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Newspaper of the Year

World leaders to Jonathan: ensure free poll


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News NJC retires two judges for misconduct Sports Super Eagles step out in new jersey Business ‘Why EFCC can’t probe ‘missing’ $20b’

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 9, NO. 2773 FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2014

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The Nation Summit

Fayemi: SMEs can boost economy


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday described Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) as the bedrock for economic development. Speaking at the third Southwest Regional Integration Forum, with the theme: “MicroSMEs as Solution to Unemployment and Economic Development”, held at the Fountain Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Fayemi said the role played by SMEs in the development of the economy had been attested to by reports, which indicated that strong and vibrant SME was at the very core of economic development and prosperity of any nation. The forum, organised by Vintage Press Ltd., publishers of The Nation, and

From Seun Akioye, Ado-EKiti

CEEDEE Resources, is aimed at finding time-tested approach for the development and implementation of the vision of the integration of the Southwestern states. The governor said unemployment has reached a crisis level, which is capable of stagnating development, adding that it is a scourge that must be tackled. “This programme is a step in the right direction in setting our region back on the path to economic development. If we don’t tackle the scourge of unemployment, we will all be consumed by it even in our air-conditioned offices. We must therefore look for creative and Continued on page 6

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (second left) and (from left) Commissioner for Integration and Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye; Prof. Gabriel Obi (representative of eminent lawyer Chief Afe Babalola) and Obamoyegun of Ugboland, Chief Iperepolu, during the opening session of the third South-West Regional Integration Programme, hosted by Ekiti State in Ado-Ekiti ... yesterday. SEE ALSO PAGE 9


Boko Haram kills 32 in attack on three towns President vows to bring murderers to justice


N a day the President was railing against terrorists and the military announced a change of strategy, the news broke yesterday of a Boko Haram attack on Adamawa State. No fewer than 32 people died in the Wednesday night attack, which followed Tuesday night’s massacre of scores of school pupils in Yobe. The insurgents, driving in a convoy of new Hilux pick up vans, according to eyewitnesses, hit sleepy communities of Shuwa, Kirchinga and Kibla before proceeding to Michika. Security agents at checkpoints reportedly scampered for safety as the gunmen, who operated for about five hours in the area, •SEE ALSO Continued on page 4 PAGES 2 & 3

•13-year old Aliyu Ayuba, who was shot in the chest awaiting surgery at the General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital, Damaturu ... yesterday. He is being assisted to sit up by his sister Miriam. Boko Haram killed scores of student at the Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, Yobe State on Tuesday. PHOTO: DUKU JOEL

In Buni-Yadi, Yobe State, the soldiers withdrew from checkpoint hours to the attack. Who ordered the withdrawal? In Shuwa and Michika, soldiers withdrew shortly after that Boko Haram attacked; who ordered the withdrawals? ... The Air Force base was raided in Maiduguri ... who gave the base the order not to respond? Either this thing is controlled by unknown fellows or unknown Boko Haram strategic commander is in the defence system or are things being stage managed?





More fu

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi, Oziegbe Okoeki, Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo, Osagie Otabor and Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

T •Alhaji Munir Ja'afaru (left), supportted by Chief Okoya Thomas to present former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon the Peugeot Brand Grand Patron Award at the unveiling of Peugeot new models in Lagos.

•Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza (second right); Managing Director, UBA Foundation, Ms Ijeoma Aso (right); Director, Clinical Services and Training, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Dr. Ayoade Adedokun (2nd right), Divisional Head, Marketing and Corporate Relations, UBA Plc, Mr. Charles Aigbe(1st left) and Head of New Born Unit, LASUTH, Dr Elizabeth Disu, during the presentation of sponsorship cheque for the overseas training of LASUTH doctors and nurses on Neo-Natal care in India...yesterday.

HERE were more condemnations yesterday for Boko Haram members over the killing of pupils of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State. Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola said the act could only be perpetrated by people, who have lost sanity and lack human feeling. Aregbesola, in a statement by the Director of Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Semiu Okanlawon, said the killing of the innocent students was unconscionable. The governor said he was alarmed by the inhumane and brazen manner in which Boko Haram unleash violence on all cadres of people. Aregbesola said the activities of Boko Haram were worrisome because attacks on innocent and defenseless pupils have become frequent. He said: “What could drive people to do such mad thing is unimaginable. What for and in the name of what could anyone murder innocent pupils? “Nowhere across the country seems safe for people again. All security agencies particularly those involved with intelligence gathering must improve on their acts and come to the rescue of Nigerians.” Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, regretted the gory treatment meted out to leaders of tomorrow, who were killed where they had gone to acquire knowledge they needed to be useful to the society. He urged the authorities concerned to investigate the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of soldiers from the community few hours before the gunmen struck. The governor opined that three previous attacks carried out on schools in the state ought to have put the military on red alert to prevent a re-occurrence. Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday urged the Federal Government to review its security

strategy by strengthening the country’s Immigration and Customs Service. The governor, who spoke at the commissioning of the Lagos zonal secretariat of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG), said these are the first line of defense for any country facing insurgency. He said: “The first line of defence for the security of any nation that is facing insurgency is to strengthen its Immigration and Customs department. “This will help the country know who is coming into the country and what are they coming to do? This is the basic way to start. “Let us all think on how to solve this problem. Who must search to know those who are the problem? We must resolve to provide the solution.” Fashola, however, renamed the Babatunde Raji Fashola, BRF MultiPurpose Hall after the pupils. “I thank NUPENG for dedicating this hall in my honour. But I think that since the privilege is mine, I will ask you to permit me to dedicate the hall in the memory of the lives of young boys and girls who were killed in the northern state of Nigeria recently. I will ask that we rename the hall as ‘NUPENG Peace Hall.”

Strengthen Immigration, Customs’

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in a statement by Geoffrey Njoku, the Head, Media and External Relations of UNICEF in Abuja, the agency said attacks on children and schools were unacceptable under any circumstances as such deprived them to their right to education and basic needs to life. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this vicious attack on students. “Many young lives were lost, many more pupils and teachers were deprived of their right to education. Attacks on children and schools are unacceptable.”

African American History Month •From left: General Manager, External Relations, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited Kudo Eresia-Eke, Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Chidi Nkwonta, NLNG’s Managing Director Babs Omotowa and Deputy Md Basheer Koko at the induction of Omotowa as honourary Special Marshal of the FRSC in Lagos...yesterday.

•From left: General Manager, Marketing, UAC Foods Limited Mrs Joan Ihekwaba, Executive Director, Corporate Services Joe Dada, Managing Director/CEO, Dr. Tawanda Mushuku and the Chairman, Scientific and Technical Committee of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) Dr. Bartholomew Brai with two children - Isaac Victor of Providence School, Agege and Angel Snipes of Glory Crown International School, Ijesha during the launch of the new Gala Tinkies held in Lagos...yesterday.


Barack H. Obama

IS story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others. With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank. After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants. He went on to attend law school, where he became the first AfricanAmerican president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a

voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community. President Obama’s years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world’s most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online. He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11. Reference: Whitehouse http://




e fury over pupils’ killing ‘

Nigeria is today confronted with the terrorism of Boko Haram. I assure you that your struggle is also our struggle. We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time you need it, because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy •The Assembly Hall with an inspiring inscription burnt by the insurgents. Infront of the halll are people who came to see the

destruction wreaked by Boko Haram.


Jonathan’s broadcast on centenary misplaced, says APC


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for devoting his broadcast to the nation on Wednesday night to the centenary celebrations instead of the national tragedy involving the cold-blood murder murder of over 40 school children in Yobe state. In a statement in Lagos yesterday yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the President’s action sends a wrong signal to the world about the value which the Nigerian government places on the lives of the nation’s children. It wondered what was so important about the centenary celebrations that it would be elevated over and above what in any nation would be considered a monumental tragedy, describing the President’s broadcast as insensitive, misplaced, and an embarrassment to the nation. ‘’Even as the nation is still counting the death toll from Monday night’s senseless and gruesome murder of our children, and the ceaseless killings of innocent civilians before that, the President has already switched into a celebratory mood, dwelling on the moneywasting centenary-celebrations instead of lead-

The statement expressed UNICEF’s deep concern on the repeated attacks on schools in the Northeast. “Since June 2013, four attacks resulted in school closures affecting thousands of students, many of whom have had no access to formal learning for months. “When a school is under attack and students become targets, not only their lives are shattered, the future of the nation is stolen,” it said. The statement expressed the agency’s condolences to the families and communities affected by the senseless acts and called for greater efforts to protect children in the country. Parents and teachers under the National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal Government


ing a clearly distraught nation in mourning. ‘’Nothing better illustrates the fact that the President showed more concern about the centenary celebrations than the calamity that befell the nation than the mention, in only about three paragraphs, of the tragedy in a speech that spanned over 40 paragraphs. ‘’This is very sad indeed, considering that President Jonathan is the head of a government that has failed woefully in ensuring the welfare and security of Nigerians, especially those of our children, which is the very reason for the existence of any government,’’ APC said. The party said now that the President has goofed again, he should quickly make amends by visiting the scene of the tragedy to empathize with the families of the victims as well as the government and people of the state, which is what any leader worth his salt will do under the circumstance. It said in case President Jonathan is still in doubt on whether or not to take a trip to Yobe, and indeed Borno where hundreds of innocent citizens have been dispatched to their early graves by rampaging insurgents in the past few weeks, he should take a cue from what other

(NAPTAFEGC) have condemned the killing. The President of the body, Paul Erie, said the children had nothing to do with whatever grouse the group had with anybody. Erie advised security agencies to strengthen security in all Federal Government Colleges, especially those vulnerable to attacks. He urged the Federal Government to strengthen intelligence gathering mechanism to forestall future killings of Nigerians. Also, leadership of National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) called for proper investigation to ascertain those responsible for what it termed security negligence. President of NAPS, Ogbonaya Sunday called for full implementation of state of emergency.

Presidents do in times like this. ‘’In the US, for example, President Barack Obama was his country’s ‘consoler in chief’ as he visited scenes of the tragedies that have occurred in his country since he assumed office, whether it is the school massacre in Connecticut, the mass shooting in Fort Hood,Texas or the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. ‘’While the nation waits for the President to hit the road to Yobe and Borno, we call on the federal government to massively scale down the centenary celebrations, if it does not want to cancel them. It is incongruous, unconscionable, unacceptable and an assault on our collective humanity to be celebrating, throwing fireworks and popping champagne cocks when the ashes of our children, who were slaughtered and burnt to death for no fault of theirs, are still so fresh. ‘’We should not do what will amount to dancing on the graves of the children whom we have collectively failed. Yes, we cannot bring those children back to life, but we can at least soothe the pains of their families through genuine empathy and soberness,’’ APC said.

Boko Haram suspect France ready to help President Francois Hollande said arrested in Benue France stood shoulder-to-shoulder

A suspected Boko Haram member was arrested in Makurdi, Benue State yesterday. Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Public Affairs, Cletus Akwaya, said the suspect was arrested in Kashio, a suburb of Makurdi after a tip-off. Blank cheques worth millions of naira and a map of Makurdi were recovered from him. Akwaya said this was an indication that he was planning an attack on the town. He said the suspected has been handed over to security men for interrogation.

with Nigeria in its battle against Boko Haram, vowing to support its fight against Islamist militancy as it had done in Mali. Hours before Hollande’s arrival in Abuja, hundreds of suspected militant fighters attacked three areas in northeastern Adamawa State, destroying homes and businesses with heavy weaponry and explosives and killing at least 32 people. Gunmen divided themselves into three groups and rampaged through the villages of Shuwa, Kirchinga and Michika, razing several banks, hundreds of shops, a Christian theological college and various public buildings. The attack came after 43 people,

mostly students, were killed in a night-time raid by suspected insurgents at a secondary school in Yobe state on Tuesday. Hollande, guest of honour for celebrations to mark 100 years since Nigeria’s unification, expressed his condolences, calling the Yobe attack “brutal” and “unjustified”. “Nigeria is today confronted with the terrorism of Boko Haram,” he told delegates at a security conference attended by dozens of African heads of state and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. “I assure you that your struggle is also our struggle. We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time you need it, because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy.” Hollande is on a two-day visit to Nigeria and had been expected to hold talks on trade and investment with his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and is tipped to become the continent’s largest economy in the coming months. But with the insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast, France’s military action against Islamist fighters in Mali last year and its peacekeeping efforts in the conflict-torn Central African Republic, security has been pushed to the fore. Hollande’s office announced that he would travel to the Central African capital Bangui on Friday to meet French troops, his counterpart Catherine Samba Panza and religious authorities in the country, beset by months of violence between the Christian majority and Muslim minority. Religious violence and criminal operations such as drug running, human trafficking and maritime piracy were a “scourge” that risked hindering Africa’s promising future development, Hollande said. Nigeria — a former British colony whose northern and southern protectorates were formally merged on January 1, 1914 — is not traditionally in France’s sphere of influence. But it is surrounded by Frenchspeaking countries, notably its former colonies Chad, Niger and Cameroon, which have been flooded with people from Nigeria’s northeast escaping violence. The United Nations said earlier this month that as of the end of January, nearly 12,500 Nigerians had fled east to Cameroon and 8,000 north to Niger because of the continued violence. Boko Haram, which is fighting to create an Islamic state in the north, is also suspected of having bases in neighbouring countries, crossing the porous borders to launch attacks before retreating. Nearly 300,000 people in the northeast, more than half of them children, have been displaced within Nigeria since May because of violence linked to Boko Haram, according to the United Nations.

Ogun’s development fantastic, says U.S. Ambassador Entwistle

HE United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, has hailed the infrastructural development in Ogun State, describing it as “rapid and fantastic”. Entwistle spoke during a visit to Governor Ibikune Amosun in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The ambassador, who was accompanied by U.S. Consul General Jeffery Hawkins, expressed delight and sat-

isfaction with the quality of infrastructure being put in place by the Amosun administration after a tour of the state capital. “What I see is fantastic, rapid development in Abeokuta. The roads, the bridges, the flyovers are very, very impressive,” Entwistle said. He lauded the vision and commitment of the state governor, which led to such landmark achievements in

less than three years in office. The envoy further disclosed that America had a lot of investments in Ogun, noting that one of the US biggest companies, Procter and Gamble, would open a factory in the state in a month’s time. He added that the United States had interest in Nigeria’s next general elections and expressed the hope that they would be transpar-

ent, credible and non-violent. Amosun thanked the ambassador for the visit. He said Ogun had consistently been adjudged the safest state in the country in the last three years and promised that his government would continue to provide enabling environment for business to thrive. He said the international standard roads, bridges and flyovers in

the state capital were also being constructed in major towns and cities of the state. On the next general elections, Amosun called for a level-playing field for all contestants so that the electorate would have the opportunity to decide who to govern them. He commended the interest of the international community towards a successful 2015 elections in Nigeria.




We killed six insurgents, says military •’Specialised Campaign’ against Boko Haram begins


•A cross-section of Presidents and Heads of Government at the Centenary Conference in Abuja ... yesterday.


HE Defence Headquarters said yesterday that the military has launched a “Specialised Campaign” against Boko Haram. The campaign is being carried out simultaneously in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states – three states which are under state of emergency to curb the Boko Haram insurgency – to apprehend the terrorists who attacked a school in Yobe, killing scores of pupils. Also, the Defence Headquarters confirmed that troops killed six Boko Haram fighters and captured two

Boko Haram: Jonathan vows to bring murderers to justice


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday promised that no resource will be spared in bringing to justice all murderers in the country engaging in violence in the North. Islamic sect Boko Haram and other terrorists groups have killed thousands of Nigerians and destroyed billions of naira worth of properties. Speaking at the Centenary Conference in Abuja, with the theme “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century”, Jonathan said Africa must address some fundamental challenges to the continent’s human security, peace and development. He said: “But as I address you today, I have a heavy heart. Two days ago, terrorists invaded a secondary school and murdered innocent children in Yobe State, while they slept. The children, the hopes of their parents and the future leaders of our dear nation, had their hopes and dreams snuffed out, leaving behind grieving families, schoolmates, communities and a sad nation. “Our prayers and thoughts are with their families at this difficult moment of loss. This gruesome and mindless act of savagery is not Nigerian. It is not African. Let me assure all Nigerians that we will spare no resource in bringing those murderers to justice.


Boko Haram kills 32 in attack on three towns Continued from page 1

approached. “They retreated because of the large number of the attackers and the sophisticated weapons they bore,” eyewitnesses said. Some Michika residents said they slept in the hills and nearby bushes during the night attack. They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone yesterday that the attackers arrived in the town around 9p.m. “They burnt three banks, a police station, shops and part of the Michika Local Government Council secretariat. “They came in nine Toyota Hilux vans, firing guns and throwing explosives,” a resident who simply identified himself as Fide said. Fide said he saw bodies of two victims. “One of the bodies is that of a worker of Bank of Agriculture,” he added. “They burnt places of worship and the house of a former commissioner, Idris Nuhu in Shuwa village,” said a resident, Mr. Sule Idris. Spokesman of the 23rd Armoured Brigade, Yola, Capt. Ja’afaru Nuhu, said the insurgents attacked communities in Madagali and Michika local government areas. The chairman of the Madagali Local From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

Stressing that the menace of small arms and light weapons is on the rise, he said of the 500 million illegal small arms and

Government Area, Maina Ularamu, said “a large number of militants carried out three separate attacks on Shuwa and Kirchinga in my local government area and on neighbouring Michika”. “The gunmen divided themselves into three groups and separately attacked the three locations,” he told AFP. In Shuwa, several buildings were burnt, including a Christian theological college and a section of a secondary school. A local resident, Kwaje Bitrus, said three bodies were recovered from the seminary and 20 were killed in and around the village. In Kirchinga, Samuel Garba said the gunmen were all dressed in military uniform — a tactic frequently employed by the militant fighters in previous, similar attacks. “The gunmen ... killed eight people in our village and burnt many houses,” he added. “Four people have so far been confirmed dead in Michika,” said Abdul Kassim, who lives in the village. The dead were a young boy, who was trying to run away, and three security guards, he added. Michika residents described earlier how people fled to the nearby foothills when the attackers arrived in trucks and

light weapons in the world, an estimated 100 million are in Africa, with 10% in West Africa. Jo nathan said the cost of wars and insurgencies is too high and that Africa has been estimated to lose $18 billion yearly

on motorcycles. Michika resident Abdul Kassim said militants arrived at about 9:30 pm (2030 GMT) on Wednesday, “armed with RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and explosives, which they hurled indiscriminately at homes and public buildings”. The attack reportedly lasted for more than four hours. Various residents said four banks were razed, as well as hundreds of shops, a police station, government buildings and dozens of homes. One witness, who requested for anonymity, said the village looked like a “war zone” and that 90 per cent of all businesses had been destroyed. A pastor, who preferred anonymity, said: “When the soldiers at the military check points saw the number of the attackers, they retreated into the nearby bushes as the gunmen operated without challenge throughout the night.” The member representing Michika Constituency in the Adamawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Adamu Kamale, also confirmed the attack on Michika. President Jonathan, at a seminar in Abuja to mark Nigeria’s centenary celebration, called for action against terrorists. Speaker after speaker sympathised with Nigeria on the Boko Haram killings in Yobe.

from wars and insurgencies. “In concert with our regional and global partners, we will continue to respond strategically and decisively to this scourge, and together with our people we shall end the killings and

bring terrorism to an end. “Your Excellencies, let us work together across boundaries, not only to coordinate and strengthen our defences, but also to address any socio-ecoContinued on page 56

Nigeria under World leaders’ attention at centenary

IGERIA came under World leaders’ focus yesterday during the activities marking the country’s centenary celebration. Next year’s election which they expect to be credible and the state of insecurity in the Northeast attracted the most attention. The United Kingdom, the European Commission, France and Germany advised Nigerians on the way forward. French President Francois Hollande promised to support Nigeria in its battle against Boko Haram, adding that France would always be ready to help combat extremism in defence of democracy. He said: “Your struggle is also our struggle,” Hollande told delegates at a security conference in Abuja ahead of Nigeria’s unification centenary celebrations. “We will always stand

•Security, credible 2015 elections, top discussions From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time you need it because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy.” “Africa has a great future. It’s the continent of tomorrow,” he said but warned that such promise could be “impeded by insecurity”. He vowed to double French overseas development aid to the continent within the next five years. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who received a standing ovation for his remarks on the state of insecurity in Nigeria, pleaded with Nigerians to reconcile their differences peacefully in order keep the country as a strong and unified power house of black Africa.

He said: “There is no country in the world that is comprised of one region, one religion and one ethnic group. The beauty of Nigeria and any country for that matter, lies in her cultural, religious, regional and diversity. Our diversity should be a source of strength, unity and pride and not division, weakness and violence. “If religion is anything to go by, we as Muslims and Christians should understand that in the ultimate kingdom of Allah, that is heaven, only the Almighty Allah would decide who enters heaven. “The people of the Gambia and black Africa in general look up to all Nigerians to maintain and strengthen the unity, peace and prosperity of Nigeria as Africa’s most populous Nation and Black

Africa’s power house. Nigerians should understand that a divided Nigeria can only mean catastrophe for the entire black race. Please preserve the unity and peace of Nigeria and remember that Nigeria is bigger than any regional, ethnic or cultural considerations or interest”. Representative of Germany, Amb. Egon Kochanke, urged the Jonathhan administration to ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2015. President of the European Union Commission, Jose Barrosso, noted that the EU was a product of war, conflict and disunity as he declared that the Union stands with Nigeria as it battles terrorism. He noted that bad governance and corruption are among the factors fuelling conflict in any society. Foreign Office Minister for

Africa, Mark Simmonds, who represented Prime Minister David Cameron at the conference said: “By virtue of her scale and energy, Nigeria could lead the way. Next February’s elections will be a vital milestone - Nigeria’s fifth consecutive Presidential election under civilian rule.” “Mr President, you have committed yourself to ensuring that the elections are free and fair. I am confident Nigerians will accept nothing less. And in doing so, you and your government could be a role model for many other African governments.” He added: “I am always struck by Nigeria’s youth and vitality. I believe strongly that your country, and the countries represented here today, should be viewed through the lens of promise and ambition. Continued on page 56

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

others after attacking Michika in Adamawa State on Wednesday. One soldier and three civilians died in the encounters with the sect’s fighters. Defence Headquarters (DHQ) spokesman Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade spoke in Abuja. Gen. Olukolade said: “The Defence Headquarters acknowledges with grave concern the recent mindless killing of innocent school children and other citizens in towns and villages following terrorist activities in some parts of the Northeast. “The dastardly act has expectedly attracted the reaction of well-meaning individuals who have been condemning the senseless bloodletting. “Disturbing as this trend proves, the fact remains that the chilling episodes are simContinued on page 56

Angry governor lashes military From Barnabas Manyam, Yola


DAMAWA State Governor Murtala Nyako is a bitter man. He was angry yesterday on the devastating Boko Haram attacks on defenceless people in the Northeast. He criticised the activities of securitymen deployed in the states under a state of emergency and called for more proactive measures to stem the tide. Nyako, a Rear Admiral, said the frustrated people might take to the streets in demonstration. The governor wondered why soldiers were late in arriving at scenes of incidents. He said: “In Buni-Yadi, Yobe State, the soldiers withdrew from checkpoint hours to the attack. Who ordered the withdrawal? In Shuwa and Michika, soldiers withdrew, shortly after that Boko Haram attacked, who ordered the withdrawals”? “We also have the case of Gen. Mohammed Shuwa (who was killed) in Maiduguri by the so-called Boko Haram. There is an army unit there, but they didn’t respond during the attack. Who told them not to respond? “The Air Force base was raided in Maiduguri. There was a military base nearby; who gave the base the order not to respond during the raid on the Air Force base? “Either this thing is controlled by unknown fellows or unknown Boko Haram strategic commander is in the defence system or are things being stage-managed?”

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NJC retires Justices Olotu, Inyang for gross misconduct


HE National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the retirement of Justices Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court, Abuja and Ufot Inyang of the Abuja High Court for “gross misconduct”. The NJC directed that they should be suspended from office, pursuant to its disciplinary powers under the Constitution. The council also issued warning letters to three others, who it accused of low performance. The three include former Acting President of the Court of Appeal Justice Dalhatu Adamu, who was appointed when Justice Isa Ayo Salami (rtd) was suspended. Others are Justice A. A. Adeleye of the

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

Ekiti State High Court and Justice D. O. Amaechina of the Anambra State High Court. NJC, in a statement yesterday by its Acting Director, Information, Soji Oye, said the decisions were taken after its February 26 meeting, chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar. NJC said the decision to retire Justice Olotu was informed by its findings on the allegations in petitions written against her. The findings include: •That she “failed to deliver judgment only to deliver same in Suit No. FHC/UY/ 250/2003, 18 months after the final address by all the counsel in the suit, contrary to the

•Three judges warned to sit up constitutional provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days’’; •That she “admitted before the Fact-finding Committee of the council that investigated the allegations that she forgot she had a pending ruling to deliver in an application for joinder’’; •That she “entertained a post judgment matter in Suit No. FHC/UY/CS/250/2003 in Port Harcourt after delivering judgment, which made her functus officio”; and •That in another case: Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/505/2012, “Justice Olotu failed to deliver judgment twice.” Justice Inyang also got the

hammer, following the report on petitions against him. He was found to have “included in his judgment, references to the Garnishee Proceedings, which came after the judgment had been delivered on December 20, 2011.’’ It was found that he “also included the name of the counsel to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Chief Chukwuma Ekomaru, who came into the matter after the judgment of December, 20, 2011, was delivered.’’ The NJC also found out that Justice Inyang “recklessly signed a writ of execution, a day after delivering his judgment of December 20, 2011, the same day a notice of

appeal and motion on notice for stay of execution were filed.” The council said the judge continued with the garnishee proceedings despite application for a stay of execution and that before delivering his judgment, he “ignored a properly filed motion on notice for leave to file additional witness statement on oath.” Justice Dalhatu Adamu, who holds the National Honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR), is a Justice at the Court of Appeal, Kaduna division. He was warned for absenting himself from duty, a gross misconduct contrary to the 1999 Constitution, as amended and the Code of Conduct of Judicial Officers.”

Braithwaite to Christians: pray to end woes

Novelist Bandele for CNN African Voices

Dada Aladelokun


ABLE News Network (CNN) African Voices, sponsored by Globacom, will this weekend continue its tradition of bringing to viewers Africans, who have excelled by profiling Nigerian writer Biyi Bandele-Thomas. The novelist and playwright will be the special guest on the 30-minute magazine programme, which runs at 8.30 a.m. on Friday, with repeat broadcasts at 3.30 p.m. on Saturday, 3.30 a.m., 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. There will be further repeats on Monday at 2:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. and on Tuesday 5:30a.m.


•Representative of the General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Pastor Johnson Kalejaiye (middle) cutting the tape to inuagurate Emadeb’s new depot at the Folarin Waterside, Ijegun Egba, Satellite Town, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos... yesterday. With him are Managing Director, Emadeb Energy services Ltd., Adebowale Olujimi (left), his wife Olugbesoye (left) and others. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE.

Follow due process, says NOA TI backs Fed Govt’s resolve to find missing $20b From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE National Orientation Agency(NOA) and the University of Ibadan (UI)-based Centre for Social Orientation (CenSO) have urged Nigerians to follow due process. The Chairman of UI CenSO Board, Prof Arinola Sanya and the Oyo State Director of NOA, Samsom Adeyemi, made the appeal yesterday at the launch of the ‘Doing it right’ campaign for the Faculty of Education, Institute of Education and African Regional Centre for Information Science, at the university’s campus in Ibadan, Oyo State. Arinola said the campaign was part of the centre’s efforts to eradicate vices, not only among the students but within the society. She said: ” I should do it all the time because it will be meaningless getting it right once, twice; we will all be better and our community will be at peace if we all do it right all the time.” Adeyemi said: “The people are the focus of this campaign, because we need to change our attitude to transform our country. Everybody needs to be involved in the campaign, because we are stakeholders in the development of this country.”

The offence of Justices Adeleye and Amaechina was that of low performance. “It would be recalled that council, at its last meeting which was on December 4 and 5, 2013, considered and deliberated on the report of its fiveman committee, mandated to invite judicial officers with low performance or non-performance to appear before it. “At the end of deliberation on the report of the committee, council found Justice A. A. Adeleye of High Court of Justice, Ekiti State and Justice D. O. Amaechina of High Court of Justice, Anambra State, culpable of low performance. “Consequently, council decided to warned them for decline in their productivity,” NJC said.


RANSPARENCY International (TI) has backed the Federal Government’s directive for a full investigation of how $20 billion allegedly got missing from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The body, which spoke through its Chairman, Huguette Labelle, decried the unchecked sleaze being perpetrated by public officials, urging the government to step up its fight against corruption. It regretted that corruption was still high in Nigeria despite President Goodluck Jonathan’s pledge for zero tolerance on graft when he assumed contol of the government. TI noted that 84 per cent of Nigerians surveyed two years ago gave a verdict that corruption had increased. To win the fight against corruption, Labelle said Nigeria needs effective oversight institutions and should detest impunity for sleaze. She said: “The news that billions of dollars in oil revenues are not in the country’s national accounts was raised by the governor of the Central Bank and other watchdog institutions. According to Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the NNPC owes the government $8.3 billion in oil revenues for 2009-2011. Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has also called for an independent forensic audit of the financial

By Wale Ajetunmobi

accounts of the NNPC. “Transparency International welcomes the announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan for a full investigation into the oil sector where $20 billion are alleged to have disappeared from the state-owned oil company. We urge the government to move quickly to investigate how the funds disappeared.” The anti-corruption watchdog said it was concerned about how the missing oil revenue is depriving the citizens of a fair share in the nation’s wealth. It said the missing funds could have been invested to improve education, provide good health care system and create jobs for youths, adding that government owed the citizen a duty to get to the bottom of the allegation and prosecute the culpable officials. “Missing revenues are depriving Nigerians of a fair share of the wealth that could go to improving health, education and creating employment. The government owes it to the people to investigate the allegation and hold to account those responsible,” Labelle said. Despite being Africa’s largest oil producer with the pumping of an average of two million barrels per day, TI said it was surprised that Nigeria has some of the lowest human development indicators in the world.

HRISTIANS were yesterday urged to pray to end the country’s woes, especially the killings in the North. The call was made by activist lawyer and politician Dr Tunji Braithwaite, who was guest lecturer at the 50th anniversary lecture of the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. The lecture was chaired by Prof Wale Omole. Braithwaite, who see the evil tormenting the country as the biblical “prosperity of the wicked,” said rather than carry guns, Christians could resist oppression and other ills, condemn them and resort to prayers to cleanse the system. Lamenting that the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had failed by its ‘conspiratorial silence’, especially in the face of the bloodletting in the North, Braithwaite noted that it was time the nation cried to God. Likening what had been happening to defenceless, deprived and oppressed Nigerians to the evils of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, the lawyer assured Nigerians that the moment of succour was near. “The suffering in the country will soon give way because God is working on things yet unknown to many of us. He will set us free, but as Christians, we must not put off His armour,” he said. Urging Christians to be part of the proposed national conference, he said: “Our roles should not be limited to prayers; we must go out there, armed with faith, determination and commitment to righteousness; we must go out there and be fully involved in the generational duty of salvaging our freedom.”

Dangote, others back govt’s drive in agriculture


EY players in the private sector have pledged support for government’s investment drive in agriculture. Chief executive officers of major companies gave this assurance at a meeting with Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina in Abuja. The company chiefs met with the minister under the aegis of Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) under the Agricultural Transformation

Agenda (ATA). “Working in partnership with the private sector, we are driving new investments in the agriculture sector,” the minister said, adding: “To continue this never-beforeseen trend in diversifying from the one-dimensional oil and gas economy and build on the investment inertia of the agricultural sector, we must engage the private sector to drive and coordinate regulatory and policy reforms in the

country.” Initial discussions between the minister and the agribusiness leaders took place last May. “This group will drive inclusive market growth, representing the interests of farmers, aggregators, input providers, supply chain management, food processing, marketing and consumers,”Alhaji Sani Dangote, chairman of Dansa Foods Division of Dangote Group said.

“Private sector support of necessary policy and regulatory reforms will ease doing business in the agricultural sector and reforms to sustain the gains of ATA beyond 2015,” Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, of UMZA farms in Kano, said. At the Eminent Persons Group meeting in New York earlier in the year, Alhaji Dangote called for better coordination and collaboration between ministries, departments and agencies of the government.





World leaders urge Jonathan on free, fair, credible 2015 poll

Queen Elizabeth greets Jonathan From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

UEEN Elizabeth II of Great Britain has written to congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government and people of Nigeria on the occasion of Nigeria’s centenary celebrations. In a message delivered to President Jonathan on Wednesday by Britain’s Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Simmonds, Queen Elizabeth II conveyed her best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria.

role model of other African countries. U.K Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, who represented the Prime Minister of U.K., said: “By virtue of her scale and energy, Nigeria could lead the way. Next February’s elections will be a vital milestone - Nigeria’s fifth consecutive Presidential election under civilian rule. “Mr. President, you have committed yourself to ensuring that the elections are free and fair. I am confident Nigerians will accept nothing less. And in doing so, you and your government could be a role model for other African governments.” He went on: “I am honoured, Mr. President, to speak today of Nigeria and Africa. I am always struck by Nigeria’s youth and vitality. I believe strongly that your country, and the countries


Police promote 5115 Inspectors From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja


HE Police Service Commission (PSC) has approved the promotion of 5115 police Inspectors to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police II. Among those promoted are 4628 officers in the various general duty units, while 487 are specialist operatives. A statement yesterday by the Assistant Director, Press and Public Relations of the PSC, Mr. Ferdinand Ekpe, said the officers were those, who passed the Departmental Selection Board interview. The promotions, which were backdated to December 31 last year, are in line with the PSC’s statutory functions. The statement quoted the chairman of the commission, Sir Mike Okiro, to have admonished the officers to put in their best in the discharge of their constitutional mandate of securing lives and property of the citizenry.



HE United Kingdom (UK) and Germany were among the world leaders, who urged President Goodluck Jonathan to put everything in place to ensure free, fair and credible elections next year. They spoke in Abuja yesterday at Nigeria’s Centenary conference with the theme: “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa”. Nigeria, they said, should strive to get it right in the coming elections, to continue to be a


represented here today, should be viewed through the lens of promise and ambition. I want to take this opportunity to focus on the great future ahead of Nigeria and its African counterparts. “It is a future that is closely linked to the achievement of prosperity, stability and democracy. And I believe that, as is the case in Europe, it is the choices African leaders make in these three areas that will determine Africa’s future. “Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, said on Independence Day in 1960 that Nigeria’s relations with the UK were “always as friends.” That is as true now as 54 years ago. “Our relationship is rooted in our joint history; in the large and important Nigerian community in the UK; the deep and

expanding trade relationship; and our countless educational, sporting and cultural connections. “So it is exciting to recognise, as we stand at the dawn of a new century for Nigeria, that the future brings with it extraordinary possibilities for your country, and for many African nations.” The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany, Amb. Egon Kochanke, urged the Jonathan administration to ensure free, fair and credible elections next year. The President of the European Union Commission, Jose Barrosso, noted that the EU was a product of war, conflict and disunity, saying the Union stands with Nigeria as it battles terrorism. He, however, noted that bad governance and corruption are among the factors fuelling con-

flict in any society. But the Gambian President, Dr. Yahya Jammeh, who received a standing ovation for his remarks on the state of insecurity in the country, urged Nigerians to reconcile their differences to keep the nation as a strong and unified power house of black Africa. French President Francois Hollande promised to support Nigeria in its battle against Boko Haram, adding that France would always be ready to help combat extremism in defence of democracy. He said: “Your struggle is also our struggle. We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support, but also our help every time you need it, because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy.”

Northern Elders Forum condemns Yobe massacre

HE Northern Elders Forum (NEF) condemned yesterday the killing of 43 pupils by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members in Yobe State. The Deputy National Leader of the group, Chief Paul Unongo, who spoke with reporters at a news conference in Abuja, described the suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as politically-motivated. He said NEF sympathised with the Federal Government on the Yobe massacre and urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to rely on force alone in his efforts to tackle terrorism. Unongo noted that Boko Haram is being fuelled by political and religious considera-

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

tions. He enjoined government to enter into a dialogue with the insurgents, adding that security agencies should be strengthened to enable them carry out their functions effectively. Said Unongo: “The Northern Elders Forum condemns the killing of innocent children in their sleep by the Boko Haram. “We need a creative approach and a combination of approaches, some of which we have suggested to the President, to solve this problem. “We have told the President that force alone cannot solve this problem. He has to look for other ways to enter into a dialogue with these people. Boko Haram is not a religious issue but an act of terrorism,

•Decries Sanusi’s suspension

which has assumed a life of its own. “If it were about Islam, why do they kill Muslims and blow up mosques? We beg him not to fall prey to the Nigerian system of pacifying things because we have political and religious Boko Haram in the country. “Now that the insurgency is expanding, we need to rethink and re-strategise to overcome the problem. We need to revisit the holistic approach we gave Mr. President. The allegation that we are supporting Boko Haram is nonsense.” He said it is the view of the forum that the suspension of Sanusi was done in bad faith. Unongo insisted that Sanusi was merely carrying out the

duties for which he was paid by tax payers. He said: “In our judgement, we feel that the CBN Governor has a right to be concerned even if the missing funds were due to financial impropriety or outright fraud. It is his duty to show concern and cry out to his boss to investigate the matter. “All the pretensions about his suspension were politically-motivated because he was simply doing his job.” On the National Conference, Unongo said although the NEF had canvassed a Sovereign National Conference, it did not oppose the dialogue, but the timing was too near the 2015 elections. Added he: “We suggested that it should be shifted, but this

was ignored and it is continuing in a very strange manner without anybody telling Nigerians what the intention of the conference is about. “The President has selected his friends, who in turn enrolled their friends to partake in the dialogue and our question is: What are they going to discuss? “Of all the constitution drafting exercises and conferences I have participated in, none was carried out within three months. How do you think you can find solution to the problems of Nigeria in three months? “How can Nigerians be treated like this? If we talk they will say we are not cooperating. These people have not been chosen to represent Nigerians but the government and President Jonathan.”

Fayemi, other stakeholders prescribe solution to Western integration (Continued from page 1) innovative ways to tackle this problem, which is what this forum is aimed at achieving,” he said. The idea of regional integration of Western Nigeria was moved in 2012 by the governors of Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Lagos and Ekiti states. The vision is to aggressively work together to “rebuild Western Nigeria into a First World status in terms of its economy, infrastructure and standard of living of our people.” The governors of the region also sought to attain an egalitarian, democratic and economically self-sustaining region that unlocks the energies of the people and harnesses their resources for integrated development. The Southwest Regional Integration programme has also striven to put institutions, which will be charged with the formulation of policies and implement developmental policies that will prepare the region for global competitiveness through the establishment of the DevelopmentalAgenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN). The Managing Director of Vintage Press Ltd, Mr. Victor Ifijeh, said the forum is aimed at putting on the front burner, the idea of regional integration of Western Nigeria. He noted that the region is blazing the trail in innovation, research and development and wealth creation must be developed in order not to depend on the government at the centre. Ifijeh said SMEs have been the bedrock of economic prosperity of many Asian countries, contributing 30 per cent to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said although SMEs represent about 90 per cent of the total industrial sector, it, unfortunately, contributes only about 10 per cent to the country’s GDP. According to him, SMEs are capable of turning the tide against unemployment, which has been described as a time bomb. “In this forum, I believe youths will get to know the opportunities, which abound in SMEs and those who are already in it will find more creative and innovative ways of doing business,” he said. There were delegates from the six states of the region, while governors of Kwara, Osun, Ondo, Lagos and Oyo states were represented. Exhibition of products from SMEs from the six states and their cultures were on display. The chairman at the forum, Chief Afe Babalola, the Chancellor of Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti

(ABUA), represented by Prof. G.M. Obi, hailed The Nation for organising the forum, noting that after the global financial crisis of 2008, there has been renewed global interest in SMEs. Stressing the importance of SMEs to global economic recovery, the legal luminary noted that between 2002 and 2008, the SME sector created about 9.4 million jobs. “It is clear that the governors, who have put this together, are good visionaries. I believe they have what it takes to diffuse unemployment and provide a bedrock for economic development.” The forum also took a critical look at the regional integration initiative with the aim of emancipating the region economically and culturally. According to the Director-General of DAWN, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, the time has come for a rethink on development strategies based on what has worked in the past. He said Western Region used to be the bastion of civilisation and development, progressing at a faster pace than many European nations. Famakinwa attributed this to the visions of the founding fathers of the Region, which he noted stagnated at some point due to the skewed federal system imposed on the region and bad leadership. “Everything we did in the Western Region was outstanding and first class. But in the last few years, governors in the region said we must go back to what works.” He said the need to harness the region’s resources and talents for development necessitated the creation of DAWN document, which was presented in 2012 at the DAWN Commission. Famakinwa said since then, the commission, which was charged with the implementation of the integration programme, has made giant strides in the attainment of its visions and goals. “We have not been static; we have moved from the levels of intentions and species to critical action. We have made progress in the areas of agriculture, education, infrastructural development and culture. The governors have been supportive and we have made this a people’s programme because the regional integration programme is about the people,” he said. Fayemi noted that the development strides made by the region have not been surpassed in the country. “The old Western Region’s developmental legacies are yet to be surpassed in Nigeria. The region is a pacesetter and the hub of

civilisation in the country,” he said. Fayemi also said the current system of federalism should not prevent the goal of integration, even as he acknowledged that it would be impossible to unilaterally abolish the states. “We are states within a region; we have consolidated our position in the institution called DAWN.” The governor said political differences in the region would not deter the integration of the over 40 million Western Nigeria people, adding that as governors of the people, the programme was about the people and the region and would outlive even the initiators. The Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Regional Integration, Rev. Tunji Adebiyi made a case for agriculture as a catalyst for regional development. Drawing examples from Brazil, which has implemented the model, he said the region could adopt Brazil model of using agriculture for economic development. Adebiyi said the region must ensure that agriculture and agroallied businesses have access to appropriate financial support and that the country’s financial sector should become aware of the opportunities in the region’s agric sector. He called for adequate funding for SMEs in the region for job creation and increased industrial production. A book produced by Vintage Press and CEEDEE Resources titled: “Regional Integration: Strategy for National Development”, was launched by Senator Ajayi Boroffice and ObaFredrick Akinrutan, the imperial ruler of Ugbo land. Praising the laudable achievements of Fayemi, Boroffice invited the governor to Ondo to help develop the state. “We are inviting Fayemi to come and help us develop Ondo State,” he said. Oyo had the largest delegation with top government officials and 14 local government chairmen present. The state also had a rich display of natural, human and cultural resources. The forum continues today with training by experts on SMEs and large scale exhibition of products and services from entrepreneurs. The programme is supported by the six Western states, Bank of Industry (BoI), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Wema Bank and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).




Nwabueze, Ekwueme apologise for inability to be at National Conference

C •Mrs Bassey Gabriel (left) and Mrs Izuora with the babies in Awka ...yesterday

Director held for child trafficking


DEPUTY Director in the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Sabina Izuora, has been arrested for alleged child trafficking. Also being held is the proprietress of the Umunna Motherless Babies’ Home in Onitsha South Local Government. She was arrested with another suspect, Mrs. Bassey

•Two babies rescued

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Gabriel, from Calabar in Cross River State, following the discovery of a three-day-old and a three-month-old babies in their possession. Police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka told reporters

yesterday in Awka that the police were tipped off by terminus workers in Onitsha. The Nation learnt that Mrs. Izuora had been in the business for sometime. Although she claimed she had done it only once. One of the babies at the

home has been missing since December. He is yet to be found. The third suspect, Nkolo Anthony, is a sister to Mrs. Gabriel’s sister. Mrs. Izuora told The Nation that she paid N150,000 to the facilitator of the babies in Calabar, who also works in the Cross River State Ministry of Women Affairs.

MMA2 gets escalators, automated Car Park


S part of its determination to change the face of terminal operations in the country and bring the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) to world standard, the management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operator of MMA2, has begun the installation of new escalators at the terminal to lessen the burden of passengers and other airport users. Besides, the company says its Multi-Storey Car Park

(MSCP) has been fully automated in a bid to make using the facility easier. MMA2 is the only airport terminal in the country with an MSCP, which can accommodate about 800 parked cars at once. A statement by the spokesman of BASL, Chief Steve Omolale, said that two new Mitsulift escalators are being installed to replace the old ones at MMA2, adding that this was part of the infrastructure renewal scheme embarked upon by the firm in the termi-

nal. It further said that Bi-Courtney has positioned some of its employees close to the installation sites to give information and also assist passengers and other airport users to ensure a hitch-free exercise. The statement added: “Such employees, who adorn orange-colour reflective jackets are strategically positioned close to the escalator landing to courteously direct passengers and airport users to use other alternative routes with-

in the terminal to their destinations, while the multi-million dollar project is ongoing. We, therefore, appeal to all airport users to follow their instructions, while we will do all that is humanly possible to complete the installation sooner than expected”. While explaining how the new automation at the car park works, Omolale said each of the three floors of the fourfloor car park has a full automated entry and exit barriers and column gates.

Alleged double registration: APGA applies to join suit against Obiano


HE All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has applied to be made a party in a suit challenging the legitimacy of Willie Obiano as a candidate in the last governorship election in Anambra State. Obiano contested the November 16 poll on the platform of APGA and was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Counsel to APGA P. I. Ikwueto (SAN) told a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday that the party filed a joinder appli-

From Eric Ikhilae

cation, seeking the court’s permission to be included in the suit. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Joe Gadzama (SAN) said he was not opposed to APGA being made a party, noting that it was Obiano’s platform and that the court could have added APGA. Obiano’s counsel Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) told the court that he was served with the application and needed time to respond.

Baby killed in brawl in Ondo


From Damisi Ojo, Akure

TWO-YEAR-OLD baby has been killed in a fight in Supare Akoko, Ondo State. The incident occurred at Alimaliu Igbose Camp. It was learnt that a middle-aged man, Ayelehin Kehinde, accused the baby’s mother, Oluwabunmi Faith, of giving the police information about him and a fight ensued between them. Kehinde allegedly pulled the baby off Faith’s back and threw her on the ground. They said Kehinde attempted to run away when he realised that the baby was injured, but he was apprehended by the police. The baby was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died. Police spokesman Wole Ogodo described the incident as cruel. Ogodo said Faith did not give them information about Kehinde, adding that the police raided some areas in the camp following intelligence report. He said Kehinde would be charged to court for murder and urged the public to cultivate the habit of resolving disputes through dialogue or reporting such disputes to the police.

“In view of the factional issues going on in APGA, it is my duty to assess the situation and then oppose this application. “For this reason, I will urge this court to allow me the statutory period within which I will properly represent the interest of the first defendant (Obiano),” he said. INEC’s lawyer Ibrahim Bawa said he was not opposed to the application. Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted time to Ikpeazu to respond to APGA’s application and adjourned till March 10. The plaintiffs, Ugochukwu Ikegwuonu and Kenneth Moneke, asked the court to disqualify Obiano because he possessed two voter cards. Sued with Obiano is INEC, as the second defendant. The plaintiffs’ said the card Obiano tendered before he was cleared to participate in the party’s screening exercise was not the same as the one he submitted to INEC. They raised three questions for the court’s determination and sought five reliefs, including an order disqualifying Obiano from the election. They also sought an order of mandatory injunction compelling INEC to strike out Obi-

ano’s name from its record as a candidate. The plaintiffs also asked the court to declare that Obiano was unqualified to contest the election because he allegedly possessed more than one card. Ikegwuonu and Moneke said the court should determine whether, by his alleged conduct, Obiano was qualified to contest by virtue of sections 12(2), 16(2)(3) and 31(5) of the Electoral Act. In a supporting affidavit, Ikegwuonu averred that Obiano allegedly possessed two cards – one purportedly obtained in Lagos, which he tendered at his party’s screening in August and another one claimed to have been obtained in Otuocha, Anambra State, on September 3, last year, which he allegedly presented to INEC. He said the Voter’s Identification Number on the first card is 90F5815E7D3738200332, while the second one is 90F5B12B01296204172. Ikegwuonu averred that Obiano’s claim to having a voter card, as contained in the documents submitted to INEC, was false. He queried the authenticity of the date contained on the birth certificate, which Obiano tendered and which was issued by Awka South Local Government.

ONSTITUTIONAL lawyer and a Igbo Leaders of Thought chief Prof. Ben Nwabueze has apologised to Ndigbo for his inability to be at the National Conference. He also apologised on behalf of the former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who he said would also not attend the coference. Nwabueze, speaking yesterday in Enugu at the public presentation of the “Position of the Igbo at the National Conference for a Renegotiated Constitution for Nigeria”, assured all that they would not abandon their people when the conference opens. He said: “We will not be delegates, but we will stand behind the delegates and guide them. We will be there in Abuja.” Nwabueze said while he is

From Chris Oji, Enugu

83, Ekwueme is about 81 or 82, adding that they took part in previous constitutional conferences. “But we also agree that we owe a duty to Ndigbo not to abandon them. We are not going to be delegates, but we will stand behind. Our role should be that of guidance,” he said. The constitutional lawyer said he and Ekwueme would meet Igbo delegates twice a week, to guide and educate them on Ndigbo’s position as contained in a document. He said the document being presented, which is in a book form, would guide Igbo delegates, adding: “We will educate Igbo delegates with these documents.”

College honours commissioner


AGOS State Commissioner for Education Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye has been honoured with an Award of Excellence by the Alumni Association of the Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Noforija, Epe. The National President of the Association, Mr. Idris Salami, said the commissioner was honoured for her “selfless commitment to the development of humanity and her outstanding contributions towards a better Nigeria”. Salami described Mrs. Oladunjoye as a thoroughbred personality, who is committed to good governance. The commissioner thanked the association and dedicated the award to teachers.

Cultists kill LAUTECH student


100-LEVEL student in the Department of Transport Management at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Mba Ikechukwu, has been killed by cultists. His body was mutilated. It was learnt that the cultists stormed Mba’s hostel on Tuesday evening and shot into the air many times. Sources said they went into Mba’s room, where they shot him and removed his arms. Mba’s body was deposited in the mortuary by the police. The university’s management met with security agencies on Wednesday on how to apprehend Mba’s killers and tighten security in hostels. LAUTECH is an off-campus institution.

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

Security has been beefed up in hostels. Student held a peaceful rally on campus to mourn Mba and sensitise one another on the ills of cultism. Academic activities are going on smoothly at the institution. The Dean of Students’ Affairs, Dr. Tunde Olabiyisi, debunked rumours that the institution had been closed for two days (yesterday and today) to douse tension. He said: “You can see for yourself that the campus is peaceful and students are receiving lectures. There is no disruption whatsoever. Everywhere is peaceful. The incident happened outside the campus and appropriate actions are being taken.

Nnamani returns to PDP amid controversy From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba


ORMER Enugu State Governor Senator Chimaroke Nnamani has returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), amid controversies. But the party’s state secretariat has denied such development. He was said to have been issued a membership card with number 0276943, signed by the national chairman, national secretary, national organising secretary, ward chairman and ward secretary. His ward number is 3259. The Enugu PDP Chairman, Mr. Vita Abba, and stakeholders last month vowed to resist Nnamani’s return. His return to the party yesterday was heralded by the presence of armed mobile police officers. The event was held at his Agbani Ward in Nkanu West Local Government. Nnamani said he was happy to return to the PDP.

PDP members join APC in Apapa


VER 100 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Apapa Local Government Area of Lagos State have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The defectors were led by two former PDP councillorship candidates, Alhaji Shaliu Yusuf (Ward B) and Alhaji Haruna Ibrahim (Ward D). They were received into the APC by the Head of the party’s Interim Council Committee, Mr. Babatunde Balogun, and Apapa Local Government Chairman Ayodeji Joseph at the APC Sec-

retariat on Udegbunam Lane during the monthly general meeting. Balogun, a former commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, praised the defectors for abandoning the “sinking boat that the PDP represents” and welcomed them into the progressives’ fold. He described their defection as “a political revolution”. Balogun assured the defectors of a level playing field in the APC and urged them to be active in their wards.




•Ajimobi (left) greeting Sir Olaniwun...yesterday.


•From left: Olajide, Chief Falae and Gen. Akinrinade...yesterday.

Yoruba leaders endorse agenda for conference

•Ajimobi bemoans 1914 amalgamation


ORUBA leaders, groups and traditional rulers converged yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital and ratified the agenda to be presented at the National Conference. They unanimously took a hard stance against any delegate of Yoruba extraction who advocates positions contrary to the popular agenda. The ratification took place at the Grand Yoruba Summit held at the House of Chiefs in the Parliament Building of the Oyo State House of Assembly. The summit was organised by the Yoruba Agenda Committee, chaired by Chief Olu Falae. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd) is the committee’s vice-chairman. The secretary is Dr. Kunle Olajide. Leaders of thought from Edo, Kogi and Kwara states attended the summit. The Itsekiri in Delta State were represented by a delegation, led by Mrs. Rita Lori Ogbebor. They took their turns to voice their concern for the Yoruba nation in Nigeria and endorsed the 15-page document. Falae explained that the agenda, which was prepared by the coalition of Yoruba leaders and groups, was only a review of the Yoruba agenda developed in 1994 and presented at the 1995 National Conference. The 15 specific issues on the agenda include: a new constitution; true federalism; regionalism with fiscal federalism in varying degrees; the role of traditional rulers; and the status of Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Chief Host, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, said contrary to President Goodluck


HE 15 issues to be discussed at the National Conference by the Yoruba are: •Structure of federalism: each of the current six regions may create states as allowed by regional constitution without reference to other regions or the centre. •Regional legislative, exclusive, concurrent and residual list. •Westminster model of the parliamentary system of government. Ceremonial President and Prime Minister as Head of State. •Fiscal federalism/resource control •Law enforcement in regions should be on the residual list. •Establishment of constitutional court to have jurisdiction over inter-governmental cases and petitions arising from National From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Jonathan’s view that the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates by Lord Luggard was not a mistake, the amalgamation has earned the country several pains and calamities. He said: “As you all know, the Yoruba people, like every other ethnic nationality that make up this country, did not willingly join the behemoth that was to later become Nigeria. We were coerced by the British overlords in the evergreen magical marriage of inconvenience called the amalgamation of 1914. “Since then, Nigeria has presented as the forcefully conjured seeds in the walnut pod, what our people call ‘Omo inu awusa’. Different worldviews, different ideologies, different cultures, different political beliefs, yet we were soldered into one component by the British colonial masters. “This forceful marriage has earned us several pains and calamities. It led to the 30month old civil war, where the Yoruba suffered needless casualties in the course of fight-


•Maj.-Gen. Adebayo

The agenda at a glance From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Assembly elections. Appeal should lie from constitutional court to the Federal Supreme Court. •All elections to be organised and conducted by regional/zonal electoral commissions. •Conclusions at conference to lead to an autochthonous constitution. That is, the outcome shall be subjected to a referendum. •Structure of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT): Abuja should remain the FCT with all the federal institutions. However, Abuja should not be accorded the status of a region or federating unit. •Status of Lagos: there shall be appropriate budgetary provision that is part of the first line charge in the Federation Ac-

ing for the unity of Nigeria. The most recent calamity of our forced togetherness is the pain of being tagged as citizens of the same country with the senseless killers of children who are inflicting needless pogrom in the North. “I imagine that when a Yoruba man walks up to fellow humans in the world and he introduces himself as a Nigerian, what comes to the mind of his naïve audience would be that he shares the same humanity, the same human and national space with those blood-thirsty hounds called Boko Haram. It is the pain of the forced identity of 1914. “The Yoruba are one of the most blessed ethnic nationalities in the world. Blessed with human and natural resources, we demonstrated during the First Republic that we could hold our own in the comity of other republics. “The current pseudo-federalism that we practice merely gathered, as our people would say, the hen and dove under the same cage. It breeds redundancy, cheating and parasitism; it is a recipe for chaos. This is why we strongly

count. •Discussion of the composition of all national commissions, boards, parastatals, department and agencies at the conference. •Immunity for president, prime minister, regional ceremonial head, regional premier, governor and deputy governors should be circumscribed and made only to cover civil processes. •Pension matters should be split between the Federal government and regions. •Representation in the Central Union Government shall be equal on zonal basis. •Each region should be allowed to establish a Traditional Rulers’ Council.

canvass a return to that system, under which our forefathers proved their mettle to the rest of the world as brilliant administrators of men and resources. “For the Yoruba, no system is potent enough to bring out the best in us as true federalism. Forget political party configuration, there is no Nigerian who honestly did not suspect the current decision of the federal government to convoke a national conference. “We have been fooled in time past, only for our time, resources are being wasted on the altar of political leaderships strategising to hold on to power. As Yoruba sons and daughters, you will recall that our forefathers were never easily held captive. They were not because they learnt to look before they leapt. “That was why we were circumspect about the call for a national conference a few months before the general elections. However, as you elders have taught us, the art of knowing when to flee and when to fight are twin qualities of a valiant warrior at the war-front.

“Yoruba people will participate at this constitutional conference armed with our own arsenal. At this conference, Yoruba must strongly canvass the return of the country to regionalism. We must ask that Nigeria becomes again a union of federated regions where each of us will be at liberty to restructure the current artificial state structure that we have. “We must canvass a return of the regions of the federal union to their separate constitutions as was present in the 50’s and 60’s. Personally, I am in favour of a presidential system of government, but it would seem that the consensus of our fathers and mothers here gathered is that Nigeria should return to the parliamentary system of the First Republic. We must all learn to subordinate our personal preferences to collective preferences.” Akinrinade explained the content of the agenda in simple language. Chief Olaniwun Ajayi moved for the adoption of the agenda and it was seconded by Oba Elijah Oyelade, the Salu of Edun Abon in Osun

•Chief Osoba...yesterday.

State. It was unanimously adopted by all in attendance. Southwest governors were represented at the summit. The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sinuwade, was represented by traditional rulers in Osun, led by the Apetu of Ipetumode, Oba James Adegoke. The Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana, was represented by Chief Omowale Kuye. Traditional rulers from other Southwest states were present. Also in attendance were former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba; All Progressives Congress (APC) Interim National Vice-Chairman, Southwest, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Senator Femi Okurounmu; Chief Reuben Fasoranti; Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Otunba Gani Adams; Prof. David Noibi; Hon. Wale Oshun; Prof. Bunmi Ayoade from the Oodua Foundation in the United States (U.S.) and Alhaji Lateef Jakande. Others were Sen. Anthony Adefuye; Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu and Mr. Felix Adenaike. Mrs. Ogbebor said Itsekiri are Yoruba, even though they are geographically located outside the Southwest. She lauded the Yoruba for providing leadership for the country and for never threatening to secede.

YCE backs Yoruba position at national conference

HE Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has backed the Yoruba Agenda on the parliamentary system of government; restructuring, with the existing six geo-political zones as the federating units; and devolution of more powers to states. The group led by Maj.Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd.) made its position known yesterday in Lagos after its 13th national congress. In a statement, YCE Secretary-General Chief Idowu

By Raymond Mordi

Sofola (SAN) said the group has made presentations on constitutional amendment in the past and that its position remains as follows: the establishment of state, local government and institutional police to curb crime and solve unresolved murder cases; conclusion of election petitions 90 days after elections and before the swearing-in of the winner; creation of more local governments; removal of the immunity clause; entrenchment of

policies for the empowerment of youths and for the welfare of the aged; as well as the decentralisation of the control and provision of electricity. YCE condemned “the way some ethnic groups are riding roughshod on Yoruba hospitality and generosity by unabashedly abusing the privilege which is unavailable in their own domains”. Maj.-Gen. Adebayo said it was reported that the Federal Government was considering removing the three ba-

sic languages, including Yoruba, from the list of courses taught in schools and warned the government against doing so. He urged the government to focus on fighting corruption aggressively, adding that it has become more endemic and “more embarrassingly so even in the judiciary where it is now flaunted with audacious effrontery”. Prof. Adebayo Williams, who represented Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, pledged the governor’s

support to activities of the YCE. He said Fashola holds the organisation in high esteem because it is a non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-profit socio-cultural group founded for the protection of the Yoruba culture and interests in Nigeria and the Diaspora. Williams said: “He holds this organisation in high esteem and he was doing everything possible to be here until an hour ago, when he was called away on an urgent assignment.”




•Obamoyegun of Ugboland Chief Iperepolu (left) and Asogbon of Ugboland Chief Idowu Demehin

•The book reviewer Mr Kanmi Ademiluyi

•Senator Ajayi Boroffice presenting a book: Integration at the event.

•Representative of Lagos State Governor Rev Tunji Adebiyi


I’m not for consensus, says Fayose


•L-R: Ajagajigi of Ugboland Chief Joshua Fagbiye (left) and Prof Gabriel Obi representing eminent lawyer Chief Afe Babalola


From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

morally and materially. The party has affirmed its decision to conduct primaries, so consensus option does not arise. “The President has left nobody in doubt that he does not have a mindset or an anointed candidate, contrary to claims by some of my co-aspirants.” He described himself as the man to be beat in the party’s primary election slated for March 15, adding: “I will rule Ekiti State again come October 2014.” Fayose was chased out of the Ekiti State Government House in October 2006 when he locked horns with the then President Olusegun Obasanjo over issues


bordering on transparency or the lack of it. According to him, the race, this time around, is not about big names, but about the man with the highest number of votes.

Ogun delegates fault Jonathan on amalgamation

ENATOR Biyi Durojaiye is to lead the Ogun State delegation to the National Conference. Members of the delegation are Pastor Tunde Bakare (Ogun Central); Afenifere chieftain Sir Olaniwun Ajayi(Ogun East); Senator Iyabo Anisulowo; former Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Fola Adeola; the Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle (Ogun West); Prof. Titi Filani (Ogun West) and Mr. Bisi Adegbuyi (Ogun East). At its inauguration yesterday, the delegation condemned President Goodluck Jonathan’s view that the 1914 Amalgamation of Nigeria was “not a mistake.”

NJC elevates Oyewole, 23 others to Appeal Court

HE National Judicial Council (NJC) has announced the elevation of 24 High Court’s judges to the Court of Appeal. The Council, after its meeting yesterday, also recommended the Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to President Goodluck Jonathan for appointment as the substantive President of the

•Recommends Bulkachuwa as PCA From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

court. Justice Bulkachuwa will succeed Justice Isa Ayo Salami who retired last year after his unprecedented suspension by President Jonathan under controversial circumstances. The 24 High Court judges were selected from courts across the country. Among them is Justice

•Oyo State Commissioner for Information and Integration Prince Gbade Lana

•Representative of Bank of Industry Zonal Manager Mr Kola Adewole (left) and Deputy Manager Mr Sylvester Ogbedebo

•Senator Olorunnibe Farukanmi (left) and Mr Hakeem Jamiu

ORMER Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has restated his opposition to plans by stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pick a consensus candidate for June 21 governorship election. Fayose, who picked his nomination form yesterday at the PDP National Secretariat, said he was ready to support any candidate that emerges through a free and credible primary election. He dismissed reports that President Goodluck Jonathan and the party’s leadership had expressed preference for a consensus option, adding that there was nothing on ground to support such plan. Fayose said: “I am not for consensus. If I am defeated in a free and credible primary election, I will gladly support the winner


Joseph Oyewole of the Lagos High Court, who jailed People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Olabode George and five others. Also elevated are: JusticesTani Hassan, Mohammed Shuaib, Musa Alkali and Jamilu Tukur. Other are Justices Saidu Tanko, Mudashiru Oniyangi, Amina Wambai and Rigwan Abdul-

lahi, Hamma Barka, Bitrus Sanga, Mohammed Mustapha and Yagatta Nimta. There are also Justices Joseph Ekanem, Feoho Oho, Abimbola Adejumo, Bolokuroma Ugo and Diobele Georgewill, Nonyerem Okoronkwo, Ugochukwu Ogakwu, Paul Elechi, Oludotun Adefowope Okogie, Mistura Bolaji Yusuf and O.E. WilliamsDaudu

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Jonathan, in his speech at the centenary celebration yesterday, said: “We are a unique country. We have been brought together in a nation like no other by providence. Our nation has evolved from three regions to 36 states and a federal capital territory.” Olaniwun said the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates by the British was “a mistake”. The lawyer and former NADECO chieftain said the President probably arrived at his conclusion about the amalgamation because he was yet to lay his hands on “My Life”, a book written by the Sardauna of Sokoto. He said: “It is important for us to realise that we are going there to try, God be our helper, to correct the serious error committed by the British when they were here. “Somebody was reported in the papers today to have said that there was no mistake in the 1914 amalgamation, may be that person has not had time to read “My

Life” by the Sardauna of Sokoto. When the motion for Independence was moved in 1953 and Northern members in the House of Representatives got annoyed and went back to the North, the Sardauna said: ‘Ha! Today, I remember the mistake of 1914. That is the cause of our problems and that mistake has been with us for quite a long time.’ “The problem really is that Nigeria was constructed contrary to political geometry and that is why we have not arrived as a country. We have lived together for 100 years, yet there is no stability, concord, harmony or progress. Countries like Brazil, India, China and Russia, which were in the same bracket as Nigeria in 1960 are now above us. Why? “It is because of the failure to observe political geometry, but we pray and hope that when we get there, God being our helper, we will, as Nigerians unite and in the spirit of give and take, arrive at a solution that will bring peace and progress to this country.”



NEWS Two killed in Plateau


WO members of a family have been killed in Diyam-Rim, Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State by suspected gunmen. The affected villages, which are deserted, were razed down by invading gunmen. It was gathered that the gunmen burnt down over 50 houses, food stuff and vehicles. The member representing Riyom Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, confirmed the attack and killings.

Why we’re building more roads, by Gaidam From Duku Joel, Damaturu


OBE State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has said his administration’s commitment to road construction was a fulfillment of his campaign promises. Gaidam said this yesterday at the launching of the 77km Damaturu-Buni Gari Magza, Yobe/Borno Border road. The governor said his road development policy is deliberate strategy of good transport system and enhanced movement of goods and services and social interaction between the people. He said his administration spent N15 billion on roads last year and over N16 billion for capital expenditure for roads in this year’s budget. Gaidam said his administration is building 870km stretch of roads and 30.2km of drainages out of which 322km have been completed. “Our road development policy is a deliberate and strategic one because good road network is an important complement to our improved transport system. “It is also indispensable for the transportation of goods and services from the rural settlements to the major markets centres and enhanced social interaction between our citizens and people from other parts of the country.” he said.

Nasarawa to monitor projects From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia

THE Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) said it will start inspecting its projects to ensure that good and quality work is done by contractors. The state chairman, Abdulkarim Abdullahi, who said this yesterday in Lafia, said apart from abandoning school projects, shoddy jobs were also carried out by contractors. He said: “It is unfair, unjust for contractors to collect contract money from the government and engage in poor quality work or abandon it. “The board will sanction all contractors, who have abandoned our projects across the state. This board willnotfolditshandstowatchpeople sabotage government efforts.”

Church programme today

THE GeneralOverseerofthechurch of God, Assemblies of Christ Evangelistic Mission a.k.a Fire Camp will today hold its yearly programme with the theme: “Sufficient Grace” at Fire Camp Avenue, Off Igbusi Road, Ilepa Akokan Bus Stop, Ifo, Ogun State.The time is 8:00 pm till dawn. Ministering is Bro Bukola Aleshinloye and other anointed men of God.

Obasanjo, Buhari, IBB, Abdulsalam, Atiku absent at centenary conference S OME of Nigeria’s former Presidents and Heads of State were absent at Nigeria’s centenary conference yesterday. They included Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Gen Muhammadu Buhari. Also absent were Gen Ibrahim Bababgida, Gen Abubakar Abdulsalam Abubakar, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Senate President David Mark. Former President Shehu Shagari, former Head of State Gen Yakubu Gowon, former Head of Interim National Government Ernest Shonekan and former Vice President Alex Ekwueme attended the conference. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal assisted President Goodluck Jonathan to receive foreign leaders on their arrival at the International Conference Centre.

•World leaders back Nigeria

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

Among the world and African leaders in attendance were French President Francois Hollande, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegne, Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the European Union Commission, Jose Manuel Barosso, representative of the British government, Mark Simmonds. Also in attendance were President of the Republic of Benin Boni Yayi, Burkina Faso leader Blaise Campoare, Chadian President Idris Debby, Gambian leader Yaya Jammeh, Kenyan Vice President, W. Ruto, Malawian leader Joyce Banda, Malian leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mauritanian leader,

Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, Namibian leader, Hifikepunye Pohamba, Nigerien leader, Mohammadou Issoufou, Rwandan leader Paul Kagame, President of the Arab Republic of Saharawi Mohammed Abdelaziz and Senegalese leader Macky Sall. Others are Prime Minister of Swaziland Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Vice President of Ghana Kwesi Bekoe Amissah - Arthur, Deputy President of South Africa, Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, representative of Germany Ambassador Eggon Kochanke, representative of Israel Yahir Shamir, representative of Tanzania, Hussein Ali Nwinyi , chairperson of AU commission, Dr Nkoassana Dlamini Zuma and Executive

Director of United Nation Population Fund Dr Babatunde Osotimehin and Dr Salim Ahmed Salim. According to the Communique at the end of the conference, the leaders condemned the acts of terror and reassured the people that they stood ready to fully support Nigeria to end the Boko Haram terrorist activities. The communique read by Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina reads: “Following extensive discussions and deliberations at the conference, a number of key conclusions and outcomes emerged which are intended to set an agenda for a 21st century Africa around the theme of human security, peace and development. “They include that African leaders commit to redouble

From left: Dean, Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Venerable, Abel Ajibodu; Guest Lecturer, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite and Chairman, 50th Anniversary Committee of Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church Prof. Wale Omole at the 50th Anniversary Lecture, wit the theme: “The Church today” held at Adetiloye Hall, Archbishop Vining, Ikeja, Lagos...yesterday PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and culture in their respective countries especially through greater commitment to good governance, transparency and the rule of law. “To this end, they said, cost of governance, elections and electioneering should be reduced to deliver the full dividends of democracy to their people. “The leaders committed to work even harder to address the scourge of terrorism that threaten human security, peace and development in several African countries. “In this connection, in addition to calling for greater cooperation in intelligence gathering and sharing, African leaders for resolved to stem the proliferation of small arms and light weapons which aid terrorism and other transnationally transmitted organized crimes,” the statement said. They also agreed that Africa and the international community should act in concert to reduce the drivers of illicit trade and transfer of small arms and light weapons. African leaders noted that the youth bulge in Africa and rising unemployment among the skilled and the educated is a major challenge to human security, peace and development. They called for a sharp focus on creating jobs for Africa’s teeming youth population in particular in the area of skills acquisition, entrepreneurship development, engaging the youth in agriculture as a business and in terms of access to finance The leaders also called for an urgent need to reduce inequality and ensure inclusive growth including social policies that improve access to food, water, housing and education that are crucial to inclusive social participation.

Why EFCC can’t probe NNPC on missing $20b yet, says Lamorde


HAIRMAN, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, yesterday said that the EFCC is waiting for the report of the investigation of the Senate into the alleged missing $20 billion Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) funds to begin its own probe. Lamorde also said that the anti-graft agency would need the report of the forensic audit promised by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi OkonjoIwela in its investigation of the alleged missing funds. The EFCC boss spoke when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to defend the commission’s 2014 budget. He noted that since the Senate Committee on Finance was already investigating the alleged


From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor

missing NNPC funds, the EFCC would wait for the committee to conclude it work. The committee headed by Senator Victor Lar, had wanted to know why the EFCC had not taken up the investigation of the alleged missing $20 billion NNPC funds. Lamorde told the committee that criminal investigation into the allegation could only begin at the conclusion of the Senate probe when necessary foundation for the commission’s investigation must have been laid. He said that it was also necessary to establish the exact figure involves in the issue. He said, “The issue about the NNPC is already being investigated by the National Assembly.

For every investigation, once the National Assembly is on it we have to wait until they conclude. “The fuel subsidy investigation through which we charged so many people to court, the son of the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman is one of the people standing trial, we did not go into the matter until it was concluded by the National Assembly and forwarded to us. “We can’t jump into an issue that is still being investigated by the National Assembly. “It is not a mob kind of thing. There must be a sequence of events that would lead us to taking decision. “Let the hearing of the National Assembly be concluded. Normally when it is concluded it is forwarded to us for investigation. “I think people are in a hurry.

What people want to hear is that just because there is an issue today, tomorrow you are shouting kill him, stone him. “We don’t do investigation by the media. When we are ready to charge the individual to court we would do so. “But when the investigation is going on let the investigation be conclusive. Otherwise we will jump into what everybody is saying. “It is like the market place where everybody is shouting at the same time. Law enforcement investigation is not like that. “It is supposed to be systematic and you work towards getting evidence to sustain your case if eventually you go to court. “You can’t just go to court based on assumptions. We have gone very far with some of our

Bauchi loses tax appeal suit

HE Northeast Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Bauchi yesterday upheld the N427,627,849:61 million appeal filed by a telecommunication service provider, L.M. Ericsson, against the Bauchi State Internal Revenue Board. In a 47-minute judgment, Justice Halima Sa’adiya Mohammed, on behalf of the Tax Appeal Tribunal Chairman Justice Suleman Audu, said: ’’The respondent (Bauchi State Internal Revenue Board) has failed to prove satisfactorily

From Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi

that the appellant (L.M. Ericsson) maintained a presence in Bauchi from 1998 to 2008.’’ The tribunal upheld that ‘’the Best of Judgment (BoJ) raised against Ericsson does not conform to the requirement of the law as such is a complete misrepresentation of facts’’. It also said “the appellant is only liable to pay tax to the respondent only from 2009 to 2011’’.

The tribunal added that: ‘’The purported assessment and Best of Judgment (BoJ) charged on the appellant from 1998 to 2008 has no basis in law and accordingly same is here hereby dismissed.’’ LM Ericsson in an appeal dated February 14, last year, sued the board and asked the tribunal to declare that the respondent’s tax demand was unlawful. It asked the Tribunal for a perpetual injunction restraining the revenue board from fur-

ther attempts to assess its business in respect of any tax for the period. Its counsel, Olumide Daniel Bidemi, in a 38-paragraph affidavit, presented one witness and tendered eight documents to support his argument that his client had no business in Bauchi between 1998 and 2008 as claimed by the revenue board. He, however, submitted that Ericsson maintained some staff in Bauchi from 2009 to 2011, whose tax obligation amounted to N22, 946,604:52, but has been paid.

investigations. Very soon when we are ready you will see us in court. “It is very easy to say the anti-corruption agencies should look into it. When this controversy started we had about three figures. “One figure would emerge today, it would change to another figure tomorrow and we arrive at another figure the next day. “Now we have settled more or less on 20 billion. “The Minister of Finance said that they want to commission an audit firm to do a forensic auditing of the finances of the NNPC. “You need a professional firm to handle this. This is not a common investigations. These are very technical things. “Let the audit be carried out. Let’s know exactly what we are talking about, understand what the figures are and criminal investigation can follow. “You can’t start an investigation on nothing. You need a foundation. You can’t put a super structure without a base. So we need that base to put our own investigation on it. “You can’t do a parallel thing when the Minister of Finance has said that an independent firm would be contracted to do a forensic audit of the NNPC accounts. It is the same documents that the auditors would use that we will also use.”




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Court rules on Ajudua’s case March 3

How suspects plotted to kill Cynthia, by witness


•Court admits defendants’ confessional statements


LAGOS High Court, Igbosere, was yesterday told that the suspected murderers of Cynthia Osokogu hatched their plan few days before she was killed. A prosecution witness (pw), Joseph Edo, told the court how Olisaeloka Ezike (second defendant) went to Agboju Market at the instance of Okumo Nwabufo (first defendant) to get the chain and selotape, which they used in to bind Cynthia. Led in evidence by the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr Ade Ipaye, said: “It is the defendants’ stock-in-trade to invite women to hotels, drug and rape them. He told Justice Olabisi Akinlade that Okumo and Ezike had it in mind to kill Cynthia on her arrival in Lagos. “From my investigation, I discovered that the first defendant sent the second defendant to Agboju Market to buy the instruments they used for the operation - chain and selotape - few days before Cynthia was killed. The second defendant (Ezike), after getting the items used his phone to snap them and forwarded the picture to the first defendant (Nwabufo). “He equally sent Nwabufo a text message from his phone, asking if ‘this was the chain and seliotape you asked me to buy?’. Nwabufo replied Ezike that it would be okay for the job. The messages are all in their phones,” Edo said. The witness said that he also dis-

By Precious Igbonwelundu, Staff Reporter

covered that the third defendant, Orji Osita, who is a pharmacist, supplied the suspects with the Rohypnol used to sedate Cynthia. He said the fourth defendant, Nonso Ezike, “dishonestly” received Cynthia’s Blackberry phone from his elder brother, who is the second defendant. “It was discovered that it was not the first phone he (Nonso) bought from the second defendant and he has knowledge of the first and second defendants’ stock-in-trade. They specialise in bringing in ladies into hotel rooms, enticing them with one or two things and then rape them,” Edo said. Earlier, Justice Akinlade admitted in evidence, the confessional statements and the video evidence made at Festac Police Station on August 20, 2012 by Nwabufo and Ezike, on the case. In a ruling on the admissibility of their statements after they alleged that the statements were obtained under duress, Justice Akinlade held that their allegations in court were concocted as there was no evidence to back them up. The prosecution, he said, had proved beyond reasonable doubts that the statements were voluntarily made, adding that from her examination of the confessional statements, the handwritings of the defendants did not show they were under torture to write them. “The defendants were ques-

• Cynthia tioned in an open place and were also asked by the Area Commander if they made their statements voluntarily, which they attested to in the affirmative. Moreover, from the video evidence, the defendants looked well and untortured. It was when the Area Commander realised that their narrations were the same as contained in their confessions that he requested a camera man to video them. “I hereby rule that the prosecution has proven its case in the trialwithin-trial to determine the admissibility of the confessional statements made by the first and second defendants on August 20, 2012 at Festac Police Station. I hereby admit the confessional statements and video evidence made by the defendants and tendered by the prosecution as exhibits,” she held. Justice Akinlade adjourned the case till March 13.

N IKEJA High Court in Lagos will on March 3 rule on an application filed by a lawyer, Fred Ajudua, challenging its jurisdiction to hear the $5.9 million fraud case preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice Atinuke Ipaye reserved ruling after listening to counsel to the defendant, Mr Olalekan Ojo and the prosecution counsel, Mr Seidu Atteh. The EFCC arraigned Ajudua for allegedly swindling a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd) of $5.9m (about N1billion) between November 2004 and June 2005, while they were remanded at Kirikiri Prison. Ajudua was alleged to have defrauded Bamaiyi through false claims that the money represented professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle the former army chief’s case and facilitate his release from prison. At the last hearing, Ajudua urged the court to compel the EFCC to prefer money laundering charges against Bamaiyi. He also challenged the competence of the 14-count fraud charge against him. Yesterday, Ojo sought the court’s order discharging the charge against his client, saying it was made under the repealed Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences ACT 1995, Section 260(2) as amended by Act No.62 of 1999, thus making the charge fundamentally defective and liable to be quashed. He said the interpretation of Sec-

By Adebisi Onanuga

tion 6(1) of the amended law was meant to cure and protect acts already done before the repealed Act. Arguing that the court has no jurisdiction over the matter, Ojo said Bamaiyi, in his petition to the EFCC, having confessed to crimes, such as aiding and abetting, money laundering and corrupting of public officers, is liable to be charged to court. Replying, the EFCC counsel said: “The repeal of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 1995 as amended by Act No.62 of 1999 does not affect the offence that was committed then.” He urged the court to dismiss the application and ask Ajudua to take his plea.

• Ajudua







A reception was organised by The Mandate Movement and Oranmiyan Group at Sky Power, Ikeja, last Saturday. It was for the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, who received the “Daily Independent” 2013 Man of the Year Award last Friday at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO and OLATUNDE ODEBIYI report.

•Ogbeni Aregbesola (left) recieving a plaque from Alhaji Lawan


O fewer than 10,000 people converged on the expansive Sky Power, GRA, Ikeja grounds, last Saturday for a grand reception for Osun State Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Daily Independent, published by Independent Newspapers Limited, honoured Aregbesola with the 2013 Man of the Year Award. He received the award a day earlier at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. The reception was organised by socio-political groups - The Mandate Movement (TMM) and Oranmiyan Group. Over 100 BRT buses brought men and women decked in white attires and blue headgears and caps to the event. Operators of tricycles had a field day, ferrying passengers to and fro the venue. At a point, there was heavy traffic because of the unusual vehicular movements on routes leading to the venue. Some who could not stand the gridlock trekked. For passers-by, commuters and workers on the routes, it was clear that another political gathering was in the offing. At Sky Power, various sizes of canopies were mounted; on the right side of the high table was a state-of-the-art stage where a live


All hail the ‘Man of the Year’ band welcomed the gathering with songs. Many could not wait to alight from the long and small buses that conveyed them to the venue before they began to dance. As more people alighted from their vehicles, some joined those on the dance floor while others made for the seats under the canopies. Lace material of various kinds was the order of the day. The scorching sun did not deter people from trooping in in thousands. A popular Nollywood comedian, Princess Lanko Omoba Dubai, thrilled the large audience. She was handsomely rewarded. The Mandate Movement led by a former Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Interim National Legal Adviser, Dr Muiz Banire, was founded by APC National Leader and former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to coordinate his political group. The man of the moment, Aregbesola was the founding leader of the movement.

Like Mandate, Oranmiyan Group was initiated to champion Aregbesola’s political struggle in Osun State. According to Banire, Aregbesola deserves to be celebrated for his dedication, pragmatic approach to issues and diligence. Aregbesola, he said, is an unusual administrator with a zeal for excellence. “I’m not surprised he won the Man of the Year Award; he truly deserves the honour and you can see the mass attendance to this reception by party faithful across the states. “This is just a small reception put together within days for a few people in honour of one of us, Ogbeni Aregbesola. But the crowd that gathered here is not only intimidating, overwhelming but encouraging,” Banire said. The reception turned to a carnival-like gathering with itinerant drummers competing for attention. Various political songs vibrated through the length and breadth of the open field. The arrival of Aregbesola electrified the whole place.

He barely settled down before mounting the stage to address the cheering crowd. As he spoke, the party women interjected his speeches with political songs. “I’m happy for the love that exist among us,” he said. “Since 1998 that we started, one after another, God has continued to bless us. We have captured the whole Southwest and used Edo to replace Ondo and, by God’s grace, Ondo will soon be in our fold,” he said, and the crowd yelled in agreement. As he listed other states in APC outside the Southwest, the gathering responded thus: Apo wa lo wa (In our pocket). Afterwards, a voice from the crowd sang the late Fatai Rolling Dollars’ hit song, Won kere si number wa, but Aregbesola opted for praise song Ope lo ye o, Baba Olore. Afterwards, they also sang: Bi egbe eko ba pe gba, awa la o ma pase (If political parties reach 200, APC will continue to rule).” The Osun governor who is also a founding leader of the Mandate Movement thanked them for keep-

ing faith with the APC through its various transformational stages since 1999. “I must thank you for standing by us all the way. You have seen that more Nigerians, including serving and past governors, members of the National Assembly and others have been trooping to the APC because PDP has failed and disappointed the nation. What this tells us is that we need to put in more effort to flush out this party that has brought so much pain and anguish to our people. Our coming elections in Ekiti and Osun will surely give them (PDP) a bitter taste of the people’s level of resentment for them,” he said. He thanked the organisers of the reception for remaining faithful to the ideals of the founder of the TMM which began as just a political group in Lagos. In their welcome speeches at the occasion, Banire and another leader of the TMM, Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmabku, assured the crowd that APC would “form the next government at the federal level and it will never fail you as the PDP has done.” A day earlier at the award ceremony, politicians, traditional rulers, lawmakers, media people, busi•Continued on page 14




•Hon Ibirogba

•From right: Governors Amaechi and Fayemi; Alhaji Lawan and Aregbesola’s wife Alhaja Sherifat

All hail the Man of the Year •Continued from page 13

ness moguls and many more were present to share in the joy of the governor. The entrance of the convention centre was full of life as exotic cars dropped guests one after the other. Itinerant drummers from Osun State teamed up with their Lagos counterparts to enliven the atmosphere. Banners bearing pictures of Aregbesola were displayed at various points. Most of the guests came in traditional outfits. They moved around the venue exchanging pleasantries before the event started. Mr Shitu Alamu was the master of the ceremony. The arrival of Aregbesola with his wife, Sherifat caused a stir. He came with his entourage. All guests stood to honour him as some ushered him in. They shouted Aregbesola, and some sang his praises. He greeted dignitaries and other guests in the front row before taking his seat on the stage. His praises continued. The event started with an opening prayer followed by the National and Osun anthems. Chairman on the occasion who is also the chairman of Independent Newspapers Limited, Alhaji Gambo Lawan, said Aregbesola was being honoured because of his commitment to enhancing the wellbeing of the society. The event featured a cultural presentation by a Performing Troupe from Osun State. The guest lecturer, a lawyer, Prof Itse Sagay, took to the podium to deliver a paper on Nigeria: 1914 to 2014; Amalgamation and its Aftermath. He expressed concern over the struggle for power in the country. He said the government should focus on other areas of investment aside oil, such as agriculture, cocoa and textile, to promote efficient development. A session of comments followed. A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, Tony Uranta, said the duty of the government was to take care of the people, their welfare and security. He said Nigerians needed to come

•Alhaji Jakande and wife Abimbola

•From left: Mr Ashiru; Princess Orelope-Adefulire and Mrs Laoye-Tomori

•Oba Akiolu (right) and Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi

•Prof Sagay (right) and Mr Uranta

•Hon Ikuforiji (left) and Chief Pius Akinyelure

•From right: Dr Banire; Alhaji Musibau Oyefeso and Prince Rotimi Agunsoye

together as one to talk about how to move forward. “We have to stop sweeping major issues under the carpet in the name of politics, religion or ethnicity,” he said. A documentary on Osun Sate followed. Then came the presentation of the award. Aregbesola, clad in a white agbada with cap, was all joy as he moved to the podium to receive the award. Alhaji Lawan presented the award after Aregbesola’s citation was read.

Smiling, Aregbesola showed the plaque to the gathering which admired it. Sherifat and other dignitaries took photographs with him. He described the award as an encouragement for him to do more for the people of Osun State and thanked the newspaper for considering him worthy of the honour. Editor of Daily Independent Rotimi Durojaiye delivered the vote of thanks. Present were Governors of Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi and Ekiti Dr Kayode Fayemi. Governor of Lagos

State was represented by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba; his Kano and Ogun counteparts by Alhaji Ibrahim Musa and Mr Bimbo Ashiru. Others in attendance were Deputy Governors of Lagos and Osun Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and Titilayo Laoye-Tomori; former Governor of Lagos State Alhaji Lateef Jakande; Hon Abike DabiriErewa; Hon Yinka Ajayi; One-time Lagos Finance Commissioner Mr Wale Edun; Hon Ayo Omidiran; Sehu Musa; National Women

Leader, APC, Sharon Okiatan; former SSG Edo state government, Ize Iyamu; Alhaji Demola Omidiran; Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly Hon Najim Salam and his Lagos counterpart, Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji; Osun State Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; Prince Gboyega Famodu; Oba of Lagos Oba Rilwan Akiolu and Senator Ganiyu Solomon among others. Alhaji Lai Mohammed, its National Publicity Secretary; Dr. Leke Pitan, former Lagos Commissioner for Health were also at the reception. •More pictures on page 15





•Aregbesola (third left) with Alhaji Oyetola (right); Dr Banire (second left) and (from left) Kamal Bayewu; Waheed Bello and Husitode Dosu dancing on the stage during the reception

•Senator Ganiyu Solomon (left) and Hon Omobolanle Akinyemi-Obe

•From left: Senator Babajide Omoworare; Hon Moruf Akinderu•Hon Lasun Yussuff Fatai (MAF) and Hon Rafeequat Onabamiro

•From left: Alhaji Oyetola; Alhaji ‘Bade Adeshina and Hon Salam

•From right: Mr Edun; Cardinal Odunmbaku and Dr Pitan

•Alhaji Mohammed (left) and Senator Anthony Adefuye

•Chief Lowo Adebiyi (left) and Hon Kolawole Taiwo

•Hon Omidiran

•From left: Hon Abiodun Faleke; Chief Ayo Opadokun; Senator Mudasiru Hussain and Hon Jide Jimoh

•CONFERENCE 57 Chairman Akeem Sulaiman flanked •From left: Hons Olatunde Adepitan; Abiodun Mafe; Morenike Adeshinaby Secretary-General Hakeem Bamgbola (right) and Com- Williams and Alhaji Jubreel AbdulKareem PHOTOS: NIYI ADENIRAN AND ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE rade Olabode Ola




COMMUNICATE YOUR IDEAS Summary of Persuasive Speech

M •From left: Son of the deceased, Prince Abayomi Daramola flanked by Alhaji Owolabi Yisa (left) and Alhaji Adewale Adeniji

•Alhaji Moshood Masha

•From left: Daughter-in-law of the deceased Alhaja Kafila Olufunmilayo Daramola flanked by Mrs Doyin Adeniji (left) and Alhaja Mosunmola Azeez

•Alhaji Abiola Daramola (right) and Chief Akinola Akintunde



•Pastor Ebenezer Bamisile and wife Bisi during their wedding at Foursquare Gospel Church in Yaba, Lagos

•Former Miss Tobiloba Omolara and her husband Damilola Afolabi at their wedding at Foursquare Gospel Church, Akowonjo, Lagos


•Standing (from left): Mr Atanda Olawale; Mrs Olufunke Sorinola; Mrs Anike Adekanye; Mr Jide Oyetoro (sitting from left): Mr Taiwo Elias; Mr Tella Olasunkanmi and Mrs Bilikisu Lawal in a photograph session during the World Yoruba Day in Lagos.

ICHAEL and Suzanne Osborn define persuasion as "the art of gaining fair and favourable consideration for our points of view." Persuasive speech is such a valuable means of achieving our objectives that it becomes necessary or, permit me to say, compulsory for us to master it. Considering the importance of


(Ph.D) 07034737394 @lanreamodu

this type of speech, let us go ahead and explore its characteristics. •Persuasive speech urges the audience to choose one option above the others: when your main objective is to inform, you teach your audience generally without suggesting what you want them to think; but when you want to persuade them, you suggest which fact you want them to accept above all others. •It is not about teaching but about advocating: to teach is to educate on something, while to persuade is to push for something. •It focuses on evidence: in persuasive speech, you provide strong reasons for suggesting that your listeners should do what you are asking. •It demands commitment from the audience: persuasive speeches thrive on their ability to make the audience act. •It is about leadership: persuasive speech places a leadership responsibility on the speaker. Methods of Persuasion •Persuasion through the use of facts: Using fact is one of the major ways of persuading your audience. It helps to strengthen your case while you are trying to make them adopt your point of view. There are three types of facts you can make use of: •Past Facts: this involves presenting information about past events or situations as evidence for your points. Present Facts: here, you need to gather information about current issues to convince your audience about your point. •Future Facts: This is a kind of projection into the future. You cannot do this effectively without drawing from past and present facts. •Persuasion through the use of statistical credibility: the use of statistics provides concrete information, which helps to substantiate your points. •Persuasion through the speaker's credibility: When you don't trust a speaker, you don't listen to what he has to say; and if you don't have a choice but to listen, you will definitely be disinterested. Be someone your audience can trust. •Persuasion through appeal to basic human needs, wants and desires: your persuasive energy must be directed towards what your listeners need, what they want and what they desire. Now, let's consider specific challenges you may encounter while presenting a persuasive speech: •Making the audience listen: how do you make a person listen to you when the person already knows that your motive is to "change" him or her? Be creative in fashioning your topics. After that, identify with his/her position before presenting yours. •Dealing with Attitudes towards Commitment: you have to learn to bring your listeners to the point where they are willing to act. •Dealing with Ethical Challenges: you can never sell a bad product to the same person twice. Never make false claims. Again, there are some strategies you can use to persuade reluctant listeners. Let's check them out: •Win goodwill early: you cannot possibly speak to people who have not accepted your person. It is easier to persuade friends than to persuade enemies. •Begin with areas of mutual agreement: you will be making a terrible mistake if you begin your speech on sensitive and controversial issues. Always respect your audience. •Present your points instead of rejecting theirs: focus your attention on explaining your points with as much clarity and facts as possible. •Cite authorities accepted and respected by your audience: If your listeners truly respect and accept that individual, they will also respect his/her views in support of your argument. •Don't aim too high: Don't set goals that are too high. If they listen to you enough to consider your points as being realistic, you have achieved a lot already. •Make a balanced presentation: throughout your speech, your listeners should be able to see that you are mindful of all sides of the argument. Dr. Amodu teaches at the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ogun State.









Rethinking Boko Haram


• The killing of pupils in Yobe State shows the state of emergency is unravelling in the northeast

HE trademark Hobbesian state of anarchy of the Boko Haram was let loose on pupils of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, on Tuesday. Not less than 43 pupils were slaughtered like goats by the insurgents. The religious rebels reportedly bearing rifles and other instruments of violence stormed the school and left gory tales which Nigerians are still talking about. Adamu Garba, a teacher who escaped the gory attacks puts it succinctly to the Associated Press: “Students that were trying to climb out of the windows were slaughtered like sheep by the terrorists who slit their throats while others who ran were gunned down.” In a sadly well-orchestrated plot, the attacks came in the wee hours when pupils were sleeping. The wicked sect members left after setting ablaze the school’s administrative block and 39 other buildings within the premises. Captain Eli Lazarus, a military spokesman, confirmed that the gory spectre is the fourth on schools in Yobe State even though countless other schools have been affected in other northeast states of neighbouring Borno, Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa. More scandalous are revelations that Boko Haram attacks this year alone have claimed 300 lives of civilians with countless others not captured by official records. These deaths do not even include military casualties that were kept away from public glare. Yobe is one of three north eastern states alongside Borno and Adamawa that have •Jonathan been put under emergency rule since last May by President Goodluck Jonathan as the military battles to quell the insurgency in the areas. We found quite disturbing the fact that these unscrupulous elements reportedly arrived at the scene of the incident by 2am and did not leave until very early in the morning. And we wonder how a state under an emergency rule could witness such horrendous attacks without any iota of security response from the standing joint military task force reportedly patrolling the state round the clock? Again, how could the sect’s members have invaded Buni Yadi, some 70 kilometres from Yobe State capital of Damaturu in several Toyota Hilux trucks and other categories of vehicles without raising suspicion within intelligence circles? Expectedly, the barbaric act has garnered global indignation through the United Nations’(UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who sturdily condemned the sadistic killings by expressing the world body’s deep apprehension over “…the increasing frequency and brutality of attacks against educational institutions’’ in the northern part of the country which he believes “no objective can justify. What this newspaper and most of the citizenry are demanding from the presi-

dent is for him to come up with effective solutions to the nearly five years of massive killings and destruction by the Boko Haram Islamic sect. It is important to ask what has happened to the billions of naira expended on security by the presidency. During the era of late Lieutenant-General Patrick Owoeye Azazi as Chief Security Office to the president, we recollect that close to N50billion was released for the purchase of security equipment to combat the recurring Boko Haram onslaught. But till date, no report was ever made about their arrival in the country and even if they did, the impact of such important equipment have not been felt in major territories where the devious sect has posed serious threats to lives and

property. We consider it shameful that such a monstrous sect could have survived for so long simply because affordable satellite technology have either failed to work or are not deployed. Yet, the satellite equipment when effectively deployed would anticipate the activities for the dedicated hoodlums, unravel their locations and thereby facilitate their routing wherever they might be hiding. Since the declaration of emergency, the president has changed the structure of the military, implanting a division, for a focused work on the problem. He also has changed service chiefs. Yet, the problem has remained intractable. While the president has provided emergency as his last

card, it has been a febrile failure indeed. The nation cannot continue to groan under the senseless attack of Boko Haram when the impact of scarce public funds expended on the Joint Military Task Force is not effectively felt. Could this be a consequence of institutional corruption of the military hierarchy that is prolonging this violence or the fact that some people are sabotaging the system from the civilian public? The president reportedly had to change service chiefs because they were at each other’s throat over control of the booty released to fight the Boko Haram cankerworm. This says a lot about the fragile commitment of the military institution to the battle against these religious miscreants. More shameful is the fact that the sect’s members during one of its criminal incursions in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, caused a major national embarrassment when it grounded the military fleet at the airport. The irony lies in the fact that intelligence anticipated the attack. Yet the sect members operated as though by surprise. At the moment, it is curious to realise that the sect’s tempo of attacks picked up in coincidence with the chief of defence staff’s declaration of April as deadline to finally eliminate the scourge. President Jonathan needs to change his body language to reflect the sober mood of the nation by displaying unwavering commitment to the onerous task of eliminating the Boko Haram’s injurious activities rather than his needless stepping up of unpresidential visits to churches and traditional rulers. Borno State governor’s statement that the sect is better armed than the nation’s military should not be waved aside because there is need for change in official approach to the Boko Haram quagmire since the current approach seems to have failed. The president should realise by now that throwing money into an endless pit of highly placed military and government officials that see the Boko Haram problem as a business venture will aggravate the challenges at hand.

‘We consider it shameful that such a monstrous sect could have survived for so long simply because affordable satellite technology have either failed to work or are not deployed. Yet, the satellite equipment when effectively deployed would anticipate the activities for the dedicated hoodlums, unravel their locations and thereby facilitate their routing wherever they might be hiding’

A Second front in the privacy wars


ore than a year before Edward Snowden exposed the vast reach of government surveillance, President Obama proposed a Con-

sumer Privacy Bill of Rights to protect Americans from the prying eyes of Internet companies, advertisers and other businesses. In a February 2012 report, his administration offered a well-reasoned argument for giving consumers more control over how much and what kind of data companies can collect about them and what businesses can do with that information. “American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online,” Mr. Obama said in a statement at the time. But few members of Congress expressed interest in his proposal and the administration did not push it aggressively, which is why the bill of rights idea faded into obscurity — until now. Last month, Mr. Obama tapped his special adviser, John Podesta, to take another look at privacy and big data (the millions of records that businesses are collecting and using to increase sales and improve operations) and produce a fresh report in 90 days. With the Internet evolving fast, few consumers can adequately guard against losing control of their personal data. A recent report by the majority staff of the Senate Commerce Committee, for example, found that companies known as data brokers have assembled extensive dossiers on millions of individuals and families. Those files include information like web browsing histories, what consumers bought in physical and online stores, and what medical conditions people have. Data brokers organize and sell that information to retailers, lenders and other businesses that pitch their products to people grouped in categories like “rural and barely making it” and “ethnic second-city strugglers.” Some of the information is highly personal, if clearly irrelevant to any marketing campaign. A Chicago-area man recently received a marketing offer from OfficeMax that included the line “Daughter Killed in Car Crash” between his name and address, a reference to an accident that took place a year earlier. The company says that the phrase was included in error, but it offers a clue into the kind of data being collected. The Senate report also notes that hackers and identity thieves have stolen or even purchased information from data brokers. While businesses have a legitimate need for customer information and want new ways to market what they have to offer, they need to operate transparently. And no less important, consumers should have the ability to protect information they consider sensitive. A Pew Research survey released last September reported that a majority of Americans worry about their privacy. About 86 percent said they took some steps to “remove or mask their digital footprints” when they were online. But these efforts are often insufficient because companies have multiple ways to monitor people, some of which are very hard to evade. And 68 percent believed current laws are not strong enough to protect them. The technology and advertising industries have argued that self-regulation is the best approach to dealing with such concerns. But industry efforts have failed to produce easy-to-use protections. That’s why it is important that the president’s latest initiative not produce another report that goes nowhere. The president and the public need from Mr. Podesta and his team not only a thorough description of how businesses are collecting private data but also specific legislative proposals to give consumers more control of that information. New York Times,

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

• Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

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IR: May I use this medium to express my concern over the worrisome attitude of Nigerian rulers to issues about the peace of the nation, which has been writhing in crises and under-development. In 1999, the then leaders thought about Nigeria’s peace and proposed rotational presidency, consequent upon which all the major political parties chose their presidential candidates from the Southwest. When former President General Olusegun Obasanjo ended his second tenure in 2007, the pendulum shifted to the Northwest from where all the major political parties chose their candidates. That gave the impression that orderliness and peace had come.




Nigeria’s leaders must preserve her peace

When President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) and OBJ denied the rotational agreement, that it was Jonathan’s turn. Some Nigerians argued that the agreement was unconstitutional or undemocratic. I argued that the constitution was made for Nigeria and not vise versa.

To those who said rotational presidency was undemocratic, I replied that democracy is about political order, and it becomes democratic if we endorse it. Curiously, there was a rumour in 2007 that OBJ chose Yar’Adua as his successor, knowing that he might soon die from kidney ailment, thus

making GEJ his automatic successor and thereby helping the Southsouth people to taste the presidency. I dismissed the rumour in favour of my belief that OBJ chose Yar’Adua selfishly to compensate Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. But, everything happened as rumoured. Yar’Adua died, and OBJ declared

Our so-called leaders are raping us

IR: In any given sovereignty of a country, the protection of lives and property of her citizens from both internal and external attacks is of paramount importance as a primary function of any government. But are Nigerians enjoying that protection of lives and property? In my own opinion, our leaders who are standing as the government have taken away the protection that we are supposed to be enjoying and replaced it with destruction. They have introduced agents such as Boko Haram, kidnappers, armed robbers and so on to help them execute their plans, yet they claimed to be fighting them. Our leaders also took away our money that should have given us needs such as potable water, good roads, electricity, good hospitals, and companies that would have helped the development of our great nation. They gave back to us unemployment and poverty which are responsible for the current heightening prostitution, armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, human trafficking and so on. Our leaders went further and took away the free, compulsory and qualitative education they themselves enjoyed during from our founding fathers and in ex-

change, they gave us illiteracy, which is the one of the problems we are facing now in the country. What about free and fair elections? Our leaders have introduced do-ordie system of politics which brought election rigging, manipulation and at end, killings of innocent voters as well as destroying their property worth millions of naira if not billions. Our leaders have also taken away our major source of income which is crude oil


IR: Recently, I made a voluntary good governance tour of Osun State, with a view to truly intimating myself with the progress made by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s government in the last three years. My findings were heartwarming and reflective of an administrator, who knows his onions. I found to my happiness, that hitherto, inaccessible roads in remote parts of the state now have Aregbesola’s magic wands on them. From my native Ede, through Iperindo, Ifetedo, Ejigbo, OrileOwu, Ikire-Ile, Ife-Odan, Ikotun in Egbedore LGA, Ajagunlase, Ikirun up to Otan-Ayegbaju, Ife Ondaye, Ifewara, and some parts of Ijesaland,

but failed to utilise it for our benefit. The interests of the common people are not in their hearts. Painfully, our leaders have succeeded in introducing politics in the places of worship. Now, people who claim to be Christians and Muslims are also politicians. However, they are the same ungodly people that are responsible for all the problems we are facing in this country today due to their corrupt ways. Our men of God who should

be acting according to the scriptures are acting to please our politicians. Our leaders should stop deceiving themselves by telling us that they are fighting corruption. As far as I know, they are the corrupt people we know; so, how could they fight themselves? A snake cannot by mistake, bite itself.

the story is the same. The 10kmstretch of road rehabilitation embarked upon by the 30 local government areas in the state have impacted positively on the lives of the people. The indigenes of these areas are united in one thing, that good roads are beneficial to all; be you the rich or poor. Good roads do not discriminate on who uses them, they opined. The ordinary folks in Osun are at peace with Aregbesola’s modest achievements. Of particular importance is the Oba Adesoji Aderemi road that still under construction. That particular road will go down in the history of Osun State, as a master-piece of an infrastructure. A feel of just one kilo-

metre part of the road that has so far been stone-based and aesthetically asphalted will convince the worst of Aregbesola’s critics that this governor knows the rudiment of what it takes to put a road that will stand the test of time in place. The 21st century technology is being deployed in the construction of this particular road in memory of the first African Governor of old Western Region. Work is going on at a feverish pitch on the road which has now reached an advanced stage. This is not to lose sight of transformation that the Osogbo township roads are witnessing. Indeed, anything is possible if we have faith, the will and the heart. I know we all have the

• Pius Awunah

My discoveries in Osun

operation total support for GEJ. Then I started begging Nigerians not to truncate rotational presidency for it would ensure order, equity, peace and progress if made to rotate among the six geopolitical zones. GEJ used his power of incumbency to set machinery in motion; depleted Nigeria’s foreign reserves and plunged the nation into bankruptcy. The debilitating campaigns necessitated fuel price increase from N65 to N97, soon after GEJ’s election in 2011, dressed as “fuel subsidy removal”. The same scenario is now playing out as GEJ is going from traditional rulers to religious leaders. I don’t trust Speaker Aminu Tambuwal. Therefore, I appeal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to make amends where necessary for past mistakes. I beg Nigerians to resist GEJ’s bribery and corruption for the new Nigeria of our dream. Visiting leading Kings, Emirs, etc with brown envelopes will not sway people who are tired of political disorder, corruption and abject poverty. GEJ will only enrich the bribed and aggravate ordinary people’s penury. • Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph.D, University of Ilorin.

will to play our parts in this campaign for accelerated development in Osun State. I know we have faith in the present regime and we have the hearts to face the challenges ahead. Ogbeni Rauf , like the late sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, does not claim to have a monopoly of wisdom. But the trouble is that, when some other politicians are spending whole days and nights on frivolities, Aregbesola is always at his post, working hard at Osun State problems and trying hard to find solutions to them.For Osun 2014, it is Aregbesola against Aregbesola. End of discussion. •Olumide Lawal Ede, Osun State.




Frittered chances, lost April Email: 08038551123, 08111845040


HANCES are that some amply corrupted youth would read this and surmise that the writer is afflicted by a Karmic delusion of sort. Chances are majority belong to such youth bracket and probably think, it would be wrong to aver that all wrong-doing shall be punished, in some future dispensation. You would probably consider it silly to daydream of a Nigerian epoch in which gross and wanton perversions shall beget the harshest of punitive measures. I would not fault you if you did nor would I deny the fact that this dispensation, as all others, we totally got it wrong. An “Honourable” Speaker was impeached for embezzlement of public funds; today, that Speaker emerges from the doldrums of dishonor. That thieving “Honourable” of yesterday is today, an informed choice for ministerial appointment. That shameful “Honourable” is exonerated and venerated as a fine stateswoman by the same assembly that dishonoured her. A party chairman was prosecuted for dipping his hand in the public till and he was issued a sentence that even now resounds as a pat on the back. A thieving Governor robbed

his State senseless and he is let off the hook in an astonishing act of political expediency. A dishonest bank chief was caught stealing poor customers’ savings to service her vanities and those of her rich clients and she was issued a punishment that even now resounds as a modest and enjoyable vacation. Political thugs, assassins, arsonists, executive fraudsters and murderous public officers are let off the hook in the wake of suspicious plea bargaining with the State. Makes one wonder what virtuousness we mute to accentuate our grotesqueness and disgrace. Contrary to cheerlessness the cynics accentuate, the end is hardly nigh for the Nigerian dream. This is just the beginning of our descent to infamy and disgrace. Current realities offer the clearest though not the only illustration of decadence of our wholly under-utilised intellect and mind. And the reasons are hardly far-fetched: for all our self-righteousness, the Nigerian society today, guarantees mindless profiteering off the State by public officers desperate enough to assure the continuance of wanton pilferage of State coffers to the detriment of the country.

‘There is no excuse however, to justify the selfishness and greed of a Nigerian populace that persistently yields to cravings and temptations by which it loses its right to fair government and it’s much sought epoch of peace and abundance. Progress can only be achieved by a conscious effort to challenge the status quo and demand that among other things, a country’s leadership live up to promises it made at election time’


ECTION 14(3) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution says: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.” In full acknowledgement of the good intentions of the framers of the 1999 Constitution, as necessary to address the need for balancing the interests of the multiplicity of ethnicities in our country and the disparate levels of literacy and economic progression, I believe that with the increasing ethnic-based disturbances, continued balkanisation of the country by non-sustainable ethnicity-driven state creation, the acrimonious political discourse that is fuelled not by substance but ethnic or regional considerations, the citadel of incompetence and mediocrity that, for the most part, is the civil and public service today, given the related diminished standards, the time has come for re-consideration of the Federal Character requirements. The concept and practice of allocation of federal and state government positions, issues advocacy by zones or regions, political aspiration by zoning, undermine the principle of fair-play and unity that is, seemingly, the objectives of the requirement. Specifically, mediocrity, continued ethnic rivalry and balkanisation, gerrymandering of political aspirations, regional factionalism, a system that seeks to put geo-political affiliation ahead of performance and qualifications, a polity that is perpetually heated up, are all products of the “fair-play” arrangements of the Federal Character, quota and zoning mechanisms. Federal Character requirements may superficially convey the impression that there is a balancing of geo-political representation at the federal Ievel and ethnic or tribal at the state level, but viewed unemotionally, it is a practice that is deleterious to a nation that seeks to be among the first twenty economically developed countries by the year 2020. How does an allocation of federal government positions ensure that we have the best and the brightest in those positions? What happens if a particular region lacks persons with the requisite skills, proficiency and expertise to fill its allocation? What about the subordinate personnel, from a different region, who has superior qualifications? How does such allocation foster the competition amongst the regions and states that is necessary to boost literacy and economic levels which, ultimately, should result in the production of

The extent of our perversion no doubt, is sufficiently illustrated in Nigerians’ seeming desperation to substitute virtue for vice and approximate the rewards for uprightness to loathsome ridicule and an insidious susceptibility to witchhunt. This is not to imply that certain honest individuals do not subsist in our clime, more often than not, they are wholly repudiated and consumed by the same system they are committed to serve. Nigeria’s culture – despite her claims to probity – in fact, reveals a deeper evil than all that it wishes to repudiate. It reveals the extent to which pretentiousness, selfishness and greed erodes the average Nigerian’s capacity to grasp the over-utilised concepts of honesty, human rights and associated values. It reveals a culture from which the expectations and realities of humanity has been totally wiped out. The downside is that public officers we elect to serve as the means to the attainment of our various ends, consequently end up exploiting us as the means to their ends. The greedier we evolve, the more neurotic we become – as elected representatives and electorate – in our practice of leadership and citizenship “for the general good of society,” “for the good of future generations” and everything and anything except actual humankind. Hence the appalling recklessness with which we acquiesce to bestiality of all kinds, accept betrayal and the most atrocious mode of leadership indefatigably imposed by a treacherous minority on our despicably wanton and degenerate majority. A unilateral breach of contract characterizes the Nigerian leadership. Governance in Nigeria today, involves the most insidious form of tyranny exemplified by wanton disregard for human life and an indirect use of physical force. It consists, in essence, of one man or a

group of men exploiting and monopolizing the material wealth of the entire nation, and then refusing to extend the benefits accruable from the exploitation of such resources – which is a cardinal principle of government by representation – to all. This privileged few ceaselessly appropriating by force and wile, the nation’s wealth to themselves can be likened to commonplace and contemptible fraudsters. The Nigerian leadership commits grievous acts of fraud and extortion utilising variants of an indirect use of force; which consists of obtaining material values, not in exchange for values, but by the threat of force, violence or other forms of unconscionable deterrents to any citizen courageous enough to challenge them and demand his constitutional right to equity incessantly promised as core dividend of democratic governance. Consequently, many Nigerians in desperate bid to be socio-politically correct, have perfected the art of moral subterfuge; the hallmark of which is the perverse inclination to aver that a thieving Governor actually means well or a light-fingered Speaker couldn’t help defraud the nation of hard-earned billions and dip his hand in the public till – because they were helpless pawns in the manifestation of a monumental rot the nation should be done with. There is no moral difference between a 20-year-old who resorts to armed robbery or advanced fee fraud to actualise his dream of owning a yacht, an expensive bar, penthouse and state-of-the-art Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), and a Governor, legislator or President who in desperation to amass wealth and operate a Swiss bank account, advocates some grand scale public goal, without regard to context, costs and means – which are usually enshrouded in dense patches of venomous fog to hide the fact

that millions of lives are devastated and national growth, grievously stunted, in the actualisation of such public goal. There is no excuse however, to justify the selfishness and greed of a Nigerian populace that persistently yields to cravings and temptations by which it loses its right to fair government and it’s much sought epoch of peace and abundance. Progress can only be achieved by a conscious effort to challenge the status quo and demand that among other things, a country’s leadership live up to promises it made at election time. Picture by what leaps our lot would improve if Nigerians did not involve in such abject perversions and evasions that spur them to delude that some criminally-minded and power-thirsty politician is motivated by patriotic concerns for the “public interest.” Picture what realities the nation could approximate if every citizen desisted from bartering their mandates for chicken-feed, rationalising and driving their minds into states of blind stupor, in dread of discovering that their favorite public officers are actually, mistaken or evil. The current generation of Nigerians will continue to plug away and die in preventable misery if they continue to wait for the plenitude incessantly promised by our democratically elected representatives who pleaded for our votes that they may afflict us with poverty and unmitigated misery. Democratic tyrannies and corrupt governments continue to thrive wherever the general populace chooses to barter their chances at change and progress every time opportunity beckons for the oppressed to improve upon the leadership they have, by changing it. We had our chance in April 2011 and squandered it. As 2015 approaches, let us not articulate misery and dissent like ones eternally programmed to self-destruct.

The harm in federal character, zoning and regionalism By Azu Obiaya personnel who are able to compete with their peers on a national level, or on international level against those countries such as Belgium, that have to be pushed out of the top 20 economies by Nigeria’s economic ascendency. Do we really want to continue to teach our children that you can study hard (or not) and then leave it to prayers, that when you seek to perform your civic duty, as a federal or state employee, that you have the luck of having geo-political zone balance in favour of your state of origin? If our mechanism for recruiting and promoting our current and future policy makers and implementers is already flawed, how can we expect the organs of government to function at a performance level that results in the delivery of the “benefits of democracy?” It is frightening when we realise that these individuals make and implement policies that impact all aspects of our daily lives. As Nigerians, we have never shied away from competition. It is this need to be the best that we can be that is manifested by the professional, academic and entrepreneurial excellence of our citizens in more organised societies. It is also this pursuit of one-upmanship that also fuels the chaos that is our daily lives. Alas, this chaos cannot be constructively channeled, because we are depriving the brilliant performers of the opportunity to contribute to our nation’s socio-economic growth, thanks to Federal Character requirements. Contemporary times reflect a nation that has not learned from the horror of its 1966 civil war and is ever more divided along tribal, ethnic, regional and religious lines. As a nation, we are seeing more events of loss of life caused by tribal or ethnic affiliation. We are subjected to daily bombardment by the news media of political events, activities and shenanigans with underpinnings of tribal, zonal and regional affiliations. The run-up to the presidential election of 2010 was full of the strife associated with whether or not the presidential slot was zoned to the North and the reverberations of that period continues until now, with

ramifications for the upcoming 2015 elections. Similarly, the various state-level political party structures are caught up in fights as to where succession has been zoned to or the number of times a particular tribe has assumed an office. Has the relatively recent instance of the deportation of economically disadvantaged Anambra citizens from Lagos or the eviction of non-indigene civil service workers from some South Eastern states (supposedly based on the challenge of meeting the minimum wage increase) indicated that we are anywhere close to the promotion of national unity that is specified in Section 14(3) of the constitution? I am a firm believer that the tapestry of the Nigerian nation is stronger and prettier because of the diversity of our people. Together, we are better than we are apart. However, we may never achieve the togetherness if we continue to institutionalize measures that divide us. The use of the Federal Character, zoning and quota mechanisms are artificial constructs that remove the fairness principle from how we live and work. These are heinous mechanisms that put deserving people at a disadvantage to the detriment of our governance structure. In our constant cry for visionary leaders, we must acknowledge that we will never find those stellar leaders if we continue to utilise a quota system that gives precedent to tribal, state or zonal affiliation, instead of personal attributes of excellence. It is my hope that in the forthcoming national discussions, that there is a robust and consequent review of the Federal Character or any such requirements that do not truly foster unity, fairness, meritocracy and nationalism. The iconic American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King said, in his “I have a Dream” speech (March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963), that he dreamt of a nation where his children “will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” Our aspiration as a nation should be similarly so, with judgment not on the basis of tribe, ethnicity, zone, but on character and the ability to contribute to nation building. • Azu Obiaya writes from Abuja



COMMENTS ''The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.''----------Winston Churchill RDINARILY, blue-bloods anywhere in the world are usually conceited. But when it goes with luminosity and articulacy, its inherent gait of courage says something about their hauteur. Not many people can stand a swaggering person, nonetheless, an intelligent Hausa/Fulani from the royal family of Kano traditional feudal hue. Generally, any prince, by privilege of birth, is not expected to take orders from anybody, but from infancy is used to others taking instructions from him. Such royalty is conventionally conversant with being revered and courted by the high and mighty in the society, especially those in his sphere of authority. It was with this air that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi suddenly found himself in the position of Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). And with his untamed valour, egotistic bluster and sometimes audaciously nauseating policies and actions, he garnered ample admirers and foes by the time he was suspended from office last Friday by his nemesis and perhaps, unsuspecting numero uno foe, President Goodluck Jonathan. The president, while fielding questions from a panel of journalists during the Presidential media chat in Abuja earlier in the week, declared: “But Sanusi is still the governor of the CBN and people must know that. That is why there can never be a substantive governor until the issue is sorted out. Sanusi can come back tomorrow to continue his work because the issues raised are the issues that the board of the CBN with the Financial Reporting Council, the authorities that have powers to look into the financial transactions of the CBN, will deal with...’’ The president spoke about one relatively unknown 2012 audit report that demanded that Lamido steps aside if it must be properly looked into. But the same president kept Stella Oduah perpetually in office as Minister of Aviation when she was mentioned as the arrow-head of a grossly over-inflated two armoured BMW cars purchased at a time the aviation sector was (and still is) bleeding from lack of infrastructure. Perhaps, an objective onlooker would be forced to ask: Why was Oduah not compelled to step aside by the president as he did in the prevailing circumstance when the panel that recommended ‘administrative caution’ was investigating that serious accusation against a minister of a very important ministry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Something akin to this also happened when a civil society group reportedly accused another female oil minister that is still serving the president of being an alleged wastrel anytime she was



INCE President Goodluck Jonathan announced the plan to convene a national dialogue in his last Independence Anniversary address, many Nigerians have been apprehensive about the likely outcome of the exercise that has been greeted with so much controversy due to leadership crisis and distrust. While receiving the 4,000-page report of the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC), President Jonathan had promised that the conference would actually hold early this year. Most people were, however, taken aback when the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim announced modalities for the 492-delegate conference, which fuelled the people’s fears that its outcome might not really reflect the yearnings of Nigerians because of the disparity between the committee’s recommendations and the approved guidelines. The committee’s 38-item agenda had recommended that the conference should have no ‘no-go’ area; it is to be managed by 13-member secretariat under an Executive Secretary with two members from each geo-political zone; majority of delegates to be elected directly on the principles of universal adult suffrage; each senatorial zone is to send four elected delegates; each state government to nominate one delegate; the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to nominate one delegate; the President to nominate delegates for key interest groups; the nominated delegates not to exceed one-thirds of total number of delegates, and the conference to hold for at least three months and not more than six months. The committee also proposed that the conference should hold between February and July, 2014, while President should send a bill to the National Assembly for an enabling law, or alternatively, convene the conference via provisions of Section 5 of 1999 Constitution, while the emergence of delegates is to be based on any of four options. In the final template released, the Federal Government will now nominate 20 delegates of at least six women, while state governors and the FCT administration will nominate 109 delegates - three from each state and one from


The Lamido-Jonathan conundrum

• Sanusi Lamido Sanusi travelling by air through exorbitant aircraft hire both within and outside the country. The president looked the other way at that crucial period. Diezani Allison-Maduekwe, the Minister of Petroleum was exercising oversight function over the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that is facing subsidy mismanagement crisis and has not been told by the same president to step aside. Whatever Mr President says about the probability of Lamido returning to office after not being found guilty of any infraction, this column and discernible Nigerians know that as far as the CBN governorship is concerned and going by traditional official aversion for dissents, it is sure that the embattled Kano prince is history. But besides the fact that the president is not coming to equity with clean hands in the way and manner Lamido was suspended, this column does not think that any sitting CBN governor should be robed with the garb of being above the law - not even if such person is a

Fulani prince from Kano State. The column is not oblivious of Section 11 of the CBN Act, 2007, stating when the Governor or any of his Deputies can cease to remain in office not to include suspension by the President. The only mention of the word ‘suspension’ is in section 11(1)(d) and that relates to the removal of the Governor when he or she is disqualified or suspended from practising his or her profession in Nigeria. Furthermore in section 11(1) (f), the only occasion the President can recommend the removal of the Governor or exercise any disciplinary control over him or her is when the president’s recommendation is supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate. This is the conundrum facing the president in his desperate bid to cut to size his unusually voluble CBN governor that has turned the apex bank into a platform for feudal activism. Despite these, this column agrees with the president that in exercise of his oversight functions, he has the power of ensuring that the CBN or other institutions of government do not become an island on its own. As the president said, “the issues of suspension and removal are very different.” And save for such power of oversight, Lamido would have unilaterally and arbitrarily printed N5000 denomination currency notes and changed the face of the naira today. But to the credit of Mr President, he listened to public aversion for the move and quickly nipped it the bud. Unfortunately, the Islamic bigotry in Lamido triumphed over the public when he foisted Islamic banking system on the nation. The beauty of democracy in the brewing suspension saga is that the beleaguered prince has gone to court to challenge his suspension and whatever comes out of the Temple of Justice will go a long way in simmering the widen-

Before the national confab begins By Adewale Kupoluyi FCT. Bodies like the Nigeria Guild of Editors, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Bar Association, the Judiciary, the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Environmental Society, National Youth Council of Nigeria and National Association of Nigerian Students will nominate members. Also to have representatives are: National Council of Women Societies, Market Women Associations, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, the National Association of Women Journalists, the Academies of Science, Engineering, Education, Letters and Social Sciences, Civil Society Organisations, religious leaders, Nigerians in the Diaspora, political parties that have representation in the National Assembly and the People Living with Disabilities. The Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, political/cultural and ethnic groups, among others, will also have representatives at the confab. Other nominations include 37 elder statesmen - one per state and the FCT - by the president. These nominees will also include retired military officers, the police and the state security service from each of the nation’s six geopolitical zones. Other delegates will be traditional rulers (two per zone and one from the FCT), retired civil servants (one from each of the zones and the FCT), and the representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and Organised Private Sector. Certainly, the primary purpose of a National Conference is to address and find lasting solutions to the problems that have been plaguing Nigeria since 1914. These problems border on the quest for the attainment of economic, so-

cial, cultural, religious and political justice and equity. Nigerians have tended to live with so much suspicion that having a national collective aspiration seems more Herculean than ethnic and tribal affinity of the over 300 ethnic groups. The nation’s albatross has worsened with the failure of the constitutions, which had never been people-oriented, to redress the fundamental defects. No wonder, Sir Hugh Clifford, Governor-General of Nigeria between 1920 and 1931, once described the nation as a mere ”collection of independent native states separated from one another by great distances, by differences of history and traditions and by ethnological, racial, tribal, political, social and religious barriers.” This fragmentation has continued till date. Even on the conference, a lot of agitations from many quarters continue to trail representations on primordial lines and if these are not addressed, the expectations of the conference may be compromised. The way out is for the various interest groups that feel marginalised to team up to present a common cause. It should be realised that there is no way that the all the delegates can be representative enough to reflect all shades of opinions in a heterogeneous state like Nigeria. What should top the agenda at the conference are burning issues like the devolution of powers, fiscal federalism, local government autonomy, state police, and ensuring appropriate status for the FCT, institutional corruption and so on. To ensure transparency and participation, the government should ensure that proceedings of the conference are transmitted live at every stage! On the outcome of the conference, Anyim had said that it would be by consensus but in the case where a consensus is not achieved, it would be by a 75 per cent majority after which,

ing public tension over the matter. Such judgment when delivered will definitely open a new vista in the management and general affairs of the nation’s apex bank. However, one thing that is good is that the CBN Governor really helped in bringing to the fore so many hidden rot in the nation’s financial system. He exposed how NNPC through NPDC took oil blocks belonging to the federation and then transferred the operation of the blocks to inexperienced private agents lacking the required funds for the exercise. The prince revealed that NNPC failed to remit $20billion dollars into the federation’s account. It is absurd that the president said he could not look into the allegations because of inconsistencies in figures. Through his reported memo to the Senate Committee dated February12, 2014, Lamido showed that NNPC sells our petroleum for a fixed price of $10 a barrel which is a paltry percentage of its market price and that the corporation allows documents to be destroyed after one year, leading to the coverup of monumental fraud. Though Lamido raised the alarm over fraud in the fuel subsidy regime at a Public Hearing in the House of Representatives some years back, his supposed open campaign for the removal of the same subsidy portrayed as an unstable character that says one thing in the morning only to change such at night before going to bed. The circumstance of his removal, though painful, is a reminder to Jonathan not to toy with the sanctity of the CBN. He should remember the example of Idi Amin Dada of Uganda in 1971, whose order to Joseph Mubiru, Central Bank Governor, to print more money was turned down. He eventually killed Mubiru but that could not solve the problems that his selfish interference caused that country’s apex bank till today. Though the Kano prince has been removed, the issues he raised about looting in NNPC, subsidy pilfering and the economy generally must be resolved by the president. More importantly, his removal if not properly handled might signal the beginning of a wobbling CBN in the country.

‘He should remember the example of Idi Amin Dada of Uganda in 1971, whose order to Joseph Mubiru, Central Bank Governor, to print more money was turned down. He eventually killed Mubiru but that could not solve the problems that his selfish interference caused that country’s apex bank till today’ the conference is to advise the government on the legal framework, procedures and options for integrating its decisions and outcomes into the 1999 Constitution and other laws of the country. The onus lies on the government to ensure that the delegates discuss under an atmosphere that allows for genuine brainstorming and undue influence. And more importantly, the outcome should be subjected to a referendum, otherwise the whole exercise would amount to a jamboree, a waste of time and resources, as many pessimists believe, based on past experiences. Nigerians cannot forget so easily, President Jonathan’s pre-emptive stance that the report of the proposed conference would be submitted to the National Assembly for ratification. This ought not to be. We should never fail to recognise that the 1999 Constitution confers sovereignty on the people and, therefore, the best that could happen is for Nigerians to merely cede part of their sovereignty to the members of the National Assembly and not for the legislature to subsume the peoples’ authority. The duty of the Sovereign National Conference is to address and find solutions to the key problems afflicting the country. It is for this single reason of legitimacy that the people have unrepentantly called for a Sovereign National Conference. The late human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Gani Fawehinmi once said: “The primary concern of Nigeria since 1914 to date is to remove all obstacles which have prevented the country from establishing political justice, economic justice, social justice, cultural justice, religious justice and to construct a new constitutional framework in terms of the system of governmentstructurally, politically economically, socially, culturally and religiously”. This should be the thrust of the confab lest it becomes a missed opportunity. Anything short of this may be useless as many skeptics have been telling us. And who knows whether they will be vindicated at the end of the day or not? • Kupoluyi writes from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta,







‘Insurers must pay dividend for stocks to grow’ By OmobolaTolu-Kusimo


HE inability of insur ance operators to pay dividends to shareholders has made their shares to remain as penny stocks at the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Sonny Nwosu has said. Many insurance stocks have over the years been trading at the value of 50kobo per share. According to him, the return from the insurance sector which has not been encouraging to investors, adding that it could be linked to the operation of the individual firms. Nwosu, who said the stocks have remained at N1 or less, noted that the bottom line was that the dividend policy of insurance firms must change before investors would appreciate it to be an interesting stock that they can invest on. He said if the insurers have the ability to pay and increase dividends, there will be more respect and trading on their shares. He added that there will also be demand for their shares which will improve the price. He said: “But if there is no demand and there’s apathy that the insurers will not pay good dividend, then nothing should be expected in terms of growth on stocks from the sector. “Mansad Insurance and Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc paid dividend to their shareholders and this has affected their performance positively on the exchange. But we are yet to see companies such as Leadway which is one of the biggest companies get quoted at the exchange.”

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$117.4/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,396.9/troy Sugar -$163/lb MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N11.4 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -8% Treasury Bills -10.58%(91d) Maximum lending -30% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -1% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $45b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

At the moment, there is an average of about 18 hours per day of constant power supply to different parts of the country. This feat was brought about by the implementation of the integrated power sector reform programme anchored on the power roadmap. - Minister of Information, Labaran Maku

No increase in pump price of petrol, says PPPRA T HE Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has said there is no incease in the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS) or petrol, warning marketers to desist from selling the product higher than the regulated price of N97 per litre. Its Executive Secretary, Farouk Ahmed, assured Nigerians that the price of the product has not been increased, adding that the government has no plans to do that now.

“PPPRA assures Nigerians that the official pump price of PMS remains N97 per litre, as the agency has not approved any pump price increase and there are no plans to do so. “This clarification becomes necessary following reports that some petroleum marketers are hoarding petroleum products in the vain anticipation of fuel price increase. “PPPRA wishes to further

assure the Nigerian public that there are sufficient PMS in the country to guarantee uninterrupted fuel supply, and motorists are therefore, advised to shun panic-buying, as loading of products has been uninterrupted in all NNPC depots across the country.” In a state,ment, PPPRA directed petroleum products marketers to release products in their tanks and depots for sale to members of the public at the approved pump price.

According to him, to ensure compliance, the PPPRA and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), will collaborate to monitor the situation at all retail outlets, warning that the agency will not hesitate to shut down any filling station found hoarding products or dispensing fuel above the official price. Ahmed reassures Nigerians that it remains resolute in its mandate of ensure adequate products supply and distribution nationwide.

• From left: Managing Director, Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Roberts Orya; President, Borderless Alliance, Mr Ziad Hamoui and Director, Commercial Shipping Service, Nigeria Shippers Council, Mrs Dabney Shall Holmd, during the 3 rd yearly conference of the Borderless Alliance hosted by NEXIM at Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja…yesterday. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

‘PIB’ll increase offshore opportunities’


HE passage of fiscal and non-fiscal enablers in the the PetroleumIndustry Bill (PIB) could add value to the economics of offshore investments, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Mr Austin Avuru, has said. He spoke during his presentation at the IP Week in London. Avuru, who spoke on “Petroleum Industry Bill: Increasing Investment Opportunities in the Offshore Nigeria,” said the non-passage of the bill was inimical to the industry’s progress. The PIB is supposed to help the oil industry in terms of restructuring the institutional and fiscal framework to promote transparency, efficiency, exploitation activi-

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

ties and maximise economic rent accruing to the government as it hopes to achieve 40 billion barrels of crude reserves and oil production of four million barrels per day by 2020. Avuru said foreign direct investment (FDI) to Nigeria dropped from $6 billion in 2009 to $2.3 billion in 2010 even though the “oil sector accounted for over 60 per cent of FDI inflow to Nigeria”. He also noted that signing the PIB has become imperative because of the emergence of other oil rich countries in Africa, a situation that has affected FDI inflow to Nigeria. Quoting the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), he

said: “Between 1970 and 1990, Nigeria accounted for 30 per cent of FDI inflow in Africa, but only 16 per cent in 2007 due to emergence of other oil rich countries.” Aside from affecting FDI inflow, Avuru said the nonpassage of the oil bill has had other adverse effects some of which include push back of “start-up dates for selected oil and natural gas projects, for instance, Bonga North and Sonam field development), to be undertaken by the international oil companies (IOCs), tremendous decline in exploration activities in the last seven years and the fact that only three exploratory wells were drilled in 2011 compared to over 20 wells drilled in 2005.” He, however, admitted that there had been some progress on the PIB, which

has passed the Second Reading in the National Assembly. He noted that there were contentious issues stalling the passage some of which he identified as “power of the minister, the application of Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHCF), the funding of New Frontier Exploration Services and the onerous fiscal terms.” Avuru expressed optimism that the passage of the bill would help “decrease investors’ risk through a stable regulatory environment, redesign fiscal terms to maximise government take, provide significant opportunities in shallow offshore and deep water terrains while opening a window of opportunity to invest in a stable and commercially prospective oil and gas environment.”

CBN urges banks on shared technology scheme


HE Central Bank of Ni geria (CBN) has called on banks to key into the shared technology scheme to reduce cost and enhance profitability. Its Director, Shared Services, Chidi Umeano said lenders needed to take advantage of the Financial Instant Issuance Solution, which attracts new

By Collins Nweze

cardholders, increases activation rates, as well as card programme profitability. He said the solution makes it possible for new and existing customers of banks to walk into their branch to pick up a fully-functioning debit/ credit card with exceptional security features in a few

minutes. He spoke at the DatacardChamsAccess Financial Instant Issuance seminar for deposit money banks, switch operators and certified card issuers held in Lagos. Umeano, who was represented by CBN Deputy Manager, Shared Services Office, BabatundeAjiboye

described financial instant issuance as the next frontier for payment cards in the banking industry. He said banks in developing and advanced financial markets are deploying the instant issuance solution to position their brands for future advancements in the fast paced payment cards business.

Guinness inaugurates water project


UINNESS Nigeria Plc has inaugurated its Safe Water for Africa (SWA) project at Sabo, Ikorodu, Lagos. At the event, its Director, Corporate Relations, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Sesan Sobowale, noted that access to potable water would go a long way in combating the prevalence of water borne diseases among the citizenry adding that the project is aimed at creating a positive impact in the community. He said: “This is the kind of project that Guinness Nigeria is pleased to be a part of because it resonates with our ‘Water of Life’ programme which is part of our contribution to solving this global menace in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals to halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015." Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government Area, Hon. Sheriff Anipole, applauded Guinness Nigeria for selecting his constituency as a beneficiary of the project. He lamented that the members of the community have suffered long from lack of access to potable water. “The Ikorodu community and many other parts of our local government area were suffering from shortage of potable drinking water. Many people here relied on sources of water which quality cannot be guaranteed. We can therefore assure you that this water you are providing for us is a blessing for our people, indeed, this project reinforces a saying among our people that water is life.”

Firm partners Harvard Business School By Tajudeen Adebanjo


VENTURE capital firm, L5Lab, is partnering the Harvard Business School to launch a competition to give aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa a chance to win up to $10,000 to start their own businesses. The competition, tagged the New Venture competition, will be held during the 16th annual African Business Conference of the Harvard Business School. At the event, three judges will select the best business plan to get a grand prize of $10,000 and a people choice prize of $5,000. The Managing Director, L5Lab, Chika Nwobi, said: “We are excited to be part of this year’s conference, because it presents an opportunity to invest in the future of Africa.” The firm suports West Africa’s top start-up firms, including Jobberman and Cheki. “L5Lab is committed to building a new generation of business leaders in Africa by providing a platform for emerging professionals and entrepreneurs to harness their competencies and bring their ideas to fruition. This conference helps us connect with such people,” Nwobi added.





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Challenging global dominance The competition between emerging pan-African news channels and global cable news media is hightening. Determined to challenge the dominance of global media giants, some of the new start-ups are investing in technology and manpower, among others, to grow Africa’s share-of-voice in the global news coverage. TVC NEWS, for instance, is set to launch a Cable Satellite, Continental Satellite (CONSAT), to be ahead of others in the pay TV market, writes ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI.


ABLE NEWS coverage in Africa is expanding at the speed of light. Earlier portrayed by global media as a dark continent, Africa is gradually becoming a marketing war zone, where global news media and rising Pan-African media are competing to correct past imbalances in news coverage about the continent. Concerned about how global editorial policies, which portray the continent as a geographical zone riddled with famine, war, rape, ritual killings, corruption, bad leadership and several other social vices thrive, communication scholars have at various summits, complained about Western media’s portrayal of Africa as the dark continent. African communication experts believe that having a formidable pan-African media, owned by Africans, will help Africa grow beyond the taglines which relegate the continent’s marketing potentials to the background. However, the game is changing. With its growing economies, some Pan-African cable news outfits are springing up daily to break the Western media dominance in reportage of happenings in the continent. Positioning as pan-African channels through their content design, programme offerings, such as travelogues which portray Africa as investment hub, tourist destinations, the global media are beginning to feel the competition in the pan-African media news coverage market. For instance, only recently, Euronews announced plan to start the first pan-African rolling news channel, in partnership with Télé Congo, the national TV channel of the Republic of Congo in the summer of 2015. Also, some global news channels are designing TV content to present African perspective to stay relevant in the news coverage market. BBC Africa, African Voice by CNN, among others, are some of the ways the Western media have been responding to the fierce competition. But, while many still believe that a truly owned African media is the best platform to correct such imbalance in the global information flow, TVC NEWS is marking its one year of operation today after demonstrating its ability to compete with the Western media through content offering that has already captured about three million global TV audience in Africa and Europe. With an ambition to triple five million TV viewership across Europe, Asia and America, the TVC NEWS which first made its public broadcast on February 28, last year, is also planning to launch a Cable Satellite Service which will give Africa a strategic advantage in getting their voices heard at par with global media footprint. Following its live coverage of the United States (US) presidential election without hooking up to CNN and other global cable network,

•A newscaster Yori Folarin at work in TVC News studio

the 2013 elections in Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Zimbabwe, the African Union’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Addis Ababa, the civil unrests in Egypt and Tunisia, the conflicts in the Central African Republic and Mali, the Nairobi shopping mall siege, the insurgency in Nigeria and, of course, the death and funeral of the late Nelson Mandela in South Africa, the channel has upped its ante with global media awards and recognition since inception. “TVC NEWS has received international awards from the International Centre for Journalist (ICJ) in Washington DC, with its report on the “Failure to eradicate polio in Nigeria” and was ‘highly commended’ at the 2013 annual awards of the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) for a report titled: ‘The accused’ in the Investigative Documentary category. “TVC NEWS has come a long way within a short time and will remain committed to providing

reliable, accurate and up-to-date news about Africa,” said its Chief Executive Officer, Nigel Parsons. He noted that TVC News has also been endorsed as a credible news channel by notable figures, such as Dr. Nkosazana C. Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission during her visit to the news channel headquarters in Lagos. Underscoring the need to create a channel that will have a continental brand identity, the Chief Operating Officer of TVC, Mr. Lemi Olalemi said: “If you watch CNN, you will hear the voice of Amercia; if you watch Al-Jazeera, you will hear the voice of Middle East; if you watch BBC, you will hear the voice of Britain. However, the essence of founding TVC pan-African station, is to create a platform through which Africans can balance the new world of information-order and tell the African story in the African way. To attain a year anniversary has come with so many challenges but the result has been impressive.”

Parsons said TVC NEWS’ brand is built on integrity and ethical news judgment. “The TVC NEWS brand is being built on integrity of content, quality of staff and technology innovation,” he added. Relying on local manpower, Parsons, a former Al-Juzeera team, said when TVC NEWS started, the management was tempted to poach trained staff from SkyNews, CNN to withstand the competition but it later opted training local hands. However, with its footprint and network of reporters in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt and United Kingdom, Olalemi said the feedback across the globe has been overwhelming. “We receive responses from United States and we hope to double and triple the five million audience across the world. We have high ambition through the competition but anyone that wants to get into the market will look at us. We get our information disseminated by Reuters, we are a

‘TVC NEWS has come a long way within a short time and will remain committed to providing reliable, accurate and up-to-date news about Africa’

new boy on the bloc,” he said. Currently on Sky Channel 572 and with more channels seeking for TVC NEWS on their channel width, the management is looking forward to breaking the monopoly of the pay TV market and have a fully-owned cable networkCONSAT. “In a few months time, we are launching CONSAT, starting with 60 channels. We plan to increase it to 80 channels. TVC NEWS and TVC are going to be part of satellite. The footprint of the satellite will be streamed to Sub-Saharan Africa to Madagascar,” he added. Parsons stated that the management is working ahead of the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Digital Migration deadline, which starts next year. “To compete effectively, we are steps ahead of NBC/ITU deadline. With this, you are going to have all the International news channels because right now, if you don’t have DSTV, you hardly have access to these channels,” he said. On the monopoly of the pay TV market, he said: “Monopoly is anticompetition. In Kenya, there is debate going on against monopoly of the pay TV market. There should not be monopoly of news, sports, entertainment news coverage. For us, every station on CONSAT is going to be free. Information shouldn’t be paid for.”



Brandnews Amarula rewards dealers


• From left: Marketing Manager, Distell International, Lizzy Iroha, congratulating Onyenanu at the forum in Lagos. With them are Mr Anagu and his wife Blessing.

The road to Cannes • Local organiser announces jury list for young Lions competition


HE organisers of the Young Lions Competition in Nigeria and representatives of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, CHINI Productions, have released the list of jury members for this year’s competitions, to kick start Nigeria’s preparation for the international festival of creativity, which holds in France Regarded as the World Cup equivalent of Advertising, Nigeria is expected to present teams in each of the following categories: Cyber, Design, Film, Media, PR and Print. According to the Local Organising team, the aim of the local competition is to provide a credible system for selecting teams that will fly the country flag in Cannes during the competition. The organisers only provide administrative framework for the competition, leaving the decision making to representatives of the industry. The PR Competition is being introduced in Cannes Lions for the first time and the first National Jury President is Nn’emeka Maduegbuna, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) C&F Porter Novelli. Other members are CEO, Lead Consultant Leap Communications,

Stories by Adedeji Ademigbuji

Muyiwa Akintunde; MD Compact Communications, Chuddy Oduenyi; Managing Director CMC Connect, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya and CEO, Winning Concepts, Mike Obiajulu Meze . The jury will be saddled with judging works presented by the cyber, design, film and print teams. The President of the creative jury is Chima Okenimkpe, Creative Director of Insight Communications. Other members are Tunde Sule, Creative Director DDB Lagos; Sule Momoh Creative Director 141 Worldwide; Oje Ojeaga, Head of Creative X3M; Ranti Atunwa, Creative Director TBWA; Adereti Tiny, Creative Director Yellow Brick Road and Abolaji Alausa, Creative Director Noah’s Ark Communications. The Media Jury will be led by Jayne Okoronkwo, Executive Director Media Integra as president while members of the team will include Dozie Okafor, Head Planning and Strategy PHD Nigeria, Oge Maduagwu, Deputy Manager, Media Strategy & Planning mediaReach OMD (who are both past winners of the competition), Etim Ekanem Senior Media Planner Globacom and Ezinne Mbonu, Executive Director Capital Media. The Roger Hatchuel Academy, a

student training feature of the global competition, is traditionally supported in Nigeria by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). The national programme, according to CHINI Production, includes a full-day of training by senior advertising professionals and various tests to select Nigeria’s student delegate to the Roger Hatchuel Academy in Cannes. The winner of this competition enjoys an all-expense-paid trip to France to attend the event. For the second year and in line with the Cannes Lions directive, we have placed more emphasis on creative ability for winning the competition and have, therefore, set up a second creative panel to act as faculty and jury for the Roger Hatchuel Academy Nigeria programme. The panel is headed by Uzo Okoye, Managing Creative Director Etu Odi Communications; Yemi Arawore, Associate Creative Director, Noah’s Ark Communications; Maurice Ugwonoh, Assistant Director, Copy DDB Lagos, Yomi Omotehinwa, Executive Creative Director, Cosse TTL, Tolu Ajayi, Chief Operating Officer Lucid AV. The Roger Hatchuel Academy Creative Panel will also oversee the Miami Ad School Scholarship Competition for Nigerian Creatives.

Using lifestyle to connect with consumers A

S competition in the market place gets fiercer, lifestyle positioning has become the catch-phrase among brand managers to connect with their customers in other to create positive consumer experience in market categories where functional differences are hard to maintain. By connecting with consumers on a more personal level, contemporary brand managers hope to break free from aggressive competition and carve a niche for their brands through line extension that speaks to specific lifestyles. With lifestyle brands positioning gaining more adoption as a result of the experiences the offer in connecting consumers with brands, their radio jingles and television commercials are usually developed to draw attention to the positive emotion. For instance, the new radio and TV commercials on Chivita Active from the House of Chi Limited, maker of the popular range of Chivita Pre-

mium fruit juice which often use its 100 per cent natural fruit as unique selling point, are created using the benefits of consuming Chivita Active by people as a healthy and active lifestyle to position the brand. “Some days, you really just want to stay in bed. Don’t you? Days when you have so much things to do in so little time, like wade through traffic, hold meetings, make presentations, submit reports, pick up laundry, visit parents, pick the kids, hang out with the girls, back to the gym, make dinner, tell bed time story. But not to worry, just get active with Chivita Active,” runs the commercials. The commercial goes on to say that, Chivita Active helps you get more out of life. “You work better, play harder and do so much more and success follows… so you want to stay active, drink Chivita Active.

Chivita active with the power of six citric fruits juices and added vitamin C, a choice for your active life style. Chivita active, be active, do more, get more out of life.” Opening with an executive meeting, the 60-second TV commercial moves on to a workout on the basketball court before panning on to a gruellsing photo shoot at a modeling session and ending the day on the dance floor. The TVC depicts an activity-packed day that is sustained by the perfect choice of refreshment for an active life style. On how brands build customer loyalty through experience, the Managing Director of the CHI Limited, Mr Deepanjan Roy said: “One thing we have always tried to do is provide our consumer a complete and balanced range of fruit juice offerings, so that we are ready to fulfill her needs irrespective of whatever they may be from the product or the lifestyle standpoint.”

O remain a market leader, the manufacturers of Amarula, Distell International, has rewarded its trade partners who have helped made the brand available in the right place, at the right time. It hosted dealers and distributors at a Customers’ recognition/ awards Forum at Rockview Hotel, G.R.A Apapa, Lagos, where outstanding and high performing key dealers smiled home with mouth-watering prizes. The Managing Director of Chigotex Royal Link, Mr. Chigozie Anagu, won a star prize of a brand new Toyota Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) for astuteness, business acumen and loyalty to the brand. Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Uzems Limited, Mr. Emeka Onyenanu, who was described as a dedicated and consummate marketer of Amarula cream won the second prize of a Toyota Saloon Car while other winners went home with prizes which included brand new Generators, Flat screen television sets and refrigerators. The Country Manager of Distell International in Nigeria, Richard Lucas, noted: “Amarula is unique in taste as it is made from marula

fruit that grows exclusively in the wild in sub-Saharan Africa, where nature remains unspoiled.” Managing Director, Next International Limited, marketer of the brand in Nigeria, Mr. Ndibe Obi said: “The marula fruit has an ancient history going back many thousands of years. The fruit is greatly loved by elephants and other African wildlife. It is held in the highest esteem by many African communities as it is an important source of food and has many health-giving and curative properties. The tree is regarded as a symbol of fertility and unity.” However, the Marketing Manager, Next International Limited, Ms. Lizzy Iroha, said: “Amarula is the Spirit of Africa. Its appeal lies in its combination of exotic African mystery and cosmopolitan sophistication.” The National Sales Manager Mr. Sunny Ukpaka added: “Amarula is the essence of African luxury. When you think of Amarula, you think of glamorous, romantic African safaris and the closeness to Africa’s ancient, powerful and noble creatures, especially elephants.”

StarTimes: Why we celebrated our customers


TARTIMES has said it is inspired to ap-preciate its loyal customers since inception of the season of the love. The Public Relations Manager of the company, Mr. Irete Anetor, said the objectives of the gesture were to “celebrate and appreciate loyal subscribers that have never defaulted in their monthly subscription”. He added that the Valen-

t i n e ’ s s e a s o n was w e l l c e l ebrated and the laudable Digital Terrestrial Television – StarTimes platform decided to visit homes of lucky winners and offer them gifts and appreciation cards. StarTimes has promoted and made accessible quality and affordable digital entertainment in Nigeria to all Nigerians before the due date for digital migration in 2015.

Promo winners get prizes


EACE Tidings Venture Ltd (PTV) has rewarded cus tomers who participated in its promo “Level Go Change” in the spirit of the Valentine. Speaking at the presentation of the grand prize, a new Hyundai car, the Chief Executive Officer, PTV Phones Ltd, Mr Banji Adesanmi, said in the past two months, the Information Computer Technology (ICT) firm has been waiting for the winners, especially the grand prize winner as part of the company principle of fulfilling promises to customers. “In this promo almost hundreds of people have won phones and free credit to everyone that participated in the promo,” he said. Among 20 contestants who

By Morakinyo Abiodun

came for the draw, only 15 were available for the raffle draw, which took place at the company’s head office in the presence of its many customers. In the draw, which was done randomly in an open bowl, the contestants displayed their various numbers, first 12 numbers picked out of the 15 contestants. They went with consolation prizes such as Samsung android phone. The lucky three were drawn in the grand Hyundai car which produced Mr. George Nelson, an hotel attendant, as the winner. Nelson, who hails from Imo State, was represented by his brother Darlington.

Pepsi excites consumers with Rave Concert


N line with its new global the matic campaign, ‘Live For Now’, Pepsi, has excited its consumers with a special Valentine’s Day concert tagged ‘Big Valentine Rave’ at Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos. The event drew lovers from all walks of life to a refreshing moment with great musical performances from Pepsi music ambassador Tiwa Savage, American R&B star and multi-talented instrumentalist Mario Winans, and some of the best talent Nigeria has to offer.

The Head, Marketing, SevenUp Bottling Company, Mr. Norden Thurston said: “Pepsi is consumer-centric and will continually look for ways to delight its consumers. Bringing together some of the best talents in Nigerian entertainment on Valentine’s Day was to create a life time memory for our consumers.” The event also featured some of the best music-filled nights ever witnessed at Eko Hotel, including: Davido, Sound Sultan, Chidinma, and Praiz.




‘Euro zone inflation could stay low to 2016’ I NFLATION in the euro zone could stay well below the European Central Bank’s target until 2016, ECB policymaker EwaldNowotny told an Austrian newspaper. Reiterating that he saw no prospects of deflation in the euro zone, Nowotny told the Wirtschaftsblatt: “Overall we see ourselves confronted with inflation levels clearly under two per cent for the euro zone perhaps until 2016. “That is below the ECB price target of two per cent, so we are in a low price environment but certainly not in deflation,” he added in the interview, which the paper released on Tuesday ahead of publication on Wednesday. Nowotny said some countries, especially in the south, were seeing falling price levels but “I would

tend to see this as part of a necessary adjustment process”. JP Morgan analyst Malcolm Barr, in a research note, said he viewed the adjustment argument as the ECB rationalising its policy inaction rather than as a persuasive argument. Barr added that there appeared to be an “absence of a policy tool the ECB is comfortable with deploying in order to keep the inflation path up to the objective”. The ECB holds its next policy meeting on March 6, when the Governing Council will have at its disposal new forecasts from the bank’s staff that will stretch into 2016 for the first time. Nowotny was speaking as the

European Commission forecast euro zone inflation of just one percent this year and 1.3 per cent in 2015. Asked what steps the ECB could embrace to avoid deflation and if negative rates were possible, he said: “The ECB meeting at which we will discuss such measures takes place next week. I think one must be realistic about what individual measures can affect. For psychological reasons I am skeptical about negative interest rates.” He noted that banks that place short-term deposits at the ECB already get zero interest. “They would not change their behavior even with a negative interest rate, which cannot be very high, perhaps 10 basis points. The negative interest rate would thus be a kind of insurance premium.”

‘China’s steel sector troubles can’t be solved easily’


HINA’S steel industry will not see a quick end to its troubles as overcapacity has reached staggering proportions and structural adjustments to the economy have complicated the sector’s situation, the nation’s top steel association said. The world’s largest steel industry has been struggling with overcapacity for years, causing mills to suffer razor thin margins and saddling them with debt. While giant iron ore producers are banking on continued growth in Chinese steel production and consumption to justify their massive expansion plans, Beijing is anxiously trying to curb production growth amid fears that persistent losses among mills could spark a collapse in the heavily indebted sector. Executive Vice Secretary-General of the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA), Li Xinchuang, said overcapacity in the sector was “probably beyond our imagination” and added that the sector was

facing an extremely complicated situation as a result of slowing growth, structural adjustments in the economy and policies to close old capacity. However, demand was still rising steadily, which, combined with the desire to gain market share, has prompted mills to continue adding capacity. China has about 300 million tonnes of surplus steel output capacity, equivalent to nearly twice the output of the European Union last year. Still, mills have continued to expand, adding new capacity of 69.2 million tonnes last year, according to a report by consultancy CUsteel earlier in February. “These are problems we cannot solve quickly,” Li said at an industry conference on Tuesday. Iron ore imports by the world’s top buyer is expected to reach 870 million tonnes in 2014, with growth decelerating by four percentage points from last year’s 10.2 percent, Li said.

Nihilent, NITDA sign pact on capacity building


•Nwapa and Mrs Dennar during the visit in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

PTI partners Nigeria Content Development Board


HE Principal, Petroleum Training Institute Mrs Nnenna Dennar has said visited the Nigerian Content Development Mangement Board (NCDMB) headquarters in Yenagoa, the Beyalsa State capital. Mrs Dennar, who was accompanied by some members of the institute’s management, said the visit was the first since the inception of the NCDMB. She said: ‘This visit is all the more symbolic because it offers both sister agencies of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the opportunity to come together to explore ways and means of collaborating to form the most needed synergy to achieve our mutually reinforcing objectives and mandates.’ ‘A cursory examination of the evolution of PTI and NCDMB will indicate that the government’s overriding motivation for their

By Joseph Eshanokpe

establishment was and, still is, to increase the participation of Nigerians in the activities of the oil and gas industry, and by so doing, to attract and retain more revenue from the industry domestically.’’ She continued: ‘The Federal Government realised soon after the discovery of petroleum in Nigeria, that the industry was technology intensive and therefore that the availability of fit-for-purpose indigenous technical manpower was central to increasing indigenous participation in the industry. It was, therefore, to ensure the regular and adequate supply of the critically needed fit-for-purpose indigenous technical manpower, that the Federal Government established the PTI through Decree No 37 of 1972. ‘With the passage of time, it became clear to the Federal Govern-

ment that attaining her very broad Nigerian Content objective, which often conflicts with the economic objectives of the IOC’s, required not just a clear National Policy but also a strong driver. The needed clear Nigerian Content Policy came by way of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010. As expected the Nigerian Content Development Act, established the NCDMB to drive the policy.’’ She noted that PTI and NCDMB are partners which needed to collaborate, adding that this would enable them to deliver on their core mandates. She added: ‘We, at the PTI, are desirous to collaborate with you at NCDMB. We are looking forward to tapping from the strength of NCDMB to address our areas of weakness and to reinforce our strength.

Angola eyes two million bpd crude oil


NGOLA can reach its production goal of two million barrels of oil per day in 2015 despite a drop in output last year, the Chief Executive of state oil firm Sonangol said. Francisco Lemos Jose Maria told a news conference that output in Angola, Africa’s second largest oil producer, dropped 1.1 per cent in 2013 due to technical problems at blocks run by France’s Total, BP, and United States’ firms Chevron and Exxon Mobil. He added, however, that two new projects - Total’s CLOV in block 17 and ENI’s West Hub in block 15/06 - are due to come on line this year and will help Angola

reach its goal. Production averaged 1.72 million barrels per day last year. The firm also expects several fields to start output in 2015, including Chevron’s Lianvi field in block 0 and satellite fields in Exxon Mobil’s block 15. Sonangol approved Total’s Kaombo project in block 32, with an expected peak output of 225,000 barrels per day and it also expects to make a final decision this year on Cobalt’s Cameia project. The Cameia project could start output in 2017 to become the first producer in the promising pre-salt layer off Angola. “These developments give us

confidence that oil output can be stabilised at 2 million barrels per day, which we expect to reach in 2015,” Jose Maria told a news conference. China remained the main buyer of Sonangol’s exports in 2013, taking 45 per cent of the total. “China, despite having some slowdown in its development, is still a big energy consumer and will continue to be so for some time,” board member Anabela Fonseca told the conference. The United States dropped to fourth from third in the list of Angolan oil buyers due to its progess in producing its own shale oil, she added.

IHILENT Nigeria, a leading consulting and solutions integration company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). In a statement, they said the agreement would help build capacity in the Information Technology (IT) industry. It will also create a framework for e-governance awards and recognition programme for stakeholders. Nihilent will work with NITDA in defining the awards through various activities, including identification of different award categories, formulation of awards criteria, formation of awards committee by selecting members, definition of field survey and documentation procedure, and formalisation of awards and rec-

ognition, it said. Chairman, Nihilent Nigeria, Oti Ikomi said the firm was pleased to partner NITDA for the development of e-Governance in the country, and contribute to national growth and development. Nihilent has been championing the cause of eGovernance in India for over a decade, by sponsoring the prestigious Computer Society of India (CSI)-Nihilent eGovernance awards. Acting Director-General NITDA, Dr. A. S. Daura said his firm welcomed the agreement, adding that it would provide an objective framework for recognition of eGovernance initiatives, and enhance Information Communication and Technology. He urged Nihilent leadership to ensure that provisions of the deal were adhered to.

Britain sets lighter conditions for foreign investment banks


RITAIN’S central bank has set lighter conditions for branches of Chinese and other non-European investment banks to bolster London’s role as a financial centre. The new rules reverse a previous policy of putting pressure on non-European Union (EU) lenders operating branches in Britain to become standalone subsidiaries with their own capital and liquidity buffers - a costlier undertaking. The initial target of the new policy is China but it would apply to lenders from any non-EU country, Andrew Bailey chief executive of the Bank of England’s (BoE) regulatory arm, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), said in October. Britain is hoping the City will become a major yuan hub outside China and both countries are already holding talks about setting up a clearing bank in the British capital for the Chinese currency. The PRA said in October it proposed allowing foreign banks to operate as more lightly regulated branches as long as they do not take deposits. That policy followed Britain’s bruising experience with savers losing money when Iceland’s banking system collapsed in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. Britain had to compensate deposit holders in the UK and is suing Iceland to get the money back.

The rules, which the BoE put out to public consultation on Wednesday, stipulate that any non-European investment or retail bank can operate as a branch only if they meet three criteria, stopping short of a ban on non-European retail branches. Branches must have an equally strict home supervisor, insure deposits with a UK scheme, and prove it can be wound up quickly in a crisis while maintaining access to deposits. “Resolution will be a key deciding factor in the PRA’s judgements and is ultimately where it will place most emphasis when forming a view on its risk appetite towards branches operating in the United Kingdom,” the BoE paper said. There are 145 branches of international investment and retail banks in Britain, accounting for 31 percent or 2.4 trillion pounds of assets in the country’s banking system, equivalent to 160 percent of economic output. The regulation might bring new non-European branches to Britain, causing some minor effects on competition, the BoE consultation paper, detailing the policy for new and existing branches, said. There will also be new rule requiring all non-EU lenders, whether deposit-taking or only non-retail, to report data on a regular basis to the PRA by 2015.

Newspaper of the Year


IMANSU ANGBON IMANSUANGBON EDO-BORN philantropist, businessman and politician, Kenneth Imansuangbon, after surviving a road accident, vows to serve God and Edo State more than before. •PAGE 34




AN undergraduate in Edo State is giving jobs to graduates through a dance academy. The Industrial Chemistry student founded the academy three years ago and has two graduates on her payroll.

DESPITE his transfer to Abuja, former Rivers State Police Commissioner Joseph Mbu has not stopped battling Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, whose aides insist mean well for the state.

•PAGE 34



•PAGE 34

• Miss Bassey



How Navy rescued me, by doctor From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt








•Mrs. Jonathan


Who is who in battle for Rivers’ future The gladiators in the deepening political crisis in Rivers State, ahead of the 2015 elections, are in two camps. BISI OLANIYI in Port Harcourt writes that the Abuja forces are led by President Goodluck Jonathan. The home-based politicians have as leader the youthful Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). • Continued on page 30

EORGE Matthew Ela, a medical doctor in the employ of the Rivers State government, has narrated how officers of the Nigerian Navy rescued him from the hands of abductors. He said God did a miracle in his life during the one-hour exchange of bullets between his abductors and officers of Nigerian Navy, who, he said, rained several bullets on the kidnappers’ vehicle in which he was blindfolded. Dr. Ela, who was kidnapped about a month ago at Chinda Street, off Ada-George Road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, was released the same day after being handed over to the police for investigation. Ela told Niger Delta Report that he had no problem or disagreement with anybody before he was abducted. He said: “I cannot remember anybody that I will say I am having problem or quarrelling with. So, I don’t know who is after me. A lot of people who know me can attest to it that I am very simple and gentle medical doctor. I have no business with people than my humanitarian service, which is my contribution to humanity. “ Ela said he came to Chinda Street to pick his mother-in-law in the morning when he was picked by his abductors. He said: “I don’t reside at Chindah but came to the area to pick my mother-in-law. We had an appointment I was supposed to take her somewhere that morning. That was why I left home on time, when I got there. I parked at the road waiting for her to join me at the car. “Surprisingly, the next thing I saw was two haughty armed men demanding that I should give them my car key. Of course, I did. They dragged me out of my car and pushed me into their car. They quickly blindfolded me; that was when I realised that they were not after my car or to rob me of the little cash I had but to kidnap me.” He said at that point he thought life had ended, considering the kinds of arms at the kidnappers’ disposal. • Continued on page 30





Those who’ll shape Rivers’ Goodluck Jonathan


HE former lecturer-turned-politician, President Goodluck Jonathan, is an indigene of Otuoke in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and was born on November 20, 1957. In 1998, he was picked as the running mate to the Bayelsa’s former Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. On September 15, 2005, Alamieysegha was arrested by the London Metropolitan Police for an alleged money laundering and was made to stand trials. He jumped bail and returned to Nigeria on November 21, 2005. A chain of events saw him emerging governor, vice-president, acting president and president. He is seeking re-election in 2015, but many persons are saying that he has not performed up to Nigerians’ expectations. The President is not comfortable with Amaechi as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and his recent defection to the main opposition All progressives Congress (APC). He is working to cut Amaechi to size. Peter Odili Dr. Peter Otunuya Odili, a medical doctor-turned-politician, is a former Governor of Rivers State (1999 to 2007), when Amaechi, his former Personal Assistant, was the Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly. The Ndoni, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA-born Odili, who was born on August 15, 1948 was the thirteenth Governor of Rivers state. He is a member of the ruling PDP and owns Pamo Clinics and Hospitals Limited, Port Harcourt. Odili is married to Justice (Mrs.) Mary Okaego Odili (nee Nzenwa, born on May 12, 1952), a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The former governor graduated from the Medical School of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and pursued post-graduate work in Tropical Medicine at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. In 1988/ 89, Odili was elected member and leader of the Rivers State Delegates to the Constituent Assembly. In 1992, he was elected as the deputy governor of Rivers state to Chief Rufus Ada-George, who hails from Okrika. After the third republic ended, Odili was again elected to the National Constitutional Conference and became the Conference Committee Chairman on State Creation and thereafter became the National Secretary of the defunct Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN). He was elected governor of Rivers state in April 1999 and was re-elected in April 2003. Odili was a forerunner in the presidential race of 2007, but intrigues and power-plays led to the emergence of the late Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua as the PDP’s presidential candidate. The medical doctor was later nominated as Yar’Adua’s running mate, only to be dropped dramatically at the convention venue in Abuja, through a complex power game between the then President Olusegun Obasanjo and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu. The former governor had moved from being a frontrunner in the 2007 presidential race to a sure bet as Yar’Adua’s running mate, but eventually emerged with nothing at the end of the day and felt so pained over the humiliation by ex-President Obasanjo, whom he has not forgiven. Odili, a famous politician, in his new biography titled: “Conscience and History: My Story,” described Amaechi as an ingrate. On why he was stopped from the


presidential race, the former governor said he was later informed that Ribadu had told Obasanjo that some foreign missions in Abuja would not be happy to see him on the PDP ticket, on the basis of the “EFCC interim report.” In the book, the former governor also narrated how his anointed successor and current governor of the state (Amaechi) was disqualified from the governorship race, but lamented that bad blood later generated between Amaechi and him. Odili has scores to settle with his political son (Amaechi), thereby teaming up with President Goodluck Jonathan to fight him, while also capitalising on his closeness to the President’s wife, Dame Patience, to deal with the Rivers governor. Patience Jonathan The wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience Faka, was born on October 25, 1957 and hails from Okrika, the headquarters of Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers state. Dame Jonathan prefers the representative of the Rivers East Senatorial District, Senator George Thompson Sekibo, to succeed Amaechi in 2015, in order to teach the youthful governor a political lesson for embarrassing him at Okrika in August 2010, during his two-day official visit to Rivers state. The visit ended on a sour note at Okrika, when Amaechi repeated his decision to demolish Port Harcourt’s over forty waterfront settlements, mostly occupied by Okrika people. The President’s wife decided to fight for her Okrika people by grabbing the microphone from the governor, while still speaking and told him: “Listen. You must listen to me. I want you to get me clearly. “I am from here (Okrika). I know the problems of my people, especially land. So, I know what I am talking about. What I am telling you is that you always say you must demolish. That word ‘must’ you are using is not good. It is by pleading. You appeal to the owners of the compounds, because they will not go to exile.” Listening to their daughter defending them, Okrika people were very happy, but Amaechi was highly embarrassed. To avoid further humiliation or altercation with Dame Jonathan, the governor quietly left the venue of the elaborate Okrika ceremony and moved to his official vehicle,


parked nearby, where he stayed till the end of the programme. The President’s wife also cancelled other programmes lined up for the visit and quickly returned to Abuja. Rotimi Amaechi Amaechi’s place of birth is Umuordu-Ubima in Ikwerre LGA of Rivers State and he was born on May 27, 1965. He attended St. Theresa’s Primary School, Ubima (1976); Okolobiri Grammar School in Yenagoa LGA of Bayelsa State (1982) and the University of Port Harcourt (1987), where he read English. He is married to Dame Judith and they are blessed with children. Amaechi was the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Pamo Clinics and Hospitals Limited, Port Harcourt, owned by Dr. Peter Odili (1988); the Special Assistant to Odili (1992) and was the Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly for eight years (1999 to 2007), during which he doubled as the Chairman of Nigerian Speakers’ Conference and performed excellently, before becoming governor on October 26, 2007 through the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment of the previous day. Amaechi’s cousin, Sir Celestine Omehia, from the same Ubima, was inaugurated as governor on May 29, 2007, having benefitted from the infamous K-leg of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other leaders of the PDP, but sacked by the Supreme Court on October 25, 2007 and since then, has refused to reconcile with the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). Omehia contested for Rivers governorship on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2011, just like his counterpart of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Abiye Sekibo, a former Transport Minister and an ex-Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG) in the Odili’s administration. Surprisingly, Omehia and Sekibo were “defeated” by Amaechi. With the emergence of Chief Felix Obuah as the new Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), both of them returned to the ruling PDP and will join forces to fight the NGF chairman, who earlier dealt with them during the 2011 campaigns and elections, especially for sealing off the Sekibo’s campaign office at the new Government Reservation Area (GRA), Port Harcourt.



The Rivers governor performed well during his first term, especially in the education, health, agriculture and power sectors, with most Rivers people now complaining that he has relaxed and almost gone to sleep in his second tenure, as well as stopping his surprise routine inspection of projects, said to have been caused by his NGF chairmanship distraction of always travelling. Amaechi said it would only be fair to allow somebody from another ethnic group, to be the next occupant of the Brick House (Government House), Port Harcourt. The Rivers governor was recently accused by the sacked Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, of poor performance and using the state’s funds to bribe people all over Nigeria, with Port Harcourt, the state capital, now a slum, while Amaechi described the Delta Stateborn ex-minister as a failure. Orubebe later visited Amaechi at the Government House, Port Harcourt, as a strategy to resolve their differences. The NGF chairman recently defected to the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and vowed that he would never allow the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, to succeed him in 2015, accusing him of betrayal, which he denied. Nyesom Wike Wike, a lawyer, is from Rumuepirikom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state was the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt and also doubled as the Director-General of Amaechi Campaign Organisation in 2011, before being inaugurated as Minister of State for Education on July 14, 2011. The ex-chief of staff was elected twice as the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. While in office as the council’s boss, he also served as the President of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Local Governments Forum (CLGF). Amaechi, probably in an attempt to appease Wike, early 2012, appointed his wife, Eberechi Suzzette, as a judge in the Rivers State judiciary. While appearing on the radio programme in Port Harcourt, the minister of state for education said: “Rivers government is

playing politics with federal presence in the state. People should not play politics with every issue. Federal Government should be appreciated. “I supported Amaechi in 2011. My LGA (Obio/Akpor) gave Amaechi the highest votes during the 2011 governorship election. I do not have personal problems with Amaechi. We may disagree on certain issues. I risked my life for Amaechi when it mattered most and I almost lost my life. I lost my driver to assassins. I stood firmly with Amaechi and stuck my neck. “My choice is Felix Obuah (PDP Chairman in Rivers State). He purchased form. I have no regret about supporting Obuah. I am not standing against somebody (Amaechi) I fought for in 2007. I supported Amaechi in 2007 and we fought till the end. I was the Commander-in-Chief of that era. I also supported Amaechi in 2011. Obuah should not be denied his rightful position. I never sponsored Ake’s (Chief Godspower, sacked Chairman of the PDP) election.” Magnus Abe The representative of the Rivers Southeast Senatorial District in the National Assembly, born on May 24, 1965 hails from Bera, Ogoni in Gokana Local Government Area of the state. He represents Rivers Southeast Senatorial District in the National Assembly. He is also eyeing the governorship seat during the next election, in order to make history as the first Ogoni man to be the governor of the state, created on May 27, 1967. The youthful Senator (Abe) was the Rivers Information Commissioner, in the administration of Dr. Peter Odili, having earlier been in the state’s House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003, where he was the Minority Leader and then in the All Peoples Party (APP)/ All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). In order to compensate hardwork, loyalty and commitment to a worthy cause, Amaechi, shortly after his October 26, 2007 inauguration, made Abe the Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), the position he held before moving to the National Assembly in 2011. Some claim if Abe emerges as the next governor, he will make it a bit difficult for the Bori State dream of Ogoni people and their neighbours to be realised. The former SSG insisted that Rivers State would be governed by person




’ future who would provide electricity, good roads and well-equipped schools like Amaechi is doing. Abe said: “Somebody (Chief Felix Obuah, aka Go Round, being backed by Wike and also a former Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA of Rivers state, where the ex-Governor, Dr. Peter Odili hails from) who neither picked form nor contested election, is now the Chairman of PDP in Rivers state. “Rivers people, hold your peace. Do not go for war. Judiciary has done it before and will do it again. The will of Rivers people and the will of God will be done.” George Sekibo The representative of Rivers East Senatorial District was in April 2003 elected into the House of Representatives to represent Okrika/Ogu-Bolo Federal Constituency. In 2007, Sekibo was again elected for a higher responsibility, to represent the Rivers East Senatorial District. The incumbent governor is not comfortable with the ambition of Sekibo to be governor since they are from the same senatorial district and the senator is close to Dame Patience Jonathan, who hails from Okrika, the headquarters of Okrika Local Government Area in Rivers state, to get the PDP’s governorship ticket, which will amount to survival of the fittest, considering Wike’s ambition of also becoming governor in 2015.. Dakuku Peterside The representative of Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, 43, hails from coastal Opobo, the headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State. Amaechi has soft spot for Peterside, who is also the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum (Downstream). Peterside, who is Rivers State’s immediate past Commissioner for Works, is loved by most stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC), considering Rivers upland/riverine dichotomy in the choice of a governor and his closeness to the helmsman. Amaechi is from the upland part of the state. Otelemaba Amachree The Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly, a Kalabari man, became the Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly in 2011 and succeeded the late Tonye Harry, also from Kalabari part of the state. The Assembly’s April 22 last year’s decision to suspend the Chairman of the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Timothy Nsirim, his deputy, Solomon Eke, and all the 17 councillors who are some of the loyalists of the minister of state for education, Chief Nyesom Wike, in government, is still being condemned by PDP leaders and other stakeholders, who accused the speaker and the pro-Amaechi lawmakers as rubber-stamp. The move by the 25 members of Rivers House of Assembly loyal to Amaechi to suspend the six lawmakers loyal to Wike, will put the speaker on the spot and he may not survive the aftermath, considering the Obuah-led PDP executive’s April 29, 2013 suspension of the pro-Amaechi lawmakers, including the speaker. Godspower Ake Ake, a former National Vice Chairman, Southsouth, of the PDP, hails from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA of Rivers state. He was removed along with members of his executive on April 15 last year, through the judgment of an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Ishaq Bello, but he expressed optimism of emerging victorious at the appellate court.

The sacked chairman said: “It is disheartening for people to build a house and turn round to destroy it. I met Go Round (Obuah) sometime in the past and he told me that Wike invited him to destroy Amaechi’s structure. “Wike is not alone in the fight against Amaechi. There are others ‘at the top’, conspiring to destroy Amaechi’s structure. The party is actually not the target, but the Rivers State Government.” The sacked Chairman of the PDP earlier in Port Harcourt received members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers state chapter, led by its Chairman, Chimbiko Iche Akarolo, who is also the Mayor of Port Harcourt City LG, who paid him solidarity visit. The Rivers ALGON chairman earlier noted that as members of the PDP, they were aware of a judgment in Ake’s favour in Rivers High Court, Okehi, Etche Local Government Area, which had not been set aside and also aware that the sacked chairman had appealed the judgment over his “purported” removal by the Abuja High Court. Felix Obuah The Chairman of the PDP in Rivers State, aka Go Round, who is a former Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA of Rivers state, was inaugurated in Abuja on April 16 last year and welcomed to Port Harcourt by a mammoth crowd on April 19, said: “I do not have any weapon to destroy any structure, built on solid rock.” The new chairman also pleaded with his teeming supporters and PDP members in Rivers state to remain calm and law-abiding. Lee Meaba Meaba, an Ogoni, until 2011, represented the Rivers Southeast Senatorial District in the National Assembly. He fell out with Amaechi, who preferred his confidant, Magnus Ngei Abe, to him during the last election and currently representing the district. The anger of being deprived representation might have made Meaba to fight Amaechi in the PDP, where he is strategising to be Rivers governor in 2015. Tele Ikuru Ikuru, an engineer, who hails from Ikuru Town in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, is Amaechi’s deputy. He has been quiet on his 2015 ambition, but he may not be ruled out of the governorship or senatorial race. He spoke with anger, while addressing the teeming supporters of Amaechi in front of the Government House, Port Harcourt. If Ikuru does not get the governorship or senatorial ticket of the PDP, as a loyal deputy, Amaechi may nominate him for ministerial or ambassadorial appointment. During elections in Rivers state, especially governorship, the upland/riverine dichotomy is always played up. The next polls may not be different. Ikuru is loyal to Amaechi and there is the likelihood of his remaining loyal to the end, having joined the Rivers governor to the APC, not minding the fact that his political father, Prince Uche Secondus, from the same Ikuru town in Andoni LGA is the Deputy national Chairman of the PDP. Last word Prominent Nigerians are, however, making moves to reconcile President Jonathan and the chairman of the NGF, to put an end to the political crisis. While strategising towards the 2015 elections, politicians and their supporters in Rivers state should sheathe their swords and give peace a chance, since without peace, there cannot be development, especially considering the deepening crisis.

How Navy rescued me, by doctor • Continued from page 29


T this point, I was not seeing anything. I was only using my brain to calculate where they are taking me to. But barely 15 minutes after my abductors zoomed off, I had them saying reverse: ‘Police! Police.’ That was how I sensed that police were after them but I didn’t know it was Navy officers. Then I had a siren; even when the gunmen entered inside the street, I also noticed because I could sense the turning of the car. A minute after the turning of the car, I heard a gunshot released by my abductors, which made the Navy officers to retaliate in a full force. There was a steady raining of bullets on the vehicle and I was still inside the car. Then, I laid flat on the vehicle and I also sensed that there is a confusion and scamper for safety by my abductors. After that, I noticed I was alone in the vehicle blindfolded. Even at that, I didn’t know what to do next but I really know they jumped out of the vehicle but I tried to be careful before stepping out of the car. “When the gunfire ceased, I came out of the car with my two hands up; it was then I found out men of the Nigerian Navy were in a convoy when my abductors ran into them. They untied me and took me to Navy Base where I was interrogated, of course, for them I was a suspect. But before they took me to Navy Base for interrogation, my

•Dr. Ela

wife has already contacted the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, my colleagues and friends in the state. So, that made the interrogation a bit easy because those contacted by my wife started calling the Navy and the police identifying me as a medical doctor before I was handed over to the police for further investigation.”

Dr. Ela said as an Adventist he would continue to serve the God for rescuing him from the hands of enemies. He added that his escaped, especially in the hand of death was demonstrated when he came out alive from a vehicle that was hit several with bullets. He also said his escape is a miracle and a way God may have decided to reward him for his contribution to humanity. Ela, who is also the founding President of Edogh Abuan Development Association, said: “I think with what has just happened to me, we will be more proactive, especially in the area, holding seminars and enlightenment programme for the youths because we cannot depend on government in everything. Something has to be done, especially in Rivers State where political crisis has made many youths to be violent-minded. The government, family and the society must contribute their own quota to minimise crime in the society. The youths are going astray and nobody is talking. Those who got the opportunity to lead us in this country must be creative to provide employment to the teeming youths of this country. The parents on their own must look after their children while they are growing up and try as much as they can to give them the basic education and I believe this will reduce crime in the society. I want to use this opportunity to thank the Navy officers for saving my life.”

‘Akwa Ibom setting pace for uninterrupted power supply’ KWA Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio is setting the pace for uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria, the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Power, Dr. Victor Udo, has said. Dr. Udo said: “His Excellency is implementing 5 key strategies to ensure steady power supply across the entire state within the shortest possible time. The strategies include steady gas supply; sufficient electricity generation, transmission capacity enhancements, optimal operation of distribution assets and the establishment of utility competency in the state.” The Senior Special Assistant, who has


over 25 years experience in the United State’s power sector, explained that “although the state government started with power generation by building Ibom Power Plant, it soon discovered that steady gas supply is needed to ensure steady generation”. He explained further that “the administration of Governor Akapbio provided enabling resources for private sector investors to establish a gas processing plant and a gas pipeline in the state, this gas infrastructure that will supply gas not only to Ibom power plant but other independent power plants and gas users within and outside the state”.

•Dr. Udo

Akwa Ibom 2015: Group writes Mu’azu on alleged imposition plan •Allegation baseless, says Akpabio’s aide


SOCIO-political group comprising members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, the Ibom Political Ground Force, has appealed to the National Chairman of the party, Adamu Muazu, to ensure that the next governor of the state emerges through democratic process. In a congratulatory letter to Mu’ázu on what it termed his “well-deserved appointment”, the group alleged that Governor Godswill Akpabio plans to foist his business ally on the PDP as it gubernatorial candidate in the 2015 elections, in spite of Mu’ázu’s repeated assurances of a level playing ground for all candidates. But an aide of the governor, who does not want his name in print, said the group was being mischievous. He said the governor has no plan to impose any candidate on the people. The letter by the General Secretary of the group, Otuekong Joseph Isonguyo, reads: “We are particularly elated about your avowed commitment to ensuring a level playing field for all aspirants, and assurances of a reign of equity, justice and fair play in the running of the party… In the past couple of months, our governor has gone from playing the major ethnic groups in the state against one another, to foisting an unknown business ally of his on the people, in preparation to imposing him as his succes-

sor in office.” While expressing confidence in the ability of the PDP National Chairman to get aggrieved members of the party to work together, the group said it was optimistic that Mu’azu would live up to the challenge of mending the broken walls of the PDP and repositioning the party ahead of the 2015 general elections, despite the time constraint. The group appealed to the PDP National Chairman to take the situation in Akwa Ibom State seriously and to pay close attention to the processes leading to the emergence of candidates for the 2015 elections. It said any attempt to impose a candidate against the wishes of the people may jeopardise the chances of the PDP in the forthcoming elections. It said: “We want to request specifically that the National Secretariat of the party should call our governor to order so as to allow the will of the people to prevail. “This step has become necessary in order not to jeopardise the bright chances of our great party. We fear that PDP members in Akwa Ibom state may be forced into working against the interest of the party in the forthcoming elections, If Governor Akpabio is allowed to go ahead with his imposition agenda.” The group assured Muazu of its support and highest regard.







My accident has united Edo, s After surviving a road accident on November 13, last year, the proprietor and chairman of Abuja-based Pace Setters Group of Schools, Kenneth Imansuangbon, was at the Rev. Felix Omobude-led New Covenant Gospel Church, Benin, Edo State for thanksgiving. The Edo Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant spoke with reporters after the service. SUNDAY OGUNTOLA was there.


ONGRATULATIONS for surviving the accident. Were there any premonitions? Yes. I knew somehow that there were evil persons who were not happy with what I was doing for the masses. I felt somehow that they were not happy with the good I am doing, like sharing rice, giving scholarships, sponsoring essay competitions, football competitions in Edo and across the country, reaching out to widows and orphans and so on. I knew that some people don't like such good things. But there are also some people that

love it. Each time I do such things, it is because of my faith in God. The background I came from is very poor. I lost my father in 1983. From that point in time, mama (my mother) toiled day and night to provide for our needs. Mama trained me with black cloth (mourning attires). I am the first of six children. My mother, Elizabeth Imansuangbon, is a wonderful woman; very resilient and courageous. When my father died, she didn't abandon us to marry another man. She was very beautiful. She stood by me. I actually benefited from the

sympathy of the public. So, that is why you see me giving. I can give my knickers, shoes and even pant and go naked without batting an eyelid. It is believed you are into all these humanitarian activities to win elections. How do you react to this? It is in my DNA to have sympathy on the poor. If they know where I am coming from, they would know that nothing can be farther from the truth. My guiding principle is that politics should have face of humanity. When I give, I give selflessly. Even when I give, I can do it in

•From left: Imansuangbon, Oshiomhole and Rev. Omobude at thé thanksgiving service

pains. There are certain things you give even when you don't have. But you're constrained to give because you could see the weakness and begging of the

people with their eyes and with their body languages. So, you're left with no option but to bend over backward to give. At times, I feel pain. It is

not easy to give. At times, I feel, this money that I am giving, would I not keep it for me children? Or why don't I use it buy big cars, expensive wrist-

Delta retirees denounce implementation of pension scheme


CORES of elderly men and women gathered in a dilapidated television viewing centre on a hot sunny day. The wooden walls of the makeshift viewing centre had fallen off in many places and one could look into the next compound. Some of them sat quietly on improvised contraptions waiting patiently for their leaders to commence the meeting, others moved around exchanging pleasantries with long lost friends, raising small dust clouds as they moved. It was a motley crowd of middle aged persons, the elderly; many who looked frail and sickly, not from age, but from a realisation of an uncertain future what with the deprivations suffered in the last few years since retirement. Behind the façade of happy faces at the reunion, fear, dejection, hopelessness and resignation lurked. Many had come in their numbers from cities across the State including Sapele, Oleh Warri ,Ughelli,OgwashiUku ,Issele-Uku , Agbor and Asaba to register their displeasure at the uncertain future foisted on them as a result of the poor implementation of the new contributory pension scheme . These retirees who having invested their youthful lives in the service of the State and now retired are unsure of the future as sickness and disease continue to decimate their ranks. In an interview with NDR, Joseph Okproma, Secretary, Association of Contributory Retirees of Delta State, painted a gloomy picture of the plight of retirees. Okproma stressed that many marriages have become strained due to the inability of the breadwinner to provide for the basic necessities of life. His words, “It is painful that this scheme that is expected to be good as purported has turned out what it is now in Delta State. The retirees under this contributory pension scheme are passing through hardship; some are facing health challenges. Their marriages are broken, children are

Okungbowa Aiwerie,Asaba

out of school. Some that have not been able to build a home are being harassed by landlord and have health problems such as hypertension.” Continuing, “The problem retirees are facing is that their benefits is delayed .By the programme when you retire not more than six months we ought to get our benefits six months after retirement, but retirees wait for three years without payment. For me I got my retirement benefit two and a half years after. I retired 2011, I got my benefits in 2013.You can image the stress. A young man can withstand the stress but what about those who are advanced in age. Delay is one of our major problems with the contributory pension scheme. The scribe said his members yearn for a return to the 300% gratuity and 80% monthly pension of the pay-asyou-go scheme which was agreed upon during their entry into public service. He described the new contributory pension scheme as “disadvantageous” to their members, adding that it offers only a “paltry 25% lump sum and poor monthly pension”. Okproma accused government of using the 2008 salary structure to calculate workers terminal benefits while majority were still in service up to their respective dates of retirement. “Secondly, instead of using 2010 salary structure to calculate the benefits of people who are still in service, government used 2008 salary structure to calculate their benefits. The retirees enjoyed 2010 salary structure when they were in service before they retired so what justification does government have to calculate their retirement benefits using the 2008 salary structure? Delta State government should correct that error for us. The law says that at the point of retirement the retiree’s benefits should be calculated” he added. He urged Governor Uduaghan to ensure that ordinary civil servants

retire with their correct entitlements just as he ensured judges and permanent secretaries in the public service retire with their full salaries for life. According to him many retirees have endured untold hardship as a result of delays in implementing the scheme, adding that over ten persons have lost their lives while waiting for their retirement benefits to be paid. His words: “We have lost over ten persons to this problem which we are faced with.” But Chairman, Bureau for State Pensions, Mrs. Christiana Siakpere admitted that the new contributory pension scheme has been fraught with difficulties, blaming teething problems associated with the new

•Mrs. Siakpere


scheme as responsible Her words: “Delta State is the best when pension matters are discussed in Nigeria. Delta has performed mar-

velously well even before the new contributory pension scheme. But a new thing for what it is we may not have gotten all correctly because this

Undergraduate employs graduates in dance academy


WENTY-two years old Marie Bassey is a student of the University of Benin where she is studying Industrial Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she has already employed two graduates in a dance academy she founded three years ago. The dance academy known as Marie Dance Academy is located within the premises of the Church of God Mission founded by late Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa. Two winners of the Nigeria Got Talents show, little Amarachi and robotic dancing sensation, the Robots for Christ were tutored at the academy. Marie’s love for dancing began at age seven when she joined other kids to dance in the church which later helped to develop her dancing skills. She told reporters in Benin City that she started the academy with N80,000 proceeds she realised from the sale of birds she reared. She said her parents initially kicked against her decision to take to dancing as a career but started supporting her when she was able to blend her studies with dancing. “I am an only child and it is difficult

From Osagie Otabor, Benin when your parents expect so much and you tell them you want to dance. I told my father I love dancing but he did’nt approve of it. It was my mum that was always sneaking me out of the house and encouraged me to dance. I made sure I stuck a balance between dancing and my books. When he saw my grades improved, that was when he started supporting me. It wss when Amarachi won the first N10 million and I told him this was what came out from dancing and he was like ‘you should dance more’. After Robot for Christ won recently, he has been calling on me to dance more. When I sold the birds, I just started. I didn’t know what I was doing but at the end, it made sense. “I opened as a result of the help I got from the Bishop. I talked to him about my passion for dancing and how I love to train kids and teenagers. He encouraged me to do that. I found this space that was empty. I removed all the trash and fixed the studio as a dance studio. Winners of Nigeria Got Talent show in 2012 and 2014 are from this academy which is why I want

• Miss Bassey people to know about the achievements of the academy and also encourage younger generation to take to dancing as a career. Dancing is a huge investment waiting to be harnessed.” The duo of Robot for Christ, Etiosa Ewere and Efe Nosa, both students of the Benson Idahosa University said their lives have changed since they won the N10 million prize money of the show.




says Imansuangbon ‘

I must say that as a result of the accident, two things have happened. I have taken two decisions. As a result of this accident, I would hold on to God the more, serve Him better than ever, serve the community and the people

watches and to build a big house? This house I live in (in Benin) is a rented apartment. What are the lessons you have learnt from that accident?

That life is a vanity. It's like a vapour. November 14, I would have died were it not for the mercies of God. Life is very frail and temporal. On November 13, I was coming from Akure where I went for the burial of my very good friend, Deji Falae. Deji had died. Back home, I was almost gone. But the finger of God stopped death and Satan and gave me life. God said, 'No, touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.' That was what saved me. I must say that as a result of the accident, two things have happened. I have taken two decisions. As a result of this accident, I would hold on to God the more, serve Him better than ever, serve the community and the people. I will serve Edo people, serve Nigeria and serve the world. Let me also add that the accident has brought unity to the state. It has synergised PDP and APC. And because of that safety, Edo people are together now. The safety God granted me has bonded the two dominant political parties (APC and

PDP) in the state. The governor and I are friends now. We're brothers. Everybody is one now. The accident that almost claimed my life has unified Edo people. What makes Edo strong is not PDP. What makes Edo strong is not APC. What makes Edo strong is not the rich oil or vegetation in the state. What makes Edo strong is the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of unity, the spirit that I can criticise the Comrade Governor, and the next day, he can come to my thanksgiving. That's love. You rose from rag to riches from grass to grace. What was the turning point? From Ewohinmi, my mother would come to Benin when I was in ICE, wearing black clothes. I am sorry to say this but parts of our culture are unfriendly and unkind to woman. If a woman loses her spouse, for three years, she is made to wear black clothes. She would come to Benin with her black clothes to give me foodstuff and other necessities. For me, I knew that the only

way was to succeed. I would tell her, 'Mama, don't worry. If it pleases the God Almighty, the end would justify the means.' In all, today, I am grateful to God and to my mother. Also, I have a very great wife, Kate. She is like a bulwark. She is my brain. God gave me a good partner. Whatever I am today, she is very instrumental to it. And she is a God-fearing woman. Is it true you weep anytime you travel overseas? The first time I got to the US, I was crying. I wept. The American Customs office asked why I was crying. I told him I was crying because I didn't know why my country was not like this. Where did we miss it as a people? That was actually what triggered my interest in politics. That was the reason I said no matter the hazards in politics, some of us are ready to live and die for what we believe in to make a change in our country. This change is coming. This change will come. This change is here.

Even in Abuja, Mbu continues battle with Amaechi


HE ex-Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu, in spite of his transfer to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja as commissioner, is still unsparing in his attack of Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the Rivers Government. Till Mbu’s redeployment, Amaechi, maintained that the Cross River State-born police officer is a politician and cardcarrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), thereby taking sides. In an interview in Abuja, the controversial police commissioner declared that the officials of the Rivers government were hiding in vehicles with tinted glasses to perpetrate criminal activities. Mbu insisted that he remained a professional police officer, not a politician and not taking sides, while describing Amaechi as a tyrant and a dictator, who wanted him to be his errand boy. The Rivers government, however, described the ex-Rivers commissioner of police as a tout, who would fail psychiatric evaluation. By moving Mbu out of Rivers, it was alleged by the Amaechi’s administration that his ego had been battered and now looking for how to amend it. The Rivers government, through the Commissioner for Land and Survey, Ezemonye Ezekiel-Amadi, stated in Port Harcourt that the ex-Rivers police commissioner ignored professionalism and acted like a politician, while in Rivers state. Ezekiel-Amadi, who is an ally of the NGF chairman, declared that Mbu must be sick, for stating that officials of the Rivers government were hiding in vehicles with tinted glasses to perpetrate criminal activities. The land and survey commissioner said: “If I describe him (Mbu) as a lunatic, then I am definitely describing who a lunatic should be. Here is a man,

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

who 13,000 newly-recruited teachers had gone to collect their letters of engagement and he went there and shot teargas canisters at them. “Here is a man who claimed that he is a professional and that he has the powers to either grant approval for rallies under the Public Order Act. He claimed he had such powers, he did not know that Justice Anuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, upheld by the Court of Appeal, had nullified the Public Order Act. He did not know and he said he was a professional. “Here is a man who, while he was here (Rivers State), hardly paraded any criminal arrested by him. While he was here, he did not do his work as a Commissioner of Police. He made himself the Chief Security Officer of Nyesom Wike (the Supervising Minister of Education). “Mbu was following Wike about and yet he said he is a professional. Go to Oyo State and find out how Mbu did his work and you will know that the man definitely needs some psychiatric attention. If he goes for a psychiatric evaluation, he will fail. I challenge Mbu to submit himself for psychiatric evaluation and let us see if he will not fail.” Ezekiel-Amadi also stated that shortly before Mbu left Rivers state for Abuja, he (land and survey commissioner) recently visited the site of the Lister Housing Development in Trans-Amadi Industrial layout, Port Harcourt and he went on air to draw attention to the giant strides the Amaechi’s administration was making in the housing sector. He noted that two days after he left the site, Mbu sent policemen, who went there and arrested everyone and also withdrew the security personnel on duty, while ordering that



Ezekiel-Amadi be picked and locked up, but he travelled. The land and survey commissioner stressed that his crime was that he visited a site where a government project was ongoing on, wondering if such a police commissioner was stable. Ezekiel-Amadi, who is also a lawyer, said: “I challenge Mbu to show Rivers people the JTFarrested men, who were armed and who claimed that they were working for some politicians in the state. How far has the matter gone? And he goes on air to go and say agents of government drive tinted vehicles. “In Rivers State under Mbu, between 2013 and 2014, policing in the state was all about tinted glasses and revolving light, and you call that policing. “We were all in this state when other Commissioners of Police were here. There was Felix Ogbaudu, there was Bala Hassan, there was Mohammed Indabawa; there was Suleiman Abba. They were all here; they can be interviewed, to verify the claims by Mbu and about the state he met the Nigeria Police Force in Rivers State. “There was no time we had the kind of trouble we had in this place under Mbu. Unknown to him, some of the people he thought he was working for have expressed

embarrassment and frustration about his activities. “How do you explain a Commissioner of Police who orders teargas canisters to be shot into the Government House, Port Harcourt? I was a victim and you call that man a Commissioner of Police. It is a good thing that Mbu has been redeployed. It is a good riddance to bad rubbish. “I am advising Nyesom Wike, if he is employing Mbu as a security man, he should be careful, because he is not stable. He has been under the enunciation that he is going to be appointed an Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and that is why he had to do what he did in Rivers State. Which person will appoint Mbu an IGP? “Mbu came to Rivers State with a script, an assignment. Can you not see that he failed in his assignment? He bungled it, because he does not have the brain to put together an action plan. So, can those people who sent him look at him again and give him a higher assignment? Yet, he said he is a professional. Mbu is a tout.” The Rivers Land and Survey Commissioner also described Mbu’s successor, Tunde Ogunsakin, as a professional police officer, with what he had exhibited since he resumed in Rivers State.

A different kind of governor's wife By Aniekan Umanah

• Mrs. Akpabio


HE world is full of heroes and heroines; it is full of people of courage and character. Those who do great things that have significance and salutary impact on the lives of a large number of people are hoisted on the shoulder like a flag on the totem pole. They are held up as a symbol of pride, a symbol of accomplishment, an example worthy of emulation. But heroism doesn't come easy. It is the by-product of commitment to a goal, a cause, an idea, and an ideal that is accepted by those who celebrate the hero or heroine as worthy. This aptly captures the reality of Mrs Ekaette Unoma Godswill Akpabio's award as Nigeria's Most Supportive First Lady 2013 by The Sun. It was Vince Lombardi, a great American football coach who said, "Winning should not be a sometime thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while. You do them right all the time. It should be a habit." This is Mrs Akpabio's enduring motto and philosophy in life which marks her out for distinction. She has sustained the culture of doing good all the days of her life, and qualifies her as an authentic resident in the gilded pantheon of heroines. Evidently, Ekaette Unoma is a pathfinder. She is extravagant with her show of kindness and compassion to the needy, the less-privileged and other disadvantaged in the society especially women and children. This is her course work in her chosen school of touching lives, through her pet project, Family Life Enhancement Initiative. Indeed, with her passion and sheer commitment to the betterment of the society, she deserves more than a footnote in history; she deserves a glittering chapter in the book of posterity. In the beginning, when she came on board as the ninth First Lady of Akwa Ibom State, multifaceted challenges stared her in the face, and she looked at most of them as surmountable. Then she put on her work tools and benched the status quo. Eka Esit Mbom left the beaten path of retrogressive and myopic sentiments, and carved fresh and tiled path to the den of love, compassion and selfless service. She came and met a role wandering aimlessly in search of a heroin; she put on the costume, perfected the lines and gave life to that role for the benefit of Akwa Ibom people. She hates seeing the pool of human kindness being stagnant, so she throws her pebble of kindness inside, and makes waves of better life out of it, affecting many lives and touching many heartstrings. The poorest of the poor look up to her and change occurs. She towers as their symbol of un-

dying hope. Mrs Akpabio has beautifully pitched her tent on the side of the needy and vulnerable groups in the society. Over the years, she has built over 100 houses, furnished and donated them to the poor widows across the 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State. She has also supported more than 1,500 families with business skills, equipment and financial grants. Her tap of compassion never runs dry; it keeps gushing out milk of human kindness to waiting beneficiaries. The Lord that widens her load never ever jerks in strengthening her back to carry even more loads. Mrs Akpabio believes that the highest reward that God gives us for good work is the ability to do better work. A devout Christian of Catholic faith, Ekaette Unoma's better works are the best for humanity; a shinning example for Christianity. She has pumped life to overflowing to the dying hope of the hopeless. Mma cries when they cry and laughs when they laugh. Such is the portrait of the Lady with the lamp. It is therefore, not out of place for her to be singled out for the prestigious award of the Most Supportive First Lady 2013 by The Sun. Her light on the path of humanity has shone to the justifiable admiration of The Sun. It takes brightness to spot brightness. According to the coordinator of Family Life Enhancement Initiative, Mrs Asuama Sidney, doing good is Mrs Akpabio's life style. It is extremely impossible to separate her from lifting people up. She says the Governor's wife is inextricably linked to service to God and humanity and she is almost identifiable with that. This would be the song on every Akwa Ibom woman's lip as Mrs Akpabio has ensured that they are adequately and enormously rewarded in appointive and elective positions - deputy governor, State Chief Judge, Head of Civil Service, Commissioners, Federal and State Legislators, Minister, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of boards ad parastatals, Council Chairmen, etc. No doubt, the Governor takes credit but these goals have been scored by his administration because of the unique role of the supportive midfielder first Lady, Mkpouto Akwa Ibom. This Sun's award is not the first for the Mother Teresa though it can be described as a towering feat. In Mma's gallery of awards and honours, are highly rated ornaments. They include certificate of US Congressional Recognition for her humanitarian work, 2011; Patron, Widows Right Advocacy Network; Grand Patron, Anti-Child Trafficking Club; Patron, Akwa Ibom State Joint Association for the Handicapped; International Women Achievers Award, Ontario, Canada 2011; Mother of Mercy and Pearl of Kindness by Anglican Communion of all Saints, 2012; Lady Susana Wesley Award 2012 by Methodist Church Nigeria; Akwa Ibom Woman of the Year 2009 and only recently Most Valuable Governor's wife 2013/2014 award by an Abuja-based NonGovernmental Organisation. •Umanah is Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information.





DO State, where Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, is governor today reminds me of Mr. S.A. Bodunrin, my good teacher and headteacher at the Ansar Ud' Deen Grammar School, IsagaOrile, near Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. To Bodunrin, I largely owe my understanding of English language, especially the written part of it. He was a good teacher, who never taught us nonsense. He obeyed the call of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and only taught us sense throughout his period with us. Many teachers, however, teach their pupils and students nonsense. It is in order to guide against this that Oshiomhole decided that teachers should write a test to determine their competence to impart knowledge. The Edo governor did not just wake up and decide that teachers should be tested. Sometimes last year he had a shocking experience with a teacher who could not read. The governor could not hide his disdain. It was headline news in the newspapers the following morning. The teacher in question presented two affidavits. One shows that she was born in 1954. The other shows she was born in 1964. What this means is that she is trying to reduce her age by ten years. And to add salt to injury, she does not even have anything in her brains to impart on the students. There are many of such teachers in Edo and elsewhere in the country. The Edo scenario is a complicated one. The test which Oshiomhole decided that teachers should take has created a gulf between him and the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), who have continued to argue that the government was only out to embarrass teachers. Already, the state government has withheld the salaries of 920 teachers as a result of the dispute over the test. The government said they have not been sacked, but their salaries have been withheld so as to determine those with forged documents through a competency test. The government, I understand, had a meeting with stakeholders in the education sector on Tuesday to iron out the grey areas. At the meeting, it was decided that an assessment test and not a competency test should be taken by teachers. Teachers shunned this meeting, which lasted some four hours. Their excuse is that the government is out to embarrass them through the test. Oshiomhole had four times met with the NUT leadership. On each of the meetings it appeared headway had been made, but in the long run, something else cropped up and it is back to ground zero. From all indications, the government is unwilling to back down. As a matter of fact, it has set up a panel headed by a former Vice-Chancellor of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, to oversee the test. The governor says the whole fight is about


ABOVE WHISPERS •A weekly intervention on Southsouth matters

Teacher, no nonsense

Teaching nonsense breeds armed robbers. It breeds kidnappers; it breeds forgers; it breeds assassins; it breeds oil thieves... At this stage of our nation, when we have enough criminallyminded individuals to contain, we must do all within our powers to stop more people from being recruited into the unenviable community. We have enough armed robbers already; the population of oil thieves is overwhelming; and the army of assassins is too much for comfort •Oshiomhole

replacing what is bad with what is good. So, is the NUT supporting what is bad over what is good? My problem with the NUT is that it is always quick to assume that any attempt by



A I am advising Nyesom Wike, if he is employing Mbu as a security man, he should be careful, because he is not stable. He has been under the enunciation that he is going to be appointed an Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and that is why he had to do what he did in Rivers State. Which person will appoint Mbu an IGP? __

Rivers State Commissioner for Land Ezemonye Ezekiel-Amadi

government to test the competency of teachers is aimed at reducing the workforce. For me, if after the test, a teacher is discovered to be incapable of imparting knowledge, he or she deserves to be shown the way out of the service. And if a teacher is discovered to

S time ticks for the 7th Assembly, a bill before it, which will have direct impact on the people of the Niger Delta, is not getting the attention it deserves. The bill is known as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The bill has popular support, not only among civil society groups, but oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta, which have for decades borne the weight of degradation. The Environmental Rights Action (ERA) sees “some of the provisions of the PIB as a conflict resolution mechanism to the decades of violent conflicts, and the restoration of transparency and accountability in the petroleum sector in Nigeria”. It thus during the week urged the National Assembly to act quickly, adding that “ a PIB that will enjoy our acceptability and support will be that which will among others strengthen Nigeria’s sovereignty by investing the ownership of the petroleum resources in the Nigerian nation rather than the federal government of Nigeria.” It recommended that the Bill should strengthen the transparency and accountability drive by the removal of non disclosure clauses from the bill in line with the EITI principles; ensure the inclusion of communities interests in the petroleum sector, by allowing communities through Community Foundations to manage the 10 per cent equities being devolved to them and not to be swallowed up

have forged a certificate or a birth certificate so as to gain undue advantage, he or she should not just be shown out of service, the police should be involved. After all, forgery of any sort is a criminal offence. Some of us who are fond of our teachers have justifiable reasons for doing us. Of all my teachers, Bodunrin remains the one that left unforgettable impression on me. I remember when he was brought in as the Principal when I was rounding up SS1 and I wrote an essay for him to assess, I got minus four after he finished marking it for mechanical accuracy. I could not believe it because I thought I understood English. He took his time to mentor me and by the time we were about writing the terminal examination, I was getting six of the ten marks allotted to mechanical accuracy. He was so fond of me and I was like his secretary, taking notes any time he had a speech to deliver somewhere and that helped me greatly. My plea to Edo teachers is that they should take the test and prove that they are competent. If they avoid the test and the incompetent ones remain within the system, it is the society that will eventually suffer for it and there will be no Bodunrin among them for anyone to refer to in the future. Teachers, for their students, should be role models. A teacher, whose students are not proud while in school and, most especially, after school is a failure. It means he or she failed in character and impartation of knowledge. Knowledge is power and if a teacher is unable to empower his or her students or pupils through this means, then shame to him or her. I will also appeal to Oshiomhole to put in place mechanism to ensure that the process is transparent. There should be no room for anyone to manipulate the system and claim that a teacher who excels is denied his or her rights, while those who fail are left in the system to continue to teach nonsense. Teaching nonsense breeds armed robbers. It breeds kidnappers; it breeds forgers; it breeds assassins; it breeds oil thieves; it really breeds nothing good. At this stage of our nation, when we have enough criminallyminded individuals to contain, we must do all within our powers to stop more people from being recruited into the unenviable community. I dare say we have enough armed robbers already; the population of oil thieves is overwhelming; the assemblage of kidnappers is mind-boggling; and the army of assassins is too much for comfort. So, what we needs are troops of intellectuals who are out for nothing but the good of the society. Having competent teachers, who will not teach nonsense, will go a long way in assisting us do this. I rest my case.

•Last Word is Niger Delta Report’s verdict on Southsouth affairs

PIB...Now, not later, please! by administrative process under the petroleum Minister; ensure inclusion of provisions for the protection, conservation, and clean up and remediation; ensure the inclusion in the bill of adequate compensatory mechanisms for victims of the negative impacts of the operations in the sector; and ensure immediate end to gas flaring. These are issues that are very dear to the heart of an average resident of oil-bearing communities. Other issues, which ERA raised, include: That Section 2 of the PIB 2012 be amended by deleting the phrase “is vested in the government of the federation” at the end of the paragraph and insert in its place the phrase “is vested in the People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Section 2 should now read “the entire property and control of all petroleum in, under or upon any lands within Nigeria, its territorial waters, or which forms part of its continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone, is vested in the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that a new S.2 (1) should be added that vests management and administration o f petroleum resources on the government of the federation; that S.191 of the draft PIB be expunged, especially as it weakens the clear

provisions of Section 190 (1) and (2), which provides for award of oil blocks by o p e n , transparent and competitive bidding processes; that S190 (3) be amended by deleting the Phrase “except as provided under section 191 of this Act. S.190 (3) should now read “There shall be no grant of discretionary awards.”; that the powers of the Minister in Section 6 of the bill be properly scrutinised and that S.6 (k) be expunged in its entirety; that Sections 33, 63, 92 and 139, which entitles the institutions created by the PIB to accept gifts be expunged; that the PIB should make provisions that all information will be publicly available unless there exists a legitimate reason for nondisclosure, such as commercial sensitivity, security-related issues or other wellestablished and reasonable grounds for nondisclosure; that all social and environmental impact assessments be made public, available and accessible as should studies that are conducted in the course of carrying out Social and Environmental Impact Assessments, and studies relied upon for such assessments; and many others. The legislators will be writing their names in gold by hearkening to these calls. They will be glad they do and joy will envelope the Niger Delta.






07035302326 Website:-

Connecting with shoppers goes beyond the sales-point care offer. That is why merchants keep providing purchase-driven loyalty promotions for customers. They say it is their strategy to improve on sales and keep customers. TONIA ‘DIYAN reports

‘Retail loyalty strategy as tool for patronage’ “W

HO says a loyalty programme is not one of the many ways of boosting sales? As a matter of fact, it is the strongest tool for making huge sales. Loyal customers will just keep coming.” These were the words of Sander Norman, centre manager at a Lagos mall. Merchants in the metropolis have established some reward programmes, which they say drive patronage. The outgoing Broll Nigeria head, Mrs Gbadebo Erejuwa, in an interview, spoke of how savvy retailers are defining innovative ways to achieve the benefits most important to their customers. She said: “While the concept of loyalty is nothing new, we are seeing a significant surge in retailers; particularly those in Lagos investing in loyalty programmes that give them valuable insight into how to better meet customer needs.” Loyalty programmes (defined as marketing programmes that reward customers with purchase incentives) aren’t just in good supply in major shopping places presently, but are also in high demand by consumers who want to be rewarded for being loyal to particular shops and brands. Most shopping places in Lagos have now imbibed the trend and have kept it going since its inception in the country. They are aware that if customers are rewarded, they will visit again and again. When The Nation Shopping spoke with some shoppers, 59 per cent claimed that retailer loyalty programmes are offered where they shop and that they are pleased with the development. They pledged their continued patronage to retailers that offer loyalty programmes. Mr Kenmeth Akunma is an accountant with a firm in Apapa. He said he has been rewarded twice by The Palms mall in Lekki Lagos. “I live in Lekki and often visit The Palms. Early this month; I participated in a promo organised by the mall. I was asked to write my details behind my receipt after

• Anyanwu and Sander

making purchases. I did; dropped it in a box positioned inside the mall. I received a text message last week, saying I am one of the lucky winners. I went home with a cash prize of $1,500 and a gift voucher which I used within the mall. The second time was shortly after the mall was opened in 2008. It is an encouraging development” he said. Imagine a shopping experience that rewards people with a candle light dinner for two (winner + spouse). That was what it was for 10 people who won a romantic dinner in this year’s Ikeja City Mall Shopaholic promotion. It was a consumer-led promotion which ran for a month with the simplest of participatory mechanics. Also, when the mall

had its one month shoppers’ promo in October last year, winners went home with cash prizes and shopping vouchers. The grand prize was $1,000 worth of shopping voucher and an all-expense paid trip to Obudu cattle ranch for a couple; second prize was $900 shopping voucher and the third, $600 shopping voucher. The promotion was for shoppers who bought a minimum of N25,000 worth of items in any of the stores in the mall. Mr Emmanuel Fariogun, the Outdoor Marketing Manager, Harmingham Safari, who sponsored the promo, said the reward system was use to give back to loyal customers. “Apart from giving back to loyal customers; a reward sys-

tem is used to boost sales” he said. In February last year, Shoppers were also given N100,000 in the Scavenger Hunt promo in the mall. A Lagos-based marketer, Mr. Anyanwu Collins, won the N100,000 and other gifts. To enter for the promo, customers wrote their names and phone numbers behind their receipts and dropped them in designated boxes placed around the mall. At the end, winners emerged after a draw. The grand prize winner Anyanwu said: “I have N100,000 to spend just for shopping at the Ikeja City Mall. I’m so grateful.” Other comtestants went home with N15,000 each, branded items and gift certificates from all the participating stores. Before leaving the mall the day he was presented with his gifts, Anyanwu was spotted shopping at the LG Shop for a big screen TV and a car stereo. The history of retail loyalty programmes dates back to 1930 with Raleigh cigarette coupons and S&H Green Stamps, according to the book, History of Loyalty Programs. In the book, S&H Green Stamps were most popular in the United States between the 1930s and 1970s. Then, shoppers would receive stamps from cashiers at supermarkets, gas stations, and other retail locations. They were also collected from books. After stamps were collected they were redeemed for merchandise from local Green Stamps stores or the S&H Idea Book catalogue. Also in 1981, American Airlines introduced the first FFP (frequent flyer program). The goal was to retain American Airline’s most frequent customers by rewarding them for their loyalty. Hotels began to partner with frequent flyer programs after they realised their potential. They started establishing their own frequent reward programs too. In 1987, the National Rental Car also introduced the first car-rental program in the US called the Emerald Club. This exposed car rentals companies to such programs through partnership with airlines.

Shoppers speak on Hollandia Yoghurt Refresh ‘n’ Win Promo


CROSS section of satisfied consumers have expressed their views on the ongoing Hollandia Yoghurt Refresh ‘n’ Win Promo. They said the gifts attached to the promo are bonus on the tasty nourishment that they get from the products which refreshes them. Unable to hide her excitement, one of the lucky winners of an ipad, Pius Joy from Enugu, shares the story of how she

won: ‘I have always loved the unique taste of Hollandia Yoghurt. When I saw the promo advertised on TV, I said maybe this is my time. So I started scratching and texting. When I was invited for the draws, I didn’t believe that I will win but I still came. So, when I was announced as one of the winners of an ipads. I was really shocked” For Mr. Doyinsola, a winner from Abuja who went home with a smartphone in the second week of the promo, said the gift has

endeared him more to Hollandia yoghurt drink. “I was pleasantly surprised when I received a call from the company’s representative to come and collect the prize after I sent in my entry. At first, I thought it was a joke but after receiving the smartphone, I can only say that people should go out and buy more Hollandia Yoghurt so that they can also win prizes.” Also, Kalagbor Ruhoma from Rivers says that now that she has won, she would not stop drinking Hollandia Yoghurt. “I used to drink Hollandia Yoghurt once in a while but now that I have won an ipad, I will drink more and more Hollandia Yoghurt until I win a trip to London. I have always dreamt of travelling to London” Since December last year till date, the Hollandia Yoghurt Refresh ‘n’ Win Promo has recorded tremendous participation from all parts of the country with thousands of entries sent in every day. It is noted that its consumers have started winning instant airtime recharge from major telecommunications service providers and prizes including iPads, iPhone smart phones in weekly e –draws. The Managing Director, Chi Limited, Mr. Deepanjan Roy says “ the promo was conceived to reward the ever growing population of consumers across Nigeria that has made Hollandia Yoghurt their number one drink”. Talking on how to qualify for the promo, Deepanjan said: More consumers are urged to participate in the promo by buying two 1-litre packs of Hollandia Yoghurt in any variant of Strawberry, Plain Sweetened or Pineapple Coconut to get one scratch card at the point of purchase. Alternatively, the

consumer can buy two 500ml packs of Hollandia Yoghurt in any variant to get the scratch card at the point of purchase, then scratch the foil on the card to reveal a unique code. People can participate as many times as possible. People can also visit the Hollandia Yoghurt Face book page to monitor progress on the promo and leave messages to enable the company provide prompt response. A grand prize of a trip to London or Paris would be announced at the would be announced at the end of the promotion. The company representative also communicated that no money has to be paid to anybody to claim prizes so far and that consumers should not to be trapped in such problem when they would believe any text or call asking for money. The product is available in supermarkets, shops and markets all over Nigeria. Winners in the ongoing Hollandia Yoghurt Refresh ‘n’ Win Promotion have applauded Chi Limited, maker of the yoghurt drink, for keeping to its promise of rewarding consumers who participate in the promo with various mouth-watering prizes worth millions of Naira. Therefore, to promote and deepen the market penetration of Hollandia Yoghurt across the country while also creating awareness for the brand’s value propositions, the promo which started in December 2013, and will end on 28 February 2014 is still on going and it is open to all citizens. Everyone living in Nigeria is qualified to win and every loyal consumer of Hollandia Yoghurt is entitled to participate.




Niche marketing trends among SMEs in Nigeria A NICHE market defines the product features aimed at satisfying specific target audience. It is the act of segmenting the market for a specific product and marketing intently to a small subset of the market. Small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria have resorted to niche marketing to provide a product or service that focuses on specific clients’ needs. Managing Director of an online marketplace, Massimiliano Spalazzi, has expounded on the concept of niche marketing and how it affects SMEs in Nigeria. Kaymu is a safe online market place where buyers and sellers meet and make the best deals for used or new products, such as smart phones, computers, home appliances fashion and clothing, at the cheapest price thanks to the fixed or auction pricing system. According to Spalazzi, niche marketing provides an attractive opportunity for small and medium scale enterprises to compete against the scale economies that mass marketing competitors achieve. As opposed to mass marketing, niche marketing encourages business owners to stake out unique market spots, especially online. Niche markets consist of groups of customers who have a similar demographic, buying behaviour and lifestyle characteristics. Understanding target customer segments is a crucial factor in determining whether an operation has the resources, interest and business elements necessary to meet the needs of the prospective consumers. “It is no doubt the internet is here to stay and has brought with it amazing opportunities like marketing a niche product to a wider audience. Small scale business owners on are using the online market place and leveraging online platforms to grab the attention of their target audience, and obtain a wider audience reach while taking full advantages of the marketing opportunities provided by the online marketplace”, Spalazzi stated. Many Nigerians appreciate the conven-

• Spalazzi By Tonia ‘Diyan

ience and speed of online shopping and SMEs who operate niche markets use online marketplace to grow the size and reach of their operations. ”Shopping has never been simpler as individuals who seek a specific niche product can search for variety on the Kaymu platform at the click of a button. Some examples of fast selling niche products on are weight-loss products, fish food and natural

health products”, he added. Specialising in niche marketing allows SMEs enjoy a competitive advantage over mass marketers at the online marketplace. This is because online shoppers shop majorly by category. A niche marketer with a shop on Kaymu is identified by the buyer when the result of their filtered search comes up. In addition, offering an innovative product provides the ‘all-in-one’ solution to meeting client’s demands that mass marketers who offer larger selections lack.

Protest over closure of drug market From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha


HAIRMAN, Onitsha Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers Union, otherwise known as BridgeHead Drug Market, Hon. Ugochukwu Nwosu, has warned the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to stop inciting the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) against traders in the market. Nwosu spoke to the reporters on the threat by the Minister to relocate the market to a private site owned by an Onitsha-based business man. He claimed the traders had complied with NAFDAC seminars and workshops in which between N1,000 and N2,500 each was charged the over 7,000 traders in the market. He alleged that pharmacists were asking for a pound of flesh from the traders. He wondered why the pharmacists wanted to take over the sale of drugs from importers, after which returns would be made to owners. Nwosu described the proposal as “monkey de work, baboon de chop” and urged the Federal Government and goodspirited individuals to look into their plight as the attitude of the minister has turned into “witch–hunting.” NAFDAC had threatened to relocate the traders to a drug centre on the Onitsha / Asaba Express Way. Its former chief, Prof Dora Akunyili closed the market for months before the intervention of Governor Peter Obi when the traders pledged to meet the standards set by NAFDAC, which included fencing of the market with only two entry and exit points, well equipped office for NAFDAC and police officials, grouping of the market into four zones with a supervising pharmacist for each zone, uninterrupted power and water supply and provision of fire fighting facilities, among others. The leadership was on that before the threat by Chukwu, to relocate the market to another place, described by the traders as “unconducive and too small for over 7,000 traders of the market.”

Online shopping owners, tech people bond By Lukas Ajanaku


• From left: Store Manager, Swatch office, Abuja, Mr. Temitope Jegede; Marketing and. Communication Manager, Smartmark Limited, Mr. Segun Ogunleye; Nollywood actor Aremu Afolayan and Brand Manager, Swatch Nigeria, Mr. Martin Osime, at the launch of Swatch products, in Abuja.

Swatch unveils new wrist watch in Abuja


HE Swatch Group has launched its latest 2014 swatch collection called the Swatch Valentine watch. It was presented to some of its premium customers, including one of the front runners of the Yoruba movie industry, Aremu Afolayan. The Swatch group is a manufacturer of finished jewelry, watches and watch movements and components and has been in Nigeria for the past 16 years. Speaking at the Ceddi Plaza in Abuja, the Brand Manager, Martin Osime, described the brand as sweet Valentine, saying the reason was because the brand came with some peculiar features in it.

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

“The first one is the colour red which depicts love, typical for Valentine. And if you look inward, the watch has a hard shape which depicts candy. Candy on its own when put in the mouth depicts sweetness,” Osime said He said the brand is limited in supply at the moment. “We just want to unveil it for the first time in Nigeria, Ghana and possibly the whole of West Africa,” he explained. Afolayan expressed joy over the ideal of unveiling the new Swatch, saying Swatch remains his number one brand. Admiring

the new watch and even promising getting one for his wife, Afolayan said: “Personally, there is no partiality here. I love Swatch and I am a friend of the family here at Ceddi Plaza, so when I was called for this unveiling, I was so happy, even without nothing, I can always come and make sure that everything is done perfectly. For the new one, it is very lovely for the ladies. I am sure I am going to get one for my wife.” Another customer, Hon. Atu Osamwonye, commend the group for its uniqueness, saying: “I have been using Swatch Wristwatch for a while including all my children.”

N online platform owned by Red Media, Y!/, in collaboration with one of the leading online destinations for premium African business, entertainment and travel content has hosted 100 of the most innovative people in the tech world. Tagged ‘#YTech100, the event was attended by Nigeria’s Konga’s Sim Shagaya, iROKO’s Bastian Gotter, Google’s Juliet Ehimuan, Gbenga Sesan of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, among others. Speaking at the forum, which focused on technopreneurship among young Africans, Jadesola Osiberu of Ndani TV said with start up businesses in mobile and online payments, e-commerce as well as online content distribution, the tech industry has received over $100 million in investment from local and foreign investors and is shaping up to be a key contributor to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) over the next 10 years. Osiberu said: “Consequently, Ndani TV and Y!/ agreed on the imperative to engage the key players and leaders of this emerging industry and facilitate discuss that will drive growth and synergy. “It’s very hard to overstate the impact that digital has on our lives at the moment,” Sim Shagaya, chief executive of Konga and DealDey said on the panel discussing ‘Nigeria’s Tech Space: Ecosystem or Bubble?’ Speaking on the occasion, founder, Open Africa, Emeka Okoye, said: “There is a real thirst for knowledge in Nigeria and so we need to invest in our mind economy. “To be a tech entrepreneur you must be willing to make sacrifices, because the technology industry is presently at its lowest ebb” The networking event saw the 100 Tech honourees presented with certificates of recognition, Managing Partner of RED and founder, Y!,, Chude Jideonwo said: “You guys - developers, entrepreneurs, storytellers, funders, designers - you guys are the standard bearers for this new reality.”







‘Reforms ’ll attract investments’ T

HE economy will grow in future when agricultural businesses change, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture,Universityof Ilorin (UNILORIN), Prof Abiodun Adeloye has said. Speaking with The Nation, he said the agricultural economy still faces risks. He suggested that reform of policies would improve the environment for farmers. To spur growth and limit risks, he said the government needs to restructure the sector with the in-

Stories by Daniel Essiet

volvement of the private sector. According to him, Nigeria will face short, mid and long-term challenges as the sector regains its lost glory. He said revenue from export would depend more on foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises to stimulate activities in the sector, adding that the support industry, a key factor to raise local production and cut costs, has failed.

More foreign investments in agriculture will come into the country and the amount of disbursed capital will increase, he said. Adeloye said this year’s agro export growth is expected to be maintained or increase compared to last year’s, with significant contributions by local businesses. Therefore,Adeloye said the maintenance and restructure of the macro-economy, should be the main focus of the government’s policies,particularly in the

sector. He urged the government to audit the economy to boost productivity. He stressed that effort was needed to accelerate agricultural restructuring to create produce of higher quality, achieve sustainable development. He said the agriculture sector in the rural population has not been fully tapped, adding that farmers should form the core of agriculture restructuring. Adeloye urged the government

to offer more incentives to speed up rural development and business, with a focus on developing farm produce processing, generating jobs and increasing farmers’ incomes. He said an increase in investment in rural infrastructure, vocational training, will boost agriculture and suggested that the stakeholders in the sector introduce effective policies and step up the application of scientific and technological advances. According to him, application of biological technology and information technology to agricultural management and rural modernisation are crucial to growth. He advised farmers to develop modes of cooperation and links to harmonise their interests, create highly competitive products and increase the quality of products.

Kwara to establish agric lab


• From left: Vice President, Publicity, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA); Lady Claire Asogwa; representative of ECCIMA President, Dr Emma Nwakpa; Director, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, Delta State Ministry of Commerce, Mr Lawrence Kekema and Delta State Commissioner for Commerce, Dr Kingsley Emu, during a courtesy visit by ECCIMA executives in Asaba.

Lawmakers urged to support critical infrastructure funding


XPERTS have urged the National Assembly to pass a transportation bill on the improvement of safety, facilitate trade and create jobs in the agricultural sector. According to them, infrastructure carry the weight of the economy and helps sustain long-term economic prosperity through food production. Speaking with The Nation, Director, General Management Division, Agricultural and Rural Management and Training Institute (ARMTI), Dr Ademola Adeyemo, said the government must invest more in infrastructure to boost the quality of key roads, seaways, airways and rail-

ways to enable farmers in the rural areas to move their produce. He said farmers and producers use waterways to ferry their produce to the market. Adeyemo asked for more focus on rural transport to boost agriculture in rural areas, and for the government to work harder to keep traffic under control, minimise traffic accidents and check the capacity of vehicles. A consultant to the World Bank, Prof Abel Ogunwale has expressed concerns over the state of the infrastructure. According to him, the infrastructure is in a poor shape, while roads in particular are getting worse.

He said the deteriorating condition of infrastructure affects the water transportation which also affects agriculture. He said access to a reliable and cost-effective transportation network by land, sea and air is critical to farmers reaching customers with their produce. Modernising and investing in infrastructure, he maintained, is a key priority to make Nigeria a good place for agricultural prosperity. Having an efficient and reliable inland waterway system linked to the ports is vital to the nation’s ability to provide affordable farm products domestically and to compete internationally.

‘Why we need agric census in rural areas’


NATIONAL agriculture

census in rural areas is needed to provide reliable agricultural data that can help investors, President, Association of Small Business Owners (ASBON), Dr Femi Egbesola has said. Data from agriculture census will be a valuable monitoring and planning tool for the government and other development actors, Egbesola added. Speaking with The Nation, Egbesola, he said an agricultural census will provide data for planning in the sector. According to him, creating a reliable data on agricultural sector will enable the govern-

ment to plan and implement priority policies and programmes for the achievement of its food and agriculture sector development targets. To strengthen agricultural statistics, he said the government needs to conduct an Agricultural Production Survey (APS). This has to be done to provide a more accurate, reliable and timely agricultural production at the national, states and local government levels. On the importance of accurate and updated agricultural statistics, Egbesola said the private sector would welcome such a national project because of its relevance for planning and decision making and encourage

more investments as the government see the sector as an engine for inclusive growth. He said the census will provide a detailed coverage of agricultural production, including vegetables, tree crops, livestock rearing and many others over two cropping seasons. He said the agricultural census will provide an up-to-date sampling frame and establish solid systems for regular production and dissemination of reliable agricultural statistics. For watchers, lack of finance has affected efforts by the government to execute an agricultural census in the rural areas of the country.

Australians use sensors to boost bee pollination


HOUSANDS of honey bees in Australia are being fitted with tiny sensors as part of a world-first research programme to monitor them and their environment, using a technique known as swarm sensing. The research is being led by CSIRO and aims to improve honey bee pollination and productivity on farms, as well as help understand the drivers of bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a condition decimating honey bee populations worldwide. About 5000 sensors, measuring 2.5mm x 2.5mm, are being fitted to the backs of the bees in Hobart, before they are released into the wild. It’s the first time such large numbers of insects have been used for environmental monitoring. Leader of the project, Dr Paulo de Souza, said: “Honey bees play a vital role in the landscape, through a free pollination service for agriculture, which various crops rely on to increase yields. “Around one-third of the food we eat relies on pollination but honey bee populations around the world are crashing because of the dreaded varroa mite and Colony Collapse Disorder. Thankfully, Australia is currently free from both of those threats.” The research will also look at the impacts of agricultural pesticides on honey bees, by monitoring insects that feed at sites with trace amounts of commonly used chemicals.

HE Kwara Government said it will establish an agriculture laboratory for soil-testing to attract commercial agriculture to the state. Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed made the promise in Ilorin, when the Chief Executive Officer of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Chief Keith Richards, paid him a courtesy visit. “The proposed laboratory is part of our administration’s policy in the agriculture sector to ensure that the right crops are planted on the right type of soil for desired dividends,’’ he said. The governor assured potential investors that his administration will create the enabling environment which would spur agricultural and economic development in the state. He described the interest of the private sector in investing in the state’s agriculture as a positive development which would boost commercial agriculture in the state. Earlier, Richards said his company would invest about $5 billion in cheese production in the state. He said the proposed dairy factory would produce cheese, butter and other products from milk. Richards said Promasidor was committing about $5 million of the amount to equipment and auxiliary investments. “The factory will create employment and encourage the commercial development of Shonga where the factory will be sited,” he added

•Governor Ahmed




AGRICBUSINESS Two obstacles to increased productivity are the deterioration of soils and poor seed quality. The answer lies in using better farming methods, including improving soil conservation practices and improved seeds and technology. The adoption of new technologies and improved plant varieties to boost yields has taken the front burner, writes DANIEL ESSIET.

•From left: Adediran, Omole,Dean,Faculty of Agriculture,Prof Adebayo Bamire and Deputy Director, IAR & T, Prof Lateef Taiwo at the event.

Crop varieties to the rescue T

ECHNOLOGY has brought good times to farmers. It has reduced planting and harvesting time. Because of this, there are successful farmers, who make profits from improved crops on their small pieces of land. One of them is Sulaiman Olaniyan. He began farming in 1965. He owns four hectares of farm land at Apete, Onidoko, Iddo Local Government Area of Oyo State. He began farming in 1965. He plants varieties of crops, including cassava. He also has a poultry unit. According to him, profits from improved crop varieties are higher than those from older species. Addressing the yearly in-house review of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training(IAR&T), in Ibadan, a specialist crop breeder, Dr Samuel Olakkojo said the ability of research institutes to assist farmers, such as Olaniyan, with new disease-resistant varieties will revive and develop the industry. The benefits of agricultural research, he noted, were manifest in the success of crops varieties, such as diseases resistant maize TZBREId3,AMATZbrw, BR9928DMR and BR9943DMR - which were developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA) and IAR&T. Maize is a staple food to many Nigerians. He said the cultivation of drought-tolerant

maize varieties can be profitable to farmers and consumers. Drought-tolerant maize provide a yield advantage over normal improved varieties, depending on the site and season. According to him, not enough attention is being paid to the links between agricultural research and development (R&D) and its nutrition and health outcomes for the poor. He said R&D should be revitalised and refocused to enhance farm productivity and make food abundant and cheaper, and address problems of poverty and food security. Director-General, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training(AR&T), Prof Jame Adediran said helping small farmers to get started is one of the objectives of the institute. He said the institute collaborates with small producers, identify their problems and give them technical support to be more successful. During the growing season, the institute organised tours of farming areas, farmers and potential growers.One of the goals is to assist small producers. “Not only do we need to sustain the farm, but we also need to sustain the farmer,” he said. What the institute does is to develop many new crop varieties that can support farmers through washing, blanching, drying, storage, processing, grading, storing and value addition, he added. He said the institute was working on the development of better varieties/hybrids and technologies for crops. These varieties are resistant to multiple diseases and pests, give

higher yield and better quality produce. In the past, research centres had become used to working independently in accordance with their own criteria, at times far from the needs of the final beneficiaries of their research, the farmers. But this has changed. The Head, Zonal Office, Southwest, National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Mr Isaac Kunmi said most of the hybrid varieties developed by scientists were done after consultations with the farmers. He said farmers received improved varieties to help advance better nutrition and boost their incomes. According to him, local farmers and researchers selected the varieties from a basket of options, which are early maturing and high yielding ones and are also resistant to striga—a parasitic weed that stunts yield. Farmers love the varieties for their yield qualities, he added The varieties help farmers to adapt better to climate change, he added. He said more farmers were adopting new varieties for quality production, adding that they are interested in knowing more about ways of making their farmland productive and profitable. Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof Bamitale Omole said the agricultural sector requires better, long-term growth in production and research to reduce food security threats. He said the expansion of agricultural output is associated with reductions in the rate of under nourishment. According to him, it is acknowledged that

‘The varieties were developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Nigerian Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike. The two varieties were recognised as IITA developed genotypes: IITA-TMS-I982132 and IITA-TMS-I011206. But with the release, they are to be known as UMUCASS 42 and UMUCASS 43’

agricultural R&D has been a crucial policy for creating the era of economic abundance. He stressed that there are competing ideas, but there is a need for targeted R&D that delivers the right outcomes and concentrates on generating agricultural productivity. Recently, the Federal Government released two improved cassava varieties to maintain its lead as the world’s largest producer of the root crop, improve incomes of farmers and make them smile. The varieties were developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Nigerian Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike. The two varieties were recognised as IITA developed genotypes: IITA-TMS-I982132 and IITA-TMSI011206. But with the release, they are to be known as UMUCASS 42 and UMUCASS 43. “Both varieties performed well in different cassava production regions with high yield, high dry matter and good disease resistance. The roots of these varieties are yellow and contain moderate levels of pro-Vitamin A,” Dr Peter Kulakow of IITA said. Potential maximum yield of the two varieties is between 49 and 53 tons per hectare, according to pre-varietal release trials that were conducted between 2008 and 2010. Local varieties produce less than 10 tons. The varieties are also resistant to major pests and diseases that affect cassava, including cassava mosaic disease, cassava bacterial blight, cassava anthracnose, cassava mealybug and cassava green mite. NRCRI Cassava Breeder, Dr Chiedozie Egesi, who presented the varieties before the Varietal Release Committee, the body in charge of officially releasing varieties, said the varieties have the following distinct qualities: Good for high quality cassava flour—a sought after trait by researchers for the cassava transformation agenda. The others are high dry matter, which are related to starch and crucial for cassava value chain development; high leaf retention, good for drought tolerance and is crucial for cassava production in the drier regions and in mitigating the impact of climate change, and moderate levels of betacarotene for enhancing nutrition.

Agric key to national stability, says Abdullahi


GRICULTURE holds the key to the nation’s stability, a former Presidential Adviser on Food Security, Prof. AngoAbdullahi has said. He stated this in paper titled: “Agricultural Transformation for industrial development: Public- Private Partnership (PPP) approach” he presented at a seminar at the 35th Kaduna International Trade Fair. It was chaired by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd). He said the country needed to invest in infrastructure through private-public sector partnership to transform agriculture and set the nation on the path of growth.

Abdullahi said such deal should also address the problem of low yield in agricultural production and value chain addition to maximise gains in the sector. “If not, we would continue to have problems not only of economic under development, but also of socio-economic disruption of the country,” he said. He said there must be a policy to promote agriculture which would serve as a vehicle of achieving industrialisation. “Because if we continue to produce raw materials, we would continue to slave for industries and remain perpetually poor,” he said. He noted that small scale farmers dominate agricultural production in the

country, adding that the problem of low productivity must also be addressed if the sector must move forward. Kaduna State Governor Mukhtar Yero urged public officials to change their attitude to governance. He said: “We have to change our attitude in the way and manner we do things, and we have to go to the olden days and correct the way we do things, things have gone bad.” He called for improvement in the agriculture sector to transform the rural economy and reduce social crisis. Yero attributed some of the nation’s woes to poor policy implementation. “Every government comes with its

own policy and when its goes that policy is gone, so we have to try hard to have a road map so that we can achieve what ever we set to achieve,” he added. The governor assured industrialists at the seminar, that, work on the 30 megawatt Kudendan electricity project would soon be completed. He said the project was specifically initiated to provide power to industries in Kudendan Industrial layout. Earlier, Dr Abdul-Alimi Bello, the President of Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, organisers of the fair, said the chamber would continue to initiate ideas that would transform the nation’s economy.










‘Yoruba in Kwara, Kogi must return to Southwest’ Pro-democracy crusader and former National Secretary of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Ayo Opadokun, is among the leading Yoruba in Kwara and Kogi states agitating for the re-integration of Yoruba in the two states with their kith and kin in the Southwest. He spoke with Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU on plans by the agitators to bring the issue to the front burner at the proposed national conference.


HEN you are referred to as a Yoruba Northerner, how do you feel? I feel insulted, I feel marginalised. In the Northcentral Zone, the Yoruba in Kwara and Kogi states suffer a lot. The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo campaigned vigorously for the implementation of the Henry Willinkson Report on the minority. The British colonial masters, in conspiracy with the NCNC and the NPC, blackmailed Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the Action Group. They said that, if they insisted on the implementation of the report, independence in 1960 could not be guaranteed or feasible. We have realised that we are a significant part of the Yoruba nation. The idea of balkanising us into different regions was not only de-humanising, it was achronistic, very oppressive. We have since then remained a permanently disadvantaged people. we are the people regarded as engendered specie. Offa is the traditional headquarter of the Yoruba-Ebolo people. All the people from Iwo to Offa are Ebolo people. The British, in their wickedness severed the traditional, the heart of the people. In the process, they have continuously made us minority in the country and the state where we are. We are totally ignored, sidelined and nearly dehumanised. How are you sidelined? As a Yoruba man placed under the northern hemisphere, if there is anything to be parceled out to any indigene of zone in Kaduna, if i show my face, I will be told that I am a Yoruba man. It has happened to me. When we formed the SDP, I knew the role God used me to play in the process of organising the SDP. But, I couldn’t get any office because my people have been lumped with the Middlebelt and I could not be chosen to represent the place. A Tiv was selected. So, we have suffered that. Again, if they are packaging anything for the Southwest, I would be told that I am from the North. It has affected me. In 1999, the government we formed after my return from the detention in the Yorubaland met and considered me for a position. I was told by a reliable source that when it was suggested that I, the General Secretary of Afenifere, ought to be given an important office, one of them said: ‘We don’t even have enough posts for our people; we are talking about somebody who is not from our zone. So, I was denied. The late Chief Sunday Awoniyi wanted to become the national chairman of the

PDP, which he worked to build. Former President Obasanjo worked against him. He said: ‘I am a Yoruba man, you are a Yoruba man’. He was pretending to be a lover of equity. We are in an unfortunate setting. We are not accepted here or there. Look at the leadership of non-governmental organisations. My people are in the leadership, but cannot get anything. They work assiduously to the advantage of other people. What is the way forward? Our request is that is that they should take us back to where we rightly belong. As far as we are concerned, the creation of states has been militarised, compromised, un-technical, unscientific. They created those states for some measures of mischief. They created states and local governments to satisfy their fellow military surrogates, confederates, loyalists, sympathisers, wives and concubines. It was not based on technical, scientific principles that are universally acceptable. In Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Thoughts on Nigeria’s Constitution’, which he published in 1966, and the ‘peoples’ Republic’ in 1977, he clearly demonstrated the guiding principles that should be considered before state creation. The linguistic parameters are so important-people speaking the same language, cultural ties. When you don’t base state creation on these, you are calling for trouble. Awolowo warned Nigerians. His works are forcefully challenging the sensibility of the current rulers. The creation of state from the beginning dod not take into consideration the universal parameters. If you are going to create states, you must ensure that people of the same unit, who believe in the same thing, who have common traits, common culture, common tradition, common artifacts should be in the same state. The Gwari people are now in Kaduna and Niger states. Some of them are also visible in the Federal Capital Territory. The Nupe people are in Kwara and Niger states. Why? The Ibibio people have divergence. They are in cross River and Akwa Ibom. The difference between the Anang, Ibibio and Efik ought to teach the promoters of the state creation under the military these technicalities so that they won’t ruffle

weathers. Yoruba constitute the minority in Kwara and Kogi states. The Igbominas are in Kwara. Their traditional headquarter is IlaOrangun. But, they have local governments in Kwara. The Ekitis are in aKwara. The distance between Governor Fayemi’s town, Isan-Ekiti and the next Ekiti town in Kwara is not up to four kilometres. But, you have made them permanently disadvantaged. How can people like that be happy with the so-called constitution? Look at Ijaw people. They are now found in Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers states. They are minority in several states. It is an unkind and very ungodly decision made by the military rulers. Can this matter be brought to the front burner at the proposed national conference? Certainly. The Yoruba in the Southwest are clamouring that the Yoruba in Kwara and Kogi should be given the human right to be with their kith and kin in the Southwest. We are perceptive enough to know that state creation will be difficult now. We are demanding for boundary adjustment. Boundary adjustment will be more appropriate and helpful when there is no different group between the people who want to return to their kindred and the people over there. We are contiguous. There is no different group between the Ekiti people in Ekiti and Ekiti people in Kwara. So, they can return to Ekiti State. Boundary adjustment is our choice. We will campaign for it. Yoruba should be in the Southwest. Our people hold a strong position on this matter. We are like second class or third class citizens in Kwara and Kogi. Would other people in Kwara and Kogi be disposed to that boundary adjustment? If they are people of conscience, if they believe in the dignity of humanity, if they are people who believe in equity, they have no reason to be against our position and demand. You want the best for your community. Why should we be different? Why should Yoruba in Kwara and Kogi be permanently disadvantaged? It should not be left to the whims and caprices of those who want to continue to hold us to ransom. They do a lot of funny things. They remind us of how

‘The demand for the merger of Yoruba tribe in Ilorin and Kabba divisions is a long standing one. Since they are Yoruba, they automatically belong to Western Nigeria, under the multi-lingual principle’


they conquered our territory in the past and how they wanted us to be under their effective control. Any state that is packaged together by the force of arms cannot last. Countries that were forcefully coupled together in the past paid dearly for it. There is no more USSR on the world map. Stalin was in effective control in those days. look at what is happening now in Kiev. Look at Poland. Today, people have gone their different ways. Look at Yugoslavia under Tito. Sustainability of an oppressive system cannot be guaranteed. Today, Britain has conceded rights to the Irish people, Scott. The world community is gearing for self-governance. Self-determination is the anthem of this millennium. Awo wrote in 1977: ‘The demand for the merger of Yoruba tribe in Ilorin and Kabba divisions is a long standing one. Since they are Yoruba, they automatically belong to Western Nigeria, under the multi-lingual principle. But, the dominant Hausa-Fulani of the Northern Region lay claim to this area and the people therein on the strength of the alleged military conquest 146 years ago. The British, in pursuit of their selfish imperialist interests recognised this spurious claim. But, they do not think any enlightened and intelligent member of the Hausa-Fulani will insist in this propitious, insulting and false claim’. What he has said cannot be faulted. Awo added: ‘Though it sounds superfluous, yet, the point must be made that all the nations being brought together must be territorially contiguous.. Every linguistic group should be made to remain as an undivided unit in any constituent state.

‘National conference a booby trap’ Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Chapter Chairman Monday Ubani believes that the proposed national dialogue may be an exercise in futility. In this interview with Deputy Political Editor RAYMOND MORDI, he argues that the conference was designed to fail



UDGING by the modalities released for the conference, do you think the outcome would satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians? No, it would not satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians. I’m one of those who have been advocating for the national conference because I believe that Nigeria can only be reclaimed, if we really sit down to restructure this country. I had also said that we would begin to decipher the intentions of this government by the modalities it would roll out concerning the conference. The modalities just rolled out did not meet my expectations. Ethnic nationalities are supposed to be major stakeholders in this conference. But, judging by what we have seen as the possible composition of the conference, it would be peopled by politicians. When politicians gather, you know the kind of mischief they cause; they would not address the fundamental issues bedeviling this country: the country is not mak-

ing because the Nigerian state requires restructuring for efficiency. We are not running a proper federalism; we are running a unitary system of government. The issue of allocation is absurd; every state goes to Abuja with a cap in hand, begging for money and anytime the federal government does not feel like giving, they would tell them there is no money and everybody would back to his state empty-handed. You would see them running helter skelter in order to meet some of their financial obligations. The system of government we are running does resemble the federal system of government; the central government comes to the federating units and takes away everything, only for the latter to go to the centre to beg for a portion of what rightly belongs to it. We can only run a proper federal system of government, if we sit down to draw up a proper constitution that would guide this nation. The one we are using now is not a proper one; it is written by the military and it has so many deficiencies and there are issues we need to tackle to make Nigeria work again. In other words, you are saying that the issue of representation is wrong because collectively, the President and the Governors are going to nominate about half of the delegates… Yes, it is going to be peopled by politicians and they are not going to address the issues. It is going to be a jamboree and at the end of it all, they are just buying time, keeping us busy and making us feel there is good intention, after all I’ve given you an opportunity to talk. The government would also use it to curry favour from some of us who have advocating for the conference.

Professor Ben Nwabueze is insisting that the issue of self-determination ought to be subjected to debate, rather than being classified as a no-go area. Do you agree with that viewpoint? Yes, that is the point; it is the people that would determine whether it is non-negotiable or not. The people must talk about their staying together and agree to do so. If they don’t reach an agreement about their staying together, then on what basis are we going to amend the constitution? You give a new constitution to people who have agreed to stay together as one nation, united and indivisible under one God and pursue and agenda that is common. The agenda cannot be common when we are pursuing different agendas or goals. In fact, the issue of unity and the agreement to stay together is the most crucial aspect of the talk. When you now say that it is a no-go area, then you are not being sincere; you sweeping a serious matter under the carpet and you know when things are swept under the carpet it going to burst and the effect would be devastating. The issue is that the Nigerian state is not healthy; we don’t speak with one voice and we don’t have a single aspiration. People who go into politics in this country particularly have a different reason why they are going into politics, rather than fostering unity and moving the country forward. So, I totally agree with Professor Nwabueze on the issue of self-determination. A lot of things have not been made clear about the conference. Take the issue of referendum; while some spokesmen are say-

ing this is not possible under the current circumstances, others are saying this should be left to the conference delegates to decide. What do you make of the whole scenario? It is a booby trap; and it is intentional to create confusion. At the end, they would say, we gave you guys the opportunity to resolve this intractable Nigerian problem, but you were not able to. My position has always been that the objectives of the national conference must be properly spelt out and that spelling out must be done through an act of the National Assembly. That was my recommendation even to the Femi Okurounmu-led committee; that we must enact a law spelling out the modalities, the issues to be talked about and what to do with the outcome of the talk, so that we would know what we are dealing with. But when you now constitute a national conference and say that it is the conferees that would determine the outcome, you have deliberately created a recipe for disaster. They are doing that because they don’t want it to succeed in the first place because the delegates would find difficult to agree. To make matters worse, they decided to set the consensus parameter at 75 per cent; that is, three quarters of the delegates must approve before they agree on any issue. This is very high; it is always two-third. This is deliberately put in place to cause confusion because they know it would be difficult to achieve such a degree of consensus. At the end, they would say, didn’t we tell you that this national conference is not our problem?






D Preamble

EAR Muslim parents, Assalam alaykum wa Rahmatu Llah wa Barakatuhu!

This is not a parents/teachers association meeting in which new school fees or new calendar year is often discussed. It is rather a meeting of positive and constructive minds over the most fundamental issue in the life of man. And it is to be moderated by the guideline divinely put in place in the name of ‘Al-Qur’an’ by the Almighty Allah. Your joys as parents are secret, so are your grief and fear. Hardly can you hide the one or openly express the other. Happy are those of you parents whose children are fortunate enough to tread the path of your divinely guided dream. And sorrow is the portion of those of you whose children are unfortunate to deviate from the rightly guided path. All of you will account either for what brings you joy or what pushes you into sorrow. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had admonished on this when he said: “all of you (parents) are shepherds and all of you shall be asked to account for your herds”. Children are the most invaluable gift of Allah to man. They can neither be bought nor sold. Even adoption or exchange of children for money (otherwise called child slavery) is only a temporary act which will become a permanent question later. One day, the child will ask of his real parents or get to know that the foster parents who have been caring for him in life are not his biological parents. Then he will ask the permanent question: “whose child am I? This is why adoption of children in the Western sense is prohibited in Islam. You can only help to bring up abandoned or stranded children who are not biologically yours for humanitarian reason but not for the purpose of turning such children into your own. As a parent, you may give your biological or adopted children your love and your ideas but surely not your thoughts. Because they (children) learn more and understand better from what they see than from what they hear. Children of today have their own thoughts which you may never be able to take away from them or even alter. You may clad them in the best attire and house them in the most comfortable residences. You may send them to the best schools and endear them to a world of unlimited affluence. But hardly will you ever be able to influence their thinking faculty in any way. While you are busy interacting closely with their physical beings today, you will discover that their thought dwell in the abode of tomorrow which you can neither see in your dream nor perceive in your imagination. Children are a bundle of joy. But they can also be a load of grief. At least, they form the source of both in the life of man. No man or woman becomes a parent without first being a child. What is perceived as experience in any human being today sprang from the childhood pranks of some years past. And the cycle continues.

Manual of Life

Everything in life has its own manual. For Muslims the general manual of life is the Qur’an; that anchor message of Allah leaves no stone unturned in the life of man. In chapter 31 verse 13 of that divine Book Allah relays to us how Prophet Luqman counselled his son. The verse goes thus: “And (remember) when Luqman admonished his son saying: ‘My son, associate none with Allah, for associating something with Him is a grievous iniquity’…. (Go and know that) Allah will bring all things to light, be they as small as a grain of mustard seed or hidden inside a rock or even in the earth. Allah is all-wise and all-knowing”. “My son! Be steadfast in offering Salat; enjoin justice and forbid evil. Endure with fortitude, whatever befalls you. That is a duty incumbent upon you. Do not scorn fellow human beings nor walk arrogantly on land; Allah does not love the arrogant and vainglorious ones. Be modest in your gait and lower your voice when talking because the harshest of voices is that of the braying of an ass….” The above verses of the Qur’an are a good example of how Allah wants us to rear good human beings in every society by bringing up our children in exemplary manner. Prophet Luqman and his son were just used symbolically. Nothing concrete can be achieved in this without the fear of Allah which every parent is expected to preach practically to his or her children from the very early age as did Prophet Luqman. And the only concrete substance in life is what forms the visa with which man is admitted into the hereafter. The evidence of that substance in any man or woman is contentment.

Elite Parents

It is however unfortunate that most Nige-

FEMI ABBAS ON 08115708536

To Muslim parents

rian parents, especially in the elite class, do not see life as a queue which ought to be followed scrupulously. They rather believe that any queue, at all, is a fool’s route to success where short cut must always be available. Those are the parents who create special class for their children right from birth. They show those children how superior they are to other children and tell them the category of children with whom they should be friendly not on moral but on material grounds. They provide for them what those children do not need. They take them to schools in very expensive cars and create in them the impression that money is not their problem. Thus, when occasionally, their children refuse to ride in old cars brought for them by their drivers, the parents quickly apologise and send new cars to convey them from the same schools attended by some children of paupers. These are children who have never worked for one kobo in their lives. All they know is that money is abundantly available and meant for them to spend. They cannot fathom where the money is coming from and how their parents acquire it. And here are parents whose main source of income is stealing directly either by the use of pen in their offices or indirectly by deceit. With such dirty money, they sponsor their children in the most expensive schools abroad or at home. They follow them to school to grease the palms of their teachers to ensure that their children secure the required marks for promotion into the next class or certificates that will be used as meal tickets in life. It does not matter much to them whether or not those children understand what they are taught in school. What matters to them is the short cut that will ensure the passage of those children through the University as early as 19 or 20 years of age so that by the age of 23, such children would have become Chief Executives of banks or multinational companies in which they (the parents) had fraudulently acquired major shares. And, with that, the cycle of corruption would continue unabated in the family. Now, why wouldn’t such a brazing desperation pave way for mass cheating in school examinations and eventual monumental corruption in the society as now being experienced in Nigeria? Are the children to blame? What else is expected of them when you parents are prepared to buy anything for them including live examination papers? And the children of the less privileged parents would also want to take advantage of the terrible rot to succeed in life. Where such advantage is denied, they become desperate and plan to stand in the way of those who deny them. That is how criminal tendencies escalate in the society. Some of you parents often forget that no amount of fraudulent spending can make any child rich except by the grace of Allah. Today, where are the children of yesteryears’ moneybags? For such shallow-thinking parents the Qur’an has the following admonition: “Are they the ones who apportion your Lord’s blessings? It is ‘WE’ (Allah) who apportion to them their livelihood in this world; He exalts some in ranks above others so that the ones can take the others into their service. Your Lord’s mercy is better than all their hoarded treasures”. (See Q. 43: 32).

Today’s World

The misfortune or calamity afflicting the world today, especially, that of Nigerian society, is caused by the elite parents. Right from infancy, most children of the elite, particularly the whitecollar jobbers, have been given the impression that they are born to be masters. And they behave as such at every stage of their lives. It all starts with unwarranted lavish spending on children’s birthday which have virtually become the past-time of those parents,especially women. Sometimes millions of naira is spent by parents to celebrate the birthdays of their children in a society where many families can hardly afford one meal per day. The implication of this is that such spoilt

children are being practically taught how to spend money without being taught how to make money. And by the time they grow up, they would have been fully used to easy money while the parents would have then forgotten how they initiated the innocent children into the world of corruption through stupendous extravagancy. Today, what used to be ordinary examination cheating in the primary and secondary schools has grown monstrously to become the national calamity called corruption even at the highest level of a government in power. We now have black market certificates issued in most of our higher institutions both at federal and state levels at the instance of naira. We also have criminal election rigging practically supervised by political vampires who wear the garb of umpires. There are law makers in our country who must take bribe before voting for or against any bill. There are law enforcers whose main source of income is nothing but audacious bribe. There are unrepentant civil servants who live like kings and queens while milking the society shamelessly without any regard for their pedigree. There are half-baked lawyers who are feeding fat on fraudulent opportunities while capitalising on the deliberate lapses created by our so-called constitution. In all these, who will curb the ever-rampantly growing monster called corruption in Nigeria? Is it the parents who are so desperate that they would do anything, including illicit sex, to see their children through? Or school principals, proprietors and lecturers who are the real architects of examination fraud and certificate rackets? Or the officials of the various examination bodies who often facilitate and help to perfect the act? Or the secret security agents whose orientation is to call a spade a hoe where money is involved? All of these and others not mentioned here are elite parents who can hardly come up with a clean hand on anything legitimate. How can they curb the largess from which they benefit so tremendously? Unfortunately, some of you Muslim parents, in defiance to Allah’s instruction, have joined this terrible cartel. You feel satisfied with your children’s fraudulent mundane lives even as you are evidently indifferent to the spiritual lives of those children. This has caused some temporal agony in certain lives and spiritual melancholy in others.

An Elderly Parent’s Experience

Yours sincerely was in an Islamic meeting with some other brothers in Lagos sometime in the mid 1990s. While we were about to reach a consensus on a vital matter, a septuagenarian parent of four grown up children suddenly burst into tears. He subbed painfully like a house wife who just lost her first child at the point of delivery. Surprised and embarrassed, we enquired from the old man what the matter was since the issue under discussion in that meeting had no sad angle. In his response after calming down, the man who was a former Nigerian Ambassador said he had lost his entire life. He narrated his pathetic story in a very sober mood and concluded that he had lived his entire life in vain. He told us how three of his children (all boys) had their secondary and university education in London. The fourth child who was a girl joined them immediately after she completed her secondary education. And after graduation, they all got juicy jobs and settled permanently in England. But by then, they had all crossed over to the other side of the spiritual bridge haven adapted to a non-Islamic life style. This was, however, not the cause of his regret. The real cause of his regret was the attitude of those children to his own religious life which he claimed to have cherished so much. First, the children never thought it right to pay him any visit in Nigeria, despite his old age. Secondly, whenever he visited them, in

London, none of them would oblige him the chance to observe his daily Salat as they often told him that such was uncivilised. After all efforts to persuade them failed, he had to abandon them and live like a man without children. The old man’s most agonising point was in seeing the children of his friends who practised Islam very well in the same country (England) even as they were all doing fine in their various careers. The difference was that the parents of those other children had cared for their spiritual lives from the very beginning. That is the plight of a man who had the courage to voice it out after admitting his guilt. There are thousands of others like him who would prefer to lick their messy wound secretly till death comes to strike. If this can still happen in a Muslim home at this age, despite the Qur’anic lessons abundantly available for those who want to learn, what is the value of life? Why would any sane person want to lose his life and his life hereafter just to gain vanity? See what avarice is doing to some Muslim parents? It is only for the reason of avarice that most Muslim parents do not see any necessity in giving their children such qualitative Islamic education as they do in the Western way. But Allah has a wonderful way of doing things. Some of the children who could not be given formal secondary education some years past, because their parents were too poor, are professors in the universities or top professionals today in their own right and yet they remain solid Muslims. What else? Train your children in the way of Allah and leave what will become of those children to Allah alone who provides even for ants. Let your children know that the only antidote against greed and avarice is contentment which gives man absolute rest of mind and enables him to appreciate Allah’s endowment in his life. Anything else is sheer vanity that invariably fetches regret. It is only with contentment that any form of corruption can be eliminated. For you Muslims, there is a lesson in this to learn and disseminate to others.

Without Our Mandate

This is not the first time the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria will be alerting the nation about a danger being surreptitiously engineered by a group of Christians calling itself ‘Yoruba Leaders’ in the region. For quite some time, this self-arrogated body has been stirring ripples in a religious brook not minding the consequences of its action. Following the announcement of National Dialogue by President Goodluck Jonathan in October last year, the group began to meet secretly in readiness for the Confab at different places without involving the Muslims in the region. And when a consultative committee was appointed by the President to work out the modalities for the conference the group quickly seized the opportunity to influence the operations of the Committee because the Chairman of that Committee was alleged to be its member. Thus, as a way of excluding the Muslims in any decision that might be taken, meetings were fixed for the time of Jum’at service on Fridays knowing very well that the Muslims would attend the service. This happened in Akure and in Lagos where the clandestine act led to a tantrum between them and the few Muslims who were present for the meeting. When MUSWEN noticed the injurious anomaly, it quickly issued a press statement to caution on such clandestine move and warn against its consequences. Yet, the group continued to meet secretly to the exclusion of the Muslim majority in the region. When another meeting of the group was held in Isara-Remo, Ogun State, a couple of weeks ago at which the group was reported to be collating the names of those who would represent the Southwest at the Confab, MUSWEN issued another press release to warn against the consequences of such a dangerous action. Despite these warnings, we heard from credible sources that the group has presented a list of 15 delegates (all Christians) who would represent the region at the Confab. In a press conference meant to react to the impunity of the illegal, self-appointed caucus calling itself ‘Yoruba Leaders’ the Executive Secretary of MUSWEN, Professor D. O. S. Noibi said inter alia: “I want to make it loudly clear here that we Muslims in the South West region do not recognise the so-called Yoruba Leaders and we have not mandated any group to represent us at the Confab. Any decision reached by that group on behalf of the South West region will therefore be null and void”. “We hereby call the attention of the Presidency, the governors of the six States in the region, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) to this alert for security reason. Any attempt by a self-appointed group to force itself on the Muslims of this region will be resisted by all means. To be forewarned is to be fore armed.”















Smuggling: Govt advised to shut Nigeria/Benin border

HE leadership of the Chemical and Non-Me tallic Products Federation (CANMPEF) has urged the Federal Government to close its border with The Republic of Benin to check smuggling and avert imminent collapse of the economy. Its President, Chief Devakuma V.G Edwin, who raised the issue yesterday at an interactive session with journalists, warned of the dangers smuggling posed to the economy, saying it has resulted in the closure of many firms and caused the loss of over 270,000 jobs in many companies. He listed the shoe manufacturing industry, food and beverages, tyre manufacturers, leather industries, paints, cosmetics, cement, textile, pharmaceuticals and the garment industries as the most affected, saying those segments of the manufacturing sector used to have a membership of about 145

By Simeon Ebulu

firms, but regretted that the number has been depleted to 92. “We used to have company membership of 145 under this group, but now we are just 92. The primary reason being that many of these companies in our industry have closed shop, and we are very concerned,” he said. He explained that the development prompted the association to do an extensive study of the issues, “and we found out that the challenge lied essentially with the increasing level of smuggling.” Chief Edwin, who spoke in company of the Executive-Secretary of CANMPEF, Ebenezer Ali, said people should look beyond electricity supply as the sole challenge of industry, arguing that companies have survived in the past even with epileptic power supply. He

said the blame of Nigeria’s industrial woes should be laid at the door steps of smuggling and the government of the Republic of Benin. His words: “We did a detailed analysis of the issues, then we realised that the government and the Economic Management Team and the other agencies like the Customs have been doing very well. So we realised that one of the greatest problems facing the manufacturing sector, is the smuggling of goods across the borders. “The continuous blame of the woes of manufacturing, solely on inadequate power supply is not correct,” he said, arguing that in the early 1990s, despite the low level of power supply, the textile industry and other ancillary manufacturing concerns flourished. “I used to play a very key role in the textile industry before, because as you know, the

Dangote Group used to be a key player in textiles with factories in Kano and Lagos, but we had to shut them down primarily because of smuggling,” he said, adding that the tyre industry is a good example of how smuggling is wrecking the nation’s economy. While acknowledging the various efforts of government to drive the economy and create jobs, such as the incentives and appeals for Foreign Direct Investment and other inputs from the Economic Management Team, Chief Edwin said the obvious lack of these efforts in bringing a turnaround in the economy, implies that there are some contradiction somewhere, pointing out that significant interests in the neighbouring Benin Republic may be involved in state sponsorship of smuggling, hence its overbearing impact on the nation’s economy.

Jonathan to open gas conference


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will on March 10 open the National Conference on Gas Resources at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The conference is being organised by the Senate Committee on Gas Resources in collaboration with major local and international stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Chevron and the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC). A statement signed by the chair of the Senate Committee on Gas Resources, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu said the cen-

tral theme of the conference is “Deepening Domestic Utilisation of Natural Gas and Routine Flare Elimination.” She said Surprise Impact, Ecocare, GCFR and Microgas are foreign firms collaborating with the Committee, adding that it is aimed at harnessing the potentials of the natural gas sector with a view to stimulating, highlighting the problems and challenges of exploiting and distributing gas for commercial and domestic use. She said the need to find a collective solution to effective flare gas recovery was long overdue and that the conference would accelerate the process zero gas flare in Nigeria within the shortest possible time.

Eko Disco earmarks N42b for network improvement


HE new owners of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), West Power and Gas Limited, have said N42 billion would be invested in power facilities in the network within the next five years to reinforce electricity supply. A director in the company, Dr Tunji Olowolafe who represented the company’s chairman, Mr Charles Momoh, disclosed this at the launch of the Eko DISCO customer forum centre in Lagos yesterday. The customer forum centre, which was commissioned by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), would be used to address customers’ complaints. Olowolafe explained that the money would be invested in metering, cleaning up of the system, cables, transformers and on other areas that would ensure stable power supply. He also noted that customer centre initiated by NERC is to

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

ensure that the public is protected and consumers can walk in there freely and make their complaints and they will be attended to promptly. He said: “We have the responsibility to light up Lagos and keep it lit. This is the task before us which we must do and do profitably. Just a year ago, the Ikeja customers’ forum was commissioned; this shows the commitment of NERC towards ensuring effective consumer right to electricity supply. “The focus is for the benefit of electricity consumers in Nigeria. There is history of very poor electricity service and high level of inefficiency within the electricity sector, which calls for the reform that commenced in 2001 and most of the agenda have been achieved including the privatisation of the power sector.”

• From left: Managing Director, Dajcom Limited, David Safa; Managing Director, Sharp Middle East FZE Dubai, Fumio Yamaguchi and Group Deputy General Manager, Sharp Corporation Japan, Mitsuo Nakashima, during the partnership announcement between Sharp and Dajcom in Lagos... yesterday.

Missing oil cash: Auditor General sends 20 auditors after NNPC


HE Office of the Audi tor General of the Fed eration, Samuel Ukura, has sent 20 auditing experts to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Their mission: to confirm the veracity of missing $20b oil sales proceeds. Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Account (PAC) have asked Ukura to tender vouchers and receipts on the capital expenditure component for 2013 budget of his office. Ukura, who appeared before the PAC yesterday, said his office was aware of the controversies generated by the alleged missing money from NNPC and that his office made efforts to intervene.

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

He said: “We’ve trained 20 professionals in the oil and gas sector auditing last year, and as I speak to you, they’re already on the field auditing the NNPC.” Members of the Committee could not contain their disappointment when the Auditor General failed to give satisfactory answers on the 2013 budget expenditures of his office. Consequently, it ordered the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to forward to it the receipts and vouchers for the capital component of its 2013 budget.

Ukura said N180 million was appropriated for purchase of vehicles but N100million was mopped up at the end of 2013 financial year. “The Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) had directed us to purchase cars only from Innoson Motors–in line with the policy of encouraging local manufacturers–but we can only procure six vehicles out of the 15 we planned to purchase. “As a result, N100million out of the N180million budget for vehicles was returned to government as Innoson could not supply the cars,” he said. He added that it was the BPP directive on the procurement of the vehicles that barred his

office from advertising and organising for bidding for capable contractors. However, documents submitted by office of the Auditor General to PAC indicated that it was N150million that was mopped up by the Accountant General office. The Auditor General told the Committee that the 2013 capital budget performance of his agency was 57.7 percent, documents showed it was only 45 per cent. Ukura also denied knowledge of allocation of N200billion to his office from the Service Wide Vote by the Budget Office. The management of the BPP was also asked to appear before the Committee next Tuesday to explain reasons behind such directive.

‘Why Reps’ Committee suspended 2014 budget consideration’


HE House of Repre sentatives Committee on Finance has suspended work on the 2014 budget framework, it emerged yesterday. The suspension, according to the Clerk of the Committee, Farouk Dawaki, is to allow the law amkers conclude work on the state of the economy investigative hearing scheduled to ascertain the true state of the country’s

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

economy. According to a statement endorsed by its clerk, the Committee was also compelled to engage the Minister of Finance on her responses to the 50 questions, believed to be of critical importance to the 2014 budget. As a result, Dawaki said notable finance experts

have been invited to a public investigative hearing along side the Finance Minister to throw light on the true state of the Nigerian economy. “The Committee is set, fully determined in our resolve to once and for all unravel the authentic state of our economy.” The hearing, scheduled to take place between 3rd and 6th March, 2014 is expected

to be declared open by the Speaker House of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal. Former World Bank Vice President and Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, former Petroleum Minister, Prof. Tam David West, Prof. Mike Kwanashie, prof. Sarah Anyanwu, Mr. Henry Boro and Prof. A G Garba among others are expected to make presentations.

CAVEAT EMPTOR This is to inform the general public that houses number and plot number S.W 37 Bosso, Minna, No 6 Makera road opp. Kaduna South Local Government Area, Kaduna and plot nos 0019MTP 115/ 116, Gidan mangoro, Minna of late Alhaji Oladejo Shittu Shodeinde are not for sale. The aforesaid property are subject of litigation at Court of Appeal, Abuja. Appeal No CA/A/687/S/2013. The general public is hereby warned. PUBLIC NOTICE T.Y DANJUMA FOUNDATION This is to inform the general public that the above named foundation has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission for Removal of Trustee, appointment of New Trustees and change of its Secretary under the Companies and Allied Matters Act No1 of 1990. The Old Trustees are: 1. LT. GEN (RTD) THEOPHILUS YAKUBU DANJUMA 2. DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE 3. LT. GEN (RTD) JOSHUA HAMIDU 4. PROF. JEAN HERSKOVITS 5. MR. ROBERT LUC 6. MR. PHILIPPE LETTE


The Newly Appointed Trustees Are: 1. DR. MRS VERONICA UCHE AMAZIGBO 2. MRS GLORIA ATTA Marina Nominees Ltd - Is hereby appointed the new secretary of the foundation THE AIM AND OBJECTIVES REMAIN THE SAME Any objection to the registration should be forwarded to the Registrar–General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420, Tigris Crescent Off Aguyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, within 28 (twenty–eight) days of this publication. SIGNED SECRETARY





We have enough cash for investment, says Cadbury


ADBURY Nigeria Plc has adequate cash flow to sustain continuous investments in its Nigerian operations over the immediate and medium term, the management of the confectionery giant has assured. The management of Cadbury Nigeria yesterday visited the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to further explain the reasons for the recent capital reduction exercise to the investing public. Managing director, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Mr. Emil Moskofian, said the company is committed to continuous investment in its Nigerian business noting that the Cadbury Nigeria has demonstrated this commitment over its almost five decades of operations. According to him, Nigerian market, the largest in West Africa, is a very important market to Cadbury and it cherishes its long history and

By Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

iconic brands. He explained that the decision on the recent capital reduction was taken because the company has surplus capital in excess of the current investment requirement and that should not be misconstrued as lack of appetite for the Nigerian market. He noted that the company has continued to surpass projections and the business is in good shape with good profit such that it can fund additional investments from its ongoing business. “We believe all the investments we want to do between two to five years we can fund them from our current business, there is no need for us at this point to dip into that surplus cash that we are sitting on, hence the reason we looked at what to do with that cash. We went through a num-

ber of options and decided to give the surplus cash back to shareholders. That does not suggest our lack of appetite for investing in this market,� Moskofian pointed out. He added that as part of the Mondelez International, the global snack powerhouse, Cadbury Nigeria has access to many global brands and innovation, which the Nigerian business could tap on to fuel its growth going forward. Cadbury Nigeria recently completed capital reduction exercise under which it returned excess capital of N11.9 billion to its shareholders by cancelling two out of every five ordinary shares held by the shareholders. Consequently, it reduced the share capital account by an amount equivalent to the par value of the cancelled shares and share premium accounts by about N11.27 billion. Also, each shareholder will receive returned capital per cancelled share at N9.50 per share.





NSIA manages $1.15b for Fed Govt



HE Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is managing accounts worth $1.15 billion for the Federal Government, its Managing Director/CEO, Uche Orji has said. Speaking yesterday during meeting with journalists in Lagos, he said the breakdown of the funds showed that Federal Government allocated $550 million to it to manage; then another $350 million is also being managed under the Stabilisation Fund while $250 million is managed under the Infrastructure Fund. Orji said the firm is also in the process of securing additional $550 million from government adding that all the funds are profitable as of December last year.

According to him, the NSIA has been implementing multisectoral investments in infrastructure among other decisions related to overall funds mandate. He said active investment activities by the firm started in October last year, but before then, it was designing the organisational, governance, management and enterprise risk imperatives needed for running a best practice organisation. He said allocation of funds to the NSIA is 20 per cent of the Stabilisation Fund; 40 per cent of the Future Generation Fund and

Lionel Zinsou. The two presidents also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a $170million power financing deal between the Ministry of Finance and the AgenceFrancaise Developpement (AFD); and a 13MW solar power construction MoU between the Osun State Government and VergnetGroupe. Jonathan, who encouraged French companies to invest in Nigeria in order to cement the ongoing favourable trade and investment relationship between both countries, noted that the people of France, under the leadership of President Hollande, had shown an unprecedented level of commitment to Africa. The president said, “Nigeria has come of age economically, and this is the time to invest. We have made significant progress in our political, social and economic development. I always say that Nigeria’s economic transformation will be the strongest legacy of our generation, which is why we have invited all you investors here today. “A strong Nigerian economy will cre-

ate wealth, improve living standards and ensure a stable political and social environment. This is why my focus since this administration assumed office in 2011 has been to fundamentally restructure and diversify the Nigerian economy, to ensure sustained growth and create jobs for our teeming youth.” Jonathan noted that this century was Africa’s century, adding that over the last 100 years, the French people and French businesses had always been engrained in the Nigerian story. The French President, who pledged increased investment by French companies in Nigeria, said his country was committed to boosting the strategic partnership between both countries. “We have set a goal of increasing our market share in Nigeria. Three of our companies contribute to about 15,000 jobs in Nigeria but we have to invest more in the country.

By Simeon Ebulu

Nigeria, France launch trade, target N2tr


IGERIA and France yesterday launched the NigeriaFrance Trade and Investment Council, setting a target to double trade flows between both countries from the current N1.049trillion to about N2.098trillion in four years. The agreement of the launch of the Council was signed in the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan and his counterpart, French President Francois Hollande during the Nigeria-France Business Forum, on the sidelines of the Centenary celebrations in Abuja. Apart from doubling trade, the Council also has the mandate to increase investment flows between both countries by 50 per cent in the next four years and will be co-chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria-France Chamber of Commerce and Chief Executive Officer of Leadway Assurance, Mr. Hassan Odukale; and the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of PAI, Mr.

Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20


Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

UBA Foundation promotes ‘Read Africa’


TUDENTS of Coker Senior Secondary School OrileIganmu, Lagos have benefitted from the UBA Foundation ‘Read Africa’ initiative targeted at reawakening a healthy reading culture amongst African youths. In a statement, the foundation said, Group Legal Counsel, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Samuel Adikamkwu served as UBA Foundation’s mentor for the occasion. He led the students through a reading session and also advised them on how to be successful individuals. “Reading has made me

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%


Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %
















Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m

Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34


Bureau de Change 152.0000





0.87 1.03 2.00 42.00 171.78 1.81 2.44 0.82 2.10 43.32

0.94 1.10 2.10 44.10 180.36 1.90 2.56 0.86 2.19 45.00

0.07 0.07 0.10 2.10 8.58 0.09 0.12 0.04 0.09 1.68

Parallel Market


C/PRICE 19.18 17.90 0.51 0.54 0.57 13.33 11.41 2.94 0.52 20.60








Feb. ’14

July ’11

Feb ’14





Standing Lending Rate








Deposit Rate


Liquidity Ratio




Cash Return Rate




Inflation Rate




LOSERS AS AT 27-02-14

O/PRICE 20.00 18.64 0.53 0.56 0.59 13.68 11.65 3.00 0.53 20.99




CHANGE -0.82 -0.74 -0.02 -0.02 -0.02 -0.35 -0.24 -0.06 -0.01 -0.39

Exchange Rate (N) 155.75 155.8 155.7

Date 2-5-14 2-3-14 1-29-14


6-2-14 N13.07tr 40,766.16

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


GAINERS AS AT 27-02-14




Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

Amount Sold ($) 399.9m 399.9m 399.9m




what I am today” he told the students. He also advised the students to read quality materials “even if it is a page of a newspaper you find, pick it up and read, you will learn a lot through reading, you will never lose anything from reading.” Citing the example of Chinua Achebe, author of ‘Things Fall Apart’, copies of which were distributed at the occasion, he said it was through reading that Chinua Achebe polished his writing skills which eventually turned him into the renowned literary giant that he became.




GUARANTY Trust Bank Plc has announced the theme for its 2014 Autism Awareness programme. With “On the road to future inclusion” as its theme, it will take place towards the end of next month and end early April. According to a statement, this will be the fourth edition of the programme which the bank introduced in 2010 to create awareness and advocate for the requirements of persons living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a neurological condition that presently affects one in every 88 children worldwide according to global research statistics. Autism Spectrum Disorder as with other developmental challenges arises from insufficient development of a child’s physical, emotional or intellectual capacity. This disorder, which is largely misunderstood by society makes it difficult for affected children to cope with the everyday demands of their environment and leads to varying stages of social stigmatisation.



40 per cent Infrastructure Fund. He said the firm has invested in NSIA Motorways Company, NSIA Power Investment Company, NSIA Healthcare Investment Company and NSIA Real Estate Investment Company. He said: “We allocated $100 million to the power sector and have an agreement with a private equity company to match us 2:1 on equity. “We are still looking at opportunities both for Greenfield and secondary investments.” He said the firm has also invested in the Second Niger Bridge, making it the lead financial partner in the consortium with responsibility to invest its equity and attract other equity partners to raise debt for the project. The NSIA also made an investment in the Mortgage Refinance Company as a core equity investor. “We are also in negotiations with a state government as well as Federal Capital Territory for an affordable housing programme, which we plan to execute later this year, if we can agree on favourable terms,” he said.

GTBank plans seminar


Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012

7 Days


Rate (Currency) Movement 6, Mar, 2012


Offer Price

Bid Price


0 171. 9 1. 1. 0. 0. 1. 1,613. 1,000.00 115. 100. 1. 1. 142. 0. 1,857.



30 Days



60 Days



150 Days



Bank P/Court



04 July, 2012

07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833






T was a simultaneous event around Africa on Wednesday, as Africa Magic unveiled nominees in the 26 categories of the much-publicised Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA), which enters its sophomore this year. In Nigeria, the event brought nominees, sponsors and events organisers together in a brunch, thereby creating a buzz around the main show, scheduled to hold at the Eko Hotel Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, on March 8. Not all the nominees were at the WheatBaker Hotel, Ikoyi; venue of the Nigerian leg. But those present include Bimbo Manuel, Funke Akindele, Ivie Okujaye, Rukky Sanda Mercy Aigbe, Nkiru Sylvanus, Carl Raccah, Tamara Eteimo, Mary Ogbonna, Afeez Eniola, and Michelle Dede. Nominees expressed their excitement at the event. Funke Akindele, nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy for three films, said: “I’m honoured to be nominated this year for the AMVCA. For artistes like me, the greatest fulfilment is knowing that our work is being appreciated. Besides unveiling the nominees to the press, organisers used the brunch to give the artistes a sense of fulfilment, whereby each nominee is treated as a winner already. There are indications that AMVCA nominees all over Africa will be hosted to a pre-event cocktail at the Eko Hotel, Lagos, on the eve of

Femi Kuti gives condition for accepting centenary honour


•Funke Akindele,Sampson Onoche,Mrs Biola Alabi, Femi Odugbemi & Martin Mabutho

AfricaMagic day with AMVCA nominees

By Victor Akande

the award show. According to Nigerian Breweries’ Corporate Media and Brand Public Relations Manager Mr Edem Vindah, headline sponsors of the show, Amstel Malta, ‘’is excited to once again be a part of this opportunity to reward the best of the African movie industry. “We love to be a part of the success of the movie industry and that’s why the Amstel Malta Box Office Platform was created to acknowledge the contribution of the industry to the Nigerian economy. ‘’We are glad we’ve been able to produce acts that have been nominated for the awards like O.C Ukeje and Ivie Okujaiye. MultiChoice, Africa’s

leading digital pay television entertainment operators, through its premium channel, M-Net, has done extensive investments in developing original African programming as well as showcasing the best African content across the continent. According to John Ugbe, managing director of MultiChoice Nigeria, “MultiChoice has continued to prioritise its investment in promoting local film and television entertainment while collaborating with talented local filmmakers in creating authentic African stories,” a feat that is further boosted through the competitive award among filmmakers and film stars. Speaking on the AMVCA awards and the investment by MultiChoice in devel-

oping skills and talent in television broadcast, Managing Director of M-Net Africa, Mrs. Biola Alabi said: “Our mission at AfricaMagic is a continued investment in African film and television and to continuously support the development of homegrown African content. The AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the people in front and behind the cameras, who make African storytelling truly beautiful and compelling to watch. At AfricaMagic, we are truly delighted with the list of nominees, we believe every nominee is a winner and we wish you the best of luck on the big night.”

ARRING any lastminute change of mind, Afrobeat legend Femi Kuti has said his family will not accept any centenary award in honour of his late father, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. The Nigeria’s centenary celebration holds today at the State House inAbuja. He said the Federal Government should apologise for killing his grandmother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, and burning Kalakuta Republic before he would accept the award. “We have not heard such, but I can speak for myself that the Federal Government should first apologise for the killing of our grandmother and burning of Kalakuta,” he stated. According to a statement by the Presidential Committee on the Nigeria’s centenary celebrations, Fela is among those to be honoured, in the ‘Internationally Acclaimed Artistes, Literary Icons and Journalists’ category. At the ceremony, President Jonathan will present awards in 13 categories to 100 distinguished personalities, either alive or dead, who eminently symbolise the tapestry of Nigeria’s first centenary. Some of the categories include contributors to the making of Nigeria, heroes of the struggle for Nigeria’s Independence/pioneer political leaders, pioneers in professional calling/careers, promoters of democratic transition, internationally

By Dupe AyinlaOlasunkanmi

acclaimed artists, literary icons, journalists and so on. Other awardees are the British monarch and Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II; Sir Fredrick Lugard; Dame Flora Louise Shaw; ex-military heads of state and civilian presidents; the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola; Prof. Wole Soyinka and the late Prof. Chinua Achebe. Also to be awarded are the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi; the late Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu; Nwankwo Kanu; Alhaji Aliko Mohammed Dangote; Chief Mike Adenuga; Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar; Sir Abubakar Saddiq III and Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, among others.

•Femi Kuti

NEWS Continued from page 4

nomic roots on which these extreme ideologies thrive. “Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We all must work together, collectively, to rid our world of haters of peace, who use terror to maim, kill, instil fear and deny people their rights to peace and security,” the President said. In his view, greater regional cooperation in intelligence gathering and control of insurgents will not only ensure Nigeria’s security, but also the security of her neighbours. Noting that Africa faces a huge challenge with rising youth population, Jonathan called for drastic steps to create jobs to tackle increasing unemployment among the youth. “By 2050, it is projected that about 40% of the population of Africa will be made up of young people below the age of 15 years, while about 60% of the population will be made up of young people below the age of 25 years. “A major concern is the high

Jonathan vows to bring murderers to justice level of unemployment among the youth, especially those that are educated and skilled. No priority for human security is more important for African countries than a sharp focus on creating jobs for this teeming youth population. Skills acquisition, entrepreneurship development, encouraging the youth to go into agriculture as a business, and providing them with access to cheaper financing to fulfil their dreams, are all needed to harness and unleash the power of our youth to secure our collective future. “To foster this, we need to further strengthen intra-Africa trade to create jobs. Africa must add value to its primary products and commodities to ensure that wealth is created on the continent. This will create wider scope for prosperity for our populations.” The President also urged leaders in the continent to address the issue of inequality in the continent.

He said: “There is no doubt that Africa is growing and our economies are among some of the fastest growing in the world. But this growth is not creating enough impacts in terms of improving the living standards of our people. “We need inclusive growth that can stimulate broader shared prosperity among our citizens. Social policies that improve access to food, water, housing and education are crucial for inclusive growth and social participation. He urged the leaders to also address the challenges of climate change in the continent as its negative impacts include increasing incidences of floods and droughts, which create vulnerabilities, displace populations and threaten human security. To empower women, Jonathan suggested that at least 30 per cent of bank lending in agriculture should be to women farmers and women-owned

agribusinesses. He spoke of a brighter future – “if we improve governance and accountability systems”. “We must reduce the cost of governance and increase more of the national resources on the governed. In particular, we need to reduce the cost of elections and electioneering and shift greater focus on ensuring that the dividends of democracy are delivered to our peoples,” the President said. In his view, democracy alone is not enough. We must remain vigilant and look into our peculiar situation in Africa and identify critical factors that belies the extremism and terrorism that threaten our collective security,” Jonathan said, adding: “The enemies of the state today in Africa are often faceless, driven by religious extremism, ethnic mistrust and rivalries, and propagandas of hate. Their nefarious actions are not limited to any single country and no one is immune.”

Continued from page 4

I want to take this opportunity to focus on the great future ahead of Nigeria and its African counterparts face.” “It is a future that is closely linked to the achievement of prosperity, stability and democracy. And I believe that, as is the case in Europe, it is the choices African leaders make in these three areas that will determine Africa’s future. “Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, said on Independence Day in 1960 that Nigeria’s relations with the UK were “always as friends.” That is as true now as 54 years ago. “Our relationship is rooted in our joint history; in the large and important Nigerian community in the UK; the deep and expanding trade relationship; and our countless educational, sporting and cultural connections. “So it is exciting to recognize, as we stand at the dawn of a new century for Nigeria, that the future brings with it

Nigeria under World Leaders’ attention

extraordinary possibilities for your country, and for many African nations. “In 1914, the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates and Lagos, brought together peoples, territory and resources that had never before considered themselves as having mutual interests. That brought challengesand perhaps still does. “But Nigeria’s diversity has brought the Country strength, resilience and a multitude of talent. It has growing international influence as a peacekeeper, as a leader in the African Union and on the UN Security Council. The Country has become the driving economic and political force of its region. “In Nigeria, we remain the largest investor, we are making strides to meet our ambition to double bilateral trade from £8billion this week.

We killed six insurgents, says military Continued from page 4

ply typical of terrorists’ intention to intimidate the people into subscribing to their false claim to invincibility. “This distressing situation notwithstanding, it must be pointed out that the current activities of the terrorist groups are actually at best a reaction to the renewed offensive against the terror outfit whose operatives had infiltrated the country to support their hitherto depleted membership and counterparts in their daring acts to reinvent relevance by embarking on renewed attacks

on soft targets.” Gen. Olukolade said the military has launched a specialised campaign in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states. He added: “The purpose of this briefing is to intimate you with the elevation of counterterrorism campaign in the country. “The new approach marks another phase in the operations designed to further contain the terrorists and their activities. “The specialised campaign, which has commenced, is being undertaken simulta-

neously in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states. This operation is also in furtherance of efforts at apprehending the terrorists and ensuring they do not escape out of Nigeria as they are now so desperate to do.” He also gave an insight into the sect’s attack on Michika on Wednesday night. He said: “Unfortunately, however, they have in the course of their flight towards various borders, continued to perpetrate mayhem as noticed in some parts of Adamawa State yesterday night where

they attacked communities. “In desperation for money and food, they looted and burnt banks, shops and filling stations along their way through Michika as they headed for Cameroon border. “Six of their fighters were killed, two captured while nine of their vehicles were destroyed. One soldier and three civilians also died in the encounter. “It is believed that those involved in this latest attacks are the elements that perpetrated the mayhem against students of Federal Government Col-

lege, Buni Yadi, Yobe State and other places. “They have been holed up and are still engaged in suicidal fighting, apparently with a view to attaining martyrdom status, as troops close in on the die-hard ones among them.” Gen. Olukolade pleaded with Nigerians in insurgency prone areas to report suspicious movements to security agencies. He said: “Citizens in these states, particularly towards border areas, are requested to assist the security forces by reporting any movement of the

group, if noticed in their locality, as it would further enhance the operations as well as assist in apprehending or eliminating them. All things being equal, the activities of this murderous group will be further degraded towards total elimination shortly. “Citizens are enjoined to show understanding of the situation and continue to cooperate with the security forces, especially with vital and timely information on the movements of these terrorists to enable quick response accordingly.”





To my brother, 30 years after

Agric takes centre stage at Ife Day •Group to raise N500m for community projects


LE-IFE, the cradle of the Yoruba, has returned the development of agriculture to the front burner. The yearly Ife Day celebration will take the youths through agriculture orientation to boost the economy of the ancient city. Members of the Ife Development Board (IDB), organisers of the Ife Day billed for March 13 to 15, spoke on the plan yesterday during a visit to The Nation’s headquarters in Lagos. The theme of this year’s celebration is: “Industrialisation for youth empowerment”. Those on the IDB’s threeman delegation to The Nation were the President, Professor Muibi Opeloye; Mr. Gbenga Adefaye and Mr. Kola Adetunmbi. Opeloye said: “Ife is an agrarian community and we have youths who are unemployed. We need necessary facilities like water, electricity and roads, and that is why we need the government’s assistance.” The board spoke of plans to raise N500 million during the celebration. Opeloye said: “Before the government comes to our aid, we want to start something.” He said the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, has donated land and funds for the board’s agricultural drive. Adefaye, who is the general manager/editor-in-chief of Vanguard and a former president of Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), said it is imperative that Ife youths take advantage of agriculture, given the abundance of fertile land.


By Joe Agbro Jr.

He said there was need to provide basic infrastructure, such as roads, to the many farms in the state. Adefaye said: “Some elites who have farms cannot access their farms when rain falls and the ordinary person cannot provide these infrastructure.” Adetunmbi called for the creation of an industrial park to create jobs. Activities lined up for the Ife Day celebration include cultural displays and a gala night on March 14. The grand finale, which includes the fund raising holds on March 15 at the Government Technical College on Ifewara Road at 10am. The fund raising will be chaired by Mallam Yusuf Ali. Prince Toye Ariyo is the chief launcher. Governor Rauf Aregbesola is the chief host. Vice-President Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal are expected at the event. Also expected are Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Peter Obi (Anambra), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Gabriel Suswam (Benue). Others are Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe), Usman Dakingari (Kebbi) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo). The Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, is the royal father of the day.

Woman for burial

HE funeral arrangement of Lady Kate Eze Oko Okpani (Nee Okocha) of Evuma Village, Afikpo, Ebonyi State, who died on January 22, has been released. She was 66. There will be a vigil mass on March 5 at Chris Oko Okpani’s compound, Evuma Village, Afikpo, Ebonyi State at 6pm. This will be followed by a requiem mass the following day at Mater Misericordiae Catholic Church, Newsite, Afikpo, at 10am after which her remains will be interred in Oko Okpani’s compound. An outing/thanksgiving service will hold on Sunday at Mater Misericordiae Catholic Church, Newsite, Afikpo at 9am.


Madam Falemu for burial

HE remains of Madam Deborah Mesijuade Falemu would be interred tomorrow after a funeral Service at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Iju, Akure North Local Government, Ondo State. The late Falemu died on October 17, last year at a hospital in Iju after a brief illness was 82. She was the Deputy President of Egbe Mafarosere, an age grade society at St. Stephen’s Church and Iju Community. She is survived by many children, grandchildren, great grand children, siblings and relations, among whom are Chief Ladi Falemu, an Ibadan and Abuja business tycoon, Mr. Akinola Falemu, a civil Servant in Ondo State Teaching Service Commission, Mrs. Bose Shina Ayo Ogundare and Mrs Omoladun Fayanju. Among the grand children are Pastor Olufayo Fasoranti and Mr. Tope Babade. Among her siblings are Mrs. Florence Jolayemi Akomolafe, Mrs. Aduke Ogunbuyide and Chief Joshua Adelanke Bada.

‘Oyo PDP not in crisis’


From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, Alhaji Abdul Rasheed Adebisi Olopoenia, has said the state chapter of the party is not in crisis. Olopoenia, who spoke yesterday in Ibadan while addressing reporters, said Oyo PDP is becoming acceptable by the masses. He said the recent statement by the former Chief of Staff to exGovernor Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, Dr. Saka Balogun, is not the true position of the party. Olopoenia said: “What Dr. Balogun said is uncalled for. It is not a true reflection of things in the state. “We know his sponsors in Abuja. I challenge him to name the saboteurs in Oyo PDP. Party politics has surpassed his game. Things have changed. We’re aware of how they’re trading their chances across parties. This game can’t work in Oyo PDP. “Today, Yinka Taiwo is our chairman. If Dr. Balogun can establish that Yinka is the saboteur, let him come out and tell us. He (Taiwo) was a local government chairman during Alao-Akala’s administration. The former governor, who also hails from Ogbomoso, has accepted Taiwo as the only chairman of PDP in the state.”

Tribute to the late Chief Olubunmi Aboderin, founding chairman, Punch Nigeria Limited


ITH 10 years between us, you were already in the boarding house at Ibadan Grammar School by the time I became fully conscious of my environment and circumstances. And it was about the time when I entered secondary school that you departed Ibadan to read accountancy in England. On your return, you worked in Lagos, as a qualified Chartered Accountant of England and Wales at that time would have worked only in Lagos. I was then at university in Ibadan and, four months after graduation and some teaching at your old school, I, too, left for London. Those comings and goings did not allow for as much interaction between us as I would have wished during my early years. Had I entered the world earlier, I probably would, as a kid, have smelt you long enough to imbibe more of your exceptional boyish exuberance, your unusual freedom with money, and your spirit of joie de vivre, even as it would have been impossible for me to acquire your impressive physical stamina and stockiness which contributed to your being a good footballer at school. I still remember furtively enjoying and swallowing what I later came to recognise as dangerous quantities of your “Macleans”, as I revelled in the taste

By Chief Ajibola Ogunshola

of the product. The word “toothpaste” had not yet entered my vocabulary at the time of which I am speaking, as I had only just started primary school. Everyone else in the house, except the secondary school boy, still used the superior, native “chewing stick”, and mother particularly preferred the yellow, tangy genre, the orin ata. Every six-year old must have seen some adult or colleague quaffing gari with sugar, with the better-off ones sometimes adding Peak Milk; but it was from you that I first learnt the simple delicacy of ewa mixed with sugar, and because granulated sugar had not yet become popular, the cubes had to be crushed in advance except when the meal was hot enough to melt them. Your inability, from youth, to tolerate the smell of oranges, I casually explained away by the fact that Iya Agba, our maternal grandmother, once sold tobacco snuff which she fervently believed would be rendered ineffective if contaminated by orange, and therefore discouraged having oranges around her. It was later, much later in life, that a probable explanation of your reaction surfaced: citrus fruits allergy. I never told you how the mere thought of that your right shin bone injury while splitting firewood at the backyard of the house kept me depressed and frightened for days on end. The wound evaentually

healed, of course, but your scar never completely disappeared. That was Oranyan, your years of adolescence. While working at my actuarial examinations in London, your visits there were for me moments of special delight particularly while I was still single and solitary as I greatly enjoyed and appreciated your taking me along to visit your friends; to watch the “latest” musical films at the cinema; and to excellent, sometimes exotic, meals at your favourite hotel, the Royal Lancaster. And after I got married, Iyabo could be numbered among your fans. But it was the outbreak of the Punch shareholders’ crisis of which you were the central victim and your attendant, high voltage, psychological trauma that gave rise to our closest emotional attachment. It is at the time of tribulations that a man knows his true and loyal supporters. You needed as much psychological anchor and independent ideas analysis as you could get, and in that, led by Chief Moyo, I hope we did our best. I visited you with far greater frequency than before, and the depth of omo iya elements that attended our discussions and interactions was far greater than it had ever been. Why was this dispute among the shareholders so critical to your fortunes? Well, because, as the chairman and single largest shareholder (before and after your own proportion came under dispute), believing that your business and social image and stature

were tied to the fortunes of the newspaper, you had pledged substantial assets with the banks to support the company, while no other member of the company had pledged his own. An unraveling of Punch could lead to your own unraveling. And, meanwhile, because Punch was perceived as an opposition newspaper by the federal authorities, the company and other companies in which you had controlling interest were starved of “import licences”, an arrangement adopted by the government at that time to ration foreign currency among importers, thus jeopardising the viability of your companies. These pointed daggers notwithstanding, I was confident, we were confident that, with your aggressive business acumen; your innate, unbounded optimism; your ability to sniff money where others could not; your zest for life and living, you would pull through. No one could have foretold that what you were experiencing were merely the opening stanza of a deeper, more sinister tragedy, which would not only hit your family severely, but would also alter the course of my own life. The stress and the strain of the period compromised your vital immunity; you then succumbed to a terminal disease of the lymphatic system, through which you eventually succumbed. Now, today, 30 years after, what can we say? All we have to say is that the storms and the floods are over, and it’s a different world.



Scores dead in Baghdad blasts

WO bombings in a Shiite-majority area of north Baghdad and other attacks killed at least 35 people yesterday, officials said, as Iraq struggles with its worst violence in years. The government has failed to curb a year-long surge in violence that has reached levels not seen since 2008, when Iraq was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings in which tens of thousands died. In the deadliest attack yesterday, an explosives-rigged motorcycle ripped through

an area of motorcycle shops in the Shiite-majority Sadr City district of Baghdad, killing at least 25 people and wounding 45. And a car bomb in Sadr City killed at least one person and wounded five. Sunni extremists frequently target members of Iraq's Shiite majority, who they consider apostates. The capital is hit by neardaily bombings and shootings, including periodic coordinated vehicle bomb attacks that leave dozens of people dead.

In Mishahada, north of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near an army patrol, killing at least two soldiers and wounding three. Other attacks hit areas in northern Iraq. A roadside bomb exploded near a Sahwa anti-AlQaeda militia patrol in the Sharqat area, killing two fighters and wounding four, while a roadside bomb near a police station in Tuz Khurmatu killed two people and wounded 15. And three soldiers died in clashes with militants in Kirkuk province.

Obama to take stock of peace talks with Netanyahu, Abbas


RESIDENT Barack Obama will take stock of peace negotiations in upcoming Oval Office meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on March 17, the White House said yesterday. The Obama administration had originally hoped to help broker a deal by April 29. But on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he hopes at best to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a "framework" for an agreement by that time. A final deal may take another nine months or more, Kerry said. The framework would guide further talks, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.


Security forces are often targeted by militants opposed to the Iraqi government. The latest deaths came after violence killed 13 people on Wednesday. Militants in Iraq have been bolstered by widespread discontent among members of the country's Sunni Arab minority, who say they are marginalised and unfairly targeted with heavy-handed security measures, and by the bloody civil war in neighbouring Syria. In a sign of the reach of militants and the weakness of security forces, the city of Fallujah -- just a short drive from Baghdad -- and shifting parts of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, to its west, have been held by anti-government fighters since early January. Nationwide, violence has killed more than 710 people since the beginning of the month, and over 1,700 so far this year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

West warns Russia amid rising tensions in Crimea


ESTERN nations have called on Russia to ease tensions in Ukraine’s Crimea region after armed men seized the local parliament and raised the Russian flag. Russia also scrambled fighter jets along its borders as part of military exercises it announced a day earlier.

Moscow said it was willing to work with the West on averting a crisis, but warned foreign powers against taking decisions on behalf of Ukrainians. Meanwhile, the ousted Ukrainian president is reported to be in Russia. Viktor Yanukovych plans to hold a news conference in

the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday, Russia’s Ria news agency reports. Earlier, in his first statement since being voted out of office by MPs last week, Mr Yanukovych said he had been “compelled to ask the Russian Federation to ensure my personal security from

the actions of extremists” and that he still considered himself the legitimate president of Ukraine. Watch a short history of the Republic of Crimea Also yesterday, Ukraine’s new interim government including Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk - was approved by parliament.








Garba begins race Porto move excites Chidera Eze Manu to New Zealand 2015 N N

IGERIA U17 star Chidera Eze has told he is thrilled to have committed his future to Portuguese champions FC Porto. can specially reveal that the Enugu-born forward has

NFF moves to permanent secretariat in June

signed a pre-contract with Porto and will sign a fouryear professional contract on October 2, 2015, when he clocks 18. He is presently training with the Porto U19s and his father is soon to join him in Portugal. A source close to the youngster told Eze is now looking forward to hit it big with Porto. "He is very happy and delighted to have signed a four-year deal with Porto. He has settled down well and looking forward to take Portuguese league by storm soon," the source disclosed.

He reportedly turned down offers from Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Swiss side Grasshopper and Genk from Belgium to join Porto, who have another Nigerian, Mikel Agu, on their books. Eze’s agent is ex-JUTH FC midfielder Babawo Mohammed.

•Complains of funds From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja


IGERIA Football Federation(NFF) has resolved to move to its new Secretariat named Sunday Dankaro’s House despite lack of funds to equip the Secretariat, the General Secretary of the NFF, Barrister Musa Amadu revealed at the unveiling ceremony of the Super Eagles’ new Adidas kits for the 2014 World Cup yesterday. He, however disclosed that the packing in into the new NFF Secretariat will be in three phases before the World Cup in Brazil in June. Musa said even though the Glasshouse is still grappling with the issue of funds to furnish the entire structure, the leadership of the football house have resolved to move in in phases. ‘’Remember this structure was given to us bythe Presidential Task Force and commissioned July 18 2013, and since then we have not been able to move in, but right now we want to start to move in, in phases, the first phase will be in April, the second phase will be May while the final phase before the Mundial will be in June’’, Musa explained. ‘’In fact we shall be going in first with the old furniture and machinery we have been using before procuring a new set”, Musa said as blunt as ever.


Petrosmith, HST, Kano Susplan win


AGOS sides, Petrosmith and HST were among the list of tams that recorded wins in their opening group matches in the Low Cup yesterday as matches in the final week of the 2014 Lagos Polo International Tournament hots-up. Petrosmith beat Ibadan Eleyele 7-4½ ,while HST also proved superior to Ibadan Oluyole with a 7-1 win. The results extend the Ibadan teams winless run having lost all their four group matches in the first week where they featured in the Dansa Cup. Kano Susplan edged city rivals Titan/Aitek 6-5½ to brighten their qualification chance in stream 2 which also has HST and Oluyole. Lagos Goodfellows joined the list of winners in the Low Cup as they defeated Raven Rojo 124½. South African four-goaler, Lance Watson was the match winner for Petrosmith as he scored four of his team's goals in a match where immigration officer Edozie Onwuli puts up a courageous perfomance.

•Chidera Eze

NBBF plans improved welfare packages for players


OLLOWING its Extra Ordinary Board meeting at the board room of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC in Lagos Tuesday after the press briefing to usher in the 2013/2014 DStv Premier Basketball league, the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF took some decisions aimed at improving the basketball league. The NBBF resolved to work with teams sponsors and stakeholders in the league to introduce players insurance and uniform contract document from the 2014/2015 season. It agreed also that the Premier League should be open to allow Nigerian and foreign players from international leagues to play in our local leagues in order to deepen and fast-track the development of our leagues. The federation felt perturbed about the level of talent exodus from the country and resolved to engage all concerned locally and internationally to stem the tide. It also resolved to improve liaison with and oversight over affiliate associations to ensure adequate flow of information

•As Zenith Bank assures on Women’s league and even development from bottom to top. Lastly, the Board agreed that one of the immediate solutions to talent exodus will be the sustainable development of the local programmes and leagues especially by creating an environment where players are properly insured to safeguard their well-being and career and by creation of a celebrity status by the media around the stars in our leagues thereby exposing them to endorsement opportunities for companies and thereby improving their income and taking away the attraction to play elsewhere. Meanwhile NBBF Wednesday in Lagos got a reassuring promise from the Zenith Bank management that the sponsorship of the national women’s league will continue after 10 years of partnership with the federation. The reassurance came from no less a person than the Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who received a delegation of the Board who presented the Champions of the Zenith Bank League, First Deep Water


Marylove Edwards eyes N100, 000 special grant


ARYLOVE Edwards, 11, Nigeria’s future tennis hope, is on course for a N100, 000 scholarship grant if she wins both the Girl’s 12 and 16 events. The special prize was instituted by the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit 10 years ago to encourage players to play above their age categories and thereby eliminate age cheating. So far only Lolia Kienka had won the prize as a 12-year old at the NNPC Junior Tennis Championship in Enugu in 2004. She won the Girls 12 and 14. The petite Edwards dominated the round robin matches in the Girls 12, losing only four games in four matches but dropped one match against Fortune

Aniso from Port Harcourt in the Girls 16. She meets Aniso again in the semis by luck of draw. The other semis in the Girls 16 will feature Zainab Oladimeji from Ondo and her team mate Omolade Oladimeji. Some of the other semifinals will feature Victor Tom (Port Harcourt) versus Solomon Opaogun (Abeokuta) and Usman Kushimo from Abeokuta against his team mate Gurrwiyyu Ajoye in the Boys 10. The competition is featuring four age groups – boys and girls 10, 12, 14 and 16 - with all the semifinal matches lined up for Friday. The final is scheduled for 12 noon on Saturday at the prestigious Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.

Basketball Club of Lagos to the management. According to Emefiele, “we are impressed with the development of the game and assure you that the sponsorship will continue,” as he hoped the team led by their coach, Lateef Erinfolami would retain their title this year.

EWLY-APPOINTED Head Coach of U-20 National Team, Manu Garba has invited 35 players for screening as he launches the race to get the Flying Eagles to the 2015 African Youth Championship, and subsequently, the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. Nigeria will clash with the winner of the preliminary fixture between Kenya and Tanzania, in the second round of the qualifying series for the African Youth Championship in May, with the first leg away. Triumph will take the team into the final round of the qualifiers, and the continental championship is slated for Senegal in March 2015. The FIFA U-17 World Cup winning Coach will start the screening programme at the FIFA Technical Centre, National Stadium Complex, Abuja on Monday, and has also encouraged players who fall within the age grade and are cocksure of their ability, but are not on the list of 35, to turn up at the screening venue. Leading the pack is youthful Super Eagles B striker Etebo Oghnekaro, but there are also Premier League boys Yakubu Mohammed (Gombe United), Suleiman Abdullahi and Auwal Umar (El-Kanemi Warriors), Abdulhafeez Olawale (Crown FC) and FC Taraba’s Timothy Danladi. All the invitees are expected to arrive in Abuja on Sunday, 2nd March, 2014. LIST OF 35 INVITED PLAYERS Victor Chukwuemeka Mbaoma (Remo Stars); Iluebbey Austin Osho, Ifeanyi

Abara, Bashiru Mansur, Adekunle Adegboyega Joseph, Momodu Mohammed, Alashe Sheriff Ajibola, Joshua Enahoro, Julius Emiloju, Emmanuel Damian, Chukwuma Opara (MFM FC); Yakubu Mohammed (Gombe United); Suleiman Abdullahi, Auwal Umar (El-Kanemi Warriors); Udeh Maduka Christopher (Abia Comet); Aliyu Sani Jandi (Niger Tornadoes); Mazadu Suraju Abdullahi, Shehu Magaji (Standard FC); Abdulhafeez Olawale (Crown FC); Anthony Chukwudi Omaka, Aremu Hafeez (COD FC); Abubakar Lawal (Sokoto United); Lawal Abdullahi (Dabo Babes); Okere Jerry Osondu, Chinonso Nwosu David, Orisakwe Chibueze, Alakwem Mishack, Oscar Onyeka (Taye Football Academy); Jonathan Yakussak (Boro United); Timothy Danladi (FC Taraba); Etebo Oghenekaro (Warri Wolves); Adamu Abubakar (Flash FC); Bilyaminu Yusuf, Mubarak Umar, Mudashir Garba (Everton FC)

•Manu Garba









VOL.9 NO.2,773

‘Progress can only be achieved by a conscious effort to challenge the status quo and demand that among other things, a country’s leadership live up to promises it made at election time’





Loyal readers of Expresso may have been surprised to find their favourite column ensconced (exposed if you like) on the back page last week. Late Thursday last week, I had packed my bag to go home when news filtered in that Expresso had been ‘promoted’ to the back page of Nigeria’s widestcirculating newspaper. I was flustered for a second. First, my mind was not prepared for this great back-flip. I could have at least taken off with a premeditated debut. Second, who am I to take the place of Baba Segun Gbadegesin? Just because I have a rage of premature grey hairs does not make me capable of lacing the shoes of his intellectual prowess, unmatchable deep insights and measured resoluteness. Now I have been offered up to the world like an eight-day old baby, I joked with Gbenga Omotoso as we discussed the transition. Hidden away in my old abode on page 22, I could safely launch my missiles knowing that only faithful followers would find it. Though Expresso which was meant as a light-hearted weekend delight long lost its innocence and mirth to a regime of relentless obduracy; it is sure to get even more starchy and less carefree now that it is more ‘exposed’. Trouble is sure to follow no doubt, especially if the impromptu debut is a pointer. As the first lights of last Friday pierced the new morn, messages and calls poured in almost jamming my handset. Readers who defied the no-calls warning were particularly implacable. Surprisingly, it was the small bottom piece on President Jonathan’s palace shuttles that provoked the most reactions. At a point I too lost my composure and I lapsed into shouting and cussing match with one of the readers. We traded abuses until we were separated by poor network connection. Though I was suffused with shame and remorse thereafter, I also told myself that just because my mug is exposed on the back page of a newspaper does not give anyone the right to kick it about like a ball. I formally welcome you dear reader to this enhanced space; be sure to get an enhanced value. It certainly calls for more responsibility, more introspection and to put it the way one of Nigeria most famous beer brands does, it will be triple-filtered and nuanced but without losing the bitter-sweet taste and rich foam head you have come to love since July 2011. Let’s go there!

What shall we do with Diezani? When shall we be able to face up to this monster threatening our very existence? When shall we be able confront and chain our Prometheus? Remember him, the fellow



The Diezani debacle have recently highlighted to the world the stench in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), under Mrs. AlisonMadueke’s oversight. For instance, The Africa Report in its bumper edition last year wrote about the opacity and decline of the NNPC; there is hardly any quarter that passes without The Economist of London passing a sad verdict on Nigeria’ oil industry. The journal wrote recently about a “horrifying scope of corruption” in Africa’s biggest oil industry. Financial Times too was unsparing. In the same vein, global bodies like Transparency International; Chatham House, London; Human Rights Watch and the accounting firm, KPMG, among others, have no good word to say about Nigeria’s oil industry today. •Mrs Alison-Madueke

who, according to Greek mythology, stole fire from heaven and Zeus, that god that lived on mount Olympus, chained him to the rock so that vultures would prey on him. How shall we uproot Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke from our Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry before she brings this house down upon us? Since 2011 when she was appointed to head Nigeria’s most strategic assets – oil and gas – she has proved over and over that she lacks the capacity, the drive and character to oversee Nigeria’s mainstay. Besides having not been able to add any value to Nigeria’s vast oil and gas assets, she has found it difficult to maintain even the status-quo. In other words, she cannot seem to be able to work out the arithmetic of her great office; she cannot seem to stop brewing scandals and finagling with figures. Apart from the grave injury her ineptitude (let’s call a spade a spade) has brought to bear on the nation’s economic wellbeing, the image of the country has been damaged to no end by the odium emanating from her corner of the cabinet. Oil and gas is an international business, Nigeria is a big player and her every move is noted by the international community. Most notable international media entities


There had always been corruption in the Nigerian oil industry no doubt. In fact, the NNPC can be described as a house of sleaze. But under Diezani’s watch, this malfeasance has climbed to Olympian heights: from outright diversion of revenues to dubious subsidies, shady crude swap arrangements, crude sale through middlemen, unaccounted for daily crude allocation to NNPC; massive petroleum products imports; oil blocs gerrymandering, etc. there is almost no depth to the graft at NNPC, particularly now. The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was queried and suspended from office last week for what many have conjecture be his whistle-blowing on NNPC; the current one being an allegedly missing $20 billion. But in all the ruckus in the oil industry, nary a query has gone out to Mrs. AlisonMadueke, in fact she grows impertinent and diffident by the day, seeming to regale in the malodorous suffusion wafting out of her corner. It is amazing that what is required to arrest this debacle is a simple, single change of guards; the appointment of another Nigerian of competence and character who can quickly clean up the house and set the indus-





House of sleaze

try back on track. According to Africa Report, Algeria’ state-owned oil firm, SONATRACH is the biggest in Africa today. It is investing $80 billion in the next four years, including $16 billion for four new refineries. Did you ever hear NNPC speak of investment recently? SONANGOL is Angola’s state oil company; it is ranked second in Africa. It is currently investing heavily in Portugal, Asia and Africa. Cote D’Ivoire has no crude oil, yet she runs a profitable refinery; same as South Africa whose PetroSA is a huge, viable state corporation. What more to say than that the Diezani debacle is the Nigerian debacle and put plainly, it is President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure. It is the President’s monster, he had better killed it or…

BOOK BLURB: Minorities as overlords?


HIS column will bring brief reviews and description of new books here every now and then. Today we debut with Jimanze Ego-Alowes’ Minorities as Competitive Overlords, published by Stone Press recently. A long-standing columnist (The Turf Game) in The Sun, Jimanze is one of the craftiest writers around today. You may also find him crazy or crazy-hilarious. He proposes in the book that the so-called minority tribes in Nigeria actually dominate the vital sections of the country. You may not agree with him but you cannot quarrel with his winged wits. Here is a sample taken from chapter nine of the book on “Why the South-West Dominate the Soft-sell Magazine” genre: “The Nigerian elite goes to learn all that is known about rocket science or securitised derivatives but is completely ignorant of how to evade gunshots at Mushin or discover how to make more garri with less water and thus drive away hunger. “So he returns from his educational travels abroad or at home and prides himself a technocrat. But truth be told, he knows nothing except what he has been taught or explained to in Harvard, Nsukka or Oxford. Appoint him to anything and the local environment will overwhelm and battle him to the ground. In desperation, if not ennui, he enjoins and joins the rest of us to give, take and eat bribes. Bribes by the way are Nigeria’s staple menu, head and shoulder above gbegiri soup or ofe onugbu…” Humour, the ability to make arcane matter funny is Jimanze’s forte. Minorities is quite a pleasant book to read. You can reach the author on 08111845043. •For comments, send SMS to 08111526725

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Politics of Rooney’s N82m weekly pay

OOTBALL, which some have described as the beautiful, round leather game, has long been known as the new El Dorado, but is it the new political turf too? Just when you think wages have reached their heights, new limits are soon set. Just when you think interest in the game might wane, a new upwelling of enthusiasm is ignited. All a wretched family needs today to flee poverty is to have one lad (or lass) of great football talent and pronto, money begins to flow like ocean water. Kelechi Iheanacho and Dele Alampasu are two current examples of how football can instantly change the fortunes of families. But make no mistake there are deep political and racial dynamics and the bigger the deal, the higher the stakes. Consider the latest £300,000 -a-week- contract signed by Wayne Rooney in his club, Manchester United Football Club (MUFC). Converted, the 28-year-old England striker will earn about N82 million per week for the next four years. This deal immediately makes him the most expensive player in MUFC’s history. Rooney also becomes perhaps the most expensive in the world second only to

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid. The question is: why would a sinking MUFC shell out so much money for one player in her time of deep trouble? The player is not playing exceptionally well right now; his club is in her worst situation of the last two decades; far adrift on the current English Premiership League (EPL) table. MUFC, which are the current EPL champions, are right now in danger of not only missing all silverwares this season, they may not make the top four which qualifies them for the prestigious pan-European Champions League. Myriads of questions beg for answers in this deal: would former coach Sir Alex Ferguson have agreed to a deal like this? Some say the hardy MUFC legend would have done away with Rooney the way he did David Beckham and used the proceeds to get at least two talented, younger players. Some posit the new coach David Moyes was overly taken in by sentiments having first discovered Rooney at Everton, his former club. Football pundits say he has allowed Rooney to take

advantage of the weak and supine position of the club to extract an unviable contract. Now he is not by any chance the best player in the club; Robin van Persie and the new signing Juan Mata maybe one notch ahead. Now the wage structure of MUFC has been distorted and every player will expect a bigger contract soon. More worrisome, Rooney has been made a king and even a messiah of the club and this could boomerang if the other players leave the ball to him alone. There is also the issue of race: analysts have noted that no coloured player gets paid so much no matter how talented. Players like Romelo Lukaku (Everton), Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) are sharper strikers yet hardly any of them earn half this wage. Rooney even earns more than the phenomenal Lionel Messi! Well, for a country in dire need of heroes, England will create one for herself by all means. But with MUFC sinking deeper with every game, it is hoped that all of this will not turn out an albatross for all concerned.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:08099365644, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. WEBSITE: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

Feb 28, 2014  

February 28, 2014 publication of the Nation newspaper

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