Majin's two designer daughters, also showcased their new collections tagged Earth Collection and Midnight Rainbow Collection respectively.


L-R: Daisy Danjuma and Dame Abimbola Fashola

* L-R: Adesuwa Onyenekwe and Ndidi Obioha


L-R: Folake Majin and her daugthers Gogo and Miss Majin

BY: Olusegun Rapheal

*L-R: Adesuwa Onyenekwe and Ndidi Obioha * Bukky Latunji

* L-R: Kemi Adun and Nikky Khiran *

Ifueko Fex Ogbomo

Faces at Adenike Balogun's wedding in Lagos


aughter of former Director, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Hon. Rasheed Balogun, on Saturday, 22 December, got married to Oluseye Ofoesuwa at the Lagos Television Complex in Ikeja. Lagos

* The couple: Adenike and Oluseye Ofoesuwa

L-R: Special Assistant to Ogun State Governor, Hon. Leke Ogundipe and Chairman, Ajasco Steel Group, Engr. Joseph Abimbola

Groom’s parents, Pastor Edward Ofoesuwa and wife Omobola

Jide Johnson and wife


Bride’s parents, Engr. Rashed and wife Alhaja Sofia Balogun

L-R:. Chiarman, Abimab Aluminium Co. Engr. Habib Adedeji (right), Managing Director, Draftline Construction Company, Kole Babatunde (middle) and Mr. Oladipupo Williams




•Obama defeated Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney at the White House recently

•President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama embrace after watching CNN project the outcome of the election, at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 6, 2012. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

chunk of the President’s most ardent backers don’t admire either party yet think Obama is somehow above it all, immune to all the horse trading and favor mongering that politics entails. These voters aren’t political in the cable-TV sense of the word. But in 2012, they stuck by Obama. In the last month of the Obama campaign’s voter registration, 70% of those signed up were women, minorities or people under 30. The President feels a responsibility to advance the values he sees reflected in the changing electorate. Of the nearly 66 million people who pulled the lever for him, Obama says, “The choice that they made was less about me and more about them, more about who they saw themselves to be.” It’s a lovely sentiment for a winner, but even if Obama’s right, the question now is, Who exactly do they want to be? And can Barack Obama take them there? The election that Obama won, as he has said repeatedly, was in the end a choice, not a referendum. He proved to be a better option than Mitt Romney, who was an imperfect candidate by most measures. On the issues, Obama did not fare quite as well. While 51% of voters in exit polls in 2008 said they wanted the

government to do more, only 43% said so in 2012, and Obamacare still polls badly. But Obama doesn’t see his legacy in terms of an ideological imprint, like Ronald Reagan’s claim that “government is the problem” or Bill Clinton’s admonition that the “era of Big Government is over.” He says he just wants smarter government and a set of results that he can claim as he leaves office in early 2017: “That we had steered this ship of state so that we once again had an economy that worked for everybody, that we had laid the foundation for broad-based prosperity and that internationally we had created the framework for continued American leadership in the world throughout the 21st century.” Recent history and current headlines suggest he will fall short of achieving all those goals. But if he succeeds, it wouldn’t be the first time this leader beat expectations. Since the moment Obama arrived on the national scene in 2004, the very idea of leadership has been under assault. Many of the old institutions that once anchored the American Dream have been bled of public confidence. Banks, Big Business, the news media and Congress all polled at or near record lows during his first term. Obama him-

self was the target of uncommon vitriol, but he has somehow managed to keep the public’s faith. To understand how he kept his job, the best place to start is where he did. In early 2011, David Simas, a former registrar of deeds in Taunton, Mass., who had become a senior White House aide, switched on what might be called one of the largest listening posts in U.S. history. For months on end, two or three nights a week, Simas and his team secretly gathered voters in rented rooms across the swing states, eight at a time, the men separated from the women. The Obamans poked at their guinea pigs’ animal spirits, asked for confessions and played word-association games. (Among swing voters, Democrat often elicited Barack Obama, and Republican would yield words like old and backward.) Live feeds of the focus groups were shown on computer

screens at campaign headquarters in Chicago. The first discovery Simas made held the keys to the kingdom. “Here is the best thing,” he said of Obama when he went back to home base. “People trust him.” In an age of lost authority, Obama had managed to maintain his. In group after group, the voters told the researchers they believed the President was honest, lived an admirable personal life and was trying to do the right thing. “Here’s what I heard for 18 months,” Simas says. “‘I trust his values. I think he walked into the worst situation of any President in 50 years. And you know what? I am disappointed that things haven’t turned around.’ But there was always that feeling of ‘I am willing to give this guy a second shot.’” In different rooms, behind different one-way mirrors, Republicans made the same discovery. “There was almost nothing that would stick to this guy, because they just liked him personally,” Katie Packer Gage, Romney’s deputy campaign manager, said after the election. Most of those who had voted for Obama in 2008 were still proud of that vote and did not see the President as partisan or ideological. When Republicans channeled their party’s many furies, attacking Obama as an extremist, it backfired among swing-state voters. “The kind of traditional negative campaign that the Obama campaign did was not available to our side,” explained Steven Law, who oversaw more than $100 million in anti-Obama advertising for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. So even before the first ad ran, Obama had an edge and a way of framing the race. While Romney tried to focus on Obama’s weak economic record, Obama made his race about confidence. The most important poll question in Chicago was, Which candidate is looking out for voters like you? “What we saw these undecided voters doing for literally a year,” Simas says, “looking at two very different people outside fundamental message, tactics and strategy, is, they were making a very trust-based assessment between Obama and Romney.” This became the through line of the brutal and at times unfair Obama attacks on Romney — the cracks about car elevators, the specious mention of his potentially felonious Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the false claim that he supported an abortion ban without a rape exception, the endless harping on a Swiss bank account once held in his wife’s name. It all spoke to a central message built around trust: One man, despite his failures, had voters like you in mind. The other man, by contrast, knew how to make a lot of money for people you will never meet. Of course, Romney turned out to be Obama’s biggest ally in that narrative. But back at campaign headquarters, Simas slapped a poster on his office wall that told an even bigger story. It had three lines: two showing the rise of per capita GDP and productivity in the U.S. since 1992 and one flat line showing household income. He opened all his presentations with

“In an age of lost authority, Obama had managed to maintain his. In group after group, the voters told the researchers they believed the President was honest, lived an admirable personal life and was trying to do the right thing.“

the same chart. “Above it was just a phrase from a focus group — ‘I’m working harder and falling behind,’” Simas says. “That was the North Star. Everything we did and everything we said was derivative of that sentiment.” The words of the faceless focus-group participant passed from the rented room to the computer screens in Chicago and eventually right into the President’s stump speech. “As long as there are families who are working harder and harder but falling further behind,” Obama told crowds, “our work is not yet done.” Message is one thing. but in modern presidential politics, it can’t go very far without a machine, and the machine is what really made Obama cry — first at his final rally, in Des Moines, Iowa, and then at his headquarters the day after the election. Appropriately enough for a campaign that redefined the limits of viral politics, the second set of tears became a YouTube sensation, seen some 9 million times in the weeks after the election, more than any other campaign video of the cycle. You can see him walk to a microphone, looking easy and confident, chewing his gum. He starts telling the story of his first years as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side, when he was 25 and trying to find his way, with little success. “It’s not that you guys actually remind me of myself,” he says to the young staff before him. “It’s the fact that you are so much better than I was in so many ways. You’re smarter, and you’re better organized, and you’re more effective … Even before last night’s results, I felt that the work that I had done in running for office had come full circle,” he continues, “because what you guys have done means the work that I am doing is important. I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of all of you.” Then he breaks down. Tears well and drop. Obama didn’t have to do much to build this machine the second time around. The same obsessive staff, who had never really left his circle, returned with the same set of techniques, a mixture of old-school community organizing and high-tech social networking: one-on-one conversations with supporters, repeat telephone calls, staffers focused only on organizing volunteers, registration drives where no presidential campaign had tried registration before. But Obama was also obsessed. On a tour through Iowa in September, his state director, Brad Anderson, told him that the campaign had arranged for an early-vote location at a Latino grocery store. “The President loved that,” says Plouffe, who traveled with him. “The Latino community in Iowa is relatively small, but we were trying to harvest every vote possible.” The President even got to play shop foreman at times, as if he were back in the projects overseeing voter-registration teams. A couple of days before the election, he confronted a salaried staffer at a staging office in Ohio who asked the President for a photo. “You’re a field organizer,” Obama replied reproachfully, citing the well-known rule that staff’s first job is to organize others. “You gotta be looking out for your volunteers.” •Continued on Page 67




SPORTS MAN OF THE YEAR: Paralympian Yakubu Adesokan N

IGERIA made its Paralympic Games début at the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona. It sent a delegation of six male athletes to compete in track & field, powerlifting and table tennis. Adeoye Ajibola won two gold medals in sprint, while Monday Emoghawve obtained one in powerlifting. Nigeria has participated in every subsequent edition of the Summer Paralympics, though it has never taken part in the Winter Paralympics. Nigerians have won a total of 22 gold medals, 11 silver, and 12 bronze. In addition to his two gold medals in 1992, Ajibola obtained two more in sprinting four years later, while Emoghavwe in 1996 took another gold medal in powerlifting. In 2000, Edith Nzuruike became one of Nigeria’s first female Paralympic champions, winning gold in the javelin. The same year, Emoghavwe took his third consecutive gold in powerlifting, while three female powerlifters (Iyabo Ismaila, Victoria Nneji and Patricia Okafor) also obtained a gold medal each. In table tennis, Tajudeen Agunbiade won gold in the men’s singles, while the trio of Agunbiade, Tunde Adisa and Femi Alabi took gold in the team event. In 2004, Adekundo Adesoji was a triple champion in sprinting; Silver Ezeikpe took a gold medal in the men’s javelin; and Lucy Ejike a gold in powerlifting. Most recently, in 2008, Eucharia

By Julius Okorie and Stella Bamawo Njideka Iyiazi was Paralympic champion in both shot put and discus, while Ejike and Ruel Ishaku each won a gold medal in powerlifting. Since these feats recorded by our paralympians, they have wiped our faces at the Olympics in spite of the fact that not much attention is given to them. They are only remembered when it is time for the big events. There are no facilities in the country for their event. The usual firebrigade approach of hounding them to Europe is employed. yet they have endured, closed their eyes to their disabilities and shone like the stars that they are mounting the podium to wining cherished medals- gold, silver and bronze for Nigeria. At a time when President goodluck Jonathan has vowed to wipe out polio, Paralympics’ bodies globally have wondered where Nigeria would clinch her medals at the 2014 Rio d’Janerio Olympics in Brazil. The answer lies in broadening our horizon by training the paralypians with other form of deformities. The Paralympics Federation boss Dr. Frank Thrope rocked the hall with laughter when he informed President Jonathan at the Presidential Sports Retreat held in Abuja in May, that the Federal Government’s resolve to eradicate polio by 2015 is the death knell for Nigeria at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio d’ Jameiro, Brazil. Dr. Frank Thrope told everyone that till date, Nigeria has won 51

medals; 49 of them were won by paralympians with polio cases. He was the only serious looking person. Will you blame him? But he did say that there were areas in the physically-challenged sports for impaired persons, amputees, etc. Picking the sports man of the year 2012 was relatively easy compared to the Sports woman of the year. In the sports woman of the year 2012, five nominees won a gold medal at the Paralympics Games. But Yakabu Adesokan emerged as the Sports man of the Year 2012 based on his heroics despite his disabilities. Twenty nine ambassadors (12 ladies and 17 men) flew the nation’s flag in the paralympics Games from August 29-September 9. When the curtain fell, they had in the kitty 13 medals, six gold five silver and two Bronze placing 22nd

out of a 74 countries on the medals table and finishing Africa’s third best after Tunisia and South Africa. Nigeria dominated powerlifting at the London Paralympics Games with six gold medals in their 13-medal haul. The team broke four world records through Yakubu Adesokan who set the ball rolling by lifting 180kg in the men’s 48kg category, breaking not only the Paralympics record, but also breaking the world record twice, first by lifting 178kg and then settling for the winning weight of 180kg. The Paralympians no doubt performed well enough to deserve standing ovation, but the following who recorded golden outing stand out: Yakubu Adesokan: Adesokan, an Ibadan based

shoe-maker who en-route the London Olympics had to overcome injury to achieve his feat, confessed he almost considered quitting because of frustration and other challenges including absence of any help from left right and centre. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, his 175kg lift set a world record. The desire to push above challenges and the need to stand on the podium once more after the Delhi episode all added up to fire Adesokan who by the way ventured into sports by chance into action. His was a case of push on until victory is achieved! World record holder Yakubu Adesokan won the gold medal in the men’s +48 kg powerlifting on Day One of competition at the ExCel – South Arena 3 by lifting 180 kg. He thus set a new Paralympics and world record to help erase memories of his country’s dismal performances at the Olympic Games at the same venue a few weeks ago. The 33-year-old Nigerian had on Feb. 22, 2012 in Dubai, the UAE set the world record of 177 kg. Nigeria’s Ruel Ishaku had also held the Paralympic record of 169 kg set on Sept. 9, 2008 at the last Games in Beijing, China. This time around, Adesokan started off in Group A of the 11lifter event, and emerged the best after three attempts by each competitor. He first lifted 172 kg, and then 178 kg, before lifting a record-setting 180 kg. Taekwondoist Chika Chukwumerije: A word of commendation must however go to the likes of Team Nigeria Captain and taekwondoist Chika Chukwumerije who remained focused and steadfast even when it became apparent that Team Nigeria of able bodied men will not climb the podium for any kind of medal.

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR: Grace Anozie think about in making their choice of the best among the equals. Grace Anozie nicked it for the reasons listed underneath. It was a close call.

N picking the sports woman of the year, few of the votes felt that Nigeria’s pearl leading to the 2012 London Olympics in athletics Blessing Okagbare would have nicked it, if she finished within the medal bracket. Okagbare would have returned from the Olympics with a gold medal around her neck if she represented another country than ours. She had shown champions’ stuff running in major athletics Grand Prix, hence she was touted to be the one to beat in the 100 metres women race. Rather than look at the finer details of Okagbare’s feats with particular attention on how she


prosecutes her races, we went to town celebrating. Okagbare is a good athlete. But like Usain Bolt, she has problems with taking off from the starter’s bloc and it showed in all her races. Yet, we saw how Bolt overcame his through the concerted efforts of his coaches and the running spikes that he used. On the hindsight whilst watching Bolts’ preparation before the Olympics, special attention was paid to his starting to such an extent that he only raised his head after the six seconds. However, Paralympians Ivory Nwokorie, Loveline Obiji, Grace Anozie, Esther Oyema and Joy Onaolapo gave the voters plenty to

Grace Anozie: World record holder and Paralympics gold medallist, Grace Ebere Anozie brushed aside seven other contestants in the women’s +82.5kg class at the ExCel centre.Anozie, 36, failed to lift 162kg in her first attempt but came back to lift the same weight which eventually gave her the lead. Her third attempt to lift 165kg failed; she would have equaled the Paralympic record had she succeeded. For a lady who was forced into sports by unemployment. After graduating from the University in 1988, she turned her adversity in glory by embracing Paralympics sports Today she considers this breakthrough better than the gold medal in itself. A die-hard campaigner against polio Anozie has her friends who advised her to stop roving in search of job and put her physical strength into good use, it surely worked. Esther Oyema Esther Oyema lifting a 135kg weight in the power-lifting competition setting a new world record in the women’s 48kg category. Oyema, 30, who was also a gold

medalist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, set the record on Saturday at the ExCeL – South Arena 3. According to reports, the gold medalist said: “For the Paralympians to bring medals back to our country, they will feel very happy. “I’m not surprised because I worked very hard for it. I feel very, very good. I decided to be a world beater and to be a champion. I never doubted it. There are more records to come. I will keep going, by the grace of God,” she assured. Joy Onaolapo Joy Onaolapo increased Nigeria’s medals haul at the London 2012 Paralympics Games. The 29 year old won gold for Nigeria in the women’s 52 kg Powerlifting on Day 3 of the event. Sapele-born Onaolapo dominated proceedings after breaking the category’s Paralympic record with a second lift of 130kg, successfully completed 131kg to break the world record. Ivory Nwokorie Female powerlifter, Ivory Nwokorie clinched the gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games after beating Cigdem Dede from Turkey and Lidiia Soloviova of Ukraine who won silver and bronze medal respec-

tively in the women’s 44kg power lifting category. Nwokorie qualified for the London Games after she won bronze in the same category at the third Fazaa International Para-powerlifting Championship in Dubai last year. Loveline Obiji Nigeria’s 82.50kg powerlifter, Loveline Obiji clinched the fifth gold medal for Team Nigeria. Her final lift of 145kg was 10kg less than the world and Paralympics records but enough to beat all opposition to pick the gold medal. Loveline Obiji became the fourth Nigerian woman to claim gold at the Paralympics Games. Loveline Obiji lifted 145kg with her opening attempt and that was enough to see Randa Mahmoud of Egypt into silver, although the 21-year-old had to nervously watch on as the Egyptian tried and failed to lift 145kg with her final attempt. Incidentally the feat as at the time it was achieved, came to garnish her birthday, and as a first timer like she confessed later, it was worth celebrating ‘This is my first outing at the Paralympic Games. I started training in 2006, I love powerlifting, I love my game and I love sport.’



High flyers and the flops

ARELY hours to Christmas Day, President Goodluck Jonathan, speaking at the foundation laying of the Living Faith Foundation's Bible College in Kaduna, had a message for Nigerians: “Let me assure all of you and indeed all Nigerians that 2013 will be better for us than 2012 in all aspects of the nation's history. The new year shall be better for us in terms of job creation, wealth creation and improved security among others,� he said. In one breath the President was challenging Nigerians to dare to hope that the oft-repeated promises to deliver dividends of democracy would be actualised in the New Year. At same time, his comments appeared to be an admission that his large cabinet had fallen short in meeting the expectations of longsuffering Nigerians in every area

from security, to job creation to provision of electricity and basic infrastructure like roads. In a moment of defensiveness in the face on unrelenting criticism earlier this year, Jonathan vowed that he and his cabinet would no longer rely on the assessment of the media, but rate the government's performance by themselves. In the real world that hardly makes sense because the entire cabinet put together cannot muster more than 50 votes, whereas the opinions of millions of voting Nigerians who don't sit in the cabinet room would ultimate determine whether the administration has done well enough to be given another chance. This Sunday we begin an assessment of the Jonathan cabinet by allowing the people and experts in relevant areas to rate ministers on a scale of A to F. More ministers' scorecards will be published in the coming weeks.



MINISTERIAL SCORECARD influence, bureaucracy, undue interference that cannot achieve any commercial, profit orientation or free enterprise cum competitive capacity. “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. As such, it does no good to the economy.”. Last year, the country lost 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. The Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu National Refineries Special Task Force has advocated for the sale of the refineries within the next 18months. But the Federal Government is determined to carry out a TAM at the cost of $1.6billion, a move many analysts argue does not bolds well for the country. Given the above scenarios and the difficulties in accessing subsidy funds, many analysts are agreed on the fact that the ministry performance is anything but stellar and the individual at the headship should be shown the way out for her incompetence and complicity. RATING: F


Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum C

ONSIDERING the high level of sleaze and corruption that pervaded the sector in the last 12 months, especially in the wake of the fuel subsidy scam Nigerians are perturbed that things really got that bad for the sector. Fictitious subsidy claims, NNPC fraud to mention just a

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf few are some of the sour points that defined the ministry in the past year, Mr. Nnamdi Mordi, a petroleum engineer stressed. In his assessment of the sector, the President, Nigeria Union of Petroleum, and Natural Gas

Workers, South-West branch, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said there is every indication that fuel will be in short supply this season and for the latter part of the new year, thus fueling fears that Nigerians should expect the worst. The NNPC had suspended supply of petrol through the line following the explosion. The

corporation pumps about 11 million litres of petrol per day through the pipeline. On his part, Babatune Ogun, President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria PENGASSAN, while giving an assessment of the sector said: “Public sector and state enterprises still keep so much

EFORE the tenure of late President Umaru Musa Ya’Adua, Nigeria suffered multiple misfortunes as a result of the activities of Niger Delta militants who almost crippled economic and social activities in the oil rich region. The Niger Delta had, over the years, complained of neglect in spite of the fact that crude oil, the country’s main source of revenue, was exploited from there. So, as soon as he became president, Yar’Adua introduced an amnesty policy which made it possible for the militants to surrender their aims and embrace government’s rehabilitation programme. This brought relative peace in the once volatile region. Yar’Adua’s government went further to create the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, with the task of ensuring development of the region Since then, the expectation of Niger Deltans and indeed, Nigerians, has been very high, primarily because of the huge budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. For example, available records show that in 2009 about N51billion was budgeted for the ministry by the Federal Government. The ministry got about N86.2 billion from the 2010 Federal Appropriation (Amended Act). In the 2011 Appropriation (Amended Act), about N55.2billion was allocated to the ministry. In spite of availability of such huge resources, Niger Deltans have alleged that the ministry was yet to make any meaningful impact in the region. In the outgoing year (2012) in particular, most assessors insist




Akinwunmi Adesina, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development HE ministry whose mandate was to ensure the current administration’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), part of which is to add 20 million MT to the domestic food supply, or 5 million MT per year, by 2015, as well as create a total of 3.5 million jobs by 2015, in the last 12 months left no one in doubt that it was poised to deliver on its promises. Investigation by The Nation revealed that over the past one year the ministry successfully attracted $8 billion of private investment commitments into the agribusiness: in crop production, processing and other forms of value addition aimed at ensuring production of local paddy rice, fresh tomatoes into paste, fruits into juice concentrate, cassava into high quality cassava flour (HQCF), starch, sweeteners and sugar into ethanol. The Ministry, it was learnt, also launched a major effort to work strategically with the state governments to help drive investments into their agricultural sectors. The Ministry decentralized its operations and put in place 36 offices, with directors of agriculture, across the country, and 6 regional offices, one per geopolitical zone, to help drive investments and agricultural programmes in partnership with states. The efforts are paying off, as the Ministry is working more closely with the state governments


By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf than at any period since its existence. Investigation further revealed

that Cargill, Flour Mills of Nigeria and the Transcorp Group have embarked on a major investment that will produce 250,000 MT of starch from cassava, to replace

all the corn starch the country currently imports, as well as new investments to produce 100,000 MT of sweeteners from cassava syrup. Others include investors in pineapple concentrates in Cross Rivers and Benue states, tomatoes in Kano, sorghum in Borno and Jigawa. The largest manufacturer of Massey Ferguson tractors in the world, AGCO, has moved into Nigeria in the past year, investing over $100 million in new tractor assembly plants and tractor parts and supply services in Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna, Rivers, and Ogun States. On the Nigeria Stock Exchange, agricultural companies (PRESCO, Okomu Oil) are now the best performing stocks. The Ministry, it was learnt, secured financing of over $ 200 million from the China Exim Bank for the procurement and installation of 18 large scale industrial cassava flour processing plants, with capacity of 1.3 Million MT of High Quality Cassava Flour within 18 months. The processing plants will be run and owned by the private sector and meet all of Nigeria’s cassava flour needs to do up to 40% substitution for wheat flour. Findings by The Nation revealed that the accelerated food production efforts of the Ministry saw a total of 8.1 million MT added to the domestic food supply within the first year of the Ag-

Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs By Sam Egburonu that the minister, Elder Godsday Orubebe, performed abysmally. Asked to assess the minister, Prince Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information, said, without facts it would be difficult and unfair to make specific assessment. “But if you ask me to assess the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan’s government in 2012, it would be easier because we all can see that nothing is happening.” Oscar Onwudiwe, a legal practitioner and National Coordinator of Vanguard for Transformation, was more specific when he said, “I think Asari Dokubo’s assessment of the misfortunes of the zone has helped to evoke our bias against the performance of this ministry in 2012. Like the South-east, Niger Delta has about 47 years of infrastructural deficit. We all expected Orubebe, being a son of the soil, to do something positive. but we all saw that when we wanted to attend Oronto Douglas’ father’s burial, everybody had to fly. The unfortunate result is already known to us as a nation. How much does it cost to build a bailey bridge? I may not say offhandedly now the actual budgetary allocation to the ministry this year, but I know that NDDC’s

allocation this year is in billions, not to talk of the ministry. So, you ask yourself what is happening. We can’t see what this ministry has done with its huge allocation. “For me, the ministry is a mere duplication of what NDDC should do. To make the matter worse, the minister lacks vision. This is why it is rather difficult to even assess his performance. Without vision, how can anybody make impact? All our past leaders, like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Michael Okpara and such like, had identifiable vision. That is what drove their leadership to make impact. Even Bukola Saraki, the former governor of Kwara State had admirable vision in the area of agriculture. But in the case of Niger Delta Ministry, what is Orubebe’s vision? Nothing! “Given the circumstances that led to the creation of that ministry, one would have expected Orubebe to come up with the vision that would enable him attract foreign investment in the oil rich region. “I think he performed very poorly and if I am to rate him, I will give him an ‘F,’ meaning that he failed woefully.” Comrade Wilfred Frank Agbotobo, the Coordinator of CPC

Renewal Committee in Bayelsa State was equally harsh in his assessment of the minister in the outgoing year. According to him, “The case of Orubebe is very pathetic in the sense that if you go across the six states of the Niger Delta, there is no tangible thing to justify the huge resources allocated to the ministry. Orubebe is from this area and so we had expected him to know the needs of our people. He has not shown that he knows or cares. “In fact, given O r u b e b e ’ s performance, Niger Deltans feel that there is no need for the ministry to remain in existence. This is because there is nothing to show or justify why the ministry is there. For me, that ministry should be scrapped. I think Orubebe is an undertaker in terms of his performance and I put it to you

that his performance has come to question the relevance of the ministry. In Bayelsa State here, nobody knows if there is Niger Delta Ministry. So, if I am asked to score him, I will give him ‘F’ or anything lower. We are not impressed at all. RATING: F

ricultural Transformation Agenda. Thus, the Ministry achieved 70% above the target set for 2012. The achievement means that the Ministry achieved, in its first year alone, 41% of the total cumulative food supply promised of 20 Million MT promised for 2015. The Ministry, through all its programmes and activities in 2012, stimulated the creation of 2 million jobs. This is 57% of the 3.5 million jobs promised by 2015. Besides, during the scourge of flooding which ravaged most parts of the country, the Ministry, investigation revealed was very quick to develop and put in place a plan to mitigate the impacts of the flood. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on the instruction of the President, put in place a flood recovery food production programme, which entailed four different, but related, approaches, all to ensure that extra food is produced during the dry season to make up for food losses incurred as a result of the flood. The Ministry is now implementing the Flood Recovery Food Production plan to support farmers in the flood affected areas based on the flood recession food production intervention of N9.7billion approved by the president. Lending credence to The Nation’s findings, Dr. Austin Nweze, a public affairs analysts and senior lecturer, Pan African University stated that of all the ministries, the agric sector achieved some measure of success when compared to its counterparts. According to him, “Clearly, the agric sector witnessed farreaching changes in the last 12 months. You could see that in the way and manner the ministry led by Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina dedicated his time and energy to deliver the much elusive democratic dividends to the populace.” Specifically, he said, “Agric contributes over 42 per cent to the nation’s GDP as over 60 per cent of Nigerians are involved in agriculture produce. Over the last one year you could point to efforts aimed at original research into high yields and all of that. This might take another three to five years to materialise though. But it shows the level of critical thinking the ministry puts into its work and the minister deserves kudos for a job well done and we hope he won’t get complacent in the coming year. Frankly speaking, other ministers need to borrow a leaf from him because one minister who is on top of his game.” Echoing similar sentiments, Dr. Dare Owolabi, an agro economist holds the view that “the agric ministry gave stellar performance in the last 12 months which are visible for all to see.” RATING: B




Zainab Maina, Minister of Women Affairs T

HE appointment of Hagiya Zainab Maina as Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development in July 2011 was greeted with excitement by women from all walks of life. Many declared that she was a right candidate for the job. This was linked to her antecedents as leader of the National Council of Women Society (NCWS), membership of PDP Board of Trustees and other responsibilities. The question is has she been able to make use of these experiences and how well has she impacted on the lives of women. The Nation on Sunday spoke to a cross section of women and below is their assessments and ratings. For Ada Agina Ude , the Executive director, Gender and Development Action (GADA) gives Maina C having performed averagely. “Although the Minister is doing well, one cannot help comparing her with Hajia Aisha Ismail, another activist who was the first Minister of Women affairs during Obasanjo’s first term. Maina needs to borrow one or two things from Ismail namely: regular and structured consultations with women’s groups, accessibility to ordinary women, and media

By Yetunde Oladeinde savvy. Ismail drew a lot of attention to her Ministry and women’s issues in her time”. Maina, Ude opines needs to do the same. “She ought to speak out a lot more now that the constitution is under review. The absence of women in the legislature is a national emergency, and her Ministry should be seen as doing everything possible to ensure that it is addressed now that there is an opening”. Maina, Ude stressed needs to do more because the expectation’s from women is quite high.”Women Activists welcomed Hajia Zainab Maina’s appointment as Minister of Women Affairs with excitement because she is regarded as one of their own. Moreover, her tenure as National President of the NCWS was vibrant and witnessed unusual synergy between that conservative body and the more progressive women’s groups” Like Ude, Clara Ihekwoaba , a lawyer scores Maina C. Her words: Hajiya Zainab Maina has done so well. The only area I think that she needs to do more for women is in the rural areas and the less privileged

ones. This can be done through trainings and other empowerment projects. It would also be good if she can go a step further by providing or recommending these women for grants that would empower them economically and they can in turn assist other women. I think she can do much more and I am sure that Nigerian women are waiting to see a more energetic women affairs minister come 2013". On her part, Uche Azotani says that the Minister’s input is noticeable and she deserves to be scored B. The Entrepreneur and Politician with APGA believes that the Minister should do focus more on gender policies that would favour women. “I am proud of the Minister of Women affairs and I know that she would make the necessary changes because of her antecedents.” Busola babalola, an activist also believes that the Minister merits a B. “From rating, I would say that the Minister of Women affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina merit a B. She has been doing well and has also affected a positive attitude towards women in the Jonathan Administration. From my assessment, I think we have about thirty per cent representation which is close to the ideals

of affirmative action. But again, I would say that she needs to do more especially by liaising with political parties to give women more opportunities for elective positions.” RATING: C

Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment


HE Ministry of Trade and Investment, a nucleus of the transformation agenda, has been at the receiving end from analysts who believe its achievements are overrated. The likes of Abdullahi Inapeh, an accounting graduate, who has been underemployed since 2009 believes a lot still needs to be done by the ministry to get jobless youths like him off the streets. The last year, he stressed, can be best described as another unproductive year in job creation. Dr. Austin Nweze is also on the same page with Inapeh. According to him, a lot still needs to be done to get the country out of the woods. “The job crisis in the country occasioned by the disappearing businesses which have all left the country in droves and coupled with policy defectiveness is to blame for the parlous state of the economy,” he declared. Speaking further, he said: “Many owners’ start-ups who expected to be given a hands-up by the government through incentives didn’t get any such incentives. Rather it is only those close to the corridors of power that got waivers to import all manner of things to the detriment of the local industries.” The ministry, the analysts noted, performed below average. But the ministry has a different position. Speaking with The Nation over the weekend, Special Adviser on Media

to Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Mrs. Yemi Kolapo, said the ministry has achieved some milestones in the last 12cmonths. The Federal Government has created about 1,401,242 jobs within the last one year through the implementation of trade and investment reforms, policies and programmes. “Aganga is a technocrat that is not just committed to delivering on promises because it is the right thing to do but because he considers his integrity at stake and would do anything humanly possible to guarantee that.” Expatiating, she said: “Within the last one year, the Ministry has held over 70 meetings in over 12 countries, resulting in the renewed investment interest in Nigeria. Latest statistics released by the

Central Bank of Nigeria over the weekend, showed that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the country jumped to $1.574 billion in the last quarter of 2011, as against the $1.309 billion recorded during the third quarter of 2011.” Speaking further, she said, “ The oneyear score sheet of the various agencies and parastatals under the ministry showed that the Bank of Industry created 1,335,000 jobs; the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency,31,122; Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, 30,000; and other Free Trade Zones under the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, 5,120. These give a total of 1,401,242 jobs.” “The ministry is also reviewing investment policies, laws and incentives;

strengthening the One Stop Investment Centre in the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission to ensure effective delivery of its mandate and enforcing the presence of all relevant agencies of government in the centre with delegated duties. It has commenced setting up trade and investment desks in major Nigerian embassies abroad; strengthening and using the Free Trade Zones in a more strategic manner; exploring new ways of unlocking domestic and international capital; as well as protecting intellectual rights and copyright to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to do business in Nigeria.” RATING: C

Stella Oduah, Minister of Aviation T

HE Ministry of Aviation under Princess Stella Oduah in the estimation of discerning public clearly comes across as a ministry in need of a serious makeover. One individual who has religiously monitored the turn of events in the sector for decades, especially in the last one year, Captain Dele Ore, in an interview with The Nation was unsparing in his criticism of the sector under Oduah. Literally firing from all cylinders, the aviation expert in a gesture, at once dismissing and impassioned, said the last one year has been a tale of missed opportunities. Making allusion to the hyped road-shows and similar endeavours embarked upon by the ministry in the year under review, Captain Ore said it achieved little or nothing. The so-called achievements being mouthed to high heavens, he noted, “are rather cosmetic. ” More worrisome, he said is the fact that the ministry has being guilty of executive meddlesomeness. “The ministry is very difficult to score given

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf the way and manner things have played out thus far in the last one year. All I can say that the ministry has taken it upon itself the responsibility it is not saddled with. It has continued to meddle on the activities of the chief executives in the ministry. To that extent, I think the ministry lost its focus in the past year and as such performed dismally.” “But I will give it to the regulator, in this case the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for holding forte in the face of political interference by the executives. But for their firmness, things would have gone really awry. So I give it to them.” Like Ore, other analysts who raised their voice above the din to comment on development in the nation’s aviation airspace all seem to agree on the fact that the sector did not deliver a star performance expected of an otherwise vibrant industry. RATING: D




Labaran Waku, Minister of Information I

T was knocks all the way for the Goodluck Jonathan administration from concerned Nigerians who are of the view that the Federal Ministry of Information under the leadership of Mr. Labaran Maku has performed below expectation. In the words of Alhaji Buba Galadima, a chieftain of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), “All the Ministry of Information achieved in the outgoing year is disseminating falsehood and propaganda all in the guise of informing Nigerians of government programmes and policies.” Asked to be specific on the shortcomings of the ministry, Galadima responded, “The failure of the ministry under Maku is there for all Nigerians to see. Recall that the Senate President, David Mark, said that Maku always talks on burning issues before thinking. That is the number three man of the country talking about a minister. So, what more can I add to what Mark said?” Human rights lawyer and activist, Fred Agbaje, was unsparing in his assessment of Maku and his ministry. “What the ministry successfully did in the outgoing year is misinforming Nigerians about government policies in the areas of their welfare and security of lives and properties,” he said

Chukwuemeka Wogu, Minister of Labour and Productivity

By Remi Adelowo dismissively. “What we have seen in 2012 is that the ministry sees the interest of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Federal Government as representing the national interest. More often than not, the ministry suppressed the truth and has not acted in the overall interest of Nigerians,” he added. The views of Mr. Osita Okechukwu, the Publicity Secretary, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), did not differ from Galadima and Agbaje’s assessment. In a scathing remark, Okechukwu said, “In public relations practice, you do good and


then you advertise it. But if you don’t do good, what are you going to advertise? If a government has little or nothing to showcase as its achievements, the only thing it can engage in is propaganda.” Falling short of accusing the ministry of engaging in propa-

Ministry of Power (Unmanned – President Goodluck Jonathan)


HAT President Goodluck Jonathan is always upbeat when he talks about power is an understatement. Like other major sector, power is top on the economic calculus. Little wonder the president himself did not have any qualms in coming out to tell Nigerians of what he sees as “glaring” achievements in the sector. President Goodluck Jonathan

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf has said that there has been a significant improvement in the nation’s power sector. This was contained in his message posted on his Facebook wall on Christmas day. The president also said that he has directed that “roads should be worked on” to enable his friends and loved ones travel safely for the

Abba Moro, Minister of Internal Affairs By Dare Odufowokan


EFT to the National AntiTerrorism and Peace Network (NATPW), a civil society group, which accused the Minister of Interior and supervising head of Nigeria’s internal security, Comrade Abba Moro, of alleged involvement in weapons deals, the ministry’s scorecard this year would be

ganda, a former member of the House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko posited: “When the government constructs roads or build hospitals, the people will see it. No amount of propaganda can deceive the people.” RATING: E

nothing to write home about. In spite of denials by the minister, the group claims it has received intelligence from an unnamed source in the secret services that the he was secretly smuggling arms into the country. The Interior Ministry supervises the Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Fire Service (FFS) and the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) Although the allegation was dropped when the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC) said the arms in contention were actually handed over to the corps by the minister, the incident remained one of the controversial focal points this year. Another feature of Moro’s ministry was his disagreement with members of the House of Representatives over which category of Nigerians should possess diplomatic passports while on foreign trips. Whereas the lawmakers wanted the list of diplomatic passport holders to be scaled down, the minister wanted an expansion of the list to include spouses of government officials

whose husbands already had diplomatic passports. His stand was unpopular among Nigerians. Asked to rate the ministry’s performance, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun said with the number of jail breaks witnessed during the year, there was no reason why Moro should see himself as a performer. “He has performed below expectation like others in the government. Aside the many jail breaks people are talking about, the prisons are congested with too many people awaiting trial. Security operatives still put people in prisons with impunity. One would have expected the minister to initiate a plan to decongest the prisons. That was not done, so what achievement then are we talking about. Our borders are still as porous as any national border can be. We are daily infiltrated by foreigners and the ministry couldn’t do anything about it,” he said. Critics also point at the recent recruitment scandal in the Immigration Service in rating the minister very low. According to them, the influx of foreigners through our porous borders is a contributory factor to the persistence of the Boko Haram campaign in northern Nigeria. RATING: E

holidays. In the statement which reads in part, he said: “I feel the pains of Nigerians and that is why this yuletide period I have personally instructed that our roads should be worked on to enable you and your loved ones travel safely for the holidays knowing that this season brings with it the highest volume of traveler traffic of the year. “This administration also made sure that most of our airports received a facelift with the terminals rehabilitated and the runways upgraded. “Not done, we ensured that for the first time in decades, the cross country services (Lagos to Kano with stops in cities along the route) of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) were revived just prior to the holidays to provide Nigerian masses with an inexpensive alternative to road and air transportation. “Nigerians traveled on these coaches which took them from Lagos to Kano beginning on Friday the 21st of December, 2012 at a very affordable rate of 1,500 Naira, with stops at many cities along the route. “This administration also took steps to increase power generation by remaining true to the Timelines of the Roadmap to Power Sector Reforms which has seen history made on Friday the 21st of December 2012, when Nigeria’s power generation hit an all time high of just over 4,500 MW which I know is still not good enough, but which nevertheless is an improvement of what we met on ground to the end that as many Nigerians as possible can celebrate the holidays with power in our homes and communities.” To analysts, the so-called achievements in the sector reeled out by the President in a manner of speaking is all sound and fury signifying nothing. According to analysts, the Roadmap for power has achieved nothing as such it is time to go back to the drawing board. RATING: F

INISTER of Labour, Chukwuemeka Wogu, whose ministry has been criticised throughout the year in the face of sundry challenges from organised labour, faced further controversy early this month, when some reports said linked him to Pinnacle Contractors – a company caught up in the N2.7billion oil subsidy fraud row. Although the company came out to explain that Wogu had no hands in the company, that allegation may have affected the rating of the minister’s performance in 2012. Most assessors told The Nation that they do not know the work of Wogu’s ministry. Former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, merely laughed when asked to assess the performance of the ministry. In a brief telephone chat with The Nation, he asked, “Which labour? Please don’t disturb me. Since labour sold out during the fuel hike palaver, which labour are we talking about? There is no need of rating anybody here.” Comrade Wilfred Fred Ogbotobo, labour and human rights activist and National Coordinator, Vanguard for Transformation, was even more cynical when he told The Nation, “Honestly, I do not know Wogu’s job. I don’t know what the ministry is doing. “All I can see in 2012 is that labour movement is in a miserable condition and you are asking me to assess the minister. I think the ministry lacks focus and as for the minister, I will score him ‘F’ Oscar Onwudiwe, the National Coordinator of Vanguard for Transformation did not rate the minister better. “What can he do without infrastructure,” he asked. “We are distracted by people who don’t like the presence of Jonathan. I think that in a special area like labour, it will take a team to work but without a team spirit, labour will remain dormant. This disunity has created internal dislocation within the labour family. It is unfortunate.” RATING: E




Gbenga Ashiru, Minister of Foreign Affairs I

N 1957, 12 officers from across Nigeria formed a department in the Prime Minister’s office which today is the country’s ministry of foreign affairs. Fifty five years later, the ministry, established to mediate in the country’s relations with other countries, is gargantuan. And with Nigerians in different parts of the globe, 2012 was busy it. Some events which ticked the sector included spats between Nigeria and Cameroun over ownership of oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula, the March 2 deportation of 125 Nigerians by South Africa for purportedly carrying fake yellow cards, a move which the country retaliated by expelling 42 Nigeria-bound South Africans also for ‘health’ reasons, as well as the evacuation of Nigerian traders in Ghana. There was also the regular Diasporan glory, grime, and the expected big-brother role Nigeria had to play within ECOWAS and the AU. At the centre of it all was Ambassador Gbenga Ashiru, the country’s foreign minister. Speaking in an interview in September, Ashiru said; “Nigeria’s foreign policy road map now is economic diplo-

By Joe Agbro Jr. macy. We’re aiming at using diplomacy to attract investments into Nigeria in a manner that will complement President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda.” Working or not? But according to Dr. Abiodun Afe, a lecturer at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State. To him, the summation of the country’s foreign affairs mission has been “business as usual.” Complaining of oil theft which he said involved not only Nigerians and Nigerian firms but also foreigners and multinationals, Dr. Afe said, “with the level of oil theft in Nigeria, no nation can progress.” As a counter, he however said, “we can use our connections to block those areas if those people in government are not the ones championing those things.” Also, Dr. Abubakar Momoh of the department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, thinks current minister of foreign affairs is professionalising the ministry to

compare favourably with other foreign ministries in the world. According to Dr. Momoh, “successive presidents and heads of state have been very arbitrary in their appointment of ambassadors. You find people who have lost elections and so on. People who have no clue or idea about diplomacy and public relations have been appointed to very sensitive posts across the world. And this has really not helped the country. But Ambassador Ashiru has tried as much as possible for the government to restore that balance.” Highlighting the improved

respect for Nigerians abroad under Ashiru’s tenure, Dr. Momoh said, “you saw what happened to Nigerians who were travelling to South Africa who were deported for very spurious reasons. If it was in the past, this would have gone unattended. But the ambassador took the matter and reacted to it within a short time, made a few demands and the government of South Africa apologised. Similarly, he has directed the embassies that visa fees have to be paid in the local currency of the country. And he has also called on them to provide reasonable time limits in which they must process the visas of prospective Nigerian applicants. I think some of the things confers respectability not only on the ministry but on Nigerians because there is this attempt to sort of criminals Nigerians and showcase us as bad people who have no business in other countries.” Also, describing the minister as a professional, Dr. Jonathan Aremu, an economist and consultant to many multinationals, however deviated, saying the image of the country was at its lowest in 2012. “The job of the minster is how to market an economy that is already bad to the outside world. It’s not an easy task. So, the ministry is performing poorly, not because he is incompetent but because the product he is to sell is not a good one.” He said, “you may have a very good climate but when the perception about you is wrong, nobody would even be able to know the climate.” He believes the needed reforms should come from within. “What foreigners are hearing about Boko Haram, about kidnapping is not encouraging,” he said. “What I believe that can be

done is we need to make the environment right before we sell ourselves outside.” Playing big brother Africa Dr. Afe however commended the country’s intervention efforts in Africa as well as the West Africa region. “I believe that we have tried in the area of trying to make peace in Mali,” he said. “We also tried in making sure there is democracy in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The role of Nigeria in those two countries must be commended.” But also lamenting the nation’s posture in education, Dr. Afe said, “I want to tell you that the money Nigerians are spending on our post-graduate students in foreign countries is enough to revamp our education.” Identifying other challenges Nigerians face in the Diaspora, Dr. Momoh said: “Many Nigerians are in jails in Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea over all kinds of charges for which they don’t even have a right to have a lawyer. We need to firm up about these issues. And on the continent too, I think a lot needs to be improved. Xenophobia is still there in South Africa. In neighbouring countries too, some of the kind of antipathies exist. I think there is need for cultural promotion, educational interaction and so on that will improve our relationship.” “And take what the ministry can achieve by strictly engaging the cyberspace, putting information out there to Nigeria. You can imagine how many Nigerians will take advantage of it.” RATING: C

Bolaji Abdullahi, Minister of Sports I

T is exactly one year this December when youthful Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi first stepped his foot on the sports ministry following his appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan in acting capacity after the departure of Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman to pursue political ambition in Sokoto State. Five months later, he was confirmed as the substantive sports minister and between then and now, a lot of water has passed through the proverbial bridge. As a former journalist, respected columnist, commissioner and erstwhile Minister of Youths Development, Abdullahi brought into the job years of meritorious service in the newsroom and public service and in his previous assignments, he reportedly adopted scientific approach to management – the theory propounded by Frederick Winslow Taylor ‘to improve labour productivity by analyzing and establishing workflow processes. ’ Long before the appointment of Abdullahi, some of the questions been asked from those who were saddled with the responsibilities of running the sports ministry cum the National Sports Commission(NSC) were not limited to the following: Could Nigeria‘s strange untidiness in sports be a consequence of putting a square peg in a round

By Taiwo Alimi hole? Why is it difficult for the National Sports Commission to churn out athletes as it were in the 1980s? Why is Corporate Nigeria less enthusiastic about ploughing their huge profits to sports development? Why is the NSC preoccupied with only football without implementing its so-called SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Treats of Nigerian Sports) project? Why is the sports ministry profoundly corrupt? Yet while some regard Abdullahi as the messiah to redeem Nigerian sports, others believe that the difference between him and his predecessors is like the difference between six and half dozen. ”For a true assessment of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, we have to take cognisance of the fact that he is barely six months in office as the substantive Minister of Sports,” reasoned Taiwo Ogunjobi, the erstwhile Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation and current Chairman of Osun Football Association. ”He consulted widely on coming on board and l was impressed with the manner he tackled and resolved all the court cases against the Nigeria Football Federation, “added Ogunjobi who also noted that the country’s poor performance at the 2012 London should not be put at the doorsteps of Abdullahi. To Waidi Akanni, former Nigerian international and Chairman

Lagos State’s chapter of the Youth and Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Abdullahi could be likened to the late Mr. Ishaya Mark Aku who had a profound effect on the sports ministry during his brief tenure in 2001-2002. According to Akanni, Abdullahi has brought some dynamism to the management of sports by ensuring that the London 2012 was not a jamboree as hitherto the case. He also praised his foresight which saw President rewarding Paralympics’ athletes following their impressive performance, ditto for the National Under-20 Women’s team, the Falconets upon their good performance at the FIFA World Cup. Said he: “I’ve listened to him several times and I’m impressed with his vision about developing a working template for the development of sports in Nigeria. To this end, he met with chairmen of sports federations and tasked them to come with long-term development plans.” But Gara Gombe, firebrand social crusader, is less enthusiastic describing Abdullahi’s tenure so far as very disappointing. Gombe who has been a thorn in the flesh of past chairmen of the NSC said there is little to choose between Abdullahi and his ineffective predecessors, adding that the more things change in Nigeria, the more they remained the same. “As far as I’m concerned, there is little to celebrate about Nigerian

sports in the last one year and I say this with all sense of responsibility because there is no transparency and accountability in the management of sports contrary to what we are made to believe,” reasoned Gombe. “It is not enough to make policy statements but what about the implementations. I can give you several instances starting with the National Stadium in Lagos and even the one in Abuja. “One of the first things the minister said when he came into office was that he was going to renovate the National Stadium in Lagos but what is the condition of the place today?

“The minister said he was going to reduce the number of sports federation to ensure that we concentrate on those areas where we have comparative advantages but that has not also happened. “We had the worst outing the London 2012 Olympics and even the Paralympics athletes that redeemed the glory of the country were short-changed under the nose of the minister and nothing has happened to these thieving officials and we say we are tackling corruption?” Gombe said the ministry in the last one year, has recorded what can be regarded as ‘trust deficit’ since their stock in trade was just to make bogus policy statement without recourse to its implementation. He further questioned the rationale behind the minister’s insistence that the future National Sports Festival which was hosted by recently Lagos without the NSC counterpart’s funds be thrown open as against the law guiding it. He said the panache is for the National Assembly to pas the NSC bill into law so that the right people can mount the saddle to turn the fortune of Nigerian sports for good, concluding that Abdullahi if not checked with his unguarded statements and policy somersaults, would ended being the worst Minister of Sports Nigeria ever had! RATING: D



Beijing: Home of the Forbidden City —PAGE 56 RMED with a degree in Banking and Finance, Akinwale Roy Ojomo was full of hopes when he left Nigeria in 1999 for the United States of America. While there he got an MBA from Wilmington University. He later worked in Citibank in Delaware, Maryland and with Key Bank in Albany, New York. He excelled in his career but his plan and story changed from banking when he saw Africans especially some Nigerians suffering abroad as many could not come back home while others who were willing to return had no financial means. When Ojomo arrived in America he thought it was paved with silver and gold. He never expected to see a poor man until he sighted some fellow Nigerians begging for alms in Philadelphia. He was shocked to the marrows. Not only that, another episode made him weep. According to him, “I had never cried in my life but two episodes made me shed tears: One day I saw some Nigerians who had spent several years abroad begging for food on the streets of Chicago and Washington and I couldn’t believe my eyes. One of them spoke Igbo language to me and opened up that he could not return home because he had no money to purchase a ticket! The second time I cried was when I saw a Nigerian who was buried like a pauper in Texas. The deceased was from a notable royal family from Yoruba land , but there was no money to bring his corpse home (Nigeria). I have also met some Nigerian professors driving cabs in America , and I had also met others who are wealthy and had chain of companies and businesses but did not know how to come and invest. They are there in America paying heavy taxes to the American government. This made me to start the project of African in Diaspora, and appealing to Nigerians abroad to come back home and invest or come back home no matter the poor economic condition and start living


Nigerian tales from America While many Nigerians are yearning to go to America, the proverbial land of opportunities, many of their compatriots are returning home with tales to tell. Akinwale Roy Ojomo, Convener of African Diaspora Conference held in Lagos appealed to the rich, professionals and technocrats among Nigerians to return home and invest in the country, Taiwo Abiodun reports. normal lives at home. America is no longer the Eldorado we thought.” Ojomo said the conference was a follow up to the Global Diaspora Forum hosted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID in Washington, D C. Diaspora to the rescue He said an American private consultant David Ross is in partnership with the Diaspora Innovation Institute handling projects where they train, give loans and offer business ideas to individuals willing to come back home to settle down.”This is to assist morally and financially those who have no hope and have nothing doing there as they are rotting away. Many of them could only speak American slangs with American accents, that is all. The consultant will also assist the wealthy ones who want to do any business in their

•The Convener, Akinwale Ojomo with Abike-Dabiri-Erewa

home country by offering advice on what they could do. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a member of the House of Representatives and chairperson of the Committee on Diaspora, described the initiative as a good one, and pleaded with the Federal Government to establish a Commission that will assist those in the Diaspora. She said “we need to stand up for our citizens, we need to intervene, not only when they are in trouble.” Words from home Taiwo Peter, who hails from Owerri, Imo State, spent 35years in America. According to him, he left the Nigerian shores in the late 70s at 17 to meet his relations who were resident in America. Two years ago after spending 35 years there he returned home. “When I got to America, I thought I had reached the promised land until it dawned on me that khaki no be leather. I drove cab, I mean taxi, for


years. One day I was waiting for a white man to take him out in my cab, but in order to while away my time I started reading a Chemistry book and when the man saw me he was shocked, and he asked me whether I went to school! “While in the United States I went to Morgan State University, Baltimore where I read Communication/Philosophy. While there I was the President of the Student’s Union Government Association, and I had the opportunity to meet big American people like Jesse Jackson. I remember one nasty experience I had and that was in 1981 when I was not allowed to eat from a white man’s canteen just because I am Black. “When I was driving a cab, it enabled me to know people and many places. It really helped me because I was able to meet intelligent and knowledgeable


people; knowledge is contagious. “It is good to go there, gain knowledge and then come back home to practice what we all learn there. And that is why the United States is good, once they see you and know where you are good, they are ready to assist. But home is the best place to be. I am an Environmental Consultant now in Nigeria, and I am happy to be back home to contribute my own quota to the development of my country. I own my company in Lagos. I am doing well.” On what he missed while away, Peter who still speaks with American accent said. “It was painful that I did not meet my dad again, considering my tender age when I left home. I lost my brother, I lost friends.” Asked whether he has forgotten his eastern background home as he bears a Yoruba name, Peter said that his mother told him she had a very close friend who was Yoruba and when he and his other brother were delivered, she decided to give them Yoruba names instead of Igbo names. His twin brother named Taiwo died long time ago. Remi Duyile who also spent 27 years in America left Nigeria at 17. She returned home two years ago and now lives in Akure, Ondo State. ‘’I attended the University of the State of the District of Columbia, and read Finance and International Economics. I was doing well in the Bank of America, as I rose from the entry level to the position of Vice President.” She still lives with a nostalgic memory of her time there, “The country (America) was good to me. Leaving Nigeria I know that many things were against me. First, I am a Black woman, then this racial discrimination, and many other things added to our problems like the bad image Nigeria had. I used to challenge them at every opportunity. I did not allow this to intimidate me.” •Continue on Page 57




Edozie Udeze, just back from Beijing, the capital city of the People’s Republic of China, writes on the allure and beauty that make the city one of the most visited cities in the world


HE walls of the ancient palace of the Ming dynasties that was established as China’s greatest and most grandiose tourist attraction was built between 1368 and 1644. This wonderful historical setting built on the hills of Jingshan, places China as one of the most sought-after tourism destination centres in the world. Yet the capital Beijing was deliberately built as a model city to suit the ever insatiable technological aptitude of an average Chinese whose love for what is exceptional is ever unparalleled. In reality, Beijing is a city steeped in historical sites. These sites vary in age and period. The most striking is the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City has the palace grounds that were home to ancient emperors of the Ming. It was founded in the period 1368 to 1644 when great emperors and rulers occupied it. The Ming and Qing dynasties showcased their glorious splendour more from 1644 to 1911. Today the place serves as the epitome and the climax of Chinese culture, tradition and history. It is only when you climb the top of the hill in Jingshan Park that you will surely enjoy the beauty of the place in its complete epitome. The Jingshan mountain was even constructed artificially when the Ming dynasties erected the Forbidden city. As at today it has remained the most celebrated tourist and historical destination in the whole of China, attracting over one million visitors from all over the world every year. Apart from the traditional beliefs and norms of the Chinese people with which they have been able to develop and perfect their society, and made life very pleasant for their citizens, it is a society wellguided by the communist system for maximum results. This observation is what first strikes you as your plane enters into their airspace and then the announcement comes on: “We are now in the Chinese airspace. As a first time visitor, you ought to be intimated with the normal norms of this society,” the announcer bellows in thickly accented Chinese English. “If you have a contraband material on you or an explosive… If you do not have your yellow fever vaccine certificate as stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and so on, and you are caught, the government of People’s Republic of China has every right to quarantine you.” With this information and stern warning welcoming you into Beijing, China, you are quickly advised to be on your guard. China is truly a police state. Yet, it is a police state where things work; where everybody, both citizens and foreigners, are conformists. There is no doubt that their leaders set out on time to build a nation predicated essentially and primarily on etiquette and respect for one another. It is a place where people do not shout, abuse, assault or accost one another on the street. Although there are police officers in virtually all nooks and crannies of Beijing, they do not carry arms. They mostly stand at attention in different public buildings, and street corners taking turns to guard the places. Even as they do so, they do not refuse to attend to people. They only do so with plenty of caution, gentility and respect. While at attention, a Chinese

•Santa Claus blessing visitors in front of the General Post Office, Beijing, China

•Entrance to the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Beijing: Home of the Forbidden City policeman will answer questions without moving his body. Only his lips would move as he stares sternly into your eyes, sizing you up to know the sort of person you are. Their eyes and bodies are built like iron steel, imbued with discipline and forbearance. On Wednesday 12th when snow began to fall in Beijing, these police men were still seen standing outside in the same positions. It had been earlier forecast that the snowfall would hit Beijing early on that Wednesday. As early as 6a.m their local time (11pm Nigerian time), the snowfall had begun. Most of the people who did not heed the warning were caught in the middle of it on their way to work. It was truly a strong cold snap. In fact, it was a noisy commotion outside my hotel room that stirred me into life that morning. Looking through the window, I saw a group of people rushing a couple into the next building. The little crowd then created an emergency leeway for people who were caught by the snowfall and who could not cope with the heavy snows and gales. The warning signalled that Beijing temperature would hit its

lowest. At -5C temperature, people were advised to stay away from the snow. As it was falling, it slowed down rush hour, affected traffic on all the highways as emergency workers took to the streets to sweep away the flakes to create thorough fare for commuters and vehicles. As they swept away the snow, those on essential service sectors hurried to their offices and stations well-equipped and kitted to ensure that nothing was disrupted. Later in the day, it was learnt that the snow had delayed about 22 flights at Beijing Capital International Airport within the six hours it lasted. Later on too, about three flights were cancelled outright due to harsh weather. Yet a report released by China Daily stated that in the midst of the chilly coldness of the weather, more than 450 workers and 40 snowplows set to work to help clear the tarmac for more than 32 flights in the same day at the Beijing airport. As was predicted earlier, the snowfall continued on Thursday, the 13th. By this time, the intensity had increased to drop the weather by up to 0C in large parts of the country. As we boarded the plane

on that Thursday to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on our way back to Lagos, the snow began. Owing to its intensity we sat in the plane for four hours waiting for it to abate or subside. Interestingly, snowplows also set to work but as they did so, the snow continued in its intensity. Time and time again, the pilot announced that we would take off, but the weather was not too encouraging. However, by the time we got to Ethiopia, despite the fact that we gained two hours both in time and altitude; we missed our connecting flight to Lagos. The lesson in it is that China is built on a disciplined platform, based on the indigenous norms of the people. Immorality of any sort is prohibited in the streets of China. For instance, couples do not hold hands, hug or kiss in the streets. People naturally are advised to display their amorous affection in the confines of their rooms. For this and more reasons, people stick to the principle of pure and clean etiquette based on seriousness and morally – sound attitude to the norms of the society. In China, tourists markets are built purposely to cater for visitors.

There, the attendants are specially trained in English and other foreign languages to attend to people. Government seems to see this as the best way to attract and hold shoppers, and tourists, majority of whom are indeed Africans and Europeans who visit the country in millions, year in, year out. Chinese tourists market attendants are not only aggressive, they are cunning, smart and totally business-minded. One of the markets called Sanlitun is built on almost an entire estate of ten floors. Each floor houses different goods ranging from electronics to dresses, shoes, jewelleries, crafts and leather bags. Their wrist watches come in various forms and types and are quite cheap. Every marketer in any of these sectors is properly tutored to appeal to your senses in order to patronise him or her. Beijing is a city of 13 million people in a country of 1.3billion with over ten major mega cities. Built massively to absorb a larger population of people, the city attracts an average of one million visitors every year. According to China Daily, the country hopes to have up to 7,000 shopping malls of international standards by the year 2015. For this purpose, tourists markets still form the focal point of the government. This is so because China has perfected its security and economic system that one can hardly take out of the system. Last year alone 15 million square metres of floor space for at least 1,500 malls were under construction in the country. Some of the major malls in China are considered some of the best in the world. In short, some are constructed on 50,000 to 100,000 – plus square metres of both down and floor spaces. The central business district of Guomao built around the main concentration of foreign embassies is to hold nationals of these countries spellbound with attractive things that will make them go shopping all the time. Chinese national currency called Yuan is the main attraction in the area of business transactions in the country. Like most well-developed economies of the world, their national currency holds the allure for them. They neither love British Pound Sterling or US Dollar. These currencies can only be allowed to be changed in some designated banks. In so doing, your international passport has to be documented and your imprints taken for record purposes. It is only the tourist markets that are permitted to trade in either dollars, pounds or euros. There, one hundred dollars is changed for 618 yuan, making the money quite strong and purposeful. And because the Chinese economic index is so strong, a hundred dollars goes a long way in solving your shopping needs. So, as you change your money to Yuan, a typical Chinese who is business – conscious, would beckon on you with all sorts of gimmicks to spend it all in their economy. It is a tactic built in almost all of them and they truly thrive in it. Although we did not see any Church or Mosque or even visited any in town, most of their public places were adorned with Santa Claus and other forms of Christmas decorations to usher in the season. To them, Christmas is real and is time to show love, to give out gifts and visit the less-privileged. A lady friend called Lulu said: “Yes, this is time for love. See the flowers there, those red ribbons,” she exclaimed, pointing to bunches of flowers in front of a building, “they all remind us of Christmas.” “Oh,” she screamed, “it is time when Jesus was born. We are happy to be alive too to see this year’s snow. Snow brings luck, it brings life and it is good to see snow, at least once in your life time.”




No place like home •Continued from Page 55

On discrimination she said it is everywhere in the world. According to her, “In the USA there is always the urge to come back home, but I was not totally disengaged from home.” She said she decided to come back home at the invitation of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the governor Ondo State, who she now works for as Senior Special Assistant on International Relations and Diaspora Affairs. Regrets For Dr. Salisu Abdullahi, who spent 32 years in the USA, if there is anything he regrets, “It is that I should have come home much, much earlier than now!” Presently the Director of ICT at the Centre for Management Development, Lagos, after spending 32-years in America, he decided to return to Nigeria in January 2010. According to him, all his three degrees in Computer -related studies were earned in the States, “I got a call from Ibrahim Shekarau (former Kano State governor) to come home and be a Special Assistant on ICT and help him build a first class Information Technology Centre in Kano. At that time I was working and doing well in America, I took the offer and returned home although the money was small. It is not just the amount of money to be paid that matters but I had spent a long time in America and wanted to contribute my own quota. After the appointment. I went to Google and Microsoft offices in USA to acquire the necessary tools. After all, I was the President of the Nigerian Association there.” He has an advice for anyone who wants to return home, “One needs someone to guide him or her. I was the only person that came home voluntarily. When the new government came, after Shekarau had left, they wanted me to come back but they had abandoned all the structures I built for ICT and I told them that I don’t want to be paid without doing anything for them. Sadly enough, on May 30th 2011, I woke up and saw that I had no job again. I later got the offer with the CMD.” Also for Chima Ucheya, life in

America was very challenging. After leaving there for almost three decades, he returned home in 2010. “I left Nigeria in 1982 when I was just 17. My wife and kids are still there, I probably consider myself to be still there.” Now 46 and an architect, he has been recruited by KPMG to manage Rainbow Project in Port Harcourt. Before he decided to return home he was in architecture with another degree in Construction Law, “You know in America if you have something to offer they will be ready to assist you. I am a member of America Institute of Architecture. You can go anywhere. I would not say I am where I should be, but I am happy.” Going down memory lane about his life as a student he said, “In America there was hardship. Running away from Immigration, with a student visa and without adequate funding, you leave yourself vulnerable to all kinds of alternatives financing your education, taking a narrow and hard path. Some other people fell by the way side to make ends meet. I was lucky, I’ve always been lucky, I managed to work as I was schooling.” A word of advice A former Ambassador to the United States, Joe Kesh,i advised Nigerians in the Diaspora to return home and establish companies. He lamented that “We have the professionals, technocrats and people


•(Left) Ojomo showing the African Diaspora T—Shirt to Ambassador Keshi and Dr Faniyan at the event

with different skills and expertise who can make things happen and work in Nigeria but where are they? They are all scattered all over the world especially in the United States of

America. China and India used their nationalities in the Diaspora successfully. For instance, 78 percent of Chinese professors are ChineseAmericans, they all went back home



to China to develop their country. Eighty- four per cent of ChineseAmerican scientists are in the Chinese Academy, imparting knowledge into the people while 62 per cent of those supervising Phd students are Chinese in the Diaspora.” The former envoy observed, “I once met an Indian who was receiving $15,000 per month in the United States but he decided to go back to his country where he was receiving a paltry salary of $1,000 per month. I challenged him but he said he was satisfied for he had helped America to develop and he needed to develop his own country.” However, Dr Adeniyi Faniyan, a dental surgeon, argued that to successfully bring in Nigerians in the Diaspora, there should be adequate security and enough money to do business. He added that the government and banks do not have interest in supporting long term projects, thus discouraging those abroad to relocate home.

Being stressed is like smoking five cigarettes a day


RE you stressed? If so, your chances of heading to an early grave are significantly higher. New research has found that people who reported feeling anxious and overwhelmed were 27 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack. The study, led by Columbia University Medical Centre researchers, was published in the American Journal of Cardiology. American researchers found people who reported feeling stressed were 27 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack The researchers looked at six previous studies where people had been asked about their perceived stress with questions such as ‘how stressed do you feel?’ and ‘how often are you stressed?’ The groups were separated into high and low stress scores and then followed for 14 years to track the number of heart attacks. The effect of stress was so profound that the researchers compared it to smoking more five cigarettes a day. It was also likened to a 2.8mmol/l increase in LDL cholesterol and a 2.7/1.4 mmHg increase in blood pressure. The British Heart Foundation says that people who are at high risk of, or already have, heart disease should aim for an LDL cholesterol level under 2 mmol/l. Stress has also been found to

By Anna Hodgekiss

increase levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and blood pressure, which are risk factors for heart disease Therefore, it says the figures suggest a 2.8mmol/l rise is more than double the recommended cholesterol levels for heart and stroke patients. A healthy blood pressure reading should be below 140/ 90mmHg. LDL cholesterol is considered a risk for heart disease that can lead to heart attack because it contributes for narrowing of the arteries that supply blood flow to the heart from plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis. Higher blood pressure puts stress on the heart and contributes to stiffening of the arteries, making them more susceptible to blockage. It is thought to be responsible for 50 per cent of all heart attacks and strokes. The researchers did further analysis to try to learn what might unpin the link between stress and heart disease. They found that while gender was not a significant factor, age was. Among older people, the relationship between stress and CHD was stronger, suggesting the effects of stress compound over time. They also noted that older people tend to have worse risk factors such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol to begin with, and that

stress may interact with those risk factors to trigger a heart attack. ‘These findings are significant because they are applicable to nearly everyone,’ said study author Safiya Richardson. ‘The key takeaway (message) is that how people feel is important for their heart health, so anything

they can do to reduce stress may improve their heart health in the future.’ Her co-author, Donald Edmondson, assistant professor of behavioural medicine at CUMC added: ‘This is the most precise estimate of that relationship, and it gives credence to the widely held

belief that general stress is related to heart health.’ Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer. Around 270,000 people in the UK suffer a heart attack every year and and nearly one in three die before they reach hospital. Source:



•An imaging facility at the new centre


•Mosquito net

Health sector: What to watch for in 2013 T

HE health sector like every other sector had its ups and downs. At the beginning of the year Lagos became the focal point when doctors in the state demanded for pay rise. There was deadlock in the talks and doctors went on indefinite strike. Healthcare in the state grinded almost to a halt and the state government sacked about 800 doctors, claiming that the strike was illegal. Their properties were also thrown out of residence and all hell was let loose. The crisis deepened and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) mobilised members across the country to embark on a nationwide sympathy strike. A lot of patients in public hospitals had to be relocated to private hospitals by family and loved ones while the government made use of student doctors as a last resort. Gradually the imbroglio was resolved and the doctors were reinstated once more. Cholera, typhoid, malaria,

maternal health have already been declared unattainable by 2015 in tuberculosis and HIV and AIDs Nigeria. This is because of the near affected lives at the states, local collapse state of public health care. government areas and some homes. President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan On the international scene an alarm was raised on a worrisome increase in also showed a keen interest in tuberculosis all over the world and the maternal health. The president made fact that it was resisting the drugs that a pledge to commit $33.4 million over the next four years to procure were meant to combat the disease. Polio and some of the other medicines and commodities in order childhood diseases also claimed some to prevent at least a million deaths of lives. Nigeria was unable to eradicate women and children by the year 2015. For many, it is indeed a relief if the wild polio, which health experts say, place Nigeria alongside Pakistan at the resources would be channeled very center of countries frustrating positively for those targeted. The pledged was made while launching global eradication of the disease. The United States of America was t h e ' S a v e o n e M i l l i o n L i v e s ' quoted recently to have demanded programme in the Presidential Villa. that from June 2013, Nigerians The activities were in line with the travelling to the United States must be United Nations report which listed 13 vaccinated against wild polio. Sadly, commodities that could save some global health experts believe that sixteen million lives. According to h e a l t h - r e l a t e d m i l l e n n i u m President Jonathan, the country has D e v e l o p m e n t G o a l s ( M D G ' s ) , been able to address diseases that especially those concerning infant and account for over 50 per cent of child By Yetunde Oladeinde

mortality in the country. Laboratory medicine is by no means at its summit. Progress, however, has been faster for laboratory services specialising in certain diseases, particularly those associated with vertical programs with strong advocacy like HIV, TB and malaria. Appropriate diagnosis will improve our ability to prevent and control. These unbridled quests for foreign medical services by political elite are some of the reasons why the health sector is not improving or moving the way experts expect it to do. The Senate President David Mark also joined the growing list of political elite who embark on exotic medical tourism when he travelled to Israel ostensibly on public expenses to take care of his medical condition. The Taraba State governor, Mr. Danfulai Suntai, a Pharmacist, who had accident while flying his private Jet was flown abroad to Germany for treatment. His wife was heavily pregnant even delivered twins in the same German hospital.Judges of Superior Courts also regularly embark on medical tourism abroad during vacation from the legal year. As we move into year 2013, it is hoped that there will be more funds allocated to the sector as well as proper incentives for health personnel who will in turn provide better health care services.




•Beneficiaries of the mortgage finance loan facilitated by Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Comrade Ayodele Adewale, council boss (second right)

• Left to Right: Chairman Kosofe Local Government, Hon.Babatunde Afolabi Sofola, State Logistics coordinator, Abuja, Mr Salihu Idris State Team Leader, Lagos, Mrs Bisi Tugbo, Logistics Adviser PATHS 2, Kano, Pharm. Kabir Yusuf, during the presentation of drugs in Lagos. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

Nigeria lost trillions to terror attacks in 2012 T

HE country may have lost over a quarter of its Gross Domestic Product estimated at trillions of naira to the Boko Haram insurgency in the last one year, experts have said. Speaking at separate interviews with The Nation, the experts noted that while it was difficult to quantify in real cost terms the collateral damage brought upon the economy by the activities of the sect, but they all agreed that the uprising in the north may have left the economy in the red. In the view of Professor Sherifdeen Tella, of the Department of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, AgoIwoye, Ogun State, the nation’s agricultural base is the first casualty of the Boko Haram insurgency. “The activities of the sect has affected production greatly, especially agriculture. You know the country depends on the north for pro-

Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

duce and foodstuffs such as rice, sorghum, millets, onions and what have you. That alone is something. Besides, many of the companies down there are closing shops by the day. So, we can say this has affected the economy considerably. Nigeria has become paralysed so to speak,” he said. On what may be the conservative estimate of the losses, the don said: “I can say categorically that the more than a quarter of the country’s GDP may have being lost to the insurgency in the last one year. Though we underestimate the production in the informal sector, especially what comes from the north. Since this whole thing started, what we mayhave lost is in trillions. But for this year alone, I can safely sayon the average what we have lost will translate to over N500billion.” Echoing similar sentiments, Chief Timothy

Adesiyan, National President, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA) said: “It has affected the operations of the various companies in the country. Many of them have not just closed down, some can’t take their products to the affected parts of the country. The manufacturing, extractive sectors, the capital market, are all affected one way or the other. People have become economically handicapped as a result of the ac-


From Bukola Afolabi

in Lagos showed some problems in the implementation. For instance, people complained there were no enough POS and ATM machines which we also noticed. The problem of awareness was also there as some people said they were not well informed about the policy,” he said. He continues, ‘So before we introduce it to other states, we want to correct the problems. There are some states that do not have enough banks and ATM machines like Lag0s and provisions have to be made for the policy to work in those

the turnover and average it among the affected companies, you will be estimating loss in trillions. So the cost of the insurgency in real economic terms is very enormous.” Adesiyan’s counterpart at the National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, said it was not just a not just a sectoral thing as virtually all sectors of the economy are counting the

losses. “Most of the producing companies that are quoted in the stock market and many others don’t have access to distribute their goods up north. So naturally their turnover and profitability will be adversely affected. Whatever profits the affected companies will post will be based squarely on what they are able to generate down south excluding their operations up north.”

FBN offers investment opportunities


AMILY reunion and exchange of gifts are the widespread features of the Christmas celebration as most people spend the bulk of their income in buying gifts for their friends and families. However, FBN Capital Limited is offering a bouquet of investment opportunities to workers and other form of investors this season, especially

Cashless policy: CBN suspends nationwide implementation indefinitely HE proposed plan by the CBN to introduce the cashless policy to other states of the federation in 2013 has suffered a major setback following the decision of the apex bank to suspend the plan indefinitely. Speaking exclusively to Nation, the spokesperson of CBN, Ugo Okorafor said the decision to suspend the plan was made to afford CBN the opportunity to correct all the anomalies noticed in the Lagos implementation of the policy. “ For now, the CBN has suspended the plan to introduce the policy to other states next year. The test run we did

tivities of Boko Haram across the country.” Expatiating, he said, “For instance, the Unilever, Nestle, Conoil, Mobil, and all the other companies operating over the north have shut down their depots. Some of them have even moved their staff out of the place. So this has not only affected the turnover of the affected companies but negatively impacted on the economy as a whole. When you consider

places. It will also afford the banks to upgrade their systems for effective operation of the policy. So when we are convinced those things have been put in place, it will be extended to other states.” He, however, said the policy will continue to operate in Lagos.

to enable them invest so as to be able to meet the financial responsibilities that await them in 2013. FBN Capital, the investment banking and asset management business of First Bank, was formed from the consolidation of four existing subsidiaries of the Bank: FBN Capital, FBN Securities, First Trustees and First Funds. Its target market include high net worth individuals, executive directors, managing directors, top business men and women, private and public institutions, non-governmental organisations, small and medium enterprises, start-up companies, enterprises, small businesses, individuals across a diverse income strata, corporations, ministries, public parastatals, oil and gas companies, telecommunication companies

and co-operatives and foundations of oil and gas companies. The FBN Money Market Fund (MM) is an investment vehicle which pools investment in a wide range of very liquid short term funds with tremendous investment benefits to individual investors. The fund enhances returns to its holders or investors by investing in low risk instruments like treasury bills, bank deposits, bankers’ acceptances and commercial papers. The primary objective of the Fund is to achieve a high level of income obtainable from investments in short term securities that is consistent with prudent investment management, the preservation of capital and maintenance of liquidity. “The FBN Capital asset management team has the experience, depth and diversity

First Bank, Zenith, GTB win CBN award


OR outstanding performance in the outgoing year, some banks have earned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reward in Port Harcourt Clearing Area, Rivers State. Speaking at the award ceremony, the Branch Con-

troller, CBN, Mr. Kenneth Effa, enjoined the banks to contain its paths of fruitful collaboration and support in the interest of the economy. The CBN Port Harcourt Clearing Area, Effa stressed, has witnessed a lot of anxieties and expectations this

year in the banking industry. The highpoint of the event was the presentation of the awards to the banks. The first position went to First Bank of Nigeria, Zenith Bank was 2nd while the 3rd position went to GT Bank Plc.

to actively manage a broad and diversified portfolio of investments. The Fund offers investors exposure to short term and liquid money market instruments. Yields on investments will provide portfolio diversification as well as the ability to gain exposure to different sectors of the economy,” the bank revealed. FBN Capital also manages the FBN Fixed Income Fund, which is one of a series of funds launched to satisfy the demand for new and varied investment products by the investing public. It also provides full time, high quality professional management services by pooling the resources of many for investment in long tenured debt instruments such as federal government, state government and corporate bonds. The fund aims to achieve attractive long term returns by investing in a diversified portfolio of these instruments. For as little as N50,000 and additional top ups of N10,000, you can start an investment plan that looks to protect your capital as well as give you good returns on your investment.





EY sectors of the economy, it is certain, will play a major role in what shape and mode the economy will take in the incoming year. Chief among key sectors to watch are the CBN, capital market, presidency, to mention just a few. Speaking on plans by the CBN to release N220bn for the MSMEs, Professor Sheriffdeen A. Tella, a professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, described it as a fantastic idea, but gives a caveat: “If the fund is channelled appropriately through either BoI or SMEDAN rather than through the commercial banks that charge prohibitive interest rates.” Continuing, he said: “Without improved power, a significant proportion of the allocation to each entrepreneur may be spent on power generation which may make the fund insufficient for investments.” In the same breath, he argues that CBN ‘s retention of the Monetary Policy Rate at 12 % is considered a disincentive to business as money deposit banks charge as high as 1925% rates on loans. “High interest charges are indicative of inefficient financial system. The CBN has a lot of work to do on improving the activities, transparency and information sharing in the financial system. In addition, the capital market should also improve to provide another credible avenue for sourcing of fund by investors. This will bring down interest rates in the money market.” Growing external debt Going by the Federal Government’s thinking, the country is expected to be sagged by debts, a development, many analysts believe does not bold well for the economy. An economic expert says matterof-factly: “By the year 2014, if the National Assembly approves the loan, the external debt stock alone will be moving towards $15 billion. The claim is that the loans are long term, with moratorium of about 10 years and low interest rates. There is no sense in building up reserve and accumulating loans.” Speaking further, the don says: “Even domestic loans by government crowds out the private sector from getting loans for investment. One only hopes that the National Assembly will put a halt to loan seeking by the executive arm of the government, more so when previous loans did not translate to development. There is no resource gap to warrant recourse to loans.” Hike in pump price There are indications that the Federal Government may jack up the pump price of petrol from N97 to about N150-N180 per litre next year if fuel subsidy is withdrawn even as it is yet to prosecute individuals involved in the subsidy scam. To economic watchers, “Any increase in pump price of petroleum product will cause chaos, unless the mess in the sector has been taken care of. The government dares not think of increasing the pump price of petroleum not to talk of implementing such. It may interest you to know that with the additional or supplementary budget approved, the money for subsidy payment has returned to the original allocation at the beginning of 2012 which was reduced to pacify the public. There is game of deceit in all these cases but you cannot deceive people all the time.” Budget 2013 On current allocations of fund to the presidency for frivolous items, a public affairs analyst argued that “it has always been the case and all we have been doing is making noise. The allocations to the Assembly itself unbundled to know the content. I assure you that more frivolous items would be found if the National Assembly allocations are disaggregated. So, it is all cover up. With continuous exposure year after

2013: Shape of things to come Discomfited over failed promises of the last 12 months not a few Nigerians look forward to year 2013 with hope and optimism. Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and Bukola Afolabi in this report give useful insights on what to expect in key sectors of the economy next year year by the civil society organisations and maturing of democracy, many of these issues will, hopefully, be resolved. There is need for transparency and accountability in governance but we are not there yet. However, the followership is part of the problems through connivance.” Mobile money With a view to ensuring that ef-

ficiency is maintained in a very lucrative but sensitive sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria has given the mobile money operators in the nation the deadline of February, 2013 to link up to the National Central Switch. This is to guarantee a seamless Interoperability and interconnectivity service delivery between the operators of the service considering the process and develop-

ment of the ‘cashless economy’ which the country is about to implement fully. In a circular to the mobile money operators signed by Mr Dipo Fatokun, the Director of the banking and payment system, the CBN stated that “In furtherance of the CBN’s effort at ensuring effective and robust mobile payments system, all MMOs are hereby directed to fully connect

to the National Central Switch on or before February 28, 2013, to ensure Interoperability and Interconnectivity of their schemes”. The Central Bank of Nigeria believes that the mobile money system should be able to give Nigerians a robust and dynamic financial service of payment and transactions which include the ability to use the mobile services. In a survey of a the Opebi/Allen axis of Ikeja, some of the small business owners told The Nation that they hope the mobile money service will improve in 2013 than 2012, as the hitches and the system issues, ham Continued on page 61



Clearing the coast for private sector-driven PHCN

2013: Shape of things to come Continued from page 60

pered their ability to close transactions with most of their customers especially in the fourth quarter. It is expected that beyond the deadline, the CBN, Mobile money operators and the telcos will strategize in early 2013 a more dynamic framework of ensuring the mobile money service becomes more viable in the country. N22bn debt write-off for capital market Federal Government has reportedly written off over N22billion of debts in the capital market as part of its reforms in the sector. In view of this largesse what should Nigerians expect next year in the capital market? While commenting on this development, across-section of analysts who spoke with The Nation said it is a welcomed development but were quick to add that “Writing off debt in the capital market to make the market function properly is a good idea but more than that, people involved in the fraud that caused the loss must be brought to book if the newly injected fund will not go the same way.” Besides, capital market operators have decried the decision of the National Assembly to pass the 2013 appropriation bill without allocating funds to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), noting that this would hinder capital market recovery. They therefore urged the federal government to resolve the impasse between the House of Representatives and SEC’s Director General Ms Arunma Oteh amicably, adding that it would have a multiplier effect on the economy if not resolved. Commenting on the effects her continued stay would have on the SEC, a stockbroker, Vincent Anyalu of Vincent Anyalu Stockbroking Firm said the decision of the federal government to retain Oteh in office could spell doom for SEC as well as discourage foreign investors from investing in the country. “In my opinion, I think the President shouldn’t have allowed the woman to stay in office. The furore generated by the crisis is not good for the stock exchange. Any organisation or agency that has a leadership that is not acceptable to the followers will end up in collapse. The crisis will affect the stability of the stock exchange. You will remember that majority of the staff at SEC were against her coming back. If for anything, at least to bring peace to SEC, the President should have allowed her to go.” Abass Ibrahim, another stockbroker is also of the opinion that the coming financial year (2013) could be a good or bad one for the SEC depending on the manner the presidency handles the Oteh saga. The chairman of Association of stockbrokers Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) said the issues should be resolved to avoid jeopardizing the entire economy. He also spoke on behalf of the operators that starving SEC of funds means incapacitating the apex regulators of the Nigerians capital market. However, Christopher Eni, another stockbroker has a different opinion. He opined that the new -year would be a good one for the Stock Exchange. He reasoned that the retention of Oteh as the SEC DG was a good decision by the president. “In my view, I believe Nigerians will see how strong the Stock Exchange in the coming year. Oteh’ appointment has attracted credibility and international recognition to the Nigerian capital market. She has done a lot by introducing a new code of corporate governance which has effectively put an end to some bad practices in the Exchange. I am sure before the end of next year, she would have done more to stabilize the Exchange and even woo foreign inves-


The Federal Government has set machinery in motion to pay the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) staff severance package totaling N170billion, reports John Ofikhenua •Diezani Alison-Madueke

•Lamido Sanusi

•Arunma Oteh

tors. So the challenge before her now is how to make sure she improves the SEC so as to silence her critics and 2013 offer her the opportunity.” Like Oteh, the newly appointed Director General of the Pension Commission (PENCOM), Mrs Anohu-Amazu, will have to convince stakeholders in the sector in the new-year that she has the competence to manage the commission. Her appointment as the DG was greeted disapproval from some senior staff of the commission who felt she was suitable for the position. It would also be recalled that in a memo dated December 10, 2012 from Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, the SGF asked the outgoing DG Muhammad Kabir Ahmad, the former DG to hand over to Anohu-Amazu ahead of his retirement date of December 16. Though Amazu was due to go on retirement leave in September, having served for the maximum eight years in the directorate cadre, her new appointment nullified her retirement. Against protest by some aggrieved senior staff of the commission who felt Amazu was not qualified to occupy the post due to her age(39years) and years of service in the Commission, the federal government went ahead to make her acting DG, with plans in the offing to make her substantive DG. According to some stakeholders, the challenges before the acting DG is on how to restore the confidence of the public in the Commission owing to recent discovery of mismanagement of pension funds by some management of the Commission. Segun Adeniyi, a financial expert in a chat with The Nation said the new DG needs to justify her appointment by putting in place some measures that will restore the credibility and stability of the Commission. Tunji Owoeye, a staff of a financial institution that operates pension fund said the new DG must live aboard by sticking to the best ethical practice that governs the Commission.


ROM National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the power sector was always a shame of the nation. There was growing uncertainty due to policy summersault and confidence deficit in government. Thus, irrespective of the openness of the bidding process for the PHCN distribution and distribution companies, some stakeholders cast doubt on the transparency of the exercise by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and its Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). Eventually, the privatisation exercise seems to have scaled all hurdles as government has accelerated its plans to wind down the PHCN successor companies. As if it suddenly woke up from its slumber, the Federal Government abruptly scaled up its activities in the power sector in this December. The signs became glaring as soon as the Minister of State for Power, Hajiya Zainab Kuchi signed a performance bond with the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Lere Awosika, who equally signed another pact with all the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Power. At the ceremony, what beat the stakeholders’ imagination mostly was how the numerous bosses in the power sector were expected to succeed in the face of the lingering crisis between the workers of PHCN and the Federal Government over their severance package. The crisis had been a major snag in

the implementation of the 2005 Power Reform Act. It was the greatest hindrance to the privatization of the PHCN successor companies. Yet, the minister assured the worried stakeholders, including newsmen that the ministry would make a pronouncement on the issue the next week. Indeed, she made good her promise as the Secretary General to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim had last December, resolved the crisis in a meeting with the leadership of the workers. Expectedly, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, who read the communiqué on behalf of the Federal Government agreed to accede to the workers’ demands. Specifically, the Federal Government agreed that “three months salary in lieu of notice shall be paid to all active employees of PHCN that have served more than 10 years and one month salary in lieu of notice for employees that have served for a period of less than 10 years in service.” Continuing, Wogu said total accrued gratuity as at June 30, 2012 shall be paid in accordance with defined scheme stipulated in the PHCN 2010 condition of service. He also said that “15% pension contributions shall be paid from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012 in accordance with the provisions of the Pension Act 2004.” The agreement also stated that severance package shall be paid as 20% of total accrued benefits , being the sum of accrued pensions as at June 30th, 2007, accrued gratuity as at June 30th 2012 and 15% pension contri-


bution from July 1, 2007 through June 30th, 2012. It was also agreed that repatriation allowance shall be paid as 5% of Annual Pensionable Emolument. While commenting on the agreement in Lagos, Haiya Kuchi described it as government’s benevolence. She revealed that even as the ministry planned to pay one month salary in lieu of notice, Anyim increased it to three months in lieu of notice. The reconciliation has cleared the way for a smooth running of the PHCN by the preferred bidders that are looking forward to taking over their entities any moment from now. However, Dr. Lere Awosika took advantage of the 4th 2012 Power Summit in Lagos to disclose that the ministry is ready to disburse the N170billion that it earmarked for the PHCN workers as soon as they submit their Retirement Savings Account details to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). The fund, said the Permanent Secretary, is readily available in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In search of standard accounting practice


HE present accounting process in most of the states is tainted with discrepancies as revealed through balance sheet audits. This situation is largely blamed on the fact that the operation of government business and accounts has been within the general framework of the principles of fund accounting, with financial reporting structure being far from the principles in absolute terms. This largely explained why critics insist that limited financial reporting and disclosures made by most entities in the country could ironically be responsible for some perception that Nigeria is a risky environment for the flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). More so, research has shown that investors are not provided with sufficient economic information that will enable them to understand the risk profiles of entities in order to make informed judgments and decisions. Only recently, the government announced the gradual compliance with all general purpose financial statements of Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) to the provision of an acceptable global accounting system, the ‘International Public Sector Accounting Standards’ (IPSAS). IPSAS are a set of accounting standards issued by its Board for use by public sector entities around the world in the preparation of financial statements. These standards are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Interestingly, a sound government accounting standard such as IPSAS is a critical part of a nation’s

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

institutional infrastructure. It has now become a recognized benchmark for evaluating and improving government accounting in most developing countries like Nigeria. It is also a key element within the United Nations System. Since 2006, UN system organizations have made headway in aligning themselves with IPSAS requirement. Indeed, there are over 50 countries around the world that have and are in the process of adopting these standards. They include Algeria, Albania, Afghanistan, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, China, Cyprus, East and Southern Africa, France, India, Jamaica, Morocco, Norway, Zambia, Pakistan and Uganda. In accordance to the policy action, the three tiers of government beginning from January 2013 are expected to embrace these standards. In preparation to the commencement of the implementation of the new accounting policy, the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) recently held sensitisation workshop with critical stakeholders in the six geo-political zones of the country. According to Mr. Jonah Otunla, Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), the adoption of IPSAS by the three tiers of government would definitely lead to better informed assessment of resource allocation decisions made by government as well as improve transparency and accountability in the system. In the view of the AGF, the desire of government is to incorporate the system as an integral element of reforms directed at promoting social and economic development.

Declaring open the sensitisation workshop, which is the first of the series for stakeholders comprising, commissioners of finance, states Accountants Generals, members of the State Houses of Assembly in the finance and appropriation committees and State Auditors General as well as other relevant stakeholders from the NorthWest zone in Kaduna, Mr. Otunla explained that considering the role which the new system will play in assisting the country achieve speedy economic growth, the Federal Executive Council FEC had approved at its meeting of 28th July 2010 that Nigeria adopt the provisions of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and IPSAS for the private and public sectors respectively. He said, “The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) at its meeting held on 13th June, 2011 set up a Sub-committee to provide a roadmap for the adoption of IPSAS in the three tiers of government in Nigeria. This interactive workshop in Kaduna which is for the North-West zone is expected to be held in all the six geo-political zones of the country.” It is also expected to identify infrastructure needs and make recommendations to government for appropriate implementation by all tiers of government. Membership sub-committee comprising the Accountants General of Borno State representing the NorthEast., Sokoto for North-West, Kwara representing North-Central, Enugu for South-East, Ogun for South-West and Akwa Ibom for South-South. The membership also includes the chairman, forum of Auditors-General for Local Government Council of Nigeria, representative of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the Consolidated Accounts Department of the AGF.




Berger Paints appoints Alo, Nweke directors


ERGER Paints Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s leading paints and allied products manufacturing company has appointed two new nonexecutive directors to enhance the composition of its board. The company made the appointment at a recent board meeting. The duos are Dr. Alo Olademiji Israel, a management expert and Mr.Nelson Chidozie Nweke, a seasoned financial guru. Dr, Israel, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) is presently the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Excel Professional Services Limited, a leadership and man-

agement consulting firm that provides advisory support to leading organizations and businesses in matters of strategy, leadership and governance. Prior to this, he had served as the Director-General of the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), Lagos (an umbrella training centre for all banks in Nigeria); Executive Director, Coopers & Lybrand Associates, now PriceWaterHouseCoopers and Departmental Examination Officer, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. He has also attended various courses which included Global Leadership Pro-

gramme organised by Arthur Anderson in the United States of America (USA) and Strategic Human Resources Management Programme and Leveraging knowledge in the 21st Century Organisation Programme both at the Harvard Business School, USA. Nweke, who also doubles as an associate of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) retired from Intercontinental Bank Plc as a Regional Chief Executive (South-South) in 2008. He had served the bank in various capacities such as assistant general manager, deputy general manager and executive director respectively.



•From left: Kingsley, Shank, Mrs. Kamson, Managing Director, Sweet Sensation, Vector, Tunji Kamson, Executive Director, and Yemi Yusuf on the occasion


the new outlet, the Executive Director, Sweet Sensation Confectionery Limited, Mr. Olatunji Kamson said that the company opened the outlet in Festac to provide quality products for their customers in Festac who need not to go too far to have a great taste and enjoy different variety of meals at the lowest price possible. He said that Sweet Sensation likes to work in a dynamic environment and this has helped their customer service and management even though

the lack of infrastructure has been a big threat to most companies in Nigeria. “Since competition is very keen in our business, we do not compromise our standard but instead, we improve our standard, expand our business to serve our customers better and to also generate jobs. “Since our idea is to provide home away from home where people can enjoy quality and comfort at the lowest price possible, this, we do and work towards, all the time”, Kamson reaffirmed.

The Marketing Manager, Sweet Sensation, Mr. Yemi Yusuf said that Sweet Sensation has the largest product profile in the confectionery industry as more new products like desserts and juice have been added to their profile for the purpose of giving the best to its customers. He reiterated that customers should come to the new Sweet Sensation outlet in Festac to enjoy different packages, quality products and excellent customer service.

Firm honours outstanding journalists, others


HE 8th edition of the annual Bright Media Merit Award, (BRIMMA) and media lecture was held in Ogun State, with outstanding professionals, including journalists, carting home awards. Tagged; “Emergence of Online Media: Implication and consequence for traditional Media”, it was delivered by Tosin Adesile on behalf of Alhaji. Ayinde Soaga with the keynote address read by Mr.Yusuph Olaniyonu, Commissioner for Information, Ogun State.

In his remarks, Olaniyonu explained that though the emergence of online media has led to a beehive of activities, he was optimistic that the business of producing newspaper will subsist. Speaking earlier, Soaga noted that the traditional media will not die due to the emergence of online media but will only help to improve and adapt to the new ways of doing it. “People no longer rely on the media as gate keepers of information. People have as-

sumed the role of gatekeepers but the professional who used to be gate keepers can report it professionally in a way that much respect will still be accorded to the profession of journalism,” he stressed. He further advised all users of social media to be very careful of getting into problem because there are ethics that guides the profession of journalism. Among the award recipients were Chief and Chief (Mrs). Dotun Oyewole, Kayode Owolabi, Mr Kuro

By Adetayo Okusanya Email:

The Christmas Story

Sweet Sensation opens outlet

WEET Sensation Confectionery Limited has opened a new outlet in Festac to serve its customers around Festac and environs and to provide quality products to its customers. The new Festac outlet was opened recently with new innovations coupled with a 3-day non-stop entertainment which featured three Nigerian music artistes, Shank, Vector and Iyanya to thrill and entertain people. Speaking at the media briefing on the opening of

Beyond Talent

Ngoboh, Glad-tidings Nursery and Primary School, Potters School, Triumphant Life Christian Centre, Oke-Ejibo, T.T Dalks, Segun Adeleye of the Daily Independent newspapers, Samson Ekene Ogor, and a host of others. Some of the dignitaries who graced the occasion included Wole Sokunbi , Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Ogun State, Comrade Akkem Ambali, Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress, Ogun State, Mrs. Onabiyi, Pastor Ayanfe Olutola, among others.

FEW weeks ago I thought I was going to lose a business opportunity. Discussions, negotiations and rapport seemed to be going well with a prospective client and then something happened that made me doubt that I would close the deal. What I was hoping would lead to further negotiations was starting to look like a deal breaker. My business partner, who is usually very upbeat about things, analyzed the situation and told me to prepare for the worst, and I did. He understood how important it was to manage my expectations, because of my highly analytical, critical and logical nature. We eventually closed the deal with the client and the story had a happy ending. So what? Of what relevance is this story? The remarkable thing about this experience is how it made me realize how much I had changed my belief system. The old Tayo would have feared the worst and turned it into a personal rejection. My ever-vociferous internal critic would have had a field day analyzing everything I could have done better. Self-doubt and self-recrimination would have filled my mind. Should I have been more conservative in my pricing? Was I wrong in thinking I had established very good rapport with the client? I would have mentally talked myself into a bad mood and embraced the failure even before getting the final confirmation from the client. But I did not. Instead of wallowing in F.E.A.R (False Evidence Appearing Real), I astounded myself by thinking “Oh well, even if this prospect walks away from the deal, others will sign up”. This is remarkable simply because I tend to always think of the worst. Growing up, I had developed a coping mechanism for disappointment. If I think the worst and brace myself for it, then it won’t hurt so much when the worst does happen.Of course I always hoped for the best, but my energy was more focused on the worst case scenario. I have to confess that over the years this perspective morphed into a somewhat pessimistic view of life. The dictionary defines pessimism as “the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.” In shielding myself from hurt and disappointment, I had taken my eyes off the infinite possibilities of positive outcomes that could occur. But, here I was in this instance, demonstrating a trait that was alien to me, OPTIMISM. Optimism is”a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome”. Words like hopefulness, cheerfulness, joyfulness, confidence, positivism, enthusiasm, sanguineness, etc. are synonyms for optimism. Dare I say, that I prefer them so much more to their antonyms. Optimism is the focal point of this article because of the season that is upon us. There is no better time to talk about optimism, than at Christmas time. The story of Christmas is the story of hope, positive outcomes and infinite chances. It is the story of courage, patience, commitment, sacrifice and ultimate triumph in the face of adversity. Christmas is there to remind us that there are forces in our universe working for our good and that we do not have to endure our life’s journey alone. Because of Christmas, you ought to know that you are loved, cared for, valued and worth dying for. Finally, with Christmas, you are guaranteed a happy ending. As you review your year, acknowledging your accomplishments and learning from your disappointments, I encourage you to stay OPTMISTIC about the future and to make OPTIMISM your new world view. Expect great things to happen to you in 2013. Always look on the bright side of situations. Have confidence that you can and will overcome any challenge that will be thrown your way. Believe that you have something valuable to contribute to the world you live in and do everything in your power to make a positive difference in the lives that are connected to yours. Invest in becoming a better version of who you are today and strive to do what is good even when there is no apparent glory in it. Thank you for allowing me to share my passion, talent and life with you throughout 2012. You started the year with me and have stayed with me until the end. My hope is that the Beyond Talent Column has been a consistent source of inspiration, encouragement and, of course OPTIMISM, to you. Enjoy this season with your loved ones believing that good things are in store for you in 2013. Refresh and rejuvenate yourself, and get ready for a whole new adventure with me in 2013. Merry Christmas in arrears and a Happy New Year! May 2013 be a year of many positive new experiences, greater expansion and self-realization, and unprecedented levels of personal success! • Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge








WORDSWORTH 08055001948

2012 editorial sloppiness


HE first set of slip-ups to round off this year comes from National Mirror of December 27: “Beside (Besides), the old generation universities should be encouraged to….” “Young estate surveyors task (tasked) on professionalism” “Mouka rewards distributors at end of year (end-of-year) party” “He became the third Lintas alumni (alumnus) to head the umbrella body which….” “NSE sanctions Dangote Cement, 96 others for late submition (submission) of results” Last entry from NATIONAL MIRROR Back Page Guest Columnist: “…that we have tried our utmost best.” All the Facts, All the Sides: ‘Best’ has attained the end-point of intensification/absoluteness/superlative summit/amplification and cannot, therefore, be padded or subjected to circumlocution or imprecision such as ‘very best’; ‘utmost best’; ‘better than the best’…such expressions smack of verbosity and hazy thinking that borders on linguistic indiscipline! The word means ‘the most excellent type/ quality, most suitable/ appropriate, the highest standard that somebody or something can reach….’ End of discussion or should it continue? You are welcome in 2013! “However, after series of intervention….” (DAILY SUN POLITICS…& Polity, December 26) Get it right: a series of interventions…. DAILY SUN of December 25 displayed editorial sloppiness with these two headline juvenilities on the same page: “Fayose urges Nigerians to emulate Christ…and “First Lady urges Nigerians to emulate Christ” The sub-editor who planned this page must have been dreaming of Christmas the previous day! How else do you explain this tardiness? More from the above medium: “FRSC deploys officials on (to) AsabaOnitsha highway” “No gang up (gangup) against Jonathan” “Customs arrests (arrest) passenger with $456,000 at MMIA” Still on DAILY SUN under review: “With deep (a deep) sense of humility…who stood by us during the events of the past two months that culminated into (in) the

closure of our petroleum products tank farm facility.” (Full-page advertisement by Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited…the nation’s oil giant) “…all Abuja brethren rejoices (rejoice) with…on the occassion of the 10 th Anniversary of our great Ministry (sic).” (Full-page advertisement by state coordinator FCT Abuja of The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement) I hope this intellectualization of religion is not blasphemous! “Reception follows immediately at (on) the church premises” (Fullpage advertisement by Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja) “Cold blooded murder!” This is an example of cold-blooded headline casting! “That was when I saw the handwriting (writing) on the wall.” Finally from DAILY SUN of Xmas Day: “YSFON mourns Late (sic) Hamza” Sun Sports: Do you mourn a living person? Enough of this loose thinking! THE NATION ON SUNDAY of December 23 contained a few slips: “…discussed the envisaged restructuring of the party and it’s (its) chances in 2014.” “…he was the governorship candidate under (on) the platform of CPC.” “An engineer by profession and Harvard trained (Harvardtrained) economist….” “…argues that the federal government is biting too much (biting off more than it can chew).” “…turning himself into a brand that many up and coming (up-andcoming) comedians struggle to emulate.” Finally from last week’s edition of this medium under review: “Where to find last minute (last-minute) Xmas bargains” “…they now resort into (to) more desperate inactivity.” “…shouldn’t the National Assembly summon the will and revert back to the....” How does ‘revert back’ sound, dear reader? Simply illiterate. So, delete ‘back’, which is implied. “…on the erroneous ground (grounds) that all of them are rich.” “Too many theories are already making the rounds (doing or going the rounds) which only an open investigation can stop.”

“The Hausa and Yoruba residents of IdiAraba on Lagos Mainland went for each other’s throats….” Justice in service of community: each other’s throat (two persons) and one another’s throat (more than two persons). “The disturbances, as is (are) are now well known, started from a non-issue.” “But as soon as the Igbo governors demanded for confederation.…” Gently delete ‘for’ in the interest of lexical sanity. “The reunited Ijaw Youths Council has declared February 28 as a day all Ijaw youths would be ready to lay down their lives in a bid to battle the oil companies operating in (on) Bonny Island.” “Times like this call for fresh ideas and bold initiatives that would put a final stop to this one dark spot of our national life.” The tragedy of gunmen: A time like this or times like these. “Karzai re-opens Afghan embassy in UAE” This way: reopen. “Any of the elected representative (representatives) who performs well will stand a better chance of being reelected in the forthcoming elections.” “Therefore, they should refrain from joining the bandwagon in a life of greed and avarice and take a right step in the right direction.” Nigeria and leadership succession: climb or jump on/aboard the bandwagon (not join—it is not a club or society). FEEDBACK Permit me to point out two rather frequent anomalies in Nigerian English: People are said to die after a brief illness. Does this make sense? ‘After an illness’ implies they have recovered. Death occurs from an illness—NOT after it. Often the word ‘contract’ is omitted when reporters write about government jobs. The road has been awarded. Is it right to leave out ‘contract’? No! Once more, thanks for your good works. (Prof. N.P. Okolie/University of Benin/07031677944) YOUR efforts at reducing lexical insanity are appreciated. The column should be an everyweekend tonic to every lover of good English. (Stanley/08062925996) My dear reader: Happy New Year in advance as we reconvene here next Sunday by God’s grace!








I,formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Mary Obozua, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Mary Ajoke Ibrahim. All former documents remain valid. PHCN and general public should please take note.

ONWUEGBUSI I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Nkemdilim Chikaodili Onwuegbusi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nkemdilim Chikaodili Ejianya. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

EZEIBE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Onyinyechukwu Nebechi Ezeibe, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Onyinyechukwu Nebechi Mbidom. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

IJASEUN I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ijaseun Oluyemi O., now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adesanya Oluyemi O. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

YUSUF I,formerly known and addressed as Yusuf, Ibrahim Teni, now wish to be known and addressed as Oladimeji Oluwateniola O. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

DAUDA I,formerly known and addressed as Dauda, Idiat Itunu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Idiat Adetutu Abdulrasaq. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

THOMAS I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ateda Anthonia Thomas, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Thomas-Ugiagbe, Ateda Anthonia. All former documents remain valid. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Hqrt. and general public should please take note.

GEORGE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Samuel Joshua George, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Samuel Obafemi George. All former documents remain valid. GTBank Plc., American and Bristish Embassy, Corporate Affairs Commission and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Dr. (Miss) Shittu, Omolola Mutiat, now wish to be known and addressed as Dr. (Mrs.) Akinwunmi Omolola Mutiat. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

AJIBOYE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ajiboye, Taiwo Margaret, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nsoyo, Taiwo Margaret. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Inedu, Godwin Margaret, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ojobo, Margaret T. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Customs Service and general public should please take note.

OKORO I,formerly known and addressed as Okoro Sheila Ejiro, now wish to be known and addressed as Emeluna Sheila Ejiro. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

AKINWUMI I formerly known and addressed as Miss Akinwumi Oluwakemi Blessing Ifedayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Lasisi Oluwakemi Blessing Ifedayo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Omotayo, Omolola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Udoka, Omolola. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Police Force and general public please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oladesu, Olanike Bosede, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Folayan, Olanike Bosede. All former documents remain valid. Local government Service Commission, Efon Local governement and general public should please take note.

I,Adegbesan Lawson Olubukola Benedicta is the same and one person as Adenike Teniade Benedicta Olomo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adenike Teniade Benedicta Olomo. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. Nigeria Immigration Service, British High Commission,(Passport control Office) Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and general public should please take note.

OLALEYE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Olaleye, Fehintola Yewande, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Odi, Fehintola Yewande. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

OYEWOLE I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oyewole, Ruth Oyebisi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Odeyemi, Ruth Oyebisi. All former documents remain valid. Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Abejide, Funmilola Rachael, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Alaanu, Funmilola Rachael. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

OBIAWUZO I,formerly known and addressed as Obiawuzo Immanuella Aniemeka, now wish to be known and addressed as Obiawuzo Immanuella Abraham . All former documents remain valid. Godsprings High School and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Faroye, Adeyemi Josephine, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olutade Adeyemi Josephine . All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Teaching Hospital and general public should please take note.

IKUMAWOYI I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ikumawoyi, Olayinka Grace, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. AdeusiAdebayo Olayinka Grace. All former documents remain valid. Ondo State Hospital Management Board and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Mr. Faroye, Adewale Akintomiwa, now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Olutade, Adewale Akintomiwa. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Civil Service Commission and general public should please take note.

CHANGE OF NAME FALODE I,formerly known and addressed as Falode, Kehinde Adeola Christiana, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oluleye, Kehinde Adeola Christiana. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

UFELLE I formerly known as Miss Victoria Chioma Ufelle, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Victoria Chioma Ijioma. All former documents remains valid. L M Ericsson (Nigeria) LTD and general public please take note.

YUSUF I formerly know and addressed as Yusuf Ibrahim Teni after discovering my true Identity wish to be known and address as Oladimeji Oluwateniola Olawumi. All former document remain valid. General public take note.

OKAFOR I formerly known as Miss OKAFOR NKECHI BLESSING , now wish to be known and addressed as MRS MEJULU NKECHI BLESSING. All former documents remains valid. General public please take note.

JOSHUA My full name are JOSHUA FERDINAND CHUKWUDI EJIKE AND EJIKE hsa never been my surname but JOSHUA All documents bearing the above remains valid. General public please take note.

UGOLO I formerly known as UGOLO OBIAGELI CHIAZO LOIS, now wish to be known and addressed as EKREBE OBIAGELI CHIAZO LOIS. All former documents remains valid. General public please take note.

DAVID I formerly known and addressed as David Olusegun, now wish to be known and addressed as Bamgbose Olusegun. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.





EKWERIGBE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ese Josephine Ekwerigbe, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ese Josephine Imiruaye. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Elthel Ifeyinwa Obunadike, now wish to be known as Mrs. Elthel Ifeyinwa Obasi. all former documents remain valid. General public please take note.



ABHULIMEN I,formerly known and addressed as ABHULIMENVICTOREROMOSELE now wish to be known and addressed as ABHULIMEN VICTOR EROMOSELE AVE DAVID OKOLO DODO.THE TRUTHOCRAT, All former documents remain valid. University of Benin and the general public take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Wemimo Dupe Olalekan, now wish to be known and addressed Mrs Wemimo Dupe Adeleke. All former document remain valid.Skye Bank PLC and general public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Abdulganiyu Monsurat Temitope, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Atanda Monsurat Temitope. All former documents remain valid. Osun State SUBEB, Iwo LGEA and general public take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Adindu Maureen Nneoma, now wish to be known as Mrs. Anyanwu Maureen Nneoma. All former documents remain valid. Madonna University and General public please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Eyaema Henry EBE, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Eyaema Inyene ETUKNWA. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ifeoma Oriaku now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Ifeoma Ota Kalu. All former documents remain validohafia town planning authority and general public take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ndikom Huldah Chinasa, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Anyanwu Huldah Chinasa. All former documents remain valid. C.A.C. and the General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Saliu Mujidat Omowumi, now wish to be knownand addressed as Mrs. Adewuyi Mujidat Omowumi. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

cannot be penetrated by these terrorists. What they have however, resorted to doing is to go about terrorising small villages. “We cannot be everywhere but we are not sleeping at the same time”, CP Rufai said. The Joint Task Force Yobe State in a statement signed by its Spokesman LT. Lazarus Eli assured the people of adequate security during the period. The JTF pledged to continue to work assiduously to make Yobe State a safe place to dwell, while wishing everyone a happy New Year. It denied that human movement is being restricted in the state although it said the curfew slammed on some towns in the state remains in force. “It should be noted that JTF never placed any ban on movement of goods and persons in and out of the state as there was no reason for such action to be taken. However, the curfew earlier placed to restrict movement between the hours of 9pm and 7am is still in force,” it said.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogundele Arike Christiana, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs falola Arike Christiana. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Ogundele Tosin now wish to be known and addressed as Oladele Tosin. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

I,formerly known and addressed as Aderehinwo Adeniyi, now wish to be known and addressed as Aqeel Bashorun. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

From Duku Joel, Damaturu church to complement the efforts of the police and other security agencies during church services. Rev. Garba also prayed for peace in the state and the country while wishing every Nigerian a hitch-free New Year. Speaking on the security measures put in place for a smooth transition to a New year, the state commissioner of Police Sanusi Rufai said that his men are not taking any chances on the issue. “We have put in place all strict measures to ensure that no breach of peace erupts during the New Year celebration in any part of the state. “Patrols have been intensified; our stop and search at check points have been scaled up and we will not hesitate to carryout and Cordon and Search Operation to fish out any suspected terrorist in any area. “I want to tell you categorically that major towns such as Damaturu, Potiskum, Gaidam, Gashua, Nguru, Buni Yadi



I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Akanji, Adebunmi Ajoke, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Abraham, Adebunmi Ajoke. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


HURCHES in Damaturu and other parts of Yobe State will not hold the traditional crossover night services tomorrow in view of the security challenge in the state, The Nation can disclose. Most of the churches in Damaturu, it was gathered have scheduled their services for the new year for early evening tomorrow or early Tuesday. Yobe State is second only behind Borno State on the list of areas worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North. Last Christmas Day, a pastor and five members of his congregation were shot dead in an attack on their church by gunmen.’ The Yobe State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Rev. Idi Garba told our correspondent on phone that the organisation has advised all its members to be vigilant. He noted that after a meeting with the state Police commissioner, they were advised to setup security committees in every

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Aminu Christianah Ajayi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Arinola Christianah Ajayi. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Zannu Modupe Grace now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Jimoh Modupe Grace. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Nwogu, Uloma Florence, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Okonkwo, Uloma Florence. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

Churches cancel crossover night services in Damaturu



I formerly known and addressed as Miss Aziagba Beverly Nkechinyere. Now wish to be known as Mrs. Keguna Beverly Nkechinyere. All former documents remain valid. UNIPORT and the general public please take note.

•L-R: Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Dominga Odebunmi; Honourable Commissioner for Special Duty, Lagos State Dr. Wale Hammed and Permanent Secretary Ministry for Special Duty, Dr Aderemi Desalu.mni during the Lagos State Safety Commission Submit on Events and Gatherings with Stakeholders held at Adeyemi Bero Hall, Alausa, Ikeja. Lagos. PHOTOS: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

Community to honour Ekwueme, Obi


HE people of Ihiala will on December 31 honour former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and Governor Peter Obi for their contributions to the development of the town. The honour will be the climax of the one week celebration of the bi-annual Ihiala Day, according to the president general of the Ihiala Progress Union (IPU), Mr Vin Ifeanyi Ezeaka, a lawyer and economist. Ezeaka disclosed in a statement today that Dr Ekwueme “played a critical role in the nomination of Engineer Paulinus Amadike as a minister in the Second Republic and supported him every inch of the way in the discharge of his duties”. The late Amadike, explained the IPU leader, “remained the only person to

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi have been a member of the federal executive council from the Ihiala Local Government Area which came into being in 1966 when Col Emeka Ojukwu was the military governor of the defunct Eastern Region, thus making it one of the largest and oldest local government areas in the country”. The legal practitioner also disclosed that Dr Ekwueme “is being honoured for his sterling contributions to national development, especially with respect to the decisions of the 1994/95 Constitutional Conference where he successfully canvassed for the increase of the derivation principle in sharing of national revenue from 3% to 13%, the

division of Nigeria into six geopolitical zones, the rotation of the presidency among the six zones and the rotation of the office of governor among the three senatorial districts in each state.” As for Gov Obi, Ezeaka commended him for appointing an indigene of the town, Dr Collin Ohamadike, the Commissioner for Transport. “This is the second time Gov Obi has appointed someone from our historic town a commissioner and member of the Anambra State Executive Council. Other prominent people who had confirmed participation in the Ihiala Day celebration include the immediate Central Bank Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, and the Catholic bishop of the Nnewi Diocese, Dr Hilary Okeke.




• President Obama and Vice President Biden share a laugh before an event at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., Sept. 7, 2012. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

•Continued from Page 47 In its second incarnation, the Obama campaign began to blur and then obliterate the line between politics and daily life for millions of Americans. The President held off-the-record calls with FM disc jockeys in black and Hispanic communities. Aides signed up Latinos at amateur soccer leagues, circulated clipboards in bars and nightclubs and canvassed blockbustermovie-premiere lines for new voters. “In Chapel Hill for a wedding,” White House aide Tommy Vietor e-mailed Plouffe in midSeptember from North Carolina. “Multiple people with Obama clipboards have tried to register me to vote in the 5 hours I’ve been here.” Later that night, Vietor read the specials scribbled on a chalkboard at a bar. The Obama was a shot of Jack Daniel’s and a Pabst Blue Ribbon for $7. The Romney was a shot of Johnnie Walker Gold and a bottle of 1995 Altamura cabernet for $870. The message was breaking through. And so were the new methods devised by a geek squad convened from multinational ad agencies, corporate consultancies and high-tech start-ups. The goals were the same as ever: more money in the bank, more door knocks, more phone calls, more voter registrations and more voters at the polls. But the methods for achieving those ends in 2012 bordered on the revolutionary. A squad of dozens of data crunchers created algorithms for predicting the likelihood that someone would respond to specific types of requests to accomplish each of those goals. Vast quantities of information were collected and then employed to predict just which television shows various target voters in certain cities were watching at just what time of day — the better to decide where to place TV ads. Facebook, which was an afterthought in 2008, became the new electronic telephone call, employed to persuade more than 600,000 Obama supporters to reach out to 5 million swing-state friends online with targeted messages in the days before the election. One woman in central Ohio who was living with her young voting-age daughter reported that her house got four different

visits on the morning of Election Day, each from a different neighbor making sure both women had remembered to vote. The geek squad also found new ways to make voters turn out their pockets. They refined meet-the-candidate lotteries into an art form, invented a system for texting dollars from a mobile phone that required entering only a single number and experimented with the language of e-mail pitches until they stung. Of his $1 billion campaign-cash haul, Obama was able to raise $690 million online in 2012, up from about $500 million in 2008. More than $200 million of that came in donations of $200 or less, a 10% increase over the history-making frenzy of 2008. In a campaign that big super-PAC money was supposed to dominate, Obama’s operation proved that many small efforts were more powerful than a few big ones. No one in either party thinks campaign finance will ever be the same. How much of this survives for future Democrats when Obama exits the stage? Obama’s advisers are quick to say it won’t be around for others to tap. Too much of the Obama coalition, they say, is about Obama himself. It might reject anyone who tries to take up his mantle in a few years. “This organization is not transferable,” says a senior campaign adviser. “The next nominee on either side is going to have to build their

own coalition.” But the Obama effort is going to try to live on. Bob Bauer, the campaign’s attorney, has been working on a plan for a new organization — likely to be incorporated as a nonprofit beyond the reach of the Democratic National Committee — that will be announced in the coming weeks. The idea is to create an outlet for Obama’s supporters, more than 80,000 of whom said after the election that they were willing to run for public office. A similar effort stumbled in 2009, when Obama reined in his grassroots supporters to avoid ruffling feathers in Congress. But the one thing Obama has learned in his first term is that he won’t be able to accomplish much in the second without an active outside game. The fifth year of any presidency is always a sweet spot, a golden hour between re-election and lame-duck status, when a President has a chance to think more about history than about the tracking polls. And so the President must now decide how high to reach and what to accomplish while he still can. “I’m more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms,” Obama said at his first press conference after the election. “On the other hand, I didn’t get re-elected just to bask in re-election.” He began to navigate the issues in the days after the election by scribbling his hopes on a yellow legal pad.

Obama has always thought best by writing, and for that reason he struggled to keep a diary during his first term, a task at which he hopes to redouble his efforts over the coming years. “In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are,” he says. “The process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask tougher questions.” But the yellow pad he began to fill after the election was not for himself or his next memoir. Instead, he wanted to work out what he should try to get done in the next four years, beyond his inbox and legislative todo list for the next nine months. The immediate goals are clear: a major push on immigration reform and a way to lower the medium-term deficit through a combination of raising tax rates, reforming the tax code and finding some temporary truce between the parties on entitlements. He gathered his staffers for a “40,000foot” view of what was possible. They soon discovered that the yellow pad included some things spoken of only rarely during the campaign: dealing with the problem of climate change, for instance, emerged as a major thread, despite all the money the campaign had spent in southeastern Ohio praising Obama’s commitment to coal. He spoke of increasing opportunities for early-childhood education and finding new ways to lessen the burden of college costs. The long lines that forced millions to wait for hours to vote led him to talk about a broad sweep of potential electoral reforms, which would likely include a popular push on campaign-finance reform and new legislation to force states to improve ballot access. He also said he wanted to look at the criminal-justice system. “There’s a big chunk of that prison population, a great huge chunk of our criminal-justice system, that is involved in nonviolent crimes,” he tells TIME. “I think we have to figure out what are we doing right to make sure that that downward trend in violence continues, but also, there are millions of lives out there that are being destroyed or distorted because we haven’t fully thought through our process.” Prison reform won’t become a top priority of his Administration, but his interest in it signals his determination to expand the boundaries of what a second-term presidency might be. When two states, Washington and Colorado, legalized marijuana for adults in November, Obama decided that federal law-enforcement resources should not be deployed to bust individuals who are complying with state law. “When it comes to drug enforcement, big-

• After re-boarding Air Force One, the President meets with Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr., Michigan Senator Carl Levin and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Photo: Callie Shell

time drug dealers, folks who are preying on our kids, those who are engaging in violence — that has to be our focus,” he said. In the wake of the killings at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, Obama asked if the country and its President had done enough in his first term to deal with mass shootings. “I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no, we’re not doing enough,” he said before promising to “use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement to mental-health professionals to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.” He had made similar vows before, after other shootings. But this one affected him more. Never had he cast the issue so starkly as a question of moral and political courage. Never before had he so clearly reproached himself for failing to take action. White House aides draw a distinction between what is possible legislatively and what they can do rhetorically and through public education. It’s not just what Obama gets passed, they muse; it’s the legacy he leaves for the next occupant of the Oval Office. “You recognize you’re not going to arrive with — you’ll never arrive at that promised land, and whatever seeds you plant now may bear fruit many years later,” Obama says. Only time will tell just how he fulfills that vision. Which is O.K. with the President. In mid-November, White House aides arranged a postelection screening of the new Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln, inviting the director and much of the cast, including actors Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays the 16th President, and Sally Field, who plays his wife. Obama called the experience of watching the horse trading, corruption and compromise that allowed the passage of the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery, “incredibly powerful.” For Axelrod, who attended the screening and who fought alongside the President through the disappointments and triumphs of the first few years, the story echoed the bruising and at times chaotic battle for health care reform, something he mentioned to his boss. “Part of what Lincoln teaches us is that to pursue the highest ideals and a deeply moral cause requires you also engage and get your hands dirty. And there are trade-offs, and there are compromises,” Obama says of his favorite President. “Anything we do is going to be somewhat imperfect.” Obama says he long ago decided that he should not compare himself to Lincoln. But he nonetheless begins his second term with a better sense of what is possible in his job as well as what is not, something Lincoln struggled with as well. “You do understand that as President of the United States, the amount of power you have is overstated in some ways,” Obama says. “But what you do have the capacity to do is to set a direction.” He has earned the right to set that direction and has learned from experience how to move the country. After four of the most challenging years in the nation’s history, his chance to leave office as a great President who was able to face crises and build a new majority coalition remains within reach.







CAN prays for national peace A

S parts of efforts to curtail the rise of insecurity in the Nigeria, the South West and Lagos zones of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) recently organised a national prayers and fasting programme for peace in the country. The one-day programme which held at the Lagos Presbyterian Church, Yaba under the theme: ‘O! Lord, Save Nigeria in Distress’ attracted a host of clergy men from various Christian dominations as well as politicians and people from other walks of life. Notable among them was the South West Chairman of CAN, Archbishop Magnus Atilade, the Lagos State CAN Chairman, Monsignor Benard Okodua, the Secretary, Archibishop George Amu, The President of The Apostolic Church, Pastor Gabriel Olutola and Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who was represented by the Vice Chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government, Mrs. Lola Essien. In his address, Archibishop Atilade noted that Christians have an obligation to pray for the peace of the country where

By Vincent Nzemeke

they live because it is a biblical injunction. He added that the problems bedevilling Nigeria today requires spiritual solutions. He said: “As Christians we are under obligation to pray for the peace of our country. In 2nd Chronicles chapter 7:14, God said he will heal our land if we humble ourselves and pray to him. The problems of Nigeria can be solved if we humble ourselves and seek the face of the Lord and that is why we have organised this programme.” Other speakers at the event also charged Christians to be vigilant and continue in prayers to ensure that peace reigns in Nigeria. The highlight of the programme was the intense prayer sessions against kidnapping, violence, shedding of innocent blood and the destruction of churches by the Boko Haram sect in northern Nigeria. The programme also featured song ministrations by the Presbyterian Church Choir and other invited guests.

• L-R- Mosignor Benard Okodua, Archbishop Magnus Atilade and Mrs. Lola Essien at the Prayer for Nigeria event in Lagos recently.

Year 2013 is a year of testimony—Bankole Jefferson


ASTOR Bankole Jefferson, the General Overseer of Mercy Tabernacle Church, Ogba Lagos organised the Christmas edition of his outreach tagged ‘Help from above’ during the

Shun peace talk in Saudi, says Erumaka


HE General Overseer of the Wordbase Assembly, Lagos, Bishop Humphrey Erumaka, has charged the federal government to shun any form of conditional dialogue on peace deal from the Boko Haram sect. Erumaka made this known in an interview with The Nation recently ahead of the church 14 days of Prayer and Praise Revival programme scheduled to hold early next year. Erumaka said the recent condition for peace talk ini-

By Adeola Ogunlade

tiated by the Boko Haram sect with the federal government in Saudi Arabia was a clear indication that the sect was not interested in the peace and stability of the country. According to him, the need for peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding in any society is very germane for national development but can be effectively done when people or the different parties involved show genuine interest for peace.

‘Preaching gospel in UK is a challenge’


HE problem of acceptance has been identified as a major challenge in spreading the gospel among white majority in the United Kingdom and the Island. This was made known by the National Director of The Redeemed Christian Church of God in the UK and Island, Elder Pastor Baba Isiaka in chat with The Nation at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Milk and Honey Parish Maryland Lagos. The occasion was the parish’s annual ‘Let Somebody Shout Halleluyah.’ He was one of the people honoured by the parish for their contributions to the growth of the church during the programme. In spite of the challenge, he said the church has succeeded in establishing over 800 parishes in the UK and Island. “The whites came to bring the gospel to us in Africa but we have taken it back

He said “I generally believe in dialogue as a process of mediation but one can only dialogue with people who show real interest for peace. Nigeria can no longer be held ransom by faceless groups whose agenda is primitive and undefined. The condition of the peace talks in Saudi Arabia should be jettisoned in its entirety.” While calling for continuous prayers for peace and stability on the part of citizens, the pastor also advised government to put structure that will help protect the lives and properties of citizens in place.

week. The event where food items, clothing and other essentials were given to the less privileged pulled a lot of crowd in the area. It was also an opportunity for the man of God to talk about some of the revelations for the year 2013. “We have just finished our 12 days fasting to wait on the lord. Year 2013 is a year of testimony. People who have been waiting on God for children, for a husband, to build a house, promotion and miracle would get their breakthrough,” he informs. Jefferson went on to say that: Our nation has also gone through tests and trials, in the new year we will see visible improvements being tested. I think that Boko Haram is government ineffectiveness. I think that Mr. President should come out and be more pro active and not docile. Plane crash is everywhere but it is much

in Africa because all the equipment they use is sub standard. The tragedy that is obvious in our land is hunger. If the government does not nail this there will be a revolution.” Jefferson admonished Nigerians to be thankful for the year 2012 .His words: “It has been most difficult for people but we thank God that we are standing by his grace. And we are at Christmas again and as usual we are doing our food distribution and we have done several. Particularly, I heard a testimony yesterday from someone who benefitted from our help from above for three consecutive months. Now, she has been empowered and she said she does not need our help again.” He added: “Her name is Hannah Ifeoma Okoro, she has a colourful testimony. She bought drum sets for the church. In fact, she bought me the costliest suit this year and

she said she would put me on a monthly brand new suit and shoes. I feel fulfilled that this is what God wants me to do to transform lives. It shows you that there is nothing God cannot do. This girl came in here dressed in okrika and she wanted to hang herself at that point. She was brought in for help. She was able to send N200, 000 to her mother in the village. People who have means should give others leverage.” A cup of food, Jefferson said, can make a difference in someone’s life. “If we all share this world would be a better place. We can see the monstrous greed and my advice to Mr. President is to kill corruption. Corruptions has moved to every fibre and even as a pastor people make all kinds of illegitimate demand. If they are not the ones behind corruption they should make laws to show it.”

Jonathan is target of assassination in 2013—Prophet Oluwasegun Isedowo

By Innocent Duru

to them in the UK, Island and America. In comparison, we are bringing the light back to them. The challenge is more of acceptance because the white majority is no longer conscious. We thank God for our presence there because the Lord is really working there. In UK and Island alone we have more than 800 parishes and they are always full,” he said. He called on Nigerians, especially Christians to remain committed to the Lord in the face of persecution by the Islamic terrorist group popularly called Boko Haram. He said: “As Nigerians we must call a spade a spade. Boko Haram is an enemy, they can never be friend. Nigeria has a great future that is bigger than an individual. God is still working in Nigeria. The country is going to carry the flag for the Lord forever.

By Yetunde Oladeinde



ROPHET Oluwasegun Isedowo, a fast rising healer and televangelist and leader of Ikotun-Egbe based C.A.C Calvary Cry & Miracle Ministry in Lagos, told news men yesterday that God has directed him to alert the nation to pray in order to avert a major catastrophe which may involve President Goodluck Jonathan in the year 2013. According to him, God has revealed that President Goodluck Jonathan has been marked for assassination in 2013.

Saying that the specific month was also revealed through the spiritual message, he msintained this will not be publicized for security reasons and for the fact that God has given a directive, which must be obeyed by the president and all peace-loving Nigerian Christians in order to avert the impending catastrophe. Prophet Isedowo also said that it was revealed to him that enemies of the president have concluded their plan, which would come via a very insignificant bomb explosion. In his own words “ God the Omnipotent did reveal that the assassination could ONLY be averted if President Jonathan can fast for seven consecutive days in the first week of January 2013 with the support of all peaceloving Nigerians, especially, Christians, who must fast during the first three days of this same month.

Warning concernedly that it is only through the recommended directive of God could be averted, the man who accurately predicted the capture of Laurent Gbagbo, former Ivorien president during a live telecast in Lagos, insisted that disobedience to the voice of God may spell doom for the Nigerian federation in this regard. Prophet Isedowo said, “should I be taken for an attention-seeking man of God and these warnings be unheeded, this could lead to the unfortunate balkanization of the country in spite of the preparations to mark one century of Nigeria as a nation in 2014”. In line with this spiritual revelation to him, the prophet maintained that “should this avoidable catastrophe be allowed to manifest, the balkanization of the country

into three entities will be proceeded by an internal crisis and civil war of immense magnitude, which will negatively affect all Nigerianshome and abroad. Repeatedly, Mr. President is urged not to ignore the 7-day fasting as no amount of security beef-up around him might be adequate to deal with the evil designs of his enemies as only God in his infinite mercy, can terminate the plans of those bent in assassinating him. Apart from the specific message to President Jonathan, he revealed that God also sends him to all agents of evil spiritual deeds and ritualists, especially in the Christendom, in Nigeria that 2013 will be a year of severe judgment for them as they will be visited with sudden deaths unless they turn away from using their evil powers to spread diseases among the unsuspecting masses in Nigeria.



RVP seals win for Man Utd


OBIN van Persie's 17th goal of the season ensured Manchester United claimed yet another scalp at Old Trafford with a 2-0 win over West Brom. Yet the performance of skipper Nemanja Vidic was equally notable, as he guided United to only their fourth Premier League clean sheet of the season after Gareth McAuley's early own goal had put the hosts in front against West Brom. Plagued by injury for the past 16 months, and restored to the United line-up for the only the second time since his most recent knee operation, Serbian Vidic used all of his experience to ensure the hosts were not made to pay for a lacklustre second-half display. And when Van Persie curled home a brilliant effort in the final minute, the Red Devils` handsome seven-point lead at the top of the table was preserved. After all the furore around Ferguson's confrontation with Mike Dean on Boxing Day, mascot Fred the Red probably approached the United boss with a degree of trepidation as the pair met on the touchline prior to kick off. The exchange was cordial, though, as was the jocular encounter between Ferguson and fourth official Phil Dowd shortly afterwards.

Spurs sink Sunderland


ARON Lennon kept Tottenham's Champions League challenge alive as his side came from behind to win 2-1 at Sunderland. Spurs trailed at the break to John O'Shea's first goal for the Black Cats despite having enjoyed the better of a first half during which strike Emmanuel Adebayor hit the bar from just two yards. However, Carlos Cuellar's own goal three minutes after the restart gave the visitors a foothold, and they took full advantage with 51 minutes gone when Lennon sped through to beat keeper Simon Mignolet. Had it not been for the Belgian's excellence, Jermain Defoe would have wrapped up the points on the hour with a shot from point-blank range which looked odds-on to end up in the back of the net, and he also kept out Adebayor's late effort. Martin O'Neill's side battled manfully for a way back into the game, but Spurs held out with little difficulty to claim a second successive Barclays Premier League win on the road. Sunderland could hardly have headed into the game with any more confidence having dispensed with champions Manchester City on Boxing Day to claim a third victory in four league outings.

Akhue Game ends in Benin


From, Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

HE final of this year traditional Akhue game ended Friday at the Oba of Benin Palace with Ogiemwonyi Osagbonmwanrhue emerging as the champion. Osagbonmwanrhue knocked out Saturday Osagie in the second round of the game when the king of the Akhue was capture in the third throw that gave him the star prize of #150,000 and a giant trophy. The Akhue game is part of the activities marking the Igue Festival. And it is sponsored by Seaman Aromatic Schnap Saturday Osagie want home with N75,000 for his second position, while Etin-osa Uyimwen won the third position and was given N50,000. Speaking to journalists after the game, the promotional manager of Seaman Aromatic Schnap, Olumide Adeyemi thanked the Oba of Benin and his chiefs for the support they have received so far.


Uche, Ideye land in Eagles' Faro camp


HE Super Eagles camp in Faro, Portugal is gradually bubbling to life as invited foreign based professionals trickle in. First to arrive the camp of the national team was Holland based central defender, Kenneth Omeruo. The lanky former Flying Eagles ace arrived at lunch time on Saturday and took part in the lunch. He was there at the time the Nigerian Ambassador to Portugal, Ambassador Ijeoma Bristol and her husband were addressing the team. He has since jelled with the rest of the team and will take part in Saturday afternoon training. Also in town is Ukraine based hitman, Brown Aiyide Ideye, who came in on time to join the afternoon training session. Expected to join in the team last night are United States based striker Bright Dike and former Enyimba of Aba hitman, who has since moved to a Turkish second division side, Uche Kalu. Camp is now full of activities as the team is billed to travel out to Catalonia, Spain on New Year's day for the international friendly against the Catalan side on January 2.

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

•Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his team's second goal, paying tribute to a friend against WestBrom at Old Trafford yesterday

AFCON 2013

Babangida tips Emenike to explode


ORMER Super Eagles winger, Tijani Babangida has tipped Emmanuel Emenike to end his goal drought in the Super Eagles at next month's African Nations Cup in South Africa. Babangida, who shot into the limelight at the 1991 All Africa Games Football Tournament in Cairo, remained confident on the

ByTaiwo Alimi

Spartak Moscow bully striker to shine in South Africa despite his recent goal droughts. "Keshi has surplus of strikers but he can only use two at a time, he is the coach, he knows who is capable at every point in time and I believe he will get the best of the attackers. I am not setting any target for them but I am optimistic that the team will do well. We have good players in the striking role but my major concern is in the defense and midfield.” said Babangida. Babangida made special mention Martin's scrambled effort to set up a of Emenike who he predicted will grandstand finish. However, Norwich - who had beaten both Arsenal and Manchester United at Carrow Road YNAMO Kiev goal during a 10-match unbeaten run poacher, Brown Ideye, has could not conjure an equaliser as urged Nigerians to rally they suffered a third successive round the Super Eagles ahead of the league defeat. African Nations Cup staring from City were ahead inside two January 19, 2013. minutes. A long ball down the left Ideye who had 13 goals in 17 was worked back inside by Aguero games to stay in the second highest and David Silva for an unmarked goal scorer in the Ukrainian League Dzeko to sweep home from six championship; five goals behind yards. Shakhtar Donetsk's Henrikh The champions swiftly doubled Mkhitaryan, was part of the 32 man their lead. provisional list named by Stephen Play was allowed to continue after Keshi for South Africa 2013. a crunching tackle from Vincent “We may not be clear favourites Kompany on Bradley Johnson. Aguero was away again, darting into the right side of the Norwich penalty area before drawing the EVANTE striker Obafemi goalkeeper and then cutting the Martins insists he made the ball back to present Dzeko with right decision to leave Rubin another tap-in. Kazan to join the Spanish outfit, even although it meant he had to take a "big" pay cut. Following a very low period in wasted two good chances, and his career where he looked set to was made to pay when Demba end it all in the backwaters of the Ba's free-kick was deflected Russian league, the 28 year-old beyond Wojciech Szczesny just forward has since rediscovered his before the break. prowess in front of goal for the Arsenal bit back within five Liga side having netted six times minutes of the restart, Alex in 13 games. Oxlade-Chamberlain drilling a According to reports, Martins fierce effort low across Tim Krul took a huge pay cut from being on in goal. an annual salary of €2 million at Once again, though, defensive Rubin to €600,000 to move to Spain frailties came back to haunt the and play for Levante, but the Gunners as Sylvain Marveaux Nigeria international is still poked him in acres of space at the confident he made the right far post. and is delighted to be After Lukasz Podolski has put decision back amongst the goals. Arsenal ahead once more, Demba “I'm busy playing now and Ba then finished from the same spot as Marveaux, with Kieran scoring goals, so I'm happy,” Martins told Gibbs again the guilty party. “You know as a footballer, you Substitute Olivier Giroud then scored two more, as did Walcott. can't expect everything to be going

10-man City edge out Norwich in thriller


ANCHESTER City o v e r c a m e t h e controversial sendingoff of midfielder Samir Nasri to beat Norwich 4-3 in a thrilling Barclays Premier League clash at Carrow Road. The champions, beaten at Sunderland on Boxing Day, were off to a flying start when they went 2-0 up inside four minutes after Edin Dzeko's quick brace. Norwich reduced the deficit through Anthony Pilkington's deflected free-kick, before Nasri was shown a red card by referee Mike Jones on 44 minutes for putting his head into the face of Sebastien Bassong. Sergio Aguero's neat flick made it 3-1 at the start of the second half, before Russell Martin's header reduced the deficit again. Dzeko put City back in command at 4-2 after his shot cannoned off the post and in off goalkeeper Mark Bunn, only for

Walcott nets hat-trick in Arsenal 10-goal thriller


RSENAL came out in top in a 10-goal thriller at Emirates Stadium as defending once again looked like a lost art in the Premier League. Theo Walcott scored a brilliant hat-trick, while Olivier Giroud notched twice and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukasz Podolski once each as they eventually steamrollered Newcastle 7-3. Walcott, once again deployed in the role he so desperately craves up front, broke the deadlock with 20 minutes gone, shaping a classy finish into the far corner. However, as the half progressed the Englishman

explode if he keeps his head down like he did against Liberia. “There is no doubt about his talent, no doubt about his ability. I think Keshi knows how to use him, he played well against Liberia and created chances for other players. T hat is the quality of a good player”. Babangida further canvassed for Sanni Kaita whom he believes can anchor the defensive midfield of the team. He said: "I think a player like Sani Kaita is needed in the team. We need good players in the defensive midfield and only experience player like Kaita can do that"

Don't write Eagles off, Ideye warns


but don't write us off. We are going to South Africa with full concentration and commitment and we have a lot to prove to our fans home and away.” Ideye further spoke on the Super Eagles opponents, stressing that every country will be treated equally irrespective of their qualities. “We are not going to underrate anybody. Experience has shown that there are no minnions again in African football. We will treat everybody equally,” Ideye added.

Martins speaks on Levante move


ByTaiwo Alimi

up all the time. When things are difficult you try to sort it out yourself, you try to push yourself back up. What I did was I made the decision to leave Russia and I'm in Levante now scoring goals. I wanted my fans to know that I can still play and do well, that's why I left Russia.“I chose the favourite team which is Levante and the pay cut was very big. I lost a lot of money because I love football. I have a passion for football that's why I did it. And now I'm glad I made the decision and I've been playing now.” In the past few months, Martins had played against the two big Spanish teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid and their stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, arguably the two best footballers in the world at the moment. Even though Levante lost against both teams, he feels it was a good experience.




Ahmed Musa joins Eagles in Faro


USSIA-BASED striker Ahmed Musa left the shores of Nigeria yesterday for Faro, Portugal to join up with the Super Eagles currently camping for the African Nations Cup. "I have rested well after the tough first round in Russia. I am refreshed and renewed now to join Eagles,” disclosed the CSKA Moscow star, who scored two goals in the qualifying tournament for the 2013 AFCON. He said he will be available for selection in Wednesday's friendly against star-studded Catalonia in Spain.


Kanu Heart Foundation takes heart victims to India


WO children with heart related have been taken to India under the auspices of the Kanu Heart Foundation as part of the organisation's end of the year celebration. The KHF is a charity organisation established by Nwankwo Kanu (MON) to help under-privileged African children and young adults, living with different heart ailments to obtain the cardiac surgical operations needed. Over 500 children with different heart-related diseases have reportedly been operated upon in Israel, India, United Kingdom and Nigeria with the KHF footing the bill inclusive of medical fees, air tickets, accommodation and feeding of patients, their accompanied parents and medical escorts. Speaking on the latest two beneficiaries, Kanu told the Nation Sport that the KHF would strive to bring succour to heart victims, adding that those on the waiting list will soon be attended to. “We gave two families a special

By Morakinyo Abodunrin

Christmas gift by taking their two kids with heart problems to India for operation,” Kanu, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, stated. “Actually, we did not want to give the usual end of the year gift items like rice (and groundnut oil) and that was why the foundation gave an all-expense paid trip to India for these kids to have surgery. “We still have more victims on the KHF's waiting list and we are going to help them at the appropriate time,” noted Kanu. The KHF was established in 2000 after Kanu underwent a successful operation at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA to correct a weak aorta • Obong Umana Okon Umana hoists the Akpabio's international Squash Championship Cup as the Most Improved Player for 2012 of the valve soon after he led the Nigerian Under-23 team to win Africa's Soccer Gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Apart from facilitating surgery of children, the KHF has from time H E O b o n g G o d s w i l l already afoot towards hosting of to time has been organising health Akpabio's international the next edition after the fresh summits in various parts of the Squash Championship will mandate from many benefactors. c o u n t r y i n o r d e r t o c r e a t e henceforth be an annual event "Without doubt, we are all awareness and tacking heart- following the successful hosting of impressed with the success of the related problems. the maiden edition in Uyo first edition of Governor Akpabio penultimate weekend. Squash Tournament and the kind This much was the assurances of support we got from His given by Obong Umana Okon Akpan. In the Ladies class, it was Umana, one of the patrons of the Excellency is highly appreciated," he said. Helen Ayo that triumphed with 150 net score beating Sese Udoh to the tourney who incidentally was "Already, we have started a d j u d g e d t h e s t a t e ' s M o s t runner up spot with 11 strokes margin making arrangements for the while Major (rtd) N Otiwa picked the Improved Player for 2012. n e x t e d ition n following Umana commended the veterans top prize. assurances from our patrons Mrs Effiok Cohbams wife of the organisers for the smooth running especially, Umana who is an avid acting governor, Director General of of the competition that attracted the Nigeria Tourism Development many top-rated Nigerian squash squash player." Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State C o r p o r a t i o n , N T D C , O t u n b a players, adding that attention must Olusegun Runsewe and the President be given to 'lesser sports' like capital is now becoming the home of lesser sports with the of the Nigeria Ladies Golfers Union, squash. Joyce Nule were among the top D r . U t i b e U b i a m , t h e steady progress being made with amateur players from different golf t o u r n a m e n t ' s D i r e c t o r o f the annual Governor Akpabio clubs across the country that graced Mobilization, said plans are Scrabble Tournament.

Umana commends organisers of Akpabio Squash Tournament


Offem triumphs at Mary Slessor Golf


NUGU based category one player, Jackson Offem has emerged the overall winner of the First Bank Sponsored 2012 Mary Slessor Golf Championship concluded on Saturday December 22, at Calabar Golf Club in Cross River State. Offem, who played scratch (zero handicap) at the 36 holes contest garnered 149, five over par to win the fourth edition of the charity golf event, dismissing the earlier threats from Aba based Emmanuel Onumajuru with a five strokes margin. “I had quite some challenge from

Onumajuru but, I guess I played better eventually; and I hope to return here to defend this title next year” he said at the closing ceremony. The acting governor, Barrister Effiok Cohbams earlier at the presentation ceremony lauded the effort of First Bank Nigeria Plc and Lilleker for their immense contribution that made the event a success. Other winners in the two-day contest include Sam Achonwa who led the category-four rank, Bassey Nkponsom, Eja Dons Esege (captain of the club) Odumoh Out and Friday

the event.



QUOTABLE "There is nothing wrong with the constitution we are practising; the only thing that should be amended in the constitution is to give the South-East one more state. Also, we shall amend the constitution to have one single House. Abolish the Senate, so that we have only the House of Representatives because a country that uses 25 per cent of her national budget to service 400 people in the National Assembly is criminal."


—Former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, speaking on the ongoing process to amend the 1999 constitution.


T was an unplanned but remarkable coincidence around the Christmas holiday period. Nelson Mandela, 94, Margaret Thatcher, 87, George H. Bush, 88 all found themselves in hospital to receive medical attention. Mandela went in to treat a stubborn lung infection, Bush the Elder to treat a fever and other associated ailments that kept popping up one after the other, as his doctors ruefully observed, and Thatcher to remove a growth on her bladder. The Iron Lady, as Thatcher was nicknamed by a Soviet Defence Ministry newspaper in 1976 even before she became prime minister, had in 2001 and 2002 suffered mild strokes. Even though all three leaders are alive and may yet live on for many more years, they are, however, enfeebled by age and are facing a countdown in the closing chapters of their lives. I therefore find it hard to resist the temptation of making a few observations on these iconic leaders whose idiosyncratic rule exemplified the leadership panache and resilience of the last century. In a way, however, and no matter how much we still want the three leaders with us, I think they have started to say their long goodbyes. They left power a long time ago, and so their final departure may not have the same dramatic impact their exit from office had, but there is no doubt that much more than their countries, the world will be sad to see them go. They were not just iconic, brilliant, prescient and charismatic – Mandela and Thatcher more so – the breadth and content of their leadership, the visionary quality of their administration, and the continuing relevance of their policies, ideas and styles have combined to imbue them with a freshness and permanence that belie their age and health. Thatcher vacated office 22 years ago, Bush Snr 19 years ago, and Mandela 13 years ago. But it seemed like only yesterday. The health of the three leaders will be monitored closely and carefully by both analysts and doctors: by the former because of the relevance of the leaders to the health of their countries; and by the latter because of the personal health of the three leaders themselves. Clearly, the more important of the two types of health conditions is the relevance of the leaders to their countries’ wellbeing. Leaders are seldom measured by their personal longevity, but by either longevity on the throne or, more appropriately, the quality and impact of their policies, and sometimes, too, their ideas. As a former US President, Richard M. Nixon, succinctly observed many years ago, “When the curtain goes down on a play, members of the audience file out of the theatre and go home to resume their normal lives. When the curtain comes down on a leader’s career, the very lives of the audience have been changed, and the course of history may have been profoundly altered.” This observation is true of Mandela, Thatcher and Bush the Elder. But I am drawn into writing about the three ailing leaders today in the hope that serving Nigerian leaders would learn a thing or two about leadership mystique and relevance from those who have personified the two attributes so inimitably and so daringly. Mandela’s successors obviously do not take after the great man, perhaps because by having him so close to them, they have taken him and his qualities for granted. Thabo Mbeki, Mandela’s immediate successor, for instance, could hold himself anywhere in the world intellectually, but he exhibited none of the charisma, joie de vivre and general humanism that hallmarked his predecessor’s leadership. In addition, his detached and sometimes woolly style, his seemingly nonpartisan politics of expressive sombreness that grated on the ears of the South African rabble contrasted with the welcoming, lively and eccentric style of his successor, Jacob Zuma. Mandela in office sometimes seemed a paradox, with a half of him oozing gravitas, and the other half skirting close to an inscrutable form of libertinism that made him contradistinctively sociable and prudish. But the real paradox of South African politics is the unexampled fashion Mbeki took Mandela’s cerebral endowment without the redeeming and tempering influence of the great man’s sociableness; and Zuma took and

Three long goodbyes



embellished Mandela’s love for life without the catalysing and uplifting influence of Madiba’s deep longing and respect for knowledge. But much worse are the Nigerian parallels. Had ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua not been hobbled by illness, he in fact seemed the only Nigerian leader since independence capable of grasping the weight and content of the challenges the country faced. Either because of his nature or poor health, even he proved absolutely destitute of the high principles and nobility that underscored Mandela’s life and politics. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, it will be recalled, was advised or indirectly encouraged by those who installed him in office to embrace the Mandela option of serving for only one term. If he had the good sense to do that, we would not have known how unprincipled he was and still is. But at least, he would have become a statesman par excellence and a reference point for continental and regional leadership. Instead, he chose to amass wealth and to open himself to the corrosive influence constitutional subversion naturally denotes. Of the three great leaders, Mandela is probably the most solid and respected, Thatcher the most impactful and iconoclastic, and Bush the most measured and influential. Thatcher was not just the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th century, she remains the first and only woman to have occupied that office. Neither of the two achievements can be belittled. Like Churchill, she understood very quickly the ideological temper and irredentist proclivities of the Soviet Union, and from day one cobbled to-


gether a foreign policy designed to respond harshly to the menace she believed the Russians represented. More than that, it is doubtful whether since Churchill any prime minister had projected British confidence and power as brilliantly as she did. Recall the Falklands War of 1982, barely three years after she assumed office, and the surefootedness with which she approached the disagreement between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. Faced with the prospect of fighting a war thousands of kilometres away against an enemy fighting next door, she retained admirable sang-froid throughout the period the dispute lasted and even confidently declared that the possibility of defeat for British arms did not exist. With the exception of former head of state, Gen Murtala Mohammed, no Nigerian leader has projected Thatcherite confidence of any significance. However, Thatcherite policies were underlined by incredible astuteness, sensible economic policies that remoulded British industry and enterprise, and sound judgement, particularly in politics and foreign policies, that yielded fruit without dissipating British power. Compared with most of his successors, Murtala was indeed a detribalised and unfettered patriot, and a confident leader who would probably have achieved a different and better outcome had he seen his transition programme through. But his appreciation of external responses to his domestic and foreign policies was fairly idealistic. That poor judgement cost him his life and handed over the rest of the transition programme to the far less ethically reso-

“Of the three great leaders, Mandela is probably the most solid and respected, Thatcher the most impactful and iconoclastic, and Bush the most measured and influential…They were not just iconic, brilliant, prescient and charismatic – Mandela and Thatcher more so – the breadth and content of their leadership, the visionary quality of their administration, and the continuing relevance of their policies, ideas and styles have combined to imbue them with a freshness and permanence that belie their age and health. Thatcher vacated office 22 years ago, Bush Snr 19 years ago, and Mandela 13 years ago”

lute Obasanjo. Bush the Elder gives us a signal lesson in restraint, which habitually meddlesome Nigerians may be culturally unsuited to appreciate. By making no public attempt to influence George W. Bush’s government on the question of Iraq, the senior Bush was merely underscoring the advancement of the American constitution and system. Indeed, as we gleaned from the statements made by the recently deceased General Norman Schwarzkopf, the US allied commander during Gulf War I, the presidency of Bush the Elder was unsure of the propriety of overthrowing the government of Saddam Hussein, unsure whether the implications of such an overthrow had been fully studied or whether such an overthrow would not create a chain reaction that would be difficult to manage. This was why during Gulf War II, Schwarzkopf declined to support the regime change Bush the Younger had enunciated. He and Bush the Elder have been proved right. Nigerian leaders rarely appreciate that their country is like a political, economic and cultural smorgasbord so complex and variegated that it requires a deep grounding in logic and history to decipher. Obasanjo made an unpardonable mistake by failing to lay a solid and ethical foundation for the Fourth Republic. And though Ibrahim Babangida did the country so much harm by failing to seize the opportunities offered by the 1993 general election, the wobbly foundation of the Fourth Republic is the sole responsibility of Obasanjo. Like South Africa’s Zuma, Obasanjo was so entranced by the frills of office that he could not gauge its responsibilities, and too fixated with the scaffold to pay attention to the creaky building. Even the more sensible Yar’Adua surrendered to base passions and allowed the country to drift and be held hostage as a result of his poor health. As incompetent as Nigerian leaders have been over the decades, nearly all of whom cite extenuating circumstances to justify their lack of administrative acumen and futuristic thinking, that ineptitude has worsened over the years, unmitigated by the passage of time or the advancement of science and knowledge. Going by the remarkable conjunction of three ailing leaders around the Christmas holiday season, Mandela, Thatcher and Bush may already be saying their long goodbyes. This fact gives the world an opportunity to begin reflecting on the unremitting leadership failure confronting us today. By American standards, one-term presidents seldom rise to greatness, but Bush the Elder provided leadership at a time Americans needed it, even if for economic reasons, and exercised restraint at the right moment and place. Twoterm President Bill Clinton made the world to love America as Bush senior and junior could not manage, but it is a matter of debate whether he has been as impactful on the world as Bush the Elder. Since 1990, Britain has struggled with leadership. Thatcher’s immediate successor, John Major, proved middlingly insecure, and both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, in spite of their best efforts, neither rose to inspiring level nor were they able to hold the candle to the Iron Lady. With each passing day, Mandela has seemed to loom even larger than most world leaders, becoming an example of a statesman growing in stature and relevance, like a good wine, as his years out of power increase. He embodies the aphorism popularised by the US Army General, Douglas MacArthur, that old soldiers never die, they just fade away. More and more, as Africa produces mediocre leaders by the dozen, the power and nobility of Mandela are reinforced by his canniness in foreshadowing the problems of multiculturalism in a way even Europe has not come to terms with. Imagine if the superficial Zuma had taken over from F.W. de Klerk! Indeed, the long goodbyes of the three statesmen speak more to the leadership tragedy faced by Africa in general and more poignantly to the appalling refusal, not to say criminal negligence, of Nigerian leaders to learn both from the ancient history of their country and the modern history of the world in relation to the issues and phenomena that drive, sustain and shape great leadership.

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

The Nation December 30, 2012  
The Nation December 30, 2012  

The Nation December 30, 2012